How to market your book: Guest post by J.P. Berget



This week, guest blogger marketing marvel Jens-Petter Berget, owner of the SlyMarketing blog and company, reveals some of the best, most practical advice on how to market your books I’ve ever read. (This post originally appeared on the old Scott’s Written Words blog.)

I say that I was a failed writer because I could not finish what I was writing for a very long time.

I am a solo entrepreneur with a marketing business, and I have written a novel and a short story for the Kindle. I am fairly successful in business with several big clients and a popular blog.

I love writing, but my first hurdle was to choose the right language. I write in Norwegian and in English. I am a better writer in Norwegian, because I am Norwegian, but I have a much bigger audience when I write in English. And that’s why I started my marketing blog in English.

I am still not sure if it’s such a good idea to keep writing in two different languages or if I should focus on one. But since I believe that one of my strengths in marketing and writing is experimenting and I’m not really in a hurry to get things published, I’ve decided to keep writing in both languages for now.

The 5 reasons I was a failed writer

I have been thinking a lot about why I haven’t been able to publish my novel or the short story. I’ve come up with five main reasons. Let me just tell you the reasons first, and then I’ll tell you how I market my novel and short story.

1. I don’t have a goal

I write because I love to write. I want people to read what I have written, and I love feedback. And I work to become a better writer. But I don’t have a goal when I write.

I am telling a story. I want it to be entertaining, but do I want my readers to cry, to learn something, or to never forget about the main character?The truth is that I don’t know. I just write without having a single goal for the story or how my readers should react.

I believe writers should have a main goal with everything they write. Do you agree?

2. I don’t focus

When I started writing my novel, I thought that I wouldn’t do anything but write for a year. I believed that was what authors do. I’d lock myself inside my office and just write.

I did write for a long time, but I kept doing so many other things that were not part of my main projects. And I kept creating new projects, instead of writing and finishing the novel and the short story.

I believe that writers should focus on one project at a time, and finish it before starting new projects. Do you agree?

 3. I am terrible at editing

I write from the beginning of the first sentence until I’m finished. That’s it. I know that as soon as I’ve finished writing, I will be really just at the beginning. Most of the time it’s all about the editing. And the first draft is more or less just the foundation of the story. But I am having a hard time to remove anything from the story. I can add a lot, but since I have a hard time removing anything, the story becomes more and more complex.

I have come to realize the importance of editing, but removing is still a huge obstacle for me. I’d love your thoughts on this — what part of editing do you struggle with?

4. I write alone

I love the solitude of writing and I love the social part of the online world. My marketing experience is mostly part of the social world, where I have teamed up with lots of brilliant people who are helping me out. I get the experience of people from all over the world, and we share marketing advice. This has been all positive, and I wouldn’t have been able to start my business if I didn’t have this team of supporters behind me.

I believe that I shouldn’t have been doing all my writing alone. I should have teamed up with other writers and I should have told them about my projects, and we should have shared opinions and experience. I am sure it’s a myth that authors should be all by themselves when they write. I do my best work when I get feedback and when I am having conversations with people. If I could start all over again, I would find a mentor and a team of like-minded people to help me out. I understand the power of collaboration and I would have done my share.

Do you write alone, or have you teamed up with other writers? I’d love to know if other people are part of your writing process.

5. I write what I love, not what people will buy

One of my friends is a painter. I believe he is a brilliant painter. I love the way he paints, but the reason he doesn’t sell any of his paintings is that he only paints what he loves to paint. And at the time I am writing this, he loves to paint aliens and blood. I believe that if he would have looked more at what people are interested in buying rather than what he loves to paint, he would be making a career as a successful painter.

I am not saying that he should only look at the market, but the market should be part of what he’s doing. And the same goes for my writing. It took me a long time to adjust my first novel from a story that I wanted to write, because I thought that it would be an interesting project, to a story that would actually sell. I have added elements of both.

Adjusting to the market is important if you’re going to make any money from writing. I know that money isn’t really the issue, but if we’re going to be able to write every single day and make writing part of who we are and what we do, we need buyers. And that brings me to my last point.

How to market fiction books

Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. I think of marketing fiction books in the same way: it’s a three-step process.

The beginning

Research who your audience is. Find out where they are, and what you should be doing to reach them. It’s usually not that hard.

Do a pre-launch phase. Think of how movies are marketed: they’ve got trailers and movie previews at the movie theatres. Create book trailers and add them to your blog, to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. The point is that you should build expectations. It’s not hard at all. You can hire a brilliant person to do it on Fiverr for only $5. Add some text, and she’ll add the effects and the audio.

Use the trailer to drive traffic to your blog, and build an email list of people who are eager to read your book. Let them know that they’ll get it before other people, or make a promise that they’ll get it cheaper. The pre-launch phase should be no less than 30 days. It takes time to build expectations.

The middle

When you’re launching your book, you should first send emails to the people on your list. They should be waiting for your book. Write guest posts on related blogs, the blogs your audience reads (which you learned during the research part of the pre-launch phase). You should write many guest posts, and they should be about the process of writing your book. Add things about your new book (you could do this during the pre-launch phase as well). Create press releases and submit them to the local press (it’s fairly easy to get reviews in the local press) and to the large PR sites (such as?).

You should get testimonials from people who’ve read your book. Publish all the testimonials to your blog — the more the better. Ask your readers to publish the testimonials on sites like Amazon.com, which will give your book a higher ranking.

The end

The last part of the launch should be about building relationships with your readers. Relationships are one of the most important parts of marketing. Ask your readers for feedback, and get more testimonials. Build a community. Let them know about you. Tell them how you write, give them more background on the story, and why you wrote it and what your inspiration is.

It’s important that you add to your blog regularly, and that you build your newsletter email list. Communicate with your fans and they will spread the word about your awesome books.

Jens P. Berget is a Norwegian author and entrepreneur. He published the short story, Fuzzy, to critical acclaim in . He published the novel, Lizarragain Norwegian in 2013.

His marketing business is called SlyMarketing. He continues to live off his passion. You can follow him on Twitter @berget.

Jens’ blog, http://slymarketing.com/, published my guest blog on book marketing, as well. Check it out!

Do you have limited writing time but big goals?



TypingA guest post by Autumn Birt

Are you a writer? If so, are you meeting your writing goals?

Writing is a passion, one usually cobbled together from stolen moments and highs of inspiration. But if you get the writing bug and you get it bad, finding enough time is often a source of frustration.

Why write more?

Because fans like to read more. That is my number one answer. I’m a reader as well as a writer. I’ve fallen in love with a series that I’ve stayed with for three years and am now anxiously awaiting the last book — which should come out in two years. That is a whole lot of anxious waiting! And let’s not talk about another story I love that currently exists as short stories spread across several e-zines and books. I have meticulously copied all of them to one spot. I am her number one fan. She has plans to write a book … someday. I want to cry.

So yeah, keeping fans from becoming the frustrated and then jaded reader I am today is definitely a goal. When I was a teenager, a new book a year was acceptable. It still is, even though that was quite a while ago and long before ebooks. Now, a new book every six months is considered a professional target. More often is great. Fans want to be filled with anticipation, not angst.

And professional is the other reason to write and release more books, great books. Because let’s face it, if you have any hope of making a decent income from writing, one where you can potentially scale back that full time job to write, you either need to write and release more or have a really good retirement plan lined up. I’m not a teenager anymore, but I don’t want to wait that long to write full time!

So I committed myself to writing more and writing better because I not only love it, but want to make it a career. With a lot of trial and error, I developed seven key techniques and five writing tools that worked. How well? I wrote four-and-a-half books in a year and they are the best I’ve written so far.Writing Time

To be clear, I’m not talking about typing faster. Who cares how fast you typed a page if you end up deleting it? Meeting a writing goal of producing more novels in a year means creating a great story faster. And there are tips, tricks, and tools to do that. It is a paradigm shift to believe writing more in a limited time is achievable.

It is possible. I’m proof. But I want to be more than proof. I want to help other writers do the same thing. Seriously!

Writing time is a limited resource. Use it well.

I’m serious about teaching this to other authors. So serious that I’m launching a pilot class to not only teach the seven techniques and those five customizable tools, but also to work one-on-one with the students to make sure those same tactics work for them. Everyone is different and in a different situation. I want everyone to be successful.

Since this is a trial course with lots of coaching, enrolment is very limited. If you are interested in learning more please use the contact form below to get in touch with me. I’d love to talk to you!

About Autumn

author picAutumn is a bestselling author in fantasy, epic fantasy, and war — not all in the same series, though. She is the author of the epic fantasy, adventure trilogy on elemental magic, The Rise of the Fifth Order. Her newest series is Friends of my Enemy, a military dystopian/ dark fantasy tale laced with romance. Friends of my Enemy will be released in full in 2015 and will be quite the story full of strong characters, tight plots, and lots of action. Meanwhile, she is working on a new epic fantasy trilogy, Games of Fire, set in the same world as The Rise of the Fifth Order.

If she stops goofing off and enjoying hobbies such as hiking, motorcycling, and kayaking, she may even be able to release the first book in 2015, too.

She is a member of Independent Authors International and the Guild of Dreams.

Stop by her website and blog to learn more about the worlds of her books at www.AutumnWriting.com. You can also find her on Facebook at  or more frequently on Twitter @Weifarer.

Quick Note

If the contact form isn’t showing up, please just provide my email: autumn.birt@gmail.com

Also, let me know when the post is live and where so I can stop by to answer any questions and share. Thanks again!

 

Writing style: It’s part of author Gary Henry



d14c1-garyhenryIn my continuing quest to define the essence of writing style, I have asked a good author-friend, Gary Henry, for his thoughts.

Gary’s novels American Goddesses and Rogue Goddesses cross a number of genres. They features superheroines and spies, a little sex, a hefty dash of romance and lots of action. Combining these genres takes — well, a lot of style.In addition, Gary has published a collection of short stories titledWhat Happened to Jory and Other Dark Departures, and The Moon Poem and Other Strange Jingle-Jangles, a collection of poetry. Gary also reviews independent novels on his blog,Honest Indie Book Reviews. His Twitter handle is @LiteraryGary.

How would you describe your own writing style?

I like to think of my writing style as “snappy” – using active-voice and vivid verbs to the best of my ability. I try to vary sentence length and incorporate colorful description.

Are there any authors whose style you admire? Do you try to emulate them?

John Steinbeck is my idol, but too far removed from my own skill level for me to attempt to emulate. Probably Robert E. Howard is my biggest influence. I grew up reading his lurid prose – not just “Conan the Barbarian,” but many of the stories he wrote for Weird Tales and other pulps, reprinted in later collections. “Pigeons from Hell” was a particular favorite. Thought it was the scariest thing I ever read, when I happened upon it at 10 years old. Still makes me shudder.

Are there authors whose writing style you dislike?

No one comes to mind. I invariably find something to like in everything I read. The Silmarillion by Tolkien is one book I’ve made repeated unsuccessful attempts to get through. I devoured the Lord of the Rings trilogy at an early age, however.

How important is your writing style to you? Are you happy with your style, or are there aspects of it you try to change during rewriting or editing?

0a71f-american-goddesses_smallMy writing style is an intimate part of who I am. I’m happy with it. I know it’s good and I can technically show why. However, I understand it can still be improved. Going through my work, I still find instances of passive voice, wordiness, lame verbs and other weak areas. Punctuation, especially commas and dashes, is a particular weakness.

Two who have helped me improve my writing during rewrites and editing are Scott Bury and Melissa Foster, both masters of their craft. I’m not the only one they’ve helped, either.

How can readers identify your writing style? Are there particular words or kinds of words that you tend to favour? Sentence structures? Or is it more in the story, the pacing or the characters?

I think it would be difficult to identify me or any author just from an unfamiliar passage of writing. I try, not always successfully, to keep words to one or two syllables. I vary sentence structure and length. I try to vary pacing in the longer works. But these are things many of us attempt.

Do you think your genre imposes certain restrictions on writing style?

If so, I don’t pay attention. That’s why I bill my first novel, American Goddesses, as a “sexy superheroine paranormal romantic sci-fi fantasy thriller.” The story blithely invades the territory of multiple genres, from romance to sci-fi.

I read a few romance novels, actually, to learn the elements: The Merry-Go-Round by Donna Fasano and If We Dare to Dream by Collette Scott. They were good!

Do you think your audience responds to your writing style, consciously or unconsciously?

Hard to say. All the reviews of my novel, short stories and poems have dealt with content — plot and character — rather than writing style. I’m sure readers must respond to writing style on some level. I’ve seen nothing to support that regarding my own writing, however.

How important do you think writing style is to an author’s commercial success?

Rogue GoddessesThere are as many writing styles as there are writers — perhaps more. There’s no question that a few styles occasionally capture the popular imagination and catapult the books to varying degrees of success. No one knows why those styles of writing hit. My guess is it’s a combination of luck, work and circumstance.I believe we increase our odds of hitting the popular imagination by taking as many shots as we can. We can increase the odds by trying to improve our writing skills as much as possible. In the end, there’s just no formula. Why does a demonstrably poorly written novel like Fifty Shades of Gray succeed, while many similar knock-offs, and many more far superior books don’t get off the ground? No one knows.

Trying to achieve success by imitating the style of a successful book is not something I’d recommend, On the other hand — who knows what the beast will find appetizing on any given day, at any given time?

For my part, I’ll just continue to refine my own style until it completely suits one particular beast — me.

Thank you very much, Gary.

What do you think, readers? What elements of style are important to you? Does a writer’s style make a difference to your response to a book or other work? Would you buy or recommend an author solely because of his or her style?

Guest blogger: Martin Crosbie, author of My Temporary Life



This guest post from Martin Crosbie originally ran on my Blogger blog in 2012, and it’s well worth reading again.

MartinCrosbie

Martin’s excellent self-published book, My Temporary Life, achieved a great deal of attention in the major media for hitting number 1 on Amazon. Here, Martin explains how he did it. This topic became the basis of a subsequent book from Martin, How I Sold 30,000 eBooks on Amazon’s Kindle: An Easy-To-Follow Self-Publishing Guidebook.

Martin also interviewed me about my first novel. That interview is on his blog—but read Martin’s tale of hitting number one first.

Pirates, karma, and my unlikely rise to #1

In early February 2012, two months after publishing it, I enrolled my first ebook in KDP Select. Did much happen because of it?

Yeppers, in three weeks I experienced more personal accomplishments than I ever could have imagined. First of all, My Temporary Life became available as a free download in an Amazon promotion. The idea is that folks download it for free and with the momentum that builds, when it becomes a paid download, it sells. Well—IT WORKED! It became the most downloaded ebook in North America for one day, in March 2012.

My Temporary Life built up momentum like a rocket taking off. There was nothing gradual about it at all. By the second day, it was second overall in free downloads. On the third day, well you know what happened, because you heard me. Yep, doesn’t matter where you were, you probably heard me. We hit #1 overall.

So, then, “paid” day happened. It changed over at midnight on Sunday and paid sales slowly started to trickle in. The next morning I expected to see 15 or 20 sales. We had over 200. Over 200 folks pulled out their credit cards and took a chance on my self-published book, which over 120 publishers and agents had turned down. (Oh, did I forget to mention that part?)

Sales continued all day, and the days after. We peaked in the overall rankings at #9, but it didn’t stop there. An independent website emailed to tell us that we were the #7 most downloaded independent ebook of the week; we did a bunch of online interviews, emails and reviews stacked up like crazy, the momentum was deafening.

We hit 60,000 downloads, 51,500 of which were free. There were so many requests for information that we issued a press release. Yep, we issued a press release talking about the book that I wrote in the spare bedroom of my house. A Dallas, Texas television station ran the story. They were interested in the fact that over 120 agents and publishers rejected “My Temporary Life,” yet all these folks were downloading it. We were on the Movers and Shakers list. We were one of the top 10 self-published ebooks on Amazon. We were #2 in Romance/Suspense. We were #2 in Mystery/Thriller. And more 5-star reviews came in every day.

At dinner one night, Jacquie and I sat and read the newest reviews. Two of them made us cry. It’s an amazing experience to read about how your work can touch another person. The sales figures really are amazing, but the almost overwhelming part is that you have an opportunity to touch so many people.

Helping things along

MyTemporaryLifeCover

Now, while all this momentum was happening, it was also getting a little help: I was spreading the word. You see, although I do trust in Amazon, I was helping it along. I was posting interviews, sales figures, anything I could. I was on Amazon discussion boards, Kindleboards, KDP’s Community site, Facebook, Twitter, even Craigslist! All I wanted to do was tell people about my book. And, in doing all of this, not a lot of other things were happening, including writing. And, you see, there are a couple of things that I have to do in my life to function. One of them is sleeping, and the other is writing. I was sleeping a little bit-four or five hours a night, but not writing at all. That was the first problem. The second problem was the pirates.

My Temporary Life showed up on a piracy site. Someone had taken my work, changed some things, and was giving it away. So, we quickly sent a letter to them, and the owners of the site were kind enough to take it down right away. I remember years ago, sitting in front of my computer and playing with Napster, and I felt karma kicking me solidly on my rear end.

The next thing that happened was we started receiving a lot of emails from other authors asking me what I’d done, or more specifically what I did differently. There are two things that I can definitely recommend. One is Bob Mayer and Jen Talty’s The Shelfless Book. This is it: https://whodareswinspublishing.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=164

The book is actually the contents of their course that I took just before my epbublishing adventure began.

My other recommendation is to do everything you can think of to spread the word. I can tell you that it truly does make a difference when you have a Facebook event or tweet it, or come up with some other novel and original way to reach readers.

Currently, over 90,000 people have downloaded My Temporary Life. Our sales have tapered off a little bit lately, but we are still high in the rankings and we have over 80 five-star reviews now, too, and, oh yes, the sequel has been published. My Name Is Hardly is out. So, thank you everybody for Facebooking, and Tweeting, and emailing your friends. Every time you’ve told someone about my book it made a huge difference, and the book that over 120 agents and, oh never mind, that doesn’t matter now, the word is out there, and people are enjoying the book. Thank you all, it’s truly appreciated!

Martin’s interview of me is on his blog, here.

My Temporary Life is excellent. I recommend it. You can find it on Amazon, of course.

Excerpt week: Nightbird, a JET Kindle World novella



By Toby Neal

All this week, Written Words is publishing excerpts from books by fellow author-members of the Jet and Lei Crime Kindle worlds. Today, enjoy this taste of Toby Neal’s Jet novella, Nightbird.

small NightbirdThere was never anything good in the news, nothing but more bombings and destruction. Dr. Lila Weiss wondered why she even bothered to read it. She set the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv aside and looked back into the ocular piece of the microscope.

The long, slender fibers of the neurons on the slide looked like graceful branches, their delicate synaptic filaments frozen forever, fixed with a purple stain. She studied the slide carefully, delicately tracking along the cell fiber, using a motorized dial to move the slide whose exact position could be captured like map coordinates.

There it was: a tiny snarl in the slender trunk of the neural cell.

She isolated the spot, zoomed in on it further, and discerned the telltale patch of plaque that was interfering with the transmission of signals along that particular neuron. Saving a digital image for the project’s file, she lifted her eyes, focused on the bleak far wall of the lab, and rolled her shoulders, standing up from her stool.

Doing this pathology work was a necessary part of her latest research project, a catalogue of known brain diseases and their etiology—but it became monotonous, and her eyes needed a break.

Straightening her back, she picked up the paper again, scanning through the story on a firefight that had occurred last night at a mosque. “Investigation is ongoing, but an Israel Defense Forces soldier, Maya Weiss, has been taken into custody in connection with the attack.”

Maya Weiss.

Lila sat abruptly on the steel stool in front of her workbench, one hand coming up to cover her mouth as her finger touched the grainy photo on the rough newspaper of a woman, shrouded in a headscarf, held between two soldiers.

“Maya,” she whispered. “I can’t believe I’ve finally found you.”

Lila shot to her feet and pushed away from her microscope, shrugging out of her lab coat. She had to help her little sister.

***

Amos

Amos Arran, codename “Benjamin,” watched the prisoner through a one-way unbreakable mirror into the holding cell. Maya Weiss, supposedly fluent in six languages, looked small, bedraggled and about as deadly as a kitten curled on the mattress in the corner of her cell, her Israeli Defense Force uniform filthy and stiff with dried blood from the head injury she’d sustained during the firefight.

She’d been one against twenty, and she hadn’t been doing too badly until a rifle butt brought her down. According to the woman’s lawyer, Ari, her mediocre application to Mossad had been messed with. It was going to be interesting to find out if that was indeed the case, because if she had half the skills he claimed she did, this little kitten was someone he needed to bring in.

Turning away from the window, he faced Ari. “Set up the interview,” he said. “I want to verify your claims.”

“Yes.” Ari gave a brisk nod. “Maya says her superior was sexually harassing her, and that he tampered with her application. She speaks six languages, is highly intelligent, and has at least ten kills under her belt. You need someone like her.”

Six languages meant a brain that was uniquely plastic, wired to learn language easily. Amos remembered another woman like that, also named Weiss—a tall, willowy girl with golden-brown eyes and black hair. He didn’t think he’d ever forget the linguistic and neurology doctoral student he’d had in one of his psychology classes before he began screening and profiling for Mossad full time.

He glanced back at the figure on the bed. Even curled up, he could see that Maya was a petite one and a half meters. He had her file tucked under his arm and in the photo inside, Maya, with her Asian features and green eyes, looked nothing like the Lila Weiss he remembered. The name and linguistic aptitude had to be a coincidence.

He itched for a cigarette. He brushed the wrinkled fabric of the charcoal-gray suit he’d been wearing for more than a day. It didn’t look like that day was going to be over any time soon.

“The truth about her will come out in the testing and interviews.” Amos turned and lengthened his stride as he walked down the echoing corridor, so that Ari had to jog to keep up. “I hope Maya’s half what you say she is.”

About Nightbird

What if Jet had a sister?

Lila Weiss, full time neurobiologist and part time ballerina, has been searching for the little sister she lost through divorce and death. She finds Maya in prison—and a whole lot more, in the brooding presence of a psychological profiler codenamed “Benjamin.” Benjamin sees Lila’s potential value to Israel’s interests and recruits her as an asset for Mossad, giving her a crash course in spycraft, destruction and love that has international repercussions.

“This story has legs.” — Russell Blake

About the author

Toby-thoughtful1Award-winning author Toby Neal was raised on Kauai in Hawaii. A social worker turned author, she says, “I’m endlessly fascinated with people’s stories.”

Toby credits her counseling background in adding depth to her characters, from the villains to Lei Texeira, the courageous and vulnerable heroine in her mysteries.

Over a million copies of Lei Crime Series are in circulation, and her books have won multiple awards.

Toby loves life in Hawaii with her family and dogs.

About Amazon Kindle Worlds

Kindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative that allows authors to publish stories set in another author’s fictional universe. The Jet Kindle World is based on the character Jet, created by bestselling author Russell Blake.

 

Excerpt week: Nasty in Nice, a Jet Kindle World novella



All this week, Written Words is publishing excerpts from books by fellow author-members of the Jet and Lei Crime Kindle worlds. Today, enjoy this taste of Claude Bouchard’s Jet novella, Nasty in Nice.

Nasty in Nice PromoMaya had been on her return trip to the apartment, grocery bag in hand, when she had seen two young men shove two women into an alley a hundred feet ahead of her. Accelerating her pace to a run, she’d reached the alley in seconds, setting her bag down and peering around the corner just in time to see one man flying over the tall redhead’s back and knocking over one of his accomplices.

When he returned to his feet and pulled out a gun, Maya knew it was time to get involved. Taking two steps back, she then sprinted into the alley, heading directly for the wall of the far building. Her momentum carrying her, she ran a couple of steps up the wall and pushed off, flipping over the rear thug and the two women to land with both feet into the leader’s chest. As he went down, his pistol clattering down the alley and his head smashing against the cobblestones with a sickening thud, she rolled and was up on her feet facing his closest accomplice.

“Give it your best shot,” she challenged him, akin to a wild feline, ready to pounce.

“This evens things up now, doesn’t it?” said Leslie, turning to the remaining man behind her as Dominique moved out of the way, pressing herself against the wall.

“I’ll use this if I have to,” the punk threatened, the tremor in his voice belying his words.

Leslie smiled as she moved in on him and said, “You’d better not miss because once I get that knife from you, I’m going to cut your balls off and shove them down your throat.”

Weaponless, she suddenly lunged at him and he screamed in fear, dropping his switchblade as he turned and bolted out of the alley.

Leslie rushed forward to make sure he was gone then scooped up the blade and turned back to where the woman was still facing off with the remaining hood, his back conveniently to her. Without hesitation, she ran forward and leapt into the air, executing a spinning wheel kick, knocking the man sideways into the wall headfirst before he crumpled to the ground.

“Assholes,” the woman muttered as she relaxed her stance and smiled at Leslie. “Thanks for that.”

“Thank you for your help,” Leslie replied as they stepped away from the three thugs, two out cold and the other now propped up on one elbow, looking dazed. “That was quite an entrance you made.”

“It was amazing,” Dominique agreed as they backed out of the alley.

“Years of practice,” said the woman, picking up her bag before looking at Leslie. “You obviously can hold your own too.”

“Years of practice,” Leslie replied as they moved away from the alley.

“Would you really have cut that guy’s balls off?” the woman asked with a grin.

“Damned straight,” Leslie confirmed, “Though it turns out the little puke didn’t have any.”

The woman laughed and stopped as they reached a cross street with heavier foot traffic. “I’m up here so I’ll wish you ladies a safe and pleasant evening.”

“You too, and thanks again,” said Leslie, extending her hand. “I’m Leslie, by the way, and this is Dominique.”

The woman looked Leslie in the eye as she took her hand then replied, “I’m Maya. A pleasure to meet you.”

About Nasty in Nice

Some believe there is no such thing as coincidence… But there is.

Four months of peace and tranquility have gone by since the last attempt on their lives, leaving Maya and Matt increasingly confident their enemies are truly part of the past, their biggest worry, deciding their next destination as they travel Europe with three year old Hannah.

Vacationing in Paris with her long-distance partner, Dominique, Canadian operative, Leslie Robb is thrilled to receive a call from friend and colleague, Chris Barry, inviting the two women to join him and his wife at a lavish rented villa in Nice.

On the Deep Web, a covert meeting takes place, twelve of the world’s most efficient assassins, brought together to eliminate Maya and Matt, once and for all.

As the dozen killers begin their quest to locate their targets, a chance encounter takes place in Nice, turning the quasi-guaranteed biggest payday of their careers into their biggest nightmare.

About the author

CBouchardUSA TODAY bestselling author Claude Bouchard was born in Montreal, Canada, at a very young age, where he still resides with his spouse, Joanne, under the watchful eye of Krystalle and Midnight, two black females of the feline persuasion.

In a former life, he completed his studies at McGill University and worked in various management capacities for a handful of firms over countless years. From there, considering his extensive background in human resources and finance, it was a logical leap in his career path to stay home and write crime thrillers.His first stab at writing fiction was actually in 1995, the result being his first novel, Vigilante. Two others of the same series followed by 1997 but all three remained dormant until publication in 2009.

Since, besides writing Asylum, a stand-alone, the Vigilante series has grown to eleven thrilling installments including his latest release, Sins in the Sun. Two of his novels were included in the pair of blockbuster Killer Thriller anthologies, the second of which made the USA Today Bestsellers list in March 2014. Claude has also penned Something’s Cooking, a faux-erotica parody and cookbook under the pseudonyms Réal E. Hotte and Dasha Sugah.Other interests, besides writing and subtly persuading people to buy his books, include reading, making noise with his six guitars, painting in oil and watercolour, creating gastronomical delights in the kitchen and on the grill, traveling and planning to exercise. He has also recently developed an increased interest in remote control quad-copter flying and sleeping though never simultaneously.You can visit his website at claudebouchardbooks.com which has often been described as comparable to DisneyLand without the rides.

About Amazon Kindle Worlds

Kindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative that allows authors to publish stories set in another author’s fictional universe. The Jet Kindle World is based on the character Jet, created by bestselling author Russell Blake.

 

Independent book review: Russell Blake’s Jet



If you haven’t yet heard of the force of literature named Russell Blake, crawl out from under that rock and check out his website and pages on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Amazon and the other usual e-book sellers. It’s time to be brought up to speed.

Blake writes a new novel every couple of months. Notice I didn’t write “churns out”; his pace is amazing, but every work is inspired and professional. He’s not a hack, not a wannabe; he’s the real thing, living the writer’s life somewhere in Mexico.

For his Jet series, , Russell Blake wanted to create a female James Bond-like character. His heroine, Jet, is highly trained in all the military skills; she’s lethal, unstoppable and never makes a mistake. I found myself asking: do people like that really exist? But I almost immediately answered: who cares? Jet is not a deep analysis of the human condition — although there are philosophical aspects to this work. But essentially, Jet is a thrill ride as only Suspense Writer Russell Blake can do it.

Jet has all the elements readers can expect from Russell Blake: it’s captivating from the first page, there’s action all the way through and the pace never slows down. Bullets fly, bombs explode, Jet kicks high in a tight black leather jumpsuit. I kept imagining Milla Jovovich with long hair, even though I’ve never seen a Resident Evil movie.

The author seems to know his way around some exotic locales: Trinidad, Belize, Venezuela, even Tel Aviv and Algiers.

Blake’s writing chops are well evident: constant action, a good pace, and lots of details about weapons and tactics that action fans love. I had never heard of SIG guns before reading Jet. The plot is gripping, complex and complete — no plot holes or bizarre coincidences that are hallmarks of writers less skilled than Russell Blake.

Sometimes, it felt like he was showing off with his command of the language. He starts by breaking Elmore Leonard’s rule — he opens with weather. It takes some skill to pull that off and keep readers reading.

At other times, it reads like Eddie Van Halen’s guitar writing: fast, thrilling, but really, Russell, do you have to show off this much? Take this:

The fountain in the middle of the square, thick calcium deposits crusting the pitted centerpiece, hosted a squabble of sparrows intent on bathing in the rainwater accumulated in its base. Drawn by their raucous chirping, he slowed to watch them enjoy their brief reprieve from the oppressive heat.

Or

A pair of flying fish catapulted out of the water off the bow, keeping pace as they surfed the glistening spindrift that danced above the waves, to the steady accompanying throb of the boat’s motor.

But it’s almost flawless. Really, I found seven typos in the whole book. Yes, I counted.

Story

Jet, the first book in the series, starts with Carnival in Trinidad. Maya owns a small Internet café, which seems like something hard to make a profit with in a third-world country. She’s attacked by professional killers, fights back, killing the whole team, or at least all but one. She then flees the country, which sets her on a course back to her past and to figure out who’s trying to kill her, and why they’re going to such lengths to do it.

We quickly learn that Maya was actually an Israeli super-agent code-named Jet, part of a super-secret, super-skilled and super-effective team with similar hotshot code names like Rain, Fire, Tiger and Lightning. Some time before the action of the book starts, she had faked her own death to get out of the whole assassin trade. She wanted a quieter life, and tried to create one in a tropical backwater.

Of course, life doesn’t let her settle down. It turns out that one of her targets as a Mossad assassin had a brother, a Russian multi-billionaire oil tycoon and all-round bad guy. He wants revenge and has hired a top team of assassins to kill Jet. They track her down through the only person who knows that Jet’s death was phoney: her old boss and lover, David.

Apart from Jet, all the characters are three-dimensional and believable. My favourite was Dr. Rani Stein, the obese general practitioner — heart of gold, deeply flawed, terrified yet brave. I felt like I knew him, or someone very much like him.

Jet, though, is a different story. She’s almost perfect, apart from her aloofness and lack of compassion for just about anyone. I guess if you want to be an unstoppable assassin, you have to be a complete bitch.

To me, Jet was not a believable character: she’s too fast, too accurate a shot, too smart … I mean, how does a single unarmed person kill six professional assassins in a matter of minutes? How can one person be so supremely good at not just planning but also executing an operation where two people eliminate a score of adversaries on their own turf? But then, no super-spy characters are believable. James Bond certainly isn’t, no matter how hard actors try to make him so.

And that’s not the point of this novel. Jet is a series for lovers of kick-ass action, and Jet delivers a boatload of kickass. No, she’s not invulnerable: she has a couple of weak spots, which almost undo her before the book ends. So, while Jet is not believable, she is fallible; the reader can identify with her at a few places in the plot — mind you, for me, it’s not when she’s killing a gunman with one of those pointed receipt-holders you see on a store counter.

So, I’ll give this book four stars for its airtight plot, flawless expression, non-stop action and solid characterization; I take one away because I just cannot believe in these superhuman killing machines. They make great movies, but are less satisfying on the printed page.

Once again, Russell Blake proves that the independent author can, and does, deliver a great read.