What I’m working on now: A new book



After publishing 10 books in the past two years (wow—I just blew my own mind), I am not slowing down, but I am changing direction.

I had a writing and publishing plan.e72b9-bonescoverfinalforweb

Two years ago in July, I published two books in two different Kindle Worlds: Torn Roots in the Lei Crime Kindle World, based on Toby Neal’s Lei Crime series; and Jet: Stealth in the Jet Kindle World, based on the bestselling series by Russell Blake.

Up to that point, I had published only three book-length titles:

  • The Bones of the Earth, book one of a planned Dark Age trilogy, a historical fantasy
  • One Shade of Red, a spoof of Fifty Shades of Gray
  • Army of Worn Soles, the first book in my Eastern Front trilogy, based on the real experiences of my father-in-law in the Red Army during the Second World War.

My plans at that point were to complete the Eastern Front trilogy (done!), then move to the second and third books of the Dark Age series. I also thought I might intersperse those projects by writing and publishing
stories that would tie together into a paranormal-occult-romance novel, Dark Clouds. I had written four chapters, publishing them on various platforms. A lot of people liked the first chapter, which stands alone as a story called The Mandrake Ruse. You can download it for free.

At that point, I had never even heard of Kindle Worlds, and never considered writing fan fiction.

Then Toby Neal diverted me.

Near the end of 2014, Toby Neal, bestselling author of the Lei Crime series and other books, and a prominent member of the BestSelling Reads authors group, selected a few authors to write for her brand new Lei Crime Kindle World. The idea was to publish a novella, something between 10,000 and 40,000 words, based on the characters and situations of her mystery novels.

I was excited and, to be honest, flattered to be one of the first invited to this project. And it also solved another problem for me. I had an idea for a light-hearted thriller with characters based on my family, but I could not make the plot work. When I got Toby’s invitation to write a Hawaii mystery, the plot, setting and characters fell into place.

However, there was one big problem: my main character was a geologist, and I knew nothing about the geology of Hawaii. I wasn’t getting the details I wanted from books or the Web. So I booked my next vacation to Maui, and what I experienced added a lot of realism to the book. And while I missed the first launch in April 2015,
I did manage to write a book, re-write it, get a cover, get it edited and proofread—and share a beta draft with Toby Neal herself—in time for the “second surge” in July.

While I was working on my first Lei Crime book, Russell Blake invited me (and several others) to write for his new Jet Kindle World, too. Its first deadline was the same as the second one for Lei Crime: July 31, 2015.

So, while Torn Roots was with beta readers, editors and proofreaders, I wrote a short, fast-paced thriller called Stealth, introducing two more characters based on people I know: Van Freeman and Earl LeBrun. And I met the deadline without cutting any corners.

My writing went fast in a new direction.

Since then, I wrote and published two more Lei Crime novellas and one novel. I was invited to another Kindle World, based on Emily Kimelman’s Sydney Rye series about a kick-ass woman detective and her giant dog, Blue. I’ve written two books for this series, both featuring Van and LeBrun.

Now, it’s time to get back to the original plan.

Don’t get me wrong—writing the Kindle World books has been a blast. I really enjoyed the characters and situations I created, and to judge by the reviews, my readers have, too. And I think I will find it irresistible to return to them, putting them in more impossible situations.

But I want to get back to the next book in the Dark Age trilogy. Last year, when I was waiting for medical attention after breaking my knee, I worked out the plot outline for book 2, The Triumph of the Sky. (Guess which song inspired that and I’ll send you a personalized, signed e-copy of The Bones of the Earth.)

The Dark Age trilogy is what I call “historical magic realism.” It’s epic fantasy, but set in a real time and place: the sixth-century CE Eastern Roman Empire, often known now as the Byzantine Empire. But the people there at the time called themselves “Roman,” even though most of them spoke Greek.

The Bones of the Earth, book 1 in the trilogy, was about Javor, a poor Sklavenic boy from beyond the Empire’s borders, who travels to Constantinople, the capital of the Empire, searching for answers about his parents’ death and his great-grandfather’s magical dagger. The second volume will tell the story of Javor as a young man, living in Constantinople with a wife and family, going on several adventures and contending with deep, supernatural forces. It’s based on a number, just as the first volume was. I’ve made some progress: two chapters written. In a future post, I’ll post some advance samples when I’m happy with them.

But don’t get too excited. Triumph is going to be a big book, like Bones was. But I’ll keep you up to date on progress, and I’ll have lots of contests and giveaways along the way. One of the first will be a giveaway to anyone who can deduce or guess which number figures prominently in the plot of The Bones of the Earth, and later another one for the number that’s the basis of The Triumph of the Sky.

See you soon!

Join the Three-Day on launch day



SKRW-fbimageThe Three-Way, my new Sydney Rye Kindle World thriller, launches on Thursday, April 27—with a party on Facebook.

Join me and other authors at https://www.facebook.com/events/1056089217869168/ where you can ask questions, learn more about your favourite Sydney Rye world characters and writers.

There will be prizes, too, including Amazon gift cards ($$moiney$$!) and other goodies that I can’t tell you about without spoiling the surprises.

So join us on Facebook. I’ll be on host duty from 7:00–7:30 Eastern Time, ready to answer all your questions about Sydney, Robert Maxim, and of course Van and LeBrun.

Save the date: April 27, 2017.

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Cover reveal: Two new books coming over the next three weeks



I’ve told you about Echoes, my new Lei Crime Kindle World mystery featuring FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm. This full-length novel appears on May 12, and I think it’s my best mystery, yet.

But two weeks before then, one week from today, on Thursday, April 27, a new Sydney Rye Kindle World adventure launches, too: The Three-Way, featuring your favourite, scruffiest, most irresistible and stubbornly independent secret agent, Van Freeman, along with his mysterious, ingenious partner, Earl LeBrun—the characters I introduced in Jet: Stealth, and featured again in The Wife Line.

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In The Three-Way, Van and LeBrun take on Daesh, also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.  Van, as usual, gets himself in way over his head. How he gets out has delighted beta readers so far.

Characters from the Sydney Rye universe created by Emily Kimelman include the smooth businessman and all-round enigma, Robert Maxim, as well as the Kurdish woman warrior from The Girl with the Gun, Mujada Taib.

Here’s a short sample

Chapter 2: Meet Van Freeman

Van swallowed the last of his espresso when he heard a voice that exuded confidence bordering on condescension. “Well, if it isn’t Van Freeman.” 

Deep, assured, relaxed. Van twisted toward the back of the café, nearly falling out of his chair. A tall man who looked to be in his late fifties sat in a chair against the wall. He leaned back, one ankle on the other knee, a hand on his raised thigh and his other holding an espresso cup. He had short brown hair, cut expensively, with silver at the temples. He wore dark travelling pants, a khaki-colored shirt and a light grey blazer that appeared to be poured onto him. 

Who is this guy? He wasn’t sitting there when I sat down. How did he get in without my noticing? Van thought. 

“Heyyy,” he said, smiling broadly. “Wow. It must be … How long since we’ve seen each other? And what brings you … Here, of all places?” He felt a tingle as the short hairs on the back of his neck stood up. He controlled his breathing and kept smiling. Without moving his eyes from the strange man, he scanned the room with his peripheral vision, looking for other threats, possible allies of the strange man and fastest escape route.  

“Relax, kid,” the stranger said, gesturing toward the chair across the table from him. “You’ve never met me, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your memory.” 

Van moved so the table was between them. “Then how do you know my name?” 

“You stand out, especially here: a six-foot surfer dude with blond hair past his shoulders, and no beard. You’re hard to miss.” 

“That doesn’t explain how you know who I am.” 

“I read the report that Sydney Rye wrote.” 

Van’s chest tightened. He breathed out slowly. “Sydney wrote a report about me?” 

I have several people to thank for helping me get this book out so fast: my wife, Roxanne, for putting up with long silences as I wrote this furiously over a month; my elder son, Evan, for inspiring the character of Van and polishing his dialogue so it seems more realistic for a Millennial; Roger Eschbacher, Gary Henry and Joy Lorton for advice, insight, editing and proofreading; and Emily Kimelman for inviting me to the Sydney Rye Kindle World, and for creating the characters of Sydney, her dog, Blue, Bobby Maxim and Mujada Taib.

If you’re willing to leave a review on the Amazon page on release day, email me at contact@writtenword.ca and I’ll send you an advance review copy.

 

 

A look back at a tough year



To many, 2016 has been a horrible year. The war in Syria, the loss of refugees from that conflict and others, the record number of celebrity passings, record homicide numbers in my home town, Brexit, the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. Presidency … I won’t go on. It’s too painful.

For me, it’s been a turbulent year, too. I broke my knee in May and went through months of intensive physiotherapy and exercise to get back the range of motion and strength I needed for my two-week whitewater canoeing trip. My son had appendicitis, my other son had some issues with school and work.

In the fall, I came down with a wicked case of pinkeye. There were more problems in this single year than in many that I can recall.

On the other hand, there were some “ups,” as well.

  • I published three books this year:
    • IMG_0020.jpgUnder the Nazi Heel, Book 2 in my Walking Out of War trilogy based on the World War 2 experiences of my father-in-law, Maurice Bury.
      It won Second Prize in the East Texas Writers Guild 2016 Awards for nonfiction/memoir.
    • The Wife Line, a Sydney Rye Kindle World book that features my spy-thriller characters, Van Freeman and Earl LeBrun.
    • Dead Man Lying, my third Lei Crime Kindle World title, featuring my FBI Special Agent character, Vanessa Storm. It won First Place in the 2016 East Texas Writers Guild Mystery Awards.WifeLine-final-small
  • I edited three very strong books by independent authors:
  • I participated in some group publishing efforts along with other members of BestSelling Reads, an authors’ group that cross-promotes members.
  • New members joined Independent Authors International, a collaborative publishing venture where members share skills to provide all the functions of a full, commercial publishing company.
  • PaddlersI canoed 325 kilometres down the Missinaibi and Moose Rivers in northern Ontario to Moose Factory on James Bay, and capsized only once.
  • I visited the Finger Lakes in New York, and met some very nice, interesting people and drank some excellent wine.
  • I crafted an outline for The Triumph of the Sky, the follow-up to my first full-length novel, The Bones of the Earth.
  • I outlined a new Lei Crime novel featuring Special Agent Vanessa Storm: Echo of a Crime, and have so far written about half of it.
  • And I came up with a concept for a new Sydney Rye Kindle World novel which will feature Van and LeBrun.

So 2016 has been a year with ups and downs, and now that I look at it, for me at least, there were more good points than bad. And for the family, too.

But for the world, it’s been a tough year. For Aleppo and the rest of Syria, for Iraq, for France, Belgium and the U.K., for Japan, Italy and Fort McMurray. For the U.S., 2017 is going to be … interesting politically.

I wish you all a healthy, happy, loving, peaceful and plentiful 2017.

Get your leash ready to walk the big dog — on Facebook



Get to more about your favourite books, characters and their authors

Sydney Rye and her big dog, Blue, are among the most popular characters in fiction today. They’re the stars of eight novels and one novella by their creator, Emily Kimelman, as well as six novellas by other authors in the Sydney Rye Kindle World — including me.

Sydney Rye has also shown up in the Jet Kindle World in Emily Kimelman’s It Takes Two. The popularity of these titles shows that readers love Sydney and Blue and can’t get enough of them.

And now’s your chance to get more. The authors in the Sydney Rye Kindle World have teamed up with Book Rhythm to bring you the Walking the Giant Dog Book Party.

Come to the Facebook book party next Monday, November 21 between 7 and 9 p.m. Eastern Time, where you can win books, gift cards and other prizes. Chat with Emily Kimelman and the other authors in the Sydney Rye Kindle World. Get to know more about Sydney, Blue, Mulberry, Dan, Merle and all your favourite characters.

Who’s going to be there?

Emily-author-photob648f-delshereegladdenJulie Gilbert 2013 (5 of 25)bev

And of course, you!

Be ready to answer some tricky Sydney Rye questions:

  • Other than Sydney, who’s your favourite character in the Sydney Rye Kindle World?
  • If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
  • What breed do you think most shares Blue’s personality?

You can post a picture of your “Blue” and win e-books and Amazon gift cards.

Come to the Facebook page now and click “Going” just under the top graphic.

See you then!

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Who are Sydney Rye and Blue?

Sydney Rye is a woman who remade herself — with a lot of help from Merle and Mulberry — as a strong woman, dynamic and determined person after a series of traumatic events told in the first book, Unleashed. Sydney is fit, blond with gray eyes and two distinctive scars on her face.

Blue has the body of a wolf but the size of a Great Dane, the markings of a Siberian Hustky, the long, elegant muzzle of a Collie and the instincts of a German Shepherd. Also, he has one blue eye and one brown. He’s taken a bullet for Sydney and saved her life countless other times over the course of eight books.

They appear in eight Sydney Rye novels by their creator, Emily Kimelman. Sydney and Blue also appear in Emily’s JET Kindle World novella, It Takes Two.

 

Come to a party with me



November 21 at 7:00 p.m.
Chat with authors — get free books — win Amazon gift cards

SRKWbadge3On Monday, November 21, I’ll be joining six other authors in the Walking the Giant Dog Facebook party, and I want you to come with me.

All the authors who have published books in the Sydney Rye Kindle World will join Facebook to share our experiences in writing these books, and to answer readers’ questions.

Have you ever wondered

  • Why we wrote Kindle World novellas?
  • Where did Van Freeman come from, anyway?
  • Why is the dog so big?
  • What is a “wife line”?
  • Why does Sydney have a gun?

We’ll all be here:

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Emily Kimelman, author of the Sydney Rye series

Pawlish

Renée Pawlish, author of Walk Softly, Danger

jennharlow

Jennifer Harlow, author of Nemesis

Julie Gilbert 2013 (5 of 25)

Julie Gilbert, author of Fatal Interest

DelSheree Gladden

DelSheree Gladden, author of The Catalyst

UseThishires

And me, author of The Wife Line

 

 

bookrhythmAnd it’s all organized by Book Rhythm.

 

We’ll be asking you questions, too, like

  • Who is your favourite character in the Sydney Rye world, other than Sydney herself?
  • If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

All for more chances to win prizes.

Save the date — November 21, 2016 at 7 pm. Eastern Time.

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Get ready: read the books

The Catalyst, by DelSheree Gladden

Fatal Interest, by Julie Gilbert

Nemesis, by Jennifer Harlow

Strange Behavior, by Bev Pettersen

Walk Softly, Danger, by Renée Pawlish

The Wife Line, by Scott Bury

Rough Road, by Toby Neal

Have you read all the Sydney Rye novels yet? Here’s your chance to get the first volume, Unleashed, for free.sr_unleashed

 

 

 

Dogs, travel and Kindle Worlds: An interview with author Emily Kimelman



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The newest Kindle World, the Sydney Rye Universe, launched with new titles from seven authors, including me. This week I thought it would be great to give readers more insight into it through the creator of Sydney Rye, Blue, Mulberry and Bobby Maxim: Emily Kimelman.

Emily Kimelman was born in Philadelphia, the daughter of a correspondent for the Philadelphia Enquirer. Her family moved to Texas within weeks of her birth, and then two years later to Moscow, from which come her earliest memories. She studied the history of forensic science at New York University. She published her first mystery novel featuring Sydney Rye and Blue, Unleashed in 2011. The seventh novel in the series is Shadow Harvest, and it came out in August 2015.

Late that year, Amazon contacted Emily about launching a Sydney Rye Kindle World, a project that allows writers to contribute works to established series. I was honoured when Emily asked me if I would be one of the first to write for the Sydney Rye Universe, and I jumped at the chance to write my second novella featuring Van Freeman and Earl LeBrun from Jet: Stealth. It’s called The Wife Line, and you can read a sample on this blog and another on Emily’s.

Emily corresponded to me for this interview from upstate New York, where she lives with her family and her dog, Kinsey.

When did you first get the idea for Sydney Rye and Blue? Why did you decide on a human-canine team of crime-fighters?

I was working as a dog walker on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and it was the weirdest job because I had access to all these people’s apartments but we’d never met. As a voracious mystery reader, I recognized this as a great set-up for an amateur detective. Since I love dogs (it’s hard to be a professional walker if you’re not super into them :)) I figured I needed a dog side kick for my detective. At the time I had a giant wolf-dog named Nova who had one brown eye and one blue. He became the model for Blue.

Is the Joy Humboldt character based on you or someone else you know?

Joy Humbolt is a lot like me when I was younger. She is braver and tougher but we are a lot alike. My mother leaves me messages when reading my books like: “Don’t you go down in that tunnel. What are you crazy!”

Do you have a dog? What kind?

I have a Spanish Water Dog named Kinsey, after Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone. She is adorable and bad to the bone as any good dog should be.

Where do your characters come from? Do you base them on specific people you know? Or are they created fresh in your mind?

It’s a mix. Sometimes characters pop into my mind fully formed and start running around messing stuff up. Other times I’ll meet someone who has a way about them that feels exciting or entertaining. My husband always warns people that they might end up in one of my books.

Some characters seem as if you created their personalities to fit critical roles to drive the plots forward, like Dan and Merle. Do you know any people like that?

Merl is based off a guy who was a regular at a bar I worked at in New York. The regular looks like Merl, talks like him, dresses like him and even had three Doberman Pinschers. However, their back stories are totally different. As far as I know, that guy wasn’t into vigilantism at all, never took heroin, nor spent time in the army. He just liked Dobermans and dressing like he was in training. When I started writing Death in the
Dark
 I didn’t have an outline and when Merl showed up, I was like, “Oh, that makes sense.”

I don’t know anyone like Dan. I don’t do outlines so I was just writing along when he showed up and from the first moment I met him I knew he was going to be very important. I liked him and he kind of felt like home to me, even though I didn’t base him off anyone. Writing is funny that way.

We know that Sydney hates Bobby Maxim, but as the books progress, he gets more and more complex. How do you feel about him?

I’m as surprised by the growth in their relationship as anyone. I didn’t see it coming. Bobby Maxim is slippery — I can’t ever seem to get a bead on him. I respect the hell out of him but I don’t trust him, not fully. However, I don’t think he’d do anything to hurt Sydney. I think he really loves her. I think she’s the only woman who has ever told him no. And he likes it.

You travel a lot, and so does Sydney. Do you enjoy writing about your own travels through Sydney’s eyes?

Yes, I love it. I love hearing her take on the places that we go.

When did you first get involved with Kindle Worlds?

When Toby Neal was offered a Kindle World for her Lei Crime Series, she asked me to be a launch author. I had heard of the KW program but never taken the time to look into it. I loved writing in her world … and not just because I took it as an excuse to fly to Maui, though that was a huge bonus. But writing in another author’s world is freeing somehow. I also loved how communal the process was. Working with a group of authors in the same world is really fun.

Your second Kindle World was, I believe, Russell Blake’s Jet. Tell me about your decision to incorporate Sydney Rye and Blue into Jet’s universe.

Toby told me she was writing for Jet and I was intrigued. Then Sean Fitzgerald, the acquisition editor for KW, called me up and asked me to write in it, explaining that I could use Sydney without loosing any rights. I had the seventh Sydney Rye novel coming out a week after the world launched, so I thought it would be a fun way to get my fans excited for Shadow Harvest.

Your own Kindle World, the Sydney Rye Universe, has just launched with seven titles from seven different authors. You invited specific authors to join. How did you select them?

I made a huge list of every author I knew and liked. Then I picked out the ones I most wanted in the launch. I based it on how professional I thought they were in terms of deadlines, if I’d read their work and liked it, and if I thought my fans would be into their other work. I wanted to keep the launch small enough that my readers could buy them all without becoming overwhelmed. I have lots more authors I want to invite to write in my world and I’m hoping by spacing out the launches it will give fans time to read them all!

The different books span quite a range. Most incorporate the authors’ previously-created characters. Mine, The Wife Line, includes Van and LeBrun from my Jet Kindle World novella. How do you feel about that? 

I wanted lots of different styles. That’s part of the fun for me as the world creator. I can never write a Sydney Rye story where she interacts with a ghost, or Van and LeBrun, or Lei (Toby’s character). It’s SO MUCH fun to read these other takes on my characters.SRKWbadge3

Will you write any more in other Kindle Worlds, such as Toby Neal’s Lei Crime world, or the Jet world?

I’m planning on another story for Toby’s world this year. I’m not sure if I’ll have time to do something with Jet, but I’m thinking about it.

When will the next Sydney Rye and Blue novel by Emily Kimelman come out?

I’m working on Sydney Rye #8 now. I’m hoping to have it out by early summer but am not making any promises at this moment. I have a six-month-old daughter who likes a lot of attention, and I like giving it to her 🙂 So I’m enjoying her babyhood because I know it will be gone in the blink of an eye. Whereas Blue and Sydney will be with me forever.

Thank you so much, Emily.

Emily Kimelman is the author of seven Sydney Rye novels, six KISS stories, a Jet Kindle World novella and a Lei Crime Kindle World novella. She is also a member of BestSelling Reads.

Visit her:

And follow her on Twitter @ejkimelman.