Monday, February 26, 2018

Getting into my new hobby

Just a couple of paintings that I've done over the last week or so. I bought the Bob Ross "Liquid White," and that has helped with my mountains. I've wanted to do the wet-on-wet technique, but I don't think my paints--$6 paints at Michael's--have the firmness he requires. So I'll do what I can with what I have.

One of the things I've also wanted to do: self-painted book covers for the Obloeron Saga. So that's a possibility.

We'll see.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Scouring Agent: A Thriller, now available for pre-order!

It's getting to be about that time! 

And what time is it? You guessed right: it's time for a new Jaclyn Johnson novel!

Scouring Agent: A Thriller, the ninth Jaclyn Johnson adventure, is ready for pre-order at all ebook platforms. A trade paperback edition is coming, too.

Here's what it's all about:

A well-timed string of attacks and events in Washington, D.C. has President Eric B. Forrister and the CIA scrambling for answers in the ninth Jaclyn Johnson thriller novel.

How well-timed are they? It just so happens the attacks occur as Jaclyn is out of the country, on her honeymoon in Wales.

With Tasha Verkler, Jaclyn’s ward and confidante, at the head of the investigation alongside Desmond Daly, a.k.a. Salt, the duo look to discover who’s behind these brazen attacks—the new Supreme Court Museum has been bombed, two Justices dead; the Senate Majority Leader killed by a sniper—until the unthinkable occurs: Jaclyn and Tom’s ride home from Heathrow is also bombed.

Do Jaclyn and Tom make it back to the United States, or does Tasha manage to solve it herself?


Get it at the following links!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Looking back at 2017, my hopes for 2018

Over the last few years, I've resolved to do this, or set out to do that, as the calendar turns from the old year to the new one. You can look back at my archives for them.

As we enter 2018, I resolve to do none of that. Instead, I look toward hope.

I'll be honest: 2017 was a rather mixed bag for this author. I was successful in several ways. I achieved my resolution of publishing two books during the course of the calendar year, which is usually an assurance from me; accomplishment, sure, but when I'm doing two and sometimes three books a year, it gets to be old hat. I had a successful Plastic City Comic Con at the end of July, where I sold 20 books, many to local friends who had never bought a book of mine before. And I think I prepared well for it. I found several new readers, all of whom I hope I'll keep as 2018 winds it way toward 2019, and so on.

Where did I fail?

How much time do you have?

Many of my failings occurred due to my financial situation. As a freelancer sportswriter, my income is dependent on the amount of stories I write, as well as the newspaper's budget. If the weather sucks--hello, potential Snowicane later this week--and games get cancelled, I'm out X amount for that day. If the paper doesn't have anything for me, then I don't work. And I only work for one paper now exclusively, plus two one-hour appearances on the local radio station. The radio money helps, but it's not enough to devote extra funds toward making my publishing business as successful as it can be.

I'm also responsible for a certain amount of the bills/expenses here. Let's just say that with our expenses, none of which we can really cut, coupled with a limited amount of sports stories and subpar book sales (only 400 this past year, down from 2016 by about a third), I wasn't able to do everything I set out to do publishing-wise last year.

Buy artwork for covers in order to freshen up the backlist? Couldn't do it. The Obloeron Saga, Royal Switch, Scollay Love, and the Furball and Feathers children's series remain ebook only for the time being, and Furball and Feathers are on the shelf until I can get the money for new covers.

Advertise more? Couldn't do it. Reclaim my audience? You're having a laugh.

With certain entities such as Kindle Unlimited/KDP Select limiting single copy ebook sales (I refuse to go narrow and exclusive, as I have fans that use Nook, Kobo, and Apple), as well as Facebook limiting organic reach on my posts (and with Facebook doing more to limit organic reach in 2018) and Twitter sending me emails every day to spend money to advertise with them, sometimes I feel like I'm pretty much yelling into a funnel cloud when it comes to everything marketing-related. You have to spend money to make money, yes, that's a given... but you can't spend what you don't have. Without large amounts of money coming in the door, I'm just treading water.


I hope to get what I didn't get done in 2017 done in 2018. This isn't a resolution, per se. If I get it done, fantastic. If I can't, well... there's nothing else I can say except for people reading this to buy books, review them, tell people about them, buy them as gifts, and keep buying them, since my outside fiction writing income isn't growing by any stretch of the imagination.

But there's plenty more that I hope to accomplish in the next 364 days and some change roll on.

* I'm in the midst of a new men's adventure/historical romance series--the Glorious series--which I'm planning on releasing under the D.L. Boyd pen name. It's Outlander-esque, but not as long-winded, I hope. I'm about 17,000 words or so into the story, and I suspect the first book will take me until the end of March to write. Of course, I'm trying not to rush the story, so I'm writing about a page or so a day (because the early portion of the series is slow-going, too, and I want to make sure it's right; plus my time has not really been my own, between re-learning how to balance my time after this past fall, as well as dental issues which kept me away from my manuscript). I'm also trying to be careful of minutiae, while utilizing a different voice for the story. If all goes well, book one's first draft, like I said, will be done by the end of March. That's three more months. Book two will take me until the end of July/early August, while the third book should take me through the end of the year. Again, if everything goes right. The release schedule is a little more complicated, but we'll see how everything falls into place. Of course, I could get all three written rather quickly, but I doubt that will happen. Just going by the last couple of years.

* If there's time, I hope to get a few other projects revised and out for human consumption, such as a currently not published princess piece I wrote a few years ago involving my cousin's daughters. They are a little older now, so I want to give them something a little older, and possibly edgier. I need a solid cover for it, too... which involves money.

* With that type of schedule planned, plus all of my other commitments between sportswriting and radio commentary (planning the garden, actually carrying out the garden, taking up a great deal of time and preparation, I may be biting off more than I can chew when I say that I want to do other things writing-wise. I would like to plan out the third Ricky Madison novel, and I'd like to write an erotic thriller, like the old Skinemax late-night flicks of the 1990s (don't lie, you watched them, too). Those two thoughts may get pushed to 2019, dependent on how I do with the Glorious series and other projects.

Definitely on the writing/publishing agenda in 2018:

** Write the first Glorious novel, finishing the first draft in late March
** Publish Scouring Agent: A Thriller in mid-to-late February

** Write the second Glorious novel
** Publish the first Glorious novel (fall)
** Write the third Glorious novel
** Possibly publish the second one by the end of the year

Anything outside of that plan, I'm going to consider gravy.

It's a lot, and I hope I and come out of 2018 happy and accomplished.

Happy New Year, 2018.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Happy Book Day (A Little Late)!

This week has been such a whirlwind that I didn't have time to write this blog post until today. Two days ago marked Book Day of Persuaded By The Reflections: A Thriller, my 27th novel.

Think about that for a second. Twenty-seven novels, done and dusted. Twenty-seven opportunities for readers to be entertained.

And in about two months or thereabouts, we'll have novel No. 28--the next Jaclyn Johnson novel, the ninth overall--available for readers to sink their teeth into. Imagine that.


So how did Persuaded come about?


My father's cousin Anne had read The Long Crimson Line: A Thriller during a family trip to the Caribbean last summer, and she gave me great feedback on her return. She also wanted to see the storyline continue--which was interesting to me, because I hadn't plotted out anything beyond Ricky sitting at that Causeway Street bar with Amanda Kovack. The Long Crimson Line, to my eyes, was a standalone.

However, after thinking about it for a few weeks--and knowing how standalones don't really sell, looking at my sales numbers for that particular book, which is a shame since TLCL has some of my best writing--and after getting more feedback from other readers, I came up with the storyline I put forth in this novel. TLCL is now the first book in a potential trilogy, currently a duology. I have a potential third book involving Ricky percolating in the back of my mind, and more than likely would write the book in late 2018-early 2019. We'll see, depending how the Glorious series evolves.

(And I'll tell you more about Glorious when I feel a little more confident about the story.)

One of my pre-readers and good friends Ted Flanagan called Persuaded "gritty." I liked that. He also called the setting--Worcester, Mass., a place I visited in Model Agent: A Thriller--an underutilized resource. It's quite possible I will use Worcester again. I don't know how, but I may.

And so, Persuaded is in the wild, and we're having a great launch so far. I hope you'll give this book a shot.

It's like nothing I've written before.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Persuaded By The Reflections, now available for pre-order!

The day we've waited for is here--the day Persuaded By The Reflections: A Thriller, my 27th novel, is available for pre-order. Let the balloons and streamers fly!

But seriously...

I'm incredibly proud of how this book came out. Between David's striking cover--I've gotten plenty of comments of how it has drawn readers in--and the work my team and I have done to make this book tight, this might be my best work to date. (Well, until Scouring Agent comes out in February. But we're just arguing semantics here, aren't we?)

Now: I've been rather vague about what this book is about. That ends today.

The blurb:

Det. Ricky Madison is back in this pulse-quickening, gritty sequel!

Now suffering from PTSD following the events at the end of THE LONG CRIMSON LINE, Ricky returns to Worcester, Mass., the city where he was once a police detective; he’s undergoing therapy in both solo and group settings, and in his first session, he meets a young lady struggling to cope with her love life’s tribulations—she’s a cutter, and he offers her his ear whenever she needs it.

When elements of past crimes he had investigated creep back into the present, Ricky is brought back into the fold of Worcester Police to help link the crimes together—even though the one in charge of the investigation isn’t thrilled about his presence.

Together, the two comb through the facts and similarities of the respective cases until Ricky discovers the one responsible for everything.

Just screams bestseller, doesn't it?

So it's available now for pre-order, and I want you to pre-order this wonderful book as it's only 99 cents from now until Christmas Day (consider it my Christmas gift to you). Release Day is Dec. 26, so on that day, the price goes up to $2.99, its usual price. You're getting a steal and a half here!

Here's where you can pick up your copy:

Remember that those who have Kindle get the book at 8 p.m. on Christmas Night. So after the kids are asleep, you can fire up your Kindle, sync it up, and Persuaded By The Reflections: A Thriller will be at the top of your reading list!

And a reminder of the cover:

If you haven't read The Long Crimson Line: A Thriller before now, you don't have to read it to know what's going on. Persuaded is its own story; I do reference material that occurred in TLCL. So read it anyway, and the links to buy are in my bookstore.

Christmas is coming.... and so are Ricky's demons.

I can't wait to show you the book.

Monday, October 30, 2017

A First Look (Kind of): Cover reveals for Persuaded and Scouring

One of the things I promise readers who sign up for my newsletter is a first look at everything--and that includes cover reveals.

Earlier today, I sent out three.

Wait, what?! Three?! What do you mean by three!

Yup, three. 

In continuing the story of Det. Ricky Madison in Persuaded By The Reflections, which is coming soon and if you're on the mailing list, you'll be among the first to know that it's available, I would need to update the cover to his first book, The Long Crimson Line. That'll brand any future Ricky story (and quite possibly there will be a third), and will give David a template with which to work.

So without further ado, here are the covers to Persuaded and TLCL:

The hope is that I'll get everything--the new cover, ebook and wraparound for the TLCL trade paperback, as well as Persuaded's ebook and trade paperback--uploaded by Thanksgiving. And just so you know, you'll see Facebook ads from me in the next two weeks giving away The Long Crimson Line in .mobi and .epub format in an attempt to grow my newsletter coffers.

Of course, if you want to buy it, I wouldn't be offended.

And that brings us to the third cover reveal for Scouring Agent, the next Jaclyn Johnson thriller. The plan is to release Scouring in the first quarter of 2018. It's at third draft right now, and it's a tight novel. 

So... who's ready for some releases?! They are coming soon.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

1,000 MODELs

Earlier this week, I hit an important milestone.

MODEL AGENT: A THRILLER, the first Jaclyn Johnson novel, finally made it to 1,000 sales.

Of course, it's not really a big deal (internal monologue: of course it is). I've hit 1,000 books sold on three previous occasions: my first 1,000, as well as for ROGUE AGENT and DOUBLE AGENT. The fact it finally happened for a six-and-a-half-year-old book.... one that I gave away well over 105,000 Kindle and iBook copies of it to get eyes on the series... well, I'm happy to finally hit it.

Backhanded compliment time: I'm happy because--and I believe I've said it before--I don't believe the writing in MODEL is as strong as the rest of the series (my opinion; you may have a differing opinion). Yes, it's a good story and there are parts where I'm using my fastball, but it's not the way it could have been. It could have been better. Remember that I published it one month after I finished writing the first draft, doing so on a dare. I didn't give the book the requisite three months that I usually give my work. Now here we are, six and a half years later, with the book in print and the audiobook already done, I'm not going back and making wholesale changes like I did with OBLOERON.

I did, however, strengthen the start of the book last year. To go through the entirety of the book would have sent me to the hospital with alcohol poisoning. True story.

Still, MODEL is a good first book. It introduces the protagonist and what she can do. Yes, some scenes are comic book-ish--and that's okay, because she is a comic book character within the realm of a fast-paced thriller novel. The readers who understand that love the story. The ones who don't, don't. I'm not going to twist their arms and convince them otherwise.

But it could have been better!

(Maybe not. Who knows?)

And looking ahead, there are a few milestones approaching. ROGUE AGENT is 53 copies from 3,000 sold. DOUBLE AGENT is approaching 2,300 copies sold (32 copies away). FEDERAL AGENT, the fourth novel, still has a ways to go before hitting 1,000 (188 copies away). And it goes from there. Yes, I am ecstatic with those numbers, and I cherish each reader who has paid upward of $3 of their hard-earned dollars for the digital copy/$13 for the print.

Would I love for the readers who downloaded MODEL for free to continue on with the series? Of course I do. The series is eight books long, with the ninth coming in early 2018. If readers can get by the first book and enjoy the second, I'm sure they will love the remainder of the series.

Because it only gets better from there.