Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I've Always Been a Second Story Man

Here's a quick update to report some news:

I started doing e-books for the Kindle in order to get some attention from real publishers, and it appears my diabolical plan has worked. A new, small, start-up publisher has asked to see a copy of the Justified Sins manuscript with the possibility of bringing it out as a paperback. This is terrific news. Yes, the press is small; yes, it's a start-up; who cares? If we're successful it could be the start of a wonderful long-term relationship that's good for everybody. Who says e-books are bad? Anyway they have the manuscript and we should hear a decision in the usual amount of time.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Justified Sins Receives Four Star Review!

I woke up this morning to a wonderful four-star review of my new e-book, Justified Sins. Writer Debra Martin read more into the story than I think I intended to be there, but it's made me rethink my opinion that JS was going to be a one-off novel. Mr. Pierce may have further adventures after all! Here is a sneak peek:

With its clipped writing style, this novella sets you on a bullet train of nonstop action and doesn’t let you off until the last word is read. The story centers around Freddie and Sheila Webster and Sheila’s foster brother, Pierce. Freddie is an ex-con who has promised his pregnant wife that he is done with his old life of crime, but with a baby on the way money is tight. When Freddie is confronted with a proposition to make some easy cash, he makes a decision that sets into motion a series of events that he could not have anticipated. The story twists and turns with a full cast of ex-cons, mobsters, cops, politicians and a vigilante who goes about his business with a wink and a nod from the police. On the surface, Pierce is the usual vigilante type—likes to play with guns and explosives and hunts bad guys, but throughout the story the author throws in snippets from his back story. This is what captivated me.

For the rest, click here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Time is Running Out, or: We Love Coupons!

Hey, everybody--

Don't forget that I have the new e-book, Justified Sins, on sale for $.99 until September 14th. You'll find it on Smashwords.com which will let you download for other e-readers than Kindle, and Kindle too if you have it.

Go to my page at Smashwords.Com (Brian Drake on Smashwords) and use this code: CG36G

If you like your hard-boiled mixed with shoot-em-up action this is the book for you. Here's a short description:

When Sheila Webster’s husband is killed a after double-crossing the men who hired him to crack one last safe, she finds herself the next target. What her husband stole, he managed to hide, and now the men who hired him are after her to get the stolen goods back. There’s only one person she can turn to. Her foster brother. A dangerous man named Mr. Pierce.

Some have asked where the inspiration for Mr. Pierce came from, other than the men's adventure paperbacks I read growing up, and I'll talk about that soon. In the meantime, thank you for looking!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Wonderful Saint Templar, or: Can Anybody Spare a Halo?

Just when you think you have read everything and will no longer find anything interesting (which is fine, you can read The Maltese Falcon once a year and never get bored), you find a gem. In this case, that gem is Leslie Charteris and his terrific creation, Simon Templar, aka The Saint.

It took me a while to get to The Saint. My first exposure to the character was the Vincent Price radio show, where Templar is an American in New York City experiencing various adventures and getting hit over the head....a lot. I didn't like the show, so I had no interest in reading the books.

Then Max Allan Collins writes a coffee table book called The History of Mystery, and The Saint gets a few lines, where Collins says he's more hard-boiled than he's given credit for. Light bulb time! I found a couple of Templar adventures at a used book store, went out on my deck with the accompanying cigar and Coca-Cola, and found a whole new world of adventure that I had no idea existed.

With The Saint you get mystery, comedy, adventure; thrills, chills, cliff-hanger escapes. Great characters who are full of life and humor and great dialogue. Charteris knew how to use the English language better than anybody--he dedicated a book to P.G. Wodehouse, saying P.G. could have written The Saint better than him, and now I think I'll have to track me down some P.G. Wodehouse. The drawback to how Charteris made English talk is that you get lost in some really big words--who cares, a dictionary isn't hard to find and he carries you along so well that you let it go because if you stop to look up a word you won't see how The Saint gets out of trouble.

So far I've read The Saint's Getaway--a laugh-out-loud adventure with a great twist at the end. Right now I'm reading The Saint in New York--and Collins was right! Simon Templar is more hard-boiled than he's given credit for. There's less humor in "New York" so far, but a ton of slam-bang action and hold-your-breath moments, and I can't put it down.

Up next is a paperback collecting two Templar short stories, and I can't wait to get into that one. I bet Charteris is really good in short form.

If you haven't read Simon Templar, give him a try.

Brian Drake Around the Web

In case you missed it, I made a couple of guest blog appearances promoting my new e-book (and received a nice review from author Paul Bishop) over the weekend. Here are the links:

First up is my article on Gary Dobbs' The Tainted Archive. Gary had a few commentators write about the new e-book action going on, and I wrote about my observations after "publishing" two e-books.

Second is my guest appearance on James Reasoner's site. James was kind enough to invite me to post, and I obliged with an article about what I think of the so-called e-book revolution.

And then crime novelist Paul Bishop, who knows a thing or two about real crime, had some very kind words for my work, which means a lot coming from somebody of his caliber, even though he thinks he could "book" Mike Hammer. I hope other potential readers "take a chance" as he did.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Pulpomatic Plot Generator

I do not know who developed this cool little tool, but it's fun to play with and may even jump-start your yarn spinning imagination. Fill in the drop-downs and click "submit" and you'll get a slapdash outline of a good adventure story. Who knows? Maybe I'll work up a short story based on something this site generates. The ideas aren't bad!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Can't Find the Slushpile...Somebody Help!

One thing that has intrigued me about the on-going ebook debate are the claims made by some authors that they have gone through Amazon Kindle titles, downloaded samples, and found nothing but whale vomit. Having been a journalist in my past life, I decided some research was in order to see if what they claimed was true.

I have spent some time in the past two evenings sorting through Kindle titles, but cannot seem to locate the whale vomit (there's never any whale vomit around when you need it). I can view the top 100 ebooks, but they all seem to be from real publishers with the exception of some guy named Kilborne or Konrath or whatever name the dude is using today (what's his real name, anyway?). I looked for ebooks priced at .99 and $2.99, but could not locate any. The lowest price seemed to be around $5.

So my question is, if the self-published slush is so easy to find, where am I not looking? Is there a place I'm not clicking? If anybody can help out, I would appreciate a tip.

Or maybe the "slush" is not as easy to find as we've been led to believe, and certain commentators are so upset by what's going on that they're making claims that aren't true. Could this be a possibility? Do they not have a vested interest in seeing the so-called "ebook revolution" come to a crashing halt?

Smashwords is another story, of course, but that site doesn't seem to be at the center of this debate, and I don't even consider them a real player. (My ebooks are there so my pastor's wife can download them!) On that site the whale vomit is probably very easy to find. In fact, based on the descriptions some authors write, I don't even need a sample.

Of course this means that, by simply browsing Amazon, nobody can find my ebooks. This does not leave one encouraged. How is anybody supposed to read my self-published garbage (but hey, it's good garbage) if the titles aren't showing up with the rest?

I guess I'm going to have to go on a blog tour or something to point people in the right direction.....

So, if any of you loyal readers are willing, I am officially asking permission to do a guest post on your website. I can come up with something to talk about or you can select a topic. Please leave appropriate contact information in the comment section or at my email address, briandrake88@yahoo.com. Thank you for your time and attention.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

You Could Pop a Brain Cell

Each time I finish a manuscript, I like to take time away from writing and do something else, which is usually reading (somebody else's book for a change) and loafing on the deck.

Lately, though, each time I finish a book and make it available at the Amazon Kindle Store, I end up spending a great amount of time looking for blogs friendly to "indie" authors and sending them queries about doing a guest post in which I might write a general article and promote the new ebook at the same time.

This in itself is a full-time job. And you could pop a brain cell doing this. Every blog seems to blur together after a while, and even with careful record keeping you think you've emailed the same person two or maybe three times, but it's nice when they write back and say they'd love to have you visit. I have two or three things lined up right now, and they'll appear shortly.

It's great to see so many readers and bloggers dedicated to finding good self-published writers because it furthers my goal of building an audience with the ebooks that I can show to a traditional publisher. I know that "real authors" think we indies suck harder than a guitar amplifier that doesn't go to eleven, but that's okay. I always take the side of the underdog and I'm not much of a joiner so I don't need a seat at the "cool table", but thanks anyway, guys.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Justified Sins 50% Off!

I've decided to have a sale on the new ebook to get things going. If you go to my page at Smashwords.Com (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/21475) and use the promotional coupon below, you can snag Justified Sins for $.99 until September 14th. Here's the code you'll need to type in when you place your order: CG36G

Smashwords, unlike the Amazon Kindle Store, allows you to download in multiple formats, including .pdf for your computer if you do not have an e-reader, to accommodate whichever ebook reader you may have.

Thanks for looking!

Justified Sins Now Available

Hey, gang--

My book, Justified Sins, was published today as a multi-format ebook at Smashwords; the Amazon Kindle edition is pending once Amazon gets its head out of its nether region as some issues have cropped up by I digress. This is my second assault on the ebook citadel. Bring on the haters.

When Sheila Webster’s husband is killed a after double-crossing the men who hired him to crack one last safe, she finds herself the next target. What her husband stole, he managed to hide, and now the men who hired him are after her to get the stolen goods back. There’s only one person she can turn to. Her foster brother. A dangerous man named Mr. Pierce, who sets out to not only settle the score but protect the only family he has left.

Here's the link to my book page, where you can sample the first half of the book free of charge or make a purchase: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/21475

I’d appreciate y’all taking a peek. And please help me spread the word.

Thank you for your support!

Until we meet under the big Montana skies,

Brian Drake