Reviewing The Kudzu Kid

The Kudzu KidThe Kudzu Kid by Darrell Laurant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very good book about the exciting and/or boring life of a journalist surrounded by crime, corruption and small town idiosyncrasies. It’s written by a professional journalist who might have drawn many examples from real life rural Virginia settings and situations.

The characters are well developed and believable. You probably know a few of them.

Short chapters with descriptive chapter titles lead to quick page turning, and finding solutions to a few trashy issues also leads to page turning.

Good job, Darrell Laurant!

 

Recommended Read: Air Force One Has Vanished

Air Force One has Vanished by David H. Brown
Air Force One has Vanished by David H. Brown

Where is the President?

Air Force One, the presidential jet, a symbol of US power that has traditionally been shrouded in so much secrecy IS MISSING…and because Air Force One is not technically a plane, but simply the call sign for any air force plane in which the president is traveling, the President of the United States is also missing!

Why is there no sitting vice president? Washington is in turmoil. Who is in charge?

So begins the new, fast-paced, highly relevant thriller by author David H. Brown whose 24-year-career as a government public relations officer gives him a unique vantage point into the inner workings of the U.S. government.

This political novel is an emotional roller coaster with a plot well-timed and seems to be plucked straight out of today’s headlines.

This is Brown’s ninth book. He also has been a public speaker for half a century.

See reviews or order the book from Amazon.com. 

Contact us for book signing or speaking information.

Introducing Renee Miller

We love meeting new authors, and it’s our pleasure to introduce another with a bit about her own story, and a recommendation of reading her first two novels: In the  Bones and The Legend of Jackson Murphy.

Guest post by author Renee Miller

renee miller

As I prepare to promote the publication of my second novel, THE LEGEND OF JACKSON MURPHY, I’m making the social media rounds that marketing requires. This involves some guest posts (thank you, by the way for having me) and interviews. For every book we write, authors usually find ourselves answering questions like “Where do you come up with your ideas?” and “Who or what inspired your characters?” My favorite is, “Why did you self-publish?” Or they ask who my publisher is, and I say myself, and then we fall into awkward silence.

Self-publishing was not a decision I made lightly. I kind of went into it kicking and screaming. My ultimate goal is to publish my work with a traditional publisher, but today’s industry is changing rapidly and if you want to stay in the game, you have to keep up. Publishing your own books is not an easy task, not if you’re doing it right. You’re the editor, publisher, marketing guru, and pretty much everything. You’re all of it. This requires a lot of time and energy, and if it bombs, it’s all on you. That’s a lot of pressure and it’s exhausting. I don’t recommend it if you can avoid it, but as I said, the publishing industry is changing, so self-publishing is now a tool for new authors. It’s something I had to try.

For several years now I’ve written, queried, built my “platform” and got nowhere. I’ve had requests for partials and full manuscripts from agents and a couple of publishers, but in the end, it didn’t pan out the way I’d hoped for various reasons. Now I have a stack of manuscripts pretty much ready to go (I’ll admit, all of them could use a professional edit or two before publication), but nothing else. Sure, I have publishing credits. I write for a living, so my name is all over the Internet if you read online news/content sites. But these weren’t what publishers wanted to see, I guess. So there I was.

Then I read an article, and I can’t recall where it was I read it, about the hybrid model. Indie authors choosing to self-publish to create a bit of buzz so that publishers would have proof they weren’t a risk. Interesting, I thought. I read more articles, some by self-published authors who would never go to a publisher, others by authors already published traditionally who took the indie route for off-genre titles or backlists, and a few by authors hoping to “get noticed.”

Realistically, self-publishing alone won’t get a girl noticed. Not unless you hit that lucky spot where you sell a bazillion copies and force everyone to notice you. Not likely to happen. I believe my writing is good, my characters are relatable and that I can build a base of readers that will buy future books based on the ones I have out there now. My plan is to take that reader base to a publisher eventually. I’m not going to wait to be discovered, because I don’t live in La-La Land.

So far I’ve had fantastic results with self-publishing. By fantastic, I don’t mean I’m making a ton of money. I’m selling far more books than I expected. Locally (by locally I mean Tweed, ON and surrounding area), I’m closing in on 300 books sold (combined sales of 2 books) in local stores since March, 2013. I went into this believing I’d be lucky to break 100 books, so that makes me very happy. The feedback from readers is positive as well. They enjoy my characters and the plots keep them turning the page, which any writer wants to hear.

I could probably sell more books if I tweeted links and did the blog rounds, but my marketing plan isn’t to plaster myself everywhere. Maybe that’s a mistake, but I won’t annoy people into buying my books. I see authors tweeting links to their books constantly on Twitter. My feed is full of such tweets. Probably 3 out of every 5 tweets is “Buy my book!” That’s not the way to market, in my opinion.

My marketing plan is to be present and noticeable, but not just for my books. As a reader, I love authors who get in there as real people. They interact and make you laugh, cry, or whatever, and it’s not all about the books or the writing. Chuck Wendig and Christopher Moore are perfect examples of brilliant marketing. Yes, they promote their books, but if you follow either on Facebook or Twitter, you’re going to be entertained and informed. This is what I want to do. Have I succeeded? Um…not just yet. These guys are funny and damn smart. I need to work on one of those, possibly both.

When I sat down to determine how I’d market THE LEGEND OF JACKSON MURPHY, I chose to be low-key. I didn’t do the blog tour, because I’ve done that once. It felt hokey and weird to pay someone to organize readers and reviews. It feels dirty. Anyway, the character of Jackson Murphy almost markets himself. He’s an asshole. He’s a jerk and a lot of other things we don’t like. But he’s also got a bit of everyone inside his brain. He does and says the things we might want to do and say, but we refrain from acting on the temptation because of the consequences.

Instead of asking folks to read this book, I’m daring them. Some people can say no to a dare, but those people are missing out. Ahem, in my opinion, of course.

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From Professional Hockey Player to Published Novelist

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By Guest Blogger/Author Luke Murphy

From a family of avid readers, even as a child, I always had a passion for books. Whether it was reading novels on road trips or writing assignments in school, literature was always part of my life.

In the winter of 2000, after sustaining a season ending eye injury while playing professional hockey in Oklahoma City, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, and a new hobby emerged.

I didn’t write with the intention of being published. I wrote for the love of writing, as a hobby. I continued to hobby write through the years, honing my craft, making time between work and family obligations.

Then I made a decision to take my interest one step further. I’ve never been one to take things lightly or jump in half way. I took a full year off from writing to study the craft.

I constantly read, from novels in my favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. My first two purchases were “Stein on Writing”, a book written by successful editor Sol Stein, and “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” by Renni Browne and Dave King.

I read through these novels and highlighted important answers to my questions. My major breakthrough from Stein’s book was to “Show don’t Tell”. I had to trust my readers. I even wrote that phrase on a sticky note and put it on my computer monitor.

The Self-Editing book helped me learn how to cut the FAT off my manuscript, eliminating unnecessary details, making it more lean and crisp, with a better flow. I learned to cut repetition and remain consistent throughout the novel.

I continually researched the internet, reading up on the industry and process “What is selling?” and “Who is buying?” were my two major questions.

I attended the “Bloody Words” writing conference in Ottawa, Canada, rubbing elbows with other writers, editors, agents and publishers. I made friends (published and unpublished authors), bombarding them with questions, learning what it took to become successful.

Feeling that I was finally prepared, in the winter of 2007, with an idea in mind and an outline on paper, I started to write DEAD MAN`S HAND. It took me two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of my novel.

The first person to read my completed manuscript was my former high school English teacher. With her experience and wisdom, she gave me some very helpful advice. I then hired McCarthy Creative Services to help edit DEAD MAN’S HAND, to make it the best possible novel.

I joined a critique group, teaming up with published authors Nadine Doolittle and Kathy Leveille, and exchanging manuscripts and information. Working with an editor and other authors was very rewarding and not only made my novel better, but made me a better writer.

When I was ready, I researched agents who fit my criteria (successful, worked with my genres, etc.) and sent out query letters. After six months of rejections, I pulled my manuscript back and worked on it again. Then in my next round of proposals, I was offered representation by the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.

After months of editing with Jennifer, and more rejections from publishers, my dream was finally realized in April, 2012, when I signed a publishing contract with Imajin Books (Edmonton, Alberta).Luke Murphy

What happens when the deck is stacked against you…

From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.

…and the cards don’t fall your way?

When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.

What if you’re dealt a Dead Man’s Hand?

Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.

Dead Man’s Hand is a pleasure, a debut novel that doesn’t read like one, but still presents original characters and a fresh new voice.” Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Flower

“You may want to give it the whole night, just to see how it turns out.”—William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lincoln Letter

http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Mans-Hand-ebook/dp/B009OUT2ME

Luke Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec with his wife, three daughters and pug.

He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude).

Murphy`s debut novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.

For more information on Luke and his books, visit: www.authorlukemurphy.com, like his Facebook page www.facebook.com/#!/AuthorLukeMurphy and follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/#!/AuthorLMurphy

David H. Brown Releases New Novel: Next in Line to the Oval Office

   Next in Line to the Oval Office There have been a gazillion books, movies, TV shows, etc. about the White House and the presidency.  Now comes the first one focusing on succession to the Oval Office beyond the Vice President.
    Never in U.S. history has anyone but a Vice President replaced a President.  But, what if during the inauguration ceremonies explosions at the west portico of The Capitol kills among others the incoming and outgoing Presidents and Vice Presidents?
    A 1947 law designates the Next in Line to the Oval Office, which is the title of this first-of-a-kind novel.  The Speaker of the House is about to be sworn in but suffers a stroke and cannot take the Oath of Office.  After him comes the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, but before he can be sworn in, the House quickly meets and elects a new Speaker.  She is sworn in, and the Senator vows revenge.
    There are twin plots to this novel: (1) Intrigue at the White House and on Capitol Hill; and, (2) Who was behind the explosions and why.  Just for kicks, there is a Deep Throat II (a reminder of the Watergate Era).  There are enough twists and turns to remind one of O. Henry, and enough excitement to make a film or a television movie.
    One critic said, “You’re not likely to put it down.”  Another said, “This has the strong possibility to be to political thrillers what John Grisham is to the legal ones.”
    Author David H. Brown already is working on a sequel that picks up where this book leaves off, For this novel, he called on his nearly 15 years as an Ohio newspaper reporter, and his 24 years as a government public information officer.  Until his death in December 2012, Sen. Daniel Inouye was the President Pro Tempore, and lived in the same condo building in North Bethesda, MD as Brown.
    Since his retirement from government in 1991, Brown has written seven other books: three fiction, four non-fiction, and a memoir.  He can be reached at grumpsflmd@aol.com.David H. Brown