Monthly Archives: August 2012

Read a Book and Save a Dog

For those of you who don’t know, I am a “dog person”.

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved dogs – I don’t know why exactly, but I think it has something to do with their unique ability to love unconditionally, but that’s not important right now.

I’d like to tell you about a novel I wrote in the summer of 2011.

BTJ coverThe book is called Back Seat to Justice  and it actually began in 2009 as a reply to a writing prompt on a writer’s website I belong to. The assignment was to write the first chapter of a story given a few basic parameters. I wrote my chapter, it was reviewed and critiqued by the group and I then forgot about it.

Fast-forward to May of 2011, I had submitted Pump It Up to the editor for the first blood-letting and I was waiting for it to come back…in the meantime I found the unnamed chapter from the prompt and read it. I liked it, and I decided to continue with it.

So I posted chapter one on my other blog  and announced that I would post a new chapter each week until the story was complete (I figured if it was good enough for Charles Dickens it was good enough for me).

After four or five chapters I started getting feedback. People were digging it—and I was having fun meeting the challenge of writing a chapter a week.

By the time it was done I felt as though I had a pretty decent story (which came as a very pleasant surprise).

My intention was to leave the story on the blog as it was and let people enjoy it for free (I never said I was a good businessman).

So what does this have to do with my love of dogs, you ask?

I’m getting to that.

I have a good friend in Rhode Island who runs a non-profit dog rescue operation called Golden Huggs Recue. She posted a video of one of her rescue missions on facebook and it impressed the hell out of me to the point where I wanted to help.

Unable to just give her cash (I already told you about my business acumen – or lack thereof) I came up with an idea.

I took Back Seat to Justice off of my blog, (except for the first chapter) cleaned it up and released it as an e-book for the low price of $.99 and told my friend that I would donate half of all the money I get from sales to Golden Huggs.

So far I’ve given her a little money, but not nearly as much as I would like to, so I’ve decided to do two things in hopes of stirring the pot a bit…

First, I’m writing this blog-post which will hopefully drum up a few new readers (I may even throw a picture of some adorable puppies in just to increase the appeal).

Can I get an “Awwwww”?

Second, I released Back Seat as a paperback with a very attractive price ($10.69) and give half the proceeds of that to GHR as well.

So – if you love dogs, or if you just enjoy a good old-fashioned crime/action/suspense/mystery story with some interesting twists and a few laughs thrown in, please consider buying Back Seat to Justice and helping Golden Huggs continue their wonderful work.

Back Seat to Justice is available in at the following locations:

Kindle  – click here

All other forms of ebook including PDF for reading on your computer click here

The paperback is available here.

So that’s that.

Thank you for reading

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How You can Save the Economy

It’s no secret the economy is in tough shape these days – and there’s no shortage of blame being assessed. There’s also no shortage of people with solutions for the problem.

Raise taxes, lower taxes, tax the poor, eat the rich…

The funny thing is that the solution is simpler than you can imagine.

All you have to do is buy this book…

You can “Pump Up” the economy

Hard to believe, isn’t it? I know…but it’s really that easy.

Allow me to explain.

Every time somebody buys a copy of Pump It Up it puts a few dollars in my pocket. According to my mother – money burns a hole in my pocket, so that means I’ll be spending that money.

You never know what I’ll spend it on; it could be something as seemingly trivial as a nice Sunday morning breakfast on the ocean. Since I hate eating alone I would bring some friends. This means the local diner gets more business, and if I sell enough books I bring more friends.

If I bring enough friends the diner may have to hire an extra server and maybe a bus-person. That creates two jobs right there.

Maybe the server is a mother, now she needs child care while she’s working so she hires a nanny.

The nanny’s increased income is just the amount she needed to buy a new car, which puts some extra cash in the pocket of the salesman, while the bus-person now has added income for his/her college fund.

The car salesman puts his extra cash toward a new condo and when the bus-kid goes to college he rents an off-campus apartment.

The person who sold the condo to the salesman invests the proceeds of the sale in a growing company and the owner of the apartment building hires a painting company to give the building a new look.

When the stock of the company goes up, they expand – eventually becoming a major employer with hundreds, maybe even thousands of employees. The bus-kid goes to college and with his high-quality education goes on to create a world-changing technological device akin to the wheel, the computer or the sleep-number mattress.

And so it goes…the economy grows and expands until all of a sudden our budget is balanced, our debt to China is paid and we’ve paid Justin Bieber to stop performing.

All because you bought my book.

So go ahead, click the book cover above and order your copy. You’ll get the enjoyment of a pretty decent story and at the same time you’ll be saving the country from economic ruin.

I thank you and an entire nation thanks you.

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Support Your Local Independent Author

I wanted to open this post with a video.

It would have been about 90 seconds long, but so agonizingly painful to watch it would have seemed like an hour.

A mournful voice moans over a lonely acoustic guitar…fade in…your favorite Independent Author sits at his/her desk. Their clothes look like they’ve been slept in. The desk is littered with papers, fast food wrappers, an overflowing ashtray and a two-day-old cup of coffee.

If it’s a man – he hasn’t shaved in three days – if female, her hair would need to be primped for an hour to look as good as bed-head. Their eyes plead with you for rescue.

The image dissolves into pictures of other authors in similar states of down-trodden-ness…the voice of a familiar actor speaks;

“Every year thousands of Independent Authors spend countless hours in front of their computers, forsaking their families, their health and their hygiene in an attempt to bring you that next book—to give you a piece of themselves. You are the one they live to please, you are the one they will lose sleep for and you are the one they think about when trying to decide which word will fit the best.”

The voice goes on and on until you just can’t stand to watch or listen anymore and you switch to another website where you can see the latest viral images of sidewalk art or lol-cats.

I wanted to make that video, but I lacked a couple of key ingredients…including, but not limited to the equipment, the talent and the money.

That means I’ll have to deliver the message of this post in words. Hopefully I’ll be able to tug at your heartstrings sufficiently before you decide to surf the web for the latest meme.

I’d like to talk to you on behalf of your favorite Independent Author.

The reason for this post came after a recent conversation with one of my readers. It’s a conversation I have quite often, as I’m sure the writer in your life does.

My friend asked me how my book sales were going. I gave my usual answer…”I haven’t been able to quit my job, yet.”

We laughed (because it’s true) and then my friend said she was surprised my books hadn’t caught on yet since she enjoyed them so much, as did all of her friends. She then encouraged me to hang in there because it was most certainly only a matter of time. Then she said something that I’m sure was said with great sincerity.

“I wish I could help you.”

I told her not to worry; things were getting better all the time. It wasn’t until later that I realized what I should have said—and I’m sure your favorite Indie Writer would like to say the same thing to you…

You CAN help!

In fact – you are our best shot.

The vast majority of Indie Authors usually face a monthly choice between spending money on marketing or some other nicety…like food or gas. We don’t have big PR firms securing shelf space for us at BAM, we sell books out of the trunks of our cars (when we have enough gas).

But what can you do to help? I’m glad you asked.

You’d be surprised at how easily you can help – for example…

Buy the books (sort of a no-brainer)

Obviously, the best way to help is to buy our books. If you don’t want to read it, give it away as a gift. Every sale helps more than you can imagine.

Give Us Feedback

Be honest with us, it’s what we want. Don’t be afraid to hurt our feelings – we’d rather have a friend tell us that our protagonist is a wimp than learn it through abysmal sales.

Ask Us About Other Writers

Chances are we know lots of other writers, from a wide range of genres. If you’re looking for a good horror writer or a new romance novel ask us, it’s like a free dating service – we’ll match you to the writer of your dreams.

Ask the Library/Bookstore

The next time you go to the library or bookstore, ask them if they carry our books. Suggest they contact us to secure copies and tell them you’re sure we’d be more than happy to do a signing (trust me – we would).

And perhaps the most important – and easiest thing you can do…

Tell People

Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your co-workers. Spread the word in person and on-line. If your fave writer posts about a release on facebook, share it. If it’s a tweet about an appearance, re-tweet it. Then encourage your friends and followers to do the same.

There used to be a shampoo commercial about telling your friends. It was the perfect illustration of viral networking  – 30 years before the internet.

It started with the image of a single woman, then it doubled to two images because she told a friend, then those two each told two friends and it went to six images. When those six each told two it went to eighteen and so on, and so on, and so on…

That’s how easy it is.

Every time you tell somebody, encourage them to tell people.

After a share or re-tweet – remind people to do the same.

Word of mouth is the absolute best marketing medium available to Independent Authors – and you never know where the message will end up. Your co-worker may have a hair dresser who cuts the hair of a man whose son went to high school with a girl who is now married to a limo driver in Hollywood who talks to movie stars and directors on a regular basis.

Well…that may be a little far-fetched – but you get the point.

Support Independent Authors – You’re our best chance!

(Obviously your first assignment is to share this blog post)

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If you like horror stories – this is for you.

ARMAND ROSAMILIA

Horror on the Installment Plan’s New Issues

I’m Jim Musgrave, or “E. Z. Graves” as I’m known on the pages of my new horror ezine, Horror on the Installment Plan.  I’m happy to say that my stories are now available in all formats (even print), and I’d like to give a shout out to the authors and the stories they’ve created.

Issue 1:  “Zombies and Children” (review thanks to horroraddicts.com)

In our introductory issue we have five stories and an interview with up-and-coming dark fiction author, Nat Robinson.  We also post interviews with our authors on our Purgatory Blogs.  You must register and login to view these interviews.

The first story in the June issue of Horror on the Installment Plan is The Flesh Eaters by Andrew F. Rey. It’s about a guy named Dwayne who is living alone in a California town looking for food and keeping…

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Pulling Back the Curtain

I always enjoy answering the questions that are less about the books and more about what goes into them. I call them “behind the scenes questions” and I like them because it shows me the reader was interested enough in the book to wonder things like “where did you get the idea for such and such?” More times than not I’ll end up telling stories about where an idea came from and it’ll lead to a great conversation.

Here are a few behind the scenes factoids for you, based on some of the more common questions I get:

Ike

Even though Ike isn’t the protagonist in my books, he is certainly a central figure and always key to the resolution of the conflict in one way or another.

I’ve been asked lots of questions about Ike (one girl actually asked how she could meet him!) but without a doubt the question most people ask is “What’s his full name?”

The truth is – I don’t know. When Ike was introduced in Living the Dream I had no idea that he would become the iconic figure that he has. I picked the name Ike as a nod to a good friend of mine from RI, whose name is Steve Eichenfeldt – but we’ve called him Ike since childhood. Now that the character has become such a staple I’ve been contemplating a “pre-quel” to tell his story, but I still haven’t decided if Ike is his first name, last name or a nick-name

Setting

When I talk to people who don’t live in Florida, many of them are curious about the settings in the books. My stories are all set in Flagler Beach – with some of the action taking place in nearby St. Augustine or Daytona Beach – and almost all of the locations are real.

The marina where Ike’s boat is docked is an actual marina (The St. Augustine Municipal Marina). The Flagler Beach Pier (featured in Water Hazard and Back Seat to Justice) is a very real and iconic landmark. With the exception of compressing the locations for the sake of convenience, Flagler Beach itself is very much the way I describe it and almost every place I describe actually exists – most notably The Golden Lion. In the books it is owned by wheelchair-bound-bookie Ralph Donabedian, but in real life it is owned by Carol and Tony – a very nice couple who were very gracious about their restaurant being the scene of some questionable activities.

Kurt’s adventures

In Living the Dream – Kurt has more than his fair share of misadventures. Most of them were products of my imagination, but one was based on something I actually experienced.

In 2004 (three years before I began writing Living the Dream) I was driving from Rhode Island to Florida for Biketoberfest with my (then) girlfriend and her daughter. We stopped in Savannah, GA for gas and, while I was pumping, a guy approached me, spotting my Harley in the back of the pickup, and struck up a conversation about Biketoberfest. After a few minutes of chit-chat he told me about a “good ole boy” who had just won $36,000 on a scratch-off ticket and that he was handing out hundred dollar bills like nobody’s business. I was skeptical, but he insisted that I follow him so he could prove it.

Here’s where I got stupid.

I left the gas nozzle in the spout of my truck and followed this guy to the parking lot where a row of tractor trailer trucks sat. Between the rigs there was a group of about 20 guys sitting on the ground while one guy was playing 3-card-monte. Duane, the guy who brought me over, encouraged me to join in and before I knew what was happening I had “won” $600. No kidding – I had six – one hundred dollar bills in my hand.

That’s when the bell went off. I could hear my father (the bookie) telling me that the house always wins.

So I, unlike Kurt, handed the bills to Duane and told him I didn’t want to play. I walked back to my truck, finished pumping my gas and got back on the road as fast as I could.

Fortunately for me, nobody chased me or shot at me (although I think my girlfriend wanted to), but when I was writing Living the Dream I knew that with a little spicing up – it would make a great addition to Kurt’s problems.

Like they say…write what you know!

I’ll leave off there, but if you have any questions about my books please feel free to ask, your question may appear in a future post!. You’ll find several ways to get in touch with me on the contacts page.

See you next time.

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Is your dog really blind?

My favorite part of book signings and other events is answering people’s questions. I’m basically a shy person and not very good at initiating conversation, so questions open the door nicely for me.

One of the questions I am often asked is “Where does the name Blindogg Books come from?” which is usually followed closely by “Why is it spelled wrong?”

The story begins in 1992, or maybe 1993 (cue the flashback music)…

 At that time I was raising and socializing puppies for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. It was a volunteer thing and I really loved it.Image

Part of socializing potential Guide Dogs is taking them to public places to give them exposure to “real-life” situations.

Many employees at local business became accustomed to seeing me with my puppies, but on one occasion a girl at the register of a local hardware store didn’t know the drill and told me I couldn’t bring my dog into the store. The girl at the next register recognized me and told the new girl “It’s okay, that’s the blind dog guy.”

The blind dog guy—I liked it and decided to shorten it to blind dog for use as my screen name on AOL (remember it was the early 90s) as an homage to my involvement with GEB and, as a bonus, it sounded like a cool blues-guy name (I love the blues).

Of course AOL wouldn’t let me use blind dog because of the space between the words, I tried blinddog, but it was also rejected because (believe it or not) somebody was already using it. My third attempt – blindogg – was available so I took it.

Since then I’ve used blindogg as my official “computer name” and when I released my first novel I decided to use it as my brand name – incorrect spelling and all.

Probably not the most riveting story you’ve ever heard, but it’s all I got. So if you see me at a book signing you won’t have to ask, but please ask something else—it’ll help keep the conversation moving!

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Pump It Up e-book now available

I am pleased to announce that my fifth novel, Pump It Up, is now available in e-format (the print version is scheduled for release later this month).

Pump It Up is a fast-paced thriller centered on the world of illegal, underground silicone injections—a world that really exists, although probably not to the extremes I write about!

Pump It Up

Ernie Boudreaux performs back room injections at bargain basement prices to women (or men) looking to enhance their anatomy. When a patient dies on the table Ernie tries to dispose of the body, but doesn’t count on a witness.

Dave Ryan is on vacation in Flagler Beach, Florida and suddenly finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time when he witnesses two people throwing a body into a dumpster. The next thing he knows, he’s sitting on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean chained to an anchor.

Ex-Navy SEAL Ike is just trying to enjoy a quiet evening on his boat with friends—but it isn’t meant to be. Before he can say sex-change operation he finds himself caught in a high-speed, high-stakes adventure with the lives of his friends hanging in the balance.

 

Like all of my books, Pump is a quick, easy read with a few good laughs thrown in as well.

I invite you to enter my version of Flagler Beach and join Ike, Brewski, Didi and Ralphie as they operate on the fringe of legal to keep the community safe for the rest of us.

And if you’re planning a vacation to Flagler Beach, don’t worry…I eat at Finn’s all the time and hardly ever see people running around with guns!!!

Pump It Up can be purchased for $2.49 on Amazon for Kindles and the same price on Smashwords for all other e-readersImage.

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