Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

One last time. Had to do one more free promotion. Free giveaway today – The Carrington Event

ThrillerFest is less than a month away. I talk with authors. I meet famous authors. I listen to successful authors talk about their craft. I meet new Agents. I network. I have the time of my life. If you want to publish big, go to New York.

The first question my agent friends will ask is how many downloads I’ve had. So I want this number to be as big as I can make it.

And…A few months ago I was called by American Ninja Warrior. I submitted a great video and can do most of the obstacles. And the first question they asked? How many books have I sold or had downloaded? Well, apparently not enough because they didn’t select me to participate this year. So I’m building up for next year.

So do a guy a solid. Download this one for free. If you like fast-paced thrillers, you’ll like this book. It was incredibly fun to write and my reviewers say it’s incredibly fun to read. A real page turner.

AMAZON FREE eBOOK The Carrington Event

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This would be a great headline if I wrote Jurassic Park. And what interesting timing with a new movie coming out, but scientists really did find 75 million year old dinosaur blood.

Check it out: Scientists find dinosaur blood

75 million years old or not, just finding organic matter from any dinosaur era is spectacular. It’s great that they mention the 2005 discovery by scientist Mary Schweitzer of organic matter in a T-Rex bone. I used her research to start my whole series! In 2005 Mary used a chemical process to remove the fossilized portion of a T-Rex bone. Neatly cradled inside was soft tissue. This was an amazing find. But alas, no Jurassic Park here either. DNA doesn’t survive well after 1 million years, let alone 75 or 100. But it sure is fascinating.

In my first book, Genetic Impulse, Dr. Susan Chang uses the same technique Dr. Schweitzer did, but against pre-human bones. She was able to extract DNA from earlier hominids. We’ve since decoded two earlier human-like species, Neanderthal and Denosovans, but they’re our most recent. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we could go back farther and find out something about ourselves we didn’t know? What if this lead to a discovery about what we’re to become?

It’s great food for a novel. I have not yet released Genetic Impulse, but will certainly do in the near future. You can read the first chapter here…Genetic Impulse

BTW – Free eBook download today! The Carrington Event

I’m always on the lookout for new scientific advances I can use in my thrillers. I found this interesting nugget about sending power (electricity) over wi-fi.

Okay. Sounds cool, but what can it do for my story? In the article, they talk about the research team sending power to a camera remotely. They were even able to pass the energy through a brick wall!
Imagine you have a need to bug a room where they sweep for such devices daily. But if the camera or recording device could lay inert, the sweep would miss it!

Your protagonist charges the device from an adjacent room. She’s nervous, not sure if it’ll work at this distance. She only has one chance to get a clue from this group of bad guys. A picture of a face that ties them to some other group, or recording that catches a word, a slip by one of the men giving her a clue to where they’re going to strike next. The device records until the power is diminished and waits to be picked up later.

I recently read a great thriller by Joseph Finder (met him at ThrillerFest last year, great guy BTW). His book was titled “Suspicion” and his characters could have advantageously used such a high tech device.

Check out the article: Wi-Fi power
Use it to help capture your bad guys when your readers think they’re unstoppable.

I found this interesting article, This blood test can tell you every virus you’ve ever had.

Very interesting advancement for the health industry. Although this test won’t help you out of any current issue, it’s interesting to note that it can help you look at your virus history. Antibodies build up as a defense against them. Since they remain in the body, its like a log or history of any one of the 206 known viruses to affect humans.

But here’s the writing twist. How can you make this latest news a story?

What if the test discovered a new antibody, not attached to any known virus. And every other human has it? Is this a pending disaster? What could trigger an outbreak? Is it deadly? What if your loved one had it and you did not?

Oh, you could really twist a great deal of conflicts and motivations behind something like this. And you know what I like about it? It’s REAL. It’s not just science fiction. The science behind it is real. The threat is imagined, but I really like illuminating science news with a little drama. It makes it interesting. When I read articles like this my head spins with story ideas. I would love to see more authors do this.

We use a lot of investigative science to solve crimes. Why not science that creates problems?

James Rollins does some nice work. I’m certainly a big fan of his use of science. Not bad for a former vet. With the unbelievable rate of advances in the scientific community, I’m a little surprised I don’t see more. This fascinates me and we can write it correctly, I’d bet we could fascinate others.

What a cold case. 430,000 years ago. In Spain. We weren’t even modern humans at this point.

But a fascinating find by paleontologists in Spain’s “pit of bones” makes for a great story idea. I haven’t read a good cold case murder mystery that happened so deep in the past, but I’m sure they’re out there. Finding old journals, examining bones of ancient people, piecing together the evidence to a murder that somehow rocks modern thought or territorial rights sounds like fun.

Check this out: World’s oldest murder case

I like modern thrillers that tie to ancient history. Steve Berry is super effective twisting great historical facts into stories set in modern times. I’m a huge fan. But I don’t have the research or background to write this type of story. I’m more a modern science and technology writer.

But feel free to post the title of a good book that illuminates some historical fact as part of a modern thriller.

For the simple reason that reviews are feedback.
We need feedback to grow. We learn by getting feedback constantly in our daily lives.

Why are we talking about this and not writing?
Because it directly relates to making us better writers. Sometimes we forget.

A co-worker of mine was midway through The Carrington Event, and he was telling me about parts of the book that enthused him. Well, of course we all listen to favorable reviews and pat ourselves on the back. But even favorable responses can give us important clues to what worked and what didn’t.

Let’s dive a little deeper.

What exactly is feedback?

Many times we think of it as comments made after the fact. But let’s think of it as information we receive in our efforts to reach a goal. In this case, the goal is to become the best damn writer we can be. Maybe we want to strike a nerve with our writing, touch on something that disturbs us into taking action. What you write and think of in your head may not translate well to the written word.

This leads to one of my favorite quotes by John Wooden.

“Communication is not what you say, it’s what they hear.”

I just love that line. It’s typically my moniker below my signature on all my emails. We don’t really know what they hear unless they tell us. Hence, feedback.

Now as a writer, feedback can seem like a scary thing. Especially if it’s negative. We have to learn how to take it and grow from it. Just as we need to find the nuggets of gold in positive reviews. We want to get better right? Even the greats endeavor to get better with every manuscript. (that’s why they’re great).

So I did a little digging around and found some excellent articles about feedback. My definition of it comes almost directly from the last link posted.

How to take feedback
Why you hate feedback
Seven keys to effective feedback

Now we don’t get the chance to always talk to our readers. So how do we get feedback?
Reviews.

Lesson learned*

I had almost 700 ebook downloads and print copies sold and found I had only 6 reviews to date.
I was hoping for more. I mean, did no one else think enough about my book to review it?

I discovered an ugly truth. I simply forgot to ask them. Amazon does a nice job at emailing everyone who purchased or downloaded a product and asks them to review it some 60 or 90 days after purchase. And that’s helpful. But we need to be more pro-active. So I went scouring the net looking for something to help me get more reviews.

I already had Joanna Penn’s excellent How to Market a Book, but forgot one of the points she mentions. In your eBook’s, you need to add (at the end) a place to ask the reader to review your book. You can include a link or what have you, but just after they finish reading is an excellent time to ask them to take a few minutes and give you feedback.

I was reminded of that in this article: How to get reviews on Amazon

So I’m adding in the very piece I was missing. Simply ask the reader – would you please review my book?

You’d be surprised at what they have to say. Some think it’s descriptive, others not. Some think it’s fast-paced, others think it moderate. But whatever it is, it’s what they HEAR. And that’s what counts. Armed with that great knowledge, we can make our next work even better.

It’s important as a writer to keep your work believable. That includes not making major mistakes when talking about science, the justice system and crime scene basics. A few years ago when I started deepening my knowledge of crime scene work, I found this free training site put together by the National Institute of Justice.

How cool is this? I went through the training course and got my certificate! For Free!

In the process I learned a great deal about how a real crime scene investigator would take it all in. (It may even add a little authenticity to your writing since you’d become a certified DNA forensics analyst). This was well worth the time. I really enjoyed it. You might learn almost as much watching “Bones” or “Castle” on TV, but you won’t get your very own certificate.

Check it out: Crime Scene and DNA Basics for Forensic Analysts

GIVEAWAY FRIDAY 

Posted: May 15, 2015 in Writing

I couldn’t help myself. The feedback I gained from last week’s giveaway was tremendously helpful. So I wanted to do it again. Download The Carrington Event for FREE today. 

Why give it away?  It’s not just for book sales/downloads and reviews (though I cherish them), but it’s a great test of my social media ecosystem. Which venue provides the most encouragement to select a book to read? 

All ego aside, this is a fun book to read. It was fun to write. The follow-up is as good if not better. So take a free copy while it’s FREE.

The Carrington Event

 The Carrington Event

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What if a biologist has to team up with the wife he just cheated on to escape a deadly game of scientific espionage?

THE CARRINGTON EVENT

James Randall Parker is a synthetic biologist who has heard enough at a conference in Rome. He’s now sure that no one else has implemented artificial DNA into humans like he has. But out of the lab and out of the U.S. for the first time, he’s not prepared for the gauntlet of dynamic personalities that want to steal his work.

His world is quickly turned upside down when he’s seduced by a beautiful spy and embroiled in a deadly game of scientific espionage that he learns is driven by a secret underground society known as the Nexus.

Now Jim Parker must team up with the wife he just cheated on, a busy executive with a secret of her own, as they evade the far reaching influence of the Nexus, stomping around some of Italy’s most ancient and storied cities. But when the Nexus assassin tasked with finding and killing him discovers an oddity in his past that ties him to her own broken life, does she become an ally or motivated enemy?

The Carrington Event will take you on a thrill ride of adventure shadowed by a hidden solar catastrophe that will disrupt world order within the next 48 hours…

This article was very interesting. It’s scary to think that as we continue to understand how we work, at least in a biological sense, that we’ll learn how to manipulate those markers. (As stated in my last blog) 
It’s a mixed bag of helping those that need it with good old fashioned desire for power, anything to separate us from everyone else. As concerning as this is, it will come. We will tamper with the very fabric of what makes us human. 

Mapping switches that shaped the evolution of the human brain

I’ve come to believe that editing DNA will be the software of tomorrow. Moral or Immoral, it will come. Someone will sneak around the edges and we’ll be infiltrated with ‘special’ humans. And then who doesn’t feel the need to keep-up-with-the-Jones’?

I read this article and found it fascinating. It’s pregnant with implications of what might come.
Check this out: CRISPR-Cas9: From super humans to UC vs MIT fight over patent

It is certainly a scary thought. But good to be aware of.
My latest book – THE CARRINGTON EVENT and my newest actually use these sciences as part of their backdrop. Can you imagine what slithery, powerful, insane forces would do to cover science like this?

I can 🙂