RSS

Tag Archives: writing fiction

Love, Lies, and Bad Guys

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Bill Blodgett and his Romantic Suspense novel, Love, Lies, and Bad Guys.

Author’s description:

When US Marshal Jay Stonewalker sees a possible terrorist comment in a chatroom frequented by anti-government radicals suggesting a nuclear threat to New York City, specifically the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, he can’t get it out of his mind. Against his boss’s orders he heads off to NYC to investigate on his own time. While there he follows a suspicious character into a secluded recess of the New York Subway system and foils what he believes is the terrorist event.  In a shoot-out with his suspect he’s wounded and calls the NYC PD for backup.  When he sees NYPD Detective KC Daviau and other uniformed officers slipping into the darkness from the subway platform he’s relieved, but to his surprise he’s met with resistance and disrespect by Detective Daviau.

Against his objections, KC takes custody of the evidence and leaves the scene. When Jay asks an officer if she is always that way he’s told that, “Since her parents died, she’s been… let’s say… a little cold.”   When they are assigned to work the case together,  KC’s icy exterior soon begins to melt away as they begin to fall for each other, but KC has to hold back. She has a dark secret and knows he can’t ever know her truths because if he did he would hate her just as she hates herself for what she’s about to do.

A Special Guest Post from Author Bill Blodgett:

Love, Lies and Bad Guys involves a terrorist plot so I asked Bill Blodgett if he was apprehensive when he did the research to write about terrorist threats. Here is is fascinating answer:

At first I wasn’t. It seemed like researching any other book. I found out about the Native Americans, who were labeled Downwinders because they were exposed to nuclear fallout that was carried downwind after the tests of the atomic bombs in the 1940’s through the early 1960’s in Nevada. Many Downwinders developed various kinds of cancer due to the exposure. Then I contacted several leaders in the Native American community and asked for their input and they were very willing to share what information they had, especially after I told them my wife was part Native American. It was all very natural and a great learning experience.

Then I researched nuclear power plants near New York City, and it was again very natural. It’s then the research began to get serious. I researched the subway system of NYC looking for easy points of access. Then I looked into dirty bombs and what they were made from and how to make them. After that I researched how Homeland Security and other agencies monitored for possible terrorists. I had to create a world that would be believable to the reader, whether they were techno savvy or not. That led to the dark web and dark web browsers that would hide these would be terrorist’s identity and location. Then, of course, the research demanded that I look into Virtual Private Networks, VPN’s. VPN’s also hide your identity by masking where you are logged in from.

They say that curiosity killed the cat and I was beginning to be concerned that I was on that slippery slope, but I felt I needed to continue.  I guessed the searches I was conduction on Google contained certain words that would be flagged by law enforcement and I was just waiting for Homeland Security to be at my doorstep any day! In a way it was kind of scary, even though I knew I wasn’t doing anything illegal, but I would have to explain and they’d probably seize my computer, freeze my bank accounts and put me on the “No Fly” list until the matter got settled in maybe five to ten years!!

I downloaded TOR, the most popular dark web browser, but didn’t bother to purchase a VPN from any of the popular venders that can be found online these days. The TOR browser is a dark web search engine much like Google, but it hides your identity and location by jumping for one “node” or location to another all around the world. This was all new to me. Interesting, but a little weird.

So after researching the use of TOR I went online and searched for random things and the lists of providers was immense and most were selling something illegal, from drugs to chat rooms about any subject you could ever dream of. At that point I figured that maybe I was in a gray area of legality and consorting with questionable characters from around the world. Yes, I was just lurking in those chatrooms, but I was still there! I knew I had enough knowledge about the Dark Web to write about it so I uninstalled TOR. Then I began to write Love, Lies, and Bad Guys!

Bill Blodgett tells us a little about himself:

I still live in the community where I met and married my lovely wife, Janice. Actually, she lived around the corner from me and we both ignored each other until our teen years when the hormone thing kicked in and we suddenly realized that the cute little girl skipping rope and that goofy boy riding a bike had both grown up.

We are the proud parents of April and Lindsay; both of whom are now married. April married Darren and they have two beautiful boys, Brian and Owen. Lindsay married Tim and they have two beautiful children: Kailyn and Evan.

I enjoy hiking, kayaking, camping with my family, golfing, making candles, and restoring my antique European sports car, a 1972 MGB.

They say to write from what you know, so I do. I write of love, life and relationships. In addition to the romantic plot we all expect from a Romance novel all of my books deal with a real-world issue as a sub-plot  that we all have had to deal in some manner in life, but not in a preachy way.  I find that including this sort of theme helps me identify with my characters on a personal level. My hope is that the reader will also feel that connection with my characters.

I have four other published novels. Dead Or A Lie and Saint’s Sword are vampire Romances. Unrequited is a contemporary novel with romantic elements and received 4 stars from Romantic Times Book Review magazine. The Last Prejudice is a family saga that deals with the issues a family must address when a family member comes out.

I have been a member of the RWA and the Central New York Romance Writers since 2004 and have held various posts in my local group. By day I am a construction inspector for an engineering company.

Find the Bill Blodgett on Facebook, or on Twitter. 

Visit him on his website,or email him at bill@billblodgett.com.

 Buy Love, Lies, and Bad Guys on Amazon.

 Buy Love, Lies, and Bad Guys at Barnes and Noble

Yes, there is a giveaway.

Bill Blodgett will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt:

“I was surprised to see you had body art.”

“It isn’t body art. It is my belief. I guess that’s why I don’t show them.  It’s personal. They are of my Goddess, Mother Earth and the symbol of our tribe, the mighty eagle. The Mother Earth Tree Goddess demonstrates the circle of life. Where all things on land, air and water are connected. They are all one. If one element is removed, the tree will wither and die. We believe that it is the same for people. We must be as one or we will all eventually suffer. The Eagle is our symbol for bravery, something that is essential to take on such a derêp.” He saw her puzzled look and continued before she could speak. “Derêp is our word for job or chore. The Eagle is dedicated to protecting our tribe, which is a very difficult job. I use his image to remind myself each day that my task is difficult and not to falter.  If you were just another chick, maybe I’d say they were body art, but I want to share that part of me with you.”

“So…” she teased. “How many other chicks have admired your body art?”

He laughed lightly with maybe a hint of a gallows laugh, “Not as many as you might guess.”

A Personal Note:

My own novel, One of One, involves a terrorist plot to blow up a plane. Like Author Bill Blodgett, I wanted to have my facts correct and my plot realistic. I went after the information I needed the same way we all do; I searched for it on the internet. Somewhere in the middle of seeking facts about explosives and the sturdiness of aircraft it occurred to me I could be attracting attention. The last thing I wanted was to find myself on a no fly list for the rest of my life. (I do love to travel …)

I was fascinated to learn Bill Blodgett went through much of the same process, and also found himself in places on the web which gave him pause. I thank him for being a good sport and providing such a thorough and interesting answer to my question!

 

 

 
8 Comments

Posted by on April 3, 2020 in other authors, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

You Kill Me

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Holly LeRoy and his Mystery/thriller novel You Kill Me.

Author’s description of the book:

LIEUTENANT EVE SHARPE should have seen the avalanche of trouble headed her way but events had dulled her edge and crumbled her foundation of toughness. With the press and politicians all coming for her, Eve begins to question whether she is really a cold blooded murderer or simply losing her mind. Was it an officer involved shooting gone wrong? An honest mistake? Or, something much, much worse?

 

There’s one thing for sure, it has turned the Chicago Police Department upside down, and Lieutenant Eve Sharpe’s life along with it.


My Review:

In You Kill Me, Holly LeRoy has written an exciting thriller with a wonderful protagonist, unexpected characters, and a page turner of an ending. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

What I liked best:

1. The writing is quite good. The pacing is flawless. The plot is exciting. I know that should be three different things, but I don’t want this list to get too long.

2. In particular, LeRoy takes several characters out of Central Casting and uses them in ways I didn’t expect (and you probably won’t either.) The annoying boss. The sleazy ex-partner. His stripper girlfriend. And more. The whole story is a wonderful reminder of how surprising people can be.

3. I often struggle with stories that mix a first person tale with additional third-person POVs. LeRoy not only makes it work, he makes it seem natural. Part way into the story, I stopped noticing it.

4. Ditto for his descriptions of people and surroundings. Over and over he gives just enough details to put you in the scene and never so much that you start to skip over it. Well done.

What I liked least:

1. It’s obvious I liked a lot about this book. However, I prefer to read on my Kindle and when the author didn’t offer Kindle formatted copies for review, I bought the book and was surprised by the number and kind of typos in the copy for sale. Every book has a few, but this not only had more than its share, many of them were things any good proofreader (or even spell check program) would have caught. This book is too good for those kinds of mistakes.

2. I like my endings (that is, the part after everyone is finally safe) to be longer than a page or two. I’ve come to care about these people and I want to know more after many of them barely make it out alive. Perhaps there is more tying up of loose ends in the next novel?

Well, whether there is or not, I’ll be seeking out more by Holly LeRoy, and wishing him and his detective Lt. Sharpe both long and healthy careers,

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story.

About the Author:

HOLLY LEROY has been an actor, amateur boxer, NASCAR journalist, expert witness, Santa County Substance Abuse Commissioner, and patrolled with the Drug Enforcement Unit of the San Jose Police Department.

He lives in the Sierra Nevada mountains with his wife, four cats and two dogs.

Find him on Facebook, Goodreads, or on Twitter. 

Visit him on his website, or on his Amazon author page.

Buy You Kill Me on Amazon.

Yes, there is a giveaway.

Holly LeRoy will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops.

My Favorite Excerpt:

It was well known that police officers, even those with seniority could, for disciplinary reasons, be temporarily assigned to other units. Usually someplace working with non-sworn civilians like personnel or records. Or, if you really screwed up, they’d stick you on stakeout. That’s what really bothered me. Sure, I’d always been a pain-in-the-ass, but lately, I’d been a good girl, not screwing up at all in the past couple of months. Well, maybe a month. Yet here I was, heading to a blisteringly cold stakeout at a South Side crack house instead of doing data entry at a nice warm records desk.

Poor Walt. Guilt by association probably did him in. He actually got the worst end of the deal. He’d be at the crack house until after three.

Every ten minutes, the all-news station, Magic 66, cheerfully announced what I had to look forward to:

‘Subzero temperatures have moved into the Chicago area and are expected to stay for the remainder of the week. Lake effect snow continues to hammer the south and east of the city and plows are trying to . . .’

Shit. I flicked off the radio and hunched over the steering wheel trying to see the road ahead. The smells of antifreeze and water steaming on the exhaust and burned oil coming up through the floorboards all served to remind me that a few months earlier, I’d wrecked my Buick in a snowstorm just like this one.

Insurance had repaired it instead of totaling the damn thing, so now it was more of a rolling wreck than ever. My ex-partner Clark kept telling me that since the accident it went down the road like a fiddler crab. Kind of sideways.

Crazies kept passing me and throwing salted slush over my windshield, and I finally chickened out and moved over to the slow lane behind a Safeway big rig. I found myself staring up at a huge T-bone steak, sun-faded to a light purple.

The off ramp was slick with black ice, and I took it at a crawl, easing into the neighborhood shown on Isaacson’s map. I slowed down even more, threading my way through the narrow streets. It was a ghost neighborhood where half the houses had been torn down and only half of what remained seemed to be occupied. Built after World War II, these were the homes our GI’s came home to in 1945. Now, they were homes for crack whores and junkies ready to die, teenagers ready to screw, and apparently, if Isaacson were correct, our drug lord. The target was a small single-story house, one of the few that didn’t have its windows boarded up.

I sat in my cramped little Buick, staring at it through a pair of binoculars. After an hour, I stuck a Santana cassette into the radio and poured a cup of squad room coffee. When my teeth began to chatter, I began to run the car fifteen minutes on and fifteen minutes off. Even at that, the car’s heater struggled against the cold, my breath fogged over the windows, and a plume of steam from the exhaust filled the air behind. After mopping at the windshield with a handful of napkins from Walt’s last trip to Mr. Moo’s Burger Shack, I sat watching the strings of red taillights headed south on the I-55.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on January 21, 2020 in other authors, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Introvert? Empath? Good Literary Citizen? (1 of 3)

I suck at social obligations.

Three Myers Briggs tests have found me to be an off-the-chart introvert, and my abilities as an empath once made me fear I was secretly from Deanna Troi’s home planet. It’s not a great combination. If I have to go somewhere, I soak up everything around me and it leaves me drained.

This doesn’t mean I can’t function around people. I’m practiced at faking normality. (Aren’t we all?) What it does mean is if I have to deal with people for very much or for very long, I can’t write.

The first time I heard the phrase Good Literary Citizen, my heart sank.

You see, I agree with the principals behind the idea, but I’m horribly suited to putting them in practice. Over the years, I’ve found three avenues that work for me, at least in limited quantities. I’ve found corollaries of these that have the capability to be my kryptonite. This post covers one set. (Read the second one. Read the third one.)

A Problem:

I’m from the US. Put me and a handful of other Americans in a room full of Brits and I’ll be the first one to start talking with a slightly British accent and I won’t even notice it. Yes, I have my own voice, but it’s as mutable as everything else about me. If I’m not careful, I write like the last person I read.

A Solution:

Read short things by different people, and read lots of them.

I’ve become a great fan of flash fiction. My genre is speculative, so I subscribe to Daily Science Fiction. Most days they send me a story of 1000 words or less. Some are brilliant. Occasionally one is sort of dumb. Every few days I read several of them at once. This keeps me current on themes and word choices floating around in my chosen genre, without any one author getting too deeply into my head.

Sometimes, DSF lets readers vote for stories they like. I do this to support authors who impress me. I also seek them out elsewhere and follow them or list their works as “want to read.” It’s my way of giving them a quick thumbs up before I move on to my own writing. (I also save their stories to reread and inspire me to write better.)

What to Avoid:

I avoid long novels by others, and I will not let myself get involved in a series. Not now. Not me. I can read all those great series out there when I retire from writing. I’m looking forward to it.

I also avoid authors with too distinctive of a voice. There’s nothing wrong with them; in fact some of them are great. They just aren’t for me right now. Again, someday …

As a result (1) I’m generally writing, (2) I generally sound like me, whatever that is, (3) I’m not completely out of touch with what is happening in my genre and (4) I’m doing at least something to support other authors.

I think it’s a win-win-not lose situation. Given my constraints, I’ll take it.

 
Comments Off on Introvert? Empath? Good Literary Citizen? (1 of 3)

Posted by on December 5, 2019 in being better, empathy, other authors, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Available Now as an Audio Book!

One of One has been turned into an audio book! It wasn’t easy, and to be honest it wasn’t cheap, but worthwhile things often aren’t. I have to hope this is one of those worthwhile things.

It’s available here directly from Audible. ($13.97)

It’s available through One of One’s Amazon sales page. (Obviously just pick “audiobook.”)

It’s also on iTunes for $17.99, easily found under Audiobooks > Sci-Fi & Fantasy > S. R. Cronin.

I’m pleased with the final result. The narrator has a rich voice, honed by years of class room teaching. He’s intimately acquainted with the nuances of the story.

He built a special soundproof room in which to do this, and invested in a fair amount of professional grade equipment as well. Most chapters were recorded all or in part several times, until he was happy with the results. Then he had me listen to them and fixed anything I didn’t like.

Did I mention that I’m married to him?

No, I didn’t marry him in order to get him to record the book; we’ve already been married for a while. He offered to do this under a pen name for me, so it wouldn’t sound like I was related to my narrator. I declined. I think its kind of cool the way it is.

I was also very happy with the local (Asheville) sound engineer we found to turn our DIY efforts into something more polished. For a non-trivial but also not ridiculous fee, he smoothed our files into something more professional, added in a special sound for my many scene changes, created our audio sample and helped us craft the “intro and outro” sections.

Please listen and see what you think.

 

 
Comments Off on Available Now as an Audio Book!

Posted by on October 3, 2019 in One of One, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

An Irish Worldcon: I’m here!

A year ago today, I set off on a four week cross-country trip alone, visiting the high plains town I grew up in, the mountain cabin I wrote my first short story in and spending days at Burning Man. It was an amazing trip. Now, probably because I just finished season 3 of The Good Place, I’m fascinated with unintended and even unexpected consequences. It’s no surprise, that trip had many.

One of them was meeting someone who’s mother lived in my hometown in North Carolina. Months later, the mom and I met to share a glass of wine. We discovered we both loved science fiction, and by the end of the conversation (and the bottle of wine) we were talking about attending Worldcon 2019 together in Dublin. I’m still not sure how our conversation got there.

And yet, here we are. You gotta love how things sometimes work out.

This is my first worldcon, and hers, and we’ve both selected a non-stop itinerary for five days of panels and workshops and readings by author’s we like and, well, we’ll see just how much of this actually works out…

I’ve also volunteered for a few things, and it looks like that will keep this all interesting. I’ll be helping out at the Science Fiction Writers Association reception on Thursday and their table on Friday. I’ll be handing out worldcon volunteer assignments in the staff lounge three of the days. Most exciting of all, I’ve signed up to help with the stage crew of the opening ceremony and the Hugo awards which will be given out Sunday night.

My specific assignment? I’m going to get to run one of the spotlights! For some bizarre reason, I find this very exciting.

I’ll be posting more as the week goes on …

Read more at And the winner, she is …., at Feeling at home , at Forward into the Past and at A New Irish Experience.

 

 

 

 
8 Comments

Posted by on August 14, 2019 in being better, other authors, travel, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How does she really look?

It turns out I really enjoy book covers. I like looking at them, I like thinking about them, and I love working with professional designers to make them.

I’ve had such fun as these six covers for my re-released collection-in-progress were created, that I hate to see the cover design part come to a conclusion. Aren’t they lovely?

What I’ve enjoyed most is seeing my main characters come to life.

When I first wrote One of One (called x0 at the time) I was obsessed with giving form to my mental picture of Lola, the main character. I wished I could draw well enough to show the world how she looked. I can’t, so I scoured Shutterstock for artists images that captured what I was seeing in my mind. These were some of my favorites.

When I decided to rename the books, I needed new covers. Current fashion is to show the characters, so it looked like I had to find someone who could show the world what Lola really looked like, and would do it at a price I could afford. I found a group called Deranged Doctor Design.

For each cover, DDD found Shutterstock models whose faces were “close enough” to my main characters, and then the faces were altered (if necessary) to make them more accurate. Then the head was stitched onto a body that worked well with the cover design and character. (This process, I presume, yielded the name of the company. I mean what kind of deranged doctor stitches heads onto new bodies?)

The first head DDD proposed for Lola wasn’t right.  She looked too young, but it was more than that. It just wasn’t Lola. I could tell.

The second head looked right as soon as I saw it. What I didn’t know was that the model was blonde, and a creative designer at DDD had already turned her yellow tresses just slightly darker, into a more coppery brown.

The only change I requested was to make her blue eyes brown, which the designer did with no problem.

When it came time to create the last cover, we needed Lola to make a second appearance, but not with an identical face. Unfortunately this particular model didn’t have many options to choose from.

Third from the right had been used. I liked the second one, but it lacked all trace of superhero steel. The first one had an interesting wistful tone, but not really right either. That left #4.

The first version of the cover came back with Lola looking like this. That’s right, the model is blond but the character isn’t.

I was good with her expression, but her blonde hair and blue eyes had to go.

No problem.

Here she is with her darker hair and yes she looks more like Lola. Eyes will be brown in the final version coming on Monday.

It’s funny how she is close to what I saw in my head all along. It’s even funnier that now when I picture Lola, this unnamed model with her altered hair and eyes is the image I have. I guess this is what she really looks like.

 

 

 

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 4, 2019 in my other novels, One of One, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Watch what you ask for.

Do you get what you want, or do you get what you need?

I had a spirited discussion about this once with a psychologist. I was praising the wisdom of the Rolling Stones; she was sharing her professional observations. We were at a party and it was lucky no nearby cynic entered the conversation arguing people don’t get either.

It is a conundrum, though, isn’t it. You ask for something you think you want, only to discover….

So, a couple of days ago I got this cover proposal for book 5 in my 46. Ascending collection. I loved it, as did others who saw it. This is Ariel, my precog, and Cillian, the Irish prophet who sees the probable end of the human race. They aren’t romantically involved and in fact their powers make even casual touch between them painful.

I asked the designer to put some space in between them, and while she was at it could she please make the ocean behind them more obvious. I like the ocean. It plays a role in the book. I wanted more ocean.

Back came this lovely cover. They aren’t touching, which is good. There is more ocean, but it came at the expense of those gorgeous rocks and thunderclouds and blue lights off to the left. Oh no. Those were the things I liked most about the first cover. I didn’t realize I’d have to lose them to get a little more sea.

That’s the way it works, isn’t it? You can get what you want, but you probably have to give up something else and it may be something you want more. Or something you need. Back to the old expression. Watch what you ask for.

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 2, 2019 in my other novels, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: