Monday, 30 December 2013

5 star review!

A brand new five star review for Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles is now up! Sending out thanks to Trista Borgwardt for her kind words. Check out what she had to say on Amazon or Goodreads at:
or on her personal blog at:

Fidelis in Aeternum is Coming!

The next chapter of the Sarah Milton Chronicles will be coming in 2014. Join Sarah and her teenage ghost sidekick, Anna Nigma, as they face an even greater threat against enemies both old and new, in an adventure that will change their lives forever.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Let It Snow!

Get free copies of two great books to enjoy over the holidays!

Anything Goes is a permafree short story anthology, featuring cross-genre tales from authors of the Anything Goes Authors Group on Facebook. Download your copy at:

Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles is the first book of an ongoing paranormal detective comedy/thriller series. It's available for free on Smashwords until Christmas day. Get yours by quoting coupon code DX97W at:

Season's Greetings!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Reading The Dead Now On Smashwords!

Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles has arrived on Smashwords in time for Christmas! Follow the first exciting adventure of LAPD Detective Sarah Milton and her precocious teenage poltergeist partner, Anna Nigma, before book two hits the shelves!

Get your free copy now for the holidays! Available until December 25, using the promotional code  

Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles Smashwords Link:

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Anything Goes For Free On Smashwords and Kobo!

Anything Goes, the new anthology book from authors of the Anything Goes Authors Group on Facebook, is now available for free download on Smashwords. Set browsers to

for some great reading!
Anything Goes features an assortment of genre-spanning short stories from the talented minds of:
Lindy Spencer
J.B. Cameron
Linda S. Pearce
Michael Tinker Pearce
Zach Abrams
Tyler Roberts
Drew Avera

Additionally, a free version is now available on Kobobooks at and is accessible for free download directly from Goodreads. 

Monday, 11 November 2013

Free Genre-spanning Anthology In Time For the Holidays!

We're only hours away from its release on Kobo! A free collection of tales from the talented authors on Facebook's Anything Goes... Author's Group.

Check back here for the download link when it's ready...

Monday, 4 November 2013


To celebrate my 700th like on Facebook, I'm pleased to offer a new sneak peek from the upcoming second book of the READING THE DEAD series, FIDELIS IN AETERNUM

Check it out on the official Facebook page at:

Loving that extra hour!

Friday, 1 November 2013

Christmas in October Winner Announced!

Congratulations to Cheryl Malandrinos, the big winner of Penny Estelle's Christmas in October giveaway! 

Cheryl's won dozens of great books to tide her over the winter months, including READING THE DEAD - THE SARAH MILTON CHRONICLES. That's fabulous!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Staying Faithful To Your First Love

In case you're wondering, I haven't suddenly decided to try converting my blog into a relationship advice column. Trust me, with the cobwebs covering my little black book, I'm probably the last person on the planet to offer any insight in that department.

No, the "first love" I'm referring to is not a person, though she's (or he's) every bit as dear to a writer's heart, especially for authors who've devoted years of their lives nurturing the same family through an ongoing series. I'm talking about that "next great book in the series," the one that reunites writer and reader with a cast so beloved that it almost physically hurts when those familiar, dreaded words at the end of every story rear their ugly head. No matter how much their situation changes, revisiting their lives feels like a homecoming. There's a warmth and comfort in exploring their world again. Before long, you feel yourself falling back into that soothing rhythm as the words flow from your fingertips, and you remember everything that you've always loved about these people. They are no longer fictional characters from your past works, but honest folk with their own minds and manners, willed into existence just shy of flesh made real.

However, the muse can be a devilish taskmistress. One never knows where or how inspiration will strike. When it happens in the middle of weaving a story about your beloved characters, your children, it can leave an author floundering. Such is my quandary now.

On the one hand, I have my latest adventure of my tried and true crew of misfits. I know their hearts and minds. I'm in love with the direction the story is heading and can't wait to see how things turn out. Plugging away at their tale is not a chore. There is no wall in sight. I have a beginning and a decent idea of the ending, with some middle bits that thrill and delight me to the bone. What is yet unwritten is not a haze on the horizon, but clear skies begging to be explored. It's safe and comforting in their world, and I don't want to leave.

Oh, but for that muse... sneaky temptress that she is! She tickles and teases with notions of a story so amazing, so fabulous, that one cannot help but listen. A tale of excitement and adventure, with a new batch of characters as quirky as my old ones, perhaps even more so. It's a dazzling golden carrot that she dangles before my eyes, and before I even realize what I'm doing, I'm rushing off to my trusty word processor to get all of these stirring ideas down before she yanks them away. 

In my enthusiasm over this shiny new wonder, thoughts of cheating don't even enter my head. I tell myself that a writer's relationship to his or her book is not meant to be monogamous. We are creatures of urges and fickle fancies. Why else would we strive to bare our souls on the page, sacrificing everything short of our own health towards the fulfillment of a tale about others?

Yet there's a dark spot on my heart as I finish my first chapter of this dazzling new epic. Is there such a thing as writer's guilt?

I'm trying to stay the course with my old friends, but I'm not sure if I can escape the allure of my new ones. The only solution in sight is to write both books concurrently. As much as I'd like to devote myself, heart and mind, to my first love, I'm only human. Worse, even. I'm a writer. I can't help but wonder what treasures await over that new horizon... and, Lord, does that fresh grass ever gleam like an emerald right now!

*Sigh.* It's a good thing that love triangles are my bread and butter.

Monday, 21 October 2013

New Excerpt From Reading The Dead

A new, never-before-shown chapter excerpt is now available on the website!

Don't forget also that October 24 is the big day to get your hands on a free copy of Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles from Penny Estelle's Christmas in October extravaganza!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Christmas in October

Christmas in October

It is almost upon us.  Only five more days!

Every Monday and Thursday during October,
six different authors will be spotlighting their books. 

(READING THE DEAD is available on Thursday, Oct 24) 

Some lucky commenter is going to win over 50 different prizes. 

It could be you!  All you need to do is comment.
 The more you comment, the more chances you have of winning
all of these fabulous prizes!

So mark your calendars for Thursday, October 3,
and be sure to visit

Ho!  Ho!  Ho!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Independence In A Digital Market

There's no mistaking the signs. Electronic books are more than a passing fad. They've established themselves in popularity as not simply a supplement to traditional books, but as their potential replacement. Though reports show that ebook sales have levelled off in recent years, vendors such as Amazon UK are reporting record highs in ebook downloads, surpassing sales of both hardcover and paperback books.

This changing digital marketplace invites both accomplished authors and newcomers alike to offer their wares in an unrestricted, free market environment. Some readers are feeling the pressure of caveat emptor, as they shop for books from their favorite NY Times best-selling author, now ingloriously set alongside John Doe's latest treatise on "1001 Ways To Pluck Navel Lint." Others are viewing the changes optimistically as they discover exciting new titles from indie authors on sites like Goodreads. No matter how you feel about the digital revolution in literature, this is a trend that's only going to become more prominent as the technology evolves to support even more media-rich storytelling.

In this current, ungoverned marketplace, it's not surprising to find the same sorts of issues that you would find in any unregulated bazaar. Shoddy craftsmanship, price gouging, and questionable reviews are all issues that ebook readers must face on a regular basis when considering the best outlet for their entertainment dollars. To be safe, most readers will stick to familiar names. Some may even choose to purchase the ebook version of their favorite writer's latest works, despite its cost often exceeding that of the print version. Unfortunately, the concept of "getting what you pay for" is the rule of law for established authors in this new marketplace, where an appearance on a best-seller list serves as an open invitation for inflated prices.

The age of the 99¢ ebooks are on the decline. In a recent article in Publishers Weekly, Mark Lefebvre, Kobo's director of self-publishing and author relations, admitted that even the $1.99 price point is "dead." Royalty limitations instituted by the vendors themselves have forced many authors to embrace the $2.99 to $5.99 price range, falling back on the lesser price only when offering discounts. For newcomers to the table, struggling authors with only a small handful of books, this price point is an immediate detriment to their sales figures. Despite the author's best self-marketing efforts, most readers will always have second thoughts about spending that kind of money on an unfamiliar name.

The marketplace seems to be trending towards stabilization on behalf of readers. The increased price for books means that, barring an exceptional title or a phenomenal marketing effort, untested writers will be forced to prove their work belongs on the digital bookshelf, alongside those of established authors. The threat of a bad review forces independent authors to work twice as hard as established ones, to provide a more compelling, original story, complete with professional editing and artwork. The added cost for these services means they either increase their own price tag and risk driving off potential readers, or absorb the loss. Either way, the situation places a first-time author at an immediate disadvantage.

Yet as the mantra for the indie author goes, "Book sales are not a sprint, but a marathon." 

There will always be as many poorly written, badly edited books dumped on the market as there are people seeing digital publishing as a get-rich-quick scheme. Bad reviews and a unfamiliarity with the author usually cause such titles to languish on the digital bookshelf until they fade into obscurity. 

The independent authors to stand the test of time will be the ones who persevere, who make the effort to provide a quality title again and again. Whereas traditional authors had to simply contend with rejection from publishers, this new generation of authors also faces a substantial financial hit, until such time as their accumulated works receive their much-deserved recognition from readers. Though unfortunate, it's a fact of life for serious independent authors in our new age of digital publishing. As any traditional author will be quick enough to declare, a real writer needs to pay their dues. Burgeoning authors in the evolving ebook market are paying every day in lost sales and the increasingly higher cost (both in time and money) of publishing and marketing their books. It's a paradigm that most established authors don't even fully understand.

Over time, independent authors will establish themselves in the eyes of a new generation of readers, in much the same way as the Internet fundamentally opened the doors to a world of previously unknown independent artists in the music and film industry. When that happy day comes, there will be no more discrimination between traditional authors and indies in the eyes of the readers. There will only be good authors and bad authors.

Unfortunately, I don't personally see the price of ebooks dropping in the near future. The increasing cost of marketing online, coupled with piracy concerns, means there will always be a hefty price tag for digital editions. The same factors that have driven up the price of video games over the years also play a role here. 

Examining that parallel market further leads us to realize that independent game designers provide a substantial savings in their products, compared to established gaming studios. Though (in general) their work may not have the polish of the titles released by industry-recognized giants, that doesn't make them any less enjoyable. Independent titles, whether in music, gaming, or film, fills a niche market as a viable alternative to potentially derivative work delivered by established entities who've lost touch with their customer's desires. Sometimes, the quality can even amaze.

There's a similar need for independent authors in today's marketplace. More readers are discovering this fact daily. Whether these writers choose to retain a lower pricing structure for their work, or emulate those of their traditionally published peers is entirely up to them. Having the freedom to establish their asking price is one of the few perks of self-publishing. Having the freedom of choice to buy their books is the readers'.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Fo' Shizzle, Biatch! Readin Da Dead Is Da Bomb!

Okay... I'm officially loving right now. I'm seriously thinking of changing my Amazon page to their version!

Check out this sweet book description of Reading The Dead:

Book Description
While investigatin tha brutal murdaz committed by a mysterious serial killa known only as "Raithe," bookish LAPD Detectizzle Sarah Milton is unprepared ta have her entire ghetto turned upside down. I aint talkin' bout chicken n' gravy biatch. Innate powers ta peep tha dead, lyin dormant since her motherz murder, have reawakened up in her afta a near-fatal blastin fo' realz. Along fo' tha ride is Sarahz irrepressible thirteen-year-old childhood "imaginary playa," Anna Nigma, a most atypical poltergeist fo' realz. Amid fears fo' her sanity, Sarah must come ta grips wit tha realization dat her realitizzle is now a mix of tha natural n' supernatural, where powerful, ancient mystic symbols can grant dunkadelic powers over game n' dirtnap, n' paranormal influence extendz even tha fuck into her current cappin' investigation. I aint talkin' bout chicken n' gravy biatch. Forced ta hide her abilitizzles from everyone, Sarah n' Anna have no chizzle but ta brang Raithe ta justice on they own, before tha sinista forces behind his crazy-ass cappin' spree claim yet another victim.

and the editorial reviews are outragious!

Editorial Reviews


Reviewed by Tracee Gleichner fo' Readers' Favorite

Sarah Milton had a bangin-ass childhood. Y'all KNOW dat shit, muthafucka! I be fly as a gangbangin' falcon, soarin all up in tha sky dawwwwg! Bein called a 'schizo' by nuff people, cuz of her imaginary playa Anna Nigma, she didn't be thinkin there was anythang wrong. Right back up in yo muthafuckin ass. Biatch loved havin Anna ta rap to, especially when dat freaky freaky biatch had a gangbangin' daddy dat was too busy fo' her n' shit. But, when her mutha takes a thugged-out dirt nap tragically, Anna disappears n' Sarah is left ta fend for her muthafuckin ass. Right back up in yo muthafuckin ass. Biatch learns dat dat thugged-out biiiatch can only rely on her muthafuckin ass n' throws herself tha fuck into her thang hustlin wit tha LAPD fo' realz. After she is shot, her playa Anna returns, n' it might be just up in time ta help her break tha cappin' spree by serial killa Raithe.

When I first started readin dis book I wasn't shizzle what tha fuck ta expect. What I didn't expect was a mad unique plot, interwoven with character pimpment dat you don't peep too often. I aint talkin' bout chicken n' gravy biatch fo' realz. At first I wasn't sure how tha fuck I would feel bout tha relationshizzle between Anna n' Sarah yo, but ta peep how tha fuck these two playaz gots reacquainted n' how tha fuck they thang blossomed afta all kindsa muthafuckin years, was straight-up dope naaahhmean, biatch? Without Annaz help, Sarah would not done been able ta open up her mind ta tha fact dat Anna wasn't imaginary at all yo, but a spirit searchin fo' what tha fuck happened ta her up in her short game here, so peek-a-boo, clear tha way, I be comin' thru fo'sho. Not only did she need Sarahz help yo, but Sarah needed hers.

I highly recommend dis book ta mah playas dat loves a phat plot, some paranormal twists, n' charactas dat will leave you wantin mo' n' mo' n' mo' fo' realz. A great read!

From tha Author

Da Readin Da Dead series originally fuckin started as a screenplay I freestyled back up in 2011, purely fo' fun. I aint talkin' bout chicken n' gravy biatch fo' realz. After movin on ta short stories, I fuckin started ta feel tha urge ta try mah hand at suttin' bigger n' shit. While goin back n' readin mah original gangsta script, rough though it was, I found a lil' bit of magic up in tha evolvin relationshizzle between tha two main characters, LAPD Detectizzle Sarah Milton n' her teenage, pimply sidekick, Anna Nigma. I realized as I read it dat not only did tha rap work across different genres, encompassin every last muthafuckin thang from a paranormal comedy ta a cold-ass lil crime thrilla yo, but at its ass, dat shiznit was straight-up bout none of these thangs. Da five-o drama, suspense, thrills, supernatural n' mystic elements - they was just tha icin on tha cake. What drew me ta mah original gangsta script, n' what tha fuck I endeavored ta pass along up in dis book, was tha tale of two dopest playas, separated by years, whoz ass must find a place up in they lives fo' one another again, afta goin on ridin' solo fo' so long. Thatz what tha fuck dis book series means ta mah dirty ass. I hope you gonna find suttin' of equal value when you read it fo' yo ass. 

 God bless the interweb...

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Share The Love Wednesdays


I'm seeking to start a new Wednesday tradition with authors on Twitter.

The concept is very simple: "Share The Love Wednesdays." Instead of simply retweeting authors in our circle, if every author could spare a few extra minutes to retweet the book of an unfamiliar author, maybe spotted from a friend's retweets or from their own followers list, that small act of kindness can snowball into a good day for everybody.

If you like the idea, please pass the word along on Facebook and by tweeting one of the following messages (or better still, one of your own if you're a member of a writer's group on Twitter). Let's get the word out that Wednesdays is our day to collectively shine as not just talent, but as a community of enthusiasts.

#RT #WW Share the love of #authors on Wednesdays! RT authors you've never RT'ed before! Pay it forward and show your support. #LOVEAUTHORS

#RT #AUTHORS need love too! RT a good #book and help spread the word, on Share The Love Wednesdays. #payitforward

#RT Share the love of an unknown #author this Wednesday! RT the #books of someone new and brighten their day. #Kindnessmatters


Thank you to everyone who participated in today's "Share The Love Wednesday" on Twitter. I hope you'll be back next week to RT more excellent authors. It's a great to widen your circle of friends and help other authors get noticed!


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Indie Book of the Day

Cool! I was just informed that READING THE DEAD - THE SARAH MILTON CHRONICLES is the official indie book of the day. It's nice to know that warm feeling in my heart isn't due to clogged arteries.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Screenplay excerpt from FIDELIS IN AETERNUM

After basing READING THE DEAD on an original screenplay, I find the easiest method of organizing a lengthy body of work is to complete my first draft in a similarly scripted format. Both the second book, FIDELIS IN AETERNUM, and my newest book, currently in development, began as a hybrid of sorts. I thumb my nose at the rules of proper screenplay writing to incorporate additional thoughts and actions to be developed into the written version of my second draft. Like any revision, not everything I write in the script makes it to the final work. Changes are inevitable as new and (hopefully) better ideas occur to me during rewrites.

Presently, FIDELIS IN AETERNUM is still in the editing stages. It's on target for release later this year, or early next. For fun, I thought I'd offer up something a little different. Instead of providing a preview of a scene from the upcoming story itself, I thought I'd provide a glimpse of the work in its early stages, as a scene from the original screenplay. It's nothing too dramatic (sorry, but I'm trying to keep spoilers at a minimum), but it does give a little taste of Sarah and Anna hard at work on their latest mystery. I hope you enjoy it.

SARAH places a laptop computer on her coffee table and sits down at the sofa to use it.

ANNA wanders into the room.

Updating your Twitter?

(while opening her web browser)
The warden said Sands received that amulet from a Reverend Corrivale. It's probably an alias, but just in case, I'm checking the database for any records on the name.

SARAH types the name CORRIVALE into the LAPD offenders database. ANNA sits down next to her to watch.

How are things going with Chelsea?

Surprisingly dull. I think I might have caught her on an off day. She talked on the phone for a couple of hours, made some tea, watched some TV, and went to bed alone. Talk about a letdown.

The search comes back with No matches found.

Hmm. Maybe nationwide?

She opens a connection to the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) and tries her search again.

What did you think? That Chelsea's life was like her movies?

Not necessarily. I just expected it to be more interesting than... well...


You have to admit: you and Ryan haven't exactly been hitting your smooch quota lately. How can a ghost be expected to live vicariously around here?

Are you sure that's it? See, I think you're just using me as an excuse to see another naked man. I saw how you were at the crime scene.

First: eww! Second: I can see naked men any time I want. I hardly need to wait for you. If I wanted to, I could even visit your boyfriend in the shower and catch an eyeful.

You wouldn't dare.

ANNA looks up with a knowing smile.

You already did, didn't you?

I was just looking out for you, that's all. Making sure that everything is where it's supposed to be.

You need to stop talking right now.

Okay. Just one more word. Birthmark. Or is that two words?

I am so warning you...

SFX: Beep from the computer.
The message No matches found displays again.

That was a colossal waste of time.
And he's not my boyfriend. He's just a friend friend.

I'm a friend friend. Does that mean you're having dirty thoughts about me too? Here, let me try something.

ANNA turns the laptop screen to face her and starts clicking and typing.

What are you doing?

I'm running a web search on this Corrivale guy.


Oh. How do you know how to do that?

What do you think? That I'm just watching TV all day while you're at work? To my online homies, I'm DEDGURL6357.
There. That should do it.

You found him?

No. But the search did pick up something about his name. See?

ANNA turns the laptop so SARAH can read it again.

You spelled his name wrong. It's Corrivale, with an E, not corrival. That means... hum...

SARAH reads the first entry on the search results. It is from a dictionary website, returning the literal meaning of the word: cor·ri·val - n. A rival or opponent. syn. competitor, challenger.


(reaches for the laptop)
My bad. Let me try again.

Wait! It can't be...

SARAH types something into the search engine. One word: SEBASTIEN. After considering, she adds a second word: MEANING.
The first link on the list of results is a page labelled Meaning of the name Sebastien.

SARAH clicks on the link. It opens to a page with suggested baby names. The page contains the following information at the top: Sebastien - as a boy's name is a variant of Sebastian (Greek), and the meaning of Sebastien is "revered".

Revered... Reverend. Reverend Corrivale could be an alias for Sebastien Challenger.

Friend of yours?

From the Raithe investigation. Sebastien Challenger was the author of some obscure book that I found buried in Charlie Dobson's locker. I never really thought about it until now. What was it called again? Soul... something.

That's pretty random. What makes you think that this same guy is in contact with the Fancy Dress Killer?

The sigil on the amulet. We never did figure out how Raithe learned how to create them. We just assumed that one of the ghosts taught him. With everything that happened, I never really thought to follow up on it.

You think this Challenger guy wrote a supernatural how-to book?

I wouldn't mind reading it for myself to find out. Luckily, I know right where I can get my hands on a copy.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Black Dwarf

I haven't had much time to update my blog recently. Life and illness have been getting in the way. To make up for it, you'll find an unedited horror short story now on Wattpad. Entitled "Black Dwarf," it's the tale of a horrific face off between Hollywood stars of the past and present. I hope you find it sufficiently creeptastic.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Anna Nigma, sayin' Hi!

Hi, folks out there in internet land, this is your ever-lovin' teen ghost with the most, Anna Nigma, coming your way. For those of you who don't know me (What's wrong with you?), I'm the star of his book series...

Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles

Yeah, okay, so that's not my name on the title. But trust me... I'm the star.

J.B.'s too preoccupied these days with writing his next grand tale of adventure to think about this blog, so I'm taking over. While he toils away on new, and even more perilous ways to ruin the lives of yours truly and my friends, I'm gonna mess with him.

I know he's keeping a lot of secrets under wraps throughout the series. Stuff that people really want to know. Like, what's the deal with me? How can I possibly be so "cool" (Don't get that? Read the book!)? Who was I before I died, and was I always this fabulous? Will Sarah ever figure this stuff out, so I can skip my way into that shining light? That kinda stuff.

Oh, yeah... and some other stuff, I suppose. Like who killed Sarah's mom, what's the deal with her cryptic prophecy, yadda yadda yadda. 

Well, fret no more! While J.B.'s away, it's your happy day! I'm here to answer all of these questions and more!

Right! Let's get down to it!

First off: my true identity when I was alive... can I have a drum roll, please?

And my name was......

Mud. What do you think you're doing?

Oh, uh. Hey, J.B. Just hanging out. How's the writing going?

Not so well. I was in the middle of writing a scene when I noticed my "star" was missing.

It's my time again? Sorry, folks. Duty calls. That's the price for being popular.

Psst... don't go too far. I'll be back with those answers...

You do realize that I know everything you're saying, don't you?

Yeah. Sure. Of course. Now I do...

Come along. 

Sorry, everyone. You're just going to have to wait until the books come out. On the plus side, look for book two, "Fidelis In Aeternum," and a special companion book...


...featuring the adventures of Anna Nigma to be released in 2014. Book three, "Street Savior," is currently in the works now and will come out in 2016. 

Assuming I can wrangle my wayward characters long enough to finish it.

I'll be good...


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

It's raining stars! 4 and 5 star review today

A four star review for Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles has hit the web from Goodreads reader, Paula. You'll find her kind words here:

At the same time, another five star review has come in from Jonathan Harrell. His review is here:

Thank you both. I'm so pleased that the book has provided hours of enjoyment for you.

Monday, 5 August 2013

4 star review

A new four star review today from Goodreads reviewer, Beth, for Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles. You'll find it on Amazon and at Goodreads at the link provided:

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Writing What You Don't Know

I've grown lax in updating my blog with real content lately, and it's all because of this new book I'm writing. Here's why...

There's a misunderstood perception that writers should "write what they know." This isn't to say that that a writer should turn every one of their books into an autobiography. If you're churning out a romance novel and have never experienced love and loss in your own life, it's going to be hard to express authentic emotion to captivate your reader. Actors depend on their emotional history to perform their roles, and so does a writer.

Setting can be just as important as the characters in a book. A failure to adequately portray the atmosphere of your setting, or the mannerisms of its people can be just as glaring a mistake as having a character speaking with the wrong dialect. That's why Stephen King bases the greater portion of his stories in Maine, because he knows the land and its people.

I don't do that. Which means, I need to do my homework before I can even begin to write. 

Like my character from Reading The Dead, Sarah Milton, I grew up on the east coast, but the Pacific always caught my imagination. There's just something about the sight of the rolling coastlines of California, crashing against a tropical-looking land bordered by hillsides and deserts, that appeals to me. When I started writing my book, the setting never once came into question. Since I never set foot on the west coast in my life, I knew I had my work cut out for me to get the feeling just right, particularly since this would be my figurative home throughout the series.

However, since my story is largely focused on the LAPD (with equivalent artistic license, of course), it really was only a matter of time before I needed to delve into one of the uglier aspects of California living that I had heretofore glanced over. Urban street gangs. 

Book three of Reading The Dead is tentatively titled "Street Savior," and focuses heavily on South and East side gangs. Everything, from tweeting to blogging to writing, is taking a back door to absorbing as much as I can about this strange, dangerous, unfamiliar world of theirs. Their sense of honor and propriety, their customs and beliefs, their slang... it's a daunting task to pick it all up, and I'm sure that I'll probably not do it full justice in the end. My California may not measure up to the real thing, but I'm determined to make it the best that I can pull off from my chair on the Atlantic coast.

In the end, it's all about the atmosphere. Taking the time to make sure you nail it is worth the effort. Especially when you're writing about what you don't know.

5 star review

A fabulous new five star review for Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles has just hit the internet, from UK short story horror author, Sam Austin. Perhaps now that she's finished, she might be able to get caught up with those pesky distractions of life. You know, things like sleeping...

It's also on the Amazon UK website at along with several other fantastic reviews!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

4 1/2 star review

Patricia Reding has provided a wonderful new 4 1/2 star review of Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles. Thank you for the kind words, Patricia! 

You can check it out on Goodreads at:

or on Patricia's website at:

Friday, 26 July 2013

4 star review

There's a great new 4-star review on Goodreads and Amazon from reader Katie Matthews. As she claims in her review, she was "slightly skeptical" of the book going in, and "had a strange feeling that [she] was not going to enjoy this book at all." Her tune soon changed once she immersed herself in Sarah Milton's world.

As much as I love hearing how Reading The Dead is enjoyed by readers who are fans of paranormal and crime mysteries, I think I actually like the notion of stirring an interest in a reader with little to no passion in the genre beforehand. As I've always believed myself, the book may be based in a situation involving the supernatural and police investigations into brutal murders, but at its core it's really about the characters.  That's what first interested me in writing the tale, and that's what I hope will interest you in reading it.

Thanks, Katie. It's always nice to hear from a "convert."

Check out her review here on Goodreads:

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Lulu Now Selling Reading The Dead

Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles now has a new home on An epub version of the book is currently available at the link provided below. Once the book is evaluated, it may also find itself distributed on Barnes & Noble, ibooks, etc.

As always, you'll find these links under my LINKS option at the top of the page.

Here's the Lulu link to Reading The Dead:

and here's a link to my new Lulu author page, where you'll find future books more easily:

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

5 star review

A new five star review for Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles has hit the web! Thanks to Jessie Shull for her kind words.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Anna's Adventures Now Complete!

I'm pleased to say that the companion book for FIDELIS IN AETERNUM, "Anna's Adventures," is complete and ready to be sent off to my editor. This 17,500 word novelette (or novella, if that's your preference - the word count falls into that sweet spot between either) features two stories that coincide with events in the book.


As Sarah and her LAPD companions close in on the trail of the Fancy Dress Killer, none of them realize that a certain invisible hitchhiker is along for the ride. It's a good thing she is, because as the unpredictable Harry Sands manages to get the upper hand, the surprising intervention of Sarah's ghostly companion turns out to be her only chance for survival.

Anna Nigma as you've never seen her before, exhibiting a whole new ability in her paranormal bag of tricks.



Sarah and Anna are back in Tilford to attend the wedding of William Milton and Claire Hennessey. However, while everyone is occupied with the ceremony being conducted in the back yard of the family's home, Anna Nigma finds herself caught up in a battle of wits against a pair of would-be robbers, disguised as caterers. They planned on everything, except facing off against the poltergeist queen of pranks.

It's a fast, fun story you won't want to miss!

Look for it, coming out with the release of book two!

4 star Readers' Favorite review

I love starting the day with a great new four star review! Tracee Gleichner, a book reviewer with the Readers' Favorite website, provided me with this wonderful wake-up gift. Thank you so much!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Entire chapter of READING THE DEAD - now on Wattpad!

Not content with offering previews here and there, now I've really gone and done it! While playing around with Wattpad, I've ended up offering an entire CHAPTER of the story online. You should definitely take advantage of my madness and check it out. 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

4 star review on Chapters

There's a new 4-star review for Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles now out. Thanks to fellow Maritimer Michelle Olsen for writing such a wonderful review. It's the first book review so far on Chapters. You can check it out here:

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


In celebration of my author's page on Facebook reaching 600 likes, I'm pleased to offer a new preview from the upcoming second book of my paranormal detective series, READING THE DEAD: FIDELIS IN AETERNUM.

Check it out here:

or on the READING THE DEAD Facebook page at:

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Author Interview With Nat Wood

UK author Nat Wood is hosting me today on her website, "M/M Stories By N. Wood." Thanks, Nat!

Please stop by and check out Nat's book, La Cala, while you're there!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

In Character - The Seven Deadly Motivations For Murder

When designing a mystery thriller, character motivation is paramount. Nobody's going to believe the butler did it, simply because the author says so. Opportunity to commit the crime is only half the story. Without a defining motive driving the killer's actions, the murder lacks reason. 

This rule holds true even when writing about a sociopath, or anyone with a different moral compass than most people. Even so-called "thrill killers" commit murder for a reason, though their motives often tend to be rooted in a deeper psychological need that isn't initially obvious to others. With their inner demons spurring on these disturbed individuals to commit the unthinkable, the investigation into their crimes takes on a whole new level of complexity. It becomes not only a search for clues, but also a quest to understand the reasoning behind a mindset that is often devoid of rationality.

In looking at the reasons for committing murder, a good place to begin is with the seven deadly sins.

LUST - A desire for physical intimacy, power, wealth, respect. This is probably one of the most widely used motives for literary killers. Many sociopaths have an underlying motive of lust driving them to commit murder, such as a need to feel empowered or fulfilled in some way by the act itself.

GLUTTONY - The selfishness involved in placing one's interests over the well-being of others is motive for not only murder, but revolution.

GREED - This sin of excess can cause one to commit atrocities in the heat of the moment, often going hand-in-hand with pride and envy.

SLOTH - A failure to act when one should perpetuates the cause of evil doers. This motivation tends to be more widely used in the character makeup of heroes, rather than villains.

WRATH - Feelings of uncontrollable anger or hatred, without an underlying cause. This can be the domain of the most unpredictable villains. Under the guidance of numerous ghosts directing his fury, the serial killer known as "Raithe," from my book Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles, fits in this category. What makes it so hard to track down these sorts of killers is that the passion they exhibit in their murders can often be misconstrued by investigators as a sign of a deeper, more personal motive, such as jealousy.

ENVY - An insatiable desire, leading a killer to strike out at what he covets the most. Often, this gets mixed in with lust in the formation of a fatal love triangle, or greed in the event of a killer desiring a valuable possession in the ownership of the victim.

PRIDE - Most serious of the deadly sins, and the source of all others. Committing murder as a means of covering up a potentially damaging scandal is just one killer's motive, of many.

These sins can spur a healthy brain to commit murder, when sufficiently motivated. In the case of the psychopath, they form the basis for a skewed sense of morality and self-justification for murder that would be unfathomable to anyone else. That's what makes an investigation into the motivations for their crimes so interesting. Figuring how differently their mind functions during the course of an investigation is like mapping out an alien landscape. 

Find out for yourself. Explore the world of Sarah Milton, LAPD homicide detective and criminal profiler, in the first of a paranormal detective series that blends a psychological crime thriller with the supernatural.