Have a Ghostly Holiday Season and Enjoy a Discount

My publisher is currently running a promotion on the electronic edition of A Bullet for the Ghost Whisperer. It is available for only .99 cents through December 12th. What makes the book so unusual is that I’ve wedded the traditional police procedure novel replete with a hard-boiled female detective to the paranormal novel that in this case features a sexy and savvy ghost.

So far the reviewers have commented how much they enjoyed another chance to become with the major characters. You’ll find all of them in this Frankie and Josh novel, even though you don’t have to read Silent Partner first. Those of you who enjoy A Bullet for the Ghost Whisperer can find the same characters. Enjoy!

 

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Working on a Sequel Requires a Delicate Balance

Pen-L will publish A Bullet for the Ghost Whisperer on November 15h. This is my sequel to Silent Partner, the paranormal mystery Pen-L published last year. I’ve already begun kicking around some ideas for a sequel to the sequel. What I have discovered, though, is that writing a sequel is a tricky business. It all has to do with the delicate business of the world you have already created in the first book and the introduction of new readers.

How far should an author go in making each book stand on its own feet? Daniel Silva, in my opinion, has run into a serious problem because he has written so many novels with the same cast of characters. He had to spend countless pages in The English Spy simply reintroducing characters and sketching out their back stories. The problem, of course, is that his legion of dedicated readers found the retelling to be boring and unnecessary. The new readers, on the other hand, I’m sure found the sketchy descriptions of key scenes in earlier novels to be too brief and lacking in details.

As I mentioned earlier, writers engage in world building. Silent Partner created two key characters who had relationships with other people. The effect is much like throwing a pebble into a lake. Every relationship is a part of the character’s world and impacts his or her view. So, how many of these does the author need to mention? In Silent Partner it is critical that readers understand Frankie’s prior relationships and marriage because it made her who she is. Her relationship with a horrible uncle also made her who she currently is. Josh Harrell, likewise, is who he is because of some of his prior failed relationships. How much detail do I need to go into for new readers?

I do think that my favorite ghost in Silent Partner can be appreciated in A Bullet for the Ghost Whisperer without the need for the reader to go back and read Silent Partner. My hope, of course, is that new readers of mine who pick up A Bullet for the Ghost Whisperer will become so enamored with Andy (short for Andrea) that they will want to go back and read the first book. After all, how often do you find a paranormal mystery that includes the closest thing to lovemaking between a ghost and a human?

I’ve been careful not to make my paranormal mysteries into a series because I think that limits readers’ access to them. They can be read totally as stand-alone books. I intend to make my third volume stand alone as well. I hope some of you are looking forward to A Bullet for the Ghost Whisperer. I’m currently distributing early reading copies for reviewers. If anyone reading this blog is interested, please drop me a comment with your email address. Here’s a sneak peak at the cover to set your appetite.

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Michael Connelly, Nelson DeMille, & Daniel Silva: The Graying of Our Heroes

It’s fascinating to watch what some of our most popular novelists are doing. Michael Connelly and Daniel Silva have been aging their heroes (Harry Bosch, John Corey, and Gabriel Allon) in real time. In other words, Harry is now facing retirement while Gabriel has been booted into an office job heading Israeli intelligence. John Corey also is aging, although not quite as fast.

It’s a wonderful thing for an author to have a recurring hero that readers love so much that they just want more and more of him. The problem is that even though the authors want to move on and explore new characters and situations, their readers refuse to move on. Also, their publishers see gold in the characters and demand they appear again and again.

You sense a certain degree of weariness in Daniel Silva with his latest novel, The English Spy. Allen seems weary. Several times other characters ask the Israeli agent if he’s up to the challenge. He heard the same questions in the previous novel, The Heist. Silva says he has ideas for other heroes, but his public won’t let him move in that direction. Connelly splits the difference right now by alternating books on Harry Bosch with books on Bosch’s half-brother, the Lincoln Lawyer. DeMille’s latest book features ex-cop John Corey one more time, but the book lacks the fire and wit of earlier Corey appearances. In fact, The Lion, the very first Corey novel, remains DeMille’s best Corey novel.

So, many authors would kill to have a beloved character that virtually guarantees a place on the New York Times bestseller list. Still, it’s very much like a singer who keeps getting asked to sing a song he has learned to hate because he’s sung it so very often. Of course, while I struggle to get the word out on my upcoming sequel, A Bullet for the Ghost Whisperer, it is very hard not to ask God to give my book and character enough success that the public will demand several more in the series.

 

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Locating Mr. or Mrs. Right for a Review

I’m starting to gear up for a late fall release of A Bullet for the Ghost Whisperer (published by Pen-L). Hybrid novels are always a bit difficult to match with readers and reviewers. In this case, the book is clearly a police procedural mystery, but it also has a touch of the paranormal. In other words, a detective uses good police work to logically solve a murder, but there is also a ghost involved.

Part of my marketing plan involves finding readers who are willing to read the novel and then write a review for Amazon. So many potential book buyers look at the number and score of customer reviews before choosing a novel. For an author published by a small publisher without a marketing budget, it means a lot of queries to book bloggers.

What makes this book a little more challenging is that element of the supernatural. Some bloggers indicate they review mysteries but also review Christian fiction. Since a ghost (certainly not a holy ghost) might play loose and fast with traditional dogma, I’ve tended to cross such reviewers off my list.

Lots of reviewers specify they want romance or young adult fiction. Sorry, not this time. The bloggers who do review mysteries are overwhelmed, so it’s a struggle. Count the number of Amazon reviews by December or so and you’ll see how successful or unsuccessful I’ve been.

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