Archive for the contest Category

Hello Readers! (and giveaway)

Sorry I’ve been out of touch with blogging, but I’ve stepped up my novel-writing schedule. I finished Jackson #10 (Yay!), and it’s now in the editing phase, with a release date of early March.

Deadly Bonds medAnd, as odd as this sounds, I keep forgetting that Deadly Bonds (Jackson #9) hasn’t released yet. It feels like I wrote the story ages ago! But my author copies arrived today, so release day is coming soon—August 26th!

I’m starting to get great reviews from NetGalley readers, so I’m excited to for readers to see this one. In fact, I’m giving away a couple copies today to my favorite commenters.  I’m also giving away 7 copies at Goodreads, and there’s still time to enter.

I’m also getting beta reader feedback for Jackson #10, so I occasionally get mixed up about which story is under discussion. I also recently posted the first chapter of the new book on a Facebook page, and the first person who read the excerpt said it was a mild spoiler for Deadly Bonds. Oops! Again, I’d forgotten that readers haven’t had access to it yet. I’ll be glad when it’s finally out there!

The good news is that the beta reader feedback on Jackson #10 is terrific, so I’m getting excited for everyone to read the new story too.

In between Jackson stories, I wrote The Target, Agent Dallas #2. That series is indie published so the book  is already on the market and selling well. But if you’ve read it and liked it, please leave me a good review on Amazon. The story features Agent Dallas and Agent River, so some male readers were put off by too many women, and another reader called it a “lifestyle” story, and I suspect he didn’t care for River and her transgendered status. So I need you to help offset those negative reviews, if you have a minute.

Up next is Dallas #3. I’m in the plotting stage, but I hope to have the story completed and published before the end of the year. That was the goal I set last summer—by the end of 2014 to have written two more Jackson books (for a total of ten) and two more Dallas novels (to make a three-book set).

I think I’m going to pull it off. The only thing that could be a setback is having to sell our house, pack, and move. But the new house, and the lovely view of the Cascades should inspire me to make up the writing time.

Don’t forget to leave a comment to enter to win a print copy of Deadly Bonds.

New Name Winners!

Thank you, everyone, for participating! I love your enthusiasm for this. After 15 novels that require about 50 names each—if you throw in all the witnesses, family members, and casual mentions—I really appreciate your help with this. On my own, I end up thumbing through the phone book, the only reason I keep one around, but getting your input is definitely more fun.

But choosing winners is always a tough call. Debra, I love the name Octavious, and I will use it in this story. Probably not for a name that appears over and over, because it’s three syllables, but I’ll find just the minor character for it.

The suggestions for the twins were all good, but in the end I liked Stephanie’s suggestion of Henry and Jacob Lowe. My only concern is that some readers may think I’ve taken the name association too far by calling homeless men Lowe (low), so I may keep Harvick, but I’ll use Henry and Jacob. And in case you’re wondering, the characters are based on real people here in Eugene.

Such great name suggestions for the young activist. Jane, I loved the name Kara Walsh, but Jackson’s girlfriend is Kera, so it’s too close. Darn! Otherwise, Eden, Sydney, and Caprice were my favorites, and I finally had to ask my husband to pick one because I couldn’t make up my mind. He liked Sydney Willow, so congratulations to Susan!

The police officer is most important, so it was the hardest decision. Especially since most of his fellow officers refer to him by his last name, but Detective Schakowski (who’s his cousin) refers to him by his first name. So both names have to be just right. I liked Chet Harris (from John), and Pete McCaughey (from Risa), and Brent Scully (from Ann).

But after much consideration, I went with Daniel Thompson. It’s strong, yet friendly, and Schak, who grew up with him, calls him Danny. Congratulations to Steve, who submitted by email.

I’ll try to contact everyone about their free ebook, but if you don’t hear from me, please send me an email so I can get a copy of The Target to you. If you’ve already read it and liked it, please leave me a review on  Amazon. And if you’ve read it, I can put on a list for a free ebook of my next Dallas thriller instead.

Thanks again for playing!

One More Time for Character Names

Believe or not, I’m writing my tenth Jackson story! I’m getting excited about this one. The action is intense, the emotions run high, and the body count is a little freaky. But right now the manuscript is full of places where I’ve typed XXX, instead of a name. Because I didn’t want to slow down the flow of the scene to come up with the right moniker.

So once again I’m asking for your help. Even the names you submit that I don’t chose for the main characters, I’ll try to use for the many small-part characters—as I always have. I’m sure many of you have seen your own names in my books, along with your other suggestions.

First up, I have homeless male twins in their mid-thirties, who end up as suspects. Their temporary names are Dustin and Josh Harvick but I think we can do better, at least on the first names. I’d like to avoid names that are too similar (ie., Zeke and Zack), because readers might get confused.

There’s also a young female activist, who is a crusader for the rights of the homeless. I’ve called her Willow, because that fits Eugene, but it may not be strong enough for her. Give me your best suggestions, and we’ll see.

And the story opens with a male, 40-something police officer, a really good guy, whose name I’ve changed three times already. So it’s time to throw that one to my creative readers and see what you come up with.

I’ll give free ebooks of The Target (Agent Dallas #2) to everyone who participates, and a couple of printed copies to the grand winners.

Thanks for your input, as always!

New Character Name Winners!

Thanks for participating! As always, people made creative suggestions. Most readers also submitted several names, so I have plenty to use for minor characters as well. So chances are, you’ll see all these names pop up in the next Agent Dallas story. As info, I received lots of submissions via email—in response to my blog going out that way—so many of the names and winners here don’t show up in the comments of the original post. Here’s how it went for choosing the winners.

For the actor/victim, I was torn between Richard King (submitted by Dani at Blog Book Tours) and James Avery, submitted by John Kurtze. Both names have the sophisticated tone I was looking for. In the end, I chose James Avery, so congratulations, John.

There were plenty of great names offered for the male CEO too, such as William Grissom, Malone William, and Michael Pence. See the  pattern? Most of you were on the same page with an upscale, old-world kind of name. But this CEO is a little more new age, with a technology background, so my favorite offering was the first name Max, submitted by Marvene Carroll. And I think I’ll use Grissom as his last name. So Stephanie Grissom, who submitted her own full name, wins an ebook too.

As for the young Hispanic detective: I liked the suggestion Raul Acosta. But I’m leery of using three-syllable names for main/POV characters because I worry they’re too much work for readers. I also liked Jose Cortez, submitted by Susan Mobley, but I think too many people will mispronounce or stumble over his first name. So I combined the two suggestions and named the detective Raul Cortez. So both participants get an ebook. (I reserve the right to change my mind about this if the possessive version (Cortez’s) starts become problematic.)

The toughest choice was the female CEO. I loved the names Veronica, Madeline, and Adrianna. But this character is a little more aggressive than those names imply. Because several people submitted Theresa, with Risa as a shortened version in one case, I thought I would use it. Then I remembered that I have another prominent character with a similar sounding name that I didn’t want to give up. Bummer. But I still like the name Risa, submitted by Risa Rispoli, do I’ll use her whole name as a minor character, probably a reporter. At the last minute, someone submitted Cherryl, and it grabbed me. The name is strong and easy to pronounce. So I combined it with the placeholder name I was already using, Decker, and the female CEO will be called Cherryl Decker. Congratulations to Cherryl Thomson, who submitted her own name and also to Risa, who wins an ebook as well.

But the grand-prize winner was an unexpected name for a minor character I mentioned in passing. Betty Weaver submitted the name Grumpy for the detective’s pet, a pot-bellied pig. I loved it, so Betty wins a print book of her choice. Thanks, Betty, for making the effort!

Everyone else with winning submissions gets a free ebook of their choice. Or if you’ve already read everything I’ve written, I can gift an ebook to someone else for you, or I can send you an early copy of my next book (Agent Dallas #2). Thanks again for participating! You make this part of the planning fun for me.

More Character Names, Please!

Book one of the Agent Dallas series, The Trigger, has finally launched, and I’m working on book two. I have a title idea, but I’m waiting to share it until I have the cover ready. In the meantime, I’d like your help with names again. And I’m giving away ebooks of The Trigger (or ebook of your choice) to all the winners of the names I choose, and a print book of your choice to whoever submits my favorite name of the bunch.

In this new story, Agent Dallas infiltrates a medical technology company suspected of corporate sabotage and terrorism. She doesn’t know who is responsible for the attacks, but the company is headed by a male CEO and a female COO, both in their forties. The male executive has a business/technology background and the female has a business/biology background. They’re both ambitious and demand absolute loyalty from their employees.

I also need the name of male victim. He’s a new type for me: a fifty-something famous actor—a bachelor with a big heart (think George Clooney) who seems to have died of an overdose, but whose body show signs of bondage.

The detective who investigates his death is an early-thirties male who lives in San Diego and has a mixed Latino/Anglo heritage. He’s tough and eager to prove himself, but also has a soft spot for Hollywood stars, ballroom dancing, and an aging pot-bellied pig.

That should keep you busy—and possibly confused!

Don’t worry that most of these characters are men. There are plenty of women in the story, but two of the main protagonists—Agent Dallas and Agent River—are already established from previous books.

As always, I will use as many of the submitted, non-winning names as I can for minor characters such as witnesses, suspects, and family members. Feel free to submit your own!

Post your name submissions in the comments or email me. Thanks for your participation!

The Trigger: And the Winners Are…

The Winner copyThe hardest thing about contests is that I want everyone to win! This one was especially fun though, because I’ve never given away a trip to a conference before, and readers were excited about the grand prize. If you don’t know the story about why, you can read it here, midpoint in the blog.

Before I announce the winners, a few details. Entries: 137 people entered the contest. Fewer than I expected, but it was New Year’s Day, and a lot of people simply weren’t online. (Or they were watching football!) Many more readers bought the book that day (yay!), but didn’t bother to send the receipt.

The process: I copied and pasted names/email addresses into a Word document as the emails came in. Then I printed those pages, cut the entries into strips, and folded them. I dug out my giant salad bowl—usually reserved for family gatherings—put all the entries into it, and stirred them up.

The first name I drew was for the grand prize trip to Left Coast Crime. The lucky winner: Theresa de Valence!

My initial thought was to be quite happy. I met Theresa online six years ago. She was one of my first readers and supported me when I was a self-published author with only one book on the market. And she stayed loyal, reading everything I wrote over the years. My next thought was to worry that it might look bad for her to win because I knew her. Then I had to laugh. Because I know—from Facebook, Twitter, conferences, or emails—half of the people who entered the contest.

The entriesThat’s what I love most about this career. It has brought so many great people into my life!
Thank you all for making this gig the world’s greatest job.

I also drew 10 more winners for gift certificates. I’ll contact each of you personally, but here are the recipients:

  • John Lovell
  • Amy Kincade
  • Rose Mercer
  • Shirley Wetzel
  • Kim Ellis
  • River Fairchild
  • Halley Marton
  • Barbara Petty
  • Tim Feely
  • Sara Stradley

Thanks again for all your support! And for sending such delightful emails that share your enthusiasm for my books. Check back to my blog soon. I’m hosting a naming contest for my next Dallas book, and you have a good chance get your own name into the story.

Paying It Forward with a Giveaway

happy new yearAfter decades of writing fiction, I’m finally a multi-published, full-time author. My first resolution this New Year is to express gratitude for that good fortune every day. So I’m launching my new book with a huge giveaway. (More details below.) But first I’m want to say thank you and express my appreciation.

I’m grateful for the friends and fans who beta reader and proofread my work, giving me great feedback. I know how much time it takes and how little extra time we all have. Thank you!

I’m grateful for all my readers, especially those who came on board early and supported me when I was new, self-published author with only one paperback called The Sex Club.

I’m grateful for my graphic artist (Gwen Roads) my copyeditor (Jodie Renner), my content editor (Kevin Smith), and the industry’s best formatter (Hitch@Booknook.biz). If you’re getting ready to self-publish, contact her!

In that light, I’m going to pay forward a trip to Left Coast Crime 2015. Last March at LCC, a friend approached me about chairing Left Coast Crime in Oregon in 2015, and I agreed. It’s going to be a fantastic conference, but it’s also only a two-hour drive to Portland for me. So I don’t have to buy a plane ticket next year. And as co-chair, I don’t pay registration or hotel costs either. (Trust me, I’ll earn every dime of those perks!)

The Trigger_medSo I decided to take all those expenses that I won’t incur and sponsor the trip for one of my readers. I’m holding a contest, and everyone who buys a copy of The Triggeron launch day, January 1—and emails the receipt to ( lj@ljsellers.com) will be entered to win at trip to Left Coast Crime 2015. The drawing will be random, but it would be fun if a long-time loyal reader I haven’t met yet and who hasn’t been to LCC wins this thing.

In addition, as a thank-you to readers, I’m giving away 10 Amazon gift certificates for $50 each! So you have a good chance of winning something, well, compared to the lottery, anyway.

More important: The Trigger ebook is on special right now for $.99, another thank-you to loyal readers who’ve been paying a little more for my Jackson books since T&M started publishing them. The print book of The Trigger is also set up with Kindle Match, so if you buy the print book now, you’ll get the ebook free. You can buy an ebook on launch day for $.99 and gift it to someone.

And what is The Trigger? It’s the first novel in a new series featuring Agent Dallas. I introduced her in Crimes of Memory, and readers say she stole the show. She certainly stole my heart. I had so much fun writing her role as an undercover specialist that I knew she needed her own series.

You can check out the book and contest here. (Early readers have given the story 5 stars.)

Again, thank you to everyone who’s read my work and posted reviews. And if you like The Trigger, post one more for me. I’m going indie with this series, so I need all the help I can get.

Happy New Year!

New Contest Name Winners

Thanks everyone for participating. I had as many email entrants as comment submissions. I always get such creative suggestions! And I tuck all of them away for future use. And even those I don’t use for the specific characters I mentioned, I’ll try to work into the book anyway. There are always witnesses and relatives that need names.

Three readers submitted variations of Ben: Benjamin and Bennie for the little boy, and Ben for the football player, so I’m on board. I’m using Benji for the little one. So Gina, Peg, and Brenda all win a book.

The skater boy next door had many great  suggestions. I liked Luke, Noah and Skitter. Especially Skitter. But as a kid I had a cat named Skitter and it kept popping into my head. But the name Dylan, even though it’s not a personal favorite, seemed right for the character, so Charlene wins a book too.

Two people also suggested Logan, one for the football player and one for the young mother, and it’s a personal favorite of mine. So the football player is Logan, thanks to Dani, and John gets a book too for submitting Logan for the mother (as well as many other great names).

I was glad so many of you submitted names for the mother, even though I barely mentioned her. She was the hardest choice, because her name will get used the most. I loved the suggestion Catalina, but decided it had too many syllables for readers’ comfort. But two people suggested Amanda, so I’m going with the consensus. So Marvine wins a book too. Gina, who also suggested it, is already a winner (with Ben).

In fact, anyone who participated can have an early ebook copy of the Trigger. Just let me know if you want an epub or mobi (Kindle) file. Specific winners mentioned should also email me and let me know if they want an ebook of Crimes of Memory or a print book of The Trigger.

Thanks again! It’s always fun.

Name a Character—Win A Book

I’m going gangbusters on my new Jackson novel (#9), but I keep getting stuck trying to decide names. So I often throw something in—so I can keep writing—and tell myself I’ll think of the right name later.

Well, 20,000 words in, it’s time to settle on some names. And readers are always so helpful, I’m asking everyone to pitch in again. I’ll make it worth your while, of course, by giving away a print copy of Crimes of Memory, Jackson #8 to my favorite submission, or if you prefer, an ebook when it’s released on Oct. 15. I also have print and ebook ARCs of The Trigger, a standalone thriller coming out January 1 for other entries I like. Winners get to chose their prize.

In this new (nameless) story, Jackson investigates the death of a young woman who works as a caregiver but has a shadowy existence and no connections to anyone. I need a name for her and her three-year-old son, who becomes quite attached to Jackson.

My first thought for the boy was Cory, but I already have too many K sounds in Jackson’s personal world (Katie and Kera). So I switched his name to Milo, which I really like, but sadly, I decided the name is too much like Micah (Kera’s grandson). I try not to confuse readers. So I’m looking for something sweet—for the boy, that is. (I’m personally trying to give up sugar…again.)

In addition, one of the suspects is a fourteen-year-old who lives next door, a skater who claims to hate guns and violence, yet has a collection of knives He needs a more compelling name than Josh, the placeholder I’m using.

And being one of my complex mysteries, there’s a second victim, a star UO football player, a quarterback with emotional baggage that I really can’t reveal. So I need three young male names of varying ages.

Feel free to submit for all, or just one…if it seems perfect. You can leave a comment or email me with your submissions. Thanks for participating.

The Trigger: An Agent Dallas Thriller

I’ve had a title for my new thriller for months—The Trigger. But I started considering those powerful one-word thriller titles: Stolen, Missing, Inferno, Bombshell, Shiver, Dust (seriously, a new Patricia Cornwall), and I thought maybe I should title it just Trigger.

We developed a cover, and the single-word title looked great. I asked people in my house what they thought, and everyone said, “Yeah, I like Trigger better.” But it bothered me. Whenever I would talk about the story, I would stumble over the title. It started to sound funny.

Then my editor questioned the new title and said it made her think of a name, like the horse. So I knew it wasn’t right. Especially for people who might only see the title in text (sans cover) and be confused by it.

So I’m back to The Trigger, which works well with the story. If you’re interested, here’s the back cover copy:

Agent Jamie Dallas loves undercover assignments that get her out of the Phoenix Bureau. But when a woman and her baby disappear from an isolated community of preppers in Northern California, she knows the risk of infiltrating the armed group is dangerously high.

Inside the compound, she discovers that the brothers who founded Destiny are scheming something far more devious than kidnapping or murder. Meanwhile, her local FBI contact, Agent McCullen, is pulled from her team and assigned to investigate the murder of a woman with phony ID, found at the bottom of a motel pool.

Soon Dallas finds herself in deeper trouble than she’s ever encountered—with no way to reach her contacts. Can she break free of the brothers’ grip and stop their bizarre end-of-world plans? Will Agent McCullen identify the killer in time to help?

The Trigger is a gripping story that highlights our greatest fear—how a hacker and a fanatic with grandiose ideas can threaten civilization as we know it.

The book is scheduled for release January 1, and I have a great contest planned with a huge prize—a trip to Left Coast Crime. Get more details here.

If you’re interested in an early copy of The Trigger (ebook and some print) and are willing to be on my street team to help launch it, please email me. ARCs will be ready in about a month.

So what do you think of the title? The cover? Story concept?

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I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The characters were compelling, the procedural work was dead-on, and the story was enthralling. Definitely recommended.”
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