Write First, Clean Later

Scripts, Giveaways, and a TV show?

Hello again

I promised Part 2 of the update, so here it is.

When I got back from Costa Rica, I struggled for a while to regain my energy and focus. (I think I had a little PTSD.) We spent a lot of time in Vancouver with the kids, helping them adjust to their new home and dealing with all the aftermath. Such as a call from the FBI… because we’d been accused of kidnapping. And a call from the state department … because we’d been accused of international child abduction. Neither was true, so we’re not in any trouble, but it was still distracting and stressful.

Then, when I tried to get back to writing the Jackson story, I couldn’t focus on it. The Costa Rica episode kept playing in my head. So I finally wrote a script about our rescue adventure. Getting the story down was cathartic, and I was finally able to get back to work on the Jackson book.

Meanwhile, I’m also marketing the script. And the good news is that two producers (one at Lifetime!) are currently reading it. A well-known actor has shown interest too. Fingers crossed! My purpose in trying to sell this script is to raise money for the kids. They’re doing well, but they need a lot of medical and dental attention, among other things. (A place to donate, if you’re inclined.)

Another interesting bright spot: In the middle of writing the Jackson book, I got a call out of the blue from a production company, asking me to host/narrate a true-crime TV show. Say what? I still had to audition for it, and so far, I made it past the first committee. Now I’m waiting for the next-level approval. This is just how the TV/Hollywood business is. Slow and usually disappointing. So I’m not counting on it, of course. But if it works out? Fun!

I’m also plotting my next script. Because writing them is fun too.

The blog title mentions a giveaway, so here it is: If you haven’t read THE GENDER EXPERIMENT, a thriller featuring Agent Bailey, you can download it for free here.

It’s also free on Amazon today (5/16).

 

 

Costa Rican Rescue

Hello Friends!

Sorry to be out of touch. I have a lot of news to catch you up on! But I’ll do it in several posts . . . and in a logical order.

By request, I’ll tell the Costa Rican Rescue story first—the one where I ended up in real danger while stuck in a foreign country.

The mugger left quite a bruise!

My new husband and I traveled to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica on our honeymoon. We chose that spot so we could check on Dave’s three grandkids, all under the age of seven, because we were worried about them. And rightfully so. We found them living in a squalid tree house filled with mosquitoes and spiders and zombie-like, cult-member roommates. (No toys, books, or beds!) They also seemed to be starving, and their little bodies were covered with staph infections. Their mother’s mental illness had clearly escalated, and she refused to take the children to the clinic for antibiotics.

Sick with an infection myself (and recovering from an assault!), I decided as soon as I was able to get up I would find a translator and a cab driver and head for the Costa Rican Children’s Service office (PANI) in a nearby town to get help for the kids. Even knowing it would alienate his daughter, Dave decided to go with me. So the next morning we headed out, not knowing what to expect.

At first, the administrator seemed angry with us. “Why didn’t you pick up the niños and take them to the doctor?” she shouted. “You’re familia!” Even in Spanish, I understood the accusation. We had to explain that in the United States, grandparents have no rights.

But the mother had been reported months earlier for the same health-neglect issue, and the PANI office was already looking for her. After hours of back-and-forth translation, they agreed to call the federal police and go out to pick up the children.

Dave and I had been to the home only once, with her driving. It was near the top of a long, winding mountain road that required many turns. Also, we’d come back down in the dark. But we were determined to find it again. Our cab driver stopped at the base of the hill and wouldn’t go any further, so Dave and I climbed in the back of a police truck, doing our best to communicate with officers who didn’t speak English.

We finally found the house again, and relief washed over us. But we quickly realized the mother and  kids weren’t there. A devastating moment. Even worse, her roommate grabbed his phone and started texting. I yelled at an officer to stop him because I knew he was alerting the mother. But it was too late. Dave’s daughter started sending hateful, threatening messages, then went into hiding and never returned to that location.

We couldn’t give up though. The police had put out alerts for the mother, but we knew she had gone deeper into the jungle and that her cult friends would help her. More determined than ever to rescue the children—before they disappeared from us forever—Dave and I went into detective mode. We biked all over Puerto Viejo and the small neighboring towns, asking everyone if they had seen the mother or knew anything about where she might go. I searched the group’s website, looking for details about who they were and what property they owned.

We eventually discovered two pieces of information that made us able to map out an area of the jungle called Carbon 2 where we thought we could find them. Dave spent an hour at a local police station, trying to communicate our findings. Finally he and four officers loaded into two trucks and set off into the jungle again.

I would have gone with them, but I had to find a place to stay that evening. We had to move from our B&B rental because the owner knew the kids had staph infections and wouldn’t allow them there. So on Christmas Eve, I was biking around in the rain, talking to hotel clerks and locals, desperate to find a place for all of us to sleep—hoping against the odds that Dave would get lucky and locate the kids.

The kids in San Jose

And he did! After hours of driving up gravel roads, only to have to turn around and try a different route, he finally spotted his daughter’s car in some bushes. The police raided the primitive shack and called for an ambulance to take the children to the clinic.

By that time, I’d secured a rental , so I biked out to the clinic to join Dave as he waited outside. After two long hours of negotiation, the sick children were released into our custody. And we got our first taste of what was in store for us. Two of the mother’s cult friends were parked nearby in a silver van, watching and waiting. The police had to block them so we could leave without being followed.

That evening, she posted a Biblical verse on her Facebook page about a child killing her father, and her friends posted that they intended to find us and hurt us, then take the kids back. So for the next eighteen days, we moved from one cramped rental to the next, constantly looking over our shoulders.

At one point, we were staying with a French couple deep in the jungle. On a walk one morning, I spotted a silver van parked at the end of the gated road. I turned and ran, fearful that I would lead the men back to the kids. We later learned that they had been searching for us at nearby vacation rentals, and that one of them had a gun.

It was the most stressful three weeks of my life. But it was also incredibly rewarding to watch the kids blossom as we fed them real food, gave them love and attention, and treated them with antibiotics. (We also had to teach them how to take showers and brush their teeth!) Eventually, we were allowed to travel to San Jose—for our safety—and we enlisted the help of the American Embassy.

Finally, we got word that the custody paperwork was ready. We picked up the kids’ passport and bought tickets for Oregon for the next morning. After one last nerve-racking moment at the airport immigration office, we boarded a plane for home.

The kids are with their aunt and uncle and are doing really well. But they have a lot of catching up to do. And one of my motivations in writing about this is to encourage people to report neglect and abuse when they suspect it. Several people came to us after the rescue and said they’d witnessed how bad it was (even before Costa Rica) and wished they had reported it. It’s always better to err on the side of children.

On a completely different note: After many interruptions (see above), Detective Jackson #13 is finally done and will release on May 29. You can pre-order it now.

Giveaways!

Hello Friends!

This is just a quick update, mostly about a couple of free ebooks that are available—and to reassure my Jackson fans that I’m working on a new Jackson story that I hope to release in May. I started working on it in December, then had to travel to Costa Rica to rescue my grandchildren. I essentially did my own extraction, complete with real danger. A wild, but true, story! I’m home safe now and back to writing.

In the meantime, if you haven’t read my new psychological thriller, THE OTHER, which features my Extractor character, you can enter to win one of a hundred ebook copies on Goodreads. So far, the novel is garnering all 5-star reviews. You can enter the contest here:

You can also download a free copy of THE GENDER EXPERIMENT from Amazon right now too. This standalone thriller features FBI Special Agent Baily and the Readers Favorite Awards calls it “the best thriller of the year.”

If you miss the free giveaway, contact me, and I’ll send you a copy.

 

 

 

 

I’m also honored to introduce you to Teresa Burrell, a good friend and terrific writer. You may already know her as the author of the bestselling legal thriller series called The Advocate. But she’s also started a new series and is giving away ebooks to people who want to read and review. If you’d like a copy of MASON’S MISSING, you can contact her directly through a Facebook message, or let me know and I’ll send your contact information to her. If you want to know more about the story, here’s a link to the book’s description (and great reviews) on Amazon, I’m reading it now and love it so far.

Thanks for your consistent support of my work!

The Other

Hello Friends and Readers

Despite rumors to the contrary, I have been writing! In fact, my new book, THE OTHER, is available now. I’m excited about this one. It features the Extractor, but it’s also a psychological thriller with a wicked twist. Bestselling thriller author Andrew Kaufman says, “From beginning to end, The Other takes you on a fast-flying, heart-thrashing ride that leaves you begging for more from LJ Sellers.”

 

Here’s the back cover copy:
Logan Wilmont dreams of freedom, but he’s trapped in a mental institution where he doesn’t belong, by a mother who wants to keep him quiet. He knows he quirky, but not insane—except for when he sees the other boy who looks just like him.

His only hope is Rox MacFarlane, an ex-CIA agent who specializes in extractions. Hired by Logan’s aunt, Rox and her partner Marty agree to take on their most difficult case. Penetrating a locked facility is challenging enough, but Logan’s hallucinations work against them, and at times, they’re not even sure they can trust their client.

Yet Rox’s own autism makes her empathize with the teenager, and she’s determined to break him out. As she and Marty plan a rescue, a reporter who’s investigating the psychiatric hospital is brutally murdered, and the clock starts ticking for Logan. Can the Extractors free the boy before his mother silences his secrets once and for all?

The book is available in ebook now and will be in print soon.

The Extractor Series

Guilt Game, the first book in The Extractor series, is finally here! I’m pleased to report that the response to it has been great. Rox, the protagonist, is an ex-CIA agent working as a private investigator—specializing in rescuing people from oppressive situations. Readers seem to like her non-typical brain chemistry and empathize with her desire to try an unusual treatment to see if she can open up her world.

As I wrote the opening scene, I realized she needed a partner, and Marty, her stepdad, popped into my head. He’s quite lovable, and they have a great relationship. Marty also gives me an opportunity to include a little humor in my otherwise gritty stories. Here’s the link to the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Guilt-Game-Extractor-L-J-Sellers-ebook/dp/B01MQ5ZI6N

I’ve also finished the second book, Broken Boys, so I feel like it’s okay to finally call The Extractor a series. I hope to release the new book soon, depending on what my publisher decides. I’ll post the cover (and pre-order link) soon.

Meanwhile, here’s the back cover copy for Guilt Game:

Roxanne MacFarlane is the Extractor—a former CIA agent who specializes in rescuing people from dangerous situations. She lives on the edge and works outside the law, but desperate families know she’s the only operative who can bring their missing loved ones home. Driven by guilt over the loss of her sister to a polygamous cult, she will stop at nothing to save her clients.

When Dave and Jenny Carson ask her to find their daughter, Emma, and extract her from a charismatic cult leader who preys on young women with guilt issues, Rox is eager to help them. But the experimental treatment she just started in order to improve her atypical brain patterns forces her to face conflicting newfound emotions while working feverishly to find the secret compound and craft a strategy to get Emma out.

When the bodies of young women who match Emma’s description turn up, Rox must fast-forward her plans. But the situation is more complicated and dangerous than she realizes, and her own life is soon in jeopardy. Can Rox save Emma and bring down a ruthless predator before more young women fall victim?

And here’s what I have for Broken Boys... so far:

Roxanne MacFarlane is the Extractor, a former CIA agent rescues young people from dangerous situations. When she’s asked to find a correctional wilderness camp and bring home a troubled teenage boy named Josh, she’s skeptical—about the father who wants his son back and her own ability to conduct a successful mission.

Then another boy turns up missing, and she realizes the bootcamp and its owner could be deadly. Determined to find and rescue both teenagers, Rox works round the clock to locate the wilderness camp. But someone tips off the program, making her job nearly impossible. When Josh’s mother is murdered, Rox realizes the boys may know a dark secret and are on borrowed time. But can she find the base camp and extract the kids before the assailant moves in to silence them?

New Book, New Series

Hello friends and readers!

This blog is long overdue, but I finally have a new book out! Yay! A BITTER DYING (Detective Jackson #12) is now available in print and ebook from Amazon. The reviews, so far, are terrific, and I hope you’ll check it out. I had a lot fun writing this one, especially the ending.

Here’s the back cover copy:
When a frustrated ex-con takes a young family and their home hostage, the only officer he’ll speak with is Detective Wade Jackson. But Jackson already has his hands full running the Eugene Violent Crimes Unit and overseeing the investigation of a series of seemingly random assaults.

While Jackson juggles the hostage negotiations with his chaotic single-parent home life, the assaults point toward a troubled company that recycles industrial oil. With several lawsuits pending, the CEO of WestPac emerges as a likely suspect in the latest attack of a trial lawyer.

As Jackson tries to meet the hostage taker’s demands, a powerful politician interferes for personal reasons, and the standoff turns bloody. Meanwhile, the latest assault victim dies, and Jackson’s team must scramble to identify the assailant. Can they piece together the connections in time to prevent another murder and save the family?

 

I also have a new  series I’m working on. It features Rox MacFarlane, an ex-CIA agent who works as a private extractor, rescuing people from oppressive situations. The first book, GUILT GAME, will be released in early June (and is available for preorder now). I’m writing the second book in the story, and having a blast with the premise. I hope you’ll give the series a try!

Here’s the description for Guilt Game:
Roxanne MacFarlane is the Extractor—a former CIA agent who specializes in rescuing people from dangerous situations. She lives on the edge and works outside the law, but desperate families know she’s the only operative who can bring their missing loved ones home. Driven by guilt over the loss of her sister to a polygamous cult, she will stop at nothing to save her clients.

When Dave and Jenny Carson ask her to find their daughter, Emma, and extract her from a charismatic cult leader who preys on young women with guilt issues, Rox is eager to help them. But the experimental treatment she just started in order to improve her atypical brain patterns forces her to face conflicting newfound emotions while working feverishly to find the secret compound and craft a strategy to get Emma out.

When the bodies of young women who match Emma’s description turn up, Rox must fast-forward her plans. But the situation is more complicated and dangerous than she realizes, and her own life is soon in jeopardy. Can Rox save Emma and bring down a ruthless predator before more young women fall victim?

 

 

New Contest Winners

Thanks for all the lovely birthday wishes! I had a terrific day of dancing in the park to great blues music!

death deservedPicking a personal-favorite-comment winner is much harder, and I should stop even trying! But how can I resist a comment that offers me strippers as a gift? So Robyn gets a print book. Or audio, if you prefer.

The three random random winners are as follows:

Ellen (print), Antonia Nnen (audiobook), and Mary Roach (audiobook).

Congratulations to all (and send me your snail-mail addresses). And thanks everyone for your support. I couldn’t do this without you!

If you didn’t win, try again at Goodreads.

Back to writing.

 

 

 

 

Birthday Giveaway!

death deservedHello Friends!

To celebrate my birthday—grateful to still be here—I’m giving away books! I have a few print copies of the new Jackson book, Death Deserved, which will release July 19th. Plus an audiobooks as well. This is your chance to get an early copy and be one of the first to read and review. You know the drill, just post a comment. Amuse me or flatter me….whatever! I’ll pick one winner randomly and one favorite comment. And if you want an audiobook, say so. I’ll pick those winners randomly.

In other happy July news, my publisher has all the Jackson ebooks on sale for $1.99 for the whole month of July. A good time to get caught up! And I think Point of Control is on sale in the UK market.

And Goodreads is giving away 100 ebooks of Death Deserved. Just enter to win.

As for an update: I’m at the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, dancing in the park and having a great time. And doing research for the first book in my new series (The Extractor), which is set in Portland. Life is good. Thanks and love to you all.

Launch Day Contest Winners!

Thank you everyone who wrote rave reviews on launch day! They give the book a lot of credibility. I’m honored to have a 4.9 ranking. And thank you to everyone who posted links. I appreciate your support. Writing standalone thrillers is risky, and I couldn’t get visibility without you!

Contest entriesOn to the winners!

Drawn from the bowl of names for the grand prize…drumroll here… Robyn Jones! Congratulations! Your support and enthusiasm are much appreciated. Enjoy you new Kindle Paperwhite, which should be arriving in the next week. If you want me to gift it to someone else, let me know ASAP.

The three $25 Amazon gift certificates go to Carol Custer, Fred Isaacs, and Carline B. Congratulations and thank you! I appreciate your loyalty.

And the signed print book goes to Erica Szegda! Erica, if you don’t want the book or would like a different book of mine, contact me, and we’ll work something out!

I’ll send all the prizes using the emails you supplied, so if you’d like to use a different email (for Amazon), contact me know.

And for people who posted and didn’t win, I’ll have a free audiobook for you in about a month.

Thanks again!

Launch-Day Contest (& giveaway)

The Gender Experiment releases Tuesday, May 24!gender exp

I’m excited about this book and eager to get it into the hands of readers. Sometimes I think of it just as “The Experiment” because it’s different from anything I’ve written. Yet, Agent Bailey, the high-functioning sociopath from Point of Control, is back. And The Gender Experiment is a fast-paced, crime-fiction thriller with multiple points of view, so the focus, structure, and writing will be very familiar to readers.

I hope you’ll give it a try. Beta readers say it’s the best novel I’ve written, and bestselling author J Carson Black says it’s the best book she’s read this year. She calls it “riveting and original” and says she fell in love with the characters.

I could really use your help promoting the book, so I’m hosting a launch-day contest. Anyone who posts a review or social media link to the book will be entered to win a Kindle Paperwhite. I’m also giving away three Amazon gift certificates and a signed print copy. Here’s the universal link: http://amzn.to/1Np9uLC

To enter, after you’ve posted, just contact me at lj@ljsellers.com. You can send a screenshot, but I’ll probably go on the honor system. If your email shows up at my other address, that’s okay too. Or if you copy/tag/@ me on the tweet or post, I’ll see it and enter your name.

If you’re willing to read the story and post a review on launch day or soon after (if you like it!), contact me and I’ll send you an ebook. ljsellers.novelist@gmail.com

I’m trying to make the launch support easy, so here are a few posts you can copy and paste on Tuesday.

“Riveting and original” is how readers describe THE GENDER EXPERIMENT, a new thriller by L.J. Sellers. Get one now! http://amzn.to/1Np9uLC

Check out THE GENDER EXPERIMENT, a new thriller by @LJSellers. “Riveting and original.” Get one now! http://amzn.to/1Np9uLC #thriller

A young morgue intern goes after a ruthless military researcher. THE GENDER EXPERIMENT is “riveting and original.” http://amzn.to/1Np9uLC

The author of the bestselling Jackson series releases THE GENDER EXPERIMENT. “Riveting and original.” Check it out! http://amzn.to/1Np9uLC

Thanks for all your support! I love what I do, and I write for my readers, but I couldn’t do this without you.

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LATEST REVIEWS

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The characters were compelling, the procedural work was dead-on, and the story was enthralling. Definitely recommended.”
~Michelle Gagnon, author of Boneyard
The author expertly intertwines multiple story lines, presents readers with fully realized characters that readers will feel they know, and keeps the action and suspense levels high. That’s a lot to expect from an author but L. J. Sellers delivers.” ~OverMyDeadBody
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