Win the New Jackson Story!

Hello Friends & Readers!

I hope the new year is treating you well . . . all things considered.

I’m happy to report that I have a new novel coming out Feb. 11. Called THE BLACK PILL, it’s a Jackson book that features a strong role for Agent Dallas, my undercover specialist. I’m so honored by the early reader response, which has been fantastic.

The story deals with the subject of incels (involuntary celibates) and their violent tendencies. But it also explores how they might have become that way.

Some of you will recognize the characters’ background as the real conditions of how my grandchildren were living before we rescued them from a dangerous cult in Costa Rica. I’ve often thought about how their lives might have developed without our intervention. Because I write what I fear, this story highlights what they could have become. But that’s all just background. The main story is:

A bizarre murder, a missing woman, and a pack of online predators. Can Jackson and Dallas stop the heinous crime spree?

An early-reader review: “Flawless pacing, fascinating characters, and a plot woven together with seamless complexity: The Black Pill is one of LJ Sellers’ most masterful works.”—Andrew Kaufman, bestselling thriller author

The ebook is available now for pre-order, and the print book will be released in a few weeks.

But I’m giving away a few ebooks today just for fun. In fact, I’ll give one to the first ten people who post a comment in response to my question. The question is: What should I write next?

The options are:

Costa Rican Rescue: The true story of how we extracted our grandchildren from a cult and had to hide from men with guns to keep us all safe.

Pretty Crimes: The first book in a new humorous crime series, or possibly the first TV episode of the series.

Jackson #16: If so, should I include other characters, such as Dallas again, or maybe the Extractor?

Let me know what you think. And thanks again for all your support! Also, if you like the story, please leave an Amazon review. Every review helps the book’s visibility.


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?



What’s Next?

PoC_homePOINT OF CONTROL is finally here! If you haven’t checked it out yet, click here. And if you’ve read it and liked it, please post a high-ranking review. I’m trying to keep this book visible for as long as possible…and save my career.

In other good news, Jackson #11, DEATH DESERVED, is available for pre-order (and will be released in June). As info: The ebook price will probably go up when it releases, so there’s a little advantage to ordering now. Here’s the link to the Amazon page, and the link to the rough-draft book description. I hope to have a cover soon too.

As for what’s next: I’m currently writing a new standalone thriller that I’m excited about. (A couple of beta readers are too!) Agent Bailey will be back in this new one, but the main protagonist is a young female morgue attendant. As I was writing a press release about Agent Bailey, the sociopath, I realized that the protagonist in the story I’m writing now is also unusual—and that I write a lot of these characters.

Thank you, my faithful readers, for trusting me enough to support my quirky standalones!

But don’t worry, there’s more Jackson stories coming too. I’ve already drafted the outline for Jackson #12 and submitted the proposal to my publisher. Even if they reject it, I’ll find a way to keep the series going. I know you’re not done with Jackson yet, and neither am I.

The plan is to write two books a year, alternating between Jackson stories and thrillers. I may even pen another Agent Dallas story if I come up with the right idea. Her novels are the hardest, because the scenarios are very specific and challenging. But the story I’m working on now is also taking me out of my comfort zone and making me work!

As always, I have books to give away. So post a comment, and I’ll send a print copy of POINT OF CONTROL to the commentor who catches my eye as well as pick one random winner too.


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!

Right Image, Wrong Message?

by L.J. Sellers, author of provocative mysteries & thrillers

Books covers! Sometimes you get lucky and find the perfect image after a quick search. Most of the time, the author and cover designers struggle to even articulate what type of single image will best convey a complex story.

I loved the first cover proof Thomas & Mercer sent for Deadly Bonds. It’s simple, powerful, and emotional. The child’s hand in the adult hand also tells readers something about the bonds in the title. I wanted to just say Yes, this is perfect.

But then I worried that the image would give some people the wrong idea. For some readers, any image involving a child on the cover of a crime fiction story implies pedophilia. I wanted to be wrong about that assumption, but I mentioned my concern to my publisher. They passed the cover around to a few employees to get their reactions and decided that they shared my concern.

So we’re back to the drawing board. Yesterday, they sent this cover. I like it, but I think it’s too sweet. And again, will people get the wrong idea? How do you covey that a small child plays a role in the story without having people assume that the child is victimized?

I have no regrets about the story. It may be one of my strongest Jackson books yet. But the cover is challenging, and I’m tempted to set up a photo shoot to see if my graphic artist can produce an image that implies a nonsexual bond between a caregiver and a child. Is that even possible?

So what do you think of these covers? Where does your mind go?

Jackson Goes International

by L.J. Sellers, author of provocative mysteries & thrillers

The most exciting thing in publishing now is the ability to easily reach readers around the world. My royalty statements from Thomas & Mercer include payments from the UK, Canada, Germany, and Australia. The statement also has label-lines for China, Japan, Brazil, India, and Mexico. These are all places where Amazon has launched online Kindle stores, and I know it’s only a matter of time before I start seeing sales in those markets too. The numbers are small, but I love that people in Brazil may soon be reading my Detective Jackson series.

Even more exciting, the series will launch in the German language next month. The first book, The Sex Club, has been retitled Gefahrliche Tugend, which translates to Dangerous Virtue, and will be released March 4. I have a friend who reads in German and will let me know what she thinks of the translation.

My German editor is very excited about the series and thinks it will be a bestseller. I already belong to the International Association of Crime Writers (just because I like the way it sounds), but how fun it will be to someday add “international bestseller” to my bio.

I’m happy to report that Amazon Crossing decided to keep all the original covers—with slight modifications to comply with local marketing regulations. Which tells me that we did a good job with the covers and that they have a universal appeal.

On a similar note, I recently heard from a reader who asked when my series would be available in Spanish. That seems like an even bigger market, and I plan to suggest to my publisher that they consider more translations. For now though, Secrets to Die For (Jackson #2) is currently being translated into German and will likely release in that language this summer.

As long as I’m spending the blog blatantly talking about my books, I might as well share that my publisher recently sent me a plaque and encased copy of Secrets to Die For—for passing 100,000 copies sold. They had it on sale for $.99 in both the US and UK for a long time!

In other news, the second agent Dallas book will be out May 13, and the ninth Detective Jackson story, Deadly Bonds, will release August 26. If all goes according to plan, the third Dallas book will release around Christmas. But what are the chances of all going according to plan?

Readers: Do you ever read books in another language?
Writers: Have you released books in the German market? Or considered a Spanish version?