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Winning Names

Thanks to everyone who participated!

I love reading all the submissions. I keep the names on file to use later for minor characters—because every story needs 20 or 30 names for witnesses, shopkeepers, and relatives.

Some favorite submissions that didn’t win are:
Dillon Maddox (which I’ll use for the victim, because he sounds sweet)
Donald Jong/Jong Donald (because it made me laugh)
Bolder Malone (because it’s bold and sleazy at the same time)
Author Grimes (just so unlikable)
Chandale Orsini (unique and fun)
Bodhi Reign (original, but I would misspell it every time)

And special thanks to Robyn Jones for a list of interesting names!

So what names did I choose? Rosco Jagger  Submitted by Angie Leblanc and Heather Snyder, respectively. Congratulations!

Why those two? The choice is completely subjective, of course. But Rosco sounds kind of rascally, and Jagger sounds like jagged and dagger and kind of evil. And they seem to work well together.

Thanks again to everyone who commented and/or sent an email response. I sent a link for a free book to all the good sports, but if I missed you in that mailing, let me know.

Win a Jackson print book!

Hi Friends and Readers

I finally have a few print copies of A LIAR’S DEATH (Jackson #13), and I’d love to give them away. (Some readers have said this is the best Jackson yet!)

We haven’t done a character-naming contest in a while, and everyone seems to enjoy them, so here it is.

I’m outlining a new Extractor story, and this one has a technology/hacker/digital ransom theme. The main antagonist is a fifty-something man with a background of failed start-ups and multiple divorces. He’s bitter but still passionate about his projects. Fortunately for my crime-fiction story, his projects are potentially deadly.

So give me your best bad-guy names for this character, and I’ll give away two print books, one for the best first name and one for the best surname name. If a single reader offers a winning combination, I’ll randomly pick a second winner.

In other news: POINT OF CONTROL, my standalone thriller featuring Agent Bailey, is only $.99 right now. If you haven’t read this one, now is a good time to download it.

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.

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 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!

Win a Kindle! And a copy of Point of Control

Hi Friends

PoC_homeTo celebrate my great review in Publishers Weekly, my publisher is giving away a Kindle and 20 ebook copies of Point of Control. And I’ll give away a print copy to my favorite comment. To enter, just post a comment. You can also post on my Facebook page announcement.

Point of Control releases January 19! I so eager for my readers to get this one into their hands. It’s been long wait. Thanks for your patience.

Point of Control

Hey friends and readers! Sorry I haven’t been in touch. But in the last twelve months I’ve written three novels, hosted a Left Coast Crime conference, recovered from a broken leg (with two surgeries), and moved! Among other things.

Point of Control-medThe book news is that Point of Control, a standalone thriller, will release January 19. If you’re on my mailing list you’ll get an email at the time. Then Death Deserved (Jackson #11) will release in June. It’s a long way off, I know! Sorry! But I did my part. The Jackson book is done and in the editing process now. (And I’m already outlining a new standalone book.)

I hope you’ll try Point of Control. I had a blast writing the story, and( it’s available for preorder now. The character is new, and the plot is both “ripped from the headlines” realistic and wild as hell. Here’s the cover copy:

In her personal life, FBI agent Andra Bailey works hard to control her sociopathic tendencies. But on the job, her cold logic comes in handy.
Now two world-renowned scientists have disappeared, and the bureau assigns Bailey to find them and hunt down the kidnapper. Bailey soon suspects that a rare-metal shortage may be the link between the disappearances and that the motive is far more dangerous than she imagined. With the market in turmoil and prices sky-high, electronics companies and their power-hungry CEOs are ready to do anything—even kill—to keep production lines going.

When a third scientist disappears, Bailey throws caution aside to track the crimes to their source. But by immersing herself so deeply in the case, she risks letting down the defenses she’s built to contain the sociopath inside her.

Here’s what bestselling authors say:
“L.J.Sellers outdoes herself in POINT OF CONTROL, a nonstop action juggernaut that gives the reader a unique female protagonist and lots of real-life issues to think about. The book ranks right up there with the best of her excellent series novels.” —Tim Hallinan, bestselling author of The Junior Bender and Poke Raferty Mysteries

“With cutting-edge technology, nonstop action, and a wholly original character in Agent Bailey, L.J. Sellers’ POINT OF CONTROL is a heart-pounding thriller that is smart as all get-out.”— J. Carson Black, NY Times bestselling author

Here are my public-events calendar for the next six months:
Driftwood Public Library in Lincoln City: October 15
Holiday Market, Lane County Fairgrounds, December 5
Left Coast Crime, Phoenix AZ, February 25-28

Wrongful Death: Update and Contest

Wrongful Death: Update and Contest

Wrongful DeathWrongful Death (Jackson #10) releases next week (Feb. 24). I know it seems like a long wait but it’s also hard to believe that I have ten books in this series. I feel like I just started writing it a few years ago. It’s been a great adventure.

Here’s the jacket copy:

On a chilly Oregon morning, a policeman is found slain near the homeless camp where he’d been passing out blankets the night before. When Detective Jackson is called to the scene, witnesses point to a pair of mentally ill street twins as the likely perpetrators.
As the case progresses and arrests are made, the homeless community revolts against the police, and the chaos pulls detectives away from their investigations. Tension mounts, and the evidence begins to link a series of sexual assaults to the death of the murdered officer. The task force is quickly faced with a dangerous decision: Should they risk the life of another young victim to catch the killer?

I hope you enjoy the story! In next month’s Mystery Scene magazine, I have an essay about the real homeless twins this story was based on and my work with the homeless in founding Housing Help. Please check it out.

And I’ll be in Portland next month for Crimelandia (Left Coast Crime) March 12-15, where I’ll be signing copies of Wrongful Death. It’s a great convention for mystery novel fans, and it’s not too late to register or buy day passes.

I’m also giving away two print copies of the book, so post a comment and enter to win.

AGENT DALLAS THRILLERS smallAnd I now have a boxed set of all three Agent Dallas books  for only $5.99. Available on Amazon, B&N/Nook, and iTunes.
Thanks for your loyal support!

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Five-Time Readers Favorite Award Winner!

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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