Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Next Exit Quarter Mile Release and Review

As promised a few weeks ago, the release day for CW Browning's latest novel in her Exit Series is here - and it's a killer!

Book Blurb:
When Alina Maschik - code name "Viper" - flees Syria, she has a serious problem. Someone knows much more than they should about the elusive assassin. With orders to lie low, Alina returns to Medford, determined to do just that.

But once again, New Jersey refuses to co-operate.

The Casa Reino Cartel is moving mysterious cargo up the Eastern seaboard; a tragic accident in the Pine Barrens kills a local street race; FBI Special Agent John Smithe is looking for answers where there shouldn't be questions; metro area hospitals are stockpiling a new antidote, and an invisible foe has zeroed in on Viper.

A web of intrigue stretching from Damascus to the Pine Barrens has been skillfully cast.  Now, Viper must confront ghosts from her past even as she fights to unravel a sinister plot before thousands of Americans die.

My Review:
NEXT EXIT, QUARTER MILE is the latest offering in the Exit Series – and things are about to change in ways Alina never saw coming.

Viper is told to stand down and returns to New Jersey after being unexpectedly chased across the Middle East to the Amalfi Coast, a strange concept when the assassin is usually the one doing the hunting.  The Organization has a mole that is leaking like a sieve and death lurks just around the corner.

And when the bill comes due, death always collects.

Alina knows this better than most, having lost her brother to enemy fire twelve years ago, prompting her to join the Navy and Naval Intelligence which eventually led her to the Organization.  But the past is sneaking up, ready to explode like the handiwork of the terrorist’s bomb signature she knows all too well.

And he’s coming for more than just Viper this time.

QUARTER MILE is part Fast and Furious, part Taken, and part Jason Bourne, and for a gal that loves cars and things that go ‘splodey, this was a really nice mix.  But it isn’t all street races in this offering.  We are talking about assassins – and even assassins have a human side.

That’s where this novel becomes a pivoting point in the series.  Circumstances from all sides force Alina (and that mysterious Hawk) to explore the humanity that was buried long ago in order to become the weapon of mass destruction her government needed.  But now that that government might be targeting her, she must reexamine the reasons for what she does – and what it has required her to give up.

And in this, Quarter Mile takes a darker turn – and you’ve gotta know how much I like the darkness.  The stakes are high once again and the heat gets turned up on much more than the relationship that has simmered between Viper and Hawk.  There is at times a level of gruesome we haven’t seen before in the prior novels that rivals the torture scene in Taken – and I’m talking the one that didn’t make the cut in the final theatrical release version.  Viper goes deep, and for an assassin that means dark.

Since we’re dealing with so much introspection, the pace at times moves a bit slower than your typical thriller, but there’s so much meat to process in this novel that it’s appreciated.  Things are set up here that promise an explosive next book – and yes, that means that not all loose threads are tied up in this one when it comes to the overall larger story.  But that’s okay in my book.  I like the anticipation of the upcoming possibilities.

As with previous books in this series, there are a few incidences of head-hopping with point-of-view, though it’s much better this time around.  Overuse of eye narrowing, lip twitching, and the word slightly ran rampant at times.  However, these didn’t decrease my overall enjoyment of the novel – especially after that killer ending.

But you’ll have to read it to discover what that is.

Content Warning:  There is usually little about this series that requires much in the way of warning - except the obvious dealings with assassinations.  However, this one requires more caution than usual due to more salty language (nothing outside the normal ie. no f-words to worry about). and there are a couple of more gruesome scenes that might be difficult for some, though nothing I couldn't handle.  For the first time, there is also the insinuation of sex but with very little on-camera activity.  Probably a lot less than teens read in today's YA genre.  Overall, as I usually say, just know your teen.

Another solid outing of the Exit Series, to which I'll again offer up four stars.  I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes - but I liked it so much I went ahead and purchased it for my library.

And you can too for the special release week price of $2.99 by clicking HERE.  And as a special release week bonus, you can pick up the first book in the series NEXT EXIT, THREE MILES for free HERE and the second book NEXT EXIT, PAY TOLL for only ninety-nine cents HERE.  Better yet, just pick up the entire series of four books for the rootin'-tootin' low price of $7.97 HERE.  But only for a limited time.

Author Bio:

CW Browning was writing before she could spell. Making up stories with her childhood best friend in the backyard in Olathe, Kansas, imagination ran wild from the very beginning. At the age of eight, she printed out her first full-length novel on a dot-matrix printer. All eighteen chapters of it. Through the years, the writing took a backseat to the mechanics of life. Those mechanics, however, have a great way of underlining what genuinely lifts a spirit and makes the soul sing. After attending Rutgers University and studying History, her love for writing was rekindled. It became apparent where her heart truly lay. Picking up an old manuscript, she dusted it off and went back to what made her whole. CW still makes up stories in her backyard, but now she crafts them for her readers to enjoy. She makes her home in Southern New Jersey, where she loves to grill steak and sip red wine on the patio.

CW loves to hear from readers! She is always willing to answer questions and hear your stories. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter. If social media isn't your thing, she can also be reached by email at cwbrowning12@gmail.com and on her website at www.cwbrowning.com.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

It's a Cover Reveal!

My fellow author and long-distance friend CW Browning has an upcoming release in her excellent suspense/thriller Next Exit series.  Pre-order for special pricing through the week of the June 12th release day by clicking HERE.  While you're at it, I highly recommend you pick up the first three books in the series too. 

Without further adieu, here's the really awesome and explosive cover reveal for Next Exit Quarter Mile!

When Alina Maschik – code name “Viper” –  flees Syria, she has a serious problem. Someone knows much more than they should about the elusive assassin. With orders to lie low, Alina returns to Medford, determined to do just that. 

But once again, New Jersey refuses to co-operate.

The Casa Reino Cartel is moving mysterious cargo up the Eastern seaboard; a tragic accident in the Pine Barrens kills a local street racer; FBI Special Agent John Smithe is looking for answers where there shouldn’t be questions; metro area hospitals are stockpiling a new antidote, and an invisible foe has zeroed in on Viper.

A web of intrigue stretching from Damascus to the Pine Barrens has been skillfully cast. Now, Viper must confront ghosts from her past even as she fights to unravel a sinister plot before thousands of Americans die.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Baby Steps to Publishing

The second season of my podcast Coffee and Catastrophe is underway.  You can check out both season one and the current posted episodes of season two by clicking the Podcast tab above.

As many of you know, I started spending a lot of time on KBoards toward the end of 2016 as I tried to wade through the ever-changing world of marketing for indie books.  Lately I've been seeing a ton of posts by newbie authors asking about what they need to do since finishing their first manuscript.

So this season Brian and I are focusing on talking about various insights into the self-publishing realm.  The latest episode 2.3: Baby Steps to Publishing offers an overview of the steps newbie authors need to take when they prepare for self-publishing that first book.  Since Brian and I tend to yak a lot in between each step, I'm posting the list we discussed below.

1.  Write Your Book - make it the very best it can be

2.  Edit, Edit, and Edit Some More - from self-editing methods to proofing and developmental

3.  Develop a Team of Beta Readers - find people who will give you helpful, solid, and specific feedback

4.  Set Up Website/Blog/Social Media/Mailing List - limit social media initially to what you can keep up with on a regular basis, but be sure to create a mailing list link so readers can sign up for new releases

5.  Get a Professional-Looking, Genre Appropriate Cover - strong legible fonts readable in thumbnail, avoid busyness, and avoid too much flat black

6.  Decide Where You're Going To Sell Your Book - will you stick to one site (KU?), use an aggregator, or go all in wide
- www.kdp.amazon.com
- press.barnesandnoble.com
- www.writinglife.kobobooks.com
- download iTunes Producer
- aggregators www.smashwords.com or www.draft2digital.com

7.  Select Keywords and Categories - study your genre and choose up to 10 keywords and 2 genre classification categories

8.  Prep Front and Back Matter - your formatted manuscript will need a table of contents, legal disclaimers, cover artist information, author bio, dedication, acknowledgements, and a link to that mailing list you've created

9.  Develop an ARC team - don't know what that is, then listen to the podcast

10. You'll have to listen to the podcast to find out this all-important last step

Be sure and listen in to podcast 2.2 on how to avoid scams and scammers.  They're rife in the indie world, so make sure you're prepared for how to deal with them - 'cause you WILL have to deal with them.

Until next time, happy reading!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Love and Romance??

'Tis the season for love and romance.

Sadly, it's something I'm not very good at as a writer.  Countless times I've been told I should write romance, that romance is where the real income is, that romance is the easiest genre to write.

I've never been very good at taking the easy way.

But I love what I write.  It's what I read!  A good mystery will keep me up reading for hours, figuring out who did it and why.  A thriller full of explosions and the clock winding down to Armageddon gets my heart pumping the way a sex scene just can't (I know, I know - TMI).

Still, from time-to-time I do think about the possibilities of adding yet another genre to my repertoire.  Yet I just can't seem to wrap my brain around what kind of characters or plot a romance would take - at least one coming from my mind.  Every time I start putting together the possibilities of who, what, where, when, and why, I get stuck on the how.  I'll come up with a couple of characters and a basic idea, and then it inevitably turns into a mystery that must be solved, with the accompanying murder, mayhem, and all-around madness I tend to put my characters through in my stories.

I give up.

As an author, you constantly hear the phrase write what you know.  I guess romance isn't something I know much about.  After spending my younger years raising my son, working more than full-time, and then starting on a new career path at middle-age, dating and romance rarely entered my field of vision.  Now?


These days it's all about family and friends - and readers like you, of course.  Love comes in many forms, even when there is no romance involved.  Love isn't flowers you may get once a year.  It isn't about a fancy dinner at a ridiculously expensive restaurant.  Chocolate?

Okay, that's a different story.

But love is grasping that tiny hand to keep a child safe.  It's a shoulder available for a good cry whenever needed.  A phone call in the middle of the night that sends you rushing out the door in spite of the circumstances.  Trying to sleep in a chair beside a hospital bed - and failing.  A home-cooked meal to say I've been thinking of you.  A difficult, but necessary, conversation.  Holding a withered hand as a soul is escorted from this life.

And doing your darnedest to write what your readers love.

So on this Valentine's Day, I may not have a romance novel to share with you, but that doesn't stop me from sharing my heart with each book I write.  Thanks so much for reading.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Happy New Year Overview

Let me be the first to wish you a Happy New Year!

Hmmm...maybe not the first.




Probably not.

Well regardless, just hope your New Year is shaping up to be smashing.

Things are moving along here at DA Bale Publishing in 2018.  I'm hard at work on AIM BEFORE YOU SHOOT, the fifth book in the Bartender Babe Chronicles, and things are about to get hairy for your favorite heroine.  There are just some things you can't take back - no matter how long you stand in the return line after Christmas.  But don't worry!  It'll all come together with Vicki's blend of snark mixed with a little humor to make all those boo-boos better.

After that, I'll be wrapping up the BBC with the sixth and final book before yearend, which for an author will be here before we know it.  I hope you'll stay tuned for the turmoil in SHOOT BEFORE YOU BLINK.

Then at some point (haven't decided when) I'm going to introduce a new series to you.  Yes, that's right.  I'm writing a sci-fi space opera adventure as a homage to that dearly departed-too-soon television series Firefly.  The thing I loved about that show wasn't the technology or military tactics but the camaraderie of this simple band of misfit characters, and that's what I hope to highlight in my upcoming new series The Outliers.

And for all of you thriller lovers out there, I've been percolating a new idea for the past year now and have the opening chapter written out to start a new thriller series.  It's still in its infancy, but if all goes well this year, I hope to invest a bit more time in that one too.  No titles or series names at present, but once I finish the BBC series and get at least the rough draft of the second book in The Outliers finished, I'll probably delve into this one more deeply.

Lastly you can check out the interview I did with author JD Core on his Thrills and Mystery podcast just before Christmas by clicking HERE.  It's a little over thirty minutes long, but we sure had some fun and laughs, though I think I scared him at times.

I seem to have that affect on people.

Then before I forget, this is the last day for a big ninety-nine cent ebook sale with my fellow author Renee Pawlish.  She puts so much effort into organizing this every month, and this time I'm participating by offering DIE BEFORE YOU WAKE for only ninety-nine cents.  But hurry, because these offers are here and gone like Christmas.  Just click HERE to browse the wonderful array of ebooks and find your new favorite indie author today.

So now I lift a glass to you, my dear readers.  Thank you for a wonderful 2017, and here's hoping we'll have a great time together in 2018.  Cheers!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Free - My Favorite Four-Letter Word

Ah free, my favorite four-letter word.

If you're like me and love free books, take a gander at a great collection of free mystery and thriller ebooks offered this weekend.  Many thanks to Renee Pawlish for putting this promo together - and allowing me to participate!

To take advantage of these freebies, click on the link HERE and enjoy a selection of some of the best the indie author community has to offer.  Looks like there's something for everyone.

But get 'em quick!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Days Away From New Release

We're days away from the September 18th release of DIE BEFORE YOU WAKE, the fourth book in the Bartender Babe Chronicles.

You won't want to miss this new chapter in the Vicki Bohanan saga.  As a bonafide legal investigator now, Vicki's struggling with early mornings, co-workers questioning her mental mettle (and her ability to adhere to the dress code), and a forensic instructor who's hot on her tail.

This is Vicki, after all.

Things only get more interesting when her first case brings out the ghosts of her past - and the claws.

And I'm not talking her furry feline Slinky.

So dive in soon - and while you can get the ebook for $2.99.  October 1st, books two through four in the series will rise in price to $3.99 each.

Pick up DIE BEFORE YOU WAKE at Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, or your online retailer of choice where ebooks are sold.