Tag Archives: Eric Beetner

Interview With JB Kohl and Eric Beetner, Authors of “Borrowed Trouble”

What are your books about?

EB: One Too Many Blows To The Head is a crime/noir novel set in 1930s Kansas City about an ex-boxer, Ray, who manages his brother’s boxing career. He watches as his brother is killed in the ring during a fixed fight. He sets out into the night to find those responsible.

At the same time Detective Dean Fokoli, who has serious issues of his own he is dealing with, is assigned the case of why so many in the boxing underworld are turning up dead. From there we get the cat and mouse chase through the nighttime streets of Kansas City from both perspectives.

JB: In Borrowed Trouble, the sequel to OTMB, Ray ventures from the house he’s been hiding in for the past year to seek the help of Fokoli, the cop who tried to put him away. Ray has received a package from his sister—one he never before knew existed—a sister who needs his help. Together, Ray and Fokoli travel to L.A. and stir the soup that is Tinsel Town. The stuff that floats to the top isn’t what anyone expects.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

EB: While Jen and I were brainstorming ideas of what to write together I hit on the idea of writing both sides of this crime. I write the character of Ray and the idea came from close to home for me. My grandfather was a professional fighter in the 1930s, and his name was Ray. Even his last name, Ward, is a shortening of my grandmother’s maiden name. Everything after that is entirely made up. I don’t want to smear his good name by implying he’d be involved in any of the mayhem that happens to Ray in the book.

At least not that I am aware of . . .

JB: By the time we hit Borrowed Trouble we were well-acquainted with our characters. We knew that they could go forward as a team because they were each good men at heart, flawed, but good. To put these 2 guys in a “When Good Girls Go Bad” type novel was easy to do. We both like crime/underground stories. It was a good fit.

Tell us a little about your main characters. Who was your favorite? Why?

EB: Ray was a decent boxer, but saw more talent in his little brother, Rex. He has a complicated relationship with his abusive father who skipped town years before. He views life like a boxing match, and he is prone to bursts of violence because of it.

When he sets out to seek vengeance on the men who killed his brother, he really is doing it out of a skewed sense of heroics. His personal definitions of what is justifiable in the name of justice get him into a world of trouble.

In Borrowed Trouble, he is again the driver of the “rescue” of a sister he didn’t know he had, but along the way his methods skim the line of what is morally questionable. He realizes his own shortcomings and his tendency for things to devolve into violence, and he is remorseful, but ultimately he finds he can’t always control it. And quite often he is fighting for his life, and the lives of others, from very bad men.

The biggest challenge was to write a guy like Ray, who does some questionable things, and make him sympathetic and likable.

Same thing with Fokoli, which is why I like what Jen did so much. Fokoli is a guy with deep flaws, and yet you end up rooting for these two damaged men in whatever they get up to.

JB: Of course when you create a protagonist, you can’t help but love him a little bit, you can’t help but want him to succeed in everything he does. I liked Eric’s character, Ray, because I felt as if everything he did, no matter how horrible, was justified. I wanted him to succeed. I wanted him to have a good life when it was all said and done.

Fokoli was the same for me. I wanted him to have a good home life, a good career. I wanted him to succeed in his endeavor to give up the crooked ways responsible for his current dilemmas.

Having said all of that, sometimes, when you write, you just wanna make a character who’s bad, a guy who can do whatever he wants and get away with it. You wanna make a guy who is the compilation of every frustration, every traffic jam, every broken dish, every case of PMS, and you wanna give him free reign. So I gotta say, for that reason, I like Baron. In Borrowed Trouble, Baron was the kind of guy who killed to prove a point, killed because he had a headache, killed just because he had a bad day. Now, before you go taking me out of context, let me just say that I am very much a non-violent person. I’m gentle, loving, kind. Do I like Baron? No. Not particularly. Do I aspire to be like Baron? Not at all. But I think he came out being a truly evil character and that is what I like about him.

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

EB: We outline in a very skeletal fashion. We know where the story is going, but whole chapters can be summed up in a line or two just to get the geography and timeline straight before we head off to write our chapters.

If anything needs to change along the way, though, it can and does. Borrowed Trouble took a few sharp left turns as we were writing. But you go with what is working and often a character or scene the other writer comes up with sends your own imagination in a different direction. I hate to use to tired old, “Like improv jazz” analogy but it’s not too far off in our case. I’ll say we have sheet music, but we like to go off on a solo every now and then.

JB: I agree. We do outline. And we outline by volleying back and forth. Then we swap chapters. We did a blog post once and one of the folks who left a comment did, in fact, liken what we do to being musicians jamming in a garage. What Eric and I do isn’t exactly like that, but I can see where one would come up with that comparison. We both have characters who we’ve created and who we each, for the most part, are responsible for. If you’ve read our books, you’ll notice in OTMB, we were very separate. The book was very much 2 parallel stories running simultaneously, the hunter and the hunted. Borrowed Trouble let us into uncharted waters with each other, giving us more and more overlap with one another’s characters. Outlining, I feel, became more important at that time. Being able to write like Eric writes became more necessary, making sure Ray sounded like Ray was more important in that book because he was being written from Fokoli’s point of view. Because of that, outlining was a little tighter in that book.

What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

EB: Waiting for Jen to finish her chapters so I could read them.

JB: Hmmmm. If I take myself back all the way to the first book we’ve written together (We are on book #4 now, 2 published thus far), I would have to say that in the beginning, with OTMB, it was letting someone I barely knew read my raw, first draft. That’s a very personal, vulnerable thing to do. It’s hard to remember ever feeling that way because now we just work. We outline a book, we make a plan and we move on it. But initially, way back when, it was stressful.

Do you prefer to write at a particular time of day?

EB: I’m a night writer. It is the only time I get with my work schedule and my two kids. I like it though. I wonder if I ever wrote full time if I’d ever do it during the day.

JB: More and more I’m a night writer as well. Three years ago, four, I probably would have laughed at the thought of me writing at night. But . . . life takes over. Day jobs take over and rule my time, for better or worse. I, like many, many writers out there, burn the midnight oil in order to get those few precious words on paper before I fall asleep at night.

What was the first story you remember writing?

EB: Not too long ago I found an early story in a batch of old school work and papers my Dad saved. I was nine or ten, I think. It was a crime story about a kidnapping and car chase. I found it hilarious to find a crime story from so long ago. I guess I was destined to write this dark material.

JB: John, The First-Time Quarterback. That was my first foray into the world of, what I like to call, “Unassigned Writing.” I was 9 years old. Fourth grade. I still have the story. I invented the word “whiskly” in it. For those of you who don’t own my dictionary, whiskly is a combined word for briskly and whisked and fast.

Does writing come easy for you?

EB: Yes. I never quite understood the people who wring their hands and struggle with writing. It’s fun to me. If it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t do it. I was a screenwriter for years and have written sixteen feature length screenplays and a number of shorts and a few episodes of TV.

Knock on wood, I’m never short of ideas. Sometimes too many.

JB: Yes and No. I don’t struggle with the writing, I struggle with finding/making the time to write. I love writing. If it was something unpleasant, I wouldn’t do it.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

EB: Just do it. Don’t talk about writing. Write. Don’t read advice about writing. Write. Write a whole lot and know you will throw it away. If no one reads the first thing you write, write something else.

Personally I don’t like classes, writers groups, critique clubs or anything like that. It works for some people, not for me. That’s another big one – there is no correct way to write, only what works for you. And you won’t know what works for you unless you buckle down and do it.

JB: Pencil to paper, hands on keyboard. Whatever you need to do to get words on paper or on the screen. Sit your butt down and do it. No excuses. Life if short. If you want to do it. Do it. Don’t do it for millions of dollars. Don’t do it for fame. Do it because it’s what you want to do.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character in your story because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you, his or her creator?

EB: If that were the case I’d never get anything written. In our books, no one is safe!

JB: Nope. No problem. That’s not to say I won’t ever have a problem, but I’ve killed off plenty of people in all my books, and it was always the best thing for the book.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

EB: I want readers to have a thrilling time and maybe tear a few pages because they are turning so fast. All the feedback we’ve gotten has been so positive and we’ve heard exactly the kind of response we really wanted from readers. Namely, that they were riveted to the story, that each chapter had them hanging and wanting to know what happens next, and that the surprises in the books gave them real shocking moments.

Especially in One Too Many Blows To The Head there is one big twist that so far, no one has seen coming. That is very gratifying.

JB: When I read I want to be entertained. I don’t want to be preached to. I don’t want to have to swallow someone’s opinions. I want to have fun, maybe be a little scared, maybe fall in love a little, maybe worry, maybe cry. I hope my writing gives a little of that to the readers who take a look at my work.

Who designed your cover?

EB: I did for both One Too Many Blows To The Head and Borrowed Trouble. The artwork on One Too Many was painted by a good friend of mine named Marc Sasso who is a professional artist and he did a huge favor by slumming it and knocking out the incredible painting. I sent him some reference photos and described what we wanted and he nailed it. I added the type and layout.

For Borrowed Trouble, the plot centers around a mysterious can of film so I like the idea of using that as a visual motif. I lifted the image of the man fighting with a woman from an old public domain pulp magazine from the 1950s. Again, I did all the layout and Jennifer and I gave notes and tweaked until we both liked them. It was quite easy, as everything with Jen is.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself or your books?

EB: I’m so glad our partnership has continued. The writing is effortless and so fun and I’m so proud of the books we’ve created. I really can’t wait until we get this next series out there. The books are a little lighter and fun. It’s actually been a struggle sometimes for Jen and I rein in our darker tendencies.

I’m grateful for the chance to be around in this new era of publishing. It has allowed me to get a great deal of work out there for readers to find. I’m not breaking the bank, but I’ve met so many great people and many of my heroes in the crime writing field and it is amazing to have them consider me a peer.

In this time of indie publishers like Second Wind hard work and tenacity really pays off. The really motivated writers with talent can make a splash without waiting around for someone to let you in the gate.

Above all, I hope people continue to find the books and get in touch and let us know what they thought.

JB: I think we’ve covered everything that needed saying!! We have the perfect partnership–no midnight phone calls, no creative arguments, just the writing–the great writing. I’m proud of the work we do together.

Second Wind has been a great home for us and our works.

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Introducing the Authors of Second Wind Publishing

I thought a fun way to introduce the authors of Second Wind Publishing, LLC (or at least the ones who wanted to be introduced) would be to have them answer three simple questions so you can see how different authors perceive themselves and their writing. The questions:

1. What is writing like for you?
2. What is the most thrilling thing about getting published?
3. What is the most humbling thing about getting published?

Nancy A. Niles, author of Vendetta:

1. Writing is something that I can’t not do. It’s my best friend, sometimes a pain in the neck, but most times just something that I need to do for my own peace of mind.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the encouragement it has given me to keep writing and keep allowing myself to express more freely and deeper. I think all those rejection slips had an effect on me and now being published is having a strengthening and very positive effect on my writing.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is knowing that for a few hours the people who read my novel will be taken away from their problems and be in my world. It humbles me to know that for just a short time I can give them a little escape from their troubles. It is quite a blessing.

Laura S. Wharton, author of The Pirate’s Bastard:

1. Writing is like exercise. Sometimes, it’s really hard to get up at 4:00 in the morning to begin writing…the warm covers are oh so snuggly. Other times, the adrenalin rush about an aspect of the story-in-process surging through me has me up at 3:00, sitting still for three hours, and then reluctantly stopping so I can prepare myself and family for the work/school day ahead. Like exercise, it has to be done nearly every day to accomplish anything close to completion.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is reading reviews from unknown readers – and seeing that they really loved my story.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing typos after publication of what I thought was an error-free book.

Nichole R. Bennett, author of Ghost Mountain:

1. Writing is in my blood. I don’t mean that I come from a long line of authors, because I don’t. But I have to write. I have to get those words out of my body and onto paper. Some days those words flow and there is no stopping them. Other days I struggle over each and every letter. Either way, writing is something I have to do. Just like eating or breathing.

2. The most thrilling thing is knowing that I am living my dream. Yes, it can be hard, but this is what I want to do and I’m doing it. How many people can truly say they get to live their dream?
3. I’m not sure there’s a humbling moment for me. I knew going in that writing would take some thick skin and hard work. I knew not everyone would like my work or appreciate the time and energy that it took to get where I am. That’s okay. I’m just grateful for the opportunities I have had and that there are people who do like it!

J. Conrad Guest, author of Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings and One Hot January:

1. I haven’t found anything that provides the level of satisfaction writing provides me—the highs of crafting a perfect sentence, of self-discovery and exploring the universal themes of love and loss, dying and death, salvation, redemption, and keeping my parents alive and making them proud.

2. As writers, I think we all believe our work is the greatest since Hemingway, and seeing our work in print is affirmation, a thrill, that our work has merit—even if it isn’t really as good as Hemingway.

3. I find nothing humbling about getting published (I write with publication in mind), save for the process. By the time I receive my first proof copy, I’ve gone over my manuscript a dozen times or more and have probably a half-dozen drafts. An editor has gone over it, found several typos I’ve missed, and made suggestions for changes—some with which I agree, but most I discard. So I find it maddening and, yes, humbling, when I start reading my proof copy and find ways to improve the narrative, to rewrite a passage and, worst of all, I find a typo! I’m a perfectionist, so, yes, it’s humbling to learn I still can improve upon the process.

Eric Beetner, co-author of One Too Many Blows to the Head and Borrowed Trouble

1. Writing is lonely and tiring. Even writing as a part of a team like I do with Jennifer is still lonesome. We live on opposite coasts and only communicate through email. I never show anything to anyone for critique. Never let early drafts out to the public. So having her around is also an act of real trust. We show each other our naked first drafts and still expect that we’ll respect each other in the morning.

2. I find that it is too easy to only hear from a friendly audience of family and friends so the biggest thrill for me is when a total stranger says or writes something good about my writing. I know it is genuine. Being published lets that person have exposure to my work and find something in it that resonates or entertains. That’s why we’re here, right?

3. Oh, brother, what hasn’t been? I’ve had signings at book stores I respect (and where I shop) I’ve been in panel discussions alongside authors I admire. I’ve met writers as an equal – a fellow published author, not just a fan. All that has made me feel grateful beyond words.

DCP_0851-136x150Lazarus Barnhill, author of The Medicine People and Lacey Took a Holiday:

1. A few years ago I came back to writing fiction after a self-imposed twelve-year period during which I did not write, and found about twenty ideas of books rattling around in my head. My first official act was to get a notebook and list the novels, outlining them to the degree they had “marinated” in my imagination. For me, writing is getting out of the way and allowing those stories that germinated so long ago to take root, flower and bear fruit.

2. The thrill comes from somebody you don’t personally know buying a book, or seeking you out intentionally at a book signing. It’s also thrilling when someone asks you a question about your story in such a way that you know they have read it with comprehension.

3. A couple things strike me right away. First is the praise I often get from my colleagues. When another writer whose work I admire compliments my work in a way that reveals I’ve accomplished precisely what I set out to do in the story—that is humble. The second thing is when people I know hunt me down and pester me until I get them a copy of one of my books. And sign it to them personally. I’m not accustomed to adulation.

lucy_balch-113x151Lucy Balch, author of Love Trumps Logic:

1. Writing is like I’m in a time machine. I can work for hours on a story and it always feels like much less time.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the knowledge that, finally, I’ll have something to show for the five years I’ve put into this obsession. Maybe I haven’t been selfishly squandering huge amounts of time?!

3.The most humbling thing about getting published is the realization that so many good writers have not yet been given the opportunity to publish. Is my book worthy of the privilege? As an unpublished author, I can always tell myself that my book will be well received when given the chance. The reality might be different. I hope not, but it’s a possibility, and once a book bombs there is no going back to the fantasy of it doing well.

jwcomputercatmail2-133x157Juliet Waldron, author of Hand-Me-Down Bride:

1. I write historicals, so writing for me is like entering a time portal—or, sometimes, like stepping out of Dr. Who’s callbox after accidentally pushing the wrong button. I have an idea of what may be there when I first look around, but I often find the world I’ve entered to be surprisingly different from my preconceptions.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting/being published is having someone you don’t know leave a message or write a review that totally “gets” the book. Shows I wasn’t as off-base as I sometimes—in those dark 3 a.m. moments—imagined.

3) The most humbling thing about getting/being published is that we have so much competition, and that there is a great deal of good writing out there. After publication there is the (IMO) far less agreeable marketing to do. The playful creation is now complete.

TracyB_3-134x150Claire Collins, author of Images of Betrayal and Fate and Destiny:

1. For me, writing is a journey. I don’t always know the final destination until I start traveling, but it’s always a rewarding trip.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is when people read what I’ve written and they like it. I write for myself because writing is almost a compulsion for me. Readers enjoying my writing is a bonus.

3. The most humbling thing? All of the work it takes to get the books out and maintain a normal life while still trying to write. I realized pretty quick that I wasn’t superwoman. I’m still trying, but someone keeps standing on my cape.

mickeypic_1_-124x149Mickey Hoffman, author of School of Lies:

1. For me, writing is like being in that space just after you woke up from a dream but you only remember half of the dream and you spend all your waking moments trying to flesh it out.

2. I had some stories to tell and now I feel like they’ll be heard. And it really is thrilling. I feel like I’m white water rafting and I don’t need a boat!

3. I’ll be awed that anyone would take the time to read what I’ve written when they could be doing something more valuable with their time.

Deborah_J_Ledford-114x160Deborah J Ledford, author of Staccato and Snare:

1. I am an entertainer. I don’t write for a cause or to pose my own thoughts or impressions on issues. My only function is to provide a suspense-filled, exciting ride the reader won’t want to stop until they reach the very last word.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is seeing the words I’ve worked so diligently to craft actually in print. If what I present happens to be worthy enough for readers to tell others about Staccato, that’s all I could ask for.

3. Everything about being published is humbling to me. That readers would seek out Staccato, then take the time to escape from their lives for a while, makes me more grateful than anyone could possibly know.

Sherrie_-_book_2-120x154Sherrie Hansen Decker, author of Night and Day, Stormy Weather, and Water Lily:

1. For me, writing is like a dream vacation – a chance to escape the realities of my everyday life and travel to some faraway world where I can see the sights and meet new people.

2. For years, I wrote and wrote, wondering if anyone would ever read my words. What a wonderful feeling to be writing for readers who are eagerly awaiting my next release!

3. Every time I think I have a perfect draft, I find more errors glaring out from the pages of my proof. Very humbling . . .

Norm2-140x151Norm Brown, author of The Carpet Ride:

1. As a retired computer programmer, I see a lot of similarities between writing a novel and creating a complex software program. Both processes require an enormous attention to detail. All the little parts have to tie together in a logical way and a good flow is critical. And it’s hard work to get all the “bugs” out of a book, too.

2. The most thrilling thing for me was pulling the first copy of my book out of the box and holding it in my hands. It was exciting to see something that I actually created.

3. The most humbling thing for me about being published was discovering how much I have to learn about promoting my book. I’m still learning.

biopicsmall-136x139Jerrica Knight-Catania, author of A Gentleman Never Tells:

1. Writing for me depends on the day. Some days it’s the most wonderful romp through my dream land and other days it’s like getting a root canal.

2. Knowing that someone else believes in your work enough to put it in print is just about the most thrilling feeling. It’s great to hear friends and family say how much they enjoyed my work, but to have it validated by professionals is a whole ‘nother ball game!

3. I’m not sure I’ve been humbled at all! Haha! But I’ve never really had unrealistic expectations of myself or my work. . . . I’m prepared to correct mistakes and make cuts/edits as needed. I’m just grateful every day for the opportunities I’ve been given.

Lindlae_Parish_photo-129x151Dellani Oakes, Author of Indian Summer and Lone Wolf:

1. Writing is like a discovery process. I start with a beginning line, an idea or even just a character’s name and watch as the characters lead me where they want me to go.

2. I loved the fact that I finally was validated. Someone did think I was worth publishing and I wasn’t just “Wasting time with all that writing.”

3. Humbling? Wow, I think the most humbling – perhaps humiliating – step in the publishing process is all the rejection you get until someone finally says “Yes, we want you!”

Margay_touch_up-129x150Margay Leah Justice, author of Nora’s Soul:

1. For me, writing is like creating a baby. There is the conception (what a wonderful idea!), the writing/rewriting period (gestation, anyone?) and the birth (I can’t believe it’s finally here!). And then you nurture it for the next couple of years as you slowly introduce it to the public – and hope they don’t think it’s an ugly baby.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the sense of accomplishment when you see it in print for the first time and you discover that people actually like it!

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing the book in print for the first time and realizing that all of those years of struggling, writing, rewriting, submitting – all boil down to this one little book that you can hold in the palm of your hand.

Chris2-132x150Christine Husom, author of Murder in Winnebago County, Buried in Wolf Lake, and An Altar by the River:

1. Writing is multi-faceted for me. It is a joy, but also pretty hard work at times. I do much of my writing in my mind and when I finally sit down to get it on paper, it often comes out differently. I spend more time mentally forming plots and picturing scenes than I do writing them. I love having a whole day here and there to sit at my computer and concentrate on writing. If I have problems with a scene, I skip ahead to the next one so I don’t get frustrated.

2. The most thrilling thing about being published is getting my books out of my house and into readers’ hands–hoping people get some enjoyment reading them.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is seeing mistakes and typos in what I thought was an error-free manuscript!

Amy_12_1-113x151Amy De Trempe, author of Loving Lydia and Pure is the Heart:

1. Writing for me is like unmapped journey, I never know what turns, obstacles or excitement is about to unfold.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is seeing my name on a book cover.

3. The most humbling thing about getting published is finding out how supportive and happy my friends and family really are for me.

maggiemed-138x150Mairead Walpole, author of A Love Out of Time:

1. In some ways, writing is a form of therapy. Not from a “work out my issues” standpoint, but rather it allows me to escape from the day to day stresses of the world. I can let the creative, sometimes a little off-beat, imaginative part of my soul off the leash and let it run. Some of my very early writing did dip into the realm of “working out my issues” and those stories will never see the light of day!

2. Can I channel my inner Sallie Fields and run around saying, “They liked it, they really liked it…”? No? Darn. Seriously, I think it is the whole – I did this – aspect. Someone read the book and thought it was worth publishing. That is pretty cool no matter how you cut it.

3. Opening yourself up to criticism, being vulnerable. Sure, you know that not everyone is going to love your book, and intellectually you know that some people will hate it and think you are a hack, but when someone actually expresses that to you it is a whole new experience. It can be very humbling.

IMG_4132-use-115x154Suzette Vaughn, author of Badeaux Knights, Mortals, Gods, and a Muse, and Finding Madelyn:

1. I’m like a humming bird on too much caffine. I write in waves. When the wave hits I can put out several thousand words in an unbelievably small amount of time. Then when I’m not in humming bird mode I edit.

2. The most thrilling is probably the fact that there are people out there that I don’t know that have read my book and liked it. I had the pleasure a few times of meeting them and there is some twinkle in their eye that is amazing.

3. My son is always humbling. I recieved my proofs in the mail and my then seven year old son didn’t fully understand what it meant that I’d written a book. He flips through the pages looking for hand-writting. “I get in trouble when I write in books.”

jjdare-139x150JJ Dare, author of False Positive and False World:

1. Writing is like being in a triathlon for me. I power write for days or weeks at a time, then crash for awhile with the help of Tylenol and chocolate. Writing is a scary, exciting roller-coaster. It is exhilarating and draining, and Iwouldn’t do it any other way.

2. The most thrilling thing about getting published is the very act of being published! Something I wrote is out there, available for anyone to read. Holding the hard copy of my book in my hands gives me the good shivers. The other thrill is the pride in my family’s voices when they introduce me as “The Writer.”

3. The most humbling thing is feeling responsible for the places I take my readers. During the time they’re walking with and living the lives of the characters in my book, my readers are taking the same roller-coaster ride I took to write the
book.

pat-135x150Pat Bertram, author of More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I:

1. For me, writing is like the world’s longest crossword puzzle, one that takes a year to complete. I like playing with words, finding their rhythm, and getting them to behave the way I want. I like being able to take those words and create ideas, characters, and emotions.

2. Someday perhaps, I will find the thrill of being published, but to be honest it was anti-climatic. I am more thrilled at the thought of what the future might bring now that my books have been published.

3. I had no intention of answering these questions. After all, I was the one who collated all these mini interviews, but a fellow author said, “This is your party, too. People will tune in because of you. They want to know more about YOU. Don’t cheat your fans and followers.” Now that’s humbling.

Click here to read the first chapters of all Second Wind novels: The Exciting Worlds of Second Wind Books

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Book Trailer for Borrowed Trouble by JB Kohl and Eric Beetner

Click here to read the first chapter of: Borrowed Trouble

Click here for further information or to buy: Borrowed Trouble

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Excerpt from Borrowed Trouble by JB Kohl and Eric Beetner

Hollywood, 1941

Ray Ward spends nights thinking about his brother’s death and the blood-soaked days that followed.

Dean Fokoli is off the force, disgraced by his dirty dealings, left to scrape for pennies as a private eye.

When Ray receives a mysterious package from his sister containing a plea for help and a reel of 8mm film, there’s a problem – Ray doesn’t have a sister.

Now two former enemies must team up, travel halfway across the country to search the dark shadow of Hollywood’s spotlight. In for more than they bargained for, Ray and Fokoli plunge behind the silver screen to unearth tinsel town’s dirty secrets. And two men with nothing left to lose can stir up some serious trouble.

Excerpt:

“Hello, Cindy. You’re out late.” A man’s voice. I spun to see where it came from. At first I missed him sitting in the chair beside the bed. My eyes ran back to him as he stood. A tall sandy blond with a thin mustache and a light tan suit, a great tie surely one of a hundred in his closet.

“Relax, Robert. I brought a friend.”

Suddenly the room seemed exactly the size of a boxing ring. I kept my back to the ropes, my hands went up on their own, defending against an unknown threat.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“This is my brother, Robert. Robert this is Ray. He’s looking for his sister.”

“And where did you two meet?” He seemed uninterested in knowing me.

“A diner just east of L.A. He needed a ride.”

“So no car, no bags. A guy with no suit on looking like a bum out of the gutter?”

I opened my mouth to protest but she beat me to it. “Hey, knock it off. It was slim pickings.”

“Oh well. Let’s see what he’s got.” Robert brought his hand out of the pocket of his linen suit and flicked open a switchblade. I didn’t know what to think other than it was a joke. I turned to Cindy who looked away.

“Cough it up, pal,” Robert said.

“What?”

“Your wallet, bub. Let’s have it.”

I stood still, stunned. This was a shakedown. Cindy was acting. She should get a contract with Louis B. Mayer; this girl’s got the stuff. Fooled me like Houdini on a good day.

She stepped up behind me and reached into my pocket to remove my wallet. I let her, not wanting to provoke the switchblade before I knew more about the man holding it. She tossed my billfold to Robert then stepped quickly away from me. She still wouldn’t meet my eye. She turned to the dresser where a whiskey bottle stood, open and half gone. She splashed some into a short glass, no ice, and took it in one shot.

Robert had my cash in his hand. “Two hundred and some. Nice take.”

Guess he was lousy at math, it was over three hundred. My whole bankroll for the trip. “Give that back,” I said.

“What for? So you can blow it all on a dame you meet in a diner? Did he even buy your coffee, Cin?”

“No.”

“What’s with the bum’s clothes, pal? You steal this wad? A guy with this much dough usually has on something made in New York. Nice work, Cin. Grifting a grifter.” He tossed my wallet on the bed and stuffed the cash into his front pocket.

“Can we wrap this up?” Cindy was obviously afraid of him. As solid as her acting was with me she let her guard down around Robert and her fear showed through. She turned to the bottle again and refilled the glass.

“At least he knows the game. Okay, pal, you and me are gonna take a ride. I’ll let you off a few miles down the road. Don’t give me any guff and no one gets hurt. I bet you’ll have your pockets filled again in no time, smart kid like you. Say goodnight to your dream girl.”

Gesturing with the point of the knife he pointed to the door, expecting me to obey. He must have been used to suckers who were husbands, traveling salesmen, middle aged doughboys who didn’t know how to fight back.

I’m not that sucker.

***

Beetner and Kohl’s partnership is a unique one in that they live on opposite coasts (he in LA and she in Virginia) and they have never met. They’ve never even spoken on the phone. Their collaboration is done entirely by email. At this point they have become superstitious about it and have no plans to meet.

When JB wrote Eric in his capacity working with the Film Noir Foundation a friendship was born. When he read her debut novel The Deputy’s Widow, he wrote to tell her how much he enjoyed it and sent along a sample of his own writing that had been circulating the crime fiction webzines. She was hooked and asked if he would ever consider collaborating on anything. They took the first few tentative steps with nothing to lose and it all came so easily that before long an entire novel was finished and soon after, a sequel.

They each continue to write solo novels.

JB Kohl lives in Virginia with her husband and three children. In addition to writing fiction she works as a freelance medical and technical writer/editor. Her first novel The Deputy’s Widow, was released in 2008.

Eric Beetner is an award-winning short story and screenwriter. His short work has been anthologized in Discount Noir (Untreed Reads), Needle magazine, Crimefactory, Murder in the Wind (Second Wind publishing) as well as all the major online crime fiction outlets. He was selected in the top 3 for Storysouth’s Million Writers award for 2010.

Click here to buy: Borrowed Trouble

Click here to read the first chapter of: Borrowed Trouble

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SNARE – New Release Appearances

Well, it’s official. SNARE did indeed receive the nomination for The Hillerman Sky Award. I’ll know its fate at the Left Coast Crime Convention in Santa Fe, NM March 24-27.

I received my box of books from the publisher last week, therefore that makes everything real for me. So now the urgency to spread the word about SNARE has become my number one priority. Here’s where I am with promotion so far:

Due to the dedicated and hard working staff at Second Wind, SNARE is now available on Amazon, for the Kindle, and other e-reader formats via Smashwords.

Personally, I was successful in getting Book Two of the Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series into the Poisoned Pen which is the finest mystery bookstore in the Phoenix area. The Well Red Coyote Bookstore in Sedona, AZ will also carry the book.

I’m featured in the Suspense Magazine article “Femme Fatales of Phoenix” along with Leslie Kohler and Robin Cain. Pretty wild to go to their website and see my name on the cover of an international print magazine. A review of SNARE also appears in this February issue. I’m still anxiously awaiting my copy but the article’s writer, Mark Sadler, assures me the review is glowing.

The most beautiful North Carolina print magazine Our State has requested a copy of SNARE to review. I spent my summers growing up in NC and one of the main locations of this novel takes place in the Great Smoky Mountains. The other main location is New Mexico’s Taos Pueblo Indian reservation so I’ve been hitting NM publications as well. I’ve had requests from the Albuquerque Journal newspaper and Taos News, and am awaiting approval to send review copies to other pubs in NM.

February 26th I’ll be appearing with Eric Beetner, another Second Wind author, at The Well Red Coyote where we will present what is sure to be the very cool workshop “The criminally complex relationship of Editor and Writer—an insider’s look at the editing process.”

A guest appearance is scheduled for the Romancing-the-Book blog Q&A (also Feb. 26th—that’ll be a very busy day), and I’ve promised an article to the great mystery writers site Murder By 4 Blog.

March will be even busier. 12-13 I’ll be at the Sisters in Crime Chapter Desert Sleuths booth at the Tucson Festival of Books. I’ve never attended this event so don’t know what to expect, but it’s touted to be the fourth largest book fair in the nation.

Then comes the Left Coast Crime 2011 convention in Santa Fe, March 24-27. I’ve been anxiously waiting for this ever since the location was announced. I’ll be appearing on the panel “Writing Diversity” with the fabulous Gar Anthony Haywood and a few other big time authors who write multi-cultural characters.

The past couple of weeks have been a wild ride—surreal, exciting and quite unbelievable at times. I’m holding on and enjoying every minute.

Do you readers out there attend personal signings and authors’ events? And for the writers, do you make a push to schedule appearances and other promotion for your new releases?

Deborah J Ledford’s latest novel SNARE is a nominee for The Hillerman Sky Award at Left Coast Crime 2011. STACCATO is book one of her Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. Both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing. To find out more about her and to read a few previously published short stories, she invites you to visit: www.DeborahJLedford.com.

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Book Award Season

I hope everyone enjoyed a fabulous holiday season. 2011 is upon us, which means it’s time to get ready to submit books and short stories for award consideration.

My novels are released by Second Wind Publishing, therefore my latest title, SNARE, qualifies for the Independent Publishers Book Awards (IPPY), and the Glyph Awards, sponsored by the Arizona Book Publishing Association. I plan to submit SNARE to the Suspense/Thriller and Multi-Cultural categories.

As for short stories, I submitted “Loose End” which appeared in the Sisters in Crime Chapter Desert Sleuths mystery anthology How NOT to Survive a Vacation for consideration to the Derringer Award.

The award possibility I’m most excited about takes place during the upcoming Left Coast Crime Conference (LCC) which will be held March 24-27 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is one of the most prestigious fan/writer conventions. I networked and mingled with readers from around the globe and some of the finest crime novelists in the publishing world at last year’s conference.

One of the locations of my latest thriller is set in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. The female lead is Native American and the other location takes place on New Mexico’s Taos Pueblo Indian reservation, therefore SNARE qualifies for The Hillerman Sky Award.

Since this pop/rock music-based thriller was only officially released 12.21.10 I’ve been doing all I can to spread the word about book two of the Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela series. I unveiled the visual of the cover on the Second Wind Publishing blog titled: “Snare – Uncovered” and have received a fantastic response to the cover.

Writers and readers I’ve met since the release of book one of the series, STACCATO, have been very generous with their thumbs up based upon the first pages of SNARE. You can download this sneak peek from my website before the printed version of the book becomes available.

If you plan to attend LCC 2011, I hope you find SNARE to be worthy of a nomination to The Hillerman Sky Award.

Another Second Wind author, Eric Beetner, will be at LCC Santa Fe as well. He and J.B. Kohl co-wrote the fantastic 1940s noir novel Borrowed Trouble, worthy of the Bruce Alexander Award. I hope you will also consider this book for nomination.

Am I missing any other awards you’d like to share information about?

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel STACCATO, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon and Kindle. If you’re in the Arizona area, STACCATO can be found at Borders Scottsdale Waterfront, The Well Red Coyote, and Changing Hands Bookstore.

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Left Coast Crime Conference Experience

Earlier this month I joined nearly 500 published authors, as-of-yet unpublished writers and readers for the Left Coast Crime conference. This year the conference was held in downtown Los Angeles, California. The Omni hotel was great and we pretty much had the facility to ourselves where we all but took over the entire second floor.

I had the opportunity to feature my debut thriller STACCATO in The Mystery Bookstore set up for the conference, as well as at the Rue Morgue table. Exposure was excellent for the debut authors where we took the spotlight during one morning’s breakfast to present our titles to all those in attendance.

Kris Neri, author of the recently released Revenge for Old Times’ Sake, and High Crimes on the Magical Plane (nominated for The Lefty Award at the conference) was kind enough to introduce me to a slew of published authors.

I met Eric Beetner, co-author with K.B. Khol of One Too Many Blows to the Head, also released by Second Wind Publishing. Eric did an excellent job on his two panels, one about noir fiction, the other featuring newly published authors.

Biggest honor was appearing on the panel “The Art of the Short Story” with venerable award-winning authors Gar Anthony Haywood and Toni L.P. Kelner who co-edits anthologies with Charlaine Harris (famous for her Sookie Stackhouse True Blood series).

I’m currently reading Gar’s literary crime fiction novel Cemetery Road and must say, this is an incredible novel. One word description: Magic.

I hope and intend to keep in touch with the authors I had the pleasure and honor to meet. I look forward to seeing my new “friends” at the Bouchercon conference in April.

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel STACCATO, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, Kindle, and independent bookstores.

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Free ebook giveaway of the latest thrillers!

To mark the release of three of Second Wind’s newest thrillers – Daughter Am I by Pat Bertram, False World by JJ Dare and One Too Many Blows To The Head by JB Kohl and Eric Beetner – we’d like to know your experiences with the theme laid out in each book.

Choose the book that sounds interesting to you and answer a question based on a central theme in that book. If your response is chosen you win a free ebook download of that novel! You can enter for all three if you like and have a better shot at getting a free download.

First is One Too Many Blows To The Head by JB Kohl and Eric Beetner:

Kansas City, 1939.
In a world of fixed fights and mob influence Ray Ward and his brother Rex are two of the only clean fighters in town. With Ray in the corner and Rex in the ring they are headed for the big time. Until that fateful night. Now Ray has a score to settle using a lifetime of lessons in how to fight back.

Dean Fokoli is a detective with a new partner, an alcoholic wife and a guilty conscience. At least the boxer on the radio who just got beat to a pulp won’t end up in his homicide file. But when the dregs of the crooked fight world start turning up dead, Fokoli is on the hunt for the killer. The chase will take him to the underbelly of the Kansas City night and hopefully keep him one step ahead of his past.

The question is…have you ever been in a fight? A bloody knuckle brawl? A verbal smackdown? Tell us your story of when it got out of hand.

Next up is Daughter Am I by Pat Bertram

When twenty-five-year-old Mary Stuart learns she inherited a farm from her recently murdered grandparents – grandparents her father claimed had died before she was born – she becomes obsessed with finding out who they were and why someone wanted them dead. Along the way she accumulates a crew of feisty octogenarians – former gangsters and friends of her grandfather. She meets and falls in love with Tim Olson, whose grandfather shared a deady secret with her great-grandfather. Now Mary and Tim need to stay one step ahead of the killer who is desperate to dig up that secret.

The question is…have you ever learned something shocking about your past? Maybe not murder but what rocked your world once you found out?

Finally is False World by JJ Dare.

The second book in the Joe Daniels’ trilogy continues where False Positive ends as Joe 
continues his mission to destroy those who have destroyed his life. As the world changes, Joe’s search for justice takes on a global urgency and he races to find answers before deadly answers find him.  In this second installment of the Joe Daniels’ stories, the mystery and thrills are non-stop. Beginning in a secluded town in the middle of nowhere, it is not long before Joe is traveling across the country and, ultimately, across a collapsing world on his quest for vengeance.  

The world is not what you see.  And neither is Joe.

The question is…have you ever sought revenge or retribution? In a small way, a big way? What made you seek justice?

We look forward to hearing your real world experiences with these themes that make all three books page turning thrillers to leave you breathless at the finish.

Just post your story in the comments section below.

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