First Reviews Are In

And Chocolate Meltdown is hitting it out of the park! Five 5-Star reviews and one 4-Star review, so far.

Here are a few highlights from the first reviews:

An artful blend of humor, suspense, whodunit, and a twist you did not see coming at the end.

Kurt West, ex-Marine and official “tourist hunter,” has a case, a problem, a lot of omelet-gobbling, mocha-drinking lizards that may or may not be as much help as he hoped, and a deadline

Just Brilliant!

But feel free to read all of the reviews on Amazon.

Before releasing this book, I thought it might be smart to send out some advance copies and ask for some reviews ahead of time. Makes sense, right? How can people who have never heard of the Beowulf Chronicles decide they might like to read it based solely on a cover picture and a 150 word blurb. Of course I don’t know just yet if the strategy is working, since the book isn’t on sale, but it is fun to see all of the great reviews rolling in!

The book goes on sale in a week.


Yesterday was a reasonably productive day. I thought about writing about my half vacation or the first reviews for Chocolate Meltdown, but this morning I feel like noting what I did yesterday. I guess I’d like to set a tone for today.

Now that Chocolate Meltdown is coming out, I’ve been working on The Fugue (Beowulf Chronicles #4) and yesterday I had my first good word count of the week. Not amazing, just good. But after two days where the word count was somewhere between nonexistent and sub par, I felt pretty good about good. Part of the reason that it was good is that the story is starting to take shape and I got into the flow of it. What I mean by take shape is come to life. Okay, I realize that last sentence might not clarify things — it’s like this: I write from an outline, just my style, I find it easier to get from Point A to Point B if I know what those points are. That said, I don’t stick to the outline, I use it more as a guide than a set of handcuffs. For instance in one scene, Kurt and Papa were supposed to interview an informant, but as they were en route Papa began to argue against it. As I wrote the scene, I realized that fit his character, it wasn’t in the outline, but it stuck. Yesterday, I was working on the next chapter, which in essence stayed the same, but it did change how I approached it and somehow getting a little free of the outline in the previous chapter just made that one spring to life for me. I liked how the chapter came out. It was one of those “I get to make shit up and it’s fun” moments.

Around lunchtime, I took a break to go for a walk on the beach. I’ll post tomorrow or the next day on what I’m doing at the beach and the mistake I made. My intent in going for the walk was to begin working on the plot for book 5. But while I was out walking, I began to think about character motivations in The Fugue. Even thought I’ve got a pretty solid outline for the novel, there are still some ambiguities for me with regard to character motivation. But as I walked, I actually worked those out. Score one for me! And yes, I even managed to come up with the core idea for the book 5. My goal is to get an outline done for book 5 within the next week and now that I have an actual core idea that should be easy, or at least easier.

All in all, I feel pretty pleased with my day!

Goodreads Giveaway!!

Your Chance to Win a FREE Signed Book!


To celebrate (and of course to help promote) the release of the third novel in my Beowulf Chronicles series, I am giving away 30 signed copies. Yep, you read that right — crazy author to purchase, sign, and mail out 30 copies of his book and all you have to do is click enter to win!

The giveaway is already live and runs until July 23rd. As of the writing of this post, there are 207 people entered to win. If you’d rather just buy the book, well that’s cool too. But it’s not on sale until July 16th.

I do need to point out that you have to live in the US, UK, or Canada to be eligible for the Goodreads giveaway. I suppose if you live in a country other than those three and you want to win a signed copy … there might be another way: If you were to offer to take a picture of my novel in an interesting place, I could see my way clear to sending you one. But you have to be specific about where and drop it into a comment either here or on my FB page.

Chocolate Meltdown Unboxing

I’ve got my hands on the first printed copy of my new novel, Chocolate Meltdown, and uh-oh, did it turn out ... ?

The Blog Is Back!

So to speak. Technically, it was always there, it was just a little ignored and I moved it. You might say that this is my re-dedication, I even updated my About Me page.

I haven’t done a post in nine months (Yes, Kevin, I’m a slacker). Interestingly, the time it takes to give birth. Perhaps I was pregnant with a new novel? Well, I do have a new novel coming out, which sounds like a good excuse. Yeah that’s it, I’m going with that! Actually, the new book, Chocolate Meltdown, is both part of the reason I haven’t posted and why I am posting. I did hit some real snags while writing it and sometimes when I am having trouble writing the current novel, it’s hard for me to find the motivation to write a blog. Why spend time blogging when I need to be spending time figuring out how to fix my book? I know, I know, I could’ve written about that, but I didn’t. I think I’ll do a post soon where I do talk about the snags.

Beyond hitting some snags writing, I also wanted to move my blog back to being hosted by and I thought that would be a royal pain, so of course I put that off! Now that I’m on the verge of the new book launch, I figured it was time to move the blog back and get to it again. First of all, my hat is off to WordPress for making the move easy. When I went to a self-hosted site, it was a pain spread out across three days. After the site was up, all of the internal links (where I referenced other posts I had made) were broken and I had to spend hours hunting those down and fixing them. I was not looking forward to repeating the process. Fortunately, I didn’t need to. I hit Export on the old site, downloaded an .xml file, hit Import on the new site to upload the file, and all of the content was sucked in in a couple of hours. All of the links are even working, as far as I can tell! That was a pretty awesome.

So you might be wondering why I moved it to begin with. Well, the simple answer is that I wanted to do more stuff than I could on WordPress. Mostly I wanted to sell signed copies of my book directly from the site and some coffee mugs, of course. Two and a half years ago, you couldn’t do that directly from a WordPress site. I don’t know if that has changed, but what I do know is that I never got around to creating a mechanism to sell signed books off of my blog. I’m sure if I want to do that I can figure out another way.

And that brings me to why I’ve moved back. As soon as I moved, I noticed a drop off in readership. I knew that would happen both because WordPress promotes its sites and I would no longer be in the Reader for subscribers who use that to follow blogs. I thought that I could make up for that lost visibility, but I didn’t manage to. Since visibility is key as an Indie Author it just became a no-brainer to move back. I am hoping that some of those old subscribers will find their way back now that I’m back on WordPress, we shall see. At any rate, I’m just happy that my blog is working and I’m posting again.


Beta Finished, Readers Wanted

I’ve finished the Beta for Chocolate Meltdown, the third book in my Beowulf Chronicles series.

Now I’m looking for Beta Readers. The idea is simple. I’ll provide you with a copy of the novel, you’ll read it, and provide me with feedback.

The beta is ready to go now and I want to receive feedback by October 24th. If you would like to help, you need to have a strong commitment to reading the entire novel and providing feedback in that timeframe. It is also a strong preference that you like Sci-Fi and/or Mystery, but you do not have to have read Murder & Mochas or Mercury & Murder.

If interested, please send me an e-mail at

Chocolate Meltdown

That’s right, you read it, Chocolate Meltdown, is the title for Beowulf Chronicles 3!

I suppose I should insert some legalese here giving me enough wiggle room to allow myself to change the title later should something better crop up. But nah. Each time I settle on a title it sticks. This one will stick.

The title process is always interesting. It can be a little frustrating, trying to distill the books essence down to a couple words while still keeping it relevant. With Murder & Mochas at one point I had a working list of 25 titles, all of which I eventually tossed out. I got within thirty days of publication, for a book I had been working on for two years, before I settled on the title. Sometimes, there’s some luck involved. For Mercury & Murder, the key elements of that book were so clear the title just locked itself in before I even got through with the second draft. And, of course, good friends always help.

I was sitting on the deck of The Dead Mule with my girlfriend talking about Murder & Mochas and I mentioned that I needed a title for book 3 and I just asked if she were game to help. She said, “Sure.” I mean, come on, who would refuse that, right? So I showed her the synopsis and she came up with “Bittersweet Exit.” I loved the sound of it and in a way it fits, but it also sounded a little more romance than gritty detective story.  I texted it to Kevin, who has read the Alpha, and he came back with Chocolate Meltdown and Chocolate Shakedown. I thought about Bittersweet Meltdown (what can I say, I liked the Bittersweet bit, I am a dark chocolate fan). But having chocolate in the title made more sense (I mean chocolate sells books, right? – everyone loves chocolate (now I am about to be flooded with mail from the Vanilla Fan Club)) since the thieves are stealing chocolate. Plus I’ve already been working with the idea of having melted chocolate on the cover and there are some other melty bits in the book, so Chocolate Meltdown just fit! Woot-woot!

Getting to a title is always exciting. It’s one of those events in a book’s life that helps it to become more real. Plus, after a while, it gets old referring to a book by a number simply because you lack the imagination or commitment to title it. So here I am with a toothy grin because I can start marketing Chocolate Meltdown. Next stop a Beta and a cover.