Monday musings: Who is the greatest American hero?

Share

Wikimedia Commons

The Great American Heroes are the independent authors of today, and there are legions of them.

By Caleb Pirtle III

You probably never thought you were a hero.

You’re simply an author, you say.

That’s all.

You’ve just happened to cast your lot in life with eBooks and the digital revolution, and you say it’s hard to be a success.

There’s nothing heroic about it.

On some days, it seems that you merely throwing words against the wall to see if any of them stick, and some of them don’t, and the wall throws some of them back in your face.

Frustration sets in.

Don’t fret.

Frustration knocks on all of our doors.

For a writer, it always has.

In publishing, even during the days when agents and editors and traditional publishing ruled the industry, it was tough to be successful.

Finding an agent was hard.

Finding a publisher was even more difficult.

Selling your book was almost impossible.

A New York publisher might release 300 titles a year. The man in charge hoped that seven of them would sell enough copies to pay the losses on the other 293 titles and still make a profit.

Big risk.

Big reward.

Don’t despair.

Just remember one important fact.

Since the beginning of time, the world and all of humanity need storytellers.

You just happen to be a storyteller.

And you have a story to tell.

All you need is the Great American Hero.

You know him.

Or her.

The Great American Hero has long been the foundation of fiction, nonfiction, film, legends, and life.

The Great American Hero has always been the one who stood strong when he had no chance of winning, who went to war against overwhelming odds, who defied those odds, who refused to bend, refused to back down, refused to quit.

So who are the Great American Heroes of today?

Look in the mirror sometime.

The Great American Heroes are the independent authors, and there are legions of them.

They battle the fickle and unpredictable publishing business alone.

Only the fortunate few find someone to help them.

But they are willing to forsake any semblance of a normal, sensible life and invest their time and their talent, their hopes and their dreams, their last ounce of sanity in novels they pray someone will buy and someone will want to read.

Frustrations come.

But like a bellyache, it passes.

Indie writers keep getting knocked down.

They keep getting back up.

They don’t give up.

They don’t quit.

They can’t.

There is always another story to be told, and the Great American Heroes can’t wait to tell it.

Caleb Pirtle III

is the author of more than seventy books, including the Ambrose Lincoln series.

Pirtle is a graduate of The University of Texas in Austin and became the first student at the university to win the National William Randolph Hearst Award for feature writing. Several of his books and his magazine writing have received national and regional awards.

Pirtle has written three teleplays, and wrote two novels for Berkeley based on the Gambler series: Dead Man’s Hand and Jokers Are Wild.

Pirtle’s narrative nonfiction, Gamble in the Devil’s Chalk is a true-life book about the fights and feuds during the founding of the controversial Giddings oilfield and From the Dark Side of the Rainbow, the story of a woman’s escape from the Nazis in Poland during World War II. His coffee-table quality book, XIT: The American Cowboy, became the publishing industry’s third best selling art book of all time.

Learn more about Caleb on his:

And follow him on Twitter @CalebPirtle.

Share

Monday musings: Amazon cancels the Kindle World program

Share

Kindle Worlds cancelled Many readers have heard that Amazon has canceled the Kindle Worlds program. Since May, Amazon has not been accepting new Kindle World titles, and all the books in all Kindle Worlds will no longer be available for sale after July 15. And then, all rights revert back to the authors of the books—except for some.

Wait—what’s a Kindle World again?

Kindle Worlds are—or were—managed, policed fan fiction. Amazon selected successful series where readers wanted more titles than the author could write in a timely way. The program allowed other authors to write short works based on the situations, settings and characters of those bestselling series. For instance, I wrote four books based on the characters and setting of Toby Neal’s Lei Crime series.

This program benefitted everyone involved. Readers got more stories in the series they loved. The original authors of those series got more connections to their audiences, and a shared of the sales of the new books. And the authors who wrote in other writers’ series got exposure to new audiences, as well as established audiences for the books they wrote in the Kindle Worlds.

It was a win-win-win-win situation. The fourth win is for Amazon, which got 15% of every sale.

Goodbye, new audiences

Half Moon Girls: A Lei Crime Kindle World novellaThis affects a number of BestSelling Reads authors. Both Toby Neal and former member Emily Kimelman have prominent Kindle Worlds based on their bestselling series, Lei Crime and Sydney Rye respectively. And several members have published Kindle Worlds titles:

  • Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman themselves both published books in each other’s Kindle World. Toby published Rough Road, bringing her Lei Texeira into Emily’s Sydney Rye world, and Emily published Warrior Dog about Toby’s Keiki the Rottweiler. Toby also wrote a book in Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World.
  • DelSheree Gladden wrote The Catalyst, bringing her Eliza Carlisle from The Instigator into the Sydney Rye Kindle World
  • J.L. Oakley has published four books in the Lei Crime Kindle World: Saddle Road, Coconut Island, Volcano House and Hilina Pali.
  • Corinne O’Flynn wrote a trilogy in the Lei Crime Kindle World: Half Moon Girls, Tell the Truth and Pay the Price.
  • Caleb Pirtle III puVolcano House: A Lei Crime Kindle World novellablished Lovely Night to Die in the Special Forces: Operation Alpha Kindle World.
  • Scott Bury published in three Kindle World he was invited to: Jet: Stealth in Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World; The Wife Line and The Three-Way in the Sydney Rye Kindle World; and four books in the Lei Crime Kindle World: Torn Roots, Palm Trees & Snowflakes, Dead Man Lying and Echoes.

But wait! There’s more!

With the cancellation of the Kindle Worlds program, the rights for all the content of the books revert back to the authors of the individual titles. But there’s a complication. The works in the Kindle Worlds were based on the books published by bestselling authors. Which means the rights to their characters, situations, stories, and other elements revert to them.Lovely Night to Die: : A Special Forces: Operation Alpha Kindle World novella

This causes some issues between the original authors and those who wrote Kindle World novellas. While the authors of the individual Kindle World books now have the rights to what they created, the original authors of the series at the core of the Kindle Worlds retain the rights to their characters and other elements.

Which raises a conflict: where exactly is the line between the respective authors’ rights in a (former) Kindle Word novella?

Why they dunnit

The concept of Kindle Worlds appeared to be a sure thing. Take existing, successful series and release new books for proven audiences. Minimal risk, more sales.

So apparently the sales were not good enough to sustain the program. The complications around copyright were probably also discouraging. Maybe that’s why Amazon never let Kindle World books be purchased beyond its U.S.-based .com site. And never allowed any formats other than .mobi-format for Kindles.

Dead Man Lying: A Lei Crime Kindle World novellaThat’s right: no paperbacks, no audiobooks. Readers in Canada, the U.K. or anywhere outside the U.S.—or, more precisely, anyone who had an Amazon account that did not end in .com—could not buy any of my Kindle World books.

The literary world evolves

With the cancellation of the Kindle Worlds, some authors actually have new opportunities. Those who republish their books, meeting the requirements of copyright, can bring these words to global audiences in any format they wish. For many, it’s an opportunity to open up new worlds to new audiences.

What it means overall is that the world of the written word continues to evolve. And for readers, that’s all good.

Share

Thursday teaser: #excerpt from Conspiracy of Lies

Share

This week’s excerpt is from the second Ambrose Lincoln thriller

By Caleb Pirtle III

AMBROSE LINCOLN AWOKE in those odd moments of early morning when the darkness of night was leaving town, daylight had not yet worked its way down from the mountains, and the world around him was as gray and distorted as his life. He was sitting in a straight-backed chair with his head on the table. The air was hot and stifling. A single crease of fading moonlight had been able to pierce the cracked window above his head.

He was alone.

He did not move.

He waited until he took a single breath.

Then another.

Ambrose Lincoln was still among the living. He did not know whether to be grateful or disappointed.

Time would tell.

Time always did.

He stood and glanced around the room.

He had seen it before.

He had been there last night when the chandeliers were crystal and dim, the walls were mahogany, rich wine was flowing like the music, and couples were dancing to Begin the Beguine, holding each other tightly as though the world might end before they kissed goodnight.

The music had ended.

The dancers were gone.

A naked light bulb hung above the table. It cast off a yellow glow, and it was cracked.

The chandeliers were missing.

So were the mahogany walls and the velvet drapes.

The windows were covered with plywood.

The old Masonic Lodge was hollow, mildewed, and looked as though his were the only footprints anyone had made in the dust for a long time.

Lincoln instinctively felt the small of his back.

The Walther P38 weighed heavily against his belt.

A broken glass had been lying beside his head.

It smelled of whiskey.

Cheap whiskey.

And beside the glass, he saw the ticket. Lincoln had no idea where it would take him. He didn’t particularly care. He slipped it into the pocket of his jacket and walked through the gray exterior and toward the front door. He had been abandoned, and so had the building.

He left it with the rats.

He could hear them scurrying from shadow to shadow.

An old wooden bar wrapped itself around the wall beside him. The paint was chipped, the wood scarred, and a dry rot had settled into aging longleaf pine lumber like decay in a dead man’s wisdom tooth.

Lincoln stopped abruptly.

Beneath a kerosene lantern, he saw a menu. He had held one just like it last night. He had ordered a sixteen-ounce strip of steak, rare, barely touched by the fire, and blood had formed a puddle on his plate beneath the bone.

Lincoln grinned.

He wasn’t crazy after all.

He had every right to be.

But he wasn’t.

He thumbed through the menu, then let it drop in the dust, and followed the rats toward the front door.

He opened it and knew immediately why the rats were so anxious to fight their way out to the sidewalk.

An older man lay sprawled face down just outside the doorway.

He was wearing his tux.

His collar was as red as his cummerbund.

His collar was soaked with blood.

Lincoln knelt beside him, and figured he would have recognized the face if a bullet fired at close range had not fashionably removed it.

Who was he?

Less than eight hours earlier, the corpse had been a man of good cheer, sitting at a table in a plush restaurant that no longer existed, buying him a steak, offering him whiskey, ordering tonic instead.

And then it all went dark.

What did he want?

He had never said.

Lincoln did not remember him saying goodbye when he left. But then, Lincoln did not remember him leaving.

He didn’t have to look far to find the older man’s companion.

The short, chubby little man was lying in the alley, his body slumped over a storm drain, two bullets in the back of his head. He had been running when death caught him. He had been running from something or someone. The little man had a metal brace on his left leg. He never stood a chance.

Neither man had introduced himself or saw any reason to.

Neither man had a name.

In life.

Or in death.

Had the gunmen taken the girl?

Lincoln assumed there was more than one.

Or had he just failed to find the body?

And why had they left him?

Or did they know about him?

About Conspiracy of Lies

It was the race for the bomb. America was at war a long way from home.

Hitler’s war machine was storming across Europe. Russia feared the German threat and secretly wanted to become a world power, more feared than it already was. All three nations knew that whoever split the atom and developed the Atomic Bomb first would rule the world. A stealth operation within the U. S. Government dispatched their man with no memory to Los Alamos where physicists, chemists, and scholars were frantically trying to build the bomb.

Ambrose Lincoln was himself a human experiment, a man whose mind had been erased by electronic shock treatments because the rogue operation believed he could be more effective if he wasn’t shackled by fears and memories of the past. It would be his duty to uncover and silence those who were stealing America’s most vital secrets and selling them to Russia and Germany. If he fails the United States might well lose the war, and Lincoln finds himself embedded in a conspiracy of lies where nothing is as it seems to be.

Did you like this excerpt? Get the book on Amazon.

Caleb Pirtle III

is the author of more than seventy books, including the Ambrose Lincoln series.

Pirtle is a graduate of The University of Texas in Austin and became the first student at the university to win the National William Randolph Hearst Award for feature writing. Several of his books and his magazine writing have received national and regional awards.

Pirtle has written three teleplays, and wrote two novels for Berkeley based on the Gambler series: Dead Man’s Hand and Jokers Are Wild.

Pirtle’s narrative nonfiction, Gamble in the Devil’s Chalk is a true-life book about the fights and feuds during the founding of the controversial Giddings oilfield and From the Dark Side of the Rainbow, the story of a woman’s escape from the Nazis in Poland during World War II. His coffee-table quality book, XIT: The American Cowboy, became the publishing industry’s third best selling art book of all time.

Learn more about Caleb on his:

And follow him on Twitter @CalebPirtle.

Share

Pre-Valentines teaser: 7 romances for you

Share

Valentine’s Day is less than a week away. Romance is everywhere this time of year, including  with your favorite BestSelling authors. Seven members have put their romance stories on special prices this season, so you can still enjoy a great read and have enough money left for flowers, wine and chocolate.

Back Side of a Blue Moon

Romantic mystery by Caleb Pirtle III

What happens when a man with a checkered past comes face to face with a woman whose past is as mysterious as his? “A riveting tale.”

Get it on sale.

Becoming

YA romantic fantasy by Raine Thomas

On her 18th birthday, Amber Hopkins learns why she has power surges.

“Phenomenal!”

Get it on sale.

 

The Crazy Girl’s Handbook

Romantic comedy by DelSheree Gladden

Longest. Weekend. Ever. Embarrassment for Greenly Kendrick turns into mortification, a head wound, and being patch up by her amused knight in shining armor.

“Just perfect!”

Get it on sale.

Once Upon a [Stolen] Time

Historical romantic fantasy by Samreen Ahsan

Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castles. A new job awakens dark powers and binds her to a romance spanning the centuries.

“A heartwarming read that will make you realize that true love holds no bounds.”

Get it on sale.

One Shade of Red

Sizzling-hot romantic spoof by Scott Bury

University student Damien takes on a new summer business, and a romance that may be too much for him to handle.

“Funny, deep and sexy.”

Get it on sale.

The Poppy Fields

Military romance by D.G. Torrens

Emily struggles to come to terms with her tragic loss. James, a military physiotherapist, avoids love at all costs. When they meet, their lives are changed forever…

“An emotional rollercoaster.”

Get it on sale.

A Case of Sour Grapes

Romantic crime thriller by Gae-Lynn Woods

Maxine Leverman, lover of expensive shoes and beautiful handbags must unravel the links between a forgotten folk punk band, an international drug cartel, and the tangled history of a missing polygamist to keep his multiple duped wives alive.

“A delightful caper of whodunit.”

Get it on sale.

Share

Thursday teaser excerpt: A Lovely Night to Die

Share

This week’s excerpt is from Caleb Pirtle’s newest book.

By Caleb Pirtle III

HE LAY ALONE in the dark and waited to hear footsteps outside the front door. It was nothing new for Roland Sand.  He had been waiting for an invitation from the grim reaper for the past three months, sixteen days, eight hours, and six minutes, provided the digital clock on his motel nightstand was correct.  Hotel clocks hardly ever were. A few minutes of lost time here and there made little difference to a man on the run, and he had been running most of his life. Sand doubted if the running would last much longer.

One day, probably sooner than later, or maybe sometime in the middle of the night, it would all be over. The door would be torn from its hinges, and he would hear the sound of a single gunshot. Then again, he might not hear anything at all. And the cool darkness that wrapped itself around him like the arms of an unfaithful woman would remain dark for a long time. Lying with his back against the wall in the early morning hours, dying didn’t seem like such a bad way to make his final exit. So why was he determined to fight so hard for a chance to catch another breath – and who was trying to rip it from his throat?

Sand crawled out from beneath the damp, wrinkled sheets and walked to the window. He opened the drapes just wide enough for him to look out across the parking lot and toward the lights of Durango, Colorado, lodged against the backdrop of the San Juan Mountains. The timbered ridges were dark bruises against the sky, and the stars had been wiped away by a thunderhead that promised bad weather.

Sand smiled faintly. He must have come to the right place. It was far easier to hide away in bad weather. Sand knew how to become one with the rain and the fog. He would be another faint shadow without a face, a ghost in the mist, a name without a voice, and names were the easiest things he had to throw away. Thunder rumbled in the west like a slow-moving train, and lightning reached down to touch the top of the mountains. The winds crackled with electricity.

His gaze swept from one end of the street to the other. Two Atlas trucks and an aging Chevrolet van were the only vehicles on the road.  Sand ignored, then forgot them. He was searching only for black SUVs that would bring men wearing black suits and armed with enough firepower to leave the little Colorado town in ruins. They were somewhere behind him. He didn’t know how far.

Roland Sand knew the kind of man he worked for. He realized he had been reduced to a vague number on some out-of-date death certificate. Sand’s name would not be released. He would be just another John Doe in an unmarked folder at the back of some clerk’s filing cabinet. A pauper’s grave might be too good for him.

Who was Roland Sand?

Don’t know.

When did he work here?

Don’t recall.

Whatever happened to him?

Maybe he retired.

Everyone would know he didn’t quit.

No one quit the Association.

A man worked until the day he died. For some, the day always came earlier than they expected.

About the book

Roland Sand has killed two government operatives sent to execute him. He is arrested and represented in court by a beautiful young public defender, Eleanor Trent. Their eyes connect. So do their hearts, but both keep their feeling buried deep inside them.

Eleanor does not know that Sand is an assassin for a rogue intelligence agency that sells its deadly services to foreign nations as well as to its own country. He has angered his chief, the one-eyed Bohemian, by refusing to kill an accountant who accidentally saw the details of a top-secret mission. Sand sees no reason why an innocent man should die.

The Bohemian’s agents kidnap Sand and take him from the Durango, Colorado, jail. He is given one chance to redeem himself. He must carry out the assignment to assassinate the President of the United States. It is a mission sanctioned from inside the United States government.

Eleanor is furious, and she is frightened. She has lost cases before. But never has she lost a client. In desperation, he calls Navy SEAL Commander Patrick Hurt to help her track down the missing Roland Sand. She handled a case for one of Hurt’s friends years earlier, and he said she could count on him if she ever needed him.

At Midway Airport, Sand awaits the arrival of Air Force One. The President comes down the steps, and Sand sees Eleanor in the greeting committee. He is told, “Kill the President or we kill the lady.” He has only a second to make up his mind. And Hurt knows, if necessary, he must kill Sand to save the President.

If you liked this excerpt, check out the book on Amazon.

About the author

Caleb Pirtle III is the author of more than seventy books, including the Ambrose Lincoln series.

Pirtle is a graduate of The University of Texas in Austin and became the first student at the university to win the National William Randolph Hearst Award for feature writing. Several of his books and his magazine writing have received national and regional awards.

Pirtle has written three teleplays, and wrote two novels for Berkeley based on the Gambler series: Dead Man’s Hand and Jokers Are Wild.

Pirtle’s narrative nonfiction, Gamble in the Devil’s Chalk is a true-life book about the fights and feuds during the founding of the controversial Giddings oilfield and From the Dark Side of the Rainbow, the story of a woman’s escape from the Nazis in Poland during World War II. His coffee-table quality book, XIT: The American Cowboy, became the publishing industry’s third best selling art book of all time.

Learn more about Caleb on his:

And follow him on Twitter @CalebPirtle.

 

Share

What to get the mystery lover on your gift list? A BestSelling mystery or two!

Share

The 25th is coming up fast, but you can give the gift the mystery reader will love. Just choose any of the titles from our bestselling mystery /thriller authors.

Eden Baylee stepped into the mystery genre with her psychological suspense bestseller, Stranger at Sunset. She took her taut, un-put-downable style into three mysteries in the Lei Crime Kindle World (based on the bestselling Lei Crime series by Toby Neal), featuring therapist Laney Lee and ex-SEAL Max Scott.

Claude Bouchard‘s Vigilante series has been a hit with readers since the first book, Vigilante. There are now 13 in the bestselling series, with the latest, Make it Happen.

Fred Brook‘s Doing Max Vinyl is a gripping and very funny book, and the first appearance of the bestselling Annie Ogden.

Scott Bury has written four mysteries in the Hawaii-based Lei Crime Kindle World, all featuring FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm and some of the readers’ favorite characters from Toby Neal’s Lei Crime series, like Pono Kaihale and Ken Yamada.

Seb Kirby hit the bestseller shelves with his James Blake trilogy, Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More. His latest mystery is the psychological suspense revenge tale, Sugar for Sugar.

Toby Neal has two crime fiction series that are both bestsellers: The Lei Crime series, with 12 titles; and the related Paradise Crime series, now at five titles. The latest, Wired Dawn, came out just last week!

Renée Pawlish‘s Reed Ferguson Mystery series takes the noir thrillers of the past into the 21st century in tense, funny and compelling stories. Her Dewey Webb Mystery series goes back to the 1940s with darker, hardboiled detective mysteries.

Caleb Pirtle III is the author of more than 70 books, including four noir series in the Ambrose Lincoln series, set during the Second World War: Secrets of the DeadConspiracy of Lies, Night Side of DarkSecrets and Conspiracy and Place of Skulls. 

Share