Sunday, April 23, 2017

Book launch: Formula Murder by Ross Carley, Mister in Crime

Formula Murder Book Launch Party and Signing
Free goodies! Meet Ross Carley.
Saturday, April 29, 2017, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Porter Books and Bread
5719 Lawton Loop E Dr, Indianapolis, IN 46216
www.porterbread.com/

Formula Murder is the second Wolf Ruger mystery by Ross Carley. Private Investigator Wolf Ruger, returning Iraq vet with PTSD, tackles high-stakes high-tech crime and elusive murderers in the fast-paced world of Formula racing, undeterred by beautiful women and organized crime. Indianapolis-based HH Racing has a high-stakes technical problem the week before the last big race of the season. The race car’s telemetry malfunctions, baffling the racing team’s experts.

Wolf’s experience and instincts kick into high gear to determine if the telemetry failure and a mysterious fatality are related. Simultaneously, murders strike a mob operation involving espionage and the FBI. Wolf’s best friend Tito Rodriguez provides PTSD support, and his retired mentor Max advises him through the twists and turns of the case.

Wolf must untangle the turmoil before he becomes a victim. While juggling passionate relationships in his personal life, he remains undeterred in pursuit of answers.

"Wolf Ruger of Dead Drive is back! Once again, Carley weaves a tight tale of murder, money, and sex while giving readers an up-close, behind-the-scenes look into the rarefied world of Formula racing. Speed counts in this taut investigation!" 
    - Michele Drier, award-winning author of The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles and The Amy Hobbes Mysteries

Formula Murder is available on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites.
Visit www.RossCarleyBooks.com  and  www.Facebook.com/RossCarleyBooks for more information.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

5 Years In: Things I've Learned About Life In Florida


Five years ago, I moved from a stable life in Kentucky to an up-and-down existence in Florida. These days, it's more up than down, for which I am grateful. Here are some tips if you're a prospective citizen of the Tampa Bay Area:
  • Florida has no state tax. This means that anything involving government costs a lot more. Prepare for 'sticker' shock with transferring your vehicle.
  • Do not underestimate the sun. You might have worked outside all the time up north, but this is different. The Floridian sun can give you freckles through your shirt sleeves, and you can even get sunburned driving home from work.
  • Related to the above: if you’re trying to make a living in Tampa Bay, expect a long commute. The largest number of jobs are in places you can’t afford to live. Those places are for tourists and the wealthier snowbirds. The assumption is that you’re partially paid in sunshine.
  • Florida residents have a higher-than-usual risk for skin cancer. I think this must be a corollary.
  • City regulations in coastal areas are not devised for the benefit of the citizens, but for that of tourists and rich snowbirds, who will supposedly flock to that town, even if there is no beach.
  • If there is no beach, tourists and rich snowbirds will use your town as a pee stop en route to the beach towns.
  • You will see advertisements for ‘manufactured homes’. All housing, outside of caves, is manufactured. These are really mobile homes.
  • Manufactured housing is evacuated first during a hurricane, even if your town has no beach.
  • The air may be warm in December, but the ocean isn’t. Ditto swimming pools.
  • You won’t get a refreshing swim in the ocean or the pool during August unless you add a truckload of ice first.
  • Do not wade or swim in retention ponds. The early developers drained and filled in many natural lakes during their quest to peddle land. Guess where the alligators live now?
  • Lizards are everywhere, especially dinky ones. Check your shoes.
  • The climate is favorable to vermin, not people. Expect to invest in heavy-duty prevention measures. Learn where the closest Tractor Supply Company store is, even if you don't own a tractor.
  • Mashed potatoes ‘Florida style’ are often watery instead of creamy. I don’t know who thought of this, but they should be horsewhipped.
  • Greek restaurants in Florida often put a scoop of potato salad under the Greek salad. They may claim it’s traditional, but it’s an American tradition. I've been to Greece twice; I know better. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it.
  • There are two growing seasons in Florida, but many “farmers” at farmers’ markets don’t grow their own wares. Instead, they resell farm produce rejected by the supermarkets. Look for the guy with the badly spelled sign on the side of the road instead.
  • You will lose snow days and gain hurricane days. Yes, it's weird. 
 The adjustment is slow, but continuing. Kentucky seems so far away. It is - in distance and time.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Book Fair in Ft. Myers

Our second major book fair, the Southwest Florida reading festival, took place in a beautiful location. The view of the river was inspiring, especially when we were coming over the bridge. Later that day, I would dream of jumping in those dark blue ripples.

The Sisters in Crime booth had a steady rotation of authors, with our president, Wendy Dingwall, staying all day. She gave Gwen and me plenty of useful information for future affairs. We also had the pleasure of meeting Kate Carson for the first time.


We had a steady flow of people come by our booth in the morning, but it did slow down at lunch. In the afternoon, the crowd thinned. Florida gets warm a lot sooner in the year than Kentucky. We still had a good time sharing information and getting to know one another better.

It's been a long time since Gwen and I did so much standing and walking, especially in the heat. We drank a lot of soda and shared shaved ice, which seemed to evaporate from our bodies as quickly as we consumed them. When we got back to Safety Harbor, we ate, drink more fluids, and collapsed. Two days later, I'm still tired.

This coming weekend is the Venice Book Fair. We'll remember the cooler this time.

Friday, January 27, 2017

On Sale Every-Bleeping-Where: Murder on the Mullet Express!

Ridin' the Crazy Train.
I just realized that I never made an announcement here about the book. Everywhere else, yes. Here, no.

So: this is the first in a series of novels that Gwen Mayo and I are writing together. It's mostly set in Homosassa, Florida, but the real fun starts with the train ride. Cornelia Pettijohn is an Army nurse who served in WWI. It's now 1926, the height of the Florida Land Boom, and her Uncle Percival says he wants to buy a warm winter home. Their car breaks down near Ocala, and they take the local, the Mullet Express, to Homosassa. A passenger is poisoned, and subsequently dies. That's when Cornelia discovers that Uncle Percival had a hidden agenda for the trip, and he is now the sheriff's chief suspect.

Since this wasn't enough trouble, her uncle has gained the interest of visiting gangsters as well. She and her companion Teddy Lawless, a flapper in a sixty-year-old body, must save him. Plenty of action ensues with car chases, shootings, arrests, and secrets to uncover. Oh, and nights of heavy drinking. This is during Prohibition, after all.

If you're wondering whether this is the same Percival Pettijohn that appears in Gwen Mayo's Concealed in Ash, you'd be correct. I adore him and stole the character for the short stories we've previously written with Cornelia and Teddy.

So. Where can you find it? At Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, at Scribd, Kobo, and even iBooks. It's also available on Kindle and Nook, and some other places, too. Please seek it out.

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Book launch recap

Only closers get cupcakes.
The book launch for Murder on the Mullet Express was a success. Books at Park Place was our generous host for the event, and we came prepared for the public. We were armed with gourmet cupcakes, homemade hors d'oeuvres, and beverages. I'm afraid we forgot the wine, something Teddy would never do.

I was very pleased that so many people dropped in to say hello and share the fun. Several of my coworkers came, as did our Sister in Crime Cheryl Hollon, and Mercedes from the Golden Crown Literary Society.

Gwen and I will be taking to the road for the next few months, visiting Homosassa tomorrow, Amelia Island in February, and Ft. Myers and Venice in March. Join us, won't you?

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Friday, December 30, 2016

Florida Book News: Book Launch for Murder on the Mullet Express by Gw...

Florida Book News: Book Launch for Murder on the Mullet Express by Gw...: On January 16th, Books at Park Place in St Petersburg is hosting the book launch for MURDER ON THE MULLET EXPRESS. Gwen Mayo and Sarah Gl...

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Donald Firesmith: Research for Writing Fiction

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For the last three years, I have been writing a series of modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels. Specifically, I have completed Hell Holes: What Lurks Below and Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton, and I am currently writing Hell Holes: To Hell and Back. Now you might think that research is only needed for writing non-fiction, and that it is not necessary for writing fantasy and science fiction where we have the freedom to “make things up out of whole cloth”. After all, these genres often involve the development of completely imaginary worlds, such as vaguely medieval for fantasy or the far future for science fiction.
However, I find that performing a significant amount of research brings three major benefits:
  1. When writing speculative fiction, keeping the mundane (i.e., real) aspects of the book highly realistic makes the fantastic (i.e., unreal) parts, which requires the reader to suspend disbelief, more believable.
  2. Ensuring that the real aspects of the book have high fidelity to reality means that readers familiar with those topics will not be jarred out of their reading enjoyment by inconsistencies between the book and their personal experience.
  3. Finally, I often find that understanding some topic mentioned in the book suggests interesting additions and changes to the plot and the characters’ actions.
Thus, I find myself constantly performing research while writing my books. For example, my Hell Holes series takes place in northern and central Alaska. The first book is set in Alaska’s North Slope with its barren tundra and ground frozen with permafrost. Given the book’s plot, I needed to know what it was like to camp out on the tundra and how long the days are that far north in the middle of August when the book takes place. The last third of the book takes place in Pump Station 2, a dormant oil pumping station along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, so I needed to know what it was like. As the name implies, the second book takes place along the Dalton Highway between Fairbanks and Deadhorse and at Eielson Air Force Base. That meant that I needed to research the Dalton Highway including what it is like to drive on and what the major places are along its length that might affect the story. Finally, the military is a significant part of the second book, which meant learning about the relevant military vehicles and the locations at the Air Force base where parts of the book take place.

Luckily, we live in a time in which research is remarkably easy, especially when compared to when I first started writing some fifty years ago. Back then, I was largely restricted to relying on the local library and looking up things in books using the card catalog to find things. Today, the first and primary tool of choice is Google. I use basic Google to learn textual facts, Google Images to learn what things look like, Google Videos to see how tasks are performed and hear what things sound like, and Google Maps to see where things are, and Google Maps Street View to see what places look like. For example, when I was writing Hell Holes: Demons on the Dalton, I used Google Maps Street View to drive the same parts of the Dalton Highway as the characters in the book.

My second main source of information were my subject matter experts. This included a geology professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and two former members of the military including a former pilot of the type of helicopter used in the book and a former Marine Corp Lieutenant Colonel. The base historian at Eielson AFB was also extremely helpful. These experts saved me from several serious mistakes. They also made several suggestions that made the military parts of the book more interesting as well as more accurate.

While the first Hell Holes book was written from the first person point of view of a male character, the second book was written from the point of view of a strong female character. To prepare for this change, I spent about nine months reading nothing but paranormal fantasy books having strong female lead characters and written by female authors. This led me to several observations. Female authors typically spend considerably more time describing characters including what they look like and what they wear. They also tend to spend more time addressing how their lead character feels rather than just what they think. By keeping these and other observations in mind, I was able to write a second book that one of the reviewers noted: “it’s amazing that a book written by the same author (Donald Firesmith) can fool one into thinking that it’s written by a completely different person. Such is the strength of the writing that the new “author” (Dr. Menendez) shines through and her personality and writing style is quite different to that of the other journal’s surrogate author, her fictional husband.” Rather than skill, I primarily credit this positive review to the research I performed into the difference between paranormal fantasy books written by male and female authors.

Finally, nothing quite equals personal experience. Last summer, I traveled to Alaska to see several places in the book series first hand. I spent an entire day at Eielson Air Force Base touring all of the major locations in books two and three. I also rented a car and spent another day driving up the Dalton Highway to the Yukon River, which included the site of one of the major scenes in book 2. I also toured the University of Alaska, where book 1 begins. Finally, I took a tour of a pair of U.S. Army managed tunnels into the permafrost, where I learned several interesting things I would not have discover otherwise: (1) that permafrost smells remarkably like dirty gym socks and (2) that when the ice sublimes, it leaves behind a superfine layer of brownish dust that will float in the air when disturbed.

In conclusion, I find that research can be a critically important part of writing modern, paranormal, science fiction and fantasy. In addition to making your writing more realistic, it makes your book’s fantastic events and your character’s strange abilities more believable. It can be a source of story ideas, and it can also be both very interesting and fun. Currently, I am researching small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and variable-yield, thermonuclear weapons for Hell Holes: To Hell and Back. I can hardly wait to learn what the next topic I will be researching.

About Hell Holes: When hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appear overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, they threaten financial and environmental catastrophe should any more open up under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline or any of the many oil wells and smaller pipelines that feed it. An oil company sends a scientific team to investigate. But when the geologist, his climatologist wife, two of their graduate students, a local newspaper reporter, an oil company representative, and a field biologist arrive at one of the holes, they discover a far worse danger lurks below, one that threatens to destroy all of humanity when it emerges, forcing the survivors to flee south towards Fairbanks.

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Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours
Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Holes-What-Lurks-Below-ebook/dp/B012IUE14U
Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hell-holes-what-lurks-below/id1076804292
Booklife: http://booklife.com/project/hell-holes-what-lurks-below-12402
Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/hell-holes-what-lurks-below/9781310431210-item.html
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/608355
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Author Bio: A geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books, written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers, and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He's also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered somewhat by his fear that the term "distinguished" makes him sound like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer whose beard is still slightly more red than gray. By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, and his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and birds. His magical wands and autographed copies of his books are available from the Firesmith’s Wand Shoppe at: http://magicalwandshoppe.com.

Visit him at: amazonfacebooktwitter

Website: http://donaldfiresmith.com

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