Sunday, September 25, 2011

Make Me a Job Creator

The economy remains in the doldrums. Most can agree the problem is high unemployment. The differences are over how best to address it. I am somewhat to the left of center politically, so my first inclination is to think the government should do something to put people to work: infrastructure repairs and other public works projects come to mind.

It also occurs to me that Democrats are not always right. (Certainly not the crew we have in there now.) With that in mind, I am inexorably drawn, like a starving wolf to a lame bison, toward the idea of helping the job creators create more jobs. I don’t want to pay lip service to the idea. I want to do it.
I want to be a job creator.

I want to unleash the entrepreneurial whirlwind inside me and no longer be just a wage slave; I want to enslave others with wages I would pay. (Or at least help others to pay.) Here’s how you can help:

Buy a copy of Wild Bill, either for Amazon’s Kindle, or Barnes and Noble’s Nook. It’s only $2.99 at either outlet. Where else can you personally stimulate the American economy for such a paltry sum? Think of the good I can do with sufficient sales:

Amazon and B&N will have to hire additional staff to push electrical pulses through the Internet to keep up with the volume of orders.

Email providers such as Google and Yahoo! will have to hire more people to take the orders from those who want to advertise on the emails sent as gift notifications.

Those may be too abstract and dependent on the marketplace for you. I understand. To address that, I pledge to personally place someone on retainer to mop out my basement after its next periodic flood once sales hit a specific sales figure I have in mind but am not currently at liberty to disclose.

A lot of authors want you to buy their books. They say it’s so they can connect with their readers, that they feel a bond growing with every sale, like some woman with a babushka on her head and a wart on her chin can tell them every time someone reads a word they’ve written. Bull crap. They have payments to make on their villa in the south of France and the Maybach needs a new transmission.

I’m not like that. I don’t want you to consider the fact that I might make a couple of bucks if you buy the book.If you’re thinking of buying the book for me, don’t.

Do it for your country.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Return of Blatant Self-Promotion

Things were so scrambled here last weekend I had to cancel my long-anticipated trip to Bouchercon, so missing my weekly self-aggrandizement should come as no surprise.

As anyone who has ever dealt with a publisher’s marketing department realizes, looking at sales figures relative to promotional efforts is always a good news/bad news scenario. The good news is that Wild Bill has reached the coveted 20 sales threshold. That may not seem like much to Lee Child or Robert Crais, but it does represent a 17% increase in sales in a mere ten days! In your face, Jack Reacher.

The bad news is that it is impossible to tell if this sales pushpin (it’s too small to be a sales spike) was because of the most recent promotional efforts, or due to my skipping a week. Since I’m an American, I’ll do what we always do when information is not definite enough: the same as before, but more of it.

So, to borrow a page from the old National Lampoon, buy this book or these messages will continue.


Please don’t make me do something I don’t want to do. Think of it like one of those challenge grants on NPR. If sales are 25 or more, no promotional post will be made. If sales are less than 25 by then…

It will be on your head. My conscience is clear.

Wild Bill is available both for the Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook for $2.99.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Little Elvises

Junior Bender is back. Little Elvises, the second installment in Timothy Hallinan’s e-book only series, picks up where Crashed left off. Bender is in trouble not of his own making, squeezed by a cop who may not be bent but is certainly not ethical to help out the cop’s uncle, who may or may not be mobbed up.

Bender is a unique character, a professional burglar who serves as sort of a private investigator for the underworld. He can break into virtually anyplace. Not with high-tech gadgets that no self-respecting crook could afford in the real world. His wits will suffice. His solutions are ingenious, yet so simple that you’ll smack yourself in the forehead wondering why you didn’t think of it yourself.

As in Crashed, Little Elvises treads on tricky ground, a comedic novel with violence. The trick is not to make the violence itself seem laughable, but also not to dampen the humor. Hallinan avoids both with an ease that could make you forget how hard it is, had you not tried it yourself and failed dismally. (Yes, that would be me.)

Hallinan is one of the most diverse talents writing crime fiction today, as his most recent Poke Rafferty thriller, The Queen of Patpong, is up for an Anthony Award at this week’s Bouchercon. The Junior Bender books are nothing like the Rafferty series, yet both do what they do as well as any book written by soemone who specializes in one form or the other. Whichever direction Hallinan turns next, it will be worth waiting for. Fortunately you have have Little Elvises to hold you over till then.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wild Bill Sales Growing

With sales well into double digits, Wild Bill has established its niche in the publishing firmament. (Not unlike a spider in a web way off in a corner of the basement, behind the paint supplies and other stuff you need only once every two or six years.)

Remember how people felt who had a chance to buy into Microsoft or McDonalds on the ground floor? Chagrined and disappointed, that’s how they felt. Not because they lost a singular opportunity for wealth and a life of leisure. They felt that way because their joyless lives of unending drudgery reminded them every day of how they lacked the foresight and daring to move before the rest of the crowd had figured it out.

This is your chance not to make the same mistake. Wild Bill is available for Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook for a measly $2.99. Try buying anything from Microsoft for $2.99. Even McDonald’s, for that matter. (Prices may vary by location. Does not include selections from Dollar Menu.)

This isn’t about me. I only bring it up so you don’t join those who missed the Microsoft and McDonald’s trains and are left standing in the rain at three in the morning at a station in the bad part of town hoping something else good comes along while you’re still young enough to enjoy it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Road Rules, by Jim Winter

Jim Winter is a writer from Cincinnati whose new book, Road Rules, hit the e-book trail on September 1. Jim has written reviews for January Magazine and Mystery Scene and the odd interview piece for The Rap Sheet and Crimespree. His short stories have appeared in Thrilling Detective, the original Plots With Guns, Spinetingler, andThug Lit. He writes regularly and well on subjects ranging from crime fiction to American history at his blog, Edged in Blue.

Jim was kind enough to stop by One Bite at a Time with an excerpt from Road Rules.
* * *
“Hello, Koradovich,” said Estevez.  Behind him stood Simmons, with two uniform cops further back.

“Yes?” said Koradovich.  “May I help you?”

Estevez reached into his pocket and shoved a card at Koradovich.  “Carlo Estevez, Major Crimes Unit, Cleveland Police.  This is my associate, Detective Charles Simmons.  We'd like to ask you a few questions regarding a company you own.”

Koradovich spread his hands and looked around.  “As you can see, this is my company.  Andre the Giant's Clean Used Cars.”

“Are you sure about the clean part?” asked Simmons.

“Kiss my ass, Detective.”

“Has it sat in one of your cars?”

Estevez glared at the young detective.  “Simmons.”  He turned back to Koradovich.  “We weren't discussing your primary business.  No one questions you own a buy here/screw here lot.  I'm here about another business, one you have a silent partnership in.”

“And that would be...  what?  Is someone selling drugs out of one of my apartment buildings?  Or my bar?  What, Lieutenant?  I'm a busy man.”

“You are a partner in a firm that in turn is a partner in a company called Cossack Holdings.  In fact, you seem to be the only partner worth mentioning.”

Koradovich leaned back and laced his fingers behind his head.  “Probably.  Who knows? My accountant does a lot of things for tax purposes.”

“Like launder money through nail salons on the east side?” said Simmons.

“What's your point, Lieutenant?  I've got a business to run.”

“Cossack Holdings...  Nice name, by the way,” said Estevez.  “No one would ever suspect a guy named 'Koradovich' as one of the partners.”

Koradovich waved his hand in a circle at Estevez.

“Anyway, Cossack Holdings owns a warehouse.”

“Allied Staging,” Simmons added.

“Allied Staging,” said Estevez.  “Out in the valley off 480.  Know it?”

A low bubbling sound came from under Koradovich, followed by a smell best described as organic.
The uniforms both covered their mouths and noses.  Estevez waved his hand in front of his face.  “Can I take that as a no?”

“It's no crime to own a warehouse, Lieutenant,” said Koradovich.  “Lots of people own them.  We Ukrainians call that 'investment property.'  Familiar with the concept?  I guess on a cop's salary, you wouldn't be.”

“You're right, Andre.  It's not a crime to own a warehouse.  It is, however, a crime to aid and abet grand larceny.”  He perched on the edge of Koradovich's desk.  “See, Allied had been contracted to store and secure a very rare artifact, The Chest of St. Jakob of Danzig.  Perhaps you've heard of it?”

At Koradovich's elbow sat the morning's Plain Dealer, the headline proclaiming the police “baffled” in locating the stolen relic.  “The media seems to think you can't find your own dicks if you unzipped your flies.  That why you're harrassing me?”

“I'm here,” said Estevez, “because you own the property where the Chest was stolen.  Among other things we can discuss downtown.”

“Maybe it was stolen during transport.”

Estevez shook his head.  “It came from the airport by armored car and left by police escort.  Both transport companies can account for their time.  Your warehouse manager seems to have a problem accounting for his.”

“So what do you want me to do about it?”

Estevez smiled.  “I want you to come downtown and answer a few questions.”

“And if I don't?”

“Well, you have a right to refuse.  I'm sure you already knew that.”

“I also know I have a right to an attorney.”

Estevez motioned to the two uniforms.  “Help Mr. Koradovich to the car, boys.  Handcuffs won't be necessary.  Just a friendly chat.”  He turned back to Koradovich.  “Ain't that right, Koradovich?”

“Yeah.  Friendly.  Let me call my friendly lawyer so he can give you a friendly reminder in what my rights are.”
* * *
My copy already resides on my Kindle. You can get yours by clicking any of the these links:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Collateral Damage

The earthquake knocked over a picture. The hurricane didn't even flicker the lights. Yesterday thunderstorms left us without power for twelve hours and water so deep I had waves behind me as I ran the wet vac at 2:30 in the morning.


We have water in our basement almost as often as John Boehner reneges on a deal. Tomorrow I'm scouring Angie's List for wet basement contractors; they can come by during my scheduled time off next week. Interviewing contractors in Maryland and attending Bouchercon in St. Louis at the same time is beyond even my multi-tasking abilities, so I'm afraid Bouchercon will get a pass this year.

I'd ask anyone I might have shared a beverage with to meet me next year in Cleveland, but it's Cleveland, for Chrissakes. I'll probably go, but the Pittsburgh boy in me can't ask someone else to go to Cleveland with a clear conscience.

There's always Albany.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Interview at Temporary Knucksline

Charlie Stella once again steps up as Wild Bill’s padrone, with a lengthy interview with your humble author at his blog, Temporary Knucksline. Charlie asks the good questions, and I give the best answers I can. Stop by and check it out, and peruse the rest of the site while you’re there.

Many thanks to Charlie for taking the time to interview me, and for his continuing support.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Best Reads for August

I got bogged down in a long baseball book this month and didn’t cover as much ground as usual. Still, a couple of books stand out.

Big Numbers, Jack Getze. Austin Carr is a stockbroker driven into increased sleaziness because his income can’t keep up with his alimony and child-support obligations. New vistas of opportunity open up when his biggest client becomes terminally ill and his trophy wife has a plan to skim some money for herself before the kids can get it. Getze teases you with the ending first, but no names, then starts from the beginning, leaving several options for the bad guy. Or guys. You’re never quite sure until the end. The plot is involved, but confusing, you’re never quite sure which characters to trust, and the writing is easy on the eyes.

Absolute Zero Cool, Declan Burke. To say AZC is Elmore Leonard meets James Ellroy isn’t fair to Burke, the book, Leonard, or Ellroy. As unique a book as I’ve ever read, and worth a re-read so I have a little better idea what to expect from the get-go. (More detailed review here.)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wild Bill Spans the Globe

Barely a week after its release, Wild Bill is an international sensation, with satisfied readers from such disparate locations as Los Angeles, California and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with others strewn about the intervening 10,062 miles. (Note: The use of the word “sensation” does not imply an ego run amuck. Sensations are not universally good, as anyone who has recently has an “itching, burning, sensation” can attest. Just saying, is all.) The current sales rank is 106,488 in Amazon, which might not sound like much until you stop to think UNESCO estimates 288,355 books are published annually in the United States alone, which puts Wild Bill well into the top half without resorting to the treachery of an expensive, or even well-conceived, marketing campaign.

The arrival of Labor Day is the traditional time to say, “I want to relax over a three-day weekend with a piece of inexpensive crime fiction that’s worth every penny. “ What better way to say it than with a copy of Wild Bill, available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble for only $2.99? Spend the money you would have spent on sun screen on something intended to keep you shielded from the sun’s rays under an umbrella in the company of Wild Bill Hickox, Vinnie Dominos Agrigento, and Junior Bevilacqua.