Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Executioner Series of Novels by Don Pendleton




In 1973, Don Pendleton had this to say about the writing in his very successful original The Executioner: Mack Bolan Series of Action/Adventure:  "The books are narrated as the closest thing to docudrama, with an authoritative third-person objective viewpoint occasionally shifting into stream of consciousness via Bolan and other characters.  The emphasis is to explain the action as an approving, historical account in a stirring presentation, and to dimension as much as possible the violent activities of the hero."

"Styling of the Mack Bolan stories requires a structure for carrying fast-paced hard-hitting action sequences.  The writing is punchy, declarative, stirringly graphic.  The reach is toward the reader’s belly, designed to evoke visceral response and rousing empathy.  This is 'heroic' fiction."

Open Road Media will release ebooks of 37 Original Executioners by Don Pendleton on December 16, 2014. The ebooks can now be pre-ordered at Amazon, Nook, Kobo and other online ebook retailers.   


 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Original Executioner Series EBooks by Don Pendleton



 

Forty-five years ago, author Don Pendleton's War Against the Mafia, the first novel in what would become the international best-selling The Executioner: Mack Bolan Series of Action/Adventure novels, was published.  Don Pendleton wrote 37 books in the original series.  And now all 37 novels will be released again on December 16th, 2014, this time in ebook editions, published by Open Road Media.  The books are now on Pre-Order at Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iTunes, and other ebook retailers.

Don Pendleton is acknowledged as the "father of the modern Action/Adventure novel." His Mack Bolan, The Executioner, theme is "Live Large" and not long ago the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume II (H-O) gives derivation credit for "live large" to Don Pendleton and his Executioner Series.

At the height of the Executioner success many publishers and writers attempted to ride on the coattails of Don's success. Some succeeded. Others did not. In many of those books, what appeared to be missing were the elements that Don Pendleton had so skillfully crafted with his presentation of his fictional hero, Mack Bolan.   

Don wrote the first novel in the series, War Against the Mafia out of his desire to express his discomfort with the reaction of many Americans to our soldiers who were dying for our country in the jungles of Vietnam and those coming home to outrageous verbal and physical abuse. So Mack Bolan became Don's symbolic statement. He also became every soldier's voice. Don created a heroic character in Bolan, a true hero who was dedicated to justice. The enemy that Bolan had to fight was no longer on the battlefields of Vietnam but right here on American soil, and that enemy was the Mafia.

Within his Bolan stories are strong values with an underlying theme of a higher morality that Bolan follows. More than once Don said about the Executioner novels, "My biggest job throughout writing the series was to keep faith with Bolan–that what he is doing is right. I wanted an enemy beyond redemption–an enemy that all civilized procedures had failed to put down. The Mafia was ready-made. They embodied all the evils of mankind."

Since 1980, the Executioner: Mack Bolan series, pretty much left the Mafia behind, and moved on to fight terrorism within several spinoff series:  Phoenix Force, Able Team, Stony Man, Mack Bolan, and The Executioner.  Currently close to 1,000 books have been published, based on Don Pendleton's original Mack Bolan character.

In August of 2014, it was announced that Hollywood screenwriter and producer, Shane Salerno had acquired the film rights and a film franchise is planned. And soon after, Warner Brothers announced Bradley Cooper to star.

Read more about Don Pendleton

Follow on Twitter:  @waragainstmafia

~Linda


Sunday, September 14, 2014

"Every Novel Has a Living Soul." -Don Pendleton



A Meeting of the Minds ... 

"Well, I believe that every novel has a living soul. It is a fragment of your own soul, if you are the novelist, added to a fragment of the world soul that stole as an essence into your imaginative creative mind and then re-imaged through your rationale and clothed for travel to another mind. Something very special and magical has happened there. In that joining of minds between author and reader, in a satisfying novel, a larger quality leaps off the pages, a quality larger than the author and larger than the reader, larger than the two combined; it is a quantum leap, larger even than the sum of all its parts.

"I don't know what it is. I have written something more than a hundred books, but I still do not know what it is."
~Don Pendleton, from The Metaphysics of the Novel: The Inner Workings of a Novel and a Novelist

A book for aspiring writers and for those who desire to know more about the creative process of writing.



~Linda 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Don Pendleton's Mack Bolan, Now a Film Franchise


 
This week successful Hollywood screenwriter, producer, Shane Salerno announced the film franchise of Don Pendleton's Mack Bolan best-selling series.  In the 1970s, at the height of Don Pendleton's success with the original series, Don had this to say about his books:  "I do believe that I have managed to utilize highly, highly dramatic situations, perhaps bordering on the melodramatic to bring out the deeper values that are inherent in all human life.  I’m very strongly aware that many young and impressionable readers read my books and I feel a sense of responsibility there.  I work very hard to see that my hero is a truly three dimensional person with very high purpose.  I try to present the things he does in the context of tremendous meaning."
 
"I will never apologize to anyone for my Executioner books.  I feel they are a testament to the human spirit of mankind and I find it personally gratifying that the books have evoked such a wide response in the American reader.  And it has been a wide response, not just in the numbers of books sold but in the cross section of American society who happen to be reading the books.  The readers are professional people, white collar workers, blue collar people, military people, men, women, children from age twelve to age ninety four.  The books are more than simple escape literature.  The books do actually involve the reader in a rather high cause–the perpetration of human excellence, high human values, and besides that, they are just entertaining, that’s all."
 
"Beyond that, I don’t know how to evaluate the books.  I doubt very much that any writer can really give a purely objective evaluation of his work.  The only sort of gauge I have is in the way I feel when I write those final words, The End.  If I have a good feeling when I put those words down, then I feel I have accomplished my objective.  I’ve said what I’ve started out to say and told the story I started out to tell, and if I finish the book feeling good then I have to assume that the reader will finish the book feeling the same way–and that’s really my primary goal."
 
"I want to entertain and along with the entertainment, I do want to include something that does dignify the work a bit.  That doesn’t mean that the time spent reading the book is lost time-completely frittered away–but that along with the entertainment there has been a few moments of perhaps introspection on the part of the reader, perhaps a little bit of understanding of the world about him."
 
"I don’t suppose the books will ever go down in the big registry of great literary masterpieces, as certainly, they’re not that.  I could only hope that Mack Bolan will take his place along with such American fictional heroes as Mike Hammer, Travis McGee, Perry Mason, Matt Helm, and of course James Bond, who is not an American hero but an Englishman, but nevertheless, in the same genre.  And I hope it can be said that Mack Bolan is his own man–his own type–and he does stand apart from the other heroes, perhaps no better than they are but unique in his own right, and aside from the hope that the books will have continuing acceptance, that they will continue to sell, this is about the most I could ask for."
~Don Pendleton. 
 
The photo I took of Don Pendleton autographing a book for the young boy was at the Mack Bolan Convention in San Francisco in 1985.  
 
Read more at my previous blogs on the 40th Anniversary of Mack Bolan, in 2009, beginning with Part One, The Birth of Mack Bolan
 
~Linda
 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Don Pendleton and his Joe Copp, Private Eye Character

“Pendleton, author of the long-running paperback Executioner series, shows in his first hardcover that hardboiled writing can be insightful as well as action-packed.” ~Library Journal



Last night I had a dream about my writing and my late husband, Don Pendleton.  For those of you who do not know, Don Pendleton was creator of the best-selling, The Executioner: Mack Bolan series of novels, the first one being, “War Against the Mafia,” published in 1969. Don is also considered the “father of Action/Adventure.”

My vivid dream, and dream discussion with Don of my PI novel I’ve been working on, got me to thinking today about Don’s Joe Copp character, who first appeared in his novel, Copp for Hire, first of the six books in the Copp series.   This morning I also saw a FB post about fictional characters.  It also reminded me (as if I needed to be reminded) of the ease and skill of writing that Don had.  He allowed the creative flow to do just that, flow. 

So my mind went back to the first of Don’s Copp books.  We were at our dining table, after a nice breakfast, enjoying our coffee when Don said, “Today I’m going to start a new private eye series.  The opening is:  ‘I smelled trouble all over this kid the instant she stepped into my office. She was hot.’”  He picked up a pen and jotted that on paper.

He started writing that day, and a few days later, Don sent off a proposal to his agent, and if I recall, with three chapters.  Not long after he had a contract for hardcover publication of the series of six books with New York publisher, Donald I. Fine, Inc., and in addition, that was followed soon after by a nice paperback deal on the series.      

Joe Copp was a California cop, turned private eye.  A tough, hard-boiled guy.  But Joe had a big heart and a teddy-bear personality, that is, as long as you were on the right side of the law.  If you were on the wrong side, he would just be as happy to get rid of you in the easiest way possible.   

Copp for Hire:  “Tough, cagey, ex-cop turned private eye, Joe Copp, descends into the labyrinth of forbidden sex, corrupt politics, and multiple murders. It is a powerful story of gray and light and shifting shadows that conceal as much as they reveal about human nature. The fast moving story takes Joe Copp to the rough and tumble, down and dirty, anything-goes underbelly of Los Angeles and on to the deadly vice pits of Honolulu's Chinatown. “

I loved the character.  And so did many professional reviewers. 

"Pendleton's Joe Copp is a dynamo."
–Roanoke Times and World News

“Pendleton, author of the long-running paperback Executioner series, shows in his first hardcover that hardboiled writing can be insightful as well as action-packed.” ~Library Journal

"Pendleton mines another bestselling vein with the cases of ex-cop/private eye
Joe Copp, the toughest operator this side of Mike Hammer."
–ALA Booklist

"The latest Joe Copp adventure reads like an express train...
Pendleton knows how to keep us turning pages."
–Publishers Weekly

The books are available in print, ebooks, and audiobooks.  Books 1 and 2 in a Boxed Set at Kindle.  


 ~Linda




  

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

The battle for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness–and equality for all citizens of the United States of America–has been long and hard.  Generation after generation, people have passionately fought to establish freedom and equality for all, no matter the color of skin, sex, religion, sexual orientation, physical disability, or social position. 

It should be the hope of all of us that one day in the 21st century there will be an end to the horrific atrocities that have plagued the world, and that peace, freedom and equality will be in the minds and actions of all earth’s inhabitants.  It may be a hope and a dream that appears impossible–but what is life without a dream?

It was Thomas Jefferson who said, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”  

So let’s hang onto the dream that with each new day the world grows better.  

~Linda Pendleton, Excerpt from her book, A Small Drop of Ink 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

My Garden Vegetable Bake, an Easy Favorite



Today I baked my favorite Garden Vegetable Bake, and Whole Wheat Bran muffins, with carrots, raisins and apple.  Both low calorie and low sugar.  The Veggie Bake is 140 calories a serving, but I alter the Betty Crocker recipe and most always leave out the corn.  So carbs and sugar are less.  The muffin recipe, I alter also, and it comes out about 114 calories.  I love the Garden Veggie bake as I always freeze some for a quick breakfast or lunch. (pop in microwave)  Here is the recipe for the Garden Vegetable Bake.

1/2 cup grated low-fat Parmesan Cheese
1 generous cup of chopped zucchini
Optional:  2/3 Cup whole kernel sweet corn
1 small tomato, chopped 1/2 cup. 
1 medium onion, chopped 1/2 cup
3/4 cup of Bisquick HeartSmart mix
1 cup fat-free skim milk
1/2 cup fat-free eye product or 4 egg whites.  (at times I use one whole egg with the added whites).
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
I often add a dash of Italian Seasoning, and about 1/4 of shredded cheddar cheese, and/or chopped mushrooms.  

1. Heat oven to 400.  Spray 8 or 9 inch square baking dish with cooking spray.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese in baking dish. Top with zucchini, tomatoes, onions [corn]. Sprinkle remaining cheese, [add cheddar, if used].
2.  In small bowl, stir and blend remaining ingredients.  Pour over vegetables and cheese.
3.  Bake uncovered for 32 to 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  [30 minutes in my oven so keep an eye on it.  Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. 
Makes 6 servings.    
Serve with fruit, salad, or avocado, and in my photo, a Bran Muffin.    


~Linda 


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Linda Pendleton's The Unknown, A Novel, now in Audiobook



Happy to say my novel, The Unknown, is now an audiobook.  It is narrated by Rick Frederick, who did a great job in the reading of it.  Rick Frederick, is an actor, writer, and audio book narrator, via ACX.com.  

I've recently have had several of my books done as audiobooks.  I have found it to be so pleasurable to listen to someone narrating my words.  At first, it seemed strange, especially with my novel, Shattered Lens, Catherine Winter, Private Investigator, because that book and the second of the series, Fractured Image, are wirtten in first person---a female voice and I am used to that voice of Catherine being my voice in my head as author.  But soon I became used to just "listening" and not thinking about it.  Enjoyable, for sure.  

I am very happy with Rick Frederick's narration of The Unknown.  I had listened to his sample narration at ACX, and knew he was the one I wanted to have narrate The Unknown.  So I contacted him and he accepted the offer to narrate.  

Check out his short sample reading of The Unknown, and let me know what you think.  I hope if you decide to get the book, you will enjoy listening as much as I did.  The book is also at Kindle and in print for those of you who might not prefer audiobooks. 

Linda 


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Power of Words Within Small Drops of Ink

I have often been asked what my favorite quotes are.  I have so many favorites that it is difficult to choose only a few.  I believe my choice at any particular moment may depend on my frame of mind or mood.  I may be looking for wisdom, inspiration, motivation, or comfort.  Then again, there may be times when I read something that hits me at a deep level, words that resonate within me, touch me deeply, or even move me to tears.

I would say that this Lord Byron quote would be near the top of my list, as it really says it all about the power of the written word.  It was for that reason that I chose a part of his quote for my non-fiction book title, A Small Drop of Ink. The words of Lord Byron, penned many years ago:
                                                           
“Words are things; and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions think.”


The goal of the creative process is to move thoughts toward things so they can be experienced and shared by others.  Thoughts become things when expressed. Words can produce vivid mental images.  This quote does that for me.  I see that small drop of black ink falling down upon a thought, and the ink allowing the words to be indelibly stamped into the mind of millions to experience.  Some of the most enjoyable quotations are metaphors, literally a figure of speech in which a word or phrase that is ordinarily and primarily used to describe one thing or event is used to describe another.  The metaphor provides color, harmonies, musical notes, symphonic results, and that allows for you to feel the words as they cascade through you.  A way to emphasize that feeling is to read aloud.  In doing so, the words magically move from a somewhat static form to one that comes alive with the help of vocal expression.  

One can’t help but wonder if English poet Lord George Gordon Byron (1788-1824) had any idea of the impact of his quote on future generations.  Obviously, as a successful poet he probably had a good idea that his works would be enjoyed by future generations.  What I find so interesting about a collection of famous quotes that spans centuries is that the quotes are often as illuminating in today’s modern world as they may have been when written or spoken. 

Another quotation that is a personal favorite is this by Albert Einstein:

"There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as if everything is."


I choose to believe that everything is a miracle.  I hope you do, too.  It is also my hope that you find my collection a treasure and that you keep it beside your favorite chair or bedside and read it when you desire pearls of wisdom on such things as life, success, beauty, creativity and love.  You can find it at Amazon.com, both in Print and Kindle. 

~Linda



Monday, April 14, 2014

The Creative Rationale by Author, Don Pendleton. A Unique Look at Writing the Novel

“The writer is always working from his own individual world view, whatever the subject, so an honest writer cannot conceal himself in the work no matter how hard he may try to do so.”–Don Pendleton (1927–1995)



Renowned author, the late Don Pendleton, recorded "The Creative Rationale" in 1986.  It became the opening to the book, The Metaphyics of the Novel. The Inner Workings of a Novel and a Novelist by Don Pendleton, with Linda Pendleton.  

Don's unique and inspirational look at the creative processes that move the modern novel and what creative forces move the novelist is not only for aspiring writers but for those who love books.  

Don Pendleton is known as the father of the Action/Adventure, a genre he created with his original The Executioner: Mack Bolan Series.  The first book was published in 1969, War Against the Mafia. After book 38 of the series, Don franchised his characters to Harlequin and they continue to publish The Executioner Series, now about 1,000 books.  In addition to Mack Bolan, Don wrote SciFi, mysteries, including the Joe Copp Private Eye Series; Ashton Ford Psychic Detective Series.   His books have been published in many languages world-wide.   So who better to turn to for an understanding of the creative rationale than a successful novelist, whose career spanned many years and many books.   

Author Jon Guenther had this to say:  "I can guarantee first hand that The Metaphysical of the Novel is invaluable for anyone with the genuine desire to write and publish their book."  


Author Stephen Mertz, who knew Don for many years, said this about the book, "A profound study of the spiritual aspects of the novelist's art.  If you're looking for a quick-fix list of agents and the like, look elsewhere.  Pendleton has deeper truths to share in a work that entertains as it enlightens, examining the creative rationale that is the source of good writing."  


I consider this book to be an important book for aspiring writers, just as Don did.  In listening to Don's unique approach to creativity, I believe you will understand why.


~Linda Pendleton








   

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Building Suspense in Fiction


This is an excellent video by three successful writers on building suspense in fiction writing.   I found their views on first person vs third person of particular interest.  I have written in both viewpoints.  My Catherine Winter Private Investigator Series is in first person.  My last novel, Sound of Silence is in third, and the current novel I am writing is again in third.  It's a toss up as to which I prefer, but I think third person is less restrictive and allow for more freedom in creativity.  

Outlines--I have never liked them, going back many years to my high school and college days.  So I do not use them.

I've written screenplays so I can identify somewhat with what both Paul and Lee have to say about screenwriting, which they have both done.



~Linda 



Monday, March 24, 2014

Johnny Cash, the Man in Black, Lives On

Johnny Cash was always a favorite of mine.  I had the opportunity to see him in concert numerous times over the years. 

I am happy to see the release of “Out Among the Stars,” a new album of songs we’ve never heard before.  Already I have two favorites from the album, the title song, “She Used to Love Me a Lot,” and “I Came To Believe.”  Both songs have been released for preview prior to the release of the full album. 

The album goes on sale March 25, 2014.  The 12 songs on the album, Out Among the Stars, were written in the early 1980s according to John Carter Cash, son of Johnny and June Carter Cash.  John Carter discovered the songs among his parents belongings, and had this to say about being able to release this album:  “It was like coming face-to-face with my dad. He’s in perfect voice.”

Also on the album is a duet by Johnny and June, “Baby Ride Easy,” which their son considers it to be a powerful song as good as their song “Jackson”

I look forward to hearing all of the album. 

The full album and Mp3 files is at Amazon.com


Friday, February 28, 2014

New Audiobook, Roulette, The Search for the Sunrise Killer, Don & Linda Pendleton, Narrated by Johnny Peppers



Just released:  The audiobook of  Roulette: The Search for the Sunrise Killer by Don and Linda Pendleton.  Narrated by Johnny Peppers. Johnny is a talented ACX producer/narrator, and has recorded books for the blind.  He is also an actor.  He did a great job with the narration of our book.  He is currently narrating another novel for me, Sound of Silence by Linda Pendleton, which will be available in audio in the not too-distant future.  You may listen to a sample of Roulette at Audible.com.  It is available through Audible.com, Amazon.com and iTunes.  I hope you enjoy listening as much as I have enjoyed the narration of our crime story.    

~Linda 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

And Along Came Amazon.com

I want to tell you why Amazon.com is valuable to me, and why I respect Jeff Bezos, and consider him to be a visionary.  I’m an author, my late husband was an author. I’m a senior, and I’m an amputee.  You may wonder what being an amputee has to do with Amazon.  It has plenty to do with it for me.  Six years ago I had to have a below-the-knee amputation of my left leg.  I was very lucky to have great medical care and rehabilitation and most people have no idea that I’m an amputee and wear a prosthetic.  But I do, during all my waking hours.  The one drawback is that I’m unable to walk long distances without suffering some pain.  So I do not go to places like shopping malls,  Walmart, Costco, Home Depot, or any large stores where walking could be a problem.

I admire Jeff Bezos for his desire in 1994 to have the largest bookstore in the world.  And since, he has given authors incredible opportunity to publish through Amazon’s Createspace for print books, KDP for Kindle ebooks, and audio books at Amazon’s ACX.  It has allowed me to publish new books, and put out of print books back into print and ebooks.  That includes not only having control over the works, but receiving decent royalties and payment schedules.  But Jeff Bezos’ business vision expanded beyond books to a store for just about anything a consumer would be looking for. 
And a store especially for a consumer who is unable, for whatever reason, to go out shopping in his or her  community.  I can order just about all things I need or desire, whether it be books, electronics, supplies, or even something as simple as light bulbs.  And I am a Prime member so I have additional perks: fast shipping, video streaming, Kindle lending library.  I’ve not been in a brick and mortar bookstore for nearly a decade, except for two books signings at a local independent bookstore. 

Now, as a self-published author I do not miss NY traditional publishing.  I no longer have the headaches that often go along with that.  I have freedom, control, and decent royalties, and I love it!

I do not apologize at all for loving and supporting the Amazon company, and I often speak out when I encounter the ongoing attacks from some in the publishing world. And I left my membership in the Authors Guild last year after 22 years because of those attacks by the Guild.  Change is here, and it is too bad some were not willing to get into the game from the beginning.  I don’t mean authors, I mean publishers who have refused to consider decent royalties on ebooks.  I wrote about the resistance to ebooks and self-publishing twelve years ago, and it seems the attitude coming from traditionalists has not changed. 

And along came Amazon!  For many of us who made a business decision to self-publish, it has definitely been the right decision. 

~Linda 


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Audio Book, "Shattered Lens, Catherine Winter Private Investigator" by Linda Pendleton, Narration by Beth Richmond



My first book in the Catherine Winter Private Investigator Series, Shattered Lens,  is not only available in print and Kindle, it is now in Audio.  I was delighted to have Beth Richmond narrate my book via ACX. She did an excellent job!  A well experienced professional narrator, Beth Richmond has recorded more than 100 audio books, and has been an actress for more than 25 years, on stage, film and commercials.  She brought all that experience and expertise into the recording of my book. 

I do hope you consider listening to Shattered Lens.  It is available at audible.com, amazon.com and iTunes, where you can listen to a sample reading of the book by Beth. 

Here are a few reviews of my print edition book:

“Linda Pendleton's first private-eye novel, Shattered Lens, is a brilliant debut.”
~Richard S. Prather,  author of the Shell Scott Mystery Series.

“The hardcore mystery makes a come-back! Too many mysteries these days are little more than watered-down thrillers. At last, a whodunit in the spirit of a Sherlock Holmes mystery has returned. Linda Pendleton busts out of the gate with her first novel of licensed private investigator Catherine Winter. Winter picks up a young girl for a client--a young girl wrapped up in the glitz, drugs, and porn of Hollywood life--who shortly thereafter winds up dead. And the list of suspects is neither short nor usual.  What makes the book so pleasurable to read outside of the brisk pace is that nothing comes easy for Winter. She has to "earn" it in the same way that Linda has earned her right to sit at the top with today's other crime writers. The inside look at Hollywood and surrounding areas rings with authenticity. As a writer, I've often been disappointed in a lot of mysteries on the shelf but I knocked this one out in no time at all. Yeah, it was just that easy. Part police procedural, part hardboiled, and all entertaining, this one's a keeper.” An Author

“I enjoyed Shattered Lens very much.  Catherine Winter is a good private investigator.  I look forward to more stories.”  ~R. A., Southern California

“Great!  Another page turner I couldn’t put down.  I really enjoyed the main character, Catherine Winter, Private Investigator.  Interesting, no nonsense, but fun, well rounded older gal.  She is just as interesting and sexy as the younger ones.  She’s also a great detective.  Meets up with some interesting characters to solve this crime of murder.  Of course things are never as easy or clear as they seem.  You will definitely enjoy this one.”  ~Anne L Boss


Read the First Chapter Here 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

North Dakota Food Critic Marilyn Hagerty at age 87.

Marilyn Hagerty, newspaper food critic from Grand Forks, North Dakota is still at it at the age of 87, writing five weekly newspaper columns--factual, and with a nice sense of humor.  A popular reporter for the Grand Forks Herald for thirty years, her review of the local Olive Garden went viral in 2012. That led to national TV interviews and appearances, and a book published with an Introduction by chef, Anthony Bourdain.    



To learn more from Marilyn, listen to NPR interview

Her book:  Grand Forks

 Grand Forks


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Writing Tip: Character Sketches

Character Sketches 

The creative process of characterization is vital to your book.  A tool that you may want to employ is writing biographical sketches of your characters.  Even though your main character might be a forty-five-year-old man and the story you are presenting will not incorporate a single thing about his childhood, you, as the creator of this man, must know every nuance of his early life.  Did he come from a stable, loving family or was his father a drunk who would fly into rages and physically abuse the boy’s mother?  Was he a good student or did he struggle through his lessons, barely passing from one grade to another?  Was he constantly teased by other children because he was shy or clumsy?  Or was he the school-ground bully who often challenged others to a fist-fight.  Would you find him to be a boy who often rescued stray animals?   As a teen, was he adventurous?–or rebellious, forever finding himself in hot water, or even in legal difficulties? 
Know your characters well. By establishing his early character-traits within your own mind, it will enable you to know exactly how he might react to a situation you place him in as the adult.  Let’s say his father was an abusive alcoholic and wife beater.  What effect did that have on your character?  Had he followed in his father’s footsteps?  Had he resolved the issues he once had with his father?  Was he now a crusader against spousal abuse?  Was he a compassionate man as a result of living with the tension of an alcoholic parent in the home?  He can be anything you want him to be but you have to understand what motivates him because if you do not, your reader will not.  Everything your character does must be the logical expression of character traits that have been clearly shown to the reader before the characteristic action takes place.  If the action takes place in the very beginning of a story, the action itself would be designed to establish character traits.  Your characters must act as the result of a motive.  Behind every human action is a reason.  Those reasons may be conscious or unconscious but they have an effect on how one reacts to any given situation.  They may be impacted by environment, culture, social standing, religious upbringing, and various other factors.  You, as a writer, must give your characters strong, logical, and significant motives.  These motives may be bad or good, depending on the character’s place in the story.  Motivation gives your character vitality, purpose, strength, and will be a character in which your reader can take an interest.
People generally act in character.  If you have conceived a character as a timid and unadventurous man, you cannot abruptly, for no visible reason, turn him into an audacious daredevil.  It is important that your characters stay consistent throughout your story.  If they do not, the reader will certainly know and reject the story.
Reasons for particular actions are believable when they are what the majority of people would do under those same circumstances.  Of course, your characters may change throughout the story and the important thing is that the change must come from well-motivated reasons.  Keep your characters in character and they will always be believable.
 Become familiar with the basic human drives that make us act as we do–love, hate, fear, jealousy, greed, power, security–and know how your characters would react when challenged by these basic drives.

You can read more about writing in The Metaphysics of the Novel, The Inner Workings of a Novel and a Novelist by best-selling author, Don Pendleton, available in Kindle and print at Amazon.


~Linda 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Frustrations of Traditional Publishing

The Frustrations of Traditional Publishing—

Today I was again reminded how nice it is to self-publish via Amazon Kindle and Createspace print, and how great it is to have control of my work, the works of Don Pendleton, and our work.  I was going through files from the 1980-90s of correspondence with our agents in regards to the business of publishing.  What I discovered (but hardly have forgotten) was the constant battle to receive royalties when due from the publishers (or agents), both domestic and foreign; the matter of huge reserves by the publishers; accurate print records; the constant and ongoing correspondence of issues not always dealt with in a timely manner; offers for movie or TV options with no money exchange; disagreements over changes to manuscripts; letters of frustrations to agents who were not following through on business dealings; and contract or legal issues.  I do not miss all that one damn bit!  I love the freedom of self-publishing!   I didn’t shred the documents, decided to keep them for future reference and to look at any time I wonder if I should consider traditional publishing. :-)   

~Linda 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Book Trailers

Authors often like to have videos for their books that can be posted to websites, blogs and youtube.  I have several.   

Here is my latest book trailer for Roulette: the Search for the Sunrise Killer. I want to thank Tim at 
 http://www.kre8itmedia.com/ for doing this one.  

If you need a book trailer, check him out. 





Linda 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Jeff Bezos and Amazon's Authors

Here is an example of how well Jeff Bezos runs his company, Amazon.com and why I enjoy doing business with Amazon, as an author and as a consumer of various goods. I sent Jeff  an email direct on Saturday in regards to the Search Inside Feature of a blue triangular icon now being used on several of my print books and those of my late husband, Don Pendleton.  The icon interferes with my cover design and with title text.  I received a phone call this morning from Createspace telling me that Jeff had suggested they call me about my concerns, of which they will take into consideration in making changes to the Search Inside feature currently in a “trying out” period.  I was assured that I was not the only one who has complained about the feature they are redesigning.  I personally believe their “Arrow icon” was fine and mentioned to Jeff in my email, and again to the man who called that I really would prefer they keep the arrow.     

Another time when I had a publishing problem, I sent a letter to Jeff, and within two days after he should have received it in Washington state, I had action on the issue from an assistant of his.

So in my opinion people who rant and rave against Amazon may not know what they are talking about.  (or missing).  I am so pleased to have my books published by Amazon, and to do business with them.  I know of other authors who are pleased with working with Amazon.  For a few of those authors, their self publishing at Amazon has led them to now publishing with Thomas & Mercer, an Amazon imprint.  Andrew E. Kaufman is one of those authors.  His new book will be out in a few days.   

I consider Jeff Bezos to be a visionary and what he has offered authors--opportunity, excellent royalties, and control of our works, has been wonderful.  But even though he said years ago he  wanted to have the largest bookstore in the world, he also offers so much more beyond books.  If there are household things I need, I first look at Amazon—and two days later I have it at my door.    

According to a book review in the Washington Post (the Post is now owned by Jeff Bezos)  of the new book, The Everything Store, by journalist Brad Stone, it is stated: “at 3, Bezos took his crib apart with a screwdriver because he insisted on sleeping in a bed.”

Definitely a kid with a mind of his own, and brilliant.  This "kid" also founded a company for space exploration, Blue Origin in 2000.  See what I mean when I say he's visionary? 

I wouldn’t be surprised if one of his next steps might be to offer foreign language translations of our books.  Even though our books are on sale in several foreign countries now, translation may be next.  I would image there would be a fee charged if that is ever done.  But maybe it would be worth it. Time will tell.  :-)

And who knows, maybe someday in the future he will offer publication on the Moon or Mars.  We laugh about that idea but the late New York publisher, Donald I. Fine had a clause in his contracts that he would have publishing rights on the Moon.  And that is a fact.  Don Pendleton had six contracts with Fine and that was included.  But I never expected Fine would accomplish that, but now, Jeff Bezos could just make it possible!   


~Linda