Saturday, July 2, 2011

New book coming soon!

 Here is an excerpt from my new book, Valentine's Revenge. It should be available in print, Kindle and NookBook formats some time in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

August 14, 1845

Where were you?” the pain-wracked voice rang from the wainscoted walls of the high-ceilinged room. Randolph Martin stood his ground stoically in the face of his friend’s anguished words. Lying in the stark hospital bed, covered in multiple layers of bandages, Cyrus Valentine resembled nothing so much as an Egyptian mummy-- a mummy with raging eyes flaming behind the blood-spotted linen wrappings. He had been severely burned in the tragic fire that destroyed his house and killed his family. While attempting to force his way into the fully-engulfed wreckage of his home to save his wife and infant son from the conflagration, Valentine had been struck on the head by a falling beam, slamming him to the flagstone floor of the portico before he could force his way inside.
Randolph Martin was not only an attorney who had graduated near the top of his class from Yale Law School, as had Valentine; he was also the captain of the local fire brigade. He had been across town at a dinner party when the alarm had sounded; without his leadership, the relatively untrained men of the recently established brigade had been late leaving the firehouse, and their unorganized and disjointed efforts once they arrived at Valentine’s house had been in vain. By the time Randolph arrived to bring order to the chaos, the house was a total loss. Valentine’s family was dead, and Valentine himself was in an ambulance racing to the hospital.
I’m so sorry, Cyrus; I was across town, ” Randolph tried to console his distraught friend. “I got there as quickly as I could.”
You should have been…” Cyrus began.
I’m not clairvoyant, Cyrus!” Randolph interrupted firmly. “How was I to know a fire would start in your house, or any other house for that matter? It’s summer, and you know that we rarely have such fires in this time of the year!”
So because you didn’t think there was any danger, I have lost all that was most precious to me,” the seriously injured attorney accused, his voice bitter with loss and grief.
But it is not my fault that the fire started!” his friend protested.
No, but if you had trained your men appropriately, my family might still be alive!” Cyrus raged.
The fire brigade is new, Cyrus, and the men are working hard to be prepared for any circumstance. What more would you have me do?” Randolph pleaded, his voice rising. “If I had it within my power, I would gladly undo what happened, but that is one thing I cannot do! I’m truly sorry!”
Your apologies will not restore my body, or the lives of my wife and son!” Cyrus declared, his weak, smoke-roughened voice filled with menace. “But I will have a reckoning, Randolph. Mark my words!”
Randolph Martin turned away sadly, distraught that he was unable to comfort his friend, and discounting the chilling words as the product of Cyrus’ inconsolable grief. Randolph could not know then just how deeply those few, softly-spoken syllables would affect his life one day...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

An Interview With Linn Keller

This is the first of what I have planned to be a series of interviews with some of the unsung authors of some of today's best novels...


An interview with Linn Keller
Today I have the pleasure of interviewing author Linn Keller of Lagrange, Ohio. Linn is the author of three novels: The Sheriff’s Legacy, The Sheriff’s Betrayal, and The Sheriff’s Journal. The first two are “westerns” set in modern-day Firelands County, Colorado and introduce tough-as-nails Willamina Keller, the first female sheriff of Firelands County. The Sheriff's Journal, which was just recently released through AuthorHouse, is meant as a prequel to the others in that it tells the story of Willamina's great-grandfather, who was himself the sheriff of Firelands. Please welcome Linn to our stage.
SCP: Good morning, Linn.
 Morning, Charlie!
              SCP: Please tell our audience a little about yourself. Your hobbies and interests, your writing background, that sort of thing. 

 Well ... there's not much to tell, really ... I grew up in Appalachian Ohio, worked in the family oilfield listening to tales told by masters of the art.
Granddad was a moonshiner and a moon runner, and he taught me all he knew.  -- hak-kaff!  I mean I listened politely to his tall tales!
(assumes innocent expression)
Most young fellows are out to whip the world.
I set out to save it.
I put 21 years of my life into being a firefighter- paramedic, with 18 of those 21 serving simultaneously as a deputy marshal in an Appalachian village. I worked water and wastewater and got my licenses, became a nurse, and my wife tells me I have no idea what I want to do when I grow up. 
         SCP: What made you decide to write your first novel, The Sheriff’s Legacy?
A friend of mine gave me a swift kick in the pants.
There is an ongoing story currently written on Belle Alley -- Firelands, four years old and not slowing down a bit! -- one of our correspondents, Bloomin' Yankee, was carefully engineering what she wanted to write into a scene -- but by the time she got hers crafted, polished and ready to cut and paste into the story, I had added about twelve installments in two days' time and the story was well past where she wanted to inject her character.
She sent me a private messsage and chastised me, which to be perfectly honest, I richly deserved! -- then she challenged me, and I bless her for it:
"If you're so good, start a solo thread.  Write one yourself, and show us what you've got!"
I have since thanked her for that boot in the backside.  Had she not been enough of a friend to speak very frankly, I would likely have never started the thread that became The Sheriff's Legacy.
           SCP: How did you arrive at the idea to write the main character as a woman?
 (chuckles) To be real honest, that was one of those idiot ideas that flies in from who-knows-where and lands on your shoulder.  By the time I realized how bad the idea was, the story was started and was taking on a life of its own!  I wrote this as a solo thread on Belle Alley and it wasn't until the tale got its legs under it and started to stride across the Colorado landscape that a little voice knocked on the inside of my skull and said, "Hello?  Einstein?  Say, Belle Alley celebrates THE VICTORIAN ERA YOU BLOODY IDIOT NOT THE HERE AND NOW!  WHAT IN THE COTTON PICKIN' ARE YOU DOING???
Right about then the Sheriff swivel hipped her way across the Council chamber floor, seduced the Mayor without saying a word, at least until she grabbed him by the neck tie and yanked him across the table.
Why a woman?
Belle Alley was started by the Carolina Belles, ladies of the first water -- Ladies most deserving of the term -- and I wanted to write one for them.  What better way than to bring in a female character?
Maybe the biggest reason for "Why a woman?" is because I was able to use that fact to yank the rug out from under the reader in the first chapter, and use that to keep the surprises coming.
          SCP: Did you model Willamina Keller after a specific person?
 Willamina is a complex and composite character who reminds me strongly of a number of women I've known.  I can't say she is any one individual person; she draws from so many.
One, of course, is my mother, a woman of wit and of wisdom; another is Sandy Baker, with whom I worked as a firefighter, a medic and a lawman:  Sondra Mae was fond of such things as picking up the portable generator and walking across the firehouse floor with it, casually, as if it were just a basket of clothes ... a generator that normally two men would pack.
Willamina's rotten sense of grinning, good-humored achievement, though, comes from my baby sis.
          SCP: Where exactly is Firelands County? Is there such a place?
Firelands County, Colorado, was invented by another of the ladies of Belle Alley: Duzy Wales heard the name somewhere, thought it was neat, and started the Firelands thread.  Regretfully, there is no Firelands County, Colorado.
The Fire Lands are actually in Northwest Ohio and refer to the Great Black Swamp, and was so named because it seemed to be perpetually afire or smoldering from lightning strikes, or being fired by the  natives to drive out game for harvest.
         SCP: The Sheriff’s Legacy and The Sheriff’s Betrayal have both been in print for some time, but The Sheriff’s Journal is hot off the press. Would you like to share a little background on the new book?
All things have a beginning; the tallest tree has roots hidden from the common eye, yet they are there and provide for its solid foundation.
The Sheriff's Journal was alluded to very strongly in The Sheriff's Legacy, and was an actual, hand written journal kept by a fellow with an iron-grey mustache, The Old Sheriff.
I did not realize how clear a picture I had painted of this old feller until my Mama, my beautiful bride and my baby sis stood shoulder to shoulder in Mama's kitchen, after they all finished reading The Sheriff's Legacy:  with one voice the sayd "We want to know more about that old fellow, the Old Sheriff, what about him?"
... and of course, when faced with the wishes of ladies of that quality, the only correct reply is, "Yes, ma'am!"
          SCP: Where are your books available for sale? I’m assuming that they are available online. Do you sell them yourself? 
I'm selling autographed copies, yes, but my books can also be had through the publisher, Author House; Amazon, Borders, and The Sheriff's Journal is now available electronically.
         SCP: What projects do you have planned for the future?
 My baby sis is interested in the Sheriff's twin brother William, and my beautiful bride suggested a compliation of short stories about the Sheriff.  Beyond that I''m feeling the "Author's Sag," kind of a sagging of the spirits, the normal post-elation letdown that happens every time a book makes print. 
My fellow Medieval re-enactors have encouraged me to publish s book of my cartoons as well:  my character the Sneetch (no relation to the Dr. Seuss creation!) is a self portrait:  wild flyaway hair, er, feathers; big belly; perpetually wearing boots; capable of getting in trouble without getting out of the easy chair ... yes, very much a self portrait!

            SCP: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit with me, Linn. I’ve read The Sheriff’s Legacy, and it’s a great book with realistic action taken directly out of today’s headlines, and real human characters that a reader can get instantly involved with. I highly recommend it. Having co-written a long-running collaborative story with you on The Carolina Belles website, I am sure that The Sheriff’s Betrayal and The Sheriff’s Journal are both equally as readable and engrossing tales. I plan to buy them both soon. I hope those of you in the audience who enjoy losing yourself in a good book will do the same. I'm very sure you won’t regret it.

I appreciate your hospitality, and the kindness of your comments.
I can only think of one thing to add:
This has all been very much a surprise to me.
Our local library had me give a presentation on the writing of my first book.
When I finished I asked for questions or comments, and a woman in back spoke up and declared "I have a bone to pick with you!"
I spread my hands and said "Sling it right on me!" figuring she was going to chew the ears right off my head.
She shook her Mommy-finger at me and said, "I only have one complaint!  I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN!  I tried to read it in my fifteen minute breaks at work and I kept saying "Oh just one more page, one more page," and finally I stayed up until TWO IN THE MORNING READING IT!"
Matter of fact, "I Couldn't Put It Down" is the one most common comment I've gotten!


Linn Keller can be reached via e-mail at 

Happy Reading! 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

All e-readers are not created equal...

Or so I've discovered. In my last installment, I noted that I was working to get my first two novels converted for set up as e-books. Since that posting, I discovered that setting them up as KindleBooks, for the Amazon Kindle e-reader, is a whole lot simpler. I downloaded all of the necessary software from the 'Net, and now those two books are available in the Kindle Store...

As soon as I get some extra time, I'm hoping to get them converted for sale directly from here, which I think would be way cool. All anybody would need is a free download from Adobe called Digital Editions, then the reader who was in search of a western as a take-along could just buy it here, download it to ADE, then it's a matter of seconds to move it to the B&N Nook or any other of the multitude of e-readers on the market. Or just read it on your computer. I need to figure out how to do that...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Coming soon (I hope):

I hope to do some interviews, via e-mail, with some of the authors whose books I have listed on this site. Stay tuned...

A new publishing adventure awaits...

I recently bought a Barnes and Noble Nook e-reader. I wasn't going to, as I really like books. But this is a very cool device. You can cram a truckload of books, electronically speaking, into the thing's brain and still have room left over. I'm enjoying it immensely. Which brings me to my newest publishing adventure: ePublishing...

While we were at the B&N store where I bought the Nook, my lovely wife asked me if any of my books are available as e-books. Unfortunately, I had to tell her that they are not. But all that is going to change in the relatively near future. I'm currently in the process of formatting Complications: The Deputies Book 1 as an ebook. From there, I'm planning to set it up with, then move on to the Amazon Kindle. Then, if I can get B&N to talk to me, I'll attempt to get it set up with them as well. Once that's done, I'll start on formatting for Book 2. I'm using the same Adobe Creative Suite software that I use to format my print book blocks, so there really wasn't any new software to learn, I just had to refresh my memory as to how CS4 does things...

The whole e-book thing is quite intriguing. One buys the book online, wirelessly downloads it to the reading device, of which there are numerous permutations, then read away. We have a wireless network set up in our living room so Internet and stuff are a relative snap. We even have a wireless printer. Since I bought the Nook I've already read Tom Clancy's new book, I'm currently in the middle of Stephen Hunter's I, Sniper, and I've read the book that started the whole Reacher phenomenon (for those of you who have never heard of Reacher, he's a former Military Police major who roams the country trying to be left alone and very rarely succeeding). Lee Child is the author of the Reacher books, and I haven't read one yet that I don't like...

e-Readers seem to be all the rage nowadays. I know when we were in the B&N in Boise Christmas shopping, they were sold out of everything except the super-expensive Nook Color...