Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

Here's to 2010, and a new year filled with peace, love, health, prosperity, and happiness!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Amazing: Jeff Bezos and Amazon Kindle Reader

“Amazon Kindle is the Most Gifted Item Ever on
On Christmas Day, for the First Time Ever, Customers Purchased More Kindle Books Than Physical Books

SEATTLE, Dec 26, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) --, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced that Kindle has become the most gifted item in Amazon's history. On Christmas Day, for the first time ever, customers purchased more Kindle books than physical books. The Kindle Store now includes over 390,000 books and the largest selection of the most popular books people want to read, including New York Times Bestsellers and New Releases.

"We are grateful to our customers for making Kindle the most gifted item ever in our history," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of "On behalf of employees around the world, we wish everyone happy holidays and happy reading!"

On Amazon's peak day, Dec. 14, 2009, customers ordered over 9.5 million items worldwide, which is a record-breaking 110 items per second.”

Read these incredible Amazon stats.
I sold some of my Kindle books and regular print books during this holiday season.

For those of you who purchased a Kindle Reader and are looking for books to upload, check my variety out on my Kindle Page.
And for those of you without a Kindle, like me, take a look at my print books.
Happy reading....

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The E-Book Battle

This Sunday article in the Washington Post addresses some of the publishing issues I have written about, i.e.: e-books, book prices, the industry ignoring what readers desire, and what writers want in regards to fair royalties. You can also add Print On Demand to this as e-books often have POD availability.

Here are some excerpts from the article:

E-books spark battle inside the publishing industry
By Marion Maneker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 27, 2009

“The evolution of publishing from print to digital has caused a schism in the reading world. There are now two constituencies: readers (and writers) on the one hand, and the publishing world on the other. And they don't want to hear each other.”

“Readers want books that are plentiful and cheap, publishers want to preserve their profit, and authors want a larger share of revenue. The conflict has created a strident internecine battle inside the publishing industry.”

...”Publishers can no longer be vast containers of intellectual property distributed in paper form to bookstores, supermarkets and warehouse clubs. But they don't have to be: They can become highly selective distributors to bookstores, supermarkets and price clubs. That's the lesson of the television, music and movie businesses.”

“But if the publishers want a role in the e-books business, they'll need to get over it and get on with it, embracing lower-priced e-books with higher author royalties. That seems unlikely. Because it's now clear that publishers just don't want to listen to what their customers are telling them.”

Read the complete Washington Post article.
See my previous post on ebooks, self-publishing, Kindle.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Unease in the Publishing World

"Nothing endures but change." - Heraclitus
Many authors are moving away from traditional publishing and going to self-publishing. This last month there was outrage in the publishing industry because Harlequin and another publisher now have a branch of their companies dealing in self-publishing.

Kevin Weiss is CEO of Author Solutions, the company who owns the self-publishing companies such as Exlibris, Author House, and iUniverse (who I have published several books with in 2000 and 2002, in addition to putting 12 of my late husband, Don Pendleton’s books back in print with their program in association with the Authors Guild, Inc.).

I’m not necessarily recommending an author choose to go the self publishing route without doing some research of the idea, but as I have written I have been upset by the attitude of publishers and many agents who believe a self-published author is not worthy of regular, traditional publishing and is not a professional. And I am also perturbed by the same attitude of author organizations, such as the Mystery Writers of America, who will not allow membership in the organization unless an author has been published by a company they consider to be a traditional publisher. I consider those attitudes to be elitist and unreasonable.

I must say I agree with what Kevin Weiss states in his video, and in my last blog I talked about Jeff Bezos’ Amazon and the Kindle Reader.

Change is happening in the industry and there is resistance. I doubt we’re going to go backwards so everybody might as well surrender to it instead of fighting it. It is time for change. And readers who are not spending $30 on a hardcover book should be giving publishers a hint. And millions spent on advances, especially celebrity advances, are not being recovered.

Seems there is a message there.

Let's see what 2010 brings....


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and the Kindle Reader

Jeff Bezos has always intrigued me with his innovative ideas and visionary approach to his business,, which he launched in 1994. I previously wrote about him and his company here.

When asked in a December, 2009 Newsweek article (by Daniel Lyons) about the success and broadening of his business, Jeff Bezos stated, “We learn whatever skills we need to service the customer. We build whatever technology we need to service the customer. The second thing is, we are inventors, so you won't see us focusing on "me too" areas. We like to go down unexplored alleys and see what's at the end. Sometimes they're dead ends. Sometimes they open up into broad avenues and we find something really exciting.

Of course his latest exciting adventure is the successful Kindle reader, but Kindle didn’t happen overnight according to Bezos. He said this about the development of the Kindle: “It's been on the market for two years, but we worked on it for three years in earnest before that. We talked about it for a year before that. We had to go hire people to build a hardware--engineering team to build the device. We had to acquire new skills. There's a tendency, I think, for executives to think that the right course of action is to stick to the knitting—stick with what you're good at. That may be a generally good rule, but the problem is the world changes out from under you if you're not constantly adding to your skill set.”

You see what I mean about a visionary attitude, and the guts to take risks and move forward?

I was somewhat surprised by the stats he gave on the success of the Kindle and his comment that he was “astonished” by the success of the Kindle. “Two years ago, none of us expected what has happened so far. It is [our] No. 1 bestselling product. It's the No. 1 most-wished-for product as measured by people putting it on their wish list. It's the No. 1 most-gifted item on Amazon. And I'm not just talking in electronics—that's true across all product categories. We've spent years working on our physical books business, and today, for titles that have a Kindle edition, Kindle book sales are 48 percent of the physical sales. That's up from 35 percent in May. The business is growing very quickly. This is not just a business for us. There is missionary zeal. We feel like Kindle is bigger than we are.”

Apparently Bezos believes that physical books are on their way out...although he admits he does not know how long that will take but they have had a five hundred year run. He stated, “Given how much change there has been everywhere else, what's remarkable is how stable the book has been for so long. But no technology, not even one as elegant as the book, lasts forever.”

I personally do not have a Kindle yet....maybe one day, but I am so interested because I am now selling 10 items through Kindle (fiction and nonfiction). I am making sales in the two to four months that my works have been available in that format. To hear that the Kindle book sales are nearly half of the Amazon book sales, sounds pretty good to me.

I’ve always get a kick out of Jeff Bezos’ humor and laughter. Maybe his attitude has helped him to succeed and laugh at the obstacles, ups and downs, and challenges along the way.

He seems to be enjoying the journey...

He dares to risk...

Maybe we all need to do more of that.


Friday, December 18, 2009

"Blue Christmas," Elvis Presley and Martina McBride

“Rock and roll music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can't help but move to it. That's what happens to me. I can't help it.” ~Elvis Presley (1935-1977)

Amazing what can be done with our technology.

Here is Elvis singing Blue Christmas with Martina McBride. Elvis’ performance is from the NBC TV 1968 “Comeback Special.” Copyright (C) 2008 Sony BMG Music Entertainment.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Creating Fictional Characters

“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)

A friend asked me the other day if my new fictional character, Private Investigator, Catherine Winter, from my book, Shattered Lens, was modeled after anyone I know. My answer was, “Not really.”

Catherine Winter is a strong woman, dedicated to her work, trusting of her intuition, and has seen it all...horrific murders, corruption, the corporate evils, the drugs, illicit sex, and downfalls of well-known celebrities and politicians.

She’s in her early sixties, a Southern California Private Investigator who has been in the business for many years, working alongside her husband in their PI Agency. After he passed away seven years ago, she kept the business going and feels she couldn’t give up her investigative work and cannot even conceive of doing anything else.

She has said, “As long as arthritis doesn’t lock up my joints or cataracts don’t keep my eyes from hitting the bulls-eye with a .357 slug then my shingle will stay on my door—C. Winter, Private Investigator.”

She also said this: “In this business you try your best to harden yourself to looking death straight in the eye but every time you are forced to face it you realize how damn vulnerable each of us are.”

I like the fictional characters I put in my novels...even the bad guys I create. I am now writing a second Catherine Winter novel, and I never know what characters will pop in and want a role in the story.

My friend is the second person who has asked me recently about the characters in my books. The other friend asked if he was in my book, Shattered Lens. I laughed and told him he was not. He wondered if I put people I knew in my stories. Again I said, “Not really.”

But the real answer is the character or characters I create within my own mind and who find their way onto the pages of my books, may be nothing more than a spark of creation from my own view of life, or from pieces of others who may have come in and out of my life, whether it be in a passing glance, a momentary speck of passion, an irritation, a voice, a song, a smile, a frown, or even a word.

I also asked my male friend what he would like to be in my book--what kind of character? I failed to tell him I could envision him as a romantic lead, a hero, or a knight in shining armor astride a white stallion, galloping off into the sunset with the woman he has rescued.

But if he actually ends up in any of my books, he won’t recognize himself, that is, unless he notices the male character with a small dimple when he smiles, or a guy with a bit of a tease in his voice, or the tall, good looking man who wins the heart of the little kid, or the heart of a mistreated puppy.

But heck, if I gave him a bigger role than that it will ruin the mystery of it all. Won’t it?


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pixels and Fonts...E-Books and E-Readers

In this last two months I have published two new books, Shattered Lens, Catherine Winter, Private Investigator and The Cosmic Breath: Metaphysical Essays of Don Pendleton, and I have also published several of our in-print books as Kindle Editions. All are available at Amazon, including the new ten Kindle editions for the Kindle Reader.

I read an article in the New York Times, E-Reading, in 2 Authors’ Eyes by Peter Wayner, after a Twitter reference to it by author, Joseph Finder one of the subjects of the article.

Joseph Finder, author of high tech thrillers, stated, “I read a lot of nonfiction, particularly for research, and since I read a lot when I travel, I like the convenience of being able to lug a huge pile of books in one slim device.”

He does make a good point here that for traveling it would really come in handy to use the Kindle or another brand e-book reader. But Finder also brought up the disadvantage of not having an index in nonfiction books, especially while doing research. It can be time consuming and frustrating trying to find particular information without an index.

Lee Child, also a best-selling author of thrillers, mentioned in the article how not having the actual physical book made one concentrate a little more on the actual text. Even though he seemed content with e-book readers, he mentioned that one company may become the dominant supplier of e-readers, but that could also include e-books.

It appears that could happen easily with Amazon and the Kindle. Having just published ten things to Amazon Kindle, I can see what the future may hold in that regard.

We now live in a world of electronics and the young are fully immerged in that world and as new advances in technology come along, e-books and e-reading are bound to become more the norm. We’ve already seen that happening more in these few years.

Literary Agent, Nathan Bransford did his annual poll this week on his blog, on e-books, and the results show the trend moving toward the acceptance of e-books.

The percentage of people who said you'd have to pry paper books out of their cold dead hands:

2007: 49%

2008: 45%

2009: 37%

I wrote an article in 2002 about e-books and a librarian we had in our town. Pixels or Fonts, Does it Matter? The Resistance to E-books by Some in the Library Profession. Even though more than seven years have passed, it pretty much still applies as I wrote it. (The librarian left the job not long after.)

As long as they keep the font size on the e-readers adjustable for those of us over the hill, we may give up the paper books and the dust mites (I'm allergic to those little buggers that love old books) that go along with them, for a slick, thin, light-weight e-reader. I’m sure when prices come down, most of us will have one.

I read that Jeff Bezos’ is working on getting the Kindle in Europe. I’m sure it will happen soon. I believe they have it worked out for Canada now. As authors, that will broaden our readership.

So if you are one who has a Kindle or will be getting one for a Christmas gift, consider some of my fiction and nonfiction Kindle Editions, or the regular old fashioned print books. And there is also my e-courses and e-books that can be given as gifts. Those do not need an e-reader as they are downloadable as PDF files from my publisher. They’ve sold all over the world.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Joseph Finder, Author of Thrillers

“Writing is the only profession I can think of that requires no license, no certificate, no special training, and no special tools. Anyone who wants to can be a writer. All you have to do is write.” ~Joseph Finder, Author

Joseph Finder is a best selling author of thriller novels. Here in this interview he talks about his new book, Vanished, the first in a series featuring his new character, Nick Heller, a high-powered investigator with a private intelligence firm who was trained in Special Forces and “specializes in digging up secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden.”

This video is Joseph Finder conversation with actor Holter Graham who did the audiobook rendition of Finder’s book, Vanished.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Art is in the Eye of the Beholder

I watched the American Music Award’s Sunday night and although most of the music and entertainers are not my “cup of tea,” I watched it all including the “climatic” (no pun intended LOL) performance by the very talented Adam Lambert. I did not really care for his song much, but he performed as I thought he might: outrageously, sort of in the “creative” vein of what Madonna used to do, and what some of the newer entertainers are

Even one of my favorites, American Idol’s Carrie Underwood—a real beauty—has gotten pretty darn sexual in her presentations. Come on people, all I am now hearing is how Adam Lambert kissed another man and had another person’s face in his crotch and snapped a bikini type costume. And watching the performance it happened so quickly that it was hard to tell if the blond keyboard player was male or female. Yes, there where chains and ropes, sexual innuendos, and movements, but what was really any different than watching Sakira and the thirty or so female dancers with their display of pelvic movements that people used to consider vulgar, or watching rap singers grab or touch their crotches in a way made “popular” by Michael Jackson. Seems you have to have the “wondering hand”to rap.

Then there was the outrageous Lady Gaga who looked like she was supposed to be naked but her body suit had an opening that appeared to be fly-like such as in male boxers or tape of some kind on her pelvic area. Have no idea what that was all about. I found her performance of falling all over the floor, and breaking liquor bottles on a flaming piano, crazy—but apparently that is the way she expresses her talent.

So maybe Adam did get “caught up in the moment” as he says about the kiss but what about the rest of the performance that obviously had been rehearsed, probably several times, and producers, (Dick Clark Productions) and directors knew what his performance was all about. They also knew it would get reaction and viewers as they saved Adam Lambert for the last three or four minutes of the show, at 11:00 PM. East Coast and West Coast. (sure not family hour). If they thought his performance was not a problem then why didn’t they not put him on in the beginning of the show—instead of saving him to last?

Was I surprised by Adam’s performance? Not at all. He is so talented, outrageous, daring, outspoken, and most of all, accepting of his sexuality, and is REAL. I admire that in him. At his young age he already knows who he is and he presents his authentic self.

And for those who do not care for his performances, don’t watch, don’t listen. But in doing so, you may miss some darn good talent because Adam Lambert is going to be around a long time.

But what I am irritated about today is ABC’s discriminatory action against Adam Lambert by canceling his scheduled performance on “Good Morning America” Wednesday morning.

Lambert said that any criticism he received for the performance was demonstrative of a double standard in entertainment. He’s quoted in a Rolling Stone Interview:
“Female performers have been doing this for years — pushing the envelope about sexuality — and the minute a man does it, everybody freaks out,” Mr. Lambert said. “We’re in 2009; it’s time to take risks, be a little more brave, time to open people’s eyes and if it offends them, then maybe I’m not for them.”

I agree that there is a double standard. Rap singers have gotten away not only with risqué songs and dances, but violent songs, and a few bleeps later, they still perform on TV.

So why all the uproar now with a talented gay singer who does take risks and does get outrageous? Is ABC pulling a guest spot because people where offended by the sexual performance of a gay man but apparently are fine with similar behavior of scantly clothed women portraying sexual movements? One report was that ABC received 1500 complaints. With 14.2 million viewers of the awards show, it seems like the number of complaints was nothing to panic about. But apparently they did.

People still watch Madonna after some of her very sexual and risqué performances. And how about the Madonna, Britney Spears kiss? It may have lasted longer than Adam’s.

CBS is on the ball, though. After ABC announced the cancellation, CBS booked Adam for Wednesday morning’s “Early Show” where he will perform live and discuss his performance on the American Music Awards. Also his taped appearance will air on David Lettermen Wednesday night.

The artist must remain master of his craft, and bring his or her authentic self forward. That is how real talent blossoms and expands.

I wrote about Adam previously here, here, here and here..
I look forward to hearing his new album. Clips of it here at Amazon, Sounds like some good songs.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Interview of Thriller Writer, Lee Child

In an interesting interview, Lee Child discusses writing, his books and his character, Jack Reacher. His thirteenth Jack Reacher thriller is Gone Tomorrow. His next book will be 61 Hours.

"All good thriller writers know how to build suspense and keep the pages turning, but only better ones deliver tight plots as well, and only the best allow the reader to match wits with both the hero and the author. Bestseller Child does all of that in spades... [He] sets things up subtly and ingeniously, then lets Reacher use both strength and guile to find his way to the exciting climax."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Read an excerpt of Gone Tomorrow

Saturday, November 14, 2009

John Grisham Short Stories and Interview

John Grisham talks about his latest book, Ford County, his first collection of short stories. The seven stories are set in small fictional Mississippi towns. In the interviews he talks of the flaws and injustices that still remain in our justice system and are influenced by issues such as economics. He takes about wring novels vs short story writing. I found the interview very interesting.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mattie's Mom, Jeni Stepanek and her new Book, Messenger

“One day, for all to know, our legacy will simply be the shape of the life we leave behind, for eternity.”-Mattie Stepanek.

Jeni Stepanek was on Good Morning America today: See excerpt from the book, Messenger, the Legacy of Mattie J.T Stepanek and Heartsongs, and video. Tonight she wrote this on the Larry King Blog.

November 2, 2009
The Legacy of Mattie Stepanek
Posted: 07:10 PM ET
By Jeni Stepanek for the Larry King Blog

For many years, people have asked me, “When are you going to write the story of Mattie’s life? I am inspired by his words, his message. I want to know more about Mattie as a person.” And for a number of years, I have had this story planned – outlined into chapters, with detailed notes and thoughts about how such a book might unfold chapter by chapter. It wasn’t until last fall that I felt the time was ‘right’ to tell this story though.

Despite the sad truth that Mattie died just before his 14th birthday, I wanted this book to be a celebration of his life. I wanted to capture his wisdom (yes, he penned seven NY Times bestselling books of poetry and essays), and also his wit (yes, he really DID put apple juice in a urine cup and panic unsuspecting doctors who saw him drinking it). I wanted to write a book that inspired people to think of Mattie with a smile, and to recognize that he was an ordinary kid who made some extraordinary choices in life. I wanted folks to remember why they were drawn to him during his time on earth. I wanted readers to feel how ‘real’ Mattie was, and how very much alive his message of hope and peace is in the world today through a legacy that is growing outward and ‘forthward’ more and more each year. Now, that book, “Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs” is complete, and ready ripple around the world.

Through television appearances and writings and speeches, Mattie reminded people of all walks of life that ‘hope is real’ and ‘peace is possible’ and ‘life is worthy’ – despite whatever burdens or blessings were a part of any given day. This book will help readers finally learn about Mattie himself, and how he came to believe and live those truths in his own life. Readers will learn about Mattie’s hopes and hesitations, his education and spirituality, and his practical jokes and adventures at summer camp. The importance of ‘morning coffee’ and ‘afternoon tea’ are explored, as well as the significance of ‘sunrise on pier’ and ‘pumpkin season’ and other themes that touched Mattie’s essence. I share details of Mattie’s private life at home, his journeys on the road once he achieved some level of celebrity, and his long months in the intensive care unit during his final years of life. The book is filled with photos from throughout Mattie’s life, most of which I have never shared before. There are also bits of previously unpublished poetry and journal entries by Mattie, as well as excerpts from his e-mail correspondence with Oprah Winfrey, Chris Cuomo, and other friends.

Mattie was my son, and he was also my best friend. There is not a day that passes that I don’t miss him, or the little notes he would leave by my bed, or his snuggles and foot massages, or the word games and board games we played, or the conversations we had about life and our world, or just holding his hand. But this book is not about what I miss, or about my grief, or even about Mattie’s passing. This book is truly about the celebration and lasting inspiration of a young man who taught us all through word and action, to “Remember to play after every storm!”

I am very proud to be “Mattie’s mom.” And though there were some difficult moments during the writing of this book and during the audio recording of this book for CD, I am so happy that I realized last fall that it was time to share this story. I am excited about the release of this book, and I am looking forward to interacting with readers who want to share their thoughts after reading the pages. What a gift it has been to me to have the opportunity to share the story of my son’s life in this book. Please feel free to contact me through Mattie’s website:

© 2009 by Jeni Stepanek.

"Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs" is in bookstores November 3rd.

Read my review of Mattie's book, Just Peace, co written with President Jimmy Carter.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hate Crime Legislation signed by President Obama

"We must stand against crimes that are meant not only to break bones but to break spirits. No one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love." ~President Barack Obama

WASHINGTON -- Today at the White House, President Barack Obama signed the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation, a milestone that activists compared to the passage of 1960s civil-rights legislation empowering blacks. The new law adds acts of violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to the list of federal hate crimes.

The amendment was named partly for Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming who died after a 1998 savage beating targeting him because he was gay, and whose parents were instrumental in leading the fight for such legislation, and also named for James Byrd Jr., a black Texas man dragged to his death in a racially motivated killing the same year.

Matthew Shepard's parents joined Obama for the bill signing, as did the family of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy who was deeply involved in pushing the legislation prior to his death in August.

Judy Shepard issued a statement saying that she and her husband, Dennis, "are incredibly grateful to Congress and the president for taking this step forward on behalf of hate crime victims and their families, especially given the continuing attacks on people simply for living their lives openly and honestly."

She also called on Americans to look beyond legislation and work in their own lives to advance acceptance of gays.


Adam Lambert CD Cover, For Your Entertainment

Adam Lambert's Cd Cover, For Your Entertainment. Album can be pre-ordered at
Release date: November 23rd.

What is there to say??


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Don Pendleton Tribute

Writer and friend, Jon Guenther posted on his blog a very nice tribute, Remembering Don Pendleton in memory of my late husband, author Don Pendleton. Don passed away 14 years ago on October 23, 1995 and I have to say it almost seems impossible that much time has gone by since he left this physical world. Although absent in the physical dimension, he is still very much here.

I had a telephone conversation with Jon today. Jon has written close to thirty books in the Harlequin Executioner program (Executioners, Super Bolans, Stony Man). He is one of many fans who was inspired by Don’s books at a fairly young age. And like a few others, that inspiration resulted in becoming writers themselves. I still enjoy getting the fan emails and hearing how the writings of Don Pendleton influenced lives in various ways.

There is something special about Don’s Mack Bolan character that he created and wrote about in his original series of 38 books. Don gave Bolan the essence of a true hero that has lived on through the “pen” of other writers for about 700 books. Forty years since the first Executioner, War Against the Mafia. Don was known as "the father of action/adventure."

This week I published The Cosmic Breath, Metaphysical Essays of Don Pendleton, Introduction by Linda Pendleton.

Although Don was a successful novelist for many years, he also wrote nonfiction, including metaphysical essays. He had a life-long interest in metaphysics and considered himself a metaphysical scholar. His nonfiction book, (in original E-book edition), A Search for Meaning from the Surface of a Small Planet, was winner of The Independent E-book Award 2002 for Metaphysics, and the Digital Literature Best of Non-fiction, 2002 Award.

The Cosmic Breath is available in tradepaper at Amazon and will be available for Kindle in a few days.

Thank you, Jon for remembering.

And if you missed my interview with Jon Guenther about his new book, Soul Runner, you can find it here.


Saturday, October 17, 2009


This is an important video to watch. It seems they have now changed the procedure for heart attack resuscitation. The immediate response is no longer mouth to mouth but is rapid chest compressions. And of course, hopefully, the opportunity to call 911 prior to beginning CPR.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Isaac Asimov on Writing

Writing can have its frustrations, and often those frustrations do not come from so-called writer's block, but from the business end of trying to get published. So the quote here by author, Isaac Asimov is correct.

“You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success - but only if you persist.” ~Isaac Asimov (1920 - 1992)

Asimov was a very prolific writer of science fiction, science, short stories, and essays. He wrote over 500 books in his long career and won numerous awards for his writings.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Shattered Lens, Novel Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter One, Shattered Lens: Catherine Winter, Private Investigator
She hesitantly crossed the room, lowered herself onto the chair, and replied, "Lucy Albright, but I don't think I'm at the right place."


Her cheeks colored. "I mean this is the place I wanted, but, you know, I mean you probably can't handle my case."

"I haven't seen many I've turned away from in thirty some years in the business," I replied.

"Uh...." She lowered her eyes to her lap and twisted the emerald ring on her right hand. Without returning her gaze to mine, she added, "That's what I mean."

"What is what you mean?" I inquired.

She looked up and color returned to her cheeks as she said, "Well, I thought my case needs someone a little, um, younger to handle it. You seem older. Well, I mean, you know."

Sure, I knew exactly what she meant. I had heard it often. Some people believe when you turn sixty you belong in a rocking chair on the porch of an old folks’ home, bored and dispassionately awaiting the arrival of your monthly retirement check. Let me tell you that you'll never find me doing that. When it is time for me to go out to pasture, it ain't gonna be that way.

Available at Amazon, Trade paper and for Kindle

Monday, September 21, 2009

Shattered Lens, Catherine Winter, Private Eye novel at Amazon

I'm pleased to announce my latest novel is now available.


“Hollywood is glitter and gutter. Some make it to the top and stay there, basking in the splendor of it, while others hit bottom and are engulfed by the ugliness of it.” ~Catherine Winter, Private Investigator

The stalking of two young professional print models leads private investigator Catherine Winter into the dark and dirty shadows of Hollywood's entertainment elite. Portraits of these people become distorted and out of focus as murder, pornography, illicit drugs, and blackmail, color the view while Catherine searches for truth and justice.

Catherine, now widowed and in her early sixties, insists, “As long as arthritis doesn’t lock up my joints or cataracts don’t keep my eyes from hitting the bulls-eye with a .357 slug then my shingle will stay on my door—C. Winter, Private Investigator.”

In her long career Catherine has seen it all and does not flinch when up against the criminal world. She is determined, open minded, and relies on her intuition in investigative work.

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

Linda Pendleton writes fiction and nonfiction. She coauthored the crime novel Roulette with her late husband, Don Pendleton, and her suspense novel, The Dawning is about a mysterious government agency, UFOs, and the paranormal.

Now available at in trade paper and Kindle Reader.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Interview with Jon Guenther, Author of Soul Runner: A Novel of High Adventure


Linda: Jon, you’ve had a productive writing career in what seems like a relatively short time. I will always remember the fan letter you sent to my husband, Don Pendleton, which included a sample of your writing. It caught both Don’s attention and mine. He said as he finished reading your sample, “This guy’s good.”

That was in 1995 and I don’t believe any of us knew at that time you’d become one of The Executioner: Mack Bolan writers for Harlequin’s Gold Eagle program, but of course, that was one of your goals. Since that time you have written more than thirty novels, starting with your own Chaser and Chaser’s Return, both published as audio books, a number of Executioners, Mack Bolan, and Stony Man novels and now your publication of your new book, Soul Runner: A Novel of High Adventure.When did you become interested in writing? Did you write as a kid? I don’t mean for school but for yourself? Do you recall the first story you ever wrote? If so do you want to share what it was about?

Jon: I became consciously aware of those interests probably when I was around twelve years old. I remember taking a typing class in sixth grade (which would have been around 1980), and just that act alone made me realize that with this “highly advanced machine” I could produce my own stories—and quicker than by mere handwritten means. I suppose, however, I was a born writer; that I had a God-given talent and desire to do it. I was also a voracious reader, whether comic books or novels (I loved the Narnia Chronicles). I think the spark of creativity grew out of my love for Star Wars and Star Trek, and fantasy novels. By that age, I had also started to read The Destroyer series by Warren Murphy and Dick Sapir. The Executioner series followed shortly thereafter (or at least the Gold Eagle books, which had just started coming out around that same time).

Linda: Who or what has influenced your writing and in what way?

Jon: Oh my! Many things influence or have influenced my writing. Again, reading was a definite motivator from my earliest recollections. But more than that I can say with earnest my parents lovingly fostered my desire to write instead of trying to suppress it. In later years, you and Don certainly encouraged me to be persistent in the work, to train and hone my skills by writing. Over the years there are other authors to whom I wrote fan letters, and who responded to me like Ed McBain, David Morrell, Steve Mertz and Mike Newton.

Linda: How much of your background as a soldier, firefighter, and paramedic, along with your interests in martial arts, history, music, and technology play into your writings?

Jon: All of those interests have played into my writing, certainly; whether subconsciously or consciously, they are part of what ties my creative right-brain with my logical left-brain. Those experiences and interests are inescapable parts woven into the seams of what Don called the “inner dramatic laboratory” in The Metaphysics of the Novel. My experiences as a firefighter/paramedic gave me an inside look into the human situation, not only the victories but the most abject miseries. Many of my characters are veterans or soldiers, or have some military background, which is only natural in the kinds of stories I love to tell. I don’t generally talk about my military service. I’m proud of it, but I choose not to go into any great detail about it. Music and technology play less into my work, although you never know. I might surprise you some time.

Linda: Who have been your favorite writers over the years? What books do you believe have influenced your writing? What books have most influenced your life and/or your world view?

Jon: My favorite writers are almost too numerous to list because I love to read! Top five picks would be Don Pendleton, Alistair MacLean, David Morrell, Jon Cleary and Ernest Hemingway. The Executioner/Mack Bolan books have most definitely influenced my writing, along with other action-adventure series in that similar vein. The books of my favorite authors have, naturally, helped influence how I write (i.e., how to plot, pace, establish setting, evoke conflict, write dialog, and so forth). The Bible has absolutely guided me through much of my life—or the later years when I moved past my rebellious phases—along with many of our greatest adventure classics like Kidnapped, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Prisoner of Zenda. The list goes on.

Linda: As most writers, I have read a number of books on creative writing and techniques of novel writing. What books on writing have you found to be of value, and why?

Jon: Three books immediately come to mind: The Metaphysics of the Novel (which I’ve read about a half-dozen times), On Writing by Stephen King, and The Art of Fiction by John Gardner. I also made good use of many of the Writers’ Digest fiction series books in my early days, as a writer. They are great starting references to learn the “rules” of writing, which is why I found them of good use. But I firmly believe (and I think most veteran writers will agree) that eventually I began to surpass them as I gained experience, and realized I had begun to form my own opinions and values as a writer. In part, this is one reason I’ve never attempted to write just “another writing book.” There are already plenty of great resources in the marketplace, and I feel writers—to become skilled writers—must eventually come into their own style and voice. Now I do most of my learning by reading the work of others and building on my own, internal toolkit.

Linda: Did you ever take creative writing classes or belong to a writers critique group?

Jon: I never took any hard-core creative writing classes beyond those required in my general education (high school and college). Most of my writing there, too, was purely academic or non-creative. I’ve never gone for critique groups as a matter of preference. I believe they’re invaluable for some writers, but I consider writing an entirely personal and individual affair. It requires a certain amount of labor and intellect that can only be found within me. That’s something I can’t move past and I’m relatively superstitious about some facets (like I generally won’t talk about or even let someone read an unfinished work outside of a select few individuals in whom I place an inordinate amount of trust to give me the real deal).

Linda: Tell us about your latest book, Soul Runner, and what inspired you to write it.

Jon: Soul Runner is the story of Dr. Abram Aronsfeld, an anthropologist and history professor who is recruited by a secret organization called ARK to rescue persecuted Christians from countries all over the world. The book is predominantly set in 1988 Romania—less than two years prior to the collapse of the Communist dictatorship under Nicolae Ceauseşcu—and Bram is assigned to steal a Christian gypsy woman by the name of Ileana Tarus out of the country. Unfortunately, things quickly turn perilous once he’s in Romania. The story is told in Bram’s voice, and pre-readers told me it moves at a frenetic pace. It was upon reading a pamphlet in 2006 from an organization called The Voice of the Martyrs out of Bartlesville, Oklahoma that I first learned of the magnitude of Christian persecution in the world today, and that inspired me to run with it. The novel contains an afterword where I go into a bit more detail on the inspiration, and soon I’ll be providing an eBook on my site called The Writing of Soul Runner that will expand considerably on the whole history of this book (which I felt would be of interest to some readers).

Linda: Will Soul Runner be a series of novels?

Jon: Ah, the old series question. I suppose the best way to answer it is that it definitely could be. The topic of Christian persecution is a giant one, so I have a global playing field in which to set additional books. The concept here is that ARK has many Soul Runners (Bram isn’t the only one); you could liken them to sort of “secret agents” in God’s service. When the original publisher offered a contract on the book (they backed out in December 2008 under relatively obscure reasons), the acquisitions editor certainly expressed an interest in what he termed a “loose” series—about which I can clarify my meaning, if requested. I think for now, however, I would not write more books unless fans clamored for them. Novels are a lot of work and I have other stories I’d like to tell.

Linda: What is your usual writing routine, Jon?

Jon: I had a much different routine during the short period I wrote full time (how I do miss that time). Since I’ve held down a “day job” most of my writing career, however, the typical routine is hectic, at times. I’m almost always under contract with a book in The Executioner or Stony Man series, so often that gets the priority over other projects due to deadlines. I usually write every evening, beginning around 9:00 p.m., and go a couple of hours. I start by reading what I’ve written the previous evening, and then write anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 words. I do a bit more on Saturday afternoons. Since I attend church services on Saturday night, I take Sundays off to spend time with family, do little projects around the house or just relax with a good book. When the work is finished, I set it aside for a month or so (if time permits), and then sit down and read it straight through. By this time, Marilyn (my wife) has also copy-edited the work. I then make any additional edits to hers and then off it goes to the editor. I take a couple of vacations a year, during which time I stay away from the keyboard so I can rejuvenate and give family my full attention.

Linda: I often ask writers how they receive their inspiration. Many writers feel the inspiration comes from beyond them at times as they are working with their characters. Do you experience that in your writing? Do you visualize your scenes? Do you “walk” in your character’s shoes? And one more question along that line… do you outline prior to writing a story?

Jon: My main source of inspiration is God. I also take a lot from my observations about the world around me, and the behaviors and intents (both public and “secret”) of the people that inhabit it. In other words, I glimpse what “could” be from what I perceive “is”. And the one person I can never fool is me, so I have to write with some level of honesty if I want to remain credible. You see, I believe fiction should do three things: inspire, inform and entertain. I take that approach with each new project I tackle, forming and tooling and shaping my story into something that’s passionate and dramatic. I’m always trying to elicit a set of non-prescribed responses from my readers; to leave them the freedom to decide what they will think and feel about what I’ve written. Hopefully, my readers will take something away from it. That’s all I can ask for. And whenever someone tells me they enjoyed one of my books, or that they learned something or were inspired in some way, it’s music to my ears!

As to the visualization of scenes or internalization of my characters, I don’t really story tell in that fashion. I more see the words, almost as if I were reading the book for the first time, and that’s usually when the process is the most fun for me because I surprise myself. I believe this is why I don’t outline. That just feels too much like writing the book before I write the book. I’ve read many authors who say they outline, and in almost every circumstance those authors have said they do it to keep them on track or so they know what they’re supposed to work on that day. I already know every time I sit down at the keyboard I’m there to write. I don’t need an outline to tell me that.

On that note, I’d like to make a point here. I once read a book where a very well-known writer said that most of what writers say about their own work is nonsense (albeit, he used a more colorful metaphor). I’m not sure I agree with that. There’s a mantra I’ve carried with me most of my writing career, posited by the great adventure novelist, Alistair MacLean. He said: “I am not a novelist, I’m a storyteller. There is no art in what I do, no mystique.” MacLean had a very clear picture of his role as a writer (interestingly, it’s been said he actually hated the process of writing and the draft he turned into his editors was the first and only). His vision is very similar to my own, in that respect—although I never turn in a first draft.

Linda: Jon, you’ve written a lot of The Executioner, Mack Bolan books and I know you have tried to keep true to Don Pendleton’s vision of his Mack Bolan character. From your point of view as a writer of those books, what is it that has kept Mack Bolan alive all these forty years? In your own novels is there anything you strive to put into your stories to keep them alive, to keep the words jumping off the page and inspiring a reader to want more?...Even in a subtle way.

Jon: I often ask myself that same question about Mack Bolan; even after twenty-something books, I’m still not sure I have the answer (although Don certainly handed off the wisdom baton in our correspondence). I’m persuaded the secret of Bolan’s longevity is the mythical qualities of the character. Bolan is a consummate warrior; a soldier of unswerving duty; a moral agent; a dispatcher of justice and protector of the innocent. How can you not love the guy?! For me personally, Bolan is real—or at least what he stands for. It’s been that way ever since I started reading the books nearly thirty years ago. He emulates many of the qualities that decent, honest people everywhere can admire, and in that context he is every bit accessible as a fictional character. We can identify with him. We can believe in him because he’s doing what most of wish we could do: he fights the injustices in the world and he wins! It’s a classic formula, sure: good triumphs over evil. But it works because of the Bolan character, not in spite of him.

I certainly try to build some of these qualities into my own heroes and heroines, but I also strive to make sure I don’t “mimic” Don’s style. That’s the thing about Don, and one of the reasons he’s my all-time favorite writer. He was an original, the real deal, and he created a hero of the same mold. Pretty tough to compete with that, and I wouldn’t deign to try. But I learned a lot of lessons from reading Don’s works, and I do try to emulate him on different levels by just being true to myself and my own style. Sometimes I get lucky, sometimes I don’t. But then that’s part of the fun of being a writer. The journey of self-discovery is a priceless return on the investment.

Linda: Of the elements that go into a novel such as characterizations, dialogue, action scenes, plotting, sex scenes, and setting, among other things, which do you find easiest for you personally in your art of writing? In other words, what do you consider your strength to be?

Jon: I’ve never thought about it, really, but I suppose if I had to pick my greatest strength it would be pacing (or I suppose some might call that plot). I try to remember at all times that my chief duty as a storyteller is to entertain. It has to be my paramount consideration because of the natural convergence of all the elements that go into fiction (many of which you listed above). That’s a juggling act and I feel it’s important to season my work with equal measures of putting ordinary people in extraordinary situations. Anything less is tantamount to literary suicide for a writer, and nothing bugs me more than when a writer has the temerity to withhold entertaining me for their own, selfish purposes. Yeah, I said “withhold”, because I believe this is a purposeful act. It usually happens because they want to hide behind the words, fearful of venturing their own thoughts for the sake of being politically correct or stylish. Utter bunk and I have no use for that kind of writing (and you’ll notice I’m not shy about saying it).

Linda: Would you like to share what your current or next project is?

Jon: I’m currently working on a new, original action series about an “everyman” helping out the little guy in America. I think it’s time we got some new heroes we can admire in today’s world.

Linda: What is your favorite quote?

Jon: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
—Jesus Christ, John 3:16 (KJV)

Linda: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Jon: There is no secret formula I can give you; no magical talisman; no profound wisdom. All of those you must find within. Simply read, believe in yourself, and write… write… write!

And one other thing I suppose bears an honorable mention. Never measure success by whether you’re published; measure it by the joys of self-discovery along the way.

Linda: That’s true, Jon. That is what writing is all about: self-discovery. Thank you so much, Jon for giving us this insight into your writing. I wish you the best with Soul Runner. It is a fascinating adventure story and I know readers will enjoy it tremendously.

Visit Jon Guenther’s website to learn more about Soul Runner and Jon’s other books. Soul Runner is available at in trade paper and for the Kindle Reader, and autographed copies available at his website. Follow Jon's Blog.

© Copyright 2009 by Linda Pendleton and Jon Guenther.

Jon Guenther's Review of Don Pendleton's Metaphysics of the Novel
My blogs about the 40th Anniversary of Don Pendleton's Executioner Series

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Jimmy Buffett and Margaritaville

Photo by Eric Stephens

Jimmy Buffet sings, talks about his creativity: writing, music. His books have been at the top of the New York Times bestseller list in both fiction and non-fiction. We all know his can one forget Margaritaville? His business ventures have been very successful with his restaurants.

He sounds good, looks good. I like his humor....


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Nicholas Sparks, Novelist

Nicholas Sparks happens to be my favorite author of recent time, at least since his first novel The Notebook was published.

One Sunday in 1996 I was watching C-Span 2 on books and Larry Kirshbaum, Chairman and CEO of Time-Warner Books was speaking about a novel he had paid one million dollars for. I had met Larry previously so he did have my attention but it was the million dollar advance against royalties that really caught my attention! The novel was The Notebook written by Nicholas Sparks. Larry said he knew the book would be successful and it was already on the best seller list.

As soon as the television program was over I drove to my local small bookstore in downtown Sedona and bought the book because I had to see what it was about Nicholas Spark’s book that deserved such a big advance.

I spent the evening reading The Notebook, loving every word of it, and by the time I reached the last two chapters I had a box of tissues beside me. For me, that has become a standard procedure anytime I read a Nicholas Sparks’ novel. I suggest to have a box of tissues ready at least three chapters before the end of his books.

What I like about Sparks’ novels is the simple yet dramatic flow of his writing, and always a mixture of the ups and downs, the love and sadness of loss, and all the reality of life.

Of course, as it turned out, Kirshbaum was correct in believing in the book. It spent over a year on the hardcover best seller list. And the movie followed. Nicholas has now written fourteen novels and four have been made into movies and apparently another one coming before long.

Here is a short interview with Nicholas Sparks about his writing process. Even though I write myself, I am always curious about the process of other writers.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Publishing with Kindle

Recently I have been reading blogs of several authors who have taken the leap into publishing for the Kindle Reader at

For some authors, it has been books never before published and for others it is their unpublished works.

So with enough on my plate as always, I decided I needed an added challenge! So I have published three books with Kindle this past week.

The first one I decided to do was my novella, The Masquerading Cowboy, a short I wrote some time back and won a writing contest with it. I decided I would try formatting it myself for the Kindle and I was having problems with the formatting such as putting in a cover graphic within the text, and feeling uneasy. So I contacted Joshua at Kindle Formatting and in a few days he had my book formatted and ready for me to upload at Kindle.

But one book did not satisfy me so I did a second one, a nonfiction, A Meeting of the Minds: 19th Century Poet-Philosophers Explore Spirituality, and formatted it myself with some trial and error. I know a little about html coding and actually was able to read the html and correct a few little flaws. It took a few uploads and going through the preview of it a few times, but I finally got it!

So my success with formatting led me to publish a third one, Exclusive Interview With Richard S. Prather, Author of the Best-Selling Shell Scott Mystery Series.

I also began to thinking about my other books and putting them into Kindle editions. So I decided to do two of my published novels and The Dawning and Roulette will be Kindle editions in the coming weeks. I decided not to tackle the formatting on those myself but left it up to my publisher to do so.

I work with my web designer, Judy on my book covers. I give her the idea of what I want and she comes up with it. So if anyone needs a cover for a Kindle book, an ebook, or a POD, visit her website.

One day I may have to break down and buy a Kindle Reader. I only know one person with a Kindle and she really likes it.

I don’t know where publishing is going as the economy has definitely affected the business and in turn all of us authors. Many authors are looking at alternative choices such as self publishing, PODs, ebooks, and Kindle editions. There are pros and cons in moving away from traditional publishing, the main thing being distribution and ending up with only online bookstores and not in brick and mortar stores. Some people will always want the physical book in their hands, not a reading device. But it appears over these last years or so people are very willing to read downloaded books on their reading devices or computer screens. And this young generation is exposed to computer technology at such a early age, sometimes pre-school, they may always prefer to use a computer or reader instead of a paper book. After all, many of them do text or tweet all the time from their handheld devices.

In 2002 I wrote an article about ebooks versus print books and quoted N.Y. agent, Richard Curtis, a well known New York Literary Agent and president of E-reads, an electronic publishing company. He had this to say, January 7, 2002, in a "Publishers Weekly Magazine" article: "How long are we going to endure skeptics telling us that nobody wants to read on screen, when thousands are paying do so every day?" He also stated in response to critics, "Those of us making money in e-books, delivering thousands of downloads every month, paying royalties to authors and publishers, have to wonder what planet these pundits are on." I agreed with Curtis then, and still do.

Will it replace library bookshelves? Probably not, but it may in time drastically change the book market. After all, the world is changing. And probably most of us are using technology now that we never dreamed of a few years ago. Isn’t that right?

Linda Pendleton at Kindle Store


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Change Through Thinking Minds

The world we have created is a product of our thinking;
it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.
~ Albert Einstein

In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.
~ Buddha

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. ~ Albert Einstein

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. ~ George Bernard Shaw

People's minds are changed through observation and not through argument. ~ Will Rogers

Let us train our minds to desire what the situation demands. ~ Seneca

...And from the mind of a young boy, Mattie Stepanek, a poet, philosopher, and author who, in his nearly fourteen years of living, always had the unique ability to see life and death and our world with the wisdom of an old soul.

Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved. ~ Mattie J.T. Stepanek


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Inspiration and Peace Through Music

“Until the colour of a man's skin
Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes.” ~Bob Marley

Peace Through Music, Playing for Change. A coming together through music created by Mark Johnson and developed by Mark and Jonathan Wells over the last four years with incredible talents from all over the world.

During the month of August the new DVD movie of Playing for Change is featured on the PBS channels. Check your listings for it. And visit the website Playing for Change.

This was recorded live at the Starbucks Leadership Conference in New Orleans featuring Grandpa Elliot of New Orleans and Clarence Bakker of Amsterdam, Netherlands and currently Spain, singing the late Sam Cooke’s incredible song, A Change is Gonna Come.

Some time ago I blogged about their song One Love. And on my other blog I posted today their song, Stand by Me.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Barry Eisler, Author of Thriller Novels

Barry Eisler, Author
Photo from his website

I’m intrigued by this Northern California best selling and award winning author, Barry Eisler. He writes fiction, thrillers, based around his imagination and research, and possibly influenced by his career choices: his time in a covert position with the CIA’s Directorate of Operations; graduate of Cornell Law School; technology attorney in an international law firm; counsel in Japan at Matusushita Electric; and a Silicon Valley technology start-up executive. He has a black belt in Judo.

He’s written a series of six books featuring his character, Japanese American assassin John Rain. His latest book, Fault Line features new characters: brothers Ben and Alex Treven, estranged and embittered by a family tragedy, find themselves forced to rely on each other, and their very different talents, to escape a deadly conspiracy.

Barry has written an interesting article, Dead Trees is a Dead Model, about his views on ebooks and the effects on the publishing industry now and in the future as a guest blogger on MJ Roses’ Buzz, Balls & Hype.

I read his blog also. It is not about writing (you can find that at this website) but is about his insightful look at politics and news items.

This interview of Barry Eisler is informative and inspirational for any writer or aspiring writer, or just a fan of his books and/or the art of writing.