Two New Collaborations

If you enjoy darkly humorous gritty thrillers, the reigning indie champ is Joe Konrath, whose hell-on-heels heroine, Homicide Detective Lt. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels, can also provide some laugh-out-loud moments.

I'm excited to contribute two additions to the Jack Daniels corpus - and introduce my own quirky private investigator, psychic Ava Jane Rakowski - with the novellas Abductions and Beat Down. Here's the scoop.

Psychic Investigator AJ Rakowski can't talk to the dead, but she can 'dial' into a dead person's vibes. Why this qualifies her as a consultant for the Chicago Police Department is a mystery to skeptical Homicide Lt. Jack Daniels, who has real cases to solve.

But when Rakowski is brought on to help stop a serial kidnapper from abducting his next victim, Jack is forced to work with AJ. A girl's life is on the line, and maybe if the two learn to accept their differences and join forces, they just might be able to stop the...ABDUCTIONS.

Kidnapping can be murder...

Abductions is a 10,000 word novella (about 35 pages) featuring JA Konrath's heroine Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels who is the star of more than 1 million books, and Garth Perry's new heroine AJ Rakowski. Features action, suspense, and a fair does of humor.

Available at Amazon.

~*~

Psychic Investigator Ava Jane Rakowski, part time consultant for the Chicago Police Department, just solved her first crime. Her supervisor, Homicide Detective Lt. Jack Daniels, is skeptical. Good old fashioned police work would likely have tracked down the serial kidnapper, Raphael Ortega, in due time.

Unfortunately, Ortega is now out of jail because of an apparent clerical error. And when the brutal killings begin it doesn’t take a psychic to connect the dots. The only question is if they’ll find Ortega before he gives his next victim – which happens to be AJ’s best friend Tomen – a brutal BEAT DOWN.

Revenge can be murder...

Abductions is a 15,000 word novella (about 60 pages) featuring JA Konrath's heroine Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels who is the star of more than 1 million books, and Garth Perry's new heroine AJ Rakowski. Features action, suspense, and a fair does of humor.

Available at Amazon.

Accidents - A Horror Story

Accidents - A Tremble Town Episode
by Garth Perry and Stoney M. Setzer
Published by Tule Fog Press

A friend of mine, Stoney Setzer, and I have been collaborating on a supernatural suspense story (okay, it's horror, but not gory!) and it's now available from Amazon for 99 cents. (More platforms to follow in the next few weeks.)

It's a stand-alone novella of about 13,000 words (45 pages) and features an episode from "Tremble Town," a small Appalachian community that harbors a deep - and evil - secret. Here's the blurb and cover art.

Newlyweds Hazel and Elwood Dell drove their new '57 Chevy into the small community of Ichabod, North Carolina. They should have just turned around and left. They had no idea what dark secrets they'd soon stumble upon - bargains with the devil that would trap them in a place even the residents called Tremble Town. For the Dells, their new home simply became a lifelong nightmare...of ACCIDENTS.

New Cover

Connected with Joe Konrath on a project who suggested that his cover artist, Carl Graves, redesign my cover for Drinking Games. I totally accepted this idea and am excited to showcase the new design for my latest thriller. And in case you're interested, it's available from Amazon. :)

"Funny, thrilling, and action packed! Perry is the real deal." - JA Konrath, author of Shaken

PI Ned Nbonivoy is up against a sinister psychopath who bestows random acts of havoc as part of a deadly game, leaving too many rabbit trails to follow. Ned needs someone who can help him focus. AJ Rakowski, a psychic detective, is just the kind of mentalist who can help. Rakowski has been using her paranormal abilities to close cases, though with each success comes unwanted attention. Ava Jane knows it goes with the territory. But when she captures the attention of a serial killer known only as Carlton, that's when the real game begins.

Psychic Detective AJ Rakowski also appears in the short stories, Abductions and Beatings (available soon), which were written in collaboration with Joe Konrath and feature his iconic female homicide detective, Lieutenant Jack Daniels. Drinking Games is approximately 13,000 words, or about 45 pages in paper. It is a short novella, not a novel. Although a stand alone story, it is part 1 of a 3 story arc.

Drinking Games Available

Introducing: AJ Rakowski, Psychic Detective 

Drinking Games
A Nbonivoy/Rakowski Short Thriller

More Mentalist than Medium, Ava Jane Rakowski has finally accepted the fact that she can't speak with the dead. That doesn't stop her from using her paranormal gifts to help the living - especially those in desperate need. From finding missing persons to solving homicides, Rakowski is on the case.

With each success, however, comes unwanted attention. AJ knows it goes with the territory. The occasional nut job will propose marriage. An oddball stalker will make a fool of himself. But when she captures the attention of a serial killer known only as Carlton, that's when the real game begins.

~*~

"Funny, thrilling, and action packed! Perry is the real deal." - JA Konrath, author of Shaken

Psychic Detective AJ Rakowski also appears in the short stories, Abductions and Beatings (available soon), which were written in collaboration with Joe Konrath and feature his iconic female homicide detective, Lieutenant Jack Daniels.

Drinking Games is available at Amazon and is approximately 13,000 words, or about 45 pages in paper. It is a short novella, not a novel. And although a stand alone story, it is part 1 of a 3 story arc. 

UPDATE: The new cover is by Carl Graves.

New Thriller Near Completion

I'm exited to introduce my latest heroine AJ Rakowski, Psychic Detective. Her first short thriller features Ned Nbonivoy, a PI in Detroit, who is stuck in a case he can't seem to solve. That's because he's up against a sinister psychopathic killer whose hobby is to bestow random acts of havoc on as many people as possible, leaving too many clues and rabbit trails to track down. Ned needs someone who can help him focus. AJ Rakowski is just the kind of mentalist who can help.

Drinking Games (coming October 2013)
A Nbonivoy/Rakowski Short Thriller

More Mentalist than Medium, Ava Jane Rakowski has finally accepted the fact that she can't speak with the dead. That doesn't stop her from using her paranormal gifts to help the living - especially those in desperate need. From finding missing persons to solving homicides, Rakowski is on the case.

With each success, however, comes unwanted attention. AJ knows it goes with the territory. The occasional nut job will propose marriage. An oddball stalker will make a fool of himself. But when she captures the attention of a serial killer known only as Carlton, that's when the real game begins.

Worm is Live

Worm is now available as a slim paperback.
Ebook version available here. Only 99 cents.
Order from CreateSpace
Order from Amazon
40 pages, 5x8 paperback.

Writing Myself Into My Stories

Fiction isn't all fiction. Writers have to put some of themselves into their stories, otherwise it wouldn't be realistic. The story itself doesn't have to be autobiographical, of course, but something in the story has to come straight from real life. Could be the setting, a protag's personality, or simply a few details from the writer's past that add verisimilitude to the plot.

As I'm writing Worm it's surprising how many personal memories surface and find their way into the text. Setting (1980s, small California farming town), personality (swimmer, big feet), details (playground fights, monkey bars). And although I never lived this story's theme of abuse and recovery, I find that writing about such issues taps my own reservoir of inadequacy, relational pain, and self-discovery.

Now with Ned Nbonivoy, my private investigator, and Stack, my ex-con vigilante I get to play hero a little bit. One drawback, though. It's kind of hard to be big and tough and heroic when you don't like guns (that would be me and Ned). Now I don't have any good reason to dislike firearms, but that attitude isn't very compelling - so Ned has a strong motivation to hate them. You'll have to read Simply Criminal to find out just what that is. <grin>

As for Stack, well, I'm not an ex-con nor a vigilante, but he's at mid-life, in a bit of a crisis career-wise, and that's definitely something I can draw on. Plus, he's had a religious experience and is hell-bent, albeit in his own stumbling, self-hating manner, to make good even if it kills him. Do I hear a witness?

So while I'm not Worm, or Ned, or Stack, I'm finding glimpses of each of them in the mirror. Or maybe vice versa. Has this happened to you either as a writer or reader? Ever create or discover a character that reminds you of you?

Details Matter, I Suppose

Did you know that Suzuki Hayabusa Sportbikes were not around in the early '80s? Well, duh. But in the name of specificity I mentioned that Jake, my antagonist (the same guy who - oops! pulled a gun from his belted underwear), rode a 1300.

In my second pass through it hit me that my story is set 30 years ago (another reason for beta readers!). So, of course, I needed an era appropriate bike. Voila! Jake now owns a GSX 1100. (Isn't the internet a wonderful thing?)

Okay, so quick lesson - check your facts, proof your work, and know what you are talking about. Or at least use Google.

But some might wonder, why get so specific in the first place? Why not just put Jake on any ol' motorbike? Because I think specificity usually engages the reader and puts him or her into the story. It gives the mind something to grab on to.

For example, a brand name (along with action and description) has more punch to it than a generic blah-di-dah. Which do you like better? "She drank her cola by herself." or "She siphoned her Coke alone in her closet."

Plus, in the case of my novella Worm, a specific reference to Jake's Suzuki GSX 1100 helps establish the story's time setting.

Of course, relentless branding or specific references can get old. You don't want to label every item in your story with a logo - someone might wonder if you're being paid for product placement. <grin> So pepper them throughout your story with a restrained hand. That way, when you do add a detail that has a specific image tied to it, the effect can be quite engaging, especially if used as a metaphor or in a simile.

Here's one that I'm partial to. My protagonist, Worm, is a teenager in the early '80s, so he grew up in the '70s, obviously. He's teased relentlessly and after entering his 4th grade class late, he's self-conscious and awkward. The teacher points him to a chair in the back of the room. So with that set up:

The class, as if watching a final kill shot on Pong, followed him to his desk.

Specific, visual, and an era appropriate reference. At least I assume it is ... I better check Google.

The Need for Beta Readers

Beta readers, of course, read what the Alpha dog (the writer) has written with a critical eye to catch any major kinks in the story - grammar, characterization, plot, or otherwise. Since I cycle through my manuscript from the beginning as I write (I reread and edit and then take a flying leap forward by writing the next scene, then repeat the process) I often catch my own missteps.

But I don't see them all because, as I make changes in one part of the story, I get so engrossed in the process I don't notice how that change affects other scenes. The more I immerse myself in my writing, the more opportunity for minor flubs that fresh eyes will likely catch right away.

Here's one I found recently from my forthcoming novella, Worm (and if I hadn't I'm certain my beta readers would have):

Robyn stifled a cry and Worm swung around. Jake, waving a bottle of Jim Bean, was standing in the hall. He'd emerged from Worm's bedroom in a stupor. The man's dirty blond hair scraped his bare shoulders and a pair of boxers sagged around his waist. He blinked a few times, adjusting to the hallway's 100 watts. Jake put the bottle to his lips, took a swig, then wiped his forearm across his three day stubble.
... 
Jake stepped back a few paces, reached behind him and pulled out a gun that had been wedged between his belt and back. The pistol waved wildly in syncopation with Jake's unsteady rocking. "I'm tellin' you. You make a move against me boy, and I'll stick this down your..."

Wha...? The guy pulled a gun from his belted underwear? Oops, no. My first draft had Jake simply showing up drunk and all hell breaks loose, he pulls a gun, etc., etc. On my second edit cycle I knew I needed Jake in the house, so he comes out of the bedroom in his boxers. But I'd forgotten that the first draft Jake was clothed. Here's the revision:

Jake stepped back a few paces and, temporarily disappearing into the darkened bedroom, reemerged with a gun. The pistol waved wildly in syncopation with Jake's unsteady rocking.

Okay, maybe not as exciting as whipping the gun out from behind his back, but a bit more realistic. But one of my beta readers suggested that if Jake was drunk, he might still have his pants on. That seemed right, so my final (?) version is:

Jake stepped back a few paces, reached behind him and pulled out a gun that had been wedged between his pants and back. The pistol waved in wild syncopation with Jake’s unsteady rocking.

That's just one example. I have others - and so do you. That's why we need beta readers. Anyone want to testify?

Coming Soon!

Thanks for stopping by. You've found my writing den, so pull up a chair and let's chat. Tell me about your projects, I'll tell you about mine - mostly thrillers, modern day suspense, a bit of crime and mystery. I hope you enjoy what I have to offer and if you do, I'd appreciate a review eventually and especially an email at garthperrywriter at gmail dot com.

Looking forward to hearing from you. Swing by each week or so and I'll keep you updated on my progress. In the meantime, visit Tule Fog Press for information on available titles, release dates, and other news. Happy reading!