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10 Things I Wish I’d Known About Being An Author That I Didn’t Know Before…

10 Things I Wish I’d Known About Being An Author That I Didn’t Know Before… Guest post by Rachel Brimble


10 Things I Wish I’d Known About Being An Author That I Didn’t Know Before…

1) The publishing industry is entirely subjective – just because one (or may thirty) agents or editors reject your manuscript (not you personally!), it doesn’t mean your book won’t find a home. Having said that, it’s important to take note of any feedback, especially if more than one editor or agent picks up on the same thing. It’s possible whatever it is, isn’t working. Listen and learn.

10 Things I Wish I’d Known About Being An Author That I Didn’t Know Before… Guest post by Rachel Brimble
2) Point of View – SO important. If your reader is getting confused who is talking and when, you have a good chance of losing them and the book being tossed aside. Keep the POV tight and the reader will be entirely invested in the character.

3) Online courses – It was a long time before I discovered the joy and advantage of affordable online courses. They are available everywhere and give such valuable learning and feedback. Some of the best I’ve found are here: http://www.writeruniv.com/classes/ and here: http://lowcountryrwa.com/workshops/all-workshops/

4) Writer friends – VITAL!! The more writer friends you can surround yourself with, the more likely you are to succeed. This is just my humble opinion, but to have someone to lean on, cry with, laugh and succeed with is so, so important.

5) Critique Partners – leading on from friends. Find yourself a couple of good, quality critique partners (not your friends and family!). This may take a while to achieve and you might run into a few hard relationships before you find your perfect fit, but it will be worth it. Having someone to point out character and plot flaws, pacing issues and grammar without changing your voice could be the one thing missing in your process that could lead to publication.

6) Social Media – Vitally important. As is having a blog/website where people can find you easily. You might think this is only important once you’re published, but I’d say the sooner you can share your writing journey, the better. Do it now and establish a presence. Let people know you write and are looking for an agent or publisher. SO much useful information is shared on Twitter and Facebook.

7) Romance writing organizations – such as the RWA (Romance Writers of America) and the RNA (Romantic Novelists Association) are fantastic for places to attend regular Chapter meetings and get to know other romance writers in your area. The fabulous annual conferences are worth the membership fee in themselves. Everyone in these organizations, and those that run them, have been where you are. Lean on them for support through your publishing journey and beyond.

8) Be true to yourself – it will be a complete waste of your time and energy trying to follow market trends or emulate your favorite author/s in any way, shape or form. Write what you LOVE, write from the HEART and you will succeed. Tenacity, determination and passion are what makes writers succeed. There isn’t a formula, or strategy. There is hard work, learning and commitment to the art that takes writers through a tough business. There aren’t any shortcuts – sorry!

9) Promotion – aahh, promotion. It’s what will take up equally as much of your precious work time as the actual writing itself. I came to this a little late with my first three books and thought they would somehow magically sell themselves even if I didn’t tell anyone about them. Duh! Promotion is time-consuming, but vital. Not only will you sell more books, but you will give time for readers to get to know you as a person too. If you throw yourself into promotion as an enjoyable part of the job instead of a chore, I guarantee you will get a lot out of it. Yes, it can eat into your writing time, but talking to readers and writers while promoting has led me to some of my best decisions with regard to my career.

10) And finally…the best piece of advice I was ever given. ALLOW YOURSELF TO WRITE A ‘CRAPPY’ FIRST DRAFT. What else is there to say? If you rid yourself of your internal editor and that horrible demon sitting on your shoulder saying ‘you’re not any good’, ‘you’ll never succeed’, it’s highly likely you won’t even finish a saleable book. Get the words down and worry about the polishing in the following drafts. I promise your output will quadruple overnight. Good luck!

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had seven books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and an eighth coming in Feb 2018. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!

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13 Ways to Generate New Article Ideas

13 Ways to Generate New Article Ideas, by Carol James


It`s essential that all writers and bloggers need new article titles. While we have thousands of topics to cover, with time, it becomes more and more difficult to come up with new subjects on a daily basis. Part of the problem is that not every subject sells well on the internet and that some of the most profitable content niches are extremely saturated. Successful online writers will stick to writing about what they know, as well as about what they’re interested in by managing their resources wisely. Here are top 20 ways in which you can maximize your article ideas in quantity, quality and earning potential.

Keywords used in searches – keywords that appear in your search stats can give you a more exact idea of what information people were searching for when they accessed your blog and how you can answer their questions better next time. You can use those keywords to cater to some of the missed searches (also reflected by your title-specific bounce rate) as well as expand your content hubs and improve site navigation. More often than not, a whole string of short-tail search queries will make the title of your next popular blog post.

Article series – using keywords is a great way to create content webs — mutually interlinked article series, each with a limited focus, that guide the reader from one step to another, is a way to keep readers focused on reading and navigating through your blog.

Splitting posts – try splitting your blog posts into fragments. Writing posts containing too many details and multiple angles is an unnecessary waste of resources. Be comprehensive, but also focused and systematic.

Re-writes and round-up articles – rewriting your blog content must be approached reasonably, and you should avoid repetition. This method works best with posts targeting search queries vastly different from your original posts — more general information, more specific information, a general interest story, a fun fact, etc. It’s also a way to make your content go viral.

Traffic statistics – observing where your visitors are coming from may give you some fresh article ideas, possibly in low-competition areas, on anything local or regional.

Keyword Research – never overdo your keyword research — Google doesn’t like it. That said, the Google Adwords Tool can give you a better idea of when and how people search for the information you’re about to include in your post. This is especially important for niche blogs that don’t get too much traffic from search engines.

13 Ways to Generate New Article Ideas, by Carol James


Social networking and social bookmarking sites – follow users whose interests are similar to yours as well as established sources in your area of expertise — you’ll get tones of new information and things to write about daily with “research” and “ideas” literally delivered to you in your feed. That’s yet another benefit of using social media – instant access to new and interesting information.

Personal experience – the hands-down best source of new blog posts — anything that happens in your life or the way you deal with behind-the-scenes problems on your site can be the subject of your next blog post.

Research – every time you research information for your use, you can turn the knowledge and experience into a new blog post.

Press releases and newsletters – great source of newsworthy writing material and topical issues that can get popular on social media sites. They can also be an inspiration for commentary and opinion pieces.

Discussion groups and forums – a great source of ideas for how-to articles and guides since a number of questions posted and discussed there is bigger than anywhere else. You can then link to your article from those places and earn more contextual backlinks.

Read related blogs and websites – you may discover that you know more about a topic already covered by someone else or will feel you’d like to dispute their viewpoint. You should check if the article is missing information you can add, but you should also avoid using the same keywords as they did – it’s unproductive from an SEO perspective and can be considered plagiarism (cannibalism).

E-mails and comments – yet another way to come up with new titles. Rather than reply to every comment or e-mail, you can answer your readers’ questions in another blog post and let them know about it.

13 Ways to Generate New Article Ideas, by Carol James
Carol James is an EssayLab psychology department writer and senior editor. She has MA degree in social sciences and is an excellent specialist in this field. Carol worked with numerous materials on the subject and is eager to share her knowledge with our readers.

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Interview with V.L. Jennings

Interview with V.L. Jennings


What genre do you write and why? 

I write science fiction because I want to inspire more people to reach for their highest potential, reach for the stars, and explore the unknown.

Interview with V.L. Jennings
http://amzn.to/2Bk7shi
How was this book published? (traditional, small press, self pub, etcc...)  Why did you choose that particular publishing route?

I was originally self-published and was picked up by a small press who closed after a few years. I am now back to self-publishing. I love having control over my work. Being able to fix things on my schedule, and being able to give out as many reviewer copies as I want. I love being able to publish my work as fast as I’d like. With a traditional publisher you often become confined to their publishing work load- how many books they can publish per year.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad or good ones?

I do read my book reviews. If there is a glaring error that a reviewer found (hey, I am human after all), I will take a second look at the file to fix it. (Somehow managed to misspell Foreword…should be fixed now). Occasionally I will politely reply to the reviewer to thank them for alerting me to the error and letting them know that I fixed it. Good reviews, I deal with those by sharing those reviews on social media for everyone else to see!

Do you Google yourself?

Often. Not because I am conceited or anything, more so because google results will point out if the seo or other coding on my website isn’t working properly. If my website doesn’t show up on the first page when my name is googled then I know I need to work on my keyword programming on my website.

What advice do you have for other writers?

Spend lots of time learning your craft. Start off building a blog following. The people who like to read your blog posts are going to be the ones who will want to buy your books. Make sure your blog relates to what you write books about in some way.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

On my website: www.virginialorijennings.com, I have quite a few short stories in my blog if you’d like to read some short science fiction too!

Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?

I inadvertently learned more about myself from writing my book. For example, the secondary main character in The Alien Mind reminds me a lot of my husband, even though he was written way before I ever met my husband. It took me 5 years into our marriage for me to realize that. My writing also helped me realize that I had a hidden enthusiasm for learning about electrical systems and inspired me to take my own advice of ‘reaching for the stars’ and take the leap into earning my degree in electrical engineering. I am loving it so far!

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I am a bit of both. I start out as a panster. Mostly thinking up story lines and scenarios while driving, while showering, or while trying to drift off to sleep. This way I can scrap scenes entirely or reimagine scenes (including dialogue) without having the burden of having to cut and paste, or erasing. Once I start writing it down I often hit a good flow until about halfway through the book. At this point I sit down and outline where I have been and where I will be going.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?

Interview with V.L. Jennings
There are Pro’s and Con’s to each set. Self-published authors maintain more control over their work and don’t have to worry about a publisher closing, or a publisher restricting reviewer copies. Errors or updates can be easily made. The Con’s aspect of Self Publishing is that you are responsible for all of your own promotion, finding a good cover, and making sure the editors you choose do a good job.

With a traditional publisher, unless they are ‘the big 5’, you have to worry about the publisher closing- which means yet another edition of your work shows up on amazon, goodreads, and other places that track multiple editions. You may still have to worry that a publisher will approve a cover for your book that does not work for your genre or be restricted to their in house illustrators. You also won’t have much control over who your editor is. If an error gets left in the file, it is often a major hassle to get it fixed. Many traditional publishers use Ingram to publish through. If you want something fixed or want to add new promotional stuff in the back of the book for a new book coming out the publisher will have to pay to reupload that file. This can often lead to severe delays in getting things fixed or added. Same goes for changes to meta data or information on online stores like amazon; they don’t have to pay but it can be a while before the changes get made

I’ll be the first to tell you, I LOVED having a publisher, even though they were a small publisher. I loved being able to tell people that someone else enjoyed my work enough to publish it. It DOES add more credibility to your work. Lately, as long as the book looks professionally done, fewer people care whether the book has a traditional publisher or is indie published.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

With my current schedule it is more like when do I have time to write?

I am married and have three children. My current nonwriting activities involve taking children to doctors appointments and after school functions like band and play practice. We also love to do renovation projects and recently finished gutting our entire bathroom down to the studs and rebuilding it.

Most of the week, however, I am attending college classes toward my degree in Electronics Engineering. I graduate next May.

Which is why I do most of my writing in my head. Once I get the ending nailed down I’ll get it out on paper. I’m currently working on a two book sequel to The Alien Mind.



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Publishing a Fictional Travel Memoir

Publishing a Fictional Travel Memoir, guest post John Meyer


I used to write movie screenplays. Comedies, thrillers, dramas. And while it was satisfying to some degree, I had to accept the fact that it was an entirely collaborative process with the director and producers firmly in charge, while I had to be a compliant cog in the wheel. Not only that, but there was also a time-honored, industry formula with an expected story structure. Stray too far from the formula or its structure... and your innovative ideas would likely be dismissed. Fair enough. Those were the rules. I could resist them, but it was far better if I would just play along and accept them.

Publishing a Fictional Travel Memoir, guest post John Meyer
Eventually I discovered much more freedom in writing books. I was no longer part of a large team (at least in the initial writing process). I could be innovative. I could create my own rules. I could completely write with my heart.

Now I had always enjoyed reading travel books. But I sometimes found these non-fiction stories about a man or a woman climbing a mountain, or building a country home in Tuscany, or simply wandering through a foreign land... a little wanting. What they often lacked was intense drama or colorful characters or maybe higher stakes. The narrator either accomplished his or her task—or they didn't. That's it.  

So I wanted to combine my favorite elements of a travel book and add a more personal adventure—even if it was a fictional one. That’s when I came up with my concept for something I called a fictional travel memoir. The fun part was that I would travel to these foreign countries and then use the characters I met, the experiences I had, and the challenges I faced to create a fictional story far greater than my own private journey.

However, I soon discovered that there are rules and formulas in the book industry too! When I first tried the traditional route of publishing and submitted my manuscript to several agents in town, the response was great... but ultimately inconclusive. The refrain was always the same, "So it's a fictional story set in a traditional non-fiction genre?" "Exactly!" "Yeah, well, that's going to be difficult to sell." "Why? Isn't it unique and innovative?" "Yeah, probably too innovative for us..."

Now what? Well, instead of trying to convince the establishment, I decided to learn how to self-publish my books. I did my research in the fall and by the winter I had calculated that I needed about ten months to go through all the development and business steps in bringing my first book to market.

The benefits (full control, no middle men, no long wait times between writing and publishing, 100% of the profits) currently outweigh the drawbacks (no marketing help, the need & wherewithal to hire an editor, a designer, and a printer)!

However, new problems arose when it came time to marketing the ebooks. No two ebook websites are identical and certainly no two ebook websites share the same categorization. So I slot them the best I can, often writing numerous emails to the website administrators to ask them to file them under both Fiction and Travel. "But we list Travel under Non-Fiction." "Yes, well, they're fictional stories but also travel books loaded with authentic details about each location which is incredibly helpful to other travelers." "So we should put them in Non-Fiction?" "Yes, but, they are also fictional stories. So ultimately, I would like them filed under both sections, if possible." Some website administrators are accommodating. Some are not. So I file them the best that I can.

I wonder if poets encounter the same kind of obstacles, but for now, I will say that no matter what form of writing you tackle, there will be some form of established way of presenting your ideas and stories. They exist for a reason within the industry and the audience ultimately accepts that they exist. So think outside the creative box and let your freak flag fly, if you dare. But remember... you may have to dip your toes back inside that creative box once in awhile and occasionally lower that freak flag just a little bit. Because writing... anything... still (ultimately) involves a team.

Publishing a Fictional Travel Memoir, guest post John Meyer
To get your own paperback or ebook copies from the author visit: www.johnmeyerbooks.com
(also available at Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Kobo, Nook, Apple, and other ebook providers).
To learn more about the Camino: www. johnmeyerbooks.com/spain-camino/.

John Meyer writes fictional travel memoirs—unique adventure stories that combine fun facts of history with present-day drama and humor—always revolving around a fictitious love story and always based on his own thrilling journeys. His previous publication, Bullets, Butterflies, and Italy, was selected as a November Best Book by Chatelaine magazine. Meyer is also the studio writer for Entertainment Tonight Canada and has been ever since the popular daily show launched back in 2005.

Publishing a Fictional Travel Memoir, guest post John Meyer

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Book Showcase: Venomous Lives by Brandy Potter

Book Showcase: Venomous Lives by Brandy Potter


Title: Venomous Lives

Author: Brandy Potter

About the book:

Book Showcase: Venomous Lives by Brandy Potter
The '80's was a decade of excess. No one enjoyed the excess more than the bands from the Sunset Strip. The glam rock world was no place for a lady. It's a good thing that the girls in Onyx were not ladies. Four girls from a blue-collar suburb burst on the scene, break hearts and make history. Along the way they find everything they ever wanted and more. The question is how much will they have to lose before they know that everything they ever wanted was not what they needed to live.

Purchasing link: http://amzn.to/2z5DLik

About the Author:

Book Showcase: Venomous Lives by Brandy Potter
Brandy Potter lives in Maryland with her husband and their 3 children. She has been writing since she was 9 years old, but Venomous Lives was her first published novel. Currently she is working on a romance suspense and a romance thriller. Her character development focuses on the psychology of the everyday person, fictionalized visions people overcoming their conflicts. She enjoys watching people and observing their behaviors. What makes us and at times what breaks us. She likes strong female leads but maintains that they are strong in different ways. She does reviews for an online blog magazine and facilitates an online author’s group.


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Excerpt: A Pound of Flesh by Alex Gray

Excerpt: A Pound of Flesh by Alex Gray


Title: A Pound of Flesh

Author: Alex Gray

Purchasing link: http://amzn.to/2z5os9k

About the Book:

Excerpt: A Pound of Flesh by Alex Gray
In the depths of a freezing winter, Glasgow finds itself at the mercy of not one, but two serial killers
This is Detective Inspector Lorimer’s worst nightmare and beyond anything he’s faced in his many years on the force. Can he find a link between the brutal slaying of prostitutes in the back streets of the city and the methodical killing of several unconnected businessmen?
When the latest victim turns out to be a prominent Scottish politician, the media’s spotlight is shone on Lorimer’s investigation. Psychologist and criminal profiler Solly Brightman is called in to help solve the cases, but his help may be futile as they realize that someone on the inside is leaking confidential police information. Meanwhile two killers haunt the snowy streets and Lorimer must act fast, before they strike again…
Excerpt:
It wasn’t always easy to see the moon or the stars. This city’s sodium glow rose like yellow fog from its streets, blotting out any chance of star gazing. But she knew it was there. That cold white face dominated her thoughts tonight and she shivered as though it already saw her flesh naked and exposed to its unblinking watchfulness. Perhaps it was because she was trying to be seen that she felt such awareness. The red jersey pencil skirt folded over to create a too-short mini, those agonisingly high-heeled sandals cutting into her bare toes; spread across the bed back in the hotel they had seemed the garb of an adventuress.
Now, revealed in the glare of the street lamp on this corner she felt a sense of…what? Shame? Perhaps. Self-consciousness, certainly. But such feelings must be overcome if her plan was to work.
She had already overcome the blank indifference of the girls down in Waterloo Street, their body language both defiant and compelling. Her hips shifted, one slender foot thrust forwards, as she remembered how they had stood, languidly chewing gum, waiting for their punters. Their desperation drove them to return night after night, the price of a wrap of drugs equating to an hour with some stranger.
Her own need was just as strong, fuelled by a passion that would not be spent until she had fulfilled her desire. It was warm in this Glasgow summer’s night and her black nylon blouse clung to her back, making her uncomfortably aware of her own flesh. The thin cotton coat she’d worn to conceal these trashy clothes as she’d tapped her way across the marble foyer of the hotel was now folded into the black bag at her feet, along with her more sober court shoes. When it was over she would slip them on and return the way she had come, hair clipped in a businesslike pleat. She smiled thinly. Being a woman had some advantages; the facility for disguise was just one of them. Her carefully made-up face was stripped of colour in the unforgiving lamplight, leaving only an impression of dark eyes, darker hair tossed back to reveal a long, determined mouth. She recalled what Tracey- Anne, one of the girls at the drop-in centre, had told her: I get through it by pretending to be someone else for a few hours, then I can be myself again.
Tracey-Anne was lucky, though. After tonight she could never again be the person that she used to be. Glancing at the elegant façades around the square, the dark-haired woman suddenly saw these city streets through different eyes: the shadows seemed blacker, the corners harbouring ill intent. Her chin tilted upwards, defying those inner demons tempting her to turn back.
After tonight things would change for ever. When the car slowed down at the kerb her heart quickened in a moment of anticipation that astonished her. She had expected the thrill of fear, not this rush of excitement sweeping through her blood.
The man behind the wheel had bent his head and she could see his eyes flicking over her hungrily, appraising his choice. He gave a brief nod as if to say he was pleased with his first instinct to stop. Her lip-glossed mouth drawn up in a smile, she stepped forward, willing him to reach across and open the window, ask her price. For a moment he seemed to hesitate and she could see tiny beads of sweat on his upper lip, glistening in the light. Then the door of the big car swung open noiselessly and she lowered herself inside, swinging her legs neatly together to show as much thigh as she could. But the gestures were still ladylike, almost reserved, as if she knew that would quicken his senses.
‘How much?’ he asked. And she told him, one shoulder moving insouciantly as if to declare that she wasn’t bothered whether he could afford her or not: someone else would pay that price if he wouldn’t. She glanced at him briefly, catching sight of the tip of his tongue flicking at his lips like a nervous lizard, then he made a gruff noise of assent, looking at her again, as though to be sure of his purchase, before accelerating into the night.
About the Author:
Excerpt: A Pound of Flesh by Alex Gray
Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English. Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing. A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of fourteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Connect with Alex Gray on her Website πŸ”— & Twitter πŸ”—.



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Don't Have Time To Write?

Don't Have Time To Write? guest post by Ed Lin


I’ll be honest. I look a little askance at people who say they want to write but they just don’t have the time.
Don't Have Time To Write? guest post by Ed Lin
http://amzn.to/2hEePaI
If you feel compelled to write, you can’t really do anything else. Not happily, anyway. Think about all those hours you use to binge on your favorite series. Or scrolling through social media. Or...reading blogs about writing. Um, yeah.
In the salad of my youth, before I even had a novel-length manuscript, I would try to write short stories. Sometimes, about once a month, I would get an idea that was so strong in my mind I wouldn’t be able to sleep until I had written at least a first draft of it.
My point is that it’s not really a question of having enough time to write. If your desire to write is strong enough, you will find the time. Maybe you’ll eat lunch at your desk at your job so that during your deemed lunch hour, you’ll hunker down in a conference room or nearby cafe to write on a legal pad or laptop. Maybe you have a kid who wakes up at 5:30 in the morning and you have to make breakfast, pack a lunch and take her to school. Get up at 4 and do the writing beforehand (have some coffee saved in the fridge). Maybe type away late at night after everyone in the house has gone to bed.
I have done all those things. I still do some of them. There is no wrong way to do things when you want to write.
Oh, I should also add that hand in hand with writing comes reading. Always be reading at least one book. Don’t have time to read? See the above. If you truly love writing, you love reading. You also love going to author events. If a writer you like is visiting a store near you, go to it. You don’t necessarily have to buy her book--only if you want to ask questions one-on-one after the event.
All writers generally want to help aspiring ones, even though sometimes we seem to be not in great moods. Why? Because all along the path to publication, writers who were more established helped us out. Someone responded positively and provided a cheerful blurb. Or somebody helped find an agent or editor.
I have been lucky enough to have experience those things. I still try to help others.
My advice: Find the time, put in the work and get the manuscript done. Then find the people who will lend you a hand.
Don't Have Time To Write? guest post by Ed Lin
Ed Lin, a native New Yorker of Taiwanese and Chinese descent, is the first author to win three Asian American Literary Awards and is an all-around standup kinda guy. His books include Waylaid and This Is a Bust, both published by Kaya Press in 2002 and 2007, respectively. Snakes Can't Run and One Red Bastard, which both continue the story of Robert Chow set in This Is a Bust, were published by Minotaur Books. His latest book, Ghost Month, a Taipei-based mystery, was published by Soho Crime in July 2014. Lin lives in Brooklyn with his wife, actress Cindy Cheung, and son.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Website πŸ”—Goodreads πŸ”—Twitter πŸ”—, & Facebook πŸ”—


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