Goodreads has approved a giveaway for my novel in stories, The Better Spy!
Here are the exciting details:
The giveaway of five (5!) signed copies of The Better Spy starts at midnight on Thursday, August 20, and ends at midnight on Sunday, August 30. Goodreads members (You have to be a Goodreads member, but it’s free to join.) in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia may enter to copies. Goodreads chooses the winners on a random basis.
Take a chance!
In a few days both the novella, My Noble Enemy, and the novel in stories, The Better Spy, will be up for Giveaways on Goodreads. If you have a Goodreads account (it’s free), you can go to the site and enter to get a free copy.
I’ll be giving away six copies of My Noble Enemy and five copies of The Better Spy (all signed). These are separate contests, running for different time periods, so you’ll have to enter both!
Check back for more details.
July 28 hasn’t been a date I’ve associated with positive things since this day in 2003, when my only sibling, my brother, died at the age of 44. This year, instead of taking this date and marking it as the anniversary of something sad, I’ve decided to reclaim it.
As of today, July 28 will be the anniversary of the launch of the book which, among the four others published, I’m most proud.
The Better Spy is a novel in stories dealing with the aftermath of a single spy mission by U.N. covert operative Mai Fisher. It opens in more or less present day (2013) when a dying British soldier needs to get something off his chest before he gets to the great beyond. It’s a secret that changes everything about Mai’s life since that mission in the 1980s when she was under cover in the IRA.
I’m particularly proud of its experimental form. It begins in 2013 and works backwards to a often-mentioned event in the series of stories, the bombing of an IRA stronghold in 1986.
The Better Spy is available from Amazon as either a paperback or for your Kindle. You can search by the title, or click here to go to my Amazon Author Page, which lists all my works.
Also, check out a new interview with me at the Flash! Friday Microfiction page by clicking here. I talk a bit about The Better Spy, what inspires me, how I got into historical thrillers, and more. Comment on that page and you’ll be entered to win a free copy of The Better Spy and my recent novella, My Noble Enemy.
I’ll always think of my brother today, but from now on it’ll be a happy thought. He would approve.
You first met Mai and Alexei in Blood Vengeance, Spy Flash, and My Noble Enemy (a Spy Flash novella). The Better Spy isn’t exactly a continuation but, rather, another piece in the mosaic of these two characters’ lives.
What is it about?
“The defining mission of UN covert operative Mai Fisher’s career came in the mid-1980s when she went undercover in the IRA. It was a mission she barely survived, when a shipment of Semtex she intended to destroy before the IRA would distribute it to various cells exploded too soon. Nine people, including a man she’d come to love, died, and she carried the guilt for the rest of her career. Nearly three decades later, a dying soldier has a secret he wants to tell her, one that will change everything.”
You can pre-order The Better Spy starting today. Click HERE to pre-order. Enjoy!
Two, count ’em, two stories of mine will be published soon: one in a fiction chapbook, the other in an anthology.
“Reset” is a completely made-up story (as in not based on something which happened to me even though one character bears a strong resemblance to my father) about a father and daughter who attempt to prove the validity of the one-shooter conclusion of the Warren Commission Report. It will appear in the inaugural edition of The Ink Ribbon Reader later this year. For more information on Ink Ribbon Press, the publisher, click here.
The other story is “Dreamtime,” winner of the Flash!Friday second annual flash fiction contest. It will be published in the anthology Skyline 2016, which will come out next spring, likely at a Virginia Festival of the Book event. My story, “Meeting the Enemy,” appeared in Skyline 2014. The Skyline anthologies are edited by author Olivia Stowe and published by Cyberworld Publishing.
So, that’s the good news.
The bad news–and that’s the writing life–my story, “The Lost Diaries of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany,” did not advance me to the third round of NYC Midnight’s 2015 Short Story Challenge. The judges liked the story, but one didn’t buy the voice in the story was a seven-year-old’s. I respectfully disagree, especially since I explained the child’s advanced vocabulary in the story itself, but, hey, can’t please ’em all. “Prince Leopold” will find a home, somewhere.
And more good news: A Spy Flash novella, “My Noble Enemy,” will be available soon for pre-order. Here’s a cover preview:
“My Noble Enemy” goes against how most spy deaths are portrayed in movies and novels, and here’s the tagline:
“There are old spies and bold spies, but no old, bold spies because, if you believe all those blockbuster movies and bad novels, they go out in a blaze of gunfire. Or do they?”
“My Noble Enemy” will be available for your Kindle and as a slim paperback (117 pages), and I’m pretty excited about its upcoming release.
And the final good news–then, no more bragging, I promise–late summer will see the release of my novel in stories, The Better Spy. Here’s its cover preview:
Pre-ordering for this should be turned on some time in July, and it will also be available for Kindle or as a paperback.
The Better Spy is in an experimental format, and not just as a novel in stories. It proceeds from “present day” (2013) to a seminal event in a character’s life in the mid-1980s. That puts a bit of a burden on the reader, but I’ve also put a date tag on every story to help with that.
Oh, and if the cover of The Better Spy seems a little familiar, it’s a companion cover to 2012’s Spy Flash:
Lots of things to look forward to for the summer. Oh, and either or both of these new works would make great beach reads!
The stories collected under Spy Flash 2 have graciously arranged themselves as a novel in stories involving two key events in the careers of Mai Fisher and Alexei Bukharin, covert operatives for the United Nations Intelligence Directorate. The novel in stories will be ready for publication in early 2014.
For those not familiar with the term, “novel in stories,” let me try to help. Each story can stand alone, but, collected, they have a complete story arc involving the same characters and events. They can span a short amount of time or, as in this case, a period of years.
A novel in stories is slightly different from “linked short stories,” which are also stand-alone and use characters from one story in another story, but linked short stories do not have a story arc. They are separate and distinct, even unrelated, other than the appearance of a character from a previous story. My previous books, Blood Vengeance and Spy Flash, could be considered collections of linked stories.
Examples of novels in stories include Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout or A Visit From the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan or What the Zhang Boys Know by Clifford Garstang.
Of course, since the stories decided they formed enough of an over-reaching arc to be called a novel, they needed a title snappier than “Spy Flash 2.” After much deliberation and debate, I’m pleased to announce that title, taken from a three-part story in the collection:
THE BETTER SPY
Yes, I rather like that myself. Check back periodically for updates and other announcements. Comments and suggestions I gratefully accept.
And here’s a little bonus, a draft cover: