Mystery author J D Webb www.jdwebb.com
Shepherd's Pie (Golden Wings Award Winner) Moon Over Chicago (2008 Eppie finalist)
Her Name Is Mommy (Now Available)
Smudge (available now at L&L Dreamspell.com)
Stuck In Valhalla (available at Sniplits)
Since I enjoy new gadgets and reading, however, I have crept into the twenty-first century by purchasing an eReader. My latest is the ever-popular Kindle. I say latest because I began with the eBookwise, then the Jetbook. Since an expert is one who is experienced, I feel qualified, so I will. As an author with four books in electronic format (by the way, I have them in print as well), I gush when the news has an account about skyrocketing ebook sales. According to press reports, the only increasing area of book sales seems to be in electronic format. Granted, print books still have greater sales so the gains are tiny so far. But in such a fledgling sales area, the leaps are note-worthy.
I’ve observed that whatever eReader you purchase is summarily declared as the best out there. My friends have others: the Nook, Sony, etc. Theirs are the best, they say. Sometimes eReaders are bought because of specific features. Backlighting is a desired accessory, not available yet on the more popular readers, except for the Nook. But by the time this blog is published, the competition may have included that feature and be announcing another version on national television. This also seems to be a common phenomenon - new versions of eReaders rushed to the yearning populace by various manufacturers.
eReader prices have dwindled, allowing many more to join the electronic throngs. The only price not coming down is that of ebooks by the elite authors. I have decided to wait for the paperback version if the ebook cost exceeds paperback, and I think that will prevail with most readers. I can hold out until the paperback is released. I don’t care if the publisher insists the price has to be higher because it must make up for lost hard cover sales. Phooey. It merely means they will make more money and since I’m an author that’s good. Maybe it will trickle down to us in the trenches. Oops, I may have just put myself on several New York publishers’ blacklists. No matter, I was apparently there already.
Also I’ve been pleasantly surprised that when I fall asleep while reading, my Kindle doesn’t hurt nearly as much as a hard cover book when it falls on my face. And -- this is huge -- I don’t lose my place. The amazing machine remembers for me, then I turn it back on.
So if you’re hesitating about getting an eReader, don’t. It’s like buying a computer; as soon as you buy it, you find it’s now obsolete. But until you can justify an additional purchase of the next latest version, go ahead and dive in. They’re fun to have. Think about on vacation. Instead of dragging fourteen bulky books, one eReader can hold thousands of books. And most of the classics are free downloads. We don’t read enough of the classics anyway.
When you buy one, I bet yours turns out to be the best.
I write mysteries -- my favorite genre also for pleasure reading. However it has become a learning tool. I try to dissect how the author creates suspense, develops characters, describes scenes, sustains plot, well you get the picture. I always want to improve my writing by “stealing” techniques and methods.
I’ve been in a book club for four years to expand my reading into other genres. It’s worked and I’ve enjoyed the works of many other authors.
Definitely agree that as an author it's good to read and learn ways to improve your craft. What’s your favorite childhood memory?
When I was in my senior year of high school I loved creating mischief. As a result of one of these episodes I was thrown into a creative writing class. Best thing that ever happened to me in high school. I found my love for writing, and have never been reluctant to indulge in mischief since.
I'm sure you're in the right profession then. A good way to let your creative and mischievous side get out onto the page. Where is the most exotic place you’ve ever traveled?
I guess that would be Viet Nam courtesy of the Air Force in the 60s. You didn’t require that exotic place to be fun. Hot, muggy, rainy, and a bit dangerous. Fortunately, I only spent 3 months there on temporary assignment for the Philippines. Also a very exotic place. Banana trees grew right outside our barracks. The countryside beauty rivals or surpasses anywhere I’ve traveled.
A small-town paralegal, Trish Morgan, wipes a smudge from an ATM screen one nasty night. It’s blood.
OK, Intriguing, I definitely want to read that excerpt now.
* * * *
Well, isn’t that amazing? A parking spot right in front of the bank.
Trish signaled and eased Jim’s car into the space, cringing at the scrape of the wheel against the curb. Thankfully, the curb didn’t gouge the side of his new Jaguar. She shivered and tried not to think of the consequences of causing damage to her husband’s newest plaything. With her Escort in the shop again, she had been allowed to borrow Jim’s car—but only for the day.
Grabbing her umbrella, she cursed as the release button refused to operate. Damn, just long enough for the rain to make her mascara run. Finally it opened, she splashed through puddles, across the sidewalk to the front of the Citizens’ National Bank of Millvale.
As usual, the light over the ATM had not been replaced, so she dug her small flashlight out of her purse and approached the open-sided kiosk. Juggling umbrella and flashlight in one hand, she inserted her card and waited for the machine to activate. She swiped a smudge off the screen with her hand so she could see to enter her PIN.
Ugh! Wet and sticky. Dropping the umbrella, Trish rummaged a tissue from her purse and quickly scrubbed her hand. She shined the light on her palm, revealing a dark red smear.
Oh, my God! It’s blood! Her thoughts stalled as the ATM ate her card for the second time in two weeks.
The moan seemed to come from beneath her feet. Trish’s head swiveled left and right. Just darkness and rain drenching her good Nike sweats. Traffic trickled past. She cocked her ear, straining to hear any noise. Nothing.
“Hello? Someone there?” Silence. Maybe the sound wasn’t what she thought. Trish looked over her shoulder hoping to see someone she could call for help, but the sidewalk was deserted. She wanted to find the source of the groan, and then again, she really didn’t. Someone may be hurt and needs help. She picked up the umbrella and willed her feet to move toward the corner of the bank building, her reservations replaced by concern. Squeezing her flashlight in a death grip, she let the light play out on the sidewalk and into the darkness between buildings.
An alley ran between the bank and the drug store. Trash cans and debris littered the interior as far as she could see in the limited light. Trish listened, hoping the moan had been a figment of her imagination. She took baby steps through the wetness and strewn garbage.
The barely audible plea came from beyond an overflowing container in front of her. Trish looked behind her once, praying someone familiar would appear. No one came. She wanted to run. Get the police. But she couldn’t make herself move.
Love the excerpt. Where can readers find Smudge online?
Purchase Link: http://www.lldreamspell.com/Smudge.htm
James, thank you for the great blog post today and sharing your excerpt.
Don't forget to comment and enter to win a print copy of Smudge. What eReader device do you own? Is there a reason why you prefer it over another kind? When you comment, please be sure to leave your email address on the comment form. Thanks!
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