Steve Martaindale

Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series

Novel needs help today!

Help me with “The Reporter and the Sloth” but do it today (Dec. 8) and win a free book.

I want a cool name for a bar. It’s in Oldport, located a block from the beach, and it’s not exactly a classy place, though that need not be reflected in the name. Feel free to add any description or background, but only the name is necessary.

I would rather you make it up than enter a name you’ve seen somewhere, but that’s OK too as long as you tell me.

The first contributor of the name I use will get a free personalized, autographed paperback once it comes out. Previous winners are ineligible … unless it’s a fantastic name.

Get cracking! I’ll announce the winner here by Tuesday morning.

Come join us

Heads-up for those of you around the Bryan / College Station area … I’ve been invited to meet with the book club at Covenant Presbyterian Church in College Station to discuss “The Reporter and the Penguin.”

They meet at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2, at the church, 220 Rock Prairie Road. Y’all come.

Take that, Black Friday

Black Friday

That says it all … except to remind you Amazon lets you purchase Kindle books as gifts … and to explain I couldn’t mark down paperbacks any more than they are, but they’re still available … so I guess it doesn’t say it all.

On Thanksgiving…

It’s too late for this year. Perhaps, if few people go shopping Thanksgiving Day 2014, more employees will be able to stay home for Thanksgiving 2015.

Give Thanks

Are you a good rule or a bad rule?

Rules are made to be …

What do you think? The first thing that came to mind was probably “broken,” simply because it’s a well-established saying. But let’s admit most of us feel rules are meant to be followed.

Rules, after all, are rules.Hat for blog (917x1024)

Rules of the road keep traffic flowing smoothly, quickly and safely. One must drive defensively and “watch out for the other guy” because not everyone follows all of the rules. Or knows them all. Or understands them.

Often, I’ve stopped at an intersection and waited for a driver with the right of way, only to have that person wave me on as if he or she was doing me a favor. Come on, just follow the rules and we’d both be gone by now.

However, the strict application of some rules is simply burdensome. It’s late at night, you come to a four-way stop sign where you can see a mile in any direction. It’s perfectly safe to slow down, check for traffic and roll through the intersection, saving time and fuel. There may be no danger at all except it puts you in jeopardy of receiving a ticket.

Writing rules

As a novelist, I often hear of rules for writing. My protagonist must be this, my bad guy must do that, the least expected thing must happen, I must never begin a paragraph with one thing, I must always use another.

Uh, no.

A writer must lay out his or her story the way he or she feels it must be told. That’s it. If I begin reworking my manuscript to fit the demands of an agent or publisher – even if that person has case histories proving the point – then the story is no longer true to me, no longer true to itself.

As time goes by, I plan to share some of my thoughts about my JP Weiscarver stories, such as why I use so much dialogue and so little description. Or maybe why I opted to write without swearing, sex or violence … except for the fact someone must die in order to have a murder mystery.

First, here’s another angle to the rules question.

Gentlemen always …

Due to an occurrence not worth telling now, I recently found myself pondering the rule that a man should not wear a hat inside a building.

I’ve been sometimes obedient, sometimes not, regarding that rule, but I found myself wondering why gentlemen (the rule always refers to gentlemen, not simply men) are expected to remove their hats.

After a brief online search, the best answer seems to be “because they do.”

One posting posed that very question … why? … and instead of an answer to the question there followed an exhaustive commentary decrying the fact men don’t remove or doff their hats as much nowadays and offering various interpretations on when said act should occur.

This is the type of rule I feel empowered to break, shatter, abuse and disregard. I’ll wear or remove my hat to my comfort and not worry about how some Miss Etiquette wannabe feels about it, at least until someone gives me a sound reason for reconsidering.

So, to complete the opening sentence, I believe “Rules are made to be examined.”

But I’ll continue halting at stop signs.

 

Keep moving

Keep moving snipSomething’s beginning to happen here. After happily gliding along writing, I’m making an effort to do more of the difficult work of a self-published author … marketing.

First of all, I’m doing a little tweaking on the site here. Along the way, this page will see more action. I’ll occasionally post snippets of what I’m working on along with some things from the past.

At times, you’ll probably be asked to help me work through a problem or to choose a path. In the past, for example, Facebook followers of my main character, JP Weiscarver, have created minor characters. There’s no telling where it will go.

We’ll boldly charge on and find our way together. That implies your cooperation. The greatest gift is feedback.

Time well spent

Quiet Spot lg

Be it along a river, on a mountain top, in a house of worship or in your back yard at night … find that spot where your soul and mind can meld. Allow them to work their magic. It is time well spent.

Get ‘Rose’ now for 99 cents

“The Reporter and the Rose,” the latest of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series, is on sale the next week for 99 cents in the Kindle store, where you can also download a free app if you do not own a Kindle.

The_Reporter_and_the_Cover_for_KindleYou can now make one of three choices:

CHOICE ONE: If you’ve not read “Rose,” you can now download it and suggest your friends do the same.

CHOICE TWO: If you’ve not read “Rose,” you can suggest your friends download it and then you do the same.

CHOICE THREE: If you have already read it, your only real option is to suggest your friends do so as well. Of course, you might want a paperback, which I predict will outlast numerous changes in technology.

Get the e-book by clicking here.

Get the paperback by clicking here.

Tell your friends promptly and with great enthusiasm.

Ferguson

Was no one in St. Louis County alive in the ’60s? Are they / we condemned to repeat that awful segment of history? ‪#‎Ferguson‬

Learning from Robin Williams

I have to say, even though I enjoyed tremendously the talent of Robin Williams, his death doesn’t shake my world.

I find more sorrow in the apparent fact he took his own life and that, even as loved as he was, he dwelled in depression.

THIS is what I hope we all take from his death: If we’re really depressed, if we even contemplate briefly the idea of suicide, let’s promise each other to seek help.

Talk with a responsible friend or seek out a professional. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or some other help line. Call 911. Call me.

Getting help to get out of depression is a sign of strength, of taking responsibility. People love us; we owe it to them to not give in to depression.

Take the vow with me and ask your friends and loved ones to do the same.

Step three

The bad news is the 99-cent Kindle sale on “The Reporter and the Penguin” has ended.

The good news is that kicks off a 168-hour countdown to the sale on “The Reporter and the Rose.”

It will be marked down to 99 cents at midnight PDT the morning of Friday, Aug. 15.

‘Penguin’ markdown

The second 99-cent sale in the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series has kicked off on Amazon Kindle.

“The Reporter and the Penguin,” the story of reporter JP Weiscarver uncovering a murder in Antarctica, is now available in electronic form for only 99 cents. It will continue until approximately midnight next Thursday, Aug. 7, when it returns to its normal price of $5.95.

This follows the same sale on the first book of the series. Next, “The Reporter and the Rose” will sell for 99 cents from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21. Click here to download your book. (Don’t own a Kindle? You’ll find links where you can download an app to read Kindle books on your computer, tablet or smart phone.)

Tell your friends!"The Reporter and the Penguin"

A brief Q&A:

Do I have to own a Kindle to read them? Certainly not. You should find a link on the page where you can download a free Kindle application for your smartphone, tablet or computer.

OK, pretend I’ve not been paying attention and tell me about your books. Even though you failed to state it in the form of a question, I’ll answer. After spending twenty-something years working in small daily newspapers and getting to know hundreds of amazing people, I decided to create a fictitious city – Oldport, on the Gulf of Mexico – and write stories about JP Weiscarver, a reporter at the Odds and Ends newspaper. Beginning with the “Ferret” story, JP started stumbling into death investigations and it seems he’s pretty good at it, especially with the assistance of cops reporter Jennifer O’Hanlon. In “Penguin,” JP accepts a four-month assignment in Antarctica, where he uncovers a year-old murder. In “Rose,” which will be marked down in two weeks, he’s back in Oldport solving a crime. The books are short novels, about 40,000 words each, and driven by the characters within.

So, why the markdown? (1) So you’ll have no excuse to not read them and then you can tell your friends how great they are. (2) So you’ll want a paperback copy for your bookshelf and/or to give as a gift. (3) So you’ll start clamoring for the next book, “The Reporter and the Sloth.”

With which book should I start? I always suggest starting with “Ferret,” but it’s not at all necessary. The books are sequential; “Penguin” makes references to the first book and “Rose” builds on characters from both. Going in order, you’ll get to meet new characters as they’re added. I’ve not mentioned this before, but at least the last two books also contain seeds for possible future stories. No, I’m not revealing what. That being said, you can read any one book independent of the others and enjoy it just fine. My favorite, so far, is “Rose,” but the latest work probably should be a writer’s pet.

Are these adult books or kid books? They are written for adults, but are kid friendly. I suspect most readers 13 and older would enjoy them, but I’m awaiting, and would welcome, more feedback in that department. There is no cussing, sex or violence, outside the fact someone has to die in order to have a murder mystery.

OK, in addition to buying books, what can I do to help? Thank you, thank you, thank you. Spreading the word is a big reason for putting the books on sale. Here are just a few ideas:
— When you’ve read a book, tell your friends – verbally or through e-mail or social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or whatever. Be honest. If it’s not your type of book, tell them. It might be theirs.
— Rate and comment on the book on Amazon, Goodreads, the site where you bought it or other appropriate sites.
— Suggest any of the series for your book club or to a friend in a book club.
— Like the Facebook page of my main character, JP Weiscarver, at https://www.facebook.com/JPWeiscarver. Share his posts with your friends when you feel it’s appropriate. Even comments and likes help.
— Follow me, smartaindale, on Twitter, though that deals with all kinds of things, not just the books.
— Keep up with this page by clicking the “Follow” button in the lower right corner and entering your e-mail.

Is that all? (Sarcasm intended.) Hey, you asked, but there is one other thing. Right now, tell your friends this book is available to download for only 99 cents. Send them the url to this page or use a share function below. It’s a good idea to put a brief note on top in which you suggest they consider downloading the book.

Round 2 Countdown

Just a quick note to avoid confusion. The 99-cent promo for “The Reporter, a Ferret and a Hurricane” has ended, but it’s still available in either Kindle or paperback form through Amazon by clicking here. (You can also order the book from any retailer.)

The next 99-cent sale begins early Friday morning, Aug. 1, featuring the second book of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series, “The Reporter and the Penguin.”

Stay tuned.

JP’s books for 99 cents!

Is there a book or two (or, horrors, three!) among the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series that you’ve not read? Act now and I’ll make it incredibly inexpensive for you to get started catching up. Consider it my own dollar menu.

The_Reporter Book CoverUntil Thursday, July 24, at midnight, Pacific time (3 a.m. Friday, Eastern), “The Reporter, a Ferret and a Hurricane” is available in electronic form for only 99 cents. At that time, the first book in the series will return to its normal price. Click this link to make it happen: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AFB2DPY.

But wait, there’s more. From Aug. 1 to Aug. 7, “The Reporter and the Penguin” will be available for download for only 99 cents.

And you guessed it, after another week off, “The Reporter and the Rose” will sell for 99 cents from Aug 15 through Aug. 21.

“The Reporter, a Ferret and a Hurricane” for 99 cents. “The Reporter and the Penguin” for 99 cents. “The Reporter and the Rose” for 99 cents. (For the record, I looked into marking the paperbacks down as much as possible, but the minimum prices allowed by the publisher isn’t much less than the list prices, so that’s not going to happen.)

A brief Q&A:

How can I take advantage of these remarkable deals? Go to amazon.com during the sale times, buy them and download instantly. Really, it’s that simple. You’ll find “Ferret” at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AFB2DPY.

Do I have to own a Kindle to read them? Certainly not. You should find a link on the page where you can download a free Kindle application for your smartphone, tablet or computer.

OK, pretend I’ve not been paying attention and tell me about your books. Even though you failed to state it in the form of a question, I’ll answer. After spending twenty-something years working in small daily newspapers and getting to know hundreds of amazing people, I decided to create a fictitious city – Oldport, on the Gulf of Mexico – and write stories about JP Weiscarver, a reporter at the Odds and Ends newspaper. Beginning with the “Ferret” story, JP started stumbling into death investigations and it seems he’s pretty good at it, especially with the assistance of cops reporter Jennifer O’Hanlon. The books are short novels, about 40,000 words each, and driven by the characters within.

So, why the markdown? (1) So you’ll have no excuse to not read them and then you can tell your friends how great they are. (2) So you’ll want a paperback copy for your bookshelf and/or to give as a gift. (3) So you’ll start clamoring for the next book, “The Reporter and the Sloth.”

With which book should I start? I always suggest starting with “Ferret.” The books are sequential; “Penguin” makes references to the first book and “Rose” builds on characters from both. Going in order, you’ll get to meet new characters as they’re added. I’ve not mentioned this before, but at least the last two books also contain seeds for possible future stories. No, I’m not revealing what. That being said, you can read any one book independent of the others and enjoy it just fine. My favorite, so far, is “Rose,” but the latest work probably should be a writer’s pet.

Are these adult books or kid books? They are written for adults, but are kid friendly. I suspect most readers 13 and older would enjoy them, but I’m awaiting, and would welcome, more feedback in that department. There is no cussing, sex or violence, outside the fact someone has to die in order to have a murder mystery.

OK, in addition to buying books, what can I do to help? Thank you, thank you, thank you. Spreading the word is a big reason for putting the books on sale. Here are just a few ideas:
— When you’ve read a book, tell your friends – verbally or through e-mail or social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or whatever. Be honest. If it’s not your type of book, tell them. It might be theirs.
— Rate and comment on the book on Amazon, Goodreads, the site where you bought it or other appropriate sites.
— Suggest any of the series for your book club or to a friend in a book club.
— Like the Facebook page of my main character, JP Weiscarver, at https://www.facebook.com/JPWeiscarver. Share his posts with your friends when you feel it’s appropriate. Even comments and likes help.
— Follow me, smartaindale, on Twitter, though that deals with all kinds of things, not just the books.
— Keep up with this page by clicking the “Follow” button in the lower right corner and entering your e-mail.

Is that all? (Sarcasm intended.) Hey, you asked, but there is one other thing. Right now, tell your friends this book is available to download for only 99 cents. Send them the url to this page or use a share function below. It’s a good idea to put a brief note on top in which you suggest they consider downloading the book.

It’s back

“The Reporter and the Rose” is back online at Amazon.

There was a glaring mistake on the contents I wanted to correct and the process called for the book to be taken down while the new submission was prepared.

Thanks.

Special notice

Just an FYI … “The Reporter and the Rose” might be temporarily unavailable for online purchase, but it should be back within a day or two.

But here’s a head’s-up, you don’t want to download it now. We’re trying to put together a special short-term deal. Keep watching for more info.

We have a winner

There were several good entries in the character-naming competition. The winner was Matt “Matty” Davis, an Oldport High School baseball pitcher who went pro. Shortly after breaking into the majors, a drunk driver shattered his arm and his career.

Read much more about Matty when the next book comes out. And thanks to Jim Bennett for the contribution.

 

Influence my next book

Would you like to help create a character for my next book?

What began as a simple pick-a-name “contest” quickly grew into full-fledged character development. For “The Reporter and a Hurricane,” I requested name suggestions for an electricity lineman. The winning contribution was Virgil “Moose” MacDuff, but only his wife and mother ever used his first name. He got the MacDuff tartan tattooed across his entire right forearm and he favored fried foods, pecan pie and cheap beer.

The bar was set high, but future contests produced equally worthy contributions: Sandra “Sunny” DelSol for “The Reporter and the Penguin”; and Gene Teller for “The Reporter and the Rose.”

I’m fairly early in the writing of the next book but have already identified the character for the competition. It can be male or female. He or she is the owner or co-owner of a sporting goods / outdoors store in Oldport, named OldSport Outdoors. About 42 years old, the person is also an avid hiker.

There you go, plenty of room for you to work. Craft a name, a bit of a background story and/or traits and characteristics. Submit your nomination by clicking “Leave a comment” above or … best of all … like the Facebook page of my main character, reporter JP Weiscarver, and message him (I mean, me) with your contribution.

So, what’s in it for you? How about a personalized, autographed copy of the book when it comes out? Hard to beat that for a few minutes of creative typing.

Get on it now because the first entries are already in. I’ve not yet set a deadline; there’s no big hurry, but I’ll give a 24-hour warning via Facebook in a few days and then determine the winner.

New title now available

Image

“The Reporter and the Rose” is now available.

Reporter sleuth JP Weiscarver has just returned from his adventures in Antarctica when he stumbles upon a pre-Valentine’s Day mystery.

Initially, there seems to be no reason anyone would want Mrs. Donaldson dead, but JP and cops reporter Jennifer O’Hanlon soon uncover several potential suspects. Evidence, however, is harder to come by until JP applies creative analysis to a few obscure clues.

A Kindle version can be found by clicking this link. You can order the paperback directly from the publisher by following this link as well as through other retailers. Your favorite book store should also be able to order it for you. (A hint for you: If they spell Martaindale correctly, it should be easy to locate.)

Appearance scheduled

Good news! I’ve been invited to participate in the 2014 Tejas Art & Book Festival in Rockdale, Texas, on Saturday, March 22.

There are 8-10 authors scheduled to be there, including at least two Pulitzer nominees. Nope, I don’t know why I’m that group, but I am looking forward to it.

Get your books autographed

I’ve set up a system for autographing either or both of my books. Get the details here.

Hmm, anyone thinking about a special gift?

Why are we here?

Why are we here? No, I’m not speaking of deep philosophical matters … that’s for other days … but examining the purpose of this site.

While I originally conceived it to display information about my series of novels — “The Reporter and …” — I fully intend to unload, and upload, all kinds of information. There will be pieces from my days as a weekly newspaper columnist, photos and thoughts from my time working in Antarctica, Yellowstone and exciting places yet to come. And I can never get away from offering up commentary on what we come across in our day-to-day lives.

My greatest desire here is to stimulate conversation, so please converse and goad your friends into participating. (One warning: I will insist, as well as possible, that we stay on topic with each post and that we do not delve into stirring up hatred. I’m kind of sensitive to that.)

Image

Now, let’s have fun.

Oh, the photo? It’s looking over my wife’s shoulder at Lake Livingston north of Houston. Why? Well, it’s cold here today and the image made me feel a little warmer.

You’re quick

Welcome to Steve Martaindale’s site. There is much to come here, but we’re posting this landing page early to serve up big news.

The Penguin has landed!

“The Reporter and the Penguin,” the third book in the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series, is now available online. It will be a few weeks before your bookstore will be able to order it through their normal channels.

The paperback version is available directly from the publisher or from Amazon.

It is also available for electronic download via Kindle.

“Penguin” is a standalone story, of course, but you will get even more out of it if you read the stories in order. Like real life, JP Weiscarver’s stories have common links that are more easily understood in order. Or, if after reading “Penguin” you just want to know more, go back and read the first two. Both are found in one book, “The Reporter, a Ferret and a Hurricane.” Both paperback and Kindle are available through the author’s page on Amazon or the paperback directly from the publisher.

Contact Steve Martaindale by e-mail at steve (at) stevemartaindale.com or through the Facebook page of the series’ lead character, JP Weiscarver.

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