News, Updates & Give-Aways

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Pleased to share that Kindle Press is putting my novel Housebroken on sale July 5th – 11th for just $0.99!

If you haven’t yet had a chance to read this one, these sales are few and far between so grab it while you can for less than a buck!

In other news, Housebroken is now hovering at 99 reviews on Amazon! Once it reaches 100, I’ve decided to offer a Give-Away for 2 signed copies of Housebroken. This give-away will be exclusively available to my mailing list only, so if you haven’t yet signed up, you can do so here: Behrg’s mailing list

No purchase is necessary. You’ll be automatically entered just by participating as a subscriber. But if you’d like more chances to win, shoot me an email (thebehrg at gmail.com) with a link to one (or more) of the following:

  • A screenshot of your purchase of Housebroken (or another of my titles)
  • A screenshot of your posted review on Amazon for Housebroken
  • A screenshot of your posted review on Amazon for another of my titles

You’ll receive an extra entry into the contest for each additional proof of purchase / review.

Thanks again for your support! Winners will be announced within 2 weeks (or as soon as we reach 100 reviews on Amazon).

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purchase now                                                 shop other titles

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Book Review: “Raven’s Peak” by Lincoln Cole

Demon hunters, cults, possessions, and world-wide conspiracies. And no, I’m not talking about the US election results.

ravenLincoln Cole’s first book in the World on Fire series, Raven’s Peak, makes a weighty stand in the genre of paranormal mashups, combining a thriller-esque pace with a fascinating setup. You’ll find your staples of the genre: strong female protagonist; witty dialogue; an end-of-world, cataclysmic doomsday appeal; but you’ll also find a story that’s well told.

By the end of the prologue I was hooked, though I did find Arthur the most fascinating character within this story and kept hoping he would reappear. There’s a lot of potential within this book which surely will continue on through the next novels in the series. Cole manages to keep a good balance in a story that could have nose-dived into cliches, and the setting of Raven’s Peak is excellently drawn.

A definite recommend for fans of supernatural / paranormal adventures, though if you like your horror dark, you may find this a little wanting.

Housebroken: One Year Later

It’s been just over a year since my debut novel, Housebroken, was debutized.

HousebrokenAlright, confession time — that’s not a real word. I can’t even say I’ve been watching too many Westerns as an excuse. What I can say is how my life has changed since my first book was released.

For the most part? It hasn’t.

I mean I still rely on my day job to feed my family and put clothes on my kids. When asked what I do for a living I still tell people that I work in sales (except for those moments when I’m feeling particularly bold). And my world has yet to drastically launch into the atmosphere of stardom.

Don’t get me wrong, that last one I’m not disappointed about.

But this is all very normal for a first-time author to experience. And yes, I sometimes have to remind myself that I AM an author. Because life pretty much remains the same. I work, I wash dishes, I bathe kids and put them to bed, and then I try to scrape however many spare minutes I can find from the day in order to add a couple hundred words to whatever project I’m currently working on (two at the moment).

So what has changed?

For one, my confidence in my writing. I’m tackling an ambitious series set in the Amazon Rainforest, while also exploring an idea with a stand alone novel that I’ve never seen captured before. And the ideas I’m sitting on, (quite impatiently btw), are so much bigger than anything I’ve yet to try.

Ragnar
Gearing up for third leg in a Ragnar Relay Race

You see, once you run a mile, you realize you can run two. And then you keep running, keep training, and soon you hit ten miles and realize, hey – you could do a half-marathon. Which leads to a full marathon. And quite possibly beyond.

But then you hit an injury, as all runners eventually do. Shin splints, plantar fasciitis, a torn ligament or blown knee. It happens to every runner.

And every writer.

Not everything we experiment with is going to be a success. But what’s important is that we keep pushing ourselves. It’s easy to keep running the same three mile loop that’s grown comfortable, but to up your game takes effort and discipline. It’s also the most exciting part about the process.

The second thing that’s changed for me has been a focus on the journey rather than any one particular destination. I love the act of writing. Taking disparate words and mashing them together in interesting and (hopefully) revelatory ways. Unearthing ideas and seeing where they lead. One such idea lead me to a story I could have never come up with on my own, “The Girl Who Couldn’t Come Up With an Original Title.” It’s still one that, if I go back and look at, I’m shocked that it came out of my keyboard.

The journey has become so much more important than the destination.

If I go a few days without putting fingers to keys, there’s a difference in my temperament and outlook. I NEED to write. Whether or not it’s covering my mortgage or rent (it’s not) or providing some much needed extra spending cash and rainy day savings (it is). My commitment to this writing gig has changed as well. I’ll be doing this for a long time. I just have too many stories to tell that no one else is telling. And with that commitment I don’t worry about when I’ll be able to say I’m a full-time writer, I just know that at some point it will happen along the way. It’s no longer a destination, it’s a point I’ll one day pass almost without realizing it was ever there.

The third thing that is noticeably different from when my debut novel hit digital shelves a year ago is the sense of community I’ve discovered.

Other authors, readers, bloggers … Dollarphotoclub_103113374.jpgThis is one of the most supportive communities I’ve ever seen, and I feel honored to have made so many amazing new friendships. And while my “following” is humble and small, I’m so grateful to those who have extended kind words of support, written notes that they enjoyed my work or identified with such and such character or have shared my work with others. Thank you, to each and everyone one of you — readers, authors, and fans alike. We authors are dreadfully hard on ourselves, and your words always come in the moments we need them most.

I’m grateful to my publisher, Kindle Press, for their faith in an unknown author and for continuing to support my novel even a year after it’s release.

UK bestseller March.JPGThis month Housebroken has been part of a promotion in the UK, and as such it’s held on to the #1 spot for Horror – Suspense on Amazon for the entire month. That’s something I could have never accomplished on my own. For what began as an ambitious yet quiet experiment, Kindle Scout has really grown into an amazing way for great novels to not only be discovered but pushed out to the masses. It will be exciting to see where it continues to go.

Dollarphotoclub_82724978.jpgThe last thing I’d say that’s changed since I’ve become a published author is my appreciation for imperfections.

I’m a tough critic, always have been, and while that hasn’t changed I love unlocking the puzzles of what worked and what didn’t in a particular movie or TV show or book. Because there is always something done which will be far better than I could have imagined. Always something I can find that I would have changed, possibly for the better. Always something to be learned.

There is no perfect story, no perfect novel, no perfect movie. And that’s a beautiful concept. Because there’s also no perfect life.

We live with the chinks in our armor on display every single day. We say things we don’t mean, or mean things we don’t say, and live in the constantly churning and turbulent waters of just doing our best at any given moment. It doesn’t mean it’s us at our absolute best, just the best we can do in that moment. And most times folks, that’s enough.

So has my world changed dramatically in the past year?

Maybe not in the ways one might at first imagine or hope for. But as for the invisible stretch marks of my own growth, not only a writer, but as a human being, it’s been one incredible year.

Choose Your Own Adventure: Reflections on Kindle Scout

Remember those books from the eighties, “Choose Your Own Adventure?”

You’d read the first three or four pages and then have a decision to make for your adventurers, one which lead to page five, the other to page 219. Each decision from there would continue to leap through the book until your characters either died (the most frequent conclusion) or you found a happy ending (there weren’t many).

I devoured these books as a kid, but I would literally earmark every page that wound down different paths so that I could go back and follow them all. I wanted to live every option, follow every path to its conclusion. Probably one of the reasons I love being a writer — I can live different lives, follow different paths, ones that I would never otherwise choose.

Dollarphotoclub_90825469.jpgThe journey of an author is much like these books from the eighties. There is no single path to follow that guarantees a happy ending and most paths lead to, you guessed it, death (at least for the hopelessly optimistic author’s dreams).

But it’s also exciting. Because there are so many paths to choose from.

Twenty years ago there was only one path — submit to an agent or publishing house and hope your dart finds its way to a target. Now you can self-publish, use traditional publishers, become a hybrid author by utilizing both paths, or just plain experiment with all the options that are out there. And one of the newest paths, which sort of combines the trad and self-publishing journey, is through Amazon’s Crowd-Scourced platform, Kindle Scout.

For those of you unfamiliar with Kindle Scout, it’s a platform that Amazon created and launched in November of 2014, a place where readers can go to nominate books they would like to see published. Those books that are selected “win” a publishing contract through Kindle Press, a new Amazon imprint, and receive similar marketing benefits as the books in Amazon’s other imprints. While the nominations are a small part of whether a book is chosen or not, it’s a great way for readers to Choose Their Own Adventures, or the books they would like to read. And if the book’s selected, those who nominate it pick up a free advanced copy. (I’ve picked up quite a few fantastic reads myself).

Housebroken - BannerMy debut novel, Housebroken, was a part of the initial launch in November. After a grueling 30 day campaign full of ups and downs, (and check here for tips on running a Kindle Scout campaign), my novel was selected, along with a number of other amazing authors. It was the first of many paths I was fortunate enough to travel along in my journey as an author.

Since Kindle Scout’s inception, more than 100 novels have been selected and published (or are in the process of being published). One Kindle Scout winner has gone on to land a contract with MontLake, Amazon’s romance imprint, and has even had a Kindle World created based on her Kindle Scout submission. Another author’s book went straight from Kindle Scout to Little A, Amazon’s literary imprint, and was published as one of Amazon’s Kindle First novels. Many of the Kindle Scout novels have broken the Top 1000 in ratings, a select few even landing above the coveted Top 100.

It’s important to note that not everyone has seen the same success and there are a few “winners” who have felt their experience has been less than stellar. But publishing, in any medium or path, is never a guaranteed success. For me, personally, this has been an amazing way to launch my author platform, to reach readers I never would have otherwise reached, and to accomplish things I may have only dreamed of. Right now, in fact, my novel Housebroken is sitting in the #1 spot on Amazon in the UK for Horror – Suspense. It’s fun being a part of a well-oiled machine that knows how to market and sell books, above anything.subterrestrial

In the year and a half since Kindle Scout’s debut, we’re seeing established authors now submitting their books into the program. Michael McBride, a well-known horror author and best-selling Amazon author, recently had his novel Subterrestrial selected. Norman Prentiss, a Bram Stoker Award winner and all around fantastic person, just launched his first campaign with Odd Adventures with your Other Father. Authors with huge platforms are finding benefits to being a part of Amazon’s wheelhouse.

But the great thing about Kindle Scout is that you don’t need to have a huge readership in order to be selected. My novel, Housebroken, is proof — a debut work by an author who had no writing platform. The quality of your work and its potential for marketshare are amongst the many things the editors at Kindle Press look for, not just whether you’re “Hot and Trending.”

It’s difficult to find a publishing house that’s willing to take a chance on new novelists, but to find one that’s willing to help launch a career and get behind new voices by marketing the books as well? Say what you want, but I’ve found Amazon a supporter for authors and am grateful to be a part of the Kindle Press family.
I’ve submitted a second book now through the Kindle Scout process, the sequel to my first book in The Creation Series, titled: “The Creation — Let There Be Death.”Creation Series

While I’m not sure if it’s right for Kindle Press, it’s been another fun experiment and the exposure alone for my series has been worth the time and efforts spent in promoting the campaign. You can take a look at the excerpt and nominate the book here (yeah, yeah, my time for shameless promoting). This is a series I’m extremely proud of, set in the Amazon Rainforest. The premise is simple: What if the 7 days of the Creation, as found in the Bible, were started over again? But by a much more malicious “god.” It explores the themes that in order to create, one must first destroy, and is filled with flawed yet fascinating characters. And while the campaign is going on, you can pick up the first book in the Series for free by signing up for my newsletter.

So what lies ahead for the publishing world? I feel there will be many more paths and doors opening. We’re at the tipping point of innovation, and paths will soon exist for authors that no one could have predicted.

As for me? I’d like to try them all.

The Creation Part II

A few of you may have noticed that The Creation Series has gone through a bit of a rebrand. Slight cover changes to both “In The Beginning” and “The Creation Part I” have been applied, in order to better establish the brand with the next novel coming out.

The Creation - Let There Be Death.jpgI’ve been looking forward to announcing the cover reveal for the Creation Part II for awhile, and am pleased to share it with you now! Big thanks to Kealan Patrick Burke at ElderLemon Design for the ingenious cover, which continues the trend of the last book.

“The Creation Part Two: Let There Be Death” continues the events unfolding in the Amazon Rainforest, where the world continues to be transformed a day at a time. In this book Day has arrived, but it is no ordinary light. And it is but the precursor for something far more terrifying.

In addition to the cover reveal, I’m pleased to share that the book is up for nomination on Kindle Scout. You can read an excerpt there and nominate it for a chance at a publishing contract with Kindle Press. This is a way for me to widen the scope of those who come in contact with this series. The first novel, while available on Amazon, I am offering as a FREE giveaway for signing up for my newsletter as well. It’s the perfect way to check out the series, potentially picking up book two for free as well, should it be selected.

Kindle Scout has been an amazing program for me in kickstarting my career as an author. My debut novel, Housebroken, was one of the first books selected through the program, and I’m proud to be a part of the amazing array of authors who have since joined. Regardless of whether this new novel is selected, I’m thrilled by the opportunity to share my work with those who have yet to come in contact with it.

So please take a moment to check out the new novel. With your nomination you receive a free copy of the book if it’s selected. And thanks for being a part of this journey with me.

 

A Kindle Scout Review – One Year Later

Today is almost a year to the date that I was notified by Amazon that my psychological thriller novel, Housebroken, had been selected for publication by the Kindle Scout team.

Housebroken - BannerI remember the moment fondly. I was surrounded by family while visiting my brother and sister-in-law over the Thanksgiving holiday, and they actually received notice before I did that my novel had been selected! (An email goes out to everyone who “votes” for a book through KindleScout when a novel is awarded a publishing contract). It was an overwhelming sensation, the validation of one’s work combined with the relief after a grueling month of “campaigning” in order to garner attention during the month long Kindle Scout campaign.

When I submitted my book to the Kindle Scout program, I didn’t know what to expect. I was in the first round of books with the KS announcement and the competition was fierce. Add to that the fact that this was my debut novel and I had absolutely no “platform” as an author or social media expertise. But I did have a book I believed in. I’ll be forever grateful that I wasn’t the only one.

While my life hasn’t radically changed since the publication of my novel, it has been the first in many steps in my journey as an author. Within this year’s timespan I’ve published a second novel, The Creation, which is the first in a new series, and had several short stories accepted in various anthologies (a few which are yet to come out). My experience working with the Kindle Press team has been exceptional and to any would-be authors out there, I can’t say enough about the doors this program continues to open for me.

KDDI’m thrilled to share as well that Housebroken is a Kindle Daily Deal in the UK today! It’s amazing to see the experimentation that continues to take place with all of the Kindle Scout published novels. Being published by an Amazon imprint certainly has its advantages.

One year later, and the journey’s still beginning. I’m excited to see what the next year will bring.

Kindle Scout Expands Internationally

As a Kindle Scout published author, I tend to follow a lot of the updates and news that take place with Amazon’s fairly new crowd-sourced publishing platform. Today the Kindle Scout team announced that they are opening the doors for submissions outside of the United States, accepting submissions now from the following countries:

  • Europe

    book tunnel in Prague library -- mirrors are used to create this effect
    Yes, this is a real tunnel of books … 
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • Japan
  • and India

For those unfamiliar with the program, an author can submit an unpublished novel-length work for submission through KindleScout. If accepted, there is a 30-day campaign in which readers can vote for an author’s book. The KS team determines winners based on a combination of things from quality of novel, marketing appeal, # of votes and whether there was general interest in the book, etc. For more info, visit the Kindle Scout website.

I may be biased, but I’m a huge fan of this program. In the self-publishing world, there is a deluge of novels, and it can be difficult for an author to see his voice heard. Kindle Scout, and other programs like it, can become a sifting ground to help good works become discovered that might otherwise have been lost in all the noise out there. In my opinion, we need more publishers thinking outside of the box like Amazon, testing new ideas and breaking new ground.

housebrooken-featureI’m proud to be a Kindle Press published author, with my debut novel Housebroken being selected in the first round with Kindle Scout. It’s opened more doors for me, as an author, and has absolutely expanded the reach I might otherwise have had on my own. I’ve also discovered so many other fantastic authors through this program, and if you’re looking for free books, it’s a great way to be a part of someone’s publishing path while being rewarded for your efforts, as the books you nominate that are chosen you receive for free.

So enough of my infomercial for Kindle Scout. If any authors out there are curious or have questions about the program, feel free to ask me through email or jump on in to our Facebook group for Kindle Press Authors, where you can get real answers from those of us who have gone through the ropes, so to speak. And collectively, as a group, let’s keep innovating. I believe we’ve barely scratched the surface of what is to come.