Ash McKenna in audio and large print!

DPwHLzRUEAAH1G7.jpg

Do you like having your books read to you? Do you like print books but find the letters are too small?

Then you’re in luck!

City of Rose, South Village, and The Woman from Prague are now available as audiobooks for your listening pleasure!

This is pretty exciting. See, what happened was, New Yorked got picked up as an audiobook, but didn’t do fantastic, so the publisher decided not to acquire the rest of the series. Which is a bummer, but I get it. There’s some behind-the-scenes stuff as to why that happened… so goes the biz.

But Ash, he’s a slow burn. The series has been picking up steam. Another publisher swooped in and scooped ’em up. They even brought back Alexander Cendese, who did a phenomenal job narrating New Yorked.

Go forth and listen!

And while we’re talking about subrights, just a reminder: The Woman from Prague is available in a handsome large print edition.

Get ’em here:

City of Rose audio

South Village audio

The Woman from Prague audio

The Woman from Prague large print

These books are available in regular-old eBook and print formats, too, in case you’re so inclined. Now is a good time to brush up, ’cause Ash’s last ride takes place in Potter’s Field, which is coming out in July…

Cheap AF eBooks

file000518164103.jpgAre you the type of person who does not like to pay full price for goods and services?

Then I have some good news for you: Every book in the Ash McKenna series is currently discounted for one reason or another!

New Yorked and South Village have been selected in this month’s Kindle deals section on Amazon, so both are currently available for $1.99.

City of Rose is going to be in some cool newsletter promotions over the next few days, so for a limited time you can get it for only 99 cents.

And because we love you, we shaved two dollars off the price of The Woman from Prague, which you can now get for $5.99.

That means you can get the ENTIRE series for $10.96. That’s cheaper than some individual eBooks. While the books are currently only discounted on Amazon, due to the magic of price-matching, the other sales sites ought to follow suit pretty soon.

While I am seducing you with the siren song of cheap eBooks, this is a good time to remind you that if you read any of these books, and you dig them, and would be amenable to leaving an honest review on Amazon and/or Goodreads, it’d be highly appreciated.

Here’s the thing about reviews: The more you get, the more your book shows up in search algorithms, and the more it applies for promotions (and trust me, promotions like this are HUGE, especially for authors at smaller presses who have a harder time making some noise amidst the throng of bigger releases).

Already read/reviewed my books? Go review another author’s books. It’s a nice thing to do. Especially if you’re planning to leave a positive, or even semi-positive, review. Because it counteracts stuff like the one-star review I got yesterday on Amazon, calling New Yorked “puerile alcoholic ramblings”.

So there you have it. Get the eBooks before they go back to full price. Contribute the inflation of my sales rankings and therefore my discoverability. The world is a magical place.

If you don’t know much about me or the books, you can click here to see some pretty banners with quotes and blurbs about the books. And if you click those banners you’ll find even MORE quotes and blurbs, and also plot summaries and sometimes sample chapters.

‘The Woman from Prague’ is here!

19983220_1478633682229565_3713104772247296240_o.jpg

I probably should have posted this yesterday, considering that was the actual release date of the book, but hey, things got a little busy. But: The Woman from Prague is now officially available! A lot of fun stuff happened, so I’ll do a quick roundup:

  • We launched it at The Mysterious Bookshop last night. Author pal Alex Segura did an excellent job moderating.
  • The book is listed as temporarily unavailable at Amazon, because we already cleared through the first printing. The second printing should arrive any second. That’s nuts.
  • I wrote a piece for Criminal Element about pulp fiction in a modern context.
  • This is a little older but I wrote a piece for Crimespree about writing lessons I got from Krav Maga. Also Dan Malmon wrote a really nice review of the book.
  • I answered some questions for The Real Book Spy, which also reviewed the book.
  • I got tired of writing promotional posts (there are a bunch more on the way) so I crowd-sourced an interview for LitReactor—essentially, I asked people to pose questions on social media, and then I rounded them up an answered them. It was pretty fun.
  • LitHub called The Woman from Prague a must-read crime book for July.
  • I’ve got more tour events coming up. Staten Island tomorrow night, then Scottsdale, Portland, Houston, and Austin. More details here.
  • I offered a prize pack for people who pre-ordered the book. The winner is Brent McCarthy! Brent, I will be mailing some stuff to you shortly.

It’s been a good launch. I’m thrilled to have a book in hardcover. I’m extremely thrilled that people are responding to the book. Get it if you haven’t, or wait until I show up at a bookstore to buy it, and I will sign it for you, or give me your phone number and I will read excerpts to you (that last one is not true… maybe).

‘The Woman from Prague’ Book Tour

lrbooktour4

The Woman from Prague arrives in less than a month, and thusly I will be showing up at bookstores to sing and dance so that maybe you will buy it.

Locally I’ll be in Manhattan on July 11 (The Mysterious Bookshop) and Staten Island on July 13 (Barnes & Noble).

Then it’s off to Scottsdale on the 20th (Poisoned Pen, pictured above), Portland on the 24th (Powell’s at Hawthorne), Austin on the 26th (BookPeople), and Houston on the 27th (Murder by the Book).

I won’t be alone for all of these events! At Poisoned Pen, I’ll be appearing with Daryl Gregory, author of Spoonbenders. And at BookPeople and Murder by the Book, I’ll be rolling with Jordan Harper (She Rides Shotgun) and Bill Loehfelm (The Devil’s Muse).

In a general sense, when I’m not doing these events, I’ll be hanging around town, searching for drinks and burritos and other fun things to do. If you’re around, get at me.

If you want to see all the event links, click here. You can also find the Facebook events at this link. If you want to RSVP to them, that’s cool. You don’t have to in order to attend, but it’s always nice to get a sense of how many people might be coming out (plus, you’ll get reminders from Facebook so you’ll have no excuse to miss it).

Finally: There’s still time to get in on the pre-order campaign. Pre-order the book, get a postcard, get entered to win a prize. Details here. If you’re planning to attend one of these events, you can always put in a pre-order at the store. That certainly qualifies.

‘The Woman From Prague’ pre-order prize pack!

prizepack

The Woman from Prague is almost here! The latest Ash McKenna novel lands July 11 in hardcover and eBook. Now, you can wait until then to get it. Or you can pre-order it. And you might want to.

Because if you do, you’ll get a postcard from Ash.

And you’ll be entered to win the Prague Prize Pack, which includes:

  • Three excellent books from my publisher, PolisSilent City by Alex Segura, Shot in Detroit by Patricia Abbott, and Red Ribbons by Louise Phillips.
  • “The Gift of the Wiseguy,” a short story I wrote for The Mysterious Bookshop. It was given away to customers of the store during the holiday season. Only a limited number were printed, and it’s not available electronically anywhere.
  • A New Yorked umbrella—they were printed up by Polis back in 2015, and I spirited a few away, specifically for moments like this.

Here’s how to enter: Send me a copy of your pre-order receipt for either the physical book or the eBook. Photo, scan, forward me the e-mail, whatever. Just, you know, prove you pre-ordered the book. Include your mailing address.

Send to: praguepreorder@gmail.com.

Want to pre-order the book from one of my tour stops? That’s cool too:

I’ll draw one winner the day of release, July 11. So you have until July 10 to enter. US mailing addresses only.

‘Condor’ lands in Brooklyn

Style-in-film-Robert-Redford-in-Three-Days-Of-The-Condor-1.jpg

Movie fans: Mark Aug. 7 on your calendar. Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn will host a special screening of the 1975 thriller Three Days of the Condor. After the screening, I’ll be conducting a Q&A with Six Days of the Condor author James Grady. Both of us will have books for sale from The Mysterious Bookshop, and we’ll stick around to sign them.

Condor is one of the books that inspired my newest novel, The Woman from Prague. So I’m thrilled to be doing this event. And Jim is one of my favorite people in publishing—real smart and real generous, on top of being a fantastic writer.

Tickets will be available in early July, so keep an eye on my social media. I’m hoping to blast the link out a little early so fans get first crack. Besides working with Jim, I’m really excited to be doing this at Alamo. It’s the only place I’ll see movies anymore—the food is great, the no texting/no talking policy is awesome, and their customer service is terrific.

Plus, the ladies-only screenings of Wonder Woman are pretty cool and for the life of me I can not understand the psychology of the guys who are complaining—it’s just too sad.

More soon!

In search of a rudder

Back when my first book was published, I had an idea for a column at LitReactor: I’d reach out to authors I knew and ask them to tell me the one thing they wished they’d known when they released their first book. I figured I’d get some good anecdotes.

I scrapped the piece because I kept hearing the same thing: “I wish I had an agent.” I heard this from some well-respected, big-time authors. And I couldn’t write a piece that was just the same piece of advice over and over.

There’s a lot of debate about whether you should have an agent. I’m firmly in the “should” column. At least, when it comes to me and my goals.

I work in publishing, I deal with contracts, I understand the language and the subrights and all that—but I also don’t want to deal with that shit. I’d rather someone else do it for me. I’ll pay 15 percent to let someone do the heavy lifting. That’s time I can spend writing.

It’s also nice to know someone has your back. To rein you in, to give you advice, to commiserate. To give you a guiding hand when you need it.

I never appreciated how important those things were until a few months ago.

My agent, with whom I had a good relationship, decided for personal reasons to leave the field. It’s not an acrimonious situation and I wish her the best. It was a little disappointing—I considered her a friend—but it’s also a problem with a solution: Go out and find another.

There are a couple of things counting in my favor: In the past two years I’ve published four books, to pretty strong reviews and sales. Publishers Weekly gave some nice kudos to my next book, The Woman from Prague (starred review, naming it one of the best books of the summer). I’m co-writing a novella with James Patterson, which is kinda fancy. My agent didn’t drop me, which can really count against you (potential agents will wonder if your sales suck, if you’re a jerk, if you’re difficult to work with, etc.).

There’s one big thing counting against me: I don’t have anything done. I can’t really search in earnest until I have a book finished, in hand, ready to go.

Immediately after my agent skedaddled, another agent—someone I respect—offered to take me on. It was tough but I declined. Given my genre and my goals, I thought it would be better, career-wise, to work with someone more intimately familiar with the players in the crime and mystery field.

It’s a weird thing to say no to an agent, considering how much of the query process feels so sacred, and so imbalanced in terms of who has the power.

For the past few months I’ve felt rudderless. I threw myself into researching new projects. I read a lot. I outlined. I wrote 70,000 words of a novel I’m not sure is coming together.

I’ve cracked open the fifth and final Ash McKenna book, for which I don’t have a contract. The book is tentatively due by the end of the year and I’m sure I can hit that deadline, but now I’m left wondering what comes after.

For a while now I’ve been stuck between three potential projects. Two are big swings (one of which is the 70K I already have down).

The third is, I think, a little “safer.”

So there’s a lot to consider. Do I go with the safer project, knowing it might earn me the goodwill to take those big swings later? Do I come out with the big swing now because, fuck it, sometimes you gotta go yard?

I kept thinking it’d be nice to formulate a game plan with an agent, who understands the wants and needs of the market, the potential salability of what I’m kicking around…

(For the record, this isn’t a “woe is me” story. I’m doing okay. And I don’t want to make it sound like I don’t give a shit about the artistic end. I do. But given I work in publishing it’s pretty easy to divorce myself from that and look at my situation with an outside, dispassionate eye.)

So, the point is, the more I thought about this, the more I dug myself into a hole of self-doubt and shiny-thing syndrome.

Until I realized I’m creating a problem for myself.

I’m breaking one of my own rules: Shut the fuck up and write.

The distance between a writer and a published writer can be measured in finished projects.

Having an agent isn’t a magic bullet. A lot of the writing process is knuckling down. People ask me how I write so much and it strikes me as a silly question. I write. How else is it going to get done? There’s no incantation to slow the rotation of the earth, no exercises that allow me to type 200 words a minute. The work gets done or it doesn’t, and I like when work gets done.

It’s hard, too, when you have a lot of ideas (you should see my Google docs…). Depending on my mood, the time of day, the direction of the wind, I might think one is better than the others, and ten minutes later that could change.

Again, creating a problem for myself. I let myself lose focus, and put the blame for that on not having an agent—like I need supervision and permission to write.

I don’t. What I need to do is pick a project and commit to it and finish it and then start the query process.

Honestly, I think I’m having a bit of a publishing-life crisis, where I’m on the verge of leaving the safe confines of an ongoing series, setting a course in uncharted waters. My next project will likely be in third person. Third person! How the fuck do you even write a third person narrative?!

It’s all pretty nerve-wracking. Especially because of how easily it is now to slip into Ash’s voice. I feel like I blinked and had the first 10,000 words of the fifth book.

Whether my first post-Ash book is salable or the “right one” or a big swing or whatever, it doesn’t really matter.

All it needs to be is something I believe in, and done.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that. To get lost in the mud of uncertainty. Because, god, what a fleeting fucking profession this is. Sometimes you need to remind yourself of certain things.

So I wrote a come-to-Jesus blog post.

I’ve got my project. The one I want to be next, after Ash.

It’s a big swing. I’ve got a loose outline and 20,000 meandering words and tons of research. It’s the project I feel passionately about. It does that thing I love about books, that made me want to be a writer in the first place.

It speaks to a problem.

I want to take a big swing. That’s who I am, and that’s what I want. That’s all that matters in any of this. It took me a few months to realize that. It feels like lost time, but also, it’s not. It’s the space I needed.

Back to work, and come what may.