Listening to my own audiobooks

If you ask most writers, they will probably agree that it’s hard (and often painful) to read or listen to their own books. No matter how well a project may be received by readers, it rarely measures up with the perfect, ideal version in the writer’s own head. The experience of reading or listening to the finished work is overwhelmed by a constant desire to go back—to edit, tweak, finesse, polish, push the words just that much closer to perfection.

I’m no different, and this was certainly my experience as well when I listened to the audiobook versions of the first three novels in the Jessie Black Legal Thriller series, Burnout, Informant, and Deadly Evidence. Read more ›

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A Look Back at Six Months of Weekly Blogging

The writing business requires experimentation. In my books, I try new things so that I’m always learning, always stretching as a writer, and hopefully making each book better than the last. At the same time, I’m also experimenting with marketing—looking for the best ways to connect with readers and get the word out about my work.

At the beginning of this year, I set a goal to post to this blog on a weekly basis. (You can read the original post here.) I knew doing so would not be easy. However, I had a bunch of good ideas for things to write about, and I thought an active blog might help entertain readers between book releases.

Well, it’s been six months. I’ve had a lot of fun writing posts for this blog. Here are some of my favorite posts:

Nervous Laughter—Humor in Thriller Novels

Two good reasons you should post book reviews

What makes a good plot twist?

Interview with audiobook narrator Xe Sands

That said, maintaining a weekly schedule has taken a lot of time and energy, and I think it makes sense to shift some of that time and energy back to the book-writing part of the business. Starting in July, I’ll be scaling back my blog posts to approximately one per month.

If you’re a fan of the blog, don’t worry—more blog content is coming. But this change will also enable me to deliver more novels more frequently, which I believe is the real reason you’re here!

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below or email me directly. Thank you for reading!

Redemption—My Favorite Character Arc

A character arc is the inner journey of a character, beginning in the opening chapters of a story and ending at the climax, in which the character changes in some profound way. My favorite character arc is what I call the redemption arc. This character arc involves a character who is either “bad” or imperfect at the beginning of the story, who evolves through the course of the story so that when finally facing the pressure of the story’s final crisis, he or she rises to the moment and shows him or herself to be a hero. While we love characters who from page 1 are champions of justice and goodness, we seem to be especially drawn to lesser characters who “make good.” There is something about this character arc that seems to be universally appealing. Read more ›

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The End—Thoughts on Thriller Endings

Today I’m going to talk about endings—specifically, what makes a good one. We’ve all had the experience of reading a great book, only to be let down by a mediocre finale. Similarly, we’ve all read and suffered through mediocre books, only to reach a spectacular ending that leaves us with an overall positive impression of a book that, in reality, we didn’t really enjoy all that much. Mickey Spillane famously said that your first chapter sells the book, and your last chapter sells your next book. Endings are super important. They can make or break a reading experience.

So what is it that separates a great ending from a mediocre one? Some of it is just magic, and resists logical analysis, but as a writer I have tried to study what works. Read more ›

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Tips for Writers—Using Setting to Improve Story

sunOf all the various moving parts a writer needs to worry about, setting is probably the least exciting, but one of the most helpful. Action, dialogue, characterization – these are the aspects of storytelling that draw us to the keyboard with enthusiasm, raring to go. Setting, on the other hand, can feel like a tedious chore. But mastering the skill of writing setting is critical if you want to create great stories that people will love to read. Read more ›

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Interview with audiobook narrator Xe Sands

This week I am excited to present an interview with Xe Sands, the narrator of the Burnout audiobook and the upcoming Informant and Deadly Evidence audiobooks. Xe is an accomplished narrator with a number of awards to her credit, including an Audie Award, multiple SOVAS Voice Arts Awards, multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards, and a Publisher’s Weekly Narrator of the Year Award. She has lent her voice to books in numerous genres including thrillers, romance, science fiction and fantasy, and others. Despite a very busy schedule, Xe was generous enough to let me interview her for this blog. I hope you enjoy it!

Larry: You have an interesting name, so let’s get that out of the way first. How is Xe pronounced, and what is the origin of the name?

Xe: It is…unusual, that’s for sure. Although one of my cousins also has the same name, believe it or not. Makes for some hilarious confusion on Facebook (although she’s 12 years younger and MUCH cuter, so being mistaken for her ain’t a bad thing…).We’re both named after my great-grandmother. Oh – and it’s pronounced EK-see 🙂 Read more ›

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Giveaway and Deal on Burnout Audiobook!

My first audiobook is here! Burnout, the first book in the Jessie Black Legal Thrillers series, is now available as an audiobook narrated by Xe Sands. It’s available as a digital download or as a physical MP3-CD. Here’s the cover:

Burnout audiobook

If you’ve been following this blog or you’re on my email list, you know I have been enthusiastically looking forward to this release. And I’m even more excited to let you know about a giveaway and a deal on the audiobook. Read more ›

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Audiobook Release Schedule and other News

Time for another update. If you are a fan of the Jessie Black Legal Thriller series, there is a lot to be excited about right now! Here are some highlights.

The First Three Jessie Books in Audio

Jessie Black is coming to audiobooks! Audiobook publisher Tantor Media is bringing the first three Jessie books out in audio format this year. This is super-exciting to me, since I am a huge fan of audiobooks.

As I’ve mentioned on my blog, I am also a big fan of the narrator, Xe Sands, whose performance brings a wonderful new dimension to the books. Here is the audiobook release schedule: Read more ›

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Jessie Black Audiobooks Coming Soon!

headphonesYou may recall that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to explore audiobooks. I have sung their praises on this blog before, and I’m sure I’ll do so again—I’m a big fan. I have a lengthy commute to and from my day job, and I have found that this time on the road is ideal for reading. Well, I have an exciting announcement to make. The first three books in the Jessie Black legal thriller series, Burnout, Informant, and Deadly Evidence, are being produced as audiobooks by Tantor Media. Burnout should be released very soon, with the other books to follow. Read more ›

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What makes a good plot twist?

twistI don’t just write thrillers. I am also a voracious reader of them. There is a lot to love about the genre—fast-paced stories, larger-than-life characters, sky-high stakes. But one of my favorite things about a good thriller is a perfectly executed twist.

As thriller fans, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about—the shocking reveal, the abrupt reversal, the twist that you never saw coming, but that you should have.

In today’s blog, I thought it might be interesting to dig into this subject and try to dissect what makes a good twist work. Read more ›

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