Book Reviews Given & Book Reviews Sought

A couple of weeks ago, Amazon.com prevented me from posting a book review because I hadn’t purchased $50.00 worth of products (I’m not sure if this just means books or other things) from them. Fair enough. It’s their rules and I have no issue with that. Amazon’s been battling with fake reviews, paid reviews, and writers’ trading positive reviews for years, so I guess they’re clamping down and attempting to improve credibility.

By the way, see Anne Allen’s insightful blog about a host of other Amazon measures to clamp down on other types of cheating. Unfortunately, innocent authors are getting caught in the net, and Anne explains it clearly HERE:

Usually, I buy ebooks because they are cheaper and delivered instantly. As a Canadian, I would pay 30% more for a paperback from amazon.com. But what frustrates me and many other Canadian authors is that because I have a Canadian account, I’m not allowed to buy ebooks on amazon.com either. In other words, their restrictions (we’re not allowed to even gift books on amazon.ca) won’t let me abide by their reviewing rules. Needless to say, I’ll be sticking with amazon.ca and Goodreads, and might even start posting reviews here on my blog.

As an author, I might have an even harder time getting reviews on .com from Canadian reviewers, but I’ll keep trying! In fact, I am indeed looking for reviewers from any country for my 5th Casey Holland mystery, Knock Knock, published in Nov. 2017. If anyone’s interested, please let me know at debra_kong@telus.net. Here’s a short blurb:

cropped-knock-knock-front-coverA series of violent home invasions is terrorizing Vancouver seniors. When the latest invasion kills Elsie Englehart, security officer Casey Holland is devastated. Determined to protect other seniors on her watch, Casey escorts an elderly man home only to find herself ambushed by a knife-wielding assailant. Healing from serious injuries, Casey struggles to regain control of her life. She needs to get back on the job and finish preparations for her upcoming wedding before everything falls apart and more people die.

The back cover blurb is posted on the home page of my website at www.debrapurdykong.com

I can send an epub. PDF, or mobi version. Thanks!

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Arthur Ellis Shortlist Nominees Announced

arthur-200Last night, the Vancouver branch of Crime Writers of Canada enjoyed a terrific evening of discussion, nominee unveiling, book buying, and cake to celebrate Crime Writes of Canada’s 35th birthday this year.

Turnout was great at the VPL’s central library, and it was lovely to catch up with writing colleagues and my favorite mystery booksellers, Dead Write Books. Owners Jill and Walter have been one of the few constants in my writing career, and Vancouver is lucky to such knowledgeable independent booksellers. By the way, they also own White Dwarf Books, for all you fantasy and science fiction fans. Check out their website HERE.

I think this was the fourth or fifth AE Shortlist panel I’d been on over the last decade or so. If there was an award for the panelist who’s been at this writing/publishing game the longest, I’m pretty sure I would have taken one! It was great fun to sit beside two panelists who’ve just had their very first titles published. I remember those days, and wish them great success!

Please take a look at Crime Writers of Canada’s website for a complete list of this year’s nominees. The photo, by the way, is a picture of the Arthur Ellis hangman statue that winners will receive. Some categories also have cash prizes, so if you’re a Canadian crime writer with a book coming out in 2018, you might want to think about entering this fall. You don’t need to be a CWC member to enter. Winners will be announced on May 24th at gala in Toronto. For more info check out this link.

Save the Date for Arthur Ellis Shortlist Night!

Wednesday, April 18th is a big night for Crime Writers of Canada. At various cities across the country, CWC members will announce this year’s Arthur Ellis nominees in a variety of crime-writing categories.

AEA-2018-Shortlists-Vancouver-2

I’ll be participating in a panel discussion before the big unveiling, along with colleagues A.J. Devlin, Judy Toews, and Iona Whishaw. Our moderator will be prolific crime writer and CWC chair, Cathy Ace. As you’ll see from the photo, we’ll be at Vancouver’s main library on Georgia Street. For other locations, please visit CWC’s website HERE.

Established in 1984, the awards are named after the nom de travail of Canada’s official hangman. (Yes, Canada once had one). The Arthur Ellis awards celebrate excellence in crime writing. Eligible books were published in 2017, with the exception of the Unhanged Author, which awards a prize to the year’s best unpublished novel.

It’ll be a fun night and I hope to see you there!

Imajin Book’s Spring Sale!

April is here! If I can make it through the first three months of a cold, wet dreary Vancouver winter without disaster or perpetual moodiness, then the rest of the year is a bonus.

To that end, my publisher has launched a spring book sale on all Imajin Books titles. My two novellas, Dead Man Floating and A Toxic Craft are only $.99 US (which works out to about a $1.28 Cdn.) now until April 15th.

Here’s the blurb for Dead Man Floating:

One wrong decision… 

Security guard Evan Dunstan didn’t expect to find a body floating in a campus stream. An empty vodka bottle nearby suggests that the highly despised George Krenn, head of the plumbing department, had drunkenly fallen in. Refusing to let the death of a vile man ruin his romantic plans, Evan decides to leave the body for the next shift to find.

One friend in trouble…

When it’s discovered that Krenn was murdered, Evan has a lot of explaining to do. So does his friend Sully, Krenn’s least favourite student. Evan uses his hacking skills and campus knowledge to keep them both out of jail, but the investigation forces him to question Sully’s innocence.

One mystery to solve…

Uncovering the truth proves to be more than challenging. It may cost Evan his job, his friendship, and his woman. Will Evan find the killer, or will the killer find him first?

And for A Toxic Craft:

A crafty senior…

Evan Dunstan’s spunky grandmother is giving him major headaches. As organizer for the seniors’ Christmas craft fair, Gran faces warring vendors and acts of vandalism that threaten to ruin the event. When nasty knitter Cora Riddell is knocked unconscious and her water spiked with a hallucinogen, Gran begs Evan to find out who’s responsible before more harm is done—or someone dies.

A daunting task…

In charge of the fair’s security, Evan faces a challenge that grows more difficult by the hour. His boss expects him to find the culprit before police are called in and Southwest Trades & Technology’s reputation as a safe campus is destroyed.

A friend or foe?

A search for answers reveals the disturbing possibility that even friends and coworkers hope Evan will fail. Is the culprit closer to him than he thought? Whose startling secrets must be exposed to find the truth?

If you have any trouble with the links, please let me know, and thank you!

http://getbook.at/DeadManFloating

http://getbook.at/AToxicCraft

The Facebook Conundrum

Social network imagesI’ve spent the last few days pondering my future with Facebook. Frankly, I’ve never been overly comfortable sharing much personal info about me or my family on FB, and I can’t remember the last time I posted something on my personal page.

Marketing gurus keep telling me that having an Author Page on FB is an essential, as it’s the best way to connect with potential readers. So I have a page, and I post these blogs there weekly, plus any new publishing announcements, etc. It’s open to the public, but after all the brouhaha about Cambridge Analytica and our not-so-private social networking lives, I’m in a conundrum as to whether to keep any FB presence.

I’ve never posted my real birthdate and I’ve started deleting unwanted apps, but this is probably too little too late. I also have a sneaking suspicion that other companies, aside from Cambridge Analytica, are still busy hoarding our personal info to sell to whomever wants to sell us something or persuade us politically.

These days I’m also on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Goodreads. All the others I’ve let fallen by the wayside or closed, as I just don’t have the time to keep them up to date. So, I’m wondering what all of you authors and artists are doing about your social networking presence. Have recent developments changed your approach to networking? Are you inclined to look elsewhere than FB to develop new connections, or do you think that FB will pose tighter restrictions on how information is acquired and sold, and allow you to delete shared material, as they claim they will?

Please, let me know your thoughts, oh and by the way, because the gurus say I should, here’s my FB Author’s page and a few other links, although I’m sure this is more info than you really need or want. But just in case… 🙂

www.facebook.com/pages/Casey-Holland-Transit-Security-Mysteries/139005706175139

Website: www.debrapurdykong.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebraPurdyKong

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/1391841.Debra_Purdy_Kong

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/profile/public-profile-settings?trk=prof-edit-edit-public_profile

 

Five Reasons to Write Short Fiction

Writing Clip Art(2)jpgFor the first decade of my writing life, I worked solely on short stories and the occasional personal essay. I wrote everything from 100 word ‘postcard’ fiction to 3,000 word pieces in different genres. I wound up with fifty published short stories, and even won a few writing competitions. It was a great training experience for full-length novels, and here’s why:

  • With only a limited amount of writing time, it allowed me to create finished, polished work
  • I learned how to make every word count
  • I learned to meet deadlines
  • I learned to accept rejection and benefit from editorial critiques
  • I built a list of publication credits, which helped acquire a book publisher

Back in the day, I was fan of Canada’s literary magazines and subscribed to a number of them, so many in fact that I had stacks of unread issues, which took a long time to get through, but I did. I also learned that guidelines are firm rules, not suggestions. If my 2,000 word piece was actually 2,200 words, it could be automatically discarded.

One big reason for publishing success was that I listened to editorial advice. If I was lucky enough to receive feedback, I incorporated suggestions, resubmitted, and wound up published. The experience certainly helped me understand the process when I worked with book editors.

These days, I spend too much time working on novels to return to short fiction, but I still love reading the work of others in my writers’ groups. They remind me of those early days. They inspire me to think that writing both short fiction and full-length novels is doable at this stage of my career.

This must be why I was drawn to the attached link from cbc.ca, which lists Canadian literary magazines and journals now accepting fiction. Regardless of where you are in your career, I recommend giving short fiction a try.

http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadawrites/a-guide-to-canadian-literary-magazines-and-journals-open-to-submissions-1.4242191

 

Back From a Whirlwind Vacation

Deb on Tour Bus-1Well, it’s back to the grind, but at least I feel more rested. No major sunburn on this trip, and tons of great memories. Even as we boarded the plane, my husband and I weren’t sure what kind of vacation we were going to experience. We just went with whatever we felt like doing, which turned into tours, walking, shopping, meeting up with my husband’s former coworker who’s now living down there, and of course lounging by the pool.

 

 

As you’ll see from the photo, we took a tour of the city, exploring both poorer and wealthier sections of Puerto Vallarta, plus a restaurant meal in the jungle, shopping at an amazing jewelry store, and a tour of a tequila distillery. I’ve never been a fan of tequila until now.

Mexico-2We spent time just exploring the touristy, but fun Malecón area, with plenty of souvenir shops, restaurants and a beautiful ocean view.

The only mishaps were hubby’s two falls. One took place during his early morning run, when he tripped over a brick on the sidewalk. (There are a more of them then you’d think). Those who’ve been to this area are well aware of the uneven surfaces, ongoing patchwork jobs, and some very steep curbs. Happily, he only wound up with some scrapes.

The second mishap was on a hike with his buddy, following the up-and-down trail along the coastline. Somehow, he managed to fall again, this time landing on his back, which remained sore for the remaining two days of our trip. He saw his doctor this week, and he’s fine. Healing nicely, in fact, and will be back to running soon.

Mexico-1The last mishap turned into a bonus. We were about to board the Air Transat flight home when they abruptly cancelled the flight. Long story short, we wound up with a free night at the Sheraton, three free buffet meals, and decent credit toward our next trip. Given that we didn’t have to return to work for four days, an extra day in warm and sunny Puerto Vallarta was worth the inconvenience.

Would I go again? You bet. I felt safe, the people were friendly, and the weather unbelievably good. I’m already anticipating next year’s trip!