Monthly Archives: April 2015

My JAMES 516 bookmarks are in!


After hearing Jennifer DeHart Sons (Through the Booking Glass Blog) speak about “swag” at the Houma Jambalaya Writers’ Conference, I researched some online places where I could have bookmarks made. After checking out a couple of them, I settled on Overnight Prints. I threw together a front and back image, uploaded it to their website, requested a thousand copies, paid $62, and then sat back and waited. Five days later, this came in the mail:

My JAMES 516 bookmarks are in!

If anyone is interested in how I made the bookmark, here goes:


I’m no artist, so I have to keep things simple–very simple. For the front of the bookmark, I wanted an obvious sniper logo, since my main character in JAMES 516 is a police sniper, so I dug up a picture of me from sniper training, where I was in a prone position at the range shooting my Accuracy International Model AE sniper rifle chambered in .308 caliber, and realized it would fit the 2 x 6 bookmark size well.


Me during sniper training a few years ago.

Using the “magic wand” tool on Photoshop, I highlighted my silhouette and then used the “fill layer” feature to turn my proned-out body solid white. I then applied the solid white image to a black background, added the cover art, which was done by Trace Edward Zaber, and added my website address. It was that simple.


The finished logo for the front of the bookmark

For the back of the bookmark, I included the title, byline, genre, publisher and ISBN.


The finished logo for the back of the backmark
There you have it . . . 1,000 2 x 6 bookmarks that were easy to make and only cost about $.06 each. As one might imagine, I’m now a big fan of Overnight Prints.


If you like it or dislike it and want to share your thoughts, feel free to do so. This is my first attempt and I’m hoping to get better as I go along . . . of course, I have to hand out 1,000 of these before I can work on another one. :-)

BJ Bourg is the author of JAMES 516 (Amber Quill Press, 2014), THE SEVENTH TAKING (Amber Quill Press, 2015), and HOLLOW CRIB (Five Star-Gale-Cengage, 2016).
 
© 2015 BJ Bourg

My Favorite Title is “Dad”


As a parent, isn’t it the best feeling in the world to be able to put a smile on your child’s face? I believe in putting the needs and wants of my children above those of my own, as I’m sure most parents do. Loving a child means we’re going to be happy when they’re happy, sad when they’re sad, hurt when they hurt, and wish we could take on their pain when they’re sick or injured.

Well, I was very happy with Grace’s reaction when I texted her the screenshot of an order confirmation for Ronda Rousey’s upcoming book, MY FIGHT/YOUR FIGHT. She texted me one day saying we HAD to get the book. She mentioned it again later and it was the most excited I’ve ever seen her over a book. I casually brushed her off, because I wanted to surprise her by preordering the book. After ordering it without her knowing, I sent her a random text one day after school showing the order confirmation. She’ll only text in all caps when she’s super excited, and here’s her response to the screenshot:

I’ve been begging Grace for years to let me teach her to defend herself, but she was never interested. After watching some of Ronda Rousey’s fights, as well as some of the other female fighters in action, she has developed a strong interest in the sport. I’ve been working with her on developing her striking skills while my son, Brandon, has been working with her on her ground game. It makes my heart swell with pride to see how hard they both train to grow physically and mentally strong.

Grace and me in Gatlinburg, TN 2005

I love that my once “baby girl” is turning into a strong and independent young lady who can take care of herself. It’s bitter sweet to watch her grow up, because I know she’ll soon be joining her brother out in the college world and I’ll be seeing less of her, but I’m very proud of her and I will support her every endeavor, as I do with Brandon.

Grace and me in Kisatchie National Forest, 2015

Grace told me just this past weekend that she hates riding in the car with me when my country songs about dads and daughters come on, because it makes her sad thinking she’ll be going off on her own and leaving me behind. I had to assure her that I’ll be fine and, while I might feel a little sorry for myself, I’ll be very excited to watch her grow up and start a life of her own, just like I’m enjoying watching my son do the same.

Grace and Brandon 2014

 The hardest thing about raising kids? When they learn to fly. :-(

BJ Bourg is the author of JAMES 516 (Amber Quill Press, 2014), THE SEVENTH TAKING (Amber Quill Press, 2015), and HOLLOW CRIB (Five Star-Gale-Cengage, 2016).
 
© 2015 BJ Bourg

THE SEVENTH TAKING now on Amazon!

THE SEVENTH TAKING, my latest mystery novel, is available on Amazon‬ in Kindle‬ format. While it can definitely appeal to adults, it is also appropriate for young readers–unlike JAMES 516, which is aimed at adult audiences–and it features a cast of teenage characters.

I got the idea for the story while visiting my favorite place on earth: the Great Smoky Mountains‬ National Forest. The Smokies are majestic and breathtaking to behold, but unbridled and wild. I’ve been there eight times over the years and each time I explore the area, I’m inspired by all the places I see and the things I do there. In my opinion, there’s absolutely no better setting for a creepy mystery, and the Smokies inspired the creation of the Blue Summit Mountains, which is the fictitious setting for THE SEVENTH TAKING.


When I visited in June/July of 2012, I read about a man who had gone missing three months earlier. That reminded me of other missing person cases I had previously read about. As I explored the mountains on that 2012 trip, I couldn’t help but wonder what had become of those poor people. My imagination ran wild and, upon returning home from vacation, I began writing what later became THE SEVENTH TAKING, which is a mystery that follows Abraham Wilson on his quest to find his missing ex-girlfriend, who disappeared while vacationing with her family.



As I wrote THE SEVENTH TAKING, my heart went out to the many families who have lost loved ones without a trace in the mountains. I can’t imagine the horror they endure each day their loved ones are not found, and I want them to know I empathize with them and pray for the safe return of those close to them who have disappeared.


May closure come!

BJ Bourg is the author of JAMES 516 (Amber Quill Press, 2014), THE SEVENTH TAKING (Amber Quill Press, 2015), and HOLLOW CRIB (Five Star-Gale-Cengage, 2016).
 
© 2015 BJ Bourg

Love Made Me Do It


I don’t like to run. Wait…let me rephrase that; I hateto run. I don’t do it. Never have. Sure, I’ve had to run when I played flag football and soccer (during my two-year stint at this Christian school), I had to run during the police academy, and I’ve done many sprinting drills with my rifle and equipment for sniper training, but I’ve avoided running most of my life like one would avoid swimming in brain-eating-amoeba-infested water.
You see, I’ve been training to fight nearly my entire life and I’ve always participated in fight-specific training. I’d rather spar ten rounds (each round involves 3 minutes of fighting with a short rest period—usually 30 seconds) than run for ten minutes. For me and my specific needs, running is a waste of time. I know it’s a great form of exercise and many people love to do it, but it’s not my thing.
When people ask me if I run or if I would like to go running, I usually answer one of two ways:
1. Sure, I’ll run…after him if he’s got a warrant.
2. I don’t need to practice running away…I plan to stand and fight.
2nd Pro Fight – I’m the bald guy in the red boxing trunks
I provided the latter answer to my wife, Amanda, not long after we first met and were discussing her love for running. She told me how she’d already run a half marathon and wanted to run a full before she kicked the bucket. She also told me she was registered for another half marathon that was only weeks away. When I asked her the distance on a half marathon, she told me it was 13.1 miles.

The farthest I’d ever run was about five miles, and 13.1 miles seemed an impossible task for someone like myself who hated to run. So, in my mind, I immediately ran through all the reasons why I couldn’t do the half marathon with Amanda—all the important things I just knew I had to do that day, like clip my fingernails or fold my socks.

As we continued talking, Amanda said she planned to walk it, because she hadn’t trained for it and she didn’t want to hurt herself. Being the gentleman I am—and realizing instantly I could walk that distance on any given day even through the mountains—I offered to walk it with her. She was elated. I couldn’t believe something as simple as walking beside her for a few hours would make her that happy, but there she was—giddy with excitement that I’d agreed to do something I hated just for her.
On “race” day, Amanda bounced out of bed way too early and dragged me out from under the sheets. We showed up at the Heart and Soles event in Houma, LA with our walking shoes strapped firmly in place and gathered at the starting line with the other folks who had nothing better to do that day. Someone finally popped a cap in the air and everyone started running like they were the ones being shot at. As for Amanda and me, we walked…for about a hundred yards. She turned to me with beautiful brown eyes that sparkled and she was bouncing up and down, nearly jumping out of her skin. “I’m so excited! I want to run,” she said (paraphrasing).
I was like, “Sure, let’s run.” I knew she hadn’t trained for it, so I figured, “How far could she go?”
13.1 miles and 2:57 later, Amanda and I crossed the finish line hand-in-hand, having jogged our first half marathon together and my first ever. I can’t remember ever laughing that much in my life. The images of Amanda doubled over trying to run while she laughed hysterically (I’m just a funny guy, I guess) will forever be one of the fondest memories of our first months together. At 42, I did something I never—and I mean NEVER EVER—had the urge to do, but it was very cool and it’s something I would never have experienced had it not been for Amanda.
Amanda and me at Houma Heart & Soles 2013
Now, I must admit to enjoying a conversation I had with one of my friends after the event. He told me he hadn’t known I was into running and he described all the weeks of training he and his wife had undergone in preparation for that day (it sounded boring and time-consuming!). He then asked what I’d done to train for the half marathon and asked if I’d done any other races. Lying to make others feel better is not in my DNA, so I shrugged and said, “I’ve been eating chocolate brownies, drinking milk and watching TV.” (Of course, they weren’t just any old brownies—they were from Duet’s Bakery in Galliano, LA and they’re the best!)
This event definitely brought Amanda and me closer together and I proposed to her about six weeks later. As you can imagine, my jaw landed solidly on the floor in front of my boots when I applied for our marriage license and saw the license number—it was identical to the bib number from my very first racing event with Amanda. At that moment, I knew without a doubt I’d made the right decision.
My half marathon bib and our marriage license
Now, I’d love to be able to sit here and write that the half marathon changed my view of the sport and ignited within me a passion for running, but that would be a lie. I still hate to run, but I love Amanda more than I hate running and I happily attend race after race with her. If the event is more than ten minutes from the house, we leave the day before and make a romantic night-away out of it.
Flying over the finish line at the 2015 Rock and Roll Series 10K in New Orleans
Some of the racing events we’ve done since then include the 2014 Houma Heart and Soles 5K, a Moonjoggers virtual 5K (M’s Run: Klingons Against Cancer) , the Rock and Roll Series 10K and the Crescent City Classic. Although running is not my flavor, these events provide a great opportunity for Amanda and me to spend some quality time together and just “get away”, while also contributing to good causes. We’re not trying to set records—unless there’s a record for last place—but I think these events are a great way for couples,and even families, to visit with one another, enjoy the views, and get the old heart pumping.
Striking a pose at the 2015 Rock and Roll Series 10K in New Orleans
Take it easy one and all and thanks for reading!
UPDATE: Holy crap!!! Amanda just registered us for the 2016 Rock and Roll Marathon!
BJ Bourg

South Lafourche Library Book Signing

I want to thank the South Lafourche Branch of the Lafourche Parish Public Library for inviting me to an Author Visit and Book Signing event in honor of Library Appreciation Week. They extended the warmest of welcomes and made me feel at home—and what a home it is! It’s a large and beautiful facility, and it drips with local culture, as you will see in the following pictures that Amanda took.



Although it rained all morning, that didn’t stop people from trickling into the library—and one of them happened to be my biggest fan, Ms. Helen Hebert.


Ms. Hebert raved about JAMES516 with an excitement that humbled me. She discussed the twists in the book, talked about how surprising they were, and said she got the “goose-bumps” just talking about it—she even pointed them out on her arm! I was so unbelievably flattered to hear her go on and on about something I wrote. It was the highlight of my writing journey to this point. Her excitement was infectious and she absolutely made my day.



I’m always flattered when someone leaves a positive review about one of my books on Amazon or Goodreads. However, after hearing the excitement in Ms. Hebert’s voice when she talked about JAMES 516, it made me wish I could hear every review in person and meet everyone who has read my books.



I had a nice conversation with another visitor, Ms. Joyce Anselmi. It began when I saw her carrying a DVD of the television show, Orange Is the New Black. It appears we’re both huge fans of the series and she was searching for follow-up seasons. While there, Ms. Anselmi decided to take a chance on JAMES 516. I appreciate that she did and I hope she likes it as much as Ms. Hebert did.



As I’m originally from the South Lafourche area, there will always be a special place in my heart for the people there. They made my first visit to the South Lafourche Branch Library as an author a memorable one, and I look forward to returning!



Being a novelist is new to me and, so far, the most fun I’ve had is getting out and meeting people with a passion for fiction, because reading is definitely what made me the man I am today (I may tell that story in a future post).

As for now, I want to close by thanking everyone who braved the heavy rain to come out and meet me and/or purchase a copy of JAMES 516.

Purchase Now
© 2015 BJ Bourg

Jambalaya Writers’ Conference Rocked!



In furtherance of my commitment to assisting writers in getting their police procedural information right, I took Righting Crime Fiction on the road and presented “Two Routes to the Truth” at the Jambalaya Writers’ Conference in Houma, LA. Lauren Bordelon and her staff did a superb job of organizing this massive event and they deserve a HUGE shout-out for their hard work!
Presenting at JWC 2015 was a rewarding experience and the authors who attended were extremely welcoming. I was flattered by the many requests to speak elsewhere and excited to meet so many fellow writers. I was especially blessed to meet two teenagers who wanted me to speak to their high school reading class. Their thirst for knowledge and their air of enthusiasm was infectious. It was indeed a tremendous honor to speak with them and the other writers I met at the conference.
Not only was I honored to be there presenting, but my wife, Amanda, and I were thrilled to attend some informative sessions by knowledgeable experts in their fields. The first session we attended was Jennifer Sons’ “Blogging 101” and I learned things about blogging that I would never have learned on my own. Jennifer runs the blog, Through the Booking Glass, and she is a joy to listen to.
Next, we attended Tom Colgan’s engaging session called “What Was (S)He Thinking”. Tom is an executive editor at Penguin Books and his many years of experience was evident as he delivered his message.
Lastly, we attended the “American Idol of First Pages”, where Fredi Friedman (President of Fredrica S. Friedman & Co., Inc.), Heather Graham (New York Times and USA Today bestselling author), Regina Ryan (owner of Regina Ryan Books Agency) and Molly Bolden (owner of Bent Pages Bookstore) critiqued the first page of a number of novels that were submitted by writers who attended the conference. This session was very informative and we learned what did or didn’t work for these experts.
This was a great event and a memorable weekend for Amanda and me. We are looking very much forward to next year!
In closing, I want to thank everyone who purchased a copy of JAMES 516 (Amber Quill Press, 2014)…it’s greatly appreciated!
BJ Bourg

Cades Cove: Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Looking for an affordable and breathtaking place to spend a vacation? Look no further than Cades Cove in Townsend, Tennessee. Located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cades Cove is a 6,800-acre valley surrounded on all sides by mountains. Rich in wildlife, history and activities, it’s free to visit and open year-round. Whether visiting for a week, a weekend or a day, visitors are sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.

TOURING THE COVE

An 11-mile, one-way road completely encircles Cades Cove. Appropriately called the Loop Road, it’s paved and can be navigated by automobile, motorcycle, bicycle, horse or foot, making this an attraction for everyone, including people with disabilities. Didn’t bring a bicycle? Don’t own a horse? No problem. For $7.50 an hour you can rent bicycles and helmets at the Campground Store and, if you have children under 10, you can get their bikes for $4.50 per hour. For $30 an hour you can visit the Riding Stables and take a guided horseback tour. Motorized hayrides are also available for $12.00 a person.

If you’re considering a bicycle tour but are worried about safety on the road, Cades Cove has you covered. The Loop Road is closed to vehicular traffic until 10 A.M. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This allows for safe and peaceful biking or strolling and is a great way for a family to spend the morning together. If an 11-mile ride is too grueling, you can reduce the distance by taking one of two shortcuts. The first is located at Sparks Lane and represents a mere fraction of the entire eleven miles. The second is at Hyatt Lane and reduces the ride by several miles. If you elect to take one of the shortcuts, you can return later and complete the entire tour by vehicle, enjoying all that Cades Cove has to offer in comfort.



WILDLIFE WATCHING

Once a hunting ground for the Cherokee Indians, Cades Cove now serves as a sanctuary for many species of wildlife, some of them endangered. While alert visitors can view deer, wild turkeys and snakes, the majority of them flock to the cove to see the king of the mountain: the majestic black bear. Over 1,500 wild bears live in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and many of them consider Cades Cove their home, making the cove the best place in the park to view bears in their natural habitat. Many cove visitors are treated to multiple bear sightings in a single visit and you can increase your odds by visiting in the early morning hours or later in the evening.

  

COVE HISTORY

There are more than seventy historic buildings in Cades Cove. These include Carter Shields Cabin, Primitive Baptist Church and Cable Mill, all of which can be explored at your leisure. You will be transported back to a time when Native Americans roamed the cove and settlers first began to arrive. You will stand where they stood as they built cabins, farmed the land and put their dead to rest—and you can learn more about them by visiting the cemeteries and reading the epitaphs on the tombstones. This is history in its unadulterated form. Among other things, you will learn that John Oliver and his wife, Lurena Frazier, were the first white settlers of Cade’s Cove and that they arrived between 1817 and 1818.


 

  


ACTIVITIES IN THE COVE

There are plenty activities for the whole family in Cades Cove. Over a dozen hiking trails can be accessed from the Loop Road, including Cooper Road Trail, Cades Cove Nature Trail, and Gregory Bald Hiking Trail. Trout streams are located in the cove and fishing is permitted year-round. A fishing license can be purchased from nearby towns for about ten dollars. Children under the age of 13 are not required to have a fishing license, but they are subject to the same regulations as adults, such as a limit on rainbow trout and a prohibition against possessing brook trout, a threatened species. Cable Mill, a fully operable water-powered grist mill, is located near the halfway point along Loop Road and children are often allowed to operate it and make corn meal. A visitors’ center complete with restrooms is nearby, and postcards, books, stuffed black bears, and other souvenirs can be purchased there. Friendly park rangers are on hand and they offer activities for children and guided tours of the area.
 
 

DON’T MISS

Abrams Falls—a 25-foot waterfall named after Chief Abram of the Cherokee Indians—is located at the end of a 2.5-mile scenic hike. Small children routinely make this hike and it is well worth the minimal effort to behold the tremendous volume of water thundering over the rocky crest and crashing into the spacious pool below, all against the breathtaking backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains National Forest. Strong undercurrents and deep water make swimming at the base of Abrams Falls dangerous, but the majority of the large pool is gentle and shallow, offering a great place for the family to cool off after a summer hike.

NOTE: This area holds a special place in my heart…it’s where I dropped down on one knee and proposed to Amanda.

WHERE TO STAY

Cades Cove Campground, open year round, has 159 tent and RV sites. Each site has picnic tables and fire rings. Flushing toilets, running water, a store and wheelchair-accessible sites are available (sites cost $20 per night/day; 877-444-6777; www.recreation.gov).

Mountain Laurel Chalets, located 27 miles away at 440 Ski Mountain Road in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, has over 150 chalets and cabins for rent. Special discounts are available, as well as access to clubhouses with outdoor swimming pools (1- to 3-bedroom chalets from $99; amenities; 800-315-4965; http://www.mtnlaurelchalets.com/).

NOTE: I have used Mountain Laurel Chalets nearly every time I’ve visited and I highly recommend them. They have chalets that can fit anyone’s needs and budget, and the folks there are fantastic and friendly.

WHERE TO EAT

Gatlinburg is home to dozens of excellent restaurants, including Hard Rock Café (515 Parkway; 865-430-7625), the Peddler’s Steakhouse (820 River Rd; 865-436-5794) and Smoky Mountain Brewery (1004 Parkway #501; 865-436-4200).

If you’re looking to save money on food, Cades Cove has a beautiful picnic area equipped with picnic tables and grills, allowing the affordable option of packing and preparing your own food. Additionally, nearly all chalets and cabins from Mountain Laurel Chalets have kitchens and a barbeque pit.

But remember, you’re in bear country and there are laws against feeding bears and—equally important—there are rules regarding the proper disposal and storage of food. Allowing a bear access to human food causes it to start expecting food from humans. This creates a dangerous situation for any humans who will later come into contact with that bear and it places the bear’s life in jeopardy. Brochures on bear safety are available at the visitors’ center and elsewhere in Cades Cove. To ensure you have a safe and memorable experience, be sure to educate yourself and your family before setting off into bear country.

CONCLUSION
There are plenty of things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but a trip to the area is not complete without a visit to Cades Cove. If you decide to pay a visit to the Cove, load up the family, pack a lunch and bring a camera…you won’t be sorry you did.

BJ Bourg is the author of JAMES 516 (Amber Quill Press, 2014), THE SEVENTH TAKING (Amber Quill Press, 2015), and HOLLOW CRIB (Five Star-Gale-Cengage, 2016).
 
© 2015 BJ Bourg

A Mountain Mystery is Born

Anyone who knows me will tell you I love the mountains, especially the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I’ve visited the area eight times since 2005 and I’m returning this summer. Sure, I’ve also traveled to other places in the past ten years (Florida, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mexico, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands), but at the beginning of every summer I get a yearning in my gut to head back to the Smoky Mountains, which are majestic and beautiful, yet ominous and mysterious.
When I visited in June/July of 2012, I read about a man who had gone missing three months earlier. That reminded me of other missing person cases I had previously read about. As I explored the mountains on that 2012 trip, I couldn’t help but wonder what had become of those poor people. My imagination ran wild and, upon returning home from vacation, I began writing what later became THE SEVENTH TAKING.
Set in the fictitious Blue Summit Mountains of Tennessee, THE SEVENTH TAKING follows Abraham Wilson on his quest to find his missing ex-girlfriend, who disappeared while vacationing with her family.
BOOK BLURB
It’s summer in southeast Louisiana and eleventh-grader Joy Vincent is complaining about everything from her dad to the family vacation being forced upon her, but Abraham Wilson has other things on his mind—and it’s not the mosquitoes. He plans to break up with Joy, hoping to begin college with a clean slate. But Joy doesn’t take the news well, and Abraham feels a tinge of guilt, yet that’s nothing compared to how he feels days later when he learns Joy has disappeared in the Blue Summit Mountains of Tennessee after an argument with her father. Abe begs his parents to let him travel to the mountains and participate in the search efforts, but they will have none of it.
Weeks later, there’s still no sign of Joy. Authorities determine she voluntarily ran away, and they stop their search. Beside himself with guilt, Abe finally convinces his parents to let him go to the mountains with his friends Brett and Charlie to see for himself.
The day after their arrival, they realize there’s much more to the story than just a girl who ran away from home, and they also realize they’ve gotten in way over their heads. Afraid but driven, the trio sets off on the narrow trail where Joy was last seen and soon they find themselves fighting for their lives against man, beast, and the majestic mountain country that can turn deadly in a split second.
Will Abe and his friends live long enough to discover the secret behind Joy’s disappearance, or will they meet with the same fate?
EXCERPT
…When I first heard the steady crunching sound, I thought I was lying in my backyard listening to Achilles—my giant German shepherd—eating his dog food. I would often feed him after my workouts and then lie on the ground to recuperate while he ate. The cool breeze blew against my cheeks, and I knew it had to be fall, which meant boxing tournaments would be in full swing soon. The crunching stopped briefly and then a twig snapped. I stirred in my sleep, turning to my side. The ground was uncomfortable, but the soothing sound of Achilles eating his food began again, and I settled into my sleeping position. After a few seconds, another branch snapped and I wondered what could be making that sound in Achilles’ dog pen.
I suddenly bolted upright as it all came back to me—Brett being taken by Leaf Creature, the storm, the raging river, the briar patches, and us being lost. I scanned the area and when I saw the bear I started to scream, but it got stuck in my throat. The bear had stopped what he was doing and now stood staring at me with brown beady eyes. He was so close I could smell him. With the exception of his tan eyebrows and snout, his fur was black as the night we had just survived. A dark reddish liquid dripped from his snout and I wondered if it was blood.
I realized my hands were empty and slowly felt around for Jezebel. When I found her, I gripped the handle and lifted it in front of me, pointing one of the blades at the bear. As though trying to smell my intentions, the bear tested the air with his black nose. He then reared up on his hind legs and made the most horrific noise I’d ever heard. My heart pounded in my chest so hard it hurt. The bear stood staring down at me, trying to decide what to do next.
“What’s going on?” Charlie stirred beside me and sat up to wipe his face. When his eyes focused on the bear standing over us, he lurched to his feet and made a dash for the opening in the briar patches behind us, screaming as he ran.
This seemed to startle the bear, as it dropped to all fours, turned, and loped off in the opposite direction. I sank against the tree and sighed, nearly peeing my pants. “Charlie,” I called halfheartedly. “It’s gone.”
I stood on trembling legs and grabbed my rucksack. I pulled it onto my shoulders, snatched up Charlie’s bag, and set off in the direction Charlie had disappeared. Whatever energy I’d regained from a good night’s sleep had been zapped by the fear of the bear encounter. I wanted to roll up in a little ball and go back to sleep, but, instead, I trudged on, calling for Charlie as I hiked. He wouldn’t answer, and I began to fear the worst. At that moment, I felt as alone as I’d ever felt. I swallowed hard, as I tried to imagine what fate had befallen Joy. Had she truly been killed by Leaf Creature? Was she still stumbling around the mountains all alone? Or was she hiding out with her aunt?
I didn’t know how far I walked—calling Charlie’s name every few steps—but it had to have been twenty minutes before I heard a response to my hollering.
“Over here, Abe.”
I stopped and looked in the direction of Charlie’s voice. Solid briar patches. “Where are you?”
“Over here,” he said.
I searched for a way around the prickly bushes and detected a small passageway through the thinner portion of the thickets. I shucked off my rucksack and, holding it in one hand and Charlie’s in the other, I inched sideways through the narrow lane. As I zigzagged along the passageway, I noticed globs of mushy fruit on the ground that were the same color as the dark reddish liquid I’d seen on the bear’s snout. My blood ran cold. This trail had been made by a bear. What if we encountered it?…
RANDOM NOVEL STATS
I first began writing THE SEVENTH TAKING on July 16, 2012 under the working title, THE MISSING SIX. I completed the novel sixty-one days later on September 15, 2012. I missed four days of writing during that period of time, so I actually wrote the book in about 57 days.
BUY THE BOOK
To purchase a copy of THE SEVENTH TAKING, click HERE.
http://www.amberquill.com/store/p/2160-The-Seventh-Taking.aspx

ISBN#: 978-1-68175-000-2 
Genres: Young Adult / Mystery / Detective / Suspense / Thriller 
Length: Novel (56k words / TBD paperback pages)
CONCLUSION
In closing, I want to thank the owners and staff over at Amber Quill Press for publishing my novel, and I want to thank everyone who decides to buy a copy. As I always say, writers are absolutely nothing without readers, and I always appreciate the people who sacrifice their time and money on something I’ve written.
I’m happy to answer any questions y’all might have and I welcome feedback from those who read my book.
Best to all,

BJ Bourg

THE SEVENTH TAKING out now!

Out NOW through Amber Quill Press and just in time for Easter: THE SEVENTH TAKING, a young adult/suspense set in the Blue Summit Mountains of Tennessee.





Description:
It’s summer in southeast Louisiana and eleventh-grader Joy Vincent is complaining about everything from her dad to the family vacation being forced upon her, but Abraham Wilson has other things on his mind—and it’s not the mosquitoes. He plans to break up with Joy, hoping to begin college with a clean slate. But Joy doesn’t take the news well, and Abraham feels a tinge of guilt, yet that’s nothing compared to how he feels days later when he learns Joy has disappeared in the Blue Summit Mountains of Tennessee after an argument with her father. Abe begs his parents to let him travel to the mountains and participate in the search efforts, but they will have none of it.
Weeks later, there’s still no sign of Joy. Authorities determine she voluntarily ran away, and they stop their search. Beside himself with guilt, Abe finally convinces his parents to let him go to the mountains with his friends Brett and Charlie to see for himself.
The day after their arrival, they realize there’s much more to the story than just a girl who ran away from home, and they also realize they’ve gotten in way over their heads. Afraid but driven, the trio sets off on the narrow trail where Joy was last seen and soon they find themselves fighting for their lives against man, beast, and the majestic mountain country that can turn deadly in a split second.
Will Abe and his friends live long enough to discover the secret behind Joy’s disappearance, or will they meet with the same fate?

Genres: Young Adult / Mystery / Detective / Suspense / Thriller
Length: Novel (56k words / TBD paperback pages) 


April Appearance

I will be presenting TWO ROUTES TO THE TRUTH at the Jambalaya Writers’ Conference in Houma, LA on April 11, 2015. This lesson will help writers move their fictional sleuths convincingly–and legally–through the interrogative process. I will offer examples of how I have used these same techniques to elicit confessions in real cases, as well as illustrate how I have applied these techniques to my own fiction.

The conference will be held at the Terrebonne Parish Main Library, which is located at 151 Library Drive, Houma, LA  70360. The conference contact is Lauren Bordelon. Here’s a link to register for the conference or to contact Ms. Bordelon:


The line-up includes New York Times Best-Selling Author Wally Lamb and Louisiana’s own Award Winning and Best Selling Author Debra LeBlanc. I heard Ms. LeBlanc speak several years ago at the Bayou Writers’ Group Conference in Lake Charles and it was amazing! You won’t want to miss her!

Here’s a link to the agenda:


Hope to see you there!

BJ Bourg