Monthly Archives: April 2016

2016 EPIC eBook Awards Winner in Mystery!

I learned yesterday that my debut novel, JAMES 516, was named the 2016 EPIC eBook Awards Winner in the category of Mystery. I can’t express enough how excited and honored I am to receive this award, which has been handed out for nearly two decades, and I’m grateful to all the folks who made it possible.


When I wrote JAMES 516, I wrote what I wanted to read: a mystery novel pitting a police sniper against an evil sniper that involved a deep, dark secret, keen investigative work, and a surprise ending. To date, it was probably the most fun I’ve had writing a book, and it was in large part due to the fact that sniping is one of the activities about which I’m truly passionate–I even have the tattoo to prove it.

Blurb: The Magnolia Parish Sheriff’s Office is on high alert after a deadly sniper begins executing high-ranking cops. Sheriff Burke puts his best sniper, London Carter, and his internal affairs officer, Bethany Riggs, on the case. Pressure mounts and panic sets in as the body count rises and the killer becomes more embolden. London and Bethany find themselves sifting through evidence, lies, and feelings for each other in their quest to stop the deadly attacks. A mysterious note at the crime scenes might offer a clue to the killer’s motive, but will they decipher it before the sheriff’s entire staff is wiped out?

A little history about JAMES 516: I began writing it on August 16, 2010 under the working title, MISTAKE OF FACT, and I wrote 174 words that first day. I completed the first draft, which weighed in at 84,186 words, on November 2, 2010. I worked on the book for a total of sixty days, averaging a little over 1400 words per day. I shopped it to dozens of agents and one publisher until I finally landed a contract with Amber Quill Press, LLC, which was a publisher listed on Mystery Writers of America’s Approved Publisher List. JAMES 516 was originally published on December 7, 2014, but went out of print through AQP on March 30, 2016 when the publisher folded. As soon as the rights reverted to me on March 31, 2016, I re-released JAMES 516 in print and e-book with a new cover and at a much lower price.

Cover for James 516 eBook

An interesting fact about JAMES 516: Several years after I wrote it, a horrible incident occurred in law enforcement that was eerily similar to an event that takes place in JAMES 516. The incident made national news and the freakish similarities between the incident and my book were pretty amazing. I can’t provide any details surrounding the incident, because that would reveal a major plot twist in the book. However, if you read the book and think you’ve figured it out, email me at bjbourg[at]bjbourg[dot]com and share your thoughts. If you’ve read it and didn’t figure it out, email me and I’ll point it out.

Until next time, thanks for reading!

JWC 2016 – Another Great Year!

I’m just back from the Jambalaya Writers’ Conference in Houma, LA and, as usual, I had a great time. I can’t say enough good things about Lauren Bordelon and how hard she worked to make this event such a great success. She’s a wonderful host and a joy to be around. I want to extend my sincerest thanks to her for all she did and for inviting us to speak at the conference. It was a rewarding experience.

As for our sessions, Amanda and I partnered up to teach a class together in the morning and then I did a second class at lunch.


During our combined session, I presented a lesson titled “Inside the Mind of a Police Sniper” and Amanda presented “Trauma and PTSD Symptoms”. I kicked off the presentation by describing the role of a police sniper and detailing the various types of training snipers undergo, with a strong emphasis on mental preparation. Amanda then wrapped it up by defining trauma and PTSD, and she provided information designed to help writers develop believable characters who have endured traumatic situations.


For the lunch hour, I presented a class titled “Demystifying Murder Investigations”, which was designed as a roadmap to help writers move their detectives through the entire investigative process–from the crime scene to the successful conclusion of the case. I detailed the seven basic steps of any murder investigation–complete with real world examples and techniques–and I wrapped up the presentation by explaining how that information could be translated to fiction.

Demystifying Murder Investigations

Afterward, there was the usual book signing event hosted by Molly and company from Bent Pages, and I was able to meet and speak with some nice people. I’m humbled every time someone decides to trade their hard-earned money for one of my books, and I always hope they’ll find it was worth the purchase.


Later in the afternoon, I attended a great session by Literary Agent Carly Watters, who is the VP and a senior agent for P.S. Literary Agency. I recognized her name and the name of her agency, because I’d queried her in 2012 when I was shopping THE MISSING SIX, which later became THE SEVENTH TAKING. As you might imagine, I was very interested in hearing what she had to say.

Carly gave a very detailed rundown of her role as an agent and my (our) role as a writer, and she described what I needed to know before querying agents. I had previously discontinued my search for an agent and decided to seek out publishers directly. This has worked out for me to a small extent, but her presentation made me reconsider my path going forward. She made me realize I need an agent to handle the business end of things, as this would allow me to concentrate solely on writing and marketing.

I was able to shoot the breeze with Carly later on the rooftop deck during the Sunset Social, and I found her to be very likable. During our conversation, she mentioned that she loves country music and, well, that makes her more than okay in my book. She’s down-to-earth, extremely knowledgeable in her field, and appears very passionate about her work. Any author would be lucky to have her as an agent.

Well, that’s all for now. More than once during her presentation, Carly said that “writers need to write”. So, I’m going write…right after I cut the grass and take Amanda out for a run.

Thanks for reading.