HOLLOW CRIB, a mystery/suspense, is now available!

I’ve waited ten long years to be able to make this announcement, so I’m not going to waste time . . . the first novel I ever wrote, which is a mystery titled HOLLOW CRIB, is now available through Five Star Publishing! For those of you still drawn to the new-book-smell and who just have to feel the pages of a print book flipping through your fingers, HOLLOW CRIB is available in hardcover format (click here to purchase hardcover). For those of you who prefer your books trapped in an e-reader, where you can store millions of books in one nice little package, HOLLOW CRIB is also available as a Kindle download (click here to purchase e-book).

Before I share the blurb, I need to give my wife, Amanda, a ton of credit for helping me realize my dream of being a traditionally published author. After submitting HOLLOW CRIB to nearly a hundred agents and having been turned down by everyone who cared to reply, I’d shelved it and worked on other books. Amanda read it one day and loved it. She encouraged me to dig it out of the deep recesses of my computer, dust it off, and submit it directly to a publisher. As I often do when she comes up with a bright idea, I listened to her. The rest, as they say is history.

I also have to extend my sincerest appreciation to Deni Dietz for evaluating my book and recommending it to Five Star, Gordon  Aalborg for editing it to perfection, and Tiffany Schofield for always being there when I needed something and for helping bring this project to fruition.

HollowCribFrontHere’s the blurb:

It’s November in southeast Louisiana and the only thing Detective Brandon Berger wants is to keep his anniversary promise to his wife. As luck would have it, a mysterious death derails his plans. He begins to investigate the case along with his partner, Dawn Luke, and the trail leads them to the Magnolia Faith Church and its controlling pastor, Father Isaac Stewart. Suspecting the pastor has knowledge about the suspicious death, but unable to prove anything because of the tight-lipped parishioners, the case turns cold.

Further north, William Chandler takes his wife, Claire, and their infant daughter, Gracie, on a camping trip to the Skybald National Forest. The last time he was there? Twenty-two years earlier when he watched his father die in a violent accident. He’s returning to quietly sort through some personal demons, but when they arrive and find a peculiar stranger talking to his Pit Bull about blowing things up, he questions the logic behind returning to the scene of his youthful tragedy. After a series of strange events, William finds himself arrested for murder. He swears he’s innocent, but the evidence against him is so damning, even Claire thinks he’s guilty. The Magnolia Faith Church might be the key to helping William prove his innocence, but making the 251-mile connection could be deadly.

I want to publicly thank everyone who has already purchased copies of my previously published books and those who will purchase this book. I’d love to be able to thank each of you personally, so feel free to contact me at bjbourg[@]bjbourg[.]com and let me know what you think (good, bad, or terrible) about this book or any of my other books.

Best to all!

bjb

New Cover Reveal: BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

I’m excited to announce that I’m rolling out a new cover for Book 1 of my Clint Wolf Mystery Series, which is titled BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. The cover was created by Christine Savoie of Bayou Cover Designs and I can’t say enough how pleased I am with it. She also created the cover for Book 2, BUT NOT FORGIVEN, and I’ll reveal that one later in the summer.

So, without further rambling, here’s the cover:

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If there are any authors out there who would like to see some of Christine’s work with an eye toward hiring her, click here. Contact me privately at bjbourg[@]bjbourg.com for her contact information.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Free Mystery/Suspense for Mother’s Day

In honor of Mother’s Day, my mystery/suspense novel THE SEVENTH TAKING will be free in e-book format all week beginning Monday, May 2 and ending Friday, May 6, 2016.

It’s the story of Joy Vincent, a young girl from Louisiana who disappears in the Blue Summit Mountains while hiking with her family, and Abraham Wilson, the boyfriend who never gave up on her. Harassed by black bears and a mysterious being, Abraham and two of his friends brave the elements and the harsh back country as they search for Joy. What they do find in the mountains could blow the lid off a horrifying secret that has lain dormant in the mountains for years–that is, if they can make it out alive.

Seventh Taking eBook Cover

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Re-Release of Mystery Novels

In just fifteen short days, on March 31, 2016, I’ll be re-releasing my three novels that were previously published by the soon-to-be defunct Amber Quill Press, LLC. That means they will once again be available on Amazon in Kindle format, as well as in print format. The stories are the same, but the covers are new and (hopefully) improved, and the prices will be more reasonable.

Here are the cover images and blurbs:

Cover for James 516 eBook

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?

“…compelling and intense from start to finish…one heck of a read.”
   –Kevin R. Tipple, Reviewer at Kevin’s Corner

Seventh Taking eBook Cover

THE SEVENTH TAKING is the chilling tale of a young man’s journey through harsh mountain country in his search for the girl he loves, and the two friends who dare to brave the dangerous elements—both human and natural—to support a friend.

When Joy Vincent disappears in the Blue Summit Mountains of Tennessee while vacationing with her family, park rangers begin an intensive search for the Louisiana high school junior. Seven weeks later, the search is abandoned and authorities conclude that Joy voluntarily ran away because of a fight with her father.

Unwilling to believe it, Abraham Wilson makes the long drive to the mountains and sets off on a journey that will change his life–and the lives of his friends, Brett Lester and Charlie Rickman–forever. Will they discover the secret behind Joy’s disappearance, or will they meet with the same fate?

Cover for Amazon Kindle

Two years after Clint Wolf’s life has been disrupted forever, he’s asked to serve as police chief for a quiet little town deep in the swamps of Louisiana. But the tranquility of the town is shattered when a severed arm is found in the jowls of an alligator.

With the aid of Sergeant Susan Wilson, Clint investigates and it isn’t long before they realize someone has been murdered. As the investigation ensues, Clint battles secret demons from his past as he befriends a local reporter named Chloe, who proves to be an asset to the case when she shares information from a source who says the murder was part of a larger plot.

Will Clint and Susan unveil and foil the larger plot before it’s too late, or will the citizens of Louisiana awaken to a horror worse than any in their state’s history?

“Great imagery, bigger than life characters, and true sounding law enforcement scenes made this a romp of a read. It was fast moving and kept me guessing up to the very end.”
   –Cheryl Stout, an Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer

“This author has a real talent for keeping me gripped and wanting to know what was going to happen next.”
   –Liz H, Through The Booking Glass

Hanging with the Bayou Writers’ Group

We stay busy as a family, but Amanda and I have remained true to taking at least one date night each month. Sometimes it’s planned and sometimes it’s spontaneous, but we always manage to squeeze some alone time into our hectic schedule. When I write “squeeze”, I mean just that–we oftentimes only have an hour, or so, to squeeze between responsibilities. However, we were able to spoil ourselves these past two weekends with a couple of “date-aways” in a row.

FEBRUARY 27th DATE-AWAY

It started in New Orleans last Saturday when we rolled into town for the Rock ‘n’ Roll 10K. We checked into the Marriott on Canal Street, picked up our race packets at the Convention Center, and then ordered some dinner from a little restaurant next door to the hotel. We then retired to our room for a picnic that consisted of shrimp poboys, French fries, and Great American double-stuffed chocolate chip cookies.

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Early Sunday morning we ate (more) cookies and milk for breakfast and walked to the starting line of the Rock ‘n’ Roll 10K, which was a few blocks away. The weather was great and the crowd large. We ran the 6.2 miles through the city–enjoying some great views along the way–and finished at City Park. After collecting our medals and eating everything we could find at the finish line, we took the shuttle back to the hotel and relaxed before heading back home. We both had things to do later on Sunday, so it was back to our busy schedule.

I have to give a shout-out to my grandfather, who turned 94 that Sunday. A man of few words and a hard worker, he’s the most honorable man I know. Here’s to many more birthdays!

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MARCH 4th DATE-AWAY

This weekend found us in Lake Charles visiting with members of the Bayou Writers’ Group. The group’s vice president, David Chang, invited me to speak at their monthly meeting and I readily accepted. I last visited with the BWG back in September of 2007 and I was looking very much forward to seeing the members I already knew again, meeting some new members, and introducing them to Amanda.

(Before giving me credit for having such a great memory, you should know that I had to look up the pictures from the last time I was there to figure out the date.)

We checked into the SpringHill Suites on West Prien Lake Road Friday night, took a scenic drive downtown and along the lake, and then grabbed dinner. As is our custom on date-aways, we picked up some take-out and retired to our room for a picnic. This picnic consisted of a pile of food from Ichiban Japanese Grill and Yeung’s Lotus Express, along with–of course–some Great American double-stuffed chocolate chip cookies and a half gallon of milk.

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The real treat was Saturday morning when we met with the BWG at the Carnegie Memorial Library on Pujo Street. It was immediately apparent to me how much the rectangle of tables had grown, and it was great to see that the group was expanding.

Here’s a photograph showing the size of the rectangle of tables in 2007:

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And here’s present day:

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After Cliff Seiber, the group’s president, held the official meeting, I gave the little speech I’d prepared. (It actually went much longer than I’d anticipated–oops!) I talked about mysteries, explained why I couldn’t write erotic romances, offered some ideas on researching, and provided a list of resources I thought might be helpful to all writers who needed a cop, a gun, or a law in their stories. The members were engaging and asked some great questions.

They then treated Amanda and me to lunch and we got to visit with them a little longer. I can’t say enough how welcoming they are and how much of a great time we had with them. I look forward to going back to Lake Charles and visiting with them again in the future. It was definitely a very rewarding experience and just being around them energized me.

Unfortunately, Amanda and I had to leave the restaurant at about 1:15 PM to quickly return to our room and check out before 1:30 PM. As it turned out, the hotel had already deactivated our room keys and we couldn’t get in to grab our stuff. Thankfully, a nice lady who was cleaning rooms down the hall let us in and we reclaimed our clothes and–most importantly–the rest of the Great American cookies.

In closing, I want to say how saddened I was to hear about the passing of Harvey Honsinger. It was almost exactly four years ago that he passed away, but I just found out yesterday. The few times I got to visit with Harvey, I had a great time talking about writing, my all-time favorite genre, westerns, and guns. Like my all-time favorite author, Louis L’Amour, Harvey was a western writer and a really interesting man. I’m really sorry he’s gone.

Here I am with Harvey at the Bayou Writers’ Group Conference in November of 2007:

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Bad, Good, and Better News

First, the bad news:

As they say, all good things must eventually come to an end, and thus it is with Amber Quill Press, the publishing company that published three of my mystery novels (JAMES 516, THE SEVENTH TAKING, and BUT NOT FORGOTTEN). In early January, the company announced they would be closing their doors on March 30, 2016 and pulling all books from their website, as well as from third-party vendors, such as Amazon. Unfortunately, all electronic versions of my three AQP titles (JAMES 516, THE SEVENTH TAKING, and BUT NOT FORGOTTEN) have already been removed from Amazon, so anyone seeking to purchase a copy for their Kindle via Amazon will be out of luck…but only for the moment (more on that in a minute).

Now for the good news:

Those who want an electronic copy (including Kindle version) of either of my titles can still order a copy via the publisher’s website by clicking on the image of the book they’d like to purchase:

 James516  SeventhTaking Cover  ButNotForgotten_large

Additionally, the print versions are still available on Amazon (click here to order), but I’m not sure for how long.

Finally, the better news:

When something comes to a close, I never view it as an “end” to the old, but, rather, as a “beginning” of something new. While it’s unfortunate AQP had to close, I wasted no time fretting over it. Instead, I immediately set about creating new covers and formatting new print and digital versions of all three of my titles. Come March 31, 2016, I’ll be prepared to roll out new and improved versions of JAMES 516, THE SEVENTH TAKING, and BUT NOT FORGOTTEN on Amazon. With the removal of the “middleman”, I can offer them at a lower price and, in addition to re-releasing them in electronic format and trade paperback, I’ll also be releasing all three books in large print for the visually impaired.

In closing, I’m thankful to the good folks over at Amber Quill Press for accepting and publishing my work, and I’m pleased that JAMES 516 was ranked #1 (paid sales) out of forty titles in their Mystery/Detective category. BUT NOT FORGOTTEN, after being available for less than two months, was ranked #5 in the same category. Furthermore, JAMES 516 was ranked #3 (paid sales) out of 282 titles in their entire lineup, and it is a 2016 EPIC eBook Awards Finalist for the category of Mystery. (The winners will be announced in March.)

Well, that’s all for now. Please check back often, as I’ll reveal the new covers for these three titles soon. As always, many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read my work. Whether you enjoyed my stories or not, always feel free to contact me with your feedback. I love hearing from readers and I sincerely appreciate that they spent their hard-earned money and precious time on my books.

bjb

Great day at Terrebonne Parish Library!

I had the privilege of speaking to the Terrebonne Literary Club of Houma today at the Main Library in Houma. For those of you who haven’t been to the library yet, it’s a must-visit. The building is state-of-the-art and the staff–especially Lauren Bordelon–is extremely helpful and friendly.

As for the literary club members, they’re really cool and they made me feel at home. I met some amazing people, had a great time, and sold a bunch of books. It was a very rewarding experience, and my only regret is that Amanda couldn’t be there. She would’ve loved it!

Best to all and tons of thanks to the Terrebonne Literary Club of Houma for a nice afternoon!

bjb