Sunday, September 30, 2012

Greg McKenzie Book 2 Free Oct. 1-3

When I wrote the book that became my first published mystery, Secret of the Scroll, I had no idea of turning it into a series. But I fell in love with Greg and Jill McKenzie and decided they were too interesting to consign to the scrap heap of discarded fictional characters. I started looking around for a plot to get them involved in a good whodunit.

My brother had a condo on Perdido Key, Florida in those days, and my wife and I spent a couple of weeks there each spring and fall. It was an ideal place to do some writing. I decided to set the new book there. The most obvious sight in those days was a bevy of cranes lifting construction materials above the beach. It was boom days for high-rise condos.

Designed to Kill developed from that start. I looked back to characters from the first book for the basic setup. Greg and Jill McKenzie owned a condo in the same spot as the one Sarah and I stayed at on Perdido Key. The McKenzies' best friends, Sam and Wilma Gannon, had a son named Tim who was architect/engineer for a new high-rise designed after a Spanish castle. At a party marking completion of the project, a fifteenth floor balcony collapses, sending two people to their deaths.

When Tim's body is found the next morning at the Gulf Islands National Seashore not far away, the sheriff's sergeant who investigates calls it an obvious suicide. Sam Gannon disagrees and asks his retired Air Force investigator friend, Greg, to look into it. Greg, with Jill's help, finds lots of inconsistencies. When he's warned to butt out by a couple of Mafia enforcers, he knows it's time to solve a murder.

A cover blurb by New York Times bestselling author Phillip Margolin calls the book "A thoroughly enjoyable mystery with an intelligent plot, clever clues and characters who are like people you know."

It has a twist at the end and you probably won't guess the identity of the murderer.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Who's Who in Post Cold War Thriller II

Here's an advance peek at my second Post Cold War political thriller titled The Poksu Conspiracy. What follows is the Who's Who that will appear in the book. It lists all of the characters who appear in more than one chapter. I figure you won't need a cheat sheet to keep up with those who only make brief appearances. They are listed by category.

The Korean (hangul) characters for "poksu" in a square, at right, was the trademark of the small poksu guerrilla group that harassed the Japanese during World War II. It later appears as the codename for a highly-secret nuclear weapons project.

Who's Who

Worldwide Communications Consultants (Washington-based CIA spinoff)
    Nathaniel (Nate) Highsmith, President
    Burke Hill, chief financial officer, clandestine group director
    Tony Carlucci, Highsmith's executive assistant
    Jerry Chan, manager of Seoul Office
    Duane Elliston, account executive in Seoul Office
    Brittany Pickerel, research assistant in Seoul Office
    Evelyn Tilson, Hill's executive assistant
    Travis Tolliver, media specialist in Seoul Office
    An Kye-sun, Korean media specialist in Seoul Office
    Song Ji-young, Korean secretary in Seoul Office
American Officials
    Thornton Giles, President
    Kingsley Marshall, Director of Central Intelligence
    Ambassador Shearing, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea
    Brig. Gen. Henry Thatcher, Presidential Assistant for National Security Affairs
    Special Agent Frederick Birnbaum, instructor, FBI National Academy
    Vincent Duques, South Korean Embassy political officer and CIA Station Chief
    Special Agent Clifford Walters, FBI, San Francisco
    Damon Mansfield, South Korean Embassy cultural attaché
    Kurt Voegler, South Korean Embassy commercial attaché
South Korean Officials
    Kwak Sung-kyo, recently-elected president
    Hong Oh-san, prime minister
    Col. Han Sun-shin, director of Agency for Security Planning (NSP)
    Dr. Hyun U-je, head of Korea Electric Power Company (Kepco)
    Ko Pong-hak, information officer, Ministry of Culture and Information
    Park Sang-muk, Seoul public prosecutor
Seoul Metropolitan PoliceBureau
    Superintendent General Choi, head of Special Security Group
    Lt. Han Mi-jung, fiancée of Lieutenant. Yun
    Lt. Yun Se-jin, officer, Tongdaemun Station
    Capt. Yun Yu-sop, homicide detective, Namdaemun Station
World War II Poksu guerilla group
    Lee Horangi-chelmun, leader
    Ahn Wi-jong, other group survivor
North Korean Officials
    Kim Il-sung, premier
    Kim Jong-il, son and heir apparent
    So Song-ku, official of the Central Committee, North Korean Workers Party
Other Americans
    Will and Maggie Arnold, Falls Church, VA neighbors of the Hills
    Dr. Chloe Brackin, obstetrican and Lori Hill's best friend
    Lorelei Hill, wife of Burke Hill, head of Clipper Cruise & Travel
    Dr. Cabot Lowing, fellow, Highsmith Foundation
    R. Mitchell (Mitch) Steele, contractor's representative, Taesong Nuclear Power Plant
    Peggy Walters, Burke Hill's first wife
    Dr. Kim Vickers, director, Korean-American Education Foundation
In Hungary
    Margit Szabo, Lorelei Hill's grandmother
Other Koreans
    Ahn Pom-yun, drug kingpin in Chiangmai, Thailand, son of Ahn Wi-jong
    Mr. Chon, Namdaemun Market fruit vendor, Captain Yun's informant
    Hwang Sang-sol, a.k.a. Suh Tae-hung, free lance assassin
    Kang Han-kyo, editor of Koryo Ilbo, national daily newspaper
    Kim Yong-man, Mr. Chon's grandson
    Kwon, junior official at Reijeo conglomerate
    Dr. Lee Yo-ku, Seoul National University history professor
    Moon Chwa, official at Pulguksa Buddhist shrine
    Dr. Shin Man-ki, fired nuclear physicist at Reijeo installation
    Yang Jong-ku, hotel owner, chairman of Korean-American Cooperation Association
    Yi In-wha, prominent businessman, son-in-law of President Kwak's half-sister
    Yoo Hak-sil, Seoul private investigator, former cop

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Last Day Secret of the Scroll Is Free

Secret of the Scroll was ranked #1 in the Thriller Suspense category on Amazon this morning among free Kindle books. It ranked #16 in the Top 100 books category. If you'd like a free ebook, today is the last of my giveaway days.

As of this morning there had been about 7500 downloads, which I'm happy with after the late start because Amazon didn't list it as free until Thursday. According to many of my colleagues who have gone this route, I should expect a pickup in sales of all of my books over the next week or so. Since Secret is the first book in the series, if they like it there are four more to read.

There has been a lot of haranguing on the lists lately about giving books away that we labored so long and hard to produce. It's all a part of marketing. "Loss leaders" they're called in the retail business. You sell something way below its value to attract customers to your other products. I'll know if it works in the next week or so.

Meanwhile, back at the keyboard, I'm getting the final edits on The Poksu Conspiracy, book two in the Post Cold War thriller trilogy. Got a great cover from Stephen Walker, which I'll post in a few days after it's finalized.