Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sucker for a Writing Gadget -- Lofree Wireless Keyboard

It's been a while since I posted. I've really been in a writing silo. Writing books and not much else.  I have been going through a series of health issues, the latest a surgery to remove my gallbladder, and am now just getting back to my old self.

So, I plan to get back to blogging -- slowly. Talking about writing stuff--especially as I wrap up this J.J. McCall series and introduce Charlie Mack, a new character in a "possible" new series...of some sort.

My goal is to finish the J.J. series by the end of this year so I can move onto other new and exciting projects. Part of me said, "Why not just skip it and move on?" Nobody's holding me hostage to get these books finished. But I made a commitment to my readers--and whether that's 1 or a hundred or a thousand--I'm going to finish. Everyday I'm making progress and getting a little closer. It has taken me a while to get back in the groove, but every day that I finish another chapter I start to fall in love with these characters all over again. And the story gets more and more exciting, especially in the wake of all this Russian intelligence stuff in the news.

With that said, I'll move onto more important matters -- GADGETS. A keyboard to be exact. I know I'm the gadget queen and there really should be medication for my compulsion to buy writer stuff, but this one I just could not pass by. I don't know about you but I love mechanical keyboards--the clicky ones. You know, that make it sound as if you're using an old fashioned type writer. I have two DAS Keyboards but they are very...not stylish. I mean don't get me wrong, I love them but they aren't "cute." The one below from Indegogo is cute. Now, coming from Indiegogo you know it's under production and I don't have it yet. But after seeing this in my Facebook feed a hundred times I finally clicked and bought the darn thing.

It's a wireless mechanical keyboard that's made to look like an old fashioned typewriter. Yes, yes, I know...I have not one but two mechanical keyboards. However, they are both hardwired and on my desktops. I have a personal mac laptop and a work laptop and I like not to have to unplug them to use a mechanical keyboard. As a matter of fact, I don't even go through the trouble. But this will allow me to wirelessly link to three different devices -- phone, iPad, laptops, desktops, whatever -- and use my mechanical keyboard wherever I go.

I'm sharing this for all of you writers addicted to writery gadgets like I am. I think there's only one more day to get in before the price goes up. For $79, the lowest price (which is no different from the $84 model -- or any of the other offers), the cute keyboard with the clicky keys may be well worth it.

Check out the link here.

I'll be back with more fun and adventure soon.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

New S.D. Skye Novels on the Way!

Wow! Things look the same around here. I've been under the radar for a while. Last year, I spent most of the year writing romance. I published four books in the genre in 2016 so I was VERY busy. 

But now I'm back to wrap up the J.J. McCall series and introduce a new character in a short novel -- FBI Special Agent Charlie Mack. She's one of the most interesting, complex characters I've written. And this book was HARD to write because it's part character study, part Russian spy thriller.  

It's the J.J. McCall Series meets Oceans 11, 12, and 13. Kinda cool. Great twists and turns.

There's been so much news about Russian intelligence that books I've been writing for the past few years will seem much more timely and relevant today. Along with that, Americans have a new appreciation for just how insidious the Russian intelligence threat is...and Putin is. 

Scary times...but exciting times.

J.J. will be back in December with Joint Deception and Hostile Allegiance published back to back. But do not fret about the wait. I've just finished a new bridge novel that both stands alone BUT also ties into the J.J. McCall series. Instead of focusing on the civilian intelligence service, the SVR, it touches on the GRU, military intelligence. 

An FBI Special Agent struggles to save a life and her career after a Bureau assessment determines her once valued source, a Russian GRU officer, is a Moscow-controlled double agent, and she's coerced into participating in an unauthorized operation targeting the Russian Embassy that ends in disaster.

So, do not give up on J.J. yet. The end of that series is on the way and well in progress. But I wrote this one because the story idea was cool and it may (possibly but I don't know), kick off a new series. 

The Walk-In release date is June 27, 2017 and it will be a page-turner.  It will go on presale March 27th! 

I've learned a lot in this writing journey thing over the past year. So, stay tuned. More blogs are coming. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

My Memory of the FBI on 9-11...

  My Memory of the FBI on 9-11... 

Some people may read this blog and wonder why I'm so passionate about U.S. national security. The anniversary of 9-11 is a reminder.

I'll never forget.

I'd arrived for work at the J. Edgar Hoover Building in downtown Washington and suddenly came down with a splitting headache. So, I decide to walk to the CVS Pharmacy three blocks up Pennsylvania Avenue on 13th Street.

As I'm walking to the store I hear an explosion. I stop in my tracks thinking it must be construction...or at least that's what I hope. After leaving the store moments later, I see smoke billowing up in the area of the Pentagon.  I could smell it in the air. But again, I'm thinking construction--maybe someone went a little overboard.

When I got back to the office, my colleagues were hovered around a television set. Watching the news. The two towers were hit. The Pentagon--hit.

First, stunned silence and tears. Then, confusion. Running up and down the corridors to find out who knows what. Then--Rumors.

We heard that a 4th plane was circling Washington and that FBI Headquarters was a potential target. There had been rumors of a potential attack on FBI headquarters circling around based on some suspicious surveillance activity detected near the FBI and other government buildings in the months leading up to 9-11-2011. But nothing substantial--until that moment.

Some of my colleagues said run and get out of D.C. Others said they were going to stay and support the investigation--they knew one was coming and that it was going to be massive. As for me, my son was not even a  year old...and all I wanted in that moment was to see his face again.

Scared, pannicked, I got the hell out of there. But I returned the next morning and was assigned to work the counterterrorism task force. If you were a warm body and could put 2+2 together you were assigned to work it. In the days and weeks to come, the FBI would help the world put together the pieces of what had happened. And during the course of the investigation, they gave us all these pins in remembrance.

I cringe when I hear conspiracy theorists talk about what the FBI knew and didn't know. What the FBI could and couldn't prevent. There is not one person at the FBI who wouldn't have given their all to prevent that attack if it was at all in the realm of possibility. Not one person who slept a full night during the course of that investigation. So easy to criticize when you weren't there and you don't have a clue of what you're talking about. The U.S. Government consists of more than these stark white buildings spattered across the D.C. skyline, it's made up of people. American people. Patriotic people who work with purpose every day.

And in a strange twist, but perhaps not, I would spend five years working on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon not two years later supporting the Iraq Task Force and our soldiers in battle there. 

What I remember most about 9-11 was...it didn't matter whether you were white, black, Latino, purple, or green, democrat or republican, protestant, Jewish, or Catholic, or whatever.

On that day, we were all Americans. One people. Never more perfectly united...at least not in my lifetime. And nothing mattered more than protecting this country and keeping us all safe.

It's a feeling I'll always carry with me, no matter where I go or what I do. And it's why I'm so opinionated on this blog when it comes to matters of U.S. national security.

I'll never forget.

Monday, July 11, 2016

S.D. Skye 365 Day Blogathon Post #213 -- The Comeback, Writing Productivity, & Books

It's me again...

Long time no hear from, right?

I've received several emails from readers asking whether the J.J. McCall series is done or if she'll be back. Long story short -- YES -- She'll be back. Starting in late September until I'm finished, I will be finishing up three spy thrillers--One short novel -- The Walk In-- featuring a character called Special Agent Charlie Mack (you might recognize the last name from Situation Critical -- Hopper Mack) who gets caught up in a failed FBI-led double agent operation (also called provocation operation)  targeting the Russians that turns into an agent's worst nightmare.

And then of course -- Joint Deception and Hostile Allegiance. I'm going to write straight through until both are done and publish them back to back. So they are coming and the J.J. McCall series will come to an end...and perhaps a new beginning with the aforementioned character Charlie Mack. More on that in the coming days.

So, what the hell have I been doing for the past few months. Well, at first I was sick...really sick. Suffering from very debilitating migraines and, quite honestly, I could not think. I couldn't look at a computer screen. I couldn't write. I've never been so paralyzed in my writing career.

But I finally found a solution that works -- the NutriBullet. I started drinking NutriBullet shakes every day, twice a day-- spinach, berries, pineapple, mango and some combination of Hemp, Chia, and Flaxseeds...along with a packet of liquid iron...and within a few days the headaches stopped. I've kept up with them and they have not returned. That was about February or March of this year.

So where the heck have I been since then? Well, by then, I'd forgotten all of my good writing habits. I'd been trying my best to get back in the writing groove and just could not find my way back for the life of me...at least not where I needed to be to finish all my commitments. I did finish a romance novella, but I have a lot more books to write. Two romances and three spy thrillers including the J.J. McCall Novels.

Well I have to tell you, I found a Udemy class that helped me recover my MOJO (see ---->).  I highly highly highly recommend this course by Jessica Brody for any author who faces problems with time management. It's like $20 worth of writery magic!! No, seriously. Before I took this course, I was barely squeaking out 1100 words a week. Now I'm writing about 2000 words a day--in about an hour and a half to 2 hours time. Yuuuge difference. Yuuuuge.

Two weeks and still going strong.

The key is you have to be committed to making some adjustments in your lifestyle. Fortunately, my sleeping schedule was already in line with the suggestions I just needed the tools and the kick in the ass. Someone asked me if she just tells you to get off of Twitter...yes, she tells you that...but then there's so so so much more. Just do yourself a favor and take it.

So, I'll be blogging more often -- I will write 365 blogs if it kills me, just not 365 days straight.

And the Friday author features will return starting this Friday so if you want to be featured, please drop me a line and I'll send you the link for the interview.

Glad to be back...more to come soon!!

Friday, June 17, 2016

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365 Day Blogathon Post 214 -- Author John H. Gibson

Please welcome today…

John H. Gibson          

Tell us about your journey to become a published author?

During my formative years the television and movies were alive with spies and espionage and political intrigue, real and imagined. And then Watergate happened and I was completely and hopelessly stuck. Everyday after school, while my buddies were out playing basketball, I sat at the television, enthralled by the entire Break-in scandal. And I began to read thrillers that dealt with politics because of Watergate, and I was completely lost to reading thrillers. I read other good stuff, Harold Robbins, Sidney Sheldon, but nothing touched me the way that political thrillers did. Nothing has changed.

Tell us about your latest release.

TRACK THREE is about a top-rated investigative journalist, Elliott Lawder, and Katherine Lambert, a street-wise black British street urchin, that are thrown together by the untimely death of an NSA Systems Analyst. The story moves at break-neck speed from Washington to London to Brussels to The Netherlands as the two attempt to discover the answer to why every US Security Agency, including the NSA and the CIA, are trying to kill them.    

Give five words that best describe this book. What message do you hope readers get?           

Politics, suspense, thrills, mystery and family.

That lead characters in thrillers don't always have to be perfect. My lead(s) have a lot of problems, but they succeed n spite of those flaws.

Give us one or two of your favorite lines from this book.

This is the very first line in the book:

“. . . a shooting . . . ? a stabbing . . . ? a drowning . . . ?"      

Tell us about your writing space and your daily routine.

Not sure if this is unusual or not, but I write my first draft long-hand, laying on the carpet in my living-room; that long-hand copy is then transferred to a Word document at my desk in my home office.  That process is repeated for any subsequent edits following the first draft.

When I'm in writing mode, I write every day; Saturday and Sunday included. I don't have a scheduled time per day to write; I begin when I feel like it and then write until I'm tired. When I am in the mode I do very little other writing-related activities - marketing, blogging, etc.

What’s one of your favorite reviews/comments you’ve ever received about your writing (on this book or any other)? Who did it come from and how did it impact you?

Let me first say, that I appreciate any and all of my reviews. However, there are two that hold special significance. The first is from a friend and colleague, Dr. Fred Johnson. His review was impactful because Dr. Johnson I knew to be a fair but forthright person and would render a truthful review, whether favorable or not (it was a 5 star review). The second was from Night Owl Reviews. And it was important because this review was from a professional review site that was totally unbiased and selected my novel, TRACK THREE, as a Top Pick.       

What’s your biggest struggle as a writer (or what was your worst critique)? And how do/did you handle it?

My biggest struggle, like nearly all other not-yet bestselling writers, is marketing. I'm a writer, not a salesman, and marketing, for me, is a major struggle.        

What is the high point of your career, so far?

So far - getting published.   

What was the low point of your career? And how did you handle it?

Being rejected by a specific agent. She was very well known and very important in the agenting world; the sort of agent that could change your life if they accepted you as a client. We had developed a fairly cordial relationship, I was confident that she was impressed with my writing (she had said as much - I know, I know, they all say that, but she asked 3 times for my work), but rejected me because I sent the manuscript, for the second time, (a miscommunication) in the wrong format. I was devastated. That devastation remains.     

One reason for the rejection from the aforementioned agent was that I submitted to her both a novel and screenplay of the same project (I believe the main source of our miscommunication). In doing research on writing a screenplay, I read ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE, by William Goldman. Not just a great book on the screen trade but a great read on its own. Highly recommended.    I am currently writing a novel that is a small departure from TRACK THREE and my first thriller, DUMMY. It is a sort of thriller/family saga hybrid. If it lives up to the images in my head it will be a very good book. I hope so.    

What’s your favorite book on the writing craft or your favorite piece of advice to writers?
Again, ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE, by William Goldman. Highly recommended.   

To visit John online, go to...

Oaktree Press

Goodreads giveaway:

Amazon Author Central

And to buy John’s books, check out…

Oaktree Press

Barnes & Noble





Thanks so much for joining us today! It was great having you. Come back when you release your next book!     

If you're an author and would like your thriller, mystery, romantic suspense, or suspense novel featured, please fill out the interview at: 

Friday, April 29, 2016

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365 Day Blogathon Post 213 -- Author F. M. Meredith

Fiction Friday

Please welcome today... 

F.M. Meredith

Tell us about your journey to become a published author?

I've written since I could--probably began around 10 years old. Though I knew I wanted to be an author all my life, I didn't get serious about sending manuscripts to publishers until I was a grandmother. (I'd made some failed attempts much earlier, but rejections discouraged me.) My first and second books to be published were historical family sagas based on my own family genealogy, Next one after that was a mystery--and though I've written in other genres (horror of one sort or another), I've settled down quite happily with mysteries.

What sparked the idea for this series?

My Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery series came about because of my son-in-law who was a police officer. He came to my house every day after his graveyard shift for coffee and told me what he'd done on the job. We also had many police officers and their families living in our neighborhood. I observed how the job influenced the families and what was going on in the family influenced the job. Besides the mystery, I  include aspects of the officers' personal lives. 

Tell us about your latest release.

A Crushing Death focuses on a religious cult, a horrifying accusation, and a criminal seeking revenge on RBPD's new police chief, and how her department protects her.

Give five words that best describe this book. What message do you hope readers get?

Murder, suspense, beach, police, family
How important family and friends can be in police work.          

Give us one or two of your favorite lines from this book.

It never failed. On a holiday or a scheduled day off, or right in the middle of a great night’s sleep, the phone rang, like it just did.

Without opening his eyes, Detective Doug Milligan reached for his phone and answered. “Milligan.”

Tell us about your writing space and your daily routine.

My office is never tidy. Around me and my computer are many books and ongoing notes concerning the manuscript I'm working on. I have a view of the foothills and mountains beyond from the window by my desk.

I try to write at least 5 days a week, and mostly in the early morning.  If things are going well, I may write any time that the thoughts are tumbling out. When I'm no actually writing, I do think about my work-in-progress and new ideas pop into my mind.

What’s one of your favorite reviews/comments you’ve ever received about your writing (on this book or any other)? Who did it come from and how did it impact you?

J. Michael Orenduff, author of the award-winning Pot Thief murder mysteries.

“F. M. Meredith’s has done it again, produced another immensely satisfying episode in her Rocky Bluff Police Department murder mystery series. Think Ed McBain’s 87th precinct series mellowed out in a California beach town. Dangerous Impulses, the eighth (?) book in the series, finds Gordon Butler orienting a new officer, the drop-dead beautiful Lizette Gibbs, and fans of the series immediately know the loveable but somewhat hapless Butler is going to fall hard…
“Meredith is the reigning master of ‘cop life’ stories dealing with how work and family push and pull on the psyches of officers. …Meredith weaves the personal and the professional into a story so seamless that we come to believe the people we are reading about are real.”
"With its terse prose, ingenious plot, heart -warming moments, suspense and satisfying wrap-up, Dangerous Impulses will keep Meredith’s fans happy and win her many new ones."
Because I love Orenduff's series, I'm thrilled he likes mine. I also like the fact he really understands what I've tried to do with this series.
What’s your biggest struggle as a writer (or what was your worst critique)? And how do/did you handle it?

Finding the time to promote as well as write is always a struggle. I try to write first--but sometimes, like when I'm doing a blog tour, the promotion must come first.

When I do get an unfavorable review, I don't dwell on it. The many good ones far outweigh any bad ones.          

What is the high point of your career, so far?

Anytime a reader lets me know that they've enjoyed a book, that's enough for me. I write because I have to, yes, that's true, and it's great to know that others are reading and enjoying what I've written. I've won a couple of awards, and of course that was exciting, but still readers' compliments are worth far more to me.    
What was the low point of your career? And how did you handle it?

When one of my publishers, who'd become a close friend, died. That was hard. I found a new publisher as soon as possible. I've had publishers who turned out to be crooks and a couple who decided not be publishers anymore, but the death of a friend was the most difficult.  

Give us the name of a recent book you’ve read that you would highly recommend to readers.

I absolutely loved Ordinary Grace by Wm. Kent Krueger. I enjoy his mystery series too, but this stand-alone was unique.         

What’s next on your writing journey?

Because I write two series a year, I'm usually promoting one while writing and editing the other. Keeps me busy--or as the saying goes, out of mischief.

What’s your favorite book on the writing craft or your favorite piece of advice to writers?

I have a collection of books on the writing craft. For new writers, be sure to read books in the genre you plan to write, and then write, write as much as possible.

Where can we find you online?

Webpage: http://fictionforyou.com
Face book: https:facebook.com.marilynmeredith
Twitter: http:twitter.com.marilynmeredith
Blog: http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com
Goodreads: http://goodreads. com/marilynmeredith"   

And where can we find your books online?

Here's the link for the first in the series:
And the one before the newest, Violent Departures: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00URUJAUE

Thanks so much for joining us today! It was great having you. Come back when you release your next book!    

If you're an author and would like your thriller, mystery, romantic suspense, or suspense novel featured, please fill out the interview at: