Thursday, June 30, 2011

Call for Beta Reviewers for The Last Witness

It's only been two weeks since Motion To Kill debuted to rave reviews and now I'm excited to offer a free pdf Advance Reader Copy of the next book in the series, The Last Witness, to anyone who'd like to read it and review it prior to its launch in early August. Email me at for all the details.

In the meantime, here's a quick snapshot of the story and what a couple of your favorite authors have already said about The Last Witness.

Lou Mason is back and this time, it's personal when his surrogate father, Homicide Detective Harry Ryman, arrests his best friend, Wilson "Blues" Bluestone, Jr. for murder. Mason unearths secrets someone will do anything to keep as he closes in on a desperate killer, setting himself up as the next target.

"Fast, furious and thoroughly enjoyable, The Last Witness is classic and classy noir for our time, filled with great characters and sharp, stylish writing."
Jeffery Deaver, author of The Vanished Man and The Stone Monkey

"The Last Witness is an old fashioned, '40s, tough guy detective story set in modern times. There's a lot of action, loads of suspects, and plenty of snappy dialogue. It's a fun read from beginning to end."
Phillip Margolin, author of The Associate and Wild Justice

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Subscribe & Win!

I sent out my first newsletter last week along with the promise that each month I would give away one $15 Amazon gift card and two $5 Amazon gift cards to lucky subscribers. I'm excited to tell you that I just emailed the winners for the month of June!

So get in on the action! Subscribe and become eligible for the July giveaway!

10 Bits Of My Brain

My cousin, Stuart Jaffe, has just released 10 Bits of My Brain. He takes you across the Fantasy and Science Fiction landscapes with ten wide-ranging stories including three all-new tales. From the tiny life of a fly to the far reaches of space, from an elderly witch in WWII's Lublin ghetto to a dragon detective in the modern world's harsh streets, from tattoos and chess games to robberies and betrayals, these stories are packed with action, drama, and a bit of the weird.

Trust me! You won't want to miss this terrific anthology!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Joe Posnanksi Is A Great Writer

Joe Posnanski was a sports writer for the Kansas City Star for a number of years before joining Sports Illustrated. But he is so much more than a sports writer - he's a writer's writer. His prose captures the moment and the person so well I can only wish I was that good.

Read his story about Nick Charles, one of the original CNN sportscasters. Enjoy it as a reader and, if you're a writer, use it as a lesson.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Wow! Motion To Kill has 16 rave reviews on Amazon and has been liked by 43 people! Boy, do they know what they're talking about! Grab a copy and find out!


TOP SUSPENSE announces the release of DIE LOVER, DIE! The most fun you'll ever have for 99 cents and the most fun I've ever had writing a short story!

Lauren Blaine is on the run...fleeing across the country, pursued by a pack of ruthless, skilled, and psychopathic killers.

That's she's dumped her husband and he hasn't taken it well.

Of course, he might have taken it better if he wasn't a major drug dealer with a gale-force temper... and if she hadn't run off with all of his cash.

Now she's marked-for-death, a moving target for every mercenary, hitman, and sadist in the midwest.

What they don't know is that Lauren is nobody's victim... she's a resourceful, brave, and cunning woman who won't go down without a fight.

This is 10,000 words of non-stop action, violence and sex...a wild ride like nothing else you've read before...from twelve masters of suspense, who teamed up to write this rollicking story 250 rapid-fire words at a time, tag-team style, without an outline, without knowing what was coming next. The result is a pure, literary adrenaline rush.

About the Top Suspense Group:

Whether you're looking for mystery, horror, thriller, western or crime fiction, you can always count on the award-winning authors at TOP SUSPENSE to deliver a great e-reading experience with their dozens of highly-acclaimed books. The Top Suspense authors are established professionals whose books have been published world-wide, graced national & international bestseller lists, and sparked the imaginations of Hollywood's top filmmakers (the Oscar winning "Road to Perdition") and television producers (the Emmy-winning "Monk"). Top Suspense authors: Max Allan Collins, Bill Crider, Stephen Gallagher, Lee Goldberg, Joel Goldman, Ed Gorman, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Vicki Hendricks, Naomi Hirahara, Paul Levine, Harry Shannon and Dave Zeltserman.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Inside Top Suspense

My gang at Top Suspense have a great discussion going on our blog starting today about the craft of writing suspense novels. We call it Inside Top Suspense. Check it out and join the conversation with 12 of the best mystery and suspense writers working today!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Kickstart Your Life

My cousin and SciFi author, Stuart Jaffe, told me about Kickstarter, a company that uses crowd sourcing to raise money for all kinds of creative projects.

People are invited to fund projects at whatever level they choose. The project creator retains complete ownership and control and all profits. Contributors are rewarded with the satisfaction of having helped fund a worthy project and with other bonuses crafted by the project creator.

Among the projects funded to date are a documentary film, How To Start A Revolution, HexBright, an open source light, and a book titled Oneironautics - A Field Guide To Lucid Dreaming (a subject that plays a central role in my book The Dead Man).

Publisher's Weekly reports that Kickstarter has become the #3 U.S. publisher of graphic novels. And another company, Unbound is doing the same thing, only focusing exclusively on publishing books.

Self-publishing isn't free. Authors have to finance cover art, formatting, editing, copyediting and marketing. And success is far from assured. Companies like Kickstarter and Unbound are a welcome resource, even though they can't guarantee a project will be funded. Indie authors may even try developing their own crowd sourcing model, using social media.

Bottom line, if you want to write and publish, kickstart your life!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


SHAKEN_FINAL_No_credit Naomi Hirahara, Brett Battles, Wendy Hornsby, Cara Black and Timothy Hallinan are just a few of the amazing authors who've contributed stories to SHAKEN: STORIES OF JAPAN, an ebook anthology that benefits the Japan America Society of Southern California's Japan relief fund. You won't find an easier or more enjoyable way to contribute money to a great cause.

Another Rave for Motion To Kill

Jamie Anastasiow is a high school English teacher. I don't know about you, but when I was in high school, getting a rave review from my English teacher was no easy task. Jamie is a prolific reader, blogger and reviewer who doesn't hand out A's on every paper. So, I'm thrilled that she's thrilled with Motion To Kill!

In her rave review, she says something that no one else has ever said about my writing that I can't help but comment about.

"There is no author to compare Joel Goldman to because this really was so unique and as far as one could get from a stereotypical thriller in any sub genre."

Though every author is influenced by writers they respect, we all strive to create a unique voice. Jamie's comment is among the highest praise a writer can get and I'm grateful for it. Thanks, Jamie!

Amazon's Invisible Hand - Part II

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Amazon's Sunshine Deals program and the impact it was having on Amazon's bestseller lists. The immediate impact of Amazon's deep discounting of 600 select books was a huge spike in sales for those titles. No surprise.

Now comes evidence that the effect was short-lived and that, by the second week of the promotion, the impact of the discount had worn off. Read about it in Mike Shatzkin's excellent report. Relying on analysis by ace number cruncher Dan Lubart, he points out that brand name authors (i.e., bestselling authors published by the Big 6) may have a competitive advantage in the long run over lesser-known authors who rely on low price. More important, this data suggests that ebooks priced below $3 may not be competing for the same buyers as those priced above $5.

Self-published authors, including mid-list authors moving to self-publishing, who sell their books at the $2.99 price point and below can still prosper. But we'll have to understand our market. Self-publishing has leveled the playing field in some respects but it doesn't mean all ebook sellers are playing the same game.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

MOTION TO KILL Has Launched!


Electrifying! – Publisher’s Weekly

Michael Connelly recommends Motion To Kill!

Joel Goldman is the real deal! – John Lescroart, Bestselling author of the Dismas Hardy thriller series.

When two of his partners are killed, corruption, sex and murder fill trial lawyer Lou Mason’s docket as he tracks the killer. Will Lou be the next victim? Find out in Motion To Kill!

Wow! There's nothing better than publishing one of my novels! Every time I say or write that, someone will ask what about selling your novels? Isn't that better? Well, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that selling my books makes me feel terrific. And, with your help, I'm going to feel really terrific.

But there is no experience quite like breathing life into characters readers care about and won't soon forget and taking them to a place that I imagine, keeping them up late at night, turning the pages as they hold their breath worrying and wondering what will happen next.

See! It's not all about me! It's about both of us, reader and writer. We've made a deal with one another. You buy a ticket on this thrill ride and I make you want to go again the moment you get off. Just like at Disney World! That's what I call a win-win!

Everyone remembers the first time they did something that changed their life. Motion To Kill was my first book. When it was published in 2002, my life changed. I became an author.

Self-publishing Motion To Kill as an ebook is going to change my life again because now I'm an author who can take my books straight to my readers and decide what I want to write and publish.

Stick with me over the months and years to come and we'll have a great time. And don't forget to buy the book because you can't take the ride if you don't have a ticket!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011


The final countdown is on for the launch of the ebook edition of Motion To Kill!! In only 48 hours - absent any last second techno-glitches, my first self-published ebook will go live on Amazon and I can't wait!

Help make the launch rocket through the roof by going to my Amazon page and "Like" Motion To Kill and read the reviews (all 5 and 4 stars!) and click "Yes" on each one as a helpful review. Amazon loves these kinds of statistics and the more "Likes" and the more "Yes" clicks, the more Amazon will promote the book and the happier my wife will be!

And, if you prefer another format besides Kindle, you can order it right now on Smashwords!

Stay tuned! It's going to be a great week!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


It's no secret that we live in a time of tremendous change, challenge and innovation. I remember sitting on the floor in my parents' bedroom eating dinner beneath the window air-conditioner to keep cool. I remember celebrating when we got central air and a color TV. I remember the Bomar Brain calculator my folks bought me. If you want to see one now, you'll have to go to the Smithsonian. And, I remember how cool I thought it was when correction tape took the place of Whiteout, making life with my IBM Selectric so much easier.

I could go on and on, adding that I also remember when I was skinnier, faster and could stay up past 10:30 p.m., but you get the point. When thinking about the past and the future, we can't help but think about it from our own perspective.

But nothing frames the past and future like the growth of information technology. Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod and Jeff Brenman created the DID YOU KNOW video, telling that story in breathtaking fashion. Take five minutes and watch it. Produced in 2009, it may be out of date by now but only in a good way. Every trend they identify has probably accelerated.

Bottom line - life's a wild ride and it's getting wilder every day. Enjoy the experience! I know I am!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What's A Weiner To Do?

Anthony Weiner's self-immolation is a disappointment to fiction writers everywhere, reducing the old chestnut Ripped From The Headlines to Oh, Another One Of Those Idiot Assholes Did It Again.

Writers make their living observing from the sidelines, borrowing from the mash ups and smash ups of other people's lives, adding a wrinkle here and there to keep the lawyers happy, and going down the road, delighting in the Schadenfreude of others, thankful for their frailties and grateful that no one is paying as much attention to us are we are to them.

Public figures are a great source of material. Their high profiles magnify their falls from grace and save us the trouble of thinking up stuff on our own.

So how are we supposed to feel when they keep making the same mistakes over and over again? Forget about their responsibilities to their wives, families, staffs, constituents and predatory bloggers from both sides of the political aisle. What about us? Give us something new to work with! I'm begging you!

Politicians have gotten worse than network TV executives. NBC hits it big with Friends and every other network tries to duplicate that success with a knockoff show. New York Congressman Christopher Lee emails a shirtless photo of himself to a woman, not his wife, and he's out on his ear. Now Weiner goes him not one better, but at least six women better. You call that news!

And don't get me started about Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Ensign and the granddaddy of douche bags, John Edwards. These guys are old school and old news in the crumb bum and creep sweepstakes.

C'mon! We writers deserve better! How about a little creativity, a little originality! You've got the power, the position and the technology! Put a little effort into this. After all, it's not all about you.

On the other hand, they say that there are no new stories since the Bible or at least since Shakespeare and that what separates writers is how well we tell those stories. Maybe that's true and as much as I would like politicians and celebrities to do the heavy lifting for me, I guess I'll have to pick up my oar.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Amazon's Invisible Hand

Adam Smith immortalized the notion of the invisible hand of the marketplace, each person striving for his own gain, offering something of value to others who in turn buy it, thereby driving the engine of free markets. His book, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, is available on Amazon as a free Kindle book or in paperback for as much as $24.99. And, if you can figure out that pricing paradigm, let me know!

The broader point is that markets move and the people/companies that can move them have the real juice. Case in point - Amazon's Sunshine Deals program, a two-week discount blowout in which it is offering some 600 books from a variety of smaller publishers at prices from 99 cents to $2.99. Digital book guru, Mike Shatzkin says this is a wake-up call for the Big 6 that may force them to re-evaluate how they price ebooks.

Why? Because price matters. Amazon's decision to cut prices on a big bundle of books has immediately reverberated throughout the Kindle Bestseller lists, as reported by Dan Lubart's ebook MarketView blog. Lubart tracks rankings (not units sold) of Kindle ebooks based on price, dividing them into four categories, $0.00 to $2.99, $3.00 - $7.99, $8.00-$9.99 and $10+.

Lubart notes that the number of top 100 bestselling titles in each of these price bands rarely fluctuates much from day to day. However, he's seen a dramatic increase in the number of low priced titles in the top 100 since Amazon began its promotion and he attributes that shift to the Sunshine Deals.

This should come as no surprise. Discounting works. Ask Groupon or any self-published author who tinkers with price to become an Amazon bestseller for a day.

What's different about this is that when Amazon sticks its invisible hand into the Kindle marketplace, it could turn out to be part fist and part stranglehold, forcing the Big Six to follow suit while squeezing out self-published authors who rely on low price to attract readers.

The good news is that the marketplace is not driven by price alone. Quality matters. Good low priced self-published ebooks will have a better chance to compete than crummy ones. And isn't that what the invisible hand is all about?

Friday, June 3, 2011

What's A Writer To Do?

Change is the daily constant in the publishing world and no one is driving that change more than Amazon, having jumped into publishing with both of its 800 lb. gorilla feet. That's good news for writers who will benefit from having another major publisher in the marketplace.

Amazon's new Sunshine Deals may not be such a good deal for the vast number of writers hoping to carve out a living selling their ebooks for $2.99 or less.

Amazon is now offering ebook editions of some publisher's back lists at prices ranging from 99 cents to $1.99 to $2.99, cutting into writer's low price territory. There is speculation that the Sunshine Deals will be the precursor for variable pricing in which Amazon will adjust prices for individual titles based on demand.

All of this has some writers worried that it will be harder for their books to get favorable marketing treatment from Amazon.

So, what's a writer to do, besides post on Twitter and Facebook until the world takes out a restraining order against you, blog till your fingers bleed and spend a bunch of dough on marketing and, oh yeah, write a kick-ass book that is professionally edited, copyedited and formatted with a cover that belongs in the Louvre?

My answer - join forces with other writers. Here are three examples - all of which are things I'm doing or have done.

I'm one of a group of writers working on Lee Goldberg and Bill Rabkin's The Dead Man series, novellas that are one part Stephen King paranormal and one part men's action adventure. We're creating a brand and a product that will stand out in the marketplace and attract readers to our other books. The Dead Woman is our latest title and it's a knockout.

I'm also a member of the Top Suspense Group, twelve writers who have banded together to give readers a reliable source for terrific ebooks. We published the Top Suspense Anthology, which became an Amazon bestseller earlier this year and has brought new readers to our other books.

I participated in the Blog Tour de Troops over Memorial Day Weekend sponsored by the Indie Book Collective, in which some 35 authors blogged about the importance of Memorial Day, contributing free ebooks to our troops for every person who commented on our blogs. The response was tremendous and I was introduced to hundreds of new readers and we did a good thing for the troops.

I don't know what the long-term impact will be on my book sales from any of these efforts. I do know that each gives me an opportunity to stand out, build my brand and do some good.

It's a lot easier to do that arm-in-arm with my fellow writers than on my own. And it's a lot more fun than bitching and moaning about how steep the hill is that we're all trying to climb.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

True Detective

D.B. Grady has a terrific piece in The Atlantic titled The Case for Crime Fiction in which he argues, quite well, that crime fiction should get more respect as an art form and for its portrayal of the harsh realities of life.

Grady references an essay Raymond Chandler wrote for The Atlantic in 1950 titled "The Simple Art of Murder" in which Chandler criticizes crime fiction and the critics of crime fiction. It's a brilliant essay that gets at the heart of crime fiction and explains far better than I can the world we seek to portray and the unique nature of the heroes we create. Enjoy!

"The realist in murder writes of a world in which gangsters can rule nations and almost rule cities, in which hotels and apartment houses and celebrated restaurants are owned by men who made their money out of brothels, in which a screen star can be the fingerman for a mob, and the nice man down the hall is a boss of the numbers racket; a world where a judge with a cellar full of bootleg liquor can send a man to jail for having a pint in his pocket, where the mayor of your town may have condoned murder as an instrument of moneymaking, where no man can walk down a dark street in safety because law and order are things we talk about but refrain from practising; a world where you may witness a hold-up in broad daylight and see who did it, but you will fade quickly back into the crowd rather than tell anyone, because the hold-up men may have friends with long guns, or the police may not like your testimony, and in any case the shyster for the defense will be allowed to abuse and vilify you in open court, before a jury of selected morons, without any but the most perfunctory interference from a political judge."

"In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption. It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony, and it may be the raucous laughter of the strong man. But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. I do not care much about his private life; he is neither a eunuch nor a satyr; I think he might seduce a duchess and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin; if he is a man of honor in one thing, he is that in all things. He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks, that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness. The story is his adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What A Dead Woman!

The Dead Woman is the latest installment in The Dead Man series. Written by David McAfee, it's a knockout!

Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin created the series of original short novels that blend the horror of Stephen King's THE GUNSLINGER with the action/adventure of Don Pendleton's MACK BOLAN: THE EXECUTIONER...

Matthew Cahill is an ordinary man leading a simple life...until a shocking accident changes everything. Now he can see a nightmarish netherworld of unspeakable evil and horrific violence that nobody else does...

For Cahill, each day is a journey into a dark world he knows nothing about...a quest for the answers to who he is and what he has become...and a fight to save us, and his soul, from the clutches of pure evil.

In The Dead Woman, Matt finds out that he's not the only one gifted with this strange second sight. Don't miss it!