Friday, May 22, 2020

THE REAL BOOK SPY'S MAY 2020 ROGUE RECOMMENDATION IS...

by The Real Book Spy

What a month!

I know we’re only five months in, but I think it’s safe to say that 2020 has been the longest year ever. Like, ever.

Though it seems so insignificant when people are fighting for their lives and enduring social distancing and self-isolation, many on the thriller scene are worried about book sales and what all this will mean for the industry moving forward. Fact is, the publishing world (like every other industry) has no doubt changed due to COVID-19. To find even just one small example of how much, look no further than my May Rogue piece—yes, this one.

In preparation for this month, I actually picked two different titles that I wanted to write about, but both ended up being delayed and are now slated to come out later in the year. So, with release dates in a state of flux (some summer 2020 books have already been moved to spring of 2021), I pitched the Rogues the idea of a throwback piece that would focus on one of my favorite books from one of my very favorite writers . . . someone I had been trying to figure out how to cover on this space, but hadn’t yet been able to do because she hadn’t put a new book out since I’d partnered with the wonderful Rogue Women Writers.

In case you haven’t caught on yet, I’m talking about the Queen of spy thrillers, the brilliant New York Times bestselling author, Gayle Lynds.

Nobody writes espionage quite like Gayle, who rocked my world with her last book, The Assassins, back when it came out in 2015. Back for more action is former military intelligence operative Judd Ryder (he first appeared in The Book of Spies; 2010), who returns home to his flat in Washington, D.C., only to find an imposter posing as him. Things take a wicked turn, though, when the double is murdered and Judd witnesses the whole thing, leaving him scrambling for answers. Who wants him dead? Who was behind the hit on the double? Who else might they be going after?

Little does Judd know that, behind the scenes, a deadly game of killing is taking place as a fraternity of assassins battle it out in the shadows. Worse, whether he likes it or not, Judd’s just inadvertently stepped onto the playing field, and as the story heats up . . . it becomes clear that only one victor will emerge at the end.

With the stakes at an all-time high, Judd teams up with his former colleague and lover Eva Blake, and together the duo set out to piece things together and takeout anyone and everyone who’s hunting them before it’s too late.

As I wrote in my review five years ago, “Forget Game of Thrones, Gayle Lynds has dialed up a relentless game of spies, and it rocks from beginning to end!”

by Gayle Lynds

I’m jazzed and honored that The Real Book Spy chose The Assassins, a book I love, as this month’s Rogue Recommendation.  It’s brought back many wonderful memories — greeting the dawn after a great all-night writing session (whew!), research that took me figuratively around the globe, brainstorming with my creative and very funny husband, John, and the magical moment when a scene finally came to life.
Gayle Lynds revealing secrets.

Here’s a secret.  No one knows this.  The Assassins didn’t begin with the idea of writing about six semiretired international assassins who have a face-off that inevitably must lead to the survival of only one of them.  And it didn’t begin with my discovery that Saddam Hussein’s $40 billion fortune was missing (and is still gone, gone, gone), although it sent my writerly instincts atwitter.

The entire book was launched by a simple imaginary scene that tantalized me, and which the great Real Book Spy has (of course) zeroed in on.... 

Meet Judd Ryder, a nice guy and former military intelligence spy, slogging home on a snowy morning on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.  It’s bitter cold.  He’s tired after an all-night flight.  He spots his row house – hooray!  A shower!  His own bed!  Then he’s gobsmacked: From a half block away, he watches his front door open, and some guy backs out, pausing to lock the door.  It looks like he’s wearing Judd’s overcoat and gloves.  When the man turns around, Judd sees it’s all true – he’s not only dressed in Judd’s clothes, he’s got Judd’s face. 

(Pause here a moment, my friends.  Take it all in.  Imagine you’re arriving home and you see someone come out of your house who looks exactly like you!)

Yes, the guy’s a lookalike.  Either he was born that way (unlikely), or he’s been deliberately, professionally made to look like Judd.  In spookspeak, he’s a double.  And since the gray underbelly of international espionage and crime was Judd’s terra firma not so very long ago, that’s got to be the answer.

It’s not that we writers lack for ideas.  Take a walk, and kaboom – we get an idea.  Drift off to sleep, and a storm of ideas wakes us up.  When our imaginations start delivering ideas, a lot are dreck, or at best just, well, okay.  So when the gods smile and hand us a sparkling gem, we snatch it and don’t let go.

I’m thinking about all of this because the reviews of The Assassins kindly praised a lot of aspects of the book — the little-known clandestine world of espionage, Saddam’s hidden billions, and the assassins themselves — such interesting sociopaths and psychopaths, so disarming they’re almost good enough to take home to mom. 

But what no one knows is that Judd Ryder launched the whole thing, just because he wanted to go home, take a shower, and sleep.  Gotta love that man.

Thank you to The Real Book Spy. Have you read The Assassins yet? Tell us what you thought in the comments below. 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Piper Reynard steps off the pages of THE WIFE STALKER to go Rogue!

by Liv Constantine

Hello, I’m Piper Reynard direct from the pages of The Wife Stalker (which comes out on 5/19). I’m so excited to be here with the Rogue Women Writer’s! And although I don’t write books, I do write blogs and as an innovator who embraces new ideas and change, I consider myself a rogue woman too. I believe there is no higher calling than to share the wisdom one has acquired with others who are still lacking. I’m deeply honored to have the opportunity to share some of my tips for a healthier, more balanced life. Before we begin, I encourage you to breathe in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth. And again. Now I want you to try and connect more deeply with the words you are reading. Quiet your mind. Everything else can wait. Sit for a moment in silence. Breathe once again. Now if you’re ready, we will begin.

Today I want to focus on how you are nourishing your body. Are you optimizing each and every food choice to ensure that whatever you eat is beneficial and life-giving? As motivational speaker Jim Rohn said: “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” Satisfying your sweet tooth doesn’t have to compromise this tenant. Here are two of the many delicious recipes that will satisfy your palate while being healthful to your body.

Creamy Cauliflower & Blueberry Smoothie
by The Natural Nurturer September-28-2017

This Creamy Cauliflower & Blueberry Smoothie is loaded with tons of antioxidants, fiber, nutrients, healthy fat and protein. You’ll be totally amazed that you can’t taste the cauliflower and will adore how smooth and creamy the cauli makes your morning blend! This smoothie has become a new family breakfast staple and is especially great for getting a filling, balanced breakfast in on the craziest of mornings that will see us through until lunch.

Ingredients

· 2 cups frozen blueberries

· 1/4 cup nut butter

· 2 cups frozen cauliflower florets (you can find them in the freezer section at pretty much any grocery store)

· 2 cups unsweetened almond milk

· 1/4 cup collagen powder (optional, but great for added protein)

· 1/2-1 ripe banana (depending on how sweet you like your smoothie)

· 2 tablespoons chia seeds

· 1 cup water

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in your blender. Blend on high until smooth. Add more water a little at a time if needed to reach desired consistency. Pour into glasses and enjoy immediately.

Drool-Worthy Raw Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Ingredients 

· 1 large ripe avocado (Avocado is a great dairy-free alternative to butter)

· 5 Tbsp raw cacao powder

· 5-7 Tbsp pure maple syrup

· 1 Tbsp almond milk (or milk of your choice)

· 1 tsp vanilla powder

· 2 pinches of Himalayan pink salt (or sea salt)

· 2 Tbsp raw cacao butter (or cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil)

Gently melt the cacao butter in a heatproof bowl set over a small pan of steaming water e.g. bring the water to the boil then turn off the heat and place the bowl of cacao butter on top. This ensures the temperature of the cacao butter doesn’t go above 47ÂșC and all its antioxidants are preserved.

Place the avocado (peeled and stone removed) in a food processor along with the cacao powder, maple syrup, almond milk, vanilla, and salt and blend until smooth. Slowly add the melted cacao butter with the motor running until it is all incorporated. Spoon the mousse into serving dishes, cover, and place in the fridge to chill. To serve, crush freeze-dried raspberries over the tops and sprinkle a few raw cacao nibs. These will keep covered in the fridge for 3-4 days.
The result is an amazing tasting chocolate mousse that’s super high in nutrients and antioxidants and perfect for anyone with allergies to dairy, eggs, and gluten, or just wanting a healthier dessert option.

If you’re ever in Westport, please consider making an appointment for a wellness evaluation or yoga class at The Phoenix Recovery Center. I’d love to give you a tour and guide you on a journey of lasting change, one that will deepen and sustain resilience so that you can meet life’s challenges with mindfulness and self-compassion, growing your inner resources. Some of you may have heard rumors about me—there are always those who wish to darken the light of others. But I assure you, I am a good person and have never hurt another soul. Once you read my story, I’m sure you’ll agree. As Rilke says: “Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage.”

You can read more about my journey in The Wife Stalker.

Namaste,

Piper

The Wife Stalker Book Trailer:

Sunday, May 10, 2020

SCOTT TUROW GOES ROGUE


by Robin Burcell

          I recently had the opportunity to interview Scott Turow who will be one of the guests of honor at the Bouchercon 2020 this fall in Sacramento, and he kindly agreed to answer a few questions for the Rogues. If you’re not familiar with him or his legal thrillers, he’s a Harvard-educated attorney who still practices law (part-time these days). His most recent book, THE LAST TRIAL, will be out May 12, 2020. Per Booklist, in a starred review: 
“Turow has established the gold standard for legal thrillers for decades, and he delivers another bar-raising example of his talent here, with his signature absorbing legal details, cerebral suspense, and fascinatingly flawed characters all on full view.” 
I've been a fan or Turow's since Presumed Innocent, so am honored to present Eleven Things You Might Not Know About Scott Turow. Enjoy!

1. Which is harder: writing the first or last sentence? For me, the last, although once I have the first sentence I know the novel is on its way. The last, however, requires me to fully understand what I am writing about.

2. Where do you like to write? One of the great blessings in my life was that my high school journalism teacher, Dr. Boyd Guest, insisted that reporters needed to be able to write anywhere. No cork-lined rooms for them! As a result, I learned to write anywhere that people will leave me alone. It’s a well-known story that I wrote much of Presumed Innocent on the morning commuter train. Airplanes also suit me well. Recently the single best place to write has been my home office in the house we rent in Naples, Florida during the grey months in the midwest, where I am often at work at sunrise.

3. What do you do when you need to take a break from writing? Respond to email and play golf.

4. If you could have lived in a different time period, what would that be? Clearly some time in the future, at least 50 years forward. I’d love to look in on my grandchildren, see how we’ve handled global warming and witness the new wonders that science has brought us.

5. What's your favorite drink? Club soda at the moment. I’m trying to cut down on Coke Zero, which I also adore. Lagavulin is an indulgence for a celebratory moment.

6. When you were ten (or thereabout) years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Around ten, I first declared that I was going to be a novelist, my mother’s wished-for ambition for herself.

7. If you could do it all over, would you still become a lawyer? Without question. There is no doubt that the practice of law is an often nasty business, with plenty of strife between opponents and lots of silly economic pressures, but the law itself remains, as my character Sandy Stern would tell you, a noble profession, about deciding how the little of life (that) people can control can become fairer.

8. Do you have a literary hero? A teacher, mentor, family member, author who has inspired you to write stories? Saul Bellow, by the time I was in college, was the famous Jewish-American Chicago Novelist whose work seemed to hit home. But his life was no ideal. Dickens continues to fascinate me. About five years ago, we spent Christmas Day in his former house in London. He was an immense talent, who never forgot how hard his younger life was, and who was one of the first to recognize the enormous health risks to the poor from urban pollution.


9. Do you write what you know or what you want to know? Both, but certainly you have to start from what you think you know of life.

10. Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring writers? Yes. Write. Put your butt in a chair and do the hard work of getting words on paper. I like to say that Phil Knight of Nike stole the writer’s slogan: Just do it.

11. Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring lawyers? (My daughter is 1L, so had to ask.) Yes. The most fulfilled lawyers I know live lives where they are never remote from the core job of practicing attorneys, which is to do justice. If it becomes about only meeting deadlines or pleasing clients or making money, the law becomes a grind. If you stay in touch with the law’s larger ambitions, you can feel allied with something truly worthwhile.

Stay safe, everyone! I hope you'll leave a comment to let us all know how you're doing!

Friday, May 8, 2020

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

by Rogue Women Writers

The first Rogue Women Writers blog went live May 24, 2016. We thought it would be fun to take a look back at what each of us were reading, writing or exploring four years ago!

GAYLE LYNDS

What an exciting month May 2016 was.  No traveling, only a few appearances, but the intense and joyful quietude of research, which I love.  I dove into chatting with sources about Moscow, a Cold War secret I’d dug up, and a new energy source that might be on the drawing board somewhere.  And I ordered research books and read them.  A month of writerly pleasures!

KARNA BODMAN SMALL

Karna and Lee Child
When Gayle Lynds invited me to join Rogue Women Writers I was honored to be a part of such an accomplished group of authors.  At the time I was marketing my fourth thriller CASTLE BRAVO about the threat of an EMP (Elecro-Magnetic Pulse) attack on our country which would “fry” all of our electronics. We’d have no computers, cell phones, communication, refrigeration, sanitation, transportation…as one general described this possibility, “It would set us back to the year 1910, and don’t think our enemies aren’t looking at it.” I found this scenario so compelling, I had to write a story about a White House staffer who becomes embroiled in just such a challenge, and I gave numerous speeches to bank groups, churches, country clubs and also attended Thrillerfest in NY where I had a great time catching up with terrific writers Lee Child and John Lescroart (who I thanked for giving me blurbs for my previous thrillers).  All in all, joining the Rogues is one of the best things I have done during my writing career.

LYNNE AND VALERIE CONSTANTINE

In early May 2016 the Constantine sisters, Lynne and Valerie, made the hard decision to consign to a drawer the novel they’d worked on together for the past year––a story of friendship and redemption. It was time to move on and tell a new story. That May was spent fleshing out a story from the spark of an idea that came to us quite by accident on a long walk as we chatted about people and life. That kernel of an idea turned into THE LAST MRS. PARRISH, published the following year in November of 2017. And that’s when we became Liv Constantine.

LISA BLACK

I was not yet a member of the Rogues! But May 2016 was an exciting time for me. That Darkness, the first book in the Gardiner and Renner series and my first with my current publisher, Kensington, had just been released. By May 3 it had already gone into a third printing. My days were filled with guest blogs, social media, writing the first draft of Perish and, oh yes, the day job. In between all that my coworkers and I were tending to 17 ducklings born in the PD’s flower beds, and I went on a cruise to the Virgin Islands with my two sisters. 

K.J. HOWE

In May 2016, I was still an unpublished author, but I had sold THE FREEDOM BROKER in a two-book deal to Quercus under the Hachette umbrella. I had worked on my writing for years—there is no such thing as an overnight success in this business—and I was quite honoured that one of my literary heroes, Gayle Lynds, asked me to join the Rogue Women. I’ve learned so much in the years since, traveling the world to discuss kidnapping and my books. I’m pictured here at the Sharjah International Book Festival in the UAE being interviewed by a wonderful Nigerian book club expert. I hope the Rogues are inspiring women everywhere to write stories that matter to them. Raising a glass for our anniversary!

CHRIS GOFF
CBA Awards Finalists

Guangdong, China
May 2016 was a busy month. I was researching my second book in the Raisa Jordan thriller series, RED SKY. The book opened in Ukraine and the characters spent time in Poland, Germany and China. The year before I had spent two weeks in Eastern Europe doing research, but China had been out of reach so I was doing a lot of reading that May. We were launching Rogue Women Writers, I was up for a Colorado Book Award in the thriller category for DARK WATERS, and my sixth book in the Birdwatcher’s Mystery series, A PARLIAMENT OF OWLS, was coming out in June.

So tell us--what were you doing four years ago? 

Don't forget to register to win our overflowing gift bag by signing up for our mailing list! The drawing will be held on anniversary day, May 24!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

FANTASY HOUSES

by Lisa Black

          Admit it. We all have them.

Houses that exist only in our wildest dreams. Exotic mansions in Barbados. Cozy bungalows in Bar Harbor. Renovated lofts in Manhattan. The place we’ll live once we retire or win the lottery or dump the spouse or have an empty nest or fulfill our dream of starting a restaurant franchised in eight countries or hit the NYT Bestsellers list with a fully executed movie contract. Places we can escape to when we need a short mental vacation from real life. Places we can see ourselves, fulfilled, at peace, and truly happy.

It’s not important they be luxurious or famous. Maybe you watch HGTV 24/7 and want a four- bedroom century home you can renovate from attic to cellar. Maybe you want a boathouse in Key West that’s decorated with conch shells. Maybe your dream is a grass shack on a desert island. What’s important is that it’s you.

I have three. 


First is the castle on the seaside cliff. It’s not truly a castle, per se, just really big with high ceilings and a lot of marble. I’m not fussy about what sea it overlooks, either, as long as there’s crashing surf and winding stone steps down to the beach. My brain gets a little stuck after that, because I don’t want huge—it has to be manageable without a personal staff. Consequently I picture only the bedroom (don’t read anything into that), which faces the water with one wall completely open to a wide terrace of the type commonly seen in Disney movies. This open wall will, of course, have floor-to-ceiling sheer curtains that wave in the ocean breeze because apparently there are no bugs at my fantasy house. Or burglars.

I visit this house the least, actually.

The second is the cabin in West Virginia. It is high on a mountain and I have no idea where my nearest neighbor is, but I have good view of Hawk’s Nest State Park and the New River bridge. I have never been to the Hawk’s Nest State Park, but I have had a postcard of it pinned to my bulletin board for nearly thirty years, bought while driving through the state. My WV cabin is not huge (in all my houses, I live alone…let’s not read anything into that, either) but roomy, with a cavernous fireplace and of course a wide deck for watching the sun set over the trees. Or rise. I’m not sure in what direction the New River flows.

This is the real fantasy house, the one I really would get if I fulfilled all or most of the requirements in the first paragraph. Especially the lottery one.

The third is the ranch in Wyoming, in Absaroka County where Walt Longmire is the sheriff. This one was left to me by a long-lost uncle right as my husband walked out, so, sight unseen, I packed everything into a U-Haul and drove across seven states. It’s the smallest and simplest of the houses, one bedroom and a galley kitchen…I go back and forth on whether it has a basement. I’ve seen too many horror movies to think a lone woman in the middle of nowhere with a basement is a good idea. But I’ll need storage, so there will be a barn, a number of cats, and two German Shepherds. The place needs of a lot of work, since good old Uncle Whoever wasn’t much of a housekeeper, so that I spend the first year in total seclusion as I renovate. Then, just as the town is buzzing about the hermit lady, Walt will come by to ask my help with some fingerprints and I will finally grab a drink at the Red Pony and meet my soulmate and all-around cutie Henry Standing Bear.

The only flaw in this scenario is that, while I have a large family, I’m aware of all of my uncles and none live in Wyoming.

But a girl can dream, can’t she?

Come on, tell me—what’s your fantasy house?

Friday, May 1, 2020

ROGUE WOMEN APRIL ROUNDUP!

Here's what we Rogues talked about, researched, and revealed in April...

You either love or hate April Fool's Day. Rogue Chris Goff shares the where this day full of pranks originated. 

Rogue Karna Small Bodman asks the Rogues what they are reading to help pass the time during the pandemic.

Redeeming the time in self isolation ideas shared by Rogue Liv Constantine.

Jeffrey Wilson goes rogue and shares the challenges of writing short fiction that he has faced over the years. What do you think would be the hardest part about writing short fiction?

Do you ever daydream about fantasy houses that you'd love to live in? Rogue Lisa Black shares her top three.

To celebrate our 4th anniversary, a Rogue Reader can win a huge giveaway of books and amazing loot!

April's Rogue Recommendations is Jack Carr, and he shares exactly who and what inspired him to start writing.

From making do to making bread, Rogue Gayle Lynds showcases some good stuff about staying home.

Guest Bryan E. Robinson shares how to keep your daily writing resilience during the CO-VID19 anxiety. These tips may help you stay on track during this difficult time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

WRITING (OR TRYING TO) AND WAITING FOR SUMMER


Spring in California

 by Jamie Freveletti

I wanted to start this post with a beautiful picture of nature, because a little beauty is a balm at times. This blog is about all things writing, and I'll try to stay on point even through the current world circumstances. Like everyone else these days, I'm sheltering in place and trying to keep my mind on work, while also keeping an eye to the news of the day. Needless to say, every day is a challenge. That's why I greatly appreciated the suggestions of Bryan E. Robinson Ph.D, author of #Chill, Turn Off Your Job and Turn on Your Life, and friend of fellow writer Kim Howe, who offered some excellent advice on how to calm oneself during this crisis. You can read his suggestions in his recent guest post here.

I'm also reading the tweets and facebook posts of other authors lamenting their inability to write and it gives me some comfort knowing that I'm not alone in this affliction. Writing is, under the best of circumstances, a solitary pursuit, so one would think that this situation allows for plenty of time to crank out words. But alas, that's not the case for some of us. I have three projects that I'm juggling and the attention span for less than one, so you can imagine how things are going.

So, what am I doing besides writing my greatly reduced word count? Sifting through my stack of DVDs and books, running like mad, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and, like everyone else, waiting and hoping that this situation takes a turn for the better.

I want to thank everyone who has been contacting me about my published books, both on social media and other platforms, to tell me how much they enjoyed them. Some have had the books on their shelves for a while and just now reached them in their To Be Read pile, others have ordered them online, some checked them out from the library and some are rereading them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You brighten my day and give me the determination to keep going.

And back to those projects. My concern was that they would seem trivial under the present circumstances. That the stories wouldn't hold up under the weight of our current world predicament. I'm glad to say that they still capture my imagination. And it's interesting to see how they're morphing into a different tenor. One, a historical, went "on submission" to the editors right before the stay at home orders hit, and of the other two one is at 40,000 words and the other at 65,000 words. The average thriller is between 80,000 and 100,000, give or take, and mine usually land around 95,000, so I have a way to go on both of them. Those two are both set in present day.

Finishing them will take longer, though, and I've had to pare down other commitments to narrow my focus to the work in front of me. You'll find me on a "hiatus" of sorts, and while not exactly in a writing cave, definitely paring back. I imagine a lot of us are doing the same, no matter what our jobs and commitments.

But even so, I'm sticking with them and still tapping out the chapters that I can while waiting for summer. And if you're like me, waiting for summer and wondering what the future holds, I hope that I see you on the flip side and that you and yours weather this situation and emerge intact, happy and healthy.

All the best, 

Jamie

Sunday, April 26, 2020

STAYING CONNECTED

by: Karna Small Bodman

During these challenging times when many of us are “locked down” so to speak, we are lucky if we have the companionship of a spouse, a friend and especially a dog! In fact, in what must be “sympathy for our solitary status” our little “Cammy” figured out the best way to self-quarantine under my desk. 

However, especially at times like this, we all want to figure out the best ways not to hide, but to keep in touch. In fact, ever since the dawn of time, there’s been a yearning (and necessity) to stay connected. From smoke signals, carrier pigeons, and the telegraph, we finally were blessed with the brilliant Alexander Graham Bell, the Scottish born American scientist and engineer who invented and patented the first practical telephone. He also co-founded AT&T.


How did this brilliant man find the inspiration for an invention that changed our lives? It turns out that when he was 12 years old, his mother began to gradually lose her hearing. The boy tried to learn a manual finger language and became so preoccupied with his mother’s condition that he started to study acoustics. He first performed experiments with sound. He even trained his dog to emit certain sounds he could analyze. Finally, in 1876 he filed a patent for a telephone; the Bell Telephone Company was created in 1877 and by 1886, more than 150,000 people in the US owned a telephone. Headlines were made at the opening of the long-distance line from New York to Chicago in 1892.
Fast forward to creation of the internet and cell phones. While billions of people were now connected, over in China there was an 18-year-old young man desperately in love with a young girl who lived 10 hours away by train. He could only see her twice a year. His name was Eric Yuan. He longed to see her face, not just talk to her.” He needed a solution. When he had some ideas about creating new ways to connect, he wanted to move to America to work with software engineers here. The first time he applied for a US visa, he was rejected. It took NINE tries! He finally arrived and began working with 40 engineers to launch a new platform. But he couldn’t find ANY investors, so he borrowed money from family and friends to launch Zoom.com in 2012. Today with the coronavirus front and center, as founder and CEO, Eric has made nearly $4 billion in 3 months as conferencing skyrocketed and his company began being used by doctors offering virtual treatments, researchers collaborating on vaccines, teachers and universities conducting online classes… all of this due to the dedication of a young man whose motto is: “Hard work and stay humble.” If you haven’t signed up yet for Zoom, just go to that website and create an account – it’s FREE.

Since major conferences where we Rogues always got together were cancelled, we planned to have our own meeting…a “Retreat” at my home in Naples, Florida. But alas, travel plans had to be cancelled as well. Besides, for the first time ever, our beaches were also closed.


What to do? A Zoom conference, of course. And so we gathered and dialed in from our homes across the country --from California to Maine to talk about our novels, spreading the word about upcoming releases, inviting guest authors to write blogs for our website, analyze requests we’ve had for interviews or reviews, and so much more. But the best part of our Zoom conference was the sense of STAYING CONNECTED.


We look forward to finding ways to keep in touch with you, our friends and readers as well. Visit us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (symbols are at the top left of this page)

Now, please tell us about how you are staying connected as we move through trying times. And thanks for visiting us here at Rogue Women Writers.

Friday, April 24, 2020

AND THE ROGUE RECOMMENDATION WINNERS ARE....


Every time The Real Book Spy brings us a Rogue Recommendation, one of the Rogue Readers who comments, shares or tweets the clue and posting is entered into a drawing to win a free copy of the author's book.

The February Rogue Recommendation was Meg Gardiner for THE DARK CORNERS OF THE NIGHT, and the winner of the book is...

@HashtagSpiruli

When we notified him, he said:

“Hiyas! Currently in hardcore reading mode in the Bay Area aka shelter in place during the CoronaVirus Era. Basically, I'm an equal opportunity reader. Thrill me, kill me. Read P.Hawkins, G. Flynn, JK Rowling (as Galbraith), KJ Howe, Hanna Jameson and Kathleen Kent. I enjoy thrillers, great dialogue, and not necessarily happy endings. Anything from David Morrell to Chandler to Stephen king and Clavell, Michener, but there are so many (new ones). Into the Black Nowhere was a great page turner in the Hill Country and made me hyper click to enter the giveaway. =) When not getting lost in the pages of a book, I am a Technical Delivery Manager with Canines, a TV series Marathon addict (Breaking Bad vs The Wire: don't get me started) who loves to connect with the community and dotes on Pizza, Cashews, personal fitness, and a good drink.”

The March Rogue Recommendation was Don Bentley for WITHOUT SANCTION, and the winner of the book is..

Tom Dooley
@Duells06

When we notified him, he said:

"I like to read crime,thrillers and non-fiction the most. When I'm not reading and weather permitting I like to ride my Harley,BBQ and watch football."

The April Rogue Recommendation was Jack Carr for SAVAGE SON, and the winner of the book is...

Julie Watson
@juliewa43117224

When we notified her, she said:
“These authors wrote about my world of DC. They had the character of the hero and his posse as right on the mark. The patriotism, the brotherhood, the do or die attitude. Give it your all, sacrifice, many missed deaths, weddings, births of their kids, loss of spouses and death of their brothers in war. These writers are telling accurately the tale of these stalwart, stoic supporters of the special forces and intelligence communities. I read these authors because they tell the true story of how these unsung heroes lived and how some died.”

Congrats to all the winners! We're glad to send the books your way. We'll look forward to a review!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

DAILY WRITING RESILIENCE DURING COVID-19 ANXIETY

by K.J. Howe

          I've had the honor of calling talented psychologist Bryan Robinson my friend for many years. He's always a calm port in any storm, a supportive and kind person who offers insightful advice, no matter the problem. In these unprecedented times, it's difficult not to feel unmoored, unsettled. How do we manage to stay focused--and calm--when the world seems to be spinning off its axis? I immediately knew who I wanted to reach out to for suggestions. Meet Bryan, a regular contributor at Forbes.com, Psychology Today, and Thrive Global--and the thriller author of Limestone Gumption. 

Daily Writing Resilience During COVID-19 Anxiety 

Bryan E. Robinson, Ph.D.
by Bryan E. Robinson, Ph.D.

If you follow social media for any length of time, you might feel like going to bed and pulling the covers over your head. Long-standing research shows that chronic TV watchers and news followers have elevated fears because everything they see starts to feel like it’s happening outside their front door. The coronavirus pandemic is here. Unfortunately, some news feeds tend to exaggerate fears. One major network continues to play ominous background music as they update reports: school closings for the remainder of the year, banning social gatherings over 10 people, the stock market plunging, social distancing, travel bans, medical personnel dying.

Is your heart slamming against your rib cage yet?

I think the network producers missed their calling. They should have been thriller writers! Don’t get me wrong these are serious times, and we must take all precautions seriously. Minimizing the virus isn’t good preparation, but neither is overkill, overblown coverage and over-reactions. It’s easy to freak out when you see these drastic changes and face uncertainty. The key is to remain level-headed, sensible and avoid stressing yourself out. In some cases, panic due to the drastic changes and the unknown are traveling faster than the coronavirus itself.

What continues to get buried underneath many of the news reports is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believe the risk of COVID-19 to the American public remains low. Experts tell us that 80% of the population won’t require any or minimal medical care and that there is a high transmission rate with a low mortality rate. Still, it’s important to remain vigilant, calm, and level-headed and follow recommendations from the experts whether it’s washing your hands or wearing a mask.

The Psychology Of Uncertainty: The Sulfuric Acid For Fear

Underneath the news coverage, the psychology of our country is at stake. And as thriller writers, your personal psychology is at stake. If you’re like most people, uncertainty can cause you tremendous anxiety. In fact, I always say uncertainty is sulfuric acid for fear.

Why? Your lizard brain (or survival brain) is constantly updating your world, making judgments about what's safe and what isn't. Due to its disdain for uncertainty, your lizard brain makes up all sorts of untested stories hundreds of times a day because to the mind, uncertainty equals danger. If your brain doesn't know what’s around the corner, it can’t keep you out of harm’s way. It always assumes the worst, over-personalizes threats, and jumps to conclusions. (Your brain will do almost anything for the sake of certainty). And you’re hardwired to overestimate threats and underestimate your ability to handle them—all in the name of survival.

When certainty is questioned, your stress response goes haywire, instantly arousing your fight-or-flight response, kicking you in the ass in an attempt to spur you to action and get you to safety. Waiting for certainty can feel like torture by a million tiny cuts. Sometimes the brain prefers to know an outcome one way or another to take the edge off. Studies show that you’re calmer anticipating pain than anticipating uncertainty because pain is certain. Scientists have found that job uncertainty, for example, takes a greater toll on your health than actually losing the job. Statistics also show you're more likely to maintain the stamina to continue taking risks after a car crash than after a series of psychological setbacks. And British researchers discovered that study participants who knew for sure they would receive a painful electric shock felt calmer and less agitated than those who were told they only had a 50% chance of getting the electric shock.

The Rx: Keep Your Perspective In Check

Someone we all know and love was diagnosed with the COVID-19. Tom Hanks and wife, Rita Wilson, announced they contracted the virus while filming in Australia. Their response was calm and level headed:

“Hello, folks. Rita and I are down here in Australia. We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the coronavirus, and were found to be positive. We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no? Take care of yourselves!” The sixtyish Tom and Rita are now thriving again back at their home in Los Angeles.

Your perspective during the pandemic is the most powerful weapon you can control in a situation beyond your control. Yes, these disruptions are scary, but fear, panic, and worry are not preparation. They add insult to injury—another layer of stress that can compromise the immune system and paradoxically make you even more vulnerable to the virus. Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing singer/songwriter Rhonda Ross, daughter of icon Diana Ross, for Forbes Magazine after one of their performances. Here are her wise words about perspective during these uncertain times:
“It’s all about my perspective and what I have control over? I have control of how I see it, how much I focus on it, how much energy and time I give to it, how much mental space I give to it. I can’t stop a global virus. I can be stressed or scared or tense about it, which will only hurt me in terms of high blood pressure or depression and other mental and physical problems. Or I can look at the parts of it that are not as scary like how many people have recovered from it. And I can do the things in my life that help me feel in control or give me back my power. I can wipe down the phone, keep my hands clean, I can keep my immunity up. I can get sleep and drink water and make sure I’m not running myself ragged. One of the things that gives me power and control is to not think about what’s going to happen two weeks or six months from now because no one knows. I can focus in the now, be present and know that for right now I’m healthy and safe.”
Yes, things are going to be different, but ask yourself if it’s the virus that scares you or the drastic changes, the uncontrollable and uncertainty that scare you. Meanwhile, once we stay informed and follow what the experts tell us, our best ally is to find the opportunity in the difficulty, the upside to a downside situation beyond our control, and stay in the present moment. Find something you can control whether it’s cleaning out your basement or doing an act of kindness for someone else. And make the best of an inevitable situation one step at a time—just as the “Hanxes” did.

My warmest wishes to all of my fellow writers, especially you rogue writers, as you protect your well-being so you continue to being well.

Thank you, Bryan. Deeply appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to offer these insights. Readers, what changes in your life during the COVID crisis trouble you the most and how are you coping?

Sunday, April 19, 2020

CELEBRATE OUR 4TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY GIVEAWAY!

Rogue Women Writers are celebrating their fourth anniversary on May 18! To mark the occasion we have put together a huge giveaway bundle for one of our loyal Rogue followers to stay positive and enjoy their summer’s ‘staycation’!

Drawing includes:

Signed copies of:
  • THE LAST MRS. PARISH by Liv Constantine
  • DARK WATERS by Chris Goff
  • SKYJACK by K.J. Howe
  • THE BONE CHAMBER by Robin Burcell
  • THE KILL ORDER by Robin Burcell
  • MASQUERADE by Gayle Lynds 
  • BLOOD RUN by Jamie Freveletti
  • SUFFER THE CHILDREN by Lisa Black
  • TRUST BUT VERIFY by Karna Bodman 
Plus all this swag! 
  • Soup Can Safe
  • Rogue Women Writers coffee mug
  • Rogue Women Writers baseball hat
  • A set of Invisible Ink pens
  • “And off she went to change the world” bag
  • Book-reading rubber duckie and a spring bunny
  • K.J. Howe luggage tag 
  • Liv Constantine diamond-shaped pin
  • Laser snorkel torch
  • A set of CIA fun stickers
  • UR Strong magnetic bookmark
  • Caution: Crime Scene lanyard
And a Bottle Breacher bottle opener with RWW logo, hand crafted from decommissioned 50 caliber rounds by Active Duty service members and Veterans.

All in a beach bag tote that unzips to a beach mat!

To enter: TYPE YOUR EMAIL in the box on the sidebar so you can receive our blog, then VERIFY your signup when you receive your opt-in email.

From then on, you'll never miss any of our stories about our lives and adventures.

IMPORTANT: If you've ALREADY signed up to receive the blog by email, YOU ARE NOW ENTERED into the drawing.

Drawing will be held May 24 and winner will be contacted. Good Luck and welcome aboard! JOIN THE CELEBRATION.

Friday, April 17, 2020

THE REAL BOOK SPY'S APRIL 2020 ROGUE RECOMMENDATION IS...

by The Real Book Spy

For two years—ever since his lights-out debut novel, The Terminal List (2018)—I’ve been telling everyone who will listen that Jack Carr is the next big star of the thriller genre . . .

And I stand by that now more than ever.

Whereas most authors in the genre stick to a type of “branded book” after tasting success, Carr tossed out the rulebook and has forged his own path. Each of his first three books are all very different. Make no mistake, they’re all very much part of a series and star James Reece in the leading role, but each title has its own theme. The Terminal List was all about revenge, while his second book, True Believer (2019), dealt with the idea of redemption, and what that might look for in a guy like Reece.



SAVAGE SON, though, is just that—savage—and deals with the darkness and evil man is capable of.

Falling somewhere between Richard Connell’s The Most Dangerous Game and David Morrell’s First Blood, Carr’s latest novel follows Reece as he’s pulled into a twisted game of human hunting, forcing him to go toe-to-toe with a former operator who’s taken to killing people for sport. It’s the ultimate showdown of Hunter vs. Hunted, and Carr delivers in a big way with another up-all-night reading experience.

A former Navy SEAL (just like his character), Carr brings plenty of been-there-done-that authenticity to his hard-hitting thrillers, but he also excels at coming up with creative storylines, forcing Reece into situations that’ll test him in more ways than he can imagine, and Savage Son is no exception. Even more than his last two books, Reece finds himself surrounded by danger with little to no room for error. One mistake could be the difference between life and death, and that tension helps make Savage Son the rare type of book that could be read over and over again.

For my money, Jack Carr is the next Vince Flynn or Brad Thor, and if you enjoy either of those guys, you’ll absolutely love this book.

by Jack Carr

Jack Carr
I was, and remain, a student of war and of the hunt. Experiences in combat and in the backcountry helped shape me into the citizen, husband, father and writer I am today. The one has made me better at the other. I suspect it has always been this way. It is the feelings and emotions from those most primal of endeavors, coupled with a reading experience from my youth that form the foundation of my third novel, Savage Son.

I was first introduced to Richard Connell’s masterpiece, The Most Dangerous Game, in junior high school. Connell, a veteran of World War I, published his most celebrated short story in Collier’s Weekly in 1924. Upon that initial reading, I was determined to one day write a modern thriller that paid tribute to this classic tale, exploring the dynamic between hunter and hunted.

Providing for and defending my family and country are hardwired into my DNA. Perhaps that is why The Most Dangerous Game resonated with me at such an early age, or maybe those primal impulses are in all of us which is why Richard Connell’s narrative continues to endure almost a century after it was first published.

Fast forward thirty years. As I prepared to leave the SEAL Teams, I laid out all my ideas for what was to become my first novel, The Terminal List. The plot for Savage Son was among several of the storylines I was contemplating as I decided how to introduce the world to James Reece. For that first outing, I knew my protagonist was not yet ready for what I had in store. I needed to develop him through a journey, first of revenge and then of redemption, before I could explore the dark side of man through the dynamic of hunter and hunted via the medium of the modern political thriller. Is James Reece a warrior, a hunter, a killer? Perhaps all three?

One of the most intriguing passages in The Most Dangerous Game is this exchange between the protagonist, Sanger Rainsford, and the antagonist, General Zaroff, where the central theme of the narrative is revealed:
“I wanted the ideal animal to hunt,” explained the general. “So I said, ‘What are the attributes of an ideal quarry?’ And the answer was, of course, ‘It must have courage, cunning, and, above all, it must be able to reason.’”
“But no animal can reason,” objected Rainsford.
“My dear fellow,” said the general, “there is one that can.”
It is this most ancient and primal of contests I set out to explore in Savage Son.

Jack Carr
As a student of the genre I am indebted to all those who, unbeknownst to them, were my early professors in the art of storytelling. In addition to The Most Dangerous Game, readers will recognize the inspiration of Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male, David Morrell’s First Blood, and Louis L’Amour’s Last of the Breed. It is with great humility that I stand on the shoulders of these giants who all moved the genre forward through their dedication to the craft. I see it as my responsibility to them and to readers to not only improve with each and every project but to carry both the odyssey of Navy SEAL sniper James Reece and the genre, forward.

Jack Carr is an author and former Navy SEAL sniper. He lives with his wife and three children in Park City, Utah. He is the author of The Terminal ListTrue Believer, and Savage Son. Visit him at OfficialJackCarr.com and follow along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at @JackCarrUSA.

Thank you to The Real Book Spy and Jack Carr. We hope you enjoy this great pick!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

WHAT TIMES WE LIVE IN! But what d'you do if you're peed on?

In World War II, innovation in style ruled!
by Gayle Lynds

I’m proud to be a human being.  I like that whether we’re authors or food servers or teachers or business folks, we have a crazy (as in, crazy like a fox) drive not only to survive but to use what we have at hand to make things a bit better. Or easier. Or even fun.
  
I have fond memories of my mother in the early 1950s when we had little money (it wasn’t until decades later that we had some money) drawing lines up the backs of her long legs with an eyebrow pencil to mimic the seams on hosiery, which well-dressed women were expected to wear when they went out.

There was no money for hosiery, but a single eyebrow pencil could decorate the eyebrows, the eyes, and the backs of legs. A bargain. And dancing ensued.

Then there was the time Mom brought home a roll of aluminum foil, which I’d never seen before. Giving the whole thing to me, she showed me how to crinkle it, fold it, cut it, and make shapes with it. What a fabulous toy.
   
With great parental wisdom, she left me alone to create people the size of paper dolls and a boat for them to sail in, and a crown for me to wear. She took me outside, crown firmly on my head, and set me down at the base of our buckeye tree where she arranged my creations around me. Finally, despite my protests, she put my baby sister in my lap. I’d had experience with my sister and knew this was a dangerous (for me) situation.

Britain's National Bread was a staple of World War II
But mom was all smiles and pride as she took a photo. I, however, screamed. My sister had wet her diaper right through to my summer dress.  Mom gave me a lot of sympathy and a clean sundress. As I learned that day, life would go on.

Now in my old(er) age I feel a lot of pride in how so many of us around the world are pulling together to feed, clothe, house, educate, and support one another in numerous ways. These commonsense acts of humanity help to abate the horror and the worry of our times.

One of the latest contributions I find personally wonderful is the revival of Britain's National Loaf, created in 1942. “As politicians invoke memories of World War II’s ‘Blitz Spirit,’ some of the nation’s bakers are taking a more direct cue from history,” according to NBC News. The National Loaf is “a nutrient-dense whole wheat bread. Today, as was the case back then, a scarcity of ingredients and a concern for public health are challenging the culinary status quo.” And darker bread is better for us, too.
    
Since I grew up smelling the delicious aroma of my mother’s homemade bread baking in the oven, just reading about the National Loaf brought back wonderful memories.
Disney is keeping the magic alive with classic recipes


At the other end of the food spectrum is dessert. Restaurants, stores, and food companies are revealing special recipes and donating cartons and crates of eaters’ favorites.

“The parks may be closed, but Disney has been unveiling special surprises since social distancing measures were introduced,” says People magazine.

Recently, Disney shared the recipe for its famous fan-fave frozen nondairy Dole Whip, made with only three ingredients that you may already have stocked for quarantine. It's easy to make, and a sweet way to relieve those quarantine blues.

How's life for you these days, dear Rogue Reader?  Please share your thoughts and experiences.  We'd love to know!