Big Launch for ‘A Still, Small Voice’

A Still, Small VoicePhil Brennan mystery #2, A Still, Small Voice, will be published before year end. After the 1st of the year I’m going to go on a blog tour, writing short custom pieces for a handful of bloggers who’d be a good fit for my style of writing. There will be lots of free copies of the digital version and as many other surprises as I can muster.

If you are, or know of, a blog that would be a good fit, please let me know either in the comments or by email to if you’d be so kind.

More to Come

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Help Me Succeed as an Author

Short and sweet: would you consider sharing my “books” page with a friend?

Just copy this link

and send it to them with something like Joel’s books are mysteries that are more about people than puzzles. Here’s his blog, and if you sign up for his newsletter you get TWO free books. How cool is that? Also, he sends you a personal, handwritten welcome note. Also he’s funny.

Or perhaps you’ll find your own wording.

More fans leads to more income as a writer which leads to more writing, which means, you guessed it, more books for you.

Thank you.

Left Coast Crime: Why it’s not for me

I try to keep this blog on the topic of my books, and not the business of selling them. This post is a long commentary on why I’m glad I went to Left Coast Crime in Phoenix, and why I won’t be going again. If that’s not exciting to you, I’ll see you Friday when I get back to some kind of blogging schedule.

As I noted earlier, the short version: glad I did it, wouldn’t do it again.

My first writing conference, so perhaps my expectations weren’t realistic. I was looking for either opportunities to make fans, or information about writing craft. Neither happened.

This conference is designed for fans to meet and listen to their favorite authors. They did give me a 20-minute session in a side room, attended by 3 people. Fun, but not productive.

conferenceLike every convention there were opportunities for people to drink and mingle. I spent the d&m time with my wife instead. (More on that below.)

I heard some interesting panels. But if I’d formulated specific questions and gone looking for the answers I would have found them on the Internet. There is always a certain undefinable emotional benefit to being surrounded by 300 authors and 400 mystery fans, but it’s not worth the $300 conference price to me. (I stayed with friends in Phoenix so I spent $70 in gas and parking rather than $555 for the “convention special” hotel rate.

… more … “Left Coast Crime: Why it’s not for me”

Authors Starving in China

sproutsIf you’re old enough, you remember a scene, whether in real life or on TV, of a parent telling their food-fussy child “Eat your sprouts; there are children starving in China!”

(If only the kids could send their Brussel sprouts to China. But I digress.)

Do hungry children in another land make it more important for your kids to eat well? Perhaps there’s a thin, very thin, connection with showing appreciation that we don’t go wanting. Try telling that to a kid facing a pile of Brussel sprouts.

How often have you heard an author decry the lack of quality in self-published books, saying that lack of quality hurts us all?

Let’s mull this over, shall we?

… more … “Authors Starving in China”

A Long, Hard Look is All Yours

A Long Hard LookIt’s been almost 6 weeks since that last post; long overdue.

A Long, Hard Look is ready, as you can see from the sidebar on the left.

Get it in paperback from me or Amazon or get the Kindle version or any other digital version. Help yourself.

Practical Advice from ‘Losing My Virginity’ by Richard Branson (An Actionable Books summary)

“Conventionally, you concentrate on narrow boundaries when running a company. Not only do I find that restrictive I also think that it’s dangerous.”

Losing My Virginity, page 409

I was astonished to discover that this 600-page book could be boiled down to a handful of business principles. A separate lesson all its own, you’ll realize as you read Losing My Virginity that Richard Branson, rebel that he is, rebels in a consistent and predictable manner.

Raised by parents who constantly challenged him, beaten down by teachers who were clueless about his learning disabilities, Branson’s youth gave him a balance of determination and joy. His businesses have all been an extension of his personality. While it’s easy to dismiss advice like “have fun, be creative, follow your dreams” as new-age nonsense, it’s hard to argue with the success of the man who has launched more billion-dollar businesses than anyone in history.

Because his success is, not just well-known, but the stuff of legend, I’ll include more extensive quotes than usual, and keep my comments to a minimum. He can speak for himself.

Here’s what you’ll learn: … more … “Practical Advice from ‘Losing My Virginity’ by Richard Branson (An Actionable Books summary)”

Practical Advice from ‘Why Business People Speak Like Idiots’ by Brian Fugere (An Actionable Books summary)

“Bull has become the language of business.”

Why Business People Speak Like Idiots, page 2

Every single one of us can tell the difference between human communication and business communication—when we’re reading. For some reason, when we’re writing, we lose our minds.

The best books on change are written, not by folks who never had to learn, but by those who’ve “been there” and wish they hadn’t done that. Brian Fugere, Chelsea Hardaway and Jon Warshawsky – authors of Why Business People Speak Like Idiots – all worked at Deloitte Consulting, committing the very crimes outlined in this book when one day they woke up and smelled the, er, aroma of what they were saying in their professional writing. After creating software (called Bullfighter) to help them monitor their own writing, they gathered what they learned, verified their thinking with a little informal research, and identified the four main reasons business people speak like idiots—and how not to.

Fugere and company describe four “traps” that business people can fall into with their writing. In each case, they speak to how someone falls into the trap, give examples, and offer clear advice on how to avoid the trap in the future. In case the title of the book doesn’t make this obvious, every lesson is delivered with humour in clear, simple language.

Why business people speak like idiots is a fun read; educational without being too dense.

Here’s what you’ll learn: … more … “Practical Advice from ‘Why Business People Speak Like Idiots’ by Brian Fugere (An Actionable Books summary)”

Practical Advice from ‘Smart Trust’ by Stephen M. R. Covey (An Actionable Books summary)

“In today’s networked world, trust has become the new currency.”

Smart Trust, page xxiii

Would you loan me $20?

Unless you know me personally, probably not.

When you buy a book at, do you take the great deal offered by BrandNewSeller#37 and get a “like new” used copy for half price, or do you pay full price to get it from Amazon?

Take a look at Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Chart the gross domestic product of each nation, and note the near-perfect correlation between trust to prosperity, worldwide.

From individuals to companies to entire nations, trust affects not only how we do business, but how much business we do. If we are perceived to be trustworthy, business is streamlined. There’s less muss and fuss when both players trust. Warren Buffett has closed multimillion dollar deals on, literally, a handshake, because there was trust on both sides.

Introduced in his first book The Speed of Trust, Covey’s concept of “smart trust” aims to help us find a human and rational balance between our innate desire to trust and our learned fear of being taken for a ride and then asked to pay the fare.

Here’s what you’ll learn: … more … “Practical Advice from ‘Smart Trust’ by Stephen M. R. Covey (An Actionable Books summary)”

Practical Advice from ‘Make Your Idea Matter’ by Bernadette Jiwa (An Actionable Books summary)

“Ideas are formed in the mind but triumph in the heart.”

Make Your Idea Matter, page 7

Ever since I read Seth Godin’s All Marketers Are Liars I’ve been looking for practical advice on how to tell my story better in business.

I learned more in a 20-minute chat with Bernadette Jiwa than the rest of last year. Now, you can get an entire hour of Bernadette, three to five minutes at a time.

While each bit of Make Your Idea Matter stands alone, they add up to a clear vision of personal connection as your best marketing strategy.

Here’s what you’ll learn: … more … “Practical Advice from ‘Make Your Idea Matter’ by Bernadette Jiwa (An Actionable Books summary)”

Why Yard Sales Are Named Wrong (And What That Means to You)

I love yard sales and garage sales. I avoided them during my life as a nomad, carrying everything we owned everywhere we went, but they still tugged at me. Now that we’ve settled (for a while) I’m itching to get out and find some beautiful wood furniture on the cheap, and maybe an old book I can rebind.

Yard sales have been corrupted by business thinking and the wrong why.

yard sales are named for the wrong why
… more … “Why Yard Sales Are Named Wrong (And What That Means to You)”

Make Your Idea Matter: Stand out with a better story – New book by Bernadette Jiwa

Bernadette JiwaI first met Bernadette Jiwa in Seth Godin’s Triiibes network. While it was obvious she was both smart and funny, what struck me was her balance of kindness and passion. I’ve rarely met anyone who can match me in the passion department. Bernadette is one of them.

Like everyone I know (and I mean that in the best possible way) she’s written a book. It’s called Make Your Idea Matter and it will teach you the power and value of telling your story in your business. I’ve worked with her, and I cannot wait to get my hands on my autographed copy.

You should go get it right now. Kindle or paperback (or, if you happen to know someone very special in Oz, maybe an autographed first edition, eh?)