Some heroes have four legs

Got your backCanis lupus familiaris, more commonly known as the domestic dog, has been serving his master in conflict for centuries. The Romans trained huge mastiffs for battle alongside the foot soldiers. Reportedly, one Centurion handler could manage four or five of these powerful dogs with leashes gripped in both hands.

Police dogs are fairly well known, but combat dogs less frequently get mention in the media, although they play a significant role, especially in the often chaotic battle with terrorist groups that prefer to mingle with civilian populations. soldier and dog 1Special Forces have integrated exceptionally-well trained dogs into their units, fitting the canines with some sophisticated kit including body armor, cameras, and tracking combatdog 1devices. Canines will deploy by parachute (tandem jumps) or other means, right alongside the two-legged soldiers. These dogs have a reputation for being fearless and exceptionally loyal.

A significant character in Hunting Savage is a red pit bull named Diesel. In the story, we learn that Diesel was rescued from the SEAL dogHumane Society by Peter Savage, and they develop a strong bond, enduring a deadly pursuit as Peter becomes both hunter and prey. To honor the work of the Humane Society and other non-profits and individuals who tirelessly strive to reduce the suffering of our four-legged companions, I am making a donation from each book sold to the Humane Society of Central Oregon.

I enjoyed bringing Diesel to life in the story, and find dogs fascinating as they often prefer to associate with humans even over their HSCO Logoown kind. While people continually focus on what makes one group different from another (race, gender, political affiliation, heritage, social standing, the list is long), dogs seem to be indifferent to the fact that humans and canines are entirely different species. How often dogs treat people with a measure of loyalty and friendship that is lacking in human-to-human interactions.

So it is, at times when the human race does not appear to be so civilized, I think we could learn a lot from dogs. After all, we really aren’t that different.

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Two upcoming releases!

HS graphic 7Rex Tillerson and I are off to Asia—no, we will not be travelling together. But I will be in China visiting several cities over the coming few weeks and generally unavailable to post a new blog. So better to do so now.

It’s been awhile since my last update on new book releases and other writing developments, and there’s a lot going on with two new productions being readied for public release.

First, April 25 is the release of Hunting Savage, Peter Savage book #4. Steve Berry, the New York Times and International bestselling author, has this to say of Hunting Savage: “With a hero full of grit and determination, this action-packed, timely tale is required reading for any thriller aficionado.”

The plot is loosely based on the 1967 attack on the USS Liberty—a US Navy radio surveillance ship that was nearly sunk in the Mediterranean by Israeli air and naval forces. Here is a reviewer’s comment posted on Goodreads: “As we expect from author Dave Edlund, the book is a fast-paced, action-filled story rich in detail. Set both in Bend, Oregon and, most particularly, in the mountainous landscape of the Central Oregon Cascades, the book takes Savage to the brink of annihilation.HSCO logo1

A significant character is the story is a rescued Pitbull named Diesel. Without giving anything away, suffice it to say he plays a pivotal role. In recognition of the importance of pets in our lives (and dogs in particular), I’ve decided to donate 50% of author proceeds from the sale of Hunting Savage to the Humane Society of Central Oregon. So, if you purchase a copy of Hunting Savage in any format, you’ll also be helping this commendable charitable organization achieve their mission statement: “Strengthening the human-animal bond by advocating and compassionately caring for animals”.

Jonathan 3Also, Crossing Savage, the audio book, is nearing completion. You may recall from a previous blog that actor Jonathan Horvath was hired by my publisher (Light Messages) to do the reading. I’ve had the pleasure of previewing many of the chapters and I am simply amazed at the talent Mr. Horvath brings to performing the many voices of the story. Final sound editing is in progress, and I’ll be sure to post the release date for the audio book once I have that confirmed (however, I know the general target date is this Spring).

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Literacy–the importance of developing a love for reading

02E68007This guest blog is by author Susan Day. As you’ll see, she is passionate about promoting reading with children of all ages, a passion I share. It would be very difficult to overstate the importance of literacy, not just for the enjoyment factor, but as a vital skill that is essential to advancing your career and, quite simply, navigating through our modern society.

Literacy rates are declining–should authors be worried? By Susan Day

Thousands of books are published each day – perhaps more. It was recently reported that every 60 seconds Amazon earns $119,760 in sales. Now while this figure can’t be completely attributed to book sales, it does tell us something about the online bookstore’s popularity.

Nonetheless, researchers are telling us that literacy rates in children are steadily falling. Less and less children are reading for pleasure, and seem to be able to satiate their need for the written word by scrolling through screen after screen of ‘text’ on social media sites.

So, should authors be worried?

Are they creating massive amounts of content which will be ignored and literally left on03B63937 the shelf?

If you are an author and literacy rates are declining what can you do about it?

Did you read as a child?

Most authors are great readers; they were almost born reading, devouring book after book as a child, then picking up a pen and creating their own written pieces.

On the whole we know that being able to read gives us better opportunities in life. As well, good readers are more confident when it comes to seeking new lifestyles or other choices. They know how to be heard, and get want they want.

Some people who can read and write well, may not realize what an advantage they have in life.

But, as you know there is more to being able to read than just getting a good job. Reading is a pleasurable and richly rewarding pastime.

Will the children of today be reading for pleasure? Will they be picking up your books and signing up for your newsletters; waiting for your next new release?

What difference can you make?

Well, if you’ve got children or grandchildren you can start with them. If not, there are quite a few things you can do to encourage other children – your future readers – to become better readers.

When we share books with children we are creating a special bond with them, and teaching them how important reading is.

If you have children in your life buy them books as presents. Share reading times with them where you take turns reading a chapter or a page of a book. Why not take them to book festivals or visit your local library on a regular basis?

If you are an author and you don’t know children you could offer to talk about your experiences as an author to schools or put on presentations at libraries. This is easy if you are a children’s author, but if you use your imagination you will be able to find something to talk about in regards to the writing or publishing processes.

Is there a place where books are left for free to share in your community? If not, why not start one? Here is a great article that explains how this works – Mailbox Sized Libraries

Encouraging children to read shouldn’t cost you much, but the rewards are great. What the world needs is a group of passionate authors who want to ensure children, their future readers, have a similar passion for books as they did.

Albert Einstein was quoted as saying, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

12642564_10207492139329059_5557880093015858920_nSusan Day

Susan Day, children’s author and writer. Her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, is full of ideas and tips, for grandparents, parents and teachers to support children in their literacy journey. As well, Susan has created a guide for grandparents who want to build a more meaningful relationship with their grandchildren.

Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three boss cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo. And, apart from blogging, writing and reading, she loves coffee, painting and gardening.

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Crossing Savage being made into an Audio Book!

Jonathan 1Crossing Savage, the debut Peter Savage thriller, is being made into an audio book! A huge thank you to the good people at Light Messages Publishing for making this happen.

This is my first experience with the production of an audio book, and I have to say it is very exciting. A professional actor was selected to perform the reading–and I do mean perform! His name is Jonathan Horvath, and he has quite the resume as you’ll see by following the link. That’s Jonathan hard at work in the sound booth (right). He is also very personable, and we have had many conversations about the key characters in the novel, as well as accents and other voice characteristics.

What I’ve come to appreciate is that Jonathan has to convey all the emotion using only his voice. Bear in mind that when you read a novel you have clues (such as punctuation, paragraph and section breaks, and different fonts) to help you understand the emotions in whatever passage you’re reading. new-csAll of these visual clues are absent in an audio book, so the voice actor must communicate this audibly to the listener. Plus, Jonathan has several different national accents and a few regional accents to convey in the character voices as well, not to mention both male and female characters. To say he has a challenge is an understatement!

I’ve listened to several samples that Jonathan has prepared and the outcome is nothing short of fantastic. I am so anxious to listen to the final product–but there is still much work to be done. The reading alone is estimated to take about 14 hours, and then the sound engineer gets to do his/her magic. I think late Spring or early Summer the audio book will be available–stay tuned for updates!

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Interview of Central Oregon author Linda Berry

Linda BerryRecently I had the pleasure of chatting with Linda Berry over lunch at the Olive Garden in Bend, Oregon. Her debut novel, Hidden: Part 1, published by Winter Goose Publishing, will be released on January 25. Linda has an easy-going manner and quick smile. I’ve known Linda for some time, as we both sit on the board of the Central Oregon Writers Guild, where she brings professionalism, dedication, generosity, and humor to her role as Vice President and Program Director.

In which genre would you place Hidden?

Hidden is commercial fiction. It crosses the genre spectrum, combining Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, and Romance.Hidden_Flat

Please describe what the story is about, and explain why it’s in two parts.

The story deals with the difficulty Sully, a veteran, faces when returning home from combat, his attempt to make peace with his abusive father, pull his family out of economic hardship, and his quest for romantic fulfillment. These themes are layered with horse theft, murder, and the seeming futility of pursuing the love of an older woman.

The story is interwoven with that of another young man, Justin, his hardscrabble life, and his attempt to rise above poverty by climbing the ranks of bull riding. There are several strong women in the book, who are instrumental in promoting character arcs in the men, and inevitably, in themselves. As I crafted this story, the complexity of these characters and interlocking events proved to be too much for a single novel, so my publisher suggested we make it two parts.

Is it fair to say that most of your characters are deeply wounded, and searching for purpose in life?

Yes, that’s true. They all have grave emotional issues to overcome. They are the walking wounded, their pain invisible, hidden beneath their carefully arranged expressions: thus the title, Hidden.

Briefly, what led up to this book?

After 9/11, like many Americans, I witnessed our rush to invade Iraq and Afghanistan without a cohesive plan, long-term goal, or proper protection for our troops. My heart went out to the brave men and women in uniform who were being subjected to a new kind of warfare—suicide bombers and IEDs—that could take off limbs in the blink of an eye. When they came home, there were no resources for them. Twenty veterans commit suicide everyday. It’s egregious. By making my main character a vet, I could comment on the struggle vets face here on the home front.

There’s also the theme of rodeo in your story. How did that fit in?

I wanted to pay tribute to what I see as a disappearing culture—that of the cowboy, and small ranches that are being swallowed up by the increasing need to expand suburbs into rural areas. Our American heritage grew out of these tough-minded families who settled the west. I wanted to put in a time capsule the culture of folks who are their own bosses, live off the land, are raised on horseback, and are routinely taught to compete in rodeo as a coming of age. The courage and skill it takes to ride a bucking bronc or bull is extraordinary, and these athletes have fewer safeguards and economic rewards than in other professional sports.

Why did you choose Oregon as your setting?

I’m an Oregon transplant of fifteen years. I wanted to write what I know, what I’ve fallen in love with, and that’s the diverse, rugged beauty of this state, and the interesting mix of people that populate it.

Where do you write?

I write in a sunny office in my home overlooking a canal and peaceful wooded area. I live in Bend, Oregon, a resort destination town in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains.

What were your biggest learning experiences while writing Hidden?

I learned that to write authentically you have to do extensive research. That doesn’t mean let your fingers do the walking. To understand horses, I volunteered at a horse rescue, adopted a horse, met other volunteers who grew up on ranches, and milked them for information. I attended rodeos, talked to competitors, and even had the exciting experience of sitting on a badass bull (while safely restricted to a chute).

You were an award-winning copywriter and art director for twenty-five years, and worked part of that time for the film industry. Did that experience shape your decision to become a novelist?

Absolutely. I had the privilege of collaborating with talented writers and some of the best editors in the business. I love books and have been an avid reader my whole life. I wrote novels as a passionate hobby. In fact, my three novels being released this year by Winter Goose Publishing are the result of my efforts spanning a decade. Now that I’m retired, I write every day. It’s so much easier to produce good work when you can keep your train of thought moving forward, and are not constantly interrupted.

Where have you lived or traveled, and how has that influenced your writing?

My dad was in the army, so we traveled quite a bit—to Europe for six years of my childhood. In fact, my dad met my mom while stationed in Paris, and my older brother and sister were born there. My younger brother and sister were born in Germany. Being exposed to other cultures enriched my life, and gave me more experience to draw upon as a writer. We had no TV in Germany, which jump-started my voracious appetite for reading. Reading awakened my desire at an early age to capture and share the stories of my imagination.

What do you read and what writers have influenced you?

I read everything. I’m a huge consumer of the written word—newspapers, magazines, both nonfiction and fiction books. I remember falling in love as a kid with the Mary Poppins series, Gone with the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, Black Beauty. As an adult, I’ve read thousands of books, every genre. Clavell, Steinbeck, Tyler, McCarthy, Austin, Bronte, Atwood, Oates, Perry, Picoult, Walker, Morrison, Reichs—all across the board.

What is your best advice for beginning writers?

Write about something you love, then your passion will come out in your words. Write often, everyday, if possible. Read, read, read. Read everything, but mostly your own genre. I read one or two books a week, and I also watch movies and TV productions that tell good stories. I take notes. I have volumes of notes, and refer to them daily.

What’s next?

Hidden: Part 2 will come out later this year, as well as Pretty Corpse, a police thriller that takes place in San Francisco. I’m currently working on Quiet Scream, about a small town female sheriff who must outwit a serial killer, which will be released in 2018.

What were you writing before breaking out with this book?

I was a copywriter/art director for twenty-five years. To sell product, you have to have a vivid imagination, which I’ve been blessed with in ample supply. Being highly visual, and trained as a fine artist, I tend to write visually, painting stories with words. I’ve been writing fiction as a passionate hobby for years. The three books I have coming out this year are the result of efforts spanning a decade. Now that I’m retired, I write full time, and plan on putting out one novel a year.

Excerpt from Hidden, Part One

Snow started feathering the windshield as Sully pulled off the highway. With all the hay delivered, the flatbed truck was easier to navigate. He drove a half-mile up Monty’s private driveway and parked in front of the sprawling lodge-style house. Sully sat for a long moment before turning to Travis, whose tense expression matched his own. Something was wrong. Normally three or four barking dogs would have loped across the yard to greet them, and a few horses would be standing at attention in the corral. It was mid-afternoon, yet the porch and yard lights were on, and he noticed numerous sets of boot tracks in the snow traveling between the front door and the barn. That much activity was out of character with Monty’s quiet lifestyle. Sully lifted his pants leg and pulled his Ruger from its ankle holster.

Travis lifted his brows. “You’re walking around armed?”

Sully silenced him with a look. He’d been a civilian for two days. He still thought like a Marine.

With Sully in the lead, they inched along the wall of the house and up the porch to the front door. Sully dipped his head in front of the window and pulled back. A body was sprawled on the floor. He tried the door handle. Unlocked. He threw the door open and pressed himself back against the outside wall. No noise, just a smell he’d grown too familiar with in Afghanistan. Travis caught it at the same time and raised his bandana over his nose. Holding his gun straight in front of him with both hands, Sully entered the warm living room. Travis followed. They surveyed the overturned furniture, opened drawers, and books scattered across the carpet. In the middle of the floor, Monty Blanchert laid face up in a wide pool of dried blood.

Sully made a slow orbit around the room, scanning it in slices, missing nothing, and then he squatted next to the body. From the state of the corpse and the temperature in the room, he guessed the death had taken place within the last three days. The dead man’s eyes were covered by a milky film and stared sightlessly at the ceiling. Bruise marks covered his face, and his bottom lip was swollen and split. Two bullets had pierced his chest. “Jesus. Poor Monty.”

Hidden: Part 1 is now available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You may follow Linda through her web page, and also on Facebook  and Goodreads. Her Twitter handle is @lindaberry7272

 

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Holiday Greetings!

drawing1

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Hunting Savage–Advance Review Copies have arrived!

new-hs-coverAs the production of the newest Peter Savage novel progresses on schedule for release on April 25, 2017, I am very happy to have received a box full of advance review copies (or ARCs). This is always a very special moment for me–it’s the first time I lay my hands on the tangible form of the novel. Until now, the months of toiling has all been with text and images on a screen. With printed books, this is when the cover art, interior layout, and writing all comes together.

I’m also very please to share with you the following endorsement from STEVE BERRY, New York Times and #1 International bestselling author of thrillers:

“With a hero full of grit and determination, this action-packed, timely tale is required reading for any thriller aficionado.” d-plus-cover

My buddy Diesel (who provided inspiration for the canine companion in the novel) couldn’t wait to get his copy from Kobo–you see him here ready to curl up with an ARC and start reading!

Here’s the back cover blurb: When an unthinkable act of treason and a clandestine pact threaten to redraw the map of the Middle East, Peter Savage becomes both hunter and prey. A free-lance hacker uncovers top-secret files about a government cover-up surrounding the 1967 Six-Day War and triggers a murderous rampage at a resort town in Central Oregon. When the files inadvertently land in the possession of Peter Savage, he is targeted by assassins from both sides of the Atlantic and implicated in murders he didn’t commit. As the body count rises and with nowhere to turn, Savage makes a desperate decision: he draws his pursuers to the Cascade Mountains, where he plans to leverage the harsh terrain to his advantage. Doggedly trailed by both law enforcement and a small army of battle-hardened assassins, Savage becomes both hunter and prey. With his own fate uncertain, Peter Savage fights overwhelming odds to reveal the truth before full-scale war engulfs the Middle East.

Hunting Savage is listed on both Amazon and Kobo for advance order. If you are interested in providing a review on Amazon shortly after the release date (April 25, 2017) please contact me; as long as I have ARCs I am happy to send out copies for review. Cheers!

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Hunting Savage–Peter Savage Book #4

old-mill-1560x876Just finished edits on the next Peter Savage novel—book #4. The working title is Hunting Savage, and the plot is set largely in and around my hometown, Bend, Oregon. Scheduled for release in April, there is still a lot of work to do as the manuscript enters what I like to refer to as the “production phase”. The cover needs to be finalized, back cover blurb drafted, interior layout completed, and final edits made.

Advance review copies should be available in December, and I plan to get some of these out to my beta readers for early feedback. If you are interested in becoming a beta readers, please contact me.cascades-mtns-2

With much of the story unfolding in the Old Mill District of Bend, and the Cascade Mountains to the west of Bend, I wanted to share some photos. If you’re a fan of Peter Savage novels, you’ll know he lives and works in the old brick power house building with the three tall chimneys—captured in this aerial photo (above), also showing the Deschutes River. The photo to the right is of Broken Top, a key landmark in Hunting Savage.

From time to time, I’ll post updates and hints about the plot of Hunting Savage. The story revolves around secrets from 1967—the Six Day War—that powerful people want kept hidden, and the efforts of a foreign government to influence the U.S. Presidential election. Cheers!

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Kindle special pricing and release on Booktrack!

new CS and RS coversAs summer draws to an end, autumn is just around the corner and with the change in seasons, shorter and cooler days. So, what better time to curl up with a novel?

I am very pleased to share a new promotion by Amazon—the Kindle version of Crossing Savage is on special pricing at only $0.99 and the Kindle version of Relentless Savage is on special at $1.99. This is a significant reduction in pricing, and is a great opportunity for any fans of action thrillers who are new to the Peter Savage series to catch up on the first two novels.

In Crossing Savage, Peter is forced to protect his father, a professor whose research is on the brink of a revolutionary discovery that could bring widespread and cheap energy, or trigger a global war. “The first adventures of a great new character, Peter Savage. Action man par excellence, but much more than that. This is great entertainment with an eye on the planet. Someone with more than just the heat of the moment, and there’s plenty of that, going for them. The action scenes are first class, the plot keeps you grabbing for the next page, the dialogue is spot on, and the premise engrossing. Well done Mr. Edlund!” Amazon Review

Relentless Savage takes the reader to Sudan. Peter will do everything necessary to rescue his son who has been kidnapped by Janjaweed militia. What he uncovers is a monstrous evil; genetically-alterating experimentation on human subjects by a notorious and brilliant geneticist known locally as the Devil of Darfur. “RELENTLESS SAVAGE is another terrific read from the Savage series. In the vein of Dr. Michael Crighton’s JURASSIC PARK (hook em’ with a great idea and then thrill ‘em to death!) it had me hanging on tight. No-one sets up the scientific premise, and then backs it up with intelligent mayhem any better than Dave Edlund.” Amazon Reviewdownload

I am also excited to announce that Crossing Savage is now being offered by Booktrack. This is a new platform and way to enjoy your favorite novels. Booktrack synchronizes a movie-like soundtrack to the story, automatically adjusted to the reader’s individual pace. If you haven’t already experienced Booktrack, give it a try—it is amazing!

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Breaking writer’s block with a Fur Ball

Young Siberian Husky dog on black background

The winter and spring were very busy–together with my partners at Light Messages Publishing, we released Deadly Savage, and I completed drafting the fourth Peter Savage novel (working title, Hunting Savage). I planned to take a break and evaluate where my writing is, what I want to tackle next, and how to go about doing it. At the same time, I encountered a few setbacks–Relentless Savage was a finalist in two contests, but didn’t earn any awards, and Hunting Savage made it to the semi-finals of the Clive Cussler Adventure Writers Competition, but did not advance to the finals.

It was time to pick myself up and start writing again. I’ve had a pretty good idea what I want to write next–a slight move away from Peter Savage with the introduction of a female protagonist with a complicated history–but I just could not settled on how to start. For me, starting is often the most challenging part of writing. I can sit at my desk, unproductively staring at my monitor for half a day, and have very little to show for it.

So, there I was last night, still stuck with the organization of the opening chapters, when I Kealeattended the Fur Ball with my wife (she is a certified dog trainer and a co-sponsor of the annual event that benefits the Spay and Neuter Project.) With a local microbrew in my hand and the music of Bill Keale softly filtering through the timber trusses of Aspen Hall, I just let go. A remarkable peace and sensation of creativity filled by soul, and then it came to me–exactly how to structure the beginning of my next novel. I attribute this breakthrough to the music, aided by a modest amount of alcohol.

As Steven Tyler wrote “Dream until your dreams come true.” And that is exactly what I aim to do.

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