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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HUNTING SAVAGE Semifinalist in Clive Cussler Society Competiton

semifinal badge 2016 smallMy interest in action thrillers can be traced back to a winter day in 1979. I was reading a worn and tattered paperback copy of Raise the Titanic! by a little-known author named Clive Cussler. I enjoyed that story immensely, and instantly became a huge fan of Mr. Cussler–the Grand Master of Thrillers. He has authored 64 novels, and more than 20 have been NYT Bestsellers. To say his work has had a profound influence on me is an understatement. I recall more than one daydream that I could write novels and entertain readers with original adventures reminiscent of Dirk Pitt and Al Giordino. Like daydreamers everywhere, “someday” I thought.

So when the opportunity arose to submit an unpublished manuscript to the Clive Cussler Society Action Writer’s Competition, I had to do it. The timing was excellent, as I was just completing the fourth book in the Peter Savage series. Anxious, and with crossed fingers, I submitted my manuscript–HUNTING SAVAGE. The plot takes place almost entirely in rtt-usfirst-pbCentral and Eastern Oregon, not far from my home town. (I am eager to share this beautiful land with readers who have not explored the Oregon back-country.)

Then came the waiting.

A couple days ago, I received an email from the contest organizer… I’d made the cut! I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I was! Critical recognition for one’s novel is always rewarding–whether it be a fan who posts a complimentary review or a writing award. But this was special in so many ways. The competition is geared toward one genre–action thrillers. And both Clive Cussler and his son, Dirk–also an accomplished and well-known author–are involved with the event. Plus there are many brilliant thriller authors who help with the organization and judging. For me, this is like the World Cup of action thrillers.

This is only the semifinals though, with more to come. But for now I am simply overjoyed that the latest Peter Savage adventure has been recognized by this annual competition! And I can’t wait to share it with readers and fans of Peter Savage.

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What makes Peter Savage tick?

SherlockI was recently asked by two fans of the Peter Savage novels about the motivation behind the main character. Surprisingly, I wasn’t able to provide a succinct answer right away. It took about 5 minutes of discussion to provide an adequate response. You see, fictional characters are often very complex–far beyond what most readers are likely to experience through the unfolding of the plot.

In my case the protagonist, Peter Savage, is more or less an ordinary guy. He has never served in the military, he’s not a secret agent, and he really doesn’t posses any special skills (I’ll come back to this). He’s ethical and honest and wants to help others; he loves dogs as pets and is devoted to his family. This was fairly easy to invent, but then came the name. It had to be fitting, but not over used. Also, I wanted a name that I could use in the plural possessive without it being difficult to say–example, Savage’s. “Savage” is a simple, old, and strong name. “Peter” reflects simplicity and commonality.

Over the course of three books (and a fourth that is in editing), I’ve added layers to the Peter Savage character. History, friendships, education, musical preferences, favorite foods and beverages. The process of writing this is really akin to developing a friendship; it’s a gradually process, like peeling the layers of an onion. But there are deeper layers to Peter Savage and what makes him tick, and this is the truly fun part of creating characters. In particular, certain traumatic events in Peter’s history have profoundly shaped his personality. And this really is his special power, for lack of a better term. But it is a power imageswithin all of us. Peter has a singular drive to do what’s right, and when he is pushed into a corner, he will fight ferociously to prevail.

This is the exact opposite of giving up, quitting. That is something Peter simply can’t do–it would go against every essence of his being. He has drive, and a can’t-fail attitude–I’d like to think this is a trait common to top athletes and soldiers. But Peter is not an athlete or a soldier. He’s simply an average man, but he represents how one may choose to respond when the chips are down and there are no good options.

That makes for exciting adventures–and many more to come!

 

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A special offer in celebration of July 4th

1812 FortMcHenry1As we enter this holiday weekend, I wish all a happy and safe Independence Day celebration. And thanks to my good friends at Kobo Books, RELENTLESS SAVAGE and CROSSING SAVAGE are now at special pricing that has been matched by Amazon and iBooks by Apple. Plus, a heartfelt “thank you” to the fans of Peter Savage and crew–DEADLY SAVAGE (book #3) is charting well. and I hope you’ll join the discussion in the Goodreads group read in the reading group “A Good Thriller.

As we celebrate this most American of holidays (Bill Pullman in the movie ID4 notwithstanding), I want to share an observation. Despite the deep and heated political nastiness that dominates our news, we do have much to celebrate and be thankful for. One only needs to look to many other countries to quickly realize how fortunate we are.

We do not usher in a new President through the dying echo of gunshots.1812 Ft McHenry

Although we have a Congress that is woefully inadequate at passing new and meaningful legislation, our government is immune to wild swings in ideology.

We have secure Constitutional rights.

We have a Judicial Branch that has power to reign in both the Executive and Legislative Branches of government when they step over the line.

Of course, there is much room for improvement, and I am a loud and eager voice for popular movement toward the middle–favoring neither the right or left extremes in political viewpoint. In drafting our system and structure of government, the Founding Fathers of this Great Nation wisely gave us a solid foundation to weather political storms. We can ride this one out, too. And as I look to our children–the young men and women who will shape the future–I do have the utmost confidence that they will make good choices, likely better than the choices made by my generation.

Yes, indeed, we do have much to celebrate!

 

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