First Impressions: Cover Designs

Winter finally came a knocking here in Colorado, after a warm and dry last couple of months. Chilly temps and snow have made January feel like…January normally does. We even had our first decent sized snowstorm of the year, with about 8 inches, though it was more of the wet spring like the snow we normally get in March and April.

After six weeks of winter break, our daughter Dakota is back hard at work at the University of Wyoming. While at home she learned she made the Freshman Honor Roll after the first semester, which they say only a small percentage of freshman accomplish. We are proud of her, though she knows this next semester she’ll be challenged even more, with Calculus on her schedule! Though she does love math and is looking forward to it.

Last month I talked about being unhappy with the original Bubble Gum cover, recently updating it, with a much more dynamic cover that is getting lots of positive feedback. For the next book in the Jarvis Mann PI series, Tracking A Shadow, I had strong ideas of how I wanted it to look. Since the cover is what people see first, I wanted to provide an eye-catching first impression for the first novel in the series. After some research, I came up with a book designer who I worked with for this project, Victoria Robinson. I knew I wanted a somewhat menacing cover, keeping with the storyline of a woman being stalked, but leaving the culprit in the shadows since we don’t know who the stalker is until late in the story. Going through the process, she created several options off of the idea I provided of what I was looking for and we worked from there. I will share a couple of covers that didn’t make the grade, but actually, I thought weren’t bad. Here they are:

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There were a couple different versions of the first one, most of which I liked quite a bit. The second one had a black & white noir feel to it, which also was appealing. Tough choices on both, but not quite as good as the final cover.

Then there were some that I didn’t like at all. Here are two of them:

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As you can see both of these were too graphic for what I was looking for. This wasn’t a horror book, but a mystery/private detective novel in the classic sense. Which lead me to the cover I have today:

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The sultry client, with the shadowy figure in the background looking menacing. A little bit Hitchcockian in the style. Feedback was positive on the cover and the book. Being the first full novel in the series, Tracking A Shadow hit the top ten on a couple of Amazon’s bestseller lists. And is available on Amazon in ebook, paperback and on Kindle Unlimited. Check it out and find out why reviewers proclaimed:

“Tracking a Shadow is part classic private investigator novel and part contemporary mystery”

“This was a humorous suspenseful tale about sex, money, power and greed”

“A remarkable plot sidelined with superlative characters contribute to the ambiguous shadow”

I’ve been hard at work finishing the editing of the next Jarvis Mann PI book, Mann in the Crossfire. Over the next week, I’ll be slowly revealing the new cover for the book on my website, Facebook and Twitter. Below you’ll see the first reveal. Not sure if you can make out much, but we’ll unblur sections at a time. Be sure to watch for it and let me know what you think. I’m pretty jazzed about this cover!

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Continuing to talk about covers, I’ve heard from Amazon KDP support that they don’t consider my newly designed cover change of The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card, as being significant enough for the update to be pushed out automatically. I argued with them that a cover change is as big a change as you can have for a book, but they won’t budge. So if you received Bubble Gum before the release of the new cover, you have to manually request this update through your Amazon Account. Here are the instructions  they sent me on how to do this:

Go to this link on your Amazon page. In the search window type the same of the book, in this situation The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card. Under Action click the box with the ellipsis. Next to “Deliver To” click “Others”. Click the drop-down under “Devices Selected” and check the box of all the Kindle devices you want updated, and then click Deliver.

To be honest I’ve had varying success in getting this to work. Sometimes I’ve had to delete the book first from the device and then do these steps. Even then it hasn’t always worked. Unfortunately, according to Amazon, this is the only way to get the newer version, which is a bit aggravating. I’ll continue to pester their support to correct the problem. Hopefully, they will make this process easier for future updates.

On Monday, February 4th I will be at the Elizabeth Library in Elizabeth Colorado for an Author Talks At Your Library session, where I will talk with guests about myself, my books, Jarvis and answer questions. Afterward, I will be meeting with people interested in buying any of my paperbacks. This will run from 6PM to 8PM. With any luck, we’ll have good weather for this event and a large turnout. If you live in the area be sure to stop on in.

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There are several more Prolific Works giveaways this month, with The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card and other Mystery/Thriller/Suspense books free to download. The Cozy-est Mysteries runs until January 31st and includes 37 books in all. Click this link. Next, there’s the Criminally Good Reads Giveaway with 38 books running until February 6th. Check it out via this link. Then the Discover New Mystery Series which runs until March 30th, with all 51 books being the first book in a series. Try this link to see all the books available for free. Then there’s the Winter Giveaway with 18 books available until January 31st via this link. And then finally the Thriller & Mystery Giveaway which also ends on January 31st and features 82 books. Use this link to access them. Hurry up and check out all of these free books to add to your eReaders, as several expire soon.

I will wrap up this newsletter for now. Next month I will again talk about covers, this time for Twice As Fatal and share some that didn’t make the final cut. And I will have more news about the next Jarvis Mann PI book, including a preview of this exciting new Detective Mystery Thriller. Thanks again for reading and be sure to share the newsletter with your friends. Have a wonderful rest of your week!

R Weir

 

The Book Cover Evolution

Christmas and New Year’s has come and gone, and we in the Weir family are no worse for the wear. Our daughter Dakota came home from college for the holidays, a long 6 week break for her, which she is enjoying. We’re all happy she is home, especially our dog Emma who has been running down to the basement while she’s been gone, searching for her. I hope everyone got to rip open lots of wrapping paper and popped a cork or two on a bottle of bubbly, before returning to the day to day grind.

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2018 was a great year for me when it came to my books. I released The Front Range Butcher to wonderful reviews and sales, got to meet lot’s of current and future fans at various events while selling lots of paperbacks. Thanks to everyone who supported me this past year by purchasing my books. And a big shout out to my family, especially my wife Kim, for supporting me on my author journey. I expect 2019 to be even better!

Over the next few newsletters, I’m going to discuss the covers for my books and how I work through the design process. From the contest I ran last year, I asked readers about what they look for when searching for new books. Book covers was a common answer, the design luring them into checking out the blurb, especially for a writer whose works they’ve not read. For my first short story in the Jarvis Mann Detective series, I had to be conservative on costs and a friend offered to design the cover for free. Being my first book, I wasn’t certain what I wanted in a cover that fit the story of Jarvis helping a young man track down a stolen baseball card. When the cover first was made, she had a picture of her nephew in a baseball uniform blowing a bubble. Early reactions to the cover, with his dirty face, were negative, thinking the boy looked as if he’d been beaten up. I got her to remove the dirt from his face, and the cover was finished. Released in 2014, The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card got good reviews, but many didn’t like the cover. Over time I saw this as an issue, especially as the series grew, even though the book did reach number 1 twice on a couple of Amazon short story bestseller lists. After much internal debate on what I wanted, I recently sent an idea to my current graphic designer on making a whole new cover. With her skills, she created a wonderful design, that is one of the best covers I’ve ever put out and I’m revealing now.

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What do you think? In my mind, this captures the story perfectly and makes for a great beginning in the Jarvis Mann series. And the ebook is still free on all major ebook retailers via this universal link. If you already have the ebook, you should get an updated version including the cover to download to your ebook readers. And as a bonus, you will get the first two chapters of the first novel in the series, Tracking A Shadow, to read and decide if you want to explore more of Jarvis’ adventures.

Speaking of Tracking A Shadow, I decided to make this ebook exclusive on Amazon, which is true of all the other books, other than Bubble Gum. This means it is now available on Kindle Unlimited for those who subscribe to this service. This was a tough decision,  but I wasn’t selling many copies of Tracking A Shadow on any of the other retailers, and I do get a lot of Kindle Unlimited reads on all of my other books. Be sure to check out Tracking A Shadow on Amazon, in either eBook, Paperback or on Kindle Unlimited.

If you recall last month I ran a 99 cent promo for my latest novel, The Front Range Butcher. Sales were wonderful, as the book cracked the top ten on Amazon’s Hard-boiled bestseller list, as well as top 20 on two others. If you were one of those who purchased The Front Range Butcher and has read it, be sure to let me know what you thought. Posting a review on Amazon, Goodreads and BookBub would be appreciated. Reviews are figured into book ranking algorithms, especially on Amazon. If you have some Amazon gift card money, you can pick up The Front Range Butcher and the other books in the Jarvis Mann PI series on Amazon. Here is my Amazon Author link with a list of all the books.

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I had a wonderful time at all of the holiday craft fairs and sold a bunch of paperback books. The best part is talking with book lovers and telling them about my characters and stories. I plan on doing many other events in 2019, some here in Colorado including a couple at local libraries and a few others around the country. On the right side of the newsletter, you will always see a list of upcoming events I have scheduled. If you are aware of other events or maybe are hosting an author event, I would love to hear about them. Drop me an email and I will see if it fits my schedule.

I have some new changes to the website, as my cover designer, who also designed my website, created some new banners which are now live. Along with that, she has completed the cover for the next Jarvis Mann book, Mann in the Crossfire, the story still in the hands of my editor. We’re looking at a release first quarter of 2019 and I will have more news on this book, the book blurb and some teasers on the covers in future newsletters.

With the new year comes more Prolific Works giveaways of free Mystery/Thriller/Suspense ebooks. The Cozy-est Mysteries is still running, with 37 books in all, including The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card. The giveaway runs until Jan 31st, so check it out via this link.

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Criminally Good Reads – Mystery & Thriller Giveaway begins Jan 6th and runs until Feb 6th, with 26 books for you to check out and download for free. Access those books via this link.

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That is all for this month. Next month I should have more news on the next book and I’ll talk about the cover design process I went through for Tracking A Shadow, including a couple of covers that didn’t make the final cut. Thanks again for reading this newsletter and my books. Be sure to spread the word with your reading friends. Have a joyous rest of your week and a prosperous 2019!!

R Weir

 

 

 

And the Winners Are…

The holiday season is upon us, the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals over, though the battle to get your holiday dollars continues. Did everyone survive without going too far into debt? Our family does a lot of online shopping these days, not wanting to deal with the crushing crowds. We did stop by a couple of stores on Friday and Saturday, to get a few presents not easily found online. Much of our Xmas shopping is now completed, which is fun until the bill comes due. Have you finished your holiday shopping or are you one who likes to wait until the last minute?

If you still have presents to purchase, don’t forget about the book lovers amongst your friends and family. Look for those gems out there in the indie author world. The Patterson’s and Rowling’s of the world aren’t starving artists, with their multi-million dollar advances. Indie authors make small profits on their books, many times a dollar or two for each sale, after spending endless hours writing and editing, then having to shell out money for cover designs, editors/proofreaders and paying for the marketing of their books. To truly break even they must sell in volume. If you love an indie author, buy their books, tell all your friends, shout out about them via social media and leave reviews, especially on Amazon. Word of mouth can build those sales and make for a happy holiday for the struggling indie author.

Speaking of which, if you enjoyed my work please take a minute to do all I mentioned above about my Jarvis Mann PI series. All of my books are fairly priced, a bargain compared to the big authors via the major publishers. There are 7 books in the series, the first free on all major eBook retailers. And the second free for those who sign-up for my newsletter. While the rest run from $2.99 to $5.99. Check out all of my books on Amazon or via my website. If you’d like a signed copy of any of my paperbacks, contact me and we can work out a fair deal where I can ship them to you or to a friend. A book signed by the author makes a wonderful gift.

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Speaking of pennies on the dollar, the ebook version of my latest novel, The Front Range Butcher, will be 99 cents from (today) November 30th until the end of day December 6th. That is right, I said 99 cents for the ebook which is normally priced at $5.99. My version of a Black Friday deal which will last for seven days. A dollar well spent to read a riveting mystery thriller, one where reviewers proclaim:

“WOW! R. Weir as brought his characters to life in this story.”

“R. Weir has outdone himself with his newest novel”

“This is an action novel like none I have read”

“The mystery was masterfully written”

Get The Front Range Butcher via this link for 99 cents only from November 30th thru the end of day December 6th. And be sure to share this outstanding deal with all your friends.

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A quick reminder on the final two Craft Fairs I will be doing these next two weeks. The first is at Grandview High School in Aurora Colorado on December 1st from 9AM-3PM. Be sure to stop by and say hello as I will have all of my paperbacks available to purchase and to sign.

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Then on December 8th, I will be at Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver for their 30th annual TJ’s 2018 Art Fest & Book Sale which runs from 9AM-4PM. This will be the first year at this event and I hope to meet lots of eager readers looking for gifts for the holiday. As bonus, there will be several other local area authors at this event selling and signing their books.

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Speaking of bargains on ebooks, I have more Prolific Works giveaways to tell you about. First, there is the Forgotten Files Mystery & Thriller Group Giveaway with 34 books in all, including my first Jarvis Mann PI novel, Tracking A Shadow. These free books will be available until December 9th. You can check all the choices via this link.

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Next is the Mystery Thriller Holiday Reads with 45 books available, again including Tracking A Shadow. This giveaway begins today, November 30th and ends on December 31st. Check out all the books via this link.

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And finally, if you are a fan of cozy mysteries, you can check out The Cozy-est Mysteries giveaway with 52 free books, including my first Jarvis Mann PI short story, The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card. The giveaway is live now and runs through December 31st. Check out the stories via this link.

In my last two newsletters, I ran a contest, asking questions of readers on what they look for in a book and who their favorite authors are. From those responses I’ve picked 4 winners who I’ve emailed about receiving their prizes. Here are some of the answers I received to my questions:

I like books that catch me from the first page, has interesting characters and surprising endings.

What grabs me lots of times first is the cover, including the back copy. I like to know a little bit about the book before I start, but I don’t want a book report style critique of the story.

You have to have at least a little humor even in the grizzliest of stories. I tell everyone I have a warped sense of humor. I can find humor in the weirdest things. It breaks up the heaviness if the storyline.

I really like political/espionage thrillers. If I see a government building on the cover I look closer. Realism is important, a happy ending not so much.

Robert Heinlein is so good. Also I would include Jeremy Bates.

Currently reading the Rafferty’s Rules series which is making a comeback thanks to the son of the original author.

Thanks to winners Jeff, Debbie, Susan, Svetla and everyone else that emailed me their thoughts. It is always interesting what readers are looking for in their books. Be sure to reach out and let me know more about what you like and don’t like. Especially when it comes to my stories. Feedback is important to me when working on future projects.

I will wrap up this newsletter with a teaser about the next newsletter. I will have news about the next Jarvis Mann book, which is right now in my editor’s hands. Plus info on a new cover for my short story The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card. This will start a series of newsletters for 2019, where I talk about the cover making process, my design idea’s for each book and how they evolve. I will even post a few covers that didn’t make the final cut. Thanks again for reading and sharing my newsletter with potential fans. Happy Holidays to everyone. Peace and happiness to you all.

R Weir

The Next Chapter

With the change back to standard time comes colder weather, shorter days, and family holidays. And with it brings on holiday craft fairs where I get to talk with people looking for unique items for their family for the holiday season. I know from past events people are excited about giving a book to a voracious reader. Even better, knowing the author is local, getting to meet them and having them sign the book. Those moments make those craft fairs enjoyable for me. One on one with a potential new fan, telling them about Jarvis Mann and the adventures I’ve taken him on. Though eBooks are quite popular, many shoppers tell me they still love the feel of a real book in their hands when they read. Which is what I provide at these craft fairs, like the one I did last Saturday at Smoky Hill High School in Aurora Colorado. With over 200 vendors and huge crowds, it’s one of the largest fairs in the area. And with it came my biggest sales day yet for any event I’ve done, which was a lot of fun. I even had people returning who had bought a book the previous year, loving what they read, and wanting the rest of the series. Further down in the newsletter, I will talk about some of the other craft fairs I’ll be attending in November and December.

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After the release of The Front Range Butcher, I quickly began working on the next chapter in Jarvis Mann series. I already knew where the book would take him, having teased at it in The Front Range Butcher. Jarvis is off to Southern California to find the murder of an associate of his, hired by Brandon Sparks, a construction mogul who dabbles in illegal activities, and someone who Jarvis has worked with before. Soon the case goes south, as Jarvis digs deep, to find, surprise surprise, all is not what it seems. With my detective paying a heaving price in the process. Mann in the Crossfire is the title of the next adventure, and is currently in the hands of my beta readers, as I await their feedback, which so far has been positive. Once I hear back, if all looks good, then off to my editor/proofreader, working towards the final version, for a likely release in early 2019. I will continue to update you in future newsletters on the progress.

Speaking of The Front Range Butcher, I received a wonderful review recently from fellow author Trey Stone. Here is a piece of that review:

Weir has put a huge amount of work into creating a huge, vivid world, the kind I’d expect from fantasy writers. In one sense, I feel like I know this world, as if I’ve gotten used to it, I understand it, even though this is the first Jarvis Mann book I read. There’s something familiar about it, in the way that it pulls you in.

Thanks to Trey for reading and reviewing, as he put a lot of meat into why he enjoyed the book where he says: “I’d absolutely recommend this book to anyone who’s a fan of the genre. You won’t be disappointed.” Go to his website via this link to check out the rest of the review. If you love serial killer books, with a psychological battle of wits between Jarvis and the suspected serial killer, be sure to check it out. It’s available on Amazon in eBook, paperback and via Kindle Unlimited subscription.

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This month’s Prolific Works giveaways (formerly Instafreebie) features two of my books. The first, Murderous Intent Mustreads, contains the first Jarvis Mann novel, Tracking A Shadow, free to download, along with 51 other mystery/thriller books. This giveaway runs until December 31st. Check them out via this link and find some great ebooks to add to your eReader.

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Next is The Cozy-est Mysteries giveaway, featuring the short story that started it all for Jarvis, The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card. It will be free along with 30 other cozy mystery stories until November 30th. Check them out via this link.

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As I mentioned earlier, I have several craft fairs coming up. The next one will be at Cherokee Trails High School on November 10th from 9AM to 3PM. This will be the second year I’ve had a table, and last year I talked with a lot of people and sold a bunch of books. So I’m anticipating another big crowd at this event.

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The next event will be at Grandview High School for their craft fair, on December 1st, from 9AM to 3PM. This will be my first year at Grandview, but I hear it’s a popular craft fair, with lots of vendors and people shopping for that perfect gift for a loved one. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone who stops by. If you are in the area for either of these Fairs, be sure to look for my table.

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***Contest Time***

In my last newsletter, I got some great responses to my question about what readers looked for in a book in the Mystery/Detective genre. Thanks to all who emailed me. In past newsletters, I’ve shared the authors who I’ve enjoyed reading through the years, along with the ones who inspired me to be an author. For this month I’m asking you which authors you enjoy reading? They can be well-known big publishing house authors, but I’d also like to hear about those not as well known ones you enjoy reading especially indie authors. This can be in any genre you cherish reading. Again I will pick one winner for a free signed paperback of their choice from my 5 novels but for US only entries.  I will pick one or two winners from outside the US, giving them their choice from my 7 Jarvis Mann books in digital format. Send your favorite authors to my email address. Responses and the winners of both contests will be announced in next month’s newsletter.

I will sign off for now, as I need to get back to working on Mann in the Crossfire and make sure I’m prepared for the coming craft fairs. I hope everyone has a wonderful and loving family filled Thanksgiving. Be sure to stay warm and curl up to a good book.

R Weir

Apologies for the Incorrect Link

One of the reasons we author’s have people proofread their work is because we make mistakes when writing no matter how much editing we do. And it would appear I need a proofreader for my newsletters as well, as I put the wrong email link for the contest I’m running. If you read the newsletter I sent yesterday and tried to email me only to have it bounce back undeliverable, here is the text, with the correct link in it. Again my apologies for the mistake.

***Contest Time***

I’ve been thinking over what type of contest I want to run, as we get closer to the holiday season, to giveaway a few of my books. Since my genre is Mystery/Detective, I’m curious what readers out there look for in a book in that genre. What are the key elements in that type of book that catches your eye, grabs and holds you to the story? Book cover, plot, characters, settings, suspense, action; whatever keeps you engrossed in a story, I’d like to hear about. Please email me your thoughts with as much detail as you’d like. From those emails, I will announce in a future newsletter a winner of a free signed paperback copy of any one of my books. I will have to limit this to US-based readers only when it comes to the paperback. But I will give away a free ebook or two, for responses from anyone outside the US that I like. Send to my email address linked here. I always enjoy hearing what readers love in a good book.

R Weir

Eye to Eye with a Serial Killer

October is here, with winter weather in the forecast for Colorado, so I’ve been busy this past week getting our home, the yard and our motorhome ready for the cold, wet air. On the last weekend of September, Kim and I went to visit our daughter Dakota up in Laramie on Parents Weekend. It was wonderful to see her, as she is enjoying college life, doing great in her classes and making new friends. Laramie is very much a college town, with more than half the population of the city either students or faculty, but still with a warm small-town atmosphere. It is a marvelous place for Dakota to expand her mind and get her degree.

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As I continue down memory lane, after The Case of the Invisible Souls, I knew the next book was going to deal with a serial killer. It wasn’t long before I had the title and a basic outline in my head, though the book evolved, as they often do, into a much more complex plot. Besides the serial killer story, there are two other major plots in this book. to keep you guessing with each turn of the page. It was an ambitious dark turn for me, as I stretched my writing skills, putting Jarvis into a situation to test him in ways he’d never been tested before.

One of the sad aspects of life is these monsters do exist. As part of my research, I found some detailed horrifying information on serial killers; the FBI categorizing them into 4 different types, with some killers crossing into more than one category. I looked at some of the well documented serial killers; The Zodiac Killer, Ted Bundy, Jack the Ripper and so on. Trying to understand what made them tick. How they evolved into these horrible people. Research that was hard to fathom and at times invaded my dreams, making it hard to sleep. But I wanted to create a realistic and multi-dimensional killer for Jarvis to go eye to eye with, in a psychological battle of wills. A killer who returns after 22 years of retirement, tracking down new victims, the gruesome murders starting again, front page headlines scaring the public. The novel, The Front Range Butcher, was my longest, most complex and best book yet in the Jarvis Mann PI series. At over 400 pages it is an “edge of your seat thriller that will keep you engrossed” if I may borrow a line from one of my 5-star reviews. You can purchase The Front Range Butcher on Amazon, in ebook, paperback, and via Kindle Unlimited subscription. Check it out today, especially if you are a fan of hardboiled private eye action against a smart, coy and devious serial killer. It’s a spooky story that will get you in the mood for Halloween!

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Here are some recent snippets from 5-star reviews of The Front Range Butcher:

The Front Range Butcher: A Jarvis Mann Private Detective Novel by R. Weir was fantastic! It was interesting and intriguing to read through the Butchers eyes, even if only every so often. I thought the author did a wonderful job with painting the pictures, even so gruesome – Kristan Anderson

What I didn’t expect was to sit on the edge of my seat the entire time while reading this book. Oh, my goodness – this author’s writing style had me all over the place. The suspense and thrill that I felt while trying to figure out what Private Detective Jarvis Mann will find out, and if it will be on time had me pulling my hair out. This is exactly what I like to experience while I read. – Roxana

Jarvis had me at the beginning and by the end it was definitely love and my fav PI. Weir has developed a likable PI that has it all. He’s smart with a high success rate for cases solved, witty (all though that’s not well received), popular mainly with the ladies that cannot resist his magnetic smile and charm – Betty

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Most months I have books available via Instafreebie Giveaway, but they have recently rebranded their name to Prolific Works. How their system works and what they offer hasn’t changed. If you’ve received books in the past, all your book history is still available. Hopefully, with the new moniker, they will fix the download issues some have mentioned to me. If you’ve had any problems with receiving any of the two books I offer, The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card and Tracking A Shadow, be sure to let me know and I can email the book file to you directly. Both books are always available via either of these two links, Bubble Gum and Tracking A Shadow through Prolific Works.

***Contest Time***

I’ve been thinking over what type of contest I want to run, as we get closer to the holiday season, to giveaway a few of my books. Since my genre is Mystery/Detective, I’m curious what readers out there look for in a book in that genre. What are the key elements in that type of book that catches your eye, grabs and holds you to the story? Book cover, plot, characters, settings, suspense, action; whatever keeps you engrossed in a story, I’d like to hear about. Please email me your thoughts with as much detail as you’d like. From those emails, I will announce in a future newsletter a winner of a free signed paperback copy of any one of my books. I will have to limit this to US-based readers only when it comes to the paperback. But I will give away a free ebook or two, for responses from anyone outside the US that I like. Send to my email address linked here. I always enjoy hearing what readers love in a good book.

The holiday craft fair season is around the corner, and I currently have four events planned I will be selling my books, the first starting November 3rd at Smoky Hill High School in Aurora. This event runs from 9AM-4PM, with over 200 vendors selling their handcrafted wares. If you live in the Denver Metro area be sure to stop by. Then the following Saturday, November 10th, I will be at Cherokee Trails High School in East Aurora, again with over 200 vendors. This event runs from 9AM-3PM. Look for my table and stop by to say hello. I generally have some treats and other giveaways.

That is all for this month. Next month I will have news on the next Jarvis Mann book, as it gets closer to completion. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out all my books on Amazon or via my website. Have a safe and wonderful Halloween.

R Weir

 

Getting off the Deck

With September arriving with a little cooler air here in Colorado, I’m happy to say we got our daughter Dakota off to college without any issues. Moving in was tiring, and leaving her there was difficult, but Kim and I made it through, though there were a few tears. We’ve spent time talking via Skype to help ease the separation. The transition for her to college life, so far, has been great, as she is enjoying all that the University of Wyoming has to offer.

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A month after the release of Dead Man Code, on November 11, 2016, I was in a bad motorcycle accident that derailed my life and writing for a while. The injuries were severe enough that I was in the hospital and rehabilitation facility for about two weeks. I was fortunate enough to come home for Thanksgiving, though needing a wheelchair and a walker to get around. I had a craft fair that first week where I was supposed to be selling my books, so my daughter Dakota covered for me and did a great job selling, especially the new release at the time, Dead Man Code. I did another one a couple weeks later, sitting in my wheelchair for six hours, which was difficult. Rehabilitation lasted for 10 months, which made getting any writing accomplished difficult. It was the most challenging moment in my life, struggling to get off the deck, literally. One I wished never happened but hopefully made me stronger in the end.

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I had started the next book in the Jarvis Mann series before the accident, shelving it for several months before I completed it. I decided on it being shorter than the previous 4 books, a novella at around 16k words in length. The story was born out of my seeing homeless veterans on the street, carrying signs asking for money, wondering why these soldiers weren’t getting help from our government after serving their country in battle so bravely. It seemed sad to me and unnecessary. Doing research I found this to be a huge problem all across the country, a sad fact after the huge cost overruns on the new VA Hospital here in Aurora Colorado, money that could be better spent on these warriors. The Case of the Invisible Souls was released June 24th, 2017, born from that frustration, as Jarvis helps a homeless man who engages him to figure out why members of the homeless in the area were disappearing. It is a Christmas time holiday story; a personal one I hope you will enjoy. Check it out on Amazon by purchasing the eBook or downloading via Kindle Unlimited.

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Here are a couple of the 5 star reviews for The Case of the Invisible Souls:

This was a really nice story, written by a writer who can use words to tell a good story without a lot of profanity and violence. It’s almost Christmas, so we know it will end okay, even after a confrontation that leaves one of the homeless in the hospital. The kind of story we might have seen as a Christmas movie on TV back in the 1970s. For those of you, like me, who enjoys a well-written mystery without all the vulgar scenes and profanity we have today, I can highly recommend this for a family mystery – Virginia E. Johnson

The Case of the Invisible Souls by R Weir was very emotional for me. I hate that so many men and women have fought for this country, and when they return home, after going through PTSD or other ailments, end up homeless. This book is a nicely written short story. I enjoyed that there was a mystery involved. I also liked that there was a mission to help out these homeless men and women however they could. I would give this book a 5 out of 5 stars. This book really puts life into perspective and makes me want to help in any way that I can. Very nice read – Carrie R.

As a busy mom of 2 it’s not often I find a short story that I really get into and enjoy and read in its entirety in one sitting. The Case of the invisible souls by R. Weir was different from the rest, I was captivated and read the whole thing within an hour while sitting at the laundry mat. I was drawn in from the beginning, and I couldn’t and wouldn’t put it down until I finished – e.deroma

Thanks to everyone that voted for my book The Front Range Butcher for the Raven Awards. It finished runner-up in the Mystery/Suspense category, which was a thrill for me. Check out the Uncaged Book Reviews e-magazine to see all the winners. And if you haven’t already, be sure to purchase The Front Range Butcher, either in paperback, ebook or via Kindle Unlimited.

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Another big thrill this last month was I had an article I wrote published in the USA Today Magazines July 2018 issue. Getting into the Head of a Serial Killer, outlined the research work I did while writing the latest Jarvis Mann PI book, The Front Range Butcher. Research on a book like this can be quite revealing and a bit nerve racking about how someone evolves into a serial killer. If you can find that issue be sure to turn to page 74 to read all about it.

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My short story The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card was featured as a top 50 review on Goodreads this month. This happens when a review on Goodreads gets the most comments and votes for the week. The blog Miranda Reads did the review. Be sure to check it out here and her other reviews via her blog. And a reminder that The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card is free on all major ebook retailers. Use this universal link and pick the retailer of your choice.

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Bubble Gum is also featured, along with Tracking A Shadow and 35 other books in the Detectives and Private Investigators Instafreebie giveaway. All of these free books will be available until September 30th, via this link. Be sure to check out all these wonderful stories and you might find a new favorite author. Well next to me of course! 🙂

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That is all for this newsletter. Be sure to comment or send me an email, as I love to hear from readers. Be sure to keep reading this newsletter and directing your friends to sign-up. Thanks again for allowing me to invade your inbox. Enjoy the last days of summer reading your favorite books!

R Weir

Finals of the Raven Awards

Sorry about sending out a newsletter again so soon. I wanted to say thanks to everyone who voted in the semi-finals for my book, The Front Range Butcher, which has now made it to the finals of the Raven Awards in the Mystery/Suspense category. I would appreciate those who feel the book is worthy, to vote for it in this final round via this link. It’s quite a thrill to be in the finals with the other great competition. While you are there you can also vote in several other categories, as there are many other wonderful indie authors works to choose from. Last day of voting is August 18th. If you have any issues voting let me know.

Here is another 5-star review for the latest in the Jarvis Mann Detective series:

The Front Range Butcher is a story of a serial killer and oh my, the way the writer goes into the mind of the killer, it gave me chills and some sleepless nights … the depravity of the human species in its depth … I felt disgusted and I felt hopeless and felt lost and I felt … hope, hope that Jarvis would figure out who the monster is and put a stop on his inhumane acts and give closure the families of the victims …
There is so much danger in this story, and twists while enjoying the wittiness and snarkiness of Jarvis … Pick up a copy and join the chase … – Jana T

If you’ve not read “The Front Range Butcher” be sure to check it out on Amazon, either in ebook, paperback or on Kindle Unlimited.

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In this short email, I will also mention another new Instrafreebie giveaway I’m participating in. The Hot Summer Mysteries and Thrillers giveaway has 29 free books in all, including Tracking A Shadow, the first novel in the Jarvis Mann Detective series. This giveaway ends August 31st, so click this link to see what wonderful free books are available. I know I’ve downloaded a few myself!

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That is all for now. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to vote for my novel, The Front Range Butcher, on the Raven Awards for best Mystery/Suspense book. Have a wonderful rest of your week, and be sure to start reading that latest book that is calling your name.

R Weir

The Fictional & Real World of Cyber Threats

I finished up a busy month of July, with the last of my author events this summer, allowing me to catch my breath and get back to writing my next book. August should be a little bit quieter, though we are getting things ready for my daughter to head off to college at the end of the month. There is a lot to do there, helping her to decide what and what not to take since she’ll be sharing a fairly small dorm space with her roommate. But we are excited and proud about the next chapter in her life, as she goes onto bigger and better things, with her major being computer engineering. One of the items she wanted to do before leaving for the University of Wyoming, was to get a tattoo on her shoulder. So I decided to get one as well. Since it was a first for both of us, it was a fun, bonding moment.

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With my background in computer information technology, I used this experience when developing the storyline for the follow-up to Blood Brothers. Dead Man Code starts out with Jarvis being hired by the widow of a computer engineer who is murdered. Aaron Bailey worked for a fictional Silicon Valley tech company, WANN Systems Inc, the murder ruled by the police as part of a robbery. But his wife Mandy doesn’t buy it and asks Jarvis to look into it. After digging deeply and following the clues, he runs into security for WANN, Russian Mobsters and Chinese government agents, all wanting him to stop his investigation. It is a complex case, leading him not only to the Silicon Valley but San Diego and Las Vegas, before a wild conclusion that should keep your pulse rate high. This was the longest book I’d written to date, at 94 thousand words, covering many real-world events, some of which have come true after I wrote it, and are hotly debated in today’s news. Dead Man Code was released on October 18, 2016, continuing the Jarvis Mann Detective saga in his most challenging and dangerous case to date. Be sure to check out this excellently reviewed novel. It is available on Amazon via ebook, paperback or Kindle Unlimited.

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I’ve been using my 20 plus years of experience in the IT world to help promote my books, especially Dead Man Code, by doing radio interviews discussing how users can protect themselves from cyber threats, which are affecting many people every day. Links to several of those interviews are on my website. In them, I discuss the best methods to protect yourself from Identity Theft, Ransomware and other malware out there stealing from honest people. If you are interested be sure to check them out here. And if you are a small business concerned about these issues, you can contact me as I can provide you support as a consultant through my tech email address. Or if you need help at home with your computer security, I’m also available. I’m always happy to discuss ways to make your business and personal computers more secure, especially your intellectual and personal property, which is priceless and can’t be replaced.

More 5 star reviews for my latest book, The Front Range Butcher:

For Jarvis in this book he is facing probably the most dangerous investigation that he has ever had. His new case comes into play when a serial killer has come back on the scene after being quiet for a couple of decades. Or has the killer been quiet? Jarvis will find himself being tested in ways that he has never been tested before. Jarvis also needs to keep himself and those around him safe from this serial killer. Will he be able to do this? Everyone who has read the previous books are not going to be disappointed by The Front Range Butcher, as with the other books it’s a five-star read. Thank you, Randy, for another awesome book. I can not wait to see what Jarvis gets up to in the next book – Sue

If you haven’t already got this book, be sure to check out this 5 star read, as it’s available on Amazon in ebook, paperback or on Kindle Unlimited.

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Instafreebie time again. The first includes my short story, The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card. The Mysteries & Puzzles Giveaway runs until August 14th, with a total of 48 books free to download. Be sure to check it out via this link.

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The next one features the novel, Tracking A Shadow, as well as 71 other free books. When a Stranger Calls Mystery & Thriller Giveaway runs until August 19th. Check out all the available free books via this link.

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That will wrap up another month for this newsletter. If you don’t have all the books in the Jarvis Mann PI series, be sure to check them out here on Amazon or via my website. Have a friend who might be interested in my books? Share with them, and if they sign-up for this newsletter they will receive a free ebook copy of Tracking A Shadow. Thanks again for reading and being a fan of Jarvis. As daylight shortens I hope the rest of your summer is full of fun and good times with family and friends.

R Weir

Raven Book Awards

Hello everyone. A surprise email from me, which I’m squeezing in before heading to Des Moines for the Indie Author Expo. I’m reaching out, asking for those of you who have read The Front Range Butcher, to vote for it in best Mystery/Suspense book category on Uncaged Book Reviews as part of their Raven Awards. Voting ends on July 28th, with the top 5 books making it to the final round. You can access the voting via this link, and can vote for other books in several categories. No sign-up on the site is necessary to vote. If you haven’t read The Front Range Butcher yet, be sure to check it out on Amazon in ebook, paperback or via Kindle Unlimited.

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Here are a couple more new reviews for The Front Range Butcher:

I really enjoyed this addition to the series and it has actually made me want to read all 7 books in order and then continue on with the series – e.doroma

Everyone who has read the previous books are not going to be disappointed by The Front Range Butcher, as with the other books it’s a five-star read. Thank you, Randy, for another awesome book. I can not wait to see what Jarvis gets up to in the next book – Sue

As I mentioned above, I will be in Des Moines this weekend, July 28th and 29th, for the Indie Author Expo at the Valley West Mall. I’m looking forward to this event, being held in the hometown I spent the first 22 years of my life in, before moving to Colorado. Hopefully, some old friends will drop by and say hello. If you live in the area, be sure to check out this Indie Author Book Expo, as you’ll find some hidden literary gems to read.

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A couple more Instafreebie giveaways are available, featuring two of my books. The first is the Crime & Suspense Thrillers giveaway, featuring Tracking A Shadow for free via this link. Along with my book is 41 other books to check out, free to download. The giveaway runs through August 2nd.

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Next is Summer Cozy Mysteries, which features The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card, as well as 35 other free Mystery books. This Instafreebie runs through August 15th, so be sure to check it out at this link.

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That’s all for now, as I need to finish packing for my road trip to Des Moines. Thanks for reading my newsletter and be sure to share with any friends who love hard-boiled private eye fiction. Everyone have a wonderful week!

R Weir