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My Journey to Writing a Thriller Series

The Kelsey Porter Series

Ten years ago I set out on a journey to swallow my fears and publish my novels. After launching my quirky YA and fantasy books to some modest success, I decided I wanted to push myself and develop a new adult thriller series. But, I used my favorite authors, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, as my bar. Why? Because their books move me in ways other novels don’t. It takes a great writer to make me obsess about a character, and this series puts me squarely in the camp of my obsession with Aloysius Pendergast. Now, these authors also write novels on their own, but together, their Pendergast series is simply amazing. The novels are smart, savvy, with well-developed characters you want to love… and despise. I’m intrigued that they purposely add complicated words so that people will have to look up their meaning. I asked Douglas about this at a signing I went to of his and he said that it’s a conscious decision. They want readers to learn as they read their books and you can tell that everything they do, and every plot line, is researched meticulously.

Well, I wanted to develop a series like that, and one I thought they personally might enjoy. My goal was to hit on something different from what was in the field. Something spiritual, smart, singularly unique, and something that required a ton of research. While I’m no Preston/Child, I’m proud of myself. Four books into this series and I’m excited to say these authors DID like it. Douglas Preston actually read and reviewed Book #1 and it’s a great review you can read in “editorial reviews” for The Hunt For Xanadu on Amazon. Here it is here:

The Hunt for Xanadu by Elyse Salpeter is a remarkable novel, a fascinating and fantastical journey in time and space, and one of the most gripping novels I’ve read in a long time. It flies along at the pace of a thriller, with plenty of murder and mayhem along the way. But behind the thrill-ride is a spiritual story, an archetypal tale of mystery and darkness,riddled with fascinating and esoteric concepts in Tibetan Buddhism. Vivid characters, a truly appealing protagonist, unexpected twists, and crisp writing complete this unforgettable book. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series!

–Douglas Preston, #1 bestselling author and co-creator, with Lincoln Child, of the Pendergast series

So now there are four books in the series, they all have a Buddhist thriller flare, and they take you across the globe, from New York City and Colombia, to Alaska, Egypt and the monasteries of Tibet.

If you’d like to check them out, please click here to my author page on Amazon!

My Experience So Far with BookBub for THE MANNEQUINS

fb-ad-mannequins-with-textI’ve been trying to get a BookBub promotion for my Kelsey Porter Buddhist thriller series or my YA Deaf Flying series for well over a year. I’ve tried free, I’ve tried 99 cents, I’ve tried touting my professional covers, reviews, putting a famous author blurb on the front cover, I’ve touted that it’s a series… nothing has worked.

A collection of creepy horror tales...

A collection of creepy horror tales…

So, on a lark, I tried my standalone horror novel, THE MANNEQUINS at 99 cents… and it took. Sigh. One of the benefits of a BookBub is being able to sell other books in the series. With this being a standalone, I’m not sure I’ll be able to have much crossover. That said, I do have a horror anthology called RICKET ROW in my library of offerings, so possibly folks looking through my books could choose that as well.

I got the BookBub scheduled for 9/26. So, I put it out today (a day before) at 99 cents so I could be early, and I’ll keep it until Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I’ve gone onto twitter, google+ and various horror facebook groups and promoted it. I boosted my facebook author post to horror and Stephen King fans, spending only $4 for the FB boost. But, the BookBub cost me $330 so I need to sell over 1000 books to break even on their ad. If I get any crossover sales, that will definitely help me to break even quicker.

So, next week, I will let all of you know how I did. Let’s hope I am able to grab some screen shots with some great top ten stats. I will say that I did get one sale today already from my efforts. Let’s hope another 1000 come in!

If you’re interested in a horror tale that has been described as “darkly imaginative,””creepy,” and “deliciously disturbing,” please check it out here on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2cusood It’s 99 cents until 9/27. I’d love an honest review if you have the time.

Happy Reading! (and keep the lights on…)

Taking a Facebook Book Promo idea to WordPress

So the other day I opened up my personal Facebook Feed to allow my writer friends to put up one of their books in the comments of that day’s post. You see, I try to keep my FB feed relatively free of constant promotional book posts. Not that I won’t tell my family and friends about my writing life, but I don’t want it to be filled with that. I use twitter, my author page, google+ and other social media means when I want to post more often. For FB, I really just love to keep my regular feed filled with poignant, slice of life events for all my friends and family to chat about.

Now, I happen to have a lot of friends that love to read, and with all the millions of books in the world, it’s just so hard for people to sometimes find these little gems. Especially when I know how hard everyone has worked on these. (though I will admit, I have not read them all) Still, these authors were keen on letting the world know about their work, so I wanted to showcase them a bit more. I’ll start with mine:

THE HUNT FOR XANADU Doug CoverTHE HUNT FOR XANADU by Elyse Salpeter
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
A girl on a quest for revenge to find her parent’s killers. Book #1 of 3.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ahjL12

H.E.R.O. – METAMORPHOSIS by Kevin Rau
This is a FREE, full-length ebook and kicks off the most extensive superhero novel (not comic book) series in existence!
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aUHy74

TRUST by Pamela Kelley
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
What do you do when your fiancée becomes a murder suspect 3 weeks before the wedding?
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2a7kBR4

ardenARDEN’S ACT by Elizabeth Thomas
Genre: Historical Romance.
In the time of Charles II, the first women are allowed to act in plays. Arden West comes to London to do this, and finds romance and adventure along the way.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aHlyjD

A TIME TO TELL by Maria Savva
Genre: Family saga
A story about love and family relationships – history repeating itself.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aJpddT

BLUEWATER DRONE by Charles Dougherty
Eleventh book in the series about the adventures of two young women running a charter yacht in the Caribbean.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aqzHzP

THOMAS TALKS TO ME by Denise Vitola
Need a Writing Muse who has great ideas and tips? Let an angel help you.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aob6sT

chrissieAMONG THE OLIVE GROVES by Chrissie Parker
Genre: Historical fiction.
Love bravery and sacrifice on a Greek island during World War II.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aJoFos

An Anthology of Pet Tales with Ann Swann’s story SNAKEMAN
It’s an anthology of true pet tales.
Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/gu7mmzw

BATS by Fred Barnett
Protecting their all dead habitat from tourists. PLUS The Black Friday Shoppers
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ak4oFm

BREATHE by Christine Grey
Genre: Fantasy Adventure with plenty of Romance
The Destiny Series, Book 1 Fantasy, PG-13 Girl meets boy while trying to kill boy.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aHnokR

jessieJESSIE by Rebekah Lyn
Genre: Young Adult.
Jessie is the 2014 winner of the Patrick D. Smith Literary Award for Florida Fiction. Jessie’s boyish ambition is to ride a rocket into space and he has plans to make it happen.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2an0nUK

darkTHE DARK by David C. Cassidy
Genre: Supernatural Horror
IT KNOWS WHAT YOU WANT. IT KNOWS WHAT YOU NEED. Don’t miss this two-time award-winning novel.
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aDgsnL

Want to check out some lovely poems by Tracy Meyerhoffer? She enjoys writing poems about the life experience. There is something there for everyone to identify with. Funny, thoughtful or quirky, my poems are like snapshots of someone’s soul.
Check out her website: http://www.TracyMeyerhofer.com

lisaMs. Cheevious In Hollywood: My Zany Years Spent Working in Tinsel Town by Lisa Jey Davis
It’s my memoir of my fun time as a single mom pursuing a job working in Television… and landing said job!! It’s filled with funny stories and foibles ala newly single mom… and also tons of a-list celebrity dish as well… I hope people enjoy! It’s available in paperback, hard cover and eBook:
Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/lisajeyd-book

BITE SIZE READS by Roseanne Baxter Frank
Slightly twisted, deliciously dark really short stories for people with very little time or very short attentions spans.” Sometimes what you read depends on how much time you have.
Amazon: Bit.ly/BiteSizeReads

Please feel free to check these out and if you get a chance to read any of the books above, there is no greater favor to an author than leaving an honest review. It means so much more than you know.

Happy Reading!

When Your Teenage Son Reads Your Novel… and Critiques!

I have a fourteen year old son. He normally does not read fiction, and prefers non-fiction history books, or anything he sees on the internet, versus picking up a book. Fantasy and supernatural are not topics he likes, because “they are not real life.”

Book # 1 in the series

Book # 1 in the series

So, when he said he wanted to read Book #1 in my Kelsey Porter series, well, I was concerned. First, it’s a bit of a sexy theme and there’s violence. My son really despises “the sexuality of America.” The Kardashians and Miley Cyrus’s of the world confuse him. So I wasn’t sure how he’d like this novel. But, he said that he’d like to “see what it is that I’ve been doing all this time and was interested in the historical Buddhist aspects of these thrillers.”

So, I agreed to let him read it, as long as we discuss it chapter by chapter. So, that’s what we’ve been doing and it’s so nerve-racking I can’t tell you. He goes to his room, reads a chapter and then comes in and says “Ok, I’m ready to give you my synopsis of what happened in that chapter and then my critique.” Oh, did I mention he gives my book an overall rating at the end of this discussion, using the 5.0 scale and that I fluctuate on this scale based on how he felt about the chapter? Yes, that’s what I mean about nerve-racking.

To give a little background, these books are about Kelsey Porter, a young, beautiful woman who is on the hunt for her parents’ killers, who were murdered on their quest to find the mystical land of Xanadu. The series is steeped in Buddhist spiritual mysteries, all based on real lore, but I do twist the facts at times for my book’s needs.

This is my view of Kelsey Porter. My son is on the fence about this.

This is my view of Kelsey Porter. My son is on the fence about this.

I would say that he’s understood 90% of what he’s read, so I will correct or explain some things that were confusing. I have been ordered not to explain too much, lest I give away spoilers. So far he has said “it’s very well written and some of the chapters are really interesting.” When that happens, my rating is usually at a 4.5, or some moments the coveted 5.0. Of course, there have been moments that I’ve been demoted to a 4.0 for “excessive use of flashbacks, expositional prose (I didn’t even know what that meant at the time) and making my boy characters too cliché.” I, of course, ask for explanation.

You see, Kelsey is a very sexual being, without being loose, but because of who she is, there’s this undercurrent where people are drawn to her. Yes, I make her beautiful with large bosoms, and my son was not impressed with that entire concept, though he’s giving me the benefit of the doubt as I’ve explained it’s a very true point to the plot.

He’s about 60% through and is digging the amount of research I’ve put into this. He says “it shows” and that as a result the book is now sitting at a 4.5 though “Mom, you can’t be upset if you drop points of course.”

Well, of course not. (shhhh… that’s just what I say!).

UH OH: He just came in and told me he didn’t like a chapter for the first time. He said, “the content was fine but it was too generic and scripted.” I had to ask what he meant. He said “it felt like you made the villain too stereotypical and were throwing around difficult concepts like astral projection too casually.” (wow, I actually thought this was a great, pivotal chapter in the book) My ranking strangely did not drop, though he had to think about it for some time to come to that decision.

Fingers crossed for the rest of the book as the threads are all starting to come together and he’s going to be delving into territory that is not a normal read for him. By the way, did I mention he found a spelling error? I spelled locales, “locals,” and I capitalized something that shouldn’t have been. Sigh… thankfully my rating did not drop because of that, either.

Want to read along with him? Here’s the link to all three books in the series! Enjoy!

Book #1 THE HUNT FOR XANADU
AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1CEvEab
UK Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Cp2awz

Book #2 THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB
US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1EvXExO
UK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1JSRNqT

Book #3 THE CALL OF MOUNT SUMERU
US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1SUskAv
UK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1nPF6TO

Kelsey Porter thriller series

Kelsey Porter thriller series

The Pitfalls of Writing Cross Genre

THE WORLD OF KAROV - New Adult Dark Fantasy series

THE WORLD OF KAROV – New Adult Dark Fantasy series

Someone once told me that I “published wrong.” The first book I ever published was a young adult tale called FLYING TO THE LIGHT about a deaf boy who knows about the afterlife and now people are after him. The second book I published was a fantasy novel, more New Adult in target, the third was the sequel to FLYING TO THE LIGHT, called FLYING TO THE FIRE and the 4th was the sequel to the dark fantasy book.

So, what does that mean? I’m a YA novelist, right? Well, no. I actually define myself as an adult thriller/horror writer, if asked. Those YA books I had mostly written years ago and had the opportunity to publish them first. Since then, the books that I’ve put out are all adult thrillers or horror.

There’s the Kelsey Porter series which are sexy buddhist thrillers, and two horror novels. The pitfalls of writing cross genre is that some of my YA fans have picked up the thrillers and been… well… surprised. The YA books were very clean… albeit a bit violent as I tend to write that way, but they weren’t adult books. As a result, I’ve had to caveat to a lot of people whether or not their children can read any of my other books. Usually I tell them “no.” Not that it’s erotica – it’s not at all, and not that they’re dirty, they’re not, but they have adult themes and are just not what I’d picture a kid could read.

That said, my daughter read my horror novels just fine at the age of thirteen and my fourteen year old son wishes to read THE HUNT FOR XANADU. I think he’s two years too young, but he’s adamant so we discuss it chapter by chapter. Books #2 and #3 in the series are “more tame” to be honest. But there’s a reason I set up Book #1 the way I did. You’d have to read it to find out or it would be a huge spoiler.

FLYING - Young Adult Series

FLYING – Young Adult Series

I find I’m getting mostly fans now with my adult books, but then these same people will go back to read my YA books and I wonder if they get confused or upset? They are all so different and you wonder if the pitfalls of writing cross genre means you confuse your readers if they wish to read other works by you, thinking they’ll be similar. That said, I would just advise authors to make sure you’re very clear in the book blurbs what the books are about and what genre it is so there are no surprises.

On my webpage at www.elysesalpeter.com I have headers for all the genres, and hope that makes it more clear for people.

Kelsey Porter thriller series

Kelsey Porter thriller series

As to the “publishing wrong” comments? Well, not much I can do about that. I write what I write, when I write it. It’s how my brain works. But I don’t think the cross genre is a bad thing. I actually write in one genre, but across different age groups. All my books have a fantastical element to them. In the FLYING SERIES it was the young boy who knew about the afterlife, in the NA WORLD OF KAROV Dark Fantasy Series, it was an evil spreading across the universe, in the KELSEY PORTER series, they’re adult Buddhist Spiritual Mysteries. I was just lucky enough that a publishing house picked one of them up and it just morphed from there. When you have an arsenal of books in your library waiting to get out to the world, do you just let them sit there because you want to be a specialist in one genre or the other, or do you let them be free? I decided to publish them all and let the chips fall as they may.

Horror Novel - "I beg of you... stay away..."

Horror Novel – “I beg of you… stay away…”

A collection of creepy horror tales...

A collection of creepy horror tales…

Anyone else write cross genre? Do you as a reader find it confusing when an author mixes things up in this fashion or do you like it? Love to hear.

If you’d like to check out all the novels, here’s my amazon author page: http://amzn.to/1NiXfjT

When Your Anthology Hits a Best Seller List: What Do you Do?

A collection of creepy horror tales...

A collection of creepy horror tales…

Hello everyone! I found myself in a bit of a quandary earlier this year. I was working on Book #3 in my Kelsey Porter series and I got stalled. To keep myself doing something creative while I figured it out, I put together a collection of all my horror tales. I figured it would be fun to have a second horror novel in my inventory and since I tend to write more creepy and disturbing than slasher fic, if people enjoyed my horror novel THE MANNEQUINS, they were sure to like this.

What’s it about? Here you go:

Terrifying things are happening to those in Ricket Row. Why do a set of grieving parents dig up a shoebox each week from their son’s grave? Who is that maniacal clown that follows a man home? Why do those teen boys chase after a ghostly girl they’ve never met before? This anthology is packed with tales both psychologically creepy and horrifying. You’ll meet a group of disabled orphans trying to survive a zombie apocalypse and a woman who is getting sicker and sicker, day by day, with no reason why. Or is there? Come enter the horrors of Ricket Row. You’ve been warned.

#13 next to Stephen King!

#13 next to Stephen King!

I soft launched it on Amazon early so that early reviews could come in, with a public launch date of July 15th. But, lo and behold, it started to sell and it quickly hit a Best Seller List. So the question was, do I still wait a full month for the reviews to come in before the public release, or ride the wave and just let the reviews come in whenever they do? If more sales hit quickly, the book would jump even higher in the rankings. So that’s what I did. I released it fully and announced it to all my social media boards and wouldn’t you know, a bunch more sales came in and it has so far jumped as high as #13 in horror anthologies on Amazon (and right next to the amazing Mr. Stephen King, I might add). So, what do you do with this? First, CELEBRATE, and then, watch the boards meticulously so you can keep grabbing screen shots if it goes higher. You want those screen shots to post your book’s progress, with the link to BUY the book, to all your social media platforms. Hit them hard in the beginning to see if you can acquire as many sales as you can. Amazon actually grabbed the book and put it out as a hot new release in the sidebar (first time for me for this) and I’m hoping that helps some sales as well.

If anyone is interested, you can get it here in US for just $2.99 http://amzn.to/1cZb1M8
UK: http://amzn.to/1GsMERK

Hard copy coming soon! Love to hear what you think of it.

Why I Wrote a Horror Anthology

Coming Summer 2015

Coming Summer 2015

Do you ever feel like you have a thousand things going on at once? I’ve got a full-time job, a pretty demanding family and I have all these side things I love to do. I know people who devote their efforts to one book at a time. When I’m in the zone I can do that, but right now I’m sort out there doing a ton of things instead. I’ve started both Book #3 in the Kelsey Porter Series, Book #3 in the FLYING series and I edited a romantic supernatural thriller I’ve for some insane reason been sending out to agents. (who, by the way 18 out of 25 of them have not responded after 3+ months). So, while I’ve been working on committing to something, I thought about all of the horror short stories I have in my computer, just sitting there. Most I’ve sent out to magazines for consideration. Many got very nice responses, but weren’t picked up. I then said, “why don’t I compile them all together into a book?”

And that’s how RICKET ROW came to be. I took all my horror, vampire, zombie and just plain creepy short stories from 2K – 5K words in length, and the shorter flash fiction pieces that are about 1500 words max, then added the micro flash fiction of 100 words each and then for fun, threw in my 140 character horror twitter tweets. And that’s how I got the anthology together.

It’s at its second beta reader right now, then it is off to a final proofer and formatter and hopefully will be out into the world early summer. My feeling was, I wrote a horror tale called THE MANNEQUINS and it’s a creepy little book that’s getting some really nice responses. So, if folks enjoyed my horror novel, they’ll be sure to like this. Not to mention, now I’ll have another book in my inventory.

If you’d like to check out my horror tale THE MANNEQUINS and get a taste for how I write, feel free to check it out here: http://amzn.to/1DV9Z9V

And if you love the cover for Ricket Row, check out THE COVER COLLECTION. I was simply surfing through the web one day and came across this site and saw their pre-made horror covers, saw how reasonable they were and it was like an epiphany went off to get this book done. They were SUPER NICE and SUPER easy to work with. Seriously, the process with them was painless. I wrote them with three covers I liked, and the copy I wanted the cover to have and asked them for their advice. They responded with which ones they felt would work best. I chose this image and then they sent back 8 different designs with different fonts. I ended up with “design #7.” After I told them I loved it, within about 10 minutes I had the final JPEG version in my hands to use for promotion. Once the book is formatted and I know the page count and get the back blurb together, they will also work on the create space cover for me. All paid through paypal.

So, stay tuned for release news and feel free to check out my other works at my newly revamped web page at http://www.elysesalpeter.com