Tag Archive | Tibet

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!


Book Signings – Finding your Hook for the Right Venue

Book Signing at a New Leaf

Book Signing at a New Leaf

I’ve heard different theories of thought on book signings. Some people LOVE them and think that the best way to sell your novel is in person. Other authors who live predominantly in the digital world feel like you could reach thousands of more people with the right digital platform than the effort of doing a signing. That may be true, but online you simply don’t get the face to face you would if you have a reader standing in front of you.

So, I wanted to look for a venue for my novel, THE HUNT FOR XANADU. The book is about a young girl on a quest to avenge the death of her parents, murdered in their efforts to find the mystical land of XANADU. Along the way, she discovers something amazing about her own inner soul. It’s steeped in Tibetan Buddhism, takes place around the world, and is a thriller with a great twist.

I’ve done a few promotions and gotten some press, but I really wanted to do an in-person signing: a) for the experience and b) to see if I can get the word out to a different audience.

At first I called my local Starbucks. It’s a huge place and the manager was completely on-board. We were going to pick a weekend between holidays where biz was slow and it would help her drive traffic to the store and I was going to bring a lot of local people in. Then we tried to get confirmation from the Corporate office and they SHOT ME DOWN. They claimed that a signing would “interrupt their business.” Um, ok. I’d be in a teeny corner of this huge shop, bringing people in and purchasing products. Hmmm…

So then I started thinking… what is my hook? My first novel is a thriller called FLYING TO THE LIGHT and is about a young deaf boy. That novel’s hook was all the deaf websites and deaf schools. Even special needs fairs, sign language events, etc…

signing suppliesFor XANADU I figured Asian, Tibet, food, meditation, tea… I called Buddhist bookstores, meditation centers and then decided, why not a Tea Shop? I contacted the owner of A NEW LEAF tea emporium in Garden City, NY, and gave her a copy of my novel, discussed my social media platform and discussed how I would drive business to her event, and we did it. She was amazingly gracious and gave out samples of free tea and 10% off to anyone that came into the store during my signing. I decided to put out all my novels and purchased a bunch of Asian cookies and wafers – all individually wrapped with Chinese writing on them for authenticity.

I contacted the local papers and I was covered in the Garden City News, The Roslyn News and then, Long Island Newsday put the event and a big picture of me in the Fan Fare Books section. I was getting calls from everyone! I also did a few “events” on Facebook and Goodreads to announce it.

Overall, the event was a lot of fun. While I wished there was more native traffic to the store, it was a very cold day out so not as many people were walking around Garden City as normal, but still it was great. I had a few friends show up to fill some tables and then a bunch of people came in simply because they saw me in the paper. Quite a few people came in looking for “the author.” After four books, I’m finally feeling that yes, I can own that title.

The most wonderful news is the owner would love to have me back when I publish Book #2 in the series, which is titled THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB and, even better, this jumpstarted me having a signing at THE DOLPHIN BOOKSHOP – one of the large independent bookstores on Long Island – this has been on my bucket list. I believe this is going to happen now in June.

So, find your hook, any way that you can, and run with it. Even if it’s silly, just try. You never know.

First Chapter of THE HUNT FOR XANADU

THE HUNT FOR XANADU Final CoverI’ve decided that it might be fun to post first chapters of fantasy books, flash fiction, or even poetry on this blog for the next two months. It will give everyone a taste of my writing, along with some other fine authors, and offer some fun “reading escape” time. So, without further ado, if you’re interested in a brand new contemporary fantasy thriller series, with a super new heroine, I give you Chapter #1 of THE HUNT FOR XANADU. This is not the chapter where you will find the fantasy, but the thrill, and will give you the flavor of the novel. Enjoy!

Chapter 1

Present Day

Hidden in the security camera’s blind spot, she sucked in her gut, closed her eyes and listened intently. “Come on, already,” she thought, drumming her fingertips rapidly against the brick wall. She heard the dogs panting now. This sound had replaced the earlier frenzy of them tearing into the drugged raw hamburger she had thrown over the fence just twenty minutes before. She’d crushed thirty-six Acepromozin tablets into the ground meat, reckoning it would enough to knock out the four guard dogs, if not kill them outright.

She glanced at her watch and waited. This is taking so long. Five more minutes passed, with nothing sounding except the soft, rotating click of the camera. Abruptly, she yanked down the protective goggles resting on her head and placed them over her eyes. The clicking now echoed loudly, indicating the camera was once more faced in her direction. Brazenly she stood, aimed her laser gun and pointed it directly into the lens. The high tech, silicon-based CCD camera had an impressive wavelength sensitivity. The laser’s high-powered emitter instantly saturated the pixels of the camera’s CCD sensor and burned the chip out instantly.

Ricardo Perez thought he protected himself with the best of everything. He’d under-estimated meeting an assassin so invested in seeing him dead.

Hooking the laser into her belt loop, she flung her knapsack over her shoulders and scaled the wall in a practiced leap. She balanced delicately on the edge to prevent being punctured by the barbed wire and slipped on a pair of leather gloves, grabbed the wire cutters hanging from her backpack and snipped her way through. In less than twenty seconds, she was inside the backyard of the compound. Three of the dogs lay unconscious in the grass nearby, but their twitching feet told her they were still alive. Where is the other one?

A deep, menacing growl came from behind her and she whirled to face the remaining Doberman. She had just enough time to register the bits of bloody hamburger still clinging to its snout before it lunged. Her instincts kicked in and she did the only thing she could remember. She punched the animal savagely in its throat like she’d been taught, and it fell to the ground, dead.

Breathing hard, she turned back to the house where Ricardo had hoped to escape from her. Her body shook and she took a deep breath, trying to keep her anger in check. This man couldn’t expect to destroy her family and get away with it. He was going to pay.

She moved past the koi pond, stopping only to disable the second security camera with her laser.
She passed the kidney-shaped pool and skirted around the cabana, her eyes never leaving the house. Shadows moved behind the curtained windows on the second floor. At the sound of a sliding door opening, she dove behind a hedge. A well-muscled guard moved onto the balcony and lit a cigarillo. Its smell traveled to her in the gentle breeze. She held back a cough and brushed a wayward blond strand out of her face.

The guard scanned the perimeters, then took out his cell phone and sat back on a lounge chair to make a call. Sweet nothings floated down to her and she took that moment to leap across the hedge and race to the side of the house, hiding herself in the back door portico. She edged around the building until she located the final camera attached to the roof above a spare bedroom. Too far for her laser’s range.

She waited until the camera scanned another part of the property and then got to work. She pulled out a long rope from her backpack which she attached to a grappling hook. With a precision borne from hours upon hours of practice, she tossed up the hook and snagged the end over the bedroom’s balcony railing. With a jerk, the rope pulled taut and the hook locked in place. Fifteen seconds later she was standing on the terrace.

The clicking camera indicated it was again in range. She leaned around the corner of the wall, aimed her laser and disabled it.

She left her bag and goggles on the terrace and moved to the sliding door leading into the bedroom. It was locked, which wasn’t a surprise. The girl leaned her head against the glass, her breath fogging the window, and noticed there was no security bar holding it shut. That was a mistake, Ricardo. She removed a set of lock picks from her pack and sixty seconds later broke in.

The house was quiet. With infinite care, she made her way across the room to the bedroom door. She cracked it open, pulling her pistol and stun gun from their holsters. She already knew the layout of the house from her research. There were four bedrooms and two bathrooms on the second floor with a wide hallway opening over the front foyer downstairs. The plush, cream-colored wall-to-wall carpeting, that stretched through every room, was an added benefit. Now she wouldn’t have to worry about her footsteps making any noise. The lighting was good, too. An enormous, glittering chandelier hung from the foyer ceiling and lit the entire area with a yellow glow. She peered into Ricardo’s bedroom and heard him speak to one of his guards. The sound of his voice made goosebumps on her arms.

“Pablo, go get us a couple of beers.”

The guard came out of the bedroom and as he passed her room, she jumped on him and released the stun gun. He barely had time to cry out before she hit him violently in the side of his head with the butt of her gun, silencing him. He fell unconscious to the floor. With great effort, she dragged him by his feet into the bedroom. Thankfully, he wasn’t as large as the first guard she had seen or it would have been much harder. In less than a minute, he was trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey.

She moved quickly down the hall towards Ricardo’s room, her pistol in one hand, the stun gun in the other.
She peeked inside. Ricardo had moved to the balcony.

What happened next came down fast.

“The dogs are too quiet,” the remaining bodyguard said. A whistle sounded and when none of the Dobermans responded, she could distinctly hear him click his gun’s safety. “The cameras are dark, too. Ricardo, stay here.”

The guard moved across the room and out into the hallway, shocked to see her simply standing there. With a startled shout, he fired at her, but she feinted to the right and fired back. Her heel slipped slightly on the carpet and messed up her aim. She hit him in his hip, rather than his chest. Dammit to hell.

The guard fell to the floor with a yell, but fired again, the bullet ricocheting off the wall behind her. She took that moment to pounce upon him, kneeing him fiercely in his groin. He tried to hit her with the butt of his gun and she delivered a brutal elbow strike to his cheek, shattering it. He shrieked, bringing his gun up again. She shoved the stun gun in his side and fired the full voltage.

A bullet whisked by her head, shattering the picture frame on the wall next to her. She flinched and glimpsed Ricardo shooting wildly from behind the door. Their gazes met and fear filled his eyes. With a squeal, he ran back into his bedroom and disappeared from view.

Her adrenaline pumped through her veins and his fear spurred her on. Run and hide, you coward. With a savage smile, she raced after him.

The hunt was on.

If you’re interested in purchasing the entire novel, it is available on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/1ixAnkP

Book Trailer for THE HUNT FOR XANADU … launching Dec 20th!

The Hunt for XanaduWe are nearing the December 20th launch for THE HUNT FOR XANADU. So excited to present my book trailer, made for me by the very talented Laura LaRoche from LLPix Photography/BZ Hercules.

“A girl, the Buddhist devil and a mystical world, tying them all together in ways unimaginable…”

Want to chat about THE HUNT FOR XANADU on Twitter? Include this hashtag in your tweet and I’ll respond: #huntforxanadu

You can also reach me on twitter at @elysesalpeter

Lastly, feel free to come on over to my newly revamped web page at http://www.elysesalpeter.com (still a work in progress but I’m learning) and follow me on FB at http://www.facebook.com/elysesalpeterauthor for updates.

Love to hear what you think of the trailer… exciting? Spooky? First impressions? Thanks so much!