All things related to Harvey Church’s novels.

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The Last Friend Gets a Deal!

MeetAfter thirty sleepless nights, The Last Friend ended up earning a spot as one of the Kindle Press’s publication choices for 2017. For me, this is a huge achievement. Between convincing current and potential readers to nominate my novel for publication, and then, finally, to receive notification from Kindle Press that my novel will be published…it’s all be a dream come true for me.

Here are some items that have me extremely excited about The Last Friend.

Editing: FINISHED

Tonight (October 28, 2017), I’ve finished my addressing all of the editing comments. This brings The Last Friend one step closer to its publication date, and I’m super excited about that.

Meeting my Amazon Guardian Angels

But let’s take a step back a few weeks when I met a couple of amazing and enthusiastic product managers, straight from the Amazon imprint. These young ladies were extremely encouraging, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about making a big impact on the publishing industry. Not with my novel in particular, but with all of the novels Kindle Press publishes. It was very good for me to have this meeting, and I left it feeling like there was no better place for The Last Friend.

More About The Editing

Over the last couple of weeks since that meeting, I’ve received my manuscript back from a Kirkus editor who had approximately 300 points for me to consider in the novel. I’ve found the editing extremely valuable. I’ve learned a lot about grammar, my own writing flaws, and how the pickiest of readers might interpret the words I put on my pages. I hate to be sneaky, but I’ve stalked my editor, found him on LinkedIn, and he’ll be getting a connection request because I don’t think I can publish another novel without his keen eye to detail!

New Cover

Right around the time that the manuscript came back, the Kindle Press team contacted me to say they wanted to create a cover that would better position The Last Friend for success. I haven’t seen anything yet, but I’m anxious to see what they come up with. (Yes, I’ve been scanning some Thomas & Mercer covers to see what they might come up with!).

An Insight

This has come up a few times in conversations with various people — bloggers, the Kindle Press ladies, and others — so I need to (finally) make it official. And what better place than right here. This novel wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t read Sarah Denzil’s Silent Child. I’m often inspired by other novels, and the inspiration I felt after reading Sarah’s novel was tremendous. Our novels are incredibly different, but I worked very hard to try and capture the feelings and emotions I experienced while reading her novel. I owe a lot of gratitude to Sarah for publishing Silent Child. If you haven’t read it, check it out.

In Conclusion…

Looking at The Last Friend, I have to say that I’m beyond excited about getting this novel on the Amazon shelf for you to read and tell all of your friends. I still remember writing the final pages of this novel, seated at my desk and swearing at myself to hold my s–t together and finish this before I ruin the moment.

I hope you get the same satisfaction from The Last Friend. If the attention it’s garnered so far is any indication, I think you will.

Stay tuned through my A-List at http://alistharvey.com.

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The Last Friend – My Take

“Fifteen years after his daughter’s abduction, her last friend knocks at his door.” This quote from the cover blurb still spooks me out. Part of the reason is that I know what this “last friend” is all about (you’ll find out too, and even more in The First Friend).

But another part of me is spooked by the story itself.

an unexpected and exciting series of events that will grab readers.  – The BookLife Prize

This story deals with kidnapping. Have you ever wondered what happens to the kids you see in the missing posters? The ones where there’s an amber alert one day and then…nothing? In my research for this novel, I learned that “what happens” isn’t really pleasant. In fact, what happens is so unpleasant that I had nightmares about it happening to my own children for days.

I took what happened to me (in my nightmares) and used it to build Donovan Glass, the abducted girl’s father. My dreams and nightmares guided Donovan. They also helped him land in a big heap of trouble, which is ultimately where The Last Friend begins.

Other sad things happen when a child is abducted. Having never experienced that situation, I relied on my past experiences. Not long ago, I had a conversation with an old friend who came close to losing her son when he was a teenager. I remember how she explained those days, the uncertainty and fear. I see now how it aged her, changed her in a way that can never be fixed. Like Donovan, she was locked out from her child, unable to communicate, left with nothing but her own faith that he would survive, recover, and get back to himself. That sort of thing ruins people.

No stranger to tragedy, Donovan shares my old friend’s faith that everything will be okay. Except in Donovan’s case, fifteen years of faith results in the kind of closure that no parent ever wants.

Pretty damn grim, isn’t it?

Well, not really. Earlier in this post, I said I know what this “last friend” is all about. For Donovan, this last friend is a breath of fresh air. The last friend brings him pieces of his daughter he never experienced, pieces that only a true friend could know. In many ways, the last friend is Donovan’s view into his daughter’s final days, an experience that he clings to.

And, man, was that ever heart wrenching to write. It’s the one memory I’ll always take away from this novel; sitting at my desk and choking back my sensitive side, wondering if this the male version of early manopause or something, because I’m not Donovan and my kids are playing outside, right front of the– and then panic struck. And I no longer let those kids out of my sight 😉

If you haven’t voted already, head on over to https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2SCU5IFFPG9EJ and nominate me. I’d be super happy if you did!

 

HC

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Cold Memory & a Cool Contest for Readers

I just revealed the cover for my next series on my Facebook page. Although that series currently has no name (more on that a little later), the first novel is titled Cold Memory.

Currently slated for publication in mid-July 2017, Cold Memory is substantially different than the Edwin Burrows Mysteries. This new series involves a bigger mystery, which makes it less common to the things Edwin Burrows faces. So, for readers that don’t like Edwin’s problems because they’re too common, Cold Memory will introduce them to a much bigger problem.

In the case of Cold Memory, Niles Kneade suffers from an interesting and very unique problem. He has a condition where the electrical impulses that travel up his spine to his brain don’t get properly dispersed. In other words, electricity is retained and stored in a part of his brain until his brain “short circuits.” These short circuits are called resets, and when a reset happens, it zaps the memory part of his brain, erasing data.

The problem is that Niles is experiencing these resets at greater frequency and the damage is getting deeper and deeper. Eventually, he won’t remember basic human functions like eating and breathing.

This memory issue was one of his main motivators for co-founding a cryopreservation company called CryoPause. Unlike other cryo companies, Niles’ relies on a sleep theory where people can co-exist in a state of subconscious known as the Stage Two Sleep State. But because the theory behind Stage Two is in its infancy and cryopreservation is irreversible, the solution isn’t as straightforward as one might think.

To keep track of his life’s details, Niles writes in pocket-sized notebooks. Thinks like his name, what his daughter likes and dislikes, his plans for CryoPause, etc., etc.. This was largely the inspiration behind the unique cover design you see here. And the date? Well, that’s not very important right now…

In Cold Memory, Niles has thirty-five days to make the impact he has always wanted to make, but with one twist: instead of impacting CryoPause and making the kind of difference to the lives of others, he decides to remedy the relationships he has been subordinating. In particular, he wants to make things better with his daughter.

I wrote this novel last year. I’ve held on to it because I wasn’t sure where it would fit with the Edwin Burrows Mysteries. Now that I have four Edwin Burrows novels written, I have a slightly better idea for these “Cold Memory” stories.

A Contest Unlike Any Other for Harv’s Readers!

And that brings me to the naming of this series. While some other authors offer to put people’s names in a book, I’ve decided that readers who leave a review for Cold Memory will have a chance to name this series. But it gets better than that. Not only will this lucky reader name the series, not only will they be acknowledged in all of the series’ books, not only will they receive early-release copies of the future novels and novellas in the series for free, but this lucky winner will also determine the main plot-line and a new character for book 4!

If this appeals to you, make sure you’re on my reader list. Once Cold Memory releases, you’ll receive an email from me outlining what needs to happen to make your voice and opinion heard! (Psst… I have less than twelve people on my mailing list right now…your odds are pretty dang good!)

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Blackmail Broker

As I  approach the publication date for Blackmail Broker, I find I’m a little anxious. Yes, the reviews so far for Alibi Aficionado have been incredibly supportive. But Blackmail Broker is…well, it’s different.

In this novel, Edwin Burrows has to find Rachel super-quick because he is tasked with solving a different kind of crime. When one of the partners comes to him and claims that one of their clients is suspected of being blackmailed, he knows he can’t perform without Rachel’s help. And things get worse when he learns that this client is none other than Bruce Canary, owner of Canary Transportation, a school bus company.

But that’s not the worst of the worse…THAT happens when one of Bruce’s school buses is hijacked on the first day after Christmas break. There are fifty-four students on board, the FBI is heavily involved, and there’s a theory floating around the office that if Edwin figures out the blackmail angle, he’ll find (and rescue) these missing kids.

Things get real when the first ransom demands are made:

Fifty-grand for each student.

I won’t add any of the gazillion spoilers I have. Sorry! But, hopefully, it’s clear now that Blackmail Broker is definitely different than Alibi Aficionado.

I’ll add that while this story certainly feels a lot more serious than Alibi, I caught myself laughing throughout the editing process. Especially at the beginning, before “shit gets real” as a lot of other authors would say.

I hope you enjoy Blackmail as much as you enjoyed Alibi. It’s definitely more of a heavy mystery…maybe a little too heavy, because the next novel in this series, Conspiracy Connoisseur, seems to be a lot lighter and more fun. But before we get to book three, how about you go and pick up book 2?

Buy Blackmail Broker here

 

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The Edwin Burrows Mysteries

When I finished writing Blackmail Broker (book 2 in the Edwin Burrows series) I felt I needed a break. I started a new novel, Never Get Caught, about a modern-day bank robbery that brings the main character back to a robbery that changed his own life forever, and not entirely for the good. Roughly halfway through Never Get Caught, I missed Edwin. I missed his voice. I missed his story, his life, the women that kept him (in)sane and true.

So I scrapped Never Get Caught and started writing book 3, Collusion Connoisseur, which picks up after Edwin has moved back home to Portland where he is supposed to be looking after his mother’s affairs but instead prefers to sleep in, play video games and eat chips for breakfast. As I write this, I’m 46,786 words into the 85,000-word manuscript… and I started 2 weeks and 2 days ago. In other words, Edwin’s world is flowing through me.

Edwin’s Big Picture Story

There is only one other series I plan on publishing in 2017, but the one I’m writing about now, these Edwin Burrows Mysteries, is a lot bigger than any given novel. Although I want my novels to be standalone reads, where you can pick up Collusion Connoisseur and enjoy it without having read Alibi Aficionado and Blackmail Broker, Edwin as a character must continue to grow and evolve. With that in mind, each novel in this series adds to the overarching mystery that began in Alibi (we just didn’t know it at the time).

That mysterious element became a little more evident in Blackmail Broker with a detail that was first introduced in Alibi Aficionado. It’s also brought back to the forefront of the story in Collusion Connoisseur. By the time the series winds up (I don’t even know when that will be), this larger mystery will get pieced together using individual pieces of the puzzle that I’ve dropped along the way.

Remember the TV Show Lost?

Each episode in the TV show Lost told a story within that episode, but pieces of the puzzle were apparently exposed in each. As viewers hurtled towards the series finale, that seemingly sub-plot story became the primary topic…and the end was beautiful when we learned that these “survivors” in Lost were actually all dead.

That’s my goal with the Edwin Burrows series. Not to kill everyone or make them dead, but bring out an element of Edwin that we don’t quite see so clearly right now.

In some ways, I’ve tested this in Blackmail Broker (March 2017). This novel starts with Rachel missing, something that is quickly complicated when a client’s school bus is hijacked with 54 student on board. Edwin needs Rachel’s expertise to solve this case. That’s why, before we reach the 25% milestone, Rachel is found and brought home.

By incorporating the resolution of a subplot/problem that was introduced in Alibi (Rachel’s disappearance) in Blackmail, I’ve discovered how I can use little elements throughout the series.

For the keener readers, I’ve come up with a way to play with your imagination a little more. It involves a book box. A few subtle hints as “gifts” within that box. But, alas, I’m getting ahead of myself. More on that later.

In the interim, please remember to leave your reviews on Amazon and Goodreads! And, above all else, thank you for taking the time to read my stories!

 

~Harv

Two Weeks Before Alibi Aficionado Is Live!

With two weeks left before Alibi Aficionado introduces millions of people (okay, maybe a handful) to Edwin Burrows, it’s probably worth making a mention of what I’ve been working on. I say this because it seems to change from day to day, depending on where the creative mojo is flowing.

At this very moment, I just finished writing the first 6k for the third instalment in the Edwin Burrows Mystery series. Yes, third. The second has been returned by Megan (my editor) and it’s waiting for me to get to it. I always thought the second novel (tentatively titled Blackmail Broker) was better than Alibi, but Megan had a different opinion. And that’s okay; it’s even a good thing because now I will edit it even harder than I’d planned.

With Alibi‘s publication date approaching super fast, I’ve also been contacting blogs that might be interested in reading my novel and providing a review. While I have no doubt that the marketing plan behind the novel is healthy enough to provide for a satisfactory launch to my novel-writing career, it’s always nerve-wracking to get someone’s feedback on your work. To me, all of these bloggers’ opinions and reviews are vital, extremely important.

I’ve also contacted some of the special readers and fans from my past life, people who enjoyed my unconventional storytelling and voice. I do believe that the voice in Alibi will have a ring of familiarity to some readers, but the story itself is obviously new and these loyal and supportive readers haven’t seen a full-on mystery from me yet. So I’m extremely anxious about getting their feedback too, and that’s the feedback that will fuel me into writing future novels!

I remember the weeks leading up to a novel’s publication as filled with excitement, with the anticipation of offering something new pushing me forward from day to day. I was never writing another novel during a release period. I was never really trying to market a book. I definitely wasn’t introducing myself to new (to me) bloggers and begging them to read a story written by someone they’d never heard about before.

In many ways, this is all very new to me.

And that’s a good thing.

This is a (mostly) fresh start. This is a new pen name, a new identity, a new type of story for me.

And I hope you enjoy it!

Alibi Aficionado

Coming on February 1, 2017!!!

Edwin Burrows, CPA, can’t do anything right. Not marriage, not office etiquette, not saving his boss’s daughter, not even public accounting. So when he’s tasked with constructing an alibi for the firm’s biggest client, everyone has low expectations…Including Edwin. In Alibi Aficionado, Edwin is an accidental investigator, a cross between Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum. Doomed from the start, Edwin knows that everyone expects him to fail. But when the police arrest the client, tensions rise and Edwin must either be the hero that helps a guilty man avoid prosecution, or the zero who tells the truth that buries his firm.

Go like and follow Harv’s Facebook Page as more cool stuff is on its way!

 

https://www.facebook.com/Harveychurchmysteries