Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy holidays to all

Thanks for all you who read my columns in the Huffington Post and read my blog at this site. Thanks to all who made Bloodridge, Book 1 of the Spies Lie Series an Amazon BESTSELLER. I hope you all have the most wonderful holiday ever. I look forward to entertaining you in 2015 with more espionage technothrillers.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

My Favorite Things, by DS Kane

Today, December 22, Kylie Betzner honors me with this opportunity to post a Guest Blog on her site, She’s hosting blog writers for the “My Favorite Things” Blog Tour (

 Here’s my entry:

During the winter holidays, I always keep busy writing. It’s not a vacation, but I’d hardly consider writing “work.” For me, writing is an addiction. I love telling stories. The evening news keeps me busy with news that translates well into fiction, or at least serves as suitable inspiration.

Over the years, I’ve celebrated the holidays in Manhattan, London, Hawaii, Palestine, Istanbul and Jerusalem. Each city has its own local stories. My observations have turned into themes, character arcs and plot points for The Spies Lie Series. I’ve had to change the date from the winter holidays to whatever date would best serve my book’s specific time and date, but, whenever possible, I’ve stuck close to the time of day when it occurred.

This year, my newest favorite thing was when, in December my book Bloodridge, Book 1 of the Spies Lie series hit the Amazon BESTSELLER LIST for both print and ebook, in the espionage and technothriller categories. I was as high as #32 on the top hundred, above books written by my writing heroes, including Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress, Tom Clancy’s Threat Vector, The Hunt for Red October, Locked On, Red Storm Rising, Cardinal of the Kremlin, Clear and Present Danger, Teeth of the Tiger, Red Rabbit, Debt of Honor, and Patriot Games, Michael Crichton’s Sphere, and Micro, J.A. Konrath’s The List, Origin, and, Ground, B. V. Larson’s Dead Sun, Annihilation, Empire, Storm Assault, Dust World, Exile, Element-X, Rebellion, Swarm, Mech 1, and, Extinction, Chuck Palahnuik’s Beautiful You, James Patterson’s Kill Alex Cross, and,  Private Vegas, Daniel Suarez’s Daemon, Daniel Silva’s The Messenger, Vince Flynn’s Extreme Measures, Ken Follett’s A Place Called Freedom, Joseph Finder’s Buried Secrets. It lasted for almost an entire week!

But when it ended, it was back to work for me. I’ve been busy this year


My newest book in the Spies Lie series, GrayNet, was released the first week in December. It was the 4th book I’ve had published this year.

In GrayNet, Cassandra Sashakovich, a spy, quit her work as a spy and blackmailed the White House to get her boyfriend, Lee Ainsley, released from Gitmo.

Cassandra rescued a teenager, Ann Silbee, from homelessness, and adopted her. Now they're all safe, and so is she. So everything should slowly become normal.

But Lee and Ann hate each other. Worse still, all those she broke and mangled on her mad run to survive want revenge. And soon, she finds the leverage needed to keep her alive falling apart…

Her life starts to unravel when the brother of murdered terrorists discovers it was Cassandra that killed them. Then the President's secret, the one she promised to keep hidden in exchange for her boyfriend's release, leaks to the press.

Her leverage is vaporizing.

It's time to run again…


It’s a global story, with scenes rapidly shifting to Washington DC, California’s Bay Area, Maui, Columbus, Ohio, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Manhattan, Tokyo, Detroit, Saint Petersburg and Vladivostok, Russia, Frankfurt, Germany, Muscat, Oman, Buenos Aires, Baltimore and Boston. The story is populated with spies, hackers, mercenaries entrepreneurs, and politicians. There are a few twists to keep you entertained. Deception and revenge are the two major themes.

There is a single scene taking place in the month of December, so, not a “holidays” story. But this is the kind of thriller you can give as a holidays present: Bring a spy home for the holidays.

Of all the book covers Jeroen Ten Berge has designed for the Spies Lie Series, the one he crafted for GrayNet is my favorite. And the story itself, where a spy is never really safe while alive, rigs true to my own experience. Keeping secrets and spreading lies is, after all, the business of espionage. And GrayNet has plenty of both.

 So, how much of the story is based on fact? I can’t tell you, or I’d have to…

Here’s a brief excerpt that takes place in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Thomas Dillworthy is the Chair of the Congressional intelligence oversight committee:

Dillworthy read a few pages

His jaw fell open. He mumbled to himself. "Damn. That reporter was right.” He thought, how could POTUS be so stupid? If this is true, the Chicago explosions were funded from the West Wing of the White House. Right under the President's nose. The Congressman shivered. Did the President know? Did he help plan it? He shook his head, reviewing the source of the intel. But it was no use. There was no way around it. The head of his party would be convicted of treason and murder. He forced himself to not think about the horrible deaths of thousands of innocents.

As Dillworthy considered his own options, the office door opened and one of his staff, a shy woman, returned from lunch. He turned away and walked into the private room of his office, closing the door behind him.

He sat down. As the Chair of the Congressional intelligence oversight committee, it was his duty to decide what matters were important enough to deal with in the light of day.

The question is, will I be a traitor to my party or a traitor to my country?


Here’s another, where Omasu Maru, a Yakusa enforcer, one of the antagonists in the story, reads an email reply in his Tokyo office, from a troublesome owner of a luxury hotel in Maui who owes the Yakusa money and has agreed to do Maru’s bidding to continue owning his hotel:


Maru returned from a meeting with one of his lieutenants, entering his office as his computer beeped indicating the arrival of an email.

He clicked the mouse and the screen changed:

Esteemed Omasu-san,

Cassandra Sashakovich has arrived at the hotel and I am on my way out. Her meeting with me has not been scheduled, per you orders. She and a young girl are in the two suites on the tenth floor, along with five civilians I assume are her consultants for the Security Audit.

All the other guests have vacated the premises.

Should you need to reach me, call my cell.


Sanji Morikono

Maru chuckled. He lit a cigarette, took a drag, and coughed. He flexed his palms, thinking, as he reviewed the bet he'd crafted for GrayNet. It took him a few hours until he got it absolutely correct, in words that had obvious meaning to anyone reading them in English, the foreign language he used for the message post:

BET—No one can send the severed head of Cassandra Sashakovich to the address at the bottom of this bet, for payment equal to the bet amount at market odds, plus a bounty of $3 million USD. Proof of her death will be her severed head, packed in dry ice, sealed in a wooden box. To earn the bounty, mail MP4 proof of Sashakovich‘s death, along with hitter's contact information to address below via overnight delivery. Others may bet on the outcome, but will only receive computed odds as they would at any sporting event. Her current whereabouts are at the Wailea Spa and Hotel in Maui, Hawaii, and her location can easily be tracked at

The physical address for reply upon success was a postal box in Tajikistan.

He smiled as the GrayNet web page of "Active Bets" updated the "Contracts for Death" sub-page.

He walked to the lunch room and poured himself a cup of coffee. Wearing a Cheshire-cat smile, he sat and waited. Within two hours, the bet was number one in popularity, as indicated by the number of views and also its position on the list. The odds were now 2:1 in favor of her death, there was almost $5 million betting that she could be assassinated.

Maru laughed so hard he almost fell out of his chair.


And one more scene from GrayNet. This one takes place in Boston Harbor and is seen from the point of view of Cassandra Sashakovich, the protagonist:

In the gray light, a pout covered Cassie's mouth. "Well I still don't like asking others to risk their lives while I stand here in safety. It's not—"

She heard a Ruger's characteristic thumping, followed by the crash of window glass twenty feet above. She looked up. The setting sun at last peeked rosy through a slit in the clouds, lighting them all. Glass splinters fell like rain, along with a rotund man holding a handgun. Shimmel and Cassie both covered their heads against the falling glass slivers, to keep shattered fragments from hitting their faces.

They dived away as fast as their legs could spring them.

Homaz dropped right between them, less than five feet away from her. Shimmel's dive put him on the wood planking five feet behind Houmaz. As Avram fell, he aimed his Ruger Mini-14.

Cassie saw Houmaz aim as he dropped. At her head.

Underneath her disguise, her moving body was covered in a liquid armor Hawaiian shirt. Her head was unprotected. Houmaz's aim was bad. The bullet hit her obliquely in the shoulder, but the bulletproof shirt ricocheted the shell up her armored chest. The bullet slammed through her tilted head, butchering her right cheek, and plowing through the other side of her face to exit near her ear. She landed in a heap, unmoving, unfeeling, in shock.

My favorite things include this quote from George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,” 1946:

“Political language – and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists – is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

I used this in Swiftshadow, Book 3 of the Spies Lie Series. It embodies the central role of government as it actually works today: Lie to everyone, all the time.

And this one from Macbeth, Act 5, Scene V, by Willy the Spear Shaker (William Shakespeare):

“It is a story told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” 

I used this in DeathByte, Book 2 of the Spies Lie Series. The quote is the essence of great fiction.

I worked for over a decade at an intelligence service. Ironically, I considered my work there as crafting fiction. When I left the business, writing thriller fiction seemed the natural choice, just as it has been for John LeCarre, Barry Eisler, Brad Thor, and so many other former spies.

I’ve taught thriller writing at libraries and writers conferences, and also offer writers critiques of their work through the free workshops.

If you’re hooked and want to find out more, GrayNet, Book 4 of the Spies Lie Series by DS Kane can be found on Amazon and can be ordered from any bookstore, as can the other books in the series. You might consider reading the series in the order they were written: Bloodridge, DeathByte, and Swiftshadow precede GrayNet. Oh, and two more will be released in 2015: Baksheesh and ProxyWar.

The other writers posting in Kylie Betzner’s “My Favorite Things” Blog Tour are:

December 8: Kylie Betzner,, Ryder Islington and Jennifer Conway

December 15: Lara Willard, and Mrs. N, aka N. N. Light,

Monday December 22nd: Anthony Renfro and me, DS Kane,

Monday December 29:
Alison Jack:
Noelle Granger:


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bloodridge, Book 1 of the Spies Lie Series, by DS Kane is now a BESTSELLER

Bloodridge, Book 1 of the Spies Lie Series, by DS Kane:
December 10, 2014. Over last 4 days, 123 Kindle ebooks sold, 2 CreateSpace books (in print):
December 11, 2014. Over last three days, 103 books sold (2 in print)

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,836 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store) 
#32 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Technothrillers
#40 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Espionage
#42 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers & Suspense > Technothrillers

  • Ahead of Dan Brown: Digital Fortress (#75, #95)
  • Ahead of Tom Clancy: Threat Vector (#47, #65), The Hunt for Red October (#55), Locked On (#58, #62, #65), Red Storm Rising (#59), Cardinal of the Kremlin (#72, #83, #84), Clear and Present Danger (#72, #86), Debt of Honor (#77), Patriot Games (#80)
  • Ahead of Michael Crichton:  Sphere (#88), Micro #100)
  • Ahead of J.A. Konrath: The List (#57), Origin (#65), Holes in the Ground (#94)
  • Ahead of B. V. Larson:  Dead Sun (#44), Annihilation (#46), `Empire (#51), Storm Assault (#53, #97), Dust World (#52), Exile (#60), Element-X (#76), Rebellion (#79), Swarm (#82), Mech 1 (#90) , Extinction (#91)
  • Ahead of Chuck Palahnuik: Beautiful You (#58, #96)
  • Ahead of James Patterson: Private Vegas (#59)
  • Ahead of Daniel Suarez: Daemon (#89, #93)



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

DS Kane's Take a Spy Home for the Holidays Blog Tour

Hey, guys, here’s a list of my interviews and guest posts for the DS Kane Blog Tour (!

Are you interested in espionage? Get straight scoop from a former operative now writing spy novels, just as John LeCarre, Barry Eisler, Brad Thor and so many others have.

 There’s almost enough material here for a non-fiction book on writing espionage fiction. Take a spy home for the holidays…

4. 12/02/14: Interview @ The Pen and Muse Book Reviews (

6. 12/02/14: Showcase @ Celtic Lady Reviews (

7. 12/02/14: Showcase @ Hott Books – DS Kane on Why Technology Fails, and Why It's So Easy For A Hacker To Steal Your Identity (  

8. 12/02/14: Showcase @ Mommabears Book Blog – Bloodridge Book Giveaway (

9. 12/02/14: Showcase @ Ryder Islingtons Blog (

10. 12/02/14: Showcase @ X-Mas Dolly (

11. 12/09/14: Guest Post @ Omnimystery News (

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Welcome, Corrine O'Flynn, children's book author

Corrine O'Flynn is a friend and fellow indie press author. She was one of attendees at an cycle a few years back. Her new book, The Expatriates, Book One: Song of The Sending, is now available for sale and I've already purchased a copy. Here's an excerpt:

 “Shh!” Charlie stepped toward the midway, her head cocked to listen. “What in the world?”
I followed her gaze across the fairgrounds where the big top towered over the smaller event tents. Festive red, white, and blue flags atop each of them blew in the morning breeze.
“Do you guys hear that?” she asked.
“Hear what?” Hollis said, wiping sweat from his face. He held the swaddled bird against his chest.
The peaked canopy of the big top stood tall over the row of concession stands. The old marquee twinkled faintly in the sunlight, its red and yellow light bulbs spelling out Sweetwater’s Traveling Show. Everything was quiet.
“Charlie?” I knew better than to question her ears.
“What is it?” Sam asked.
“Shhh.” She closed her eyes and cupped her hands around her ears.
“I don’t hear anything,” I said. “Actually I don’t hear anything at all.”
Usually, on the day we arrived in a town, the fairgrounds were so noisy you could barely have a conversation without shouting. The roustabouts and canvasmen made a terrible racket erecting the tents and hammering the steel spikes into the ground. Then there was the constant hum of generators and cranes and trucks permeating everything as we all got things ready for the weeklong stay. Not to mention the animals screeching and squawking and the regular people noise. But from where we stood, it was eerily quiet. The whole place felt like a ghost town.
A mushroom of black smoke billowed above the big top in the distance. A rolling boom reached us a moment later.
“Whoa,” Sam whispered.
“Sweet Sisters. They’re here,” Hollis said.

I had a chance to talk with Corrine about her book:

Tell me about your book.
THE EXPATRIATES is the first book in a new YA fantasy series about a teenage boy, Jim Wales, who discovers his family’s been hiding him in a traveling carnival because he’s being hunted for his powers.

How would you describe your writing?
I’ve been told my writing is quite visual, and I like to think that’s true. I’m a very visual person and that comes through while I’m at my desk writing because as I build the worlds of my story, I tend to start with visuals in an attempt to bring you into my world, fully in that moment, in that scene. I think all writers want readers to have that immersive experience while reading. And for me, that begins with visuals. 

Do you have to plan to write or are you constantly jotting ideas and lines down?
A little of both. The only way for me to get work done is to schedule the time on my calendar. My biggest challenge in my daily life is time-competition. We’ve got a lot of balls in the air at our house, and even though I work from home, it’s difficult to stay on task and on schedule with things that can be pushed back. So, while I am always jotting things down and making voice memos for myself as ideas and lines come to me, I won’t get anything done unless I make a plan to write.
Why do you write?
I write because I love to read. I love reading a story that makes my world disappear, or makes my heart race, or makes my soul ache. I love reading the kind of stories that stick with me, that make me think, and even the ones that are just plain thrilling. I write in an attempt to do that. I have stories inside my own head that transport me in that way, and I think it’s awesome to be able to share that with readers.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

My first attempt at a Trailer for the Spies Lie Series

When I found out how much these cost, I was alarmed. So, I tried to make one on my own, and this is it. It's a bit on the long side, just under four minutes, but that's because the piece of music backing the trailer is that long.

Please take the time to watch, and if you want to help me, give me some feedback.

I can't shorten the classical piece, not even sure how to do that without ruining it. I will make shorter ones, one for each book. So, have at it!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Just received the cover of GrayNet, Book 4 of the Spies Lie Series

...and I love it. Best cover of the series so far, I think. My cover designer, Jeroen Ten Berge, also does the covers for Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath among many others, Take a look. Tell me what you think:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews issues their take on DeathByte, book 2 of the Spies Lie Series

Book 2 of the Spies Lie Series
Kane, DS
The Swiftshadow Group, Inc. (354 pp.)
$14.99 paperback, $3.99 e-book
ISBN: 978-0996059138; June 12, 2014
In the second installment of the Spies Lie thriller series, a covert agent reunites with his allies as intelligence agencies battle over a revolutionary tracking device.
Master hacker William Wing discovers that someone has broken into his Hong Kong apartment and stolen all the secrets on his computer—secrets that belong to clients such as Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency. Afraid that he’ll be killed as a result of the breach, he reaches out to his friend Jon Sommers, a former Mossad assassin who’s now working undercover in a German bank (and having a hot-and-heavy romance with fellow spy Ruth Cohen). The thief is revealed to be Cassandra Sashakovich, an agent with an unnamed American intelligence agency who had been ratted out by a mole, raped by a terrorist and is now running for her life. The data she made off with includes plans for a tiny tracking gadget that allows one to see through the eyes of the person who swallows it; naturally, many people would kill to get their hands on it. Sommers brings together his few trusted allies, including hardened soldier Avram Shimmel, to help Wing and prevent the plans from falling into the wrong hands—but whose hands are the wrong ones? Kane (Bloodridge, 2014) purports to be a former spy himself, and his extensive knowledge of the ways that the world’s governments wage covert war on one another shines through in his incredibly detailed prose. At times, however, these details grow overwhelming and make it hard to keep track of who’s spying on whom and why. However, readers who adore action-packed thrillers in the vein of Robert Ludlum’s Bourne series will enjoy its many double-crossings. However, some readers should be warned: There are graphic scenes of torture excruciating enough to possibly make one’s stomach turn. Indeed, so many upsetting things happen to the main characters that it may be easy for readers to grow despondent about the state of the world by the time the story reaches its firestorm of a conclusion.
A dizzying spy story for readers with clear minds and steely constitutions.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Next Author Event, and my request for a favor from you

September 30, 2014

My next and final author event on the West Coast for this year will be held on Saturday, October 18 from 3 p.m to 5 p.m.. at Pelican Ranch Winery in Capitola, CA. I’ll be reading short passages from Bloodridge and DeathByte, selling and signing paperback books, and unveiling the cover for GrayNet, Book 4 of the Spies Lie series. If you’ve missed my previous appearances, or would just like to reconnect, or have purchased paperbacks and want them signed, please, come to Pelican Ranch.

GrayNet will be released in November. I’ll soon be polishing book 5. And, I’ve already started book 6.

I’m also asking for a favor from those of you who’ve purchased books, either paperback or ebooks: I’m desperate for reviews. If you have read one or more of my books. Please, please, please write and post a review at both Amazon and Goodreads. I’ll be forever in your debt.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Middle East isn’t the only place where the world is sinking into conflict

You already knew that. But there is something more:

No one really knows how to force the world to become a peaceful place. In the United States, for example, we have been in a state of war over 70% of the time we’ve existed. And we have no idea how to end it.

We’ve entered wars to save our allies, to defeat our enemies, and more often than not, these wars resolved nothing. Except for feeding the weapons development corporations, that is.

The Middle East is just a good example of what we’ve failed to do, despite our good intentions. Almost every time we’ve tried to do something positive there, the results have been disastrous. As Dick Cheney stated about Iraq, “We’ll be welcomed as liberators.” And this leads to how we deceive ourselves into believing we could be the heroes: Our intelligence services are so terrible, we simply can’t rely on them to provide us with the truth. Remember “weapons of mass destruction”? Our choice is to give the intelligence services even more budget, even more power, and hope that the 1.4 million people in the USA with security clearances in the over 1,200 organizations that spy will do something different. Or, we can stop relying on them to drive our global policy decisions. Either choice is sub-optimal. There must be a better way.

It’s time our country, and every country, thought a bit about what we’re letting the world become. Is this what we want? Where should we be spending our cash? What causes should we promote? Is there a better way to keep murderers and criminals from running countries?

I have no answers. But it’s about time we started asking the questions. If we don’t things will probably get worse, and not just in the Middle East. It’s looking a lot like it did just before the start of World War I.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tuesday, September 23 at 5:30: Book Signing and Reading at the Salinas Public Library

The Salinas Public Library on Lincoln Avenue would like to welcome all local readers to attend techno-thriller author DS Kane’s author reading and book signing on Tuesday, September 23 at 5:30. You may have attended one of DS Kane's fiction writing classes at the library a few years back. Now is the opportunity to see what he's produced.

Have you ever wondered how governments end up in such difficult wars and conflicts? Remember “Weapons of Mass Destruction?” What about the NSA’s monitoring of your cell phone calls? Do spies really lie? Come listen to DS Kane speak on the nature of intelligence services and how some of their most provocative endeavors often inadvertently start global conflicts.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sold 50 books at book launch party!

August 16, 2014
Sold 50 books at my book launch party at Cima Collina Winery in Carmel Valley, CA today. The party went on from 3 p.m. through 5 p.m. Attendees included best-selling thriller author Barry Eisler, members of the Naval Postgraduate School faculty and administration, investigative journalists Julia Reynolds and Claudia Melendez, and my literary agent Nancy Ellis. I read short passages from Bloodridge and DeathByte. Everyone who bought a book received free wine, but then again, thriller readers tend to enjoy their wine. And, Cima Collina makes some of the the best Chards and Pinots.

If you missed this opportunity to meet me and get your book signed, come to the Salinas Public Library on Lincoln Street, Salinas, CA on September 23 at 6 p.m. through 8 p.m. for my author event there.

And, I'll be signing books at Pelican Ranch Winery in Capitola, CA on the afternoon of October 18, with free wine for the book purchasers.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Swiftshadow available everywhere!

August 8, 2014

Today, Swiftshadow, Book 3 of the Spies Lie Series ( is available everywhere, in print at bookstores (where you can order it) and at Amazon. It is available in ebook form at both Nook Press (Barnes & Noble) and Amazon. See what happens when a spy's cover is blown by a mole from her own intelligence service and she becomes hunted by the very terrorists she was ordered to grift from.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Swiftshadow availale NOW in paper with ebook to follow next week

August 1, 2014

Finally... Swiftshadow, Book 3 of the Spies Lie Series is available in paper at Amazon ( and also available for order at your local bookstore.

The ebook versions will be available sometime next week.

It's been a long ride. Now I can get back to polishing GreyNet, Book 4 of the Spies Lie Series.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

An Interview with DS Kane on Why Spies Lie and the Process of Successful Self-Publishing

July 23, 2014

I was just interviewed by The Story Reading Ape . Interested in who I really am and what I did to self-publish? Read more of this post

Also, Swiftshadow, Book 3 of the Spies Lie Series, is now in production. Release will be on time, on August 2nd.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

DeathByte Released Today!

July 12, 2014

DeathByte Book 2 in the Spies Lie series is now available.

When someone breaks into William Wing's Hong Kong apartment and steals the hard drives from his computer, it sets several intelligence services searching for the plans to a new device that could change the course of world politics forever.

Wing's worst fears, that he might become hunted for what they think he knows, is the least of the issues at hand for his friend, Jon Sommers. Sommers will have to leave his deep cover assignment to help his friend, and he'll need a team. The Mossad wants what Wing lost, and so do the Americans, the Chinese and the Brits. It's going to be a free-for-all.

And now, a brief progress update: Swiftshadow is now at the formatter, It should be available for reviewers within two weeks. My intention is to release it on August 2. At that point, the first three books in the Spies Lie series will be available for sale.

You can buy my books at Amazon, and you can order them at any bookstore.

On Saturday, August 16, I will be at Cima Collina Winery in Carmel Village, CA for a book signing. Anyone who buys a book gets free wine. And, anyone who buys two titles will receive the third one free.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

An Adventure in Self-Publishing - Bloodridge book launch report and other news

June 14, 2014

On this day, Bloodridge, Book 1 of the Spies Lie Series, officially launched. The book made headlines at Indie Author News ( Lots of tweets.

At this time, DeathByte, Book 2 of the Spies Lie Series, is available in print at Amazon. It ill be available for order at your local bookstore in about a week, and available in ebook format about the same time.

And, I'd like to announce that I've scheduled a book signing for all three of the books in the series so far, at Cima Collina Winery in Carmel Valley Village, on Saturday, August 16 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. People who buy one of the books will receive free wine.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

An Adventure In Self-Publishing - POST # 8

May 16, 2014

Bloodridge has been in soft-launch for about three weeks with very limited success. DeathByte is now at the formatter and about ten days away from soft-launch. Swiftshadow is at the copyeditor and probably about three weeks away from soft-launch. In three weeks, Bloodridge will launch for real.

Ingrams/LightningSource reports a problem with the cover of Bloodridge, so right now it's available in paper from Amazon only. I hope to have this problem resolved in a few days, and then you will be able to order it at any bookstore.

I'm still spending hours every day on fixing small problems and experiencing unintended adventures and side-trips. My literary agent is now pitching a non-fiction title for me based on what I've written in the Huffington Post. It could well be my next adventure.

An Adventure In Self-Publishing - POST #9

June 8, 2014

At this point, if you've been following my progress, you already know I've soft-released Bloodridge, Book 1 of the Spies Lie series. I've received a few reviews and some sales, but despite my efforts and those of my publicist, this is slower than I'd hoped. There is some acceleration, and that's good. My total cost for Bloodridge (copyedit, cover design and formatting) was about $3,000 to do it with the best people out there.

DeathByte, Book 2 is at the formatter and I've just finished reviewing every word in the PDF they sent me. It's back for a bit of rework, and then they'll craft the ebook versions. The covers, for the ebook and the paper version, look amazing, just as they did for Bloodridge. I've completed paying for it all, but my own work and that of the formatter isn't yet finished. Total cost (not including publicity): $3,000.

Swiftshadow, Book 3, is the final story I will release this summer. So far, the only thing complete is the ebook cover. Copy editing is now underway. Of the total cost of about $3,000, so far, I've been invoiced nothing, but the payments will become due very soon.

I did it this way, because I'm paying for publicity one time for three books, with publicity bleed-through, so every book benefits from each Tweet and Facebook post. My publicist gets paid by the hour and her job is to elevate the discoverability of me first, and my books second. So doing three at once saves me time and money, and is far more effective. To understand how this works for me, examine Metzger's Law: Basically, one point in a large pool gets very little attention, but as you add points, the amount of attention you draw to them increases geometrically. Three books by one author gets nine times the attention of one book, with each book getting three times its visibility.

I'll have a publication party at the Cima Collina Winery in Carmel Valley in August for the three books, and book signings at local bookstores (not yet confirmed).

Within two weeks, I'll have Bloodridge in hard release, DeathByte in soft-launch, and Swiftshadow paid off and near completion. It's been an expensive trip and I'm not sure if there will be a pay-off for all the hard work

The United States is now at war with several countries

May 30, 2014

Starting at the end of the second World War, the United States Congress never "declares" wars. This makes it harder to count them all. For forty-five years following the end of World War II, we fought a "cold war," in which there were no military troops in combat. We had military forces - "kinetic" forces-  involved in Korea, Viet Nam, Serbia and Croatia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

But now, something new has happened. Cyberwar. According to Richard Clarke, the next war will be a Cyberwar. And, yesterday, former Secretary of State Leon Panetta declared that we are now engaged in a Cyberwar. Among those who have attacked us are the North Koreans, the Chinese, the Iranians, the Russians, the Saudis and the Israelis. And, according to sources including several whistle-blowers.

With such a widespread set of combatants, this can only be described as a "world war."

World War III. No shots fired, no prisoners taken. Money stolen, or, more accurately, data moved. Factories disabled, or, more accurately, bugs launched and viruses unleashed.

Both China and Russia have placed bugs within the electric grid of the United States. Whenever they want, our lights go out and the NSA is not able to track us. It's good enough to use as a plot line for a thriller, but without a power grid, I won't be able to sell it to Amazon.

Very recently, hackers have stolen the identities of well over half the population of the United States. There have been no kinetic casualties. No deaths.

Cyberwar has been a clean experience so far, so much so that we all seem to have missed the point. A good hacker can break through the defensive security in any computer system. The NSA has made certain of this. To "defend" us, our intelligence services have made every consumer and every corporation vulnerable to losing everything.

It's a war we cannot win unless we attack first. Unfortunately, this is something Russia and China have also very likely concluded.

What's your feeling about this?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

An Adventure in Self-Publishing - Post #7

May 3, 2014

Bloodridge is now available. This is the "soft-launch." At this point, I'm looking for reviews. By June 14, I'm hoping to have enough objective reviews to encourage readers to buy the book. My deal with reviewers is this: Buy the ebook (at either or and review Bloodridge on Goodreads ( and on Amazon, and regardless of what you say, send me a copy of both reviews, and I'll send you an ebook copy of Book 2 in the series, DeathByte, when I soft-launch it in a few weeks.

If this works and I have enough reviews to generate sales, I'll repeat the process with DeathByte and Book 3 of the series, Swiftshadow. So, if you buy Bloodridge and write reviews for it, you get DeathByte for free, and if you write reviews for DeathByte, you get Swiftshadow for free.Of course, whaat I get is your email to me ( containing link to the reviews you wrote to earn the free copy.

Have fun! Do this and you might end up with a free set of spy novels for your summer reading.

Right now, I'm waiting for completion of the copyedit process on DeathByte, and the book covers to be completed...

Sunday, April 27, 2014

An Adventure In Self-Publishing – POST #6

April 27, 2014

The first major step in my self-publishing adventure is nearly complete.

Bloodridge is now loaded into Bowkers (for the ISBN Numbers for the CreateSpace paper, Nook epub and Kindle mobi ebook versions), and Ingrams / Spark (paper book sales through brick and mortar bookstores). As soon as these listings are confirmed, the CreateSpace entry will show in my Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) page, and then I can upload the mobi version to KDP. At that point, Bloodridge will be available for reviewers, and for the general public on June 14. The folks at were very helpful in setting everything up so my work would be straightforward.

Sometime early next week, I expect to see the copyedited version of DeathByte sent to me by my copyeditor, Karl Yambert. I'll read his questions and reply, probably in three days. Then he'll send me the final copyedited version, and I can forward that on to Meanwhile, my cover designer, Jeroen Ten Berge should be completing the cover designs (paper and ebook)  for DeathByte by the end on next week, and after I approve them, they also get sent to If things go well, DeathByte will be ready for its upload in two weeks, ready for reviewers, pending it's pub date on July 12.

Then, on to Swiftshadow, due for release on August 2. When that one is done, I will have created an entire summer's reading list for thriller devotees.

Then, I can take a more leasurely pace with the other three, which will be made available for summer 2015. To make next year less hectic, I'll work on those over the following months (autumn).

The cost of all this was about $10,000 for three books. Publicity and web site redesign were more, and by that I mean a ton of cashish more.

Yes, I could have done it on the cheap. But I hope that paying for quality means I'm delivering an excellent product to reader.

Now, back to work...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

An Adventure In Self-Publishing – POST #5

Now, finally... Bloodridge, the first title in the "Spies Lie" series is almost complete. The cover, by Jeroen Ten Berge, is done. The copyediting, by Karl Yambert, is done. The formatting into PDF for the Ingram's / LightningSource and CreateSpace print versions of the book is done, by All I'm waiting on now is's formatting of the book into epub and mobi versions for Nook and Amazon.

So far, I'm impressed with the result. My publicist, Brandi Andres, has helped arrange guest columns in the Huffington Post on political and technology issues. To help with "discoverability,"  I've asked several authors I know (or who I've been directed to by other authors I know) to write reviews or blurbs, and now I'm waiting on them. In just a few days, I'll be offering the ebook version to readers who promise reviews on Goodreads and my Amazon author's page (which I must now create).

The total cost for all this is within 15% of my budget. And, I'll make my target date of June 14 for Bloodridge's release.

So, with the pre-release work on Bloodridge now complete, I'll begin focus on book 2, DeathByte. As the song says, "The road goes on forever and the party never ends..."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

An Adventure In Self-Publishing - POST #4

March 25, 2014

Two months into the adventure. I've spent about $600 more than I'd budgeted, and I'm about one week behind schedule. I'm waiting on my cover designer's work, then I can send the manuscript out to a professional formatter. If I get the covers by the end of March, Bloodridge, the first book in the series will be ready for its June 15 publication date and I can ship it out for promotion (blurbs, reviews, free copies). Then, onto DeathByte, which is the second in the series, due for publication on July 15. At this rate, I will be about $3,000 over budget and will get the first three (including Swiftshadow) out by August 1. I still have no idea where that extra cashish will come from, but I can always hope it will be from book sales.

Should you do this for your books? If you have tons of stamina, can suffer the uncertainty of not knowing if what you are doing will work, and have enough cash to carry it through, then maybe. It's a tough trip.

The 7th critique and workshop


March 25, 2014

The 7th critique and workshop for fiction novelists is now open for applicants. Visit to see what it's all about. Then, email Brenda Barrie [] with your contact info if you want to do breakthrough novel writing.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Snowden Effect: A Web of Conflict

March 24, 2014

I'm co-author of a @HuffingtonPost article, today, with Brandi Andres: about how our intelligence services violate our privacy. It's time our country's elected officials had a public conversation about whether these activities should be deemed unconstitutional and the lawbreakers (the US Senate, the CIA, the NSA, or,the whistleblowers) punished or whether this is okay and we want it. Either way, it's better for us if we know and agree to the policies in effect.

What do you think?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Senator Feinstein versus the CIA

March 12, 2014

Yesterday, the breaking headline was a very public argument between CIA Director John Brennan and Senator Diane Feinstein, Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, each one claiming the other’s organization had infiltrated their computers in an attempt to steal information regarding investigations each was pursuing with the other.

It sounds, on the face of it, like a snake swallowing its head. To me, the biggest question is, which end is the head? To whom does the CIA report? To whom does the Senate report? Who runs whom? The constitution created the Senate, but laws the Senate was a party to passing created the CIA. So, is the CIA subservient to the Senate? My belief is that this is so, but lately I’ve come to have my doubts. In the wake of the Edward Snowden affair, intelligence services in the United States seem to report to no one these days. And, of course, as I’m very fond of saying, the key mission of any intelligence service is disinformation, or lies.

The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 forbids the use of the military of the United States for law enforcement purposes, with the exception of the National Guard. Coupled with the Insurrection Act of 1807, we have a set of laws that governed the President of the United States of America’s ability to deploy troops within the United States to put down lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion. “Posse comitatus” means “an armed body of men at the disposal of the King for the purposes of keeping the peace.”

One of the implications of the Posse Comitatus Act was that the CIA was also forbidden to operate on US soil.

The Posse Comitatus was repealed, replaced by The “National Defense Authorization Act” (NDAA), H.R. 1540. This legislation was signed into law by President Barack Obama in Hawaii on December 31, 2011. The new law codifies indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history.

Had Posse Comitatus been in effect, the CIA would have very clearly broken the law, if they have hacked the Senate’s computers. But with that law repealed, it’s hard for someone who isn’t a constitutional lawyer to determine if the CIA’s actions were illegal. If indeed, the CIA hacked the Senate.

Obama justified the NDAA as a means to combating terrorism, as part of a “counter-terrorism” agenda.  But in substance, any American opposed to the policies of the US government can – under the provisions of the NDAA –  be labelled a “suspected terrorist” and arrested under military detention.

We now know – courtesy of Edward Snowden – that hacking into government computers is an act of terrorism.

Is the CIA subject to the laws of the United States? Are they subject to this law? If they have hacked the Senate’s computers, is that an act of terrorism?

Is the Senate subject to this law? If they hacked the CIA’s computers, is that an act of terrorism?

Shades of Edward Snowden! Seems to me, someone needs to redefine what the NDAA implies, since its violators now include our elected and employed government officials.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Changing Role of Literary Agents

February 26, 2014

Full disclosure first: I’ve been married to a very successful literary agent for decades, and I’ve seen her operate and grow a company, so I am burdened with insider knowledge and opinions.

One of the things her company has is a dictum that they will not represent friends or family. So I wasn’t going to get represented by her company and had to fight – just like anyone else – to find representation. Which I did. I have both a literary agent and a film agent.

But, in light of the massive changes to hit the publishing industry, my lit agent couldn’t sell my technothrillers to a NY publisher. My choice was to DIY or give up, and since I’d come so close to a deal so many times, I was sure there was the quality in my work that might yield me success in self-publishing.

Now, I decided to self-publish at the turn of this year and set myself a goal of publishing three of my works in series sequence this coming summer. I’d need a whole new set of skills. I know things regarding how publishing works, so crafting a budget and a schedule were easy. But, the rest – cover design, web site redesign, copyediting, publicity, social media – these were things writers tend to ignore until it’s too late. I’d have to learn them in a hurry.

My suggestion here is that if you are looking for a literary agent – regardless of whether you want a Trad Deal (contract with a large NYC publisher) or want to go Indie -  you should find one who is an expert in the three four disciplines I mentioned in the previous paragraph.

In the distant past, literary agents were likely to have been editors at publishing house. They acted as guides for your manuscript, touring them through the editors working where they’d worked, hoping to find a home for our work. Since the really good ones had a wealth of experience at those publishing houses, they knew the publication process and could guide a writer from submission through book release. Today, unless you want a Trad Deal, this experience is worthless.

But, the new breed of literary agent still needs to know the publication process, even though it has assumed a totally new form. Self-published authors still need a guide. My advice to authors is, if you’re going to self-publish and you haven’t worked in Silicon Valley, you’ll need a literary agent who understands social media, so you can develop a willing audience desiring your content. Your agent should understand what makes a web site sticky, so you can treat Internet visitors to your blog entries and keep them happy. A good agent will understand that the book cover for both ebooks and print books is responsible for around 60% of the sales decision, and should have a cadre of cover design graphic designers who have been successful with your  genre of book. Your agent should have worked with publicists who can offer their experience with publishing campaigns. With all this, your agent can be an effective guide through the new publishing process.

Oh, and one more. Know that you won’t receive an advance against revenues if you self-publish. It’ll all come out of your pocket. So you’d better have saved the cashish from your day job before you start. The good news is that you’ll gross 70% of the sales price (and on a $2.99 ebook that’s $2.21 per ebook) if you self-publish. With a Trad Deal, you’d net about 10% of net revenue (about $0.35 per ebook selling at $7.99)

In the past, literary agents earned 15% of your earnings. I believe your agent should still receive 15%. Some are charging a lot more. Caveat emptor!

So, remember, the opinions in this blog entry are mine alone. Stay safe if you can. No matter what you decide, happy writing!

Monday, February 24, 2014

An Adventure in Self-Publishing - POST #3

February 24, 2014

I just received the proposal from the last publicist. Way too expensive. So now, I'm pretty sure I'll hirethe one I was leaning toward. As for the web site, looks reasonable. I have some concerns, but I'm running short of time.

When I've cast these last two decisions into stone, the only thing left will be to run the plan I've made.

Since there's lots at stake here, I'll hold off one more day so I can spend an hour talking with my wife, Andrea, She always gives good advice.

What I'll then have is:

  • a copyeditor

  • a cover designer

  • a publicist

  • a web site designer

  • and, a corporation for the endeavor.

It's everything a publisher would need. And that's what I'll be.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

An Adventure in Self-Publishing - POST #2

February 18, 2014

Okay, so now three weeks have passed since I posted on my great adventure. I now have a cover designer at work, and a copy editor fixing the first manuscript. My corporate attorney is forming a California "C" Corporation to handle revenues and expenses. And I'm about  to select the publicist I need to help make my books a fungible commodity. I'll also need to revise my web site to make it look like that of an expert in the politics of the intelligence community; which I am.

Oh, and I'll need to revise my Excel spreadsheet with my budget and schedule in it. To download it for your own use, <click here: BLANK Publishing Schedule Events and Budget>.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

It Can’t Happen Here? Well, Maybe, But…

February 4, 2014

Anyone else see the economic, religious, political and cultural similarities between the United States today and Iran under the last days of the Shah?


In 1978, the Shah’s secret police, the Savak, had a death grip on the populations, fearing an uprising. They saw the uprising coming internally, but focused on military and political forces, and missed the entire cause of the unrest.


Iran in 1978 was emerging from a half-century of slow cultural diversification forced by the Shah. The country had a very small middle class. There was a growing religious right wing, whose power was deemed dangerous by the secret police. The military was clearly undecided regarding whose side they favored, and so were left out of the political equation.


The United States today is emerging from its most serious economic catastrophe in over seventy years. Our country’s middle class is swiftly growing smaller and more irrelevant as the gulf between rich and poor continues to leave the majority of Americans economically disenfranchised. The religious right wing is growing. The intelligence services – NSA, CIA, FBI, all see a growing threat within America from Americans. The political fringes – both right and left – are growing in power, leaving moderates and the military out of the “power” equation.


It’s a nightmare come true. And, we all remember how it ended up for Iran in 1979. As Frank Zappa sang with the Mothers of Invention so many decades ago, “It can’t happen here.” The song, by the way, was satire.


Was there anything that the Shah could have done to prevent his overthrow? What if he’d had a more open policy toward dissent? What if he’d gone even more the other way, and had the most repressive regime in human history? History seems to indicate that no given policy works forever, and many simply don’t work at all.


Is there a lesson here for us? Or has our regime begun to wind down? It’s an issue we should try to address, but I think it’s just too damn scary for anyone to ponder for very long, and no real answers are easy to come by.


Like global warming and the cigarettes-cause-cancer controversies, this one could play out for a long time. What comes to my mind is the old saw, ‘Nero fiddles while Rome burns.’

It Can’t Happen Here? Well, Maybe, But…

March 3, 2014

Anyone else see the economic, religious, political and cultural similarities between the United States today and Iran under the last days of the Shah?


In 1978, the Shah’s secret police, the Savak, had a death grip on the populations, fearing an uprising. They saw the uprising coming internally, but focused on military and political forces, and missed the entire cause of the unrest.


Iran in 1978 was emerging from a half-century of slow cultural diversification forced by the Shah. The country had a very small middle class. There was a growing religious right wing, whose power was deemed dangerous by the secret police. The military was clearly undecided regarding whose side they favored, and so were left out of the political equation.


The United States today is emerging from its most serious economic catastrophe in over seventy years. Our country’s middle class is swiftly growing smaller and more irrelevant as the gulf between rich and poor continues to leave the majority of Americans economically disenfranchised. The religious right wing is growing. The intelligence services – NSA, CIA, FBI, all see a growing threat within America from Americans. The political fringes – both right and left – are growing in power, leaving moderates and the military out of the “power” equation.


It’s a nightmare come true. And, we all remember how it ended up for Iran in 1979. As Frank Zappa sang with the Mothers of Invention so many decades ago, “It can’t happen here.” The song, by the way, was satire.


Was there anything that the Shah could have done to prevent his overthrow? What if he’d had a more open policy toward dissent? What if he’d gone even more the other way, and had the most repressive regime in human history? History seems to indicate that no given policy works forever, and many simply don’t work at all.


Is there a lesson here for us? Or has our regime begun to wind down? It’s an issue we should try to address, but I think it’s just too damn scary for anyone to ponder for very long, and no real answers are easy to come by.


Like global warming and the cigarettes-cause-cancer controversies, this one could play out for a long time. What comes to my mind is the old saw, ‘Nero fiddles while Rome burns.’

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

An Adventure in Self-Publishing – POST #1

January 29, 2014

I’m now in the process of self-publishing the first three novels listed on my fiction page. I invite you to follow with me as I progress toward publication. In June, I’ll publish Bloodridge. Then in July, I’ll publish DeathByte. And, I August, Swiftshadow. In 2015, I’ll publish two more, and then I’ll publish the final book (so far) in the series.

I’ll record brief messages containing my failures and successes as I get ready to release these as paper an ebooks. If you’re a writer, you might be able to learn – real-time – from me. If you aren’t a writer, well, it’s the comedy and tragedy of every project ever done.

Current status:

Started the process on January 1 after speaking with my literary agent. Created a budget and a schedule using Excel. Sent RFPs (Requests for Proposal) out to cover designers, publicists and copy-editors over the last two weeks. Now in the process of final selection. ETA for these events is the end of January.

More updates will follow soon.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Inside the movie “Inside Llewyn Davis”

January 21, 2014

Yesterday, my wife and I saw the movie and it brought back memories of Greenwich Village in the 1960s.

When I was 12, my mother insisted I learn to play a musical instrument. She wanted me to play piano, but I was hopelessly inept. Then she settled on trumpet, but once again, I wasn’t interested. But, after seeing an Elvis Presley movie and watching my female classmates react to him, I decided I would learn guitar. And, motivated by anticipating the stir I hoped to create in young women, I sought a guitar teacher.

Walking through Washington Square on a Sunday in April, I saw plenty of guitarists, playing blues and folk music and hoping for tips. One of these, a tall, heavy bearded man with a Louis Armstrong tone to his voice, was Dave Van Ronk. I listened for a few songs, then asked if he taught guitar. He said, “Yes, until my album is released. Two months. Six lessons, one per week.” He told me everything I needed to know, and I begged my parents for the cash.

In six weeks of hard work, I could fingerpick blues. On my first visit, I tripped over the sleeping body of Bob Dylan, who was crashing under the kitchen sink of Dave and Terry’s apartment that week. By the time I got to college, I could make enough money playing gigs to pay my way through school.

Dave Van Ronk visited Tufts University in 1966 for a gig at the Embroglio, the University’s large coffee house. I opened for him. It was a frosty night and he’d damaged his right hand when a car door closed on it. He pulled a bottle of Carmel Hoc wine from the guitar case and turned to the small group of us in the tiny room above the club, and said, “Gentlemen, to sing blues, you must feel pain.” He held up his damaged hand. “Real pain.”

I met and played with Chris Smither in front of over a thousand people at a concert at Boston University. Had I wanted, I could have had a similar struggle as my career. But I hadn’t the courage and settled instead for a career in business. I have no regrets, but the memories are wonderful.

The album “Inside Dave Van Ronk” is what is featured in the movie “Inside Llewyn Davis” as the precursor to the movie’s events. Dave became “the mayor of McDougal Street.” If you wanted to play a gig in Greenwich Village, you got the gig through him.

The last time I saw Dave was about ten years ago, at a club in San Francisco. He died of colon cancer a few years ago. All I have of him is every album he recorded and my memories of a grizzly bear of a man. I sorely miss him. The movie, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” accurately depicts the life of this folk hero.