In the Shadow of Angels?

I’ve been communicating with a number of people about In the Shadow of Angels, and, more specifically, how the cover and title are not appropriate for the story. It was appropriate to the story when I initially wrote it -a very dark story of a schizophrenic woman- but that was many, many drafts ago. Even then, the original art smacked of plastic vampire teeth, which was all my fault, since I thought (and still think) that cover looks cool as all get out. But it’s not right for the story.

In these recent conversations about the book, a number of words keep coming up to describe what the story is now. ‘Noir’ seems to be the most common. When I think ‘noir’, I think black and white films of Sam Spade and other such ‘hard-boiled’ detective stories. It turns out that ‘hard-boiled’ and ‘noir’ are/were frequently used together, but they they are not synonymous. ‘Noir’ actually means ‘a genre of crime fiction characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity.’ Holy shit, that’s my story! Though I still believe it blends some dark comedy in there (at least I intended it to, so I hope it does).

Suggestions were that I should try to capture the essence of the old pulp fiction novels to get the tone across -hopefully getting it into the hands of the correct audience. I’m not particularly familiar with pulp fiction (except the movie), but an image search returns a lot of books that all look very similar:


My first few attempts were pretty rough, but with a bit of guidance, I ultimately ended up with what you see here (this is, obviously, the flat rendering of the full book jacket):


I wanted to remove the girl with the dead-eyed stare from the bottom of the front cover, but I met a lot of resistance. Everyone seems to love the visual of that girl. The jury is still out on whether this will be the cover (or title) that I ultimately use to replace the current gothic angels. One thing is certain though: I will be taking In the Shadow of Angels permanently out of print by the end of this week in preparation for the new cover/title (the task of getting the cover/title changed requires taking a number of steps in a very specific order. Well, to do it with a minimum of hassle). If you love the old gothic look of the original cover and don’t yet have a copy, you need to act fast!

New cover art for Good Intentions

I finally got around to updating the cover art for Good Intentions. If you happened to get a copy of the book with the old art, who knows, maybe one day it will be worth something. The new cover fits the tone and story a lot better (though the artist took a bit of liberty with it; it’s not nearly this thick in person):


Book Review: Celluloid

Book Review: Celluloid by Holly Curtis ★★★★☆

I’ve been fortunate in my recent book choices on Reader’s Favorite. The last few that I have made it through have all been good (which is not to say I’ve made it through all the ones I started because some haven’t been even good enough to finish, but that’s neither here nor there).

Celluloid was a delightful surprise. When I chose this one to review, it had been collecting virtual dust on the reviews list for a while. I oftentimes chose books that have been there for a while because, as an indie author myself, I know that any feedback is helpful feedback and I hate to see them make it through without getting reviewed.

Here is my official review Continue reading Book Review: Celluloid

He’s the one they call Dr. Feelgood…

As Monty Python might say, “And now for something completely different.”

I’ve had terrible pain in my upper back on the left side for about three weeks now. I went to a chiropractor to try to determine the cause and he said I had a small tear in a muscle in that location. That, combined with a general tightness in the muscles which were overcompensating to make up for it, was all there was to it. Good enough for me. I hate doctors and only grudgingly go to a chiropractor (who aren’t really doctors)* to keep my spine in line or else I am in constant pain from nerves being pinched -a condition dating back twenty-five years.

In this case, after three weeks there has been no improvement. Any motion of my head to the left or right hurts like hell. Turning it hurts pretty bad, but if I try to tilt it to one side or the other it’s unbearable. It’s actually kind of a fun game to play. It hurts worse the more I tilt it, so I can tilt it further and further to see where my pain threshold is -trying to beat my record each time. I wish I had the tolerance to actually get my head all the way to my shoulder, but I simply can’t do it. I don’t know if it’s me actively being a pussy or if my brain is hard-wired to keep me from knowingly causing myself enough pain to render me unconscious. Seems like something that shady bastard would do; he’s always scheming against me. It’s one thing if I grab a hammer and smack myself in the head with it -I can totally sneak up on my brain and he’ll never see it coming- but it’s different if I have to try to get my brain to be complicit in causing aforementioned pain. That bastard just doesn’t care about science!

So after three weeks, I finally decided I’d better go to a doctor Continue reading He’s the one they call Dr. Feelgood…

In the Shadow of Angels Kindle Countdown

In the Shadow of Angels will be on Kindle Countdown promotion starting 1/20/16 at 99¢ and ending back at $2.99 on 1/27/16. I think I set it to go up to $1.99 midway through, but I honestly can’t remember. Better grab your copy before my faulty memory costs you an extra buck!

When he finds his mistress dead, Devin makes a frantic decision that will ultimately involve his friends, his wife, a sleazy P.I. and even his psychiatrist. He’s left with a single thought, “Hiding a body shouldn’t be so complicated.”

I’ve always been quite critical of my own work, but look at what some other people are saying about it:

This mystery thriller is written in such ominous prose that readers will not want to leave themselves hanging – it urges you to turn page after page, wondering if these characters will ever make it out of their troubles, and how. – M Beltran Reader’s Favorite

“The extent of descriptive detail and storyline elevation are similar to novelist Stephen King.” – W. Selman

“A top-notch thriller in the tradition of Patricia Highsmith and Alfred Hitchcock.” – S. McLuggage

(Yes, I know the second name looks super fake, but I assure you that he is a legitimate Amazon reviewer with about twenty book reviews under his belt.) Act fast and you can find out if they are right for just 99¢.

Get Good Intentions on Kindle for 99¢

For a limited time only, grab your copy of Good Intentions on Kindle for 99¢.

While in Portland for business, Brian meets Cassie outside the airport -scared, hurt and alone. He feels compelled to help her -a decision which will test his character, values and morals. He soon finds it’s true what they say about Good Intentions.

It hasn’t yet received many reviews, but Carol, from Reader’s Favorite, says it’s, “A sometimes sad, sometimes scary story…leaving you breathless and captivated until the last moments of the tale. An engrossing read!” Isn’t it worth 99¢ to see if Carol is right?

Excerpt from an email with a friend

I haven’t posted anything here for a while and I really should have. Good Intentions released on Audible last week and I didn’t properly promote or advertise it. You can also pick up In the Shadow of Angels on Audible, and, of course, both are also available on Amazon. Don’t want to spend any money? Contact me and maybe I’ll throw you one for free.

That’s the end of my shameless promotion. That is, in a nutshell, my problem with this whole writing thing. I enjoy writing, but I’ve found that I loathe the amount of promotion necessary to generate any sales. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to change that about myself. I’ve never been the type to jump up and yell, “Look at me!” I had always hoped that the first person who read the story would do that for me, but if it was that easy, everyone would be a successful writer.

In a recent email exchange with an online friend (whom I first met when he filled out my contact form. Try it out, I answer them all), my response to one of his questions perfectly captured my current state of mind about the whole writing as a career thing: Continue reading Excerpt from an email with a friend

Book Review: A Butterfly in Philadelphia

Book Review: A Butterfly in Philadelphia by Bruce Hartman ★★★★★

A Butterfly in Philadelphia is the first book I’ve read in some time that wasn’t on my review list for Reader’s Favorite. The story doesn’t fit neatly into any genre, but if I had to choose an audience for it, I’d say that audience should include everyone. That means you, mister (miss?). If you haven’t read it, you should put it at the very top of your ‘must read’ list. Rush out and buy it right now (or just click the image to the left to get it on Amazon).

Reader’s Favorite requires reviews to be in a certain format, and while this one is not reviewed for that site, I’ve used that same format for my official review. Continue reading Book Review: A Butterfly in Philadelphia

Goodreads Giveaway: Good Intentions

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Good Intentions by Donnie J. Burgess

Good Intentions

by Donnie J. Burgess

Win an autographed copy!

Winners will be chosen Dec. 10, 2015.

See the full giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


Don’t want to wait to read it? You can always buy a copy on Amazon while you wait!

I’ve set up the very first Goodreads giveaway for Good Intentions. I’m limiting this one to three copies (of the twenty first edition copies I had printed). If you aren’t one of the ten or so people already in possession of one, click the shiny button below to enter the contest! In the exceedingly unlikely event that this series takes off like Fifty Shades of Grey , you’ll sure wish you’d taken a shot at winning an autographed, first edition.

In the much more likely even that the series doesn’t take off, I’ve also made the book to the precise specifications necessary to balance that wobbly table leg you always seem to get at iHop. This increases the value of this freebie tremendously!

Not a fan of reading or books in general? No problem. My writing has proven to have cross-species appeal. Our puppy, Baxter, was particularly fond of In the Shadow of Angels. He said it was the best book he ever ate!
Exceedingly unlikely chance to become a priceless heirloom? Check.
Indispensable furniture leveling device? Check.
Delicious with a bottle of Chianti and some fava beans? Check.
Envelope or contents could potentially contain usable DNA evidence for that paternity test I’ve been dodging? Check.
Entering for a chance to win takes far less time than it took to read this? Check.

A failed experiment

Back in June, I uploaded In the Shadow of Angels to Smashwords. When I did so, I wrote a bit about why I made that decision, but it basically came down to two things: 1)Smashwords is much more indie author friendly than Amazon and 2)Smashwords’ interface is significantly easier than Amazon’s when it comes to finding a specific genre of book that is the length and price you are looking for. I still absolutely stand by those two assessments.

Having said that, I have since made the decision to remove my books from Smashwords. Continue reading A failed experiment