Author Guest Post
So, you just spent a year of your life writing your first novel, and now you want to know how to proceed. Should you submit to agents, or publishers, or …?
Hire an editor.
The most important part of the writing cycle for me has been working with a seasoned editor. I’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with the same man for all three books in my Jack Bertolino series, and there is continuity, and a trust that has developed over time. He understands my protagonist, understands the pacing needed for a successful thriller, and he understands me. It’s never an easy process, but the work always improves with the effort.
And don’t use a friend who once took an English lit class, or a family member who reads a lot, or your neighbor who’s a substitute teacher. Find a bona fide editor who has studied that specific area of expertise, because your work can flourish with the experience or bomb without it.
I’m warning you now, be prepared to check your ego at the door, because as good as an editor is, taking notes, or having someone tear into the baby that you’ve created with your blood, sweat and tears, is a rocky process at best. You can scream, and carry on, and call your editor names you wouldn’t commit to print, but when you take a step back, take a deep breath, and start the rewriting process, you usually find a solution that improves your manuscript.
If it sounds like I’m too familiar with the histrionics, it’s because I’ve been there and back. My girlfriend has had to occasionally peal me off the ceiling of my office when I have, for example, been advised to revisit a subplot that diminishes my protagonist. He was absolutely correct in his assessment, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a gut clencher.
My editor, John Paine, is quick to say that his notes are only suggestions. And I, the author, am the final arbiter. But I’m to the point where I’ll always try to make his notes work before losing my mind and spinning out of control, or rejecting them. You can always go back to your original manuscript if the notes are too far off your original intention.
The bottom line is, a good editor won’t try to reinvent your wheel. He or she will just make the ride smoother, and your novel more powerful. And with power, comes success.
Now you’re ready to go after that agent.
About The Author
John Lansing, started his career as an actor in New York City. He spent a year at the Royale Theatre performing the lead in the Broadway production of “Grease,” before putting together a rock ‘n’ roll band and playing the iconic club CBGB.
John closed up his Tribeca loft and headed for the West coast where he landed a co-starring role in George Lucas’ “More American Graffiti,” and guest-starred on numerous television shows.
During his fifteen-year writing career, Lansing wrote and produced “Walker Texas Ranger,” co-wrote two CBS Movies of the Week, and co-executive produced the ABC series “Scoundrels.”
John’s first book was Good Cop Bad Money, a true crime tome he co-wrote with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano.
The Devil’s Necktie, his first Jack Bertolino novel, became a best seller on Barnes & Noble and hit #1 in Amazon’s Kindle store in the Crime Fiction genre. Jack Bertolino returns in John’s latest novel, Dead Is Dead, the third book in his detective series.
A native of Long Island, John now resides in Los Angeles.
Dead Is Dead by John Lansing
Book 3: Jack Bertolino Series
Publisher: Gallery Books / Karen Hunter Publishing
Publication Date: May 30, 2016
Format: Paperback - 352 pages
Kindle - 2101 KB
Nook - 2 MB
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Thriller
Buy The Book:
Buy The Series: Jack Bertolino Series
Book 1: The Devil's Necklace
Book 2: Blond Cargo
Book 3: Dead Is Dead
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.
Retired Inspector Jack Bertolino gets his first taste of the erratic nature of Hollywood when A-list producer, George Litton, options one of Jack’s recent cases for a film.
Jack is engaged as the film’s technical advisor, which stars It Girl Susan Blake. But more importantly, he’s on hand to keep a protective eye on Susan, who’s being harassed by a disturbing cyber-stalker.
But that’s not all that starts to turn Jack’s world upside-down. When a six-year-old girl is shot dead in the living room of her family home, just blocks from where the movie is being filmed, Jack realizes there are threads connecting the movie, the murder, a brutal gang of brothers, and a terrifying body count.
Will Jack be able to find justice for the young girl and keep Susan safe? Or will this be his last and fatal trip to Hollywood?
Toby Dirk snugged the smooth wooden stock of his Ruger .22 semiautomatic rifle tight against his shoulder. He sighted in on the small Mediterranean stucco house directly across the street. It was one of many vacation bungalows built in the 1950s on narrow lots. Faded pink paint, overgrown shrubs, and tufts of green grass littering the burnt lawn shouted neglect, or poverty, or renters.
In this case it was poverty. The house was clean, but the home’s decline had outpaced the Sanchezes’ bank account. Toby had known the family for years—solid people, Hispanic, struggling to put food on the table. He had no issues with their youngest boy, Juan, dealing dope.
Juan wasn’t his target.
Venice Beach these days was an eclectic mix of million-dollar designer digs and old-school bungalows from a time when rents were low and the neighborhoods were inhabited by immigrants, blue-collar workers, street gangs, and artists. Gentrification was crowding out many of the longtime residents, but the gangs were ingrained. Their members would have to be jailed or hauled out in pine boxes to make way for the upscale clientele looking for a “teardown.”
Toby listened for signs of life in the house he was using as cover, but the precaution was just reflexive. He knew Mrs. Montenegro wouldn’t return home from her deli until after dark. Through her rangy bamboo hedge he had a clear shot of Juan’s driveway and front door.
Now all he needed was a target.
Tomas Vegas would be dropping off a bag of dope to his newest dealer in less than five minutes. Vegas ran his drug business with precision, just like his iron fist. You could set a clock by his daily rounds.
Unfortunately for Vegas, he’d set up Toby’s girlfriend, Eva Perez, for a nine-month stretch on trumped-up drug and weapons charges. She’d been out on parole for three months now, but she was changed. Damaged. Not the same free spirit. It broke Toby’s heart, and it fueled his rage.
Two men in love with the same woman. She had chosen Toby. Gotten his name tattooed on her shoulder in neat calligraphy. Had been pregnant with his child. Toby was head over heels, crazy in love.
Jealousy’s a bitch, he thought, and Vegas was about to pay the ultimate price. Three shots max, to make sure Vegas wouldn’t get up again. If all went according to plan, Toby would soon be paddling out into the Pacific, catching the late-afternoon swells at Sunset Beach.
Toby, twenty-three, had thick, unruly strands of shoulderlength sandy hair held off his face with a black watch cap. A faint shadow of freckles dusted his high cheekbones, set in a chiseled, angular face. His lean body was sinewy with the long ropy muscles of a surfer. His blue eyes were steady and intelligent. He had tested in the top two percentile in the standardized IQ tests at Venice High, and he had been offered a scholastic scholarship to UC Berkeley. He turned it down. All he was interested in was smoking righteous bud and being an outlaw.
He and his two brothers were doing just fine in that regard. If you played by the rules, you were a sucker. It had killed his father, and he wasn’t going down that dusty trail. He didn’t buy into the old saw that life was a bitch and then you die. Toby was sure of one thing and it guided his life choices.
Dead is dead. There was nothing else. No great beyond. No nothing. You created your own heaven and hell in the only lifetime you’d ever know, so grab life with two fists while you were young enough to enjoy it, fuck it, eat it, drink it, or smoke it.
Juan Sanchez peered out of his bedroom door and then silently closed and locked it. He could hear his mother working at the kitchen stove, banging her long wooden spoon against the aluminum pot, filled with enough black beans, garlic, onions, and rice to feed the family for three days.
Juan stooped down beside the only piece of furniture in his room besides his bed, a scarred wooden four-drawer dresser. He pulled out the tall bottom drawer and set it aside on his threadbare rug. On his hands and knees he strained reaching in, and pulled out a tightly banded roll of greenbacks he had taped to the back panel of the dresser. He slid the money into his pocket, then pushed the drawer back onto its chipped plastic runners until it closed.
Juan glanced nervously toward the door, averting his gaze from the wooden crucifix nailed to the wall over his neatly made bed. He stood sentry at his window, waiting for the pounding of his heart to settle and his dealer to arrive.
The sound of Tomas Vegas’s baffled mufflers preceded his arrival in front of the house.
Juan hurried quietly down the hallway, unnoticed by his mother in the kitchen, and into the living room, where his sixyear-old sister, Maria, was struggling to pull a sweater over her Barbie’s head. The bright-eyed girl looked up at her brother with such love and admiration, it washed over Juan like a bucket of guilt. He grabbed the doll from his baby sister, yanked the sweater’s hole over the mop of long blonde hair, and handed it back to Maria. “Gracias, Juan,” she said with an angelic smile. Juan returned a tight grin, nervously tapped the roll of bills in his pocket, and steeled his nerve.
“C’mon, be a man,” he mumbled as he headed out the door.
Toby adjusted the rifle’s sight, mindful of the half-inch play in the gun’s trajectory. He had chosen his .22 because it was quiet and, from this distance, deadly as a viper. The bullets would rattle around in his target’s chest, kill him dead, but he wouldn’t have to worry about collateral damage.
Toby started a silent mantra . . . and slowed his breathing.
As he visualized a tight cluster tearing into Tomas Vegas, an antique electric-blue Ford Fairlane glided to a stop across the street.
Young Juan Sanchez ran out of the house and reached the curb before the screen door slammed behind him.
Vegas slid out of his car with a studied cool and sauntered up to his newest recruit. With icy cool he checked out the houses behind Juan, up and then down Fourth Street toward Rose. He was preening like a fucking peacock, Toby thought.
The young men fist-bumped, exchanged a few words, and Vegas popped the trunk and pulled out a fat brown grocery bag.
Juan nervously dug in his pocket for the roll of cash, and as Vegas thrust the high-grade weed toward his newest dealer, Toby let out an even breath. Now. Yet just as he squeezed off a round, a car sped by, blocking the play.
He jerked the gun at the last second. The high-velocity .22 LR load flew wide, shattering a front window. Toby instantly readjusted, fired, and then again.
Vegas’s face registered surprise as he dropped the bag, ripped open his shirt, stared down at two tight holes in his chest.
Screaming, Juan dove behind the safety of the Ford.
Loose buds of marijuana spilled onto the street.
Tomas Vegas fell to his knees and keeled forward face-first, stone-dead, in the gutter.
Toby Dirk madly grabbed for the spent shells, palming two from the thick grass. Where was the third one? A primal wail drifted from the target house and chilled him for a beat. Why the hell would anyone shed tears for Tomas Vegas? he wondered as he army-crawled toward the back of the Montenegro house. He had to get out of there before the shit hit the fan. When he was hidden from view, he jumped to his feet and leapt the chain-link fence.
Toby dropped the butt of the rifle into a Whole Foods bag he had stationed in the rear for that purpose. He held the warm barrel discreetly under his arm, close to his body, looking like he’d just gone shopping. He walked swiftly up the hill, being careful not to run, but flying with adrenaline. He tossed the bagged rifle into the rear compartment of his matte-black ragtop Jeep, covered it with a spare wetsuit, jumped in and fired up the engine.
The sound of a distant siren could be heard, along with the plaintive screams of a woman. Still puzzled by this reaction—who would cry for a drug dealer?—Toby Dirk sucked in a lungful of air, clicked on Bob Marley, cranked up the volume, and powered away from the scene of his crime.
My Book Review:
Dead Is Dead is the third book in the Jack Bertolino Series, that transports the reader back into the seedy underworld of crime as they follow private investigator Jack Bertolino on his latest investigative adventure.
Author John Lansing weaves a fast-paced crime thriller set in Los Angeles, and written in the third person narrative, that follows the dangerous quest of retired NYPD narcotics detective now private investigator Jack Bertolino as he serves as a technical advisor on a movie set, and in particular as a bodyguard for up-and-coming actress Susan Blake, who has a stalker after her. Jack is also asked to investigate the gang hit on known drug dealer Tomas Vegas, that also mistakenly took the life of six year old Maria Sanchez. Jack's investigation leads him into the seedy underworld of drug cartels and gangs in Ventura and Hollywood, where he finds himself caught up in a dangerous and deadly world that he thought he had left behind.
Dead Is Dead is a riveting and realistic story that is full of intrigue, action, drama, suspense, murder, and dark humor. Jack's latest investigative adventure easily draws the reader in and keeps them captivated and turning the pages. As the reader follows Jack into the shady world of drug cartels and gangs, the multitude of plot twists and turns will keep them guessing what will happen next. Jack takes the reader on a wild ride when his dangerous adventure takes him into the upscale areas and seedy neighborhoods of various California locales. It is a seedy and gritty world of drugs, gangs, and murder ... all in the pursuit of bringing justice for the murder of an innocent little girl, while also keeping actress Susan Blake safe from a psycho cyber-stalker.
With a multidimensional cast of characters who leap off the pages; gritty dialogue and vivid interactions; richly detailed description of various California locales; and a no-holds-barred storyline that keeps the reader sitting on the edge of their seats and holding their breath as the chilling trail of stalkers, gang crimes, drugs, and murders leads up to an explosive climax; Dead Is Dead is one hell of a thrilling story that you won't be able to put down, and it will leave you wanting more!
RATING: 5 STARS
There will be TWO (2) winners for this tour. One winner will receive one $15 gift card from Amazon.com (US Only) the other winner will receive Dead is Dead by John Lansing - US Residents may choose either an eBook copy or a Physical version however Winners outside the US will only be eligible for an eBook version.
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Virtual Book Tour
Tour Schedule:5/16 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads
5/17 Interview & Giveaway @ BooksChatter
5/19 Showcase @ Sapphyrias Book Reviews
5/22 Guest post @ Books Direct
5/25 Review @ Lets Talk About Books
5/26 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
6/01 Review @ Just Reviews
6/02 Showcase @ The Pen and Muse Book Reviews
6/02 Review @ Vics Media Room
6/03 Review @ Mystery Suspense
6/04 Showcase @ Hott Books
6/05 Showcase @ Writers and Authors
6/06 Showcase & Giveaway @ Buried Under Books
6/08 Review @ 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too!
6/09 Review @ Deal Sharing Aunt
6/09 Interview, Review & Giveaway @ Rockin' Book Reviews
6/10 Showcase @ Fiction Zeal
6/16 Showcase @ The Reading Frenzy
6/17 Review @ CMash Reads
6/20 Interview @ Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine
6/24 Guest Post & Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
6/27 Showcase @ Socrates Book Review Blog
6/29 Review @ Curling Up by the Fire
Totally agree with you regarding this read. I could not put it down! And am now waiting patiently for Mr. Lansing's next book.ReplyDelete
Hi Cheryl! I love this series too! :)Delete
Thanks for the great review Kathleen, I really appreciate it. All the best, JohnReplyDelete
Hi John! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. I love this series, keep em coming! :)Delete