Monthly Archives: July 2013

July 29th, 2013

Win $500 in Prizes with Trivia

Ever wish you could earn money just by reading a book? Now’s your chance! DOING MAX VINYL is now being serialized, with short chapters or parts of chapters here. Thanks to my friends at Venture Galleries, you can enjoy the first Annie Ogden Mystery free!

But that’s not all! Just to make it fun, I’m holding a trivia contest. Each Monday, on this blog, there will be a new trivia question concerning the serial posts of the previous week. I’ll always mention which posts the answer can be found in. Send your answer to me at this email address: Do not give your answer in comments to the post; only answers sent to the email address can be counted.

Reading the serial will make it easy for you to answer the trivia question each week. Each week, one correct answer will be chosen randomly, and that person wins a $5 Amazon gift card. The contest will last approximately thirty weeks, right up to the end of the book.

Ultimately, the chance to win $5 for reading one or two chapters for free is a pretty good deal, but this gets better. At the end of thirty weeks, the three participants with the greatest number of correct answers over the entire length of the contest will win a $50 Amazon gift card (3rd place), a $100 Amazon gift card (2nd place), and a $200 Amazon gift card (1st place). That means even if you don’t win in any particular week, your correct answers get you an entry in the grand prize drawing at the end. I hope I got you interested … so let’s get started. The first question comes from the first four posts, and it is:  Question 1: What color are Tris’s eyes? (Yeah … I know! But that’s why it’s called trivia!) Deadline for Question 1 answers: Sunday August 4 at midnight PST. GOOD LUCK!!!


July 21st, 2013

Thank You

Every once in a while, the sun peeks out from between the clouds, and it fills your heart with love. I’m celebrating with a giveaway of 7 signed copies of the paperback edition of my new book, Collateral Damage.

Books are a great escape for some of us, a learning experience, a form of entertainment. Believe me, writing books is an even higher high and a more perfect escape than reading them. I learned this writing my first book, Doing Max Vinyl.

Reading my three books in the order they were written is the ideal way, because there is a progression and development in my main character, Annie Ogden. But it’s not essential. You can also start with Collateral Damage and work backwards.

Until we meet again, here is that link to enter the Goodreads giveaway. 7 lucky people will win an autographed copy. Enter today! Please note I had to limit it this time to U.S.A. and Canada residents. I’ll do a worldwide giveaway at some later juncture.

July 17th, 2013

Ethan Justice – Serial Killers and Comic Relief

On the basis of the first Ethan Justice book a few months ago, I was primed to pick up the sequel. To my surprise, I liked this one even better.

Recovered now from their last showdown with evil (book 1), Ethan and his detective (and sometimes romantic) partner Savannah Jones are just plain two of the nicest yet most interesting private detectives I’ve had the pleasure of encountering. Their insecurities with each other, and when facing off against some really nasty enemies, are both endearing and maddening, at times.

Unfortunately, Ethan may be a first-class fighter, but he’s a lousy shot. This makes for some welcome comic relief more than once in the novel. Gorgeous, dark-haired Savannah comes from the wrong side of the tracks, compared to prep-school graduate Ethan, but she’s plenty smart and plenty resourceful. It’s a pleasure watching these two try to sort out their own relationship, with an awkwardness that’s downright comical.

Bestseller Author Simon Jenner

Crime thrillers, it’s often said, stand or fall on the depth and complexity of the villain. Ethan’s nemesis in “Relentless” could hardly be more gruesome or sadistic and yet at the same time brilliantly manipulative. I like to read while eating, but not the descriptions of this villain as he disposes of the bodies! Epic battles result in the London borough of Twickenham. The book builds to an extremely satisfying ending which contained several surprises. Highly recommended!

July 13th, 2013

Bone-Cracklingly Good Fiction

Every week has been intense this year, but I’d been looking forward to reading “Bones of the Earth” by Scott Bury for a long time, having heard a lot of good things about it. Finally I found the time, and what a fine book it is! By the way, I noticed it’s on sale for 99 cents for your kindle on Amazon right now, so go and grab it today! Here’s my review:

“Bones” is one of those books that transport you to another place and time — I love that. I devoured “The Mammoth Hunters” by Jean Auel, and when I started reading “Bones of the Earth” by Scott Bury I suddenly, happily found myself back in a world long before modern times, when the tools were rudimentary, and people lived in a close and intense and often dangerous relationship to the Earth. Set in the 6th century C.E., “Bones” is the story of a young warrior, Javor, living in the Carpathian Mountains, round about where Ukraine, Romania and Hungary share borders.

Rather than sweeping generalities, the hard-scrabble existence of these people is described in exquisite detail, their huts, their food, their weapons, their superstitions. The book begins with a fertility ceremony in which the young (fertile) members of the tribe are brought together to get going on the mating process. But in this book, scenes of haunting beauty are quickly replaced by violent pillaging at the hands of brutal raiders.

Unheeding the pleas of the villagers, the raiders lash out and kill indiscriminately, and take two of the young women with them. Javor and his friend set out to try and rescue the women. Their triumphant return from this impossible mission hints at Javor’s magnificent potential, as well as the supernatural danger that lurks in the deep forest, and foreshadows some of the themes of the book.

Rather than take you through the many twists and turns of the plot of “Bones” I would like to simply tell you what is magical about this book. Javor is an immensely likeable hero, flawed, unique, strong, courageous. Photius the mystic, an older man, Javor’s mentor, is a fascinating character study and full of surprises himself.

Danisa, the young woman they rescue along their travels in dangerous, dragon-infested parts, provides a female foil to keep Javor in a perpetual state of longing and existential confusion. The dynamics between these three main characters are constantly shifting, and perfectly intertwined with developments in the plot. The characters are three-dimensional, and sparks fly in their dialogue.

Another strength of the book lies in the monsters. The dragons play a key role on “Bones,” but these dragons were continually surprising me. Anyone who loved “Eragon” and the two sequels will revel in the discovery of the lesser known “Bones of the Earth,” which is a superior read. And there are other monsters, here, many other monsters … truly those were dangerous times Javor lived in.

All the way through the book, unexpected things kept happening, and by the conclusion of it I was so immersed in Javor’s world, I almost couldn’t stand for it to end. The perfect summer reading escape, whether for adults or teens, a richly drawn portrait of 6th century customs and traditions, a rip-roaring series of attacks and carnage and brutality, tasteful yet bone-cracking real, “Bones of the Earth” is a unique sensation. I urge the author to finish the sequel. This story MUST go on. I believe it was foretold …


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Bestselling Author Scott Bury

Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and writer living in Ottawa. His articles have been published in newspapers and magazines in Canada, the US, UK and Australia.

His first published fiction was “Sam, the Strawb Part,” a children’s adventure story. It can be purchased from All royalties from sales of this story go to Children at Risk, an Ottawa-based charity that supports families of children with autism spectrum disorders.

The Bones of the Earth is his first novel to be published.

He has two sons, an orange cat and a loving wife who puts up with a lot. You can read more of Scott’s writing at
and, and on his website,

Follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

July 4th, 2013

8 Things I Hate


I was with someone who said, “I hate Michael Jackson.” He meant he hated his music, of course. Now, I happen to love Michael Jackson’s music, but that wasn’t my issue. My issue was with the word “hate.”

It’s a really strong word and I try to use it sparingly. I criticized him for using it to describe how he felt about one person’s music, and then he said, “Well, what are some things you hate?”

Here are some things I truly hate

  1. The words “I can’t … “
  2. Rape
  3. Wasting time
  4. Spam mail
  5. Vituperation and polarized discussion
  6. Political commentary disguised as journalism or “news”
  7. Fundamentalism
  8. Terrorist bombings

This may seem like a mish-mash of unrelated trends, at first glance. But the more I think about it, the more I see they are all interrelated. U.S. senators who make excuses for rape should be removed from office, but instead become one pole in a heated discussion. The news programs spew commentary on the controversy.

When you are raising children, you see everything through a different filter: how will the world be when they are adults? What challenges will they face?

I feel basic principles that are guaranteed in the U.S. constitution, including the separation between church and state as well as the freedom of the press, are arguably already under attack. I wonder how my children will face the challenges of the future with these basic freedoms eliminated.

In a followup post I will reveal some things that I love. In the meantime, how do you feel about my list of things to hate? When is a situation strong enough for you to use the word “hate?”