Friday, September 18, 2015

RRBC Back-To-School Blog & Blog Party!







Welcome to my stop on the party lineup! I'm Joe Stephens. I write soft-boiled detective fiction and that's what you'll receive if you're selected to win the prize for my page. One perseon will receive copies of all three of my Shalan Adventures novels: Harsh Prey, Kisses and Lies, and In the Shadow. I'm sorry to make you wait, but the last book doesn't actually hit the public until October 1, so you'll receive your prize about then. Hope that's not too long a wait. But mostly I hope you enjoy my writing. 

I'm no expert in creating videos, but I've seen a few book and author trailers and felt like the ones that people were paying for were pretty limited and pretty similar, so I thought I'd give it a try for myself. The biggest challenge was finding royalty-free music that I liked (still didn't, but it's the best I found in the time I could give to searching), but I found once again that Windows Live Movie Maker is pretty user friendly. Give it a look and see what you think.  As always, comments are welcome. 



If you want to learn more about my books or me, check out the tabs at the top of the page. You'll find links to my books, my full author website, and my Amazon author page, as well as RRBC and a writers' blog group I'm a member of entitled Writing Wranglers and Warriors. 

But in case that's just too many clicks, here's a little background on me and my books. My disguise is mild-mannered teacher, but my secret identity is intrepid spinner of tales starring Harry and Dee Shalan. Harry is the narrator and he's not Superman, but he's just a little better than the average guy. He's tougher, smarter, a better shot, and (at least he thinks) funnier than the man on the street. And he sees himself as a modern-day knight in shining armor whose job is to defend the defenseless and right wrongs. All while maintaining a sarcastic running dialogue with his best friend, police detective Otis Campbell. Yes, he's named after the drunk on The Andy Griffith Show--his parents' favorite show. 

Harry's partner, in both the professional and marital sense, is Deanna Shalan, known to the world as Dee. She's the whole package--beautiful with flaming red hair, smart, mentally and physically tough, talented (Harry fell in love with her the first time he heard her sing), and a scary good shot with a handgun. 

They are terrific partners in the detective business, but they are better partners romantically. They are madly in love with each other and their love story is part of what I think makes my books a little different from the standard first-person detective story. Harry and Dee have been compared by some readers to Nick and Nora Charles. If you're too young to know who they are, Google them. They are the protagonists in The Thin Man and subsequent movie from the thirties. The movies are based on a novel by Dashiell Hammett, probably best known for a much grittier detective story, The Maltese Falcon

You can read the books in any order since they are stand-alone stories, but it's probably most logical to read them in the order I've listed them, as they are in chronological order and you'll understand the overarching development of the main characters and their relationships. 

Please note before you go: if you join my mailing list (look on the right side of the screen), you'll receive an electronic version of Harsh Prey, the first book, as well as the first four chapters of In The Shadow, the soon-to-be-released third book. 

Questions? Comments? Snide remarks? Feel free to get in touch. 


87 comments:

  1. Hi Joe! Your books sound like the kind I want to read! Hope you have a fantastic blog day!

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    1. Thanks! I hope you get a chance to read them and that you enjoy them. :)

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  2. Great idea to have a husband and wife detective team - it has been far too long since Nick and Nora Charles! Thanks for sharing about your work, Joe, and best of luck on your special blog day with RRBC!

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    1. Thank you for you comment! They, along with Robert B. Parker's Spenser and Susan, were one of the inspirations for the characters.

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  3. I love a good detective novel with a thread of romance ... sounds right up my street, Joe. And, as you say, it's been too long since we had a husband and wife team! Best of luck with everything! :)

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    1. Thanks! I've always enjoyed this genre, but felt like too many of the narrators were more anti-hero than actual hero. I wanted to change that up. One way was to make a man with a healthy, loving relationship with his wife.

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  4. Hi Joe, great characterization and I like the way you've introduced romance into your detective series to make it a double genre. Well done! I hope you have a great day!

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    1. Thank you! It's starting out great already. :)

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  5. Fantastic blog post Joe. I love the fact that you have made your own book trailer. Very impressive. You won the first prize on my blog yesterday, so I can't wait to start promoting your work next week!
    I will add your books to my TBR list.

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    1. Oh wow--thank you! I hadn't seen that I'd won anything. I never win prizes and yours is the second thing I've won on this tour. Quite exciting.

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  6. Wow! Joe, you are a man of many parts! It so good to know you and to learn more about you, very intrepid indeed! If your books are as interesting as you sound, then they must be worth checking out. :) Have a wonderful party today, and enjoy your day.

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    1. Well thank you! That's very kind of you. It's not even 7am yet and it's already been a great day.

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  7. Soft-boiled detective fiction- I had to read that twice - it's a great concept.

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    1. I thought I invented the term only to find out it's been a thing for a long time and I didn't know it. Since I wasn't aware, it feels like it should still count. :-D

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  8. I just googled soft boiled detective fiction because I'd never heard that term before! Apparently Sherlock Holmes was a soft boiled detective. I enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes books, so I'm sure I'll enjoy yours. Have a great day at the party!

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    1. It's an honor to be in any way connected with the grandfather of detective fiction, though I hardly feel worthy of the comparison. Thanks!

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  9. All the best for the launch of your third book 'In the Shadows' in October. Have a great day.

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    1. Thanks! I'm really excited. Have a great day yourself.

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  10. I think your cape might be showing, Joe, cause in my opinion, teachers ARE superheroes :-) Though, I may be a bit biased.

    Your books sound awesome! I'll have to check them out. Enjoy your blog party today!

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  11. I think your cape might be showing, Joe, cause in my opinion, teachers ARE superheroes :-) Though, I may be a bit biased.

    Your books sound awesome! I'll have to check them out. Enjoy your blog party today!

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    1. Thanks! I'm blessed to have two jobs about which I'm passionate. Hope you have a great day!

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  12. Joe, yor stories sound like they would be very entertaining. I need to check them out. Nice post.

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    1. Thanks--I hope you do and you enjoy them.

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  13. I love how you described your disguise as a teacher. lol! It made me think of Clark Kent. I enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for sharing! :-)

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  14. Hi, Joe. I enjoy the Sam Spade kind of character :

    Sam Spade: "I hope they don't hang you, precious, by that sweet neck. Yes, angel, I'm gonna send you over. The chances are you'll get off with life. That means if you're a good girl, you'll be out in 20 years. I'll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I'll always remember you."

    Have a great party day :)

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    1. I hate when you can't edit... I'm PeterW. To many log-in methods.

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    2. Me too! I grew up reading and watching Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, and then Spenser.

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  16. Great job on the video, looks very professional. This is an area I want to develop my own skills more so I appreciated your comments.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Thanks! It really is pretty user friendly for the most part. I actually struggled more finding free music I didn't hate.

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  17. Sounds interesting--and I definitely am aware of Nick and Nora Charles! I am not quite old enough to have seen the movies when they first came out, but they were often played earlier in TV history, and sometimes even today!

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you know them. It would be a pity for such neat characters to be lost to history.

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  18. Hey Joe! Nice post today for the block party. Does Otis have the same body type as the one from Andy Griffith? He sounds like an interesting character. Enjoy the day!

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    1. Haha, that's part of the irony of the character--he's almost nothing like the original Otis. He's tall and thin and doesn't even drink. They do share one trait, which is that they are both kindhearted.

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  19. Hi Joe - it's refreshing in itself to have a detective who doesn't have a messed-up love life! ;-)
    I like the personal touch with your book trailer, but found the quotes from your reviews weren't legible, even in full screen mode (though this could be down my screen not the video). Hope that's helpful for you as I'm sure nice things were being said, so it's a pity to miss them :-)

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    1. Oh no, I'm sorry to hear that! I tested it on full screen and could read it, but I have a large monitor. I will go back and edit those photos so that they are legible even without full screen. Thanks for letting me know--I really do appreciate it!

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    2. Jan--try tthe video now. I think it's a lot better.

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    3. Hi Joe - that's so much better! :-D I knew they were saying nice things! ;-)

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  20. Yum! More mysteries. Looking forward to reading your books. I couldn't read the review quotes either on the trailer even in full screen. I truly enjoyed the descriptions of your books. I have signed up for your mailing list.

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    1. Well, I'd say it's unanimous. I'll get to work on correcting that right now. I'm sorry about that. :( But I'm glad to hear you find my books interesting. I hope you like them.

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    2. Kim--check out the video now. I think it's a lot better.

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  21. Good to meet you, Joe - I'm a retired teacher myself! Your detective series sounds like the kind of books I like to read! I look forward to adding them to my TBR. Have a great party today and good luck with your new release!

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    1. Thank you! It seems many writers and avid readers are either current or retired teachers. The two just go hand in hand, don't they? I hope you enjoy my books!

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  22. Hi Joe. Your books are a little different from what I usually read, but they sound fun. I will definitely check them out. I hope you are having a fantastic day.

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    1. Hey--it worked this time! In case you didn't see your email, YOU'RE THE WINNER! Contact me with your mailing address and I'll mail your books soon. Congratulations!

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  23. Hi Joe. Your books are a little different from what I usually read, but they sound fun. I will definitely check them out. I hope you are having a fantastic day.

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    1. Thank you! I like to think theycan be enjoyable even for folks who don't normally read detective fiction because they have elements of romance and elements of buddy comedy too.

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  24. Anything with a red head in it, I'm reading. And she sings too. Thanks Joe.

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    1. You sound like a man after my own heart!

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  25. Thanks for a lovely blog, Joe. Kudos for making your own trailer, too. I hope your students appreciate you, it is obvious from your communication style that you are a great teacher. Best wishes for a success block party day.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words! I really do enjoy myself as a teacher and I think my kids have fun too. :)

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  26. Another mystery lover here - so your detective stories sound great to me.

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    1. I'm happy to hear that--hope you enjoy them!

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  27. Joe--Nice to discover you! Your books sound like something I'd love to read! And thanks for the nice perk for signing up on your email list! I took advantage of that and am looking forward to following you!

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    1. I'm excited that you joined up! I hope you enjoy the book. Thanks!

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  28. Hi Joe! Nice to get to know you and your books! I'm a fan of mystery/detectives so your books sound interesting! (and a fan of teachers) Have a great weekend!

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    1. Thanks for both! I feel like being a teacher, especially an English teacher, has made me a better writer, and vice versa. :)

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  29. Loved your post about the joys of getting older - you're only a few weeks older than me. Relate to it all - except for the expanding girth bit - somehow avoided that one! Good job - as you fellas say over the pond.

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    1. Sadly, my girth has been a bit expanded much of my life. Happily, I'm thinner and healthier now than when I was half my age. So maybe I'm really aging in reverse!

      Thanks for your comment--I appreciate it!

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  30. Hi Joe, it was fun reading about your books. I love the idea of a romantic detective couple taking the lead. Have fun today and enjoy the party!

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  31. Joe...make sure there is no gum on your shoes!!! Great job.

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  32. Welcome to the party! I'm going to have to check out your books!

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  33. Thanks for checking in. I hope you like them!

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  34. Enjoyed the firs two books Joe. Looking forward to reading the rest of In The Shadow. I am sure as the other 2 did it will make me want more.

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    1. I'm so happy to hear that! Less than two weeks until it's out. :)

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  35. I think I've already left a comment, Joe.. But just in case: Great post, loved the trailer and your books sound fantastic! Bette

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    1. Don't remember you leaving a comment. But thanks! I hope you'll give them a try.

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  36. Hi Joe, wonderful to learn more about you and your work! Your books are very intriguing. Great blog party! :)

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    1. Thanks! I hope you try them and like them.

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  37. Hey, Joe! This book sounds quite intriguing! Best wishes on your blog day!

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    1. Thank you! I hope you get a chance to check them out.

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  38. Hey Joe,

    I've played around with Movie Maker and also find it very intuitive. Agree it is difficult to get just the right royalty free music after sifting through so many clips. Eventually, I hope to be producing my own trailers but I think I am going to give Nonnie and 4 Wills Pub a shot at producing the trailer for the upcoming sequel to my debut novel.

    Which by the way, is titled "Justice in the Devil's Shadow. Looks like we are sharing some commonality in the titles of our upcoming books!

    Great post...Party On!!.

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    1. Oh, that's cool! I hope it's a great success. Thanks for your comment.

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  39. Hi joe! I am a detective novel fan, so thanks very much for intriducing me to your characters and stories, they are def going in my TBRlist.
    Thanks also for hosting the latest RRBC BTSBBPARTY..these have all been great events and I am enjoying very one of them.
    Best regards,
    ML

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    1. Great--I hope you enjoy them! This reallyhas been a great day and entire month. I've enjoyed this whole event so far and I'm sure it wil continue to be a blast.

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  40. Hi Joe! Sorry I missed the party, but after my blast Friday... LOL! Just kidding. I had something pop up that just took away my whole day.

    Your trailer was great and the music, while not to your liking, was pretty good, too! I love detective novels and will check your out!

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    1. I'm glad you popped in! I enjoyed making the trailer, and I probably would have liked the music better if it hadn't taken so long to find it. :-p

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  41. Hi, Joe! So sorry I'm popping in here late, but better late than never. It is Volleyball season in my world (for my teenager), and so we travel quite a bit during this time. Although I wasn't able to comment, I did peek in for a moment yesterday.

    In regards to the trailers you've seen that authors "pay for," I'm sorry that you've come across those that were so pretty limited (although I'm not sure what you mean here...limited in what?) and also, similar in nature, but since I consider myself to be a trailer buff (and that may be just in my own mind), BOOK trailers are designed to tell very short stories about your books...imagine a visual book blurb. Your trailer is not a " book" trailer, your trailer is more of an "Author" trailer, as it is telling me about you, and although I think to have noticed a book cover or two, the trailer is giving more details about your writing as opposed to what I'm to expect if I, as a reader, would decide to pick up your book

    As I certainly believe that many could create their own book trailers, I think those that don't, don't bother for many reasons:

    1) It is extremely time consuming;
    2) You have to "be capable" of writing a script that will entice readers to actually want to read your book...and for many, even authors, that's not very easy to do. (Maybe these are the kind of trailers you have referred to);
    3) Finding the right music that is perfectly suited for each book trailer, is sometimes an excruciating task, one that many dread having to go thru, but if you want the trailer to be effective, this is a MUST!;
    4) The right visual images are key, and if you miss the mark on those, you can hang up hopes of getting anyone excited about reading your books.

    I just wanted to clarify these points for you, and again, am so sorry that the trailers you have come across which others "paid" to have created, weren't pleasing to you, and although I could never list all the trailers that have been created by 4WillsPublishing, hopefully you will take a peek at some of them: Rhani D' Chae's SHADOW OF THE DRILL; John Fioravanti's A PERSONAL JOURNEY; Jenny Hinsman's "ANGEL OF DEATH"; Kathryn C. Treat's "ALLERGIC TO LIFE" and Rea Nolan Martin's "MYSTIC TEA." You can find them all at www.4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com under OUR BOOK TRAILERS.

    These are just a few of our excellent trailers which do exactly what book trailers ought to do: They entice readers to take a look at the books, because the script, the images, the pace and the music all combine perfectly to tell great stories. This in no way is an attempt to convert you into one who "pays" to have their book trailer created; but it is sound advice from one avid reader and book club member who only wants the best for all of her peers.

    I hope your time along the tour was the best ever!

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    1. Oh dear, I'm afraid I've inadvertantly offended you. Your trailers were NOT the ones I was talking about. I had been looking at trailers for a long time before I started thinking about making one of my own and had started mine before I knew any of the ones I'd seen on our tour were around.

      I really didn't mean to sound critical. I realize in reading what I wrote that this is what it sounded like. I'm terribly sorry.

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  42. Sorry I'm late to the party. I was in an area with no wifi and no cellular service this weekend. I still enjoyed your post a day late.

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    1. Hey--sorry it took so long to get back to you. Blogger wasn't letting me reply to anyone for some reason. Thanks for visiting!

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