Guest Post: Ken Harris – SEE YOU NEXT TUESDAY

Saturday greetings, my bookish peeps. Have you ever pondered the quirks we bring to our various routines, including reading? Some of us can’t sleep without reading a few pages. Some of us find reading digitally abhorrent, whereas others find they can only read digitally. You might have a favorite reading chair or spot on the sofa. Perhaps you have a favorite mug or glass you sip your preferred beverage out of while you read? Whether we consider these habits or quirks, we all seem to have them to some extent. Authors are no different, whether speaking about their reading or writing habits. Some authors will only write using certain types of pens or pencils. Others may prefer to use manual typewriters to create their literary works. Please help me welcome back, Ken Harris, author of the recently released See You Next Tuesday. Mr. Harris will be discussing his writing quirks with us. Thank you, Mr. Harris, for taking time away from your busy writing schedule to visit with us again.

What are your writing quirks?

Writing quirks? Oh, I’ve got ’em. Some common, some off the wall. The follow-up question asked is does your routine play into somehow traditionally publishing a complete trilogy in fourteen months? The not, out loud answer is, by the seat of my pants like a rocket sled going off the rails. But, instead, I usually shrug my shoulders with a dumb look and mention I thrive in creating fictional universes and the characters that fill them.

Truth be told, I really do enjoy banging on a keyboard for a handful of hours each day. But there are a few steps, quirks if you may, that lead me to that point in the process. I’d like to share exactly how I manage to keep up this frenetic pace.

All of my ideas start with a pad of paper and a handful of sharpened Ticonderoga #4 pencils. Why #4 is a common question. Being left-handed, as my hand moves across the paper, left to right, graphite from most pencils (#2s) smears across the side of my hand. I find a #4 has a much harder lead and there is practically no transfer from the page to my hand. Less time spent washing my hands equals more pages of notes.

The pencil and pad of paper are also portable and you never know when an idea will hit you. That being said, the notes app on my phone works wonders too, especially when you wake up in the middle of the night with an idea you know that will be forgotten the moment your head hits the pillow again. I’ve lost count of the trips I’ve made, tiptoeing down the hallway to my office and speaking notes into my phone.

What usually is a boatload of handwritten pages are then typed into Word where I can edit and move sections around more freely. This results in the thinnest of outlines, most of which never make the first draft. Finally, those edited pages are cut and pasted into Scrivener where I start pounding away to make the magic happen.

Speaking of making the magic happen, what happens when those creative juices dry up faster than the water at Lake Powell? Enter my strangest but most productive quirk to date: Introvert turned Twitch streamer.

Writer’s block hit me hard during the drafting of the 3rd book in the “From the Case Files of Steve Rockfish” series. I hit the wall at 40,000 words and didn’t write a thing I didn’t not trash the following morning for three months. Going against my previous stance of never forcing the issue (It’ll come, Ken, just give it time), I logged on to Twitch one morning and began live streaming my writing sessions. It turned out to be one of the best writing decisions I’ve made in a very long time. Yes, people draw, paint and play video games on Twitch, but did you know there is an up-and-coming writers’ community on the platform?

I assumed I would have the occasional friend or family member stumble across my stream, but soon I reached affiliate-status and began to look forward to the regular viewers that wander into my channel each morning. Six weeks after I started streaming, the block was crushed and the first draft of the novel came in at 113,000 words. My protagonists were out of their individual quagmires, back together, and moving forward on the big case again.

Apparently, I do my best writing in front of a virtual audience while carrying on and keeping up with the chat. Not to mention my viewers are a great help when my brain dies and I can’t come up with the word I’m looking for.

I’ve used giveaways to attract viewers, followers, and even subscriptions. Yes, I can make the occasional dollar doing this. I’ve given away mugs, Audible codes, challenge coins, and even mentions in the acknowledgments section of that upcoming third in the series (drops March 9, 2023). Twitch has a thing called Channel Points, which viewers can earn by watching and participating in chat. I’ve used these to create rewards that keep me engaged with the viewers. They can use points earned, called Writer’s Blocks, to purchase such things as play DJ and pick a song to be played, buy me a shot, tell them a little-known fact about me from work or writing, and even a community challenge where viewers pooled their points to rename a secondary character in the draft.

In the end, my quirks might seem normal to some, off the wall to others. But in the end, it’s all about getting words down on the screen in a timely fashion in a way that works for you. Sometimes the most off-the-wall idea works. And if it doesn’t, move on. Don’t get stuck in that rut. It sucks there. ♦

See You Next Tuesday

by Ken Harris

July 11 – August 5, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

See You Next Tuesday by Ken Harris

From the Case Files of Steve Rockfish

PI Steve Rockfish’s father loses part of his retirement savings in an online romance scam while partner Jawnie McGee handles the firm’s newest client who spins a tale of alleged spousal infidelity. Rockfish ignores his current case load and becomes fixated on tracking down those responsible for the fraud. Restitution is coming in the form of cash or broken bones. At the same time, Jawnie’s surveillance of the cheating spouse reveals more acts of kindness than sex leading to a client who doesn’t want to believe the good news.

Unbeknownst to the partners, each investigative path leads the partners to the Church of the Universal Nurturing II where the fraud is on a cryptocurrency level. Their new SunCoin is marketed as the only post-rapture currency accepted inside the pearly gates. After all, who wants to show up to the after party with out-turned pockets and not get past Heaven’s paywall?

Church elders court Rockfish and his new-found Hollywood wealth with an old-fashioned honey pot. The danger level ratchets up as Rockfish counters by sending the firm’s two new confidential informants undercover only to find the church’s endgame grift is larger and deadlier than anyone expected.

Praise for See You Next Tuesday:

“Action-packed and smartly written.”

Kevin Somers, GoodReads Review

“Harris has created his own sub-genre with this series, which is a beautiful and unique thing to see. Beloved characters must brave the most dangerous, harrowing journey yet. The suspense woven through this tale is done with a finesse rarely seen, and ensures we stay glued to the page.”

Ben Eads, author of Cracked Sky and Hollow Heart

“The second in the Case Files of Steve Rockfish series begins with separate cases involving a cheating husband, a corrupt religious cult, a stockpile of poison gas, and a currency scam. The cases come together in a wild ride worthy of a chase scene in a movie, as the detectives pursue the cult leader in a rip-roaring page-turner of an ending.”

Carolyn Geduld, author of Take Me Out The Back and Who Shall Live

“Harris takes you on two journeys you hope will never happen to family members but fear it could. The emotional roller coaster you will ride, keeps you reading and hoping the end comes with a taste of sweet revenge. Harris finds a way to weave a story that keeps you turning the pages and wanting more Rockfish.”

Stephen W. Briggs, author of Family of Killers-Memoirs of an Assassin

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Fiction, Crime Thriller
Published by: Black Rose Writing
Publication Date: July 14th, 2022
Number of Pages: 546
ISBN10: 1684339898 (paperback)
ISBN13: 9781684339891 (paperback)
ASIN: B09ZKQ1S3P (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B09VLKZ291 (Kindle edition)
Series: Case Files of Steve Rockfish, #2
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Ken Harris

Ken Harris retired from the FBI, after thirty-two years, as a cybersecurity executive. With over three decades of writing intelligence products for senior Government officials, Ken provides unique perspectives on the conventional fast-paced crime thriller. He is the author of the “From the Case Files of Steve Rockfish” series. He spends days with his wife Nicolita, and two Labradors, Shady and Chalupa Batman. Evenings are spent playing Walkabout Mini Golf and cheering on Philadelphia sports. Ken firmly believes Pink Floyd, Irish whiskey, and a Montecristo cigar are the only muses necessary. He is a native of New Jersey and currently resides in Northern Virginia.

The Pine Barrens Stratagem was published on January 27, 2022. The sequel, See You Next Tuesday published July 14th, and the third in the trilogy, A Bad Bout of the Yips, is coming March 9, 2023.

Catch Up With Ken Harris:
www.KenHarrisFiction.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @08025writes
Instagram – @kenharrisfiction
Twitter – @08025writes
Facebook – @kah623
Twitch – @KenHarrisFiction

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=307263

GIVEAWAY:

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for Ken Harris. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

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Guest Post: Ken Harris – THE PINE BARRENS STRATAGEM

THE PINE BARRENS STRATAGEM by Ken HarrisThe Pine Barrens Stratagem

by Ken Harris

February 1-28, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Hello, my bookish peeps. Have you ever given any thought to what makes a book memorable? Can you imagine To Kill A Mockingbird NOT taking place in the South or in the 1930s? Would the story have had the same impact? Needless to say, authors have to take into consideration not only the locale of their settings, but also the time period, when crafting their stories. I’m pleased to welcome Ken Harris, author of The Pine Barrens Stratagem to the blog today. Mr. Harris will be discussing with us the importance of location in his writings. Grab your favorite beverage, sit back, and enjoy Mr. Harris’s visit. Thank you, Mr. Harris for being with us today, the blog is all yours.

Location, Location, Location
by Ken Harris

More than one friend, publisher, and interviewer has asked me why I chose the setting of The Pine Barrens Stratagem to be smack dab in the middle of the pandemic.

Aren’t you going to turn off readers, they asked? In fact, that point was brought to my attention from a small publisher in the text of their query rejection email. “We just don’t know if people are going to want to read about the pandemic,” were the words used.

Fear of the unknown, but this is the story I wanted to tell. If my story was set around 1929 to 1930, I would be remiss if I just ignored the stock market crash and impending depression on the characters and the environment all around them. If I wanted to write a book that I knew the general public would willingly accept and if I were in this solely for the money, I would have thrown in half a dozen zombies into the story. Apparently, the zombie apocalypse might be the only pandemic people won’t get upset reading about.

Suspend belief, others say, when questioning my setting. If I was capable of suspending belief as an author, I’d write horror. I am an absolute horror nut when it comes to books and movies. But I can’t write it. Tried. Failed. Can’t suspend belief as I type. I guess that’s what 32 years with the FBI does to a person. Just the facts, ma’am.

There are many detective novels written in sunny conditions with no rain in sight. I wanted the opposite. Something out of the ordinary that would be a challenge. My goal was to reinvent the sarcastic fast on his feet private eye I watched as a kid in The Rockford Files, but in modern times. When I began this book in September of 2020, the sun didn’t come out most days and the news was overflowing with Covid stories. I wanted to see how my protagonist would deal with this additional adversity in his investigative work day.

Right off the bat, I knew Steve Rockfish would be having money problems. People were no longer going into the office each day. Working from home was becoming the norm. That meant no one was going into the office to continue that romantic fling with a co-worker or stopping at the local bar after work to meet the other half of their affair. The bread and butter of a lot of private detective work was out the window. The flow of rejected spouse banging on a private eye’s door to get proof of the infidelity slowed to a trickle and then stopped altogether.

Secondly, I wanted to challenge myself as a writer. I was very interested in how Covid restrictions would impede a Rockfish investigation. He would need a mask, pretty much everywhere he went. Would restrictions prevent him from just gaining access to places or people that he would normally just walk up to? How would his demeaner change? Would he follow the government’s guidelines even if they caused him to not properly work the case and possibly, in the end, not complete the job for his client? All of this made me think out of the box. I really hate that phrase, but it fits here.

Emotional or non-verbal tells are a tool used to express the tension of a scene or the mental state of a character. I could easily write a character smiled in response to something someone else said. It shows the reader that particular character’s frame of mind. Not so easy to do, as an author, if someone is wearing an N95 mask. It made me write outside my normal comfort zone.

In the end, Covid is just another bad guy that Steve Rockfish has to face off against in the modern world. I would hope readers agree with me when I say the action, humor, and sarcasm of the book demote the pandemic to a small character of the book, but one that is important and had to be addressed in the world we currently live in. ♦

The Pine Barrens Stratagem

by Ken Harris

February 1-28, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Pine Barrens Stratagem by Ken Harris

Private Investigator Steve Rockfish needs cash, like yesterday. The bad news is that yesterday, a global pandemic raged, and Maryland was headed toward a lockdown that would ultimately lead to cheating spouses no longer “working late,” and hence a lack of new clients.

Rockfish’s luck changes when a Hollywood producer reaches out, but the job is two states away and involves digging up information on a child trafficking ring from the 1940s. What he uncovers will be used to support the launch of a true crime docuseries. He grabs a mask, hand sanitizer and heads for South Jersey.

On-site, Rockfish meets Jawnie McGee, the great granddaughter of a local policeman gone missing while investigating the original crimes. As the duo uncover more clues, they learn the same criminal alliance has reformed to use the pandemic as a conduit to defraud the Federal Government of that sweet, sweet, stimulus money.

It’s not long before the investigation turns up some key intel on a myriad of illicit activity over the last eighty years and Rockfish rockets toward a showdown with the mafia, local archdiocese and dirty cops. COVID-19 isn’t the only threat to his health.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thriller
Published by: Black Rose Writing
Publication Date: January 27th 2022
Number of Pages: 250
ISBN: 1684338719 (ISBN13: 9781684338719)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Ken Harris

Ken Harris retired from the FBI, after thirty-two years, as a cybersecurity executive. With over three decades writing intelligence products for senior Government officials, Ken provides unique perspectives on the conventional fast-paced crime thriller. While this is his first traditionally published novel, he previously self-published two novellas and two novels. He spends days with his wife Nicolita, and two Labradors, Shady and Chalupa Batman. Evenings are spent cheering on Philadelphia sports. Ken firmly believes Pink Floyd, Irish whiskey and a Montecristo cigar are the only muses necessary. He is a native of New Jersey and currently resides in Northern Virginia.

Catch Up With Ken Harris:
www.KenHarrisFiction.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @08025writes
Twitter – @08025writes
Instagram – @KenHarrisFiction
Facebook – @kah623

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=305741

ENTER TO WIN:

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Ken Harris. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

 

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Tours