Thursday, February 04, 2016

INTERVIEW: DREAM KILLER by MIKE BALDWIN

TITLE: Dream Killer 
AUTHOR: Mike Baldwin 
GENRE: Mystery 
WORD COUNT: 83,000 
READING OPTIONS: A mobi file; a .pdf file; Smashwords coupons. 
INDIE SELF-PUBLISHED: (Nov. 15, 2015) 
ISBN number: 978-1-4951-8285-3 
AVAILABLE: Amazon, Nook, ITunes, Kobo & Smashwords. ———————————————————————————

Nadene: Today I am hosting Mike Baldwin on Totally Addicted to Reading. Mike
why do you feature female lead characters? 
Mike: I enjoy writing dynamic women. Plus, it’s a literary no-brainer to sprinkle in a little romance to encourage romance novel readers to try a mystery. In DREAM KILLER, the star is Veronica Townsend, a highly successful sports agent in a male dominated profession

Nadene: What is the intended audience for your book? 
Mike: Anyone age 15 to 90 who enjoys a fast-paced mystery packed with fun characters, a story full of twists and turns. Like any good whodunit, can you figure out who did it? 

Nadene: Why do you specialize in mysteries? 
Mike: I’ve always loved a well-written mystery that takes readers on a spellbinding journey. As a kid, I was an Agatha Christie addict. . . Many popular TV shows actually are mysteries, shows like “Major Crimes,” “Law & Order” and “Cold Case.” I contend mystery fans enjoy a captivating plot to discover the why (motive) as much as the (who). 

Nadene: What makes DREAM KILLER stand out from the crowd? 
Mike: The final 50 pages is a shocking conclusion that compels the reader to examine a “social” issue far too often swept under the carpet. 

Nadene: What is a fun fact about your books? 
Mike: Readers experience diverse settings. DREAM KILLER is set in Burlington, a farm community in southeastern Kansas. My next novel is set on a college campus in Wichita Falls, Texas. My summer/fall project, PICK SIX, is a classic whodunit. An NFL owner is murdered a few weeks after his team wins the Super Bowl, a story that’s set in Hollywood and Watts. 

Nadene: What are your all-time favorite books. 
Mike: Three of my favorites: (1) To Kill a Mockingbird, (2) The Green Mile and (3) The Help. I also admire John Grisham’s storytelling talent. Because I favor female lead characters my favorite Grisham novel is The Pelican Brief

Nadene: If inspiration strikes you in an inconvenient place like driving a car or eating with friends at a restaurant, what do you do? 
Mike: Write it down! Immediately! A note can be invaluable to “jog your memory.” I’ve been known to pull off the road and spend ten to fifteen minutes scribbling down notes in my car in an empty parking lot. 

Nadene: What are your current/future projects? 
Mike: I’m marketing Dream Killer and I’m also writing a thriller, SLAM DUNK. (Spoiler alert) If you go read my blog at (mikebaldwinbooks.com), the novel I plan to self-publish this spring is a twenty-year-old manuscript I recently found in the back of my closet

Nadene: The manuscript you found was 20 years old? 
Mike: It was the equivalent of the best Christmas gift an author can ever receive! That manuscript in my closet represented a dream I’ve had for twenty years, a dream finally fulfilled when I self-published two novels in 2015. 

Nadene: Did you have any regrets after you discovered that manuscript buried in your closet?
Mike: No! I recently told a New York literary agent that I wouldn’t trade my sportswriting career to have written thirty novels the past twenty years. My first career was truly amazing. I interacted with sports legends and witnessed memorable games that became instant classics. . . But now I begin my second journey. It’s difficult to describe the joy to finally have time to do something I’ve always dreamed about — write mysteries that feature female lead characters. 

Nadene: If you could give readers all over the world one message, what would it be? 
Mike: If your dreams don’t scare you. . . they’re not big enough! 

Nadene: What is the methodology for your initial “rough draft outline? 
Mike: I view a novel as a movie script. Each chapter represents a scene. Write 30 to 40 scenes — thirty to forty chapters — and you’ve written a novel. As any author will tell you, that’s much more difficult than it sounds

Nadene: What is your writing process? 
Mike: Symbolically, I “skip to the end” to find out “what happens.” After I’ve written a “rough draft” outline, I write the first five or six chapters, then I write the final three or four chapters before I write one word of the “middle” chapters. Some authors say they can’t write the ending until they build to a dramatic climax. Maybe I’m different but I don’t feel good about the plot until I’ve written a knock-your-socks-off ending. 

Nadene: What is the most gratifying aspect of being an author? 
Mike: It’s an adrenaline rush when a character literally “comes to life.” Sometimes the character takes the story in a different direction than you envisioned in your original outline. 

Nadene: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve heard for self-published authors? 
Mike: (1) Make sure it’s publishing house quality edited; (2) it’s mandatory to market on social media. How much time do you devote to marketing? That’s the million dollar question. The BEST ADVICE is: (3) start writing your next novel!!! 

“A DAY I’LL NEVER FORGET
By Mike Baldwin
A few weeks ago, I had one of those days you remember for as long as you live. Hours after I self-published DREAM KILLER, I informed my editing partner I actually wrote two novels twenty years ago before my sportswriting career took off.

The reason that day was special is after I described the plot to my editorial partner, he informed me he’d like to read the story I wrote twenty years ago. After I spent fifteen minutes digging around the back of my closet, I not only found the manuscript, I was pleasantly surprised to re-read communication from New York literary agents twenty years ago. I completely forgot one agent, Jay Garon, contemplated signing me from my first manuscript, a mystery I ended up throwing in the trash.

Digging through my closest produced the equivalent of the best Christmas present of your life! After I put the manuscript through some major rewriting, a thriller I wrote twenty years ago has a ton of potential, which is why SLAM DUNK instantly became my next project I plan to self-publish this spring.

I hope my story encourages anyone who has ever had aspirations to write a novel. I’m the classic example an author can always “revive” their dream, even if it’s a passion that lies dormant in our closet for twenty years. Today, I’m a full-time novelist who writes mysteries/ thrillers that feature female lead characters involved in roller-coaster paced plots.

I’m in the early stages of building a fan base of readers who enjoy entertaining, thoughtprovoking mysteries with multiple points-of-view. Sports fans love my whodunits, but I can’t emphasize enough “non-sports fans” thoroughly have enjoyed SMASHED TATER and DREAM KILLER. My stories appeal to mystery fans of all ages.

Nowadays, an author no longer is dependent on a Big Five publishing house in New York for their stories to be read. Last year, after I transitioned to becoming a full-time novelist, I talked to three established authors I know. All three advised to self-publish eBooks.

Ebooks were only 1% of the literary market in 2007 but “Data Guy” estimated 513 million eBooks were sold in the United States in 2014. It’s clearly a new day for authors which should inspire every would-be-novelist. The best part of self-publishing an eBook is your stories get on the market 12 to 18 months earlier than if you take the old-fashioned route — sign with an agent, then go through the tedious journey with a publishing house before you eventually make it to print — and that’s for the fortunate few that make it all the way through the process that starts with query letters to extremely picky agents.

Before I forget, the first step to specializing in self-published eBooks is conceding your stories may never appear in print. For some, that’s a buzzkill since they can’t take their friends to the local bookstore to purchase a copy. Trust me, it’s worth it to self-publish eBooks.

Because self-published authors don’t have the luxury of a publishing house editor to “clean up” their stories, it’s essential to hire an editorial service, or find an editorial “safety net” to convince readers your stories are of the upmost quality.

For my second novel, my “safety net” was a six-person All-Star reading team I assembled — four women and two men — who provided everything from feedback on the characters and the plot to taking out a red pen and helping me edit the manuscript.

Self-publishing has numerous challenges. The obvious hurdle is you do all the work yourself, including finding someone to design an eBook cover. I found a jewel in Brandi Doane McCann, an eBook cover design specialist in Maine (ebook-coverdesigns.com). Brandi has done a fabulous job on the covers for my first two novels!

In closing, there is a huge perk to self-publishing eBooks. Because you do all the work yourself, I pleasantly was surprised profits from a reader-friendly priced $4.99 eBook (modernday paperbacks) are eerily similar to trickle-down profits from a traditionally published $22.99 hardback. And you get your novel on the market 12 to 18 months earlier!

Everyone dreams of writing a New York Times bestseller, but the actual joy is in the writing itself! It’s intoxicating to sit in front of a computer and watch a character come to life or see a scene come together. Fellow writers can relate to that magical feeling of creating something out of nothing, write a story you believe others would enjoy reading.

I want to encourage anyone who has aspired to write a book to keep dreaming. If you ever make it to the finish line and publish a novel, even if it’s a dream delayed twenty years, it’s an indescribable feeling of accomplishment to receive compliments from friends who tell you how much they enjoyed reading your book and they can’t wait to read your next one.

Good luck!!! Keep writing!!!


BOOK BLURB 

To fulfill her friend’s dream, legendary sports agent Veronica Townsend has constructed a kids’ summer camp on a farm in Burlington, Kansas, where baseball hero John Jensen was raised. Camp Dream Catcher, though, is in danger of shutting down after a lifeguard is murdered. With cancellations pouring in, Veronica must solve the mystery in a desperate attempt to keep the camp open.

Missy, a shy, 30-year-old, single woman who has lived her entire life in Queens, is doing her boss a favor by serving as the camp’s bookkeeper. Devoted to Veronica, Missy goes through a life-changing experience at a camp that awards scholarships to inner-city kids.

Ashley Webb, the camp’s co-director, has taken a sabbatical from her job in Omaha to oversee the camp’s day-to-day operations. Since evidence reveals the killer most likely is on the camp’s staff, Ashley is concerned Veronica is in denial the camp needs to shut down until law enforcement officials uncover the person responsible for shooting the handsome lifeguard.

 Reggie Gordon, the camp’s other co-director, is a former African American Major League Baseball star, who vows to help Veronica. Because he grew up in the projects in Chicago, Reggie sees the benefits of a camp that caters to inner-city kids.

When additional problems surface, it appears Veronica has no choice but to shut down the camp, in part because she made some risky financial decisions to open ahead of schedule. Veronica, though, is resolute the camp will not shut down so she can honor John Jensen, “the kindest man I’ve ever met.”



EXCERPT from DREAM KILLER (end of chapter 3)

All but one of their thirty guests had departed the Stilson twins’ house other than a passed-out woman on a bed in the back bedroom. 

Ava and Emma wouldn’t spend much time fretting over the mess. Emma gazed at trampled-on beer cans, pizza boxes and empty bags of potato chips. The kitchen also looked like a dump site. “Look at this place.” 

“One of our best parties ever!” Ava boasted, giving her sister a high-five. 

They soaked in the scene and smiled as if a trashed house was a badge of honor. Vomit on the bathroom floor smelled putrid. Someone used the shower as a second toilet, no surprise considering the bathroom was Grand Central Station. 

“It’s never been quite this bad before,” Emma said. “How much do you think Marsha will charge us this time?” 

Ava mulled over the question. She surveyed the mess in the living room before she announced a dollar figure for a maid who used the Stilson twins as a side income, the only maid in Burlington willing to clean a house that looked like a tornado had swept through New Strawn every time they threw a party. 

“My guess is five-hundred, maybe six.” “I feel sad for Marsha. She works hard. We’re so lucky.” “What a night! The fridge is empty. I’m going to the cellar.”

 Ava hummed a song while she walked down the hallway. To assure her sister could hear, Ava raised her voice. “How much beer do we have left? Between tonight and the Fourth of July shindig we might have to order twenty cases from the Budweiser guy.”

Emma was in the bathroom. She was attempting to clean up the vomit without actually touching the nauseating mess when she heard her sister scream. “Emma, get down here right away!” 

Barefoot, Emma’s blue-painted toes scurried down the hallway. Small, baby steps resembled a bunny hopping alongside a fence. As Emma neared the cellar door, Ava’s next statement sent chills up her spine. 

“I think he’s dead!”

(Contact Information)
MIKE BALDWIN 
e-mail: mikebaldwin@cox.net 
website: mikebaldwinbooks.com 
cell phone: (405) 570-8877 
Sage’s Blog Tour (Jan. 24-Feb. 6) 

Mike Baldwin — AUTHOR BIO 
A former sportswriter, Mike Baldwin has transitioned to becoming a full-time novelist who specializes in mysteries that feature female lead characters. Mike writes classic whodunits that appeal to mystery fans of all ages.

Whether it’s a suspense-filled novel that keeps him up all night, or TV shows like “Major Crimes,” “Law & Order,” and “Cold Case,” Mike loves fast-paced stories packed with twists and turns that keep the reader guessing until the surprise ending.

Mike’s unique writing style is he uses multiple points-of-view to provide depth that allows the reader to see the plot form different perspectives. His goal is take to readers to places they’ve never visited, write fun-to-read, thought-provoking mysteries while mixing in occasional humor and a dash of romance.

During his newspaper career, Mike covered Super Bowls and Final Fours, and interviewed countless Hall of Fame athletes and coaches. He was blessed to attend games in 80 of the 90 NFL stadiums, NBA arenas and Major League Baseball stadiums, plus visit more than fifty college campuses.

The highlight was when he was a beat writer who covered the Dallas Cowboys for The Oklahoman, the Oklahoma City newspaper. For seven years, Mike wrote daily stories during the Barry Switzer era when the Cowboys were led by future NFL Hall of Famers Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders.

Mike was humbled and honored last year when he was inducted into the Oklahoma Christian University Sports Hall of Fame.


Links
DREAM KILLER ($4.99 eBook) can be purchased 
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1P9HFKe
Barnes and Noble (Nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dream-killermike-baldwin/1122958692?ean=2940152469417
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/dream-killer-1
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/593129

(SOCIAL LINKS)
Twitter: Mike Baldwin @mikebaldwinbook (2,000 followers)
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/49480134-mike-baldwin

(Blog Tour Stops) Jan. 24 - Jen (craftylife.net)
Jan. 25 - Jonali Karmark (ministryofmagik.blogspot.in)
Jan. 26 - Emily (thebookadventuresofemily.blogspot.com)
Jan. 27 - Kathleen Kelly (celticladysreviews.blogpost.com)
Jan. 29 - Freda Hansburg (fredahansburg.weebly.com)
Feb. 1 - Recca (reccapieces.com)
Feb. 2 - Ali (cancersuckscouk.ipage.com)
Feb. 4 - Nadene Reynolds (totallyaddictedtoreading.blogpost.com)
Feb. 5 - Bradley Knox (hogwashthirteen.blogpost.com)
 Feb. 6 - Sage Adderley (sageadderley.blogspot.com) ———————————————————————————————————

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