Ethan Jones Books

Don’t miss my THREE Giveaways

March 29 is the last day to enter any of my THREE Giveaways.

EthanJones_ArcticWargame_800Enter to win an electronic copy of ARCTIC WARGAME from LibraryThing at this link. If you have enjoyed this Justin Hall spy thriller, then please forward this link to a friend (and while you’re online, consider posting a review on Amazon or your favorite book retailer), so they can enter to win one of 100 copies that I’m offering until the end of the month.EthanJones_PriorityTarget_800

The second giveaway is for an electronic copy of PRIORITY TARGET, the first book in the Carrie Chronicles, from LibraryThing at this link. Again if you’ve read and enjoyed this book, forward the link to your friends, so they can take advantage of this opportunity.

And finally, if you prefer paperbacks, I’ve got the perfect giveaway for you. Enter to win a copy of ARCTIC WARGAME from GoodReads at this link.

Beta Readers Wanted for HOMELAND

Many of you know that HOMELAND, the newest and seventh spy thriller in the Justin Hall series, is coming out in late July or early August.

However, you can start reading and enjoying this novel earlier than the general public by becoming a beta reader. Starting in May, I will send you the HOMELAND chapters every week or ten days as I finish them. You will let me know your thoughts about the pace of the plot, the overall feel of the story, characters development, their actions and behavior, how you find the dialogue, in short anything you think will make the story better.

If this is something you may be interested in, please drop me a note at my personal e-mail account, author.ethan.jones@gmail.com. Thanks in advance.

10 Questions with Joseph Kanon

Leaving Berlin by Joseph KanonMy guest today is Joseph Kanon, author of LEAVING BERLIN, a thriller that came out on March 3. Please scroll down to enjoy his interview.

1.   Mr. Kanon, thank you for this opportunity to be interviewed for my blog. LEAVING BERLIN, your newest novel, came out on March 3. Tell us a bit more about this book.

Leaving Berlin is set in January, 1949, just as the Berlin Airlift was heroically supplying the besieged western sectors and the city was about to split into two.  I had already written about the American occupation of Berlin in The Good German and I now became interested in the Soviet side– how did the GDR come to be? What was it like to live under the Soviets?  Was it different (at least in the beginning), etc.

2.   Who is Alex Meier, and how did you come up with his character?

Alex Meier is a Berlin-born writer who fled Hitler into exile in America and made a new life there.  Now he’s been lured back by Soviet occupation authorities (as many notable cultural figures had been) — but he’s also been coerced by the fledgling CIA to spy for them.  Almost immediately he realizes that he’s in over his head and, worse, morally compromised.  His real assignment is to spy on the only woman he ever loved.  Like most fictional characters, Alex is a composite, a stand-in for the many eminent exiles lured back to what became East Germany.

3.   What kind of research did you do for LEAVING BERLIN?

I read what seemed hundreds of books on the subject, and especially any with information that became available after the Wall came down in 1989.  The formation of the GDR is a fascinating subject– we think of it as an inevitability but in fact it was a political anomaly, an improvised state. The diaries and letters of returning artists like Bertolt Brecht were invaluable.  But most importantly, I spent time in Berlin, walking the streets, imagining where the characters lived, how they got to work, what daily life was like, etc.  I do this with all my books– walk the city so that you get a feel for it on the ground.  Then supplement with old maps, photos, etc. to get the right look in your mind.

4.   How is LEAVING BERLIN different from other spy thriller in this packed genre?

Well, I’d like to think that it has serious elements of moral inquiry, but that’s really for readers to say.  Certainly it is more concerned with the actual politics of the period than most thrillers.

5.   Why do you write? Why spy thriller?

I write thrillers because I love reading them.  They’re essentially character-based, which is for me the supreme interest of any fiction, and they open up all sorts of possibilities for moral ambiguity.  I came to writing late in life (I was 50 when I wrote my first book) but now I can’t imagine doing anything else– being able to live in your head, to do creative work, is a great privilege and I feel lucky to be able to do it full time.

6.   How did it happen that your novel, THE GOOD GERMAN, became a movie featuring George Clooney?

The book was bought while still in manuscript by Clooney’s production company.  His then partner, director Steven Soderbergh, looked at it and decided he would like to direct.  After that, everything seemed like one long green light.  I had nothing to do with the script or indeed the finished movie, but I did get to visit the set and watching everybody in action, from Cate Blanchett and George, to the prop man to the make-up director was like seeing a professional team at the top of their game.  It also happened that I was then researching the novel that would become Stardust, about Hollywood in the 40s, so being on the set was an extraordinary way to do research– given the period of the film, I felt I was in a 40s studio watching a 40s movie being made.

7.   How did you make the switch from being an executive in the publishing industry to become a bestselling author?

I enjoyed publishing and never really intended to leave, but I visited Los Alamos as a tourist (in 1995) and while there had an idea that became Los Alamos.  I never told anybody I was writing it, because I didn’t know if I could (and what would be more embarrassing than a publisher who couldn’t write?), and even submitted it to my agent under a pseudonym (to get a cold reading).  Obviously, this was a story with a happy ending– she took on the book, sold it to a publisher, it did very well and suddenly I was a full-time writer, working on the other side of the desk.  Having been in publishing, of course, you’re aware of how much can go wrong with a book’s publication, but I try not to interfere or even suggest that I know anything about the business– it’s important for the publisher to take ownership.  Of course when you have the right publisher (as I think I do) you don’t need to interfere– they know what they’re dong.

8.   What is your greatest satisfaction as a writer? What is your greatest disappointment?

The greatest disappointment is that the book is never as good as you’d like it to be, or even as good as it was in your head.  I think all writers must feel this.  The greatest satisfaction comes in those rare moments when it’s close to being what you want, when something works on the page, the right word, the right rhythm, a patch of dialogue that sounds just right.  As I say, rare moments, but the real satisfaction in writing is doing the work itself, not the publishing that comes after.  One pure publishing pleasure, however, is getting a foreign edition of one of your books– there you are, in Russian, or Greek, or whatever, and it seems a small miracle.

9.   What are your thoughts on the latest publishing industry developments, mainly the rise of the self-publishing?

Since publishers now put out more than 150,000 new titles a year, I’m astounded that we feel we need any more.  But good luck to everyone.

10.   What is your next book going to be about?

I never say in any detail, because I’m always afraid of ‘talking it out’, but I will say that I’m planning a trip to Moscow to get to know the city better…

Weekly Intelligence Briefing

Winter came back with dipping temperatures and a few inches of snow this past week. But the weather is still much nicer than it could be. Not exactly spring, but this week the sun should come out again.

EthanJones_TheSecretAffair_800pxTHE SECRET AFFAIR is going to my proofreader/editor this week, but sample chapters are already available for free for your enjoyment on Kobo at this link and on Smashwords at this link. Download a copy and let me know what you think. The scheduled release date for THE SECRET AFFAIR Tuesday, April 7.

ARCTIC WARGAME, the first book that kicked off the Justin Hall series, is now on sale for $2.99. Take advantage of this offer and enjoy a copy for yourself or one of your friends. If you have read it, please leave a fair and honest review on Amazon or your favorite book retailer website. Your opinions are crucial for two reasons: First, so other potential readers can learn about my style of writing and my books. Second, a higher number of reviews and a greater star ranking allows me to do promotions, so that I can offer my books to my readers at lower prices. So take a few moments today and post a review. Even a one sentence with a four-star or a five-star rating is extremely useful. Here’s the link to ARCTIC WARGAME: EthanJones_ArcticWargame_800http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0084FH6M8/?tag=httpethanjone-20

Last week, I reached the 10,000 word point in writing HOMELAND, the new and seventh novel in the Justin Hall series. I’m now on chapter three and the storyline has moved from eastern Kenya and northern Yemen to Toronto. Justin will be meeting with one of this contacts, and will receive some sensitive yet explosive intelligence. If everything goes well, HOMELAND will be released in late July or early August of this summer.

However, if you’d like to become a beta reader, you can start enjoying this spy thriller in late April or early May. I will send you the chapters in progress as I’m writing and editing them, and you can let me know your thoughts about the military and other tactical aspects of the operations covered in the book. Or you can provide me your feedback on the pace of the plot, the overall feel of the story, character development, their actions and behavior, how you find the dialogue, in short anything you may think will make the story better. If this is something you may be interested in, please drop me a note at my personal e-mail account, author.ethan.jones@gmail.com.

Word of mouth is vital so my books can reach more people. So please take a moment to talk to a friend, drop an e-mail to a loved one or a relative who enjoys spy thrillers, or share the news about my works on your social media, Facebook, Twitter, and wherever you have an Internet presence.

Joining my Fans Mailing List is the best way to stay in touch with me, be informed of new releases, special deals, promotions and news about my writing and my books. And as a token of appreciation for joining my Fans Mailing List, I will send you one of the books in the Justin Hall series free of charge. Join now by clicking on this link.

At the end, I’d like to thank you all for your wonderful support. I’m off to work on HOMELAND, but please make sure to connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Sincerely,

Ethan

Enjoy a FREE copy of Ratcatcher by Tim Stevens

Ratcatcher by Tim StevensEnjoy a copy of Ratcatcher by Tim Stevens. This spy thriller is FREE today from this link:

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ARCTIC WARGAME needs more reviews

Recently, ARCTIC WARGAME has gotten a couple of one-star reviews. If you’ve enjoyed this book, please take a moment to post a review now on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Ey8emF.

If you haven’t read this spy thriller yet, which is the first book in the Justin Hall series, why not try the first ten chapters for free from this link: amzn.to/1FF0GQG?

Arctic Wargame reviews

#‎HOMELAND‬ ‪#‎newest‬ ‪#‎JustinHall‬ ‪#‎spy‬ ‪#‎thriller‬ ‪#‎amwriting‬ ‪#‎reader‬ ‪#‎news‬ ‪#‎Kobo‬ ‪#‎ebooks‬ ‪#‎bestsellers‬ ‪#‎authors‬ ‪#‎mustread‬ ‪#‎espionage‬ ‪#‎adventure‬ ‪#‎military‬ ‪#‎suspense‬ ‪#‎new‬ ‪#‎release‬ ‪#‎newauthor‬ ‪#‎ebook‬ ‪#‎readers‬ ‪#‎Kindle‬ ‪#‎now‬ ‪#‎action‬

10 Questions with Erin Kelly

Dark Rose by Erin KellyToday I’m reposting my interview with Erin Kelly, the author of The Dark Rose. Please scroll down to enjoy her interview.

1.   The Dark Rose, your new psychological thriller comes out this week. Tell us something about The Dark Rose.

Like my first novel, The Poison Tree, it’s a mystery rather than a procedural novel. It’s set in and around the alternative music scene in late-80s London, Essex, and the grounds of a ruined 16th-Century mansion in Warwickshire.

Troubled teenager Paul has been led into a life of crime by his best friend and protector, Daniel. One night what started as petty theft escalates fatally, and the authorities send him to ground in a remote garden restoration project until he can testify. There he meets garden designer Louisa, who reacts to him with shock: Paul resembles Adam, with whom she had an intense affair that ended in blood.

The novel alternates between Paul’s point of view and Louisa’s. It’s dominated by the setting of Kelstice Lodge, the ruined Elizabethan hall where they meet but also flashes back to his adolescence in estuary Essex and hers in Kensington. We see them enter into a relationship and confide in each other, but it soon becomes apparent that the past is catching up with one – or both – of them.

2.   Some writers focus on a main character and develop an entire series around him or her. Your two novels, The Poison Tree and The Dark Rose are stand-alone books.  How do you find creating new characters for each new work?

I love it. Getting under the skin of a new character is a big part of the thrill of writing for me. I like not being constrained by details in previous books, and I like the freedom of knowing I can kill off anyone I like.

There’s another reason I invent new characters and settings every time. I write mysteries but they’re not procedural books; I’m more interested in how crime affects people who have no previous experience of it. Detectives, lawyers and pathologists get only passing mentions in my stories, but these are the characters you need to write to make it credible that crime would touch their lives again and again.

3.   What is your writing process like?

It depends where in the book I am. Early on, I like to get out and about for inspiration, making research trips, and sitting in cafes with my notebook. The pace gradually intensifies and for the last three or four months I’m virtually chained to my desk, and barely know what season it is.

4.   Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

Not from people immediately around me – I know them too well, I’m too invested in them to create distance. I like to see a glimpse of another life, or place, just enough to spark my imagination but not enough to saturate it. TV documentaries and road trips are perfect for this.

5.   How do you develop the characters background, their personality, their traits?

I don’t plot my books with a chapter plan and I take the same kind of approach to characterization: I get to know them by writing them. Occasionally I’ll write a scene that I know deep down won’t make the final cut, just to help me explore these people.

6.   Sins of the past seem to be a common theme in your works. Is there a particular reason for that?

So many of my favourite stories deal with ghosts from the past: Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, The Go-Between by LP Hartley, The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Covering a long tract of time gives the fuse a long fuse that lets the story burn slower, gives it room to breathe and lets me stretch the suspense to breaking point.

Much classic crime fiction covers in forensic detail the events that led to murder, but then as soon as the handcuffs are placed on the killer’s wrists, the curtain falls. To my mind, that’s where the most interesting stories begin. I’m fascinated by the long-term effects of guilt, bereavement and lies. I like to spend a long time, perhaps even a lifetime, with a character, and see how they change.

7.   How much do your characters go and live their own lives, independent from the pen of their creator?  Do you know their fate when you start writing or does it change as you write your novels?

I have a vague skeleton plot before I sit down to write, and so far I have always diverged from this. Usually that’s because I’ve had a specific action ascribed to a certain character but as the novel has progressed a little voice has started to whisper that the person I have got to know just wouldn’t do that. I can ignore this voice for a while, but not forever.

8.   After a successful career as a journalist, what made you want to switch to writing novels?

The desire to write fiction came first. I was freelance throughout my twenties and I loved it, but after turning 30 I was ready for a change of pace. I was exhausted by the daily hustle of pitching feature ideas, and ready to unplug a little and commit to something long-term. And then of course there was the fact that this novel I’d been talking about writing for years and years had been quietly but insistently nudging its way to the forefront of my consciousness. In the end I had to write it, just to make it go away.

9.   What other stories are you working on?

I’ve just finished my third stand-alone psychological thriller, about a family weekend that turns deadly when the youngest son brings his new girlfriend to stay. After I’ve edited that, I’ll get to work on my fourth.

10.   What do you expect readers to find in The Dark Rose?

A story about the darkest side of obsessive love, and a crash-course in heritage gardening.

Weekly Intelligence Briefing

We enjoyed a wonderful week with lots of sun and very nice temperatures. March continues to be excellent to us, thank God. I hope the weather has been nice to your part of the globe.

EthanJones_TheSecretAffair_800pxThe special preview of THE SECRET AFFAIR is available for free on Kobo at this link and on Smashwords at this link. Amazon is refusing to price-match its version to free. I hope they will do it soon.

My beta readers have made some excellent comments about the story, and I’ve incorporated many of their points. The story is quite solid and intriguing, but then I am very biased :-) If everything goes according to plan, THE SECRET AFFAIR will be released in early April, right after Easter. The scheduled release date is Tuesday, April 7.

If you have enjoyed these special preview chapters, please consider leaving a review on your favorite retailer.  Reviews and word of mouth are extremely important so that new readers can find out about the quality and the content of my works. A short one-line or two-line review can work wonders in turning a reluctant reader into a loyal fan.

On the spy thriller front, work is moving ahead quite well on HOMELAND, the new and seventh novel in the Justin Hall series. I’ve finished chapter one, and the storyline has moved from eastern Kenya to northern Yemen, where terrorists are plotting their revenge against Justin’s homeland. But what are their wicked plans, and will Justin find out about them? Lord willing, HOMELAND will be released in late July or early August of this summer.

This week, the book I want to bring to your attention is ROGUE AGENTS, the fifth novel in the Justin Hall series.Rogue Agents

In ROGUE AGENTS, after a nuclear incident in Pakistan, two agents of the Canadian Intelligence Service disappear during a covert operation in South Korea. They end up in a prison camp in North Korea, where they are being tortured so they can reveal top secret intelligence.

Justin Hall and Carrie O’Connor, CIS best field operatives, who have just returned from a terrorist-hunting mission in Syria, are ordered to infiltrate the most hostile nation in the world. Their objective is like nothing they have faced before: assassinate the two captured agents, one of whom is a good friend of Justin.

Justin and Carrie consider their allegiances and the consequences of their operation, as they join forces with a North Korean defector and two MI6 agents familiar with the treacherous terrain of the Communist country. Then they come upon new intelligence that complicates their almost impossible mission. It is now a race against time to reach the captured agents before it is too late.

Why don’t you give ROGUE AGENTS a try today or recommend it to a friend?

I’m off to work on HOMELAND, but please make sure to connect with me on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for all your excellent support and encouragement. I have a job I love because of you.

Sincerely,

Ethan

The Secret Affair Sample Chapters

EthanJones_TheSecretAffair_800pxThe Secret Affair sample chapters are now available for free on Kobo, at this link and on Smashwords at this link.

I’m still in talks with Amazon to make the sample chapters free there as well.

Enjoy them and let me know your thoughts.

The Secret Soldier by Alex Berenson

The Secret Soldier by Alex BerensonJohn Wells is tracking an American traitor hiding in Jamaica, when a series of suicide bombings rock the Arabian Peninsula and the House of Saud.  Abdullah, the Saudi King, seeks the services of Wells to help his son become the next king.  Otherwise, if the King’s archenemy within his own family were to take the throne, the jihadis may get what they want.

The storyline and the plot move faster on several tracks, from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to Nice, France, to Langley, Virginia, US.  Wells prepares for his assignment, with the unofficial help of the CIA.  As they put together the clues about the scheme to bring down the House of Saud, Wells and his brother-in-arms Brett Gaffan discover a training camp and evidence that points to the most likely suspects.

Mr. Berenson’s writing is smart and succinct.  The story takes a sharp turn after an ambush and the kidnapping of a senior American official in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  Abandoned by King Abdullah and the CIA, Wells and Gaffin are still determined to complete their mission.  In a mad dash against time, they infiltrate Saudi Arabia, looking for an address, flying under the radars of the mukhabarat.

Will Wells find the American official alive?  Will he find him all in one piece?  How will the showdown for the power over the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia end?

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