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Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS

Today we have a guest blog by author ED KOVACS, who visited with us last year. Here's the link to that visit:

 

http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Mystery/Please-Welcome-Author-ED-KOVACS/td-p/1226448

 

Ed's website is here: http://www.edkovacs.com/

 

 

Ed Kovacs  spent two and half years living in New Orleans beginning in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and he co-founded a security company there that taught defensive tactics and other techniques.   Ed has studied martial arts, holds many weapons-related licenses, certifications and permits, and is a certified medical First Responder.  He is a member of AFIO, Association for Intelligence Officers.

 

He has worked and traveled all over the world as a journalist and media consultant.  His well-reviewed action-adventure-thriller novel, UNSEEN FORCES, was published in 2005.  Ed graduated from Southern Illinois University, having paid his tuition by working in a steel mill, driving a truck, and spinning records as a late-night jazz DJ on local radio.  He is a member of ITW, International Thriller Writers organization, and the Mystery Writers of America

 

Ed’s hobbies include meditation, target shooting, wine tasting, and motorcycling.  He’s an amateur dowser and prospector and he collects WWII aviation memorabilia.  He has studied with shamans, medicine chiefs, and chi gong masters on several continents.

 

He splits his time between his home in Asia and his aircraft hangar home at a Southern California airport.

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS

As you may recall from Ed's last visit, he spends a lot of time in exotic places. He sent this recent picture from Central Asia:

- ed kovacs.jpg
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS

[ Edited ]

GOOD JUNK is Ed's new release:

 

Good Junk (Cliff St. James Series #2)  

 

Overview

 

Cliff St. James returns to a Post-Katrina New Orleans to take on another case in Ed Kovac's Good Junk, this wonderful action-packed follow-up to Storm Damage

 

While wrestling with guilt over having accidentally killed a mixed martial arts opponent in a sparring session, private detective Cliff St. James returns to New Orleans and finds himself assisting the police in an investigation of the murder of a U.S. government “black projects” engineer.  St. James quickly uncovers “The Buyers Club,” a murky network of seedy arms dealers and foreign intelligence agents purchasing state-of-the-art weaponry and high technology, perhaps abetted by elements of the U.S. government.  As members of the Buyers Club start turning up dead, St. James fights for his life and sanity as he struggles to solve the murders and undermine a treacherous espionage conspiracy.

 

Editorial Reviews

 

The New York Times Book Review
 
…the scenes of New Orleans are rich and real. Kovacs's hopeless, elegiac vision of the city is touching, and his quick studies of hidden landmarks…are written with true affection and terrific humor.
 
—Marilyn Stasio
 
Publishers Weekly
 
Set a year after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, Kovacs’s outstanding second Cliff St. James novel (after 2011’s Storm Damage) finds St. James, a private investigator who’s also a mixed martial arts instructor, distraught over accidentally killing his opponent during a sparring session. The self-doubt St. James now feels proves a handicap when his close friend and not quite lover, NOPD homicide detective Honey Baybee, recruits him to officially assist with what she believes is a murder/suicide case.
 
Two dead men, possibly gay lovers, have turned up in a grubby parking lot, one of them with his brains blown out in the passenger seat of a Mercedes S550. As both victims did sensitive work for the Defense Department at the local NASA assembly facility, St. James and Baybee encounter more than a little federal interference with the case. St. James may fit the familiar wiseass detective mold, but powerful prose that evokes a city still struggling to recover its infrastructure and identity elevates this well beyond most other contemporary PI novels.
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS

 

Burnt Black - Coming soon!

 

(Coming from St. Martin’s Minotaur in 2013)

 

New Orleans detective Cliff St. James investigates a series of unexplained deaths connected to an occult group with powerful local connections. When it appears a Mexican drug cartel is somehow involved, the stakes get higher, but St. James and his partner, Honey, catch nothing but bad breaks as they struggle to unravel their strangest case yet.

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS

Here's a Q&A with Ed, as posted on his website:

 

I’ve been doing a bit of guest blogging around the Web to help promote the release of my thriller novel, GOOD JUNK, the second in the Cliff St. James series.  Some of the questions thrown at me are provocative, some mundane.

 

And just as there are no small parts, only small actors, I’d say there are no dumb questions for writers, but maybe dumb answers from some writers.   Personally, I feel privileged to be published by a major New York publisher and to have gotten such good reviews for my books.  So I don’t mind answering any and all questions that readers throw my way.

 

I thought I would share a few queries that I have gotten since GOOD JUNK was released in December, 2012.

 

What is the message in GOOD JUNK?

 

One of the things I wanted to do was riff on aspects of lethal force.  What are the ramifications upon the people who find themselves applying it?

 

The hero of my post-hurricane, New Orleans crime novels is on a path leading him to more and more violence and death, and in GOOD JUNK I wanted to have him confront that head-on.

 

The book opens with St. James feeling guilt-ridden over having accidentally killed an opponent in an MMA sparring session.  The guilt hampers him as he finds himself embroiled in a very intense and violent murder and conspiracy investigation.  So what the story is really about—aside from the actual mystery itself—is how St. James has to forgive himself and accept what he is becoming.

 

What motivates you to write?

 

I’m a natural storyteller.  I have so many stories bouncing around in my head.  My problem is not having enough time to write them all.

 

I’ve been writing all of my adult life, but at one low point, where I wasn’t making any money with my craft, I decided to give it up.  But the thing about being a professional writer is—it’s a lifestyle, it’s who you are, it defines you in every way.  I started writing again after about a year because I had no choice;  I had stories to tell.

 

I simply accepted that there was no escaping who I was and started writing again, just for myself, not attaching any outcome to what might happen with the stories I wrote.  I didn’t worry if they were commercial or saleable or whatever.

 

Those were screenplays that I wrote back then, and I felt deep satisfaction in having completed them.  I had told the story I wanted to tell, and it didn’t matter if maybe only five people on Earth—none of whom were in the movie business—read those scripts.

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

 

Keep writing!  Being a true writer takes a tremendous amount of discipline, tenacity, and passion.  It’s a tremendous commitment of time and it’s often a sacrifice.  Writers put words on paper because being a writer is who they are.  But there are many ways to reach the top of the mountain, if the top of the mountain means publication or getting paid, so who am I to say how anyone should go about it?

 

I could give lots of advice to aspiring writers, but generally, it’s not something they want to hear.  Don’t be obsessed with the potential rewards; the reward is having created the work.  Try to take your ego out of the process.  Get life experience!  Read books on writing and how writers work.  Learn about the practical business aspects of being a writer.  Take writing classes and seminars, and network a bit.  Be patient, write what interests you, and stick to it.

 

What kind of books do you like to read?

 

I just read the Stieg Larsson trilogy and enjoyed it, although he sometimes gets bogged down in too much descriptive detail.   But, hey, great suspense.  Lisbeth Salander is an immensely cool character.

Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy Deluxe Boxed Set  

 

In terms of thrillers, I’ve been a huge Ludlum fan since before the Bourne movies were filmed.  Ludlum was so great with plot.  I love the original SHIBUMI, some of Wilbur Smith’s work, and way too many others like THE ROSE OF TIBET, and IN THE NAME OF THE ROSE, to mention just a few.

 

Shibumi  

 

 

 

I have always been intrigued by the concept of the “warrior/monk,” and have written fiction using such characters.  So naturally I read THE BOOK OF FIVE RINGS by Musashi, and books by Glenn Morris, George Leonard, and anything to do with spiritual warriors and the like. So much to read, so little time.

 

The Book of Five Rings  

 

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS

[ Edited ]

 Becke,

 

Thanks for having me aboard for this guest blog.  I’m writing this from overseas, where I’m coming up to the end of my contract in an unpleasant place—let’s call it “Crackistan”--deployed as a security contractor.  I can’t tell you where I am, but I can tell you that it’s ccoooollllldd!

 

So my new thriller novel GOOD JUNK was released in December to good reviews while I have been over here.  Even the New York Times Book Review had some kind words: 

 

“…the scenes of New Orleans are rich and real.  Kovacs hopeless, elegiac vision of the city is touching, and his quick studies of hidden landmarks like the outré bar in the French Quarter that calls itself Pravda, and Pampy’s, a purveyor of soul food to politicians, are written with true affection and terrific humor.”  THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

 

I will embark on a small book tour—Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, St. Louis, New Orleans, and maybe some other cities beginning in mid-February.  I’ll keep you posted about that, but maybe this time I’ll get to meet Debbie Haupt in St. Louis!

 

GOOD JUNK is the second in the New Orleans-set, post-killer hurricane series featuring Cliff St. James and his homicide detective, would-be girlfriend Honey.  Honey is based on a NOPD detective I know named Maggie Darling.  I have lots of police pals in New Orleans, because of my past work there, so I hope I bring a veracity to my stories from my close association with many police officers.

 

In fact, I was recruited to join both NOPD and Jefferson Parish Sherriff’s Office, but declined.  I wonder how my life would be different had I accepted?

 

A third Cliff St. James novel will be released by St. Martin’s later this year, so those of you who enjoy reading a series, especially a series that is hard-boiled, should consider starting with my first, STORM DAMAGE.

 

Since I get asked lots of questions all the time about my work, why don’t I just answer a few of them right now for you guys?

 

Q: What is GOOD JUNK about?

 

Ed:  Corruption and greed.  St. James and his partner Honey investigate the suicide of a government “black projects” engineer, and quickly deduce it was no suicide, but part of something much more insidious that powerful forces want to keep secret. 

 

I enjoy creating stories where few things are as they seem, where few can be trusted, where many are suspect, and the truth is a moving target.

 

Ultimately, however, the book is about forgiveness, because St. James has to forgive himself for his acts of violence and what he has become.

 

 

Q:  Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?  If so, what  do you do about it?

 

Ed:  I never suffer from writer’s block.  For me, sitting down to write is like turning on a light switch, and I can do it anytime, anywhere.  I’ve written fiction that got published while on a treadmill at a gym, while posted on the Mexican border with a shotgun in my lap, and while drinking with foreign intelligence agents.

 

For me, it the creative flow slows down, then I know I’m on the wrong track.  I’ll take a step back, reevaluate the story, and look for some weakness I had missed.

When I find it, I start writing again and things take off.

 

Q:  Did you learn anything from writing GOOD JUNK?

 

Ed:  I learned that I can write a series and keep the subsequent books fresh and interesting with character arcs that explore real human issues—books that do more than just fulfill the requirements of being a sequel.

 

Some authors with gazillions of books in print have characters that never change.  Maybe the hero/heroine gets married or something, but there is no character development, period. 

 

Perhaps that’s what’s comforting to the readers, knowing that when they buy so-and-so’s new book, they know what they will be getting.

 

But I am interested in changing and adapting and evolving as a human being, and so I want my characters to do the same.

 

Q:  What are your current/future projects?

 

Ed:  The third Cliff St. James crime novel, BURNT BLACK, comes out in December 2013.  Right now I am writing two spec novels simultaneously.  One is an action/adventure/thriller designed to be the first in a series—lots of espionage, conspiracy, and murder, all set on a global scale.  Sounds like a good time to me!

 

The second thriller I’m now writing is called THREE COPS, where three very different detectives from three different countries and cultures have to work together to catch a serial killer.  But, of course, the investigation leads them into a much larger conspiracy. 

The truth is out there, and I always push my characters to find it, if they can.

 

ANYWAY….

 

Thanks a lot, Becke, for hosting me on the forum.  Always nice to be here, and I will be happy to answer any questions that come in as soon as I can.  But please be patient, as I am halfway around the world with dodgy Internet!

 

Cheers,

Ed  

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Ryan_G
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS

Thanks for stopping by, and I wish I could say I've read one of your books, but I haven't yet.  I must say, I would pick them up in an instant just based of the covers alone.

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS

Ryan G--
Thanks for your comment. I'm really jazzed by the cover for BURNT BLACK, the 3rd in the CSJ series. Which one do you like best?
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS

Becke,

 

Thanks for the awesome introduction! :smileyhappy:

 

Since I am about 11 or so hours ahead of Central time in the US, it is possible that I can, technically, answer any questions you guys ask before you ask them!

 

I'll be happy to try.

 

And thanks, as always, to Barnes and Noble for hosting these forums.  Even on deplyments to horrible places, when I can find Internet, I can download books onto my e-reader.  That's fantastic.  In the not-so-long-ago old days, I had to schlep paperbacks with me around the world. 

 

I look forward to having a real coffee--not the stuff I can get over here--at the cafe in the Chino Hills B&N next month.

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS

[ Edited ]

EdKovacs wrote:

Becke,

 

Thanks for the awesome introduction! :smileyhappy:

 

Since I am about 11 or so hours ahead of Central time in the US, it is possible that I can, technically, answer any questions you guys ask before you ask them!

 

I'll be happy to try.

 

And thanks, as always, to Barnes and Noble for hosting these forums.  Even on deplyments to horrible places, when I can find Internet, I can download books onto my e-reader.  That's fantastic.  In the not-so-long-ago old days, I had to schlep paperbacks with me around the world. 

 

I look forward to having a real coffee--not the stuff I can get over here--at the cafe in the Chino Hills B&N next month.


Ed - I remember being in Paris once years ago, going NUTS trying to find some English language mysteries. I finally bought a couple of Agatha Christie books in French - I'd read them so many times, I figured my high school French would get me through them. If only we'd had Nooks back then!

 

And speaking of your Chino Hills B&N, be sure to let me know if you'll be doing any book signings at Barnes & Noble stores so I can promote the events here.

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dhaupt
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS

Ed Welcome, it's good to have you on the forum again.

I love visiting you on FB as I never know where you'll be posting from sometimes pretty scary places.

I've read and enjoyed Storm Damage and if I can ever seem to have an extra second to read I've got the other titles on my list.

Thanks for visiting Ed and please stay safe.

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS


EdKovacs wrote:
Ryan G--
Thanks for your comment. I'm really jazzed by the cover for BURNT BLACK, the 3rd in the CSJ series. Which one do you like best?

I like them all, but I think the cover of BURNT BLACK is very cool.

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS

Becke,

 

Yes, I agree, the cover of BURNT BLACK is cool.  Hats off to the St. Martin's Press art department.  They have produced three great covers for me and I owe those folks a round of cocktails, at the very least!

 

You found yourself in Paris with nothing to read?  Girlfriend, when in Paris you were supposed to be sitting at a cafe table nursing a Ricard and smoking Gitanes while scribbling the Great American novel on a cocktail napkin.  What were you thinking? :smileywink:

 

Debbie,

 

Hope to see you in STL, not just on FB!  I always enjoy reading about what you are reading.

Cheers,

Ed

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS


EdKovacs wrote:

Becke,

 

Yes, I agree, the cover of BURNT BLACK is cool.  Hats off to the St. Martin's Press art department.  They have produced three great covers for me and I owe those folks a round of cocktails, at the very least!

 

You found yourself in Paris with nothing to read?  Girlfriend, when in Paris you were supposed to be sitting at a cafe table nursing a Ricard and smoking Gitanes while scribbling the Great American novel on a cocktail napkin.  What were you thinking? :smileywink:

 

Debbie,

 

Hope to see you in STL, not just on FB!  I always enjoy reading about what you are reading.

Cheers,

Ed


LOL, what was I thinking???

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS


becke_davis wrote:

EdKovacs wrote:

Becke,

 

Yes, I agree, the cover of BURNT BLACK is cool.  Hats off to the St. Martin's Press art department.  They have produced three great covers for me and I owe those folks a round of cocktails, at the very least!

 

You found yourself in Paris with nothing to read?  Girlfriend, when in Paris you were supposed to be sitting at a cafe table nursing a Ricard and smoking Gitanes while scribbling the Great American novel on a cocktail napkin.  What were you thinking? :smileywink:

 

Debbie,

 

Hope to see you in STL, not just on FB!  I always enjoy reading about what you are reading.

Cheers,

Ed


LOL, what was I thinking???


Although, it's the same wherever I go. I get antsy if I don't have books, and in the pre-Nook days it was always hard to bring enough reading material on the plane.

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dhaupt
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS


EdKovacs wrote:

Becke,

 

Yes, I agree, the cover of BURNT BLACK is cool.  Hats off to the St. Martin's Press art department.  They have produced three great covers for me and I owe those folks a round of cocktails, at the very least!

 

You found yourself in Paris with nothing to read?  Girlfriend, when in Paris you were supposed to be sitting at a cafe table nursing a Ricard and smoking Gitanes while scribbling the Great American novel on a cocktail napkin.  What were you thinking? :smileywink:

 

Debbie,

 

Hope to see you in STL, not just on FB!  I always enjoy reading about what you are reading.

Cheers,

Ed


Ed I hope to see you too.

And Becke what were you thinking :smileyhappy:

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS


dhaupt wrote:

EdKovacs wrote:

Becke,

 

Yes, I agree, the cover of BURNT BLACK is cool.  Hats off to the St. Martin's Press art department.  They have produced three great covers for me and I owe those folks a round of cocktails, at the very least!

 

You found yourself in Paris with nothing to read?  Girlfriend, when in Paris you were supposed to be sitting at a cafe table nursing a Ricard and smoking Gitanes while scribbling the Great American novel on a cocktail napkin.  What were you thinking? :smileywink:

 

Debbie,

 

Hope to see you in STL, not just on FB!  I always enjoy reading about what you are reading.

Cheers,

Ed


Ed I hope to see you too.

And Becke what were you thinking :smileyhappy:


;-) I'm always a bit single-minded when I'm looking for something to read!

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Ryan_G
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ED KOVACS

I like the cover for Burnt Black, but I love the cover for Storm Damage.


EdKovacs wrote:
Ryan G--
Thanks for your comment. I'm really jazzed by the cover for BURNT BLACK, the 3rd in the CSJ series. Which one do you like best?

 

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com