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Guest Blog by Author STEVE BERRY!

We have another fascinating guest blog today, this time from New York Times Best Selling Author STEVE BERRY!

 

Steve's website is here: http://www.steveberry.org/

 



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Steve's Bio:

 

 

Steve Berry is the New York Times bestselling author of the Cotton Malone series featuring The Jefferson KeyThe Emperor's TombThe Paris VendettaThe Charlemagne PursuitThe Venetian BetrayalThe Alexandria Link, and The Templar Legacy. He also has three stand-alone thrillers: The Third SecretThe Romanov Prophecy, and The Amber Room ---- and two e-book original short stories, The Balkan Escape and The Devil's Gold. He has 12 million books in print, which have been translated into 40 languages and sold in 51 countries. Steve's road to publishing was long and arduous, spanning 12 years and 85 rejections over 5 separate manuscripts. He's also an accomplished instructor, having taught writing to audiences across the globe. When Steve's not writing, you can find him either on a beach, a golf course, or traveling --- discovering more things lost --- thinking of the next novel. He lives in the historic city of St. Augustine, Florida. Steve and his wife Elizabeth have also started a foundation, History Matters, dedicated to aiding the preservation of our heritage.

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Re: Guest Blog by Author STEVE BERRY!

Is there any order Steve's books should be read in?

 

His first three novels, The Amber RoomThe Romanov Prophecy, and The Third Secret are stand-alone stories.  The Cotton Malone series begins withThe Templar Legacy and continues with The Alexandria LinkThe Venetian BetrayalThe Charlemagne Pursuit, The Paris VendettaThe Emperor's Tomb, and The Jefferson Key. Though that is the stated order of the series, and if read in that order there will be things familiar, the stories are constructed so that a reader can start at the end, the beginning, or anywhere in between and not be disappointed. Steve also has two e-book original short stories, The Balkan Escape and The Devil's Gold. He also contributed material to the highly successful anthologies Thriller and First Thrills.

 

How have Steve's books ranked on the bestseller lists?

 

His first two, The Amber Room and The Romanov Prophecy, were both national bestsellers.  His next novel, The Third Secret, became an instant bestseller, debuting at #13 on The New York Times hardcover list and climbing to #5 on the Times paperback list.  His fourth, The Templar Legacy, entered at #4 on The New York Times list and spent 8 weeks in the top 10. It also climbed into the top 10 on the USA TodayPublishers Weekly, and Booksense bestseller lists. The Alexandria Link debuted on The New York Times hardcover list at #2.  The Venetian Betrayal became an instantNew York TimesPublishers Weekly, and USA Today bestseller in both hardcover and paperback. The Charlemagne Pursuit opened in the top 10 on both The New York Times and Publishers Weekly lists.  It also was a USA Today bestseller and was selected as one of the 5 Best Thrillers for 2008 byLibrary JournalThe Paris Vendetta and The Emperor's Tomb were both New York Times,  Publisher's Weekly, and USA Today bestsellers.

 

How many books does Steve have in print?

 

There are 12,000,000 copies worldwide.

 

Are Steve's books sold in other languages?

 

Rights to his novels have been sold in 51 countries and 40 languages.

 


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Re: Guest Blog by Author STEVE BERRY!

What writers does Steve like to read?

 

He's a thriller junkie.  For Steve, David Morrell is the best living craftsman today.  He learned much about novel writing from reading David's work.   Steve was also a Dan Brown fan long before The DaVinci Code.  Clive Cussler is another of his favorites-the undisputed master of 'high concept.'  Other writers Steve enjoys include, Robert Ludlum, James Rollins, Frederick Forsyth, Steve Martini, Ken Follett, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Kay Penman, David Hewson, Lee Child, and David Baldacci.

 

Where did Cotton Malone originate?  

 

He was born in Copenhagen while Steve was sitting at a café in Højbro Plads, a popular Danish square.  That's why Cotton owns a bookshop there.  Steve wanted a character with government ties and a background that would make Malone, if threatened, formidable. But he also wanted him to be human, with flaws. Since Steve also loves rare books, it was natural that Cotton would too, so Malone became a Justice Department operative, turned bookseller, who manages, from time to time, to find trouble.  Steve also gave him an eidetic memory, since, well, who wouldn't like one of those?  At the same time, Cotton is clearly a man in conflict.  His marriage has failed; he maintains a difficult relationship with his teenage son; and he's lousy with women.

 

How did Steve get into writing?

 

He made the decision to write a novel in 1990.  It was something Steve thought about for years, but finally decided to act on.  That first attempt was long and awful. The second and third attempts weren't much better.  It wasn't until the fourth try that he began to appreciate the reality that writing novels is hard.  Steve kept writing for 12 years and produced 8 manuscripts.  Each one was a learning experience and, as he wrote, Steve studied the craft.  His education was one of trial and error.  He attended a writing workshop once a week for 6 years, where the participants would tear apart everything he wrote.  Then he'd go home and put it all back together again, hopefully a little better than before.  Between the workshop, the writers' group, and writing everyday Steve taught himself the craft.  Not until six years into the process was he fortunate to land an agent.  She kept him around for 7 years until May 2002, when Ballantine Books finally bought The Amber Room.  During those years five different manuscripts were submitted to New York publishers, each one was rejected, 85 rejections all total, until eventually, on the 86th attempt, the right-editor-at-the-right-time-with-the-right-story was found.  Like Steve says, 'he may or may not know much about writing, but he's an expert on rejection.'

 

How does Steve do his research?

 

He utilizes a lot of second-hand volumes, visiting old book shops around the world.  Most of his materials are bought at the Chamblin Bookmine in Jacksonville, Florida.  Steve utilizes around 200-300 sources for each novel.  When done, he trades the books in for credit and starts again for the next novel.  Sometimes on site research is necessary to fully develop the story.  He flew to Russia for The Amber Room and The Romanov Prophecy and to Rome for The Third Secret.  Time in France was necessary for The Templar Legacy.  A visit to the abbey at Belem, in Portugal, helped complete The Alexandria Link. Trips to Venice for The Venetian Betrayal and Germany for The Charlemagne Pursuit were also productive.  For The Paris VendettaSteve spent four days in the city of lights. To create The Jefferson Key, Steve visited Virginia, North Carolina, Washington D.C., and New York City. 

 

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Re: Guest Blog by Author STEVE BERRY!

 

 

 

May 18
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Barton College
Reception, Talk and Book Signing 
Willis N. Hackney Library
First Floor
400 Atlantic Christian College Drive
Wilson, North Carolina 27893
GPS address: 700 Vance Street NE, Wilson, NC 27893
For more information please click here.   


May 19
7:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
3040 Evans Street

Greenville, North Carolina 27834

 

May 21
History Matters Event
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Writers Workshop
Kenan Recital Hall
The Browne-McPherson Music Building
Peace College
15 E. Peace Street
Raleigh, North Carolina 27604

For questions or information about the workshop, call Jane Thurman at 919-859-0348.

 



May 23
History Matters Event
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Luncheon
The University Club of Portland 
1225 SW Sixth Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209
For more information please click here
Sponsored by The Historic Preservation League Of Oregon

 

May 24
History Matters Event
12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Luncheon
Friends Of The Jefferson Library
Mission Mill Museum
Spinning Room
1313 Mill Street SE
Salem, Oregon 97301

For more information please click here

 


May 26
7:00 p.m.

Evergreen Park Public Library
9400 S. Troy Avenue
Evergreen Park, Illinois 60805

To register, click here

 


June 1
10:30 a.m.
Literary Guild of St. Simons Island
Casino Building, Room 108
530 Beachview Drive
Saint Simons Island, Georgia 31522

For more information please call 912-634-6168 or 912-638-8680

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The Jefferson Key  

 



 

 

Synopsis

Four United States presidents have been assassinated—in 1865, 1881, 1901, and 1963—each murder seemingly unrelated and separated by time.

But what if those presidents were all killed for the same reason: a clause in the United States Constitution—contained within Article 1, Section 8—that would shock Americans? 
 
This question is what faces former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone in his latest adventure.  When a bold assassination attempt is made against President Danny Daniels in the heart of Manhattan, Malone risks his life to foil the killing—only to find himself at dangerous odds with the Commonwealth, a secret society of pirates first assembled during the American Revolution. In their most perilous exploit yet, Malone and Cassiopeia Vitt race across the nation and take to the high seas. Along the way they break a secret cipher originally possessed by Thomas Jefferson, unravel a mystery concocted by Andrew Jackson, and unearth a centuries-old document forged by the Founding Fathers themselves, one powerful enough—thanks to that clause in the Constitution—to make the Commonwealth unstoppable.

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly

At the start of Berry's ingeniously plotted seventh Cotton Malone novel (after The Emperor's Tomb), former U.S. Justice Department agent Malone, who's been summoned to New York City by his old boss, Stephanie Nelle, manages to thwart an attempt to assassinate the U.S. president outside a midtown Manhattan hotel. Malone soon finds himself in the middle of a power struggle with roots in presidential history. A cipher formulated by Thomas Jefferson and employed by Andrew Jackson has been unbroken for 175 years. Documents hidden by Jackson contain the key to the legitimacy—and the wealth and power—of the Commonwealth, a coalition of privateers or pirates dating from the American Revolution. Malone and his lover, Cassiopeia Vitt, must match wits and survival skills with several formidable foes, including rogue agent Jonathan Wyatt and Quartermaster Clifford Knox of the Commonwealth. Berry offers plenty of twists and vivid action scenes in a feast of historical imagination. Author tour. (May)

 

Biography:

 

Steve Berry first burst on the scene in 2003 and 2004 with The Amber Room andThe Romanov Prophecy, a pair of twisty, adrenaline-laced thrillers with intriguing historical mysteries at their heart. Since then, Berry's novels have gone on to gather international momentum, earning spots on The New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and BookSense bestseller lists.

 

Although his undergraduate degree was in political science and he actively practiced law for 29 years, it was his interest in history that led to Steve to writing international suspense thrillers. Simply put, the books he liked to read became the books he liked to write. He continues to wrap his novels in fascinating secrets, conspiracies, and mysteries from the past (religious prophecy, ancient manuscripts, lost treasure, Vatican intrigue, etc.), concocting dandy plots his readers love to unravel.

 

Berry credits the nuns who taught him in Catholic school with instilling the discipline needed both to craft a novel and to find a publisher. Indeed, he claims to be the poster child for stick-to-itiveness: It took him 12 years and 85 rejections to finally sell a manuscript to Ballantine Books. Clearly, his perseverance has paid off. Today, his novels appear in 50 countries and 37 languages worldwide. He lives in the historic city of St. Augustine, Florida. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have founded History Matters, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving our heritage. To learn more about Steve and the foundation, visit steveberry.org .

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Read an Excerpt

ONE

NEW YORK CITY SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, THE PRESENT
6:13 pm

One mistake was not enough for Cotton Malone.

He made two.

Error number one was being on the fifteenth floor of the Grand Hyatt hotel. The request had come from his old boss Stephanie Nelle, through an email sent two days ago. She needed to see him, in New York, on Saturday. Apparently, the subject matter was something they could discuss only in person. And apparently, it was important. He'd tried to call anyway, phoning Magellan Billet headquarters in Atlanta, but was told by her assistant, "She's been out of the office for six days now on DNC." 
 
He knew better than to ask where.

DNC. Do Not Contact.

That meant don't call me, I'll call you.

He'd been there before himself the agent in the field, deciding when best to report in. That status, though, was a bit unusual for the head of the Magellan Billet. Stephanie was responsible for all twelve of the department's covert operatives. Her task was to supervise. For her to be DNC meant that something extraordinary had attracted her attention.

He and Cassiopeia Vitt had decided to make a New York weekend of the trip, with dinner and a show after he discovered what Stephanie wanted. They'd flown from Copenhagen yesterday and checked into the St. Regis, a few blocks north of where he now stood. Cassiopeia chose the accommodations and, since she was also paying for them, he hadn't protested. Plus, it was hard to argue with regal ambience, breathtaking views, and a suite larger than his apartment in Denmark.

He'd replied to Stephanie's email and told her where he was staying. After breakfast this morning, a key card for the Grand Hyatt had been waiting at the St. Regis' front desk along with a room number and a note.

PLEASE MEET ME AT EXACTLY 6:15 THIS EVENING
 
He'd wondered about the word exactly, but realized his former boss suffered from an incurable case of obsessive behavior, which made her both a good administrator and aggravating. But he also knew she would not have contacted him if it wasn't truly important.

He inserted the key card, noting and ignoring the do not disturb sign.

The indicator light on the door's electronic lock switched to green and the latch released.

The interior was spacious, with a king- sized bed covered in plush purple pillows. A work area was provided at an oak- top desk with an ergonomic chair. The room occupied a corner, two windows facing East 42nd Street, the other offering views west toward 5th Avenue. The rest of the décor was what would be expected from a high- class, Midtown Manhattan hotel.

Except for two things.

His gaze locked on the first: some sort of contraption, fashioned of what appeared to be aluminum struts, bolted together like an Erector Set. It stood before one of the front windows, left of the bed, facing outward. Atop the sturdy metal support sat a rectangular box, perhaps two feet by three, it too made of dull aluminum, its sides bolted together and centered on the window. More girders extended to the walls, front and back, one set on the floor, another braced a couple of feet above, seemingly anchoring the unit in place.

Was this what Stephanie meant when she'd said important?

A short barrel poked from the front of the box. There seemed no way to search its interior, short of unbolting the sides. Sets of gears adorned both the box and the frame. Chains ran the length of the supports, as if the whole thing was designed to move.

He reached for the second anomaly.

An envelope. Sealed. With his name on it.

He glanced at his watch. 6:17 pm.

Where was Stephanie?

He heard the shrill of sirens from outside.

With the envelope in hand, he stepped to one of the room's windows and glanced down fourteen stories. East 42nd Street was devoid of cars. Traffic had been cordoned off. He'd noticed the police outside when he'd arrived a few minutes ago.

Something was happening.

He knew the reputation of Cipriani across the street. He'd been inside before and recalled its marble columns, inlaid floors, and crystal chandeliers a former bank, built in Italian Renaissance style, leased out for elite social gatherings. Just such an event seemed to be happening this evening, important enough to stop traffic, clear the sidewalks, and command the presence of half a dozen of New York City's finest, who stood before the elegant entrance.

Two police cars approached from the west, lights flashing, followed by an oversized black Cadillac DTS. Another New York City police car trailed. Two pennants rose from either side of the Cadillac's hood. One an American flag, the other the presidential standard. 
 
Only one person rode in that car.

President Danny Daniels.

The motorcade wheeled to the curb before Cipriani. Doors opened. Three Secret Service agents sprang from the car, studied the surroundings, then signaled. Danny Daniels emerged, his tall, broad frame sheathed by a dark suit, white shirt, and powder- blue tie.

Malone heard whirring.

His gaze found the source.

The contraption had come to life.

Two retorts banged and the window on the other side of the room shattered, glass plunging downward to the sidewalk seventy-five feet below. Cool air rushed inside, as did the sounds of a pulsating city. Gears spun and the device telescoped through the now empty window frame.

He glanced down.

The window's shattering had attracted the Secret Service's attention. Heads were now angled up, toward the Grand Hyatt. 
  
Everything happened in a matter of a few seconds.

Window gone. Device out. Then—
Rat- tat- tat.

Shots were fired at the president of the United States.

Agents smothered Daniels to the sidewalk.

Malone stuffed the envelope into his pocket and raced across the room, grabbing hold of the aluminum frame, trying to dislodge the device.

But it would not budge.

He searched for and spotted no power cords. The thing, apparently a remote- controlled, high- powered weapon, kept firing. He saw agents trying to maneuver their charge back to the car. He knew that once Daniels was inside, armor plating would provide protection. 
 
The device spit out more rounds.

He dove out the window, balancing himself on the frame, and grabbed hold of the aluminum box. If he could yank it from side to side, or up and down, at least he could deflect its aim.

He managed to force the barrel left, but motors inside quickly compensated.

Below, with incoming fire momentarily deflected, agents stuffed Daniels back into the car, which wheeled away. Three men remained, along with the policemen who'd been waiting at Cipriani.

Guns were drawn.

His second mistake now became evident.

They started firing.

At him.

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PIRATES AND PRIVATEERS

by Steve Berry

 

There's a fine line between pirates and privateers.  The former is a criminal, working outside the law, the latter is a mercenary, hired by law through an officially-issued letter of marque.  Pirates were hunted and executed by kings, queens, presidents, and emperors.  Privateers were rewarded with a lion's share of all the booty they seized and a grateful nod from their government.  

 

Of course, privateering was nothing more than legalized pirating, quite common in 1787 when delegates gathered in Philadelphia to address problems associated with the recently enacted Articles of Confederation.  But those delegates discovered that the defects were too great, so they discarded the Articles and drafted a new Constitution of the United States.  Contained within Article 1, Section 8 was some explicit language:  The Congress shall have the power to . . . grant letters of marque and reprisal and make rules concerning captures on land and water. 

I first noticed this unique language in law school.  I recall doing some research on the clause, filing away what I learned in the back of my brain.  It would be 33 years before I explored the subject further.  By then, Cotton Malone had been born (in The Templar Legacy) and had endured five other adventures (The Alexandria Link, The Venetian Betrayal, The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Paris Vendetta, and The Emperor's Tomb).  

 

While I was thinking about his seventh, wanting for the first time to bring Cotton home from Europe for an American tale, I came across an article about a cipher Thomas Jefferson had used, one he considered nearly unsolvable.  In fact, it remained an enigma until 2009 when it was finally cracked with the aid of modern computers.  Then I read about presidential assassinations and the first attempt on a chief executive's life in 1835.  Two guns were pointed straight at Andrew Jackson. Both misfired.  Four other presidents were not as lucky, dying in 1865, 1881, 1901, and 1963.  

And I wondered: What if those deaths were all related?  

And what if the reason those presidents died was because of that clause contained in Article 1, Section 8?

That's how The Jefferson Key was born.  

It's a great adventure, taking Cotton Malone from North Carolina to Nova Scotia.

Along the way Cotton encounters a group of modern day American pirates.  And not the Hollywood stereotypes we've come to recognize.  These are the real thing, acting and reacting as in their golden years of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, when their sloops roamed the ocean in search of wealth.  Pirate communities were the first democracies, and there are some uncanny parallels between how they governed themselves and how we now govern each other.


So check out The Jefferson Key and enjoy the ride.

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leisure_reader
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Re: Guest Blog by Author STEVE BERRY!

Welcome to the forum

 

I will be honest..I have my copy reserved of The Jefferson Key.  I have read everything so far (including the short stories).  I credit you with getting my husband out of his one author funk.  It started with The Templar Legacy and has continued on. 

So much intrigue, mystery, and history

 

Congrats on another book

 

J

 

 

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

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Re: Guest Blog by Author STEVE BERRY!

Hi, Steve. Welcome to B&N. I have read the Templar Legacy but have not pursued your other books. The Jefferson Key sounds great and I'll give that a try. It was explained to me about pirates and privateers and you are correct in their description. The seas were certainly not safe back in the Colonial times.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Re: Guest Blog by Author STEVE BERRY!

Welcome to the Mystery Board, Steve, and thanks for that interesting blog.  You are a new author to me and I'm looking forward to reading your books.  I always love a good historical puzzler.  Love the titles, too, btw.  Thank you for visiting with us and sharing your stories.

 

Nancy

"Somebody said they saw me swinging the world by the tail, bouncing over a white cloud, killing the blues."
Killing the Blues by Rowland Salley
Performed by Robert Plant and Alison Kraus on RAISING SAND
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Re: Guest Blog by Author STEVE BERRY!

This is a really fantastic blog. The books look like they are really "grippers."  I am not familiar with any, but there is no time like the present!

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Re: Guest Blog by Author STEVE BERRY!

Welcome Steve:

 

I just got a copy of THE JEFFERSON KEY. Can't wait to read it! Thanks for visiting with us!

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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Re: Guest Blog by Author STEVE BERRY!


eadieburke wrote:

Welcome Steve:

 

I just got a copy of THE JEFFERSON KEY. Can't wait to read it! Thanks for visiting with us!



I just ordered a copy for my dad. I hope he's not reading this thread!

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Re: Guest Blog by Author STEVE BERRY!

The Jefferson Key sounds great. I am a big fan of political thrillers so I need to add this to my list of books I plan to read!