Radio Interview, Tuesday March 24

(Edited and updated)

I was the interview guest on Writestream Radio’s “Writestream Tuesday” on Tuesday, March 24, at 2:05 pm Eastern. This is an internet-based broadcast, part of BlogTalkRadio.

Host Daria Anne and I talked about my lengthy background as a nonfiction writer, my late-life transition to writing the Dylan Hunter thrillers, and my views on the power and significance of “Narratives” in our lives. It was fun.

Here is the program link to the broadcast, archived online. My interview segment begins in the second half of the two-hour recording, at about the 1:04 mark on the time bar.

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BAD DEEDS Wins CLFA Book of the Year 2014


I am delighted to announce that my second Dylan Hunter thriller, BAD DEEDS, just won the Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance “Book of the Year 2014 Award.”

Given the quality of the finalists — books by prominent, bestselling authors Larry Correia, Sarah A. Hoyt, and Mackey Chandler — I sincerely didn’t think my thriller stood a chance of winning. But thanks to Dylan’s devoted fans (and that means you), the book won the final vote.

I want to express my deepest appreciation and thanks to all of you who have made my stories and characters a part of your lives. I am touched and grateful to you for your loyal support, and my special appreciation goes to those of you who voted for BAD DEEDS. Thanks to you, this award will bring the book and its unique vigilante hero a lot more attention — and that is why I entered it in the competition in the first place.


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Get the HUNTER Audiobook for FREE!


Audiobooks have become the preferred medium for millions to enjoy books — and with good reason. Listening to audiobooks is a great way to catch up on all those books you always wanted to read, while you fill otherwise wasted time. You can listen, hands-free, while commuting by car or train or bus, while doing household chores, while shopping or waiting in lines, while working out, while taking vacations, or while winding down before bedtime.

The HUNTER audiobook cover

The HUNTER audiobook cover

And right now, if you sign up for a 30-day FREE trial at, you can get the 12-hour, unabridged HUNTER audiobook absolutely FREE, too. It’s narrated by the talented voice actor Conor Hall, who brings to life my debut thriller and all its colorful characters, including Dylan, Annie, Wonk, Cronin, Garrett, Adrian Wulfe — even Luna! (You can listen to a five-minute sample before you download my book or any other.) is a premiere audiobook source, offering over 150,000 great titles, including many bestsellers, all at affordable prices. You can swap out books you don’t like, and pause, cancel, or upgrade your membership at any time.

So, isn’t it time for you to turn those thousands of “dead” and wasted hours every year to productive use — to be educated, inspired, and entertained? You have nothing to lose with this free trial. To learn the details and sign up, just click this link.

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The Vigilante Author Interviewed on Local TV


On  March 12, 2015, I spent some time in the studio of the Queen Anne’s County (Maryland) local community-access television Channel 7. I discussed my writing career and then focused on the Dylan Hunter Thrillers.

The show, titled “Papa’s World” (after Hemingway), is now posted on YouTube. Click the preceding link to watch. Here’s a shot of Your Friendly Neighborhood Vigilante Author and the host of the show, Fred McNeil.

"Papa's World" host Fred McNeil with The Vigilante Author

“Papa’s World” host Fred McNeil with The Vigilante Author


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Turkish Edition of HUNTER Is Coming

I have just been informed that the first foreign translation and edition of HUNTER – in Turkish — will be published in April or May by Panama Publishing of Ankara. In 2013 I was approached by a Turkish literary agency for the Turkish language rights, and I concluded a contract in August of that year.

Duygu Özcan, a student in Ankara who is fluent in English, crafted an excellent translation, consulting closely with me about matters of style and English-to-Turkish idioms.

I find it particularly satisfying that Dylan & Friends (& Enemies) will have their first non-English debut in a Muslim nation. I’m curious to see what the reception will be. I’ll update this news as further information warrants.

Incidentally, this foreign publication of HUNTER now technically makes me a “hybrid” rather than exclusively “self-published” author.


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Want Some Free Stuff from Me?


Like, maybe an Amazon gift card?

A free Kindle?

Signed/inscribed copies of my books?

Soon, I’m going to be running some contests for people who sign up for “Bullet Points” — my free, occasional e-newsletter that I send exclusively to Dylan Hunter fans. ONLY subscribers to my newsletter will be eligible for the contests, the Free Stuff, advance news about my upcoming books and events, sample chapters, and whatever else I dream up.

Promise: I won’t spam you or share your email address with anyone.

So, if you are not already signed up, do it now. Luna awaits impatiently, frowning and tapping her paw…


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Cast Your Vote for BAD DEEDS!

I have some great news.

BAD DEEDS has been selected as one of the five finalists for the Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance’s “Book of the Year 2014″ Award.

This is truly an honor. My latest Dylan Hunter thriller has been recognized along with outstanding titles by noted bestselling authors Larry Correia, Sarah A. Hoyt, and Mackey Chandler.

The contest has entered its final phase. Now, voting is wide open to all fans of the nominated books.

So if you like BAD DEEDS, this is your chance to cast a vote of support!

All you need to do is CLICK THIS LINK, which will take you to the ballot page. There, simply click again to register your vote for BAD DEEDS.

That’s all it takes . . . about ten seconds.

A CLFA “Book of the Year” victory will help many more readers discover BAD DEEDS — the kind of readers who are most likely to appreciate it. Your vote will introduce Dylan Hunter, Annie Woods, Wonk, Ed Cronin, Grant Garrett — and, of course, Luna — to a vast new audience.

So, please — take the next ten seconds to CLICK THIS LINK, and then cast your vote for BAD DEEDS.

After you do that, I’d be grateful if you also share the following voting link on your social media sites:

Voting will close at 11:45 p.m. on March 8. So please act now!

Thanks once again for your kindness and consideration! I truly appreciate you as a fan of my Dylan Hunter Thrillers, and as a friend.



P.S. The contest is now over. I’ve been informed that a winner has been determined and will be announced in a few days. While I honestly do not expect it to be my book (given the formidable competition),  I’m truly  honored to be among the finalists, and I’m grateful to all of you for your support. Thanks much. I’ll announce the results here as soon as I know them.

UPDATE, MARCH 14:  I am delighted to announce that BAD DEEDS has won the CLFA “Book of the Year 2014 Award”! I’m grateful to all of you who voted to make this possible. Thank you!


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Interview with R.E. McDermott — Author of Nautical Thrillers


Robert E. “Bob” McDermott has been around ships and the sea since childhood. He grew up on the Texas Gulf Coast and later graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He’s had a long career working in positions from ship’s officer to shipping company management, traveling widely and living and working in a number of countries. These days he splits his time between the United States and Singapore, where he operates a marine consultancy, advising clients on ship construction and operations.

But Bob McDermott has always had the writing bug. During “down time” after a particularly grueling work project, he finally completed his first thriller, Deadly Straits. It has gone on to sell over 130,000 copies, garnering an incredible 800 customer reviews on Amazon — 750 of them four- or five-star raves. Since then, he’s released two other high-rated bestsellers in the Tom Dugan thriller series, Deadly Coast and Deadly Crossing.

From now until February 24, 2015, Bob’s second thriller, Deadly Coast, is available as a free ebook download from Amazon, while the debut in the series, Deadly Straits, and the most recent entry, Deadly Crossing, are both on sale for only 99 cents. Once you’ve finished reading this captivating interview, I’m sure you will want to scoop them up. (By the way, click the images below for larger views.)


The Vigilante Author: Bob, congratulations on your Tom Dugan series and its impressive success.

RE McDermott: Well Robert, first of all I’d like to thank you for inviting me to be part of your interview series. I’ve been a fan of yours since I first read HUNTER shortly after you released it, and it’s an honor to be interviewed on your site.

Author RE McDermott with one of his ships in dry dock

Author RE McDermott with one of his ships in dry dock

The Vigilante Author: Thanks for that. But let’s get right down to it. You’ve been writing an unusual series of thrillers, each with “Deadly” in its title. Tell us about them.

RE McDermott: The Dugan books all feature Tom Dugan as the protagonist, a late-middle-aged marine-surveyor-turned-shipowner, through a partnership with his former client and best friend Alex Kairouz, a self-made Anglo-Lebanese shipping tycoon. Dugan has a somewhat tenuous part-time relationship with the CIA, which in the past convinced him to gather intelligence using his regular employment as a globe-trotting marine trouble-shooter as a natural cover. And while Dugan is the protagonist, there are a lot of equally strong supporting characters of various nationalities and genders.

The Vigilante Author: Does a reader have to start at the beginning, with Deadly Straits? Or are these stand-alone tales?

RE McDermott: The books are a “series,” to the extent they feature the same characters and do occur in chronological order; but each book is a stand-alone story and — hopefully — provides a satisfying read regardless of the order in which the books are read. I also try to address a topical issue in each story.

For example, Deadly Straits addressed the threat of loaded tankers as weapons of mass destruction, Deadly Coast focused on piracy off the Somali coast, and the latest book, Deadly Crossing, addressed the very serious problem of human trafficking.

The Vigilante Author: Given the range of topics and the nautical setting of your books, how would you categorize them by genre?

RE McDermott: That’s actually something I struggle with a bit. I suppose it would be espionage, action-adventure, or some combination, but none of them are an exact fit. Given my background, I try to make things technically accurate, so to that extent my stuff might be best described as Clancy-like technothrillers. I guess in the end, I’m content to let the readers figure it out, and that seems to vary a lot depending on the reader. How’s that for being vague?

The Vigilante Author: Well, like Clancy, you may be carving out a unique sub-genre of your own. “Nautical thrillers”? Or maybe there’s a clue in the character of Dugan. What do you think is unique about him that makes him stand out from the rest of the thriller-hero pack? And also, how much do you draw the origins of your characters from real life, as opposed to your imagination?

PrintRE McDermott: I have no problem with strong, capable central characters — I’m a huge [Jack] Reacher fan, for example. But the heroes’ actions and abilities have to be at least somewhat grounded in reality.

For example, I have a real aversion to larger-than-life superheroes that seem to be brain surgeons, nuclear physicists, ace helicopter pilots, black belts in a dozen martial arts, and capable of getting shot ten times and still saving the day. Dugan screws up regularly, and when someone sucker punches him, he goes down. A big part of the tension in the story is anticipation of how he extricates himself from the latest screw-up or setback.

As far as origins, I’d say most of my characters begin as combinations of people I’ve known in real life, augmented by a healthy dose of imagination. The real-life part is background, setting, dialogue, etc. I use all those to build the character, and only then do I insert them into extreme situations. At that point, they pretty much have a life of their own.

So while I don’t actually know people who’ve done the things the characters do in my stories, I have known people I think could and would do those things if placed in the same circumstances. Of course, we’re all masters of our own daydreams, and I think that’s one of the rewarding things about being an author. You can share and entertain other people with your daydreams, and even get paid for it. That’s cool on a lot of levels.

The Vigilante Author: Yep. People actually pay us to fantasize for them. What a job, huh?

Bob, you’ve had a colorful career — or series of careers. I’d be interested to hear more about your background, and I’m sure our readers would, too.

RE McDermott: I was born on the Texas Gulf Coast and grew up working in several small family businesses, including a beach-front motel and fishing pier, so I had a natural affinity for the sea. I was lucky enough to get an appointment to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and upon graduation sailed merchant ships for several years before coming ashore to work in ship management.

That was a winding path: a year working for the Navy in the nuke sub program, several years as ship superintendent for a couple of major oil companies, and then starting my own marine surveying/consulting business. Early in the process I married my wonderful and patient wife of 39 years, who gave me two great sons. I traveled worldwide and lived for extended periods in three different countries, and managed several major shipbuilding projects in the U.S., Japan, Singapore, and China. Along the way, I met a lot of great, and some not-so-great, people. I started scaling back on the marine work to try my hand at writing in 2007.

The Vigilante Author: With such an interesting, active, and outdoorsy background, what prompted you to settle down to a new career so sedate and indoorsy as writing?

Continue reading

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My Upcoming Workshops on Writing and Marketing Books

I want to give you a heads’ up on my upcoming public workshop presentations about writing and marketing books.

* On Saturday February 28, I’ll be giving a workshop on thriller writing at the annual Bay To Ocean Writers Conference, Chesapeake College, in Wye, Maryland. Details at this link.

* And on May 16th, I’ll present three different craft and marketing workshops at “The Writer’s Pen,” a conference of the Harford Writers’ School, at Harford Community College, Bel Air, Maryland. My three workshops are:

- “BRANDING: How to Distinguish Your Work in an Overcrowded Marketplace”

- “Implementing Your Marketing Plan with Online & Digital Tools”

- “Successfully Outlining Your Novel”



* I’ve just been confirmed as a speaker at the Mid-Atlantic Fiction Writers Institute (formerly the Nora Roberts Writing Institute) at the Hagerstown, Maryland, Community College, on August 7-9. I’ll be conducting a workshop, “So, You Want to Write a Thriller,” about the craft of writing suspense novels. I’ll also be participating in a panel discussion on “Marketing, Branding, and Social Media.” I’ll provide more details as they become available.

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New Data Demolish Key Claims by Big Publishers


Indie author icon and champion Hugh Howey and his anonymous “Data Guy” friend have just released their latest “Author Earnings” statistical report analyzing book sales on Amazon. Using a “spider” data-mining program, they’ve been crawling over and collecting statistics from the Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestseller lists to determine the truth about such things as: Are print or ebook sales dominant? Which authors — traditional or self-published — are making the lion’s share of earnings? What are the trends in the book business?

Their past reports have shaken the publishing industry, indicating that indie authors are faring much, much better than the industry spokespersons have claimed. But their latest, January 2015 report skewers some of Big Publishing’s biggest myths. Data-mining the top 120,000 bestselling titles on Amazon — which controls 67% of the U.S. ebook market –  Howey and “Data Guy” discovered that . . .

* 30% of the ebooks being purchased in the United States do not use ISBN numbers, and are thus invisible to the industry’s official market surveys and reports. This means that all the ISBN-based estimates of “market share” — reported by Bowker, AAP, BISG, and Nielsen, and constantly cited by the publishing industry — “are wildly wrong.”

* At least 33% of all paid ebook unit sales on are indie self-published ebooks. That percentage has been growing consistently.

* Most significantly for authors, an astonishing 40% of all dollars earned by authors from ebooks on are earned by indie self-published ebooks. Authors published by all of the Big Five publishers combined (i.e., by all the many imprints of Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster) have slipped into second place at 35%.

The "Shadow Market" of ebook sales that Big Publishing doesn't see

Big Publishing doesn’t see this ebook “Shadow Market”

This is big news, because Big Publishing sources like “Publishers Lunch” and much-cited industry consultants like Michael Shatzkin have been relying on woefully incomplete data to make unsupportable claims. Because they are counting only those ebooks that have ISBNs, they fail to count the whopping 30% that do not – books that are produced almost entirely by self-publishing authors. And this skews all their conclusions about the book marketplace, such as the “stalling” of the ebook market, its size relative to print books, and the earnings of self-publishing authors relative to those of traditionally published authors.

This and previous “Author Earnings” reports demonstrate conclusively that total book sales are much higher than the publishing industry reports, and that claims that ebook sales have stalled or are headed downward cannot be supported by the data. Likewise, ebook sales are much bigger, both numerically and as a share of overall book sales, than Big Publishing either realizes or reports. Moreover, indie authors, as a group, have surpassed in earnings published Big Five authors, as a group — which demolishes one of the biggest “talking points” of Big Publishing.

If you are a writer who wants to make truly informed publishing decisions, you’ll want to read this latest report – then take the time to study the other eye-opening reports on the Author Earnings website.

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