Tuesday, December 2, 2014

No Bad Deed Blog Tour! (+$50 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: No Bad Deed
Author: M. Ryan Seaver
Series: N/A
Pages: 225
Date Published: September 15th 2014
Publisher: Hawkley Books
Format: ebook
Genre: Mystery
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
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Private detective John Arsenal can’t tell you what terrible crime he committed to wind up in a sweltering urban hellscape, surrounded by thieves, drug addicts and murderers—only that it was very bad, and now he’s being punished. That’s because in Hell—or Brimstone, as the damned prefer to call it—your identity, your memories, even your name, are stripped away from you.

John is relatively comfortable in his damnation, working easy cases and making himself at home in the grimy squalor of the afterlife. That is, until a mysterious woman appears in his office, begging him to find her missing sister, and promising him the impossible in return—a glimpse of his old life, before Brimstone.

To track down the enigmatic Sophie, John must delve into Brimstone’s darkest recesses, where murderous children run wild in packs, and a strange and terrifying new drug promises to deliver the user to the heights of ecstasy, but at the risk of being snuffed out of existence altogether. All the while, John must grapple with the vivid nightmares that have haunted him since his arrival in Brimstone, and confront the thing he desires and dreads the most—the truth of what he did to deserve damnation.

~Guest Post!~
Recently, I was at a local writer’s meetup and heard this:

“I know they say a writer writes, but if I’m being honest, I don’t think you can call yourself a writer until you’re published.”

This was not from a published author. On the contrary, of the ten of us at the table, only two were in print. I saw sympathetic nods from the other writers at the table, and as I looked at the face of the woman who had said it, I saw a look of sheer defeat. It was a face that said, I’ve been wasting my time.

I wrote my first novel after a rather devastating layoff. It was my second time without a job in eighteen months, and I was determined not to let myself fall into that toxic old pattern of spending entire days in my pajamas, watching TV. So I wrote. But I didn’t just write. I wrote obsessively, churning out fifteen, twenty pages a day. I was a machine, and when my husband would get home from work in the evenings, I would greet him energized and happy. I spent more hours writing than most people spend at their full-time jobs, and yet I never once called myself a writer. I didn’t have another job, no other title that might have been a better fit, but when people asked me what I did, I would stammer a half-hearted, “Oh, you know, I’m out of work right now.”

Out of work? I had never worked so much in my life! I was building worlds from scratch in minute detail, singing with life in four part harmony, but I wouldn’t own that what I was doing for ten hours a day was work. Not only that, I felt guilty. I felt that somehow I was neglecting my husband when I took an hour or two while he was home to continue writing by myself, even as he protested, “Of course you should go write. What on earth are you apologizing for?” I never called myself a writer, and when the book was done, I put it in a drawer, never to be seen again.

When John Arsenal came to me several years later, I was in a slightly better place. I was employed, albeit unhappily, and I was determined to find a way out of my job and into a life I wanted. I spent a few weeks fleshing out the world of my book, and when I knew that what I had created had legs, I came to a realization: I could turn my passion into a career, but only if I took myself seriously. I started experimenting with the word—Writer—first just with close friends and family, then with the rest of the world. After all, if I wasn’t a writer, then what on earth was I doing with all those hours upon hours spent in front of my computer? I remember the first night I let the word fly outside my regular social circle, about halfway through the book that would become No Bad Deed, to someone I’d met moments before.

“What do you do?” He asked.

I took a deep breath. “Well,” I said, “I have two jobs. One that pays, and one that doesn’t.”

Guess which job he was more interested in hearing about?

I liked myself better as a writer. Owning the title made me feel accomplished, made the hours spent writing feel like a worthy occupation. I didn’t feel compelled to apologize for taking the time to type out a few extra pages before bed. When I finished that book, I created a plan for getting it out into the world. I was a writer. And writers don’t let their work grow moss in a drawer.

So much of this industry depends on luck. The luck to get your work in front of anyone who might want to read it, be it an agent, an editor, or a reader with endless other books to choose from. There’s a lot that is beyond our control. If there is any hope to be had for a career in this strange, make-believe world of fiction, the very first step is to own your work, and call it what it is. After all, what hope is there for your fiction-baby out there in the world, if you, its creator, won’t advocate for it, and for yourself, by holding your head high and calling yourself what you are—a writer.
~Try an Excerpt!~
“How did you get in?” I said.
“Are you going to shoot me, Mr. Arsenal?” Her voice had the slightest hint of an accent. My eyes adjusted to the light, and I could see her more clearly. She was early thirties, maybe, with a heart shaped face, and huge, dark eyes. Tendrils of black hair sprang free from the messy knot at the back of her head and stuck to the nape of her neck, and I wondered immediately, like I always do when I see a pretty woman in Brimstone, what she could have possibly done to end up here.
“Don’t want to,” I said. “You going to tell me how you got in here?”
“Your front door was unlocked,” she said. “You should really be more careful. This city is full of lunatics.”
“Mm-hmm,” I said. “You one of them?”
She smiled and sat on the edge of my desk, and I cringed instinctively, thinking about the film of crud and ash covering everything in this apartment. Her dress was the color of cream, and I wondered how she kept the thing so clean.
“If I said no, would you believe me?”
“I guess not,” I said, and sat up. “Don’t you know it’s polite to knock?”
“I did knock,” she said. “You didn’t answer.”
“So you just let yourself in.”

“I didn’t think you’d pull a gun on me,” she said.
~Meet M. Ryan Seaver!~ 
I was raised in Rochester, New York, in a house that was constantly full of writers. On nights when my parents and their friends were holding court in our living room, I would practice the fine art of evading the little kids in the next room, setting up camp among the grown-ups, and being quiet long enough that they would forget I was there, and that it was past my bedtime. All my best dirty jokes were picked up this way.

I studied theatre performance at Northeastern University, where I spent a little time onstage, and a lot of time reading plays. I fell in love with Sam Shepard, Arthur Miller, and Nicky Silver. Exposed to plays day in and day out, I honed my ear for dialogue, and learned firsthand that if the writing doesn’t ring true, no amount of brilliant acting would make it right. I wrote my first play (terrible, melodramatic, with characters whose names did absolutely nothing to mask the real people they were based on). I showed it to no one. It’s probably still on my computer somewhere.

John Arsenal and Brimstone came to me during a bout of unemployment, in between searching desperately for a job, and baking more bread than was sane or reasonable for my two person household. The idea came to me in my sleep, demanding to be written, and that’s how the prologue of the book came into existence: In my darkened apartment in Boston at one o clock in the morning, my eyes barely able to focus on the computer screen long enough to get the words down. Sleep has continued to be the place where John Arsenal and I meet up to put the pieces of his story together. I’ve never been prone to insomnia, but John, it seems, is, and has never cared much for my sleep schedule.

In my life before Brimstone, I’ve worked as a telemarketer (I’m sorry) administrative assistant, waiter (badly, briefly), clerk and occasional story-time reader in a children’s bookstore, and professional hawker of everything from magazine subscriptions to national television advertising. I was better with magazines. I now live in Chicago with the love of my life, and my snarling, seven-toed demon-cat, Clara. No Bad Deed is the first book in the John Arsenal mystery series.
One lucky commentor will win a $50 Amazon GC plus print or digital copy of book 1 or book 2 in the series. As additional runner up prizes will also be awarded! 15 ebooks of winners' choice of book 1 or book 2 in the series! 
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