A Kindle corporate thriller deal to last the weekend

“Business consultant Craig Walker is paid to do the dirty work of his corporate clients. But will he draw the line at murder?”

View it on Amazon

Termination Man is a corporate mystery/thriller. I wrote this story in 2012, and it was inspired by my experiences in the automotive industry.

I also took inspiration from some of the more unsavory corporate HR practices I’d read about, including the controversial practice of “managing out” an unwanted employee. (This basically means: making the employee’s life so unpleasant that he or she will want to quit.)

Who should read Termination Man? This is a good fit for readers who already like the corporate/financial thrillers of Joseph Finder. Fans of John Grisham will find significant overlap, too.

Termination Man will be available on Amazon Kindle at a reduced price through the end of this weekend. Kindle Unlimited members can read it there gratis, too.

Finally, if you’d like to sample before you commit, you can read the first few chapters of the book on EdwardTrimnellBooks.

-ET

**View TERMINATION MAN on Amazon**

World War II historical fiction series now available in an omnibus edition

THE CAIRO DECEPTION OMNIBUS BOXSET 

**Spies, lies, and the race for the atom bomb!**

In 1938, the planners in Nazi Germany know that war is coming. They are eager to acquire the atom bomb.

They are working against Allied governments, operating both in Germany and abroad. (And not all of the Reich’s accomplices are German nationals.)

A group of ordinary Americans and Germans are forced to choose sides. Their choices will lead them into a web of betrayal, murder, and espionage.

Their paths meet in Cairo, Egypt, where the Reich is hunting a fugitive atomic physicist. 

The main characters:

Betty Lehman is a 19-year-old girl from Dutch Falls, Pennsylvania. Her family is active in the German-American Bund. Betty has been recruited to betray her country in the service of the Reich.

Rudolf Schenk is an undercover agent of the German Gestapo. He wants to do his duty. But can he abandon his last shred of conscience?

Jack McCallum is an American treasure hunter in Cairo. He falls for two women: one who is working undercover for the Third Reich, one who is fleeing the Gestapo.

Heinrich Vogel is a physicist who fled Germany for Egypt. He and his young adult daughter, Ingrid, face a daily game of cat-and-mouse with the Gestapo. His goal: to reach Britain or America before the Gestapo reaches him and his daughter!

View THE CAIRO DECEPTION BOXSET on Amazon!

Note: The individual books will still be available on the series page!

Horror in Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited is Amazon’s main subscription ebook reading program. Kindle Unlimited gives you virtually unlimited (hence the name) reading privileges to a wide variety of titles, for a low monthly fee.

Not every title listed on Amazon is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. Literary fiction from the big New York publishing houses generally is not included. You likely won’t find the latest Jonathan Franzen novel in Kindle Unlimited anytime in the near future.

Kindle Unlimited is heavy on genre fiction. This means: romance, space opera, LitRPG, fantasy, and horror.

I have a fair number of horror titles in Kindle Unlimited. I write supernatural horror, in the tradition of Peter Straub, H.P. Lovecraft, Bentley Little and E.F. Benson.

And yes (I know this sounds a bit pretentious) Stephen King. I have achieved barely a gazillionth fraction of King’s commercial success. But his formula of character-based, fast-moving horror is always on my mind when I sit down to write a horror tale.

What kind of horror don’t I write? If you want splatterpunk, or “extreme” horror (aka “torture porn”), then you should skip my books and stories. I have no interest in writing horror fiction that is endlessly grim and/or sadistic. My horror fiction is more akin to the campfire ghost story.

Below are the horror titles that I presently have enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program. This means that you can read them for free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.

To view one of these titles on Amazon, simply click on the image of any book, or any hyperlink below.

(Don’t have a Kindle Unlimited membership? Click here.)

Eleven Miles of Night

A college student takes a walk down the most haunted road in rural Ohio for a cash prize. This is a “haunted road” story, basically a tale of being stuck on a cursed country road at night. Ghosts, evil spirits, and hellhounds abound. Also, an evil witch that inhabits a covered bridge.

View Eleven Miles of Night on Amazon!

12 Hours of Halloween

A coming-of-age story set on Halloween night, 1980. This is a tale of supernatural events in the American suburb. A classic horror tale for Generation X.

View 12 Hours of Halloween on Amazon!

Revolutionary Ghosts

The year is 1976, and the Headless Horseman rides again. This coming-of-age horror thriller is sure to please readers who appreciate character-based supernatural fiction with lots of twists and turns.

The basic idea is: the ghosts of American history coming back to haunt Middle America in 1976, the year of the American Bicentennial. (And yes, I’m old enough to remember the Bicentennial, although I was rather young at the time.)

View Revolutionary Ghosts on Amazon!

Luk Thep

In early 2016, I read an article in The Economist about the luk thep “spirit dolls” of Thailand.

Manufactured and sold in Thailand, these are factory-made dolls with a unique sales point: each doll is supposedly infused with the spirit of a young child that passed prematurely.

The luk thep are intended to bring comfort to their owners. (They are marketed to childless women.) To me, though, the whole idea sounded rather macabre.

And I couldn’t help thinking: what if one of the dolls was infused with a child spirit that wasn’t very nice? What if that same doll ended up in the possession of an American woman who happened to visit Thailand on a business trip? Luk Thep is a fast-paced ghost tale that spans two continents.

View Luk Thep on Amazon!

The Rockland Horror saga

Spanning a nearly 140-year period from 1882 to 2020, The Rockland Horror is a series about dark events at a cursed house in rural Indiana.

View The Rockland Horror series on Amazon!

Wait! One last thing…

Looking for horror stories you can read online for free?

While I recommend Kindle Unlimited for fans of horror fiction and ebooks, I should also point out that I have a number of horror stories you can read online here for FREE.

From classic ghost tales to creature features, you’ll find a considerable range. Check them out!

Book 4 of ‘THE CAIRO DECEPTION’ now available

The fourth book in THE CAIRO DECEPTION series is now available on Amazon:

“Betty Lehmann travels to Cairo, and finally achieves her goal of participating in a mission for the Third Reich. But she may not survive the experience. 

And even in Egypt, her past catches up with her.

Rudolf Schenk pursues the Vogels in Cairo. But there are new enemies standing in his way.

Jack McCallum is in Egypt seeking buried treasure and an easy fortune. Instead he finds a woman he cannot resist, who draws him into a Nazi plot.”

If you enjoyed the first three books, I think you’ll like this one, too.

(There is one more book in the 5-book series, and it’s in production now.)

View ‘Showdown in Cairo: Book Four of ‘The Cairo Deception’ on Amazon

Start THE CAIRO DECEPTION series FREE, March 5th ~ 9th, 2022

How about a story set in the period immediately before World War 2, featuring Nazi undercover agents, in both Germany and America?

THE FIFTH COLUMN, Book One in THE CAIRO DECEPTION, will be FREE on Amazon Kindle from March 5 through March 9!

Description:

In 1938, 19-year-old Betty Lehmann is the town beauty of Dutch Falls, Pennsylvania. She’s also a member of the German-American Bund, and an undercover agent-in-training for Nazi Germany.

Get it FREE on Kindle here (March 5 through March 9)

Thieves and buried treasure

Coming soon:

SHOWDOWN IN CAIRO: Book 4 of THE CAIRO DECEPTION

What follows is a sneak peek at Chapter 6 of the fourth book in THE CAIRO DECEPTION, my World War II-era adventure/drama series. 

The first three books of THE CAIRO DECEPTION are already available on Amazon.

In the excerpt below, Jack McCallum, a soldier turned treasure hunter, has made a discovery in the Egyptian desert outside Cairo. 

The discovery could make him rich, set for life.

But treasure isn’t the only thing waiting in the Egyptian desert…

CHAPTER 6

The gemstone was about the size of a plum. Jack picked it up from among the clay fragments, his heart pounding. 

There were little images on one side of the stone, carved into its oblong surface. Jack recognized these as Egyptian hieroglyphics, too, though he had no idea what they said.

“Tahmid,” Jack said. “Do you realize what this is?”

“Yes, boss. I do.”

It was unbelievable. This was the Garnet of Hatshepsut. Exactly as John Millhouse had promised. 

Jack felt a sudden, not altogether unpleasant wave of dizziness. He paused for a moment, to take in the realization: He was going to be a rich man. 

“Looks like you’ve struck it rich, boss,” Tahmid said, as if reading his mind. 

Jack was distracted by the distant sound of voices, going back and forth in Arabic. 

He looked up over the side of the hole. 

There were roughly a dozen men, dressed in what approximated Arab bedouin attire. They had arrived on about as many camels. 

They were about a quarter-mile away. At present. 

Roughly half of the men were carrying rifles. The rifles appeared old, but they probably still fired. Several of the rifle-bearing men wore bandoliers criss-crossed over their chests. Many of the men were also wearing scabbards with what looked like long fighting knives.

Jack ducked down back into the hole. He raised a finger to his lips, in order to indicate that Tahmid should be absolutely silent. He pantomimed the presence of the men with his hands and fingers. 

Tahmid took a cautious peek, as well. When he ducked down again, the man’s face bore an expression of abject terror. 

“Thieves,” Tahmid said. “Like I tell you, the desert not safe place.”

“You said that it isn’t safe at night,” Jack countered. “This is the middle of the day.” Jack pointed upward, at the blazing sun.

“Sometimes dangerous during the day, boss. Better to stay in the city.”

Jack was tempted to ask Tahmid why—if he felt that way—he had hired on as a digging assistant to begin with. But that was a fruitless discussion that he had no time for.

His only concern now was those men in the desert. It was a dire situation. Those men would think nothing of murdering two treasure hunters in order to take the gemstone.

Jack thought back to his encounter in the alleyway, with the gang of eight hoodlums (led by the short man with the scar), and the advice of Rudy Gunther, who had literally saved his life that day.

Rudy had advised him to acquire a gun. Jack realized now that he should have taken that advice. But he didn’t know how much use a British Webley revolver would be, anyway, against a small army of armed men. 

There was nothing to do but wait. The men were on their way to somewhere, obviously. They had stopped for a rest, or simply to look around, perhaps using the nearby pyramid as a landmark.

If they rode by here, Jack and Tahmid were goners. If they rode in another direction, they could probably escape. 

Jack waited ten minutes. Hearing nothing, he looked up over the edge of the hole again.

The men were gone.

“How long till our ride meets us at the rendezvous point?” Jack asked Tahmid. Jack’s digging assistant took care of arranging their daily transportation. So far, he had done that with reasonable reliability and efficiency. 

Don’t let me down today, Tahmid, Jack thought. Please.

“Two hours,” Tahmid reported.

The rendezvous point was at the intersection of two poorly maintained macadam roads. The spot was out in the open. Completely exposed.

Jack didn’t think it would be advisable to go there now, and risk so much time at a vulnerable location. Not with the garnet in his possession, and with a roving band of thieves afoot. 

“We’ll leave in one hour,” he told Tahmid.

He wrapped the garnet in a clean cloth, and placed it in his pocket.

***

An hour later, Jack and Tahmid set out with their sparse equipment for the spot where their transportation would be waiting.

They reached the spot, and Jack scanned the horizon anxiously. What if the armed men returned?

Then all was lost. But this was the last big risk. If he could make it back to Cairo, he would be set. Or almost set.

A short while later, an old Ford Model A came chugging into view.

“That’s our ride,” Tahmid said.

The car was driven by two Arab men, who greeted Tahmid in Arabic, and nodded unsmilingly at Jack. They strapped the shovels and other equipment to the roof of the car. Then Jack and Tahmid piled into the back seat.

Jack remained acutely aware of the gemstone in the pocket of his trousers. This was the stone that—if he could hold on to it and get it out of Egypt—would change his life.

The Arab men chatted with Jack during the roughly half-hour ride to the edge of Cairo. Jack didn’t mind. By now he was used to people speaking a language that he couldn’t understand. (And Jack had all but given up on learning any Arabic.) Jack, moreover, was lost in his own thoughts; and he now had a lot to think about.

There was another matter, though. Jack knew nothing about these men in the front seat, or their relationship with Tahmid. What was to stop Tahmid from double-crossing him? Tahmid could tell the men about the gemstone, and arrange a robbery. Then they could plan to split the proceeds from the sale of the garnet among them. Never mind that a stone this valuable would be virtually impossible to sell in Egypt. 

When he arrived safely back in the city, however, Jack felt guilty for his suspicions during the ride. True, Tahmid had been an unmotivated and lackluster employee. There was no indication, however, that he was dishonest or prone to criminal activity. Otherwise, Jack supposed, he would having joined the crew of the scarred gangster from the alleyway, or perhaps the men on camels whom they had seen today in the desert. 

Get Book 1 of THE CAIRO DECEPTION

World War II historical fiction in Kindle Unlimited

Book 3 of The Cairo Deception just dropped on Amazon. There are two more books coming, with release dates later in 2022!

Amazon description:

“An epic of espionage, sacrifice, and betrayal set in the years immediately before World War II.

A group of Germans and Americans must choose sides for and against Nazi Germany, and deal with the consequences of their decisions. 

Their stories begin in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Hamburg, and Stuttgart. They will come together in Cairo, Egypt for a showdown in 1938.”

**You can read the series for FREE in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program** (This is kind of like a Netflix for books, for those of you who are unaware. And yes, I do get paid when you do that, thanks!). 

Click here for Kindle Unlimited free trial:

Click here to view THE CAIRO DECEPTION series page on Amazon!

New World War II fiction release!

The third book in THE CAIRO DECEPTION series will be released on Amazon on February 28:

Here’s the bookstore description:

Betty Lehmann travels to Berlin, where she discovers a new sense of purpose as an agent of the Third Reich. 

Ingrid and Heinrich Vogel begin their new lives in Cairo. They find that they have not gone nearly far enough to avoid the grasp of the German Gestapo.

In the United States, an American soldier is forced to commit a fatal act of self-defense. He flees to Cairo in search of treasure and a fresh start.

This installment introduces a new character: Jack McCallum, a young American soldier-turned-treasure-hunter from Indiana.

If you’ve enjoyed the previous two books in the series, I think you’ll like this one, too.

View HUNTERS AND PREY on Amazon

Oh, I should also note that HUNTERS AND PREY (like the previous two books in the series) will be enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited subscription service. This means that you can read the series for free if you’re an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscriber. (Click here for a free Kindle Unlimited trial.)

‘The Rockland Horror 4’ available for preorder

I’m presently working on The Rockland Horror 4. As the title suggests, this is the fourth installment in The Rockland Horror series. 

The release date for the book has been set for May 3, 2022. It should be available before then, however. (I would imagine sometime in January or February of next year; March at the latest.)

If you would like to order the book in advance (at a reduced price), then you can do so here, via Amazon. Another advantage to the preorder is that the book will drop automatically onto your Kindle when it comes out.

If you would prefer to wait, or if you haven’t read the first three books of The Rockland Horror series, then you can either check back here (I’ll announce the actual release with a blog post, of course) or check  The Rockland Horror series page at Amazon. 

A note on reading order.  While each of the books is a self-contained story, they are best read in order. If you haven’t read books 1, 2, and 3, I would recommend that you start with those. 

Start ‘The Rockland Horror’ series for FREE: November 1 through 5

I am working on BOOK 4 of THE ROCKLAND HORROR series. THE ROCKLAND HORROR is a multigenerational horror saga about a cursed house in Indiana.

BOOK 4 will be set in the immediate post-WWII era of 1945 to 1946. More information on that shortly.

BOOKs 1, 2, and 3 are already available on Amazon, and enrolled in Kindle Unlimited (for those of you who read through KU.)

BOOK 1 is FREE on Kindle for everyone from November 1 through 5, 2021. 

Keep in mind that Amazon manages the back end of all of this, and the exact hours at the tail end of the free run may vary, depending on your time zone. (So grab it early. Don’t wait until 11:58 p.m. on November 5.)

If you’re interested in trying out the series with a zero commitment, this is your chance.

If you’re interested in trying out Kindle Unlimited, check it out here.

BLOOD FLATS: new cover

BLOOD FLATS, originally published in 2011, was my first novel. It is the story of a former marine who goes on a quest to clear his name after he is wrongly blamed for a double homicide.

BLOOD FLATS is the story of a journey–with lots of gunfights along the way, of course.

I reedited and republished the book last year; but the cover sorely needed updating. This is the newest cover (and the third since the book’s publication). 

View BLOOD FLATS on Amazon.

How Kindle Unlimited readers behave

Written Word Media, which owns both Free Booksy and Bargain Booksy, recently published a study on Kindle Unlimited (KU) readers, and how they behave. 

Here are the big takeaways:

  • While Amazon does not reveal KU enrollment numbers, there are probably about 3.3 million active members. (That is approximately the 2021 population of Utah.)
  • Kindle Unlimited readers most eagerly devour romance, fantasy, and mystery.
  • Many Kindle Unlimited readers are “whale” readers. (Especially the romance readers, one suspects.)

The study suggests that horror doesn’t do well in KU. On the contrary,  I’ve found that my horror titles do get a fair degree of love in Kindle Unlimited. The Rockland Horror series has done well in terms of KU page reads, with relatively little advertising. 

On the other hand, my espionage thriller, The Consultant, draws more buyers than KU readers. And my corporate thrillers, The Eavesdropper and Termination Man, barely get any KU page reads at all. 

Readers read what they want, and writers write what they want. No harm, no foul. If I were writing romance or urban fantasy with young adult protagonists, I know that I would be getting a ton more page reads. But…I just can’t. 

The preferences of KU readers are neither good nor bad. But they are something that every writer should consider, when deciding whether or not to enroll a specific title in the program. 

***

Are you a writer? Read the full report from Written Word Media here.

Are you a reader? Click here for a FREE Kindle Unlimited trial.

Rereading Lovecraft in 2021

I’ve been working my way through that body of H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction that is loosely based around the Necronomicon, or the Cthulhu Mythos cycle. (Actually, I am listening to the audiobook edition, mostly while I mow my lawn and work out at the gym.) This edition, read by various narrators and published by Blackstone Audio, is the edition authorized by the Lovecraft estate.

The readings are well done. The narrators take Lovecraft’s frequently purple prose seriously, without overdoing it. If you like audiobooks and you like Lovecraft, you’ll enjoy this audio collection.

Lovecraft’s body of work is partly nostalgia for me. I read most of Lovecraft’s stories during my college years. I discovered Lovecraft while browsing through the shelves of the University of Cincinnati bookstore in 1988. Also, Stephen King had mentioned him in several of his essays.

Reimmersing myself in Lovecraft after all these years, a few things stand out, both good and bad.

Let’s start with the good.

First of all, H.P. Lovecraft had an incredible imagination. When he wrote these stories, there were no horror movies. There wasn’t even much fantasy fiction as we know it today. Lovecraft died in 1937, the same year that The Hobbit was published. Yet Lovecraft created so many horror/dark fantasy tropes and conventions from thin air.

Working within the constraints of the pulp fiction era, Lovecraft did a fairly decent job of establishing continuity across his stories. The Cthulhu Mythos cycle isn’t technically a series. These stories were published individually, at different times, in various pulp magazines of the 1920s and 1930s. The marketplace more or less forced Lovecraft into the short story/novella form, and every story had to begin with a blank slate. The writer couldn’t assume that any given reader had read his previous works. Nevertheless, when Lovecraft’s stories are compiled, there is a discernible consistency running through all of them.

And yes, his purple prose. Lovecraft was hyper-literate. You can’t read, or listen to, Lovecraft’s stories without increasing your vocabulary.

Now for the not-so-good.

His narrative style. Lovecraft was a contemporary of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Read Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” or Fitzgerald’s “Winter Dreams”, and you’ll definitely see the differences.

Hemingway and Fitzgerald wrote in a style that we would recognize as modern. Hemingway, in particular, was well-known for his direct, economical prose. But both Hemingway and Fitzgerald thought in terms of showing, rather than telling.

Lovecraft, by contrast, writes more like Herman Melville or Thomas Hardy. Rather than creating scenes on the page, Lovecraft often simply tells you what happened. This makes his writing occasionally cumbersome to wade through, and less accessible to modern readers.

There isn’t much we can say about Lovecraft’s characters, because his characters are paper-thin. They exist only as observers of the supernatural phenomena in his stories.

There are notably few exceptions here. The two main characters in “Herbert West—Reanimator” stuck in my mind a bit longer than the characters in the other stories, who disappeared as soon as the stories were over.

The typical Lovecraft character is a scholarly male recluse who is drawn into arcane research and observations by chance, or by idle curiosity. Lovecraft has virtually no female characters. Not even any damsels in distress.

In some literary genres in recent years, there has been a tendency to depict every female main character as a tough-talking heroine who can whip every male villain she encounters, even if they’re twice her size. We often see this in television shows and movies, and no one believes it.

But Lovecraft errs in the opposite extreme: I don’t want to read female characters that were obviously crafted for the sole purpose of making a feminist statement. But I don’t want to read a fictional world that is entirely comprised of guys who can’t seem to find dates, either. 

Lovecraft’s writing also reveals his prejudices, which were extreme and extensive even by the standards of his time. Lovecraft looked down on just about everyone who wasn’t an Anglo-Saxon New England brahmin. His stories are filled with savage Africans and “swarthy”, conniving Greeks and Italians.

Not that he cared much for white, native-born rural people, either. Multiple Lovecraft stories discuss the degraded hill people who live in the backwaters of Vermont, for example.

There has been much writing, and much posturing, in recent years, about “canceling” Lovecraft because of his attitudes on race. His name was removed from a prominent award, and some book bloggers have even declared that Lovecraft’s fiction is no longer suitable for people with the “correct” attitudes on social and political issues. The hand-wringers often forget that while Lovecraft certainly didn’t like African Americans, he didn’t like much of anyone else, either. Lovecraft was an equal-opportunity snob/bigot. 

I am not going to make a show of being offended by a piece of pulp fiction that was written eighty or ninety years ago. But an undeniable fact remains: H.P. Lovecraft comes across as a rather narrow-minded person with a narrow range of experiences and interests.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t read his fiction. As I said by way of disclaimer: I’ve already read all of these stories at least once. (I believe I’ve read “The Colour Out of Space” four or five times, the first time in 1988.) The scope of Lovecraft’s imagination was so broad, that these stories are worthwhile for any reader drawn to horror, dark fantasy, or so-called “weird fiction”. Lovecraft was a flawed man and a flawed writer; but he nevertheless produced some very engaging tales.