Loose Ends Free Today on Amazon


I recently published two Cal Corwin private investigator mysteries set in 2005 San Francisco, under the pen name D. D. VanDyke.

Book 1, Loose Ends, is FREE today on Amazon!

 loose ends-final-102814

Get your free copy now:

LOOSE ENDS on Amazon

Loose Ends is also available as an audiobook, wonderfully narrated by Francesca Townes and produced by the fine folks at L.A. Voiceover. They’re currently working on book 2, In A Bind.

Both Cal Corwin books will be available in print soon.

In a Bind

California Corwin P.I. Mysteries book 2 – In A Bind

There’s also a FREE Cal Corwin short in the Eight the Hard Way anthology.

the hard way-final-2 FOR WEB

Get your free copy here:


And, after holding off for some time, I’ve finally joined KBoards, so you can see me posting there most days.

Cheers and happy reading!


New year, new books and a new world?

ConquestAndEmpire72It’s been quite a while since I blogged, and I’m going to try to do better, publishing short, targeted posts, so let’s start with the obvious: new releases. First, there’s Conquest and Empire, Stellar Conquest #5. This is the final Stellar Conquest book in the series. While this may disappoint some, I have an idea for an exciting new space sci-fi series and want to put my full energy into making it awesome.  (More on that later).

There is one more small piece of Stellar Conquest coming, though: I’m writing a 7500-word (about 30 Kindle pages) Stellar Conquest short for an anthology that should be coming out this summer, which will feature Bull and Reaper on a mission. It will be set before First Conquest, Book 1, but after Comes the Destroyer, the last book in Plague Wars. This will be published by Castalia House, and will be a follow-up to their recent On A Red Horse anthology.

Speaking of Plague Wars, there’s also another full book for that series coming out in March, titled exodus-finalEden’s Exodus. It’s drafted and in beta right now. Here’s the cover: The action takes place after Skull’s Shadows and before Demon Plagues, with the major storylines involving Spooky, Skull and Reaper, with some Cassandra Johnstone and Daniel Markis for good measure. Thanks for visiting. I’ll be making a special announcement here in the next few days, so stay tuned.

Cheers, and happy reading!


Author Solutions Steps Up Global Expansion, Penguin Random House Integration

Aspiring authors, pay attention: Author Solutions (as with most vanity publishers) is a scam.

David Gaughran

PRHGrupoASIPenguin Random House is speeding up the international expansion of its vanity press operations, while also seeking to integrate them more closely with the traditional side of the business – hoping to counteract flat growth for Author Solutions at a time when self-publishing is booming.

Author Solutions launches a new self-publishing service company for the Spanish market next Tuesday – MeGustaEscribir – which contains the usual mix of crappy publishing packages and ineffective, overpriced marketing services, as well as some extremely questionable practices such as reading fees (more on that below).

The way the Author Solutions scam typically operates is detailed exhaustively in this post, but here’s a brief summary.

How Author Solutions Squeezes Newbie Writers

Customers are captured through a variety of deceptive means – such as fake “independent” websites which purport to review all the self-publishing options available to writers (but only compare the various Author Solutions…

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What’s Next for Authors United?

More good stuff from Gaughran.

David Gaughran

authorsunitedAuthors United has been spectacularly unsuccessful in its supposed mission to get Amazon and Hachette to agree a deal.

By contrast, Simon & Schuster was able to agree a deal in just three weeks – without the intervention of Douglas Preston’s group.

To be fair, Authors United has been very good at one thing: getting media attention.

Perhaps it’s time for Douglas Preston to widen the aims of the group and start campaigning on issues which actually matter.

It would be great if Authors United could get the media to focus on any of these problems. Alternatively, Authors United could continue to focus on propping up a broken system which only rewards those at the very top (like Douglas Preston, surprisingly).

1. Diversity in Publishing 

Publishing is very white and very middle class. And, at the upper echelons, often very male too. One of the many knock on effects of…

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Amazon and S&S Agree Terms. Who’s The Bad Guy Again?

Great post. Everyone involved with publishing should read this.

David Gaughran

s&sSimon & Schuster has agreed a multi-year deal with Amazon covering both e-books and print books. Business Insider reported that negotiations only took three weeks and were concluded two months before the original contract expired.

I’m confused, does this mean the end of literary culture or not? Someone needs to run up to Douglas Preston’s quaint writer shack to find out. (If you get lost, it’s at the back of his 400-acre estate).

It also begs a question: what exactly is Hachette holding out for? As everyone knows at this point, Hachette’s contract with Amazon expired in March and the two parties have been unable to agree a deal since.

The narrative being pushed by the media was that Amazon’s desired terms would harm Hachette and its authors, yet Simon & Schuster was able to agree a contract very quickly which CEO Carolyn Reidy called a “positive development.” She characterized the…

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Publishing Is Rotten To The Core

Fantastic post. All authors should read Gaughran.

David Gaughran

"Rotten apple" by Kulmalukko. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons “Rotten apple” by Kulmalukko. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

There is something seriously askew with the supposed values of the publishing business.

The most egregious behavior continually gets overlooked, ignored, and swept under the carpet, in favor of pursuing pet targets.

As always, I’m conscious of whose agenda this serves and why writers allow themselves to be used as pawns in this game.

Exhibit A: Harlequin

Amazon is regularly slated for the way it manages its tax affairs. I have written extensively about this before, but, in short, Amazon is using extremely common methods for minimizing its tax bills that are used by every major tech company (and many other multinational corporations too).

You can argue these loopholes should be closed (and I would agree), but these actions are legal. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the major publishers, and the global media conglomerates which own them…

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Starting From Zero

For all you authors, pay attention to Gaughran. Read all his blog posts for a roadmap to success. You have to walk the road yourself, but at least you will know you’re on the right path.

David Gaughran

lets_get_digital_amazonSuccess can seem unattainable to those starting out. It’s easy to forget that even the biggest sellers started from zero.

Amanda Hocking didn’t arrive on the scene as a fully formed sales machine. She didn’t have a platform which she had been diligently building up for years, nor did she come from trade publishing. She was unable to convince an agent to take her on and decided to self-publish instead, and then sold a million e-books in nine months!

Detractors tried to paint Hocking as an anomaly — and she was, in the sense that anyone who is phenomenally successful at anything is an anomaly.

But that missed the point: she was able to sell as much as the biggest names in publishing without the help of a publisher.

Soon, others followed suit. Authors like Bella Andre, Hugh Howey, HM Ward, Liliana Hart, and Barbara Freethy have sold millions of e-books…

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The Utah Mountains, Skull’s Shadows and Star Force #11: Exile

P1110414This year has seen lots of changes for me and my lovely wife/editor/formatter/publicist/all-around go-to girl Beth. As the books have done well enough (thanks to all of you, dear readers) I quit my job in the DC area and we moved out to the mountains of Utah to be near family, and we love the scenery, the fresh air (minus the skunks) and the slower pace of life. Fewer than twenty cars drive by our house on an average day, I’d say. It’s great for the writing and for our stress level. Our first grandchild saw the light of day less than a month ago, which is quite the life transition as well. He’s doing well, as are his mom and dad.

At the same time I’ve completed several projects, or nearly so. The Eden Plague had finally been published in audiobook format, narrated by Roger Wayne, who’s an up-and-coming television and movie actor. He did a great job. Unfortunately he is too busy with his other work to be able to meet my narration timelines, so I found another great actor/narrator, Artie Sievers, who will be able to bring the rest of the Plague Wars/Stellar Conquest series to life at the rate of about 1 audiobook per month. Reaper’s Run is already available, and Demon Plagues is under review for publication and so should be available within about two weeks.

Skulls ShadowsAvailable now for pre-order in ebook format, Skull’s Shadows will be the next audiobook he does for me, probably available around October 1st. SS is a new Plague Wars book that follows Skull right after the events of The Eden Plague in the same way Reaper’s Run followed Jill Repeth. It’s co-authored with Ryan King, and is a bit darker and edgier than other Plague Wars books, meant for mature audiences for its violence and language. I hope Ryan and I will be working on more Plague Wars books to fit into the “Lost Decade” between Infection Day and the opening of Demon Plagues. It’s highly speculative, but I hope we can do a book centering on Spooky Nguyen, and then perhaps another combining all three – Jill, Spooky and Skull – and more for a larger post-apocalyptic story of the Free Communities Armed Forces to fight the authoritarian regimes extending across the globe.

I also plan on publishing at least one more Stellar Conquest book, tentatively titled Conquest and Empire, as the alliance of Human, Ryss, Sekoi and Meme turn the tables on the xenocidal Sourge. Using the captured faster-than-light technology, Task Force Conquest and many of the characters you’ve come to know and love will go on the offensive once more.

BV Larson and I are also putting the finishing touches on Exile, Star Force Book 11. It should be out in mid to late September if all goes well, and it continues the story of Cody Riggs, son of the great Star Force Marine Kyle Riggs as he leads the crew of the lost battlecruiser Valiant in their quest to get home. I won’t give away too much, but I will tell you this story will answer some of the fans’ many questions about the various aliens encountered in Book 10, Outcast, as well as revealing a great deal about the Ancients, who are presumed to have built the ring network. All of your old favorites are there – Cody, Kwon, Hoon and of course Marvin – as well as the supporting cast and some new characters. We expect it will be another fantastic chapter in one of the greatest space opera/mil-sci-fi series in all of modern science fiction.

Cheers and happy reading to everyone,


Self-Publishers Aren’t Killing The Industry, They’re Saving It

Awesome post from Gaughran.

David Gaughran

In light of current events, I thought it would be good to re-run Ed Robertson’s excellent guest post from November 2012 where he highlighted interesting parallels between historical paperback pricing (pre-industry consolidation) and self-published e-books.

It’s unlikely I’ll have time this weekend to respond to emails, or tweets, or jump in the comments, as I’ll be busy editing, but this should give you something to chew on.

I’m sending the 2nd edition of Let’s Get Digital to the editor tomorrow, and I’ll be blogging about that Monday or Tuesday.

Oh, and the Spanish translation of Digital has just been released. You can grab it for freetoday only. More at the bottom of Ed’s post:

Self-Publishers Aren’t Killing The Industry, They’re Saving It

I’m a self-publisher. An indie author. Whatever you want to call me. I’ve read many articles about how self-publishers are killing the book industry. I’ve heard…

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Conquest of Earth and Other Stories


Conquest of Earth is out now, a bit late but better than never, as they say.


Outcast is doing great with a new, more traditional (for Star Force) cover, rising into the #300s on Amazon overall and sticking at #1 in several categories for the last month. Over two thirds of its reviews are of 5 stars, a very good reception for the 10th book in the series. BV Larson and I put a lot of work into it and it shows. It’s also a second entry point into the series if you don’t want to read Swarm to start.



The next project will be another Star Force Book with BV Larson tentatively titled Exile, continuing the adventures of Cody Riggs, Marvin, Kwon and the rest as they try to find their way back to Earth, battling aliens and, perhaps, each other along the way.

For you mystery-thriller readers, check out Nick Stephenson’s Leopold Blake series. Not only are Nicks’s books fun reads, but he’s become a friend of mine as we both are making the journey along the indie author path. He’s a hard worker and is well on his way to making a living.

For those interested, I’ve gone full-time with my writing and quit my job as a government contractor. We’ve moved out of the DC area and are currently on the road visiting friends and family. We are also looking at property out west, trying to figure out where we will settle. We’re truly blessed to be able to do this.

Cheers and happy reading!