JackHammer is now on sale

Jack Hammer Amazon

 

 

Today, August 1, 2017, is the official release date of JackHammer for Kindle, Nook, and e-book. The trade paperback will appear this fall.

JackHammer is filled with depictions of graphic violence and bodily mutilation. It’s a taut thriller, a realistic police procedural, and a gruesome psychological horror novel all-in-one. I want readers to experience fear. I want to engage your fight, flight, or freeze response and make you shake in your shoes.

But JackHammer is also a love story. And love can conquer fear.

Connie Kelly and Andy Sinnott are two of my favorite characters because they’re madly in love with each other. Both appear in Meat Cleaver and SledgeHammer, and Andy is a major character in Pickaxe and Icepick. Troy and Sally Nolan are back, as are Linda Davis, Rat, and Harvey “George” Fredriks. Their ongoing story arcs constitute the bulk of the Instruments of Death series, of which JackHammer is Book Nine.

Tom Wesley and Danny Norman from Daddy’s Home also play important parts in JackHammer. They, as well as Illinois State Police Lieutenant Dave Mullins, will return in Tire Iron and other novels as the series progresses.

Next up in the series is Box Cutter, followed by Nail Gun.

Once upon a time, I worked for the US Army Construction Engineers, both as a reserve officer and as a DA Civil Service employee. I was a supply man at headquarters S-4 and G-4 shops. I supervised the supply and maintenance of all types of construction equipment. I planned and accounted for the men, money, and materiel allocated in TOEs and TAs. I budgeted for and approved requisitions, arranged transportation of heavy equipment, and visited job sites around the country. I personally transported demolitions and acted as an armed escort on convoys. That was long time ago, but I still have fond memories of seeing sunrises at job sites.

I live in the State of Illinois where politicians are notoriously corrupt. I went to school with, or worked day jobs with, close relatives of prominent organized crime figures. My own neighborhood is currently riddled with daily crime and violence, and I see and hear red and blue flashing lights and sirens throughout the night. Many of my friends and neighbors are thinking of leaving the state, but I’m sticking around. What better environment for a crime writer to have?

You may notice I’ve taken some artistic liberties with campaign finance reporting requirements. These laws have become so complicated not even the politicians know what’s currently required.

JackHammer is a work of fiction, and I am, first and foremost, a fiction writer. None of the events depicted in this novel happened, to the best of my knowledge.

But beware! They could.

As I explained at F. Paul Wilson’s panel on writing horror during Thrillerfest2017, I write cautionary tales that teach you how to survive. Demented serial killers and mass murderers are a reality. Do you know what you would do if you met one? What makes you vulnerable? How would you react if you were choked, bound and gagged, and your body was about to be violated or mutilated? How would you escape? How would you flee? How would you fight?

These are the very real situations confronting characters in JackHammer. How would you react differently if your loved ones were threatened instead of, or as well as, you?

My novels are survival manuals as well as thrillers.

JackHammer is on sale now at https://www.amazon.com/JackHammer-Instruments-Death-Book-9-ebook/dp/B074FDQZB4/ or https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/jackhammer-paul-dale-anderson/ or Kobo or i-Books.

Be a victor, not a victim.

 

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New Trade Paperback Edition of Claw Hammer

 

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Claw Hammer was first published in 1989 by Pinnacle Books. The story itself has haunted me most of my life. I’m extremely grateful to Crossroad Press for the opportunity to finally revise this tale and tell it the way I wanted to tell the story in the first place.

I lived in Chicago and worked at the American Society of Clinical Pathologists’ Chicago headquarters, directly across West Harrison Street from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, when I wrote Claw Hammer. My ASCP job was to sell continuing education classes to pathologists, and I got to sit in on many of those classes because I was the person who registered pathologists for various courses, set up microscopes in classrooms at conference centers, ran the overheads and slide projectors, hawked new books published by the Society or the College of American Pathologists, and hosted cocktail parties for the docs at national medical conferences. One of those ASCP classes featured the latest techniques of tool mark analysis available to forensic pathologists interested in identifying the instrument of death. I was fascinated to learn about the variety of ways people, more often than not, used common household implements to kill beloved family members and friends. That fascination manifested in Claw Hammer and many of my other novels.

That class also reminded me of several terrible tragedies that had happened to grade-school classmates of mine in my own hometown of Rockford, Illinois. I recalled awakening one dawn, when I was only about eight or nine, to the sound of sirens. I learned that a neighbor had allegedly gone crazy during the night and killed his entire family—all but one daughter who survived—with a claw hammer. The milkman, the same milkman who had just delivered milk to my house, discovered six broken bodies when he entered the neighbor’s house to put milk in the refrigerator as he normally did twice a week. In those Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver days of the early 1950s, people were very trusting and nobody ever locked their back doors. All that changed, of course, after an entire family was murdered in our close-knit suburban neighborhood. It never dawned on us that locking the doors would do no good if the killer lived inside the house and had keys to the locks.

Not long after that first tragedy, the mother of another female grade-school friend was electrocuted in her bathtub. Supposedly, a radio fell off a shelf and added 110 volts to an afternoon bubble bath that fried the lady’s brains and turned her into a boiled lobster. Police arrested the lady’s husband and charged him with her murder. My young friend had to leave school to go live with her grandparents. I never saw her again.

One of my favorite uncles, Eric Ekebom, was a Rockford police detective sergeant and I remember asking to see his gun when I was too young to know any better. He told me he hadn’t had to use his gun even once in more than twenty years on the police force. He did carry a gun, he explained, but he said he really didn’t need one because “Good detectives use their brains and not guns to catch criminals.” I’ll always remember that.

When Pinnacle Books bought two of my novels and wanted them delivered right away, I wrote a rough draft of Claw Hammer, more an outline than a novel, and sent it off with the expectation   I would have time to revise and polish the manuscript later. I had one day between the time I received the page proofs and the deadline for getting the completed novel back to New York in time to make the publishing window. I overnighted the proofs back. I have never missed a deadline. In the old days when I was learning the newspaper business, we published what we had in order to make a deadline. “Go with what ya got,” the city editor called out as the daily deadline approached. Some stories were incomplete or inaccurate, but we knew we always had the next day’s edition to round out the details or publish a correction. I’m glad Claw Hammer endured to see a next edition.

Computers make the writing and publishing businesses much easier. Revisions don’t require retyping the entire manuscript. Editors e-mail page proofs, and writers e-mail corrections   back. This time around, I actually had time to make revisions and correct page proofs. I accept full responsibility for any errors you find in this edition.

I hope you find the story a good read.

 

Now Claw Hammer by Paul Dale Anderson is available in a new trade paperback from Gordian Knot and Crossroad Press. Only $9.99 at https://www.amazon.com/Claw-Hammer-Book-Instruments-Death/dp/1519058314/

 

 

 

Hate Kills

I don’t normally openly comment on politics. I hide my personal political views within the actions of my fictional characters. I usually try to show both sides of a story as I explicate some of what I think are the real reasons for every conflict. Few things are ever simple in this universe. That is certainly true of politics.

Full disclosure: I am a member of the National Rifle Association. I have been an NRA member on and off since I was a young teen, some sixty years ago. I joined the NRA to learn the rules of gun safety.

I first learned to shoot in the Boy Scouts of America. As I grew older, I fired on the ROTC Varsity Rifle team at Rockford East High School and the Varsity Rifle Team at the University of Illinois, earning varsity letters. Shooting in competition is considered a competitive sport even by the Olympics, and I fired at fixed targets in competition, beginning with .22 caliber Remingtons and Winchester 52Ds in high school and college, and graduating to high-powered M1 Garands, M14s, and M16s when I became an enlisted man and then a Reserve Warrant Officer in the U. S. Army. I fired in Fifth Army, Fourth Army, and ARCOM match competitions. I served as a range officer and weapons training officer. Gun safety was always paramount in my mind. Friendly fire could be as deadly as enemy fire.

Although no longer in the Army, I continued my NRA membership to keep abreast of the latest in firearms technology which I use to make my novels seem as realistic as possible. I recently competed an NRA sponsored handgun safety course to qualify for concealed carry. I don’t carry and never bothered to apply for a permit. I don’t need a gun to kill someone, as my Instruments of Death novels prove. There are millions of ways in the naked city to kill another person, and a gun is only one of them.

True firearms enthusiasts know to put safety first. They place trigger locks on all weapons (or keep them broken down) when not on the range. They never load a weapon until they are ready to fire. Most competent firearms owners store firearms and ammunition in locked safes or vaults. Loaded firearms need to be kept out of the hands of unsupervised children, convicted felons, and mentally unbalanced adults.

I applaud and support NRA training in firearms safety and in hosting national competitions. I condemn and abhor the fear tactics the NRA uses to raise money.

Today I received a form letter from NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. The NRA has declared war on Hillary Clinton.

“Mark my words.” Lapierre says in his letter. “In these next 148 days, you are going to witness the most dishonest, vicious, hate-filled anti-gun campaign that you’ll see in your lifetime.”

The letter goes on to say the battle lines are drawn. The NRA needs my help and financial support. Do they want me to become as dishonest, vicious, and hate-filled as their avowed enemies? The letter sure as hell sounded like it!

Most despicable of all (although brilliant in its own way and in its emotional impact) is this image: “Hillary Clinton is going to blame you personally for senseless murders committed by armed thugs who should have been behind bars. She’s going to point to the most heinous crimes ever committed in this country, and claim that you’re to blame because you choose to own a gun. She’s going to stand shamelessly behind a phalanx of armed guards, and tell you that you have no right to protect your home and family.”

Please, Hillary, tell me it isn’t so. Tell me you don’t blame me personally.

There are enough broken things in this country that need fixing, and gun violence is only one of them. Congress needs fixing. Our roads and bridges need fixing. The pension crisis in this country needs fixing, as does the health care system. Make compromises that can accommodate everyone regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation.

Instead of pointing fingers and fixing blame, let’s all work together and get something done. Let’s make compromises we can live with.

Instead of feeling like politicians have my back, I now feel like I’m about to become a victim of friendly fire. I’m caught in the middle while both sides are taking pot-shots at each other. That is not a comfortable feeling, my friends, and this hate-filled political rhetoric has to stop.

I believe it was hate-filled rhetoric that caused the killings in Orlando. Guns may be the means by which hate crimes are carried out, but it is hate that kills. I don’t want to ban free-speech any more than I want to ban guns, but this kind of “us” versus “them” hatred has to stop. Period.

Why Writers Need Swelled Heads

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World Horror Convention Stoker Banquet 2015

This morning I responded to requests for an updated bio. Those who know me understand my reluctance. I’m a shy guy who would much rather extol the accomplishments of others than my own.

“You? Shy?” I hear some people say. “I don’t believe it!”

“I am shy most of the time,” would be my truest answer. Both my father and mother were shy people who hid their accomplishments. I had no siblings, and I grew up in an environment where each of us was allowed to be a private person with our own private personal spaces. My parents were basically introverts, and so am I. Shy is my comfort zone.

That does not mean I’m always an introvert. Like all humans, my essential personalities tend to cycle in 90 to 120 minute intervals. I go from quiet, shy, and retiring to loud and boisterous literally at the blink of an eye. Read studies by Ernest L. Rossi or my 2003 States of Consciousness and Cognition (http://www.worldcat.org/title/states-of-consciousness-and-cognition-a-study-of-state-dependent-learning/oclc/55033686&referer=brief_results) if you doubt this normally happens to practically everyone almost every day. Has it ever happened to you? Probably.

I spent twenty years helping various hypnotherapy clients, many of them very successful high-achieving professionals, overcome what researchers call “The Impostor Syndrome.” Here is a brief description from Wikipedia: “Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. Some studies suggest that impostor syndrome is particularly common among high-achieving women,[2] while others indicate that men and women are equally affected.”

I possess two of the syndrome’s major symptoms: diligence and avoidance of displays of confidence.

What that means is, I believe I need to work harder than others to achieve success. And, no matter what I do, it’s never enough.

My parents, puritans to the core, taught me that blowing my own horn was sinful.

So imagine my reluctance to write my bio. Major trauma! I was conflicted to the max.

What I did was to wait 90 to 120 minutes. My biorhythms switched over. Then I wrote down the following facts:

Paul Dale Anderson is the author of The Instruments of Death series of police procedurals from Crossroad Press, the Winds Cycle of supernatural thrillers, and other genre novels and short stories.

Do I need to say anything more?

I could say I’m a panelist this year at Odyssey Con, StokerCon, Thrillerfest, MidAmericon2, Bouchercon, and World Fantasy Con. I could say my stories have appeared in major anthologies and genre magazines, and I have two published collections of short stories available and another in the works.

The reason I’m asking these questions is because others have asked me to supply bios. I have pitch sessions scheduled with several agents and editors who also want bios.

And because some readers have asked me to tell them more about myself. Like the Lone Ranger, I have hidden behind masks. Much of my early work was written under pseudonyms. I’m a private person who prefers to work behind the scenes rather than on stage. I’m not comfortable showing my face in public.

In short, I keep shooting myself in my own foot.

Intellectually, I realize I need to blow my own horn. If I don’t do it, who will?

The solution, of course, is to hire a publicist. Does anyone know a good publicist who works cheap?

Meanwhile, I guess I’ll have to limp along as best I can.

I’ll need to be diligent and work harder. And I’ll need to develop a swelled head so I can act confident when I appear in public.

And that brings me to the theme of this short tale: Why writers need swelled heads.

There are simply too many books out there for readers to choose which to buy without some guarantee they won’t waste their time and money on trash. Readers want to know in advance what else the author has done and if that work proved successful. Someone has to introduce the writer to the reader and tell the reader good things about the writer.

In today’s marketplace, that someone is often the writer himself or herself.

Publishers have reduced the money they spend on publicity in order to maximize profits. These days, writers have to arrange and pay for their own book tours, including attendance at conventions and bookstore signings. Midlist authors like me aren’t considered worth the investment.

How can I convince them otherwise? Write a blockbuster best-seller that earns millions and gets made into a major motion picture.

Do I have the confidence and diligence to make that happen?

I’ll have a chance to find out next week when I pitch proposals to agents, editors, and film-makers at StokerCon. I’ll have another chance in July when I pitch at Pitchfest during Thrillerfest in NYC.

So, please excuse me if I seen to have developed a swelled head. I’ll need it if I want to overcome my impostor syndrome and become the best-selling author I want to be and think I can be.

Wish me and my swelled head luck. We’ll both  need it.

Some of my best friends are characters

Sledgehammer cover (series)

Sledgehammer is Book 8 in my Instruments of Death series of suspense thrillers from the Gordian Knot imprint of Crossroad Press. I like Sledgehammer a lot, and I think you’ll like Sledgehammer, too. You don’t have to read the other 7 novels first. You can start anywhere in the series and have a good read.

But once you read Sledgehammer I hope you’re hooked. Even as the author, I found myself wanting to go back to earlier novels because the characters have developed such interesting interrelationships.

Jackhammer is the next novel in this series. By the time one novel sees print, I’ve already finished the first drafts of several more novels. What I love about reading and writing is that you get to meet such interesting fictional people and travel to other locales and even other worlds and other dimensions. But West Riverdale is one of my favorite places, and Troy, Andy, Connie, Linda, Sally, Rat, and George have become some of my best friends.

For Kindle:  http://www.amazon.com/Sledgehammer-Instruments-Death-Book-8-ebook/dp/B01DQYO2PA/

 

For Nook or e-reader:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sledgehammer-paul-dale-anderson/1123620570?ean=2940157922009

 

Kin and Kindred

It’s Easter. Like many people, I have fond memories of family gatherings for dinner on Easter and Thanksgiving, exchanging presents on Christmas Day, family outdoor cookouts on the Fourth of July or Labor Day, celebratory drinks on New Year’s Eve, or devouring chocolate cake on someone’s birthday. Most of those original family members are gone now, victims of old age or disease. Those few remaining are scattered to the four winds.

This Easter I’m connected, not by birth blood but by spilled blood, to an exciting extended family of friends.

I feel blessed to be part of a vibrant community of crime writers and horror writers who are indeed like family to me. I’ve been active in the Science Fiction and Fantasy communities since leaving active military service in the 1970s, and I’ve been a member of HWA since its inception. I’ve recently rejoined the Mystery Writers of America. I look forward to re-connecting in person with my writer friends at annual conventions. We stay connected during the rest of the year via Facebook, e-mails, and by reading stories and novels written by our family of friends. But now it’s time to get up close and personal.

April may be the cruelest month, but April is also the beginning of the busy convention season. I begin with panels and signings at Odyssey Con in Madison, Wisconsin, Midwest Mystery Writers readings in Chicago, Stokercon in Las Vegas, and I get to return to Madison for Wiscon on Memorial Day. Printers Row weekend is in Chicago in June. I go east to New York City for Thrillerfest in July, then west to MidwesternconII, the World Science Fiction Convention, in Kansas City during August. September sees me in New Orleans for Bouchercon, October is World Fantasy Con in Columbus, Ohio, and November is Windycon in Chicago. In between, I’m scheduled to do signings at bookstores and teach a class in the history of science fiction and fantasy at Rock Valley College. Each of these events is an opportunity not only to sell novels, but a time to meet and greet new and old friends. It is such friends that make life worth living.

Venturing out of the safety of my comfortable cocoon can be scary. Each year I’m reborn as an older version of myself. But the child that is within me emerges, and I’m at home with readers and writers who are more like me than most of my own family. My parents and grandparents were readers. So, too, is my daughter. My wife Gretta was a reader, and my ex-wife Teddie is still a reader of thrillers. Elizabeth Flygare is a reader and writer, though she prefers character-driven mainstream literature to thrillers and SF. But I boldly seek out new readers to welcome into my family because I love to share what I read and write, and I love to learn what others are reading and writing. It’s that love of the written word that connects us and unites us. It’s the spilled blood on the page that binds us.

It is written that the spilled blood of the only-begotten son of God redeems us, but it is the spilled blood of man that scares the be-Jesus out of us.

Thanks for reading

Rebuilding your readership one reader at a time isn’t easy. My horror novels have been out of print for a quarter of a century, and I have only just began to see my new suspense thrillers appear in print. I tried advertising on Google, in the pages of The Big Thrill, in various media. I sent out news releases and free review copies. I appeared on panels at science fiction and fantasy conventions and did readings, autographings, and group signings at the World Horror Convention, The Nebula Awards, OdysseyCon, and bookstores all over the country. I hawked books during television interviews, and I maintained a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, GoodReads, Library Thing, and Amazon. I maintain multiple websites and write weekly blogs on Blogger, WordPress, and Tumbler. New short stories bearing my by-line have appeared recently in Weirdbook, The Horror Zine, and Pulp Adventures. All of this is, of course, necessary to rebuild name recognition. But what really sells books is repeat customers and word-of-mouth. Faithful fans who buy everything I write and tell their friends about me are precious.

What I haven’t done and need desperately to do is stay in contact with each of those fans. I’m a shy guy and my comfort zone is reading and writing alone at home. I don’t answer my telephones when they ring, and I don’t respond to e-mails in a timely manner. I am on Facebook nearly every day, and I do respond to most messages. So, if you want to contact me, message me on Facebook. And if you just want to learn about what I’m currently working on, what appearances I have planned at conventions or bookstores, when my latest novels will be released, or follow my fictional adventures, sign up for my monthly newsletter at http://www.pauldaleanderson.net/contact/. You can also read my weekly blog at http://www.pauliedaleanderson.com.

And never be hesitant to ask me for my autograph (except on a blank check). If you buy my books, I owe you a personalized autograph.