Saturday, August 8, 2015

New Crime Fiction by Don Broma

I've got a new story out on Amazon.  Here's a link:
Coyote: A Border Crossing Thriller

And here's the blurb:

Mexico is in chaos. The government’s war on drugs has provoked a bloody power struggle between the nation’s most ruthless cartels. In less than a decade, more than 100,000 people have been murdered.

If Umberto Rodriguez is going to stay alive, he needs to get out of Mexico. And if he’s going to live well, the U.S. offers him his greatest chance. But crossing the border means surviving one of the harshest environments on Earth: a desert filled with sophisticated border control agents and lawless vigilantes who hunt men for sport.

He needs a ‘coyote’—a guide—and El Topo is the best guide in the business. But El Topo has a dark past, and hidden motives. Walking with him will plunge Umberto into the very heart of the struggle he’s trying to escape.

Can Umberto make the crossing, or is he doomed to become another border statistic?

Honestly, I had more fun writing this than anything else I've written in a pretty long time.  Coyote is full of menace and drama and blood, with a thematic backdrop that seems very rich to me.  In fact, the backdrop has so much dramatic potential that I'm hoping to write more stories in the same setting.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Where I'm At - April 20th, 2015

In July 2014--the month after I turned 35--I quit my day job. Since then I've been earning my living as an author. It hasn't been easy, and I've been tempted to give up more than once, but nearly a year later I'm still at it. Sometimes I'm nearly overcome by the challenges, and sometimes I feel nearly drunk on joy. I've achieved some of my greatest dreams, but I've also faced more self-doubt and uncertainty in the last ten months than I have in most of my last ten years. And it's partially because of that manic up-and-down emotional roller-coaster that I'm considering reviving this blog.

I'm hoping that keeping a journal of my writing life will provide me with a more objective vantage point from which to view my progress (or lack of progress). I'm hoping that jotting down my thoughts and feelings will give me a record that I can reference whenever I'm feeling particularly high or low. I'm hoping this blog will help with my long-view, since it's so easy to get completely wrapped up in the here-and-now.

I've also learned a lot and grown a lot since quitting my job to pursue my dream, and I plan on writing about those things here, too. Putting my thoughts into words has always helped me to more fully process and understand those thoughts. It helps me figure out why I think what I think, and I'm hoping this blog will help me on that front. I want to better develop my strategies.

Also, the fact that this blog is public is significant. Writing can be a pretty introverted and isolating activity; I'm hoping that putting my thoughts down in a public venue will help to keep me from falling into insular thinking, even if I'm the only person reading those posts.

So that's where I'm at right now.

Monday, January 19, 2015

a new crime novel, and the revival of an old pen name

Back in 2011, when I first self-published a story on Kindle, I did it under the pen name Don Broma. The story I released was The ElectroLive Murders, and I decided to go with a pen-name because at that time self-publishing was still considered career-suicide for folks who had hopes of one day being traditionally published.

The ElectroLive Murders was a sort of breakthrough for me. Up until then, I'd been reading and writing "literature", meaning prose that was focused primarily on tone and theme. ElectroLive was the first successful attempt I'd made at writing from a more "pulp" perspective, meaning trying to put plot and action at the forefront. And the book that led me there was The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett, one of the classic noir detective stories.

I'm a big reader, and I read a broad range of stuff. I love fantasy and sci-fi and horror, but I also love thriller and crime and mystery, especially hardboiled stuff like what Hammett wrote. After finishing ElectroLive, I was pulled farther along the range of more speculative-type fiction, the sci-fi and fantasy sort of stuff where the story takes place in a world that is significantly different than our own. But I've also wanted to try my hand at a more typical crime story, a story firmly grounded in the real world, but also capable of showing us that world from a different angle.

Dry Shores is my attempt at writing that sort of book. It's a crime novel set in Honolulu, and I'd like to think that the setting is a crucial part of the story. The book shows some of the seamy underside of Waikiki, one of the biggest and most Disney-fied tourist destinations in the world. But despite it's somewhat sordid subject matter, the book has plenty of humor and a fair share of action, too. There's even a bit of heroics thrown into the mix. I hope you'll consider giving it a try. You can click this link if you'd like to: Dry Shores: A Hawaii Crime Novel

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

self-publishing advice

My dad has a friend who's planning on self-publishing her first book soon. My dad forwarded the friend's email to me, asking for any advice, and I spent a few minutes thinking about it and wrote the following:

Self-Publishing Advice from M.F. Soriano

1. The place where I've learned the most about self-publishing--what works and what doesn't--is the Writer's Cafe section of the forum. I recommend joining the site and reading extensively.

2. Sales mean most, and promotional efforts are most effective, during the book's first week live (ready for purchase). This is when Amazon is establishing it's ranking of the book, and it's easier to start with a good rating than to sell poorly at the start and then try to crawl back from the bottom of the Amazon ranking list. With that said, I recommend setting up certain promotions in advance. Two sites that promote books and will reserve a spot in advance (before the book is online and can be linked to) are and

3. In general, be conservative with money and effort. There are limitless amounts of things you can do, and money you can spend, and the vast majority of it will have NO positive effect. Most self-published books sell less than 100 copies. If a book does better than that, and goes on to continue selling on its own, it pretty much comes down to positive word-of-mouth. So put some promotion in at the start to try to establish some visibility and give the book a chance to start selling by word of mouth, but don't keep dumping money and time and energy into it after that. You're better off putting that time and energy into writing another book.

I'd say a budget of less than $1000 for a book--70% for cover design/formatting for print and ebook versions, and 30% for that initial launch promotion--is all you really need. My most successful book was launched for $200 ($30 for cover and $170 for promotion). Spend more than that and you're probably not going to get a return on it, and lots of the more expensive services--like hiring someone to do web-design/public-relations/promotion--are VERY unlikely to ever produce sales in a way that will justify their costs. The book must have the ability to sell itself--throwing money at it will not change that.

A pretty good book for learning the basics of self-publishing in the digital book world is: Let's Get Digital by David Gaughran

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Zombie City now in paperback

The paperback version of the Zombie City Omnibus is now available on Createspace. It's trade paperback size (6"X9") and 420 pages, and it costs $14.99. It should show up on Amazon in another few days, and they'll probably offer a discount when it's available. But if you want to order now, click here for the Createspace page.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Zombie City: Episode 5 is now available!

The final episode in the Zombie City serial is now available on Amazon and Smashwords. It should show up everywhere else (Barnes&Noble, iTunes, Kobo, etc.) within a few days.

Click here for Amazon.
Click here for Smashwords.

Thanks to all who have followed the story thus far!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hardcore wRapper

The Goodreads Giveaway for Blood Brothers ended on July 14th, and Goodreads gave me the names of the six winners last night. I wrapped up the books today, and mailed them out. They might take a week or two to arrive--I sent them media-mail class, which is slower than regular first class, and I'm in Hawaii, so they've got to cross the ocean--but they're on their way. Thanks to everybody for participating!