Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Interview with Dv Berkom

October 2006— Eastern Europe Leine checked her watch as she waited for the target to emerge from the concrete block building. Practical as only Soviet-style architecture could be, nevertheless the crumbling façade gave the impression of faded power, like a once-famous tenor now down on his luck and sucking on throat lozenges in order to save his voice.” -DV Berkom. A Killing Truth

Thus begins the long-running Leine Basso series by Author of the Month Dv Berkom, a Washington state-based novelist who publishes her USA Today-listed bestselling Leine Basso and Kate Jones series through her own publisher, Duct Tape Press.

14) Dv, did you ever imagine that just four short years ago the Basso series was going to stretch to 10 installments by 2020 and that you’d be here now?

Honestly? Not a clue. I wrote the first book in the series, Serial Date in early 2012 after having a wickedly bizarre dream, and had no intention of continuing with the character (which explains the über irreverent tone in that book compared to a more serious take in subsequent installments). My readers had other ideas and wrote to tell me how much they liked Leine Basso and wanted more. Not long after that, my local community college featured a documentary on child sex trafficking and I was so horrified by what I learned I decided I had to do something—so I wrote about it. What better character to right that kind of wrong but a woman assassin? After that, I had way too many ideas for plots involving Leine, so kept on writing.

13) Give us a little background on Leine Basso. She’s a former assassin. So what does she do now and what makes her tick? What are her strengths and weaknesses?

Leine Basso is driven by several things: first and foremost is her need for atonement. She’s battling tremendous guilt for having been a seriously flawed mother, for being an unwitting participant in a heinous act that had massive repercussions for both her and her daughter, for participating in government-sanctioned murder under the auspices of a shadowy agency and an equally shady boss. Early in the series she’s asked to help rescue a young girl who’s been sold to the highest bidder by a human trafficking organization. Through the course of the book, she realizes her particular skill set can be used for good. Until this happens, she’s on a self-destructive trajectory, allowing guilt to rule (alcohol abuse, a failed marriage, a destructive relationship with her daughter, etc.) Her strength is that she’s a survivor and that she fights for those who can’t fight for themselves. I’m a big fan of redemption stories, obviously.

12) Unlike Leine, Kate Jones isn’t a trained assassin, secret agent or soldier. So how does she prevail at the end of every book?

I love to write about resilient characters, especially women. Resilience and persistence are both underrated qualities, but I’d have to say they’re both prevalent in most of the women I’ve known or read about. I created Kate Jones because I wanted an “every woman” that readers could relate to, and show her gaining strength through the series, ultimately becoming her own best defense against the challenges she faces. Although, she does tend to be her own worst enemy at times.

11) Where does an author go to learn about the shadowy world of assassins for hire?

I’ve been fortunate to have met several folks through my travels and through friends who are knowledgeable about the criminal world, international arms dealers, Russian oligarchs, snipers, police detectives, Special Forces operations, CIA, FBI, DEA, organized crime, politicians and politics, etc. I find the differing perspectives on the issues fascinating and have conducted interviews with folks from all walks of life. That type of research is one of my favorite things about writing. I supplement that information with a boatload of other research as well as boots on the ground—either my own or friends who live where I set the books. As for assassins for hire, there’s a surprising amount of information on the subject.

10) I’ve read your latest blog entry when you announced the launch of Shadow of the Jaguar last April. But for the readers at home, explain what your reasoning was for a book launch during a pandemic.

The launch of that book coincided with a huge spike in Covid-19 cases and I didn’t have any idea if readers would welcome an action-adventure thriller with all the uncertainty and stress that everyone had to deal with at the time. But then I put myself in my readers’ shoes (I highly recommend it) and realized whenever I was stressed out, freaked out, whatever-out, my go-to was to get lost in a good book by one of my favorite authors. It was a “duh” moment, for sure. So I launched the book, and it’s been one of my bestsellers to date.

9) Describe your typical writing day. Do you set word goals or not, do you draft exclusively in notebooks, your laptop or a combination of both?

Typical day? LOL. Ever since my parents came to live with my husband and me, along with the advent of this pandemic, I’d be hard pressed to come up with a typical anything! In fact, the first six or so weeks of the lockdown I found it extremely difficult to concentrate on anything but the news and making sure everyone in my household was doing all right. But then I got fed up with myself, planted my ass in the chair, and made myself start a new book, and the words started to flow.

That also goes for every book. None of them happened the same way. When I was first starting out I was a pantser (seat-of-your-pants writer) and just winged it. Bad idea, at least for me. I wrote myself into a lot of corners and spent way too much time trying to find my way out. Now, I do a kind of hybrid-style where I start with pen and paper and sketch out a timeline to see if the idea has legs. Then I’ll do a loose outline on my laptop, where I hit the highpoints of each chapter followed by some initial research. Then I dive in, writing 5-6 days a week, allowing myself to revise at will. Just having an idea where I’m going helps me stay on track and complete the first draft quicker.

8) You have to admit, there are few female authors of action-adventure fiction, a genre that’s almost completely dominated by male authors. What made you decide to tackle this genre?

I’ve always loved a challenge. My main reason for writing in the thriller and action-adventure genres is because I love reading them, but have been frustrated by the lack of believable, capable women as main characters. I grew up with a lot of guy friends and loved to go hiking, camping, fishing, traveling, fighting—you name it, I loved doing it. I also loved to read and cook and garden, and even played with dolls, but I digress. I thought it horribly unfair that women characters were mostly relegated to supporting roles. Why did male characters get to have all the fun? That wasn’t true in my world. My writing in these genres was/is a way for me to right that particular wrong.

7) Plotter, pantser or plantser?
Hybrid (see answer above)
6) When you were growing up, who were your favorite authors and did any of them influence your current work?

Ian Fleming, Robert Ludlum, Ken Follett, and whoever was available at the library, all had an influence on me. I read widely and enjoyed literary fiction, a dash of romance, and historical fiction, but kept coming back to the ones with action, action, action. Then I discovered Daniel Silva, Joe Wambaugh, and Michael Connelly, along with other thriller authors and never looked back.

5) Are there any plans to do a Leine Basso and Kate Jones crossover or do they occupy separate universes?

Maybe. I’ve been asked by several readers to do one, but I haven’t figured out the story yet. They’re vastly different characters, which would be fun to try, but it has to be right.

4) What would you say the split is between your male and female readership?

Every reader survey I’ve done comes back at close to 50-50. Lots of male readers have emailed to let me know they don’t usually enjoy women authors, but they enjoy reading my books. I love that my characters and stories appeal to both men and women.

3) Are there any plans to begin another series or are Leine and Kate enough for you to handle?

Funny you should ask that. I’m currently working on another series and hope to have a trilogy out by late fall. I’m not going to say anything further, since it’s so new. After I’m finished with that it’s on to the next Leine Basso.

2) Would you ever consider tackling another genre or do action-adventure thrillers do it for you?
See answer above J

1)  So, what’s next for Dv Berkom?

Continue writing the Leine Basso series for as long as readers enjoy it. I’ve also got a couple of ideas for different series rattling around in my brain that I’d like to work on. Rest assured any books will most likely have a lot of action, whatever the genre.

If you’re interested in learning more about Dv Berkom and her work, please make use of the links provided above and below.

If you’re interested in learning more about Dv Berkom and her work, please make use of the links provided above and below.

Links to New Release, Shadow of the Jaguar:

Barnes & Noble links to a couple of print editions:

Audible author page:

Monday, June 29, 2020

Gotham City Digest: Brad and Karen edition

(In case you were wondering where Trump's pulling his "internal polling" data from...)

    Well, this is gonna piss off a lot of very fine people. I imagine they'll continue flying the old state flag.

     Historically, Trump hasn't got a snowball's chance in Hell.

     Steve Schmidt tells Joy Reid that Trump is the mark this time. And he's absolutely right.

     Pelosi's asking some tough questions of the intelligence community. This will put a lot of pressure on the Trump loyalists within it, especially Ratcliffe.

     Karen and Brad- A Racist Love Story.

    Speaking of Brad and Karen, here they are in St. Louis waving their guns at uppity BLM protesters when they got too close to their gigantic mansion. This perhaps delineates racist white fear and paranoia better than any picture or video I've ever seen this year.

     Aaaand just like that, Brad and Karen get divorced.

    But it doesn't mean they can't pursue solo acts. Here, Officer Brad puts a BLM protester in crosshairs then gets shitcanned days later.

     And here's Karen's own solo act elsewhere in Missouri.

     And here Karen is in Detroit later today...

     Oh, remember Brad and Karen in Missouri? They made ABC News waving their guns at peaceful protesters.
     Grand Dragon Donnie retweeted it first thing this morning.

     Meme intermission.

    White man whitemansplains to black man about "learnin'" about cooperation. By the way, you have Archie Manning and his threats to tank Mississippi's college football games until they removed the confederate symbol to thank. THAT'S the perfect storm the Minority Leader was really talking about.

     And here are just some the contributions Karens have made in America...

    Fox "News" is now officially in the arena of right wing terrorism. A Fox network driver (Brad, presumably) hit a black man with his SUV in Seattle's CHOP, laughed about it then ran off like the true profile in courage he is.

    Uh uh. I NEVER see Trump dropping out. He infamously rejects realities he doesn't like and substitutes his own. Just today, he called out the "Do Nothing Democrats", that have passed over 400 bills and are currently collecting dust on Do Nothing Mitch's desk, that his "internal" poll numbers show him winning in contradiction of every established and reliable poll in the nation. It's much likelier he will walk into the slaughter, leading with his chin like the Dollar Store Mussolini that he is, then when he loses, claim the vote was rigged. (Tip o' the tinfoil hat to Constant Reader, CC.)

     Karen Does Dallas.

     David Ignatius on Morning Joe: “Based on my reporting trying to confirm the New York Times’ excellent story it’s clear in late March you had senior U.S commanders, senior civilian intelligence officials, in effect pounding on the door of the White House saying we need to do something about this, we need to come to a conclusion about what damage the Russian program is doing, we need to reassess our programs in Afghanistan and they couldn’t get an answer.”

     I give you the ultimate Karen, a misanthrope who even loathes her own gender. But soft Nazi Viktor Orban, the dictator of Hungary, is "the shining champion of Western Civilization." Trump just shoehorned her into USAID.

     It looks as if Margaret Atwood's Gilead isn't the only right wing nightmare out there. Its namesake just announced a $3120 price tag on, at best, half a cure, despite getting $70,000,000 in federal funding.

     This is blatantly against the law. Members of both parties have the same commitment to national security, the same security clearances. Blocking Democrats from attending such an important briefing isn't only illegal, it's politicizing intelligence.

     I'd like to see the Iranians serve it. Yes, I would literally like to them serve that arrest warrant for Trump.

     Susan Collins: "For the fucking love of God, please find a reason not to vote for me. Here's one to get you started..." And finally...

     Remember the bubble-headed blonde in high school who wasn't even smart enough to make the cheer leading team? Sometimes, they become White House Press Secretaries.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Gotham City Digest

(And take McConnell and Miller with you.)

     What's the male version of a Karen? They need a name. I nominate "Brad."

     "The F-35 Lightning II Can't Fly Near Lightning." Yes, you read that correctly. The F-35 Lighting can't fly anywhere near lightning. And we've spent HOW many hundreds of billions on this sack o' shit?

     UN workers taped getting jiggy wid it in a UN car. Oh, jolly excellent form and good show!

    I look at the ridiculously and cluelessly named Lincoln Project as a bunch of useful idiots. But their latest anti-Trump ad is a savage work of art.

     Bullshit. Why WOULDN'T they brief him about Russian bounties on US troops?

     I love Sacha Baron Cohen, especially when he trolls right wing nut bags.

    Let the Facebook ad purge begin. The Fuckbook ad boycott is going global. At last count, 160 corporations were pulling their ads. Looks like someone's about to have an even worse summer than Trump and it's this asshole.

     Then, to show what a true profile in courage he is, he deleted the "white power" retweet. Now the WH is trying to say he didn't hear the "white power" part of that video. Uh huh.

    While US troops are getting killed by Putin, the nation is dying of a plague, the economy's in freefall, there's racial unrest all over and his campaign's in a shambles, the "president" decides now's a good time to go golfing with Lady G. Well played, sir, well played.

      This is the crowd of goobers who came to hear Mike Pence in Dallas today. At a time when Texas is seeing a massive spike in COVID-19 cases, he thought this would be the perfect time to bunch hundreds together.

    Meme intermission.

    Your Karen o' the day: Get Off Your Lawn edition.

    That's right, Uncle Tim, keep a civil tongue on that jackboot.

    NYPD to hold end of watch ceremonies for 272 snowflakes.

   Flynn's lawyer wrote a letter to Bill Barr, the boss of the prosecutors, and sent it in "utmost confidentiality" (I'll bet it was) begging for his help, which is so incredibly improper, it boggles the mind. How could this not be grounds for disbarment.

    Another paean to white supremacy from Mel Gibson.

    OK, the question I have is, if the Intel community knew about Russians putting bounties on our troops way back in January, why did it take them until late March to brief Trump about it? Ther only scenario that makes sense is if Trump told them to weed out any reports about Russia, which I can easily see him doing.

    Remember the Doomsday choir of mutants in Beneath the Planet of the Apes? I give you the completely unmasked 100 member choir at Pence's happy Bullshit Talk in Dallas today. Don't say life doesn't imitate art.

     "I want to commend the governor for your decisive action reopening this economy", that's resulted in a massive spike of COVID-19 cases and record numbers of coronavirus diagnoses for 16 straight days, Pence didn't but should've added.

      If you've just about completely lost Liz Cheney, you've lost Bullshit Mountain.

    I'm coming perilously close to actually feeling sorry for the people who have to work under Fuckface von Clownstick.

    White police union head blames black parents for their kids getting shot. Kids like Laquan McDonald, for instance. And finally...

      If we can defund the police, Facebook and everything else standing in the way of social justice, then we should certainly be able to defund the right wing assholes at Fox.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Gotham City Digest

(For a very limited time, specifically January 20th, 2021)

    This could have turned out so much worse. First, the Detroit Police called his job to tell him to turn himself in because they were too lazy to arrest him. Then when they did arrest him, they wouldn't tell him WHY he was being arrested. Then they never asked him if he had an alibi the night of the robbery. He did.
     This is the downside of facial recognition software.

    So the department doesn't investigate people for criminal activity, any more? Check out this asshole Gilmore's excuses for making these racist, inflammatory statements. He said he couldn't wait to buy an assault rifle and start slaughtering black people.

     Remember when I said that it'll be interesting to see the coronavirus cases in Tulsa a week after the rally? Well, here they are and it's about what you'd expect. Just based on this and the fact that six members of Trump's own advance team, two Secret Service agents and a local reporter were all diagnosed with coronavirus, every city in America should ban him from holding rallies since he's obviously a danger to public health.

    Doxxing BLM protesters? This is the last kind of Democrat we need.

    Remember this crook? If you ever encounter her, avoid her like the plague.

    Your Karen o' the day week year. (Tip o' the tinfoil hat to Constant Reader, CC.)

     Meme intermission.

    The Sierra Club just kicked Trump's fat, pasty ass in court. The 9th Circuit just ruled that Trump illegally stole money from the Pentagon to build his vanity wall.

    The New York Times released a bombshell that Russia's been paying Afghan militants to kill US troops, essentially putting a bounty on their heads. Trump's known about this since March and, typically, has done nothing about it.

     Peter Navarro: "The China trade deal is over."
     Trump: "No it's not."
     Wall Street tanks yet again.

    The three Minneapolis cops currently being charged with second degree murder could get their jobs back?! Please tell me this isn't happening. Why is it the only unions left that have any muscle these days are the wrong ones?

    The Meidas Touch just launched a new ad against Ivanka.

    Because it's all about me, Me, ME.

    “If the rioters were Saudi nationals... (w)e would understand immediately that it’s terrorism."
     Someone please explain to the whitest man in America that there's more than a subtle difference between social activism and Islamist terrorism.

    A Chicago columnist epically trolls right wing gun nuts arming themselves to the teeth over the scary black people. Typically, he got trolled back by a gun blogger and his right wing ditto head readers.

    "LAW AND ORDER! Now, watch this shot..."

    "There's nothing to worry about! We've flattened the curve. It's just, uh, a little too dangerous to do a Victory lap just yet."

   But I don't know how this happened. It all looked so legit. The company was started by a fraudulent telemarketer.

   It seems with every Republican administration, the names of the same right wing barnacles keep coming up. Like Art Laffer, who got $20,000,000 in wingnut welfare from the government while telling it to close the spigots to everyone else.

    Remember when Whole Foods used to represent part of the left wing counter culture, when they were renowned for taking care of their employees? Then a bald-headed, lazy eyed little twerp named Jeff fucking Bezos swooped down like the vulture he is and bought it.

     "I'm so sorry this man is your president." Keep in mind, this is coming from a former US Marine and a member of Congress. And finally...

     Woodrow Wilson is now officially persona non grata at Princeton University.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Gotham City Digest

(I'm a writer. Coffee is my only friend.)

      NBC's numbers are way off and very old. The Courier-Journal has more up-to-date results that show Charles Booker with a commanding 3.5% lead over McGrath. I really like this guy's chances. He's got the right ideas and the momentum behind him.

     You know your state is corrupt when your own Attorney General is up on fraud charges. C'mon, look at that asymmetrical puss. Who wouldn't want to buy a used car from this man?

     I'm anticipating mass protests in Jacksonville during the RNC convention. Hopefully, it won't turn into Chicago in 1968.

     Donnie Dumbo, Jr (R-Why Won't You Love Me, Dada?!) wants to replace the toppled confederate statues with ones of his father.
      I suggest this one. (Tip o' the tinfoil hat to Constant Reader, CC.)

     Man, the flop sweat is strong with this one. He's really pulling out all the stops and trying to cram in as many victories as possible that he can take to his base before November.
    Knowing he's losing bigly to Biden, he's trying to manufacture victories regarding his unkept campaign promises. That's why he went to Arizona a few days ago to crow about a wall he still hasn't built.

     This is just a small sample of the verbal vomit that was hurled on Sean Hannity's expensive leather Gucci loafers Thursday night. Want more? Try this:
    Trump: "If we didn’t do testing, we’d have no cases... There are so many names to this, I could name 19 names like Corona 19."
     Then he said Joe Biden couldn't talk before predicting he'd win.
     Then he called himself "a perfect person."

     Meme intermission.

     Republican's daughter begs people not to vote for him. Then in interview he demonstrates why they shouldn't. Wow, this douchebag's a real piece of work.

     Barr's trying to throw more turmoil into this election than it already has by trying to delegitimize mail in ballots. When a reporter challenged him by asking what his evidence was, he fell back on Trump's old Obamagate line and said, "You know."

     If at first you don't succeed, fail, fail again.

     Nepotism Barbie says WHAT?

     Have these assholes forgotten that it was their industry that brought coronavirus over from Wuhan, to begin with?

     Meet Sacramento Karen. Say nightie nite to Sacramento Karen. Sacramento Karen just learned the hard way why white people can't use the N word.

    Someone should remind Vice President Race Bannon that those First amendment rights also extend to BLM protesters.

     More cop lies. And they wonder why they're hated and distrusted.

     Holy shit, I didn't have Dick Cheney as a sensible, responsible adult on my Bingo card.

     Keep in mind, the only reason DeSantis clawed back the reopening was because the stock market began tanking. It'd lost 730 points today.

    This is how desperate the GOP is getting They know they're about to lose the Senate, they know Trump will get his fat, pasty ass handed to him by Joe Biden, yet they're trying this Hail Mary conspiracy theory-chasing to the very bitter end because they know the rancid goods they've been selling to the American is no longer in demand. And it's precisely this behavior that's going to cost the GOP the Senate this November. They lost the Senate the nanosecond they refused to impeach Trump.

     Right wing writers sell their soul to one devil or another each time they put their fingertips to the keyboard. But convicted sleazebag Jack Abramoff is one devil you should avoid if you know what you know what's best for you. Right wing hack Derek Hunter is not one of them.

      Your Karen o' the day.

      Karma, delivered in 30 seconds or less.

     Florida Man, the world's worst super hero. "I will not be muzzled like a mad dog." Then stop looking and acting like one. And finally...

     Of course, it'll fail in the Senate and that's even if Mitch McConnell would allow it to come up for and up and down vote. Of course, making DC a state is the last thing the Republicans want, which is why they've been bitterly battling this idea for literally decades. As DC is over 50% black, it's a sure bet the GOP doesn't want to give DC statehood because that would mean two more Democrats in the Senate.

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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