Les Cochran Blog

Fiction Author

May 24, 2018
by lescochranblog
2 Comments

Promoting Book Sales – – While in My High Chair

Hi Friends and Fans,

I just announced my “Summer Book Tour.”  What? Were you thinking I just sit behind my desk writing novels on my laptop all day?  Well, I love doing that, but it doesn’t sell books.  Yes, I know social media marketing is the way to go – – and we do plenty of that.  However, talking face-to-face with readers is a lot more fun and very inspiring. And, it leads to book sales.

Art Festivals

My “Summer Book Tour” is my participation in local Art Festivals to create book sales. There are plenty of them in the Asheville, NC area and since I am new here, it’s a great way to get to know people.  Now, here is a little tidbit I’ll share.  To be admitted to most of the events, I had to make a case that writing novels is an art.  In the past, authors had not been considered “artists.”  Really.

Tent and More

 We use a 10’ x 10’ tent for displaying my books and other sales paraphernalia. The banner at the top of the page is new and seems to attract readers interested in the Mafia, Detroit, historical fiction and crime thriller.

What’s a Blind Pig?  

Since BLIND PIG is my most recent release, we float a large helium filled pig balloon above the tent.  We’ve enhanced the pig balloon with sunglasses and pose the question “What’s a Blind Pig?” You won’t believe some of the answers we get. That little gimmick creates a great opportunity for sharing a bit about BLIND PIG: Detroit In Thorn Birds Defy Mafia which often leads to more book sales.

My High Chair

In the title of this blog, I mentioned selling books from my high chair.  Did that get your attention? It’s what I really do. Most festival days are long, so I sit in a tall director’s chair.  It sure makes talking with festival-attendees easier than if I was sitting lower.  I raise my table, too, so readers don’t have to bend over to view my books or sign up for my blog.  These “raising” techniques make it very comfortable to connect with readers as they approach my booth.  We’ve had many fun conversations as we meet new people.

I Still Need Your Help

Marketing books is a very time-consuming job for authors.  As part of my “Friends & Fans” group, there are a couple of ways in which you can help.

  • Tell other readers – – they won’t read my books if they don’t know about them.
  • Encourage book clubs to read them. Brag that you know the author and he will Skype or Google Hang with them.
  • Write a review and post it on Amazon or other book sites. I’ve prepared guidelines to use if you’ve never done this before (coming in the next blog.)
  • Make a suggestion – – let me hear your thoughts for making readers aware of my books.

March 31, 2018
by lescochranblog
1 Comment

It’s BLIND PIG Day – Time for Mafia Crime Thriller!

YES – today is BLIND PIG day!  It’s the official release of my new mafia crime thriller BLIND PIG: Detroit Thorn Birds Defy Mafia.

I’m calling it “Mafia Works #2,” as it’s the second book in my Detroit Mafia vs Thorn Birds series.  For book description go to:  Les Cochran 

What’s a Blind Pig?

Do you know what a blind pig is?  No? 

Do you have a friend from Detroit or one who lives in Michigan?

Ask them; they’ll know the answer.  I’ll give you a hint – – a blind pig ignited the 1967 riots in Detroit.

Book Review by Detroit Mafia Guru

In this blog post I’m including a review prepared by a Detroit Mafia Guru that will definitely generate interest in reading the book.

(Click on the image to enlarge view.)

Your Assistance Needed

As a subscriber to my blog, I hope you will help me in two ways:

  1. Purchase a copy to read or give away  Go to: BLIND PIG
  2. Spread the news – forward this blog to everyone you know that likes to read  – especially crime thrillers!

Special Thanks Scott Burnstein

A special thanks goes to Scott Burnstein.  I anointed him the “Detroit Mafia Guru,” as he has written and researched Detroit crime history for many years.  His books are listed below his review.  He also issues the Gangster Report.  So much to see and hear – you’ll get hooked.  Check it out here:  Gangster 

Got Connections?

If you have ideas, suggestion, or recommendations for people or groups to contact to share the news about BLIND PIG and my Detroit Mafia series, please email to me.  I need all the connections I can get as marketing is the most difficult thing an author has to do.

Cheers to readers everywhere!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 4, 2018
by lescochranblog
0 comments

SAX CLUB a Mafia Crime Thriller Uses FBI to Narrow the Line Between Fact and Fiction

Friends and Fans,

This recent Press Release for SAX CLUB, a crime thriller, appeared online at ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox and many others media networks.

Historical crime fiction is just that: Historical… crime… fiction.  “As an author of an historical crime thriller, it’s imperative I convey a real sense of the times.  Nothing is better than going to the original source,” commented author Les Cochran.  

FBI Agent

In writing SAX CLUB: Detroit Thorn Birds Defy Mafia, he conferred with Oscar Westerfield, the Supervisory Special Agent for the Detroit Division of the FBI during the period fictionalized in SAX CLUB.   For complete book description, go to author’s website. 

The retired FBI agent played a significant role in ensuring accuracy for Cochran’s work of historical crime thriller.  He helped bring SAX CLUB alive by narrowing the line between fact and fiction.  “Not only did Oscar review the manuscript to ensure its authenticity, he made many valuable literary contributions during hours of interviews.”

FBI Code Words

By Westerfield sharing actual code words used by the FBI, Cochran was able to describe several events using ‘real-to-life’ terms. In some cases, the addition is only a term or phrase, but it adds reality to the story. The use of T-3 is a good example in the following text from SAX CLUB of a discussion between an FBI Agent and a member of the Special Task Force.

“I’ll check with my ‘T-3s’ to see who knows what.”

“‘T-3s,’ what are they?” Kimberly asked.

Will smiled to himself, knowing someone would ask. “It’s part of the code we use to categorize our informants. A ‘T-3’ is the highest rating; it stands for top echelon. It means the informant is very good and highly reliable. Usually they’ve provided accurate information for several years.”

Coffee Shop That Doesn’t Serve Coffee

Another funny episode included from the Westerfield interviews illustrates Cochran’s goal to narrow the line between fact and fiction. In real time, when Jimmy Hoffa came up missing, the FBI had one active bug in a Mafia-run Detroit establishment—referred to as the “coffee shop that didn’t serve coffee.” When a real event like this is fictionalized in this crime fiction thriller, the time comes alive; the reader is there—it’s 1975!   

The mob hangout was a coffee shop on Saint Antoine Street in Greektown.  A Mafia lieutenant, Dominic ‘Fats’ Corrado, held court there with his cronies. Westerfield pointed out, “Everyone up to the White House was interested in what we might hear. They figured everyone in the mafia ranks would be talking about Hoffa. The FBI techies had placed a bug in the electrical receptacle behind the fridge.”

Bugging and Re-Bugging

As the room filled, Westerfield recalled, the mafia guys started opening the refrigerator door for drinks. It kicked on and the agents couldn’t hear a thing.

“We have the most sophisticated equipment in the world and the damn refrigerator drowns out the conversations.”

The next night the tech agents went back in and disabled the compressor, figuring that’d buy a day or two so they could collect good information.  Evidently someone must have noticed the fridge wasn’t working in the early morning, so by the time the guys started pouring in they had installed a new refrigerator. “We heard nothing,” said Westerfield.

The SAX CLUB crime fiction novel is packed with examples like these; readers are there—in the room—with FBI agents and Mafia kingpins!   Don’t miss out!

 

December 3, 2017
by lescochranblog
0 comments

Matt Lauer, Cohorts – Worse Than Steve Schilling, Sex Addict

Yes, I created a sex addict named Steve Schilling.  Please note I said “created.”  I’m a fiction writer, so I believe it’s okay to make my characters a bit irregular.  I did a lot of research and then used my imagination to make up stuff about Steve and the five (yes, five) women he was having affairs with – – all at the same time.  See more details.

Geez, if I’d only waited a couple of years I wouldn’t have needed to tax my imagination!  Recent revelations of men in high positions using their stature to sexually pursue women have led to numerous media unveilings (a little play on words.)

Hot Potato

Unfortunately, the media have only touched the tip of the hot potato. (I was going to say “tip of the iceberg” but this is no iceberg.)  I believe more and more real-life tales will come forth.

Now Back to Steve

Steve may be a fictional character in my “Love, Lies, and Liaisons” trilogy, but his problems are not fictional.  I’ve had a few readers pooh-pooh my writing by saying it wasn’t realistic, could never happen.  Well, it looks like the media is making it very clear that it can and does happen.

Book to Movie

When SIGNATURE AFFAIR, the first book in the trilogy, was released I had hoped (like every author does) it would become a movie.  Huh – – when I look at the list below, I can see why there wasn’t a chance.  It was waaay too close to home! 

Skilled, Dedicated Leaders

My key character was a sick man, yet, a highly successful university president.  His leadership skills were spectacular; turning a financially distressed university into a model for the region. He was loved and respected by all – – as were many of the Hollywood directors, actors, and media gurus named here.

However, I must say, even with his shortcomings, you’re not likely to find Steve’s name on the list below.  Afflicted by the same problems of any addict, whether it is one driven by alcohol, drugs, gambling, shopping, smoking, or sex, he would do whatever it took to maintain his addiction—cheat on his wife, lie to women, deceive others—but he was never disrespectful to women. (Smile – – as the author, I have a right to put in a good word for him.)

Addiction Professional

Certified Addiction Professional, Dr. Francis Valenti calls my ‘Love, Lies and Liaisons’ trilogy, “An excellent portrayal of the double life of a sex addict—his trials and tribulations, and struggles against all odds.  Each occasion with another woman is a novel experience that fills his desire for more.”

Learn More

Check out my “Love, Lies, and Liaisons” trilogy on Amazon and learn more about the challenges of those afflicted by addiction, rather than spending more time reading about this month’s growing list of egocentric sexual abusers.   

Only the Beginning  

This is only a start to what will become a very long list of people we know. See source.

# of Accusers         Name                        Position                                Status
    238 plus             James Toback            Hollywood Director           Denied          
         80                  Harvey Weinstein     Hollywood Mogul               Fired 
     Multiple            Jeremy Piven            TV Reality Star          No Comment
     Multiple            Terry Richardson      Celebrity Photographer    Consensual
     Multiple            Leon Wieseltier        Literary Critic                 I’m Sorry
     Multiple            John Besh               Celebrity Chef                   I’m Sorry
     Multiple            Kevin Spacey          Acclaimed Actor      Seeking Treatment
     Multiple            Matt Lauer                Celebrity TV Anchor        Fired
         19                  Andrew Kreisberg  Executive Producer           Fired
         12                  Mark Halperin          NBC Political Analyst      Fired 
            9 +             Roy Moore               Senate Nominee              Denied
            8                 Charlie Ross            CBS Journalist                   Fired
            8                 Michael Oreskes     NPR News Chief                Fired
            7                 Brett Ratner            Recognized Actor            Stepping Down
            7                 George H.W. Bush Former President               Joked About It
            5                 Louis C.K.      Emmy-winning comedian         I’m Sorry
            4                 Glenn Thrush          Political Journalist             Suspended
            4                 Al Franken                Minnesota Senator         I’ll Do Better
            3                 Steven Seagal         Famous Actor                    No Comment
            2                 Jeffrey Tambor       Acclaimed TV Star             I’m Sorry
            2                 Dustin Hoffman      Acclaimed Actor               I’m Sorry
            2                 Ben Affleck              Acclaimed Actor                 Analyzing Self
            2                 Ed Westwick            Recognized Movie Star    No Comment
            1 +         Matt Zimmerman     NBC Booking VP                  Dismissed
            1                 Roy Price                  Amazon Studios Chief      Resigned
            1                 Bob Weinstein        Harvey’s Brother                Denied
            1               Oliver Stone      Writer & Director               No Comment                   

November 8, 2017
by lescochranblog
0 comments

MY “BLIND PIG” NEEDS BETA READERS

BLIND PIG, my focus for today, is a bit different than last week when I posted a copy of an article in a Washington, DC, TheHill.com, featuring my thoughts on how the federal government could cut the bloated budget without firing employees or cutting programs. For details, see:  http://bit.ly/CochranOnTheHill

Back to Book Business

Today, it’s back to book business.   This time I need your help.  In early 2018, I’ll be releasing BLIND PIG, the second novel in my Detroit Thorn Birds Defy the Mafia series

Your Thoughts Are Important

BLIND PIG will be my fifth book, and second historical fiction novel.  As I’ve  mentioned to you before, I value input from readers.  Remember, I “de-sexed” SAX CLUB because several readers told me it deluded the historical genre by diverting the reader’s attention away from the plot without adding value to the story.

Book Description

Detective Clark Philips is upping the ante; his team of police officers and FBI agents embark on an operation to undercut Mafia run blind pigs and unmask Mafia ties with the Catholic Church.

Building upon their successes in SAX CLUB, the real-to-life characters continue their uphill battle in BLIND PIG, the second historical fiction novel in the “Detroit Thorn Birds” series.

It’s the late ‘70s, Detroit is hemorrhaging; a criminal juggernaut has brought the city to its knees — the Mafia has outwitted and outmaneuvered what is widely known as the nation’s most corrupt police force. The city’s social fabric is torn beyond repair, neighborhood gangs are rampant — unethical political officials offer no help — the situation is hopeless!

Today’s Challenge: Find Beta Readers for BLIND PIG

That means I need your help.  For the first time, I’m asking readers to give me feedback before the book is published.  Yes, it’s a process described as using “beta readers.”  I need beta readers for BLIND PIG.

What is Expected?

There is no need for beta readers to edit the text as I always have my books professionally edited.  I need feedback from you on the storyline- -does it flow? Are the characters (good, bad and ugly) well defined? What should be added or deleted to make the book a “good read?”

Want to “Be a Beta?”

If you are interested, or know someone who is an avid reader and would like to “be a beta,” please let me know as soon as possible.  Leave a note in the box below or email me at  Author@LesCochran.com I will send a pdf. of BLIND PIG with basic guidelines for sharing your thoughts with me.

Cheers to Readers Everywhere!   

October 29, 2017
by lescochranblog
0 comments

Federal Budget Cuts Made Simple

Fiction Writer Proposes Strategy to Cut Federal Budget?

After reading my blogs, you’re probably wondering why is a fiction writer proposing a strategy to cut the federal budget?  Well, in some ways the two go hand-in-hand.  For two decades, now, the rhetoric in Washington, DC has been the same—politicians promise budget cuts—but spending balloons and the federal deficit skyrockets. Hmm. . . anything fictitious in those promises?  

Fact is, in 1998 President Clinton had a balanced budget, and then through joint efforts of a Republican Congress, maintained budget surpluses in his last three years in office.

So, even though I spend hours writing fiction, my strategy for cutting the federal budget is NOT fictitious.

It’s a Tested Strategy that Works.

Before becoming a fiction writer, I was a university president.  Upon arrival on campus, I found the university was running a deficit–using over $6 million from reserves in the operating budget—the reserves were gone.  I had to develop a plan. 

I’m sharing my strategy with you via an article I wrote for The Hill, the largest circulation of any Capitol Hill publication, with more than 24,000 print readers and thousands more online.  It provides in-depth coverage of breaking news and tackles the most pressing policy issues for decision-makers in Washington D.C.  

A Synopsis of Federal Budget Cutting Strategy

Article Printed in The Hill, 10-27-17

Substantive federal budget cuts require more than cutting programs along party lines.  Reductions must be systemic.  Read how a trillion dollar reduction in federal spending can be made, without terminating employees or eliminating programs:   http://bit.ly/CochranOnTheHill   

Share, Share, Share – – Thank You.

October 26, 2017
by lescochranblog
0 comments

More Changes to SAX CLUB

In my last post, I indicated I had “de-sexed” SAX CLUB and released a  Second Edition of the first book on the Detroit mafia in the 1970s and 80s.  I’m sure you shook your head.  “Geez, Cochran hasn’t even released the second book in the series and he’s already putting out a Second Edition of the first one.” 

Good Point

Frankly, you’ve made a good point.  What author would be willing to re-write a book within the first year of publication? 

Answer: I would, because I listen and  learn from my readers.  Remember – – I used to be a university president; I’m still honing my fiction writing skills.

Inner Voice

When you really listen; you hear what’s being said.  It’s the same when you listen to yourself, and hear your inner voice.  It may be a second thought, a nagging question, a brainwave.  Regardless of the form, it shouldn’t be ignored.

Just as I listened to my readers, I needed to listen to myself—my inner voice was saying, “it’s the SAX CLUB cover, it’s not right.”

Series Sequence Indentification

I looked at the cover again.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was missing.  I talked to Lin—she’s very intuitive about the perceptions of my readers. I held the book in front of her and asked, “What’s not there?  What is missing?”

She responded quickly, “It doesn’t mention it’s the first book in the series.”

“Good point… and there’s also something that bugs me about the term ‘Thorn Birds of Detroit’ and our choice of the words ‘Confront Mafia.’

 So, it was back to drawing board, even though we had spent hours working on the cover before the original release. 

Dealing with the series question, I reviewed the top twenty-five best-selling novels written as a series. I learned books in a series didn’t need to be listed as Book #1, Book #2, and #3.  Often a word out of the story is used, like Endeavor #1, Endeavor #2, in a space series.

“Bingo, I could use the word ‘Mafia,’ but Mafia what?”  I thought to myself, I really enjoy the research, but it’s a lot of work.  I paused, “Work,” that’s it.  I’ll use Mafia Works #1, Mafia Works #2, #3, #4 to sequence the series.

Tweaking the Cover

Having solved that question, I moved onto the subtitle Thorn Birds of Detroit Confront Mafia. That had always bothered me, who knows why?  Maybe it sounded too uppity, I don’t know. 

“Why not Detroit Thorn Birds?” I said to Lin “That’s what they are, regular people fighting an uphill battle.” 

That left Confront. Before settling on it originally we had searched a Thesaurus countless times—each time confront was chosen by default—but still, it had no pizzazz.

Agreeing confront was out, it was back to the Thesaurus and another list of possible words. Finally, we selected the word “defy.” It is short, sharp, and to-the-point.

Rewritten and Re-titled

Long story short, I heard what reviewers had to say and I heard my inner voice speaking.  So, changes were made on both the inside and outside of SAX CLUB before I released the Second Edition.  The first book in the series is now re-written and re-titled.  I hope these changes appeal to my readers/reviewers and attract new Friends and Fans. 

Cheers to Readers Everywhere!

 Amazon connection

Coming: More About Mafia Works #2

The second book in the series, BLIND PIG, will be released in early 2018.  I’ll share more information in a future post

October 12, 2017
by lescochranblog
1 Comment

READERS SPEAK – I LISTEN AND LEARN

Detroit Mafia/Thorn Birds Series Update

Last year about this time I released the first book in a new series about the Detroit Mafia in the 1970s.  Well, believe it or not, I’ve done it again.  I’ve released the second edition of SAX CLUB.  It’s available on Amazon and other book sites and is five thousand words shorter than the original novel. 

“Why?” you say

As simple as it may seem, it’s the result of what I heard from people like you. Since releasing SAX CLUB, I’ve listened to what my reviewers, fans, and readers said.  Not all, but several made the same point—“for a novel in the historical fiction genre, there’s too much emphasis on the personal love life of the main character.”

Taken Back

At first, I was taken back.  So I read SAX CLUB, again. (Can you imagine an author sitting down and reading his own book?)  The message was clear and on point—I had not made a complete transition  from my “Love, Lies, and Liaisons” trilogy, which followed the personal life of a sex addict.  In other words, Clark Phillips, my lead character in SAX CLUB still had  some of the same behaviors as Steve Schilling in the trilogy.

Never Too Old to Learn

Though I’m busy writing my fifth book, I still have a lot to learn – – even at my age.  As an academic administrator I used to preach to my colleagues “it’s amazing what you hear when you listen.”  (Today, some of them would say “Amen” to the fact that I just admitted to preaching!) The saying is still true – it’s amazing what I’m learning by listening to my readers.  Thank you for sharing.

I “De-Sexed” SAX CLUB

I bet that sub-title got your attention.  As I was working on finishing my new house, I reflected on the input I had received from readers.  “Hmm . .” I said to myself, “I’m writing for readers to enjoy my stories, therefore, I need their input and advice.”  As a result, I took Steve Schilling’s love life behaviors away from Clark Phillips.  I reduced the sex scenes in SAX CLUB and kept Clark more focused on his detective work to outsmart the Detroit Mafia.  

Outcome – Second Edition: Detroit Mafia/Thorn Birds Series 

While the second edition of SAX CLUB is shorter, the story is unchanged. In fact, it’s readability is crisper and more sharply focused on Detroit in the 1970s. 

Thanks, readers.  Keep sharing your thoughts.  I’m listening AND learning.

 

P.S. If you want to read the sexless version, here’s direct access: SAX CLUB: Second Edition

September 14, 2017
by lescochranblog
0 comments

Call for Detroit Mafia Experts

Oh, oh – – I’ve become a “research-aholic!” Seriously, it’s an addiction I’ve acquired as I develop my historical fiction series on the Detroit mafia in the 1970s and 80s. Yes, it’s fiction I’m writing, but wow does the real life data ever fuel my imagination.

Detroit Mafia Experts Needed

My major goal in writing this series is to narrow the gap between fact and fiction. Needless to say, I’m open to learning more about the way it was in Detroit during those days.  I know I’ve told you that I lived and taught high school there during that time, however, I was more naive about what was going on than I thought.  Whew! The tales I’ve heard and the data I’ve uncovered are super for weaving stories for my readers.

Some of my sources include information from retired members of the Detroit Division of the FBI. Who wouldn’t want to know what was going on with their mafia cases?  Below is a review of SAX CLUB from an FBI source.  Many thanks to Oscar.  After interviewing him several times I thought I’d learned everything he had to share.  Whoa, was I wrong.  Each time I communicate with him, he shares another case from his days in Detroit.  I gleefully take notes and begin creating ways to work the new information in a future novel.

Help With My Addiction

I enjoy interacting with others who lived in Detroit and personally (or indirectly) experienced some mafia actions and connections.  Again, these insights get me fired up about writing new stories for my key characters as I continue to develop this series.

If you have personal experiences, or connections with someone who may, please share with me.  Let me know how to contact you by leaving information in the Message box below or email me at:  Author@LesCochran.com   

Cheers to Readers!

July 28, 2017
by lescochranblog
0 comments

Live with Les – The Detroit Riots

Hello Friends and Fans,

The Detroit Riots of 1967 made a huge impact on the future of Detroit.  I was there and I’m about to share some of my experiences with you.  Have you watched Facebook Live before?  That’s where I’ll be Sunday, July 30 at 7 PM – Detroit time!

Help Me Recruit Viewers

Facebook Live is a new venue for me.  I sure hope I don’t end up talking to myself – – ha, ha! How about forwarding this to your friends who are interested in the history of Detroit and/or the Detroit Riots, or those who like to read historical fiction, or about crime, and the mafia?  I’ll share background on how my years in Detroit inspired me to create the “Detroit Thorn Birds” series. Go to Amazon: http://bit.ly/SaxClubLesCochran

“Live with Les”

That’s what I’m calling my event Sunday.  Perhaps it will be something I do from time to time.  I want to interact with you and others who read my work and this seems like a fun way to start the two-way interaction.  While you are watching “Live with Les” I encourage you to write a question or comment on Facebook. Or, if you wish, send your questions ahead via this blog. I will he happy to respond. 

Go to: https://www.facebook.com/Les-Cochran-Fiction-Author

Lin and I’ll figure out the Facebook mechanics to make this work.  While we are doing that, please recruit your friends and anyone else that is interested in this topic.  The address above will take you to my Facebook page where I will be doing “Live with Les.”