Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Storm Glass is out!

The Storm Glass is now available through Amazon, B&N, and on Smashwords!

I'm very curious how this book will be received.  It straddles the crime/thriller and sci-fi genres with an action packed story about a regular sort of guy, Wilson, who has a ring that makes him invisible and allows him to fly around a bit.



Jim Wilson, a fiftyish ‘regular’ guy, is anything but. For a decade he has used an extraordinary antique ring, a trinket found in an antique store, to feed the kitty, as he likes to put it. Using the invisibility and ability to levitate that the ring magically allows…Wilson is, arguably, the world’s greatest sneak thief; a phantom with a sense of humor and a taste for dopers’ dollars.
On a well-deserved vacation, a cruise the length of the Mississippi on his boat, the Thief of Hearts, Jim and Iris encounter a sprightly retired admiral, Hans, and his charming wife, Millie, who are heading downstream to their home in Hannibal, Missouri.
None of them are aware of the convoluted plot to utterly destroy a local bank, a crime involving millions of dollars and cold blooded murder. None of them suspect the portly local banker of the depravity and homicide he’s capable of, aided by a hardened thief and killer just out of prison and lusting for the biggest score of his life.
No, Jim’s biggest worries are that Iris wants him to retire from the business and he fears that Hans, who is actually ex-CIA, may know more about the ring than Jim likes.
But after heart-rending tragedy befalls during the robbery, Jim and Hans mount their own investigation heedless of the threats by the inept local Sheriff and the confused FBI agent in charge of the case.
They don’t have to follow the rules and they aren’t trying to put the bad guys in jail…they’re after payback…call it justice or retribution—or the cold-blooded quest for revenge that it actually is.
They’re bringing the bad guys down and they’re not afraid to use Jim’s ring to make that happen.


Get it here:


http://www.amazon.com/The-Storm-Glass-ebook/dp/B00641GGPM/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1320683629&sr=1-5

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The hits just keep on comin'

This appeared on my amazon page recently. Thanks, K. Sozaeva, whoever you are!
 
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a must read for fans of thriller/suspense, or those who like good character and plot development, October 11, 2011
This review is from: Ferris' Bluff (Kindle Edition)
Ace has been on the run for around 4 years - ever since the Russian mafia killed his wife, his sons, his daughter and her husband, and his father in revenge for something he did while he was working for the government. He has decided to come and visit Granville "Granny" Tubbs, a man who was a friend of Ace's father, and whom Ace has known his whole life. Coming in to Ferris' Bluff, AR, Ace discovers Granny is in a critical care ward in a nursing home after a series of strokes - when Ace comes to visit, he finds out there are restrictions on who can see Granny when. Ace notices other odd things going on in town. However, he likes the town and is immediately accepted into the community; he even earns some money, because he is able to fix almost anything - which gets him in some trouble with Pink Henery, the local mechanic, who doesn't appreciate Ace horning in on his business. Then there is Annie Travers, the widowed woman from whom Ace rents a room, and her two children - Ace finds himself becoming fond of them, and of many of the people in this quirky little town with whom he is quickly becoming friends. But can he escape the men who may be continuing to search for him?

I've probably rambled on too long about the plot, but I've tried to avoid any major spoilers. I wanted to try to show something about the story - about the heart, about the action, about how it kept me engrossed and engaged not only with the main plot, but with the many interesting and unique characters with which Limberg has populated this terrific thriller. Even folks who normally aren't fans of suspense/thrillers should enjoy this book - it has plenty of action and a fast-moving plot, but it also provides wonderful character development and a strong plot. I highly recommend that you get this book and read this book - it's a terrific read.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The BookSquawk review for Ferris' Bluff.

FERRIS’ BLUFF

by Fred Limberg
Kindle Edition

Review by Hereward L.M. Proops

It can't be easy to write a thriller these days. The market is literally awash with action packed paperbacks with punchy three word titles like “The Crimson Mandate” or “The Octagon Vendetta”. The formula for thrillers is now so well-established that it's verging on self-parody. Misanthropic / amnesiac / alcoholic ex-cop / soldier / hitman / academic is recruited / coerced / blackmailed by enigmatic / shady businessman / mentor / former-employer to solve a murder / rescue a hostage / capture a terrorist / recover an artifact of unimaginable power.

Our hero is normally given a monosyllabic first name and a surname that drops some none-too-subtle hints about his personality and occupation e.g. Carl Hunter or Jack Grimwind. Chances are, during the course of his adventure he'll be double-crossed, uncover a huge government conspiracy and knock socks with a female character whose tenuous link to the plot is as loose as her knicker elastic. The bad-guys get killed, the hero barely escapes with his life and the stage is set for his return in “The Velvet Calamity”.

You know the books I mean. The supermarkets sell them at knock-down prices and the shelves of charity shops groan beneath their collective weight. Chances are, you've read more than one of them but would be hard-pressed to recall any of the finer plot details. They are the literary equivalent of a hamburger. You know what you're getting when you buy it. Even though it's not of particularly high quality, it manages to be strangely enjoyable while it lasts and instantly forgettable once you've finished with it.

It might seem like I'm being unduly harsh towards these books – I'm not trying to run them down. I have nothing but respect for the authors who tackle the clich├ęd and formulaic genre head on. Who cares if the old “nuke in Washington DC” story has been told a dozen times before? If the story works and the readers enjoy themselves, it's mission accomplished as far as I'm concerned. Have you ever looked at a cheeseburger and thought “I'm not going to eat that because I've had one before and I know what it tastes like?” Of course not!

Having said all that, it is very exciting to come across a thriller that dares to be a little bit different.

At first glance, “Ferris' Bluff” by Fred Limberg bears many of the hallmarks of a by-the-numbers thriller. The protagonist, Andy “Ace” Evans is a drifter with a past. He's so scarred by it, both physically and emotionally, that he doesn't allow people to get close to him. Being an ex-Navy SEAL also means that he's totally badass. Though Ace tries to keep a lid on it, his past has a habit of catching up with him. One aspect of his past that he's particularly concerned about is a group of Russian gangsters who killed his family and came close to killing him.

So far, so familiar...

Where “Ferris' Bluff” differs from other thrillers is that it grounds what has the potential to be a balls-to-the-wall high-octane blockbuster by setting it in a totally believable small town. This isn't a typical fish-out-of-water scenario where our muscle-bound hero trashes the local community as he clumsily tries to adjust to civilian life. Far from it. Ace is not a cardboard cut-out action man, he's a regular guy who likes tinkering with cars and swigging beers with the boys. As far as he's concerned, his fighting days are over. Indeed, his desire to settle down and lead a regular, normal existence is one of his most endearing qualities. Sure, other thrillers have characters who we are told want to leave their past behind them, but Limberg takes a great deal of care to show his readers this.

Much like the titular small town, the novel moves at an unhurried, almost sedate pace. A lot of time is spent establishing the characters and developing their relationships so that when the action is introduced into the story, we actually give a damn about those involved. Without wanting to give too much of the plot away, the novel centres around Ace's friendship with an old man by the name of Granville Tubbs. Ace is only in town to pay his old friend a visit but when he discovers that Tubbs is seriously ill and holed up in the Shady Oaks nursing home, he decides to stick around and see if he can help in some way. An encounter with a particularly slimy lawyer (always a great villain) leads Ace to suspect that vultures are beginning to circle before his friend has even passed on. His involvement with a beautiful widow gets the townsfolks' tongues wagging and before too long, Ace is up to his neck in intrigue. All the while, the Russian gangsters are drawing closer, endangering the lives of everyone he has grown to care about.

Characterisation in the novel is plentiful. Limberg has obviously invested a great deal of energy in recreating the laid back lifestyle found in small town America. Sure, there's a few beer-swillin', tobacco-chewin' good ol' boys, but the majority of the inhabitants of Ferris' Bluff are so well realised that they never feel contrived or one-dimensional.

The novel's relatively gentle pace might stretch the patience of readers more accustomed to the boom-bang-bang thrills of Andy McNab or Clive Cussler, but those who stick with it will find themselves rewarded with some fantastic scenes of action. As an ex-Navy SEAL, Ace's approach to combat is swift and unflinchingly brutal. Limberg's prose when describing fist-fights or gun battles is similarly uncomplicated, direct and effective.

Ferris' Bluff” is an accomplished, highly enjoyable thriller that places more emphasis on believable characterisation than on fancy gadgets and things blowing up. With an immensely likeable cast of characters and an entertaining plot, Limberg's novel shows us that thrillers don't have to stick rigidly to the formula to be successful.

Read the Booksquawk author interview here.

Hereward L.M. Proops

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The latest review of Ferris' Bluff on Amazon

5.0 out of 5 stars Delighted, Delightful, Delicious, un-putdownable, September 13, 2011
By 
This review is from: Ferris' Bluff (Paperback)
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Wasn't sure I would, because it's not my usual type of read. Not sure what it's labeled as, a thriller, a mystery, or a vignette, but I usually read fantasy and historical stuff, & hardly ever modern-day settings. Nevertheless, I gave it a try and I'm so glad.

Ferris' Bluff is filled with quirky, likeable characters, each and every one fleshed out so that I felt connected to them. In that way, it sort of reminded me of "Fried Green Tomatoes." There's Drunk Reena and her evil husband Harlan, Pink, (ugh) gap-toothed Dicky, Leets, Granny Tubbs, Chaz, Val, Art Drury, Jeff Davis the ineffective cop, Frenchy and her devoted boyfriend Leon, Just To Name A Few. There's also Imported Michelob and "lots of wheelchairs, all filled with crooked wrinkled white people." And Annie Travers, with the "nearly-perfect" butt and other intriguing qualities. Oh, I nearly forgot Ace. Ace Evans. Tall, dark and handsome. Ace is on the run. We don't know from what, exactly. But finding out left me alternately laughing and profoundly moved.

Ace is an "ex-Navy Seal." He's alone now, no home, no credit cards, no tracking, and something in his past won't leave him alone. Ferris' Bluff is just what he needs, although he doesn't realize it right off.

The book offers many wonderful lines, such as "The moonshine cut through the crud on Ace's tongue like a stripper on old paint." And here's one of my favorites: "Sumbitch!" We also get meatloaf sandwiches. Yum!

"Voice" is something that is always being stressed to writers. This author has "voice" in spades.


I learned a lot from Ferris' Bluff. One thing I learned? Man, it's hard trying to keep a tail with one car. At 2.99, this book is a steal. I know I'll enjoy reading it repeatedly.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Stories I'll never write...

I kill people for a living.
Sorta’…
Kinda’…
My name is Fred Limberg and I write thrillers and mysteries. In every book I’ve written to date, with the exception of a foray into the YA genre last year, I’ve been killing off bad guys, the occasional good guy or gal, unlucky bystanders, and innocent victims for six years—give or take.
I’ve shot ‘em, stabbed ‘em, garotted ‘em, run them over, set them afire, dropped them off cliffs, drowned them, drugged them—you name it—I’ve done it to ‘em.
Yeah, me and Death are old pals. Death is a BFF with pretty much anyone who writes in these genres, and more than an acquaintance with writers in other genres. You can count on Death to add sizzle and mystery to a story. Death will kick start your plot, rev up the action, and get your reader's hearts racing.
Death is the anchor of virtually every whodunit ever written and ever to be written. As a writer you use Death; you manipulate the circumstances, you glorify and goreify it, you tease with it and toy with it. Yeah, as a writer, you got Death working for you…got it in the palm of your hand. It’s putty. Death is clay. Death is what-if on steroids waiting for a plot twist.
Until it’s a real death…
This past month I’ve had to confront real death instead of writing about it.
First…my damn dog died. Actually, we had the poor old guy ‘put to sleep’ after a decade and a half of loyal friendship and service. It wasn’t preceded by a car chase, though there had been a few of them over the many years. There was no misadventure, though we enjoyed several episodes involving squirrels and raccoons and timid neighbor kids. He simply grew old.
Not much of a story in that. Nothing thrilling or heroic there. All Charlie did was help us raise two wonderful kids who are now having kids of their own. It was foretold just shy of fifteen years ago when he was born. Life and death. There are no surprise endings when it’s a real death.
I’ll never be able to write that story.
Then…my damn friend died. I’ve known Chad for thirty years. He was the son of my oldest and best friend. I’ve known him since he was 10 years old, watched him struggle through his teens and twenties trying to figure out what he was supposed to be when he grew up. I took mental notes. It helped me be a better father than I might have been.
It turns out that what he was supposed to be was a great guy, a loving husband and a doting father, proud to bursting of his two young sons and his family. He was a gentle giant—six foot way-bigger than me, 230 pounds, played with swords and martial arts—who was studying nursing so he could further his career with cutting edge heart-monitoring technology that was saving lives. He grew up to be all that and more.
Diagnosed with cancer in November, he died in August.
No mystery there—I saw the scans. Cancer is the yellow, orange, and scarlet blood-red of Doppler radar tornadoes. There was no basement to hide in.
Instead of a thriller it was more like a war story— an unrelenting Blitzkreig…the cancer advancing and invading, conquering organs and systems almost at will. And Chad—fighting back with at first conventional treatments and then more experimental and controversial tactics…never had a chance.
There was no mystery there, and the only suspense was the fervent hope we all had for any sign of remission. There was no gunplay. The experienced swordsman never got to have it out with his formidable foe—fighting and slashing toe to toe with his cowardly enemy.
Chad was murdered by an assassin; the most heartless, ruthless assassin the world has ever known—Code name….Cancer.
That’s another story I’ll never be able to write.
Will real death and the memory of the incredible sadness I have felt recently make a difference in future stories…the mysteries and thrillers yet to come? I don’t think there’s any question that it will, although I have no idea how the sadness and hopelessness and feelings of loss and anger will manifest themselves.
All I know is…I will NEVER be able to write the dog story or chronicle the valiant young husband’s battle with terminal cancer.
I can’t see the screen through the tears.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Woodworking...Wordworking...Craftsmanship

I got into a short conversation the other day about how crafting a story is a lot like woodworking, or for that matter, virtually any artistic pursuit. I'm going to stick with woodworking because I'm familiar with the process...and I'm pretty darn good at it.

I'm a pretty good writer too.

The parallels are incredible. When I get the tingle that there's a story to be told...a book to be written...the ideas begin to form, jumbled and raw, scattered about like so many trees felled and awaiting their fate.

And like the jumble of oak or walnut or pine I need to let the raw logs season a bit. I need to sort and organize and select.

And I need some help. I need someone to bounce ideas off of, often in what-if conversations or I've- been-thinking conversations. I need someone to saw the logs into raw lumber so I can see what might be worth using and what might well become firewood and eventually...ashes.

Finally the raw lumber is seasoned, the ideas are mature enough to be useful, and the project begins to take shape.

Being a plotter is, to me, crucial in both wordworking and woodworking. It is very important to have the basics laid out just so or the story will lack structure and integrity, or at the very least will waste my valuable time and energy as it wanders off in useless directions. With woodworking, the boards from the stack must be inspected closely for color and grain as well as size. The craftsman hates to waste valuable stock. There is method to the madness.


There is no shame in having a plan to begin with. An outline. A schematic. A blueprint.

There is also no shame in veering from the plan. Perhaps a bit of cherry as an accent might look striking against the dark moodiness of the black walnut. Perhaps the slats of the chair would look good just a bit taller or just a bit thinner than the original plan.

The rough cuts are made. The writing begins. You'd better have your tools sharp and at hand.

I do not believe there is any place for liquor in either the woodshop or the wordshop until the day's work is done and the dangerous maiming tools are put away. Nothing can send your story to near irrepairable places than a couple of beers or a toddy.

Now, standing back and admiring the days cuts...the dadoes, the tenons and mortices, the first sense of the construction...that can call for a contemplative drink or two. Reading over the day's work is much the same. But resist the urge to turn on the tablesaw or the router. Resist the urge to make major changes in the story at this point. The results can be bloody.


The story begins to actually take shape, to make sense, to have a soul and a direction. The project begins to look like something other that bits of wood and flecks of sawdust.

This can be a very dark time. Decisions made now can affect the rest of the story. A variation from the plan can make make the chair wobbly or lopsided.

Early mistakes can be caught as well. A mortise cut on the wrong side of the leg can be fixed by recutting a rail and moving the tenon to match the mortise.

A character flaw can be fixed. Tension can be introduced and heightened. A side arc that isn't working out can be shaved off. This is the stuff of the craft, the very essence of building and writing. It is exciting and gratifying...messy and tedious...and you wouldn't want it any other way!

There becomes, often, a temptation now to hurry things along at this point. That urge must be supressed in both the woodshop and the workshop, I think. Hurrying makes it much more likely that you will make a mistake, and at this point, with so much time and effort put into the creation, do you really want to chance making a mis-cut? Do you want to cut a board that's been through a half dozen processes so far--seasoning, planing, thicknessing, rough sizing, test fitting--do you really want to cut that board a half inch too short?

When I get the urge to hurry toward the end in my writing I have taught myself to set it aside for a time and remember that this is a novel. I'm not on any sort of deadline. I tell myself to try to turn the urgency and excitement into a sort of dogged determination. I take a break. I find something else to do, like a visit to the shop to make a little sawdust and splatter a little glue.

When you write, you have to use all of your tools. When you do a lamination, you regret not buying those clamps that were on sale last week or month. When you are crafting a novel, you regret not having a broader vocabulary and knowledge of punctuation. Thank you, internet and spell check and online thesaurus. Thank you.


And finally, the thing is finished...sort of. The book is written. The chair is carefully glued together over a period of days. It's a living breathing thing now. You feel a great sense of accomplishment. You feel freaking GREAT!


And then you realize that you are far from finished. You feel lousy, at least for a while. There are still things to do. The chair needs the rockers attached and the seat upholstered. Sure , it's a real live chair and solid as a rock, but it isn't quite done yet.

The story needs attention too. An awkward chapter needs revising.  You discover that one of the characters has been acting out of character for the last 30 pages and needs to be disciplined. Your main character has picked something up and never put it back down again...

So you begin to edit. Slowly...carefully...thoroughly...you begin to edit. You attach the rockers to the chair.  You hand sand the rails and slats with finer and finer abrasive until the wood is as smooth as a baby's butt.


Now you're done. Now the chair can be sat in.  The book can be read. The chair rocks. You think the book rocks too, but sadly, you don't count, now. 

It's time for the book to be read. I hope you have a group of readers that will review your book and give you an honest critique. It's almost as important as the craftsman having a sharp chisel and a well tuned saw. You might have to go so far as to pay someone to do that...an editor. There's no shame in it, and if you can afford it, I would recommend doing just that.

Another observation I've made is that when you are doing those very last final copy edits...do not get sucked into the story! It's so easy to do, but do not get sucked into the story. Find and kill the bad commas. Make the parentheses behave. But do NOT get sucked into the book.

Finally!  The end! Time for the rocking chair to go to its new home...the first grandchild's bedroom. You hope the hours spent crafting the chair will bring comfort and joy to the rock-er and the rock-ee.  You hope it will bring nothing but sweet dreams and comfort..

And finally the book is done. It's time for it to go to new homes, to be read and enjoyed by all. It occurs to you that if it makes people laugh, you too are pleased. If it makes them think, you are proud. If it makes them cry, even just a little bit...you are humbled.



I can think of no finer compliment to recieve than to be considered a craftsman, whether you are talking about my woodworking skills...or my word-working skills.

Thank you, most humbly, for your kind words these past few weeks.

Fred Limberg

Please click on the link below.  It will take you to the  Ferris' Bluff page on Amazon.com. You can read the reviews and buy the e-book.  Thanks again,  Fred

Monday, July 11, 2011

The all-important Back Cover!


While Evan is slaving away on the graphic for the back cover of Ferris’ Bluff for the actual book, it’s becoming critical that I decide on what to have printed there.  Sure, it would be easy to work up a witty blurb enticing readers to check the book out, but what I really need are some quotes—you know—some of those witty snippets you see on all the popular books.
But since I don’t know any of those famous people or have much of a track record, I guess I’ll just have to make some up. Hell, most of them sound made up anyway.

Ferris’ Bluff—a better thriller than I ever wrote”— Michael Connerly—bestselling author
Ferris’ Bluff is a damn fine thriller, even if it isn’t set in Florida and doesn’t have a single fish in it”—Randy Wayne Whight—author of lots of books
“I could pronounce every name in that book! Good job, Mr. Limberg, and welcome to the club”—John Lescroart, award winning author
Ferris’ Bluff, a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, unless you’re reading in bed. Then, not so much” Woodly Allen, author, filmmaker and clarinetist
“I really liked Fer…Fersh…Fairest…$#!t. I really liked Fershist Buff…Ferliss…Fersh…f^#&! Read Fershish Bu…Blush…$#!T!  What the bleedin’ f*%k! SHARON???”—Ozzy Ozbourne— Rock God
“At first I thought the f&%#er had ripped off my main character, the capable loner with a sense of duty, but no…he invented his own, and it’s a damn good one”—Lee Childs—thriller writer extraordinaire
“Great story, great characters, villainous villains, and even a neat romantic arc, but dude…you definitely need more guns in a story like this. Granted the Hi-Power and the PSG-1 are both really cool guns, but you need more guns”—Steven Hunter, bestselling author and respected movie critic
“Ferris’ Bluff is the kind of book that you can’t put down, like a lot of mine are” John Stanford—bestselling author
“Stunningly brilliant! Brilliantly Stunning! A tour de force! Riveting! Smashing! A debut worthy of Broadway and the red carpet! Absolutely Smashingly Brilliant and Stunning!”—Book Blurb Generator—used by dozens of real authors who haven’t got time to actually read the frigging book
“If you buy one book this summer, buy mine—but if you buy two, buy Ferris’ Bluff after you’ve bought mine”—Tom Glancy, the king of techno-thrillers and really long novels
“Layered well thought-out plot, characters that come to life as soon as you meet them, and an ending that leaves your ears ringing…Ferris’ Bluff has it all” Diane Grobenstein (one of James Paterson’s hundreds of co-authors and soon to be on the best seller lists)
Hope you got a chuckle out of this. I did. That’s kind of sad and telling isn’t it…
Please feel free to add your own back cover blurbs in the comments section—I mean, c’mon, a guy can’t have too many brilliantly smashing reviews, can he?