A medium-sized city about halfway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, Hue is a charming spot. I had the opportunity to visit there in January 2020—just before the coronavirus evolved into a pandemic.
Some people were already wearing masks as several Asian cultures tend to use face masks at the first hint of becoming unwell. It’s a common practice to avoid spreading any nasty malady to others and a habit we North Americans would be wise to emulate. Our visit to the city was a true pleasure with no adverse events.
In novel # 6, we can’t say the same for one of our principal characters. Despite Hue’s real-life beauty and relative calm, I’ll create a little havoc and danger for one of the protagonists. I won’t tell you which one yet (you’ll need to read the book to find out), but you will get a glimpse of why I found the city so intriguing.
A reminder: Novel # 6 carries on from where A Web of Deceit left off. So, if you’ve put off reading my latest novel, I encourage you to read it soon. # 6 will be released in early 2022!
Over the past two years, family occasions, parties, and celebrations have evaporated. With COVID-19 now well into a fourth wave, there’s tremendous pent-up demand for social interaction among the fully vaccinated. Economists tell us that means we’ll all be giving and receiving more gifts in the coming months.
As an author who still can’t do promotions inside stores, I’ve been exploring alternatives to boost my readership. And I’d like you to help me take part in the expected increase in gift-giving by considering my books as gifts for a spouse, parent, neighbor, friend, or other folks you gift like teachers, hairstylists, or your local mail delivery person.
Each of my stories sells individually at $19.95 Canadian. That’s about 15.00 USD. Individual novels are available anywhere you order your books. Plus, Escapades Abound is a trilogy gift set that sells for $49.95 (about 33 USD) and includes Three Weeks Less a Day, The Multima Scheme, and Unrelenting Peril.
To that mix, we’ve just added the Gary D. McGugan Collection. This is an exciting new gift set that includes all 5 novels at the special price of $79.95 (or about 53 USD)! This collection will have very limited production and distribution, making it an ideal special-occasion gift. Selected Indigo and Chapters bookstores feature the Gary D. McGugan Collection in Canada, but you can also order for shipment anywhere in the world from my website.
An added benefit: Orders from my website will include personalized signatures on each book, and I’ll pay all shipping costs. For your autumn and holiday season gift-giving, please consider a Gary D. McGugan book.
Last week, I shared exciting news with VIP readers that initial copies of my latest suspense thriller --A Web of Deceit—arrived at my office. It gave me an opportunity to sign and ship the very first copies to folks who subscribe. Thanks for all your book orders! It was wonderful to personalize so many copies and felt almost like I was at a live signing event again!
All initial VIP copies have been shipped and I hope each of you will find time to start my story soon. I suggest you start reading on a weekend though, because I think you’ll have trouble putting down A Web of Deceit once you start!
As you see videos, posts, reviews, interviews, and other snippets of information on social media in the coming days, I’ll be grateful if you can share them with your friends and family. In this pandemic world, your shares mean the world—helping me to let people know about a story I think many will enjoy.
A Web of Deceit is now available from 37,000 resellers wherever you buy books around the world. If you order from your favorite retailer’s website, you should receive a copy within a few days. If you’re buying in a store, you might need to ask the retailer to order it for you as many locations don’t stock lesser-known writers. If you’re downloading to an eBook, every format is ready to go!
Of course, if you’d still like a signed copy, I have books available and ship free anywhere, if you order below. Heartfelt thanks to each of you for your support and efforts to help me “spread the word” about A Web of Deceit!
All my books are listed on GoodReads and your friends can see ratings and reviews readers have shared for each of them. But it gets even better for the next few days. GoodReads is giving away 100 free Kindle copies of Three Weeks Less a Day!
Share this message with your friends so they can enter the contest to win 1 of the 100 copies available. (They might also like to subscribe to my VIP Readers list to get their own inside scoop about all my stories. They can do that here.)
Be a good friend and share this message with as many as possible!
Readers will remember Suzanne Simpson from Three Weeks Less a Day, The Multima Scheme, and Unrelenting Peril. In each of those stories, she is the consummate business executive, climbing the ladder of corporate success.
Reviewers like her strong character—regardless the challenge or circumstance she faces. Whether coping with personal tragedy or a business win, Suzanne consistently demonstrates the best qualities of controlled, sure-footed business leaders.
In Novel # 5, Suzanne continues in her role at the pinnacle of power in Multima Corporation, but almost immediately finds herself in totally unfamiliar and uncharted territory. We’ll get a glimpse of another aspect of her character and beta readers tell me they find Suzanne more intriguing and complex in the new story.
Suzanne has evolved over time and in different environments. Readers will best track her growth and development by reading the trilogy about the goings-on at the top of Multima Corporation. You’ll learn much about her surprising rise to power in Three Weeks Less a Day and The Multima Scheme. But it is in Unrelenting Peril where she clearly stakes out her position of authority and fearlessly defends her corporation from nefarious criminal elements.
In Novel # 5, expect to learn more about what drives Suzanne to become one of the most successful people in the American business world. Before that, you still have a few weeks to get to know her better in the earlier stories!
This blog article was first distributed to my VIP List of readers. To get your info earlier, subscribe today in the block just to the right!
I first became intrigued with the Mekong Delta during a war between Vietnam and the Americans that ended in the early nineteen-seventies. Unsurprisingly, while North Americans think of the nineteen-year conflict as the Vietnamese War, people there call it the American War. And it was one of the first examples of how a small, impoverished country might defend itself against a much richer country with almost unlimited military might.
A massive network of underground tunnels helped the Vietnamese launch surprise attacks on the Americans, then often disappear quickly below ground before the Americans could retaliate. Tourists today can visit those tunnels and marvel at the ways Vietnamese soldiers constructed and lived in a world below.
In my new story, Howard Knight visits the Mekong Delta. I’ll tell you now. He doesn’t visit the tunnels, but he uses another useful bit of information. This region of Vietnam used to be part of the Khmer Empire based in what is now Cambodia. While most of the residents of the area today are ethnic Vietnamese, the largest population of Khmer people outside Cambodia live in the fascinating river delta.
After I learned that tidbit of information, my imagination ran a little wild as I wrote the story, and I think you’ll enjoy reading about Howard’s fleeting experiences there. He’s a fugitive. So he didn’t have much time to see sights. But I think you’ll get to know his ever-flawed character better.
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Precisely one year ago, our small family group landed in Vietnam. I’d already been to Saigon for business a few times, and knew about the bizarre strategies for crossing streets, the plethora of scooters in the roadways, and wonderful hospitality of the people. But I looked forward to exploring cities like Hanoi and Hue for the first time.
Within hours of arrival, I knew a major character in my next novel would visit Vietnam.
It turns out that visitor in novel # 5 is Howard Knight. His time in the fascinating country is short. He’s a fugitive after all! But his fear of detection gives me an opportunity to work into the story a few settings and details that are anything but a travelogue.
Howard sees parts of Saigon that are far from the luxury hotels where western tourists stay and part of his story takes place in the Mekong Delta where much of the war with the Americans was waged. I think you’re going to like his taste of Vietnam when you read novel #5!
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Some writers choose titles for their stories before they start research. Others know before they complete their outline. A few finalize the title with the first draft. I’ve never been able to choose until the very last version and sometimes only days before the story goes to book layout.
Three Weeks Less a Day came easiest. As I mulled over possible names and descriptions, on a whim I wondered how long it took to tell the story. I subtracted the dateline of chapter one from the date on the final chapter and calculated the difference at twenty days. One day less than three weeks I thought. Three Weeks Less a Day was another way of looking at that time period, and I immediately fell in love with the title.
The process was longer and more painful for each of the following stories. So, take a guess at my current challenge. You’ve got it! Novel # 5 is almost ready and I’m still struggling for just the right title to draw in readers. So, I’m asking for your help.
I can’t tell you too much about the story yet, but let me share these insights. Howard Knight returns. Suzanne Simpson plays a larger role as she copes with unimaginable challenges in her leadership of Multima Corporation. And Fidelia Morales becomes a major character. Some of you may remember Fidelia as Howard’s lover in The Multima Scheme where her actions were completely at odds with her given name.
The first page of novel #5 also portrays a famous quotation of Sir Walter Scott more than 200 hundred years ago: "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!"
Novel #5 creates suspense and raises deceit to new levels as more than one character weaves chaos into the inner workings of Multima Corporation at precisely the time a global pandemic starts to unfold. I think you’ll like the story. But the novel needs a title and I need your help. Please tell me your preference.
Here are titles I’m currently considering:
1. A Thoroughly Entangled Web
2. A Web of Deceit
3. A Tangled Web
4. A Jumbled Web
5. None of the above
Please tell me your preference by entering the number of the title you prefer in the "Comments" box. If none seem like a winner, choose #5 and I'll keep searching!
By the way, did you subscribe to my VIP List yet? You can also do that in 30 seconds at the icon on your right! Thanks for your help!
A few days ago it suddenly struck me that I’ll spend this winter entirely in Canada for the first time in almost a quarter-century!
In the winter of 1996, I was asked to spearhead expansion of a new business into Europe and spent several December days in the beautiful city of Geneva. Most days were in meetings, but I still had a chance to experience picturesque Swiss winter weather nestled near the Alps. Of course, I saw snow, but the atmosphere was different from most of Canada.
A few weeks later, I enjoyed a delicious lunch with a prospective customer in Mandelieu on the French Riviera. It was a surprisingly warm and sunny February day. Glancing up from our business conversation, the alluring blue Mediterranean dominated a picturesque background. But in a pool steps away, several topless young women frolicking in the sunshine caught my eye. I think it was probably at that moment I decided winters in warm places should become a fundamental new life goal!
In the intervening years, I’ve had the good fortune to spend winters in Europe, Asia, Florida, and the Caribbean, with only extremely brief intervals to touch base with folks back in Canada. Much of the research and settings for my stories resulted directly from those warm winters away from Canada.
This year is different in almost every respect. In April—when I first realized personal appearances in bookstores to promote my novels would be improbable for the remainder of the year—I started to work on story number five. Using self-isolation and limited social interaction to advantage, I wrote steadily throughout the spring and summer and started the editing cycle in October.
The manuscript is progressing well, and I think readers will really like the new story. I’ll be polishing it until January with my expert editors. By the end of February, it will be released.
The next few months mean promotion of a new novel and building on sales of earlier ones. I plan to use the dreary days of a Canadian winter to learn new digital selling skills and develop a better online presence, increasing penetration into the eBook segment as well as traditional print versions. I invite you to come along on that adventure with me.
If you choose to subscribe to my VIP List, I’ll start sending monthly newsletters directly to your email box. Starting in January, I’ll talk about writing, promoting, and selling books, but I’ll also talk with you about how I’m managing to cope with Canadian winters after being away for more than a third of my life!
Please join me. Look for the VIP List box just to the right of this article and subscribe. It takes about 30 seconds!
My 2019 author promotional events have finished. It’s been an extraordinary 7 months meeting new readers all across the province of Ontario with a bonus weekend in Montreal! I’ve had an outstanding time interacting with thousands of new people and feel gratified with book sales for each of my novels.
I thank each of you for your unfailing support. Without your purchases of books, Facebook’ shares’, book reviews, and recommendations to friends and neighbors, such success simply could not be possible. As a writer working without the benefit of celebrity, name recognition, or the publicity machine of a large publisher, I rely on you.
You’ve probably grown tired seeing Facebook Events publicizing my store promotions. I get that. But it’s really the only cost-effective tool we writers have to generate awareness and interest. You might be surprised to know how effective it is. Know that visitors to stores often commented that they had “heard about this book” or asked if I had recently been featured on TV because “it sounded familiar.” Facebook publicity works.
You may have noticed my events and posts always highlighted the name of the store location with an underline. That underline means the message also appeared on the Facebook page of that individual store. This tool let me reach a thousand or more regular shoppers at that specific store about the upcoming event and directly contributed to both traffic and book sales.
The good news? I won’t be posting any more Events this year! In fact, don’t look for any event posts until well into 2020.
Right now, I’m working feverishly to complete novel number 4. As you might imagine, writing time has suffered with 3-5 days per week dedicated to promotional activities. So, I’ll remain focused on finishing the new story so my editors can go to work helping me make it better. If all goes well, the new story will be the best yet and appear in late April or early May next year.
I can’t reveal details yet, but I will tell you the next story features the four naughtiest characters from the previous three novels and will be my fastest paced and most entertaining yet!
If you haven’t read Three Weeks Less a Day, The Multima Scheme, and Unrelenting Peril, you might want to finish them before spring. Of course, I’ll also appreciate you continuing to recommend my stories to your friends. Even better, you might consider giving books to family and friends as holiday gifts.
Whether you are a family member, friend, reader, or interested follower, please accept my heartfelt thanks and unending gratitude for your unwavering support!
Dictionaries might define the word ‘rendezvous’ as a meeting with someone that is arranged for a particular time and place (and that is often secret); or a place where people agree to meet at a particular time; or perhaps a place where many people go to spend time. Here, Rendezvous is a place where we can share information and get to know each other better.
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