Dangerous and/or taboo topics…

repost from Quora

How do you research dangerous or taboo topics for your stories? Do you ever worry that people will get the wrong impression?Lynda Filler, Winner of Best in Contemporary Fiction 2017 BTRC at Writers and Authors (2009-present)

That’s a great question!

I think of that when I start going deeper into things like the “dark web” or “how to hack… “ and even anything about weaponry!

The good news is, I’m sure being an older female is a plus. I certainly don’t look or act like I’m involved in anything nefarious. But these are a few things that you might find interesting.

  1. I live in Turkey right now. Although I’m a Canadian and have been living in Mexico for the last 17 years.
  2. That means that since 2016 coup attempt things like this routinely occur when I am researching for my Code Raven Series:

At first, I thought it was my internet connection. I also discovered they block porn sites (research, remember!!) But when it happened day after day, I did some research. Wiki was blocked in April of 2018. These were some facts and conclusions I came to:

  1. Turkey coup: Court hands 17 top generals 141 life terms The accused were charged with crimes against the state, attempting to kill the President and the deaths of 249 people.
  2. Last year 251 journalists languished in jails as a result of doing their jobs, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a New York-based NGO. It marked the third year in which at least 250 journalists were imprisoned around the world, though it was also the first decline since 2015. (Jan 16, 2019)
  3. Turkey Leads the World in Jailed Journalists
  4. It’s probably a great idea to stop telling people that I’m a writer/author/novelist. And if this is being read by anyone in Turkey, I write fun thrilling, mystery suspense action books that have nothing to do with any kind of political affiliation or government hate!! I LOVE Turkey! That’s why I decided to get a visa and stay awhile!!
  5. And then I remembered Kashoggi. Hmm.

The solution to the issue as all techies will tell you is using a VPN. If you have any concerns whatsoever, I suggest you get a techie to help you set up your computer for your projects.

CODE RAVEN SERIES https://amzn.to/2YSQAst

How do you see the world around you?

I always find find photography to be an inspiration in my writing. I use places and people that I meet along my way to create characters and locations for my stories. My walk in Istanbul yesterday morning and the tram ride to Sultanahmet Square in the afternoon, are great examples.

I’m currently working on Code Raven 7 which features Turkey and the Middle East. One of my key characters in this book is a DJ named EM+EM. He’s currently on the trail of terrorists after a horrific event during his wedding the night before. He is taking a jog from Kariköy to the Blue Mosque and these are photos of things he would see during his run.

I hope you enjoyed a slice of my life. If you wish to see more, please join me on Lynda Filler Author and/or Lynda Filler Creates on Instagram

Code Raven 7 is untitled but will be out late fall. In the meantime, don’t miss the fun! LYNDA FILLER AMAZON Code Raven Prequel it’s $.99 and gives you the background on who is Luke Raven?

Yes, FREE to read!

Have you heard about Kindle Unlimited?

If you’re a reader you want to have a Kindle Unlimited Membership. For $9.99 per month you’ve got over a million titles to choose from.

Currently, all my titles are free to read in Kindle Unlimited. If you love mystery/suspense/spies/female heroines & a genius billionaire, the Code Raven Series is for you. Here’s what fans are saying:XPOSED

“What a mind Ms. Filler has as the Raven Group takes on a new ‘associate’ in the form of Samaar, code name Luci. Badass lady all around! In this first adventure the VERY high tech Raven team have just rescued Luci and her 4 YO daughter, Alice, from sure death by a South American Cartel. She, along with several others of the team, are thrust into Paris, to Shanghai and a quick stop in Sedona, AZ. Top secret vehicles on land, sea and in the air. WHOO HOO! What a ride!”ABDUCTED  *Drum roll for immense enthusiasm!

August 30, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition
ABDUCTED: Code Raven 2
By Lynda Filler
5 Stars

ABDUCTED. Doesn’t that just set the theme? I mean for me it meant action, suspense, and an all-out thrill to read. And once again Ms. Filler delivers. How she is able to pack SO MUCH into these books is a wonder but she does it. And does it WELL.

Book 2 (if you don’t count the pre-quell) continues along with the illustrious Luke Raven and his band of merry men (& women but you get the picture). This time around the Raven group is working on a trafficking case, both human and drugs. But don’t think Ms. Filler is going to leave it cut and dried with just the case. Nope, she throws in twists and turns that will have you gasping.

The characters Ms. Filler has brought to life for us with this series keep getting better and better. The world building and suspense ratchet each book up another level. You will invest your time and emotions in these books and you will come out the other side emotionally spent. But it will be worth it. OH, SO WORTH IT. I chomp at the bit to read these books and can assure you. Ms. Filler is the REAL DEAL. Action, romance, suspense…Ms. Filler delivers it ALL!! These books need to be a MUST READ on everybody’s list. So, get it NOW!!

 ULTIMATUM

“Wow! Just wow! Luci and the Raven Group just get better and better! Action and intrigue continue in this third installment. Cyber war, ISIS, the US and Chinese government. More high tech gadgets abound. We go to Singapore, Washington, D. C., and (whoopee!), Las Vegas in this one. (I love to travel!) As usual, it’s hard to figure out who’s working for who. Great action, Lynda!”DISPLACED

April 22, 2019

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
 
 October 19, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition
5 Stars

“What do you know about the Silk Road?”
“Are you referring to the old Silk Road trading routes? If you are, the Silk Road was an ancient network of trade routes connecting the East and West which for centuries was central to the cultural interaction between them. The Silk Road also refers to both the terrestrial and the maritime routes connecting Asia with the Middle East and southern Europe. Today, of course, it’s the new China Railway Corp route to England. It will cut ground shipping to half the time of the maritime routes. The cost of shipping goods into Europe will fall considerably making Chinese exports/imports even more viable to its trading partners in Russia and Europe.”
“Hmmm.”
“Why do you ask?”
“I heard Ivanov’s men talking about the Silk Road. I’m not sure of the significance, but it’s too much of a coincidence to ignore. Let me search around and see what I come up with.”

Silk Road is the sixth book in the Code Raven series by Lynda Filler. As we have discovered in the previous book/s, this series centres around the Raven Group, which is a top-secret, special ops team who help to keep the world a safer place- and the series chronicles the action-packed missions they embark on. This latest mission may just be the most challenging one yet.
The story starts with Luke whisking Samaar(Luci) away to the Maldives for a much-needed break and Zach headed to Washington DC after a call from his friend Mike, a former Navy SEAL buddy, who needs his help. Himanish is in Geneva doing what he does best, keeping tabs on everything, and starts to put some worrying pieces together. Children are going missing from all around the world, mostly from remote areas, leaving their families devastated. So, when these abductions hit closer to home for members of the team- Luke Raven will do everything in his power to get to the bottom of it all and return the children to their families. This truly is an international mission, taking the team from Canada to Paris, The Maldives, Geneva, Washington DC, China, Tel Aviv, London, and even to Kyrgyzstan in central Asia as they try to uncover who’s been behind a wave of human kidnapping. The team pulls together, digging deep, using all their skills, contacts and networks to follow the trail- as the case becomes more complicated than they ever imagined.
We catch up with characters we know and love, as well as meeting some new ones. I love that each book in this series allows me to get to know the (recurring) characters a little bit better each time. I love watching the relationship between Luke and Samaar/Luci (and adorable Alice) develop more in this book. The little bit of romance and some touching and tender moments helped to lighten the darker topics covered in the storyline.
This is definitely one of my favourites of the series, so far. The story was an action-packed adventure, with dramatic developments, danger, abduction, intrigue, suspense, human trafficking, drug cartels, life and death situations, high stakes risk, covert ops, high-tech gadgets, social and political issues, camaraderie, friendship, bonds, romance, depravity, heart-aching situations, and so much more
I am really enjoying this series, which just seems to get better and better with each new instalment! I am really looking forward to my next adventure with the Raven Group!

Thank you, Ms. Filler!
  AND I mustn’t leave out the PREQUEL Code Raven, where it all started! July 31, 2018
Lynda Filler kicked me in the feels with this enthralling prequel to the Code Raven series. For being a short read, at 56 pages, it really gives you a lot. We discover who the series will be around, Raven, well Luke Raven. The background info really sets you up to fall in love with Raven and the supporting characters that are also introduced. I could tell this definitely a stepping stone to what is to come. Mystery and suspense has me wanting to go on to the next in the series right away. I need to know what will come next and where Lynda plans to take us on this journey with Raven.

Lynda Filler was new to me when I picked up her other title, Lie to Me. I was really impressed with her writing skills in that one and have been hooked on her since. She really builds her characters, sets up her plots, and then weaves it into a gripping storyline that will have you hooked from beginning to end. I can’t wait to devour the rest of this series.
 
 By the way, they can be read in any order as they are all standalone adventures of the Raven Group! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more stories in this series! I have as much fun writing them as you seem to have reading them! 

https://amzn.to/2RpOFd0

When did terrorism become the new normal? First hand report from Tel Aviv March 15, 2019.

I was in the kitchen making coffee. I’ve never heard air raid sirens before but I knew instinctively what I was witnessing.

I arrived in Tel Aviv on Sunday, March 5th, from Jerusalem. Those of you who are following me know I recently left Mexico, my home of several years, to travel through the USA, into Europe, India, Turkey and now Israel. You also know I’m a writer. What you might not know, if you haven’t read LOVE The Beat Goes Onmy memoir–I’m also a great believer in visualization–but usually, it’s the good kind!

I always wanted to make an amazing trip like this, but I never took my thoughts seriously until this past year. Part of it was the desire to visit countries I’ve read and written about; and the other part was to follow a journey my heart has wanted to take for a long time. A journey into self.

Everyone kept saying: Why do you want to go to the Middle East? It’s dangerous. Watch out for terrorists!

My response to that might be, why take a trip anywhere in the world, or even the USA, today? I’m not even referring to 9/11 which was horrific in every way, but how about the Las Vegas mass shooting? It seems there isn’t any place safe in the United States. So why make a blanket statement about the Middle East?

I did acknowledge that the Middle East has issues. But I was totally unprepared for New Delhi. I like to think I’m well educated and aware of events happening around the globe. After all, I do write a thriller, action, suspense series, Code Raven. I’ve covered terrorism, trafficking, cartels, abductions, the refugee crisis, and many other current affairs and issues we face today. But to land at the Delhi Airport and witness the police barriers casually located everywhere throughout this amazing city, brings a whole new meaning to the word terrorism.

Unfortunately you quickly become immune to it. If you’re a world traveler, you are familiar with airport security. But that similar level of security is visible at every hotel in New Delhi and most tourist attractions. Cars are checked underneath, and trunks are opened. Handbags, backpacks, and luggage go through detectors. I had to pass through a screening process to enter my hotel, any time of the day or night. An Indian friend of mine explained it this way: “Terrorism is a fact of life in India. Pakistan, our neighbour, is the home of terrorism.”

Which brings me back to the purpose of this blog. I’m a strong believer in visualization. Last summer while visiting my son in Paris, I jokingly said I could live out of a suitcase. And now I am! When my friends and acquaintances told me to be careful on my journey, I jokingly responded: “Hah! With my luck, they’ll probably be dropping bombs in Israel when I get there!”

As usual, there is conflict in Jerusalem, especially at the Western Wall, where I was staying in the Old City. But I didn’t know that. It’s not widely reported in the news. And whatever was reported in the Times of Israel, I glanced over never thinking it would affect me. However incidents were happening while I was there and the military actually closed the Damascus Gate, my entrance to the 800-year-old house I was renting, on the morning I left to come to Tel Aviv!

But nothing prepared me for the reaction I felt to the air raid sirens going off last night in Tel Aviv.

It was surreal. In some strange way, it felt like I was in the middle of a movie set. My apartment is on the 6th floor in the artsy district of Tel Aviv, and I could look out and see many other buildings, plus the street and the emergency vehicles racing down the thoroughfares. I stood transfixed by the sound and witnessed many others on their balconies looking towards the skyline. I watched several jumbo jets ascending going to faraway places, leaving Israel behind. And then I heard the explosion! I stood transfixed. No smoke rose up. No one moved from their patios. Television screens continued whatever shows were being streamed. Life stood still, and at the same time, life went on…

For many Israelis who were in Tel Aviv in 2014, air raid sirens are not a new thing. But I don’t generally enter war zone territories as a daily event in my life. Unfortunately, my powerful mind did visualize this event. Or maybe the mental/emotional part of my mind, could feel it coming. Either way, like one Twitter friend, said, in response to my tweet, “I bet she felt safe in Tel Aviv.” And she was right. Although my body was stressed, my mind was calm. I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be, and I would be safe.

It’s the morning after. I sent a lot of messages last night to friends I’ve made in Turkey, Dubai, India, Canada, and Mexico. No one knew what I was talking about. TWO ROCKETS LAUNCHED INTO TEL AVIV, ISRAEL WAS NOT REPORTED IN THE INTERNATIONAL NEWS.

When did acts of war become so mundane that they were not worthy of coverage? I guess if you don’t have bodies strewn on airstrips, or shopping mall floors, or rock concert stadiums, no one cares.

When did terrorism become the new normal?

STREET ART TEL AVIV MARCH 2019

I admit it…

It’ been awhile. Have you wondered what happened to me?

I’m unpredictable, enigmatic, and always evolving. If any of my past relationships (men) are reading my blog, you can stop smiling now! I write sporadically, sometimes about topics that make you smile, shake your head, and check the post, wondering if I wrote it at all. “This is me,” as a dear friend of mine would say.

When you begin to understand me, I will do a 180 and you have to start all over again. It’s 2019. I rarely look backward, instead, I prefer to move on and live in the moment, moving towards the future. I have many amazing and beautiful things that happened in 2018, including taking back my emotional life and healing a very sad heart. Well, let me think about what I just said. I’m a woman. Do we ever truly heal our hearts? If we are open to love we will always be putting our hearts back together. So rather than look at 2018 let’s move right on into 2019!!

I have lived in Puerto Vallarta, on and off, since 2002. I fell in love with Mexico in the late 90’s. Many believe I moved here for a man. Let’s just say that I moved here out of love… a love that encompassed self-love, a lover, and a need to save my life rather than stay in a bad marriage and die a little each day.

And now the time has come to move on. I’m not saying I will never come back. But there are places to go and people to meet and stories to write and experiences to live, and love…yes, there will always be love.

I’m traveling first to the USA, then Paris to see my son and grandson, then I will visit India. I’ve never been before so if you have any places in India that touched your heart or spoke to your soul, please share them with me. After India I will spend a couple of days in Istanbul, and then I will have my birthday in Israel. First I will stay very close to the Wailing Wall, in the Arab Quarter in Jerusalem. Just writing this sends shivers up and down my spine. I’m drawn to the Holy Lands like many before me. I suppose my Catholic upbringing has a lot to do with that, but so does the life and death of IDZ, and the exploits of Samaar and Raven (operatives in my series, Code Raven– the first 3 are .99 cents).

After Israel I will go to Bangkok. From there I have absolutely no plans, but I will visit and possibly stay, in Bali. I will follow … my dreams.

Yesterday a friend of mine looked me in the eye and said, ‘You’re following your heart. You’re in love with him.” I objected profusely. “I’m in love with life, with travel, with places I’ve never been to and people I have yet to meet.” She raised her eyebrows and smiled. And then we both laughed.

Do I have a return ticket? No. I never look back and rarely go back, I always move forward. “But, will you come back to Mexico?”

“I always follow my heart.”

The prequel and the first two books in Code Raven Series available for .99 cents on Amazon

FREE Gifts!

Happy Holidays Everyone.

Here’s my first Christmas Gift…

The Code Raven Series is so much fun to write. We are up to seven books now. In the last installment, I’ve added characters and expanded the series. I hope you enjoy this first in the series–after Code Raven the prequel.

XPOSED

FREE! Download, Gift to friends for their new iPads, Kindles. This suspense thriller uncovers a dark and dangerous world of high-level intrigue, passion, power, and greed.Luci and Luke at their most intriguing!

XPOSED 

“I love a good action flick, and this book is on the top of my list. Right out of the gate we are tossed into a dire situation, and things only escalate from there.” Amazon Reviewer

“Overall I loved this book, this series, and it’s definite super high recommendation from me.” Amazon Reviewer

“XPOSED by Lynda Filler is the first book in her Code Raven series. Exciting and fast paced this book will leave you wanting more.
Luci has retired from her old life. After retrieving millions of stolen dollars she has taken her daughter and created a life as far removed from her previous one as possible.
Except she can’t leave it fully behind. On the run from her enemies, she finds herself in the company of The Ravens – a group of elite members with a certain skill set.
She is introduced and immediately recruited by their leader, Luke. Thrown into a war between the US and China Luci finds herself racing all over the world to try and stop the threat they are facing.” Amazon Reviewer

“The author does an excellent job of providing captivating moments with intrigue, suspense, and steam. This book features a series of characters that are a part of the Raven Group and their camaraderie is well captured. I found this easy to read as the story pulls you through. It includes a well-played mix of suspense within it. Overall, I really liked this book and would highly recommend to any crime, mystery, and/or suspense lover.” Amazon Reviewer

How do you do that thing you do so well?

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It’s a common question asked by those who want to write a novel. I hear this all the time on Quora. Where do you begin? How? Where do you get your ideas? Do you plot? Do you ‘wing-it?’ How do you do that thing you do–so well?

Let’s talk about my latest release, SILK ROAD Code Raven 6. It’s a great example of my personal writing process and may help you to get started on yours!

It starts with a word. I asked a friend, fellow author, to give me a country. In this case, it was Kyrgyzstan–a country that had no meaning to me. If you’re familiar with the Code Raven Series, you would know that not only do I love my characters and develop them further with each story, but I also love to take them to different countries around the globe to get into–and out of–trouble!

In my research about Kyrgyzstan, I came across the history of how this country was once a part of the Soviet Union. I already had a rough idea of the Russia/Asia part of the world but didn’t know much about the terrain. If you are anything like me, once you go on the world-wide-web, one search turns into another, and another, and before you know it, you’re off on a tangent for no particular reason. In my case, my interest was piqued by the crime lords who moved in to fill the void of a legitimate government. Corruption of all types runs rampant in this predominately Muslim country.

At this point, I became intrigued by the historical implications of this centuries-old area and the original Silk Road–the trading route moving through Asia from the East to the West.

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Without giving away the plot, let’s just say that I became intrigued by the human condition and in particular how turmoil and greed affect women and children around the globe.

HERE’S MY PROCESS:

  1. Out comes the excel spreadsheet. 
  2. Usually, I reprint the Characters names across the top of the sheet so I don’t mix up attributes, history, or activities, timelines, etc. This is important when writing a series. You would work the same way as you introduce new characters in your novel even if it’s a stand-alone book. I also used this process on my memoir LOVE The Beat Goes On
  3. Chapters numbers down the left side column.
  4. Next column a key phrase to summarize what will happen in that chapter.
  5. The next column will give more detail, possibly a paragraph of key events.
  6. In the planning stages, I might color code the chapters. If it’s fiction and action, I might color code an action event RED, something that moves the plot along in YELLOW, and a relatively soft aspect, emotional, resting chapter might be soft green. This way you can make sure you don’t lose your reader by dropping the pace. Inevitably all my reviewers say this series is ‘fast-paced.’ You want that when writing a mystery. Otherwise, your fans will get bored and put your book down! We want them to read it in “one sitting!”
  7. The chapters continue down the page until the end.

Why a spreadsheet?

I use this concept if I’m writing Action/Adventure/Mystery or Contemporary Romance or Non-fiction like my memoir. Why?

  1. It’s easy to cut-and-paste therefore changing the sequence of events, or slotting in a new chapter!
  2. You can see the entire story in one place. 
  3. The spreadsheet allows you to edit the events along the way inserting, expanding where you find your plot to be weak.

My process is always fluid. I never set a rigid plot.

Sometimes I start with one idea and watch the following events move down the page. The thoughts, ideas I have may never make it to the final story. But here’s the key: one idea leads to another, and another, and another. And my story starts to take shape from that original one word. Example:

Silk Road. Trade. Smuggling. The new Rail service from the coast of China all the way to London, England! Think about the potential here. Imagine all the events that could happen along the way! And that’s how the story moved along. And then I found activities in the Maldives that I decided to connect. And one of my main characters, Zach was summoned to Washington DC by the frightening pleas from a SEAL friend he served with in his Afghanistan/Bin Laden days.

Here’s a couple of teasers so you get a feel for the final story:

A former Navy SEAL gets a terrifying message from his estranged daughter. “I’m desperate! I need your help, Dad. Bring your friends!”

“They stole my baby Daddy! They’ve got my boy!” Will a team of ex-SEALs break US law to exact revenge?

A teenager is abducted in Kyrgyzstan. Has she become one of many kidnapped brides? Or is something far more frightening going on? The corrupt authorities ignore the parents’ pleas for help.

A new Silk Road train stretches from the eastern shores of Yiwu China to London, England. Its precious cargo is not what’s written on the manifest.

When two young children are abducted in the middle of the night from Raven’s sanctuary in the Maldives, Luci, Luke, and the Raven Group will stop at nothing to get them back.

Are all these horrific events linked?

If I’ve peaked your interest and you want a great read, written in the style of Lee Childs, David Baldacci, or Clive Cussler, get your copy on Amazon: Silk Road

 

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France’s World Cup win is a victory for immigrants everywhere!

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I’m sitting at my computer this morning in Paris, France thinking about how life often gives you exactly what you need to follow your life’s purpose. If you are a follower of my blog or a first-time viewer, let me share with you that I’m passionate about social issues.

When I had to choose a direction for my University degree in Ottawa, Canada, I chose social work. I remember the textbook, of all things. It was huge and thick and hardcover. Lugging it around seemed like I was carrying the issues of the world with me every day. But in essence, at that time, the issues were swept under the rug. We didn’t have social media to shine a light on racism, immigration, #MeToo, workplace inequality, wage disparity, universal healthcare, poverty, sex, and child-trafficking. I could go on and on and on.

I came to the realization this year after publishing many books and novellas, that in my action series or even romantic thrillers, I find a way to build my stories around world events, social issues. I shine a light on the problems in ways that keep my fans engaged, but I also humanize things like racial or gender discrimination, exploitation, government corruption, immigration, the Mexican people, and many more subjects.

I never completed the degree in Social Work. One day I put down the book and cried. I’d been reading about prostitution, and never opened it again.  I felt I could work for years as a social worker and never make a difference in peoples’ lives. I’ve only recently been thinking about this with the event of the World Cup. Each book in my Code Raven Series reflects on things happening in the world and how Luke Raven uses his vast personal fortune to deal with things in ways the governments never could. The issue closest to my heart, partially because I live full time in Mexico, is the racism experienced by the Mexicans in the United States. I know discrimination, illegal immigration, separation of parent and child–these are very real challenges the world faces today; and it’s not only in the United States of America.

I have a son and two-year-old grandson in Paris. I look at my darling Félix and wonder about the world he will inherit. When I made my plans for Paris, I had no idea the World Cup was being played. I can get caught up in writing and forget the world around me. I’ve written about Paris, France and it’s racism and the migrant camps. The violence of terrorism and the migrants living in tents, trying to find a country that will and can accept them is, unfortunately, a worldwide issue. Next month DISPLACED will come online with Samaar-codenamed Luci. I worked hard on that plot, and by its title, you know that the novella centers around immigration; but the story is a fast-paced action/thriller with a strong human interest element. I cried in sections during the writing of that book. Being in Paris while France won the World Cup is my reward for writing this story!

Why? Because I am here, walking the streets, feeling a tremendous collective and inclusive energy. When France won the semi-finals I was out in the streets wandering past the cafes, it was totally incredible! I shared the passion, the excitement and the pride of the French people.

Now it’s up to all of us to learn from this and carry the love for our fellow man into the world. After all, only WE can be the difference that can change the world.

 

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/15/opinions/france-world-cup-win-immigration-diversity-joseph/index.html