Hank Phillippi Ryan: THE HOUSE GUEST
Please welcome multi-award-winning author and multi-EMMY award winning investigative reporter HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN, who is the only author to have[…]Read more
A Blog for Readers and Writers of Mystery, Crime, and Suspense Fiction
Please welcome multi-award-winning author and multi-EMMY award winning investigative reporter HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN, who is the only author to have[…]Read more
There’s a lot of interest in self-publishing among authors—even those who have been traditionally published in the past. The problem[…]Read more
Tracee: Connie, the next in the Kate Hamilton Mystery series releases tomorrow (yes, folks, there’s still time to pre-order!) and all of your fellow Miss Demeanors are excited for the week ahead.Read more
KILLING IN C SHARP She saved Carraigfaire—but can she save her friends? Gethsemane Brown fought off an attack by a sleazy hotel developer who wanted to turn her Irish cottage into a tourist trap. Now she must face a vengeful ghost determined to exact revenge for her murder centuries ago. This ghost’s wrath spares no one—not Gethsemane’s students, Inspector Niall O’Reilly, fellow teacher Frankie Grennan, or a group of ghost hunters descended on Dunmullach to capture proof ghosts exist. Proof Gethsemane has to quash to keep Eamon, her resident ghost and friend, from becoming an internet sensation. As if a spiteful specter wasn’t bad enough, a crooked music reviewer turns up dead in the opera house orchestra pit, a famous composer is arrested for the crime, and Gethsemane must team up with a notorious true-crime author to clear his name. If she doesn’t, friends will die, a ghost she cares about will never know peace, and she’ll star in a final act gruesome enough for any opera. TRACEE: Alexia thanks for going us today. LAUNCH DAY for Killing in C Sharp! ROBIN: First, since we’re celebrating, a toast! To Book 3! TRACEE: Does everyone have an “Alexia favorite”? I follow her on Instagram and know exactly what she likes. (Whiskey anyone?) SUSAN: I will also toast your success, and I’ll ask if you have a signature drink for this celebration. ALEXIA: No, but I should have. Thanks for the suggestion. TRACEE: Before we get too far “into our cups” – do people still know what this means? – any real book questions? ROBIN: I’ve been really curious, maybe because setting has been on my mind so much this week – why Ireland?ALEXIA: I love Ireland and all things Irish. (Hibernophile is a real word.) I needed a setting where my main character would be out of place and I needed a place where a ghost wouldn’t seem unusual. Ireland fit the bill. ALISON: I’m still looking forward to the launch of my first book. Does this feel different from the launch of your first two?ALEXIA: Launch day #3 is less nerve-wracking than the first two. Between my day job and working on book 4, March 6 snuck up on me. I also didn’t buy the amount of swag for book 3 that I bought for the first two books. Just pens this time, and bookmarks. No mugs and posters and stickers and t-shirts, and… TRACEE: Can you give us a peek into your creative process for Gethsemane Brown’s third adventure? (Is it possible you had a very bad experience with a music critic? Care to name names?)ALEXIA: No bad experiences with music critics (not that I’d admit it if there had been, I know better than that.) Since this is a series, I already had my characters. I decided on the murder first, who and why, then I chose a topic that interested me (a legend I’d heard about a princess being walled into a castle to save her kingdom–I always wondered what the princess thought about being sacrificed against her will. Why couldn’t she have her revenge?), then I chose music to tie everything together. TRACEE: As an aside, in India there is a legend about a man being walled up in a fort as part of a ritual sacrifice to safe the people from an invading army. Then I saw the marker and realized it wasn’t a ‘legend.’ The fort did stand, and the people were saved…. Still. Now I have to look into the revenge aspect. MICHELE: I’d love to know how you plans to age Gethsemane over the life of the series. In real time or pokey a la Kinsey Millhone? ALEXIA: I think I’m going ageless, a la Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. TRACEE: What about the ghosts! Tell us more! Is there research involved?ALEXIA: Does watching Ghost Adventures count as research? I love ghost stories. M.R. James is one of my favorite authors and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is one of my favorite movies. I like the idea of the living continuing to interact with the dead (at least in fiction where I can control the outcome). TRACEE: How are you spending launch week?ALEXIA: Working at the day job. On launch night, I’m attending the first lecture in a series called “Drinking Through the Decades with North Shore Distillery,” on the history of cocktails sponsored by our local community center. Research with samples. CATE: We knew it. There will be a special cocktail after all! TRACEE: Congratulations Alexia, and enjoy launch week. Fans can find links to learn more about Alexia and the Gethsemane Brown series here. Killing in C Sharp available at:Amazon: amzn.to/2meis9YBarnes: bit.ly/2CJR8qgiTunes: apple.co/2CP33TTKobo: bit.ly/2CU9sRa Alexia Gordon BIO:A writer since childhood, I put literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. Medical career established, I returned to writing fiction. I completed SMU’s Writer’s Path program in Dallas, Texas. Henery Press published my first novel, Murder in G Major, book one of the Gethsemane Brown mysteries, in September 2016. Book two, Death in D Minor, released July 11, 2017. Book three, Killing in C Sharp, comes out March 6, 2018. Murder in G Major won the Lefty Award for Best Debut Novel, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best New Novel, and was selected one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Debuts. I listen to classical music, drink whiskey, and blog at www.missdemeanors.com, voted one of Writers’ Digest magazine’s 101 best websites for writers, and http://femmesfatales.typepad.com/my_weblog/Read more
Drum roll. Here they are, as promised, ideas from critically-acclaimed and award-winningauthors about what they actually do to bring their books to the world. (No, I wasn’t able to get Lee Child’s thoughts on the subject, but I have a feeling his advice would be something like, “drink coffee and write.” It works for him!) There are DIY ideas and thoughts on hiring a publicist. I love Robin’s word “authorpreneur.” Reading what my fellow Miss Demeanors have done is motivating. I came away with three principles to follow as I embark on my own path to pub date: (1) There’s no harm in trying anything and everything, (2) Do what makes you happy, and (3) There’s a difference between pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and doing something that is a bad fit for you. Learn to distinguish between the two. Please, take your time and read their advice for inspiration. Maybe there will be an idea that works for you. Susan: One of the benefits of working for Gotham Writers, is that after a book comes out, they set me up for all sorts of Gotham events. So when Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency came out, I spoke to a very large crowd at Bryant Park. Of course, I was giving a lecture on character, but I made sure to include lots of references to Maggie Dove. That’s my favorite type of promotion, when I can combine talking about myself with talking about something else. I’ve also loved appearances at Scones and Bones at the Madison, NJ library because everyone there loves cozies. I did hire a publicist for my first book and I paid a ton of money and was named one of More Magazine’s book of the month, which was fabulous, but I also spent my whole advance on that, and I’m still not sure I got my money’s worth. Of course, I absolutely love twitter and Facebook and have connected to so many people that way. Paula: My favorite advice for PR and marketing comes from Glenn Miller, book marketing guru and founding member of Career Authors. He says you should find the strategies that work for you, the ones you’ll actually do consistently, and do them. This is basic brand building for you as an author. Then you can supplement your efforts for every book launch: work with a publicist, hire a social media manager, do ablog tour, etc. For me, this means Twitter, Facebook, and events. Like Susan, I prefer events where I’m talking about something else and to get to slip in references to my books occasionally. The debut of the first novel in my mystery series comes this fall, where I’ll be doing supplemental things as well for the launch. Mostly this means I’ll do whatever my publisher wants me to do. Starting with Instagram, which totally goes against the grain for me in that I am not a selfie person. Live and learn. Tracee: I agree with Paula. We listen to what our publisher wants; however, at some point we each have to develop what works best for us. Some social media doesn’t feel like the right fit at first, then you find your own way of using it, or simply get comfortable and keep going. I do like being in front of real people – partly because I think you get feedback or at least a reaction. A Well-Timed Murder just launched Tuesday and I’ve been in bookstores in Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky so far. In Little Rock I had the great pleasure of meeting the B & H Book Club in person – a follow up to our Skype chat last year. That was a lot of fun, to talk to readers you’ve developed a relationship with. It’s the same with the amazing people who work in the bookstores. Every time I visit a store I hear about other authors and new books, and when you see that “Staff pick” sign by your own book it’s a nice adrenaline rush. We couldn’t do this without them! Michele: First, do treat yourself to a splash of a launch for your first book. It truly is a once in your lifeexperience. Find what social media you can work best and stick to it. I started with Facebook, added Twitter, and am now easing myself onto Instagram. I used a book trailer for my first book because I knew readers who love the beauty of St. John would be drawn to it. I’ve done blogs, interviews, appearances at libraries and bookstores. But what I am convinced works best is the age old advice. Write a damn good book. Here’s a photo from my book launch for No Virgin Island, where mentors Hallie Ephron and Hank Phillippi Ryan celebrate with me. Robin: My nonfiction books were published by small presses who did zero on the publicity front so it was all up to me. The first book also preceded the ubiquity of the Internet thus there were no social networks. Still, I am the daughter of parents who were both involved in advertising and PR when I was little and I guess I learned creative self-promotion without realizing it. I turned promoting that first book into something of a career – I had t-shirts made of the book cover then took those to the largest industry conference of the year. I sought out the big “names” and gave them t-shirts. I’m actually kind of shy but I forced myself to talk to EVERYONE which is how I met magazine editors who remembered the shirts, thus the book, and threw freelance work my way. One of those people contacted me to co-author the second book. Living in a major media market, I also called radio and TV stations until I got on air on a local morning television show. Eventually a sports-themed startup contacted me and I ended up teaching for a couple of years which gave me a platform to sell more books. At its peak, that first book cracked Amazon’s top 100 ranking in its niche-within-a-niche category. Even though it’s now out of print it’s still in the top 500 and being sold as a collectible. The second book, still in print despite being almost old enough to vote, is currently ranked #371 in its category. Apparently, I do okay at the authorpreneur thing. I can’t wait to tackle promotion in crime fiction so I’ve already started by jumping in and volunteering to speak at conferences as a cyber expert, and connecting with other authors on Twitter and through organizations like MWA and Sisters in Crime. Cara Black just let me know last week that she thanks me in the acknowledgements for her next book, coming out this summer. Cate: I am still figuring out the publicity thing. I agree with Michelle’s advice of write a darn good book. Word of mouth does a ton and if the book isn’t great, people won’t talk about it. I think identifying influencers on Instagram and Amazon, and then offering them ARCs or free copies helps. If they like it, they give it a good review that then their 1,000 to 50,000 followers read. I think being paired with the right books on Amazon makes a difference (though I don’t know how to do this). I observed that The Widower’s Wife was lumped with two best sellers from Harper and Penguin on the site. I guess people who bought the latter two books were also buying mine. It gave me a tail wind to ride (those other two books had a ton of marketing behind them coming from a larger house). The Huffington Post also helped with the Widower’s Wife because they picked it as a book to read if you liked Big Little Lies. I don’t know how it got their attention but that was a Hallelujah moment. I am still hoping for something similar for Lies She Told but it’s been more difficult because I think there aren’t as many books that it easily compares to. That Hollywood pitch thing: It’s like Game of Thrones, in outer space! Or it’s like Big Little Lies on a cruise ship works, as trite as it may seem.Read more
My third thriller, Lies She Told, launched Sept. 12 and the reviews have been coming in fast and furious. Last I checked, there are about forty-five on Amazon and 470 reviews/ratings on GoodReads. There are also reviews on Instagram, which I am learning about and just started obsessing over. And I am reading all of them. Why? The true artist might ask. The book can’t be changed now. As long as I feel good about my work, what does it matter what other people think? There are a couple reasons that I read nearly all my reviews. The first is that, like any insecure creative, I must know what people are saying about my brainchild and, by extension, me. I’m as bad as any high school girl with a new haircut. I’ll pretend that it doesn’t matter if the popular kids think my bangs are cute because I like them, but I desperately want the validation. The far more important, non-ego-centric reason that I read reviews is because they are the second part of the conversation that I initiated with my imagined readers when I started writing my latest novel. I told a tale intending for particular themes to emerge and for my characters to resonate in certain ways. I put in twists and turns that I crafted to be believable red herrings. I aspired, above all, to entertain. Now the readers get to react. I have to listen to their interpretation of the story. I need to know what I succeeded in communicating and where I might have fallen short. Crossing my fingers that I’m in for a good conversation. Do you read reviews?Read more
Yesterday was book launch day or, as I prefer to call it, book birthday for Death in D Minor, the second book in the Gethsemane Brown series. Thank you to my fellow Missdemeanors for hosting a blog party. I was in meetings all day at my, to borrow a phrase, daytime situation so I appreciate their help making the day a success.
After work, I celebrated my new novel’s release at one of my favorite places, the Deer Path Inn. This historic inn opened in its current location in 1929. Architect William C. Jones of Holabird and Root fashioned it after a Tudor manor house in Chiddingstone, Kent, England so it looks as if it came straight out of an Agatha Christie mystery. When I arrived at the inn, after a hearty “Welcome back” from several staff members (yes, I visit a lot), I headed for the White Hart Pub. I started with a new (to me) cocktail called The Chancellor, a slightly sweet, completely delicious concoction of Balvenie 12yr scotch, 10yr tawny port, and campano vermouth. I followed up with the charcuterie (a French word that, a friend explains, translates to “big ole pile of cured meat”) tray and topped the evening off with coffee and chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream. Then I went home and slept until around 1 a.m. when lightning flashed so close it illuminated my bedroom and thunder boomed loudly enough to shake the house. I interpreted these as a celestial fireworks show celebrating my new book instead of harbingers of the power-outing, stoplight-frying, flood-inducing storm that’s created a Chicagoland traffic nightmare this morning.
What places do you frequent that transport you into your favorite mystery?Read more
No you didn’t miss the evite. And yes, thank you for asking about whether there would be a launch party for Permanent Sunset, the second book in the Sabrina Salter series published today by Crooked Lane Books. More than anything, my gratitude to readers’ who bought and enjoyed No Virgin Island and eagerly anticipated and pre-ordered Permanent Sunset. I had no idea how gratifying it would be to hear from people who read and supported my first book. I hope Permanent Sunset brings you even more pleasure. So it would seem logical perhaps to celebrate the second in the series with another launch party. After all, the first was a great party held at the James Library in Norwell, Massachusetts, which was attended by more than 100 people, including friends, relatives, clients, fellow-writers, and former classmates. The very generous, effervescent, and talented Hank Phillippi Ryan interviewed me with her usual charm and wit. Later, she wrote, “Now that was a launch party.” As I looked out at the crowd of people who had so kindly supported me, I thought, this is like being at your own wake. The final honor came when relatives of a murder victim in St. John whom I had mentioned in the acknowledgements of No Virgin Island came to honor me and to buy my books. But somehow, a second launch was feeling a little off to me, or as in the wisdom of the great Barbara Ross, kind of like a baby shower for a second baby. It isn’t that we don’t love and welcome that second baby as much as the first. It’s more that the joy is more subtle and relished. A little less like, “Whew, you finally published one of those suckers,” and more like, “Good for you, daring to put yourself and your creation out there again.” And then there is geography. With readers from all over the country and especially those in the Virgin Islands and Caribbean, an inclusive launch would have to be online. Unfortunately, a glass of virtual prosecco falls a little flat. Still, I wanted to honor those who have supported me, propping me up when the doubt and dismay weigh me down. The people who have generously shared with me the joy my writing has brought them. And especially those who have made me laugh when I was taking this writing gig way too seriously. When Hurricane Matthew fell upon Haiti last week, I finally figured how I could do this. In a time when we are divided politically, few can argue that lightning has indeed struck twice on this tiny Caribbean nation where children have suffered unimaginably and cholera is a way of life. So today, I have created a fundraising page (https://www.classy.org/fundraiser/794775) on Sow A Seed, an organization, whose mission is to bring hope, reduce hardship and promote sustainable change in the lives of impoverished children, placing a special focus on orphans in the Caribbean. And yes I sent the prosecco and appetizer money to them (it won’t show for a bit) in honor of you and with the hope there will be a new sunrise for the children of Haiti. SaveRead more