Tuesday, March 30, 2010


The 2010 awards will be announced at ThrillerFest in New York City on July 10 at the Grand Hyatt. Congratulations to these finalists:

Best Hard Cover Novel:
VANISHED by Joseph Finder
LONG LOST by Harlan Coben
FEAR THE WORST by Linwood Barclay
THE NEIGHBOR by Lisa Gardner
THE RENEGADES by T. Jefferson Parker

Best Paperback Original:
SHADOW SEASON by Tom Piccirilli
URGE TO KILL by John Lutz
THE COLDEST MILE by Tom Piccirilli
NO MERCY by John Gilstrap

Best First Novel:
FRAGMENT by Warren Fahy
DEAD MEN'S DUST by Matt Hilton
DRACULA: THE UN-DEAD by Dacre Stoker
RUNNING FROM THE DEVIL by Jamie Freveletti

Best Short Story:
A STAB IN THE HEART by Twist Phelan
ICED by Harry Hunsicker
BOLDT'S BROKEN ANGEL by Ridley Pearson

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I guest blogged with Peg Brantley at her excellent blog, Suspense Novelist.

Read it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Book Signing

I came across this series of questions from The Rocky Mountain Writers Summit about book signings when my publishers and I launched my book tour.

I'm sharing this because book signings can be tricky whether you arrange your own tour or your publicist does it for you.

Question #1: Does the bookstore have a special events coordinator? Usually the answer is yes. If not, ask for the manager or owner – especially if the bookstore is locally owned.

Question #2: Will the bookstore be ordering the books directly from the distributor or would they consider buying them directly from the author?

Bookstores usually want to order their own inventory of books from their own distributors, however they are going to be frugal on the number of books they order. Authors need to bring at least 30 books with them in the event that the bookstore had a problem with fulfillment or if they don’t order enough books. The bookstore will usually be very willing buy books directly from the author (especially if they’re very likely to be or are already sold).

Question #3: If the bookstore is willing to buy books from the author, the bookstore will want to know the discount the author is offering.

Before answering, the author should inquire how much they typically require. Anywhere between 30%-60% is reasonable. Typical breakdowns are 30% if the bookstore is only willing to buy books that sell during the signing, or 40% if the bookstore is willing to buy books before the signing and have them on display to help promote the event. If the bookstore wants or demands more than 40% when buying directly from the author, then that author must decide if the venue is worth that big of a percentage of sales.

Question #4: How many books do you sell on average at a book signing?

The answer to this question will give the author a clue as to how many books the bookstore is likely to buy from the distributor and how many the author should bring to supplement the signing if the bookstore orders short. It will also give the author an indication if this is a good location or not to really do a book signing. Asking for the ‘average’ number as opposed to listening to tales of their ‘greatest one ever' will also ground the author into a realistic expectation of the venue.

Question #5: When do they have the best foot traffic? (In my opinion, this is crucial for a successful signing. Also, get the best seat in the house, usually at the store front. Don't let them stick you off somewhere upstairs, back in the business book section.)

Authors should do quite a bit of pre-publicity for their book signings. However, the reality is that most don’t. So to optimize the potential for the book signing, the author needs to be at the store when it is at its busiest.

Question #6: The bookstore will ask the author…. “Is your book ‘Print on Demand’?

Some bookstores will ask the local talent if their book is ‘Print on Demand’. What the bookstore is assuming is that ‘Print on Demand’ books are not returnable. If the author short circuits that question with a description of their return policy, the objection will usually be overcome. A bookstore doesn’t really care whether your book was made on a digital press or an offset press, that is irrelevant to them. What is important is whether or not they’re going to be stuck with a bunch of books that don’t sell after a book signing has finished. The author must stand behind everything they sell! Especially today, bookstores need risk-free propositions. If they buy the books from their distributor, the return policy is already in place. If they buy books from the author, they will insist on a return policy. Authors should, at a minimum, always honor a 120-day full refund guarantee.

For more information on creating a very successful book signing - read this Squidoo article – 10 Tips for a successful book signing.

The Tattered Cover in Denver has a full page of more information about working with local authors on special events at: http://tatteredcover.com/local-authors Visit the Rocky Mountain Writer’s Summit’s website and look for the writer’s tips on every single page of the site. Read all 50 tips and glean this free insight from the publishing services providers of the Rocky Mountain Writer’s Summit.

More About: publishing advice · first time author · publishing services · book marketing · book sales · public awareness · author misconceptions · author's true objective · writers · book signings


Dan Clancy, director of Google Books, says data now stored on a PC should be stored on a "cloud" instead.

When I read this I thought, there are those who've said I have my head in the clouds most of the time, I'm interested.

Clancy goes on to say, "...the concept (is) that you can get services through the Internet that are accessible no matter what hardware you use and where you are."

So how does this relate to the book world?

He admits digital reading is taking off, although still small and, he says, the concept of Amazon's Kindle is "cloud-based". If you buy it, it's stored online. If you lose your Kindle, you just access your book from the online cloud with another device. He adds, "One of the challenges, however, is 'to trust that it will be there when you want it.'

There's always a caveat.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Happy Friday!

It's here, at last. My blog tour.

I thought about hiring a blog tour company to help me promote my debut mystery, The End Game. They'd do all the work. Contact the hosts, set the dates, let me know if I'm going to write an essay or do a conversation with the host. They'd charge me for this, but not a lot in the scheme of promotions.

I decided, however, to contact my favorite blog sites and ask the hosts if I might "drop by" as a guest. I'm happy to say these busy hosts have rolled out the red carpet for me. I'll reciprocate with each and host their blog tour.

Guest blogging is an interesting and delightful way to learn about people you don't know, and connect with those you've come to know through reading their thoughts and experiences.

My blog tour kicked off with Peg Herring's Sweet Mystery.

Drop in and read what I have to say. Start a conversation with me by commenting.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010


The Left Coast Crime Convention has ended. The winners of the awards are as follows:

LEFTY AWARD in the Humorous Mystery category:

Getting Old is a Disaster by Rita Lakin

BRUCE ALEXANDER AWARD, Historical Mystery category:

A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell

THE PANIK AWARD for LA Noir (this year only):

Death Was in the Picture by Linda Richards

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I wrote earlier this month about making a book video trailer for The End Game.

The mystery novel is loaded with action, so why not, I thought.

I contacted several companies and found that, at this point in my mystery fiction career, I'm better off spending the money (it's expensive, folks) on other promotions.

Book trailers, I learned, are for already famous writers. Think of it like this: You see the preview of a motion picture. You know the stars; you like them. They've never disappointed, or if they have, not overly so. So, when the movie comes to your theatre, you plunk down your cash to see the entire film.

But say you don't know who the stars are, are you as apt to separate yourself from your cash? Which, these days, no one seems to have an abundance of.

So, no book trailer for me, this time.

But I will one day. The sequel to The End Game, The Last Temptation has just as much action, maybe more, and, because you read The End Game , you won't think twice about parting with your bucks to buy the book.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

SPRING Forward

The pear tree is leafing. The daffodils are poking through the pine straw. The ospreys are adding to their messy nests from last year.

Yep, it's Spring - or almost - the time of the year we here in most of the United States set our clocks up an hour to have more daylight in the evening. Of course, it's darker in the morning. When we walk Bogey, our standard poodle - talk about springing forward! - it's eerie to see school children standing at the bus stops in darkness. I never thought that was a good idea. That's probably one of the reasons most mothers are lurking nearby in a car or under an umbrella. It is Spring, showers and flowers and all that.

When I was in school I never liked the idea of going to bed when it was still daylight. We had April and May to get through before summer bedtime hours kicked in.

Now that I write and promote my works all day and play golf when I'm not writing or promoting, I get tired and sometimes lay my head down early. Today it will be dark; tomorrow it might be light. I can't go to sleep in daylight. My brain says nap, which I don't do. But, should I need to rest my eyes during the day, I wake in an hour's time. But once in my pajamas, book marked, teeth brushed, computer turned off, blinds drawn, I don't want to wake up in an hour, I want to get at least six hours of sound, soul-replenishing sleep.

I'm not going to grumble about kids outside tossing balls, roller-blading and screaming their lungs raw while I try to sleep, because that's as natural as sunrise and sunset.

Daylight savings, they say, saves electricity. I don't know. I have never slept with the light on.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Tripping over to favorite blogs, I checked out 'Hey, There's a Dead Guy in the Living Room' and found an entry titled, ARCs, by Robin Agnew. Since my publisher sent out my ARCs, I'm interested in the subject.

Reading down, I see Robin - I've not met Robin personally or virtually, but I love her name - delighted in receiving ARCs from St. Martin's Press, my publisher.

Further on, she says the latest Malice winner's novel was included in the batch from St. M's. The Malice winner - that's me. Well, not the very latest Malice winner. He or she will get the call from Ruth Cavin some time this month.

THE END GAME is scheduled for release on April 27, 2010, in time for Malice Domestic, one of the sponsors of the competition for Best First Tradtional Novel. The other sponsor is St. Martin's.

Robin goes on to say she's half way through the novel and pronounced it excellent.

Excellent. That word has a ring to it.

Family and friends aside, Robin's was my first published review, that I know about. Thanks, Robin, you've made a mystery debut writer's life happy. And, I hope you think the end of the book is excellent.

Monday, March 8, 2010


I have never been a fan of the Oscars. Maybe it's because I'm an early-to-bedder, or because I don't go to many movies. I saw Sherlock Holmes and loved it, but I have no interest in Avatar. I'll take my grandchildren to movies. I've seen Elmoes and Shrecks so many times, I can speak the lines before the animated characters' mouths open.

Nor do I know the names of many stars. I do know who George Clooney is. Someone that easy on the eyes gets known even by blase people like me. I made it a point several years ago to take my husband to see "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou." The music became cult in our famiily. We YouTube it, and sing along.

A friend said about Oscar night: "Even if you don't know who's up for Oscars, you got to check out the clothes, the hair, the jewels, the shoes walking up the red carpet. It sets the style for the year."

She should know better. I have my own style - between bag lady and preppy. So, if I don't care for the movie, or the star, why would I care what he or she is wearing?

George Clooney did look good in that tux. Honest, I didn't seek out his photograph. When I fired up my computer this morning, Yahoo! News popped up and there was Mr. Clooney in all his elegance. Miley Cyrus's photograph fanned past, too. The dress was pretty, but she needs my mother's knuckles in the middle of her back. If I didn't stand up straight, my mother would appear and gently press her knuckles until I firmed my spine.

Maybe this year I'll take in a few more films, but I still won't watch the Oscars. If I'm up at midnight, I'm not watching television.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


As a Macmillan author (St. Martin's Minotaur) I was gratified to read this in Publisher's Lunch.

"Sargent Blogs on Pricing

"Macmillan ceo John Sargent has taken up the call to speak to readers directly about ebook pricing with a new posting on the company's blog. He notes that the agency model will eliminate any delayed releases of new books in ebook editions: "Readers were clearly frustrated at the lack of availability of new titles, and the change to the agency model will solve this problem." And he underscores, as we have mentioned before, that hardcover NYT bestsellers will cost $12.99 or less under the new model. He points out to readers that the company is providing "a tremendous discount" on new release ebooks versus their print list prices.

Sargent also makes another important point: for people who cannot afford, or simply do not wish to pay, over ten dollars for an ebook, the bulk of the company's list will be available for purchase:

"There has been a lot of concern from e-book readers that $9.99 books will no longer be available. Most Macmillan e-books will still be priced below ten dollars. Our e-book sales over the last year clearly indicate that only about a third of our e-book business is in the digital versions of new release hardcovers. Unit sales of older books far exceed our new release hardcover sales, so the $9.99 and lower prices will continue to represent the largest portion of our business.In short, we will continue to do what we have always done: provide the reader with a vast selection of great books over a wide range of prices."

Needless to say, we're glad to see Sargent open a channel for direct communication with readers ("there are millions of you and one of me. So, please feel free to post questions or comments below") and hope that more publishers find ways to join in the dialogue."

Monday, March 1, 2010


Today, I'm investigating book trailers.

You know those book videos or teasers that are supposed to make readers rush out and buy my book? They're increasingly popular with writers and publicists, but do they sell books?

So far, I know this much: Trailers can be home-produced for as little as what it costs to own or rent a video camera and buy some stock shots and music on the web. Or they can cost the price of a commercial on television.

Let's forget the price of a commerical on TV.

That takes me back to the question: are they worth any price in terms of sales?

That is my quest today. I'll be back here with expert opinions.