Monday, March 25, 2013

Author Maintenance, the Millstone 'Round My Neck

I speak to lots of wanna-be authors who have a book ready to go. "Ready" is a relative term, but let's say that's true. It's easier now than ever to become a "published author". There are dozens of sites ready to help.
What people often don't recognize is the maintenance needed after that publishing takes place. There simply aren't many people out there holding their breath until you publish a book. When it's up there, on Amazon or Nook or Smashwords or whatever; when it's available in hardcover, paperback or e-format, you have to let people know.
And that's really, really hard.
Publishers do what they can. Both my publishers get me reviews and praise my books on their websites and FB and wherever else they're allowed to. The problem is they have lots of writers on their list, and there are oceans of other publishers trying just as hard to get their authors noticed. Each mention of my name is a drop in that ocean, hardly noticeable to most readers.
So the author is left to establish and maintain a presence in the reading world. That can be done on-line or in person, but neither way is easy.
Recently I got an email from a site called Authorsden, which lists books in categories so readers can easily find what they'd like to buy/read. They asked that I check to make sure my entries were current.
How about not??? I'd  listed the first two books and then forgotten about the site, since there are always new and different ones popping up on my radar.
I added two books, but it took about an hour to plug in the information they asked for: reviews, links, etc.
Now I have four listings there, but I'll be up to a dozen books once the two in the pipeline are up this spring.
Anyone can publish a book, but are you willing to maintain your presence as an author? It isn't like setting out a sugar cube and watching the flies gather. It's more like trying to fill a well with stones: it can be done, but it will take more time and work than you planned on.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Reading in the Cracks

I once was told to savor the time spent writing and publishing of my first book. I didn't get it, because I was so anxious to be in print, and the two years between contract and release almost killed me. Now I look back and see what the author who gave me that advice meant, because when Book One is out, everyone wants to know when there'll be another one. That first book was a leisurely experience, with all the time in the world to write it, plenty of time to promote it, and no reader expectations to rush it.

Fast forward to now, when at least one book of my three series is due at any given moment. I won't lie and say I hate hearing people ask when they'll see the next Dead Detective or Loser or Simon & Elizabeth book, but it does fill up my time. One of the things that has suffered is my reading.

Writers need to be readers. We need to feel the flow of writers better than we, and it doesn't hurt our egos to see that we're better than some, even some the world calls Best Sellers. We also need to know the market and try to fit our work somewhere between carbon copy and too far from what's selling in the real world. And we need to be reminded of what we enjoyed about reading, what made us want to write.

There were days in my youth when I read all day long. There were hours when my kids were napping where I immersed myself in a book. That doesn't happen any more, at least not very often. I did read a whole book two weeks ago, pretty much in one sitting, but we were coming home from Las Vegas, so it was on-the-plane, during-the-layover and on-the-plane again. (I got re-acquainted with John Lescroart, which was good.)

It took me weeks to get through THE THIRTEENTH TALE, even though I couldn't wait to get back to it. If a book drags at all, I give up on it these days. It simply isn't worth finding the time to read it if I'm not enjoying the world it conjures.

I have books stashed around my house like a squirrel hides nuts, each one in place in case I get a few minutes to read. I have two Kindles and an iPad that stand ready to pop a story in front of my eyes. I still WANT to read, LOVE to read, NEED to read, but there's writing, too, and there, I control what happens. I guess writing will take the biggest chunks of the rest of my life, and reading, though important, will have to fit into the cracks.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Killer Thriller Book Launch - March 5-7

From March 5-7, check out the Killer Thriller Book Launch, a multi-author book launch featuring 7 thriller authors with new releases.

Want to know who these authors are?

  • Cheryl Kaye Tardif
  • Luke Romyn
  • Consuelo Roland
  • Giacomo Giammatteo
  • Melissa Foster
  • Claude Bouchard
  • Russell Blake

You can follow us on Twitter by going to: #killerthriller.

We will be giving away prizes at the Killer Thriller Book Launch--separate from my own March Giveaway, so you'll have lots of chances to win some great goodies!

I invite you to check it out! :-)

Monday, March 04, 2013

SUBMERGED official book launch - March 4-7

Join me as I celebrate my new release, SUBMERGED, a thriller that I hope will leave you breathless.

SUBMERGED will be on a special new release promo for only $0.99 (Kindle) during March 4-7.

~ * ~

Also, from March 5-7, I am participating in the Killer Thriller Book Launch, a multi-author book launch featuring 6 other thriller authors with new releases.

You can follow us on Twitter by going to: #killerthriller.

We will be giving away prizes at the Killer Thriller Book Launch--separate from my own March Giveaway, so you'll have lots of chances to win some great goodies!

I invite you to check it out! :-)

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Special guest: Giacomo Giammatteo, author of Murder Has Consequences

Welcome to Criminal Minds at Work, Giacomo. Please share with us something special about your new release.
Murder Has Consequences is the second book in the Friendship & Honor series.
I know it seems odd to be talking about murder in the same sentence as friendship and honor, but that is exactly what this series explores. It’s about two guys who grew up as best friends, almost brothers, but one became a cop and one a hit man.
Did you ever wonder how far you can push friendship before it snaps?
Thirty years ago, four boys swore an oath to be friends forever, and to always have each others’ back. In Murder Takes Time—the first book in the series—that oath pushed one of the boys to an early grave and one into hiding. Only two of them are left, but the oath remains.
Nicky Fusco’s words set the theme for the second book:
“Oaths are something you swear to when you’re young, and wish you hadn’t when you get old.”
How far would you go to honor an oath made when you were 8-years old? How much would you sacrifice? Suppose it meant breaking a promise to your wife? Or to God?
When Detective Frankie Donovan gets in trouble—and the law can’t help him—he turns to his best friend, Nicky Fusco. The problem is that Nicky promised his family, and God, that he’d go straight.
Most people don’t think of criminals as having honor; these stories might change your mind.

Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of MURDER TAKES TIME, MURDER HAS CONSEQUENCES, and A BULLET FOR CARLOS. He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 41 loving “friends.”

Writing crime fiction is risky...

Writing crime fiction in all its sub-genres is fun, but also risky and the same holds true for the genre of Science Fiction.  Crime Fiction and Science Fiction include such a wide variety of sub-genres, it is easy to disappoint readers who are expecting something different.

On sale for 99cents
 Crime fiction lovers who revel in the ‘who-dun-it’ genre and read to test their mystery-solving skills against the author’s might not appreciate my novel THE TRAZ, wherein we know full well ‘who dun it’--we're there for the murder. The excitement and tension in this crime fiction thriller lie outside tracking down a mystery. We want to know if the bad guys ever get caught? Will they ever pay? Those on the periphery of the murder, those who are juveniles, those who were running scared—will they pay, too? Will the one who issued the command but didn’t pull the knife—will he pay? Will the police officer on scene ever pay with more than just a guilty conscience? In FATAL ERROR the sequel to the murder we continue to pursue the answers to those questions.  

Athough there’s no ‘who dun it’ in  FATAL ERROR either, there are many crime elements. Law enforcement officers, undercover agents, murder trials, witness protection, perjury, a Supreme Court of Canada ruling—so, how else to classify these intense YA novels than crime fiction? [For a limited time, FATAL ERROR is on sale for 99cents.]

And then there’s my SciFi novella, SCHRÖDINGER'S CAT. Those who like SciFi with aliens and foreign worlds and high-tech gadgetry won’t find any of that in THE CAT. My publisher briefly considered marketing this novel under the ‘Women’s Issues’ genre because it’s all about a present-day ordinary woman living two lives in two alternate universe. She does, indeed, have double the issues of most women but in a Sci-fi-type way. 

Sometimes I market SCHRÖDINGER'S CAT as crime fiction, because those who like mystery and like to pit their solving skills against mine, will like this book. And those keen on taking a scientific look at our justice system will like it. The Many Worlds Theory of quantum physics theory suggests multi-universes exist and we exist in multiple universes. SCHRÖDINGER'S CATexplores the impact of this theory on the justice system as Chorie fights her custody battle and Dr. Penny defends himself against murder charges. Could it be, that it is not a weakness of the human mind that causes the testimony of eye-witnesses to conflict with each others' and with video evidence, but rather it is that experiences in other universes leave their footprint on our psyches and our memories? Could what each witness saw have been his/her reality for a moment in time?

Likely the most realistic part of SCHRÖDINGER'S CAT is when Chorie’s lawyer tells her there’s no way he’s going to argue a multi-universe defense to the judge. He tells her it would be a sure-fire way for both of them to be committed to a psychiatric facility and for her to lose custody. At one point, he asks who’s looking after her child while she’s wandering around alternate universes. Her explanation of the simultaneous nature of time failed to impress him. But, wait. Maybe he shouldn’t have dismissed her ideas so quickly.

Scientists have just now discovered how quantum mechanics plays a role in biology, photosynthesis in particular, and perhaps also in migration.[ CBC News/Techology ] As biologists scramble to adapt their knowledge and theories to this new information, it makes me wonder...will we ever have to adjust our justice system to accommodate the new knowledge about the true nature of reality that is arising from quantum physics?

Friday, March 01, 2013

Special Guest: Consuelo Roland, author of Lady Limbo

Q&A with Consuelo Roland, author of Lady Limbo
 (Thanks to the Extraordinaires and book friends for the random questions).

I once kissed a total stranger on an empty night train making its way out of Frankfurt. He asked me to go to Paris with him for the weekend and I refused.  I’ve always wondered what would have happened if I’d said yes.

The perfect life… Or a beautiful lie? Forced to hunt down Lady Limbo, the ghost of a youthful love affair that ended in betrayal, Paola Dante risks everything and learns to trust no one in a race to find her missing husband. Lady Limbo leads her into dark territory she never knew existed, where she must question all she knows. What if the great love of your life committed the perfect crime?

Here today, gone tomorrow. Paola Dante’s husband has disappeared. All she has is the Limbo files.  7 women 7 files. Which one is Lady Limbo?

Not at all. Paola knows how to stay one step ahead in the combat zone of corporate meetings; she treats bullying shark tactics with the disdain they deserve. On a personal level she is sassy, witty and smart  – this frightening mix of self-control and social maturity  is totally unlike me. But of course there’s a very human side to her. Sometimes it makes sense to work with background knowledge you already have. I could just let her develop organically without too much over-thought.

My  source is a ground hostess who told my mother a very sexy naughty story one long night at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. Her name is forever lost in the torrential downpour of that stormy night. Real Man International (aka RMI) is an invented name, but the organisation exists; it’s details reside in a ground hostess’s little black book. It was fun to turn things around and evoke a world where men are  paid ridiculous stud fees to be at the beck and call of wilful women who can afford to be extravagant. Occasionally a perfectly ordinary independently-minded woman – such as  a ground hostess – will use their services.

A good thriller chills our blood, readying us for a mesmerising journey through the glowing portals of hell. Lady Limbo transports us into a parallel reality where humanity’s worst instincts are at play. The “dark web” (an invisible black hole of untraceable activity) is estimated to be an incredible 15 times larger than the web we know, with more than 900 billion pages. It is a world where the illegal is openly available, providing a hidden shop window for criminal gangs and sexual predators. On the dark web innocence is traded like any other commodity.

I love that it’s a thoroughly twenty-first century story full of enigmatic twists and turns. Just when you think the story is going one way then it suddenly gets even more interesting and ups the ante. The shocks and surprises keep on coming at the character like she’s in a shooting arcade, dodging a hidden shooter in a world of seduction and darkness. Paola has to think on her feet all the time, or the truth will find her before she finds the truth.

Stellalinkbooks (Joni Rodgers); Youtube Review of Lady Limbo:
Joni L. Rodgers; Amazon Review of Lady Limbo:

Author photo by Bernadine Jones