Friday, January 13, 2012

On Vacation!

From January 14 - 28, I'm taking a vacation from blogging. Please check back on January 30th or 31st, and you'll find out what I've been up to. ;-)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Wild Ride!

Today I'm over at Inkspot, the blog for Midnight Ink authors, talking about the wild ride I took when Amazon picked Deadly Currents for their Kindle Daily Deal on January 6th. Read all about it, and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Today's Mystery Author Guest: Lois Winston

As promised yesterday, fellow Midnight Ink mystery author Lois Winston is visiting my blog today. To read her bio and see her photo, please page down to yesterday's post.

Above is the cover photo for her most recent book, Death By Killer Mop Doll, the second book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series. In the book, overdue bills and constant mother vs. mother-in-law battles at home are bad enough. But crafts editor Anastasia Pollack's stress level is maxed out when she and her fellow American Woman editors get roped into unpaid gigs for a revamped morning TV show. Before the glue is dry on Anastasia's mop dolls, morning TV turns crime drama when the studio is trashed and the producer is murdered. Former co-hosts Vince and Monica—sleazy D-list celebrities—stand out among a lengthy lineup of suspects, all furious over the show's new format. And Anastasia has no clue her snooping has landed her directly in the killer's unforgiving spotlight.

Below is Lois's guest post about giving thanks. Please leave a comment for Lois to let her know what you think, and feel free to ask her any questions you want about the post, her books, or her life as a writer.

First, I’d like to thank my fellow Midnight Inker, Beth Groundwater, for inviting me back to her blog as part of my month-long tour in celebration of the release of Death By Killer Mop Doll, the second book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.

Life for me has been rather chaotic the last couple of months, as I’m sure it’s been for most of you. Chaos goes hand-in-hand with the holidays, especially if it involves traveling lately. In addition to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, I was gearing up for the release of Death By Killer Mop Doll and my January blog tour. Oh, and then there was not only a book deadline but a major design deadline.

Sometimes when we have so much to juggle, we get lost in the details and forget the things that really matter most. So today I’d like to take the time to say thank-you.

Thank-you to all the readers out there who fall in love with our characters and continue to buy our books. Where would we be without you?

Thank you to my fellow Midnight Inkers. You are truly a fine bunch of writers, and I feel honored to know all of you virtually and some of you personally. I hope I’ll have the good fortune to meet more of you in person in the future.

Thank you to all the people -- the editors, designers, artists, sales force, and publicists -- who take our manuscripts, transform them into books, and make sure they land on bookstore shelves.

Thank you to the booksellers and librarians who tell readers about our books.

Thank you to my agents for being my champions.

Thank you to all my friends and family (you know who you are) who have encouraged me throughout my writing career.

In the song For Good from the musical Wicked, Elphaba, the Wicked Witch, and Glinda, the Good Witch, are saying good-bye to each other for the last time. Glinda tells Elphaba that she’s heard people come into each others’ lives for a reason and that knowing Elphaba has shaped her into the person she’s become. Elphaba tells Glinda that she’ll always be a part of her, like a handprint on her heart. Thank you to all the people who have left a handprint on this writer’s heart.

Are there people who have left handprints on your heart? Post a comment, and you could win one of 5 signed copies of Death By Killer Mop Doll that I’m giving away as part of my blog tour this month. The full tour schedule can be found at my website, and the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog. In addition, I’m giving away 3 copies of Death By Killer Mop Doll on Goodreads.

Also, for anyone attending The American Library Association’s Mid-Winter conference January 20-24 in Dallas, Midnight Ink will be raffling off the hand-crafted mop doll shown in my photo below during the opening reception Friday evening. Register for the drawing at the Midnight Ink booth #1459.

Thanks, Lois! Now, who has a comment or question for her (and an entry in her contest)?

Monday, January 09, 2012

Tomorrow's Guest: Lois Winston

Tomorrow, fellow Midnight Ink mystery author Lois Winston will be a guest on my blog. Lois is the author of the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries published by Midnight Ink. Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. The new year brings with it the release of Death By Killer Mop Doll (Jan. 8th), the second book in the series. Read an excerpt HERE. Visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog. You can also follow Lois and Anastasia on Twitter @anasleuth.

In her guest post tomorrow, Lois takes a moment to give thanks. I'm sure you'll be intrigued by what she has to say. Then, feel free to let Lois know what you think of her post or her books or to ask her a questions in the comments. And I'm sure you will want to comment, because every one is a entry into her blog-tour contest for free signed copies of Death By Killer Mop Doll!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Deadly Currents Daily Deal!!!

I want to share some exciting news. Amazon has selected Deadly Currents, the first book in my RM Outdoor Adventures mystery series, for its Kindle Daily Deal today!! It's for sale at somewhere between $2.99 and 99 cents, which is much, much less than its list price of $14.95 and the standard Amazon discount price of $9.99.

You can find the deal HERE.

If you received a Kindle for the holidays, here's a great chance to load one of my mysteries on your new device for a song! But, you don't need to have a Kindle to read Kindle formats. Many other electronic devices will accept Kindle ebook formats. So I hope everyone who hasn't had a chance to buy a copy of Deadly Currents yet will take advantage of this special offer.

And please mark your calendars for May 8th, the official release date for the second book in the series, Wicked Eddies. You'll find the Amazon page for it HERE.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

A Best of 2011 Pick and an Appearance on Poe's Deadly Daughters

Wow! Another avid mystery reviewer has placed a book of mine in her Top Reads for 2011 list, this time Deadly Currents! To be on the same list as Louise Penny and to have her pass over Craig Johnson and Nancy Pickard (whose books I love) for mine is almost frightening. See Juliet's Top Picks for 2011.

Also, Sandra Parshall, one of the Poe's Deadly Daughters bloggers, interviewed me about my thoughts regarding fiction with a message for her post yesterday. Read it HERE.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Today's Colorado Mystery Author Guest: Rebecca Bates

As promised yesterday, fellow Colorado mystery author Rebecca Bates is visiting my blog today. To read her bio and see her photo, please page down to yesterday's post.

Above is the cover photo for her most recent book, Murder in the Dojo, which was published in August, 2011 under her pen name of Sue Star. In the book, Nell Letterly’s dream job as a karate instructor involves a few little first-day glitches. She finds the guy she replaced very dead—killed with her martial arts weapons. The police don’t bother to investigate anybody else. Her boss suddenly disappears. The dojo is a dump and the students know nothing. Plus, she faces foreclosure on her house, and her teen-age daughter hates her. What to do about all this? Line the students up and look positive. After work, find the killer before the killer finds her.

Below is Rebecca's guest post about The Mysterious Case of Pen Names. Please leave a comment for Rebecca to let her know what you think, and feel free to ask her any questions you want about the post, her books, or her life as a writer.

The Mysterious Case of Pen Names

Whatever happened to Alice Sheldon, William Anthony Parker White, Frederic Dannay, and Manfred B. Lee? Today we remember their famous pen names better than we remember their real names.

We writers work hard at this writing business, and one small reward is seeing Our Names in Print at long last. That should justify all the hours we’ve spent, locked away in our imaginary garrets, having to answer our mother/spouse/child who calls up to ask, “What are you doing?” and we have to answer except, “Nothing.” And then comes the day when we can finally point to Our Names in Print and prove that we’re not absolute and utter derelicts. Why should we lose out on that sense of achievement with a pen name?

Lots of writers have used pen names for many reasons. Alice Sheldon felt that she needed to hide her gender to break into a male-dominated science fiction world, and so she became James Tiptree, Jr. William Anthony Parker White wrote and edited both science fiction and mystery — he became Anthony Boucher, a name that spawned Bouchercon and the Anthony Award for the mystery field. Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee wanted to collaborate, and they became Ellery Queen.

There are as many reasons for using a pen name as there are writers who’ve used them.

I never expected to use a pen name. I like my name. As Rebecca Bates, I’ve been fortunate to meet lots of folks in the mystery community through my work with Bouchercon and Sisters in Crime. My friends won’t know me as someone else.

But I write in multiple genres. It helps me grow as a writer to explore the variety of structure and style that readers of different genres expect. I want to keep growing, instead of producing the same kind of story over and over. As soon as I finish a project in one genre, I jump to another (but only the genres I like to read!) I wander all across the board. Readers won’t necessarily follow you there unless, for example, your name begins with an “S” and ends in King. So I’ve fallen into using pen names. Pen names are clues for readers. Pen names point readers to the particular type of story they like to read.

My first novel, a romantic suspense, came out under my maiden name, Rebecca Williamson. Since then my science fiction stories have come out under my married name, Rebecca Bates. Now I’ve written an amateur sleuth mystery, which is a more traditional whodunnit, set in today’s funky world, and it’s part of a series. Fans of such cozies don’t always want their heroines to brood about the mysterious men they’re attracted to. They don’t always want to save humanity through science. I need to separate those types of stories, so as not to lead my readers astray. That’s my reason, why I chose to go with a pen name. I just fell into being Sue Star.

Being Sue is no secret. Keeping a secret like that today would be difficult, unless I moved into a cave (no, thanks!) Sue Star is one of the hats I wear. It’s fun, being more or less anonymous, but at the same time anonymity is challenging in introducing pen names to readers. !Caramba! Who knows if this mysterious case of using pen names will ever be satisfactorily resolved? One thing’s for sure: I’m looking forward to the journey.

Thanks, Rebecca! Now, who has a comment or question for her?

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Tomorrow's Guest: Rebecca Bates

Tomorrow, fellow Colorado mystery author Rebecca Bates will be a guest on my blog. Rebecca writes both speculative fiction and mystery. She lives in Boulder, Colorado where she raised three daughters, trained in the martial arts with them, and taught Spanish. Now she writes full time under several pen names. As Sue Star, she is the author of Murder in the Dojo, the first of the black belt mystery series and newly released from D.M. Kreg Publishing. Her novel The Signal, under the Rebecca Bates byline, comes out in January 2012. As Rebecca Williamson, she is the author of The Drowning of Chittenden, a romantic suspense novel set in the foothills of Appalachia. Find out more about her exploits at her blog.

In her guest post tomorrow, she talks about The Mysterious Case of Pen Names and why she writes under three pen names herself. I'm sure you'll be intrigued by what she has to say. Then, feel free to ask her some questions of your own about pen names in the comments.

Monday, January 02, 2012

A Real Basket Case is "Year's Best Mystery"!

I'm thrilled that book reviewer Lori B. Caswell has selected A Real Basket Case, the first book in my Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series, as the Best Mystery that she read in 2011! Since she is an avid reader and reviewer of cozy mysteries, this is an especially exciting honor.

See the whole list of her year's best picks on her "Escape with Dollycas Into A Good Book" blog.

A Real Basket Case
was re-released in trade paperback and ebook in 2011, and is also available in hardcover and large-print editions, so you can pick your favorite format. And I hope that anyone who hasn't read it yet does indeed pick it up and read it! A Real Basket Case was a finalist for the Best First Novel Agatha Award when it came out in hardcover, and it has been well-reviewed by Amazon and Goodreads readers as well as by professional reviewers.