Pat Hale:The Church of the Holy Child Wednesday, Oct 4 2017 

From Fearful to Fearless: The Path of Self-Promotion

The Gesture of No Fear

Okay so in truth, I haven’t quite made it to the fearless end of the path. In fact, I’m just starting out, but I’ve already learned a few things and I’ll share what I know so far.

My new book, The Church of the Holy Child, was released on September 25th. Exciting, right? Yes, very. After all the writes and re-writes, there it was in print, in my hand. The only drawback . . . with release, comes promotion.

It’s both a blessing and a curse to publish with a small press. Because my publisher is small, communication is excellent. If I have questions, I get answers within hours. I have plenty of say when it comes to editing and the cover art and the process in general. Working with a small press is like being part of a family.

The downside? I’m responsible for much of the book’s promotion. For some people, getting out in the public eye and selling yourself as well as your book is a piece of cake. But I have a hunch I’m not alone when the mere thought of self-promotion puts my heart in overdrive and my stomach simulating the twists and turns of Space Mountain.

Fast forward to the C3 Conference I attended in Maryland a couple of weeks ago where I was scheduled to take part in four panels and moderate one. (Obviously, the scheduling was out of my control.) And since my publisher, Intrigue Publishing, put on the conference, I couldn’t very well back out. It was a great opportunity to get myself and my book noticed. The panels were only forty-five minutes long. I could do anything for forty-five minutes. At least that became my mantra for the weeks prior to the conference.

But what happened when I sat on my first ever panel surprised me. My fellow panel members were all a little nervous (even the bigger names). They joked about it, were kind and supportive and I felt like one of them instead of the new kid. The most surprising thing of all was that the panel and the audience were interested in what I had to say. And I answered the moderator’s questions with ease because I knew better than anyone about my writing process and why my characters did what they did. And somewhere in the midst of it all I realized I was having fun and that my heart had settled back to its normal beat.

On the last panel of the last day, Jeff Markowitz, a wonderful writer who I can now call my friend, said to the audience. “You just have to go out there every day and be fearless.”

That’s the mantra I’ve taken away from the C3 conference along with new friends and contacts and a little more confidence than I had when I got there. Most writers are quiet people, introverts. And the idea of self-promotion can bring on overwhelming anxiety. But what you tell yourself really does matter.

Remember, you are the expert on your work. You can do anything for forty-five minutes. As my grandmother always said, “Tell ‘em who you are.” And above all, be fearless.

http://www.patriciahale.org

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https://www.bookbub.com/authors/patricia-hale

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Archer Mayor: Trace Thursday, Sep 28 2017 

Archer Mayor’s long-running series with Vermont Bureau of Investigator Joe Gunther continues with the 28th installment in Trace.

This one has Gunther off scene for much of the action. He’s invovled in taking his mother to a special Missouri clinic for a scary case of Lyme Disease. So it’s left to the members of his team to sort out the latest cases.

Willy Kunkel’s case starts when a child finds three teeth–just those bloodstained teeth–on a railroad track. The team member most likely to work outside the box finds Homeland Security involved in that one, after a device destined for a military installation is discovered. This is where his rule-bending will prove necessary.

Lester Spinney, the by-the-book investigator is asked to take on a cold case of a hero state trooper, a supposed traffic stop gone bad, which may not be all it seems when new evidence skews the original investigation. He will need all of his patience and determination to figure this one out.

And Sammie Martens, the reasonable one, will need all of her usual resourcefulness to solve the case of a dead woman, by all acounts an lovely young woman, who happens to be the roommate of the daughter of the medical examiner, said ME being Gunther’s girlfriend. What was she running from?

Gunther’s absence, while being felt, allows readers to get closer to the team while the suspense rises for each detective.

This Vermont countryside comes alive under Mayor’s talented pen, as do his team and even the moments of Gunther in his mother’s rehab. The whole book glistens with reality: of the setting, of the characters and their private lives, and of the way they interact together. There are forensic details, too, of interest, but the details that hold the story together involve Gunther’s team and how they are changed by the end of the book.

A great addition to a fine series.

Jo Furness: All the Little Children Thursday, Sep 7 2017 

Jo Furniss’ debut novel will leave readers shattered, thinking long and hard after its emotional ending. All the Little Children brings them a strong female protagonist who faces horrific circumstances and choices.

It’s supposed to be a wonderful camping trip in the Shropshire woods when Marlene sets off with her sister-in-law Joni and their assorted children. With her husband moving out that same weekend, this is designed to upset her children less, instead of watching their father pack his bags.

Things rapidly deteriorate when it appears something has killed the local villagers. And the resourceful Marlene soon finds it’s not restricted to that area.

There will be a band of Wild Children, accidents, and deaths as this little troupe try to reach safety. There will be threats from within and without the woods, and those whom readers would think would be helpful turn out to be some of this group’s worst enemies for their own reasons.

It would be difficult to describe the action more without spoiling the plot, but suffice it to say that there are moments of high tension that are relieved with tender moments. Marlene and the rest of the characters spring off the page as literally drawn, very human with foibles and warts and hearts.

The ending allows for a sequel readers will assume is on the horizon as Marlene must decide if she will save her own children or save them all.

The Golden Hour: The 4th Nora Tierney English Mystery Saturday, Sep 2 2017 

Auntie M is excited to let readers know that her newest in her award-winning Nora Tierney English Mysteries, THE GOLDEN HOUR, is now available on Audible for readers who prefer to listen to their books.

The narrator for the series is the wonderful British actoress Nano Nagle, and she outdid herself with this book, which is not the usual Whodunit? but a Cantheystophim?

Readers will note the difference at once, as they are aware of the villain early on. Nora is househunting for a proposed move back to Oxford. She and Declan are cementing their relationship. But someone’s stalking Nora, just as Declan is handed a most unusual case: the death of a young art restorer that has international implications for all of England.

That means THE GOLDEN HOUR is available in trade paperback (and for signed copies, which make great gifts, please order through Bridle Path Press–www.bridlepathpress.com); in Kindle, and in Audible.

J. D. Tafford: Little Boy Lost Wednesday, Aug 23 2017 

J. D. Tafford departs from his Michael Collins series to introduce Justin Glass, a mixed-race lawyer trying to get out from the depression that has plagues him since his young wife’s death. Raising his daughter alone, he’s also under the shadow of his political family. His black senator father, a civil rights proponet, and state congressman brother are pressuring him to run for office. His law practice suffered greatly after his wife’s death, and Justin is squeaking by as a public defender, while he and his daughter live in the carriage house of his white mother’s family home with her judge father.

Into his sweltering St. Louise office on a hot summer day comes an 8 yr-old girl with a jar full of change. Tanisha Walker wants to hire him to find her missing brother. With racial tensions high in the area between the African-American and the mostly white police department, Glass reluctantly takes her case and soon finds himself on the receiving end of police mistreatment. It’s a rude awakening, but doesn’t prepare him for when the brother’s body is found buried in the woods, along with over a dozen other teens.

Soon Justin finds many missing teens’ families lined up outside his offic asking for help for locating the “Lost Boys,” the media’s name for the missing boys. The common thread at first is that all had been troubled youths. As he juggles issues with his daughter at school and tries to make decisions about his future, he hires an assistant who smartens his office and gets him organized. And then his searching turns up another commonality that will leave Justin in jeopardy, and all bets are off.

Tafford covers topical issues without over-preaching. His own legal background makes the court system echo with reality. St. Louis simmers in the hot summer and readers will feel they are immersed in the city and in a great mystery.

Stephen Leather: Light Touch Sunday, Aug 13 2017 

The prolific Stephen Leather had two books out last week: the paperback version of Takedown, his stand-alone, and the newest Spider Shepherd thriller.

In Takedown, Charlotte Button, ex-MI-5, has been seen before in Leather’s series, and is now tasked with taking out a rogue Special Forces soldier. He’s already hatched one deadly plot. What she needs to do if figure out his next plan and stop him before he can act.

She has help in the form of Lex Harper, who assembles a team who are capable of stopping the rogue soldier before the massive attack they fear he’s planned. Readers of the Shepherd series will know Lex, and here they’ll see another side to him.

Having these two previously seen characters in their own book brings a fresh look to this kind of adventure-filled thriller.

While this is whirling, Charlotte finds that two of three flash drives, hidden in secret places, have been stolen. Containing information on dirty government operations from the past, their loss means her life is on the line if they can get to the third. Who is after her and why?

And while you’re investigating this one in case you missed it when it first came out, Light Touch brings Dan “Spider” Shepherd back with a tough case that is topical and swiftly paced.

MI5 send Spider in when one of their undercover operatives stops giving them information on a drug lord with international smuggling on his resume. Spider needs to find out if Lucy Kemp has shifted to the dark side in her dealings with Marcus Meyer.

It’s an intriguing and delicate situation, made all the more difficult when he finds an SAS assassin is planing revenge killings for his sister’s overdose. Only Spider can find and stop Matt STanding and conviince him there’s another way to deal with all of this–Spider’s way.

With a theme built around trust, this is a filled with action and twists, with little rest on the horizon.

Leather’s skills in action have been noted by the cinema world, too.

Two of Leather’s novels have been adapted for film: The Chinaman, one of Leather’s Mike Cramer series, has been made into the movie THE FOREIGNER which opens this fall starring Pierce Brosnan and Jackie Chan. TANGO ONE has been made with Vincent Regan and Sophie Colquhoun, directed by Ssacha Bennett, and is awaiting a release date.

THE GOLDEN HOUR: A Nora Tierney English Mystery #4 Monday, Jul 31 2017 


THE GOLDEN HOUR is Auntie M’s 4th Nora Tierney English Mystery. It’s always exciting bringing out a new book, akin to birthing a baby. After the initial first draft, that lump of clay goes through multiple revisions: workshopping with colleagues to find the story; more revisions after beta readers chime in and point out areas that don’t make sense or need fixing; more rewrites after the “Britspeak” is corrected by wonderful UK friends. P D James told Auntie M years ago that “the real writing gets done in revision,” something she repeats to herself as a mantra when the going gets tough.

While the book tour isn’t until October into November, you can order trade paperbacks now on Amazon or through Bridle Path Press, and she recommends that latter if you’d like a signed copy! http://www.bridlepathpress.com.

Thanks to the talented Giordana Segneri who did the layout and that lovely domestic cover design; to Becky Brown, copyeditor; to Eagle Eye Pam Desloges; and to Beth Cole who did the Kindle files.

The book will be on Kindle later this week and this fall, in conjunctin with the tour, on Audible, with the wonderful British narrator, Nano Nagle, who’s done a wonderful job on the others in the series.

This one’s a bit different from her usual and Auntie M hopes you will enjoy it as much as Ausma Khan, Elly Griffiths and Sarah Ward, who all gave her cover blurbs. Great crime writers all, and she’s chuffed to have their names on her cover~

On the Importance of Writing Groups Friday, Jul 21 2017 

On The Importance of Writing Groups

Auntie M belongs to a unique writing group. What author doesn’t want to improve his or her writing skills? Mine meets in person yearly, but we are in contact all year long on email. It’s an unusual concept, but one that works for us because we are all novelists, and when we meet, we workshop our entire novels. We rotate to each other’s homes each year across the country, so we’ve visited each other’s homes and explored different areas.

Our week together is thrilling beyond belief, but filled with hard work as we go through each other’s manuscripts page by page, after having received them the month before for our first reading. Picture four female writers sitting around a table, a tin of chocolate chip cookies in the center to sustain them, various beverages at hand, pens and pencils, and those stacks of manuscript pages. It’s daunting and exhilarating at once.

We learn what’s worked for the others in our first drafts—and what hasn’t. We learn what needs to be expanded and what needs to be trimmed. We learn what thoughts we’ve kept locked inside our brains that never made it to the page. Most of all, we gather ideas for filling out the plot and adding texture to create a fully realized book and a satisfying read. This is the goal of any writing group, and it can come to you if you join a local group.

Auntie M writes crime novels but some of the others don’t. We have not found this to be an obstacle. Good writing and a good story keep our interest. Our hallmark is that the author is owner of her work, and the critique process represents suggestions. If one other person finds fault with a passage, I take that under advisement. But if three other writers tell me my pacing is slow in the same spot, you’d better believe I’m going to revise that scene.

But this process we’ve derived is not for most writers. What’s far more reasonable is for writers in any genre to belong to a writing group that meets monthly or bi-monthly. One group I’m aware of that I can highly recommend is the Pamlico Writers Group. Meeting bi-monthly for general critique sessions in the historic Turnage Theatre in downtown Washington, NC, it’s one of the oldest writing groups in North Carolina.

The group sponsors workshops and meet-the-author luncheons, where writers have the opportunity to pick the brains of published authors in a casual setting. The workshops offer variations on different aspects writers need on craft, publishing, techniques and other skill sets.

For several years now Auntie M has been teaching writing workshops at the PWG’s yearly conference that draws writers and readers from all over the state and bordering areas. I’ve been on panel discussions and met budding authors, published big names, publishers, agents, and all manner of readers and fans. As part of this yearly conference, the PWG sponsors a writing competition, handing out prizes in several genres, with a category for high school writers. 2018’s conference will be held March 23rd and 24th, so do plan to keep those dates open and check their website for registration opening.

If you’re any level of writer who longs to be a part of an enthusiastic and diverse writing community, learn about the PWG and contact them through their website: http://www.pamlicowritersgroup.wildaprocot.org, or email Sherri Hollister (pwgcritique.group@gmail.com) or Louis Edwards (pwgwashingtonnc@gmail.com) with questions or for more information. And do check out their anthology contest, which opened July 15th~

John Bainbridge: Villain Monday, Jun 26 2017 

Please welcome John Bainbridge, to tell us about his newest historical in his series of The Chronicles of Robin Hood. Don’t miss the special rate if you order in the next few days! Welcome, John:

As some of you know, when I’m not writing mystery stories, I write historical tales and my new one is now out. Here’s my latest…

Villain – the third in The Chronicles of Robin Hood series – is now available for pre-order on Kindle. Publication date is 30th June. The paperback is already available. Order before the publication date and you get either version discounted – the price goes up on the 30th.

Here’s what it’s about:

“AD 1203. Plantagenet England. VILLAIN is a gripping historical novel and the third installment of The Chronicles of Robin Hood. Robin of Loxley is in exile in the dark forests of the north, when a killing and a betrayal drive him back to his old battleground of Sherwood Forest.

A good man is slain and the full terror of the Sheriff of Nottingham and Sir Guy of Gisborne is unleashed. With the King in Normandy and a people’s champion dead, only warriors outside the law are there to fight for the poor and desperate.

Outnumbered and surrounded by his enemies, Robin Hood is forced into waging a murderous campaign against the forces of evil.

Fighting against overwhelming odds, the outlaws divided and with a vicious warlord attacking the people of Sherwood, can Robin Hood and just a few of his men hold back the forces of oppression?

An exciting new historical novel by the author of Loxley and Wolfshead.”

To order just click on the link to pre-order the Kindle version. Look under “Books” for the paperback.

Please do share and tell your friends. Small publishers taking on the mighty publishing empire of Rupert Murdoch need word of mouth advertising.

For more details about my historical writing do check out my other blog at http://www.johnbainbridgewriter.wordpress.com

Susan Kandel: Dream a Little Death Monday, Jun 19 2017 


With a sparkling protagonist, Susan Kandel introduces readers to Dreama Black, immortalized forever in a rock song, in Dream a Little Death.

To say Dream has experienced an unusual upbringing would be an understatement. Her free-spirit grandmother and still-hippie mother, both rock groupies, raised her to be independent and to explore her sexuality, and that she does.

But Dreama is also trying to get ahead in her business, providing custom tours to private groups of LA’s neighborhoods, specifically designed depending on the group’s forte, so it’s difficult for her to turn down a five figure offer to set up a tour for music producer Miles McCoy’s fiancee’.

Noir is Dreama’s forte, and readers will learn about many of Dreama’s favorite places and how they tie in to the story in a big way. But this is a mystery, and there will be murders before it’s over, with Dreama finding her own life in danger while she tries to figure out her own love life.

The characters are larger-than-life and spring off the page, accompanied by Dreama’s witty observations. When McCoy’s fiancee shoots herself during an onstage performance, it’s deemed a suicide attempt–or was it murder?

This is a fast read with more than a touch of humor, and an insider’s look of Los Angeles and its varied neighborhoods, alongside a cracking good plot.

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