Broken Window’s Blog Tour Pays Off

Do you wonder what, if anything, is to be gained from blog tours when launching your new book?

Well, besides the exposure, from blogs such as Two Sassy Chicks to Fictional Rendezvous, Obsessed by Books, Eskimo Princess, to name just a few, the second week into its launch, Broken Window has visited seventy blogs and has three favorable book reviews posted on the blogs and also on Amazon.com, and goodreads. The tour generated a good number of tweets also and was so totally affordable that I couldn’t believe the fee.

There are no guarantees for favorable reviews, however, here is one of the reviews from Theresa Masker Reviews from agapareads.com, Theresa noted that she was limited by Amazon.com’s rating system,“5 stars… I would have given more if they would let me….”

Coming from a person who normally doesn’t read crime novels let me tell you I was impressed with Dorothy Hayes “Broken Window.”

The story is about every parents worst nightmare, a missing child. Three teens convinced their parents to let them ride the subway of NYC as one of the girls was going to be attending NYU in the fall. And she wanted to look around the campus. Against better judgement they finally got the ok. There was one problem with that… Three teens got on and only two got off at the destination. Their friend Kelly Singleton was missing.

Investigative reporter Carol Rossi a.k.a as Rossi sees her police husbands information about the girl. She is from their town. Rossi feels the need to help find Kelly. So she does what she does best, investigate. But can she help find Kelly before its too late? You will have to read the book to find out. You won’t be disappointed. I was on the edge of my seat. I was unable to put the book down and neither will you.

Checkout another review:
Red Pencil Beta: https://redpencilfictionbeta.wordpress.com/book-reviews/books-reviewed/broken-window-by-dorothy-hayes/

One more from Mich’s Book Reviews will be posted on Saturday.

I’ve heard sad stories, not all tours are as productive or reasonable, so if you do decide on a blog tour be sure to compare prices and services well.

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Do you have any blog tour stories to share?

Broken Window by Dorothy H. Hayes

Broken Window by Dorothy H. Hayes, one of our very own, is out today!

Hayes2Reporter Carol Rossi achieved some local notoriety with her last investigative piece for the local newspaper in Wilton, Connecticut. Still, it’s completely unexpected when she’s drawn into a case that has her trolling for information in the streets of New York City.

Kelly Singleton, a recent graduate of Wilton High School, was thrilled to take her friends to see her dorm room at NYU. The girls had begged their parents to let them learn the ins and outs of riding the subway.

However, the young women discover they’re completely out of their element when Kelly vanishes without a trace.

We met Rossi in Dorothy’s first novel, Murder at the P&Z, where she used her investigative skills to look into local politics at the Planning & Zoning Commission. She’s an interesting and innovative amateur detective who loves to rescue animals and is an uncompromising vegan.

Hayes has woven a complicated mystery with this challenging story line, set in steamy New York City in 1984. It’s obvious she did extensive research into the times and issues facing NYC during this critical time.

Check out this trailer for this suspenseful read:

For a chance to win a copy of Broken Window, check out my review at Criminal Element and enter the sweepstakes!

A dogged reporter and a missing teenager lost in a city of millions. It makes for good mystery.

A Harried Writer-What, You Too?

With summer visitors and vacations, both of which, I love more than anything, I’m trying to wrap-up a book.

Which I love more than anything.

I’m totally obsessed and can’t wait to continue digging for those typos, tightening up a sentence, banishing others, deleting whole paragraphs, and even one whole chapter.

Each word, and punctuation mark, at this point, is focused upon and measured for its worth, or worthlessness.

Sleep, of course, is a necessary evil, when you’re caught-up in the passion, but it helps you to operate. Often the next morning after a late night, I find very strange things staring back at me from my computer screen.

How did I write that?

So it isn’t that the whole other part of life is a rude interruption, but right now all I want to do is write.

Do you turn into a writing nut?

What About a Novella?

41oE0z1-G9L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Mark Rubinstein’s novella, The Foot Soldier, won the  2014 Benjamin Franklin Gold Award; it was a novella pitted against full novels, and 1500 entries. I started to think, why not?

The actual foot soldier is a newly minted college graduate, who is inducted into the army and sent to  Vietnam. Rubinstein’s story is a mere 49 pages and features three prominent characters; the foot soldier, then his good superior officer and his bad one. The story raises morality issues, inner conflict, and it packs a surprise ending.

You can’t forget any of the three characters, the book is so well written.

I didn’t realize some of our best known works are in novella form. Below is an excerpt from goodreads about novellas.

Unknown-1 Listopia goodreads: World’s Greatest Novellas

A novella is a written, fictional, prose narrative longer than a novelette but shorter than a novel. While there is some disagreement as to what length defines a novella, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Awards for science fiction define the novella as having a word count between 17,500 and 40,000.

Although the novella is a common literary genre in several European languages, it is less common in English. English-speaking readers may be most familiar with the novellas of John Steinbeck, particularly Of Mice and Men and The Pearl, Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and In the Penal Colony, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, Philip Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Jack Kerouac has written many novellas such as Pic, Tristessa, The Subterraneans, and Satori in Paris. Most of the best-known works of H. P. Lovecraft are novellas, including The Shadow out of Time, The Dunwich Horror and The Shadow Over 9780684801223_p0_v1_s114x166Innsmouth.

I can see myself writing a mystery novella, in particular, thinking of the master, Edgar Allan Poe, whose famous stories were all short stories that are now sold as single books.

518pbNhqzpL._AA160_Then with the publishing industry evolving, I find the idea of a novella a very interesting prospect. What do you think?

Or Is it even more difficult to find a publisher for a novella?

Thriller Writer Andrew Gross

andrew_grossHighly successful thriller writer, Andrew Gross, talks about his means of developing a story and his thriller themes in an interview with Mark Rubinstein from The Huffington Post. Gross discussed his new book, Everything to Lose.

Everything to Lose begins with the line, ‘Every life is the story of a single mistake, and then what happens after’. … I think this is a compelling theme, not only for mystery and thriller writers, but about life in general. When you look at your own life, you can see how much was actually quite random and could never have been predicted. Many things happen in our lives — good and bad — arising from events that were completely beyond our control. It’s a way of looking at life: there can be moments in time upon which life hinges. For many people, unforeseen — and sometimes, drastic consequences –spring from a single, life-altering bad decision. And that’s what happens in Everything to Lose — at the beginning of the story, the protagonist makes a mistake leading to a series of unforeseen events.”

Check out the insightful interview.

Update on Murder at the P&Z

Since I’ve complained a lot about promoting my new book and writing another at the same time, I want to share a little bit of the success I’m enjoying.

It’s the third quarter of sales for Murder at the P&Z by Mainly Murder Press, and this time I received a royalty check.

A few days later, I received another modest check from The Village Market where Murder at the P&Z was on sale. The store is in the town of Wilton, where the story takes place. They sold out.

People in town are talking.

Wonderful reviews helped.

Then five books were sold at the Brooklyn Book Festival.

Early on, my talk at the Wilton Library, where 18 books were sold, gave the book immediate acceptance on a local level. A Kiwanis Club luncheon ensued and Murder at the P&Z and I were honored. Several former first selectmen, and a first selectwoman, the town planner, and a town historian were present. Town history plays a major role in the story.

This led to a great newspaper article in the Wilton Bulletin, picture and all, which led to The Village Market accepting my books for sale and a talk at the Norwalk Library.

Otherwise, little was going on in the way of sales on a national level.

Until now.

Now the publisher’s efforts are kicking in a bit, and I am, of course, continuing my marketing efforts by blogging and doing talks. At least four libraries are carrying Murder at the P&Z, three with five copies, at this point.

On October 17, I’ll be doing my third library talk in the town I’ve lived for the last 16 years, Stamford, CT. The Ferguson Library, the heart of our community, invited me to do a talk and a signing.

Regarding my new book, “The End” is in sight, and I am determined to make it my best.

Totally turned on.

How did I get here? I seemed miles away from any success on a wider scale, and/or finishing my next book just a few weeks ago. One of my sister writers humorously teased me for “whining” about being in the position of having to promote a recently published book and writing a new one.

One huge influence, however, are my fellow writers who inspire me and they are only a click away. Women of Mystery, Sisters in Crime, all my writing buddies on Twitter, and my veggie buddies on Facebook, of which, along with family, I have 1,600 plus, so far, and each time I check in there are more requests.

And each time I meet with my writing sisters, who are also just a click away, I’m inspired by their work and energy, and I can’t possibly keep up with their output.

So thank you for your support and inspiration. I know I wouldn’t be here without my writing sisters, or my publisher, and the incredible libraries!

 

Sisters-In-Crime Panel About Publishing War Stories

When a scheduled speaker was forced to cancel at the last minute for a Sisters-in-Crime meeting in NYC, last Thursday, Susan Chalfin, the program coordinator, asked if those of us who had just had a book published would sit on a panel and tell our stories.

So we did.

Afterwards several people came up and said they were grateful for the cancellation.

Besides myself there were Hillary Davidson, Triss Stein, Elizabeth Zelvin, Laura Joh Rowland, and Susan moderated.

We writers offered plenty of tales and the room was pretty full at the Muhlenburg Library at 23 St. We told of our journey to find decent publishers, agents and editors and the pitfalls along the way in the tough world of publishing. How some of us couldn’t get an agent and did it on their own, such as myself, how some had a bad agent and then found a good agent that made all the difference.

Gratefully, we brought the crowd a few laughs and it offered us another experience in the many that occur when your book is finally in print.The journey was different for each of us, there were similarities, but one could see that we all had our ups and downs, some more than others.

I’m reluctant to paraphrase those personal journeys, but let’s put it this way, one of the major takeaways was that none of us gave up.

 

New Authors Breakfast at Malice

The guest of honor at the Malice Domestic 25th conference, held this past weekend, was Laurie R. King. King wrote 12 books based on Laurie R. KingSherlock Holmes’ wife, and a stack of other books and won awards too many to mention here. Yet when I met her she seemed humble and gracious and surprised that there were people in line to meet her. She was often described as “audacious,” by speakers.

As a new author to Malice Domestic, I was like someone looking through a window at a party going on. But, at every chance, writers and fans made me feel welcomed and never so much as at the New Authors’ Breakfast. I was interviewed by the gracious host Cindy Silberblatt, who was also the “Fan Guest of Honor.” She interviewed all 27 authors asking each of us three questions.

She asked me to explain the P&Z of Murder at the P&Z, why were my amateur sleuth and police detective vegans, and was my police detective a sidekick or a co-protagonists. You had two minutes. A bell would ring and you were to stop talking. This was necessary for us to get through the meeting by 8:30 am, oh, did I mention the breakfast started at 7:00 am–that allowed those on 9:00 am panels to be on time.

We had the questions before hand, thanks to Cindy, and yet I was anxious. She, however, calmed me and most others by making casual conversation. But addressing a couple of hundred people plus mystery fans, while attempting to turn them into your readers in two minutes, can be intimidating.

I thought the people who didn’t connect with the audience were those who didn’t sit on the stool next to Cindy, who was also seated on a stool, but, instead, stood to the side and delivered a prepared speech, and those who continued to talk way after the bell rang.

It was a time to be yourself, crack a couple of amusing barbs, and have a little fun while serving up a taste of your story.

I explained that P&Z was planning and zoning and it controlled all the real estate in town and a little corruption can lead to murder. And, I’ve been a vegan for 23 years, and vegans are in all walks of life, now, so why not make an amateur sleuth and a police detective vegans as well? My police detective is a co-protagonist, and not just a sidekick, because he begins to work with my amateur sleuth when the police chief looks like he’s attempting a cover-up. So they both solve the crime.

220px-Peter_Robinson_20100328_Salon_du_livre_de_Paris_1Little did I know that one of my favorite authors, Peter Robinson the creator of DCI Banks, now a PBS series, would be at the Banquet. His speech for being the International Guest of Honor was not a “thank you” speech, but an hilarious story. Laura Lippman, was also an entertaining toast master, and Carolyn Hart the recipient of the 2013 Amelia Award gave us a chance to know her.

I came home and I slept for a day and a half–it was finally the end of my book launch, which began in the last week of March. Efforts to communicate still go on, however, and I’ll be speaking at The Wilton Kiwanis Club, on May 29 at their luncheon, since my book takes place in Wilton, Connecticut. But I’ve been there before, and it’ll be fun.

At the Authors Breakfast a woman from Wilton sat down at my table and said, “I missed your talk at the Wilton Library,” which was only six days ago!

Huh? I thought, wow, these mystery fans sure get around!

My Library Gig/A NonVirtual Event

After writing for eight or nine blogs, I’ve forgotten how many, for my book launch, I finally made it, in the flesh, to the Wilton Library, in the Connecticut town in which the story, Murder at the P&Z takes place.

About thirty people were present and it was perfect. It was the unofficial launch of my novel in the library where my main character, Carol Rossi, does her investigation regarding the murder of the town planner’s secretary.

It was art imitating life and then life imitating art.

Wilton, being an historic colonial town, I made the secretary a descendant of Jonathan Wood, the first person to live in Wilton. This allowed me to tap the town’s rich history. Wood built the first log cabin in town for him and his family. The details of town’s history become clues to the murder.

The murder victim worked at P&Z to protect the land. She says of the settler’s, “They risked their life for the land, the least we can do is protect it.”

So Rossi suspects that if she knows the murder victim better through the town’s history, she’ll be led to the murderer. She learns that the settlers crossed the north Atlantic in shaky tubs for the land. Land was shrinking in England. Crude navigational tools marked their way. Yet a family of six paid a whole year’s salary for humble accommodations. Those who traveled here were the best in their trade.

Wilton is considered one of the richest towns in the country now, and it obviously had money right from the start because a years salary was a good deal of money.

Wilton was established in 1726, fifty years before our Independence Day. The town has sent its sons to every war. In the Revolutionary War it was the first to call itself “Patriots.” It had only 200 families at the time and it sent 300 men to war. Obviously some families sent more than one person to war. Nineteen people never returned.

“Wilton’s contribution to the Revolution was remarkable,” said historian, Robert H. Russell in his history book, Wilton, Connecticut.

My audience loved the facts about the town and the fictional corruption of the planning and zoning department that led to murder. In fact, in the audience was a former town planner who said they, other people connected to the P&Zs of neighboring towns, are “having a lot of fun with this!”

The woman’s face lit-up like a candle, pardon the cliche’, as she talked to me. I guess my book is a great success with those involved in their town’s planning and zoning departments; she bought four books, which I addressed to various people that worked at P&Z from the town planner to a zoning inspector!

I’m thinking of sending notices to Connecticut’s 126 town planners!

At the same time I’m wondering is there ever an end to this launch! I continue to find more opportunities. At least, I think I’m off the virtual tour, at any rate.

I must say that virtual book tours open up a whole new opportunity to writers. Real life book tours are reserved for best sellers and star players, so it is with great appreciation that I leave my virtual book tour. Also, I’m convinced of the escalating opportunities for writers in the new digital publishing world.

It was a good night with family, a Sisters-in-Crime colleague, my first editor, and her new baby, library members, and my tai chi buddies.

One of the Wilton Library members asked, “Is this your first real, in the flesh, book signing?”

Join Me on My Birthday

Please visit me on my on-line April book-tour for Murder at the P&Z at http://www.bethgroundwater.blogspot.com.

It happens to be my birthday and I’m giving away a copy of Murder at the P&Z to the winner selected from those who leave a comment. Beth calls it a reversed birthday present.

This is a very special birthday for me and, in particular, for being a part of the wonderful writers on womenofmystery.net, a member of Sisters in Crime, and to write also for Criminal Element.Com.

Not to mention my supportive large family, many of whom who will be joining me to celebrate the launch of my book and my birthday on April 19 and 20 coming from out of state to be here in Stamford, CT.

Life is good!

I feel like a very lucky girl!