Closing the Door

Woman waving in a carAfter almost eight years of blogging, it’s time for the Women of Mystery to say goodbye. We’ve really enjoyed getting to know you and we hope you’ve had a good time as well. But we’re all busy with other things, and we’re not providing the kind of quality content you’re used to on a regular basis any more, so it’s time to shut down. The blog will still be here with all its old content, there just won’t be anything new. You can find us all in other haunts. Just google us!

Wishing you a wonderful 2016,
—The Women of Mystery Crew


New Year

The end of the year is right there ahead of us. How the heck did that happen? November, for me, was so packed with events, responsibilities and activities (some fun, some not at all) that I made it up mind to take it a single day at a time. And at the same time, I was trying to get ahead on various tasks so if anything happened to throw the schedule off….and something would…In other words, the month flew by.

And then it was December. New book, Brooklyn Secrets, launched Dec 1! Hanuka ( 2 1/2 year old granddaughter lighting candles and tearing into the wrapping paper was a sight to remember) lights

Block association cookie swap (What was I thinking? Really???) Neighborhood parties with elegant food, and one more still to go. (Baking to bring something to said parties.) tips-how-to-make-holiday-christmas-cookies_608

And I look up and here we are, December 29 as I write this. How did that ever happen?

So best wishes to all the other Women of Mystery and every reader, for great reading, great writing, great health in 2016. And if it isn’t hoping for too much,more light, more sanity, more kindness in our weary old world.


Publishing and Promoting Your Book

At a writer’s conference, on Saturday, at the Ferguson Public Library in Stamford, Connecticut, my home town, several writers and I, on a panel, were asked to address the subject of getting your work published.

My own story started with a self-published book in 2006 and then my first traditionally published book in 2013 and then another in 2015.

After two hours of discussion the conclusion was that there is no easy way. But, writers have more options today, and the general message to writers in the audience of about sixty, was to never give up. If you want your book published, you can do it.

Self-published books, once called “vanity press” are now dubbed the more respectful label, “Indie Books.” Publishers Weekly who wouldn’t once give them a glance back about nine years ago, now have a book review section for Indie Books. Larger presses, who were impossible to reach without an agent, now have Ebook versions of books and are more welcoming to unknown writers. Libraries who wouldn’t invite an author who self-published, now are more accepting. Agents advised that once you do get a book traditionally published keep secret your self-published book, if you have one.

Times have changed since 2006 when I self-published my book Animal Instinct, it is no longer a stigma to self-publish it is a badge of self-confidence, and you should even tell your traditional publisher about it, agents now advise.

Once in print, joining Yahoo book clubs was the one solid suggestion as a way to promote. If you are with a large press or small press it is the author who will take the book to the public through every available promotional venue, digital or otherwise, unless he or she is a well-known brand.

What have you found to be the best form of promotion? Is social media working for you?

Do you advertise on Facebook?

On the (Guest Blog) Road Again

It’s almost here. In less than a month, my new book, Brooklyn Secrets, will be out in the world. I am appropriately excited and nervous. It was a harder book to write than I expected and while I hope I succeeded, who knows? Brooklyn Secrets Cover

So I am sidetracking anxiety by immersing myself in publicity activities. We are supposed to do that anyway, so it serves two purposes. Here’s what I am up to over the next month plus.

Guest Blogging dates for now. I’d be happy to do more. I have topics for some as I write this somewhat in advance.

11/5 Jungle Reds. Stretching as a Writer (see above)
11/17 Crime Writers Chronicle
11/30 Bookbrowsing (PJ Nunn)
12/2 Auntie M
12/7 Lori Rader-Day (Lori asks the questions)
12/8 CnC Books Blog
12/10 Wicked Cozy Are my Books Cozies?
12/TBA Dru’s Book Musing Day in the Life

Will I run out of things to say? Not at all likely. I am a talkative person, in real life or on paper (using “paper” loosely!) Will I run out of things worth saying? Hmmm

There are also a few events:

Launch (!!!)

December 3. At New York’s well-known Mysterious Bookshop, at 6:30. 298327_268242919874769_957023598_n

Naturally you are all invited. There will be interesting talk. Friendly folks. And cookies that look like the book cover! Somewhat like this: rec logo big

Brooklyn Public Library

I have finally succeeded in making the right contacts there. (There are disadvantages in living in a city with a writer on every street corner. Librarians and bookstores are not necessarily excited about one being a “local” author). However:

Dec 8 I will be a guest at the Brooklyn Collection, part of their monthly programs on Brooklyn history, which is exciting and appropriate.

TBA later: I am hoping to connect also with the historic Stone Avenue branch of the library, the setting of some crucial scenes in Brooklyn Secrets. stone02_bc


I went to Gettysburg this weekend. It was a pilgrimage of sorts, but not in the usual way. No ancestor of mine fought there; they were all still in the Russian Empire, trying to survive life under the tsars. I am not a re-enactor, nor do I want to be. I am not a Civil War specialist in any way. So here is an explanation. As often the case with me, it involves a book.

Anyone who knows me, or has read one of my own books, or has even read a review of one of my books, will know that I am interested in history. However, military history would be not be included in that. I am very interested in how wartime affects people’s lives, but battles themselves? Not so much. I can’t seem to grasp the logistics of it all and the troop names all sound the same to me.

Then I read Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, which is about the Battle of Gettysburg. Officially considered a novel, in fact almost of the characters are historical figures and almost all their thoughts and dialogue is taken from their own diaries and letters. It seemed to me an astonishing success at breathing life into old bones, and I was so impressed I immediately wrote my brother. He is well-known historian and one of his specialties is the Civil War. I said Killer Angels was probably not scholarly enough for his interests, but had he ever read it? And how stunned I was by it. And he wrote back that not only had he read it, he had assigned it in his introduction to the Civil War classes. shaara

Ever since, I have wanted to go to Gettysburg. It is about a three-hour drive from where we live, a convenient weekend trip. I am here to say it was definitely worth it. We lucked out and it was beautiful fall weather in rural Pennsylvania. Iron Brigade, McPherson's Woods, Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania

What I had never grasped, or even imagined, is that it is not a “battlefield.” The battle lasted three days and moved all over the terrain including the town.Pierce12220810 You can’t walk it in a day and most people either drive on a self-guided tour, bike (!), take a bus tour or hire a guide who will drive and explain and be available for questions.

The fields are full of monuments to the various regiments who fought there. It is a little weird, and at the same time, touching as it illustrates the grief after the battle. Gettysburg_National_Military_Park_60

One of the most unusual I saw was a tepee with an Indian, in memory of the fallen of 42nd New York, nicknamed the Tammany regiment and place by Tammany Hall. Yes, it’s a portrait of Chief Tammany, for whom the society was named.42NY-4c (If you click on the photo, it enlarges to a more interesting picture).

There is a visitors’ center with a museum, an excellent introductory film and a cyclorama of the battle. That is, as I learned there, a gigantic circular painting of the battle. The audience stands in the middle and a sound and light show duplicates the battle field experience. I think you have to be there to get the cyclorama!

All in all, the history geek in my family ( me) was glad we went, and even the non-history geek ( my husband) admitted that it was an interesting day. If you have any interest, I recommend the trip and would be happy to share information. I’d suggest making it two days…and avoid parent’s Weekend at Gettysburg College!

One final thought. Mystery writers are strange people. Because when we arrived and I saw the sign stating the park is closed between 7 PM and 8 AM, I immediately thought”What if…? What if some teenagers sneak in, on a dare? And find something? Or someone finds them? Or there are ghosts? If any place is haunted, this place is. Or…?” Put up your hand if you have had similar moments! :-)

Halloween Party Today! and Wednesday!


Ready for Halloween

Hi all. Reviewer Kathy Kaminski is hosting today on author Kathy Daley‘s two week Halloween bash. I will be co-hosting the one o’clock hour today. Click on over.There will be prizes!

Wednesday Linda Langford of Chatting About Cozies will be hosting and I will join her at the 5 o’clock hour. Same link.

See you there.



Bookseller’s Convention

I had an interesting experience recently which is worth sharing, so here is my report:

In June, someone at my publisher sent a list of the fall regional trade shows to authors with a new book out or ARC available for one coming soon. Would we like to participate in a show, sitting at the Ingram booth? Turned out there was one in October in New Jersey, reasonable driving distance, so I said yes. I didn’t know what to expect, but why not? ingram2

It was in a large hotel in Somerset (a Doubletree), with restaurants, meeting rooms for the booksellers and an exhibit hall. That looked quite familiar to anyone who has been to Malice or Bouchercon, only this time it was the booksellers doing the browsing. The exhibitors were the publishers and wholesalers introducing new fall books. My badge was waiting for me, there was a big stack of ARC’s for Brooklyn Secrets and the friendly Ingram rep encouraged me to talk to anyone who walked by and not to wait for them to come to me. I said “Do you want a book?” About 98% of them did! They wanted them signed, they wanted to know about the series, they were happy to have eye-catching post cards about the other books, they were not put off by ARCS. (They are booksellers; of course they weren’t.) books We chatted about where they were from, I met someone whose boss I had recently interviewed for an MWA/NY project, I met someone from the bookstore nearest my home, I met someone from a bookstore in a Delaware beach town who invited me to come do a program at her store!

In other words, I was out making friends for my books. Many ARCS were given out and now many booksellers know me and my books and perhaps will remember when it comes time to order stock and make recommendations to customers. It was easy and it was fun. Unless you really, really hate talking to strangers, I definitely recommend saying yes if have the opportunity.

(PS – these are not photos of the actual event. I need to get better at remembering to do that.)