Wednesday, July 29, 2015

For the Love of Crime Fiction

 by: Nina Milton
When I tell people I write crime fiction, the one thing I’m not hoping to hear is, “Oh, I never read crime fiction.”

Not because I want them to buy my books, but because I simply don’t believe them. Of course they read crime fiction. They just don’t know it. No way would I admit what I’m actually thinking, which is, “that’s a whole heap of baloney, pal – the literary equivalent of the excrement of the male cow.”

I belong to a local reading club, ten or fifteen of us discussing the books we’ve loved, and sometimes I get that sort of response when introduced to a new member. “A crime fiction series? That won’t interest me, I never read it.” The second part of their little speech hangs in the air, unsaid but perfectly clear– “Crime fiction is way below my reading standard.”

Even when I overhear whisperings in the reading club shadows, “ah, Nina Milton, she’s a novelist with a big US publisher, you know…but it’s only crime fiction…” I don’t bite. I don’t want to be accused of being a “precious author” who can’t take a critique of their work, I just wait, like a cheetah, poised at the edge of the Savannah eyeing up the wildebeests, for the moment they start talking about books…“I love the work of Charles Dickens…” Or, “I’m very into William Faulkner.”

Then I point out, the smile plastered over my face, that Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist was a story of street kids abused and corrupted by gangs of professional criminals.
Bleak House was a legal thriller that Grisham would have probably been proud to write and The Mystery of Edwin Brood…well, it’s in the title, you fool. As for Nobel Laureate Faulkner, not only did he work on the screenplay of The Big Sleep, but wrote a thriller called Sanctuary.

Edgar Allen Poe
Then there’s Dicken’s friend Wilkie Collins, who’s every novel was a mystery thriller, plus Patricia Highsmith, Edgar Allan Poe and Graham Greene, all writers now studied at college. 

Donna Tartt produces something criminal every ten years or so, to delight serious readers and crime fans alike, recently winning acclaim across the world for The Goldfinch, the story of a stolen painting. And, as if to prove my point, Scottish novelist Kate Atkinson recently won literary prizes for her surprising and memorable book, Life After Life, straight after publishing  her “Jackson Brodie” series about a DI turned private eye. These have already been adapted for British TV as Case Histories, and Shonda Rhimes is developing a pilot called The Catch for the US market.

And did you know that Mark Twain’s Huck and Tom solved a murder and collected $2000 in Tom Sawyer, Detective? Twain was also the first writer to use fingerprints in his short story, The Thumbprint and What Became of It.

We haven’t even got started on the many crime novels which have been showered with accolades from the literary giitterati; writers like Dashiell Hammett, Elmor Leonard, Raymond Chandler,  Steig Larsson, Peter Hoeg, Georges Simenon. And of course, P D James, who, in her latter years, also wrote a mystery sequel to Pride and Prejudice, Death Comes to Pemberley.

In fact, it is difficult to write a book, even one that is likely to reach literary heights, without there being an element of mystery within it, without it being thrilling, and without, underneath all of this, some sort of dark secret. I believe it’s the crime writer who best reflects their society, and all shades.

In any case, it’s hard to define exactly what makes a book “good literature”, but I think most people would go with the books which raise questions for the reader, especially about the validity of society’s morals, which is written with style, so that every sentences gets you thinking, and yet is beautiful in its own right.

I don’t pretend to be a literary writer, but I do attempt, right from the start of plotting each of my “Shaman Mystery” novels, to explore the themes I’ve chosen with some depth, and within that, to examine what it is to be human. I do that by choosing crimes that are deeply evil in some way, and observing how people cope, react. In the Moors examines the appalling crime of pedophilia. Unraveled Visions looks at how desperate people seek a better life in a new country to only become exploited. Beneath the Tor, due for release in December 2015, will investigate the “legal hi” problems and mental health issues. Because my heroine is a shamanic therapist with a big heart, I always feature the victims and their families in my books, as well as the law enforcers and the criminals. These are the people Sabbie Dare is interested in helping.

I think P. D. James put it well; A detective story can give a much truer picture of the society in which it’s written than a more prestigious literature…crime fiction confirms our belief, despite some evidence to the contrary, that we live in a rational comprehensible and moral universe.




The 1st Shaman Mystery, IN THE MOORS -“Sabbie Dare is the most compelling protagonist I’ve met this year...Milton’s tale is riveting.”—Library Journal (starred review)

The 2nd Shaman Mystery, UNRAVELED VISIONS
“[A] thrilling tale.” —RT Book Reviews
"The depictions of shamanic journeying are vivid and authentic. Reading BENEATH THE TOR kept me up at night much later than I wanted, because I could not bear to miss the next bit."—RONALD HUTTON, AUTHOR OF THE TRIUMPH OF THE MOON, SHAMANS, AND PAGAN BRITAIN
Nina Milton (Wales) has been publishing short stories and children’s books for thirty years. She’s won many literary competitions, including the Crossroads Competitions, Kent Festival Prize, and the Wells Literary Shirt Story Competitions. She enjoys exploring the magical landscapes of Britain with her husband, James. Visit her blog at

Monday, July 27, 2015

Fifty Ways to Show Readers Some Love (Part 2)

This is the second of three blog posts that highlight ways writers can show their readers some love.  Check out the first twenty at last month's postEnjoy, share, and add to the list in the comments.  I hope it sparks some creative ideas!

Day 21: Be approachable.  I know of a writer who wears jeans to all of her signings, because it makes readers more comfortable.  How can you be more approachable to readers?  Smiles?   A “please join me?” A welcome message pinned to the top of your author page? A sign saying I write about vampires but rarely suck blood?  Approaching a stranger is uncomfortable at best.  Do whatever you can to make it easier for them. 

Day 22: Donate your time—and help raise money!  Donate an hour of your time with an aspiring author at local charity auctions or via Skype for the charity auctions of some of your loyal readers.  (Could also be a book club meeting, a character naming, a reading or ????)  Doesn’t cost a dime, earns you good karma, and helps the worthy causes your readers love!

Day 23: Offer them autographed book plates.  Who says you need to be in the same area to get an autograph?  Order book plates, sign them, and send them to your most loyal readers! The next best thing to having the actual book autographed.  And you can even personalize them!

Day 24: Hold a Facebook launch party!  Launch parties are great fun, but they only reach people within a few miles of the event.  How about a Facebook launch party?  It takes a little bit of time to plan, but the reach is huge.  You can double your extra-credit karma points by inviting other authors they might like to join in the fun.  I like to give away books at my launch parties—especially those written by other authors my readers might enjoy!

Day 25:  “Like” their comments on social media.  If a person comments on a post but no one likes it, does it really exist? If a reader goes to the trouble of posting on your page, hitting “like” seems like a small request.  It takes less time than reading the comment! 
Day 26:  Share your “deleted scenes”  My husband loves watching the deleted scenes when we rent DVDs.  How about sharing a deleted scene from one of your books?  You  (or your editor) may not have let it make it to the final cut, but that doesn’t mean you readers won’t enjoy it. 

Day 27: Be positive.  No one’s day is improved when they are bombarded by posts from a Debbie Downer.  When in doubt, celebrate the great things readers do for you versus bemoaning the bestseller list you didn’t hit.  There’s a balance in there somewhere.

Day 28: Link your social media accounts.  Link your Facebook and Twitter accounts so it’s easier for readers to find you.  I have to admit, this is one I haven’t implemented yet.  But that’s because I’m a Twidiot!  Many of my writer friends are much more Twitter savvy than I am.

Day 29: Engage with readers when they ask for your autograph.  I always make it a point to thank readers when they ask for my autograph as well as ask them to let me know what they thought of the book after they’ve read it.,  A few do.  Most of them don’t.  But they seem surprised and happy to be asked.  One flat out told me that no author had ever asked for her opinion before. If someone takes the time to approach you, make it worth their while!

Day 30: Post unique content to their blogs.  Many of your most loyal fans are also book bloggers who are trying to build visibility, just like we writers are.  If you agree to post on a book blogger’s blog, make the content unique.  That will help them increase visibility in the search engines.  At the very least, warn them if the content is duplicate so they have the option to say “no” if it doesn’t fit with their goals and guidelines.

Day 31:  Let them name a character in your next book! I just ran a contest to let readers choose the name for two characters in my fourth book. Not only did I get some GREAT character names to choose from, but a reader is getting her name in the acknowledgements section of the book.  How fun!  
Day 32: Hold a cover reveal contest!  I just finished my cover reveal contest, and it was tons of fun!  The cost of a few prizes was totally worth the chance I had to interact with some of my most loyal readers.  And I suspect I met a few new ones, too!

Day 33: Write Good Books!  This one seems obvious to me, but enough readers mentioned it that I thought I should share it.  Many readers like being connected with their favorite authors, but the thing they want most from them is to write good books—and more of them!  So be sure to spend enough time at that keyboard!

Day 34: Ask them to help choose your next author head shot!  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have my left arm chopped off than pose for a head shot. And my most likely response when I see them is to run to the phone to make an appointment for a die job and a face lift.  Your readers, on the other hand, see you as you are.  And they might enjoy helping you pick what I refer to as the “best of the worst.” 

Day 35: Meet up with them on your travels!  When traveling on tour or speaking, let your fans know, and make an effort to meet up with someone either en route or upon arrival.  One writer I know has made friends across the US by doing this. So much better than being just an online persona!

Day 36. Provide them with book group questions! This is still on my to-do list, but I plan to do it someday soon.  Readers who belong to book clubs love to have questions to help guide their discussions.  It doesn’t take long to do and may help them explore your work at a deeper, more meaningful level.  This one is from Lea Wait.

Day 37:  Tell them where to get your books at low cost or free!  One author I know dedicates her newsletters to helping find her books as cheaply as possible. That way they can enjoy her work without busting their budgets!

Day 38: Name a character after them!  While I was at Malice, a reader told me a delightful story about her aging mother and the challenges she had choosing presents for her.  She contacted her mother’s favorite author and convinced her to write her mother into the story.  How cool is that? 

Day 39:  Write them a letter!  Several readers mentioned to me that their favorite authors sent them a card or a note and it meant the world to them.  Letter writing seems to be going the way of the dinosaurs, but we writers should at least be doing our part!

Day 40:  Ask them to give input on your next book cover.  Who knows better than your readers what kinds of covers interest them!  And it shows how much you value their opinion!  Many authors have no input to their covers, but if you’re self published, you have total control.  Why not get your readers involved?

Thanks for reading.  The final ten ideas (with a few bonuses) will post next month.

Tracy Weber

A Killer Retreat
Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series featuring yoga teacher Kate Davidson and her feisty German shepherd, Bella. Tracy loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. Her first book, Murder Strikes a Pose won the Maxwell Award for Fiction was nominated for the Agatha award for Best First Novel. The second book in her series, A Killer Retreat, was released January, 2015 by Midnight Ink. Book three in the series, Karma's A Killer, will be released January 2016.

Visit her at, friend her on Facebook at, or e-mail her at

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

It's Raining Books (And That's Okay)

By Mark Stevens

What I believe and a few other random thoughts:
  1. It’s raining books. 
  2. And the forecast is a breeze; it’s going to rain harder. 
  3. I believe not all books are for all readers. Can you imagine if they were?
  4. I believe there are way too many books being published. And that’s not a bad thing. 
  5. I believe that if you are a voracious reader, you read about two books a week. (My mother did.) 
  6. That’s 104 books a year. If there were 300,000 titles published last year, you read .03 percent of all books published.
  7. Nice job. 
  8. Congrats!
  9. Feel good! 
  10. Just don’t think about what you might have missed. (I know I can’t.)
  11. I believe a sharp, updated cover will make me want to re-read a classic.
  12. I believe Patricia Highsmith is finally getting her due through film. “Carol” with Cate Blanchett, for instance, and “The Blunderer” with Patrick Wilson and Jessica Biel are two movies coming out soon. I can’t wait. 
  13. But no movie will ever quite capture the edgy darkness of Patricia Highsmith’s words on the page.
  14. Ever.
  15. I believe that if every book was a best-seller, it would be a better world. 
  16. I mean, just think of all the reading that would be going on.
  17. I believe that if every high school diploma meant you were a voracious reader—and, say, that’s all it meant—it would be a better world. 
  18. I mean, just think of all the reading that would be going on.
  19. I believe there is no guaranteed marketing strategy for a writer that will lead to a big jump in sales.
  20. If there was a guaranteed formula, every book would be a best-seller. 
  21. And that ain’t possible. The physics of it. And the math. And the ink supply.
  22. I believe it’s possible to walk into a good independent bookstore and feel overwhelmed. And yeah, happy, sure.  
  23. I believe that if the book isn’t as good as your platform, you got no platform.
  24. I believe that one day the late Gary Reilly will be known as major talent. 
  25. The record so far: 8 posthumous published titles since 2012 and all Denver Post best-sellers (two number 1’s); two titles named Colorado Book Award finalists; one major rave review on National Public Radio.
  26. And a woman who was the academic selector/bibliographer for Princeton Libraries (who only found Gary Reilly’s works because it was her job to keep up with new titles) called Gary Reilly one of her all-time favorite writers.
  27. Okay, since you asked, here is exactly what Karen Haverkamp wrote in an email to me: “He (Gary Reilly) is one of my all-time favorite authors— honest, completely unpretentious, and such a master of his craft that the reader experiences only apparently effortless prose (without that annoying feeling that the writer is trying too hard).”
  28. More about the late Gary Reilly:
  29. So even the writers who have left us are adding to the fact that it’s raining books out there.
  30. I say, let it rain.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Welcome to Me! My First InkSpot Blog Post

by Lisa Alber

This is my inaugural InkSpot blog post, and I'm so happy to be here. I became a member of the Midnight Ink author clan last month, which means I get to blog right here along with a crew of fabulous authors. Yay!

I don't have much to tell you yet. The process is just beginning. Midnight Ink has my next novel within its editorial grip, and pretty soon I'm going to receive an editorial letter. Over the next year I'll revise and revise some more; I'll see my cover art; I'll gear up for marketing and publicity -- and all while writing the NEXT novel.

Waahoo, let the games begin!

Here's what I can tell you right now. I named the novel GREY MAN, but that might change. It's my first novel with Midnight Ink, but not my first published novel. My debut novel, KILMOON, came out last year. It's set in Ireland and features Detective Sergeant Danny Ahern and Merrit Chase.

GREY MAN continues their stories, and I'll have waaay more to tell you about that in the upcoming months. Meanwhile, let me tell you about another Grey Man, a predatory faery of Irish folklore and one of the inspirations for the novel.

Grey Man is said to ooze onto land with the fog, disappearing hapless innocents into its damp grip. Ireland is a land of myth and folklore. Even today, there's something vaguely otherworldly about the land--as if you might look under a hedgerow and see a sprite. It's not about believing or not believing in these things; it's more like the feel of Ireland (at least to me) allows for their possibility.

I loved the imagery of the dark faery when I first read about it. I don't write paranormal mysteries, but I like a little magical realism, and I love symbols. I love that creating a grey and obscured atmosphere could incite locals in my fictional town of Lisfenora to start thinking about the faery while a real Grey Man lurks within their midst.

I welcome comments and conversation. Please visit me every third Wednesday of the month!

What would you like to know about me? Ask away!

Lisa Alber is the author of KILMOON, A COUNTY CLARE MYSTERY, which has been called "utterly poetic" and "a stirring debut." Ever distractible, you may find her staring out windows, fooling around online, or drinking red wine with her friends. Ireland, books, animals, photography, and blogging round out her distractions. Visit her on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Q&A with Author, Cynithia Hickey

Cynithia Hickey

By Maegan Beaumont

I sat down with my friend and fellow author, Cynthia Hickey, to ask her a few questions about what's she been up to...

1. When did you discover your love for the written word?
My mother said that, not having a Kindergarten close enough for me to attend as a child, that she taught me to read. I took to it easily and have always read above my level. Once I discovered the many worlds between the pages of a book, I was hooked.

2. When did you begin your writing career?
I've made up stories for as long as I can remember, but it isn't until a few years ago that I actually began to take the writing process seriously. My first novel, Fudge-Laced Felonies, was released through Barbour in 2007.

3. Tell us something that people may not know about you?
 I've been on television twice. Once on the backdrop of a weather report filmed on Petit Jean Mountain in Arkansas and another time when a documentary was being filmed at the Pickle Plant where I worked.

4. Do you have a secret desire that may not ever come true?
I've always thought it would be a blast to be in a movie. Not a walk on character, but an actual main character. An insane person would be fun.

5. Do you have a favorite book?
 The one book I own that has stood the test of time is Gone With the Wind and Little Women. I still love them.

6. A favorite author?
I'd have to say that in today's market, I love Diana Gabaldon. Her Outlander characters are so rich, I feel as if I know them.

7. Do you have a favorite book that you've written?
No, I can't say that I do. I guess Fudge would be it if I had to pick, it being my first and all.

8. Any suggestions for pre-pubbed authors?
Never, ever, give up. If you're meant to be an author, you need to write as much as you need to breathe.
While I'm promoting book 5 in the Nosy Neighbor series, Jogging is Bad for Your Health, it helps if readers discover the first four books first. Anything for a Mystery is book 1. It is a single release and is also included in this tremendous collection by some of the Christian industries best cozy mystery authors. I hope you check it out. You may discover a new favorite mystery writer. Writing cozies is great fun! There will be two more in this series, then I have a new one planned for 2016. I hope you will join me on this adventure.

ANYTHING FOR A MYSTERY: What follows is a frolicking good time as Stormi finds herself the nosiest neighbor of them all. Can she find the killer before she becomes the next victim? (Christian)


GUNFIGHT AT GRACE GULCH: Cici and Audie take a dangerous gamble to nail the killer - and lay their lives on the line. (Christian)

ANOTHER STAB AT LIFE: In order to honor her grandmother's wishes and stay at Volstead Manor Bailey must unravel a string of mysteries and secrets, which all seem determined to stay happily ever buried. (Christian)

TROUBLE UP FINNY'S NOSE:A crazy kaleidoscope of characters such as the uptight gallery owner, Napoleon Prinn; half-baked Dimple Dent, writer of fortune-cookie wisdom; Alva Hernandez, octogenarian newspaper boy; and Monk, the amorous town caterer, add to the chaos in the shadow of Finny’s nose until Ruth finds herself in the ultimate do or die situation. (Christian)

MURDER IN THE MILKCASE:Sleuthing to exonerate herself from murder charges, she shakes up a murderer who has nothing to lose by killing any one in the way - including Trish. (Christian)

THE WEDDING CAPER: Join Annie Peterson, mother of the bride, as she solve crimes on her way to the wedding. In book one (The Wedding Caper) a $25,000 night deposit mysteriously disappears from the Clark County Savings and Loan, and Annie Peterson takes on the role of amateur sleuth to solve the mystery. Only one problem. . .she knows nothing about crime solving! (Christian)
MURDER UNDER THE MISTLETOE: What she'd hoped would be a relaxing holiday between jobs turns into a stressful and often frustrating

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Writing the Past

I'm delighted to join the Midnight Ink blog today. And I'm even more delighted to be writing a
mystery set in 1888 with a Quaker midwife as the protagonist. The Quaker Midwife Mysteries are set in the northeastern Massachusetts mill town of Amesbury (where I happen to live), which was also the carriage capital of the world.

I used to teach childbirth education in my living room and worked as a doula, providing labor support to women and their partners in birth centers or hospitals, so I have some knowledge of the birth process. And since normal labor and delivery hasn't changed for women in thousands of years, I don't have to do much research about that part.

The life of a midwife in 1888, though, has been interesting to set up, to say the least. Rose Carroll lives in my house - which was built in 1880 for mill workers, so it's a modest three bedroom. They have a pump in the kitchen sink but no running water otherwise.

She rides one of the new safety bicycles, the kind with two even-sized wheels, to get to her clients'  homes for births. Midwifery hadn't yet been taken over by male physicians and hospitals.

Life in town was on the cusp of change, too. The town might have had electric lights, and the big fancy (think Victorian, although of course they wouldn't have called them that then) homes of the carriage factory or mill owners might have had electric lights, too, but not the smaller homes. The electric trolley didn't go in until 1890, so it was still horse drawn.

I love including John Greenleaf Whittier as a secondary character. He lived a few blocks away from Rose and worshipped at the same Friends Meetinghouse as her (and the same one I attend every Sunday morning).

Life for an unmarried independent unconventional midwife like Rose is both difficult and fulfilling. She loses a baby once in a while, and that was life back then. She hadn't expected to have to solve murders too, but I'm almost finished writing the second book, and she's realizing she has a bit of a gift for detecting.

Look for Delivering the Truth in early April, 2015!

Readers: Do you like to read historical fiction? Got a favorite historical mystery series? Or do you prefer your intrigues set squarely in the present?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Running Late

--by Linda O. Johnston

Sorry I'm late posting this.

My excuse is that my weekend was busy. 

On Saturday night, my husband and I attended a fantastic fireworks display for the Fourth of July.  It was in Marina del Rey, where some good friends live.  Because we didn't intend to stay overnight--not with our dogs at home--we went down there early in the day to try to find a parking space that would allow us to leave without getting into the worst of the departing traffic and were only partially successful.  That meant it took us a long time to leave the parking lot we did find. But we eventually did get out and home and into the loving licks of our dogs.

Cut to the next day, which I largely spent killing someone.  Okay, you know what I mean.  I'm a mystery writer, so I'd reached the part of the manuscript I'm working on where I had to plan for the murder of the victim whose killing needs to be solved in the story.  I'm working on Superstition Mystery #3.  It won't be released for a while but my deadline isn't extremely far away.  You won't get to read it for a while, though.  The first Superstition Mystery, Lost  Under a Ladder, came out last October, and the second, Knock on Wood, will be released this October.  You see the pattern?  The one I'm working on now should be out in October of 2016.

And in between are my Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries.  The first of those, Bite the Biscuit, came out in May.  I'm not writing a manuscript in that series at the moment, but I am testing dog treat recipes for inclusion in one of them--and boy, are my pups happy about that!

Anyway, enough of my apologies.  I'm late, but I'm here.  Happy July, everyone!


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Dying On The Road ...

Tj O'Connor, author of Dying to Know, Dying for the Past, and Dying to Tell
Ah, summertime. Warm days sitting in a hammock with my feet up with a nice drink in my hand. Nothing to do but … oh, hell no. That’s not right at all. This summer I’m taking Dying on the Road! It’s me, Dying to Know, Dying for the Past, and the highway …

Right now, you’re saying “Huh?” Easy. Since Book II—Dying for the Past—of the Gumshoe Ghost series launched in January, I’ve been everywhere trying to build an audience and cultivate more fans. I’ve had a great time doing that and met some amazing authors, great fans, and even a few celebrities along the way. Thus far, my travels have included:

·       February: Farpoint Fan Convention, Timonium, Maryland—It was subzero weather but still had some fans come out and enjoy the Sci-Fi convention.

·       February: Winchester Book Gallery, Winchester, Virginia—a major snow storm dumped more than a foot of snow and chilled my book launch in my home town… alas, I still sold a few!
·       March: Virginia Festival of the Book, Charlottesville, Virginia—a rather disappointing turnout at this great event. Not many folks attended, but I still managed to meet some great folks and sign a dozen books or so.
·       April: Children’s Specialized Hospital Charity, Summit, New Jersey—Probably the event of the year. What a great cause! I was one of the guest speakers and got to meet some wonderful philanthropists and sign a bunch of books. What a wonderful event!

·       May: Malice Domestic, Bethesda, Maryland—The annual fan conference where I spoke on a panel with some amazing authors like Toni LP Kelner, Charlaine Harris, Judy Hogan (moderator), and Tonya Kappes. I was honored to be in their company.

·       May: Gaithersburg Book Festival, Gaithersburg, Maryland—no snow, thank God … but a massive thunderstorm sent us shelter! Met some great folks and got to finally meet my childhood author-hero, James Grady.

·       May: Millbrook Book Festival, Millbrook, New York—one of my fav events. Not a lot of turnout this year (I think they competed with a county-wide yard sale and some high school graduations) but I was a speaker at the event and got to hang with my pals Louis Romano and Jim Holmgren! Always a pleasure!

·       June: Iroquois Public Library Book Club, Erie, Pennsylvania—What a fun gathering! I met a dozen or more avid readers who I hope are all fans now. Had a great talk and spent a couple hours chatting and answering questions. Can’t wait for next year! Thanks, ladies!!!!!

·       June: Great Escapes Book/Blog Tour—What a great experience! Ten blog and review sites gave me a guest spot via the Great Escapes Blog Tour and I did interviews and had Dying for the Past Reviewed … and what a fabulous bunch of reviews I got! These sites included The Community Bookstop, Fuonly Knew, Sapphyria’s Book Reviews, View from the Bird House, Deal Sharing Aunt, Griperang’s Bookmarks, A Chick Who Reads, Back Porchervations, and Writers and Readers of Paranormal Mystery. I’m giving away a bunch of signed books and sent out the grand prize winner a Kindle Reader with both my current books loaded on it. This tour was fabulous for reaching new fans and adding some wonderful reviews to the list. Thanks to all who participated!

And I took a breather …

Now for the charge into fall… I’ll be visiting and speaking at a host of new venues. Please come on out and say hi!

·       July 9-12: Thriller Fest, Manhattan, New York—I’m a spectator for this one. Since I’m working on a new thriller and mystery, I’m attending this fabulous event to get some insight. I’m hoping to rope some time with my agent, Kimberley Cameron, and plan to conquer the literary world!

·       July 24-26: Scares that Care, Children’s charity in Williamsburg, Virginia—This is a charity event in historic Williamsburg. I’m so looking forward to this one. I’ll be meeting readers and fans, signing some books, and visiting with some old and new pals I’ve met on the circuit!

·       August 8: Comic Con, Dover, Delaware—This is a first for me. I’m looking forward to spending the day speaking on my books and meeting the folks in Dover. I may have a panel speaking gig so come on down and support this great event.

·       August 22: Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival, Suffolk, Virginia—Another first! But wow, am I ready for this one. I was invited down to be a guest author to speak and meet mystery fans. This is in historic Suffolk, Virginia, and from the list of attendees, I’m again honored to be part of this group! A lot of friends will be there!

·       September 26: Murder As You Like It Mystery Conference, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania—This fun conference is sponsored by some wonderful folks at the Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop. They’ve invited me to be a panelist, a panel moderator, and the Key Note speaker … what a day that’ll be!

·       October 2-4: Monster Mania Horror Fan Convention, Hunt Valley, Maryland—For the second year, I’ll attend this wild and crazy show to talk to fans and sign books. Last year I met some fabulous people like Han Solo, Princess Leia, a few wookies, some bizarre cosplay folks, and many others. It’s a ton of laughs, great fans, and always some celebrities to smooze with!

·       October 8-11: Bouchercon Authors Convention, Raleigh, North Carolina—I’m looking forward to this one. These conventions are great for meeting fans, seeking out new fans, and spending some great times with fellow authors everywhere. Very much looking forward to it!

As I take Dying on the Road, I’ll be out talking about my books and meeting readers and fans and generally selling my soul to build an audience. If you’re near any of these events, come on by and say hello. If you do and you mention this blog, I’ll drop a book in your hands pro bono!

Tj O’CONNOR IS THE GOLD MEDAL WINNER OF THE 2015 INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS BOOK AWARDS FOR MYSTERIES. He is the author of Dying to Know and Dying for the Past, available in bookstores and e-books from Midnight Ink. His third paranormal mystery, DYING TO TELL, will be released January 2016. He is currently working on a traditional mystery and a new thriller. Tj is an international security consultant specializing in anti-terrorism, investigations, and threat analysis—life experiences that drive his novels. With his former life as a government agent and years as a consultant, he has lived and worked around the world in places like Greece, Turkey, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and throughout the Americas—among others. He was raised in New York's Hudson Valley and lives with his wife and Lab companions in Virginia where they raised five children. Dying to Know is also a Foreword Review’s 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award finalist.

Learn about Tj’s world at:

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