The Fourth Conspirator by Barry Willdorf

Fourth ConspiratorThe Fourth Conspirator

(Part 3 of the 1970’s Trilogy)

Barry S. Willdorf

Whiskey Creek Press, 2012, 382 PagesBarry Willdorf

ISBN No. 978-1611603323

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid

This is an action packed book taking the reader in several different directions.  Nate Lewis is an attorney representing the property owner that shot and killed a crook ripping off his marijuana garden.  The shooter is a former Marine and does not intend to let anyone get away with raiding his property.  Nate has his hands full building a defense.

Nate’s wife, Christina Lima, has taken over public relations for her cousin’s Mendocino winery.  Christina has more than any woman should be asked to handle.  She is pregnant.  Christina’s father has Alzheimer’s.  Then Christina’s dying aunt asks Christina to mediate her cousin’s ongoing battles for control of the winery.

While attempting to prepare an accounting to present to the cousins, Christina is injured.   Whether the injury is an accident or on purpose is not known.  Then it begins to look like Christina’s accident and Nate’s case might be connected.

Burning Questions and A Shot In The Arm  are the first two books in this trilogy.  I started with The Fourth Conspirator, but I intend to go back and read the first two books.

An interview with L.C. Hayden

lchaydenAuthor Elsie “L.C.” Hayden has been a friend and colleague of mine for many years and it’s been exciting to watch as her career has grown and her work has evolved. I never know what she’s going to do next!

PJ:  How long have you been writing?

LC: Not too sure, but I think I was born with a pen in my mouth and a piece of paper in my hand.  Then I grew up and became one of those who wrote page after page when the teacher assigned a composition. Teachers hated me because I made their grading harder. When I was in college, I had my first piece, a folklore article, published.

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

LC: Not quite sure I’m there yet. For every goal I achieve, there’s always twenty million more to accomplish. I’ve had some highlights, though: when I signed my first royalty contract; when the first fan told me how much she enjoyed my books; the first time I was nominated for a major award (Agatha Award for Best Novel,) and so many more memorable times.

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

LC: I never knew that being an author meant being a salesperson. Two completely different hats the author has to wear. Also, I probably had a glamorized picture. You know what I mean. You do a book signing and people actually show up.

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

LC: It’s finally beginning to. When I first started, there was no such thing as a monthly income. I was lucky to claim a few thousand a year. But now that my books are steadily selling, I have a nice monthly income that surpasses my early yearly incomes.

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

LC: I concentrate on writing a better novel. If my current novel receives twenty five-star reviews, I want the next to receive twenty-five five-star reviews because it’s that much better.

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

LC: A whopping ten years. That’s the one thing about writing: you should never give up.

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

LC: I feel that my early novels, while basically good, are not excellent. I wish I knew then what I now know. I would have made those novels so much better.

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

LC: When I’m writing, I devote the majority of time to writing. After that first draft is finished, I set it aside and work on something else—usually promotional stuff. After a few days of that, I go back to writing or editing. This switching back and forth works well for me.

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer???????????

LC: I received a call asking me to speak at a major cruise line during their days at sea. In return, I and guest of my choosing (which has always been my husband) would receive a free cruise and the ship would carry my books. At the end of the cruise, I would pick up a check. How can anyone refuse an offer like that? So far, I’ve done the Caribbean and the Mexican Riviera several times, Hawaii, the Mediterranean, and the Panama Canal two times, each time with a different cruise line. I love this part of promoting!

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

LC: I flew to Alaska to do a presentation. I knew someone would be at the airport to greet me. Soon as I stepped off, two ladies approached me. “You’re L. C.,” they said. I was instantly flattered. They had actually recognized me. I was coming up in the world. “Yes,” I answered. “How did you know?” Their eyes indicated my attire. I wore a parka, a wool hat, snow boots—after all, this is Alaska. Then I looked at the other passengers. They wore light to medium jackets, no head cover, and normal shoes. So much for being recognized. Sigh.

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

LC: While researching my novel set in Las Vegas, I sat back stage with the impersonators of Legends in Concert. Elvis Presley” looked at his watch and told me it was almost time for the show. Since they had gotten me front row tickets, I asked them for directions back to the stage. I was told to go down the corridor, turn right at the second turn, then go left, up a flight of stairs and make an immediate right. Go through the door at the right. Then . . .  He hadn’t even finished and I was already confused.

I tried to follow the directions but got desperately lost. I opened the door I believe “Elvis” said I should. A tiny village expending several yards greeted me. It immediately captured my attention. The lights twinkled, the car wheels rolled. I could almost hear the children’s laughter. From behind me, I heard some noise. I turned and the audience began to clap. I had walked right into the stage.

Someone thought it was cute as they put the spot light on me.

I curtsied and ran down the stairs.

So you see, folks, I have been an opening act to a Las Vegas show.

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

LC: No matter which mystery is being reviewed or by whom, the reviewer seems to make the same comment: “filled with lots of action and a surprise ending that you never expected.” Therefore, I’d say that what sets my books apart is that each work promises an edge of the seat read with a surprise ending.

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

??????????LC: Never, ever give up. Have faith in your writing and in you. Write the best book possible, get it professionally edited, and be proud of your work.

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

LC: Speaking. If I do a normal signing, I sell X-number of books. But if I speak, I sell an X-number-plus books. That’s one reason I love doing the cruises. I do presentations and get to sell a lot of books.

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

LC: Asking people to buy my books. I hate asking people to spend their money. Consequently, I leave it up to my readers to choose if they want to buy them or not—but I hope they do.

PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

LC: Unfortunately, I live in El Paso, TX, and we only have two Barnes and Nobles and no independent bookstores. I wish we were a more literate city. However, although I have a lot of non-local mystery bookstores that I absolutely love, I especially like Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, PA. They hold a yearly Book Festival that is one of the very best.

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

Mysteries: from latest release to earliest release:

Harry Bronson Mysteries: When the Past Haunts You (2013 LCC Watson Award Nominee)when the past

                                                    When Death Intervenes

                                                    Why Casey Had to Die (Agatha Award Finalist)

                                                    What Others Know (2009 LCC Best Novel Finalist)

                      (please check for my website for earlier titles: www.lchayden.com

Aimee Brent Mysteries: Ill Conceived

                                                 Vengeance in My Heart (coming soon) 

Children’s Picture Book: What Am I? What Am I?

Inspirational: Nonfiction: Angels Around Us

                                             When Angels Touch You

                        Fiction: Bell Shaped Flowers

Writer’s Manual: Help! I Want to Write

                               Breaking and Entering: The Road to Success (edited)

Paranormal: The Drums of Geruld Hurd

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

Did you ever wish you were given a second chance to correct past mistakes? This happens to Harry Bronson in When the Past Haunts You. His estranged sister calls him, begging for help. What follows is a hair-raising journey full of sharp turns and rocky terrain. The refrain Don’t leave me weaves through the book and echoes our deepest longings for connection, for family, and for correcting past mistakes. Goodreads hailed When the Past Haunts You as one of 2012 best reads. Pick up a copy and find out what happens When the Past Haunts You.

 

Where can we buy it?

If you’re looking for the e-book version, go to www.tinyurl.com/LCHayden  If you want the traditional book you can buy it from Amazon or from me. Or you can check with your favorite book store and see if they’ll order it for you.

PJ: What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

LC: As an author, I get asked a lot of questions, but the one I get asked the most is “What exactly does L. C. stand for?”

The answer goes back to way before I started writing my novels. Before writing mysteries, I freelanced for several magazines. I looked at the various ones and decided I’d like to write for the treasure magazines. I researched, wrote the article, and since this happened before the invention of computers, I typed the piece. I used my real name as my byline: by Elsie Hayden.

My husband, Rich, took the pictures, printed them (told you it was before computers), and I sent the package in. It came back. “Thanks, but we’ve just bought a similar piece.”

I was devastated but did not give up. I researched another buried treasure and eagerly sent it out. It, too, came back. “Thanks, but we’ve just assigned this to someone else.”

Hmm…I wasn’t liking this trend, but I must be from Missouri. I wouldn’t give up. I sent a third, a fourth, a fifth . . . They all came back.

By this time, I felt like a high school dropout. I picked up a copy of the magazine and slammed it down. Talking to myself, I said aloud, “This is exactly what they’re looking for. Why are they not publishing me?”
Rich picked up the magazine and pointed to the title page. “Look at the articles. They’re written by John, by Steve, by Mike. There’s no Marys, no Susies, no Elsies.”
Being a smart cookie, the light dawned on me. I took out the first rejected manuscript and retyped the first page. The only change I made was the byline. I changed it from by Elsie Hayden to by L. C. Hayden.
The article was immediately accepted. So were a second, and a third. . . I got used to using the initials and when it came time to write my mysteries and other novels, it felt natural to continue to use L. C. instead of Elsie.

And thus, L. C. Hayden, the author, was born (or was I created?)

When The Past Haunts You by L.C. Hayden

when the pastWhen The Past Haunts You

(Harry Bronson Mysteries)

L. C. Hayden

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012, 396 Pages

ISBN No. 978-1470074791

Reviewed by Patricia Reid

It would be difficult to find a happier married couple than Harry and Carol Bronson. Harry is retired from the Dallas police department and enjoys traveling with Carol.  Harry has been involved in a number of mysteries in spite of the fact that he is retired.

Carol Bronson would be the first to tell you that there are no secrets between her and Harry.  However, Carol is going to find out that this statement is not entirely accurate.  Harry has a huge secret that he has never discussed with his wife.  This secret is a sister that he has pushed to the back of his mind and never mentioned her existence to his wife.

Lorraine, Harry’s sister, had a terrible fight with Harry’s parents.   She immediately left home and Harry had no further contact with her until recently when she began calling him.  Lorraine begs Harry to come to Pennsylvania and meet with her.  Harry finally agrees and they meet in a state park that had been a location for good childhood memories for both brother and sister.  However, before the two had a chance to reconnect Lorraine was shot and killed right in front of Harry and there was not one thing Harry could do to save her life.

Even though it was too late to reconnect with his sister, Harry is determined to learn all that he can about her life since she left home.    As Harry traces Lorraine’s life by following up on any information he can discover, he learns that she lived quite a different life than he imagined.  He also learned that she had never forgotten her brother and was always very proud of Harry and his accomplishments as a police officer.

Harry’s quest to learn everything about Lorraine’s past since she left home puts his life in danger but he has no intentions of giving up.  Harry intends to uncover all of Lorraine’s secrets and to bring her killer to justice.  Harry feels that this is the very least he can do forlchayden the sister he has ignored for all these years.  Lorraine’s life has involved people from every walk in life, from pimps to millionaires.   Harry is in for many surprises as he investigates.

L. C. Hayden has written an exciting book that keeps the reader on edge every step of the way.  I have read several L. C. Hayden novels and would recommend them.

A publicist’s day by PJ Nunn

PJSometimes when I see someone’s tweet, I wonder what their day is like. So when I knew I needed to get a new blog up and quick, I thought maybe that would be a fair topic for me. I’m a lot of things on a given day, but I am never bored. Multi-tasking doesn’t even begin to cover it.

My Master’s degree is in psychology with a side order of criminology. If you went over my resume or CV you’d guess I was at least 100 years old. I’m not. I was a counselor/law enforcement consultant/teacher/administrator for years. Actually I still am those things occasionally. But as it so often does, life intervened, one of my children became seriously ill and I had to change my plans. I needed to work from home, so I turned to writing and did fairly well as a freelance writer, particularly on topics of abnormal psychology/criminology. However, the freelance field was feast or famine and I needed an income that was slightly more dependable than that. So on the basis of a favor for an author friend, BreakThrough Promotions was born and I added “publicist” to my list.

I say all that to let you know that I didn’t get here on a traditional path and my MBA isn’t in business or marketing.  Sometimes, when I OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAtalk to other PR professionals, I don’t have a clue what they’re talking about.  I used to worry about that but I don’t anymore. First, because I’ve had a few well known publicists call me over the years to find out how I pitched a particular story or client and got coverage that they couldn’t get. Secondly because I’ve learned that my clients don’t care if I know all the catch-phrases. They just care if I can get the job done. And usually I can. So the day I talk about might not fit your publicist (or your day if you’re a publicist) but we can all have our own kinds of days, right?

cup_of_coffeeI’m not a morning person. If you know me well, you can attest that you’ve gotten emails from me that are stamped in the wee hours. I love the night when it’s quiet in my house. My creative juices are flowing at that time. Never expect me to be at my best before nine. Because of that, I work late and I sleep late. I plan to be, and usually am, at my desk by 10 a.m. I scan my emails to see if anything marked URGENT popped in while I was sleeping. If not, I turn to my phone list to see what is on my “immediate” list, then start with the east coast calls. That’s a typical beginning.

If you want the atypical, I probably got wakened at 6 a.m. by a frantic producer who scheduled one of my authors for an interview and early_morning_wake-up_callthey didn’t call OR maybe by a guest booker who wanted to get an early start on the day by returning my phone call from last week. Those guys (nongender specific) don’t keep office hours. Probably they don’t even wear a watch or pay attention to the time on their phones. This is why, as a good publicist, I charge my phone on the nightstand beside my bed and have even been known (on desperate days) to carry it with me to the bathroom. That information should really increase my Klout score. If you call me and I don’t answer my phone, it’s probably because I’m already on it.

If I haven’t been interrupted too many times by miscellaneous calls and urgent (questionable) emails, I might be through that list by 1 or 2 p.m.  Interruptions are inevitable, though, and may include but are not limited to:

  • A quick glance at a rough jpg for a new cover
  • A quick argument with the author that the font for the author’s name is much too small
  • A pause to send a manuscript to an author who’s agreed to do a blurb for a new release coming several months down the road
  • A call from a radio host whose show has been pre-empted by local news wanting to schedule a new date
  • A call from a tv host whose copy of the author’s book has grown legs and walked away and he needs a jpg sent to production so they’ll have something to show during the interview
  • A callback from a journalist I’ve been trying to catch who wanted to let me know he’s decided to go another way with his article, but thanks anyway. Remind me that networking matters.
  • A quick pause to check my Twitter feed and see what I’ve missed
  • Another pause to check my Facebook for the same reason
  • A phone call to interrupt my checking from another host who is concerned he hasn’t received the book I sent last week

I just realized that it’s silly to call these things interruptions. They don’t interrupt my work. They are my work. They interrupt the rhythm. So I go back to the next item on my list and double check my upcoming scheduled events to see if I need to send any confirmation packages out. Once that’s done, I go to my calendar to see which clients are scheduled for particular attention this day. Since I have a good list of clients and they’re at all stages of pre/post release, I make sure everyone gets the appropriate time from me each month, although the amount of followup time can vary from one to another.

I usually spend 3 – 5 hours a day in this zone. I don’t answer the phone unless it’s urgent or I have an appointment, and when I’m working on a particular client, that campaign has my undivided attention. This happens later in the day when things are a lot quieter and I’m really starting to enter that creative place. I pull up the client’s campaign that we’ve laid out and compare it with his or her schedule, then determine which contacts I’ve made for him/her that haven’t confirmed anything yet and what new contacts need to be made.

dallas_morning_news_logoDepending on what I’m trying to accomplish, I’ll need to create a pitch and/or press release that speaks directly to the market. For instance, if I want to get additional newspaper coverage, I either need to arrange an event or take advantage of an event the client is already planning to attend in the area OR I need to find a newsworthy hook that could be turned into an article. Once I’ve decided which of those has the best chance of success, I have to write it because even though I’ll do my best to make the pitch by phone they’ll want a followup email/press release/promo kit/something. Besides, I make a better oral pitch once I’ve written it out.

If I’m pitching an appearance on a television show in a larger market, I have to do more than that. I have to know the show (thus the The-Chew-Logolate night tv viewing that I’ve set to record during the day) and be able to envision my client in a segment on the show. I have to learn who the best segment producer is and find his or her contact info, and I have to write a pitch for the segment, including any other guest experts that might help sell the idea. I used to balk at this, feeling like I was doing my job and theirs too, but if you want to get it done, this is the best way, at least until you have a good relationship with that producer and know how they like to work. If any of you other publicists know better, I’d sure love to hear it!

By the time that part of my day winds down, I’m usually tired but a little reluctant to stop. I think it’s what I enjoy most. I love my clients. I enjoy taking their work and examining it and trying to find ways to get it the attention they want to see. There’s a lot of satisfaction for me in that. Of course I can’t always do what they want, and I’m not always successful at getting what I want to see. But I think the successes are plentiful enough to outnumber the failures. And I remind myself as well as them that rejections in this business are not personal. They just happen.

Late at night, when my house is asleep and I’ve finished watching The Chew or Rachael Ray or Ellen or whatever I’m pitching at the time, I kind of wind down but my mind is always working. Like I said, I’m more creative at night so sometimes ideas I’m not even actively looking for pop up out of nowhere. I make a point to read a little while after I turn off the television, but even after I put down the book, many nights as I’m drifting off to sleep I grab the phone beside my bed and email myself a note with an idea for a pitch so I won’t forget by morning.

RC_fav_smallWhen I started reading Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole novels, I loved the idea of him being World’s Greatest Detective and thought maybe I should aspire to being the World’s Greatest Publicist. I’m not of course, any more than Elvis is, but I share his enthusiasm for my job. I just love what I do. So even on the days when things seem more wrong than right, a publicist’s day – to me – is a good day.

How’s your day?

Bleeding Through by Sandra Parshall

Bleeding Through front w quote for au11 (1)Bleeding Through

Sandra Parshall

Poisoned Pen Press, 2012, 250 Pages

ISBN No. 978-1464200274

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid

Rachel and Deputy Chief Tom Bridger are living together and life has settled down into a satisfying routine,  Rachel’s sister, Michelle, fears she is being stalked.  Michelle hopes that her stay with Rachel and Tom will discourage the stalker.  This is the first time that Michelle has visited and Rachel is on edge about the visit and Michelle meeting Tom.   Rachel and Michelle also have past issues that they have never satisfactorily worked out.   Michellel’s visit gives the two sisters the perfect opportunity to solve past issues and to grow closer.

Rachel and Tom are supervising a group of teenagers cleaning up litter on a Mason County, Virginia highway when they discover the body of a young woman wrapped in plastic.  Sadly, the sister of the woman is one of the teenagers on the clean-up crew and the teenager sees the body before Rachel or Tom can pull her away.

When Tom begins his investigation, he learned that the deceased girl, Shelley Beecher, had been making inquiries in an attempt to free a person she felt had been wrongfully accused of the murder of Brian Hadley.  The Hadley family is furious at Shelley’s attempts to

Sandra Parshall

Sandra Parshall

prove that Vance Langford, convicted of their son’s murder, is actually innocent.  Now Shelley’s family is pointing fingers at the Hadley family for the death of their daughter.  Tom is busy trying to find out who murdered Shelley and keep peace between the families until he can solve the crime.

This fifth addition to the Rachel Goddard series keeps the reader glued to the pages.