Naming Your Characters by AR Kennedy

ARKennedyAt a New York Times Talk in 2009, a question from the audience for Stephen King:  “How do you name characters, particularly…” and he named a specific character.  The question was asked by a man of the same name.  The audience laughed.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember Stephen King’s answer.

Depending on the character, I have a different answer.  A novel has many characters.  Some will appear briefly.  Some will be present throughout the series.  It’s a lot of people to name.

One of my lead characters, Genevieve Lillian Brannon, has a long answer regarding her naming.  I’ve always loved the name Genevieve, the name of a great aunt I knew briefly.  It’s a beautiful name, yet I only knew her as Aunt DeDe.  Her granddaughter was named Genevieve as well, but again, no one calls her by it.  Ironically, no one calls my Genevieve, Genevieve either.  Her middle name, Lillian, came from a co-worker.  It was her first name, but she went by her middle name.  Lillian never suited her.  Lillian and Lily suit my character perfectly.

The other lead character, Nathan Michael Miccoli, has a less complicated naming process.  He was originally named Jonathan.  Another writer in my first writing class had a character named Jonathan, so I dropped the ‘Jo’ and Nathan was born.  Looking back, it was a good choice.  I can’t picture ‘Nathan’ as Jonathan at all.

Some of the more baseball oriented minds may notice a trend in my character’s names.  Rosters of my favorite team are often consulted for first and last names.  A secondary character, from book two, is named after a Mets player, who also played for the Yankees.  It is a clue regarding this character’s two sided nature.

Sometimes I use census data to find the right first or last name.  Google is a wonderful thing- ‘What is a common name for a specific age or ethnic group?’

While writing book three of ‘The Nathan Miccoli Series’, I got particularly stuck and I gave the ‘privilege’ of naming a character to three special beta readers.  They each took very different approaches.  One took a week to answer, wanting to know details about the character.  (She eventually came up with a name that I should have known she would.)  The second gave me an answer in less than thirty seconds.  (It was a great choice.)  The third told me she didn’t want the responsibility.  With some pushing, she conceded, by naming the young character David.  (Yes, after David Wright, Mets Captain.)  Her response was vetoed because a future important character is already named David and he is worthy of the All Star’s name.

To sum up, How do I name a character?

Depends on the character.

 

A R Kennedy lives in Long Beach, NY, with her miniature schnauzer, H.  Her debut mystery, ‘Gone…But Not Missed’, was released in November 2013.  The sequel, ‘Not Forgotten’, is expected to be released in the Spring on 2014.

 

gone-by-not-Forgotten-AR-Kennedy-199x300Gone…But Not Missed’ is a mystery set in Long Beach, NY.  Lillian Brannon wakes up on Valentine’s Day in an exact replica of her bedroom but the only item that she believes is authentic is her dog, Laude.  She is held captive in her kidnapper’s basement apartment, summoned upstairs once a week for a chaste dinner.  But will his kindness last, and more importantly, why isn’t anyone looking for her?   Lillian’s story is interwoven with that of Nathan, a NYPD officer, who is intrigued by Lillian’s disappearance- how can a young woman be gone for two weeks before a Missing Person Report is filed? Local police believe Lillian has voluntarily abandoned a life she didn’t like.  Lillian’s best friend convinces Nathan the authorities are wrong. With no jurisdiction, no resources, and no witnesses, he is compelled by the pictures of Lillian with her sweet smile and sparkling green eyes to obsessively take up the case.  Armed with Lillian’s keys and personal information, he spends hours, then days in her home trying to find clues that will lead him to her.

 

How long would you be gone before someone took action?

An interview with John Fishwick

NEW-Fishwick-AuthorPhoto - CopyJohn Fishwick grew up on the Isle of Man—home of the Manx cat and the first country in the world to give the vote to women. He earned a degree in chemistry and geology from England’s Liverpool University then promptly joined the British Army to study Russian with British Intelligence. Following two wonderful years in Canada as a field geologist, he immigrated to the US where, after working on a top secret project for the government, he became a citizen.

The founder and principal operator of a high-tech materials company that has been in business for over forty years, John also holds various patents and enjoys lecturing on various subjects such as astronomy, geology,  evolution theory, and logic, critical thinking, climate change, energy sources, and the relation of art and science to universities, colleges, and world-wide on cruise ships. He is a longtime member of Mensa and a previous President of the Everglades Astronomical Society.

Previous publishing projects include over fifty technical articles, as well as a nonfiction book entitled The Applications of Lithium in Ceramics. He cautions prospective buyers to beware-once you put it down you can’t pick it up! His current writing focuses on fiction with the recent release of a novel A Flight to Romance. Other titles will follow. 

John is married to Nancy, who makes sure he has clean clothes and a spotless tie when he lectures, and is proud to have a son who is a professor of computer science at UT in Dallas and a granddaughter who just graduated from Harvard Law School.

He spends his time between South West Florida and the mountains of North Carolina, where Nancy and he enjoy playing golf and bridge.

 

PJ: How long have you been writing?

John: I have been writing, mostly technical articles and patents, for about 50 years

 

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

John: After my articles had been published in technical magazines and favorably received, I started to believe that, while not yet an accomplished writer, at least I was on the right track.

 

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

John: The writing of technical articles and books is quite different from writing fiction. There is little or no competition in the non-fiction market and you pretty much know the readers before you publish. Housewives are not going to buy my book on Lithium in Ceramics: this is not meant to be chauvinistic!

 

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

John: Writing my first novel-A FLIGHT TO ROMANCE- has been an absolutely fascinating experience for me from planning the story to publishing and promoting. The competition for readers is huge. The subsequent book talks and signings is a way to meet new people, mostly women, and to find out their opinions on plots and characters.

I never expected to make money on my first novel. Nor do I really expect to make a fortune on subsequent books .  Name recognition is, of course, critical. I don’t feel that I should write solely to appeal to a wider audience.  I write largely to satisfy a desire to educate as well as tell a story.

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

John: Publishing has not changed my focus. Comments from members of book clubs will, to a certain degree, modify my writing. Maybe a little less technical stuff and a little more story!

 

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

John: My first technical book and my technical articles were published immediately.

 

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

John: Writing my second novel-THE YELLOWSTONE AFFAIR- will be modified a little for broader appeal.  I told my publisher that the genre of my first novel was a “Romance”. In retrospect, I should have called it “An Intellectual Romance” so as to distinguish it from a “bodice ripper”.

 

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?

John: I write only when I feel like it. I don’t plan several hours per day, every day.

 

 

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

John: The most interesting and exciting thing that has happened is that I have met many people, mostly women, on more of an intellectual basis.

 

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

John: No real disappointments yet.  I think of myself as a realist and pragmatist. I never expected to receive a call from Woody Allen anxious to buy the movie rights. But it’s early days yet!

 

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

John: Promoting books is, for me, a new experience and I’m loving it.

 

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

John: I try to bring fascinating science into my books and I think, at least I’m told, that I can present science in an easy-to-understand manner.

 

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

John: For new writers:  Don’t be afraid to fail-go for it.

 

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

John: So far, working with an experienced book promoter has been rewarding.

 

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

John: No real challenges.  I am very comfortable talking to large audiences.

 

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

John: Published titles.  Two books- “THE APPLICATION OF LITHIUM IN CERAMICS” and “A FLIGHT TO ROMANCE”

 

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

Two protagonists, having lost their respective spouses, find a second chance of love through science, literature, and art.

 

Where can we buy it?

From Create Space:  http://createspace.com/4410601

On Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/A-Flight-Romance-John-Fishwick/dp/1492921092/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390671677&sr=8-1&keywords=a+flight+to+romance

On Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-flight-to-romance-john-fishwick/1118026627?ean=9781492921097

 

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

John: Beneath a cold, scientific exterior, I’m actually a romantic.

Death by Misadventure by E.E. Smith

Death-by-Misadventure-v9bDeath by Misadventure

E. E. Smith

Phoenix International, Inc., 2013, 197 PagesE.E. Smith.picture-1 (1)

ASIN: B00GQEYWVW

 

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid

 

 

Alexis J. Smith has opened a detective agency in a time when it is very unusual for a woman to work at that occupation.  Her office door reads “ALEXIS J. SMITH-Discreet Inquiries”.  The last person Alexis expected to find in her office when she arrived at work was a former classmate, Kate Faraday.

 

Both women attended Sacramento High School, class of 1941 but Alexis fails to recognize her old classmate Katie O’Toole.  Kate announces that she wants Alexis to find her husband Frank Faraday.  It seems Frank has left Kate and according to the post card Kate shows Alexis he has taken their baby Daisy.  The post card reads, “Daisy sends her love.”  When Alexis asks what Kate would like her to do if she did take the job and if she did find Frank, Kate announces she wants him killed.  Alexis has always had a soft place in her heart for Frank so she finally agrees to take the case and do nothing but report back to Kate if she finds Frank and Daisy.

 

After receiving a huge retainer from Kate, Alexis goes shopping, purchases an entire new wardrobe and arranges to travel to England to look for Frank.  With the help of an investigator from Scotland Yard, Alexis manages to find the Old Vicarage where Frank is staying.    The Vicarage is said to be haunted and Alexis has a very exciting time dodging the ghost while trying to figure out what is going on with Frank and Kate.   Alexis is not finding a baby named Daisy.

 

This novel is a fast read with interesting characters that Alexis meets when she decides to stay at the old vicarage.

 

An interview with Tracy Weber

WebersmallheadshotTracy Weber is a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, where she current­ly lives with her husband, Marc, and German shepherd, Tasha. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. When she’s not writing, she spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sip­ping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house. Tracy loves connecting with readers.  Find her on her author web page or on Facebook.

 

PJ: How long have you been writing?

 

Tracy: Not very long, to be completely honest. I started my yoga blog about three years ago, and I began writing my first novel  about a year after that. In terms of the publishing industry, I’m a neophyte. But I’m loving it.

 

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

 

Tracy: I let you know when I get there. ;-) Writing is an interesting career, as there’s no one definition of success. On the one hand, I never imagined I’d find a publisher, so finding someone who even wanted to print my book seemed like a huge success at the time. On the other hand, I won’t be supporting myself with my writing any time soon. I’m learning to define a successful day as any day a reader connects with my work. After all, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

 

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

 

Tracy: Honestly, I didn’t have many expectations. I’m still shocked I had the patience, stamina, and will to write something as long as a single book, much less a series. If anything surprised me, it was how challenging and fun the process of getting to know my characters has been. Kate, Rene, Michael, and Bella seem as much a part of my life as the “real” characters I deal with everyday.

 

I didn’t realize how hard it would be for a new writer to get established once she had a publisher, though. I have to do a lot more marketing and audience-building than I had ever anticipated. I should have known better, since I’ve been a small business owner for fourteen years.

 

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

 

Tracy: Income? Writers make income?

 

In all seriousness, writing seems to be the most rewarding way to go broke on the planet. Writing is like acting: for every superstar sauntering down the red carpet, there are thousands of actor wannabes waiting tables at your local restaurant. Authors often joke that they would make significantly more money asking, “Would you like ketchup with those fries?” I’m certainly no exception, but I’m enjoying the ride, nonetheless.

 

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

 

Tracy: Now that I’m published, my main focus is trying to find readers who might enjoy my work. With literally millions of published works on Amazon and in bookstores, it’s hard for readers to even learn that my work exists, much less decide to invest the time and money to read it. Every reader is truly a gift that I cherish. Whether they like my writing or not—and fortunately, the vast majority of readers do like my writing—I cherish the time they spend reading my books.

 

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

 

Tracy: I was so, so, so, so lucky. There are thousands of writers more talented than me who are still trying to find a publisher. I found an agent within a month of finishing the book, and she sold the series a few weeks later. It felt like it took forever at the time, but it was light speed in publisher time (which is like reverse dog years).

 

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

 

Tracy: I wouldn’t have waited so long to sit down and actually write the book. The story rattled around in my head for a good two years before I started typing. Once I found the wherewithal to actually work on it, I finished the first draft in three weeks. Two years of procrastination; three weeks of writing. How could I have waited so long?

 

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?

 

Tracy: Honestly, I’m still trying to figure all of this out.  I work for myself, so I have the luxury of working any eighteen hours each day I would like. ;-) Some days I work at my yoga studio pretty much nonstop; other days I write like my keyboard’s on fire. There’s a cost to ignoring one part of my life at the expense of another, of course, and sometimes those costs are large. But it’s a luxury I would not have if my employer expected me to be at the office eight hours a day, five days a week. The crazy schedule I’m keeping right now isn’t sustainable over the long term, so I’m trying to find more balance.

 

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

 

Tracy: Having Susan Conant agree to read my second book for potential blurb. She was the author who inspired me to write in the first place, and having her look at my book is nothing short of thrilling.

 

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

 

Tracy: I haven’t had any major disappointments yet. There certainly have been a trickle of minor setbacks along the way, but nothing I can point out as being a single big disappointment. I know you can’t see me right now, but rest assured, I am knocking on wood.

 

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

 

Tracy: I have an unusual hook. There aren’t many writers who create yoga murder mysteries. Even better, mine also involves a crazy dog.

 

Yoga, dogs, and murder, what could be more fun?

 

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

 

Tracy: Don’t give up, and don’t procrastinate. Write every day. Write what you love. If you spend every day working on what you love most, even if you never get published, you’ll have had a good time. That’s what matters most.

 

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

 

Tracy: I’m kind of a funny, quirky person, so for better or worse, once people get to know me, they can’t wait to see what neurotic thoughts might pour out of my fingers next. I’ve had great luck promoting my books at book signings and on blog tours.

 

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

 

Tracy: Anything having to do with a camera. I hate being photographed or videoed. Whenever I see a photo of myself, all I can think is, “Who is that old hag, and why doesn’t she put on some makeup?” ;-)

 

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

DSC_3075_edited_4

Tracy:Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park and Seattle Mystery Bookshop in Seattle have both been extremely supportive to me. I cannot thank them enough.

 

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

 

Tracy: Thus far, I’ve only published one book: Murder Strikes a Pose, the first installment of the Downward Dog Mystery Series. The second bookmurderCover768px[1] in the series, A Murderous Retreat, will be out in January, 2015.

 

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

 

Tracy:When George and Bella—a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd—disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.

 

One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone—anyone—to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. But with the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast. Or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.

 

PJ: Where can we buy it?

 

WeberandherdogTracy: Murder Strikes a Pose is available wherever books are sold. You can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at any major bookseller. If it’s not on the shelf, they can order it for you.

 

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

 

Tracy:I’m pretty open, so there’s very little that people don’t know about me. I guess I’ll share this: I’m considering a spinoff series from my second book that will take place at a vegan retreat center on Orcas Island, an island off the Washington Coast. Only my agent knows about that idea so far, so although she doesn’t qualify as “nobody,” you’re among the first.

Her first mystery, Murder Strikes a Pose is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever books are sold.

Death’s Way by Christopher Valen

Deaths WayDeath’s Way 

Christopher Valen

Conquill Press, 2014, 360 Pages

ISBN No. 978-0-9800017-7-8Author Photo

 

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid

 

 

John Santana, St. Paul Homicide Detective, is called to a death scene in a downtown hotel room.  The case at first glance appears to be a case of autoerotic asphyxiation gone wrong.  She was choked by the plastic bag over her head that evidently was to serve as a safety device but the victim passed out before she could get the bag off.  There was a silk scarf around the waist of the corpse and hooks of a red bungee cord bound around her waist was attached to a second strap that stretched up her back, around her neck, and down to the waist strap again. From all appearances, this death was an accidental suicide but Santana always considered death by strangulation a homicide until proved otherwise.

 

The hotel room was actually a spacious, private suite.  Santana searched the purse left in the room and found a driver’s license identifying the deceased as Catalina Diaz, twenty-two years old.  The purse contained no keys or cell phone which was unusual since most people carried a cell phone and keys of some type to an apartment, house or car.  He also found a small envelope containing five one hundred dollar bills and a business card for a Dr. Philip Campbell.

 

John’s partner, Kacie Hawkins, checks and finds that Catalina Diaz had used the same hotel two weeks earlier.   Hawkins has her car towed to the impound lot.  According to the key log, Diaz entered the hotel room at 9:32 p.m. the previous night and never left.  Philip Campbell checked out at 6:00 a.m. this morning.    Santana and Hawkins search the victim’s condo in downtown St. Paul and Santana finds a couple of items commonly used in Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. He also found a picture of Diaz with a woman he thought was probably Nina Rivera Diaz’s roommate.  Santana also finds a list of the names of three men hidden in a drawer.

 

A woman brings her daughter to the police department with a story of a similar death six years before.  This strange story captures Santana’s interest and he searches for connections between call girls and their involvement with powerful men.  This is just a brief summary of the beginning of the case.

 

The story is very exciting and is a fast read and many of the details will be shocking and hard to imagine.   Detective John Santana is a complex character and the reader gets to know him better with each novel.  I’m looking forward to the next one.

 

Should your publicist get you fireworks or foundation? by PJ Nunn

July-4th-Fireworks-in-San-Jose

Many authors come to me hoping I’ll get them some fireworks. It doesn’t seem to occur to most of them that I might be more help in developing their foundations. But I can establish my own foundation, you might say. I agree that most authors could develop their own foundation, but too many tend to skip over the process, meaning that the support for those long-awaited fireworks is unstable.

What if I convince a notable newspaper journalist that you’d be the perfect subject for a feature article, then he Googles you and finds a. no website, b. a minimal website with out of date photos and obvious lack of proofreading, or c. comments all over your Facebook page that would have been better left unsaid? Sound too simple? You might be surprised how often that happens, even with authors who have several books in print.

Fireworks are fun and festive and often beautiful, but we need to remember that the purpose of promotional fireworks is to draw attention to the author. To set off those fireworks too soon is similar to calling “hey look at me” before you’ve dressed or combed your hair. Not a good idea OR a very effective strategy. Fireworks often cause journalists to take a look at you and form a first impression. Since first impressions are very hard to overcome, it’s important that it’s a positive one.

Suppose you can only afford to buy one outfit today and you have two choices: an everyday business casual pant suit or a prom dress (ok, maybe not the best analogy but bear with me). The prom dress might be exciting and fun and more attention getting initially, but the business casual will definitely be appropriate for more events and will help establish a consistent, professional reputation. Anyone who wears business casual can trade it for prom attire occasionally when needed, but nobody should wear prom attire all the time.

Don’t get me wrong. I love doing the “fireworks” campaigns. But to do it right, I need to be sure the author has a strong foundation in place before we begin. How’s your foundation? Have you checked lately?

Whirlwind by Rick Mofina

whirlwindWhirlwind 

Rick Mofina

Harlequin Mira, 2014, 400 Pages

ISBN No. 978-0778316091mofina2

 

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid

 

 

Jenna Cooper was shopping at the Old Southern Glory Flea Market.  She enjoyed shopping at the flea market and even though her husband Blake had recently gone to work, the time he was laid off put the family in a financial bind.  Jenna was bargaining with the owner of one of the stalls.  The woman asked Jenna the ages of her little ones.   Jenna responded that Cassie was four, almost five, and baby Caleb was five months old.  A young woman at the end of the stall commented to Jenna that her little girl was beautiful.  Then the young woman asked again if Caleb was five months old.  The young woman came over, leaned over Caleb’s stroller, and continued to make remarks about his age and his looks.  Jenna noticed a man at the end of the stall that seemed to be with the young woman.

 

Jenna decided she needed to get Caleb fed but first was going to look for a lamp she saw a little earlier.  About that time, the wind started up and people began running for shelter.  Just as she managed to get Cassie into a rain jacket and the canopy down on Caleb’s stroller, the crowd began to be peppered with golf size hail.  A man in the crowd just hung up his phone announcing that his wife was east of Lancaster and a tornado had hit.  He said he had to go find his wife and everyone should take cover.  Suddenly an old man noticed a school bus spinning around hundreds of feet in the air above the flea market.

 

The children were terrified and Jenna was sure she couldn’t make it to her car.  The nearest building seemed to be her best hope of shelter.  Suddenly the redheaded woman who had spoken to Jenna and talked about the children was beside her and along with the man Jenna had seen earlier, was directing her to a safer area. Jenna held tight to her children but suddenly she was struck on the head by something and blacked out.  When Jenna came to Cassie was there but the baby was gone.

 

Kate Paige is an intern reporter at the Dallas headquarters of the global news service, Newslead.  Dorothea Pick, the bureau’s news editor, was not a fan of Kate and Kate was having a rough time getting her stories past the editor without the stories being chopped to pieces. In spite of her own problems, when Kate hears Jenna’s story she is determined to find out what has happened to baby Caleb.

 

Kate begins to uncover a plot so sinister that unless something is done and done quickly Caleb may be lost to his family forever.  The FBI begins an investigation but Kate continues to follow her own instincts and is determined to get baby Caleb back with his family where he belongs.

 

This is a fast moving novel that grabs the reader and doesn’t let go.  Mofina has written a powerful story that keeps the reader on edge all the way.

Everything You Need to Know About Promotion by Marilyn Meredith

Marilyn at the San Gabriel Writers Festival

Marilyn at the San Gabriel Writers Festival

April Fools!

Sorry, I just had to do it. I don’t often get to play April Fool’s jokes on anyone.

I wish I really could tell you everything you need to know about promotion, instead I’m going to share what I’m doing promotion-wise for my latest book. Perhaps I’ll mention an idea that you can use.

My latest book is #10 in the Rocky Bluff Police Department series, Murder in the Worst Degree. The most difficult thing (but one of the most fun) is planning a blog tour. Of course when you do it yourself, it means you must contact people who have blogs and in my case they should be people interested in mysteries, either readers or writers. The idea is to find bloggers who have different followers.

I also try to find a few who are also reviewers and send them either a PDF or an advanced reading copy, so they can put a review on their blog.

Once I get the bloggers and dates they’ve agreed on, I start writing the posts. Some have given me a subject, others an interview, and a few let me come up with something on my own. Then it’s up to me to come up with something interesting that will keep someone reading and may intrigue them enough to buy the book. I also like to send different photos of myself instead of the same one for each blog.

When the blog tour begins, then it’s up to me to promote each blog everyday on Facebook, my Facebook groups, Twitter, and all the listserves that I belong to. It’s important to check in several times a day and acknowledge those who have commented and answer any questions.

It also helps to have an ongoing contest to keep readers following along on the tour. The contest I’ve had on this and previous tours is for the person who comments on the most blogs to have his or her name used for a character in the next book. (I like doing this better than giving a copy of the book away, because after all, the whole idea of the tour is to encourage the followers to buy your book.)

Yes, a blog tour is a lot of work, but it’s certainly not as much work as doing a tour of book stores, nor is it as expensive. My first week of blog stops is at the bottom of this post.

Moving on to the in-person things I’ve planned, I attended Left Coast Crime in Monterey. Mystery conventions are always fun. I got to see people I haven’t seen for a long while, met some new folks, and handed out many business cards with the cover of Murder in the Worst Degree and pertinent information about the book.

In April, I’m giving a talk at our local library for Library Week, and I’m doing a book signing at a bookstore with the Central Coast Sisters in Crime, and a panel with this group at another library.

In May, I’ll be doing something special with the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime, and later that month, I’m having my official book launch at an Art Gallery. I will be talking about writing an ongoing series.

In June, I’ll be doing another presentation with some of the Central Coast Sisters in Crime in another library. (Do you see a pattern here? Libraries are great places to give presentations about writing and your books—and yes, most of them will allow you to have your books for sale.) Also belonging to more than one chapter of Sisters in Crime is helpful too. Since my Rocky Bluff P.D. series is set in a beach community, doing events with the CC Sisters in Crime works well.

The Public Safety Writers Association’s annual conference is in Las Vegas in July. This is a great place to learn all sorts of information about crimes and criminals, all branches of law enforcement and other public safety fields and how they work. There are panels and a book store. http://policewriter.com/wordpress/

August will find me at a book and craft fair. These are great places to sell books.

September and October I don’t have anything planned—as yet.

November I’ll be spending two days with my books at a holiday boutique being held in the local art gallery. And I’ll also be heading to Bouchercon and besides enjoying myself, doing much the same things I did at Left Coast Crime. (Both events were in California this year and since this is where I live, it was a great time to attend.)

Of course, I’ll be writing posts and hosting authors on my own blog  and using Facebook and Twitter.

If you’re interested in following my blog tour, here are the first eleven days:
March 31 http://drusbookmusing.com/

A Day in the Life of Officer Stacey Milligan
April 1   http://thoniehevron.wordpress.com/

Cop Culture Researched

 

April 2   http://mmgornell.wordpress.com/

Gordon Butler

 

April 3   http://www.gumbojustice.blogpsot.com/

Old Guys at McDonald’s

 

April 4   http://cncbooksblog.wordpress.com/

My Life as an Author

 

April 5   http://gdcamer.com/

Mother Nature and Her Influence of my Writing

 

April 6   http://evelyncullet.com/blog

Short Excerpt and Review

 

April 7   http://jwillsbooks.com/  Interview

 

April 8   http://pat-writersforum.blogspot.com/

Why My Characters Won’t Let Go

 

April 9  http://judys-stew.blogspot.com/

GreatGrands

 

April 10 http://partricastolety.blogstpot.com/

My Critique Group and What it Does for Me

 

Remember, the person who leaves a comment on the most blogs will have their name used for a character in my next book.

 

MurderintheWorstDegreeBlurb for Murder in the Worst Degree: The body that washes up on the beach leads Detectives Milligan and Zachary on a murder investigation that includes the victim’s family members, his housekeeper, three long-time friends, and a mystery woman.

Amazon link: http://tinyurl.com/n94hmju/

Bio: F. M. Meredith aka Marilyn Meredith is the author of over 35 published books. She enjoys writing about police officers and their families and how what happens on the job affects the family and vice versa. Having several members of her own family involved in law enforcement, as well as many friends, she’s witnessed some of this first-hand.

Webpage: http://fictionforyou.com/