Getting to know Gwen Mayo


State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.

In my twenties, I was a locomotive engineer.


If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?

I would be the most avid reader on the planet.


Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Spare time? Seriously, what is spare time? I think everyone I know is busy all the time. There are things that I make time for; my family heads the list. I love spending time with my family. I make time for cooking and trying new recipes. I also make time to read, to walk by the ocean, and sometimes to just sit quietly for a few minutes without all the noise being constantly connected to the world. I have to unplug from everything now and then to give my mind space to explore ideas.


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

That question requires backstory. Most people know that the medical examiner in the Nessa Donnelly series is based on a real person. I worked for Dr. Richard Haydon for about 13 years. When he found out I had a doctor in the book, he wanted the character to be him. After several discussions, I agreed to let him be the character and rewrote several scenes in the book to make my medical examiner reflect his personality.

Shortly before the book was released Dr. Haydon was diagnosed with stage four cancer. He was too ill to go to the book launch party. The last time I went to see him he had a copy of Circle of Dishonor on his bedside table. He picked it up, smiled at me, and said “I’m going to live forever.” I don’t think anything that is ever said will top that.


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

I write characters with a strong sense of justice in a world that isn’t fair or just. Beyond that, when you pick up one of my books, the story is going to take you to a unique moment in time in a place you wouldn’t have thought to visit.


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

If you want someone else to publish your book, read their guidelines for submitting a manuscript and follow them to the letter. Don’t give agents or publishers an excuse to reject your book without reading  a single word. You may still get rejected many times. There are thousands of other unknown writers out there competing for a handful of new author slots in any publisher’s calendar. Those slots are going to go to writers willing to give them what they requested.


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

More work. The question I hear most from readers is “What are you working on now?”


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

All of it. When it comes to promotion, I’m kind of clueless. What works well for one writer doesn’t work at all for another.


Your favorite books and author?

Favorite authors and books:

Anne Perry, Resurrection Row

Louise Penny, The Nature of the Beast

Catriona McPherson: Come to Harm

Cynthia Riggs: Shooting Star

Ariana Franklin: Mistress of the Art of Death


Which genres do you prefer to read?

In fiction, I read mostly mysteries. I love a good puzzle with lots of surprises.


Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

My fellow Kentuckian, Kim Michelle Richardson, should be on the radar of mystery readers. Liars Bench, her first novel, is well worth reading.


What book is currently on your nightstand?

None, I don’t read in bed. I’d never sleep. There is a Catriona McPherson novel and a Kentucky history book on the table by my chair, waiting to be read. In the car, I’ve been listening to Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon books. They’re great company on a commute.


Are there any particular books and/or authors that inspired you and continue to do so?

Agatha Christie’s work is probably my biggest inspiration. I started reading her books when I was about twelve and have never stopped. She had an awesome grasp of how to construct a mystery. She also did a number of innovative experiments with her plots. Her unreliable narrator in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd brought her a lot of criticism, but it is one of my favorites.


How many books do you read/month?

Not as many as I would like. I have a full time job, and am working on my own books as well as publishing others. Most of the time I settle for listening to books while I drive. I’m looking forward to my first vacation in three years. Maybe I can catch up on some of the books I’ve missed.


What is the one book that you think everyone should read?

I don’t believe there is just one book that everyone should read. Reading is personal. I think everyone should read widely and discover what captures their imagination. One of the local libraries has a table labeled brown bag reading. The books are in brown paper covers and all they tell you is the genre. I love to see people grab one of those books and check it out.


Do you have an all-time favorite book?

Agatha Christie’s Nemesis has to be my all-time favorite.


How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

Yes, I reply to messages and read reviews. I have a google alert set for my books. It has been interesting to discover what people say. I’ve also found a few interesting groups of people I wouldn’t have thought of as potential readers. For instance, Circle of Dishonor attracted a bunch of treasure hunters interested in locating the Union Army payrolls that were stolen.


Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

Facebook. I have a Twitter account, but am not good at Tweeting.


Where can your fans find you?, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn, and our publishing house site


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

Books at Park Place is new, and not as well-known as Haslam’s in St. Petersburg. Both are great stores with good mystery sections. There’s also a quirky book store on Sanibel Island I love to visit, Gene’s Books. It is three beach cottages linked together, and overflowing with books and music. I could spend days there.


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

I have two Nessa Donnelly mysteries out now, Circle of Dishonor and Concealed in Ash. The series is set in the 1870’s. Nessa is a former Pinkerton agent who tangles with the secret societies of the time.MMExCoverFront

Sarah E. Glenn and I are kicking off a new series set in the 1920’s. Murder on the Mullet Express is the first book.


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

Murder on the Mullet Express is set during the 1920’s Florida land boom. Army nurse Cornelia Pettijohn is traveling with her ancient uncle, who claims he’s looking for a warm winter home. When their car breaks down, they find alternate transportation on the Mullet Express. They end up embroiled in a poisoning case, plus in the crossfire of rival mobsters looking to cash in on a planned casino in New Homosassa. Uncle Percival’s hidden agenda makes him the prime suspect in the poisoning, and his love of mechanical inventions makes him a target of the mobsters. Cornelia and her companion, Teddy Lawless, are forced to step in and save him from himself.


If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

What makes a mystery feel real to you: when do you step into the detective’s shoes and start untangling the puzzle?


Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

I’m currently working on the third Nessa Donnelly mystery, Blood Relations. This book will take her back to Chicago, where she grew up, and into investigating the murder of a nun. It will be out late next year.

Sarah and I are working on the second book with Cornelia and her uncle, Murder at the Million Dollar Pier. Cornelia is going to be out of her element mingling with the rich and famous at the fancy new hotel her uncle booked. It gets more difficult for her when Teddy, who grew up in society, is arrested for murder.


Is there anything else you’d like to share with your followers and readers?

Concealed in Ash is on the short list for the Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Award.


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

I owe a tremendous debt to the Sisters in Crime. If it were not for the people I met through that organization, I would never have written the first novel. It is an awesome organization with the most amazing readers and writers I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.




Gwen Mayo is passionate about blending her loves of history and mystery fiction. She currently lives and writes in Safety Harbor, Florida, but grew up in a large Irish family in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. She is the author of the Nessa Donnelly Mysteries and co-author of the Old Crows stories with Sarah Glenn.


Her stories have appeared in A Whodunit Halloween, Decades of Dirt, Halloween Frights (Volume I), and several flash fiction collections. She belongs to Sisters in Crime, SinC Guppies, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, the Historical Novel Society, and the Florida Authors and Publishers Association.


Gwen has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Kentucky. Her most interesting job, though, was as a brakeman and railroad engineer from 1983 – 1987. She was one of the last engineers to be certified on steam locomotives.


Website URL:

Blog URL:

Facebook URL:        

Twitter:         @gwenmayo


That was then, this is now by Tom Coffey

thomascoffeyMy first novel, THE SERPENT CLUB, a murder mystery and thriller, was published in 1999. It all seemed so simple then. You got an agent, and the agent negotiated a contract, and the book came out in hardcover, and then in paperback, and you did some promotion and hoped the mainstream media would review the book. Looking back on those days is like remembering the time when you had three working channels on your television set. Maybe you feel nostalgic, but do you really want to go back?


Writers have long been frustrated by the seemingly impenetrable barriers imposed by agents and traditional publishing houses. If you couldn’t get any of them interested in your work, you were out of luck, even if you had an interesting, unique and compelling story to tell. (Especially if you had an interesting, unique and compelling story. The powers that were always preferred more of the same to originality.)


It’s still that way in the Land of Traditional Publishing, but writers’ options have expanded in ways that resemble the hundreds-of-channels options you get when you turn on your TV. Independent publishers have flourished (although they vary widely in quality), the much-dreaded and -derided Amazon provides a venue for writers who can’t get published elsewhere, and ebooks mean that you’re never out of print. (Personally, I love this.)


Still, there are advantages to the old-fashioned. The most obvious one is money. My first two books — THE SERPENT CLUB and MIAMI TWILIGHT — were published by Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster that no longer exists. (To my knowledge, my books played no role in this CF1-BrightMorningStardevelopment.) I received decent advances for both of them and, despite taxes and the inevitable out-of-pocket expenses, came out nicely ahead financially. My latest book, BRIGHT MORNING STAR, a historical novel set in early 20th century America, was published by the indie house Oak Tree Press last year. The people at Oak Tree were terrific, and I’m grateful they published it, but when all is said and done I might, just might, wind up breaking even on the book.


(When my third novel, BLOOD ALLEY, a noirish mystery set in the 1940s, was published as an ebook and paperback by Amazon, I got a decently sized royalty check that went a long way toward paying for a desperately needed paint job in our apartment. I never imagined this was what the writing life would be like. But I digress.)


Putting out a book with an independent house means there’s no ambiguity about marketing: You have to do almost all of it. Which in a way is great, because there isn’t a writer in the world who believes that his/her books are being marketed properly by the publisher. We all know the platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr, Instagram, Reddit, and on and on. You use social media, and you build a website (or get somebody to build it for you) and you try to get clicks and likes, and you hope to drive traffic to your site and maybe, just maybe, go viral. You also write clever things about yourself when Amazon puts your book up for sale. You set up readings and other events at bookstores and other places that will have you.


It all takes time. Lots of time. The time you spend marketing yourself is time you’re not spending writing your next book — and, let’s face it, if you wanted to go into marketing you wouldn’t have become a writer in the first place. (Although it is nice to meet people who are interested in reading and selling your work.)


It can all be incredibly frustrating, but for writers, frustration is just part of the territory. Besides being artists, we’re now entrepreneurs — two lifestyles that are both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. The days of the three-martini lunch with Maxwell Perkins are long gone. Instead, you’re spending serious face time with Marc Zuckerberg. It’s not as personally satisfying, but in the end he’s giving you platforms Matthew Perkins never could.



TOM COFFEY BIO: I graduated from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and attended film school at the University of Southern California. In my career, I’ve worked as a reporter and editor for some of the leading newspapers in the country, including The Miami Herald and Newsday. Since 1997, I’ve been a staff editor at The New York Times. I live in Lower Manhattan with my wife, Jill, and our daughter, Skyler.


I’m also a member of Mystery Writers of America. My first novel, THE SERPENT CLUB, was published in 1999 by Pocket Books and earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Pocket Books published my second novel, MIAMI TWILIGHT, two years later. In 2008 Toby Press printed BLOOD ALLEY, which also earned a starred review from PW. Last year my latest novel, BRIGHT MORNING STAR, was published by Oak Tree Press.




Like me on Facebook!



RonBioPhotoThe Best Book I Never Wrote


I was born and raised in LeRoy, Kansas (pop. 500), a small farming community in the southeastern part of the state. Located on the Neosho River, I had a great childhood, with almost every day emulating the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. I wrote a collection of short stories about my childhood twenty years ago and presented a copy to each of my children so they would know what “ol’ Dad did as a kid.” It was titled, “Why All the Elm Trees Died.”


And the “answer” contained within that title was… that as a mischievous child I got so many whippings with an elm switch, that the all the bark was stripped from the town’s trees and caused them to die. Actually, all the trees did die dues to a disease of some type, but my kids think it was from dad’s spankings.


Writing Controversial Topics – Good Or Bad Idea?


Personally, I think writing on controversial subjects are good for promoting sales. It’s like people discussing politics. People who agree with your ideas will likely recommend the book favorably, just like they do in voting for a certain elected official. And those who don’t agree with your writing will talk about or complain to their friends, which I think that inadvertently promotes your books to those who want to see for themselves. In either case, it gets people talking about your literary intrigue.


What Makes Your Book/Series Unique?


Like most memoirs, many “unknowns” were shared in my book. One aspect of writing this was that it served as a means of closure for the survivor’s guilt I experienced for thirty-six years.


Primarily though, following a training accident of one of their helicopter crashes that killed the trainee, I obtained a copy of the transcripts for the department’s accident investigation findings. With this document, writing my book exposed a city and/or department cover-up, supervisory betrayals, and botched techniques in the LAPD’s Board of Inquiry post-accident investigation. As an example, although the NTSB investigator on scene submitted a formal report of the accident. Yet as the instructor pilot and sole survivor of the accident, here it is forty years later and I am still waiting to be interviewed by the NTSB.


Written and published so long after the fact, it was also a way of explaining to my fellow pilots and observers of what really happened on that fateful day. Knowing that a lot of rumors and speculation as to what caused my helicopter crash circulated among the officers assigned to the air unit, I wanted a little vindication. Being thrown “under the bus” by the chief pilot without being able to defend myself, writing Beyond Recognition was a way to tell “my side of the story.” It also provided some truthful answers to the widow of my trainee who had been misled as to what happened.


Lastly, in my book I shared some details as to how I coped with the recovery of my burns, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Optimistically, I would like to think that it will provide some means of hope to other burn victims or trauma survivors; even though there is a long road to recovery, that life does have something left for them.


Your Favorite Promotion Strategy


With my burn scars plainly visible on my arms and face, this is to my advantage as it typically causes notice from all people that I come into contact with. Although few inquire as to my injuries, it gives me the opportunity to discuss my helicopter accident, which leads into the mentioning of my book. Then I can leave a business card promoting my book, or tell them where they can order it. This works at most of my daily activities; doctors’ and dentists’ offices, auto mechanics, grocery stores, etc.


Being from Las Vegas, I also had some personalized “casino chips” designed that displayed my book cover on one side, and the URL to my Website along with a photo of an LAPD helicopter on the other. I have passed-out these in lieu of business cards. And they seem to be a more favorable option in generating attention.


I have also provided, for people who buy my book, a raffle contest. The award being a chance to win one of my other book anthologies.


Beyond Recognition is a “fact-based account” of the memoirs of Ronald Corbin, a former Army combat helicopter pilot and Vietnam veteran who FinalCoverDesignbecomes a Los Angeles Policeman, and eventually a pilot for LAPD’s Air Support Division.

Compared to other pilots in the unit who had received their flight training from local airport operators, Ron’s’ military training and unique combat flying experience as a “Slick” Huey pilot, and his wide background as an instructor pilot in various helicopters, goes beyond recognition of some of the old timers at Air Support. He immediately becomes the target of jealousy by the unit’s chief pilot, Joe Claridge, whose animosity leads him to do everything he can to undermine Ron’s reputation, and ultimately “railroad” him out of the unit.

However, Ron’s flying ability is eventually recognized by the ASD Captain and Training Sergeant. He is selected to become an instructor pilot in the unit, much to the objection of Joe who feels that Ron hasn’t had enough experience in the unit. After becoming one of the unit’s instructor pilots under Joe’s supervision, Ron soon finds himself going head-to-head with Joe over differences of opinion in training objectives for new police pilots. Ron quickly grasps the fact that Joe is nearing the end of his career and is actually afraid to fly. To hide his fear, Joe bows-out of certain missions that may be a little more “hazardous.” The stress Ron goes through with Joe causes Ron to have flash backs of some of the fear and horror of his Vietnam flying.

After an aircraft accident that claims the life of Ron’s police pilot trainee, Jeffrey Lindenberg, and one which puts Ron in the hospital with 70% burns, the LAPD Chief of Police assembles a Board of Inquiry into the cause of the accident. Joe sees his opportunity to seek jealous revenge on Ron by feeding misleading statements to the Board investigators that suggest blame on Ron and Jeffrey. The investigation eventually evolves into a “kangaroo court” and seeks to place unjustified blame on Ron. But the Board’s exercise in “finger-pointing” quickly backfires as Ron exposes a “cover-up” that has corporate and City attorneys scrambling to make a settlement.

What Makes My Series Unique? by Amy M. Bennett

IMG_6271The mystery genre, perhaps more than any other, is subject to certain formulas or patterns that each storyline must follow. But, with so many series available—whether mystery or another genre—how does an author go about making his or her series stand out from the rest?

There are tried and true formulas for certain genres that shouldn’t be rejected out of hand, mainly because there is a huge market for them. This is especially true of the mystery genre, especially the sub-genre known as “cozy” mysteries. That includes having the main character run a business, usually a struggling one inherited from a family member, in a small town (choose a bakery or quilting shop or a bed and breakfast) and an element of romance, particularly a romantic triangle.

In my Black Horse Campground series, Corrie Black is the owner of a campground she inherited from her father after he succumbed to cancer. I had done extensive research trying to find a unique setting for my series and, after my husband and I became enamored of camping in KOA campgrounds that had cabins, I realized it would be the perfect way to have my main character meet strangers in a small town, without stretching the imagination too far. There is always the danger, when writing a cozy mystery, of what has been referred to as “Cabot Cove syndrome” (my apologies to Angela Lansbury and “Murder, She Wrote”): how do so many murders occur in such a small town without people leaving the town in droves? In a vacation-destination setting, strangers are an accepted part of the landscape and it is more likely for the main character to find herself involved in the drama and danger of meeting new people every day. Being in a campground places the setting in a rural area, which gives access to wide-open spaces as well as having a town and all its conveniences nearby. And living near and working in a vacation resort town, I had the knowledge to make the setting ring true, plus the added bonus of being in a location that gets very little notice in fiction!

I also made sure to include “real life” elements to make my fictional setting ring true. Bonney County and Black Horse Campground only exist in my FCAttheCrossroadimagination and on the pages of my books, but I chose to set them near actual locations in south central New Mexico—namely the Ruidoso area in Lincoln County—in order to give my books local flavor. Therefore, my fictional characters do frequent places that really exist in the Ruidoso area, places with which I am familiar and like to visit as well.

The romantic element—in particular the love triangle—can be a bit trickier. It’s difficult to maintain a romantic triangle for a long time without creating annoyance in readers. They want to know who “wins”! In addition, it runs the risks of making the characters seem wishy-washy and tiresome, which is definitely not how you want readers to perceive main characters. In the Black Horse Campground series, Corrie’s romantic interests are old-flame Sheriff Rick Sutton who, for reasons which are unclear, broke off his relationship with Corrie in high school and married a woman who subsequently left him after the birth—and death—of their daughter. What creates a complication is that Rick, like Corrie and the majority of the residents of Bonney County, is a devout Catholic. While Rick and Corrie both seem willing to accept a life-long platonic friendship, everything changes when J.D. Wilder, formerly with the Houston Police Department, shows up and becomes a serious contender for Corrie’s heart. Of course, J.D. comes into the picture with his own set of baggage—including a wife who died while trying to get him killed—so the triangle is set. The key to not making a love triangle tiresome is for the author to know when to quit. Though I am currently working on the fifth book and the triangle is not resolved yet, I am already outlining the resolution to this particular element of my series… while allowing the series to continue!


Amy Bennett, author of the Black Horse Campground series, has spent eighteen years working full-time as a cake decorator for Walmart Supercenter in Alamogordo, NM, and part-time as a “vino slinger” for Noisy Water Winery in Ruidoso, NM, for the last five years. She lives in a small town halfway between her jobs with her husband and son.



Publisher’s website author page:

Amazon link:


100_0766-BWe’ve all heard for years that rejection by agents and publishers can be a huge problem for writers. Relief came with the development of self-publishing technology. Details on the numbers of self-published books vary widely, but range up to one third of all books available today. However, with so many books available, (2,700,245,640 individual units sold in 2014–and that 2 is two billion), it’s obvious bookstores and libraries must cut stocking lists to a manageable size. So where do they start cutting? Self-published books are the first things cut or ignored completely. Yes, it is possible for a self-published author to achieve stocking in their home area stores, but stocking is iffy otherwise unless something about that book has brought it into general public interest.

One problem? Self-published books are too often full of editing mistakes. We writers can rarely edit our own books successfully. For one thing, we read what we think we said. We read what pleases us, not realizing our readers may not “get it” or will be just plain bored. And, of course, there can be appalling grammar and spelling mistakes. Fortunately, these days, self-pubbed writers are more aware of potential problems, and many are wise enough to hire an independent editor or, at least, to work with a good critique group. But the stigma sticks and, in many cases, is still justified.

What about those of us who sell books to publishers with editors who help catch problems, assuming the quality of the book has passed potential inspection by a publisher and/or agent? Of course we must present the best book possible and here, too, a critique group or independent editor can make the difference between acceptance and rejection.

And, after the book comes out, bringing it to public attention is–for the most part–done by authors, not publishers, whether that publisher be Random House or Granny’s Garage Press. Statistics say a large percentage of published books do not sell more than 250 copies per year. To enhance promotion, some authors hire a savvy independent publicist who will help get the word out well beyond an individual author’s reach.

So, on our own, and with any help we can add, we promote–largely on line. Honest truth?  On an average day in my office I spend up to five hours on promotion, especially when a new book has just come out. I get the question “WHY?” when new authors hear this.

For each book, I write a marketing plan made up of many avenues of promotion, including an active on line presence. I think you can figure out why that’s important. Yesterday’s advertising methods have most often been replaced by reading on a screen, especially a tiny hand-held one. So I write guest blogs and, when I can get to it, my own blog on WordPress. I post to groups like facebook and twitter. I update information on sites like DorothyL, and Goodreads, plus groups I am part of–Oak Tree Press, Sisters in Crime, and Mystery Writers of America. Taking advantage of all the ways there are to get news out about my profession and my current products–novels–obviously takes a big hunk of time out of my day. I am not alone in this. Other authors talk about the fact that promotion, instead of the act of writing itself, takes too much time. (This is especially difficult for parents and those who have a “day job.”)

All this information is not exactly cheering. So, why do so many of us continue writing and submitting?

Some time ago newspaper editor Richard J. Cattani offered this advice to potential writers: “Your writing should begin with motive, not process.” Okay, process is what I have been talking about. But what about motive? Webster says “motive” is “a need or desire that causes a person to act.”  That FC - A Portrait to Die Forsounds like an ordinary human life. Well, what about book characters?

As a mystery writer, I believe that, when evil happens and my characters react to it, there is a truth in the background waiting to be discovered. Of course book people will be the ones to do this–after I discover in my thought-file ways to resolve the challenges I have placed before them. Often I do not know how an issue will be resolved when the problem is presented but, over the years, I have learned the answer is there and always appears when needed. Do other authors work like this?  In my own case, I knew what the art crime would be in A Portrait to Die For long before I became aware of how it would be brought to light and what the result would be. A writer uses imagination, intuition, and inspiration for problem-solving. We have a deep interest in the human condition and the world we live in, and we do our work on a highly intuitive level, noticing, pondering, sharing, and, quite often–at least in my case–hoping we are sharing solutions that may be helpful to our readers while we offer them adventure and entertainment.

For me, that’s a great motive for being a writer.

An interview with Amy Metz

AmyMetzAmy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. She is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two sons. When not actively engaged in writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Facebook or Pinterest, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky.










Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?
Stockbridge, Massachusetts. I visited there for a month in 2014 and fell in love with it. But if I could live anywhere in the world, I’d live in Stockbridge in the summertime and somewhere in the South by the ocean during the winter.

What’s your current guilty pleasure?

Donuts. Boston Cream Pie or chocolate donuts, specifically, but really any donut is my kryptonite. It’s a terrible problem.


Who are your cheerleaders?

My family: my two sons and daughter-in-law, my dad, and my sister; my friend Tom; and a few readers who have become online friends.


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

Take all those necessary baby steps and then take the giant leap. If you haven’t found a publisher and your manuscript is done to your liking, self-pub it yourself. I was reluctant to self-publish because of the negative stereotype sometimes given to indie authors. But I’m glad I did it and wish I’d done it sooner.


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

I think exposure through blogs is invaluable. Unknown or new authors sell books through word of mouth, and the online book community is huge. Getting a spotlight or feature on book blogs is the best way I know of to get the word out about your book.


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

I haven’t found author fairs or book signings to be successful. I don’t count any of them as defeats, because I think it’s a positive thing anytime you can promote your work to the public. But monetarily, I am stumped on how to sell books that way!


Which genres do you prefer to read?
I am partial to mysteries. I love all three of Robert B. Parker’s series, but I also love David Rosenfelt, Nelson DeMille, Chris Knopf, Michael Connelly . . . I could go on and on. If it’s a mystery, I’ll probably like it unless it’s too gory or scary.


What book is currently on your nightstand?

House of the Hanging Jade by Amy Reade.


How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

I love communicating with readers. I always respond to messages, which thankfully so far have been encouraging and supportive. I do read reviews, which are, unfortunately, not always encouraging and supportive! But I try to remember one of my favorite quotes: “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” All reviews are appreciated, although I try to forget some of them.


Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?
Facebook. I use Twitter, but I’m not sure I’ve ever really understood it. I like the interaction with people on Facebook. Since I work at home alone, it’s my water cooler.


Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?
I think Joseph Beth Booksellers in Lexington, Kentucky is the best bookstore in my area, even though I live an hour and a half away from it. There are several indie bookstores in Louisville, but when I published my first book, none would agree to host a launch. It is so nice to find an indie bookstore that supports indie authors. And I swear I hear angels sing when I walk into Joseph Beth. That place is awesome.


Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:
Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction
Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction
Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction
Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction


Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:
What do you get when a hit woman, a Southern belle, and a juvenile delinquent cross paths? Murder, mystery, and humor in Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction.


Where can we buy it?
At Amazon in Kindle and paperback:


If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?
Who would you like to see more about in the next book?


Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?
Right now I’m writing the fifth book in the Goose Pimple Junction series. I would love to say it will be out by the end of the year, but the truth is I don’t know. It will depend on how much and how quickly my characters cooperate with me.


Is there anything else you’d like to share to your followers and readers?
I am so honored and grateful when readers spend time and money on my work, so I’d like to say a huge thank you to all who do that. If you’d like to be put on an email list for future news, visit my website and fill out the form on the home page. One of these days I’m going to figure out how to do a newsletter.

Thank you so much for hosting me! It is much appreciated.


Goose Pimple Junction mysteriesLike any good Southern belle, Caledonia Culpepper was raised by her mama to be gracious, charming, witty, and above all, a devoted mother and loving wife, so she’s baffled when her marriage falls apart.


Wynona Baxter is a master of disguise but is often a ditzy airhead. A hit woman wannabe, when she’s Rogues&Rascalshired for her first job in Goose Pimple Junction and things don’t go as planned, she’s forced to resort to Plan B. She’ll also need Plan C and D.


Crooked lawyers, restless husbands, a teenaged hoodlum – it seems there are rogues and rascals everywhere you look in Goose Pimple Junction.

When Caledonia and Wynona’s paths cross, they prove there isn’t a rogue or a rascal who can keep a good woman down. Mama always said there would be days like this . . .

An interview with Gino Bardi

Gino BardiHow would your friends describe you in 20 words or less?


That depends. If they liked me, they might describe me as ‘generous, funny, big heart, big smile, tries hard to make you laugh.’  If they didn’t like me they might say, ‘stingy, smart alec, goofy, tries too hard to make you laugh, will eat off your plate if you sit close to him.’


Tell us a little about yourself:


In a few weeks I will be officially old, yet I still get a kick out of being able to legally buy a beer. I am still surprised when I look in the mirror and don’t see a teenager. It’s more than ‘surprised,’ it’s more like ‘shocked. Absolutely shocked.


Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?


At an airport, where I owned a small jet aircraft.


State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.


I make everything up, especially the random facts.  A lot of my stuff sounds and even feels like memoir, as if it actually happened. But usually only the inciting incident- the ‘party starter’ happened, and I made everything else up. If I wrote memoir, it would be appallingly boring.


What’s your current guilty pleasure?


Eating the ice cream in secret before my wife eats it in secret. I am rarely quick enough to do that, however.


If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?





When did you decide to become a writer?


In third grade, when I got C’s in all the subjects but language arts, where I got an A. Also I got a D in arithmetic. You can tell that because I was asked to answer three questions and I answered all of them.


How long have you been writing?


Now? Just a few minutes. Oh, you mean, like, forever? I became a professional in my senior year of high school; I didn’t have the fifty bucks I needed to take my girlfriend to the prom. I won the Newsday “Letter of the Week” contest and got the fifty. It was the easiest money I had ever made; then or now.


Who is you mentor? Who do you look up to?


The guy who runs my writers’ group is very encouraging. His name is David Edmonds and he writes international thrillers. He keeps trying to point me in the right direction and tell me everything I’m doing wrong. Sometimes I even listen to him. But I still fight with him, just to keep up my chops.


Who are your cheerleaders?


One of my daughters likes my stuff. The girl I took to the prom is still impressed.


Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?


No, in fact, one of the first things I have to do when I sell a few books is to replace my desk chair. I can hardly get out of it anymore. Not a lot of people took me seriously…boy, I showed THEM, I tell ya.


Did you always have in mind to be a writer or did it just happen?


It didn’t ‘just happen,’ I MADE it happen. I’ve been waiting for years to actually say that to someone. Thanks.


Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?


I enjoy cooking a wonderful meal. I love to go for long walks on the beach, watching the sunset, or enjoying hot chocolate by a roaring fire, and… Hey! Wait a minute! You’re not from Playboy Magazine!



Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?


Yes. I’m brutal. I have no friends because of that.



Do you read reviews written about your book?


So far, I have read only good ones. When I start getting bad ones, I will be too busy to read them.



Have you always wanted to be a writer?


I STILL want to be a writer. It’s taking a long time.



What started you on your journey to be a writer?


When I was a little kid I discovered that no matter how mad my mom was at me, I could write her a poem or story and she would laugh and forget all about whatever stupid thing I had done. It was a magic power I developed when I was about eight.



When you made your first sale, how did you celebrate and with whom?


I took my girlfriend to the prom and we…uh…celebrated.



Do you listen to music while writing?


No, I can’t get anything done if I do that, it makes me pick up the guitar and play along, which I can’t do, which makes me frustrated. Then I get up and make something to eat. It is very counter-productive.



What are your favorite hobbies?


Looking for my wallet, car keys, sunglasses and credit card; calling the credit card company and cancelling the card, and calling Netflix and the cell phone company, etc, and telling them to bill my wife’s card. I’m not sure these are actually hobbies but I spend a lot of time doing that stuff.


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


Someone BOUGHT A BOOK!!!



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


It is the only stuff that was written by me!  I don’t see a lot of stuff that sounds like mine in bookstores.



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


“It’s not too late to turn back!”  Okay, that’s not what I mean. What I mean is, get into a writer’s group, listen to all the criticism, and when they rise up against you, enraged, you are getting someplace!



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


An actual book that people can actually hold onto, with your picture on the back cover and your name on it. Until you can hand someone that, they don’t believe you actually wrote anything. It’s not real impressive to wave a Kindle around. I tried it.



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


Convincing myself that I want to spend all day on Facebook pretending I’m fascinated by what everyone had for lunch.



Your favorite books and author?


I split my time between humor and books that are very evocative of time, place and strong emotions. I don’t have a ‘favorite,’ but here are some authors that I actually pay money for: (humor) Mark Twain, Dave Barry, Jean Shephard, Fanny Flag, David Sedaris, Kurt Vonegutt, Garrison Keilor. That other thing, the evocative thing: Junot Diaz, James Lee Burke, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Joanne Beard, Stewart O’nan.



Which genres do you prefer to read?


Coming of age (I’m expecting that will happen to me any day now), romantic comedy (that too, I hope), high tech spy and international thrillers (just for the descriptions of the female leads), anything really funny no matter what the genre. Anything really good, ditto.


Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?


I am so behind in my reading, anything written since 1975 is ‘new.’



What book is currently on your nightstand?


Wait a minute I’ll go look. Okay, I’m back. “How to Raise a Jewish Dog,” by Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman. It’s funny. And short. I love short books.



Are there any particular books and/or authors that inspired you and continue to do so?


I fall hard for authors that can make you laugh and cry on the same page. They have power over you, and it’s frightening. I have to keep these titles to myself in the interest of public health.



How many books do you read/month?


I read very slowly because I am still rebelling against the reading lists I had to deal with in college. I read all the dialog aloud as if I were in a play. This drives my family insane. As a result, I am lucky to finish two books a month. I also read the newspaper funnies and never miss them. It’s very instructional to see a writer tell a whole story, with a plot, characters, an issue and a resolution, in three panels.



What is the one book that you think everyone should read?


I can’t think of a single book that everyone would WANT to read enough to make it past the first chapter. If I could, I’d keep that to myself. Life should not be turned into a literature class. But Tom Sawyer would be a safe bet.



Do you have an all time favorite book?


I bet you don’t want me to say “My own,” huh?



How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?


Absolutely. I love to answer their letters. They rarely write a second time. I wonder why that is?



Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?


Facebook. But after my daughter teaches me how to use Twitter, I might like that. I have a problem with Facebook.  Looking at all the pictures of food and empty bottles of wine, and places people go on vacation makes me wonder what the heck I am doing staring at a computer screen all day.



Where can your fans find you?


For the time being, while I finish my fabulously complicated and nonworking website, contact me at, or on Facebook at Gino B. Bardi author. Put in the extra B because, surprisingly, there is another Gino Bardi, who appears to speak Italian and lift weights. Be nice if you meet him, he could be violent.



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

final art for cover with changes 1/9/16

final art for cover with changes 1/9/16


No, the only bookstores near me are Books-a-Bazillion and similar giant places which are gigantic, scary places which I am afraid to enter.


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


Oh, let me think….hmmmmm…Okay I got it:  The Cow in the Doorway


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


“What floor are you going to? Me too! Hey, wanna buy my book? It’s about a kid who goes to a tough college because his dad wants him to, and if he flunks out he’ll get drafted. He falls in love with this terrific girl, but she likes his roommate more because the kid is just…hey, wait! We’re not at that floor yet! Where are you going?”



Where can we buy it?


Right now (early May 2016) you can buy it from Amazon as a Kindle book or paperback, or from my publisher, 99% Books at the website address 99pctbooks, or directly from me at  You should be able to order it from places like Books-a-Bazillion but it’s more fun to just order it from me; I’ll autograph it for you and write anything you want in it, even a convincing alibi for where you were last Friday when you got home at five AM.



If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?


What’s more entertaining for you- to laugh or cry?  Don’t just say, laugh, because maybe it’s not. I’d really like to know.



Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?


I have three other projects in the works. Two novels and a collection of short stories. The short stories are finished, they’ll come out in the fall, probably.



Is there anything else you’d like to share to your followers and readers?


I can’t finish this sandwich. But it’s got mustard on it. Some people don’t like mustard. Of course, I’m just kidding. I can always finish a sandwich.



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


I go through a lot to make people understand how hard I work and difficult this is. Which is all crap. I love doing this, and it’s easy. But I have to keep that a secret, so pretend I never said that. Even my family doesn’t know that. Especially them.