Blog: In Real Life

Book reviews, marketing observations and advice, and general commentary…

Technology Update

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 in Commentary | 0 comments

I rely on the same tools as most authors—pens and notebooks, computers, and mobile devices. I recently upgraded a bunch of hardware, and I wanted to share my experiences in case they’re helpful to anyone. For context, I should tell you that I’m a fan of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to most things. I’m also, um, value-conscious (yeah, that means cheap). As a result, I tend to use hardware for longer than most folks, but in my defense, I grew up in a world where the IBM Selectric was as fancy as it got, and those suckers...

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The Comfort of Books

Posted by on Apr 4, 2014 in Books, Commentary | 0 comments

Earlier this week, I dropped a brick on my foot. Not an actual brick, but something roughly the size and shape of a brick. It hurt like hell, and my foot immediately got a nasty bruise and started swelling. My husband leapt into action, helping me to the bed and arranging the pillows so I was as comfortable as someone with an OhNoIThinkIBrokeItBecauseItHurtsSoBad foot can be. Before he went to get the ice, he paused and asked: Where is your book? I told him and he handed me the book (THE BLACK HOUR by Lori Rader Day) before heading for the...

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St. Patrick’s Day 2014

Posted by on Mar 17, 2014 in Commentary | 0 comments

Ireland is my namesake, my family, and my heart. Her music is as varied as her stories…these are some of my favourites.  

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Posted by on Mar 14, 2014 in Marketing | 0 comments

As a reader, I don’t pay blurbs much heed. Never have. A couple of years ago, though, a voracious reader I know told me that she bought a book because it had a Michael Connelly blurb on the cover, which caused me to reconsider the marketing value of blurbs. Rightly or wrongly, many readers feel like authors are our friends. Y’all tell the stories that reach us, and as such, like it or not, we’re connected. So when an author recommends a book, we tend to make two assumptions: First, we think the book being recommended is similar to the ones...

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WATCHING YOU by Michael Robotham

Posted by on Mar 11, 2014 in Books, Reviews | 0 comments

I’m not exactly sure how to describe WATCHING YOU by Michael Robotham because for me, it was several books in one. Part procedural, part psychological thriller, part noir, and all engrossing, readable wonderfulness. This is the seventh entry in Robotham’s Joe O’Loughlin series. Joe is a shrink (or clinical psychologist, if you prefer) who has a fascinating back-story. Among other things—and there are many other things—he has Parkinson’s disease, which doesn’t have a direct impact on the plot of his stories, but Robotham handles this aspect of...

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Sleuthfest and Selfies

Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 in Commentary, Marketing | 0 comments

It’s been quite a week! It started a week ago Thursday, when I arrived at Sleuthfest in Orlando. Sleuthfest is the annual writers’ conference hosted by the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. It always draws a fantastic group, because the organizers do a terrific job and it’s held in Florida in February, which makes it even more appealing for writers who live in cooler climes. This year was no exception. The Guests of Honor were Laura Lippman, Ace Atkins, and Hank Phillippi Ryan. Oline Cogdill did an incredible job with the...

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Speaking Out

Posted by on Feb 21, 2014 in Marketing | 0 comments

Marketing books and “author brands” (read: authors themselves) really can be a tricky business. You have a platform, and you have fans, which means people pay attention to what you say. You are, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the size of your audience, under a microscope. Whatever you say and wherever you say it, you can rest assured that it is recorded for posterity and will likely be shared at some point. Yikes. Many authors–most of them, even–tend to stay away from controversy. They don’t talk...

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Can One Reader Make a Difference?

Posted by on Feb 7, 2014 in Marketing | 2 comments

It’s an eternal question. And by one reader I don’t mean a librarian or book reviewer or bookseller or Stephen King or Michael Connelly. I mean one ordinary, run-of-the-mill, casual reader. Now, before I start, let me acknowledge that this question will never be conclusively, factually answered. But that doesn’t mean it’s not helpful to consider. I hope—and I believe—that the answer is a resounding yes. I believe that every reader matters. That the parts are greater than the sum, if you will. In an attempt to prove myself right, I’ve been...

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Dear Isabel Allende…

Posted by on Jan 31, 2014 in Marketing | 0 comments

Update, February 10, 2014: I’ve just changed the first sentence of the post below, because I was informed–and rightly so–that a word I used could (easily) be construed as racist. I should have been (much) more careful about my word choice. I would have objected to Ms. Allende’s statements just as strongly if she were a caucasian male. I was going to title this post, “Why Being a Nasty Jerk to Readers is Not Good Marketing.” But that seems a little too long. Still, it’s true. Yesterday on All Things Considered NPR did...

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THE PROFESSOR by Robert Bailey

Posted by on Jan 28, 2014 in Books, Reviews | 0 comments

I confess: I love a good, juicy legal thriller, particularly one set in the American south. It goes back to TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, I imagine. Few reading experiences can compare with getting knee-deep into a case with a lawyer and his staff, following along with them to the inevitably dramatic conclusion. Is it a formula? Sure. I fail to see anything wrong with that (I do, however, see everything wrong with people who glare down their prissy noses at any story they deem formulaic). Just as a recipe for, say, chocolate cake can result in...

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