Blog: In Real Life

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

By the Numbers

Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 in Marketing | 0 comments

This week, International Thriller Writers (ITW) sent out the (59-page) results of a (well intentioned) survey entitled, “Thriller Author Audience Expansion Roadmap.” Click here to have a look (if you dare—it really is 59 pages). If you don’t want to read 59 pages, here’s the summary (since the survey didn’t have one, this is mine): It’s important for authors to build their audience. The most effective ways to do this are, and will remain, unclear because it is impossible to have conclusive or comprehensive data about readers. Marketing...

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Welcome to 2015

Posted by on Jan 2, 2015 in Books | 0 comments

Happy Birthday! Oh wait…that’s not you…that’s me. Today is my birthday. I make a point of telling as many people as possible every year because I’m still smarting from all those “Christmas and birthday” presents I got as a kid. So here I am, halfway through my fifth decade on the planet. As you read this, I’m off doing something fun. I hope you’re having a good day too. Because I failed miserably at cards this year, I decided to get ahead of the Best of game by publishing my Best Books of...

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Letter to My Tribe

Posted by on Dec 19, 2014 in Commentary | 0 comments

Way back at the beginning of the year a mystery novel by a certain Literary Fiction Author was published, and said author proceeded to make a number of derogatory comments about crime fiction and those who read it. I had the opportunity to respond in an editorial in Crimespree Magazine, and that response is below. As we celebrate the season, I wish you joy, happiness, and light. I consider myself incredibly lucky to be a part of this community.   I’m an only child, but I didn’t grow up alone. I solved crimes with my buddy Nancy Drew. I...

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On Books and Knickers

Posted by on Nov 28, 2014 in Books | 0 comments

Many Americans are out among the zombie hordes of shoppers today, and as we become consumed by what to get for whom, I’m sure some—if not all—of you are going to be giving people books. My confession: I’ve always found it difficult to gift books. Reading is a supremely personal experience, and as such, giving someone a book is a bit like giving them underwear. Especially for people you don’t know super-well…you have an idea of what you think might be comfortable for them to read, but what if you’re wrong? What if under that calm, cool, and...

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Bloody Murder at Bouchercon

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in Books, Marketing | 0 comments

My trip to Bouchercon was shorter than I had planned because of a death in the family, but despite missing the first couple of days, it included more than a few memorable moments. I’m going to limit myself here to talking about just two favorites. On Saturday morning, I was honored to be part of the Bloody Murder: Voices from the Margin event. I’m calling it an “event” rather than a “panel” because it included 46 authors (plus me and Terri Bischoff) in a format that, to the best of my knowledge, was entirely new to Bouchercon. I’m going to...

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The Vices of Bouchercon

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

As we gear up for Bouchercon in a couple of weeks, I’ve read a bunch of great “advice” posts. Alex Segura’s guide for cons at Do Some Damage is terrific. Kristopher at BOLO Books has a series of Countdown to Bouchercon posts that is invaluable. The Bouchercon 2014 blog is running posts from people on all different aspects of the event. Except one, which I’m going to address today. Forgive me if I sound a little like the “you’ll shoot your eye out” mom in A Christmas Story—it’s not my intention to suggest you dampen your fun! So here goes:...

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Ello…there

Posted by on Oct 24, 2014 in Marketing | 0 comments

Some weeks back a new social network leapt onto the scene: Ello. I did what I always do in these situations. I went over and grabbed my user name (I like it to be the same everywhere) and had a look around. Much like when Google+ launched to far more fanfare, it was…quiet. Nobody could quite figure out what to say or do. The search wasn’t working, so finding friends was difficult. But I was intrigued, primarily because Ello’s shtick seems to be that they are not now accepting nor will they ever accept advertising. I’ve been spending less time...

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Three for Friday

Posted by on Oct 3, 2014 in Commentary, Marketing | 0 comments

I’ll say what we’re all thinking: October? Really? How did that happen? And when did stores start putting out Christmas stuff so damn early? Ok. Now that that’s done with… In case you missed it, Jeff Cohen has a new book out, called THE QUESTION OF THE MISSING HEAD. As part of the launch, he did a wonderful campaign (read about it here) to benefit ASPEN, the Autism Spectrum Education Network. If you’re not familiar with Jeff’s books and ASPEN, please get to know both. Do you know what a bonkbuster is? Neither did I until Laura Lippman...

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The Week that Was

Posted by on Sep 19, 2014 in Commentary, Marketing | 0 comments

Some relatively random thoughts/observations this week… In case you missed it, the Bouchercon programming schedule has been posted. Click here to view/print/download it. There are nine panels at a time this year, so chances are good everyone will be able to find something of interest. Last night, Scotland voted no to becoming an independent country. Voter turnout was 84.6%. I didn’t have a dog in this particular hunt, although I was hoping for a different outcome. But I’ve been fascinated with the role media (social and otherwise) and IRL...

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THE LEWIS MAN by Peter May

Posted by on Sep 2, 2014 in Books, Reviews | 1 comment

Today I’m turning the virtual mic over to Lauren, because I thought she’d do a better job of telling you about THE LEWIS MAN than I ever could. I was right! You can find Lauren on Twitter here. I had never been to the Outer Hebrides islands of Scotland until I read The Blackhouse, the Barry  Award-winning first entry in Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy.  But May’s spare yet electric prose brings the harsh terrain and weather of the islands to life as surely as the living characters.  Now, the islands feel like a new friend,...

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