Saturday, August 27, 2016

Author David Daniel gives a talk in Chelmsford to SIPA

We had a great night at the meeting for the Society of Independent Publishers and Authors (SIPA), with a special guest appearance by noted author David Daniel, who spoke to the group about writing and publishing.
Anybody in the Chelmsford area with an interest in writing and publishing should check out this organization.
We've had some terrific guests giving good advice and support.

And for those wishing to develop their knowledge of the writing craft, Dave teaches a class at UMass Lowell on Writing Popular Fiction- and you can sign up now. Class meets Thurs evenings, 6:30-9:20.
I've spoken to a number of people who have taken this course, and they all praise it as excellent.
 Dave is in the colorful shirt at the head of the table

And we had a good crowd- even more showed up after this pic, for a full house, who were eager to hear news and advice from a long-time writing professional.

 Dave has a supportive family, who showed up for the talk

Group shot of aspiring writers


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Suspense Author Lisa Scottoline Comes to Chelmsford

We had a lovely visit from NY Times Best-Selling author Lisa Scottoline, who came as part of a grant for our town library. The crowd was so big, they held it at the High School Performing Arts Center. Regrettably, the air conditioning was not working, so we sweltered, but the intrepid Lisa didn't slow down even a bit. She said that with the heat, now we all knew what menopause was like!

Here's Lisa with Becky Hermann of the Chelmsford Library, who emceed the program.

If Lisa stops writing, she can continue as a stand-up comedienne and storyteller, for she spun more than an hour of entertaining stories for the enthusiastic crowd, then answered questions about her writing.

Afterward, she signed books for a long line of fans, and was gracious enough to pose for a picture and ask that the hard-working Becky join her.

Fun night, and a great opportunity to see someone who has turned her life stories into entertaining books.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Seacoast Comic Con

Had a great day selling and signing books at a table of The New England Horror Writers at the Seacoast Comic Con in Kittery, Maine.

A great day of meeting new people, like Lee from the Rice Library in Kittery, who was at her table as well as covering the one for the Portsmouth Library
And we met Suzanne and Ionna from the Portsmouth Herald, who were taking pictures as they took it all in.
Many thanks to the hard-working staff for all they did.

At most comic conventions, people do cosplay, which is dressing up like some character from popular culture. Here's a pair you might recognize.

 Sometimes it's a whole family! Like the Powers Family CozPlay

Here's our contingent of writers. 

I moderated our panel on Publishing 101, giving the audience an overview of the options available to writers wanting publication. Every one of those attending had a desire for publication, so hope we gave them a good starting point.

 Our first buyer of the day was Kali, who supported every one of us with a book purchase

 Then she reappeared in another incarnation, as one of the Baystate Ghostbusters

Benjamin Santos was there, representing the Cosplay Convention Center

Illustrators were part of the merchants who came, like Jay Kennedy

In a show of support for our efforts, we had Duane Coffill, who heads the Horror Writers of Maine, who came with his whole family

 And a surprise visit from a Timelord, cleverly disguising himself as The Nerd Magician

If Winter is coming, can the Winter Soldier be far behind?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

SIPA, Books, and Chelmsford Center for the Arts

Each year the town of Chelmsford hosts a big July 4th parade and town fair, a real slice of Americana. They start the festivities the night before, with a band concert and lots of booths for local organizations.

This year, the Chelmsford Center for the Arts had a huge art exhibit, and also hosted our table for the Society of Independent Publishers and Authors (SIPA). We had a number of books from local authors, and a portion of the money from books sold went to support the CCA. Thanks to Laura Marshall for setting up this opportunity!

Here's a few that came to run the table while people stopped by to browse on their way past. 
Left to right is Barbara Klain, Bruce Fottler, and Kameryn James.

I shared space at the front table. We had a good time, chatted with some folks, made some new fans, and enjoyed a lovely night. This is a great way to connect with readers.


In other news, tune in to WEMF radio this Thursday night at 9 to hear my interview with Max Bowen. It'll be rebroadcast on Saturday.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Books at Boothbay Festival 2016

Saturday was a terrific time up in Maine, when I took part in the yearly Books at Boothbay Festival- apart from being a really good book event, it was also a fundraiser!
Many thanks to Sharon Pulkkinen and author Jen Blood for making the arrangements for us all.
Also thanks to the good folks from Sherman's Books for handling all book sales.
And to the staff for setting up and taking down the event, and the generous folks who provided hard-working authors with a tasty lunch!

Took place at the Boothbay Railway Village, a fun spot to visit.

We set up with a lot of authors of all different book types, and didn't know what kind of crowd to expect on a rainy day. And we were competing with the world-famous Moxie Festival, only a few miles down the road. (Any Moxie fans out there?)

Not to worry, as we had a steady stream of browsers and buyers for the four hours we were open.

Luckily we were indoors- and away from the "murder scene," which was a fun scenario cooked up to get people involved. Since we had a number of the Maine Crime Writers and the Sisters in Crime taking part, we were suspects in a mock crime. Folks could go next door, find clues, query the suspects, and try to solve the mystery. The winner got a huge basket of books as a prize. The enthusiasm for the mystery was infectious, as folks from young to old asked us about our alibis, trying to get us to give a clue, or maybe even confess.

Here's Kate Flora with the subject of her book A Good Man With a Dog, Roger Guay.

Jessie Crockett, in red, with Barbara Ross, and the recent books poster of the Maine Crime Writers.

 And Bruce again (with his head not cut off) with Jen Blood. I'm going to be on a panel with these two at Crime Bake, with Kate Flora as moderator. We'll see if we can flummox Bruce, whose debut novel, Among The Shadows, will be out this September. And he'll be a guest interviewee on this blog around then, so check back to find out more about him and his newly-released book. Teaser- he was in law enforcement for over 27 years, serving in Portland, Maine. Think he's got some stories to tell?

 Here's Maureen Milliken, another member of both the Maine Crime Writers and Sisters in Crime.

And Lea Walt, another author in both groups.

 Here's the lineup along the wall.

I had the spot in the corner, next to Jeannette de Beauvoir, and thought of charging a toll to use the restroom, located behind us. When I mentioned that people had to buy a book to get in, they looked surprised for a moment, before realizing it was all in fun. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Interview With Author Cheryl Hollon

Today we're finding out more about author Cheryl Hollon, who writes the Webb's Glass Shop Mysteries. She's still pretty new to the game, with the first book in this series published last Fall. Busy as she is, the third book is now out!

Cheryl writes full time after she left an engineering career designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind the house, Cheryl and her husband George design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks.

Q. So how did this novel come to be? As third in the series, tell us a bit about where it stands in relation to the others.

A. The timeline for Cracked to Death is about three months from the last book – straight into the heat of the Florida summer. It’s also a relatively quiet time for retail shops as most of the seasonal visitors have gone.

Q. Did you start with the germ of an idea and start writing to see where it went, or did you map a good deal out in your head (or even outline) before crafting?

A. Because I’m under contract for the books in the series, I submit an eight-page synopsis of the book to my editor at Kensington. For me, this grows into a detailed outline that I usually follow pretty closely. I always start with an unusual location, the teaching focus for Webb’s Glass Shop and then some local events to flesh out the setting.

Q. What do you feel is the main theme(s)?

A. As is the case for most cozy mysteries, justice is served and order is restored to the community after a crime has unsettled everything in the normal world of the characters. 

Q. Why do you feel this is important, and what would you want a reader to take away from reading this book?

A. I would like for readers to get to know and love the eclectic vibe of St. Petersburg, Florida. It has changed from a sleepy senior health sojourn to a food-centric, art-focused, museum-packed, fun-loving town. Last week, the owner of Grand Central Stained Glass told me that three customers had visited her shop because they had read the Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries. I’m happy.

Q. What makes a good book or engaging story?

A. I love a book that takes me away into a complete world of action, emotion and sensory detail. I want to care about the characters and be afraid of what might happen to them.

Q. Are there writers with similar themes to yours? Who are your influences (can be writers, or even artists, musicians, or others) and what is it about their work that attracts you?

A. My favorite modern series right now is the Inspector Gamache series located in Three Pines village near Montreal written by Louise Penny. When I open one of her amazing books, I feel like I’m coming home to visit with great friends. Another series I revere is the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries by Dorothy Sayers. Her characters are charming, clever and witty and her plots are dark and twisty. The strength of their writing attracts me to those books – it is straightforward but beautiful as well.

Q. Is storytelling mostly entertainment, or does it serve other functions? Do you have particular goals other than telling a good story?

A. I strive to entertain by taking the reader on a journey that will puzzle, educate and elicit the occasional smile. Bottom line, I want to tell a cracking good story.

Q. Any other goals you've set for yourself, professionally or personally?

A. I have a few ideas for another series, but based in Clifton Village, Bristol, England. I lived there for about three years during my time as an engineer. Fingers crossed for finding a publisher.

Q. Some writers write fast and claim not to rewrite much. Do you do this, or painstakingly revise? When you send the book off to the publisher, are you happy with it, or just tired of it?

A. I write fairly fast then revise extensively for many, many passes through the manuscript. I hate to let go of the book, but at some point – I cover my eyes and press SEND.

Q. Do you have good editors, and if so, how do they help you? Do they look for particular things? Do you have different people for different editing levels?

A. Bless the cotton socks of good editors. I’m delighted with the collaborative process that takes my beginning story and ramps it into a much better story that I knew I was going to tell. It’s wonderful.

Q. If a writer came to you for advice, how would you help?

A. I would point them to the organizations that work hard to teach new writers the craft of producing great stories. In particular, I recommend the on-line chapter of the Sisters in Crime. It is called the Guppy Chapter as in ‘The Great Unpublished.’ I’ve learned more from that group than any others because when a Guppy gets published, they stay around to help the others. It’s a warm and friendly group.

Q. Stories can be told by using a different medium. Can you see your book as a film, audio, etc.? How would that alter the telling?

A. I can definitely see my books as a television series. Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries are based in a business district of St. Petersburg, FL. It’s interesting

Q. How has your world changed since publishing your first book? What has been the best things about that?

A. I’m surprised at the vast difference there is between ‘soon-to-be-published’ and ‘published.’ This is no endeavor to endure alone. In fact, I have met so many wonderful writers that are generous with their time and wisdom. But even better, I have met wonderful readers who love the world around Webb’s Glass Shop as much as I do.

Q. What's the next step in your writing world?

A. I am looking forward to the release of the third book in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries, CRACKED TO DEATH. It releases June 28, 2016 and is available for pre-order now. This has been a fast year for me and I look forward to spending many hours with Savannah Webb and her posse of crime-solving friends.

Q. Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

A. I was a Boy Scout Leader. When my sons were small and wanted to go into scouting, I volunteered to be a Den Mother and then Committee Chair. But when the camping opportunities arrived, my husband, who is allergic to planet Earth, couldn’t take them, so I stepped in. Some of the best leadership training I’ve ever experienced was taught by the Boy Scouts of America. I was also privileged to serve on the committee that trained Boy Scout leaders in the Tampa Bay area.

Q. Any other information you'd like to impart?

A. You need to sign up for a creative art class of any type. Check your local business listings or search the Internet for a glass or craft shop near you. It’s fun!


You can read more about Savannah in Cracked to Death, the third book in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries, published by Kensington Books. Available at your favorite book vendor on June 28, 2016.

About Cracked to Death:

When a treasure hunt leads to deadly plunder, it’s up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb and her trusty investigative posse to map out the true motives of a killer . . .

It's the dog days of summer in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Webb's Glass Shop proprietor Savannah Webb has an eco-friendly plan to help locals escape the heat--a recyclable bottle-crafting workshop taught by reticent store manager Amanda Blake. Turns out, the class is a bigger smash than expected, thanks in part to a pair of staggeringly old bottles brought in by snorkeler Martin Lane . . .

Linked to a storied pirate shipwreck, the relics definitely pique Savannah's interest. But intrigue turns to shock when Martin's lifeless body washes ashore the next morning, another glass artifact tucked in his dive bag. With cell phone records connecting Amanda to the drowning, Savannah must voyage through uncharted territory to exonerate her colleague and capture the twisted criminal behind Martin's death . . .

Visit Cheryl and her books at:

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

News and Number 600

Happy Summer- or Solstice, or however you term the season.
Lots of things happening- and just wanted to note that this is the 600th blog post! That's quite a record, as many start a blog, but fall off along the way. We're still going strong, and in fact will move the platform to a Wordpress site soon enough, to keep up with the times.

First bit of news- later this week we'll interview author Cheryl Hollon.

The excellent crime magazine Thuglit will soon be closing it's doors after a terrific eleven-year run of the best stories around.
I'm honored to report that my tale "Forever Amber" was accepted as the last story ever- for the upcoming final issue:

I'll be taking part at the Boothbay (Maine) Festival of Books on Saturday, July 9, along with the Sisters in Crime.

WEMF radio will interview me on July 14th. Tune in for a good time!

Then I'll be signing books with the NEHW at the Seacoast ComiCon in Kittery, ME on July 23rd.

So yeah- busy Summer ahead, and it's just started! See you soon!