Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Interview with Edith Maxwell on Her Tenth Book Birthday

Today we're pleased to host prolific author Edith Maxwell on a glorious occasion – her tenth novel releases today: the third Country Store mystery!

Her writing is so good, she also has a clutch of Agatha Award nominations: two this year, one for a novel, and another for a short story.

Because Edith has so many series going, she has a number of aliases, but not because she commits crimes and runs from the law- at least nothing has been proven yet (apart from one tiny murder in Boothbay, Maine, last Summer, but let's move on). She can get away with anything, because she's so nice.

So let's find out more about her and her work...

Q. With so many series, how do these novels come to be? Envisioned from the start as a bigger canvas, or do they expand organically out of an idea? Please tell us a bit about the origins.

A. I envision the setting and the protagonist for a series first. The setting and even era, now that I also write historical mysteries, really govern so much of the storytelling. A farm in northeastern Massachusetts is a very different milieu than a cozy restaurant in a small town in southern Indiana. And of course, a Quaker midwife going about her business of delivering babies and caring for pregnant women in an 1888 Massachusetts mill town is different in so many other ways. So I get to know my setting, I learn all I can (that is, make it up) about my main character, and then get to work.

For the Local Foods Mysteries, I owned and farmed the smallest certified organic farm in my county almost thirty years ago, which is when I started writing fiction as an adult. With the Quaker Midwife series – well, I am a Quaker, I live in the historic town where the books take place, and I formerly worked as a childbirth educator and doula, so it made sense to put my knowledge of the birth experience to work as I wrote a midwife protagonist. The Country Store mysteries came out of my years earning a PhD near the series setting. I loved southern Indiana and wanted to bring a fictional version to life in a set of books. My new Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries actually was a suggestion from my Kensington editor, who wanted to see a new Maddie Day series about a book club. I decided to set it on Cape Cod and he liked the idea.

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

A. By preference I don't outline, although my Kensington editor asks for a prose synopsis of the next book as soon as I turn one in. But the story can and does change as I'm writing it. How I get the idea for a book varies. A few times it came out of a newspaper article, like when I read about the Great Fire of 1888 that burned down many of the carriage factories in my town. That produced Delivering the Truth, my first Quaker Midwife mystery. Other times I might want to use a particular murder weapon, like rosary peas, or I think of the victim and then I set up a story with three or four suspects who would want that person gone from the world.

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

A. Essentially I write about how people get along, what drives an ordinary person to cross the line and kill a fellow human, and how justice is restored. I have also touched on background themes of views toward immigrants, mistreated farm animals, conflicts between academics and townspeople, climate change, and racism. But these subthemes lurk behind the main story, which is murder in a village setting and how a regular citizen figures out how to solve it, at least in part.

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

A. It's important not to let a hobbyhorse or passionate political belief of my own take over my storytelling. Nobody wants to be preached at, and I don't want to preach. At root I want my readers to be transported into the world I created, to believe that the people I invented could be real, and to forget their own daily issues and stresses for a while. If they delight in the language, laugh at a piece of dialect, or gasp at a suspenseful turn, all the better.

Q. What makes a good book or engaging story? 

A. Good characters make the book. If you don't feel strongly about the characters, in my view it doesn't matter how good the plot is. I want to write a protagonist whom I want to spend time with and whom my readers will, too.

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. All my fellow cozy mystery authors, including the WickedCozy Authors, write about similar themes and settings. Not the details, of course, but the village setting, the amateur sleuth, the family dynamics, the occasional romance, the best friends and always thorny antagonists. Even the historicals I write fall under the same umbrella of the traditional mystery – they are basically cozies set a hundred thirty years ago. I think we authors all influence each other to an extent, and I know many of them inspire me.

Q. Do you have any other goals you've set for yourself, professionally or personally?

A. Some of my cozy author friends want to branch out and write the “big book,” a blockbuster, a big multi-point-of-view suspense novel or thriller. At this time I don't have any plans for that. I love writing the three series I have in hand – two contemporaries and a historical - and so far my publishers want me to keep doing just that!

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 faster than some of my author pals – I can turn out a first draft in two months when I am working steadily. But I also revise for the next two months, so I'm both! And If I weren't happy with the book when I send it off, I wouldn't send it.

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. Yes. All my books get a pre-edit from one of two independent editors. By now these ladies know my series, and will catch things like my protagonist acting snarkier than she usually does. They notice when I forget to actually write stuff down. Because I write fast, often I'll know something about a character's reactions or thoughts but I just forget to put it on the page. Then my editor at my publisher gives the manuscript a read and also suggest those kinds of higher-level changes. After that a copyeditor gives it the once-over, and I've been lucky to get thorough copyeditors who check every proper noun in the book, keep me conformed to the house style, and make sure all the details are addressed. Finally, each book gets a proofreader from the publisher.  Of course, I have given the manuscript many repetitions of my own edits and have printed it out and read it cover to cover at least three times.

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

A. It would depend on the advice sought. Here's my basic advice: The most important thing for beginning writers to do is to write the best book you can. You can’t revise words you haven’t written. And keep studying your craft – take workshops, read books on writing, and study writers in your genre whose books you admire. Then find your tribe – join Sisters in Crime if you write crime fiction, or the online or local group in your genre. Their counsel and friendship will be invaluable.

Q. Stories can be told by using a different medium. Can you see your books as a film, audio, etc.? How would that alter the telling?
A. My Country Store Mysteries are all on audio, but I don't alter the writing with that in mind. Quite a few people have suggested that my Quaker Midwife stories would make a great movie or television series, but we have yet to accomplish that! And in that case, a screenwriter would be brought in. I don't know the first thing about writing for the screen medium.

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

A. I have to launch two books in ten days time under two names from two publishers!  And then finish the first Cape Cod mystery.

Q. Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

A. I hold a long-dusty black belt in Okinawan karate and am a fourth-generation Californian, even though I've now lived in Massachusetts longer than I lived in the west.

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

A. I hope readers will check out all my series on my web site. I'd love to hear from you if you like my stories, and you know, a positive review on Amazon and Goodreads really helps an author! 
Thanks so much for asking me over today, Dale.


National best-selling author Edith Maxwell is a 2017 double Agatha Award nominee for her historical mystery Delivering the Truth and her short story, “The Mayor and the Midwife.” She writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries and the Local Foods Mysteries; as Maddie Day she writes the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. Her award-winning short crime fiction has appeared in many juried anthologies, and she is honored to served as President of Sisters in Crime New England.

A fourth-generation Californian and former tech writer, farmer, and doula, Maxwell now writes, cooks, gardens, and wastes time as a Facebook addict north of Boston with her beau and three cats. She blogs at WickedCozyAuthors.com, Killer Characters, and with the Midnight Ink authors.
Find her at www.edithmaxwell.com and elsewhere.

When the Grits Hit the Fan

Despite the bitter winter in South Lick, Indiana, business is still hot at Robbie Jordan’s Country Store restaurant. But when another murder rattles the small town, can Robbie defrost the motives of a cold-blooded killer? Robbie and her friend Lou go snowshoeing and find a contentious academic frozen under the ice. Police suspect Lou might have killed him after their public tiff in Pans ‘N Pancakes the night before. To prove her friend’s innocence, Robbie absorbs local gossip about the professor’s past and develops her own thesis on the homicide—even if that means stirring up terrible danger for herself along the way.

Called to Justice

Quaker midwife Rose Carroll is enjoying the 1888 Independence Day evening fireworks with her beau when a teenaged Quaker mill girl is found shot dead. After a former slave and fellow Quaker is accused of the murder, Rose delves into the crime, convinced of the man's innocence. An ill-mannered mill manager, an Irish immigrant, and the victim's young boyfriend come under suspicion even as Rose's future with her handsome doctor suitor becomes unsure. Rose continues to deliver babies and listen to secrets, finally figuring out one criminal―only to be threatened by the murderer, with three lives at stake. Can she rescue herself, a baby, and her elderly midwifery teacher in time?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sisters in Crime Birthday Party

Thirty years ago, a great organization formed to help women writers of mystery achieve parity in contracts, reviews, support, and recognition, both within the industry and for society at large.
The Sisters in Crime has done tremendous work in promoting mysteries and women mystery writers.
And yes, they do allow my gender to become members as well.
After 30 years of hard work, it's time to celebrate- and so there are numerous events all over the country to mark this historic group.
The New England chapter held an informative workshop led by Nancy Martin, followed by lunch, and then some memories and recognition of some of the people who gave their time and energy to make good things happen over the years.
For writers who pen stories about horrible crimes, we had a jocular time with fun folks.
Thanks to all who made this event happen, as well as the many others held at all levels.

This stellar lineup consists of past officers at the national and regional level, who received tiaras to show how special they are.
L to R- Sheila Connolly, Edith Maxwell, Julie Hennrikus, Sharon Daynard, Linda Barnes, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Ruth McCarty, Hallie Ephron

And each had to give a short speech about her experience with Sisters in Crime.

To show their creativity, even the desserts have a message...

Here's Lisa Jackson and Edith guarding the goodies before the time of devouring
To see an interview with Edith, click here.

Other notable authors Connie Johnson Hambley, Leslie Wheeler, and Lisa Lieberman
To see an interview with Connie, click here

 Here's Nancy Martin (R) leading an exercise at the workshop

And the crowd

Sharon gets thanked by new President Edith for her service

An artifact of an early promotional tool

And a modern promotional tool, a board showing book cover images from the members. 
Thanks to Hans Copek, who puts this together every year.
If you look closely at the board on the left, you'll see my cover on the right, middle, for the upcoming Zack Taylor series novel, A Sharp Medicine, due out this May.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Introducing Bookstore Owner Tom Lyons, of New England Mobile Bookfair- Updates now

Updates- 5/27/17
Lots of news to add to this interview.
It looks like the store will continue- read on to the end for the press release.
And Tom has published a book of poetry, so check that out. Info at end.

The New England Mobile Book Fair is New England’s largest independent book store, a massive structure of over 32,000 square feet, half of that being selling space. It’s not just a long-time local icon, it’s been an integral part of New England culture for years.

We spoke with owner Tom Lyons, who bought the place six years ago to save this cherished landmark. That's Tom on the left, with noted author Ray Daniel.

Tom told us a little of the history, how they completely revised everything, some of the community programs and writer support they offer, and also how tough it is to keep a huge expenditure open in today’s retail climate. 

I’ll add that Tom and the store have been a tremendous boon to writers, especially local ones. They’ve hosted numerous signings, talks, and events, and give independent authors a local venue to send their fans to instead of going to Amazon. It’s also the best place for mystery authors north of New York City. Tom’s worked with the Mystery Writers of America, the Sisters in Crime, and other groups to present and promote their authors, and he’s given much support to authors at other venues. 

Their annual December Mystery Gala Night book selling party is legendary, with famous authors, a bounteous buffet of tasty treats, and signed books for sale, capped with the presentation of the Robert B. Parker Award to a literary light of the mystery writing field. Tom instituted this award several years ago, with Parker’s widow Joan making the first presentation.  

They offer so much more, including the Salute Series, which gives accolades to gardeners and artists, and Essay contests for 6th graders from area schools. 

Here's Tom:
The quirky name of the New England Mobile Book Fair came from a woman who sold books to schools from the back of her station wagon in the early 50’s. Lou Strymish bought the business from her in the mid to late fifties.  He opened his first brick-and-mortar store in West Roxbury in the late 50’s, in a garage. It later burned down, and he moved the store location to the present address at Needham Street in Newton.  At that time, Route 128 (now 95) had not been finished, but the Needham Street exit was going to be a pass-through to Rte 9 and Boston. The NEMBF was the first retail operation on the street, where everything else was industrial. The store was actually in the space next door, now occupied by the china fair. When the building here at 82-84 Needham opened up, he leased and then eventually bought our current location. 

So even though it kept the name of New England Mobile Book Fair, it is no longer mobile, or a fair. But being a local (and a New England) ICON, it didn’t make sense to change the name. 

I actually had no intention of owning a bookstore.  I had been a road warrior for 30 years, and had just finished an 18-month stint in Maryland, had a few weeks off, and decided to come over to the New England Mobile Book Fair to unwind.  The hangar-like space with rows and rows of high and deep bookshelves has rooms, nooks and crannies, all jam-packed with books. It’s easy to get lost.
The bookstore was put up for sale in 2010. When I wandered in (June 2011), a manager told me that the store had not been sold. I was actually shocked, based on what it was and represented. I bought a few books and left, but over the next two weeks, I couldn’t stop thinking that as a local and a New England ICON and treasure, this store should not close.  

I finally succumbed and called the business broker. I sat with him one Saturday for about 5 hours, going over the book store offering. The more I learned about the store, the more I understood why it hadn’t been sold yet.

Indie book stores were declining as Amazon grew, and Borders had already gone out. The NEMBF was a real mom-and-pop operation. There was no automated inventory, and no financials to review. They had all the books shelved by publisher, the way that schools and libraries ordered books in the 50’s and 60’s. But once automation was mainstream, everyone changed to ordering by author and or title, and it made it difficult to find a book without the help of the NEMBF staff.

I set out to move all the books into genres, like all the other bookstores. To help with the layout, we hired a good consultant, Kate Whourley. It took twenty-two months to move everything, and we had to scan a million books into inventory.

There were a number of things that we worked on continually, cutting useless expenses while improving service:

  • Buying computers and an inventory-and-POS system
  • The cost of electricity was over 6000 dollars a month. We added lighting throughout the store and outside, and ended up paying a no-interest loan to Nstar for 12 months to cover it, which cut the monthly cost down to 3000. Recently, we were able to switch providers, and cut it again to 2000 a month. It could be cut more if we went with LED lighting, but the cost to install is too high.
  • We bought a new phone system that we paid off over three years, which cut phone costs from 3000 a month to around 800.
  • We started controlling the buying process, which had been to buy 12 of everything and 60 to 100 of best seller titles at a time.  We were much better off by cutting the number of books ordered and ordering more frequently.

We have books that many other bookstores don’t carry. Because of the size and content, we have four experienced buyers, where most bookstores only have one. They meet with Publisher reps three or four times a year and discuss hundreds of books about to be published, the authors, the content, the comparable literature, all before they make a decision to buy. 

Another reason we have so many books not found in other stores is because we carry so many genres.  For example, we have a row of eighteen bays of religion, spirituality, self-help etc., and each bay has eight or nine shelves. The reality is that that many books in those specific genres are not profitable, but the more popular books on mystery, fiction, history and so forth were sold in enough volume that the store could support those specialties.

Stores like Barnes & Noble and Costco have central buyers who provide the books to the stores, with obvious regional interest.  They use automation to determine volumes and time on the shelf. It’s estimated that a book costs 1.5% of its cover price each month that it is left in inventory. So the big stores send lists of books that have been on the shelf for 3 months, called pull reports or something similar, and request the store to send the books back to the publisher for credit. They are in the volume business.  Exceptions are made for Best Sellers, which continue to be ordered  and kept in inventory  An example is the mystery Gone Girl,  which stayed on the Best Seller list for more than 18 months.

Now that I have had five years to learn the business, I feel comfortable talking about the challenges we face. Amazon is the gorilla in the room. Once they took hold, publishers were delighted that they ordered so many of their books, and probably every single title. It is estimated that Amazon provides 60% of all sales from publishers. That includes the sale of most e-books. While it started as a boon to the publishers, they are now at the mercy of Amazon, who controls the publishers, not the other way around. This has caused a huge problem for independent bookstores. Amazon continues to sell hardback books at a loss, making up the difference on Prime customer fees, shipping, etc., and still they have lost money for many, many quarters.  Now that they are building brick-and-mortar stores, and still sell at the same price as on-line, they affect the local book market even more. I personally have no doubt that Jeff Bezos plans to put Barnes & Noble out of business, leveraging the brick-and-mortar strategy. More and more people go on-line to buy their books, and larger stores like NEMBF can no longer compete, because of the cost of overhead and the loss of revenue.  

We almost broke even in 2014, and figured we would be profitable in 2015, but things changed rapidly in the world of publishing. Our bargain rooms, with 300,000 remainder titles, were no longer paying for the overhead.  Mergers, changes in credit allowances, drastic cuts in the amount of compensation given on book sales, etc., resulted in cuts in inventory replenishment, more buying from wholesalers with less margin, and a continuation of decrease in foot traffic, as more and more people went online to buy books.  Even schools and libraries, our mainstays, started buying directly from wholesalers who were competing with us.  

Large book stores on the whole cannot survive in today’s marketplace. Willow Books in Acton, MA was around 10,000 ft., and they closed at the end of February, because they just couldn’t be profitable any more.  Our research shows that bookstores that are 3,4,or 5 thousand square feet can and do survive, with lower overhead, staff, and inventory.  One exception is Book People in Austin TX.  When Borders tried to open a store in Austin, the entire community got together to make sure the city did not allow it, and they were able to keep their independent book store and support it.  The result being that the store can do so much more for the community, the schools and the authors it supports.  Unfortunately there isn’t the same type of community involvement here.

Our lease is up at the end of March 2017, and we are seeking an alternative location that is much smaller than what we have.  We hope to be able to keep this iconic book store of more than 60 years open in a new venue.  We are currently seeking an investor/partner so that we can fund a move, restock inventory levels, refocus on fewer genres, and continue to provide the experience and adventure of physical books.

Right now there are still terrific bargains, so get on down while they're around, and buy some good books! 

Here's the cover of Tom's book of poetry.

"Tom Lyons skillfully uses his perception of Nature, in all Her mysterious glory, to crystallize his vision of human nature, peering deeply into the common experiences and familiar anguishes of life to find the truth each one displays, if one only cares to look. With measured pace, his poems follow the arc of understanding from pain through silliness, and our innate human need to laugh." 
Christopher Reilley, Breathing for Clouds and Grief Tattoos

And here's the press release, that came out recently.

New England Mobile Book Fair Strikes Deal to Stay in Newton

Northland Investment Corporation Agrees to Host the Independent Bookstore

Newton, Mass., May 17, 2017 – The New England Mobile Book Fair, an institution that has been a key part of the literary community of the Newton area for more than a half-century, has found a new home on Needham Street in the N² Innovation District. The new site is the Marshalls Plaza just a few blocks away offering a more affordable option for the independent bookstore.
The bookstore had been looking for space since the spring when the lease on the existing space expired.  The owners aimed to find a smaller more affordable space that kept a local presence while also providing the core community with a viable independent bookstore.
“We had been contacted by a number of cities and locations nearby but ultimately felt that we wanted to try to stay local. When Northland contacted us it felt like the right fit. Even though it’s not a permanent solution it helps keep this bookstore close to its roots. Northland clearly understands the need for unique local businesses that support the community,” said New England Mobile Book Fair Owner Tom Lyons.
Northland Investment Corporation is a national real estate investment company with headquarters in Newton. The space is only available for the next two years because the property is part of a 30 acre redevelopment in the planning stages with the city of Newton that will include housing, retail, and office space, all a key addition to theN² Innovation District.
Peter Standish, Senior Vice President of Northland Investment Corporation, said, “Our concern is that the city of Newton should not lose this important institution. We are pleased to be able to facilitate New England Mobile Fook Fair’s ongoing service and commitment to the people of Newton.”
Standish also said, “This use fits squarely with the vision for our proposed mixed-use development, and we hope to find the Bookstore a permanent home here.”
Work has already begun to get the space ready for the store, with the opening targeted for mid-June.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Interview with writer John P. Murphy

Hello again, campers. Today we're pleased to present writer John P. Murphy, whose fiction, especially his top-notch speculative fiction, is making a splash.

In fact, his novella “The Liar” in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction was so good, it's been nominated for a prestigious Nebula Award.

He's also been a guest on Sci-Fi Saturday Night, a fun podcast of all things science fiction, horror, fantasy, and beyond.

Here's John to tell us more about his work:

I intended this to be a novella from the start. I wanted to keep branching out from my shorter work, and I'd had some success with the novella form with Claudius Rex. It's a good length for me, since I'm long-winded but not too interested in intricate subplots.

I wrote it in 2013, after I'd moved to southern NH from the Upper Connecticut Valley not long before, and had spent some time up in North Conway and Melvin Village (near Wolfesboro). So I had New Hampshire on my mind. I also wanted to try something a bit different from my science fiction. When I decided to write a novella, then, a fantasy set in NH seemed like a fine thing to try.

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. I started with the narrator character, Greg, and his particular talents as my base and teased out the small town setting and the plot from there. I got the voice down pat by listening to Garrison Keillor and Fritz Wetherbee (click for a video if you haven't met Wetherbee).

Once I had a good sense of what I had and what I wanted, I stepped back and did a basic outline and I more or less stuck to that outline through the rest of the process until it was published. One slightly unusual thing about it (at least for me) was that I outlined and wrote to a five-act structure. No particular reason, just something to try. I think it worked out pretty well.

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

A. In a lot of ways, this story is about truth in its varied, strange, and sometimes unfortunate forms. About what it really means to be honest. There are a lot of little variations on those themes, some of them serious, some just winking.

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

A. I'm going to plead the fifth on this one. If I tell you what I want you to take away from the story, you'll leave it there and take something else instead. It took me 25,000 words to say all that; I either made my point or I didn't.

Q. What makes a good book or engaging story?

A. There's no one thing that catches someone's interest. Sometimes it's a matter of the right story catching the right reader on the right day. There have been stories for me that I tried five times to read, and then only on the sixth time does it catch me just the right way and I'm hooked.

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. Oh, sure. I read pretty widely, but when it comes to the writers and artists I'm particularly influenced by, I come back to the folks who are gentle-natured and optimistic, who favor "wry" over "snarky," people who, even though their stories can get grim, their outlooks usually aren't: Garrison Keillor, of course, Hayao Miyazaki, Akira Kurosawa, Terry Pratchett, Diana Wynne Jones, Ursula K. LeGuin.

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

A. Entertainment is a hell of a function; don't sell it short. Entertainment at its best is a particularly invigorating form of rest, and that's something people can really use.

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

A. Keep writing, keep improving. Those are the only things in my control.

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 produce pretty clean first drafts, because I edit heavily as I go. When I sit down to write, I'll often spend half my "writing" time re-reading what's already on the page. I'm terrible at deciding that a story is truly done, so I pretty much polish until a new project catches my eye, and get the old one out on submission.

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. I had excellent help, the benefit of a couple people at F&SF using an entire pencil's worth of lead to mark up my story. They pointed out the nitpicky stuff, but also called me out when something wasn't making sense, or when things were too abrupt.

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

A. By telling that writer to read. Read good stuff, read bad stuff, read weird stuff, and to stop occasionally and poke at those opinions: why do you have that reaction to this story, and how could you pull it off yourself?

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. It would work well as audio; I'm a very auditory writer and I read bits out loud as I go. I have a hard time seeing it as a film, though, since so much of the story is in the main character's head. Voiceover only gets you so far, and the conflict at the end would probably be terribly boring when not summed-up. So, any adaptation like that would probably have to deviate a fair bit to succeed. Where it would really shine, though? 8-bit platform scroller. (Konami! Call me!)   :-)

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

A. Same as the last step: put one word after another until the damn thing's done. Polish it until I can't stand it anymore, then send it out 'til Hell won't have it.

Q. Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

A. I once drove a hybrid gas-electric race car that I helped build, out at the Louden Speedway. I was too terrified of the car (remember, I helped build it and knew exactly how safe it probably wasn't) to take it over 35 mph, and I pissed everybody off in the process of slowly completing my single inglorious lap. Still, nothing on it exploded, which is more than I could say for certain other cars that day...

Q. Any other information you'd like to impart?
A. The thing with the cell towers disguised as California pine trees is completely true.

Web page: 

Where to buy:

Friday, March 10, 2017

Panel Appearance and Free Book Offer

Hello again- it's been a busy time.

First off, here's a set of nine free books- being offered for a limited time-
includes my first Zack Taylor mystery, A Memory of Grief.
Go here.

Recently, while working to finish the fifth Zack Taylor novel, A Sharp Medicine, I took a night out to go to Concord, NH. to the living room of the library at the New Hampshire Technical Institute, Concord Community College.

The Wings of Knowledge program hosted us for a panel, with a couple of my fellow Sisters in Crime.
From their events calendar: https://www.nhti.edu/wings

"Noted mystery authors Joy Seymour, Dale T. Phillips and Lea Walt present the “nuts and bolts” of successful mystery writing."

Thanks to the library and the college, and those who worked with us for a good night of discussion.

We had a great time, with a lively crowd of interested folk asking good questions about the writing and publishing process.

After the panel presentation, we had a chance to chat with folks to came up to talk more and buy books.

We were filmed for this- when the link is available, I'll put it up!

Here we are with our emcee
Front left is Joy, right is Lea

 Here's Steve, who set this event up for us, chatting with Lea

 Like church, everyone wants to sit in the back...

 Joy and Lea with their offerings

 And my table