Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Convention Game Plan

I love going to writing/book/mystery conventions and festivals. Where else are so many book lovers crammed into one space? And where else do I get a chance to talk shop and meet tons of interesting people? I’ve got two big events coming up within the next week, the Malice Domestic convention and the Festival of Mystery; both are loads of fun.

But despite how fun they are, these gatherings can be overwhelming. So many people to talk to, so many great panels and workshops and interviews and banquets and poker games. In order to maximize my enjoyment, I’ve found it helpful to prepare a game plan.

Some things I consider:

Specific people I want to meet or talk to. Many conventions post lists of attendees, so I go through these ahead of time and note people I’d like to make sure to meet. I’ve made a lot of friends in cyberspace and I love meeting them in person. Also, this is my chance to meet some of the writers whose work I’ve admired.

Panels I’d like to attend. At the bigger conventions, there are multiple panel tracks. This means you have to make some tough decisions. I’ll look at the program ahead of time and figure out which panels seem most interesting. Of course, once I get to the convention, my plans usually change. Often, it’s a lot more fun to get involved in an impromptu discussion in the lobby with a small group.

Downtime. After going non-stop, from dawn to the wee hours, at a couple conferences, I’ve learned I need some downtime during the day, whether it’s just to get some fresh air or recharge my batteries. I’ll look at the schedule and try to determine possible times for doing that.

Meals. Gotta eat, right?

Books. Can’t go to a convention without buying some books! I see which of my favorite (or new) authors are going to be there so I can buy one and get it signed.

Promotion is a valuable aspect of these conventions. I speak on panels and sign books, so I need to make sure I arrive at the right place, at the right time, and have my material—notes, handouts, bookmarks, Sharpies, etc.


If you’re going to be at Malice Domestic (April 29 – May 1 in Bethesda, MD) or the Festival of Mystery (May 2 in Oakmont, PA), please stop by and say hello. Like I said, I love, love, love meeting my cyberspace pals in person!


Monday, April 25, 2011


A week ago Saturday, about 50 loyal and waterproof souls braved the monsoons to come to my KILLER ROUTINE book launch at the Reston (VA) Barnes & Noble. I had a great time, and I hope everyone else did too!


There was cake!



And books!



And an introduction by my son!



And comedy!



And lots of well-wishers!

Thanks to everyone who came out to support me!

(And thanks to my Sis-in-Law for taking pics!)


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Collecting Cookbooks

Today, I’m a Cozy Chick! Click over and learn all about my cookbook collection. It’s voluminous!

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Busy Weekend

I’ve got two events scheduled for this weekend.

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 16, at 4:00 pm, is the Book Launch for KILLER ROUTINE. It will be at the Reston (VA) Barnes & Noble, and everyone is invited! There will be a 30-minute (or so) presentation, followed by the signing of the books. And…there will be cake!

On Sunday, April 17, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, I’ll be at the Kensington Celebration of the International Day of the Book in Kensington, MD. I’ll be chatting with people about Mystery Writers of America (and I’ll have books available, too!).

Hope to see you at one of these events!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Mean Streets

Want to hear about my harrowing experiences at a Citizens’ Police Academy? Visit The Thrill Begins blog (International Thriller Writers).

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Three for the Price of None

Today is Triple Blog Wednesday.

I’m guest blogging on Elizabeth Spann Craig’s Mystery Writing is Murder (one of my favorite blogs, BTW!), talking about writing FAST.

I’m also honored to be interviewed on the terrific Jungle Red Writers blog as they celebrate Awards Month.

And I’m on InkSpot today, talking about my on-going attempts at being entertaining.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Two Years of Blogging

Two years ago, today, I began blogging. 303 blog posts later, I’m still at it.

Here’s a link to that first post.

birthday cake


Friday, April 8, 2011

It’s Official!

Today is the official release date of KILLER ROUTINE.

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Stand Up

The KILLER ROUTINE Blog Tour rolls on! Today’s stop: the most excellent blog of Professor Mystery, Margot Kinberg. Click through to Confessions of a Mystery Novelist where I discuss the difference between writing a stand-up routine and reading a stand-up routine. Hint: There’s a BIG difference!

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Just a Working Stiff

Today, I’m guest blogging at Working Stiffs. The topic? Starting a new writing project. Would you believe procrastination is involved?

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Yes, it’s true. You can win FREE BOOKS from Mystery Writers of America. Every month, there’s a book giveaway contest. To enter, all you have to do is go HERE, and submit an email message. Couldn’t be much easier!

This month, one winner will receive SIGNED copies of each of the following books:

  • Love Me to Death by Allison Brennan
  • Merciless by Mary Burton
  • Before Cain Strikes by Joshua Corin
  • Rogue Island by Bruce DeSilva
  • So Close the Hand of Death by J.T. Ellison
  • Silent Mercy by Linda Fairstein
  • Love You More by Lisa Gardner
  • Deadly Currents by Beth Groundwater
  • Grace Under Pressure by Julie Hyzy
  • The Ragtime Fool by Larry Karp
  • Beaglemania by Linda O. Johnston
  • A Touch of Gold by Joyce and Jim Lavene
  • Rizzo's Fire by Lou Manfredo
  • Sticky Fingers by Nancy Martin
  • Killer Routine by Alan Orloff
  • I, Alex Cross by James Patterson
  • The Insane Train by Sheldon Russell
  • The Other Side of Dark by Sarah Smith
  • Deadly Diversion by Eleanor Sullivan
  • The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear
  • Mystery Writers of America Presents...Crimes by Moonlight, edited by Charlaine Harris

If you’re counting, that’s 21 books! Signed! Free!

Including one by me!

Remember, you’ve got to play to win!


Monday, April 4, 2011

My Junk Has Come In!

I’m taking a small break in my blog tour to share some fantastic news--I got the following Facebook message recently, and I’m overjoyed! I’m going to be rich! (Poor Cousin Tom, I hardly knew ye!)

Hello dear,

I presumed that all is well with you and your family. Please let this proposal not come to you as a surprise, because we haven't met before. My name is Mr. [name redacted], I'm an employee of Bank of China (UK) Limited London. I am also a member of an Ad hoc committee recently set up by the British Government to look into growing number of dormant accounts in UK banks due to deaths of customers, with a view to finding ways of locating relatives of the dead customers. The British Government is already working with some NGO'S through the unclaimed Assets Register, to confiscate and divert unclaimed depositor's funds to help the bad economy.
Read this article below: [link redacted]

This transaction involves a customer (Late Mr. Thomas Orloff) who shares the same surname with you and also the circumstances surrounding huge deposits of British Pounds made by this client at the private banking arm of my bank "Bank of China, UK". The Bank of China Private Banking customer died in testate and nominated no successor in title over the huge deposits of GBP36,759,000.00 made with my bank. I would respectfully request that you keep the contents of this email private and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result of this email.

I would respectfully request that you keep the contents of this email private [oops!] and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result of this email. I'm contacting you independently of our investigation and no one is informed of this communication between you and I. I would like to intimate you with facts that I believe would be of interest to you.I will simply nominate you as the next of kin and have them release the deposit to you. I assure you that I can have the deposit released to you within few days once you accept this proposal. Upon receipt of the deposit, I'm prepared to share the money with you 50/50.

I am aware of the consequences of this proposal. I ask that if you find no interest in this project that you should discard this mail. I ask that you do not be vindictive and destructive. If my offer is of no appeal to you, delete this message and forget I ever contacted you. Do not destroy my career because you do not approve of my proposal. You may not know this but people like me who have made tidy sums out of comparable situations run the whole private banking sector. I am not a criminal and what I do, I do not find against good conscience, this may be hard for you to understand, but the dynamics of my industry dictates that I make this move.

Such opportunities only come ones in a lifetime. I cannot let this chance pass me by, for once; I have found myself in total control of my destiny. These chances won't pass me by. I ask that you do not destroy my chance, if you will not work with me let me know and let me move on with my life but do not destroy me. I am a family man and this is an opportunity to change my life for good. Moreover, my 12 yrs old daughter, my only child, is suffering from Leukemia and she needs an urgent bone marrow surgery in California as advised by my family doctor. But it will cost me around US$100,000.00 to take her for the surgery. And that is why I’m eager to utilize this opportunity since our family doctor has given my daughter just three months to live.

There is a reward for this project and it is a task well worth undertaking. I have evaluated the risks and the only risk I have here is from you refusing to work with me. I am the only one who knows of this situation, good fortune has blessed you with a name that has planted you into the center of relevance in my life. Let’s share the blessing.

If you give me positive signals, I will initiate this process towards a conclusion.

I send you this mail not without a measure of fear as to what the consequences, but I know within me that nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success and riches never come easy or on a platter of gold. This is the one truth I have learned from my private banking customers. Do not betray my confidence. If we can be of one accord, we should plan a meeting, soon.

Anticipating your immediate response through my private email-[redacted]
Mr. [name redacted]


Friday, April 1, 2011

It’s a Thrill! (No Fooling)

Today, I’d like to point you to a very nice article about KILLER ROUTINE, written by the very nice crime writer Austin Camacho. It’s on ITW’s (International Thriller Writers) monthly webzine, The Big Thrill. (Yes, I am a proud member of ITW.)

Thanks bunches, Austin!

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