Tuesday, September 17, 2013

That time again

Yep, I get to go be social. Weird, I know, but the annual conference of crime writers and readers, Bouchercon is a place where I actually feel relatively comfortable being in crowds of people. These are my people, of course. Writers and readers. Crime fiction aficionados.

There are a few panels I'm really excited about. As is always the way, one of them is scheduled directly opposite a panel I'm on. I do not envy the panel planners at all. Kudos to them for making it happen and to everyone who plans this huge event.

But you really want to know where you can find me, right? No? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway.

Thursday at  4:00 in room 1 I'll be moderating a panel on Film Noir and check out this lineup of panelists: Scott Adlerberg, Johnn Billheimer, Paul D. marks, David Rich and Wallace Stroby. Well be discussing classic Noirs, neo Noirs, noir's literary roots. Come on by and geek out on the noir.

Friday I'm honored to be a guest on a panel about Hard Boiled and Noir fiction featuring: Mike Denis, Dana King, Terrence McCauley and Jonathan Woods and moderated by none other than the father of Noir at the Bar Peter Rozovsky. That's in room 2 at 10:20.

Then on Saturday I'll be hosting one of the Authors Vhoice panels in room 5 and it was my choice to host a giveaway and short reading session with a whole lot of great writers. A whole lot. Too many, really. But if yu show up, we will be giving away free books and hopefully you can hear a great author who is new to you and you'll become a lifelong fan. That's the idea anyway.

I still don't know who, if anyone, will be carrying my books for sale. You  may have to just approach me and get one directly. Kinda better that way, huh? I know that's the only way I'll have a few copies of Criminal Economics available. The limited editon series stops at 100 so get one now.

So what do you say? See you there?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Releases! Conventions! Book Fairs!

So, two new anthologies are out now and I'm incredibly proud to be in both of them. I had to stop putting links to anthologies on the right side panel over there because there were too damn many of them. I'm still honored and flattered any time someone invites me in to sit alongside other writers I admire.

Kwik Krimes is a dream come true in that regard. I can say I'm in a book with Joe R. Lansdale, Reed Farrell Coleman, Steve Hockensmith, Sean Doolittle, Christa Faust, Gar Anthony Haywood. Damn. So many others too since this is a collection of flash fiction so there was space to put over 80 authors inside!

Lucky for me there were so many slots so I had a higher chance of making the cut. Pretty amazing any way you slice it.

Also out this week is Reloaded: Both Barrels 2 from Shotgun Honey. This is another great collection building off the stellar Both Barrels from last year. I did not make the cut last year (see? it does happen) but I somehow made it in this time around with my story One Corpse, Two Assholes. You'll have to read it to figure out what the hell that means, but it is the second story of mine to use the word asshole right in the title, so bully for me.

Next week I'm off to Bouchercon in Albany, NY. I'm so completely excited to make it back to Bouchercon I can even overlook the fact that it's in Albany. If you're going you'll have three chances to see me speak/sign and if you're not going I won't rub it in. Suffice to say it's going to be a whirlwind few days and a ton of fun.

Then (whew!) at the end of the month I'll be at the West Hollywood book fair on the 29th of Sept. Should be fun and a good prelude to that night's Noir At The Bar. Yep, cramming a lot in over only a few weeks.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Slowly but surely

It's kind of an unwritten rule for myself not to really talk about book sales. I don't see much need for it and I never want to be seen as complaining (read: whining) which is mostly what it would sound like. Besides, readers shouldn't care about how the sausage is made. My job is to write an entertaining story and try to make it available. I already hate groveling for shares/reviews/posts/ tweets/tags and all that other crap that comes with being a one person PR army.

But I will say this about one of my books, The Devil Doesn't Want Me, only because I'm coming up on the one year anniversary of the release next month – I'm still incredibly proud of that book, and readers and reviewers have been very kind to it. It's really the only of my books that I still check sales numbers for, although my only way to do so is through the inexact science of the Amazon rankings.

But darned if that little book doesn't have legs. Slow legs, but if I have learned anything from reading to my daughters every night for the past six years, it's that slow and steady wins the race. I'm perfectly fine to have a turtle over a hare. It comes in drips and drabs, and the numbers aren't anything to get a publisher excited, though sales wasn't a reason given for why they didn't want to publish the sequel I wrote. But it's enough for me to remain encouraged. Mostly because it means someone else is talking about the book. I don't do much promo for it any more. I don't want to beat a dead horse a year later. But somehow a few people keep finding it every few days or weeks. Someone's talking, or someone is reading one of my other books and seeking it out. In other words, the system is working.

If you've ever mentioned the book to anyone, thank you. If you've read something else of mine and went to find The Devil Doesn't Want Me, I hope you enjoyed it.

I have a whole bookshelf behind me right now filled with books I bought on word of mouth and by loving one book from an author and snapping up the rest. Sharing a book you loved really is the best marketing a book can have. It's what drives the indie booksellers to put a book in a customer's hand, it's what makes me believe any tip I get from the people who have never steered me wrong. 

So slow and steady, I hope it keeps up. I've always said I was in this for the long haul. If I was easily frustrated I'd have given up a long time ago. But small things keep a writer going and make me feel less like I'm working in a windowless room all the time. It doesn't take much. I'm easy to please. This turtle is keeping an eye on the finish line.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Deborah J. Ledford stops by

I've known fellow author Deborah J. Ledford since the beginning of my publishing life. I was incredibly lucky to have Deb act as editor on my first two novels with JB Kohl, One Too Many Blows To The Head and Borrowed Trouble. I probably learned more from her - mostly about my bad habits - than any writing teacher I ever had. 

Here we are years later and most of my bad habits are fixed (sort of) and Deb and I have both published multiple books. Deborah's series featuring Steven Hawk and Inola Walela began with Staccato, continued in Snare and rounded out a trilogy (for now) with Crescendo. The books are taut thrillers with completely unique protagonists at the center. If you like strong female characters, exciting mysteries and locales off the beaten path, these books are for you.

Her latest venture is mounting an audiobook recording of Crescendo, but she wasn't satisfied with keeping it simple. Her fund raising campaign also benefits the preservation of native American cultures and language. Follow the links to learn more and to contribute. Read on to hear more about Deborah and the books.

Eric: Why is it important to you to make your audiobook production also a benefit?

Deb: I’m Part Eastern Band Cherokee and very proud of my heritage. When I was doing research in 2006 for my previous book, SNARE, I met Floyd “Mountain Walking Cane” Gomez. A few years later, he told me about the desperate need to cultivate and the language and culture on his Taos Pueblo and other reservations in our nation. I never forgot his passion to preserve ancient societies, so when I came up with the audiobook idea I knew that adding the benefit of providing funds for his  Blue Feather Corporation nonprofit organization would be an ideal fit. 

Eric: Just curious, why choose to start with CRESCENDO and not the first in the series, Staccato?

Deb: My favorite character in the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series is Inola. She’s a deeply flawed, kick-ass cop who will risk everything to right a wrong. I wanted to present a strong and capable female lead who knows her job very well, but who doesn’t always follow the rules. Also, TV and film actress  Christina Cox will narrate the audiobook and CRESCENDO was her favorite of the books. 

Eric: what is your personal link to the Native American culture in the stories?

Deb: It took a while to find the ideal tribe to represent in SNARE, and when I truly stumbled upon New Mexico’s Taos Pueblo I knew the location and its people would be the perfect catalyst to add intrigue to the series. Inola is Cherokee, and the leading lading in SNARE, pop rock star Katina Salvo, is Taos Pueblo—so this added a lot of conflict that Hawk would have to deal with. The leading ladies I mention, as well as the supporting Native American characters in my thrillers, have become part of my soul. I could not present my books without acknowledging how much the people from these tribes have shaped me and my words.

Eric: Do you consider the novels more N. Carolina tales or more desert tales?

Deb: All three books in the series are primarily set in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. About mid-way in book two, SNARE, the action moves to the Taos Pueblo Reservation. I spent my summers growing up in the Carolina region of the main location I write about and nothing much has changed since I was a little girl. And the village on the Taos Pueblo has been in existence since the 1400s. Members of the tribe still dress in traditional garb for their private celebrations and pow wows, showing great respect for their elders and the tribulations they faced in order to help their tribe flourish.

Eric: What draws you back to these characters for what are multiple novels now?

Deb: I always intended the series to only be a trilogy, but received such a huge response from fans to keep the Hawk/Walela relationship going that I really couldn’t say no. I love all of my characters (even the villains!) so I’ve found it quite easy to slip back into their skin.

Eric: How can people contribute?

Deb: The NatAmGoGo campaign to raise funds for the audiobook production/Native American language and culture benefit will run through October 4th. There are a lot of outstanding perks available for consideration, from book downloads, signed print books, the unabridged CRESCENDO audiobook, poster autographed by Christina Cox, and some very cool jewelry by Navajo, Hopi and Taos Pueblo artists. Here is the direct link to the NatAmGoGo page: