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11 posts from November 2009


What I Like to Read: Clive Cussler

Raise the Titanic was the first Clive Cussler book I ever read and it was love at first read. I love Dirk Pitt. He’s like an approachable James Bond. All the cool, without the sophistication. I waited years and years for them to finally make a decent movie from one of his books and finally there was Sahara.

I guess the Dirk Pitt purist’s hated it, but I loved it. They kept the feel of the characters right. They were fun, they were smart, they were lethal when they needed to be. I thought it was perfect.

It took me longer to warm up to the Kurt Austin books from the NUMA files, but he finally developed a personality. I think it had more to do with me distancing the new character from Dirk. Anyway, he’s not Dirk Pitt, but he’s a lot of fun.

If I hadn’t grown up on Dirk Pitt, my favorite series would probably be the Oregon Files. I love this cast of characters. I love the non-stop action, and I like that they aren’t always the good guys, but they’re definitely always on the side of angels.

So, if you’re looking for a good thriller and you haven’t tried Clive Cussler, jump in. You’ve got a lot of catching up to do.


Happy Thanksgiving!


This is so cool, you'll have to watch it twice!

Thanks to Janet Reid for passing this on.


Do Book Reviews Sell Books?

There's been a lot of debate on the subject of book reviews and whether or not they help sell books. What I've discovered since Where the Dreams End was published in August is, yes they do, and no they don't.

I'll try to explain. Positive publicity can help sell books. Hey, maybe negative publicity does as well, but I haven't been arrested or publicly humiliated since I had a book to sell, so I can speak to that, but the positive publicity I've received so far has sold books. I had an outstanding write up in my local paper the weekend of my book launch and mentioned the local stores that were carrying the book. They sold out and ordered more. I had friends and acquaintances call after they read the story and ask where they could purchase copies. Over the course of the week that the story appeared in the Fulton Sun. I sold over fifty copies. 

I had a book signing at the West Feliciana Parish Library in St. Francisville, LA. Milly Morgan and the library did a wonderful job promoting the event. There were articles in the local newspaper both before and after the signing. Over the course of that week I sold over fifty copies.

Okay, you say, so positive publicity sells books, but you started off this blog by talking about book reviews. So do book reviews sell books? 

Like I said at the beginning, yes, and no at least so far.

I had a wonderful book review at Red Adept's Kindle Book Review Blog. Since that review posted I've sold almost forty copies of the kindle edition of Where the Dreams End and two copies of my short story collection Nine Kinds of Trouble. So, yes, book reviews do sell books. But, since that review, I haven't sold any paper copies. So, no, book reviews do not sell books. I would imagine if I could land a review in the NY Times or one of the other giant book review sites, I would see sales that I could track back to those reviews, but right now, I don't have any print reviews to compare to the internet type.

For a new author, especially one with a small publisher, getting your name out there is the hardest thing to do. I've had very little time to devote to promotion since my book came out in August, but Dreams is starting to grow legs and take some baby steps. I can say with all honesty that I no longer have family ties or close relationships to everyone that has bought my book. Isn't that cool? People I don't know, have never met, may never meet, have purchase my book and read it. I think that may be the most awesome thing of all. 

Within the next couple of weeks, my time will once again become my own and I can devote my resources to promoting Where the Dreams End. In book promotion, you kind of throw out the ideas and hope something sticks. I'll keep track of my ideas, track my sales and report back on the results. If you have any great ideas, or cool ideas that you've used successfully and would like to share, drop a line in the comments section. I'll draw a name from the comments and the lucky winner will get a signed and numbered limited edition hardback copy of Where the Dreams End, so jump in with your ideas. I'll announce the winner on Monday November 30th. If you already have a copy of Dreams, go ahead and enter, books make lovely Christmas gifts.


The Best Writing Advice a Writer Can Get

Just saw this on Janet Reid's blog. It's some of the best advice I've ever seen for a writer. 


What I Like to Read: Laura Lippman

I read my first Laura Lippman book a couple of years ago while I was working a few miles from Baltimore. I got huge kick out of being close to where the actions was taking place. It made the world of Tess Monaghan come alive for me. Well, that and the fact that Laura Lippman is an “Awesome” writer. Check out Laura and Tess as soon as you can. You won’t regret it.


If you are an Author, Agent or Publisher...

Check this out. It's laugh out loud funny!

Tom's Glossary of Book Publishing Terms


What I Like to Read: C. J. Box

I just discovered C.J. Box and now I'm playing catch-up. I love his main character, game warden, Joe PIckett, and I can't wait to find out what scrape he gets into next. I haven't found the first book of the series, but I've read Savage run and I'm working on Winterkill. It's hot, hot, hot, here now. A book called Winterkill is just the ticket to cool things off.

If you're looking for a main character that's an unlikely hero and a genuinely good guy, check out C.J. Box and Joe Pickett.


Wonderful Review

A terrific review of "Where the Dreams End" is up at

What a lovely way to start the day.


What I Like to Read: Susan Wittig Albert

If you're looking for an enjoyable romp through the Texas Hill Country, pick up one of these China Bayles novels. Ex lawyer, China Bayles, runs an herb shop in a small texas town. With the help of her new age buddy Ruby and her ex homicide detective husband, McQuaid, she gets mixed up in murder investigations that often turn dangerous. Check out Susan Wittig Albert and get an entertaining read filled with herb lore, recipes and murder. What a great combination. 


What's it take to write a mystery novel?

Writing a novel is a long process. It can take weeks, months or years to complete a project. If you want to complete a novel length work, you must be passionate about your characters and the world you've created. If you don't love the people that are going to be living in your head for the foreseeable future, you're not going to keep them around long enough to get a novel out of them.

When you feel that passion, you’ll know it. The people that have taken up residence in your head will not leave you alone. You’ll dream about them. You’ll race to your computer to get their actions on paper before they move on to the next scene. Your family will think you’re cracked because you blurt bits of dialogue during dinner, or mumble about scene changes or car chases as you do the laundry or drive to soccer practice. You’ll speak about your characters as if they are real people. Friends that aren’t acquainted with your characters will wonder silently who these strangers are and how you got mixed up in a murder investigation. Strangers will move away from you on busses and trains as you mumble and jot notes on the back of a grocery store reciept because you’re crazy.

When you reach that point, you’re going to get a novel. You might get a series. So get inside your head and find those characters, wake them up. Make them tell you where they live and who they love and why they kill. Then start writing.