If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lessons From My First Book Reading

We have a number of authors at our church and the minister thought it would be an interesting idea to start a series of author readings and conversations on Sunday afternoon. Given the recent release of BAD POLICY, I was a natural guinea pig.

After agreeing to do the reading, my first task was to write a short blurb for the church newsletter. The blurb was also posted on the church’s website. Writing the church blurb was easy compared to writing the real book blurb.

I needed to choose a passage to read. Although I would love to believe a reader could pick any random spot in BAD POLICY and immediately love the writing, characters and story, I knew that was not the case. I wanted to find a short selection that would illustrate both my style and the main character, Seamus McCree. At first, I picked a scene between Seamus and Lt. Tanya Hastings, the head of homicide. That scene highlights both their conflict over the case and their sexual tension. However, it did have a couple of swear words and I didn’t know if there would be any kids in the audience.

Jan suggested an alternative, which I quickly realized was a better choice. If you’ve read the book, you may recall the scene where Seamus gets his hair cut at Bea Prichard’s Klip and Kut. It starts on page 24 at the scene break and ends with the lines: What was going on? Was I giving off pheromones? The scene is less than a page and a half long, but in it Seamus shows his quirky way of looking at the world, and through dialogue we get to see how someone else reacts to him. [For those who have not read BAD POLICY, you can read the first four chapters from Barking Rain Press’s website.]

That resolved, I developed an intro for myself, the book and the scene. Although I am fairly decent thinking on my feet, scripting my opening words gave me comfort knowing I could start off the event without stumbling. More importantly, it meant I could sleep well without worrying about how I would do.

At our church we have the service (11:00 – 12:00) followed by coffee, cookies and conversation in the fellowship hall. The reading was set for 1:00. Glitch number one: the person doing the announcements forgot to announce this. The weekly newsletter may go to everyone, but that does not mean everyone reads (or remembers) it. [Note to self – check announcements next time.] Glitch number two: the coffee hour really only lasted about 40-45 minutes. [Note to others – schedule the next person at 12:45.] Including me, there were eight people when we met at 1:00 in the sanctuary.

The small group allowed me to immediately go off script. The crowd was of an age that when I referenced Harry Chapin they all knew him. Harry often talked about the times before he was known when he would play in empty coffee shops and bars—anywhere at least one person would listen to him. This, I said, was one of those Harry Chapin moments. I thanked them for coming and told them they could say they knew me when... We all laughed.

My patter went well: I gave a brief intro into why I decided to write after I retired and then segued into background for the scene I read. Afterwards I asked for questions and joked that if there weren’t any we’d be locking the doors in a minute’s time.

There were questions. They wanted to know if I knew the ending before I started writing; they wanted to know if the story changed between drafts; they wanted to know about the route to publication. Who were my favorite authors? When would the next book be out?

Forty-five minutes after we started, the questions petered out and I thanked everyone for coming. I was surprised we had been talking as long as we had.

On the way home Jan said I did fine—except I had a habit of scratching myself while I was thinking. I scratched my head, my beard, my ankles.

I’m thinking of wearing mittens to my next reading.

For the writers among us, what is your favorite memory of your first reading? As readers, what have you liked best about readings you’ve attended?

~ Jim


Gloria Alden said...

I haven't had a reading yet, but I had something like it at an event my Cleveland Sinc put on at a bookstore, more for getting new members than selling our books. I was on a panel with no microphone, and I found out later that I didn't speak loud enough for anyone beyond the first two rows. Needless to say, I only sold one book that day, and I still haven't received a check from the bookstore although I've contacted them several times and it's been almost 3 months. Of course, no one else sold many if any books that day, either.

Linda Rodriguez said...

My first reading many years ago was a poetry reading with a better known female poet who'd been a dancer and model in NYC before coming back home to KC. She insisted on going first, and I didn't care, but the event organizer refused because she'd gone first at another reading and all her friends had left the reading when she was finished right before the next reader started.

She kept leaning over to let her long hair brush the floor and then dramatically throwing her head and hair back. Eventually, she locked herself into the bathroom and wouldn't come out until he promised to let her go first. All the fuss allowed me to to relax and not worry about my performance--since I was sure no one was paying attention after all her drama.

Warren Bull said...

I was one of several authors reading at an independent bookstore. I selected a passage that was short and funny where Abraham Lincoln settles a squabble between two boys. People laughed and app;lauded at the end. I don't know how many of my books sold but I did have a lengthy conversation with a woman about why she did not buy my book. In stead she bought Gary Wills' Lincoln at Gettysburg, which is a wonderful book.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Gloria, Don't you just hate it when people tell you afterwards that they can't hear you. I have a voice that projects, so not likely to be my problem.

Linda, what a riot. I would have locked the lady in the john so her friends had to stay until everyone else had read!

Warren, it always fascinates me what people choose to tell you.

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

Jim, I think I need to stand up to talk like I did when I was teaching. I think I project better that way.

By the way, you were lucky your church at least put it in the bulletin. My book launching wasn't allowed to be in the church bulletin or announced at the end of Mass, either, because it was promoting personal money raising. If it's for Boy Scouts or something, even a Scout troop not connected with the church, they do advertise it and announce it. Still, a lot of people filed in after Mass, either because they knew about it or saw others going down the hall and were curious.