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This week I'm the featured blogger on James Callan's site. My topic: the difficulties of writing facts rather than fiction. I'm actually more comfortable at MSU University--where your only job is to Make Stuff Up!
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Starting on the 16th of January, SECRETS OF A MARIACHI VIOLINIST will be on sale on the Kindle version. Then every day that week, the price goes up one dollar until it reaches the original price. So wait for the 16th and save a couple of bucks!
Read more about the book and link to videos on the book page.
Saturday's launch party for SECRETS OF A MARIACHI VIOLINIST was a big success! First, I had the help of Catavinos' owner Yvonne Foucher, who let me use her sweet patio. Alan Kohler took pix and videos. The guests of honor, Cookie Johannessen and Gilbert Velez, both came and helped entertain. A solid crew of friends and readers came by to cheer me on. Thanks to all of you!
SECRETS of a MARIACHI VIOLINIST
Saturday, October 22nd, 2016
Cata Vinos Wine Shoppe
3063 N. Alvernon
D.R. explains how nostalgia for Mexico led her to join a band—and how she survived to laugh about it!
2:00-2:15 Relax with a glass of wine
2:15-2:45 Author’s Remarks and short reading
2:45-3:00 Q & A about choice events
Stay for a wine tasting with D.R. and friends
directly following the event. ($10)
www.dr-ransdell.com email@example.com catavinoswines.com
Today I'm the guest blogger on my publisher's website. My topic—creativity! Where does it come from? And why can’t I concentrate on just one aspect of it? Bonus, some goofy watercolor pictures......
What fun! Right now I'm in between events. Last spring I hit both Left Coast Crime and the Bristol Crimefest, and Bouchercon, is coming up in September in New Orleans. In the meantime, I have a lot of reading to do! Those conferences are great ways to meet fellow authors and talk to readers--but it's also my favorite place to get ideas about what to read.
At Left Coast, I heard Donna Andrews speak. She was quite fun to listen to--so much fun that I bought her first book, Murder with Peacocks. Very good! Now I'll have to pick up the second in the series. (Review on Goodreads.)
Then at the Bristol Crimefest I heard Peter James. He'd recently won the Diamond Dagger Award. He was quite nice and funny. He was also quite engaged with the audience. I can easily understand why readers love him. And so I had to get the first book in his Roy Grace series, Blood Simple, which was chilling! Have the second book in my Amazon cart. (More on Peter James on my guest post at Oak Tree Press.)
In both cases the authors have developed quite a readership in part thanks to writing a series. Growing up, the only series I paid much attention to was The Lord of the Rings. While I read lots of mysteries, especially by Dashiell Hammett and Ross Macdonald, the books didn't follow a sequence.
As a writer, however, I'm coming to appreciate just how much readers want to get to know characters and spend time with them. It's a little like watching a TV crime series. I like Major Crimes because of the characters, not because of the plots. Those come and go in my mind--I can't remember them afterwards. But I remember the characters.
I have a lot of fun working with my own series characters. I like having a mariachi violinist who always gets into trouble. In the back of my mind I'm always thinking: what obstacles can I create for him this time! He has amiable friends who help him out, so even though I'm writing about a murder here or there, the books aren't 100% black. Instead they have thunderstorms.
What are your own thoughts about reading/writing a series? What advice do you have for writers? Right now I'm working hard to edit the next Andy book. And yes, he's found lots of trouble.... (He would claim that the trouble found him, but I'm not so sure.....)
ISAND CASUALTY is the featured book at O.D. Book Reviews for the month of July! Of course, it's the perfect summer mystery novel since it's set in Greece. The hot island air combines with Andy's perplexities. Not only does he get embroiled in a family mystery, but he also can't escape the Greek island--or its inhabitants.
I have the guest post on my publisher's blog today. My topic? Walking around beautiful Orvieto, historical Pompeii... thinking of MURDER!
The Bristol Crimefest was a lot of fun. I met some nice people, including an avid reader from Malta. Our team came in second place on the big pub quiz. And I heard lots of fine talks about crime writing.
A lot of the participants were loyal fans who come every year. One couple even comes over from the States! What's common amongst us all: a love of crime fiction. (Who knows where these things come from!)
On Friday I heard panels on Deadly Duos and Dangerous Destinations. On Saturday I heard presentations on British Noir, spies, obsession, and humor.
A special treat was to hear Ian Rankin, who read from his latest book and who explained that his breakout novel came from writing about sad events in his life that he needed to get past. Those events resonated with readers, who could appreciate the problems.
Another real treat was the talk by Peter James. He clearly enjoyed sharing stories about his own writing trajectory. After he was robbed on his honeymoon (how's that for a way to start a marriage?), he became friends with the detective assigned to his case.That gave him grat access to--and respect for-- police officers on any number of levels.
What I appreciated the most about James though was his explanation of his biggest goal: to keep raising the bar with his writing--to keep striving for new levels. To track such progress, I'll have to start reading at the beginning of his Roy Grace series and move all the way through. When I "grow up," I want to be just like him--fully energized on the way to my next writing challenge.
My first day at the Bristol Crimefest, I go to the pub quiz. My team takes second place, after beating out 9 other teams! It helps to have Clea Simon on my team. We had to know answers about crime novels--for example, what is Spencer's first name? We had to identify the first lines to several books, including Du Maurier's Rebecca. None of us could come up with the name of Dick Francis' first jockey mystery, however! (Hint, Spenser never gets a first name. Dead Cert is the Dick Francis title.)
D.R's fourth Andy Veracruz Mystery, SUBSTITUTE SOLOIST, came out in April 2019.