Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Brilliant Idea

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: So a theme seems to be emerging. As one always does, right?

About how we find the books we want to read. Why we choose them. What we need to know. What’s going to make a difference.

You know about that high-priced study done recently which sought to discover the answers to those very questions. One thing it asked, specifically, was  “What is the number one way you discover a new book?”

What do you think the number one answer was?

Survey SAID:

Pausing for suspense.

And the answer is: word of mouth.

(However much was paid for that, I could have told them the same thing for, say, half the price.)

Anyway. But what always annoyed me about that—how does the FIRST word-of-mouth begin?  That seems to be the better question. How did the FIRST  person hear about it in the first place?

And now--a fabulous group of authors figured out a pretty darn ingenious way.

The Thing You Didn’t Know You Needed but You Really, Really Did

Michael Guillebeau: We mystery readers are always on the prowl for new things like mutilated bodies, serial killers—and stories we’ve never heard before. So these eight writers put together a mystery candy store: chapters and stories and interviews from eight very different award-winning writers, each writing in a different style and sub-genre. And it’s free for download on Amazon on February 20-21 only.

HANK:  See?  Isn’t that a GREAT idea?  Like a book of previews, just a taste, just an introduction (and a whole lot more good stuff inside) to some brand new authors—and some who may already be on your shelves.

But the participants discovered an unexpected benefit—they, too, were introduced to someone new!  

And I asked each to tell you about a new favorite writer they found in the process.

Michael Guillebeau: I’d never read Chris Knopf before and now he’s a favorite. His hardboiled-in-the-Hamptons Sam Acguillo is the closest thing to my two fictional idols of Travis McGee and Spencer that I’ve found in years of looking. No wonder he won a Nero. Thanks, Chris.
Chris Knopf: I found Kathleen Cosgrove. I like mysteries, and I like to laugh. With Cosgrove, you get both.  Even better for me, she can really write. Getting spunky female protagonists to be believable and engaging, and actually funny, is really hard, but she does it. A great lark, with teeth (read her and you’ll see what I mean.) 


Kathleen Cosgrove: I’m thrilled to have found Lisa Alber and KILMOON. She’s a wonderful teller of stories, drawing me into the mystery within the first pages. Her richly drawn characters move about in an Irish setting painted with loving detail. This is both a mystery and a complex and fascinating journey to a place and people that will stay with you long after you close the book.  

Lisa Alber
Lisa Alber: If we’re talking about wonderful storytelling, then what is it about Southern writing? I love it, so imagine my delight to discover Larissa Reinhart. Cherry Tucker, her protagonist, is a lot spunky, a little redneck, and a classically trained painter to boot. I love the artistic details Larissa incorporates into her mysteries, not to mention the hint of romantic suspense. "Southern charm," that’s the phrase I’m looking for!

Larissa Reinhart: Despite the lighthearted, colorful world I write about, as a reader, I love the grittiness of hardboiled crime writing. I've found more heroes to root for in Jaden Terrell's private investigator Jared McKean and Detective Thomas Booker. The fact that I can find these hard-edged detectives with hearts of gold in Southern fiction is an added plus. I'm so happy to add Terrell's works to my TBR pile.


Jaden Terrell: I met Jessie Powell at Killer Nashville and knew she was sharp, dependable, and fun to be around. What I didn't know, until I read MARRIAGE AT THE RUE MORGUE, was that she's also a wicked good writer. She calls her style 'cozy noir,' a great description of this novel, which incorporates traditional cozy elements with serious issues. And monkeys. Everything's better with monkeys.

Jessie Bishop Powell: I found Cat Enright and her author Lisa Wysocky and stayed up past midnight reading THE OPIUM EQUATION. Cat is the perfect combination of badass and plausible, more than capable of rescuing herself from a crisis, but fallible enough to walk into one.

Lisa Wysocky

Lisa Wysocky:  Any book that starts with, “I only took this job to get fired,” has to be good. Michael Guillebeau delivers (and then some) in JOSH WHOEVER. From a very real protagonist to the Russian mob, the fast-paced writing crackles with fun, humanity, heroes, and hope. I am thrilled to have found another “unputdownable” author.

MICHAEL: And don’t forget that free download on Feb 20-21!   Here's the link!

HANK: And yes, I wrote the introduction—and so honored to do so.

So Reds, how did you hear of the last new book you bought? Not that you necessarily liked it, just: HOW? WHY did you buy it?  Let’s see—I found David Taylor’s Night Work at a bookstore signing. I LOVED it, and now it’s an Edgar nominee. (Not that those are connected….)

How about you?


  1. Although I make a concerted effort to keep track of any of the Jungle Red Writer's books, I don't do the same for other authors; so occasionally I find myself looking up a specific author, just to see if there's a new book coming.

    Sometimes I learn of books from an author's email newsletter or website. But most of the time I find a book simply browsing through the library shelves or checking out the "new" section in the bookshop.

  2. How nice to read each author's comments. The “Mystery Writers You Should Be Reading” is a wonderful idea. I’m looking forward to reading it . . . .

  3. Hey Joan! Thanks for your kind words. I thought I'd be the first one on (I'm in Japan and it's afternoon for me)! I love browsing bookshelves, I even do it at my daughters' library at school. It's so nice to work on a project where you get to meet fabulous writers, though. My TBR pile is threatening to tip over!

    Jungle Reds, thanks so much for having us on today. We're so thrilled to have Hank's foreword and introduction. So thrilling to share our excitement with the Reds!

  4. I'm with Larissa! (waving at Larissa over in Japan) So fun to be here! This project has been a blast, and one of the best things about it is that we complement each other with our different writing styles. Thanks for having us, Hank and Reds!

  5. Well...honestly...the last new writer I found was because two of my long-time favorites have this blog they share with some other wonderful people, and I've very much enjoyed reading my way through them all...

    My town, though perfectly lovely, has no independent first-run book shop. We have a Mega Monster Huge Bookstore next town over, and we have an antiquarian bookseller in town. So if I want to find the Lego Sears Tower or a 100 year old volume of Robert Burns, I'm good. A recommendation for a new mystery writer? Not so much.

    So aside from that, I find people when the library does a display, or when Amazon recommends "frequently bought together". And NPR recommendations have been a good source, though they tend to be non-fiction often as not, so does that count?

  6. What a fun project. Waving hi at the authors I already know (at least from Facebook) - Lisa, Larissa - and taking note of the ones I wasn't aware of!

  7. Hey Edith! Hey Lisa!
    Edith, that's one of things I've loved about this project. I "knew" Lisa from Facebook but now I "know" her from this project. Which means our relationship has progressed from Facebook to email. ;)

  8. A good friend and I share new authors--I browse the library shelves, the bookstore, online sources (blogs, what's new coming out, author's pages), Amazon's recommendations, and I love The Book Page--free at the library! Mostly, though--it's just plucking a new author off the shelf somewhere, reading the inside jacket, looking at the cover, reading the author reviews on the back to see how people sum it up. And if I love it, I pass the word to friends and family, and look (or wait) for more by the same author.

    And now, marking my calendar for February 20th!

  9. As a book blogger, of course I have feeling on this topic. Word of Mouth really is the best way - and that is how I approach BOLO Books. I want it to be a conversation between me and my "friends," even if I have never meet many of them.

    The thing is, for every review I do (and remember, I only post reviews of the books I enjoyed), there are hours spent researching future publications, schedules, new authors, etc in hopes to making informed decisions for my followers.

    There is nothing like hearing from folks saying "I never would have read that book if I hadn't seen it on BOLO Books. Thank you for bringing it to my attention." That is why I do what I do. Some days, I question why I spend so much time doing all this and a simple message like that can turn the day around.

    I think I sold more copies of Clare Macintosh's I LET YOU GO simply by writing on Facebook about how difficult a time writing a review of it I was having. Every attempt I made, lead me to a spoiler I didn't want review readers to discover. I was really just venting and then all the folks where like "ok, I ordered the book from the UK, I can't wait for the US release now." And then they came back to tell me how right I was. I call that a successful day. ;)

  10. This is a great way to hear new voices, and I see LOTS of familiar names there! I like to read authors whom I've enjoyed meeting at conferences and events and of course word of mouth. There are a few voracious readers whose advice I cherish and follow.

  11. Clearly, I should have had coffee before I posted. ;) But you get the point.

  12. Before I say anything else, congratulations Hank on your latest piece of good news!

    I find new-to-me authors in a variety of ways, and I can't always remember which road brought me to which author. At the library I spend a lot of time looking through the new books. The public library in the next town over from where I live claims that my own library has a larger collection; however, the neighboring town's library has a lot more of the kinds of mysteries I like to read. Since Hank is hosting the blog today, I'll mention that I discovered her at that library in a round-about way: while there I used their public computer to look for book reviews. I read an on-line book review of another author's book. Then I checked to see if the library had that author's book (yes, although I can't remember who it was!), and found that their catalog had a list of "other authors you may like", and Hank's name was there. I looked up a bunch of authors and Hank's name always popped up as one that I should read. So I did. And now I've read all of Hank's books! I was already acquainted with some of the Reds (and enjoying their books) and from there I started reading books by the Reds I had not yet known about.

  13. Oh, so fascinating! I have to say when Michael told me about this project, was so impressed--what a terrific die! And I know how hard you all worked on it. Hi, Larissa! Hi, LIsa! (And yes, one of the fascinating things is the different styles…)

    I still go to some events where people say--I didn't know you were an author! And (just between us) I think REALLY???. Because think of all we all do to get the word out.

    And I love hearing why you all bought your most recent book. Again, though--impulse? A display? Meeting the author? An ad? (DO you respond to magazine ads? I always think an ad in the NYT Sunday Book review has more prestige and must mean the book is good. Which is..silly. It's just more--expensive, right? But I suppose it means the publisher is invested, and thinks people will by it and like it. The last book I bought from a NYT ad was THE VERDICT--the new British one. Jonathan scarfed it up and loved it.))

    Kristopher, I keep hearing about I LET YOU GO. I'll have to go read your review again..

    ANd do you always buy the book when you go to a racing? DO you go to readings? Anthology people--are you doing any events? Say…on line?? :-)

  14. Terrific idea to get the word out about a group of readers--congrats to you all and look forward to reading.

    Kristopher, blogs like yours are invaluable--certainly to us writers and hopefully to readers too. And Hallie's always good for a recommendation because of her review column.

    The last new book I bought was last week, Tim Dorsey's Coconut Cowboy. Of course I'd heard of him, but hadn't read any of his books. But he was coming to a signing at the Key West Island Bookstore and I wanted to support them, and what better way? I'm very fortunate to have a super bookstore in my CT hometown too, so I go to events there and browse their staff suggestions etc.

    Larissa, do you live in Japan? How interesting!

  15. I almost always buy a "new to me" author because of something someone said. I bought the Gabriella Giovanni series based on Kristopher's reviews. I see folks here and on the group blog I belong to (Mysteristas).

    I'll also visit my local indie and browse. A good-looking cover might get me to pick up a book, but inevitably I'll ask one of the employees, "Have you read this? What did you think?" They even have a special bookshelf of Employee Picks that I've hit up for suggestions.

    And, occasionally, I'll "meet" a new author through an event, such as Bouchercon.

  16. ps, question for the authors. Are your publishers involved in this project?

  17. Hey Lucy, I can answer for myself. I have sample chapters from the first Cherry Tucker mystery, Portrait of a Dead Guy, in the anthology. I made sure to get permission from Henery Press before including it, but other than that they weren't involved (except for their support, of course).
    And yes, I do live in Japan. We've been moving back and forth between here and Georgia over the last 20 (ahem) years. My husband's fluent in Japanese and works for a Japanese company.

    Hank, I have to say usually I get my reading recommendations from friends although I always buy my favorite authors' latest books. But I use a Kindle and those tiny "similar" books that pop up at the bottom of my reading carousel do catch my interest. I've clicked on quite a few and have found some authors that way.

    And now that you mention it, YES we do have an event coming up on Thursday which is...your tomorrow and my tomorrow, right? LOL Anyway Thursday 2/18, we're having a Facebook party and hope you all can come! It's from 6-9/5-8 pm EST/CNT. Those Facebook parties are always so much fun and I love how I don't even have to leave my couch! "Mysterious Eight Party --and Hank!" Here's the link:
    Lisa made the cutest picture of Hank for the event picture!
    Virtual drinks on me! :)
    Alright, it's my bedtime here so I'll catch y'all in the morning!

  18. I'm currently reading Cathy Ace's The Case of the Dotty Dowager because I saw it on my publisher's (Severn House)list of books and then checked reviews on Goodreads and saw that Doris Ann Norris gave it a five star rating. I also read the two and one star reviews and didn't see anything there to discourage me, so I downloaded the book to my Kindle. That's sort of word of mouth, right? I also discover new to me authors from guest posts on blogs I read regularly, particularly this one and, for historical novels, Word Wenches.


  19. Yes, the fabulous Doris Ann! We all have wonderful reliable book people, right?

    Ah, those reviews. I just saw one for my FACE TIME which was headlined: Not about computers.

    What what what??? (I mentally shrieked.) Whoever said it was about computers??? I was baffled, and enraged. Now, thinking about Face Time on my phone, I guess I see what he might have been talking about. STLLL IRRELEVANT. Ahhhhh.

    SO those "similar"books. ANyone know how that works?

  20. What a great project! I have to admit, two of my best friends are librarians, so I don't have to go far for fantastic book recommendations.... I also rely on Kristopher's Bolo blog, as we have uncannily similar taste in reading and pop culture.

  21. We were just separated a birth, Susan. ;)

    And I like to think of our "uncannily similar taste" as the "correct" taste, but I guess I am biased.

    Honestly, all the folks here at JRW, both on the front and in the comments are a wealth of valuable opinions and insight.

  22. Yes, its really something to discover who gads similar tastes--and ,equally, who NEVER likes what you do! Jonathan and I sometimes disagree about books--I won't say which, (no Reds of course) but it engenders a fun discussion.

    DO you and your spouses/SOs agree or disagree?

  23. Blogs. Blogs everywhere.

  24. Hi Lucy -- Like Larissa, I made sure to get permission from Midnight Ink before putting the sneak peek of Whispers in the Mist in the book. (I even included a deleted scene for funsies.) Other than that, MI isn't involved either.

    Kristopher, you were one of the first book bloggers I met! I remember, it was Albany, right? Or maybe through the Internet? Anyhow, I was thrilled when you asked to review KILMOON. I hadn't thought about all the time you spend behind the scenes. A true labor of love.

    As a matter of fact the two newest books on my TBR list came from Jungle Reds guest posts! Carla Buckley's and Emily Arsenault's.

    Hah, Larissa, thanks--I had fun making the event header for our party with giveaways. There's a floating Hank head! But it's cute, I think (if I do say so myself). In case you missed Larissa's comment, online this Thursday evening, 5-8pm Central. Everyone's invited! <---If you're curious.

  25. Although my name will come up "Jester Queen", this is Jessie. {waves to Larissa and Lisa}. Thank you so much to Hank for featuring us, and Michael for coming up with this idea. The ego-boosting comments are also awesome! We've got a Facebook party coming up this Thursday from 5-8PM central time if anybody wants to learn more about us (and play goofy games and win fun prizes!)

  26. A floating Hank head? Sometimes I feel like that all good!

    SPeakng of floating--I'll be at the Deckle Edge Book Festival in Columbia South Carolina the Saturday--ON PRIMARY DAY! Whoa. YIKES! Hope to see some Palmetto chapter people there!

    And in Atlanta at the Decatur Center for the BOok on MOnday, Feb 22--anyone in that area?? LOVE to see you!

  27. Hi, Larissa and Lisa and your co-writers. What a great project! I'm putting the 20th on my calendar right now.

    Hank, so funny. The last new book I bought (last week) was The Verdict by Nick Stone, because YOU said Jonathan said it was fabulous. And it's set in London, and takes place in British legal world, which is a weak point for me. I'm halfway though now and losing sleep because I can't put it down. And you know what's really fun? I have NO IDEA where this book is going.

    So, word of mouth at work:-) Also, my daughter and most of my closet friends are readers, so I get suggestions from them. Or we share books. I will buy books mentioned on Facebook if they sound interesting. But the biggest influence on my book buying is of course JRW...

    My very favorite thing, however, is a bookstore "cold buy." Just browsing through the bookstore, picking up things that look intriguing. Before The Verdict, the last three books I bought were on the $6 table at B&N. Great finds, too!

    1. Oh, I love browsing through a bookstore and finding something new to read!

  28. Hi, everyone! Thanks for coming by, and thank you, Hank, for hosting us and for writing that wonderful introduction to the book. I'm just finishing up at the barn and wanted to touch base before giving my boy the last of his morning treats.

    Lately, I've been finding new books through anthologies. I'm trying to read everyone in Eight Mystery Writers and Killer Nashville Noir:Coldblooded. I also get requests from writers who would like me to review or blurb their books, which of course means reading them. :o)

    I already had permission from The Permanent Press to use the excerpts, so I was covered there.

  29. What a great idea! Finding new authors through anthologies is easy - the year I was an Edgar short-story judge, I found so many new writers to read.

    The last book I got was LIGHTS OUT by Ted Koppel, a nonfiction thriller about what could happen if hackers bring down the electrical grid in the US. (Very good!) I got it because a good friend and her husband had both loved it, and then Ross and I read it and felt the same way.

    I get lots of excellent book suggestions from this friend, because she's the director of my local library. When I'm volunteering there, I always hear about new books from other patrons.

    There are some author blogs out there which, as we do at JRW, have book discussions and visits from other writers. I've found a lot of great science fiction from the "Big Idea" entries at John Scalzi's blog, and I've also picked up lots of authors I was unfamiliar with through reading Lauren Willig's blog.

  30. I hadn't thought about that, Jaden -- review/blurb requests! Definitely.

  31. What a great idea to introduce authors this book is! I will definitely be adding it to my Kindle. It seems no matter how many authors I already read, I am always interested in more, more, more.

    As a blogger, it is my job and great pleasure to use the word-of-mouth method to bring new readers to great books. I think Kristopher will agree that connecting readers to books that we've loved is a high like no other, and he has, of course, connected me to many wonderful authors and books. It's really an honor to represent an author's works to people who haven't yet read them. One of my recent pleasures was to introduce some people, including Kristopher, to Elly Griffiths at the Raleigh Bouchercon. I've had several people tell me that they are reading her Ruth Galloway series now and loving it. I just finished an ARC for her next one, The Woman in Blue, that comes out in May, and it's amazing. And, receiving those ARCs is something that is quite useful to those of us out there plugging authors and books, as it gives us a chance to start the party and praises early to encourage pre-orders.

    Of course, one of the easiest and most pleasurable pushes for me is the promotion of books written by the Jungle Red authors. One of my best friends, and a voracious reader, has been thrilled with all of you, and I was so happy to introduce you to her. And speaking of Jungle Reds, I can't begin to count all of the now favorite authors of mine that I've met through this blog. Every time I think that my plate can't get any fuller, an author appears here, and I just have to squeeze her/him in somehow. Oh, and when an author that I already love appears here, it's like a child of mine is showing up. I'm so proud.

    And, I can't say enough about Bouchercon as a source for new books and authors. Since my first one in Albany, where I met the amazing Kristopher and the fantastic Jungle Reds for the first time, I have met and become friends with some of the most talented, generous people there are. It's especially fun and easy to promote books after meeting the wonderful people that write them.

  32. Bouchercon is a big, overwhelming blast, isn't it? Every year, I come away wondering how I can keep up with my tried-and-true authors when there are some many others out there I need to be reading too!

    I do miss browsing bookstores. I don't do it often enough, but when I do, I fall in love with the process all over again. The amazing thing is how big the mystery section has grown at B&N since, when, a decade ago?, I'm not sure, but it's huge! Kid. Candy store. Me. :-)

  33. Over the past few years I believe I've discovered as many "new-to-me" authors here at JRW as any from other source. I also received a weekly email from Murder By the Book, and check BOLO Books, Criminal Element, and Stop You're killing Me! often.

    DO you and your spouses/SOs agree or disagree?

    My husband both read lots of different sorts of books, and we enjoy a lot of the same ones. But judging by our emotional reactions to some books we both enjoyed, you'd might think we'd read different books.

    Some of it is probably a male/female thing, but some of it is life experience that makes us less or more able to feel compassion for or connection with particular characters.

  34. I love conferences, and I always find new authors to read when I go to one. In fact, when I meet a new author I like personally, I try to buy and read their books, even if they're not in a genre I usually read. But funds, being limited, sometimes that doesn't happen right away.

    My husband and I read very different books. He reads mostly adventure and hard science fiction. I do like speculative fiction, but leaning more toward fantasy and soft sf, with a soupcon of horror thrown in. He's not a big fan of crime fiction, but he makes an exception for mine. :o)

    Sharon, you make an interesting point about two people reading the same book and coming away with such vastly different experiences that you wonder if you read the same pages. It just goes to show how we read through our own filters and not just the author's.

  35. Yes,SHaron, so funny! And aw, thank you, Kathy! xxoo

    And Debs, that's exactly what Jonathan said--NO idea where it was going, and he was riveted.

    And conventions, yes. I picked up MAESTRA by LS Hilton by chance at ALA. And now I'm seeing it's supposed to be a big deal. NO idea.
    My last absolutely no-idea cold buy? JUST from the cover ? Susan's Mr. Churchill's Secretary. So funny, remembering that now. What a life-changing moment that was, right?

  36. Oh man! You all just caused my must-buy list to balloon! It is great to hear from all of you about each other's books. And having a collection of first tastes of each - what a brilliant idea!

  37. Echoing Kristopher and Kathy, I spend a lot of time researching books and authors that I choose for my blog and I do appreciate word of mouth as that is how I get the word out about books that I've read and enjoyed.

    The last physical book that I bought was The Ex by Alafair Burke. After hearing her talk about it and then reading Kristopher's BOLO review, I knew that I had to have this book.

    JRW is a great site for me to discover new-to-me authors and their books as they are normally books that I don't read, but once my interest is heightened, those books get placed in my database.

    I've also found authors at Bouchercon and Malice that I would never have known. I'm more apt to read new-to-me author's work if I met them at a conference.

    Dru Ann

  38. I visit two libraries and one book store regularly, but I get most of my information on "new-to-me" authors from: emails from Library Journal Prepub (books coming out several months in the future) and Shelf Awareness; book blogs such as Lesa's Book Critiques, Jen's Book Thoughts and, of course, Jungle Red Writers; and fellow members of Sisters in Crime Norcal (I'm a reader member and new editor of the chapter newsletter). I'll never be able to read everything on my TBR list, but it gives me great pleasure to keep adding to it!

  39. I forgot to answer the question! I have a TBR pile six years long, but I had to add to the top of it, because I went to two writer's conferences here in Alabama a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to buy every book!

  40. I'm so late to the site today no one will probably ever see this, but I can't resist answering. Like many others here, several of my most recent new authors have been found from recommendations made here on Jungle Red Writers.

    Here's another fun source. My suburb has an excellent, highly lauded library system. Every now and then they post a time where library staff will be on line live and monitoring their Facebook site. You put in the name of the last three books you read, and they will recommend one to three books they think you would like, based on your list. That got me to The Yiddish Policeman's Union, by Michael Chabon.

    But I still find a lot of my new authors by just browsing the audiobook shelves of that wonderful library. My day job involves a lot of driving, so I go through a l-o-t of audio books. I default to authors I know when I can, but sometimes I just need a couple books to get me through the next few days of driving and am limited to what is on the shelves today. In those cases, I just start reading the cover blurbs. I have made some great finds that way. One of the most recent was Tina Whittle, author of the Tai Randolph, Trey Seaver series. (Often after meeting an author in audiobook land, I become a big consumer of their printed books.)

  41. I see your post, Susan! I've never read Tina Whittle's books, so now I've just added to my TBR list again. :-)

  42. I used to prowl the library shelves years ago but the branch near us hasn't that much. But they do bring in books from other branches when you request them. I look at the new books display and see what intrigues me. I also get a monthly email from the library talking mysteries and thrillers. I've discovered "new" authors there.
    I get suggestions from you Reds, Murder by the Book in Houston, Shelf Awareness, Criminal Element, BookBub. In fact either Nook or Bookbub got me hooked on some series by offering the first book free or for 99 cents. I've exchanged mystery books with a friend for Christmas for over 20 years. We both have discovered new books that way. I also check the new fiction listings on our library website. If it sounds good I may look up that author and get the first book in the series to read. If not a series I get on a waiting list for the book. I don't have a Kindle but I have the app on my laptop so I've downloaded the chapters from the 8 authors. I have read 2 of them. I have a feeling I am doomed to try to find time for the other six!

  43. All of the above? That sounds about right. However, I'm all over the map when it comes to buying books. Sometimes I'll try a new author that looks good from the bargain bin at the bookstore; very often I end up buying their other books if they turn out to be authors I appreciate and enjoy.

    I'm in two different, very different bookclubs, and have bought several books only because I couldn't get them any other way for an upcoming selection. I have discovered new authors this way, including the latest, and you will all laugh at this, Josephine Tey. I'd never read any of her books before, amazing as that seems.

    Of course you Reds have shared a lot of your own favorite authors, and I've discovered a couple new favorites via the freebie books from conferences, including Tracy Webber and Tim Hallinan. But I've also discovered authors to stay away from in that same way, and was happy that I did not have to pay for their books. They will remain anonymous.

    My husband reads only my recommendations, largely because he would never go to a bookstore or library on his own, especially when we have thousands of books here that I've already read and can prequalify for him. So he has recently read Catriona McPherson, Cornelia Read, and now he's in the middle of Hallie's There Was An Old Woman. Judging from how quickly he's getting through it, that is his favorite of the three, so far.

  44. Whoa..I can't keep up with you all! And I have to admit all this is very reassuring, isn't it?

    Susan, that if-you-like process sounds fascinating! The person doing it must be outrageously smart and clever and intuitive.

    Margie, congratulations on all you do--thank you from a Sister-sister!

    Dru Ann! QUEEN of word of mouth And we are grateful for it (and you every day.

    And KAren, he is a VERY smart guy.

    So Pat, when you buy the first book for 99 cents, or it's free, are you dismayed/discouraged that the next one is regular price? I so wonder about that..

  45. Hello writers and readers, I'm so happy to be part of the community here today.

    Kathleen Cosgrove as katcoz

  46. And this has been a great opportunity for me to find some wonderful books I would have totally missed otherwise. I don't have to bug my friends now with, "I'm finishing a great novel and need to find another, quick, give me a recommendation!"

  47. Susan, I loved the Yiddish Policeman's Union. Such a beautifully written book.

    Lisa, I'm a huge fan of libraries, but I have a hard time with them. "Ten books on oil painting? I must have them all!!!" And, "What? You mean I have to give these back? ... Oh, all right."

  48. Hank, MAESTRA by LS Hilton is one of my most anticipated reads this season. As I watch it climb my TBR pile, I get more excited to discover what all the fuss is about. Nothing like discovering a new (or new to me anyway) author who bursts onto the scene with such pre-publication buzz.

  49. Hank, thanks yet again for all your help on this.

    You talked about not being recognized. Not surprisingly, that happens to me more than to you.

    I ran into an old friend, who was with an old non-friend. My friend generously says, "Mike's published two books." Non-friend sniffs, "I've never heard of you." Feeling generous, I replied, "Well, it's not like I'm Elmore Leonard or Michael Connelly." She sniffs again, "Are they local writers, too?"

    I stopped worrying about it.

  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

  51. OVE that, Michael. Whew. Very reassuring. xoxo

    Kristopher, did you SEE the author photo in the arc of MAESTRA? WHOA.

    Gang, it is a FULL page, separate page, glossy full color photo. (The author is gorgeous, by the way.) I have never seen such a thing. Have you? Dru Ann? Kristopher? Kathy?

  52. Michael, that puts everything in perspective. You're in good company.

    Now I feel good that I have something in common with you, Michael Connelly, and Elmore Leonard!

  53. I'm going to have to check out MAESTRA now! Very curious.

    Don't you love it when people sniff at you? I guess it never really ends. Before publication it was: Oh, you're not published. After publication it's: Oh, I've never heard of you. Maybe later with, crossing fingers, some author-y clout, it will be: Oh, but you only write crime fiction. Hah!

  54. So I listen to my wife, who says she doesn't read mysteries and often gives anything I give her back after a few pages. When she read Kathleen Cosgrove's ENGULFED, she said, "You have to read this just to get to page 187." I gave her Hank's TRUTH BE TOLD and she said, "That is one smart woman." I read them both. She was right. Please, please don't tell her I said that.

  55. When I read TRUTH BE TOLD, I ended up going back, after I'd finished it, to see how Hank did such an incredible job of raising the tension incrementally but relentlessly.

  56. Aw. Blushing. Thank you. Truly. oxox

    And LIsa, yes. The bar ALWAYS goes higher. But then there are the times when someone (see above) says--I LOVE your books! And all the other stuff goes away. Right?

  57. Hey everyone, I'm back. Now it's Thursday morning. I'm coming to you from the future. :0

    I've enjoyed reading through all the comments. I have to agree with Susan and give a shoutout to my buddy Tina Whittle. Her Tai and Trey series is so good and so much fun. She just put out a short story on Amazon that was free recently. Not sure if it still is, but I highly recommend that series. I met Tina at a SinC conference in Atlanta. We were on the same panel....

    Actually I think those panels have been a great way to add to my TBR piles. I try to read something from everyone before "paneling." The same thing happened to me with Kathleen Cosgrove who's one of the Mysterious 8. We were on a Killer Nashville panel together. :)

    Quick story: At my first Malice, I was on a panel with Kaye George. As I began Eine Kleine Murder, I realized it was set in the area I grew up. No one I meet is ever from that area (very rural part of Illinois on the border of Iowa). Had to write Kaye and say, how did you pick this setting, because it can't be random. Turns out Kaye even went to the junior high school where my father taught! Happened to me again at Murder in the Magic City with Warren Bull. Also from the same area.
    Actually Tina Whittle, Michael, and Hank were at that conference, too....

    In conclusion, small world equals much to read?
    Actually now that I'm in Japan, I'm missing out on all these wonderful conferences and therefore missing out on learning about new authors. I guess that's why I've been relying on Amazon suggestions!

  58. Hank, no I haven't and now I'm curious. Full page author photo? wow.

  59. Great idea! I've set an iCal reminder, but I'll bet y'all will also post reminders on the 20th. I have come to rely on my library more and more, space and funds limitations, and my library is so accommodating about ordering the books I request, and I request MANY, beginning with new titles from my favorite writers. I have indulged in some ebook anthologies not yet in physical books, if some of my favorites are included, most recent being Happy Homicides II because Elaine recommended it, and her story did not disappoint.

  60. Larissa--that's WEIRD!!!! I am going to check with you Saturday and see what will happen in the South Carolina primary. Then I'll know before everyone. xoxoox

    Dru Ann--Yeah, it's quite astonishing. Glossy. Color. Whoa. Maybe it's the new benchmark of a big buzz book. Like a double cover used to be. :-)

  61. I'm not sure I'd want my face full-sized. ;)

  62. Hank, that second book's price varies. With ebooks I'll easily take the plunge up to 4.99. After that I balk. At that point I may check my library, or wait for a sale, or look for used, or bite the bullet and pay full price if I really really want to read it NOW.

  63. I'm the same way, Pat. I tend to binge read, and if I'm on an author kick, I'll just keep buying them until I run out of books.
    And then my husband says, "why do we have a $100 charged to Amazon this month?"
    "I'll just write it off."
    Let's hope the IRS doesn't hear I'm a book junkie. ;)

  64. Yes, Pat D, thats why I worry. Authors try to lure you in..but then, because of the price, you wonder--why isn't this as inexpensive as it used to be? And you don;t buy it. Hmm, We should do a WHOLE blog about exactly this. It's SO instructive.

    Oh, Larissa, YES YOU WOULD. xoxoo It is a definitely good problem.

  65. Hi Joan E., Thanks for your kind words! We all appreciate your and everyone else's consideration. Lisa

  66. Hi Edith M., Waving at you from here in Nashville, Tennessee. So great to "meet" you and everyone else here. Lisa

  67. Hi Lucy, I am published by a small press, Cool Titles. Although they are small, they have a good distributor. I had to get permission from my publisher to be part of this amazing project, but they readily agreed, especially as I knew several of the other authors and love their books! My publisher is creative and forward thinking so they usually go along, as they know that it takes more than traditional marketing these days for readers and authors to connect.

    It is so important for an author to have publisher support and mine has gone above and beyond. They even donated a Tiffany horse shoe necklace for a contest I did at a horse expo when my second mystery, The Magnum Equation, came out. Then my editor requested that I write her into a scene in my third, The Magnum Equation. "-)

  68. Hi Deborah, I am with you on the bookstore buys. There is nothing as great as the feeling of scoring a great "find!" I have always been able to lose myself for hours in a bookstore or a library. Sounds like you and many others here feel the same.

  69. Thank you Brenda! That has been the great and unexpected pleasure of this project. We all truly respect each other, and each other's writing. Each of us has different marketing skills, too, that we have been able to share. It has been very refreshing to get to know the other seven authors, and Hank, better, as well.

  70. I see you, Susan. I, too, love audio books and drive a lot as well. Personally, I am more apt to take a chance on a new author in audio, than in print. Not sure why that is, maybe because I feel my time is not wasted if the book is not for me––as I am still driving to a destination.

  71. Lisa, I covet that horse shoe necklace.

    Larissa, I know what you mean about that Amazon bill. It's sooooo easy to click and buy since it's "only a few dollars." Then you look at the bank account and ask yourself, "Where did it go?" And you see a dozen of those little purchases.

  72. Waving back, Lisa W! Also giggling at Debs getting recommendations from her closet friends. Really? Who wouldn't want to acknowledge your as their friend, Debs? ;^)

  73. The only full page glossy photo I can think of, Hank, is Mary Higgins Clark. She always has one on her books, even the ones with Alafair Burke. I look forward to reading Maestra and seeing what that photo looks like.

  74. The book I bought most recently was "The Other Woman," which I'm now reading compulsively! I was perusing a list of recent Awards (Macavity?) that showed several years' worth of nominees. I looked at previous years because I like to binge-read, so I prefer to find new-to-me authors I can do that with. Hank's name was also familiar to me from Jungle Red Writers - I have read all of the books by Julia and Deborah, and I'm reading others now too.

    I think I came across a link to the list in Louise Penny's latest newsletter - she received an award and recommended the other winners to her readers. She is incredibly generous and talented in so many ways.

    Word of mouth is the gold standard for me, but I read more mysteries than most of my friends, so that doesn't happen as often as I'd like. So I stick with my favorites and do a lot of online browsing.

  75. Love this round-robin post. Am reading this anthology now, and can't wait to spread the news (by word of mouth, btw) about this special weekend pricing.

  76. Thanks so much, Ritter, on behalf of all of us!