Wicked Wednesday- Author Events

Jessie- In NH where the crocuses are blooming and the robins are frolicking with abandon!

In a rare turn of events all the Wickeds are together today for two author events. We will be in Nashua, NH for both, first at Rivier College for a R.I.S. E. presentation at midday and then at the Barnes and Noble in the evening. We are ridiculously excited about gathering together for these two occasions and would love to have you all join us. It promises to be memorable. Which got me to wondering about memorable events the other Wickeds have held. So, any favorite memories you’d love to share?

maxwellEdith: Other than my double launch party a couple of weeks ago, I’d have to say my first launch party was an unforgettable evening, for all the right reasons. Speaking of Murder had just released in September 2012 (written as Tace Baker), and I’d invited everyone I knew. The young man managing the Newburyport bookstore had set out ten chairs. I said, “Um, I think you’re going to need more chairs.” I was right. 55 people were there from all different areas of my life: church, work, town, family, and Sisters in Crime, including several Wickeds. The bookstore sold out but I had a box of books in the car to supplement their order. The whole night was touching, exhilarating, just perfect.

Liz: I have to say my first launch party, for Kneading to Die, was also my most memorable. Full of family, friends and dogs, it was held at The Big Biscuit in Franklin, Mass. Shaggy even got her own doggie cake for the occasion!

Sherry: I’ve had so much fun going to author events that it is so hard to pick one. The first time I was on a panel as an author was at Left Coast Crime in Monterey, California in 2014. The women on the panel with me have become friends — Lori Rader-Day (doing a post here on Friday), Carlene O’Neil, Martha Cooley, and Holly West. I was so nervous I don’t think I said much. Afterwards we had a signing time and this was the order of the table Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller, Jan Burke, then me. I didn’t even have a book out yet, but a couple of people had me sign their programs. It’s an experience I’ll never forget and Jan Burke was very gracious the one second she didn’t have someone in front of her.

Barb: I enjoy author events, too. Most memorable was the launch of my first book, The Death of an Ambitious Woman. It seemed like everyone I’d ever mentioned I was writing a book to came. Porter Square ran out of books. I did a little talk and a reading and thanked my friends and family. My sister-in-law pointed at me and said to my daughter, “This is what it looks like when your dreams come true,” which is such a lovely, heartfelt sentiment.

CAKE KILLERJulie: My launch party for Just Killing Time was a blast. Friends and family packed the New England Mobile Book Fair. Three of my mentors–Hank Phillippi Ryan, Kate Flora, and Hallie Ephron–sat right up front, and cheered me on. My friend Courtney made me a cookie cake decorated to look like a clock. It was just lovely. This year Liz and I both have August and September books–2 women, 4 names, 4 books, 2 new series being launched. We are going to do something to celebrate, so stay tuned.

Readers: Do you like to attend author events? What’s your most memorable one?

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A Friendly Reminder

Jessie: In NH where the snow has finally put in an appearance. 

The Wickeds love having visitors to the blog. We love the sense of communinty and connection. It is a great place to talk about ideas, plans, works-in-progress and opinions on a wide variety of topics. But as wonderful as the blog is I wanted to take the opportunity to mention the Wickeds can be found in all sorts of social media outlets around the internet. We’d love to see you at any, and or all, of them.

Sherry  – www.sherryharrisauthor.com

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Juliewww.jahennrikus.com or JulianneHolmes.com

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Live to Write/Write to Live

Edith/Maddie/Tace

EdithFacebook,  Maddie Facebook

Edith Twitter, Maddie Twitter

Edith Pinterest

Edith Goodreads, Maddie Goodreads, Tace Goodreads

Lizwww.lizmugavero.com

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Barbwww.maineclambakemysteries.com

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Jessiewww.jessiecrockett.com

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Sheilawww.sheilaconnolly.com

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Kim

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Jane/Susannah/Sadie

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Readers, where do you like to interact with authors? Do you like to follow on Facebook or Twitter?  Do you love to pin on Pinterest? Leave a comment about your favorite forms of social media for a chance to win a copy of one of our books. We will announce the winner on tomorrow’s post.

 

 

Wicked Wednesday — Favorite Author Moment

It’s Wicked Wednesday again. So, Wickeds, do you have a moment that stands out in your journey to being a published author? One of those things that made you do a happy dance or almost brought you to tears?

Liz: There have been so many amazing moments – signing a contract, hitting send on that first manuscript, seeing your book in print the first time. But for me, the first time I got an email from a reader saying they’d read and enjoyed my book sent me over the moon. That’s why we do this, right? So people can escape their own worlds for a little bit and get some enjoyment out of what we created. Hearing that I hit the mark was the best feeling ever.

Edith: I know that feeling, Liz! And it’s amazing. For me I’ll say how incredible it was Speakingthat established, multi-published, generous authors like Kate Flora, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and (our own accomplice) Sheila Connolly agreed to blurb my very first book, Speaking of Murder, written as Tace Baker (Barking Rain Press, 2012). I was stunned, tearful, and so gratified that these successful busy women would not only take time to read the book but also craft a compelling endorsement. Kate’s included: “This charming traditional mystery debut is just the ticket for those relishing a contemporary puzzler.” Color me died and gone to heaven. And now I have to chance to pay it forward.

Jessie: I would say my moment was when I stood in my kitchen, having just opened my very first carton of my very first book, Live Free or Die, and hearing one of my children ask for a copy of his own that he wished for me to autograph. My family has been such a part of my journey to publication and having him there to share the moment, and to make it all the sweeter with his request, was magical.

Sherry: One big moment was when someone recognized me out in the wild (note to self brush hair and teeth before going out of the house maybe even slap on some makeup). Getting the call that Tagged for Death was nominated for best first novel was another biggie. I’m pretty sure I just babbled, Oh, my god, really? over and over for five minutes. And then it’s the total strangers reaching out to say they like my books — that will never get old.

Barb: One moment that always makes me chuckle came this summer. I was at a author day at the lovely Beyond the Sea bookstore in Lincolnville Beach, Maine. Katherine Hall Page was on my right, and Tess Gerritsen was behind me. A woman burst through the shop door and shouted, “Barbara Ross! You are the person I have come 1000 miles to see!” She was from the midwest, but was vacationing in Maine. She’d talked her husband into staying an extra day and moving to a hotel in a nearby city so she could meet me! I almost fell through the floor. But then I wondered–what can I do in the next five minutes to make it worthwhile for this woman? I signed her books and posed for a photo with her and gave her a hug. I hope she thought it was all worth it. I know it made my day–month–year.

DSC_0015Julie: I am so blessed to be on a path that my Wicked Cozy sisters have forged ahead of me. I wouldn’t be on this particular road without them, and I am forever grateful. Along the journey, I had advice, celebrations of milestones, and support. But my favorite “this is real” moment was on release day for Just Killing Time, October 6. There were dozens of people there, from all facets of my life. Family, friends, former students, work colleagues. Also present, so many of my writer friends. Mentors (three of them in this picture–Hank Phillippi Ryan, Hallie Ephron, and Kate Flora), sat down front, near my parents, offering support. Edith Maxwell helped my sister set up, and put bookmarks on every chair. There were so many Sisters in Crime we could have had a meeting. It was a great night, and it celebrated a great moment. So hard to believe it was only three months ago!

Readers: Do you have an experience where you were recognized for something?

Inspiration

Edith: Delighted to have a new book out! Giveaway to a commenter today, too.

Thanks for all the congratulations, friends. It’s a huge thrill to have the second Lauren Rousseau6x9-speak-murder book out, at last. Speaking of Murder, the first book, was my first completed mystery novel, and it will always have a special place in my heart.

I loved writing what I knew: I have a PhD in linguistics and remember the academic world well. I’ve been a Quaker for a long time, and was intrigued by how I could work that aspect into Lauren’s life without letting it take over the story. And her boyfriend Zach is a video forensics expert, using software that I used to write the manuals for.

With book two, Bluffing is Murder, Lauren  is on summer vacation at home in a fictionalized version of Ipswich, Massachusetts, where I lived when I wrote most of this book and all of the first. It’s a lovely place to be, with salt marshes, quirky characters, and one of the most beautiful beaches in the state. Lauren’s academic life doesn’t play as big a role in this book, but her facility with languages definitely does.

CraneBeachSeveral critical scenes in the book are set either on a fictionalized Crane Beach or at the Crane Estate, called Holt in the book. The Crane mansion, built in 1924, is a magnificent building now used for tours and weddings.

Richard Crane was a plumbing magnate who spared no costs to build a summer retreat away from the oppressive midwestern heat of Chicago. Parts of the building and its decor remindCraneMansion me of the opulence of Hearst Castle on the opposite coast. The fancy shower heads and sinks could fit into any modern house and all the toilets still work ninety years later.

I had the good fortune to go on the “Hot and Cold” tour a couple of years ago, which takes place in the back halls and stairways of the mansion, the realm of the maids and butlers. It was fascinating. We explored the pantries, the trunk room, the furnace area (hot), the rooftop, the ventilation system (cold), and much more. We traversed a hidden spiral staircase. We peeked into the old lift used to bring wood upstairs for fireplaces and checked out the dumbwaiter in a pantry the size of a small apartment.

Boy, did I come away with ideas. What if a body was stuffed in a trunk in the cellar? How about if Lauren was lured into the safe, a green-felt lined room used to store the considerable silver collection? Once the heavy door swung shut and the combination twirled, she’d have no way to call for help.

The antique elevator looked intriguing and dangerous with its door that resembled a jail cell door. That wood lift, with its pulleys, ropes, and rotting infrastructure. And the slanted concrete slab that coal slid down? Oooh.

So you’ll have to read the new book to see out how the mansion plays a role. I’ll give away a copy of Bluffing is Murder to a lucky commenter today! And did you know you can order it from Barking Rain Press for thirty-five percent off? Use this code at checkout: 96DA2F590CD7

Readers: What’s your favorite academic mystery? Mystery set on a coast? Ever read about a body stuffed in a trunk or locked in a silver safe?

Wicked Wednesday: What We Like About the Lauren Rousseau Books

bluffingcoverOur celebration of the release of Bluffing is Murder, the second Lauren Rousseau Mystery by Tace Baker goes on. This Wicked Wednesday, we’re talking about what we like about the series.

Barb: The Lauren Rousseau books are like cozies, in the sense that Lauren is an amateur sleuth, but they’re edgier. They’re not afraid to look at illegal drug use and other social issues. In that sense, Ashford is like a real New England town, not an idealized one, and I like that.

Liz: I really like that Lauren is a strong, independent woman, not afraid to speak her mind and make her own choices. She is definitely her own woman, and that makes going along for adventures with her exciting.

Jessie: I like that Edith brings so much of her own personal interests to these books. It is interesting to see the variety of tones and topics Edith takes on in her work.

Sherry: Lauren isn’t perfect. She makes mistakes like we all do. I find that interesting and it gives Lauren depth.

Julie: I like that Lauren is a complicated, intelligent woman. Edith gets to use her background in linguistics, which adds really interesting layers to the books. Really looking forward to this next one!

Readers, what do you like about the Lauren Rousseau books?

Happy Book Birthday–Bluffing Is Murder!

This week the Wickeds are celebrating two, count’em two, book releases in one week. Today we’re launching Bluffing is Murder, the latest Lauren Rousseau Mystery by Tace Baker, aka Edith Maxwell.

bluffingcoverHere’s what this second-in-the-series book is about:

Summer promises to be anything but easy for Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau in this thrilling sequel to Speaking of Murder. With her boyfriend Zac returning to Haiti to visit his family, Lauren is on her own in Ashford, Massachusetts—and danger is never far behind.

“Still reeling from an attack by her student’s murderer, Lauren decides to brush up on her karate and finds herself drawn to handsome sensei Dan Talbot. During a run near the sea bluffs, she discovers the corpse of her insurance agent, Charles Heard, who is also a Trustee for one of the oldest land trusts in the country. Earlier that day, Lauren had a public argument with Heard over her policy— and is now a suspect in the case.Determined to clear her name, Lauren sets out to discover the real story behind the mismanaged land trust, the dead man’s volatile sister—and a possible link to her own father’s mysterious death more than a decade ago. But a near miss with a car, snippets of strange conversations in French and Farsi, slashed tires, and finding yet another attack victim on the beach make it clear that Lauren is also a target—and the killer is closing in.Can Lauren discover the killer before she becomes the next victim?

Barb: Congratulations, Edith, er, Tace! Your productivity continues to amaze me. I’ve read Bluffing, so I know what a treat your readers are in for. Here’s what I said. “In this page-turner of a mystery, linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau uses her smarts, her Quaker faith, and her summer vacation to bring a vicious murderer, and a secret from her own past, into the light.”

Liz: Yay Tace/Edith! So proud of you and your success, and can’t wait for this next one. I very much enjoyed the first Lauren, and can’t wait for this one.

Sherry: Another book, Edith! I’m amazed at the different voices in each of your books. I look forward to reading Bluffing!

Jessie: Congratulations, Edith on another release! It is fun to see all the sides to your career.

Julie: Congratulations Tace/Edith!! Looking forward to reading about Lauren’t next adventure.

Edith: You guys are awesome. Thank you!

Branding Multi Everything

Edith, north of Boston

As most of you know, I now write under three names: my birth name, Edith Maxwell, which is on the Local Foods Mysteries and my short stories. My Lauren Rousseau Mysteries pseudonym, Tace Baker (who also has her own web site). And my Country Store Mysteries identity, Maddie Day. I have an historical series I want to sell, too.

I wanted to be sure my web site reflected all these identities and all these series, and my previous one wasn’t cutting it. The banner was made up of my book covers, but that meant it had to change every time a new book came out, and there were other issues. I started drafting a new site a couple of months ago, but wondered what I could use for a banner, for a common theme. SheilaSite

So, as often in the mystery world, I went looking to my friends for help. I checked out Sheila Connolly‘s new site, since she writes three series, although all under the same name. Doesn’t it have a great look?

CatrionaSiteI looked at Catriona McPherson‘s site – she writes one series and one line of standalones, but also all under a single name. I love those crows.

And I checked out Leslie Budewitz‘s LeslieSitesite – she writes two series under one name. Isn’t that an evocative painting?

What I saw was a unifying graphic. In the latter two, the art doesn’t necessarily represent the settings of the book, but rather the author. In Sheila’s, there are pictures of the places where her series are set: Ireland, Philadelphia, and small-town Massachusetts.

I considered hiring an artist to create a banner for me, either with pictures or art. Then I looked at the wall in my office and realized I had it right there.

My dear friend Jennifer Yanco (a published non-fiction author) commissioned Boston-area artist Jackie Knight to paint a picture for my sixtieth birthday a couple of years ago. It’s titled “Edith’s World.” It’s mysterious and imaginative and gorgeous. It doesn’t look like any one of my series or names, but instead represents me and my work. Right?EdithsWorldBest

So I took a horizontal slice of it and made it the banner for my web site. It shows up on every page. I also used it on my Facebook Author page.

EdithsSite

And then, because I could, I made up business cards, note pads, and even a few mugs. IMG_0917 2014-09-22 19.37.24So I have my brand, I have my new web site, and I have a lovely connection to the friend I have known and journeyed with for almost forty years!

The pen names are on the web site on each series’ page and on the business cards, in case anybody needs to find one of my selves.

Heck, maybe tee shirts are next…

Readers: Can you find other examples of multi-name multi-series web sites you like? Any suggestions for my new site? (Be brutal!)