Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Alphabet now Ends at Y
"If high heels were so wonderful, men would be wearing them."
Kinsey Millhone

I was introduced to Sue Grafton and Kinsey Millhone when my mother started reading the series. At the time I was reading more science fiction than anything else, but I appreciated the series from the start. It was easy to tell what my mother did and did not have when it came to present giving. I might have a poor memory for titles, but I knew my alphabet.

The last birthday gift I gave her was N is for Noose. She was recovering from chemotherapy at the time.

I started reading the series after my mother died. Since my father wasn't a mystery reader, it was easy to convince him to let me nab the whole series. There were a few holes in the alphabet, mostly in the early books. It took me years to find A is for Alibi.

T is for Trespass put me off for a few years. At the time it was released, I was taking care of my father, the mail-order addict. He was sure that the more he ordered from Readers Digest and Publishers Clearinghouse, the more likely he'd win the big prize. He bought Australian lottery tickets from sellers in Hong Kong and once tried to send cash to a Nigerian Prince. T for Trespass was just too close to home for me.

"Ideas are easy. It's the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats."
Sue Grafton

I started back at the beginning of the alphabet. I still haven't found H is for Homicide, but I caught up to J is for Judgement, which was the beginning of my mother's solid run. By this time, after many rejections and long periods of just writing for myself, I was a published mystery author. Now I started to appreciate Sue Grafton's work for fellow authors and would-be writers.

I always said I'd finish the alphabet when the alphabet was finished. That suits by binge style of reading. Since the planned "Z is for Zero" was never started, the time to finish is now.

"Her daughter said Grafton would never allow a ghostwriter to write in her name and "as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y.""

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Guest Post - Debra Purdy Kong

Debra Purdy is a fellow Imajin Author and member of Crime Writers of Canada.We also share similar views on covers and crafty killers.
Knitting Needles Instead of Guns? Only in Canada
As you probably know, book covers are really important to authors, publishers, and readers. This fall, I learned that writing a mystery about seniors who’ve developed a nasty rivalry over their knitted products presented a challenge for my publisher’s cover designer. After going back and forth with ideas, I’m very happy with the image, especially since a ball of wool and bloodied knitting needles is not your typical mystery novel cover!

In A Toxic Craft, no one uses a gun. After all, this is a cozy mystery set in Canada, where most citizens don’t own firearms. Security guards like my protagonist Evan Dunstan aren’t permitted to carry them. When I worked in campus security, I remember my supervisor saying that the day guards are allowed to carry guns is the day she’ll quit.

Most murders in Canada—that aren’t gang related—seem to involve knives. Although, before I became a security guard, a young woman was killed with a crossbow at the post-secondary site where I wound up working. The only violence I experienced, however, was a chair thrown at an employee by a frustrated student.

In this book, the hostility ramps up for Evan. Several attempts are made to get rid of nasty knitter Cora Riddell in a variety of ways. The inspiration for my cover comes from a threat near the beginning of the book, when a knitter named Flo threatens to stab Cora with a knitting needle. Does it actually happen? Well, that’s part of the mystery, isn’t it?

To order A Toxic Craft, go to:

Debra Purdy Kong’s volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and various jobs, inspired her to write mysteries set in BC’s Lower Mainland. Her employment as a campus security patrol and communications officer provide the background for her Evan Dunstan mysteries, as well as her Casey Holland transit security novels.

Debra has published short stories in a variety of genres as well as personal essays, and articles for publications such as Chicken Soup for the Bride’s Soul, B.C. Parent Magazine, and The Vancouver Sun. She assists as a facilitator for the Creative Writing Program through Port Moody Recreation, and has presented workshops and talks for organizations that include Mensa and Beta Sigma Phi. She is a long-time member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Look for her blog at More information about Debra and her books is at You can also find her on Twitter: & Facebook:

Be the first to know when Debra Purdy Kong’s next book is available! Follow Debra at to receive new release and discount alerts.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Colour Comentary

Jacques: This is Jacques Seaudeau and Gillian Hill from CKOI Radio reporting on this year's Santa Claus Parade. Gillian, what's the weather forecast for the day.

Gillian: Sunny and cold, Jacques. Perfect parade weather. The hot chocolate vendors will be doing well today. Fortunately the street is ice free now. Unfortunately, that was not the case earlier when the Pipe and Drum band were forming up. Due to a slip on the ice, they are down one drummer.

Jacques: That's not the only weather-related incident today. New Harlem Globe Trotters were booked to do an exhibition performance at the Sports Centre. They also agreed to march in the parade.

Gillian: I take it Globe Trotter performance is cancelled.

Jacque: Yes, but the boys and girls basketball teams from Our Lady of Lourdes will be taking their place in the parade. We've been assured they will do their best to mimic the jumps and passes that make the Globe Trotters famous.

Gillian: Hold on, Jacques. I have correction to make. It turns out the hot chocolate is free. They've got eight locations all along the parade route and one at the end. They're charging for cups but if you have a travel mug, they'll fill it up from their cauldron for free using oversized spoons crafted by Santa's elves.

Jacques: Are they in place now? I could use something warm about now.

Gillian: They're ready and waiting.

Jacques: Apropos of hot chocolate, the Dairy Breeders Associaton is marching with examples of the top eight breeds of milk cows dressed up as reindeer.

Gillian: I hope they have diapers. Next up is the the Let's Dance Studio. They usually gives us a jazzy version of Nutcracker Suite. This year they've opted for Swan Lake.

Jacques: Now a word from our sponsors. Why store and maintain equipment you'll only use for part of the year? Rent from Snow King. With their loyalty program, your sixth rental gives you store credit.

Gillian: That's a great deal and here's another one. City Jewellers is offering five gold bangles to the person who calls into CKOI with the gift given on the third day of Christmas.

Jacques: Listen! Can you hear the sirens. That will be the Fire Department leading the parade. You can see the areal floats. The kids are going to get a kick out of seeing their favourite cartoon characters drifting above them.

Gillian: Um, Jacques. What's that floating toward the river?

Jacques: I think they've lost two of the Teenage Ninja Turtle balloons.

Gillian: So, to summarize,we've got:
12 drummers drumming
11  pipers piping
10 Lourdes a leaping
9 Ladles waiting
8 Breeds for milking
7 Swans a swinging

Jacque: And don't forget the 6th lease is paying. Also, the 5 golden rings go to the 4th caller in for 3 French Hens

Gillian: 2 turtles above

Jacques: And that's it from Partridge City

Monday, November 27, 2017

Ghost Writer Review by Gloria Ferris

During the Cold War, a US Navy Arctic Station sank in Canadian waters under mysterious circumstances, killing all aboard. Now, a group of surviving family members want the truth. Along with a documentary crew, they hire an expedition ship and vow to raise the Station.

Jen Kirby signs on as the onsite writer and interviewer, battling seasickness and missing her son who is away at summer cadet camp. While Jen has seen a few ghosts in her life, she is faced with the entire spectral crew of the Arctic Station, some protective, a few menacing, all determined to help her discover the truth. When “accidents” begin to happen to Jen, it’s clear someone very much alive doesn’t want her to find the answers. With the crews of the expedition ship, Canadian and US navy ships, and the documentary staff, there are plenty of suspects.

The scenes of life aboard three sea-going vessels, the conditions inside the sunken Arctic Station, and Jen attempts to gather diving expertise, are vividly crafted. The depiction of international politics is bang on. The story is rich with well-developed characters.

Okay, now, let’s get to the men. Readers may find themselves wanting all three (or is it five?) men who tempt Jen. All hot, available, and honourable. Her choice will not disappoint, nor will the ending.

When Jen pieces together and serves up the facts of the last days of the Arctic Station, the ghostly crew is satisfied, and departs to wherever specters go when their earthly business is complete. Jen faces one last attempt on her life from a corporeal being, and that’s all I’m going to say to avoid a spoiler. Except that I did not see that culprit coming.

I think any reader who enjoys paranormal suspense, with a twist of mystery, and a dusting of romance to ice the cake, will enjoy this story. Five stars for Ghost Writer.

Canadian award-winning author, Gloria Ferris, began her writing career by writing and editing operating procedures for a nuclear power development. It was an exciting job, but opportunities for plot and character development were limited. So she turned to crime fiction and found it to be a lot more fun. Gloria returned to her native Guelph, Ontario after spending twenty-five years in Kincardine and Port Elgin, small lakeshore towns which inspire her mysteries. 

Gloria is the author of the Cornwall & Redfern mysteries
(Corpse Flower; Shroud of Roses; Skull Garden)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Interview with a Comedy Queen

Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs…

Jennie has been a widow for two years.  Her twelve year old son thinks it’s about time she started dating, and so does her friend Angela. So Jennie signs up for an online dating site. Within hours, she has several first dates lined up for the week. Surely they’ll be one Prince Charming in the bunch.  And if not, it’s only one date, right?  How bad could it be? WORST DATE EVER!

Today I'm interviewing one of my favourite authors, Melodie Campbell.

Melodie, you are an award-winning comedy and crime writer. I think it's safe to say that romance is not your usual genre. What inspired you to write one now?

My publisher!  Here's a big hint about the way the publishing business works:

Publisher:  "We'd like to experiment with a non-crime book for the Rapid Reads line.  Something like a romantic comedy."
Me (aghast):  "But I'm a crime writer."
Publisher (in case I didn't hear):  "We need a romantic comedy."
Me:  "Gotcha. A romantic comedy, it is."

And that's what inspired me.  Okay, that's not the whole story.  I was sitting with a bunch of readers at a literary AGM, and I asked them what they liked about my Goddaughter mob caper series.  They said they loved the humour, and the fact that the books had a female protagonist.  Also, that they weren't violent.  So I went back to the publisher and said, "readers are telling me they want funny stories about female protagonists, that aren't violent."  This is when I learned that you never suggest something you aren't prepared to write.

The Worst Date is a lovely romance, but not a typical one. Who are your favourite romance authors and who comes closest to your style?

Closest to my style?  Probably Janet Evanovich, for both my series.  Worst Date Ever has similar humour to Evanovich's early romances.  The Goddaughter series has been compared to Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series.  My own favourites are a little more down the suspense line.  I adored Mary Stewart.  But truly, my favourite escapes would be the loopy madcap romantic comedies of the 1940s and 50s.  That's the sort of thing I've always wanted to write.  And I wish more people would write them so I could read them.

What was your worst date? And what character would be your dream date?

My worst date was the last one in the book. (Read it and pity me!)  Luckily I met Dave, my husband, about three weeks after that. 

My dream date?  Hmmm...there seems to be a theme here.  I absolutely adored David Niven in The Pink Panther.  He played the title role of the Pink Panther burglar.  Something about the twinkle in his eye, the dry wit, and the daring.  The next who comes to mind is George Peppard from The A-Team.  Again, the cleverness, that devilish wit, the daring..."I love it when a plan comes together."  My next book - The B-Team - is a tribute to him.  It comes out in February.  Looking at these two, it seems to me that writing capers was a predictable outcome for me.  I have no idea what that says about my character.  Probably, we shouldn't go there.

Melodie Campbell

The Toronto Sun called her Canada's "Queen of Comedy."  Library Journal compared her to Janet Evanovich.  Melodie Campbell has shared a literary shortlist with Margaret Atwood, and was seen lurking on the Amazon Top 50 Bestseller list between Tom Clancy and Nora Roberts. She has won the Derringer, the Arthur Ellis, and eight more awards for crime fiction.  WORST DATE EVER is her 12th book.

Read Melodie's humour articles on her Funny Girl Melodie blog.
Friend her on Facebook: 
Follow her on Twitter: @MelodieCampbell
Find her on Amazon:

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Stuff of Nightmares

O hear us when we cry to Thee 
For those in Peril on the sea

I often dream in stories. Most of them make no sense whatsoever when I wake up. And then there’s the ones I forget. They’re like the fish that got away, best selling material... if only I could remember what happened.

Nightmares are so much more memorable. I could recount, in detail, the recurring nightmare I had as a child, but it isn’t that interesting. I had so many nightmares, I taught myself to lucid dream long before I had ever heard of the term. Lucid dreaming is what turned a nightmare about being trapped under water and running out of air, into the story that would become Ghost Writer.

My name is Jen Kirby. I have several things going for me including great hair, nice eyes and an ability to turn experts' research into readable prose.

I have a few weaknesses. I enjoy chocolate too much. I hate enclosed spaces. And I prefer to experience open bodies of water from a distance. One sailing trip with my cousins made me swear off boats for life. So, you'll understand how much I wanted the job when I said I'd go to the Arctic Ocean to look for a sunken underwater base.
My cousins never did anything to make me swear off small boats except take me out in them. It wasn’t their fault that I had an irrational fear of capsizing, getting trapped and drowning. It was only recently, when I was diagnosed with vertigo that I made the connection. My neurologist said it was a miracle I hadn’t suffered earlier in life. After all, I’ve been completely deaf in one ear, since age nine, because of an inner ear problem. Maybe my fear was all in my head, not in my mind.

 I’m not sure how my nightmare started, but when I took control of it, I was being rescued. It wasn’t immediate. My mind threw up a few nonsensical barriers between me and my rescuer but finally I was on the deck of the recovery ship. My rescuer removed his mask and I saw that it was Tommy Lee Jones. Not the young handsome Tommy Lee Jones. This was the old, craggy, grumpy looking one.

It didn’t matter. It didn’t even matter that he seemed to be getting older and craggier by the minute. Captain Jones was my rescuer and I was in love. Now I just had to figure out, for the sake of apres dream storytelling, what I was doing there in the first place. By the time I had that worked out, Jen Kirby was born and it became her tale to tell.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Ghost Writer Preview

She has to deal with two kinds of spooks: spies and ghosts.
But which one is trying to kill her?

Jen Kirby has seen ghosts since she was a teen, but she can’t talk to them or help them cross over. And, after a violent death in the family, she doesn’t want to see them anymore.

In her role as ghostwriter, Jen joins a Canadian Arctic expedition to document and help solve a forty-year-old mystery involving an American submarine station lost during the Cold War. The trouble is, there are people—living and dead—who don't want the story told, and they’ll do anything to stop her.

Now Jen is haunted by ghosts she can’t avoid or handle alone. That means confiding in the one man she doesn’t want to dismiss her as “crazy.” But can he help? Or is he part of the problem?

My name is Jen Kirby. I have several things going for me including great hair, nice eyes and an ability to turn experts' research into readable prose.
I have a few weaknesses. I enjoy chocolate too much. I hate enclosed spaces. And I prefer to experience open bodies of water from a distance. One sailing trip with my cousins made me swear off boats for life. So, you'll understand how much I wanted the job when I said I'd go to the Arctic Ocean to look for a sunken underwater base.

Author: Alison Bruce
Female sleuth, paranormal suspense, crime fiction, romance, military suspense
Publisher: Imajin Books
Publication Date: 24 November 2017
Pages: 234
Adult Fiction
Kindle edition: $6.91USD/$8.71CD 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Back to School

It's almost that time of year again.


Labour Day might as well be New Year's Eve for me. Even though I'm long past worrying about who my new teacher is going to be, I still get the jitters about the first day of school.

Working as a crossing guard for the last eight years, my jitters have less to do with how much I forgot over the summer as how much the drivers have forgotten. The first few days back can be a bit nerve wracking.

It will be nice to see the kids. I might have trouble recognizing a few. I swear they grow faster in the summer than the rest of the previous year. What really bowls me over is the ones who have moved on to high school. I see them on the way to the bus and it makes my head spin. I hardly recognized my own sons when they started high school and I see them all the time.

I'm going to miss being able to sleep in. I don't usually sleep in, but during the summer I can. All my other work can be done as easily (more easily for me) after 10am. (Note to self: rememember to reset alarms.)

One of the sad parts about back to school was that I missed not seeing my kids all the time. I like having them around in the summer. This year, I might actually see one of my sons more often. When he hasn't been working he's been doiing stuff with his friends. Starting September, he'll have to be home earlier, at least on school nights.

My body is going to complain about going to the corner again. I meant to do more active stuff this summer but I was recovering from a car accident and Bell's Palsy and it was too hot/cold/wet/dry and I didn't feel like it. That's okay. I'll do better in the fall. (I won't have a choice.)

One more week.

At least I have cupcakes...

Well, I HAD cupcakes.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Guest Post - Lyn Horner - Romancing the Guardians

 He’s a Navajo sworn to bring her to America;

She’s a sexy genius in a race with him across France

At last! Beguiling Delila (Romancing the Guardians, Book 6) is here. This one took longer than usual to write because of all the settings I had to research. Most of the book is set in France. Delilah Moreau, the glamorous French Guardian, possesses a miraculous mathematical talent that provides her a privileged life, but it can’t give her what she truly wants: lasting love.

Leon Tseda, a Navajo whose homeland serves as a hidden gathering place for the Guardians, vows to bring Delilah to safety, thwarting thugs sent to capture her and the valuable scroll she guards. Opening in Paris, the story whisks the pair in a life-and-death chase across France to Nice and Monte Carlo on the breathtaking Côte d’Azur.

Both Delilah and Leon have lost loved ones, and they’re no longer youngsters, but they are not too old for a second chance at love. Their journey is fraught with danger, excitement and steamy, mature romance. Will it lead to love – if they live long enough?

US Amazon     UK Amazon    CA: Amazon    AU: Amazon

Overview of the series so far: There are seven Guardians, each possessing a psychic gift and a precious scroll containing a secret prophecy handed down from ancient Irish seers. Not to be revealed until mankind is ready to listen, the prophesies are in danger of being seized by vicious “Hellhounds” who want to use them for their own evil ends.

Rescuing Lara (Book 1), winner in the 2015 Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers Choice Awards, is set in Ireland and Texas. It stars Lara Spenser, the injured niece of the murdered high Guardian, and Connor O’Shea, a hunky ex-Special Forces soldier Lara hires as her bodyguard. Lethal villains, hot romance and a few surprises make this a wild ride.
US: Amazon    UK: Amazon     CA: Amazon     AU: Amazon  

Decoding Michaela (Book 2) features a heroine who can read minds. Stunned by news that her revered leader, the High Guardian, has been murdered, Michaela Peterson is attracted to Dev Medina, the handsome messenger, but fears he may be out to steal the scroll she guards. Can Dev win her trust and unlock her heart before the Hellhounds capture her?
 US Amazon     UK Amazon     CA Amazon     AU: Amazon

Capturing Gabriel (Book 3) is set in Colombia. Gabriel Valdez refuses to believe the feisty Navajo beauty who tracks him down with a message to meet the other Guardians in the United States. Instead, he takes her prisoner. Josie doesn’t count on falling for him. Gabriel doesn’t intend to trust her with his secrets or his love, but the heart has a mind of its own.
US Amazon     UK Amazon     CA Amazon     AU: Amazon

Touching Charlotte (Book 4) Introduces Charlotte Dixon, an empathic Guardian, and Tristan Jameson, an ex-NYC cop burdened by grief. He needs healing and love, but how can a man romance a woman who can’t stand to be touched? Breaking through Charlotte’s barriers while protecting her from Hellhounds proves his ultimate challenge.
US Amazon     UK Amazon     CA Amazon     AU: Amazon

Profiling Nathan (Book 5) is a chilling murder mystery/sexy romance. Guardian and ex-con Nathan Maguire just wants to make a living inking tattoos in Tampa, Florida, but when FBI profiler Talia Werner walks into his shop, she turns his life upside down. To save her pretty neck, he must help catch a serial killer. His deadly psychic gift may come in handy.
US Amazon     UK Amazon     CA: Amazon     AU Amazon

Leon thrust open the door to Delilah’s outer office and charged in. He tossed Esme a quick greeting as he strode to the inner door. She replied but didn’t try to stop him when he once again entered Delilah’s private office unannounced. He found her standing at a small open closet tucked in beside the wet bar in the corner.
“We must leave. Now,” he said the moment she turned to look at him. “The Hellhounds have come. They were at your condo asking for you.”
Her eyes widened. “How do you know it was them?”
“I know because at least one had a gun. Come, we must go. They might be on their way here right now.”
She made a choked sound, grabbed her coat from the closet and stuffed her arms into the sleeves. Snatching her handbag off her desk, she rushed over to him, breathing fast. Leon gripped her elbow and turned toward the door he’d left partway open. At that moment, a man’s voice sounded from the outer office. He spoke in French. Leon didn’t understand the words but caught his threatening tone.
Esme screamed and Delilah cried out, clutching Leon’s arm. Then her inner door was shoved open, banging against the wall. Three men barged in. Determined to protect Delilah, Leon circled his arm around her, slipping his other hand into his jacket pocket at the same time.
The shortest of the three, who had asked for Delilah at her condo, was apparently the leader. An ugly lantern-jawed tough, he reached under his coat and pulled out an automatic. Pointing it at Leon, he growled something in French.
“I do not understand your words,” Leon said mildly, “but I have no gun if that is what worries you.”
“Oh yes? Then show what you do have,” the man ordered in thickly accented English, indicating the hand Leon had stuffed in his pocket.
He nodded and obeyed. Extending his fisted hand, he uncurled his fingers to reveal a small pile of fine, dark powder lying on his palm. “This is only a calming medicine I sometimes use.”
Laughing, the Frenchman sneered, “You need calming now, eh, old man?” He waved his weapon at Delilah, causing her to gasp. “Release the woman. She is to come with us.”

Delilah trembled in fear. Would Leon meekly hand her over to the vile trio? Intending to resist, she tried to draw away from him, but his arm tightened like an iron band around her waist, holding her close. Seeing him bend his head, she thought he meant to inhale the calming powder but, instead, he blew it into the men’s faces.
The three inhaled sharply, choked, coughed and screwed their eyes shut. “What the hell?” The leader demanded in a strangled voice. Trying to blink the dust from his eyes, obviously unable to see, he waved his gun back and forth.
Delilah shrieked, certain he was about to shoot both Leon and her. But he didn’t get the chance. Clutching her arm, Leon hurried her past the blinded men and out the open door. She spotted Esme crouched on the floor behind her desk. Resisting Leon’s tug on her arm, she shouted, “Don’t cower there like a frightened rabbit, Esme. Come! We must escape!”
White with fear, the trembling girl rose and followed them. As the elevator doors opened, Delilah heard the three villains stumbling from her office, shouting furiously. Heart hammering, she dashed into the elevator with her companions and sagged in relief against the wall when the doors closed. Esme huddled in the corner, crying and shaking.
Leon laid his hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Calm down and look at me,” he said, drawing her tearful gaze. “When we reach ground floor, Delilah and I must run. But you should go to the security desk and ask the guard to call the police. Will you do that?”
“Oui, M-Monsieur,” the girl stammered, swiping tears from her cheeks. “But what if those terrible men follow you?” Esme glanced anxiously at Delilah. “Can you protect Madame Moreau?”
“We must leave the city for a while, but do not worry. I will keep her safe.”

Lyn Horner is a multi-published, award-winning author of western historical romance and romantic suspense novels, all spiced with paranormal elements. She is a former fashion illustrator and art instructor who resides in Fort Worth, Texas – “Where the West Begins” - with her husband and a gaggle of very spoiled cats. As well as crafting passionate love stories, Lyn enjoys reading, gardening, visiting with family and friends, and cuddling her furry, four-legged children.

Find Lyn’s books on her Amazon Author Page:
Sign up for Lyn’s Romance Gazette:
Follow Lyn on these sites:  Lyn Horner’s Corner   Facebook   Twitter   Goodreads   

Monday, July 17, 2017

Nuts and Bolts of Fiction Writing 6

Building Your Author Brand
By Liz Lindsay (aka one-half of Jamie Tremain)

You’ve written a book? Wonderful and now you’re set to send out your query letters to find a publisher or agent who will work with you. Here’s a question. If an agent or publisher googled your name what would be the result of their search?

I’m going to relate the steps my writing partner, Pam Blance and I took on this writing journey of ours and how invaluable it’s been to have established our brand well in advance of sending out the first query letter.

We kind of fell into the world of writing very unplanned and honestly really didn’t have much of a clue about what we were doing – clueless mystery writers – great. The first thing we did was decide on a name under which to write and so Jamie Tremain was born.

Once Pam and I realized we were serious about pursuing our writing goals, we began to pay attention to how other writers worked. Right away we recognized the value of a blog and that was our first step in getting the name Jamie Tremain out there.

Initially the blog, Jamie Tremain Remember the Name, centered around the steps (baby steps) we were taking in our writing journey, sharing our progress, setbacks and frustrations. As our confidence grew, the posts began to mature and attract followers.

We also began to network. This I believe is a key foundation to building your brand. You need to gain recognition within the writing community as a serious writer.

Pam and I attended several workshops given by Brian Henry – he offers writing workshops from Toronto to London to Collingwood and beyond. I’d highly recommend them. The Quick Brown Fox is his blog and always lists his schedule and topics available.

Not long after the blog was up and running, we created our first business card. They were handed out everywhere and anywhere. Sometimes we splurged and ordered pens, or book bags with our name, but always to give away and get that name in circulation!

For marketing merchandise we’ve used VistaPrint and Zazzle. Create an account and you’ll see almost limitless ways to market yourself. And by limitless I mean whatever your bank account allows.

Facebook was the next step and a page for Jamie Tremain was created. Then came Goodreads and LinkedIn.

We often discussed how we could make “Jamie Tremain” stand out. At this stage we were still writing our first book and were nowhere near ready to begin sending out query letters

So while we continued writing and polishing our manuscript, we interviewed authors on our blog. This was Pam’s idea and probably did the most to help establish the name and brand of Jamie Tremain. Our fellow authors were glad to share their answers to all our questions about writing. Hits on the blog began to take off and interviews became a regular feature of Jamie Tremain’s blog. It became our brand and we capitalized on it as much as we could.

Blog interviews were interspersed with posts about events in our lives, travel, etc., and helped build a connection with our readers. If you build a connection, you grow a fan base. Future sales are driven by fans who want to read your work.

Whenever our schedules and finances permitted we travelled to conferences and workshops. More networking which is, and continues to be, priceless. Listening and learning from others, not to copy, but to adapt into something Jamie Tremain could incorporate. What worked, what was too much work, and what we knew was just not us.

We showed our support for other authors whenever possible at their book launches and promoting their newest releases or events through social media.

I remember the day I was shopping for a new computer in Staples and just for fun googled Jamie Tremain, and was stunned when it was the first item returned in the search, along with the next half dozen beneath it! And we still didn’t have a book published! That’s when we began to realize the name Jamie Tremain was becoming familiar. Time to develop our own web site. There are many providers which make it truly easy to set up and maintain your own site. We used GoDaddy to provide the domain name, and Weebly to host the site. Not always free, but reasonably priced and, hey, it’s a tax write off too.

So we ventured into Twitter; 3 accounts in all, one for Jamie Tremain, one for Pam and one for myself. A little time consuming, but brilliant for cross posting. (just don’t ask about remembering passwords!) We started by searching and following other authors, writers, advice sites, but once you get the ball rolling it will soon take on a life of its own.

Check out membership sites you can join, depending on the genre you identify with. For us it’s Crime Writers of Canada. Often you don’t have to be a published author to join some of these organizations.

Pinterest has recently become another venue for promotion as well as You Tube. And if you like statistics, both Pinterest and You Tube, as well as Google, know how to present stats and data in multiple ways. Very helpful if you want to target a certain demographic or geographical area.

The downside is that all of these areas of promotion take time and you need to determine where you can best put your precious resource of time for the greatest return. For instance I’ve dabbled in Reddit, and Instagram for JT, but at this point, I’m not pursuing either as another source of exposure. Never say never though.

So when we were finally ready to send out query letters, we were able to show that we were serious, and established, writers with a moderate online following. I feel that helped ensure we weren’t discarded so quickly.

At our launch for our debut novel The Silk Shroud we had standing room only and sold out of all books on hand. We credit this to all the foregoing steps we took, from writing the opening lines of the book to the signed contract with our publisher.

The publishing world is very competitive and if you can find something unique to promote about yourself, or build a following well before you send your first query letter, you will have a fantastic head start.

Cheers and Happy Writing!

Liz Lindsay co-authors with Pam Blance as “Jamie Tremain”. She lives in Guelph, loves the craft of writing and can’t wait to retire from the 9-5 in order to focus on what she truly enjoys. She and Pam are busy crafting the sequel to their debut novel, The Silk Shroud.

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