Archive for the Left Coast Crime Category

Paying It Forward with a Giveaway

happy new yearAfter decades of writing fiction, I’m finally a multi-published, full-time author. My first resolution this New Year is to express gratitude for that good fortune every day. So I’m launching my new book with a huge giveaway. (More details below.) But first I’m want to say thank you and express my appreciation.

I’m grateful for the friends and fans who beta reader and proofread my work, giving me great feedback. I know how much time it takes and how little extra time we all have. Thank you!

I’m grateful for all my readers, especially those who came on board early and supported me when I was new, self-published author with only one paperback called The Sex Club.

I’m grateful for my graphic artist (Gwen Roads) my copyeditor (Jodie Renner), my content editor (Kevin Smith), and the industry’s best formatter (Hitch@Booknook.biz). If you’re getting ready to self-publish, contact her!

In that light, I’m going to pay forward a trip to Left Coast Crime 2015. Last March at LCC, a friend approached me about chairing Left Coast Crime in Oregon in 2015, and I agreed. It’s going to be a fantastic conference, but it’s also only a two-hour drive to Portland for me. So I don’t have to buy a plane ticket next year. And as co-chair, I don’t pay registration or hotel costs either. (Trust me, I’ll earn every dime of those perks!)

The Trigger_medSo I decided to take all those expenses that I won’t incur and sponsor the trip for one of my readers. I’m holding a contest, and everyone who buys a copy of The Triggeron launch day, January 1—and emails the receipt to ( lj@ljsellers.com) will be entered to win at trip to Left Coast Crime 2015. The drawing will be random, but it would be fun if a long-time loyal reader I haven’t met yet and who hasn’t been to LCC wins this thing.

In addition, as a thank-you to readers, I’m giving away 10 Amazon gift certificates for $50 each! So you have a good chance of winning something, well, compared to the lottery, anyway.

More important: The Trigger ebook is on special right now for $.99, another thank-you to loyal readers who’ve been paying a little more for my Jackson books since T&M started publishing them. The print book of The Trigger is also set up with Kindle Match, so if you buy the print book now, you’ll get the ebook free. You can buy an ebook on launch day for $.99 and gift it to someone.

And what is The Trigger? It’s the first novel in a new series featuring Agent Dallas. I introduced her in Crimes of Memory, and readers say she stole the show. She certainly stole my heart. I had so much fun writing her role as an undercover specialist that I knew she needed her own series.

You can check out the book and contest here. (Early readers have given the story 5 stars.)

Again, thank you to everyone who’s read my work and posted reviews. And if you like The Trigger, post one more for me. I’m going indie with this series, so I need all the help I can get.

Happy New Year!

Highlights From Left Coast Crime

I’m just back from Left Coast Crime, which was in Sacramento this year. It was a terrific conference with guests of honor such as John Lescroart, whom I was lucky enough to meet when I moderated a panel about Writing the Criminal Mind. (William Kent Krueger, Rick Reed, and Denise Hamilton were also panelists.) Rick Reed told harrowing stories about encounters with criminals, including a serial killer, and John Lescroart expanded on his belief that the best way to reveal the criminal mind is through dialogue.

I also participated as a panelist for the subject: Writing Is a Real Job. Simon Wood, a top-ranked Amazon author, moderated. The panel included a ghost writer, an author who also runs a small publishing company, and a screenwriter/novelist—giving the audience a wide view of how various writers make a living.

One of the most interesting panels I attended discussed the new age of movie-making, and how inexpensive and easy it is now to create a high-production-value film, then expose it to potentially millions of viewers through You Tube.

Then there was the Men of Mystery panel, in which we heard from more than a dozen authors, many of them quite humorous. The moderators also entertained us with video clips—writers heads digitally imposed on dancers of all types, including Chippendales. Hysterical! Wish I had a good photo of it.

And I had a blast hanging out with other CFC bloggers, Gayle Carline and Marlyn Beebe (who read and reviewed many of the award-nominated books). As well as good friends Teresa Burrell, Terry Shames, Susan Shea, Terry Odell, Simon Wood—and I could go on and on. The best thing about these conferences is the opportunity to talk shop with others who love this business as much as I do.

Conferences Are in Flux Too

Left Coast Crime in Santa Fe was great this year. I got to meet in person people I’ve come to know and like online: Peg Brantley, Jodie Renner, Marlyn Beebe, and more. I participated in two panels, Research: Getting It Right, and Publishing: Today and in the Future.

Both were well attended, and I got terrific feedback from the audience. Read more

Making Connections

Just have to say that lately I’m having a blast. Much of it has to do with my newspaper job. In the last few months, I’ve interviewed cartoonist Jan Eliot, a professor of film studies who discussed great women movie characters (blog coming soon!), a 77-year-old woman doing standup with a very naughty routine, and a female weightlifting champion, to name a few. As a novelist, I’ve been privileged to interview a SWAT team Read more

Who Is an Author?

The big discussion at Dorothly L this week is about the author rule for conventions, particularly Bouchercon, which had lax rules. Left Coast Crime in Denver this year apparently had a stricter rule, and as a result, some authors were offended and did not attend.

Boiled down, The Rule (as it is known) is that if an author participates financially in the production or editing of his/her own work, then that person is excluded as an author. It seems that the purpose of the rule is to keep self-published authors from wearing a badge that says “author” and from participating on panels. Exceptions are made for authors who have been short-listed for awards or won awards.

Which brings up the first interesting point. If self-published authors are sometimes nominated for (and occasionally win) awards, then clearly there are great books that are sometimes rejected by major publishers. Because most self-published books aren’t even allowed to compete for awards, we don’t really know how many great self-published books are out there. Supporters of the rule would say, “But we’re trying to keep the crap out.” And everyone knows there is a LOT of self-published crap. But what about traditionally published substandard novels? How do you keep them out? Shouldn’t novels be judged by their content, instead of their publisher?

One idea is to have two or three participants read each author’s latest work and decide if it is worthy, regardless of publication method. I started to write “but that’s not realistic” then thought “why not?” You could require every author who wants to attend the conference to read one or two selections from other authors and to provide an anonymous evaluation (or a simple yes/no)—and also to submit their own work to the process. What could be fairer? (This was the basis for Project Greenlight in the film industry.)

The second gray area is the concept of “financially participating in the production and editing” of the novel. Don’t most authors pay to have their work evaluated and/or edited before they even send it to an agent or publisher? (I certainly do!) And what about marketing? I think it’s safe to say that all publishers want their authors to participate financially in the marketing of their novels. Why is it okay for authors to spend thousands of dollars on travel, bookmarks, and mailing free copies to book clubs, but if they spend their own money to hire a graphic designer to produce a better cover than what their publisher has in mind, then suddenly they are not a real author?

I commend Bouchercon for keeping participation open, and I understand the concerns of those who think the rule is necessary. I also think there is room for a better way to determine who is labeled an author at conventions and who is not. What you do think?

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LATEST REVIEWS

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The characters were compelling, the procedural work was dead-on, and the story was enthralling. Definitely recommended.”
~Michelle Gagnon, author of Boneyard
The author expertly intertwines multiple story lines, presents readers with fully realized characters that readers will feel they know, and keeps the action and suspense levels high. That’s a lot to expect from an author but L. J. Sellers delivers.” ~OverMyDeadBody
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