Bookclubs and Readers Rule

I’ve joined a group of bestselling authors on Readers Rule. I love this title and philosophy! I’ve always tried to put readers first, to respond to every reader who contacts me, and to give away as many books as I can. These authors have all sold 100,000 books/ebooks, so they must be doing something right. We’re just getting started and will soon add a regular book giveaway and monthly newsletter. I hope you’ll check out the site. Read more

Tops and Bottoms: 2011

At the end of every year, the people on the 4 Mystery Addicts listserv submit their top 10 and bottom 10 reading lists. What’s fascinating to me is the number of books that make both lists. What one reader loved, someone else found disappointing or couldn’t finish. Reading is such a subjective experience! Beat the Reaper, which I loved, was an even split.

Here’s the combined list for 2010. Read more

Books for 2011

One of my resolutions for 2011 was to read more, so here’s a list of the books I hope to read next year.

Books I have and intend to read first

  • The Advocate’s Betrayal …by Theresa Burell (good friend, good writer)
  • The Pot Thief Who Studied Ptolemy …by Michael Orenduff (I won this!)
  • Case Histories …by Kate Atkinson (I started this and want to finish it.) Read more

Tip: Book Club Discussion Questions

Writing book club discussion questions is something writers put off and sometimes never get around to. But readers like them, so you might as well get it done. I’ve recently written some, and it’s not as tough as it seems. Here are some guidelines to help you get started.

Ambiguity. If your novel leaves anything up in the air as to what really happened, this makes for a great question. Readers love to determine the how and why of ambiguous events. Read more

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About The Sex Club

This morning I participated in my first discussion with a mystery book club, the Rocky Mountain Readers of Colorado Springs. It was great fun, and would only have been better if I could have met these delightful women in person. I’ll recap our discussion of THE SEX CLUB here:

How did you come to write this story?
My stories always reflect issues, events, or cultural changes that are currently on my mind. In this case, there were several. First, years ago there was the news of a large group of middle school students spreading syphilis among themselves and engaging in orgies. This rather shocked me, and I’m not easily shocked. Then our own government starting spending taxpayers’ money to teach abstinence-only sex education. Which seemed like such a bad idea. Then there’s my own personal belief that trying to suppress sex among teenagers (or any group) will almost always backfire. And, in general, I had noticed a rise in violence among teenage girls. I kept thinking about these events/issues and wondering if they were connected or how I could connect them to create a compelling story.

Why did you pick THE SEX CLUB as a title?
This subject has generated more discussion than anything else about the book. As I was writing the story, which I had yet to name, Kera at one point referred to the group of sexually active girls as “the sex club.” And I had one of those moments and thought “That’s it. That the right name.” My husband had doubts, but I didn’t listen to him. (Rarely do.) I admit, the marketer in me thought the name would grab readers’ attention. But as it turns out, some mystery readers are not crazy about the name, and the women in this group said they were embarrassed about asking for the book in the library and bookstore. But they all loved it, anyway.

Who did the orange panties belong to?
I love it when readers pay attention to all the little details and want to know how every piece of the evidence plays into the story. So I’m careful not to leave loose ends. But in reality, that sometimes happens in police work, and some questions are never answered. But I won’t provide an explanation here, because some of you (actually, millions of you) haven’t read the book yet.

Was the mayor telling the truth?
This would be a major spoiler for the uninitiated, and I purposely left this ambiguous in the story so readers could decide for themselves. Cleary, it made no difference in terms of his punitive consequences, and this is often how our judicial system works.

In the next story, do Kera and Jackson get to have sex?
You will simply have to read the next Detective Jackson story, SECRETS TO DIE FOR, to find out. (But keep in mind the name of my last novel.)