Famous mystery authors at Bouchercon and me. When Bouchercon, the largest mystery fan convention in the world came to Long Beach, CA, I got a pic with a couple two famous mystery authors. Plus, I’m honored to say, both fellow Brit Simon Wood and Jeffery Deaver provided wonderful cover blurbs for my 2016 book, Outside the Lines.

And that’s not all. Mr. Deaver told me he used my book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis as a reference for The Devil’s Teardrop. Why? The book features a forensic document examiner like Claudia Rose and me. Pretty cool, no?

Several of his books have been made it popular movies, including The Bone Collector with Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. I just hope some of that talent, hard work and good luck rubs off on me!

Here’s what these two famous mystery authors said about my book:

“Utterly compelling! “Outside the Lines” joins the ranks of those rare thrillers that expertly blend nonstop plotting with keen perceptions of the characters—good and bad—who populate this wonderful tale.” Jeffery Deaver

Simon Wood, author of “The One That Got Away” wrote,

“An expert witness makes for expert storytelling in “Outside the Lines.” 

Going to mystery writer conferences and appearing on panels is one good way for a mystery author to get visibility. Especially at Boucheron, where there are usually over 1000 attending, it’s great exposure. I’m a little more comfortable at Left Coast Crime, where there are about half that number. Besides, I’m more of a house cat, more likely to attend when it’s on this side of the country.

My 2016 book, Outside the Lines called for a book launch party. I held the event in the clubhouse where I live. Since half the book takes place in my home country, England, we had a Brit-themed book launch party for around sixty people.

See Suzanne Sweets‘ gorgeous dessert display below. Those morsels were as delicious as they look. The table of British foods came from Rosie Lee British Imports in Ventura. The board had pictures of scenes from the book. Prizes, great food, lots of fun.

Launch Parties

Book launch parties are great fun because it’s a chance to give back to the readers who support me. When Poison Pen came out, I held the first launch party in the patio of a haunted hotel. Unfortunately, the owner and I had a misunderstanding about what he would provide (almost nothing) and what he would charge for it (a lot!). I learned from that mistake. From there, I went big and had a party or two at the Wedgewood Banquet Center with Written in Blood and Dead Write. More fun, food, and prizes.

The next couple of launch parties were held at the home of Martha Jaffe, my wonderful travel planner, in the Ventura Keys. She shopped for finger foods with me, cooked for me, and made everything perfect. What could be better than hanging out on a deck in the Keys in August with fifty of your good friends and readers?

Last year, 2017, when Written Off was released, I decided to host the launch party at Mimi’s Cafe in Ventura. Fellow author, James F. Gray, co-hosted and helped foot the bill. No wonder he’s one of my favorites! We had around 70 guests. It went so well, I think we’ll do it again when Proof of Life comes out in 2019.

My 2015 author events included appearances at more than 30 events! A tour de force.

My philosophy is: Writing books is hard and getting them published is harder. But the hardest part of all is getting them into the public eye. Ways to do that is to give talks, appear at book signings, and meet our readers. Like me, many writers are introverts who are not always comfortable doing this. though I’m one of the introverts, I’m lucky to have begun public speaking at the age of 11, so I don’t mind addressing large groups.

My 2015 author events included speaking at several chapter meetings of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation and signing books at the L.A. Times Festival of Books. The authors, all sold their (our) own books at the Camarillo Writer’s Club, where the audience was large and varied.

More events

One event was spontaneous when a speaker couldn’t make it to the Ventura County Professional Women’s Network. I was asked to fill in, which I happily did. I served on the board of directors of VCPWN from 2004-2018, as president for two years, and also in several other positions. It remains a favorite organization.

At the Center for Spiritual Living in Camarillo I spoke about graphotherapy and how to work through blocks to success with handwriting exercises. Graphotherapy is something Claudia Rose taught Annabelle Giordano when they met in Written in Blood.

Then, there was the Camarillo Newcomer’s Club, and the release of Outside the Lines, which I talk about in another blog post.

My lovely author friends

I’m blessed with such good friends to share the spotlight at these events. As part of my 2015 author events, I often co-hosted with Lena Rivkin when speaking to handwriting analysts. Lena is the Vice-President of the SoCal chapter of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation. Whether we are at writing groups or libraries, it’s always fun to chat with other authors and hear their experiences. And the best thing is to meet the readers who support us.