Monday, September 28, 2009

A Starred Review for Winter of Secrets

Vicki here, eager to share some good news. Publishers’ Weekly gave Winter of Secrets a starred review! Winter of Secrets will be released on November 1st by Poisoned Pen Press, and is the third in the Constable Molly Smith series.

My thoughts lately tie right in with our conversation about using technology. In preparation for the forthcoming Poisoned Pen Virtual Conference, I’ve been fiddling around with Blog Talk Radio and LiveStream. For Valley of the Lost, my previous Constable Molly Smith book, Charles and his pal Shad produced a fabulous trailer. I debated how cost effective the trailer was and decided, for a few reasons, not to go with that idea again. So I made a video of myself talking about Winter of Secrets, a brief introduction to the story. It’s really amateurish, and nothing to brag about, but it was cheap (total cost: $0), and now that I know how to do it, easy to do again. I kept it as short as I could and it comes in at about one minute long. Here’s the link:

Now, I am very computer friendly (after a career as programmer/LAN administrator/systems integrator/systems analyst) and I have the time. It took me a lot of time to figure out LiveStream and how to get the video up to You Tube. I spent a solid day recording the piece. Because I can’t edit it, I had to keep trying until I got it right in one go. I forgot what I wanted to say, my tongue tied up, a fly flew around my head, I tried with my reading glasses on, and then off, and then on again. I moved to one side so the picture in the background isn’t cut in half. And on and on it went.

My question is: how much time spent on all this stuff is too much? Homemade videos, Facebook, Twitter, I’m on them. So? I have a wide group of Facebook friends; do I read everything they all write? If I did, how much time would that take? And if I don’t, why should I assume they read everything I post.

Some technology is useful, I’ll grant. The listserv DorothyL is a great group to introduce mystery-loving members to new books and new authors. I love both this blog and my own blog, called Klondike and Trafalgar, where I write about the writer’s life. I love guest blogging, and our guest bloggers. But I worry that we writers are now expected to spend even more time on promoting (not to mention the money if you want to have things like a trailer) and the actual business of writing is becoming an afterthought.

This is different than the traditional book tour, when once a year an author would head off on the road to visit bookstore and promote the new book. The other eleven months of the year, he or she would sit down and write the next book.

It’s now becoming all promotion, all the time, and I for one, don’t want to do it.

P.S. The Poisoned Pen virtual conference is a full day conference organized almost exactly like a regular conference, except all on line. There will be panels, readings, discussions. The date is Saturday October, 24. Check it out at


John Corrigan said...

Congrats on your review!!!!!!!!!!!!

Charles benoit said...

Starred review? No surprise, your books are great. I've ALWAYS given them stars (and no, not because I have a crush on Molly...)