Book Excerpt from Blogging Is Murder

Hello readers!

Today the lovely Gilian Baker has a treat for us. She’s got a brand new book coming out, Blogging Is Murder, and she’s sharing an excerpt with us, as well as some behind the scenes thoughts about why she wrote this book and the very current and present issues about online privacy and security that concern us all.

Take it away, Gilian!

******

The first book in the Jade Blackwell Mysteries series, Blogging is Murder, came about as a catharsis for the frustrations of trying to make a living from my first blog. The issues that arise are ones that every blogger deals with. And cyber-theft is a blogger’s biggest nightmare.

In the scene I’ve chosen to share, Jade, our protagonist, learns that her friend and fellow blogger, Liz Collins, has been hacked, and more besides. The hacker has taken over Liz’s blog and her social media profiles. The situation has now escalated and Liz is at her wit’s end. Jade meets her friend at the little tea shop in Aspen Falls, Wyoming, Tea & Sympathy, to offer comfort…and to satisfy her curiosity.

“Well, last night we decided to bring the sheriff in because the hacker—Connie is her name, by the way—showed up on our doorstep.” Liz took a gigantic breath once she’d gotten the words out.

“What?”

“Yeah, that’s why we’re so freaked out. But we didn’t want to make a scene in front of the kids, so we decided to go to the sheriff station today to see what he recommended.”

“So, what did he say?”

“First, we made an official complaint. I have to print out all the correspondence from my hosting and social media companies, so there’s proof in our file. Oh, my gosh, Jade. I have a file at the sheriff’s office.” She dropped her head into her hands as I grabbed for her tea cup before she tipped it over.

Reaching over the table, I patted her arm, making the usual comforting noises while she cried. Why would someone decide to invade her life like this? Why would someone go to the trouble of hacking to add to a blog and social media profiles? Were mine safe? I needed to take immediate action when I got home.

I stopped patting. “Wait a minute. This Connie woman showed up on your doorstep last night. How on earth did she find out where you lived?”

Liz’s red face looked up, her eyes peeking at me through her eyelashes. “My physical address is still on my accounts. You know that legally you have to have an address listed on the emails you send to your subscribers.”

I nodded, with a sinking feeling of what was coming next.

“I meant to get a P.O. Box, Jade, but it always got pushed back on the priority list. I mean, with all the other stuff you have to do as a blogger, it just didn’t seem that important, even though I’d read other peoples’ stories about similar situations. I guess in the back of my mind I just didn’t believe anyone would do it to me.”

She paused to blow her nose loud enough to make several patrons turn and look. “I’m not some huge celebrity, although the blog is gaining popularity.”

“Oh, Liz. Don’t blame yourself. I’ve been doing exactly the same thing. In fact, we’ve all heard those stories. But in every case, those savvy online entrepreneurs didn’t take action until someone came to their houses either.” I made a mental note to hit the post office PDQ to get the P.O. Box I’d been procrastinating.

*Note from Gilian:
Per FCC regulations, bloggers are required to include an address on all correspondence they send to people who sign up for their newsletters. Even though it’s recommended to use a P.O. Box as this address, it’s not uncommon for bloggers to use their physical address. The idea to add this to the story occurred when I read a post from a blogging personality who described a night when a fan showed up at her house asking for advice.

“Part of me knows that, but I keep thinking about the kids. I should have been protecting my family, Jade. But something else always seemed more urgent.”

“I know.” I patted her arm again. “What else did the sheriff suggest?”

“We started the process to get a restraining order against her so if she shows up again, they can do something. The cyber-crime stuff is less cut and dried.”

“Well, you know I’ll do whatever I can to help. Just give me a call.”

Liz blew her nose again, this time with barely a sound, and gave me a more genuine smile. “I know, Jade. I feel better just talking about it.” She looked at her watch and sniffed. “Oh, man. I’ve gotta get going. School lets out soon.” She looked up at me with wet, hazel eyes. “Thanks so much for dropping everything to meet me, Jade. I know you must have a hundred other things on your plate today.”

“Don’t be silly, Liz. Family and friends always come first.” As the words came out of my mouth, my mind went to my huge to-do list that had just gotten longer… now I needed to add “keep people from hacking my life” to it.

*******

One of the reasons I decided to include the cyber-security angle as part of the plot in the book was because of the pervasiveness of the problem. The average person now uses the Internet to shop, bank and file their taxes. What must it be like to also have to worry about someone hacking into your blog—the way you make a living? How can bloggers protect the personal information of the fans who buy their products and services? How difficult is it to get into someone’s Facebook account and post as that person?

Does the hacker go free? Is Liz able to save her livelihood? Who get murdered and why? The answer to these questions are answered in Blogging is Murder, now available for pre-order.

Gilian Baker is a former writing and literature professor who finally threw in the towel and decided to just show ‘em how it’s done. She has gone on to forge a life outside of academia by adding blogger & ghostwriter to her CV. She currently uses her geeky superpowers only for good to entertain cozy mystery readers the world over. When she’s not plotting murder, you can find her puttering in her vegetable garden, knitting in front of the fire, snuggled up with her husband watching British mysteries or discussing literary theory with her daughter.

In her next life, she fervently hopes to come back as a cat, though she understands that would be going down the karmic ladder. She lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her family and their three pampered felines.

Connect with Gilian on her website or on Twitter @GilianBaker

Find Blogging Is Murder on Amazon.
Watch the book trailer.

Book Club Visit

img_0835I had a great time earlier this week visiting the King Albert Street book club in Coquitlam, BC.

The ladies in the club had read Horse With No Name and then asked me to join the group and answer questions. We talked about character motivations, history of the North Okanagan, transgendered cowboys, and lots more.

They even fed me cheese, which makes them my best friends for life. 😉

Historical Chicago and Characters Who Insist on Being Seen with Tracy Tonkinson

Podcast episode 31Tracy Tonkinson is a fellow Canadian author who has a deep love for history. In this interview she explains what drew her to write about late 19th century Chicago. We also discuss her character Drew McMillan, who made himself known to Tracy, and had such an effect on her, that she’s now writing a second mystery series featuring this Pinkerton agent.

In the introduction I mention that podcast guest Cassidy Salem will have the next book in her Adina Donati series available next week. You can learn more about Dying for Data here.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Tracy, and all her books on her website DiamondAndDoranMysteries.com. You can also find her on Facebook.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcription of Interview with Tracy Tonkinson

Alexandra: Hi, Mystery readers. I’m Alexandra Amor, this is It’s a Mystery podcast and I’m here today with Tracy Tonkinson. Hi, Tracy.

Tracy: Hi, Alexandra, how are you?

Alexandra: Very well, how are you?

Tracy: Good, thank you.

Alexandra: Good, excellent, so let me introduce you to our listeners.

TracyTTracy Tonkinson is the author of “Madman” and of “Poison,” the first two books in her “Diamond And Doran Mystery Series,” which follow rookie cop Arthur Diamond and the veteran sergeant Billy Doran as they clean up 19th century Chicago.

Also out soon is “Argent,” which is the first book in the “Drew McMillan Case Files” series and this one follows the early career of Pinkerton agent, Drew McMillan.

Let’s begin talking about Diamond and Doran.

Let’s start by talking about Sergeant Billy Doran. Tell us a bit about him. He’s an Irish Catholic living in Chicago.

Keep reading →

Lesbian Mysteries, Dangerous Settings, and Pond Frogs with Cari Hunter

Podcast episode 30Big congratulations go out to my guest on this episode Cari Hunter, who, a few days after we recorded this won the Best Mystery / Thriller award at the 2016 Golden Crown Literary Society awards (also known as a Goldie).

Cari is a full-time paramedic and part-time writer. As she mentions during the interview, her work informs her writing in a number of areas, including giving her a keen ear for dialogue, and an enjoyment for writing it.

In the introduction I mention that podcast guest Janel Gradowski has a new book out in her Culinary Competition Mystery Series called Banana Muffins and Mayhem. You can learn more at Janel’s site here.

And I also mention the mystery I’m reading at the moment; the third book in Paul Doiron’s series set in the Maine Wilderness. The book is called Bad Little Falls and I adore the sense of place and the deep character development that Paul brings to his books.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Cari, and all her books on her website CariHunter.wordpress.com.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcription of Interview with Cari Hunter

Alexandra: Hello, mystery readers. I am Alexandra Amor and this is “It’s a Mystery” podcast. I am here today with Cari Hunter. Hi, Cari.

Cari: Hello.

Alexandra: How are you today?

Cari: I am absolutely fine, and the sun is shining for once which makes a change for this part of the world.

Alexandra: That’s great. Yeah, we’ve got gray skies and rain here in the middle of July.

Cari: It’s been like that, so it’s a rare occasion when the sun actually peaks through.

Alexandra: Nice. Well, let me introduce you to our listeners.

CariHunterCari Hunter lives in the northwest of England with her wife, two cats and a pond full of frogs. (I’m going to have to ask you about the frogs later.) She works full-time as a paramedic and dreams up stories in her spare time. Cari is the author of six novels and currently in the middle of writing a new crime series based in the Peak District.

The first in the series, “No Good Reason”, won best lesbian thriller at the 2015 Rainbow Award, and its sequel, “Cold to the Touch”, was published in December. A third book, “A Quiet Death”, is due for publication next year in January 2017.

Let’s start by talking about the Peak District. That’s something I’m fascinated by. I love a strong sense of setting in a mystery novel, and I really try to incorporate that in my books.

You live in the Peak District is that correct?

Keep reading →

Writing Thrillers on Trains, Visual Story Ideas, and Kidnapping Plots with Rachel Amphlett

Podcast episode 28Thriller author Rachel Amphlett grew up reading thrillers. She mentions both Dick Francis (perhaps my all-time favorite mystery author) and Enid Blyton in our chat; those were two authors who introduced me to the world of mysteries as a young person as well.

I asked Rachel about writing in a genre that is predominantly occupied by men, but like JF Penn, she doesn’t let that phase or stop her. Her Dan Taylor series concerns a former British soldier struggling with PTSD, as well as an injury received during a run-in with an IED.

You can find out more about Rachel and all her books on her website RachelAmphlett.com. And as with so many of my guests, Rachel has a book – and two book extracts – available for free. You can find that on her website.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Rachel Amphlett

Alexandra: Hi, mystery readers, I’m Alexandra Amor. This is “It’s a Mystery” podcast and I’m here today with Rachel Amphlett. Hi, Rachel.

Rachel: Hi.

Alexandra: How are you?

Rachel: Good, thanks, and thanks for having me on the show.

Alexandra: Oh, you’re so welcome. It’s great to have you here. Let me introduce you to our listeners.

RachelAmphlettBefore moving to Australia in 2005, Rachel Amphlett lived in the UK and helped run a pub, played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a subeditor and editorial assistant. Her thrillers appeal to a worldwide audience and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Michael Crichton, and Clive Cussler.

Thank you so much for being here with me today, Rachel. The thing that I found so intriguing about your books, or one of the things, is that you’re a woman writing in a man’s world. We mentioned J.F. Penn just before we started recording and the conspiracy theory-thriller genre really is dominated by men.

Can you talk a little bit about that? What drew you to this genre?

Keep reading →

London Detectives, Psychometry and Crime Thrillers with Bestselling Author J.F. Penn

Podcast episode 23What makes us human? I think that’s the essence of so much of JF (Joanna) Penn’s writing.

In this wide-ranging and fascinating interview I talk to this bestselling author about the elements of her crime fiction that explore issues like why we are disturbed by human bodies once the person who inhabited that body is no longer there. Joanna loves research and travel, and has written fiction that spans the globe, including a recent dark fantasy novel, Risen Gods, set against the backdrop of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Today we primarily discuss her London Detective trilogy, featuring Detective Sergeant Jamie Brooke and reluctant psychic Blake Daniel. I think you’ll really enjoy hearing Joanna share what inspires her fiction, and where her curiosity and fascination with history might lead her next.

You can find out more about J.F. Penn and her books on her website JFPenn.com. She’s also on Twitter and Facebook.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with J.F. Penn

Alexandra: Hello mystery readers, I’m Alexandra Amor and this is It’s a Mystery Podcast. I’m here today with J.F. Penn. Hi, Joanna.

Joanna: Hi, Alexandra. Thanks for having me on this show.

Alexandra: Oh, you’re so welcome. It’s so great to have you here. So for the uninitiated, I’ll just tell them a little bit about you.

jpenngrinJ. F. Penn is the New York Times and USA today bestselling author of thrillers with a supernatural edge
. Oxford educated, British-born J.F. Penn has traveled the world in her study of religion and psychology. She brings these obsessions, as well as a love for thrillers and an interest in the supernatural, to her writing. Her fast-paced ARKANE thrillers weave together historical artifacts, global locations, a kickass, protagonist, and a hint of the supernatural. The London Psychic series, which is what we’re going to talk about today, features British detective Jamie Brooke alongside psychic researcher Blake Daniel as they solve dark crimes around London.

We’re going to talk mostly about the London Psychic series today. I’m a big fan of police procedurals, and so these were the books of yours that I wanted to read the most. I finished “Desecration” a week or so ago.

Tell us a little bit about Jamie Brooke. You know, it was kind of heartbreaking to read Jamie’s story, and I was curious about what drew you to her.

Desecration-Cover-EBOOK-LARGE-360x570Joanna: It’s funny. I wanted to write a straight crime novel. That was what I went into this, because my ARKANE series is kind of action adventure.

I moved to London when I started writing this, I’ve moved from Australia. I was back to London after I think it was 11 years. And I wanted to do something in London, so that was kind of the first thing. I wanted to write a crime novel.

Keep reading →

Comic Noir and Advice from Sue Grafton with Renee Pawlish

Introduction

Podcast episode 22Author Renee Pawlish (and our very special guest Harley the cat) and I have a great chat today about her comic noir detective series, her new mystery series featuring a hard-boiled detective in the WW II era and much more.

Renee is a prolific author and a huge fan of the mystery genre. She’s been reading mysteries her whole life and it shows in the thoughtful way she’s created the detective for her longest running series, the Reed Ferguson Mysteries. Reed is a smart aleck, as Renee describes him, who is different than many other traditional noir detectives; he’s not a recovering alcoholic and he has a loving wife and family. Renee and I discuss Reed’s connection to other noir detectives like Robert B. Parker’s Spenser, Columbo, Jim Rockford and more.

I forgot to ask Renee about the ‘punny’ titles to some of her books. You can see some of those shown below, like The Postman Always Brings Dice and The Maltese Felon. I love an author with a sense of humour!!

Mystery fans will be thrilled to know
that Renee has started a page on her website aimed and offering readers mystery novels each month at a bargain price. Each month she features new mystery novels that are either free or on special for $0.99. You can check out this month’s deals here.

You can find out more about Renee and her books on her website ReneePawlish.com. She’s also on Twitter and Facebook.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Renee

Alexandra: Hi, mystery readers. I’m Alexandra Amor. This is It’s A Mystery podcast, and I’m here today with Renee Pawlish. Hi, Renee.

Renee: Hi, how are you?

Alexandra: Very well, how are you?

Renee: Doing just great.

Alexandra: Good, and I should say we’re here with Renee and Harley, who’s there in the background.

Renee: That’s right, yeah, yeah.

Alexandra: That’s fantastic. I just want to explain to everybody that I have a bit of a cold, so I have a cold lozenge in my mouth. If I sound a little weird, that’s what’s going on there. Let me introduce our listeners to you.

ReneePawlishRenee Pawlish is the award-winning author of the best-selling “Reed Ferguson Mystery” series and other mysteries and stories. Critics have said that Renee is a promising new voice in the comic murder mystery genre and a powerful storyteller. Her book, and I might mispronounce this, “Nephilim Genesis of Evil”, is that right?

Renee: It’s Nephilim.

Alexandra: Nephilim, “Nephilim Genesis of Evil” has been compared to Stephen King and Frank Peretti. Renee was born in California but has lived most of her life in Colorado. So I’m really excited to have you here today, Renee, to talk about your “Reed Ferguson Mysteries”.

Renee: Yeah.

Alexandra: The thing that really attracted them to me is they’re in that sort of comic noir genre, and I’m a huge Robert B. Parker fan. He’s not with us any longer, of course.

I wondered was there a particular author like Raymond Chandler or somebody who inspired you?

This-Doesnt-Happen-In-The-Movies-new-450x643Renee: Yeah, kind of a lot of the classic authors. I actually wrote the first book in the series, “This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies”, gosh like 14 years ago. I was influenced by Sue Grafton. I’ve met her a number of times back when she was just getting going and another one was a local author here named, John Dunning who wrote the “Booked To Die”, the “Bookman’s Series” I guess they call it. And I was trying to come up with a detective that was a little bit funny, a little bit of a smart ass, and Reed was sort of born out of that.

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Police Procedurals, Profilers and Private Investigators with A.D. Davies

Introduction

Podcast episode 15Author A.D. (Antony) Davies is clearly a man who likes to explore characters and their motivation. He had three different types of mystery novels available and we talk about them all today: A police procedural series with a female serial killer profiler as the main character; a wealthy private investigator; and a stand-alone mystery involving a cult in Nevada and a cop with a deep faith.

You can find out more about A.D. and his books at ADDAvies.com.
He’s also on Twitter.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also watch the interview on YouTube, if you prefer.

Transcript of Interview with A.D. Davies

Alexandra: Hi, mystery readers. I’m Alexandra Amor, this is It’s A Mystery podcast and I’m here today with A.D. Davies. Hi, Antony.

Antony: Hello.

Alexandra: How are you?

Antony: I’m good, thank you.

Alexandra: On a Sunday afternoon in…I forget where you live.

Antony: Staffordshire in the United Kingdom.

Alexandra: Staffordshire. Yeah, I knew the U.K. I chad West Yorkshire in my head but that’s where you were raised.

Antony: That’s right. Yeah. That’s where I’m from originally and it seems to be where I’ve put a few of my books.

Alexandra: All right. Well, I have a ton of questions because you’ve got three different series, sort of, that I want to ask you about. So let me introduce you to our listeners.

AD DaviesA.D. Davies grew up in Leeds, West Yorkshire. In high school his ambition was to be a writer of horror novels although in adult life he became an avid fan of crime fiction. After a long stint in an unsatisfying job, and we’ve all had those, he attended the University of Leeds where he attained a degree in creative writing. Shortly after graduation he moved to the midlands to marry the love of his life. A.D. Davies is well-traveled, his favorite destinations being New Zealand and Vietnam which have influenced his writing immensely.

For now, however, globetrotting is taking a back seat to raising his two children and writing. Although he hopes one day to combine all three.

Let’s start maybe talking about this stand-alone mystery novel and then maybe we can talk about the two series that you have.

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Rhode Island Cozy Mysteries with Amy Saunders

Rhode Island Cozy Mysteries with Amy Saunders

Coastal Rhode Island forms the setting for a series of cosy mysteries by author Amy Saunders. Amy’s readers describe her characters as ‘a joy to meet’ and her books as fun and exciting.

Sit back, relax and let’s get to know the Belinda and Bennett stories a little better.

Podcast episode 2

You can find Amy at AmySaundersAuthor.com.
And on Twitter @Amy_Saunders
And on Facebook.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Amy Saunders

Alexandra: Hello everyone I’m Alexandra Amor, and I’m here today with Amy Saunders. Hi Amy.

Amy: Hello.

Alexandra: So just by way of quick introduction, Amy Saunders is the author of the Belinda and Bennett mysteries, which is a cozy mystery series set in the fictional coastal town of Portside, Rhode Island. Since 2010 she’s also published three stand-alone mystery novels, and recently launched the first book in a new young adult series. Her love of mysteries started as a teen and finally led her to pursue novel writing.

Keep reading →