Flora is going on tour for the next fortnight, popping into book blogs all over the US and beyond! Once again my thanks go out to Lori Caswell from Great Escapes Book Tours for organising all of this. This time there are 14 stops on the tour, with a fantastic mix of content for readers old and new.
Check out the tour schedule below and come along for the ride! There are some fab interviews and guest posts to read, along with reviews and excerpts, and did I mention that you could win a $10 Amazon voucher along the way? It has to go to someone, and it might be you. You get a number of chances to win during every stop on the tour – entering the Rafflecopter is super-easy. And you can start right away by visiting A Blue Million Books where I’m answering some very interesting questions about my writing life …
Wow, what a weekend! The book signing event in Whitchurch was a fantastic success, with a real buzz going and readers actually queuing up to get their books signed! Most people bought a copy of each of the Flora Lively mysteries, and the new cover for book one looked awesome in paperback – check out one very proud author on her way out the door to go to the signing …
Dinah Anderson from BookShrop had set the signing table up beautifully – she always goes to so much trouble for her authors, it’s no wonder the events are successful. Many readers had heard about the event from the local papers – coverage was great, check this out …
So, here I am signing books, chatting to readers and generally looking very happy 🙂
Special thanks to Lynsey for the flowers, and to Emma, above, for travelling all the way from Bedfordshire to get her copy of A Date With Death!
All-in-all a great success, and every time I do a signing event more people show up, which is lovely. My husband and I were trying to work out how much it would cost to pay 20 or 30 people to queue up outside the bookshop, with the idea that other people tend to just join queues even if they don’t know what they’re queuing for! We decided it would cost way too much 😉 – but that hopefully one day that wish might be a reality. You never know.
If you couldn’t make it and you’d like to enter a competition to Win a signed copy of A Date With Death, along with lots of other goodies, just pop over to my Facebook Page and enter the competition there.
Meanwhile, Murder at the Maples continues to do well in the US and UK charts, so thanks again to everyone who downloaded a copy during the recent BookBub promotion. I’m totally fired up to get on with book 3 – The Sign of Seven. Can’t wait to get that cover up there with the others!
It’s Independent Bookshops Week – and I’ve probably got even more reason to be excited than most! But first I want to talk about why you should make an effort to buy local. (Prepare yourselves – it’s a bit of a rant!)
Local bookshops are wonderful places. No matter how hard Amazon try, with their ‘customers also bought’ lists and recommended titles, nothing can compete with being able to walk into a bookshop and ask for help. On Friday evening just before 5pm I dashed into BookShrop and panted: “What book would my dad like for Father’s Day?” Dinah, who owns BookShrop, doesn’t know the first thing about my dad, but somehow she managed to produce the perfect book for him in less than three minutes and after asking only two questions. And, true enough, when I gave my dad his present he loved it! I’d also phoned up in the week to order a book for my daughter to give to Jez as her Father’s Day gift, and Dinah stocks a lovely selection of cards and other gifts alongside the books – as do many independent bookshops.
This week is an opportunity to think about the people who own and run businesses on our high streets, and to try and imagine our towns and cities without these independent shops. Do you really want everything to be moved online or to big out of town retailers? Really? Think about it for a minute. It’s not just about convenience. It’s not only about saving a few pence, or finding a parking space. Those kinds of concerns are momentary and, actually, fairly selfish. This is about community. About the people who are at the heart of a community, about hubs and places where people can connect and speak to each other face-to-face. It’s about thinking for a moment about the kinds of people who set up and run a local business – not just bookshops, but other kinds of businesses too. They have families to support, bills to pay, and often run on margins that would make you wince. They chose to set up a local business because they love their local community (that means YOU) and because they have a dream. It’s up to all of us to take care of our high streets, because without a vibrant high street filled with real, independent retailers and businesses, a town loses its heart.
Need more convincing to shop local? Okay, here goes:
Convenience: your local independent bookshop can take orders over the phone or online too, and will often post a book directly out to you. So there!
Cost: you think local shops are more expensive, but are they really? Have you checked recently? Often our local stores are a lot more competitive than we realise. And remember, it’s often only certain loss-leader items that superstores offer more cheaply, tempting you in so you then spend more on your overall shop.
House prices: here’s an interesting reason to support local businesses – the value of your home. Run-down high streets with tumbleweed blowing past and nothing but charity shops interspersed with ‘To Let’ signs does not make for a desirable place to live!
So, head over to your local independent bookshop this week and show your support. If you don’t know where your local bookshop is, there is a handy tool on the Independent Bookshops Week website to help you find it. And if your response to this post is “I don’t read much anyway so why do I care?” … You don’t even want to get me started on that 🙂
So, now to my own personal reasons for being a little bit in love with my local bookshop. On Saturday, BookShrop in Whitchurch will be launching the paperback of my second Flora Lively book: A Date With Death. This will be my 4th book signing event here, and I’m fully expecting it to be the biggest and best so far. All the ingredients are there for a great turn out: A local indie author launching a book with a local setting during local indie bookshop week. And if you want a copy of A Date With Death but can’t make it to the launch, please order it from your own local bookshop. The ISBN is 9780957309449 and your bookshop can order it from their usual suppliers.
Watch out later this week for my guide for authors who want to get their books stocked by their local bookshop. Insider information and a step-by-step guide – not to be missed!
To celebrate the launch of the second book in my Flora Lively series, I’m offering the first in the series, Murder at the Maples, FREE all this weekend! The sun is shining, what better way to spend the day than sitting in the garden with a glass of wine and a great cozy mystery … (Okay, in the UK we can’t guarantee the sun is going to keep shining, but reading indoors curled up by the fire is almost as much fun.)
This free promotion means, of course, that you can buy both books – Murder at the Maples & A Date With Death for your Kindle for only £1.99/$2.99. Here’s a bit more about the first in the Flora Lively series:
Meet feisty new amateur sleuth Flora Lively in the first of her cozy mystery adventures …
When twenty-nine-year-old Flora Lively loses both of her parents and inherits the family business, she tries hard to make a success of her father’s dream – even at the expense of her own dreams. Burdened with Marshall, her father’s handpicked American manager, Flora finds solace in her friendship with Joy, an elderly client she helped move into the Maples, the local retirement community.
But when strange and dangerous things begin to happen at the Maples, Flora finds herself plunged headfirst into a web of betrayal, intrigue and deceit. Convinced a murderer is preying on helpless residents, Flora is forced to conduct a private murder investigation. But can she solve the puzzle in time, or will the murderer strike again?
I love this series – but then I’m pretty biased! But I do really enjoy writing about Flora, and I’m eager to get going with the new book: ‘The Sign of Seven’. If you enjoy these books and you live in Shropshire or nearby, come and see me at BookShrop, Whitchurch on Saturday 27th June at 11:00 where I’ll be signing copies of A Date With Death and chatting to readers about the series.
In the meantime, please do share news of this offer with your friends and social networks – the more readers Flora meets, the happier I am 🙂