Archive for June, 2008
We are delighted to welcome Jack Getze back to Reviewed by Liz. Jack is hitting the road again to promote his second book, BIG MONEY. We read, loved, and reviewed BIG MONEY and you can read our review here. If you missed the BIG NUMERS World Tour, check out the category on the right of the same name. Jack entertained us with stories from the road as he traveled to exotic destinations, survived wardrobe malfunctions, signed books, and endured a hailstorm of frogs. Yes, frogs. Read it and find out.
With his latest adventure from the road, Here’s Jack!
LOS ANGELES — Celebrities are easy to spot in Southern California if you know what you’re looking for–specifically, handsome people in baseball hats and sunglasses.
“That’s Ted Turner in front of us,” a stranger says to me.
“Hard to tell with that hat,” I say, “but the woman with him is definitely not Jane Fonda.”
“Jane Fonda? Oh, honey, they haven’t been together for ages. Where have you been?”
Good question. Let’s see. I started the year in Florida, studying fiction and doing radio interviews between classes. Then it was Denver, Washington, Pittsburgh, Houston, Dallas, Providence, South Pasadena, Whittier, and finally, Los Angeles, home to Book Expo 2008, where the stranger and I spot Ted Turner on the escalator.
“I’ll bet he’s here promoting his new book,” the stranger says.
“Aren’t we all.”
* * *
“Hey! Have you heard about Mouse Puzzles? It’s the next Sudoku. Come on over, let me show you.”
It’s the guy in the booth next to mine. He’s a math whiz, and not a bad hawker. He came up with an idea for a new puzzle, published game books on his own, and now offers them to each and every passerby.
“Do you ever read mysteries?”
That’s my pitch. Everybody with a booth has one. That’s what Book Expo is–about one-thousand pitchmen behind banners and displays and sample material. Mostly it’s books, but there’s lots of other stuff. Candy, office equipment, library cataloging systems. Everybody’s selling something.
“Do you ever read mysteries?” I say to a middle-aged man.
He approaches. “No, but I know who does. Do you have a public relations program?”
Oops. Seems like not all the pitchmen are behind booths.
* * *
I gave away over 100 books at this year’s Book Expo. Can’t say what good it’ll do me, if any, but last year, Book Expo people took 85 copies of Big Numbers and I developed half a dozen book signings and library appearances from those contacts. I’d like to think I found some new readers, too, people who may have bought Big Money since then.
The way I look at it, mystery writers who make money on their first few books are rare. They may not even exist. The idea is to build readership with each new book in the series, finally reaching mystery stardom after, say, five or six books.
Hey, I can dream, can’t I?
* * *
“Let me ask you something, okay?”
It’s the guy on the other side of me, one of two online publishing partners from Singapore. They don’t have much of a pitch, but they don’t care about selling books either. They say they are in Los Angeles to meet women.
“If the street is named Rodeo Drive, why do people here say ‘row-DAY-o.’”
“I have no clue,” I say. “And I grew up here. I think you probably want to ask the next woman walking by in sunglasses and a baseball hat.”
Check out Jack’s web site at www.jackgetze.com.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com (c)2008
Yes, we are alive! It has been a while since we posted and we apologize for the absence of new material. But sometimes life interferes with blogging…
One of our good friends has written a play and Liz is playing one of the major roles in it. She has the part of a loud, outspoken, and sarcastic woman – it was practically written for her! She is rehearsing four nights a week and hasn’t had the time to write any reviews. But she has been reading and will write them up in the next few weeks as the play wraps up. Right now she is looking for the perfect purse to use onstage. Something that will accommodate a bowling ball and coordinate with all four of the costumes she appears in. You would think this was the search for the Holy Grail.
I do know that she is very excited about the boxes arriving from SOHO Press. Their new Constable line of books is delighting her. She found time to buzz through the new Donna Andrews, and she practically danced when the Neil Plakcy book arrived. It is terrible when she misses her cues while reading backstage during rehearsals.
And Liz is also thinking about her next round of library talks. She did a series of six at local libraries about some less well-known mystery authors this spring and they were very well received. The far-ranging discussions ran so long after her talks that the librarians were practically pushing the groups out the door at closing time. She has been asked to prepare another presentation on Michigan mystery authors for the fall, so if you have some to recommend – or mysteries set in Michigan by out of state authors – be sure to let us know.
We had intended to host another Summer Mystery Reading Challenge until Liz took this role in the play, but we realized that we wouldn’t be able to kick it off in time. I am helping with rehearsals and publicity and Emily is on the stage crew, so we are all living at the theater during these final weeks. We hope that you will adopt the spirit of the challenge on your own and discover some “new to you” mystery authors. This blog and the interaction we have had with both readers and authors on the internet has exposed us to so many new and wonderful books and we hope you have benefited from the experience, too. When the final curtain falls, we will be back with a new round of reviews and we will get everything caught up then. In the meantime, tell us what you have been reading in the last few weeks. There are a bunch of new books coming out this summer – what are you looking forward to? Or are you discovering some classic mysteries for the first time? Leave a comment below so we know what to read next!