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Friday, September 26, 2014

Signing at Barrister's Book Shop, Vermont

Hey all! I just wanted to give a quick heads-up that I'll be at Barrister's Book Shop in South Royalton, Vermont for a signing/meet and greet  on September 26 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm. I hope to see you there! I will confess to be looking forward to walking the hallways of my alma mater, Vermont Law School. I'm sure the dean and my classmates didn't think I'd be returning as a writer of thrillers instead of a distinguished attorney. Ah, well, surprise!

This week has been a fun and frantic one. Lots of fans popping up and introducing themselves via a guest post on Jungle Red Writers blog. My interview with award winning, best selling and all around wonderful person and author Hallie Ephron is here.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Next Up! Jungle Red Writers Blog Guest September 24!

Mark your calendars! I'm super excited to be a guest of Hallie Ephron's this week on her Jungle Red Writers Blog. Hallie is one of seven women mystery and thriller writers who have joined together to share writing tips, dish on life adventures and insights, profile other authors and even a give recipe or two. The other writers are Hank Phillippi Ryan, Rhys Bowen, Julia Spencer Flemming, Lucy Burdette, Deborah Crombie and Susan Elia MacNeal and each is incredible in her own right.

I met Hallie at Ray Daniel's launch of Terminated at the New England Mobile Book Fair. To be right up front about it, I was a little bit tongue-tied. Earlier this year, I had been invited to be a guest on a Boston book interview show, The Literati Scene. (Interview here.) To prepare, I researched past guests and Hallie's name stood out. Nothing like trying to follow a three time Mary Higgins Clark award finalist, best selling author and a collector of rave reviews. Gulp.

So, I extended my hand and blubbered something about needing to up my game to follow in her footsteps. I hoped I didn't blush crimson and sound like a complete fawning idiot. Even if I did, Hallie was warm, gracious and funny. She mentioned her trip to Ireland and the conversation was off and running. Then she asked if I'd be interested in being a guest on her blog. Would I!?! Oh, yeah!

So, Hallie, I hope I do you proud. On Wednesday, September 24, I will be sitting at my computer, fingers poised over the keys, waiting to write some pithy and insightful responses to any comments I receive. Fingers crossed I get some.

(By the way, if you haven't read Hank's intro to Ray on the JRW blog, you should. Hank interviewed Ray as part of his launch, and it was one of the best interviews I have ever heard. She did her homework and asked the right questions to let Ray shine on his big night. Really incredible. The post gives a hint at how good the evening's conversation was.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Book Signing: Newton, Massachusetts

With the event only a few days away, I wanted to remind you to stop by for a visit! 

Please join me on Saturday, September 20 from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. EST  for an author meet and greet. I'll be signing copies of The Charity and will talk about its upcoming sequel, The Troubles.

If you've never been to New England Mobile Book Fair, you need to get off your arse and go! For over 52 years, NEMBF has provided New Englanders with the best book selection and prices. They hold frequent events for readers to meet authors and are sure to have your sought after book in stock or will get it for you ASAP. They are located at 82-84 Needham Street in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts.

See you there!

(If you're in the Vermont area on Friday, September 26, I will be at the Barrister's Book Store at Vermont Law School from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm)

P.S. - You can wish me a Happy Birthday, too!

(The event was super fun! View some pictures here.)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

It's Nice to be Rewarded for Being Yourself

If you've followed me a little bit, you'll know I'm a horse lover without a horse. I grew up riding and training six of my own, and life's zigs haven't zagged back to a place where I can have another...yet. But my love and passion haven't diminished. They've simply taken another form. Certainly my books revolve around the horse world, but in my real life, I get my horse fix by volunteering at a therapeutic riding stable as a horse handler.

There is a special connection between horses and humans that many writers (and riders) have tried to explain. I won't bore you with my reasoning, but the act of caring for and riding a horse can have a profound impact on a person's physical and emotional health. For someone who may be physically challenged or wheelchair bound, the action of riding a horse closely approximates the movement of able-bodied walking thereby strengthening core muscles and improving posture, mobility and comfort. I've worked with women with Down's Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy and have seen them challenged and grow through their connection to a horse. I've watched as women recovering from the ravages of human trafficking rediscover and reclaim their personal power and worth as they command a huge and powerful animal. I've been privileged to witness the dignity bestowed on someone who can, for a few moments inside a riding ring, be independent and autonomous astride a gentle giant.

My role in all of this is very small. I get the horses ready for the clients and either lead or closely monitor the horses while the clients work very hard on a spectrum of skills and challenges. There is a team of trained instructors, sidewalkers, occupational and physical therapists and more orchestrating the training. I take a back seat to the heavy lifting and get to brush, tack and schmooze with the horses to my heart's content. I love it, and the folks at Windrush Farm have done an amazing job of creating a loving, supportive and fun atmosphere for horse, rider and helpers. I know I'm echoing a sentiment of many of Windrush's volunteers when I say that my hours there are the highlight of my week.

Long before I knew of Windrush, I created a character in The Charity with special needs. It really wasn't that big of a stretch to want to donate proceeds of the sale of my book at certain events to them. On a few afternoons this summer, I attended horse trials, Grand Prix events and other shows, set up my table and sold books to benefit scholarship and other programs at Windrush. This was not combat duty. I sat ringside and saw some of the nation's top riders compete and watched some of the most heartfelt homegrown moments unfold. I was in heaven. Horses and books? Just fine by me.

So it was with great surprise that I learned that Windrush tipped their hat to me with the acknowledgement noted above. I was just doing what I love doing. I'm tickled someone noticed, but a little embarrassed, too.

But I guess the motivation to volunteer is a lot like the spark to write. It's not what others give to you that is the reward. It's the act itself that is reward enough.

If you buy a signed copy of my book through the link on blog, mention Windrush and I'll make another donation to them.

Groton Horse Trial signing courtesy of the Equestrian Shop

The Equestrian Shop held a signing for me at Silver Oaks in Halifax

Vermont Summer Fest ringside signing was one highlight of my summer.
Massachusetts Hunter Jumper Finals saw some up and coming talent.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September SinC-Up with Sisters in Crime Bloghop

Blogging is an odd beast. A writer sits alone at a keyboard and writes for no one in particular and everyone at the same time. After enjoying a career in Business Development and Marketing (meaning I connected with lots of folks on a daily basis to impart a targeted message), the solitary aspect of fiction writing and blogging has had its surreal moments. I no longer find it strange to talk out loud to myself, and the hand gestures and facial expressions are part of my new normal. Although, my husband may beg to differ.

So, when the Sisters in Crime suggested a September SinC-Up for its blogging members, I jumped at the chance. All that is required of me is to impart some words of wisdom and introduce you to another author or two. Perfect!

SinC Q: If you were to mentor a new writer, what would you tell her about the writing business? 
CJH: I had to start with the most important question first. It's key that the question asked for a mentor position rather than "one piece of advice" for a new writer. I may have had another professional life, but as a writer I'm the new girl in town. Writing is hard on several levels. It's hard be disciplined to write every day. It's hard to break through writer's block. It's hard to stay true to your voice and be fresh. It's hard to take criticism and grow from it, and not let it squelch you. Then, once a book is out, your work is just beginning. Today's industry requires you to initiate reader contact by putting yourself out there in any number of ways. Being successful is not a sprint, but a well-paced marathon. Where one piece of advice would be to be relentless and not give up on any front, a mentoring position requires identifying the key essence of a new writer's brand and personal goals for writing. Then the fun becomes figuring out the steps to get there, both strategically and efficiently. Blog. Say "yes" to every opportunity and create your own to talk about your work. Network. Listen. Write. Tweet. Speak. Like. Pin. But don't lurk. That's too creepy.

SinC Q: Which authors have inspired you?
CJH: To be a good writer, you have to be a voracious reader. Stieg Larsson, Gillian Flynn, Tom Wolfe, John Grisham and Stephen King are among my favorites. They each carve interesting characters with a unique voice and are masters of their craft. Jodi Piccoult weaves compelling stories. 

SinC Q: If someone said, "Nothing against women writers, but all of my favorite crime fiction authors happen to be men," how would you respond?
CJH: I'd hand them an armload of Dublin Murder Squad books by Tana French and tell them to get lost.

SinC Q: What's the best part of the writing process for you? What's the most challenging?
I LOVE creating characters and worlds. I love figuring out their motivations and quirks, and breeding in fatal flaws. Writing a good thriller is like playing a game of chess with my characters. I love writing to a very smart reader to see if I can be true to them while keeping them guessing and enthralled. The most challenging piece is finding fresh ways to find readers and engage their interest. 

SinC Q: What books are on your nightstand now?

The fun part about a blog hop is to introduce you to other authors. First is Laurie Bain Wilson. Laurie's writing has taken her to the ends of the earth and back as the travel editor for Bridal Magazine and blogger and travel writer for CNN and the Boston Globe. Her blog on The Big Apple is here and Travel Flavors blog is here.

Next up is Dale T. Phillips. Dale is a fellow Sisters in Crime member (yes, even guys can be Sisters). He writes novels and poetry, and his short stories have appeared in Level Best Books Crime Story anthologies. He has a website, and his blog is worthy of a frequent perusal as he is very active with author and book events.