Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bestsellers 2008 at Murder on the Beach

Murder on the Beach Bookstore in Delray Beach, Florida, the only mystery bookstore in the state (!) has announced their bestsellers for year 2008.

Once again, Randy Wayne White tops the list. And Elaine Viets appears three times. Murder on the Beach make a concerted effort to support and sell their local mystery authors, and this list proves that.

Bestsellers 2008

Black Widow by Randy Wayne White, Putnam
Hells Bay by James W. Hall, St Martins
Burn Zone by James O. Born, Putnam
Dark of Day by Barbara Parker, Vanguard
Atomic Lobster by Tim Dorsey, Harper Collins
Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly, Little Brown
Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva, Putnam
Night Stalker by James Swain, Balentine
Hot Mahogany by Stuart Woods, Putnam
Unknown Means by Elizabeth Becka, Hyperion
Queens Gambit by Diane Stuckart, Berkley
Dark Tide by Andrew Gross, Harper Collins
Clubbed to Death by Elaine Viets, Obsidian
Legally Dead by Edna Buchanan, Scribner
Law of Second Chances by James Sheehan, St Martins
Hold Tight by Harlan Coben, Putnam
Last Call by James Grippando, Harper Collins
Deadly Silver Sea by Bob Morris, St Martins
Killer Heat by Linda Fairstein, Random House
St Barts Breakdown by Don Bruns, Oceanview

Trade Paper

Key West in Black and White by Tom Corcoran, Ketch & Yawl
The Last Enemy by G Brophy, Soho
A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch, St Martins
Sarahs Key by Tatiana Derosnay, St Martins
In the Woods by Tana French, Berkley

Mass Market

Wreckers Key by Christine Kling, Ballantine
Field of Fire by James O Born, Berkley
Knock Off by Rhonda Pollero, Kensington
Murder with All the Trimmings by Elaine Viets, NAL
Magic City by James W Hall, St Martins
South of Hell by PJ Parrish, Pocket
Murder with Reservations by Elaine Viets, NAL
Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson, Berkley
Trace Evidence by Elizabeth Becka, Hyperion
Getting Old is To Die For by Rita Lakin, Ballantine
Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett, Berkley
Bermuda Schwartz by Bob Morris, St Martins
Midnight Rambler by James Swain, Ballantine
Down River by John Hart, St Martins
State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy, Berkley
Blue Zone by Andrew Gross, Harper Collins
Killer Knots by Nancy Cohen, Kensington
Jamaica Blue by Don Bruns, St Martins
Alibi Man by Tami Hoag, Ballantine
Hunters Moon by Randy Wayne White, Berkley

SleuthFest 2009: Hotel and Meals

I have offered up my blog to Sleuthfest participants and Linda G. Hengerer, co-chair with Neil for this year's SleuthFest and author of Football Basics and A Pocket Full of Wine, offered up this info:

Randy Rawls is Chairing SleuthFest this year, and Neil Plakcy and I are co-chairs. I’m in charge of the pre-conference side of things, including the hotel and meals.

We are once again at the Deerfield Beach Hilton, with a special group rate of $179/night. Becky Swets is the roommate coordinator for anyone looking to share a room, and can be reached at

For the SleuthFest newbie, or anyone who wants to see old friends, we are having the SleuthFest 101 dinner on Thursday night. We’re staying at the hotel, so there’s no need to carpool, rent a car or cab it. Convenience is the key this year.

New: having our own designated bartender Friday and Saturday! Each attendee will receive a drink coupon that can be used either at our special bar area or during the Agents & Editors cocktail party on Saturday night. Attendees from previous years know how crowded the bar can get, especially if there is another big function going on. This should help ease the crush around the main bar.

Also new this year: a spot to grab a quick breakfast-on-the-go. We’ll have the Captain’s Room (across from the dining room) set up with: Whole Fruit- $1.00 per piece; Yogurt Fruit/Granola Parfait- $4.00; Sliced Fresh Fruit - $3.00; Breakfast Croissant Sandwiches - $4.00; Assorted Muffins- $2.50; Bagels with Cream Cheese- $3.00; Boxes of Assorted Cereals with Milk- $2.50; Bottled Water & Sodas, Juices- $3.00.

The Agents & Editors Cocktail Party will be poolside, weather permitting; last year it was beautiful. With a cash bar, hors d’oeuvres in different areas around the pool, and a carving station, there is ample opportunity to meet and mingle.

There’s still plenty of time to sign up and escape the freezing weather up north. Get the details at

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Sleuthfest is a fabulous conference geared towards mystery writers and readers. The Florida chapter of Mystery Writers of America has been putting this conference on for years, and it just keeps getting better and better.

This year it is Feb. 26-March 1st at the Deerfield Beach Hilton in lovely south Florida, where the warm balmy breezes will make you forget all about Old Man Winter for sure. And if you register today, you get the early discount too! If you need more enticement, the Guests of Honor are Brad Meltzer and John Hart! (And I'll be there too.)

Neil Plakcy, who's in charge of programming, sent along some info. I'm hoping that some of the other writers who are attending will share their thoughts about the conference as well.

From Neil...

Sleuthfest Programming

I’m in charge of programming for Sleuthfest, and it has been an interesting challenge. I’m trying to build on what we’ve done before, but also bring to bear my experience having attended dozens of mystery writers’ conferences over the many years since I first began trying to get published.

Last year, Christine Kling ran a workshop in which aspiring authors submitted pages of their works in progress in advance, and she and the rest of the group critiqued them. It was a huge success, so we decided to try that again. Only this time, Elaine Viets, Vicki Hendricks and Lisa Black will be joining Chris in offering critique workshops, as part of our Third Degree Thursday programming.

Keeping our focus on helping writers craft better manuscripts, we’ve got a bunch of great workshops lined up on Friday and Saturday. Vincent O’Neil will examine openings, Martha Powers will look at suspense, S.J. Rozan will discuss characters, and the sister team of P.J. Parrish will help with pacing problems.

All this is in addition to our usual roster of great panel discussions, on topics like legal eagles, female detectives, vampire villains, historical honchos, amateur sleuths, and private eyes. We’ll kibitz about cops, yak about young adult mysteries, and rap about romantic suspense. Hope you can join us!

Neil Plakcy is the author of Mahu, Mahu Surfer, Mahu Fire, and Mahu Vice (August, 2009), mystery novels set in Hawaii. Editor of Paws and Reflect: A Special Bond Between Man and Dog, and Hard Hats: Gay Erotic

Monday, January 12, 2009

More people are reading

A new report from the National Endowment for the Arts in the New York Times today shows that for the first time in 25 years, more people are reading fiction. They are attributing this to their program, the national Big Read, and to Oprah's book club, the popularity of the Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling) and Twilight (Stephenie Meyer) books. I wonder if it is because more people are looking to escape from reality. Whatever the reason, I am happy to hear it.

Read the article here.

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