Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Much Ado about Much Ado

I am delighted to welcome guest blogger Ron Block of the Jacksonville Public Library for what is becoming his annual guest blog post on one of the premier book festivals in Florida, MUCH ADO ABOUT BOOKS!

Jacksonville recently turned out for the annual Much Ado About Books Festival and Ex-Libris Gala.

The kickoff for the “everything books” was an amazing visit to Lights over London. The already stunning Main Library was transformed into scenes of London town and featured Royalty from both sides of the ocean-

Two Queens- one of England and one of Junkin’

Popular New York Times author Mary Kay Andrews bowed before Queen Elizabeth I- portrayed with her usual elegance by Betsy Lovett Chair of the JPL Foundation Board. The Queen graciously greeted and posed with each “Londoner”, and was spotted being adored by her royal subjects.

The Main Library transformation was incredible. Chris Bohjalian, author of the current bestseller, Secrets of Eden, remarked that the inside of the library reminded him of Hogwarts Academy. Throughout the evening, attendees were able to sample British Treats supplied by Whole Foods and local musicians tore through the crisp February air and none other than Mary Kay Andrews was spotted cutting a rug with her escort. Authors in attendance were Michael Palmer, Andrew Gross, Katherine Hall Page and loyal JPL friend Steve Berry, who along with his wife, Elizabeth, led a day long writer’s workshop that was a huge hit.

The next morning began with an exclusive breakfast with Chris Bohjalian for a limited number of participants. Chris was late for his first panel at the Main Event Venue, stating that the breakfast had been so stimulating he lost track of time. His first panel discussion was entitled “Building suspense and mystery” along with Katherine Hall Page and Michael Craven. Their comments and answers to questions were wonderful, including a story told about Joyce Carol Oates purchasing a Selectric Typewriter to avoid online distraction while she writes. (What number is my book ranked on Amazon today?). Following the first round of panels, the authors gathered in the Main Library Conference Center for book signings.

The rest of the morning we were treated to talks by Michael Palmer, Andrew Gross and Teen author Sara Zarr. All the panels were riveting, and each author was very gracious and kind. Michael Palmer even visited a nearby restaurant and thrilled the waitress with a signed copy of The Last Surgeon.

The main event of the day was the keynote luncheon. The conference level ballroom was unrecognizable as each table was covered in bright pink material (later found out to be former choir robes!) along with Benjamin Moore Paint Cans filled with Magnolia Tree Branches. The podium was surrounded by ladders of different sizes and colors all of which were draped with multi colored robe material and magnolia stems. A perfect setting for our guest of honor-Mary Kay Andrews, ready to dish it southern style! MK entered the room and made a point of visiting each table, posing for pictures and thanking everyone for their support of the library. Following her introduction by local celebrity, Charlene Shirk, all bets were off. We were treated to the southern style wit, charm and borderline naughty antics of a true southern woman. She had the room laughing with her instructions for making proper chicken salad, along with stories of the basis for many of her memorable characters. Listening to her is like visiting an old friend. Mary Kay followed up her talk by answering every last question anyone had for her and signed books for as many people who were willing to wait in line. She is a true character, and Jacksonville fell in love with her.

I can’t wait to see what happens next year! An aside to Mary Kay- as you wrote in my book- thank YOU for a great time! xo

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

You Are Cordially Invited . . .To Be Married Happily Ever After

Another contest from Elaine Viets, in honor of her next book, “Half-Price Homicide,” the ninth Dead-End Job mystery!

You Are Cordially Invited . . .
To Be Married Happily Ever After

Need a minister for your wedding?

Can’t find the right person to marry you on the happiest day of your life? Then you’re invited to enter the Elaine Viets Happily Ever After contest.

I’d be honored to marry the winning couple.

Besides being a bestselling mystery author, I am also an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church. I will marry a couple anywhere within the continental United States to celebrate a very special literary occasion: The publication of “Half-Price Homicide,” my ninth Dead-End Job mystery.

After nine books and many adventures, Helen and Phil begin their new life together in this novel. They have a romantic beach wedding. Helen and Phil are married by a minister in Universal Life Church. This wedding starts a new chapter for both of them.

Let me help you start your new life together. Whether you and your beloved want a romantic wedding by the sea, a mountain meadow, a luxurious garden, a grand hotel or a private home, I’ll be honored to marry you. Because true love defies labels, I will marry either a traditional bride and groom or a same-sex couple.

Helen and Phil plan to live happily ever after. I invite you to do the same.

RSVP your entry to Elaine Viets’ Happily Ever After contest:

(1) Your names

(2) The proposed date and time of your wedding


Time: _______ AM _________PM

(3) The location

Name or type of place (private home, park, hotel)
Street address, State and ZIP

Entries must be emailed by midnight, June 1, to

The winning couple will be chosen by the Elaine Viets advertising team.

PLEASE NOTE: We will have to work out a mutually agreeable date if I have a previously scheduled event.

I will travel to your wedding at my expense within the continental USA. I have been a minister in good standing with the Universal Life Church since 1976 and have my certificate.

The engaged couple or their representatives agree to provide lodgings for me, as well as meals, transportation to and from the airport and the ceremony, if needed.
My hotel room must be booked in advance of the wedding, if the wedding takes place outside the Fort Lauderdale area.

The couple must be of legal age to marry and either single or divorced. If one or both parties are divorced, you will be asked to produce your divorce decree(s) and all necessary identification.

Both parties must mutually consent to Elaine Viets as their minister.

Same sex weddings are legal only in the states that permit them, but I will still perform the ceremony.

I am authorized to marry in all 50 states and US territories, but the laws vary by state. Some states ask for my minister’s certificate or a letter from the Universal Life Church. Other states require me to register with their Secretary of State. I may need time to fulfill these requirements.

Both parties must be legal or naturalized citizens of the United States.
The winning couple may write their own vows.

This contest ends June 1, 2010.
Half-Price Homicide, Elaine Viets’ ninth Dead-End Job Mystery

Secondhand clothes. First-degree murder.

Angelina Jolie. Glenn Close. Kate Winslet.

Helen Hawthorne sells the most wanted bargains at Snapdragon’s Second Thoughts. The Fort Lauderdale consignment shop has designer duds to die for – literally. The customers who bring in their barely worn fashions hide behind Hollywood monikers so no one discovers their fashion secrets. They want the money for reselling their clothes, but not the notoriety.

Helen has wants of her own. Tired of living life on the lam, she wants to go home to St. Louis to clear her name. She wants to help her mother in a Florida nursing home.

The men in her life have their own wants. Helen’s greedy ex-husband wants more money. The man she loves wants to get married.

You’ll want “Half-Price Homicide,” Helen Hawthorne’s ninth Dead-End Job mystery.

Sneak preview of “Half-Price Homicide” & a contest!

You are cordially invited . . .
To a sneak preview of “Half-Price Homicide.”

Enter our contest to win an autogrpahed Advance Reading Copy (ARC) of “Half-Price Homicide: A Dead-End Job Mystery” by Elaine Viets.

The winners will read Elaine Viets’ ninth Helen Hawthorne mystery weeks before this new Obsidian hardcover novel hits the bookshops.

“Half-Price Homicide” is the novel Helen Hawthorne’s fans have been waiting for. Helen finally marries the man she loves. But it’s not that simple. It never is. Helen is still running from her greedy ex-husband, Rob. And she’s working at Snapdragon’s Second Thoughts, the South Florida designer consignment shop. She also has to care for her mother in a nursing home.

When those pricy second-hand clothes are mixed with first-degree murder, Helen has to solve the mystery, for better or worse.

Only then can she return to St. Louis, clear her name and end her life on the lam.
Will Helen ever be free of Rob? Will she continue working those Dead-End Jobs after her marriage? Will Helen and Phil live happily ever after?

You’ll be the first to know, if you win an autographed ARC of “Half-Price Homicide.”

Take the first step:
(1) Tell us about yourself:
I am a
(a) book reviewer for _________________
(b) book seller for ____________________
(c) reader
(d) a film producer
(e) a librarian
(f) a member of the publishing industry, ie, editor, agent, etc. ______________________
(g) other

(2) Send an e-mail with your name and email address to by April 10.

Winners will be chosen by the Elaine Viets advertising team and announced on her Facebook page April 10.

NOTE: ARCs are usually given to reviewers and other in the book trade for promotional purposes. The “Half-Price Homicide” ARC has a plain paper cover and includes the typos found in the first-pass proofs. These will not be in the hardcover edition (we hope).

“Half-Price Homicide: A Dead-End Job Mystery” by Elaine Viets
Publication date: May 4, 2010
Price: $22.95 An Obsidian Hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-451-22989-2


A Dead-End Job Mystery
by Elaine Viets

Marilyn Stasio of The New York Times called Elaine Viets’ mysteries “clever.” Charlaine “True Blood” Harris said her Dead-End Job series has “a stubborn and intelligent heroine, a wonderful South Florida setting, and a cast of more or less lethal bimbos . . . .”

In “Half-Price Homicide,” the ninth mystery in Elaine Viets’ national bestselling Dead-End Job series, her heroine, Helen Hawthorne, is still on the run from her ex-husband. Helen works at a consignment shop where the designer duds are to die for – literally. Helen wants to return to St. Louis and clear her name so she can marry the man she loves. But first, she has to deal with secondhand clothes and first-degree murder.

Elaine and Helen Hawthorne both work the same Dead-End Jobs for this critically acclaimed series. For “Half-Price Homicide,” Elaine did her research at a designer consignment shop in Fort Lauderdale.

Elaine has worked in a dress shop (“Shop Till You Drop”), a bookstore (“Murder between the Covers”), as a telemarketer selling septic-tank cleaner (“Dying to Call You”), in a bridal shop (“Just Murdered”), a dog boutique (“Murder Unleashed”), and at a country club (“Clubbed to Death”). She made 38 rooms, 17 toilets and the honeymoon Jacuzzi each day for “Murder with Reservations” and did her research at an exclusive South Florida hair salon for “Killer Cuts.”

Author Bio
Elaine Viets has won the Anthony and Agatha Awards, as well as the 2008 Lefty Award for the funniest novel, “Murder with Reservations.” She has written short stories for two Charlaine “True Blood” Harris anthologies, include the New York Times bestseller, “Many Bloody Returns.” Elaine is a former syndicated columnist for United Media in New York. She lives with her husband, Don Crinklaw, in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

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