Mysteristas


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Mysterista Summer Reading Bonanza Poll: How Do You Find New-To-You Books?

Choose one of the following that best represents the way you find new-to-you books.

Leave a comment below to let us know you took the poll (“I took the poll!” is enough), and you’ll be entered into our Summer Reading Bonanza contest!

If there are multiple ways you find new reads, or if you selected “Other,” please feel free to tell us more in the comments.

Thanks for playing!

 


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Mysteristas Summer Reading Bonanza Discussion: What We Did This Weekend

MARY SUTTON: Of course, this was the big holiday weekend in the US. I started my weekend last Thursday by taking an extra day off from the day-job (we got Friday as our holiday). I spent some time reading, of course. Having just finished Hallie Ephron’s Night, Night, Sleep Tight (five stars), I’m doing a little palate cleansing with Lord of the Rings. Then I weeded the vegetable garden. Also tried to take my girl shopping (malls are nightmares, honestly). Made barbecue ribs for the cookout and spent yesterday hanging at the neighbors’ house, watching the young folks dance, talking, eating, and playing cards. Saw fireworks. Today was a special breakfast with Rum-soaked Nutella French Toast (recipe courtesy of Alafair Burke from the MWA Cookbook). Later there will be laundry. Oh, and I did some editing on Hero’s Sword 7, too.

SUE STAR:  My holiday started on Thursday, too, when we drove up to the mountains for a wildflower hike and got stuck in nasty traffic. Since I have just finished one project, I am giving myself the weekend off. I am starting a new painting and taking a nice, long ride on my new electric bicycle!

SARAH HENNING: I feel like I spent my entire weekend chasing around the baby, who is in perpetual motion–pulling up, standing, crawling, climbing stairs, etc. But, in truth, I was able to squeeze in some writing, revision, gardening, running, weights, yoga, cooking, and dinner and drinks with friends. I need a day to recover!

THERESA CRATER: I judged for a writing contest and then graded long, long stories. Since I’ve started teaching online, weekends have become somewhat theoretical. Currently reading Merlin’s Daughter. Last night we went over to Boulder to visit friends and meet new ones in the greatest condo I’ve seen in a while. The renovated bathrooms are called respectively the Gay Bathhouse and the Japanese Steam Room, complete with recessed lighting in the tubs and showers, a simulated stone pathway to the tub in one, and beautiful tiles. One sink was glass with red Koi, the other with Art Deco naked ladies. Just gorgeous. Heard funny stories about Swami BeyondAnanda. The fireworks were somewhere behind the clouds.

PAMELA OBERG: How fun! Munchkin and I had our first beach day of the summer season, which was lovely. Planted another group of hand-me-down lilacs with hubby’s help. Worked on reading the anthology for Nancy Pickard’s Facebook class. Both the reading and the class have been wonderful! At the end of this lovely three-day weekend, munchkin is off with a friend and hubby is puttering, I’m writing a book review for Lucy Burdette’s Fatal Reservations (available July 7!) and working on my WIP. I agree with Sarah–can we have a day 4 to recover?!? (The class is Short Story Sessions and the text Manhattan Mayhem.)

CYNTHIA KUHN: Met some friends in the morning for the local Fourth of July parade, which is a beloved annual tradition. Attended the Colorado Rapids soccer game and watched spectacular fireworks from the field. Wrote all day on Sunday while trying to convince myself that I will eventually finish this project!!

DIANE VALLERE: I got all dolled up in my July 4th finery and then spent most of the day at home! (There was a trip to Trader Joe’s because I had to be seen in public in my outfit!). Sunday I did something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I listed my Batman Action Figure collection on eBay (Psssst: Batman Fans: click here). Yep, I’ve had 25 little plastic crime fighters and villains hanging around for over twenty years. Why is it so tough to let go of things we’ve hung on to for so long???

KAIT CARSON: I had a great weekend. OK, so I did a bit of work for the day job, but hey, that counts too. Today was the best. I’ve been spending time in our pool off and on, but today, husband surprised me by having all my dive equipment out on the pool deck. We suited up and dove in the pool. We both bought new equipment last year at the end of SCUBA season (OK, I live in FL but for us natives, SCUBA season ends when the water temp gets below 85!) and I needed to get comfortable before we take it on a dive trip. So, down we dove to the amazing depth of 10 feet! It was good to breathe through the regulator again. Then he lit up the barbecue and cooked me dinner. Now really, does it get any better? Well, it did. While he was cooking diner he brought me my Kindle and a glass of wine poolside. Now there’s a man who knows how to make me happy!

Now we want to hear from you. What did you do this holiday weekend? Watch fireworks? Parade? Or business as usual? Leave a comment and be entered into our week 2 drawing for the Mysteristas Summer Reading Bonanza!


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Mysterista Summer Reading Bonanza: What is Your Favorite Summer Read?

MARY LEDERMAN SUTTON: I gravitate toward especially “fun” reads in the summer. Something I can take to the pool or on vacation, and I don’t have to invest too much brain power. Genre is not as important as overall tone.

MYSTERISTA WISDOM: Did you know you can put your e-reader in a plastic zip-lock bag to keep it from getting dirty or wet while you’re reading poolside? (bathtub/beach too).

THERESA CRATER: I read all over the place in the summer. Right now, I’m reading a novel from one of the Mysterista interviews, and I just finished another one mentioned in one of our interviews. Next up will be Yellow Crocus, a novel that’s similar to my wip. After that, The Water Knife by the incomparable Colorado sci fi writer Paolo Bacigalupi. Then onto Steve Berry’s last two–maybe, if something else doesn’t flip my switch before I get there.

MYSTERISTA WISDOM: How fabulous that you found new reads right here on our own blog!

CYNTHIA KUHN: Still read a variety of things (heavy on the mystery, of course). But in summertime I seek out portable paperbacks because I do more reading on the go. Mass-market paperback size is perfect, though those seem more rare these days. Actually, I wish there were more of those available all the time because they are so much easier to hold. #carpaltunnel #writerwrists

MYSTERISTA WISDOM: try sending your vacation reads to your hotel ahead of time. Less to pack, and you can leave them at the vacation spot for the next person.

SARAH HENNING: Oh, I love to read all of a series over the course of a summer. I’ve done Jack Reacher, Game of Thrones, Lisbeth Salander and John Green. I want to reread all of the Harry Potter books in a single summer but it won’t be this one!

MYSTERISTA WISDOM: Lots of long running series have e-book collections that include multiple volumes. At least one of us binge-read Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books 1-8 as one digital library loan!

KAIT CARSON: My favorite summer book – I love light reading in the summer.  This year I decided to read the Dead End Job series by Elaine Viets. What better time than the summer to curl up at the pool with a humorous cozy!  I mean really, haven’t we all had killer jobs? I want to start at one and go through to number 14! I’ve also got some great reads stacked up on my TBR pile. I won (yes, won) Hallie Ephron’s Night Night, Sleep Tight. It’s a hardback so that will be my bedside read (or a rainy day curl up on the couch read). Can’t wait for the summer to begin!

MYSTERISTA WISDOM: Not sure what your next read should be? Browse the giveaway section of GoodReads and enter drawings for whatever looks good. We’ve all discovered new-to-us authors this way, and free books? What could be better!

DIANE VALLERE: There’s something about summer reading that makes me feel like a kid discovering Trixie Belden all over again. I like to switch up my summer reading with children’s mystery series, my favorites being Trixie, Connie Blair, and the Three Investigators, though, there are a few classic series that I’ve never read, and it might be time to sample something new!

MYSTERISTA WISDOM: When’s the last time you reread a childhood favorite? Try it. It’ll make you feel young!

SUE STAR:  I like to read big juicy can’t-put-’em-down books in the summer, usually set in exotic locations that hopefully I plan to visit on summer vacations.

MYSTERISTA WISDOM: Have you ever been intimidated by a book’s sheer volume? Summer’s the perfect time to sink your teeth into a tome!

PAMELA OBERG: Back to actual physical books for the summer! Great at the beach–no batteries, no glare. Love anthologies in the summer, in order to find new-to-me authors.

MYSTERISTA READERS: what is your favorite summer read? Do you turn to paperbacks, hardcovers, or e-books in hot summer months? Do you go straight to old favorites, or do you sample new voices? Leave a comment below and be entered in our weekly drawing!


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Announcing the Mysterista Summer Reading Bonanza!

We Mysteristas like to read. We like to write. And we like to celebrate. So what better way to combine all of these things than with a summer reading bonanza? Yeah, that’s what we thought too. And it’s going to take place the whole month of July!

Join us for:
Monday: What We Did That Weekend!
Tuesday: Quizzes!
Wednesday: Word Searches!
Thursday: Let’s Talk Reading Habits!
Friday: Giveaway Winner Announced + Guest Posts!

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Look at all of the books we’ll be giving away. Cookie Jar is certainly excited about it!

And best of all, we’re giving away bags of books! That’s right. Each week we’ll choose a winner from the comments and send you a tote bag filled with books by us.  (And a super cool Mysteristas notepad that you can only get here!)

Every comment enters you into the drawing. Stop back every day and join the conversation!


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Stars in my life

Tomorrow Mysteristas are kicking off an exciting month of events. Visit often so you don’t miss anything.

Today, on the last day of June, the topic is stars.

First and foremost, my readers and FB followers know that I lost my eldest cat on New Year’s Day. Her name was Starlight, she answered to Starlight, Star, Starship and Starsky (which explains why the next cat in age to her is Hutch). I still miss you sweetie.

Queen of all I survey

Queen of all I survey

Every writer has stars in her life. Those wonderful people who encouraged them and taught them the craft. We learned rhyme scheme in second grade English. One of our assignments was to write a poem using the a/b scheme. Seven year olds can make rhymes of anything, probably even the word orange, but since I’m not seven anymore, it eludes me. So the rhyming part was no challenge. The catch for the poem was it had to tell a story. Mine ran on for four pages, it was a mystery, and it ended with the immortal words,

POP, POP, POP

HERE COMES THE COP

Mrs. Fuchs, (all our teachers were Mrs. or Miss) my second grade teacher, gave me an A+ for that. Said my poem was interesting and told the story well.  That first review gave birth to a mystery novelist. Thinking back on it, I think she saw four pages of childish print and took the easy way out. But at the time, I was so proud that I remember the ending today.

All the rest of my grade school teachers were supportive of my writing. Some were harsh task makers but they taught the basics well.

Sister Marie Therese gave me both my most frightening and most rewarding moment as a writer. She was my English teacher in my sophomore year in high school, and she was tough. Ask anyone who went to Lacordaire Academy in my day. Sr. Marie Therese taught us story form. She assigned us to write a story. I no longer remember the topic or the tale. They say moments of great stress will do that to you. On the day the stories were due to be returned, Sr. opened class by saying she was going to read some of them aloud, but would not announce the authors. When she began reading, I realized it was my story. She read the opening paragraph and stopped, telling the class she wasn’t going to read further. With that, she flipped her veil and walked down the aisle to her seat. I was in the process of melting under my desk fearful that I had written the best example of how not to write when I realized the class around me was going crazy. They wanted the rest of the story. They were interested. Sr. Marie Therese stood behind her chair at the front of the room and said, “That’s a hook, class, this story has everything a story should. It makes you want more.” I took my first breath since she stopped reading and knew I had found a calling. Sr. ended by reading the rest of the story and. was responsible for some of my early short story sales. I’ve tried to locate her over the years. I want her to know that I did go on to publish three books.

It’s teachers like this who make difference. If you are a teacher and wonder if anyone really cares, be assured they do.

Those are my lifetime stars. What about yours?

 


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Interview: Dru Ann Love

Please welcome Dru Ann Love, Anthony-award nominated blogger and owner of Dru’s Book Musings.

How did your site come to be? What prompted you to put reviews online?
I had a personal blog where I would list the books I read, but in most cases I could not remember what the DruAnnLovebook was about and that’s when I decided to keep an online book journal for my use only. This also helped me when I was not sure if I’ve read a book or not. It somehow caught the attention of an author who directed people to my blog and that was how my site gained readers.

What typically draws you to review a particular book?
That’s a hard question to answer as I read what I want and/or like. What will draw me to a book are the cover (I’m very visual), the synopsis, and the authors. For a new-to-me author, the synopsis and then the cover have more weight. For any singular month, my goal is to review at least one book from the four publishing companies where I have contacts.

Have you always been a mystery reader? What other genres do you or have you enjoyed?
Yes, I was always a mystery reader starting with the Encyclopedia Brown series. I did read Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys in my earlier readings. I also read suspense, thriller and romantic suspense. I will read books that have light, light paranormal elements.

How long did it take you to build up a following, and how did you do it?
When I started my blog I had less than 800 viewers during 2007 and 2009 combined. Each year after that, my viewership doubled. However, when I started my “A Day in the Life” feature in August 2011, my viewership increased by 195% from August-December 2011 compared to full year 2010. Just be consistent in what you are delivering and readers will continue to visit your blog.

How much time do you spend, per week, on the blog work?
I spend at least 12 hours per week performing functions related to the blog. That includes formatting the content, resizing the images, putting in and testing the links, sending out reminders to the author that their blog goes live the next day; selecting a winner for the giveaway; notifying author of giveaway winner; sending out invites, sending out reminders that their guest post is due, keeping track of schedules, posting tweets on Hootsuite and other blog related items. I’m also perusing Amazon, B&N, Facebook, “Stop You’re Killing Me” and “The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books” for upcoming mystery titles to add to my reading list for future invites.

How has your site changed over the years, and what prompted the changes?
My site started out as an online journal of books I read and now my main focus is on my feature “A Day In The Life” where I like getting an inside view of an author’s protagonist. The main reason for creating this feature was to consistently have new content on my blog and one of the lessons I learned earlier in the blogging field was to always have new content to keep readers coming back and thus my feature was born.

What sort of responses have you had from people offline (non-bloggers or non-writers), or do they know about your success?
I told my co-workers and they were very proud of what I’ve accomplished. They even offered to come down to Raleigh to root for me. My family and friends are very supportive and anything to get me out of the house is a good thing in their eyes.

Who was the first author you met after reviewing their book, and what was that like?
I don’t recall but I’ve met a lot of authors whose books I’ve reviewed and when they meet me, they give their thanks and I get a hug. I’m friends with a lot of authors that I’ve met via my blog and at reader/fan conventions. It’s an honor when a friend tells me that they’ve bought a book because of my blog.

What are some of the best experiences you’ve had so far because of your blog?
My best experience was having Sue Grafton go through my “black book” filled with author’s book list and their autographs. Another experience is being nominated for an Anthony Award. Another one is feeling comfortable among the authors and other readers at reader/fan conventions.

What advice do you have for new book bloggers or authors who wish to connect with book bloggers?
For new bloggers: find a niche that is not being answered and go for it. Try to make your blog as unique as possible. All bloggers work as a team, so if my blog doesn’t answer for a reader, maybe another blog will.

For authors: reach out to us bloggers. We are here to help spread the word about your book.

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Dru Ann Love is owner/writer at dru’s book musings blog and at her daytime situation is a consumer market research analyst. A New Yorker born and bred, Dru Ann is an avid reader, writes poetry, quilts and love attending reader/fan conventions. Dru Ann may not be a writer, but her name has appeared in several cozy titles and she even blurbed a book. Dru Ann is nominated for a 2015 Anthony Award for Best Critical or Non-Fiction Work.

Blog: drusbookmusing.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/DrusBookMusing

Twitter: @drusbookmusing