Wednesday 16 September 2015

An Island Found

I'm heading up to Papua New Guinea next week and wondering whether Roxy Parker will be joining me this time, or whether Vilia Lea mght be strapped in beside me on the rattling Cessna 182 instead.

My loyal readers will know exactly what I'm talking about and why I'm buzzing with excitement. Born and bred in the South Pacific nation, I have set two of my best-selling books up there, or thereabouts.

A Plot to Die For (Ghostwriter Mystery Book 2) was set on a fictional island called Dormay in a fabricated island nation, but really it's just a luxurious version of an island called Doini where I'll be travelling to next week.

Similarly, my stand-alone novel, An Island Lost, is set on an island called Tubu which is a more realistic version of Doini, a very real island where I spent idyllic childhood holidays, complete with cannibal skull caves (I kid you not), empty shell-smattered beaches, and folklore so vibrant, it quivers.

This time, my whole family will be travelling with me to Doini, which is no quick hop, skip and a jump. Situated on the safe eastern tip of PNG in the stunning Milne Bay, we first have to fly into Port Moresby, overnighting in the capital, before catching a light aircraft to the ramshackle town of Alotau. From there we hitch a long boat ride to the island, boxes of supplies in tow, including fresh milk and heavyduty SPF.

Doini Island is postcard perfect, we're talking azure water, white beaches, vibrant coral reef, but it's also so rich in colour and texture a postcard would do it no justice. It could fill endless novels, which brings me back to my opening question....

Who should accompany me?

Should I take my 'Ghostie' Roxy Parker back up there, and see what mischief she stumbles into this time? Last time, if you recall, she found her hotelier client dead, buried to the head in the soft white sand.

Or is it time for Vilia Lea, my 'little girl lost' who came to terms with her extraordinary family history in An Island Lost, to start a whole new chapter in a long-awaited sequel?

What do you think?

I'd love to hear from you, especially if you've read one or both of those books. Until then,  a warning dear friends: from Monday, I'll be silent for a few weeks—WiFi is sacrilege on a place like Doini—but I'll be madly scribbling in my journal and turning the experience into an adventure you're sure to enjoy in the not-too-distant future. I can't promise that Roxy and/or Vilia will be quite as happy about it!

Happy reading everyone, and happy adventuring if you can manage it.

xo Christina

Thursday 10 September 2015

The Mystery Event of the Year: Sept 12

Imagine having Agatha Christie, PD James, Sue Grafton and Harlan Coben all in the one place at the one time, ready to answer every question you ask and give away free or discounted books.

Heaven, right? (And slightly creepy as at least two of them would have to be spirited in!)

Well in just two days, a stack of Amazon's best-selling mystery and cozy mystery authors—including me—will be appearing on ONE Facebook page on ONE day, and we'll ALL be totally devoted to mystery book lovers like you.


It's going to be the Mystery Event of The Year, and it's open to absolutely everybody, you just have to click here: Mystery Writers Revealed.


This Saturday, September 12, from 10am - 7pm (US EDT), you'll get the chance to meet and greet a wide variety of mystery and cozy mystery writers, throw questions at them, lap up their discount books, and generally hobnob with the mystery literati.

Various mystery and cozy authors will be appearing at different times so check out the event schedule on that page, above.


Interested in connecting with me? I'll be logged in and switched on between 5pm and 6pm US EDT (on Saturday), which is 7am - 8am Australian EST time (on Sunday), so if you're up and keen to have a chat, I'd love to hear from you.

Not only that, I'll be sharing the digital podium with three of the mystery world's brightest and best-selling writers: • Morgana Best, • Stefania Mattana and • Dianne Harman.

We promise to make our session fun and lively, and would love to see as many of you interacting during that hour as possible. While you're there, you can download a FREE copy of my first Ghostwriter Mystery, KILLER TWIST or score a discounted copy of my latest Ghostwriter, A NOTE BEFORE DYING. Both books will be back to normal prices next week, so be sure to log in, click on and start chatting.

Morgana, Stafania and Dianne will also be discounting books:
• Morgana Best: Murder Most Fowl (A Sibyl Potts Cozy Mystery, Book 2):
• Stefania Mattana: Pull the Trigger: A Chase Williams Murder Mystery:
• Dianne Harman: Murder at the Cooking School: Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery Series:

So don't hesitate, don't be shy, just go to the Facebook Event page, log in and get involved. 

Happy posting everyone!
xo Christina

Sunday 6 September 2015

New season, fresh start

Are you bored with your old crime fiction series? Looking for something fresh and dynamic to read? I'm going back to the future this month and making my very first Ghostwriter Mystery Killer Twist absolutely FREE! It's a wonderful chance for newcomers to sample the series and for longtime readers to catch up on the story if they haven't read the first.

You can score your freebie via Smashwords and affiliates, Apple, Barnes & Noble's Nook, Kobo etc. If you're a Kindle kid, feel free to approach Amazon directly and they may price match.

So why am I giving away my hard work?

Spring fever

As half the world settles in for Autumn/Fall, it's warming up in Australia and turning out to be an exquisite Spring. What better time to discard old reading habits and try something new and fresh? The Ghostwriter Mystery series is a six-book series, each one a stand-alone mystery, starring murder-fixated, merlot-swilling ghostwriter Roxy Parker. She has a knack for sniffing out crime and a team of trusty accomplices to help her out. I think you'll love Roxy enough to invest in the next five stories... but at the very least, I know you'll enjoy joining her on this rollicking ride.

New cover

My loyal readers will know that I recently redesigned all my covers (see earlier blog) and will understand why. It's about reaching a wider audience, and letting people of all ages and genders know that the Ghostwriter Mystery Series is perfect for them. And if they're not sure? They can taste-test the first book for nought.

Generous me!

I've officially been self-publishing for four years and it's been a fantastic and fruitful ride. This is my gift to my many fans, readers, family and friends who supported me through my journey. If you have already read Killer Twist, THANK YOU! I couldn't have done it without your help. And if you haven't, here's my gift to you...

Just be sure to snap up your free copy fast. Like the seasons, this deal won't last for long.

Happy (free) reading, everyone.
xo Christina

Tuesday 1 September 2015

What authors did before Facebook (yes, Agatha, I'm looking at you)

There's one mystery that has always intrigued and infuriated mystery buffs in equal measure, and that is the real-life disappearance of the Queen of Mysteries herself, Agatha Christie, back in 1926. Until recently, however, I gave it very little thought, and certainly gave no credence to the cynical suggestion that it was all just a public relations exercise.
As if Dame Christie would be so crass!

Today, however, I'm beginning to wonder. As a mystery writer myself—and, yes, the comparison is a little cheeky, but humour me if you will—I am constantly looking for fresh and dynamic ways to market my books. I tweet and I blog and I sign up for mega Facebook events, but of course Ms Christie had no such tools at her disposal. She had some broadsheet newspapers and the odd book tour, although I'm yet to find any evidence she ever did one.

So did Ms Christie utilise her wicked intellect and ability to weave an engrossing mystery around herself instead?

If the astonishing true story is unfamiliar to you, allow me to quickly recap: On December 3, 1926, following an alleged marital tiff between Agatha and her philandering hubby Archie, the former disappeared, leaving an obscure letter and an abandoned car at an old quarry. We know now that Agatha quietly checked into a spa hotel in Harrogate under an assumed name (the same surname as Archie's mistress, just to thicken the plot) and remained there, unrecognised, for another ten days while half of England were out searching for her and the other half held their breath.
Lakes were drained, lofty rewards were offered, and an extraordinary 15,000 volunteers turned out to scour the countryside searching for clues a la Miss Marple. Even celebrity authors Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy L Sayers got into the spirit. Then, on December 14, Aggie was finally discovered, still ensconced at the Swan Hydropathic Hotel, seemingly oblivious to the hysteria going on outside. She was promptly whisked away by her bemused looking husband who was no doubt wondering how long he could viably wait before losing her for good next time.*

Forget whodunit, to this day it has always been a classic whydunit? Why, oh why, did Agatha disappear?
The motives behind her vanishing are as complex as a Poirot novel. Was she suffering a case of amnesia as was conveniently suggested at the time (a pathetic plot device if ever there was one)? Was she in a stress-induced psychogenic trance, the latest new-fad theory? Was it revenge against Archie who was supposedly philandering with his mistress the weekend she vanished? Was it deep, dark depression or, as salaciously portrayed in a 1979 movie starring Vanessa Redgrave, a foiled suicide plot?
Or was it, as the cynics suggested and I am beginning to wonder, the greatest public relations stunt in literary history?

But... but... why?

We always think of Agatha Christie as breathtakingly successful—to date she's sold around 2 billion books, apparently, making her the highest-selling novelist in the history of the universe—but none of her 80-plus detective novels and countless celebrity-studded plays and films ever gained as much press as that one single act.
It may be largely forgotten today but back then Agatha's disappearance was a non-stop talking point. It was splashed across newspapers throughout the United Kingdom and even made the front page of The New York Times. Salman Rushdie had to attract a fatwa to get that kind of exposure, and Jeffrey Archer had to do some serious jail time.
I recall from my own research that Agatha was struggling with her latest (and least favorite) book, The Mystery of the Blue Train, at the time of her disappearance, uncharacteristic for someone who usually wrote at a Patterson-style pace. Perhaps she decided, as I am prone to do, to stop writing for a bit and start pouring her energy into promotion, a kind of writer's block remedy if you will. And what better way to promote your work than to pull a marketing stunt like that?!
While there was plenty of backlash after Ms Christie was discovered alive and in shockingly good health (a ghastlier ending was the least she could have provided), I can't help thinking of the old adage, about any publicity... You know how it goes.

Would Ms Christie really have gone to such lengths to throw a spotlight on her novels? Would any of us?

It's shocking how much publicity artists (pollies, businesses, celebrities, wannabes...) can drum up in a matter of minutes today, or how much scandal we can create with just 140 characters or a few strategically posed selfies (if only the Kardashians had something decent to say).
I'm taking part in an upcoming Facebook event with 40 other mystery writers from across the globe. We're answering questions, showcasing our books, and reaching a collective audience of more than 250,000 mystery readers--and all I have to do is sit at my keyboard for one measly hour.
Who needs to stage a week-long disappearance when you've got Facebook, Twitter and 24-hour news feeds? Yet of course Agatha Christie had none of that. Apart from the odd review in the local rag, very few punters even knew what the best-selling author looked like. It's no wonder she managed to hide in plain sight for so long.
Today, J.K. Rowling wouldn't get as far as the bus stop without being unmasked, filmed and splashed across YouTube.

So was Ms Christie's vanishing really just a PR stunt?

We don't know, of course we don't. Agatha never spoke of it publicly and made no mention of it in her autobiography, much to my chagrin. Sadly for the mystery boffins amongst us, Dame Christie's extraordinary mystery died with her.
Yet isn't that what makes it so extraordinary? Or, in the eyes of cynics like myself, a masterstroke of pure marketing genius?
Now, where could I disappear to I wonder...
Happy (mysterious) reading everyone!
xo Christina

*And in case you're wondering, Archie waited just long enough. The Christies were quietly divorced in 1928. The press were not invited.