2017 Craft Fair Experiences

Craft Fair 2017After participating in several craft fairs this year, my anecdotal observations pretty much confirm the experiences of previous years, which are:

. Print still sells. My books won’t sell nearly as well by sitting on a bookstore shelf with thousands of other titles. Also, some of my customers said that they tried ebooks but didn’t like them. Sure, a few use iPads and Kindles, but people just don’t seem as excited about them as they once did.

. Customers are shocked to learn that the Chapters chain here in Canada collects 55% of every book sold. It’s the main reason I prefer to sell directly to readers, along with the fact that, in the past, my returned books have been damaged.

. The overwhelming majority of young families understandably don’t have time to read. Those pushing strollers rarely stopped by my table to browse unless they were shopping for a mystery fan in their family, which leads to point four.

. Mystery reader demographics haven’t changed in the 20+ years I’ve been selling books. The largest purchasers, and readers, of mysteries are women between forty-five and seventy-five years of age.

. New or would-be writers are still quite confused about whether to self-publish, find an agent, or look for a traditional publisher. I try to give sound advice without going into a long pros and cons list. Mainly, I ask them to think about what they want out of the publishing experience, and to do some research.

Since fees are charged (and they can be quite steep) to acquire a table at craft fairs, and there is often a jurying process, selling at these venues is always a gamble. You never know until the fair is well underway if you’ll earn your money back. As a vendor recently said to me, it’s always a rush when things are going better than expected, but you can’t count on the same results every year. It’s risky to base your expectations on previous year’s successes. So, we’ll see what happens next year because I’ll definitely participate again. I guess it’s the gambler in me.

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A Toxic Craft Launch Day is Here!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00049]Today, Imajin Qwickies® has released Evan Dunstan’s latest campus crime adventure, A TOXIC CRAFT. Since it’s set at a Christmas craft fair, the timing couldn’t be better! I’m thrilled to finally reveal this second installment in Evan’s adventures.

Here’s the blurb:

A crafty senior…

Evan Dunstan’s spunky grandmother is giving him major headaches. As organizer for the seniors’ Christmas craft fair, Gran faces warring vendors and acts of vandalism that threaten to ruin the event. When nasty knitter Cora Riddell is knocked unconscious and her water spiked with a hallucinogen, Gran begs Evan to find out who’s responsible before more harm is done—or someone dies.

A daunting task…

In charge of the fair’s security, Evan faces a challenge that grows more difficult by the hour. His boss expects him to find the culprit before police are called in and Southwest Trades & Technology’s reputation as a safe campus is destroyed.

A friend or foe?

A search for answers reveals the disturbing possibility that even friends and coworkers hope Evan will fail. Is the culprit closer to him than he thought? Whose startling secrets must be exposed to find the truth?

Amazon: myBook.to/AToxicCraft

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/ycsvuaj5

 

Craft Fairs and Crime? You’d Be Surprised

When plotting a mystery, I ask myself one essential question. What if? 

The idea for my second Evan Dunstan mystery (to be released one week from today), A TOXIC CRAFT, was born from that question and a very specific setting.

One of my favorite pre-Christmas activities is to sell my books at local craft fairs. I’ve attended several high school fundraisers, many of which have knitters selling their goods and trust me, they take their business seriously.

One year, my table was placed between a pair of knitters, who seemed well aware of each other, yet didn’t strike up any conversation. Furtive glances at one another’s tables suggested that there might have been a bit of competition between them.

By late afternoon, the fair’s attendance had slowed down, which gave me plenty of time to ponder craft fairs, big and small, and think about crime. For this mystery author, it was a natural progression to ask, what if a vendor took her rivalry a bit too far? What if she was a little bit crazy? A little bit violent?

I have to say that in real life everyone’s been friendly and generally have a good time selling their crafts. But in my line of work, I don’t deal in real life. Evan’s situation is much crazier, especially when his feisty grandmother’s involved. As this book shows, Gran has a real knack for annoying people. Find out just how much trouble she gets into in A TOXIC CRAFT, on December 6th!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00049]To pre-order, go to:

http://getbook.at/AToxicCraft

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/ycsvuaj5

 

Evan Dunstan is Back in A Toxic Craft!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00049]I’m thrilled to announce that Imajin Books will release my second Evan Dunstan “Qwickie” novella, A Toxic Craft, on December 6th!

For those who aren’t familiar with my novellas, Evan is a 22-year-old security guard at post-secondary campus. Evan’s ambition to join the RCMP inspires him to prove himself at solving campus crimes, as long it doesn’t interfere with his hot dates.

Evan’s latest adventure centers around his grandmother and her cronies as they host a seniors Christmas craft fair in STT’s gymnasium.

Here’s the blurb:

A crafty senior…

Evan Dunstan’s spunky grandmother is giving him major headaches. As organizer for the seniors’ Christmas craft fair, Gran faces warring vendors and acts of vandalism that threaten to ruin the event. When nasty knitter Cora Riddell is knocked unconscious and her water spiked with a hallucinogen, Gran begs Evan to find out who’s responsible before more harm is done—or someone dies.

A daunting task…

In charge of the fair’s security, Evan faces a challenge that grows more difficult by the hour. His boss expects him to find the culprit before police are called in and Southwest Trades & Technology’s reputation as a safe campus is destroyed.

A friend or foe?

A search for answers reveals the disturbing possibility that even friends and coworkers hope Evan will fail. Is the culprit closer to him than he thought? Whose startling secrets must be exposed to find the truth?

Pre-orders are available at:

Amazon: http://getbook.at/AToxicCraft

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/ycsvuaj5

 

5th Casey Holland Mystery, KNOCK KNOCK, Launch Day is Here!

Knock Knock, front coverAt last, launch day for Knock Knock is here! Over three years have swiftly passed by since the 4th installment of this series was published, so I’m thrilled to be releasing this book at last!

Here’s the back cover blurb:

The latest attack in a string of violent Vancouver home invasions kills senior Elsie Englehart. Security officer Casey Holland is devastated. She is supposed to be watching over elderly bus riders in an affluent, high-risk area, but she’s let Elsie down.

Determined to keep others safe, Casey escorts an elderly man home, but an armed intruder attacks them both. Hospitalized and angry, Casey struggles to regain control of her life, despite interference from family and colleagues—and the postponement of her long-awaited wedding.

Yet another home invasion compels Casey to take action, but at what cost to her health and her relationships? In Knock Knock, Debra Purdy Kong’s fifth installment of the Casey Holland series, the risks have never been higher and the consequences more deadly.

To order your copy of Knock Knock, please go to:

Amazon: myBook.to/KnockKnock

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/y6wejnls

Apple: http://tinyurl.com/y96xscpv

PRAISE FOR THE CASEY HOLLAND SERIES:

The National Post – “Kong’s writing is no-nonsense at best . . . the end result is a mystery that fits the bill.”

The Hamilton Spectator –  “A good read with urban grit and a spicy climax.”

Quill & Quire – “The novel’s short, punchy chapters whisk the story along to a thrilling climax, while the characters’ relationships and rivalries provided a strong emotional anchor.”

Thanks everyone!

 

Casey Holland Mysteries: A Series Recap

When customers see all four of my Casey Holland mysteries on display, I’m often asked what my series is about. The quick answer is, thirty-year-old divorcée Casey Holland is a transit security cop who rides the buses dealing with smaller types of crimes which either evolve or merge with something much more serious.

As with most mysteries, each book has a separate plot with a complete beginning, middle, and end. The continuing thread throughout the series is Casey’s personal life, and hers has certainly been tumultuous. So, here’s a quick recap:

Book 1, The Opposite of Dark, focuses on Casey’s family. I wanted to start with the backstory because events in that book have a big impact on her life in subsequent books. It also introduces us to her longtime friend and bus driver, Lou, whose feelings for Casey are deeper than she’s ready to acknowledge.

Book 2, Deadly Accusations, is where Casey acknowledges her growing love for Lou and they become a couple, but not without jealousy and manipulation from a coworker. Casey also finds herself legal guardian to eleven-year-old Summer while coping with the murder of a colleague.

In Book 3, Beneath the Bleak New Moon, Casey’s ex-husband, who’s also a bus driver, returns to work after a long medical leave, and regrets letting Casey go. Lou’s not happy that he’s working with Casey and suggests that he move in with her to move their relationship forward.

Book 4, The Deep End, sees Lou and Casey’s relationship deepening to the point of a marriage proposal, but she’s distracted by another murder and Summer’s involvement with a boy who’s trouble.

The personal and professional challenges Casey faces cause her to grow a little more with each book, to be a little more self-assured and open. But challenges still lay ahead, as in Book 5, Knock Knock, she’s preparing for her wedding while dealing with a string of home invasions. For Casey, life doesn’t get easier as she grows older. Still, she progresses, one book at a time.

Knock Knock, front cover

The release date is on Wednesday, November 8th. To pre-order your copy of Knock Knock, go to:

Amazon: myBook.to/KnockKnock

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/y6wejnls

Apple: http://tinyurl.com/y96xscpv

Release Date for 5th Casey Holland Mystery, Knock Knock

Knock Knock, front coverI’m thrilled to announce that my 5th Casey Holland mystery, Knock Knock, will be available by ebook on Wednesday, November 8th! There will also be a print edition, so stay tuned for that release date. Meanwhile, if you wish to preorder an ebook copy, go to:

Amazon: myBook.to/KnockKnock

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/y6wejnls

Apple (itunes). http://tinyurl.com/y96xscpv

Here’s the back cover blurb:

The latest attack in a string of violent Vancouver home invasions kills senior Elsie Englehart. Security officer Casey Holland is devastated. She is supposed to be watching over elderly bus riders in an affluent, high-risk area, but she’s let Elsie down.

Determined to keep others safe, Casey escorts an elderly man home, but an armed intruder attacks them both. Hospitalized and angry, Casey struggles to regain control of her life, despite interference from family and colleagues—and the postponement of her long-awaited wedding.

Yet another home invasion compels Casey to take action, but at what cost to her health and her relationships? In Knock Knock, Debra Purdy Kong’s fifth installment of the Casey Holland series, the risks have never been higher and the consequences more deadly.