Thriller Writer Tj O'Connor

Dying to Tell – Launch!

Jan 23, 2016

Launch! Friday, January 8th, Dying to Tell launches into the bookstores. Tuck is on his third murder case with a paranormal twist—it’s the dead of winter in Winchester while reclusive dead bankers, suave executives, sneaky accountants, exotic archaeologists, and the ghosts of World War II Cairo—figuratively and in truth—run amuck. The bodies are piling up.

Nothing out of the norm for Oliver “Tuck” Tucker—dead detective extraordinaire.
But anyone following Tuck’s cases already knows. Those who don’t are about to. Perhaps what you don’t know is what goes into the next twelve months as I try to acquaint new readers and meet fans on my quest to build an audience. Oh, the miles, the podiums, the conventions and book stores, the hotel rooms, the … oh, hell, I love it all!
In the world of writing, I have found that the easy part is just that, writing. Oh, it’s a long, lonely process that you either love or hate but a few just “like.” It’s more work than anyone who hasn’t done it could even imagine. It’s writing, editing, rewriting—deleting your favorite chapter or supporting character because you must. It’s stealing time from family and friends and your dogs (sorry, Toby, I have no choice). And, as I’ve told writing groups and in guest appearances, the most rewarding part is when you get to “The End.” I truly believe that most people who set out to write a novel never get that far. And that is a shame. You don’t know what you’re missing—like, the real work. The real work isn’t writing the book, it’s everything thereafter. The work is editing, rewriting, editing, editing, editing. It’s finding an agent (if that is the direction you take), and it’s working with a publisher, then more editing and editing and editing. Then, it’s blogging and marketing and marketing and marketing.
Are you seeing the picture here? Being a writer is just that. You write. Being an author is being a writer with the added bliss of publishing, more editing, and marketing and seeking an audience. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
Each of us—authors that is—have our own ways of doing this. Writing is not a team sport—until you get an agent and a publisher. Each of us seeks an audience in different ways, often using the same tools and ideas, but perhaps in different ways. Let me show you what I have planned for 2016 to try to continue to build an audience for Tuck and his pals.
Now-End of Year: 2016 Blog-A-Thon. Every month, I write two blogs—or at least post two blogs. One is here for Inkspot with my pals from Midnight Ink. The other is through my website at Blogging is a requirement of this life, something I’m not too fond of. I work a billion hours a week for my real job—the one that pays the bills at least—and all my free time is writing. To then sit and bang out two blogs every month is time I truly don’t have. And frankly, I am one who doesn’t think readers really care much about what I have to say—other than in my books. So I always feel like, “Who cares what I think?” Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps not. 
Coming Soon: Bitten By Books: The great book review site I’ll be doing a book launch event, giveaways, and blogging. Date to follow!
January 23: Winchester Book Gallery, Winchester, VA: Next, I’ll be at my favorite indie book store! Winchester Book Gallery at 2 pm until 4 pm. Christine—who sponsors me at many of my events—and I are hoping we don’t get snowed out again like last year. There will be my daughter Jean’s famous crime scene cupcakes and books and some giveaways. Come one, come all. Bring a friend. Bring ten friends. Bring money …
February 12-14: Farpoint convention for all types of “imaginative fiction” like imaginative fiction – Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, SuperHeroes. The convention is at North Baltimore, Maryland. There will be some celebrities there (yes, I’ll be there but don’t qualify as a celebrity) including Hugo and Nebula Award winning author, Davide Gerrold, and Firefly and Arrow actor Sean Maher. I’ll be signing books and begging, excuse me, seeking new fans! 
February 26: Marlton Middle School and High School, Marlton, New Jersey. What a day and night planned! I’ve got the entire day talking to middle and high schoolers including a “lunch and learn” session, some class sessions, a wonderful “Tea with Tj” (wow, they named a tea after me!) and a signing. Then, the amazing folks have set me up to go to … 
Barns & Nobel, Marlton, New Jersey! It’s on to the local bookstore from 6 pm to 8 pm for a book signing and to meet new fans and talk books. 

March 10: I’ll be at the Army Navy Club, Arlington, Virginia doing a talk on writing and books. This will be a fun event talking to club members and guests followed by a signing.

April 29: Malice Domestic Writers Conference, Bethesda Maryland: My favorite writers convention. Panels, book signings, meeting fans, and most of all, spending time with all my author and publishing pals! Cannot wait!
May 21: Millbrook Book Festival, Millbrook, NY: My favorite out-of-state book festival by far. Fans, panels, author pals galore!
August 13: Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival, Suffolk, VA: My FAV Virginia book event by far!!!!! Panels and fans and of course, hanging with all my author pals again.  
Wait … are these events just to party with fellow writers? Pretty much, yep …
That’s my first half of the year … more to follow and fill in later,
So, mystery fans and fellow writers and authors, how’s your year looking? The events above are just the start—I haven’t even begun sorting out other requests I’ve received for guest speaking and book events. Last year, I spent nearly every other weekend on the road except for two months of the year. My goal is to do that again. I met some amazing folks and sold a bunch of books. Some of my newest, dearest friends were made on my travels. I’m hoping to see them all this year.
As for the rest of my travels, stay tuned. I’ll be posting about those events and telling a few stories of my adventures. At least, those that are able to be put into print.
We’ll chat again next month …

Tj O’CONNOR IS THE GOLD MEDAL WINNER OF THE 2015 INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS BOOK AWARDS FOR MYSTERIES. He is the author of Dying to Know, Dying for the Past, and Dying to Tell, available in bookstores and e-books from Midnight Ink. He is currently working on a traditional mystery and a new thriller. Tj is an international security consultant specializing in anti-terrorism, investigations, and threat analysis—life experiences that drive his novels. With his former life as a government agent and years as a consultant, he has lived and worked around the world in places like Greece, Turkey, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and throughout the Americas—among others. He was raised in New York’s Hudson Valley and lives with his wife and Lab companions in Virginia where they raised five children. Dying to Know is also the 2015 Bronze Medal winner of the Reader’s Favorite Book Review Awards, a finalist for the Silver Falchion Best Books of 2014, and a finalist for the Foreword Review’s 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award.

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I first fell in love with writing while in grade school and over the years continued to dabble with characters and stories whenever life allowed. Lately, I've focused my energy on pursuing this dream—interrupted only by life as a security consultant and the demands of two Labrador retrievers.

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