Thursday, September 8, 2016


By Mary Jane Maffini aka half of Victoria Abbott

Today I am thrilled to be visiting another book club, the first of two this month.  The invitation came ages ago and I’ve been asked to talk about all four of my series. This in itself makes me very happy!  All my ‘kids’ get an outing: I'll bring at least the first in each series. So that's The Camilla MacPhee books, The Fiona Silk capers, The Charlotte Adams organizer mysteries and the book collector mysteries that I write as half of Victoria Abbott. 

Meet grouchy lawyer Camilla MacPhee!

 I’m inserting some covers so you can feel you were there too.

There seem to be a million variations on book clubs.  There may be dozens of members or only a handful. There may be one book or a variety.  At my own book club everyone reads and discusses the same book, chosen well ahead.  It is a very organized, fun and tasty monthly event.  We have all become close friends over the years, something that happens at many book clubs. Other clubs may be more formal or more casual, whatever suits the members. They may read classics only. They may read cozies only. They make their own rules.

Three things you can count on:  Book club members love books. They will be very interested in how the author works.  And they will have food (often wine, as well!)

Today’s group says that they will keep me busy.  As I make up things for a living, I am looking forward to that.

I'll talk about how, where and why I write and share some secrets of the craft. 

Other  book club variations: Will everyone have bought a book? Will they want them signed?  They do make great gifts.  Will they all have borrowed it from the library and shared it around?  Will there be food? Will it be finger foods or a sit-down dinner? What about chocolate?

Lament For A Lounge Lizard introduces failed romance writer, Fiona Silk to those who like a bit of humor in mysteries.

My own book club has only one rule: there must be chocolate, provided by the hostess.  Here’s what I served the last time we got together for a casual event:dark and white chocolate chip brownies baked in a cast-iron skillet. 

 I look forward to finding out about today’s set-up.  I can’t wait to meet these women (usually, but not always, book clubs are made up of reading women).  Suspense is the order of the day.

I have met many wonderful people over the years at book clubs. It’s been the start of on-going relationships with some readers.  For an author, readers are incredibly important.  You are why we write our stories.  Without readers, the stories can’t really be truly ‘fulfilled’.  

The Charlotte Adams mysteries combine sleuthing with organizing tips!

 All to say, I am looking forward to it. Book clubs members are unfailingly polite. With the author present, they may have tons of questions, but they don’t ‘critique’ the books.  They are always intensely curious about the writing process and the author can take them behind the scenes. 

I usually do a number of in-person book clubs in our area every year. It gives me a boost and is lots of fun. I also enjoy the occasional SKYPE book club.  It’s not quite as relaxed and natural, but it’s a great way to connect with people wherever they are.  I am still in touch with many terrific people from SKYPE book meetings.  Every now and then, there’s a special invitation to a book club hours away.  One great adventure was the Killer Coffee Book Club in Ithaca, New York, courtesy of my wonderful friend Nikki Bonanni.  I was given food, accommodatio, a tour of the poison garden and treated like a queen.   I have not forgotten and now I have an invitation to return!

The first book collector mystery introduced Jordan Bingham and her crooked uncles as well as a lot of book collecting fun!

So enough about my excitement, what about you?  Are you part of a book club?  If yes, do you enjoy
it?  If no, is it something you’d love to take part in?

What kind of book club would you want to belong to? You know we love to hear from you. Chocolate, anyone? 

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