Friday, January 18, 2013

R.P. Dahlke - HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Mystery Author R.P. Dahlke. She is an author The Lalla Bains mystery series and a book industry blogger. She is the sponsor of the All Mystery E-newsletter.

Author Genre: Mystery, Romance, Humor

Website: R.P. Dahlke
Author's Blog: R.P. Dahlke - Infrequent Blog
Blog: All Mystery E-newsletter
Twitter: @rpdahlke
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
R.P. (Rebecca) Dahlke was raised on her father’s 80 acres of Almonds & crop dusting ranch south of Modesto, California. She’s been writing since 1994, first with a writing group in the East Bay Area and then when she and her husband went sailing, via the Guppies of Sisters in Crime, National.

When they settled in Southern Arizona, Rebecca started a chapter of Sisters in Crime and A Dead Red Cadillac was published by Treble Heart Publishing.

She was doing the rewrite on her second Lalla Baines Novel, A Dead Red Heart when her son, John Shanahan, died in a tragic crop dusting accident in California. Writing about anything, much less crop-dusting became too painful and she stopped writing until 2010.

I sort of fell into the job of running a crop-dusting business when my dad decided he'd rather go on a cruise than take another season of lazy pilots, missing flaggers, testy farmers and horrific hours. After two years at the helm, I handed him back the keys and fled to a city without any of the above. And no, I was never a crop-duster.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Do you have another book on the desert horizon? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease.

Yes, I do! I'm writing the sequel to A Dangerous Harbor. This will be the 2nd in a sailing mystery trilogy. It will be published sometime this summer on Amazon/Kindle.

The sequel follows two secondary characters from A Dangerous Harbor, Gabe Alexander, who is still wanted in the US for fleeing prosecution in a mob related money laundering scheme, and Leila Hunter, soap queen whose good intentions begin to sink when they become embroiled in a murder investigation.

You have a good following on Twitter. How important are your social media relationships to your writing success? How much has it changed your book launch process from the first novel you published?

So much has changed in these last few years, and it's great for someone like me—I love hearing from my readers. When I was with a small press, no one could contact me directly. It seemed so silly. Now I have Facebook and twitter and I've made wonderful new friends, as well as a whole new world of readers for my books. I have a terrific following on Twitter, both as @rpdahlke and @allmysteryenews.

Do you do book signing, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when is your next place where your readers can see you?

I don't do book signings, since 99% of my sales are on Amazon/Kindle. But I do attend book conferences and book fairs. I'll be at the Tucson Book Festival, March 9-10, 2013 with All Mystery e-newsletter's booth. Don't know the booth space yet, but if anyone wants to know, please contact me:

You have great covers. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

I went through 4 cover artists, each one progressively more expensive, and frustrating, until I happened on Karen Phillips, who "Got me at hello."

First time out of the box, she understood the concept. And she's cheap… well, in comparison to what some book cover artists charge. The trick with covers is to know that on Amazon, this has got to look good as a thumbnail.

Here's her e-mail: She does a lot of author covers.

In doing research for your post, I saw you seemed to be in all the right places. What support groups are you most active in?

I don't know about RIGHT places, but I'm on places where I can contribute to a conversation amongst authors, or I can attract readers. I have a Facebook profile, and two FB pages: RP Dahlke and All Mystery

I'm on LinkedIn (this is really only good for professional interaction).
I have a Goodreads page for RP Dahlke with my books, I host a terrific yahoo group for authors, readers and reviewers of mystery and I host All Mystery e-newsletter Goodreads group.

I also have a Pinterest page and Pinterest, as I'm learning, is completely different ball game.

Tell us about the All Mystery E-newsletter. How did it start? How can authors get involved? Do the authors need certain qualifications?

That's an interesting story and I'll try to be brief. I stopped writing for five years (2005- 2010) and then when I started again, the world of publishing had really changed. I saw that being an Indie author was my ticket, but blogging? Not so much.

So I invited author friends to join me in a free newsletter that was aimed at fans of mystery and suspense. I kept it free for a year and a half, then decided it needed an update, so I closed it for a few months, and opened it again with the intent that it would be a week long multi-platform promotion starting with the newsletter once a week. As time goes on, I see that the newsletter is more and more popular with readers.

Many of whom, don't have or don't want Facebook, or Twitter, or Pinterest. Still, I put up the authors on all of these for the same reason—not everyone uses the same social media.

I have an author page with all the information, which I'll add below, but briefly, authors who write mystery or suspense, are published on Amazon (no I'm not an affiliate—I'm just lazy) and have a minimum of 5 reviews, can submit. Cost is small compared to other sites in this industry, and certainly for a week's worth of promotion.

Here are all the links and groups for All Mystery e-newsletter:

Author information page
Facebook page
Pinterest page
Yahoo page
Goodreads page

Also, we have:
Twitter handle: @allmysterynews
Hashtag: #amenl

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in other types of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I believe that Amazon's KDP giveaways is the best thing that ever happened to Indie authors. I explain why in my free pdf on promoting—if anyone is interested, please contact me. I update this every 5-6 months and if chock full of ideas, review sites, etc.

Tell our readers about the Full Moon Halloween Scavenger Hunt. How did that work and what were the results good? Have you done other book tours and giveaways?

The full Moon Halloween Scavenger Hunt was NOT good for me. Can't say why, other than I'm more of a mystery writer than a romance writer, and the hosting site was really all about romance.

I've done one with Laurie's Paranomal and other blog spot. She's a wonderful blogger, and does a monthly giveaway of free e-books. Any author who wants to give away books, can contact her:

As for its success, well it didn't cost me anything, and I did get some new reviewers from it, so that's the gain. Don't know if it translated into more sales from her readers, and I am taking a break from contributing it while I work on other avenues for book promotion.

Author's Book List
A Dead Red Oleande
The Lalla Bains mystery series
"The main protagonists and all the supporting characters, have larger than life personalities, which lend themselves to some great dialogue exchanges and some pretty strange and esoteric action scenes. In preparation for the couple's forthcoming nuptuals, Lalla's relatives have arrived in California, from Texas and now the fun really starts!!"

When a late in the season emergency forces Lalla Bains to accept a greenhorn ag pilot for her dad's cropdusting business, she sighs in relief . After all, he comes highly recommended, his physical is spotless, and with a name like Dewey Treat, what could possibly go wrong?

Then her quirky relatives arrive from Texas and things go south in a hurry: Dewey Treat drops dead, his tearful widow claims he was murdered, clobbers Sherriff Caleb Stone with his own gun, and makes a run for it. Lalla, convinced the widow is innocent, sets out to prove it--against the express wishes of fiancé Caleb Stone.

Feds, local law, suspicious ag-pilots, nutso relatives, and her daddy's new sidekick, Bruce the goat, make life a living hell for Lalla. Will her nosey nature solve the crime and save the day? Or put them all in mortal danger?
Buy Page: Amazon
Pilgrim's Progress
"This is an engaging, well-written mystery with characters that took up residence in my imagination; moving in with all their baggage and quirks. I found them incredibly difficult to dislodge even several days after I had finished reading the book. I loved the setting; the beauty of the waters and the lovely hillsides existing alongside the abject poverty and ugliness of the slummy, sleazy habitats of those less fortunate. The day to day uncertainly of life is realistically portrayed in an area where powerful drug cartels operate from shadowy positions in almost all levels of government..." LauriJ's Reviews for Night Owl Reviews Reviewer Top Pick

"Take a San Francisco police officer who is on leave for shooting a man who threatened her sister, send her on a sailing trip into Mexican waters where she finds the body of a murdered teenage girl, and you've got the mix for an intriguing mystery. Add an irresistible Mexican-Italian man who happens to be the lead investigator on the case and the romance begins to sizzle. I loved the vivid descriptions of this coastal Mexican town, and the methodic way in which officer Katy Hunter helps with the investigation. A satisfying ending in which all the threads come together into a neatly plotted book." - Connie Shelton, author of the best-selling Charlie Parker mysteries and the new Samantha Sweet mysteries

Here's the set-up:
Bleary-eyed and sleep deprived after a long overnighter into Mexico, solo sailor and SFPD police detective, Katrina Hunter, thinks the mermaid twenty yards behind her thirty-two foot Westsail is nothing more than a sailor's hallucination But everything she knows about floaters convinces her to turn her boat around for another look.

Now, alone and isolated in the Mexican port's police station for six hours she's convinced that reporting a floater to authorities was a mistake. Even the arrival of a handsome, if somewhat dour, Mexican/Italian investigator does nothing to dispel her growing anxiety that she's about to be charged with the murder.

Chief Inspector, Raul Vignaroli, is as surprised by the attractive solo-sailor as he is to find that she's a respected member of the San Francisco police force, and after some well-placed phone calls he's sure that he's found the perfect partner to help him solve a murder, if not the cure for his broken heart. Released, she's free to go. But leaving the police station hits a snag when two policemen march in, dragging a listless prisoner between them. But before Katy can dodge them for the exit, the prisoner raises his head and a startling pair of aquamarine eyes meet hers.

He straightens his back, wincing at the angle of his cuffed wrists. "What the... Whisper?"

Suddenly, the sound of the ceiling fan is terribly loud. Blood pounds in her ears, her mouth goes dry, her palms are damp and her feet are nailed to the floor. In a knee jerk reaction, she hisses, "Don't call me that!"
Buy Page: Amazon
The Lalla Bains Series
When a lovesick, homeless veteran litters her vintage red caddy with paper snowflakes, Lalla Bains, Aero Ag pilot figures it's time for a showdown. Unfortunately, someone else has the same idea leaving Lalla with a dying man at her feet, and only his strange last words, "The more there is, the less you see," as a clue to his killer.

Compounding her life her tightwad, widowed father becomes a born-again ladies man, a disreputable competitor tries to push her out of business, and last but not least, her antennae twitches that the sultry redhead in Modesto's police department may be vying for Sheriff Caleb Stone's affections.

It soon becomes crystal clear that the police are totally off base on this murder investigation and someone else is going to have to suit up to solve this case. Someone who is just exasperating, pushy, and tenacious enough to get the job done--and that person will be none other than:Ms. Lalla Bains.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
"I've been married so many times, they should revoke my license," says NY model, and reluctant pilot Lalla Bains.

Running her dad's Crop-Dusting business in Modesto, California she's hoping to dodge the inevitable fortieth birthday party. But when her trophy red '58 Cadillac is found tail-fins up in a nearby lake, the police ask why a widowed piano teacher, who couldn't possibly see beyond the hood ornament, was found strapped in the driver's seat.

Reeling from an interrogation with local homicide, Lalla is determined to extricate herself as a suspect in this strange murder case. Unfortunately, drug running pilots, a cross-dressing convict, a crazy Chihuahua, and the dead woman's hunky nephew throw enough road blocks to keep Lalla neck deep in an investigation that links her family to a twenty-year old murder only she can solve.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the HBS Author's Spotlight plus the blog: eBook Author’s Corner. Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.


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