About Liesa Malik

Liesa is a freelance writer working out of Littleton, CO. Her first novel, a cozy mystery, was published July 2013. Look for "Faith on the Rocks" in a library near you.

200th Post–Celebrating with a New Book Cover Design

Today is special to me because this marks my 200th post.  I never imagined in May of 2012 that I’d still be here two years later, writing a small column with a growing group of friends and fellow-readers/writers. In this time, I’ve met some wonderful people through this blog, and look forward to meeting more.

Here are some of my favorite comments . . .

  • “I have a lot of notebooks in different rooms around the house so when an idea comes to me, I quickly write it down…” Letitia
  • “I think about writing every day but reading and dreaming about it is more fun than actually doing it.” Sharon
  • “I paint because I have to, if anyone sees the beauty in it, so much the better.” Cindy
  • “I learned in Toastmasters there is a way to offer help that is truly helpful. A gifted speaker in our group said something like, “I really enjoyed . . . about your talk. One thing I noticed, that may be just me, was a lack of wrap up for your main points. Others may have heard it – it’s just my thought.” So easy to hear this kind – and kind – of help.” Linda
  • “My favorite use of the ellipse in writing is when I want to give a dramatic effect to my reader. That pause before a shocking sentence arrives.” Ahamin

New Book Cover!

Sliced Vegetarian Front Book Cover

Whoo Hoo! Can’t wait to promote this book!

Yippee! I received the cover art for Sliced Vegetarian last week.  The artist, it turns out, is also from Colorado, so I hope to meet her in person one day (and with her permission) will do a blog interview with Deirdre Wait.

We live in a visual world, with color printing and on-line art so prolific, we take it for granted.  But don’t be fooled by the old saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”  Anyone who’s been in marketing for more than a week knows that well-ordered and professionally executed visuals “sell” all the time.  People buy books, at least in part, by what the cover looks like and what’s printed on it.

Some of the things I like about Deirdre’s work on Sliced Veggie, is that she connected one book to the next through the use of typeface and cover elements.  I love this new cover because of how bright and fun the graphics are, and I can see people enjoying the vegetable stand with the–heh, heh, heh–bloody knife in the middle.  My good guy thought the knife came from me, because it looks so much like a set we just bought. Hmm . . .

Taking A Holiday Break

Now that I’ve made such a big deal of publishing 200 posts, I’m going to turn around and let you know that I’m taking a little vacation.  This will be my last post until the New Year.  I might post a picture for Christmas, but other than that, I plan to spend the next couple of weeks enjoying a bunch of holiday movies (thank you Netflix), eating too many sugar-coated cookies, and reading some books that have been calling to me.

I wish you all a peaceful, holiday season, and hope all your special wishes come true.  See you in 2015!

The Business of Being Personal

BOUCHERCON BAG CONTEST

Bouchercon Book Bag - Grand Priaze

Bouchercon Book Bag – Grand Priaze

Whew!  I must have stumped you well last week!  I only had one person able to answer the questions.  Congratulations, Sharon from Littleton, CO for guessing these contest questions right:

  1. What was Anthony Boucher’s full legal name?  William Anthony Parker White
  2. When and where was the first Bouchercon? 1970 – Santa Monica, CA
  3. Who is the main suspect in Liesa’s upcoming novel, “Sliced Vegetarian?”  Brian Hughes – the special needs worker at Gigantos Supermarket (and Ginny Caerphilly’s boyfriend)

Better luck next time, my friends.  By the way, what kind of contests do you prefer: raffles, trivia, puzzles, other?  I’d like to do more of these, but will probably do them in my quarterly newsletter, which I’ll be starting to send in January.  Please let me know if you’d like to be on my mailing list.

‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE SOCIAL

RMMWA 2014 Holiday Tree

Happy holidays, my reading and writing friends!

If you are an aspiring author, chances are you’ve been inundated with the concept of “author platform” over the past few years.  An author platform is a fancy way of saying “personal branding.”  I may be opening a can of worms here, but in yesteryears personal branding was pretty much handled by a resume and a handshake.  Today, we’ve replaced that minimalist effort with social media.

As authors, we are supposed to engage with multiple social sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.  The list goes on…and on…and on.  I could see an author getting stuck in social media and never writing anything for real consumption again (please don’t ask how my book’s coming!).

But the bigger question is, with all this personal advertising and letting total strangers get to “know” us, are we any better off? Hmm.

I like to write this journal on-line, because I feel like I’m being a pen pal.  I love hearing from and responding to you individually.  But with Goodreads, I’m not really fond of reviewing books by others (everyone should get five stars just for going through the publishing process in my mind), and saying “something” in 140 characters for Twitter 1,000 times a day is truly noise pollution from my perspective. Sheesh! What’s an author to do?

With so much noise on the Internet, I am finding that connecting with others is a more personal mission.  It isn’t a game of “who’s following me?” but the more genuine back and forth of building personal binds between potential friends and true acquaintances. This “belly-to-belly” approach isn’t efficient, but much more rewarding.

Littleton Writers Holiday Party

Social Media at its finest is a one-to-one connection.

The Internet is a “safe place” for introverts to hang out.  We only have to post our opinions and comment a few times here and there to build reputations in our chosen communities. But when we truly buy into our areas of interest, and the people who populate those areas, we must make a personal effort, have good timing and embrace good luck.  In the ’80s we called it “networking.” Before that, it was simply “good business.”

This reminds me of the “Christmas Carol,” where one of the ghosts reminds Scrooge, “Business? Business?  PEOPLE are your business!”  In the spirit of that people focus, I’m attending a few holiday parties this year.  Not my area of strength, but people are indeed my business and I find that the more I put into this effort, the richer my life becomes.

It’s no good to go to a party, convention or business gathering and make the excuse, “I’m shy” to not engage.  We need to reach out, shake hands, have our photos taken and be involved.

The Littleton Writers’ party was on Sunday. Small turn-out, but I had the chance to engage not only with my writing friends, but with their interesting and wonderful spouses.  John talked about education in the south, Dave talked project management, and I always enjoy Marta’s dialog on public relations and the light rails going around our cities in the Denver metroplex.  How cool is that?

Edgar Holiday Ornaments

Being social can be crafty.

Tomorrow, I’ll be at the local chapter of Mystery Writers of America.  Because I volunteered (something cynics among us think of as a waste), I got to play with arts and crafts, I’ll be reading a snippet from my second book to the group, and I had the chance to get to know the chapter president and a few other people much better than before.  Every person in this group is not only a potential reader, but someone who may promote my book, or give me a book review.  This is HUGE!

On Saturday, I may miss a function.  These parties are, after all, “work” for authors.  But my sister is coming in from Detroit, and I have wanted to chat with her for a while.  Family is priority one to me.  But if she slips off with her daughter, I may go to the RMFW holiday party.  If I do, there’s probably someone I haven’t met yet who may become a friend or at least friendly acquaintance.

Author platforms. We build ‘em one plank (or friendship) at a time.

Contest & Celebrating

As of 12.7.14 – 7:00am – I don’t have two winners yet-there’s still time to enter! Send me your trivia answers (Liesa @ all abuzz .net) & I could be sending you a book bag from Bouchercon!

Don’t know if you’re like me, but I tend to like to do things early–especially when it involves opening presents.  Just to make sure your fingers and wrists are in shape for the holiday unwrapping season, and celebrating my 200th blog post a couple of weeks early, here’s a trivia contest for you:

Bouchercon Book Bag - Grand Prize

Bouchercon Book Bag – Grand Prize

Prizes!

I have two prizes for this contest.  They are gifts from my Bouchercon experience.  Hope you like them:

  • Grand Prize — Bouchercon canvas book bag with two books.  This bag is pretty cool, with a zipper top and enough room to hold a bunch of books or other treasures within.
  • Second Prize — An Agatha Christie book bag with open top and again, plenty of room for hauling good stuff.  On the back of this bag is a marvelous quote: “Oh dear, I never realized what a terrible lot of explaining one has to do in a murder!”–Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie Book Bag Prize

Agatha Christie Book Bag Prize

Rules of the Game

I know there are all sorts of rules and regulations about age of contestants, and not being members of the company etc. that go into every contest.  Please follow them as best as you can. Then, please understand that this contest is limited to the United States, because there are more rules, regulations, and expenses when you go outside this geography that I can’t begin to understand.

  1. Answer the three questions below to the best of your capability and as quickly as possible. Along with your answers, please provide me your first and last name, and a complete address of where to send any prize you might win.  I would also like to add you to my mailing list–but don’t worry.  I only send mailings via email, and my goal is to do a quarterly newsletter beginning January 2015.  I don’t have the bandwidth for bugging you more.
  2. Send your answers to Liesa at All Abuzz dot net (that’s .net NOT .com in the right email format)
  3. Wait for the winners to be announced next week. (By entering, I’m assuming you allow me to use your first name and the state you come from in my blog post about this)
  4. That’s it.  The winners are the first two people to send me the correct answers.  My email tracks received dates and times, and yes, I already know the answers. I hope you have fun with this.

AND THE TRIVIA QUESTIONS . . .

  1. What was Anthony Boucher’s full legal name? Hint: “Boucher” was his pen or pseudo name.
  2. When and where was the first Bouchercon?
  3. Who is the main suspect in Liesa’s upcoming novel, “Sliced Vegetarian?” Hint: the answer is on this website.  Oh, and just to let you know, Sliced Veggie will be out August, 2015.

I hope you have a good time with this trivia challenge and an even better time throughout the holiday season.

Talk with you next week.