Category Archives: Authors on Tour

And The Actual Trip

The previous post was supposed to go up two weeks ago but I didn’t do something correctly. So I’m doing two at once.

My head is still spinning from my eight days in Alaska. To get there, hubby and I first spent the night in Fresno so we didn’t have to get up quite so early for my 6 a.m. flight. From Fresno, I flew to Seattle, Seattle to Anchorage. No hotel shuttle so had to take a taxi. My roommate, fellow author and friend, Victoria Heckman, arrived in Alaska a few days earlier and left me a note that she’d gone off to Seward sightseeing. Bouchercon was being held in a convention center two blocks away and after unpacking, I headed there to get registered.

Bright (well not really because it stays dark so long in the a.m) and early on Thursday morning, Victoria and I headed off to the convention center. It was raining and a bit chilly. We were on a panel together in the morning about ethnic detectives, signings followed, and a little later we had author one-on-ones. From that point on we were both free to go to whatever panels we wanted.

Some of the panels I attended were Books to Film; then I learned about DNA and how they are really using it to crack cases; Baker Bob, Alaska’s first serial killer (gruesome); Cold Cases; Forensic Pathology. The three most exciting and entertaining speakers were first, Rescue Swimmer, CPO John Hall, a real life “Guardian”; Fish and Game Biologist, Rick Sinnott who described wildlife encounters; and Mr. Whitekeys who told about the dumbest criminals. There were others, but those were my favorites.

The Special Guest of Honor was Diana Gabaldon and she was a treat to hear. I skipped the next evening’s guest of honor and went to dinner with fellow author and friend, Gayle Wigglesworth and her husband to a great restaurant with a spectacular view of Cook’s Bay and the Sleeping Lady mountain.

Barbara Peters, owner of the Poisoned Pen Book Store and Publishing Co. talked about publishing and bookstores. Most enlightening.

I went to the Awards Banquet and was thrilled when Simon Wood won an Anthony for his short story. The last day I watched Alaska Search and Rescue Dogs perform, and attended the closing ceremony and a Pamyua Concert.

One of the best things about these mystery conventions is renewing friendships and meeting new people.

Now I have to tell you about the really exciting part of my trip. For some reason, no one had figured out what school I was to visit in Wasilla. Also, they wanted me to drive a rental car, which I didn’t want to do. One morning while walking to the convention center, I was complaining about this and a woman I didn’t know asked me where I was going. When I told her, she said she’d take me wherever I wanted to go in Wasilla because that’s where she lived. I took her up on her offer. Her name is Pat Park-Fisher, a wonderful lady.

She drove me to Wasilla and to the home where I was staying. Several years ago, when I came to Left Coast Crime when it was held in Anchorage, I met two Native women, Katina and Amber. Katina invited me to visit her when I came back to Alaska and we kept in touch over the years. I stayed with Katina, had dinner with her family twice, and lots of wonderful visiting time. Her mom told me stories about her childhood living in a remote village and being taken to a mission school to live.

Finally, a school was arranged for me to visit. In the meantime, Pat took me sightseeing in Wasilla including a visit to the Iditarod Headquarters and a reindeer farm. (I learned reindeer are domesticated caribou.)

My visit to Wasilla Middle School began at 7 a.m. when school starts. I was there all day in the library talking to 6th, 7th and 8th graders. I loved every minute of it. We talked about how to write a mystery. The kids were imaginative, excited, and wonderful. Sometimes I had about 50 kids in a group.

The town of Wasilla is medium-sized and has most of the stores you’ll find in the lower 48. What is different is the scenery. The town is in a high valley and surrounded by huge snow-capped mountains. The snow was lower every day, reminding the people who lived there that winter is on the way.

My hostess, Katina worked every day, but we spent our evenings together. The last day, she got off early and took me to the Anchorage Museum and we had our last dinner together (which included reindeer sausage). From there she took me to a hotel close to the airport as my plane left at 6 a.m.

What a fantastic adventure for this great-grandmother!


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Calling All Authors

Hi, all…

I hope everyone’s having a great weekend.

Wanted to let you all know that I will be the guest on the Tuesday, Oct. 2 edition of Calling All Authors, a weekly radio show for authors, writers and readers in general that is heard exclusively on Global Talk Hosted by Valerie Connelly, Calling All Authors discusses issues and concerns that affect books and their creation from beginning to end. The conversation is always lively, interesting and entertaining. I hope you’ll tune in.

Calling All Authors airs Tuesday at 5pm ET, 2pm PT on Global Talk Valerie and I will talking about the career of James Garner, and again I hope you’ll join us.

Ed Robertson

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Off to Alaska

A mistake was pointed out to me in my latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree book–it will be fixed and a new edition printed.

Anyone who would like to purchase the first edition (will be autographed) with the mistake for $10 plus $2.50 postage directly from me, Marilyn Meredith PO Box 526 Springville CA 93265–I’ll send it along with the first book in the series, Deadly Omen. Who knows, Judgment Fire might be a collector’s item one day.

While you are reading this on Wednesday, I’ll be on an airplane flying to Alaska. I’m attending Bouchercon, the mystery convention, then heading out to make presentations in schools in outlying towns. Where, exactly, I’m not sure.

I’ve been told that I’ll have a rental car and I’ve had some sleepless hours over this. I’m not the least bit thrilled about driving in a country (I know Alaska is a state, but it’s bigger than a lot of countries) that I don’t know much about. To help me a bit, I’m taking along a GPS so I don’t get lost. To make matters even more complicated, I never put gas in my car, so I don’t really know how to do it. Oh well, bet I’ll learn.

A bit of good news, I just signed a contract for the next book in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, not due out until August of 2009.


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Talkin’ about the Gold Firebird on the Zookers Radio Program

Last week I was invited on The Zookers Radio Program, one of the latest additions to Blog Talk Radio. Hosts are Eric and Rob, also known as “the Greek gods of Internet radio,” and the subject was Thirty Years of The Rockford Files. It’s always fun to talk about Rockford, Jim Garner, and the Pontiac Firebird, especially with folks as knowledgeable as they are. It was a fun hour that went all too fast, but we’re talking about doing it again soon.

Here’s the link to our conversation:

Ed Robertson

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Entries for my contest to come up with a vicitm and/or murderer for my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery came from as far away South Africa. There were so many good ones, I had a difficult time deciding. It was so much fun. I had a hard time deciding, but finally my decision was based on what I thought I could use for this next book.

Because there are so many good ones with ideas I might use in future books, I’m going to award more than one first prize–and a few consolation prizes.

First prize and the winner of all the books goes to two people. The first is Brent Gill. He had wonderful ideas for both the victim and murderer.

A second first prize winner will receive same set of books will also go to Brian Baker–who came up with another great idea for the book–one I can hopefully combine with the first one.

Second prize goes to Shirley Palmer. She came up with a name for a character that I am going to use. I’ll be sending her four books in the series.

I am also sending a copy of Deadly Omen to Priyanka Holsinger, Carol Pharr, Johnny Saunders who each came up with some wonderful ideas–and who knows, they may somehow wind up in a Deputy Tempe Crabtree book one day.

I want to thank everyone else who took the time to submit ideas: Gloria Vigil, Harriet Queen, Lorna and Larry, Larry W. Chavis, Lucille Robinson, Neville Thompson Sue McGinty, Maureen Emmons, and Debra Guyette.

Believe me, every entry was wonderful and imaginative and I had a hard time deciding. Of course, I had to decide what I could work with.

My next book will be dedicated to each of you. Now I have to get to work. I was just waiting to begin until I made up my mind which of you was the winner!

I’m doing a Virtual Book Tour for Judgment Fire which will be out from Mundania Press in a few days. Stop by one or more of these places to learn more.

August 1 – The Writers Life
August 2 – Plug Your Book
August 3 – The Story Behind the Books
August 6 – Pump Up Your Book Promotion
August 7 – As the Page Turns
August 9 – Be My Guest!
August 10 – W.O.W
August 14 – Boomer Chick
I’ll put the rest on when I do my next BookDen Post.


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Writing Television History: Which Shows to Write About

I recently completed a virtual tour for my book Thirty Years of The Rockford Files, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Rockford Files (NBC, 1974-1980) – an important show in the history of television, as well as an important chapter in the life and career of Emmy-winning actor James Garner. An interviewer for a writer’s website, noting that I’d also written a history of Garner’s other landmark television series, Maverick (ABC, 1957-1962), asked me if there were any criteria I looked for in determining which television shows I wrote about, or whether I simply picked shows or actors I happened to like.  

It was an interesting question, and I thought I’d share my response with you.  

If you’re thinking of pitching a book on a particular television show, or a kind of television show, it helps to think in terms of (1) how it changed television when it was originally on, and (2) how it continues to shape television today. Rockford Files was the first show to introduce humor to police and private detective shows, which paved the way for shows like Magnum, p.i. and Simon and Simon in the ’80s, and Monk and The Closer today.

Rockford was also one of the first shows to comment on social issues and controversial news stories within the confines of episodic television – a device Dick Wolf has since perfected for the past 17 years with the various Law and Order shows. Plus,
Rockford was the show that put David Chase on the map as a writer and producer. In fact, a character Chase introduced in a
Rockford episode from 1977 later served as the inspiration for Tony Soprano, the central character of Chase’s hit series The Sopranos 

In the case of Maverick, Maverick was a show that changed Westerns, just as Rockford changed private eye shows. Maverick was also the show that made Roy Huggins a major player in the television industry. Roy Huggins created and produced Maverick; he also created The Fugitive, 77 Sunset Strip, and The ABC Movie of the Week, all of which changed the face of television. Besides co-creating Rockford Files and producing the pilot and the show’s first season, Roy produced many hours of television for Universal Studios throughout the ’60s and ’70s, including such popular shows as Run For Your Life and Alias Smith and Jones, as well as acclaimed miniseries like Captains and the Kings, based on the best-selling novel by Taylor Caldwell, and one of the first successful miniseries in TV history. Roy also mentored people like Stephen J. Cannell, who under Roy’s tutelage went on to become one of the most successful producers in television history. So that makes Maverick an important show beyond its place among TV Westerns, and Rockford Files an important show among private detective series.    

Then there’s the whole James Garner factor. Garner is a bona fide television icon. Maverick was the show that made Garner a household name. Jim is one of the few actors whose audience spans three different generations. Baby Boomers remember him as Bret Maverick. People who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s know him as Jim Rockford. Young people today know him as Grandpa Jim on 8 Simple Rules. To enjoy that kind of longevity, and to have that kind of broad appeal for so long a period of time, is a pretty remarkable thing.  

Those are the highfalutin reasons. But as we writers know, if you’re going to pitch a book, any book, you also have to think in terms of marketing.   If you’re going write a history of a classic television series, it’s wise to choose one that is either still widely shown in syndication, such as Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, The Andy Griffith Show, Magnum or I Love Lucy, or at least widely available on tape or DVD. In the case of Rockford Files, I had both things going for me. Plus Rockford is also a show like Lucy or Andy Griffith in that it has never really left television. Reruns of
Rockford have played constantly all over the world for over 30 years. From a marketing standpoint, that tells a publisher there’s definitely an audience out there that is potentially interested in reading a book about the history of The Rockford Files. If you can come up with ways of reaching that audience above and beyond traditional bookstore sales, you stand a good chance of convincing a publisher to publish that book. 

Ed Robertson   

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Buzz Building for THE THIEF MAKER

I am reposting the following from my official blog:

I am including it here at the Book’s Den as an invite for anyone with a book club in the Philadelphia/South Jersey region that enjoys mysteries/suspense/pyschological thrillers.  I, David H. Schleicher, would be willing to entertain any offer to come meet with a local group in this area to sign copies and discuss my novel The Thief Maker.  Feel free to contact me through the Book’s Den or my official blog.



Upon just arriving home from vacation (stay tuned for an upcoming travel log), I’ve learned that THE THIEF MAKER is now “in-stock” at some additional Barnes & Noble locations in the greater Philadelphia area.

In addition to being in stock and on the shelves at the Marlton and Moorestown, New Jersey locations, steady sales mean my novel will now also be in stock at the Deptford, New Jersey location and also in the Philadelphia and Valley Forge locations in Pennsylvania.  If you go to any of these locations to pick up a copy and they are out of stock, tell them to order more.  It means a local author is selling and they should jump on the bandwagon.

Thanks to all who are helping my grass-roots campaign to turn THE THIEF MAKER into a success!  If you are among those who live in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area and have not been able to purchase a copy because you prefer not to shop on-line, now you have no reason not to get a copy!

A Novel

An ambitious, intricately structured novel that resonates with emotion and suspense,” heralds Daniel Jolley, an Top 50 Reviewer.

“Schleicher has done a good job of creating a mystery that is mysterious, thought-provoking, entertaining, and sometimes shocking,” hails Joe Graham from

Purchase Now from Barnes and Noble

Purchase Now from

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