Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Twelve Clues Time

I know I've neglected this blog recently. Sorry. Too many online commitments--I post daily on my page ( I tweet daily (@rhysbowen and I am one of the Jungle Red Writers, contributing to the popular group blog and hosting my week in turn.

I'm the host this week and we're having some great discussions (and moans) about travel, food and iPhone apps. Come over and join in at

Apart from that it's a good and busy time for me. This week marks the release of the paperback of The Twelve Clues of Christmas. It's being sold at a bargain price on Amazon so will make a great stocking stuffer, with the compendium of Christmas games/recipes/traditions in the back..

And yesterday I received my advance reading copies of City of Darkness and Light and they look beautiful. I'll let you know where I'm going on my book tour as soon as I find out.

I hurried up to finish my Molly Murphy e-story called THROUGH THE WINDOW after I saw it listed as #18 on the historical mystery bestseller list. That was rather shocking to realize it was only a great cover with no content! It will be available on January 6th, and a month later there will be a compendium of the first three Royal Spyness books, provocatively titled A ROYAL THREESOME.

Now I'm about to start writing the next Molly book, plus jotting down ideas for the Molly Christmas book AND I've got plans for a really fun Georgie book featuring a royal wedding (not Georgie's yet)

So stay in touch and if you enjoy my books, tell your friends about them.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fall Schedule for Rhys

It's almost fall and I can't believe how the time has flown. I can see from this that I last posted over two. weeks ago. Shame on me! But I do have a good excuse, or rather good excuses:
They are: Had to finish my next Royal Spyness novel, called Queen of Hearts.
Had to do the copy edits on my next Molly Murphy novel called City of Darkness and Light. (Great cover, by the way. it's already up on Amazon for pre-order, coming out next March.
Had to look after ailing husband--he had cataract surgery and needs drops in his eyes every two hours (and makes a fuss every time)
Had to prepare for the Bouchercon world mystery conference in Albany this week. I am hosting the Jungle Red Writers panel which will be a game show called Famous First Lines. We'll try to stump the audience by writing fictitious first lines to famous books. Should be a lot of fun.
I'm also on a non-panel with two of my favorite people: Louise Penny and Deborah Crombie. We are repeating our very successful chat, non-scripted, non-moderated, just the three of us talking. It's always such fun and we never know what will come out next.

Then after the conference husband John flies in and we take off for Canada and Nova Scotia. I'm already drooling about fresh seafood and fall colors. What a terrific break.
On the way back to New York I stop off in Boston and have three events scheduled with my fellow Jungle Reds. I'm appearing at Robbins Library, Arlington MA on Sept 30th, Melrose Library in Melrose MA on October 1 and The New England Mobile Book Fair in Newton MA on Oct 2.
Do come and say hello if you live in the area!

And maybe when I get home I'll have a few moments to breath before I start on the next book!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Southland, Here I Come

Setting out tomorrow morning for a quick swing through Southern California and then Arizona.
I'll be speaking and signing Heirs and Graces at
Book Carnival in Orange at 3 p.m. on Thursday
at Mysterious Galaxy at Redondo Beach at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday
and Mystery Ink in Huntington Beach at 5 p.m. on Friday.

I'll be bringing English goodies and prizes if you care or dare to wear a hat!

Then on to Scottsdale on Saturday where I'll be hosting an English teaparty at 2 p.m. , complete with hats, more English goodies and prizes.

I look forward to seeing friendly faces.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Please don't Tweet my Facebook Page!

One of my friends actually wrote that message last week: Please don't tweet my Facebook page. And I realized how completely incomprehensible it would be to anyone from a past generation--heck, to anyone ten years ago.

I know that language is constantly developing but I'm sure that during the Middle Ages they didn't have to learn a new vocabulary every ten years. An ox was an ox. An ass was an ass. Beer was beer. Life was simple and didn't change. Even when I was growing up there were people in my village who had never been up to London, some 30 miles away. Their lives progressed at the same pace as their ancestors' had done.

I suppose radio and then TV changed all that. Suddenly we are aware of what the rest of the world is doing. Of what is trending.... and that is one trend of which I am not fond... the fashion of turning nouns into verbs. Neither am I fond of shrinking speech and vocabulary to minimum. Wassup? is a classic example. As is R U my BFF?

This is one of the reasons I enjoy setting my books in the past. My grandmother and great aunts had excellent vocabularies, spoke in long poetic sentences and wrote wonderfully descriptive letters. Letter writing was an art for them. Letters flowed between family members every week, taking the place of phone calls and texts. I'm sure my grandmother never used words such as "like" and "you know" or worse still "know what I mean?" We did know what she meant because she had been raised to express herself clearly.

I have to remember this when I write my books. There was more time. Personal interactions were not rushed. Conversation was an art. People were well read in books that didn't have to rush to the punch line and have explosions and dead bodies all over the place. A time of leisure and grace. Ah, how I long for it now.

So how do you feel? Do you wish we'd lived in a more leisurely age? I suppose I have to remind myself that they had no antibiotics and your child might die from an infected cut or the flu. They had no washing machines and wore the same dresses for months on end. And they traveled over bumpy roads on metal tires, and childbirth...well, we won't even go into that one.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Will E-books take over the world?

When my new book, Heirs and Graces, came out last week I was surprised to find that it topped the historical mystery bestseller list in its Audible format. More people were listening to it than reading it. This also coincided with my reading an article that claimed e-books were not growing nearly as rapidly as predicted. It seemed that the techies of the world had bought their Kindles, Nooks and Kobos but the general reading public was not following suit. Real books were not about to lie down and play dead.

So I decided to run a poll on my Facebook page. What surprised me was that 20,000 people came to visit. I have never seen numbers like that before, especially in the space of two days. And as I read the comments one thing became clear  People are passionate about their reading habits. Many people finished their post with one or more exclamation points. "Only real books!!!!"

So having read and digested 1000 comments I can tell you, with scientific accuracy :) , that real books beat out electronic versions by more than two to one. And something interesting emerged from this study: reading from a real book was a sensory experience, involving all five senses.
There was the tactile stimulation of turning pages, feeling a book in one's hand. As one commenter put it, "If it's a mystery I can prolong the suspense by holding the tip of the page in my hand and waiting in delicious anticipation before I turn it."
Another commenter said that seeing them on a shelf evoked pleasurable memories of past reading.Then there is smell of books, particularly old ones. The book was perceived as part of a  pleasurable experience. As one commenter said, "Nothing like a hard cover on an afternoon with a nice breeze."
Someone else said, "How would you press flowers in an e-book?"

Those who chose e-books liked the convenience, especially for travel, plus the fact that downloads were cheaper. Some commented they had run out of shelf space. Others that they could download out of print books. One commenter admitted she was naturally lazy and it was so easy to have a book delivered to her Kindle with one click.

In the case of audio it also seemed to be convenience and the only way to fit books into a busy lifestyle. One commenter said "If it weren't for audio I wouldn't have a chance to experience books." Audio has the added advantage that one can do something else at the same time. Audiophiles listened during long commutes, during workouts, housework or dog walking.  One of my fans told me last week that her dog walks have stretched to three hours while she listened to my new book.

Two surprising comments came out of my survey. A teacher mentioned that children tired of looking at screens all day and liked real books in their free time, (who knew?) and someone who worked in a college bookstore stated that most college students preferred real books, but that downloads of textbooks were so much cheaper and easier to carry around.

About ten percent of the respondents said that they loved all forms of reading. "E-books, audio, cornflake packets" one woman said. But it is reassuringly clear that real paper books are not going away any time soon! Bookstores--you may breathe a sigh of relief.

(You can read the original post and the comments on

Monday, August 5, 2013

Interview between me and my Royal Spyness characters.

Come and meet my characters in person! Last week I recorded an interview between myself and many of my Royal Spyness characters, as portrayed by my fabulous Audible reader, Katherine Kellgren.

This is in preparation for the launch of the book tomorrow. So click on the link and enjoy.

And if you'd like to listen to some of the audio version of Heirs and Graces, here is a link to that.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

New Royal Baby Week!

Another new Georgie will be born this week. Not at Kensington Palace but at a bookstore near you.

Heirs and Graces, my 7th Royal Spyness mystery, will be coming out this Tuesday, August 6th. In hardcover, as an e-book, and in audio with Audible and the fabulous Katherine Kellgren reading it.

I'll be making appearances in the San Francisco Bay Area, in greater LA and in Scottsdale. Hope to see you at one of them. For details check out appearances on my website and on my Facebook page (

And to whet your appetite here is an early review:

Heirs and Graces is the seventh installment in Rhys Bowen’s utterly fabulous Royal Spyness Mystery series. It’s Agatha Christie meets P.G. Wodehouse with a dash of Downton Abbey thrown in for good measure, and it’s every bit as extraordinary as its predecessors. This book grabs you with the very first sentence and then staunchly refuses to let go. The prose is graceful yet spirited. The narrative drive is strong. The mystery is clever, complex, and is destined to keep you guessing thanks to its wealth of clever clues and viable suspects. And Bowen does a spectacular job transporting readers to 1930s Britain; her descriptions of manor-house life are vivid, and her writing has a remarkable sense of time and place.
Bowen’s character work is among the best in the genre. The perfect blend of proper and impertinent, Georgie is a marvelous heroine for whom you can’t help but root. FiancĂ© and partner-in-crime Darcy is not only a great love interest, but a compelling character in his own right. Georgie’s flighty actress mother, man-eating best friend, and utterly incompetent maid provide regular doses of comic relief.  And murder victim Cedric is so callous and self-absorbed, you’ll be rooting for his death from the moment you make his acquaintance.
If you’re a fan of mysteries, love historical fiction, or just like good books, give Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen a try; I’ve yet to read a book of Bowen’s that I didn’t completely and totally adore, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what Georgie gets up to next.
Reviewed by Kat