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LibbyfhLH
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Re: LIBBY FISCHER HELLMANN

JEez, Becke... that could take days to answer. The answer is yes. For example, re: HAvana Lost, I didn't know any details of the revolution. In my research I found out that Che Guevara really dealt the victory blow for the rebels by derailing a train that was full of Army soldiers, but those soldiers basically didnt want to fight any more. So derailing the train was a perfect foil. That occurred in Santa Clara and was about the only thing I didn't see when I was in Cuba.

 

But... that incident allowed the rebels a straight path from their positions in the central part of the island to Havana. A few days later, on New Years Eve, Batista fled the country, and a few days after that, Fidel arrived in Havana. 

 

Of course, I tied some of my characters to that event. WOrked out really well!

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becke_davis
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Re: LIBBY FISCHER HELLMANN


LibbyfhLH wrote:

That's a tough question to answer. I wasn't intending to travel this time around but it turns out I will be. One reason is that I am still a fan of  Book Fairs and Festivals, so I try to get invited to the Fair, then instead of a store I try to set up events at libraries. For example, I'll be at the Miami Book Fair in November and have been able to set up a couple of library events in addition to the Fair.

 

Aside from Book Fairs/Festivals, though, I'm doing pretty much all my promotion online. (Waving my hand at all your book club members...:smileyhappy: I think ultimately, reach more readers that way.

 

 


Good luck with the book clubs! That makes a lot of sense, since many readers are also in genre book clubs - either locally or as part of groups like the Mystery Forum.

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becke_davis
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Re: LIBBY FISCHER HELLMANN

Libby - What is your favorite among your own books? Was any one of them particularly difficult - or easy - to write? What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Author
LibbyfhLH
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Re: LIBBY FISCHER HELLMANN

How can I single out one book? They're all my babies... Well, okay... I have a soft spot in my heart for Easy Innocence... An Image of Death... and, of course, the stand-alonoes. Set the Night on Fire took place in the late 60s in Chicago and turned out to be more personal than I expected. A Bitter Veil was a challenge, and Havana Lost was almost fun. 

 

I say almost because I really dont enjoy the writing process. I always feel unequal to the task. I'm always second guessing the prose,  and generally being quite hard on myself. I much prefer editing to writing, because I can make it better. But those first drafts are killers.

 

However, the fact that I've written is still a kick. It was never in my master plan. Not for a New York (or Chicago) minute. I mean, really, who knew I was going to publish 10 novels? Certainly not me...

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becke_davis
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Re: LIBBY FISCHER HELLMANN


LibbyfhLH wrote:

How can I single out one book? They're all my babies... Well, okay... I have a soft spot in my heart for Easy Innocence... An Image of Death... and, of course, the stand-alonoes. Set the Night on Fire took place in the late 60s in Chicago and turned out to be more personal than I expected. A Bitter Veil was a challenge, and Havana Lost was almost fun. 

 

I say almost because I really dont enjoy the writing process. I always feel unequal to the task. I'm always second guessing the prose,  and generally being quite hard on myself. I much prefer editing to writing, because I can make it better. But those first drafts are killers.

 

However, the fact that I've written is still a kick. It was never in my master plan. Not for a New York (or Chicago) minute. I mean, really, who knew I was going to publish 10 novels? Certainly not me...


LOL - I've heard so many authors say that they don't like writing, they like having written. Makes sense to me! (I just googled that phrase - turns out Dorothy Parker famously put that thought into words!)

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becke_davis
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Re: LIBBY FISCHER HELLMANN

If any of you are in the Chicago area, you can find Libby in Evanston tomorrow:

 

Saturday, September 21
Evanston Writers Workshop Conference — Orrington Hotel
Evanston, IL
Workshop: “Dialogue, Plot, Setting”
10:30 AM

 

It was my daughter's 30th birthday today and we have family parties all weekend - I'm sorry I'll miss this!

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LibbyfhLH
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Re: LIBBY FISCHER HELLMANN

[ Edited ]

And if anyone isn't doing anything at 2 PM and you happen to be in Chicago, I'll be  in Winnetka for a signing of HAVANA LOST.

 

Mojitos, MExican wedding cookies, and Manchego cheese will be served. Please come..

 

And thanks again, Becke, for a lovely week.

 

Libby

 

 

Sounds like fun, Libby! I had a party for my daughter's 30th birthday today or I would have been there. I'm sorry I had to edit this (although I'm just getting on the computer, and it's nearly 7 p.m. now) but B&N doesn't allow us to mention other bookstores here. I'll post a link to all Libby's upcoming events here:

 

http://www.libbyhellmann.com/events/

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author LIBBY FISCHER HELLMAN!

Thanks so much for visiting with us this week! I hope we can get together soon - my schedule has been so crazy this year, it's been hard for me to plan anything. :-(

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author LIBBY FISCHER HELLMAN!

I went to a talk and book signing by LIBBY FISCHER HELLMAN last night. It was great to see her - we'd met briefly at Magna Cum Murder a few years ago. Libby gave a fascinating talk about her trip to Cuba and about the history of Cuba. If you haven't already read it, check out:

 

Havana Lost  

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author LIBBY FISCHER HELLMAN!

 I hope you don't mind if I introduce you to my backlist. They're all available in hard cover, paperback, ebook and audio.

 

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First are the Ellie Foreman Mysteries. Ellie is a video producer and single mother in the Chicago suburbs. She has a teenage daughter and a senior citizen father, so she's part of the "sandwich" generation. She's been endowed with an insatiable curiosity and an innate sense of justice, both of which often put her in jeopardy. Ellie does have a sense of humor, and there is a touch of romance in each book, but the novels are not cozies. They are full of suspense, veering toward thriller, which is why I describe them as a cross between "Desperate Housewives" and "24."

Ellie burst onto the scene in An Eye For Murder where she investigates the murder of an old man and discovers a complex mystery that goes back to World War Two. Eye was nominated for the Anthony Award for Best First, and it won the Best First Readers Choice Award in 2002.

In A Picture of Guilt Johnny Santoro, a dockworker, is on trial for killing his girlfriend, but Ellie finds outtakes of a video with evidence that could save Santoro from a lifetime behind bars.  But the tape is compromised by radio interference, and Santoro goes to jail. Almost immediately, Ellie's world shifts: a suspicious vehicle follows her, the Chicago mob gets involved, a multinational corporation asks her to produce a video, and the FBI takes an interest in her. Everything indicates that something bigger than the Santoro case is involved.  Guilt was nominated for the Benjamin Franklin award, and it won the Best Traditional Mystery Readers Choice Award in 2003. 

My favorite of the Ellie books to date (although I'll probably deny it-how can you have a favorite "child?") is An Image Of Death. A video is left on Ellie's doorstep one winter night that shows the murder of a young woman. In the course of writing the story, I ended up saying things I didn't know I wanted to about women and their options-or lack of them-when they're up against the wall.

A Shot To Die For finds Ellie in and out of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Returning from a video shoot at a renovated upscale resort, Ellie befriends a woman who claims her ride abandoned her at a highway rest stop. But Ellie's kindness is brutally cut short when a pickup truck pulls up, the rear window opens, and the woman is shot dead. Ellie is soon drawn into the history of a wealthy and prominent family and surrounded by an elaborate web of lies, murder, and family secrets. A Shot To Die For won the Best Traditional Mystery in the Readers Choice Awards of 2004.

Here's what reviewers say.

"A masterful blend of politics, history, and suspense...
- Publishers Weekly

"Complicated... fascinating... Hellmann has a beautifully tuned ear... which makes many of her scenes seriously funny ... 
- Chicago Tribune

"Hellmann owes a debt to fellow Chicagoans Sara Paretsky (complex plotting) and Barbara D'Amato (excellent research) - but she's the brash young thing making this formula new again! 
- Aunt Agatha's

"A dark, beautiful book about the struggle of the human spirit against despair... Impossible to put down. Honest to god, mysteries don 't get any better than this."
- William Kent Krueger

"By every possible measure, Hellmann's status as a storyteller has grown. Plot development is masterful... intriguing, realistic characters... itching for the next book."
- Midwest Book Review 

If you haven't read them, I hope you'll give them a look.

Not ready to buy? Excerpts of the Ellie books are on my website.

Best
Libby

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author LIBBY FISCHER HELLMAN!

Libby Hellmann Newsletter

Hi everyone. Chicago is toying with us this spring, as it always does. One day is warm, the next impossible. But that's the price we pay to live in one of the greatest American cities. Btw, is everyone watching CNN's Chicagoland on Thursday nights? It's a documentary series produced by Robert Redford who stubbornly refuses to give up on the city. I always knew I loved that man.

As for me, I wasn't sure I'd have much news to report, but things have a way of sneaking up on me, so here we go.

Havana Lost was chosen as a Finalist in ForeWord Review Magazine's 2013 Thriller of the Year Award! The winner will be announced in June in Vegas. No, I won't be going, but I'm honored.

A Bitter VeilWe're currently about half-way through a German translation of A Bitter Veil, and it should be out by summer. I'm very excited—this will be my first German translation—Easy Innocence is in Spanish and Nice Girl Does Noir is in Italian—but the German market is most like the US in its love for thrillers, and its ties to Iran are deep, so I'm cautiously optimistic. I hope to start a Spanish translation of Havana Lost sometime this year as well.

Fiction RiverI have a new short story in this anthology, published by WGM Publishing, Kristine Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. No Good Deed was possibly the darkest story I've ever written, but I was glad I did. The idea originally came from Chicago News anchor Steve Sanders, and author Les Edgerton helped as well. If you're interested, you can find the "backstory" of how it came about here.

Speaking of backstories, did you know I write a monthly column for Women's Voices Magazine? It's a review of every topic that could possibly be of interest for today's woman, and you can find it here. I write in the "Enjoy" section... on books and movies. I'm having lots of fun, mostly because I don't just write about new books and movies; in fact, most of the columns have a theme. For example, this month was "Best Movie Musicals."

A Taste of NoirI published a new audiobook this month. It's VERY short—only two hours—and is appropriately priced. It contains four short stories from the Nice Girl Does Noir collection, so it's called "A Taste of Noir." Hope you'll take a look. The narrators did a particularly fine job.

I just finished the first draft of a new Georgia Davis book. In it, Georgia discovers she may have a half-sister who's in Chicago. It's tentatively called Comeback (to match Doubleback), but that may well change. Hopefully it will be out later this year. Don't worry—you'll have lots of advance notice.

Libby with Giant ArtichokeLast week saw me touring with my good friend Cara Black on the West Coast. We started in Tucson, then Phoenix, then the Left Coast Crime convention. She's still going strong, but I can't match her pace. I'm back home, thankfully. Here are a couple of photos. I can't imagine I said anything fascinating, but Kent Krueger looks like I did, and that's all that matters.

Libby and Kent

And finally, if you missed any of my blogs over the past few months, here are some of the better ones (IMHO).

Happ Road and Chief Keef: The Accident Waiting to Happen
For the 28 years I've lived in Northfield on the North Shore of Chicago, it's been a quiet place. The village doesn't have the cachet of Winnetka, the opulence of Lake Forest, or the population density of Evanston and Skokie (although most would say that's a good thing)...

Where in The World Was Agatha?
Those of you who are students of Agatha Christie and her work probably know this story, but I didn't until recently, and I think it's a pretty interesting tale about one of our most popular mystery authors. You could even call it a "mystery within a mystery"...

Movies or Books—Which Wins?
The Oscars are coming. When I was a little girl, watching the Oscars was a special event. It was about the only time I was allowed to stay up late to see who won. After years of watching, the spectacle had its effect...

I Moved To Chicago For The Weather
About six months ago, the Mystery Readers Journal edited by Janet Rudolph (Btw, if you don't get these quarterly magazines, you should) released a "Chicago Mysteries" edition. An essay I wrote—well, actually it's a love letter—was included. I'm reprinting it here, so you understand my love affair with this city...

Espionage Movie Classics
Since the cold weather will be with us for a while longer, I'm planning to re-watch some of my favorite spy thriller films. I'd even call them “classics.” But which ones? Excluding James Bond films, here are a few of my all-time favorites, mostly because of their excellent use of suspense techniques...

Twisted Love: Valentine's Day Reading for Cynics
Confession: I am a Valentine's Day cynic. Not for me the cards, roses, candy, and romantic dinners. In fact, for me Valentine's Day is a Hallmark holiday that breaks up winter. It's also a merchandising opportunity for florists, candy stores, restaurants, and jewelers...

Thanks so much for keeping up with me. Comments and Messages are welcome.

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Featured Author LIBBY FISCHER HELLMAN!

Libby Fischer Hellmann

Backlight Spotlight: A Bitter Veil

Image

Dear Becke,

 

I was talking to a friend at a conference after I'd finished Set The Night on Fire. He asked me what I was going to write next. I didn't have a clue, but I explained that I was drawn to stories about women whose power and options have been taken away from them. How do they survive? Prevail over their troubles? And then a true story popped into my mind. I had gone to a high school reunion a couple of years earlier, and one of my classmates told me how she'd fallen in love with an Iranian, married, and moved to Tehran. Four months after she arrived, the Shah was deposed, and Ayatollah Khomeini came to power.

My friend said I should write about it. I replied that I couldn't... it wasn't fiction, and there was no crime. He cocked his head and looked at me rather strangely. "You write crime fiction," he said. "Find one."

I took his advice, and A Bitter Veil was the result. It tells the story of what extreme conflict can do to a society, a culture, a city, a neighborhood, a family, and an individual.

I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out. I hope you agree.

More here.

"The Iranian revolution provides the backdrop for this meticulously researched, fast-paced stand-alone ...A significant departure from the author's Chicago-based Ellie Foreman and Georgia Davis mystery series, this political thriller will please established fans and newcomers alike." -Publishers Weekly

"Hellmann crafts a tragically beautiful story... both subtle and vibrant... never sacrificing the quality of her storytelling. Instead, the message drives the psychological and emotional conflict painting a bleak and heart wrenching tale that will stick with the reader long after they finish the book."-—Crimespree Magazine 

 

"She take(s) care to ensure that most of her characters are neither wholly good nor wholly evil. A departure from Hellmann's crime fiction, this welcoming novel may make a good introduction to an important culture and history for readers curious about Iran."—Booklist

"Well-drawn characters have always been a hallmark of Hellmann's writing, and here she's as strong as usual... [a] suspenseful, well-researched book."—Mystery Scene Magazine

 

Click here for more

Best
Libby