Violet2233 is the winner of Valerie’s giveaway! Watch for an email from her!
I’m so happy to welcome back Valerie Burns. She’s one of those people who I wonder how she does it all. Valerie is one of the hardest working women I know! She’s here celebrating the release of Bookclubbed to Death!
Thanks, Sherry Harris and all of the Wicked Authors for inviting me to spend time with you all today.
Bookclubs: Pack or Lone Wolf?
Over the years, I’ve belonged to quite a few different types of clubs. I’ve been involved with everything from dog clubs to an investment club at various levels. Some clubs require payment of monthly/annual dues, but not much more. While others require attendance at regular meetings and participation in the club’s activities. Even though I’m an avid reader, I have yet to join a book club. Nevertheless, a book club features prominently in my next Mystery Bookshop Mystery, Bookclubbed to Death. So, I’ve asked myself, why not?
What’s the big deal about clubs, you ask? Clubs represent a gathering of like-minded people to achieve a common goal. When I was involved in an investment club, our goal was to pool our money together to learn about and invest in stocks. The idea that one person alone investing a meager $25 dollars, wouldn’t be able to buy much when it came to the stock market. However, if twenty people all pooled their resources, together our combined $500 per month could result in bigger investments and consequently bigger returns. That was the theory, anyway. Along the way, we educated ourselves on the stock market. Things went along well for about a year, but then attendance declined. The zeal the members felt at the club’s inception petered out. Attendance at the monthly meetings declined. Dues weren’t paid in a timely manner, and we eventually disbanded the club.
Book clubs are different. Usually, no money is required to join a book club. A group of bibliophiles agree to read and discuss books. Sure, most members would need to purchase the books that weren’t available at a library, but then we’re talking about book lovers. Chances are, they were going to buy those books anyway. According to an article in Book Riot, more than five million Americans attend a book club either in person or virtually. And there are book clubs for every interest and socioeconomic classification. In person or virtual clubs abound for women, men, professionals, LGBTQIA+, or pretty much any other group imaginable. My sister’s book club reads the occasional book, but meets monthly to drink wine and socialize. Different strokes for different folks.
So, why haven’t I joined a book club? No idea. I have no doubt that I could find a cozy mystery lovers’ virtual book club that would provide a great opportunity to talk about cozies with people who love them as much as I do—my tribe. Yet, something always prevents me from taking the plunge. Based on my age and personality, I suspect that the group concept isn’t my thing, especially when it comes to books. Time is short—too short. I don’t want to take up my limited time to read books that don’t appeal to me. I don’t want to read books that I don’t want to read. I want to read what I want to read when I want to read it. When it comes to books, I expect Burger King. I want it my way!
In my newest book, Bookclubbed to Death, Sam hosts The Mystery Mavens book club at her bookstore. The leader of the club, Delia Marshall, is a demanding autocrat who runs the club with an iron fist. Plus, she’s also a book reviewer who wields a great deal of power. Even though, Delia Marshall bears no resemblance to any book club leaders (or reviewers) that I know, I suspect she and the Mystery Mavens represent my worst fears when it comes to organized clubs. Maybe now that the book is written, I’ve exorcised those demons. It just might be time to reconsider the book club thing. Afterall, no club could ever be as bad.
Readers: How do you feel about book clubs? Do you enjoy reading and discussing books with a group? Or, do you prefer to go solo and read what you want when you want? Let me know in the comments. One commenter (US only) will be randomly selected to win a copy of Bookclubbed to Death. The contest will remain open until December 31 and the winner announced on January 1.
BOOKCLUBBED TO DEATH
When the bookshop she owns becomes a crime scene, mystery writer Samantha Washington discovers there is such a thing as bad publicity . . .
After the local library in North Harbor, Michigan, is flooded in a storm, Sam offers her bookstore as a new venue for the Mystery Mavens Book Club. Unfortunately, she immediately runs afoul of the club leader, Delia Marshall, a book reviewer who can make or break careers—something Sam can ill afford with her debut historical mystery soon to be published.
But the next morning, Sam opens her shop to find the unpleasant woman dead on the floor, bashed with a heavy—apparently lethal—tome: the Complete Works of Agatha Christie. While Sam is busy writing her latest British historical mystery in which the queen mother is suspected in the murder of a London Times correspondent, a pair of ambitious cops suspect Sam of the real-life crime. When she gathers Nano Jo and their friends from the Shady Acres Retirement Village to review the case, they discover every one of the Mavens had a motive. With her novel about to hit the stores, Sam must find out who clubbed Delia before a judge throws the book at her . . .
About the author
Valerie (V. M.) Burns is an Agatha, Edgar, and Anthony Award-nominated author. She is the author of the Mystery Bookshop, Dog Club, RJ Franklin, and Baker Street Mystery series. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She is also a mentor in Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction MFA program. Connect with Valerie at: