Tuesday, December 24, 2013

14 Days and Counting...

14 Days to go… Dying to Know hits the shelves.

And in the meantime, I’ve been featured on a few interesting blogs. Check out those with the Campaign for the American Reader at:

and at Coffee with a Canine: Tj O’Connor & Toby, Mosby, and Maggie Mae

And also on a wonderful site “Dru’s Book Musings” at http://notesfromme.wordpress.com  by Dru Ann Love. Dru Ann has a feature on Dying to Know at http://notesfromme.wordpress.com/category/a-day-in-the-life/.  My feature will go live on January 6th at http://wp.me/p3nHH-4pY, but take a look at her other great features and postings.

Much more to come in January with more from Campaign for the American Reader, Criminal Element, Omnimystery, Suspense Radio, News Reads, Mystery Anthology Magazine, and others!  I’ll post the links and times/dates as they are available.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Happy Holidays to all.



Monday, December 9, 2013

Dying to Know... in 30 Days!

It’s been a very long nine months since I received the news that Dying to Know would be published by Midnight Ink. But here I am… thirty days and counting. It’s a mixture of excitement and trepidation. I’m excited that the first of my series featuring Oliver “Tuck” Tucker, Angel, Bear, and of course Hercule, will arrive in bookstores in thirty days. But I’m also sad, too, because that means Tuck will be murdered that very day, too. Oh, and there are a couple others who will be Dying to Know with him, but they’re not stars, so they have to just suck it up and deal.

But, at least Tuck has one last Christmas. I wonder if he knows he’s end is coming?

I hope he’s ready for this. I am. I’ve gone through a half-dozen edits, two rounds of fact checking, wrangled a blurb from the bestselling author,  Stephen Frey, author of Arctic Fire and the upcoming Red Cell Seven, and finished the first of two sequels for Tuck’s case files, Dying for the Past. Luckily, Tuck’s pending murder hasn’t slowed either of us down. In fact, it’s the whole point. We’ve done some of our best work after his murder. At least I think so.

Dying for the Past is Tuck’s second case and is due out the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015. The story finds Tuck investigating the murder of a mysterious philanthropist with ties to the Russian mob. The case leads him into the world of 1930’s gangland hoods, Soviet spies, a missing Federal witness, and the search for “the book”—a journal of pre-World War II mobsters and spies still operating in Washington D.C. He’ll also begin to understand that his being a dead detective isn’t by chance.

I thought I was overdue to give you an update on life in my new world. It’s been a tough couple months and so much has been happening that I couldn’t find the time to blog this out. Now I will.

Between readying for the release of Dying to Know and the demands of my real life—a security consultant for a research and development center providing anti-terrorism support to the U.S. Government—there hasn’t been any time to begin my third book in Tuck’s series, Dying to Tell. Until yesterday. I sat down and wrote like a mad-man, and if all goes well, I’ll have 10,000 words by late evening tonight.

Dying to Tell will be Tuck’s third case and will bring him face to face with his long-lost family and roots. The murder of a prominent banker will shake up Winchester after seedy dealings, black marketing, and World War II profiteering are unmasked. Tuck will have to sort out a seventy-year old string of killings and stolen Egyptian antiquities and murders from all the way back to 1942. All the while, Tuck will be dealing with the revelations of his own past and trying to sort out who of his ancestors are the good guys and who are the bad guys.

To combat my total lack of experience in the book world, I’ve recently engaged a public relations guru from Tennessee to help me get some press and attention to Dying to Know. This is all new to me, too. I’m not used to being a client. I’m used to having clients. But Maryglenn has been gentle with me and is doing great so far. She’s been working on guest blogs and interviews, scheduled several posts coming up in January and the weeks beyond, and will be sending my novel out to key critics around the country trying to gin up some interest. I’ll provide a list of those blogs and interviews at the end of this update for anyone interested.

With all that is going on, I’m finding that the biggest mystery I have to solve is how to navigate in this new world of mine. There are book signings to figure out, Google advertisements to plan, blogs here and there, public relations, and wrangling time to sit down and write. And of course, there’s the January book launch cocktail party to plan. It was simpler chasing bad guys for a living. Who knew?

One final thought. I may sound like I’m complaining about time, juggling real work with writing, and the thousand new things to learn—I’m not. I’m incredibly thankful for what’s happening. I’ve been working toward this my entire life and never really thought it would happen. Suddenly, it’s thirty days away. I know it could be the shortest writing career in history or it could open a door to something else. I have no idea—but either way, life has changed dramatically. But what I do know is that I didn’t get here by being timid or afraid to jump in with both feet. Timid has never been a word used to describe me. And those that have been used, well, should not be printed here. Or anywhere. Or whispered. Or repeated…

All the best to you all for Christmas and the holidays. I’ll keep you posted when there’s something to say. Until then, remember—if you all buy 100 books each, and all your friends by 100 books each, Dying to Know might come close to a bestseller. Think about it.

 Very best to all,


 Upcoming Blogs (I’ll let you know the dates of release)

Inkspots: 10/18/2013—Dying is overrated… Writing in the first person while you are dead—

Inkspots:  11/15/2013—Facts Build Good Fiction—The Truths Behind Dying to Know—

Notes from Me—Dru Ann Love: 1/6/2014—A Day in the Life—err, death—of Oliver Tucker—

Coming in January…
Assorted blogs and interviews with Marshal Zeringue:

Omnimystery Websites— My interview— http://www.omnimystery.com/omnimystery.html

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Countdown: 101 Days Before Dying

Yes, it’s true. In just 101 days, my time is up—my Dying will arrive. Aren’t you Dying to Know why?
On January 8, 2014, my first novel of the series, Dying to Know, arrives on the bookshelves. Dying for the Past will be out later that year sometime (to be determined).

Okay, that’s just too corny for even me. But what the heck, I gave it a shot.
Here’s the real news of late—and I’m sorry it’s so long, I’ve been busy!

This past month has been a wild ride. Earlier, I reconnected with an old colleague of mine, Stephen Frey—as in New York Times Best Selling author, Stephen Frey,  http://www.stephenwfrey.comauthor of eighteen thrillers.  Steve was a principal at my former employer where I was COO. That was a ride worth loving and hating all at the same time. Steve and I reconnected a couple weeks ago and he was kind enough to give me some advice and a blurb for my upcoming book. I hope that one day I can repay the favor, if not to him, perhaps to some other up and coming author. At least I’ll be buying him some lunch and good wine next month.
Next, I finished up the last of my edits for Dying to Know (due out on January 8 and can be pre-ordered at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Midnight Ink websites… hint, hint). It was thrilling and scary at the same time. Thrilling to be getting ready to go to the presses. Scary that I worry about my debut novel falling flat. So here’s the deal. I did the math. If every one of you buys 100 copies, I’m damn near sure it might be a best seller. What do you think, huh?
Okay, maybe not.

I also recently completed the first of two sequels Midnight Ink bought. This one, Dying for the Past, is the second installment of Oliver “Tuck” Tucker coming to terms with his new profession—a dead detective. Tuck finds himself being stalked by 1930’s gangsters while he hunts the killer of a mysterious philanthropist. He also must confront his family’s past—one he never knew existed—and all the while trying to prove that his wife, Angel, was not raised by yet another killer. Dying for the Past continues the series’ exploration of how Tuck and Angel—assisted by Bear Braddock, his living police partner, and Hercule, his dedicated albeit lazy black Lab—come to terms with Tuck’s dilemma on how to be back amongst the living but not one of them. (For those of you just tuning in, Tuck is, err, dead. Yet his character runs the story!) Get the book. Read it. You’ll get it.
Each of the Dying to Know books will unravel bits of Tuck’s family heritage—all the way from the roaring 20s to the modern day. Each story will have a historical subplot based in fact. Or facts as I choose to portray them. See, writers don’t lie. They just plot-twist.

My agent, the incomparable Kimberley Cameron, already accepted Dying for the Past with minor edits. It’ll be off to Midnight Ink post haste. Now it’s time to begin the second sequel, Dying to Tell—are you starting to see the theme here?
My next adventure this past month was attending the Bouchercon Mystery Writers conference in Albany, NY. For those of you who don’t know, I grew up some thirty miles south of Albany. So it was good to be back for a visit.

Bouchercon was a fun conference, albeit difficult to mingle. My fellow writers were scattered around Albany in different hotels, the conference center was an up-hill mountain climb without benefit of Sherpa guides, and much of the local city bars and restaurants closed in the evening. But never believe that you can take good food and wine from writers. No. Cannot be. We found a way—though in small clusters. The highlights of my trip were having lunch with a dear, sweet pal from my past—Christine—who has been a close pal for twenty years. She and I had lunch and told lies about ourselves (well I did, she was rather honest I think). She’s a great lady and all you NY bums better pay attention! 

Next was the super-highlight of my trip. I was privileged to spend a few moments chatting with the queen of mystery writing—Sue Grafton. Sue gave a wonderful interview on stage at the conference followed by a reception. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award (although they’ll owe her another at the rate she knocks out best sellers!) When we met, she was gracious and interested in my work, charming, and, above all, one of the classiest ladies I’ve ever met. All authors—unknown and famous—should strive for her talent and charm. I will.

Alas, this is the end of my update. Beginning next month, I will begin a routine blog entry on Dying To Know and its series. I’ll also be guest blogging at the Midnight Ink blog spot, http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com.

So look for me here and at www.midnightwriters.blogspot. So anytime you find someone who needs killing (in a book, honest NSA), flash a giant “Tj” in the night sky. If I see it, maybe I’ll call. Eh, maybe not.





Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dying to Know... an update

My friends,
It’s time for another update—there’s a lot happening.

First, I hope you’re all enjoying the summer as I toil away at my computer writing two sequels to Dying to Know and continuing in my day job fighting for truth, justice, and the American way (wait, did someone use that line before me?) And I should tell you, the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for…” is oh, so true. I’m living proof. I’m not complaining, mind you, but holy crap what did I get myself into? I’m working every day for my mortgage, writing before and after work and even lunchtime, both days of the weekend, and… I’m missing time in there somewhere! My eyeballs are getting “computer decay,” when I sleep I’m constantly waking to make notes on plot changes and new stories, and my Labs have applied as characters in my books for my affection. Even the damn cat attacks me at the keyboard for attention. The cat! But alas, I asked for this and now I’ll deal with it. Happily. Very happily.
So, here goes the spiel…

-        Dying to Know comes out the first week in January 2014 (no, that’s not still the fall as planned, but it’s close). For Christmas, give an empty box with an IOU “Dying to Know” and give ‘em the book two weeks later. They’ll love you for it. I promise.

-        The book is now listed on Midnight Ink’s website at: http://www.midnightinkbooks.com/product.php?ean=9780738739502

-        My novel is being sold as a paranormal novel. Eh, okay, it’s really a murder mystery with a paranormal twist, but potato-potato, right? In the end, I’m thrilled it’s out there!

-        The first of two sequels to Dying to Know is done and with my draft editor. It’s called Dying for the Past and it’s the continuing saga of Tuck and his characters. Dying for the Past begins with the death of a mysterious philanthropist and soon involves the Russian Mob, 1939 gangsters, and Soviet spies. In the story, Tuck begins to learn about his past family and his roots in the pre-World War II gangland days, in the OSS, and beyond. Each of the sequels will unravel more and more of Tuck’s past and how he came to be so unique—back among the living but not one of them.

-        I’ll begin the second sequel at the end of the summer and hope to pen out another different novel, unconnected to this series, by year’s end. I’ve got a dozen or more sketched outlines of other novels (mystery and thrillers), waiting for the time to write.

-        I’ll be in Albany, New York, at the Bouchercon Crime Writer’s convention September 19-22. Although my book won’t be out yet, my agent wants me there to mingle and get involved. So, I’ll mingle and get involved. If you’re around Albany, drop by for a drink or a meal. I’m good for it!
My agent, the amazing Kimberley Cameron, also has another of my novels, New Sins for Old Scores—a murder mystery involving the returned spirit of a World War II OSS operative helping a modern-day detective stop a murderous human-trafficking ring. Kimberley will be looking for opportunities to put New Sins out to the market soon. Who knows, maybe I’ll have two series in the works at the same time. Then I can go without sleep for days at a time…

I hope you’ll grab my book when it comes out—all of them. Maybe grab 20 or 30 for your friends, too. If you have dogs, buy 10 extra—Hercule is a black Lab and a key character in my novels—your dog will respect your taste in murder mysteries. I’ll gladly sign each and every copy. I’ll travel to your neighborhood for barbecues and parties. I’ll attend signings at your library, school, office, garage, corner store… I’ll wash cars for sales (okay, maybe not), but you get the idea. I’ve got an amazing opportunity in front of me and I don’t want to waste it.
More as it happens… (yes, I know, you just cannot wait).

Stay well and I hope you enjoy the books!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I am such a lucky man. I recently survived a harrowing and scary ordeal.
For three days I was confined in a towering Bethesda facility entangled with hundreds of others who are all guilty of the same crimes—murder. Some of them commit murder. Some of them are eager accomplices. Others are simply those who crave the crime, its tangled-deceits, and its endless twists and turns. They are the bad ones—the ones who make us all kill over and over. They drive us to the crime.
But, perhaps I should start at the beginning. And to do that, you need to understand two definitions:

“Malice aforethought” — the conscious intent to cause death or great bodily harm to another person before a person commits the crime.
“Malice Domestic” — The congregation of hundreds of people contemplating murder—and then they write about it.

You see, Malice Domestic is an annual Mystery Writers convention where hundreds of fans and authors meet. They plot, they scheme, and they conspire. And this year, I was among them—a new willing conspirator.
And yes, despite the hundreds of murderers in my presence, I survived. I even learned a thing or two.

Okay, enough of the melodrama. What a blast! I attended Malice at the direction of my agent, Kimberley Cameron, who must take responsibility for my own malice aforethought for Dying To Know, Dying for the Past, and future Dyings that lie ahead. She done it—she’s to blame—she signed me as a client. And (thank you again, Kimberley), she is getting me published with Midnight Ink, that amazing band of fellow conspirators in the mystery genre.
I met the most amazing people at Malice—fellow authors, new writers, publishers and agents, and the fans. After years in the security and terrorism world, I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful new world of book-people. They are the kindest, funniest, and most engaging people I’ve ever met. Perhaps it’s the instant bond that forms when people commit murder (yes, yes, on the page) or perhaps having shared the long and difficult journey to get to this place at all—finding an agent, the endless rejections, and novels piling on the desk waiting for a home. We all shared bits and pieces of those tribulations. But nonetheless, these are the people I’ve looked for my entire life.

And to all of you, thank you for embracing me as one of you. (Don’t I get a secret handshake or decoder ring or something? All I got was a bazillion book markers!)
I learned a lot at the conference and from many of you. I also made some new friends I hope will be such for years to come. So if you ever need help killing someone, just give me a call—err, yes, yes, on paper of course.

And for those of you wishing for a taste of this camaraderie—or if you have a killing you can’t wait to share—let me know or attend next year’s Malice. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Published! My Debut Novel out in 2013!

Unbelievable! It’s here. It happened… thank you Kimberley Cameron!

After years of very early mornings, late nights, and weekends stealing time for writing, this is the email I’ve waited a lifetime to send. I have just been offered a deal with Midnight Ink book publishers for a three-book publishing contract beginning with Dying To Know, my first murder mystery. The book should come out in late 2013 or early 2014 in paperback.

My agent, Kimberley Cameron, will be making a public announcement next week and Midnight Ink will go to publication as soon as the details are signed. This is moving fast and has taken me by surprise. Soonest I have details, I’ll let you know. For now, you can check my web site at www.tjoconnor.com, my agent’s site, www.kimberleycameron.com, and my publisher at www.midnightinkbooks.com for a peek behind the curtain.  I’ll also be updating my Facebook at www.facebook.com/tjoconnor.author as new details emerge. Believe me, all these sites and postings are new to me so be patient—I am! It’s taken me 52 years to get here; a few more months won’t kill me!

For those of you just tuning in, let me give you the thumbnail sketch…. I’ve been writing since I was in grade school but got serious about ten years ago. I’ve spent my life building career and family and decided it was time to do what I’ve wanted to my entire life—become an author. I’ve written six novels to date—three thrillers and three murder mysteries. Kimberley represents my mysteries. She signed me to her agency two years ago with Dying To Know, and since then, she has taken on New Sins for Old Scores. I’ll soon be wrapping up The Killing of Tyler Quinn for her review next.

Midnight Ink is a publisher focused on mysteries and thrillers and I’m thrilled to be asked to join their stable of authors. They’re excited about my work and are pushing ahead fast. While I won’t be quitting my day job as a swashbuckling security consultant, it’s a chance that is nearly impossible these days for a new writer to find.

Still, I have no idea what the future will bring after Dying To Know is released (flop or success), but here we go….

Tell your friends. Tell your neighbors. Hell, tell the damn dog and mailman and everyone at the grocery store, the gym, work, passing on the street…blog it, Facebook it, send notes in bottles… But tell everyone to BUY THE DAMN THING when it comes out. BUY THREE!!!!! No… five (six if they have a dog)!

If nothing else, I’ll get a nice book to frame on my wall… and with some luck and hard work, maybe more. Stayed tuned and thanks!

Very best to all,