Ruby Release: Pas De Death

I must confess. I killed a blogger.

But it’s okay because she gave me permission to do so. In fact, she paid for the honor.

Not me, of course. That money went to find a cure for diabetes. But she was asking for it.

I don’t normally make it a habit to kill off book bloggers, because, well, they’re awesome. They help support us authors and bring attention to our books. And I admit that when Jen Runkle asked me to kill her, I was a bit leery. Couldn’t you just see that all over the Twitterverse? “Crazy author kills book blogger over bad review!” (Even if it wasn’t true — she gave me a very nice review, actually — but you know how things can take on a life of their own.)

But a promise is a promise, and after all, the customer is always right. So I set about to enact literary revenge.

Okay, so I didn’t actually enact literary revenge, since I honestly had no bone to pick with her. But she did ask me to use her name, so I kept up my end of the bargain.

Last May, I offered up naming rights of the victim in my new book, Pas De Death, in the Brenda Novak auction. And Jen, whose mom suffers diabetes, always bids on items in the auction. She’d met me a month earlier at a booksigning at Turn The Page (Nora Roberts’ husband’s shop in Boonsboro, MD), so when she saw that item listed in the auction catalog she knew she had to bid. And I’m so glad she did!

Now, I’ve never killed anyone before. Obviously not in real life, but not on the page, either. My previous myseries had dealt with sabotage and kidnapping, but I figured that I had to step it up this time. After all, my heroine Dani Spevak had recently turned 15 during the short story “Barre Hopping at Midnight”, so now she considered herself a bit edgier than during her days as a 14-year-old. So clearly she was going to have to solve a murder mystery this time.


I took some liberties with Jen’s character. I slightly changed her profession (in the book she’s a former dancer-turned-arts-critic instead of a book blogger), but I did keep her physical description and hobbies. But the biggest change (well, other than making her divorced — sorry real-life Mr. Runkle!) was her personality. She’s actually really funny and nice, but I couldn’t justify killing off someone like that. No, that’s no fun. So the fictional Jen Runkle is a real piece of work.

Like I said, this is FICTION!

Anyway, I decided y’all are probably tired of hearing me talk about myself and my books for these Ruby Release posts, so I decided to do something new today. Instead of one of my Ruby Sisters interviewing me, I’m interviewing my murder victim! Er, a book blogger!

Niagara 1 May 11-12, 2012 502

Amanda: Welcome, Jen! Thanks for joining us here in Rubylandia. Or maybe I should call this the Land of Oz? Anyway… You won naming rights of the victim in Pas De Death from the Brenda Novak auction. Why did you decide to use your own name?

Jen: Honestly, I don’t have anyone that I’d like to ‘kill off’. Sure, things have happened with people in the past and their names come to mind on occasion but overall I try to leave the past in the past. After all, I’m sure that any broken friendships, etc. happened for a reason.

Plus, how many people can say that a crazed 😉 author killed them?! It’s something unique that I will remember for years to come.

Amanda: Hey, who are you calling crazed?! Okay, moving on. You haven’t read the book yet, so any guesses on how you died?

Jen: I’ll go with a fairly simple answer and say I was stabbed for being, as you said on C.C. Hunter’s blog, ‘a not-so-nice-word-that-rhymes-with-witch’. Am I close? Wait, don’t tell me!

Amanda: Well, obviously I wasn’t going to tell you. Duh! You’re a book blogger…you know not to give spoilers. But I will tell our blog readers out there that if they click on the link to C.C.’s blog, they can check out the first chapter of Pas De Death, and enter to win a copy while they’re there!

Anyway, speaking of spoilers and blogs, how did you get into blogging, Jen?

Jen: I originally thought my blog would be an outlet, a random mash up of all of the things I enjoy. I also wanted to track books that I’ve read and what I thought about them. It didn’t take long for that mash up to become mostly centered on books. I’m very glad it went in that direction because I never imagined how much I would end up loving it and the whole blogging community. I love being able to connect with others with the same interests and authors of the books I enjoyed so much.

Amanda: Very cool. Who are some of your favorite authors?

Jen: There are so many great authors, whether newer or already established, and it’s always hard for me to choose favorites. A few authors that are on my auto buy list now are Maria V. Snyder, Rhiannon Frater, Louisa Edwards, J.A. Belfield, Amanda Carlson, Cheryl Rainfield, and Brigid Kemmerer. I could keep going but I’ll control myself a little, haha.

Amanda: You just mentioned a few of my faves, cool! And some other names I’ve never read, but will have to look for now. Any advice for authors on how to attract a blogger’s attention? The good way, I mean.

Jen: This is a tough question. There are so many ways to get bloggers to pay attention but overall I think it’s good when authors are active in connecting with readers/bloggers. Let your readers get to know you a little and also keep them updated on book news.


Thank you so much to Jen for hanging with us today! Do any of our authors have any questions for her? (I can’t guarantee she’ll be back to answer, but I bet she will.) One random commenter will win a digital copy of PAS DE DEATH!


Book 3 of the Dani Spevak Mystery Series!

pas de deux: (NOUN: pl. pas de deux)
1. A dance for two, especially a dance in ballet consisting of an entrée and adagio, a variation for each dancer, and a coda.
2. A close relationship between two people or things, as during an activity.

pas de death (NOUN: yeah … totally made up)
1. A dance of death.
2. When Dani Spevak stumbles over a dead body and gets into another crazy situation.

Aspiring ballerina Dani Spevak is back home for the summer, recovering from an injury. What was supposed to be a simple day trip into New York City to visit her friends at the Manhattan Ballet Conservatory turns deadly when Dani discovers that the world of professional ballet can be cutthroat — literally.

33 responses to “Ruby Release: Pas De Death”

  1. I love it, Amanda. And thanks for joining us, Jen. I usually only kill off people I don’t like, which is clearly not the case in Amanda’s book.

    Congrats on the new release, Amanda!


  2. Thanks Laurie! It was a nice change to be on the receiving end of an interview.

    And a big thank you to Amanda! This has been a fun process and I hope a lot of people will bid on your auction, in May, to raise even more money for a great cause!


  3. Liz talley says:

    What a fun auction item! And congrats on the release. Hmmm…I suppose the best question is how book bloggers stumble upon new to them authors. Do they take recs from readers? Or wait for authors to send books?

    Thanks for being here today, Jen.


  4. Diana Layne says:

    Welcome, Jen, so sorry to hear of your recent demise. 🙂 Amanda, this was fun!


  5. Thanks for such a fun post, Amanda! And welcome Jen! Such a creative contest and for such a great cause. Hmmm…I’ll have to think about that.

    And yes, like Liz asked, how do you (Jen) find out about new authors?

    Have a fabulous Thursday!


  6. Shea Berkley says:

    What an unexpected, fun interview! I’m torn between congratulating or commiserating with Jen on her untimely demise. But seriously, what an honor to have an author dispatch you literarily. (Is that even a word?) I’d be totally psyched if it happened to me.

    Big, awesome congratulations, Amanda, on your latest release! You’ve got a great series going, and I wish you all the best, sister.


  7. June Love says:

    Jen, thanks for being here today. The fact that you don’t know anyone you’d like to kill off tells me what a nice person you are! I’ll have to parrot the question of some of my sisters, how do you find new authors?

    Amanda, congratulations on your latest release. I hope you have many, many sales.


  8. Thank you all for such a warm welcome!!

    I find a lot of new authors by word of mouth. I have bought & read many books just because of positive reviews on other blogs or on Goodreads. I also find new authors from friend recommendations which is great because they know what I read and I’m almost guaranteed to enjoy the book.

    I have had new to me authors approach me about reviewing books but I admit that I’m really picky about which ones I accept. It’s nothing against the authors but sometimes their books are way out of my reading box…or I just don’t have the time. BUT I have found new favorites this way.


  9. Larger book events are also a great way to find new authors. That’s how I found out about Amanda and Codename: Dancer. I was planning on attending a signing so I looked up books from attending authors and Codename: Dancer is one I thought sounded interesting.


    • Amanda Brice says:

      Yay! I’m so glad you did, because otherwise you never would have bid on being the victim, and then I wouldn’t have gotten to kill you.

      Seriously, Jen’s been a really good sport throughout this whole thing. It’s been a lot of fun to tease her about her days being numbered. 🙂


  10. What a fun post!!!! Congrats to both of you. RIP Jen. 🙂


  11. Pintip says:

    Lol. This was too funny. Now I kinda want to get killed, too! (In a book, ha, not in real life.) Congrats, Amanda, and enjoy your literary death, Jen!


  12. Yay! Such a fun interview! I love that you’ve stepped up your game by writing a murder mystery this time. 🙂

    A question for Jen — In my experience, word of mouth is about the best promotion an author can hope for. As a book blogger, do you find this to be true as well? Are there any books that you would not have normally picked up that you did because of the ‘buzz’ through the book blogging community?

    Congrats on the release, Amanda!!! 🙂


    • I do think that word of mouth is a big marketing tool. Aside from reviews and recommendations I think street teams are a fun way to build some buzz around your book. Gretchen McNeil drummed up a lot of attention with her Army of Ten street team last year!

      The two most recent books I read because of all of the hype were Down to You by M. Leighton and First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones (Hi Darynda :-P). I may have read them without the buzz but it definitely encouraged me and both books ended up being 5 star books.


  13. How fun! Congratulations to Amanda on the new release, and welcome to Jen’s, um, corpse? Spirit? 🙂

    Jen, it sounds like you read A LOT. I was curious how many books a week/month you read, and do you like certain genres or does it run the gamut?


    • The number of books I read seems to go up each year. Last year I think I was around 105. I can easily read a book in a day (if time allows it) but I also go through spells where I don’t read anything for a couple weeks.

      I mostly read contemporary romance, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, thriller/horror, and young adult but I will sometimes throw in medical mysteries, murder mysteries, new adult, and what I’ll call light fantasy.


  14. Hope Ramsay says:

    Clearly, Jen, reports of your demise are greatly exaggerated. Congrats, Amanda, on another Dani Spevak installment. And what I want to know is, Amanda, do you stay up late nights dreaming up your cute, funny book titles? I just love Pas de Death.


    • Amanda Brice says:

      Ha! Actually, you can totally thank Cynthia for that one. She suggested it when I needed a title for a short story. The story had no murder in it, but I knew as soon as I heard it that I would have to write a murder mystery for the next novel since that title was just too good not to use!


  15. Vivi Andrews says:

    Amanda – Congrats on the new release! This series is such fun!

    Jen – Thanks for joining us today. Book lovers unite! 🙂 Just out of curiosity, what was the last book that really knocked your socks off?


    • The last book that knocked by socks off was Dark Genesis by Dave Ferraro. He contacted my co-blogger and I about being part of his blog tour. I was just a teensy bit afraid that I wouldn’t enjoy it since my previous two review books were just ok but I was very surprised how much I ended up loving it. I’m actually reading another of his books now because if it’s half as good as Dark Genesis then I’m sold!


  16. Rita Henuber says:

    Amanda congrats and Jen thanks for letting Amanda kill you off. It seems death become you. Jen I’m in awe of the number of books you read.


  17. Nan Dixon says:

    What a great way to come up with names. I have to admit – Today I went to my daughter’s facebook site to grab a couple of names from her age group — because Geesh — my generation’s names just don’t work! Love the idea of getting to name a character this way.

    Holy cow – I think you might read more books than me – recently deceased but still living Jen! What fun!


    • Amanda Brice says:

      It was a really fun way to name a character, and for such a great cause, too. Plus good publicity, and I had a lot of fun getting to know Jen through this process, so I definitely call it a win!


  18. What fun, Amanda, and congrats on your new release. Isn’t it great that such a good sport won the bid.

    Over 100 books a year is a lot to read, Jen! Have fun with your blog, and thanks for helping others find books like Amanda’s.


  19. Addison Fox says:

    This is such a fun post!!!!

    And congratulations on your book birthday, Amanda! 🙂



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