Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Let's Hope This Remains Fiction

I needed a devout villain — two devout villains, actually — for my new crime novel, The Inquisitor's Key.
The novel is set in Avignon, France, where a series of French popes reigned for most of the 1300s. The plot includes two crimes, a medieval murder and a modern one, so I needed two killers. And because the book warns about the match-meets-gasoline perils of mixing religion with politics, both bad guys had to be fueled by a high-octane mixture of faithfulness and ruthlessness.
Want to know why the villains of The Inquisitor's Key could justly be called the doppelgangers of real men of the past and present? Continue reading this article over at the Tampa Bay Times to solve the mystery.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Knocking 'em dead in Nashville: True Tales from Book Tour

The book tour for The Inquisitor's Key - which led Jefferson Bass from Tennessee to Arizona, then from Georgia to Alabama and back to Tennessee and then Florida - has come to an end. 5500 miles in less than two weeks! And it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun without all the kind and hospitable and hilarious folks who came out to the book-tour events. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

A couple years ago, as I was preparing to head out on book tour with Dr. Bill Bass, I got an unusual heads-up from a bookstore in Nashville: A guy I’d written about in a prior, non-fiction book was planning to show up at our Nashville book signing. The guy’s name was Sam John Passarrella, and the book chapter I’d written about him – “Fat Sam and Cadillac Joe” – recounted the abduction and killing of a fast-talking, Cadillac-driving con man who’d sold Sam a stash of stolen silver bullion...

Read the whole story of what happened during that book-tour appearance over at Author Magazine. If you had the opportunity to come out to a Jefferson Bass event this year, please leave a comment below if you'd like to share your experience. Who knows, perhaps you will find yourself in a future true tale from book tour. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Holy Shroud or clever hoax?

For centuries, believers and skeptics have played tug of war with the Shroud of Turin, a 14-foot strip of ivory-colored linen bearing the reddish-brown, bloodstained image of a crucified man. It’s the world’s most famous relic, revered by millions as the burial cloth of Jesus.

It’s also a lightning rod, sparking thorny questions of science and faith.

If the Shroud is genuine – 2,000 years old – can science prove its authenticity and miraculous origin (and thus prove the existence of God)?

Continue reading this op-ed article at Fox News here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Ultimate Game of What-If?

For a crime novelist whose main character is a bone detective, it’s the ultimate case, the greatest game of what-if: What if an ancient skeleton were unearthed, accompanied by the claim that the bones were those of Jesus? How would the bone-sleuth—specifically, my bone sleuth, Dr. Bill Brockton—corroborate or refute the claim? What forensic techniques would he harness? And who, besides him, might be interested in the bones—interested enough to kill for them?

Read more about the ultimate game of what-if in today's guest blog post over at Omnivoracious.

Monday, May 14, 2012

My First Rhyme

"I might be the only murder-mystery writer who gives primary credit (or chief blame) to Dr. Seuss, but there—I’ve said it, and I feel better, even if Theodore Geisel is turning over in his proverbial grave..."

Want to read more about how the not-so-silly rhymes of Dr. Seuss turned a young boy from a tiny town in Alabama into a writer? Today's guest post can be found over at The Quivering Pen. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Biography of My Dear, Dead Friend 31-01

Forensic fans are cut from a different cloth from ordinary folks—specifically, I suspect, from the rubberized fabric of body bags. When ordinary folks find out I write a series called the Body Farm Novels, they look squeamish and quickly change the subject. Forensic fans, on the other hand (and you know who you are, people!) tend to get a gleam in their eyes and say, “Cool. Can I take a tour?!” Unfortunately, the answer is “no,” except to people who have compelling scientific or law-enforcement reasons to go; not enough staff and too many liability concerns.

Eleven years ago, I was lucky enough to go; in fact, I spent two months there at the Body Farm — the University of Tennessee’s Anthropology Research Facility — with a television crew in tow...

To continue reading about my two-month experience at the Body Farm, go on over to Crime Fiction Collective.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Release Day: May 8, 2012 -- The Inquisitor's Key -- and How YOU Can Help

Today, The Inquisitor's Key is officially on sale. As fans of the Body Farm novels already know, The Inquisitor's Key is the seventh and most ambitious novel in the New York Times bestselling series starring ace bone detective Dr. Bill Brockton, who is modeled after renowned forensic anthropologist and founder of the Body Farm Dr. Bill Bass. To celebrate the novel's release -- and to thank you, our dear & devoted readers -- we've decided to give away a whole slew of exciting prizes (...more on that in a moment).

Many readers have asked us -- on Facebook & Twitter, and from the windows of cars speeding by on the street -- whether there will be an eighth novel in the Body Farm series. What will happen to Dr. Brockton? What will become of the illustrious and storied partnership between Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass after The Inquisitor's Key?

The truth is that the success (i.e., sales) of The Inquisitor's Key will ultimately determine the future of Jefferson Bass. In other words, each one of you, dear readers, can directly influence the future of Jefferson Bass and support the continuation of the Body Farm series.

How Can You Help?

If you enjoy the Body Farm series and want to make sure there's an eighth Jefferson Bass novel to look forward to, here are some things you can do to help. Most of these things will cost you nothing but pay great dividends for Jefferson Bass and the Body Farm series. Most of these things you can accomplish in less than a minute, but their effects will linger on and on...until the end of the Internet, which is to say forever...

Buy the book. It’s currently selling on Amazon and everywhere else books are sold for a ridiculously low price. Buy it for friends. Buy it for family. Give it as a gift to everyone you know.
Review the book. On a blog, review site, or on a sandwich board in front of your local bookstore. Any mention, especially noting whatever you really liked about the book, helps immensely.
Review it on Amazon. Go to the Amazon sales page for the book and tell other readers what you liked about it. A quick and easy way to help get the word out and create interest.
Review it on Goodreads. Go to the Goodreads page for the book and tell other readers what you liked about it. You can even copy and paste the same review from Amazon right onto Goodreads. We won't tell anyone!
Make sure local booksellers carry it. The Jefferson Bass series seems to have a strong presence in bookstores, but you can always encourage booksellers who aren’t stocking it.
Request it from your local library. Making sure your local library knows that people are excited about The Inquisitor's Key not only increases library orders -- which account for a surprising number of actual sales -- but allows multiple people in your area to enjoy the book.
Spread the word through Twitter and Facebook and your own blogs. Nothing speaks as loudly and clearly as word of mouth. Tell people about The Inquisitor's Key through social media. Share the Jefferson Bass Facebook page with your friends and family. Ask your followers to follow Jefferson Bass on Twitter. Ask people to read this excerpt of the novel. If you are a blogger, please mention The Inquisitor's Key to your readers.
Come to the book-tour events. Come have lots of fun -- with Jon & Bill & Mr. Bones -- and bring your whole stack of Body Farm novels for us to sign. Bring friends and family to the events as well (the more the merrier). Post your book-tour photos to our Facebook page. Current book-tour schedule here.
Go to the blog-tour events and leave comments. Our goal with the blog tour is 1.) to provide unique and free content for our fans and 2.) to reach readers who are unfamiliar with Jefferson Bass and the Body Farm series. Remember what we said about word of mouth? Go to these blog-tour events, even ones that have already appeared, and tell potential readers to read The Inquisitor's Key. Current blog-tour schedule here (and more to come).

Did Someone Mention Exciting Prizes?

To thank you for your help keeping the Body Farm series going strong, we'll be giving away one copy of each Body Farm novel and one copy of each of our nonfiction books!

And...we're also giving away a signed copy of:

 And...we're also giving away two never-before-seen mystery prizes to the two fans who prove to be the most devoted of all!  

NOTE: We'll be monitoring incoming reviews on various sites -- Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million -- as well as your shares & shout-outs on Facebook & Twitter, and your comments on blog-tour events. To determine the winners of each prize, we'll keep track of who is saying what, when, where & how often.

Surprisingly, many of the objectives I mentioned above can be accomplished in less than a minute. But word of mouth -- your words, your mouth &/or fingers -- will linger on and on and on for all to see and hear. Thank you for everything in advance!

* Many of the ideas for keeping The Body Farm series going strong originated at Jeff Vandermeer's blog Ecstatic Days.

Location, location, location

It's RELEASE DAY, folks, and we're taking a moment to wax nostalgic about researching The Inquisitor's Key in Avignon -- le vin, le fromage -- over at The Book Case. Seems like forever since the days of researching Carved in Bone in the beautiful but hard-scrabble hill country of Cocke County, Tennessee.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Q&A with Julianna Baggott

Tomorrow -- on May 8, 2012, or release day(!) -- the Jefferson Bass book tour for The Inquisitor's Key begins, with a 7:30 a.m. event at the Farragut Chamber of Commerce in Knoxville, Tennessee followed by a 7 p.m. event that evening at the New Hope Center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Before hitting the airport, Jon Jefferson sat down for an interrogation, er, Q&A with novelist, essayist and poet Julianna Baggott. There's talk of writing & reading &, of course, The Inquisitor's Key, along with an unexpected treat: a little foray into the realm of freestyle rap. You may have to wait a while for Body Farm: the album, but you only have to wait 12 more hours for The Inquisitor's Key! And you don't have to wait at all to check out the Q&A found HERE.   

Confronting Evil -- Fictional and Real -- in the City of the Popes

Talking about ancient and modern villains over at the Indigo Blog, specifically the villains of The Inquisitor's Key, and how -- long after Jon's preacher-boy days -- those villains roused questions in his mind about the true nature of good and evil.

Question: Who are your favorite literary villains of all time?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Stabbed ribs, barbecued bodies, and other forensic adventures

The "Inquisi-Key" blog-tour bus has stopped by Susanne Drazic's blog Putting Words on Paper, and Jon's reminiscing about lunch with Dr. Bill Bass at a Knoxville barbecue restaurant. While chowing down on ribs, the two men discussed murder cases and forensic anthropology -- normal lunch-table conversation, sure.
   Go on over and read all about it right here. The bus is almost gassed-up and ready to head out.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Book Giveaway: "The Inquisitor's Key"

As Inspector RenĂ© Descartes would say, “Bonjour, mes amis!” … I’m not exactly certain what he’d say next—it’s been too long since the glory days of researching The Inquisitor’s Key in Avignon! & even longer since high school French with Mademoiselle LaFlamme (oh la la, those mini-jupes she wore). But I digress … I always digress …

Lemme guess: You’re not here solely to admire my stunning good looks in the photo on the left. You’re also here for the giveaway contest! Good timing. In anticipation of the May 8, 2012 release of The Inquisitor’s Key, I’m sponsoring a giveaway of the new novel to reward each and every one of you who downloaded and read the e-story prequel entitled Madonna and Corpse. We hope you had as much fun reading it as I did—well, honestly—when I pressed SAVE for the last time, then stood up feeling accomplished and went to get a cold beer from the fridge. (Sure, I said it: I, Mr. Bones, actually write all the novels, not Jon and Bill! They just sat back and drank all the beer in my fridge, apparently. Just as well...I don’t have the stomach for alcohol these days. Seems to go right through me…)

Now wait a minute. I sense that some of you are thinking, “I haven’t downloaded and read Madonna and Corpse, but I want to win The Inquisitor’s Key!” Wait a doggone minute. If you have not already downloaded and read Madonna and Corpse, do NOT go bananas. I’ve come up with a two-step plan to remedy this situation and thus save yourself from a complete breakdown.
  1. Click the following link to download Madonna and Corpse (99 cents – how can you lose?!?) from the e-retailer of your choice.
  2. Start reading!

Pretty simple, right?
(If you don't own an e-reader, once again do NOT go bananas. You can download this free Kindle app for your PC & read Madonna and Corpse right on your home computer!)