Diana Renn

Mysteries that Matter

Author

New Book Deal!

I’m so, so excited to announce a new book deal — and my first foray into Middle Grade! Fitzroy Books, an imprint of Regal House Publishing, acquired my new mystery, TROUBLE AT TURTLE POND, for publication in Spring 2022. It’s a friendship-centered eco-mystery, about a team of self-appointed young wildlife rangers who try to stop a series of crimes against local endangered turtles – think HOOT meets HELLO, UNIVERSE.

Regal House is a traditional independent publisher putting out a wide range of books for kids, teens, and adults. I’ve been snatching up some of their recent and past titles, reading avidly, and am honored to be in the company of such a talented team of authors and editors. (And they have beautiful covers!) This is an exciting new chapter in my writing career, with a new age group and a new publisher, so I’ll be sharing plenty of news and updates here along the way. Meanwhile, here’s the official deal announcement in Publisher’s Marketplace!

Screenshot from Publisher's Marketplace deal announcement

FALSE IDOLS is out!

Well, hello!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here – I’ve been a bit busy! (Excuse me a moment while I dust off this blog and throw open some windows!)

So. I spent most of last year working on a brand new book, False Idols. (Hence the lack of blogging). And I’m thrilled to announce, it’s out today!!!

False Idols tells the story of an FBI linguist named Layla el-Deeb, who is deep undercover posing as an heiress and art collector in Cairo, Egypt. She must infiltrate the highest echelons of society in order to trace priceless relics from their millionaire owners back to illegal digs and the terrorist groups profiting from their sale. Her trouble past and her feelings for an art dealer’s son begin to complicate her judgment, and when she uncovers a terrorist plot that threatens American and Egyptian lives, she must decide where her loyalties truly lie.

read more…

Mass Books Awards Names BLUE VOYAGE a 2016 “Must-Read”!

Wow – BLUE VOYAGE was selected as a 2016 “Must-Read” for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts! I’m so honored to be in the company of these amazing authors. Congratulations to all Massachusetts Book Awards winners and honorees! Do check out all the great reads across categories on their poster, which will be distributed to libraries throughout the state. (Blue Voyage is listed on the right sidebar, second from the bottom).

 

Blue Voyage “Virtual Voyage” continues

Continuing my series of actual travel photos that inspired BLUE VOYAGE scenes, here’s another!

This is me, in a cave in the Cappadocia region of Turkey. This region is honeycombed with caves and tunnels and entire underground cities, of which this is one. Various civilizations took up residence in these caves in ancient times, one civilization eventually replacing another. People lived sometimes eight stories underground, bringing their livestock down with them. This is one of the coolest yet creepiest places I’ve ever been. At least I had a tour guide and a light, and some air, all those good things. In BLUE VOYAGE, Zan isn’t quite so lucky, and she’s desperate to find her way out! I was glad I had experienced the cave cities firsthand and journaled about it later; when I wrote the cave scenes with Zan, I was able to recall the way the walls felt when you scraped against them, the distinctive odor, and the immense sense of claustrophobia. (Notice I’m not exactly smiling in this picture!)
read more…

Launch Party #2 Recap, and Blue Voyage Giveaway Roundup!

An evil eye cake from Ohlin’s Bakery!

It was a busy weekend, celebrating BLUE VOYAGE’s launch! Many thanks to Porter Square Books in Cambridge for hosting the Evening Edition of my two-part release party!

And thank you to Ohlin’s Bakery in Belmont for a glorious and delicious cake! This cake represents a nazar, an evil eye charm to protect against the evil eye, so hopefully we all internalized a bit of good luck.

I know something was working for me on Friday because I got through the awful Friday traffic and found a parking spot right in front of the store!

I chose to have a nazar cake and to give out small evil eye beads for party favors because the evil eye protector is important in Turkish culture and very important to Zan in the book. (When she breaks a nazar bracelet, things start to get really tough for her!) read more…

Blue Voyage Blog Voyage, continued…

Here’s the Blue Voyage Story-Behind-the-Story photo of the day! (Scroll back through this week’s previous post to see my daily photos from a trip to Turkey and the scenes they inspired in the novel!)

This is the roof of a small hotel I stayed at in Istanbul. The rooftop garden and patio inspired scenes in a similar (but fictitious) boutique hotel that is run by Zan’s Aunt Jackie. Zan spends a lot of her down time on this roof looking at the sea on one side and the Blue Mosque on the other — and at an intriguing boy on the rooftop next door!

Launch Party #1 Recap: An Unlikely Story

BLUE VOYAGE launched yesterday, and I had the first of two release parties! This was the Afternoon Edition, held at a new bookstore in Plainville, MA called An Unlikely Story. Plainville is a small town about an hour’s drive from Boston, and it’s recently been on people’s radar because of An Unlikely Story.

I was thrilled to make this road trip because this shiny new bookstore is getting a lot of great buzz. It was created by local author Jeff Kinney (yes, that’s the one — of Wimpy Kid fame!). You can read a great article about the store’s inception here — it’s a fascinating account of how a derelict building was repurposed for this outstanding bookstore / community hub, and how a bookstore can potentially transform a community.

My son is a HUGE Wimpy Kid fan, so when I suggested taking him out of school and coming to this after school release party with me, he didn’t raise any objections! We had no guarantee that Jeff Kinney would actually be there — it can be hit or miss, say friends who have done events there — but I thought even seeing this place Jeff had created would be a great experience for my son. read more…

Blue Voyage Release Day!

Blue Voyage is officially out in the world today!

To celebrate, I’m on the CrimeFiction FM podcast talking with host Steve Campbell about the origins of the books, writing teen travel mysteries, and YA mystery. This is an excellent podcast featuring short (15-20 minutes) chats with mystery and crime writers — mostly for the adult market, but mystery/crime fans of all ages can enjoy these conversations, and they’re a must-listen for anyone writing mystery.

This afternoon I’m super-excited to be having an after-school book release party, 4:00-6:00 pm, at An Unlikely Story in Plainville, MA! This is a new bookstore started up by Wimpy Kid creator Jeff Kinney, and it’s the talk of the town in Plainville and surrounding towns! It’s about 45-60 minutes from Boston, and very close to Rhode Island, so if you’re in those areas come and join us! (And if you miss it, there’s an evening edition launch party at Porter Square Books in Cambridge this Friday evening at 7 pm).

Here’s a sampler of some of the treats I’ll be serving up at this week’s launch parties . . . read more…

A BLUE VOYAGE Virtual Voyage!

It’s the day before BLUE VOYAGE hits shelves — I can’t believe it’s finally time to release this book into the wild!

I have some real-life events in the New England/ New York area coming up this fall (including TWO release parties and a writing workshop this week — please see my Events page for details!)

I’m also voyaging through the Blogosphere, chatting with reviewers and bloggers and podcasters, and giving away free copies along the route! Please check back here for updates!

Here are some great blogs to check out that are featuring BLUE VOYAGE today:

Itching for Books kicks off the BLUE VOYAGE virtual tour, hosting a guest post by me about cursed treasure and other archaeological inspirations for the novel. They’re also running a giveaway for two copies of the book! read more…

Author Events (and the importance of going)

Ammi-Joan Paquette launches PRINCESS JUNIPER

Fall is upon us, and with it has come a whirlwind of author events, timed with the busy fall book release season! Summer can be a slow season for book promotion (trust me, I know, having promoted two books in the summer season) so for months I haven’t emerged from my writing cave or shed my pajama-like writing uniform. But suddenly friends’ books are all coming out in rapid succession, so this month I have stepped out!

I kicked off the book launch season by attending the Porter Square Books release party for Ammi-Joan Paquette’s great middle-grade adventure Princess Juniper of the Hourglass. The next week I attended a party for Josh Funk’s outstanding picture book, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast. (There were pancake and French toast cookies, too, so if you missed this event, you really missed out). Days later, I went to the launch party for my very own editor, Leila Sales (also an acclaimed YA author!) who released her fourth YA novel,  Tonight the Streets Are Ours, at Brookline Booksmith. The very next day (whew!) I enjoyed an amazing talk and reading at Porter Square Books by my good friend (and writing group member) Patrick Gabridge, who was discussing his new historical novel Steering to Freedom. This Thursday I’m off to a public library event to see picture book author friend Debbie Sosin read from and talk about Charlotte and the Quiet Place, an important book for kids (well, for all of us!) about mindfulness in a busy world. (Too busy for book events? Maybe. But I’m mindfully trying to see as many as I can!)

read more…

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