Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Author Tom Collins Takes Break From Murder and Mayhem

Author Tom Collins takes break from murder and mayhem to take a Selfie. AK Llamas’ “#NashvilleSelfie” project incorporated 100 selfie photos of residents of Music City that were printed onto t-shirts and hung on Deaderick Avenue as a modern public art installation. As a distinguished contributor to the literary community and a Tennessee resident and native, author Tom Collins was invited to participate in this project. “The ‘#NashvilleSelfie’ project celebrates the community by celebrating its faces,” said Collins. “The community is both the art and the spectator.”   There is more about the event and about the author in this related News Release.
# # #

Tom Collins’ books include his book on leadership, The Language of Excellence, and his mystery novels including Mark Rollins’ New Career, Mark Rollins and the Rainmaker, Mark Rollins and the Puppeteer and the newest mystery, The Claret Murders. For signed copies, go to the author’s online store. unsigned print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. For an audio edition of The Claret Murders go to http://amzn.com/B00IV5ZJEI. The ebook edition for the iPad is available through Apple iTunes’ iBookstore.




Thursday, May 29, 2014

Free Audio Edition

Audible.com has agreed to provide twenty-five free downloads of The Claret Murders. For your free download of the audio edition of The Claret Murders, email info@markrollinsadventures.com, and I will send you a unique promotional code. Even if you previously read the book, you will enjoy having the mystery and the Nashville flood experience brought to life through the voice of narrator Dave Clark.

Once you have the code, here is all you do for your free download:

  1. Go to my The Claret Murders page on Audible.com.
  2. Add the audiobook to your cart.
  3. Create a new Audible.com account or log in.
  4. Enter the promo code, and click "Apply Code" on the cart page to change the price from full price to $0.00.
  5. Complete checkout, and start listening to your free copy of the book.


Summary
An inheritance at risk and the discovery of an extraordinary cache of old wines during Nashville's history-making flood leads to foul play and death in this Mark Rollins mystery adventure.

The old man finished a glass of wine—his favorite claret—went to bed, and died. Now more than fifty years later, a stunningly beautiful Nashville attorney, Ann Sims, is preparing to auction off his estate—a derelict old mansion with its long-forgotten secret.

Sims has lived with a secret of her own, a secret that could cost her the fortune she is in line to inherit and end her career. Beautiful women can make poor choices in men. She is no exception. Afraid, for good reason, of the possessive and greedy men in her life, she turns to Mark Rollins for protection.

Rollins, the central character in Collins's mysteries, is a modern-day hero—a protector, problem solver, and crime fighter. His superhero-like powers are technology, extraordinary wealth, and friends in high places. This time his technology is failing him as he tries to keep Ann Sims alive—his efforts thwarted by Nashville's failing infrastructure in the wake of the massive storm and flood that provides cover for bad things.

# # #


Tom Collins’ books include his book on leadership, The Language of Excellence, and his mystery novels including Mark Rollins’ New Career, Mark Rollins and the Rainmaker, Mark Rollins and the Puppeteer and the newest mystery, The Claret Murders. For signed copies, go to the author’s online store. unsigned print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Laura Lippman at Salon@615

Laura Lippman, author of the Tess Monaghan series, will be at Nashville Public Library on Wednesday, February 12 at 6:15 pm for Salon@615. After her presentation she will be signing her new novel "After I'm Gone". You can register for advance tickets at ticketsnashville.com for a $2.50 fee. Here's that link: Lippman advance tickets.

  # # #

The last change to place an advance order for a signed copy of my new book, The Language of Excellence, is quickly approaching.  To save $20.00 go to www.thelanguageofexcellence.com.



Monday, January 6, 2014

Solving the Leadership Mystery

I have a new book scheduled for release in February 2014, The Language of Excellence. Unlike my prior books, this one is not a “who done it?” It is non-fiction. However, it does solve a mystery. It turns up the lights and pulls back the curtain on the mystery ingredient required for sustained superior performance over the long term—leadership.

The new book applies to life as well as business—I think it is the best gift one could give to a young professional. It can be invaluable to the entrepreneur starting a new business or seasoned executive frustrated by the difficulty of steering an unresponsive corporate ship.

For more information about The Language of Excellence and for a special prerelease offer go to http://thelanguageofexcellence.com.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Tom's Southern Cornbread Dressing

The holidays are frequent scenes in novels. In The Claret Murders, I had a character enjoying cornbread dipped in buttermilk during a Christmas lunch. I haven't yet, but I look forward to having a family Thanksgiving dinner in one of my mysteries.

For about twenty five years in real life, our home was the go-to place for forty or so family members at Thanksgiving. Two years ago we retired as host handing it off to the next generation to create their own tradition.

The most important item on the dinner table was always the “Dressing” accompanying the Turkey. Not just any dressing, but good ole Southern cornbread dressing and gravy! Some folks still call this dish “Turkey Stuffing” even though most of us no longer actually cook a stuffed Turkey. The recipe below has been handed down for at least three generations in the Collins family and will keep about twenty people happy at Thanksgiving. For more or less adjust the recipe accordingly.

Prepare two large skillets of cornbread-about 8 cubs. I use Martha White Self-rising Cornmeal Mix. Make in advance, break apart, and let it try dry out for two or three days.

Dry out a few slices of white bread, remove the edges, and tear into small pieces—enough for two cups. Crumble the cornbread into a large mixing bowl. Add the pieces of white bread. Sauté 2 large onions (chopped) and an equal amount of celery in butter. When tender, melt an additional stick of butter in the same pan and then mix the onions, celery and the added butter into the cornbread mixture. To the above mixture, add the following and mix thoroughly:
2 tsp. of poultry seasoning
Four Chopped boiled eggs
Two cups of chicken stock
Two raw eggs
Dust with pepper and salt

The mixture should moist. If it seems too dry, add more melted butter or stock. Transfer to baking pans or casserole dishes. I use disposable aluminum pans and transfer the finished cornbread dressing to serving dishes when ready to serve. Bread is a great insulator, so it will take longer to bake than you expect to thoroughly heat the dressings to a safe temperature of 160 degrees (200 degrees is even better), and that may take an hour or longer depending on the depth of the mixture in the banking dishes. The mixture should not be deeper than one and a half or 2 inches in each banking dish. Bake at 325 degrees

Do the cooking ahead of time, and reheat to warm your dressing when you are ready to serve. The cooked dressing can be refrigerated and even frozen to serve later.

Now for the Gravy that people rave about. The truth is, my closely guarded secret gravy receipt is nothing more than Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup thinned slightly with chicken stock and to which small handful of Turkey meat bits has been added for a real homemade look.

# # #
Mysteries by Tom Collins include Mark Rollins’ New CareerMark Rollins and the RainmakerMark Rollins and the Puppeteer and the newest, The Claret Murders. For signed copies go to http://store.markrollinsadventures.com. Print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online bookstores. The ebook edition for the iPad is available through Apple iTunes' iBookstore.

 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Blackburn Votes for The Claret Murders

I had the opportunity to meet with Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn after she had read my latest book, The Claret Murders. I understand that she read the book on a long plane ride to visit our troops. After the trip, she sent me the following note:
“The Claret Murders is a captivating read. The characters come to life and make unexpected twists and turns throughout the entire story. I especially enjoyed the surprise ending.”


The Claret Murders is the fourth book in the Mark Rollins adventure mystery series. Rollins is a conservative who wears an American flag pin upside down to signal his concern over the direction of our country. As the author, I can tell you that Blackburn is one of the few lawmakers Rollins would have given financial support and his vote—if he had been a real live person that is.

# # #
For signed copies of The Claret Murders go to http://store.markrollinsadventures.com. Print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online bookstores. The ebook edition for the iPad is available through Apple iTunes' iBookstore.

 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Killer Nashville

Last week I attended the eighth annual Killer Nashville conference. The conference of mystery authors draws attendees from all over the US and a few from outside, but with a concentration from the southern and eastern US.

The two guests of honor were Anne Perry and D. P. Lyle. D. P. Lyle is not only an award-winning author; he is a wonderful and generous source of information for other authors. Want to know what that three-week old body in your story would look like when discovered in a July Mississippi cotton field or the tell-tell signs of arsenic poisoning? You can ask Lyle, and he makes it easy. Just go to http://www.dplylemd.com/forcomm.html and follow the instructions.

Anne Perry is a most extraordinary person, gifted storyteller, and prolific writer—publishing a book about every three months. She describes herself as a frustrated preacher. In that sense, her wonderful and complex stories are sermons written with the hope that they will change the behavior of readers. She feels passionate about the notion that all it takes for evil to take hold is for good men to do nothing. As she says, we are responsible for not only our actions but also our inaction.

I was one of the faculty members for the conference serving on a panel dealing with the influence of everyday technology on the modern-day fictional sleuth. As promised, my handout at the session is reproduced below:
* * *

2013 Killer Nashville
Session14: Outsmarting the Smartphone—How Everyday Technology Helps and Hinders the Modern-Day Sleuth [Thoughts of panelist Tom Collins]

In my Mark Rollins mystery adventure series, Rollins is a retired technology entrepreneur who made himself and his technology team rich. His loyal team of technology wizards can hack into just about anything to find out just about everything. Their ability increased throughout the series. Detecting was becoming too easy. Therefore, in my most recent book, The Claret Murders, I pitted Rollins and his team against a devastating flood that knocked out communications, shut down traffic cameras, and made cell phone tracking useless. Your hero cannot have unlimited powers. Sherlock had to have his weaknesses, and even Superman had Kryptonite.

Blocking or Cloaking Cell Phones:
  • Battery Pulling is old school and not practical for smart phones.
  • Blocking bags like the EMFX-47 are in.
  • Interference with cell phone signals is illegal but when did that stop the bad guys?—blocking devices are available that shut down cell and WiFi.
  • The pocket-size Zapper costs 100 dollars and creates a 30 ft. dead zone.
  • Use the prepaid phones. Keep calls short and replace frequently.
  • Use EMP bursts by super villains and governments.
  • Natural disasters provide disruptions.
Dropping Off the Radar:
  • Virtually impossible—give up cell phones, computers, ATMs, and do not let anyone take your picture.
  • A new online tracking system can pinpoint your location to within a few hundred meters without you ever giving permission—uses the timing of e-mails, etc. 
  • Web services will build a history and pattern of movement from social media. Example Internet ad: Is he cheating on you? Enter his e-mail address and see hidden pictures & social profiles now!
  • Satellite radio, OnStar, LoJack, etc.
  • Traffic cameras, Easy Pass, and license tracking 
  • Can cars and medical devices be hacked? Yes, but…
  • Use public computers.
  • Use gift cards to purchase on the Web; ship to alternative locations.
  • Facial scanning software crawling the Web
  • Misdirection is a better alternative—misleading information and multiple personas. 
  • Tell-tell photos (See below.)


How good of a sleuth are you? If you received the photo below of the parked MDX in an email, could you determine the location?


Exchangeable image file format (Exif): Exchangeable image file is a standard that specifies the formats for images, sound, and ancillary tags used by digital cameras including GPS data. If you right clicked on the e-mail attachment you would see the file properties including the GPS details—see below:



Enter the above GPS coordinates +26° 31' 36.00", -81° 45' 20.40 in Google Map’s search box to discover the location of the MDX.

# # #
M. Thomas (Tom) Collins
Tom.Collins@SixtyFiveNorth.com
http://www.sixtyfivenorth.com
http://www.sixtyfivenorthblog.com
http://www.whataboutebooks.com

Mysteries by Tom Collins include Mark Rollins’ New CareerMark Rollins and the RainmakerMark Rollins and the Puppeteer and the newest, The Claret Murders. For signed copies go to http://store.markrollinsadventures.com. Print and ebook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online bookstores. The ebook edition for the iPad is available through Apple iTunes' iBookstore.