Happy Thanksgiving + Final Book Tour Stops

IMG_8938Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m grateful to get to spend this holiday with my good friend Brett and my family. I’m also grateful to be finishing up Six Train’s sequel and sending it to my editor next week. Most importantly, I’m grateful to finally have some energy back and to be feeling like I’m on the other side of being sick.

What are you grateful for this year?


I’m at the end of the book tour.

Here are my last two author appearances for 2015:

November 29th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. In Southington, CT, at the Aquaturf Convention Center for the 19th Annual Holiday Craft Fair: selling signed copies of my novels.
December 5th from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. In Unionville, CT, at the West District School (114 West District Road) for the West District 37th Annual Holiday Crafts Fair: selling and signing copies of my books.


If you weren’t able to make it to one of my events, and you would like a signed copy of The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts or a signed bookplate for your book, please contact me at: kourtney(dot)heintz(at)yahoo.com to discuss the cost.



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What my favorite sandals taught me about relationships


I am incredibly picky about what I put on my feet. As someone who suffered from back problems for a decade of my life, I know that flats are best.

I’ve re-herniated the disk in my back twice by slipping on slate, so not slipping is really important to me. Treads that grip the ground are essential. No cheap flip-flops for this girl.

A few weeks back, I was outside in my favorite sandal when it happened. I slipped in the grass. At first I thought it was the grass, so I stepped onto the brick and tested it. Same problem. My sandal no longer gripped the ground the way I needed it to.

I’d had these sandals two years. I loved these sandals.

I could hold on to them, knowing they weren’t right for me any longer. I could wear them again and risk injuring myself. Or I could throw them out right now.

I considered the second option for all of 5 seconds and said no way. The first option was just deferring the inevitable.

Bottom line: They were no longer right for me. They could injure me. They had to go.

I marched out to the trash can and threw them away.

That’s when I realized my favorite sandals gave me a parting gift. A simple realization that applied not just to shoes, but to relationships too.

 Just because you love something doesn’t mean it should be in your life. If it no longer fits into your life or it can harm you, you have to let it go.

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The End of the Book Tour


This was my last appearance in October at the Boston Book Festival in the Sisters in Crime booth. The day before I got taken down by a nasty respiratory infection.

I’ve been offline most of the past 2 weeks getting better. I’d say I’m 85% there.

But as I lay in bed trying to breathe, I realized how hard and how fast I’ve been going for months. I was at such a stressed out level that it became my normal. All the things I had convinced myself I had to do really weren’t do or die.

So I’m going to step back a bit on promo stuff now.

In order to finish Six Train’s sequel and get it to my editor in December, I’ve got to give myself a break from Facebook and Twitter in November. I’ll try to stop by if I can, but it may only be once a week.

I’ll be here on the blog and on email, but I need to quiet my mind and get the story structure worked out.


I’ve also got three more events to wrap up the book tour. If you want to meet me and get a signed copy of either of my books, here’s where I’ll be:

November 14th from 9:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m. In Meriden, CT, at the Horace C. Wilcox Technical High School Craft Fair (298 Oregon Road): selling and signing books.
November 29th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. In Southington, CT, at the Aquaturf Convention Center for the 19th Annual Holiday Craft Fair: selling signed copies of my novels.
December 5th from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. In Unionville, CT, at the West District School (114 West District Road) for the West District 37th Annual Holiday Crafts Fair: selling and signing copies of my books.


Posted in author appearance, illness, wrtiting | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Sick Days


I’m down with a bad respiratory infection. Had to cancel my trip to Nashville. My entire week in Nashville and NYC was ruined. I’ve been in bed all week trying to breathe.

I’m closing comments because I need some more time to get better. See you back here next week.

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Sick Days and Trade Offs to get to Killer Nashville


I have to take a few sick days this week. Unfortunately, that means I have to cancel my appearance at the NELA Conference in the Sisters In Crime booth on October 26.

I thought I could do it up until Sunday morning when I woke up with chest tightness, congestion, a pounding headache, sore throat, dry cough, and my personal favorite dizziness.

I somehow thought two cups of green tea would be the cure all. When that didn’t work, I slathered up my neck and chest with Tiger Balm.

Finally I had to admit it. I can’t drive, especially not 7 hours to and from the event when I’m like this. So I emailed the organizer. I hate canceling, but I can’t do it.

I also have to be at Killer Nashville at the end of the week, so I’m battening down the hatches for a few days until I leave for Nashville. Hoping I can get over the worst of this before I go. This is my third time attending Killer Nashville because it is one of my all time favorite writing conferences.

Here’s my schedule at Killer Nashville. Please feel free to chat with me or ask for a signed book at any time. I don’t bite. Well, not since that Monopoly incident when I was 18.

October 29 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00p.m. at the wine tasting event.

October 30 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. panelist on the “What’s Your Genre?” panel 

I will be signing books and chatting with readers after the  panel ends.

October 31 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. at my author table signing copies of my book, sharing freebies, & giving away cool prizes.

Stop by to enter to win prizes and get freebies.

I haven’t decided which panels I’m attending yet. I like to save that for the plane ride. Gives me a nice way to pass an hour or two. :)

If you’d like to find out more about Killer Nashville, check out their website: http://www.killernashville.com

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The Fear of the Sequel


The first draft felt pretty good. The second draft was something I survived. The beta comments told me I had a long way to go in revising the sequel to The Six Train to Wisconsin.

As I struggle through my third draft, I realize what’s been plaguing this book. The fear of the sequel. It wrapped around my fingers and directed them across the keyboard.

I now have readers and they have expectations. I can’t help fretting that they will hate this character arc or that plot direction. That I will ruin the characters in their eyes. I’ve worried that I will do something wrong and it’s stopped by from doing things right.

It makes me doubt myself. It makes me question every choice I make. And every time I realize a premise was wrong, I see the ripple effect. Entire scenes are gone. New chapters are being written. A scene at the end is now happening on page 100.

I’m 5 weeks in and it feels like a clusterf***k.

Every day, I’m wrestling with my inner demons. I had a few days of blessed clarity. I made some major changes last week.

Now, as I am at page 400, I think I know what the problem is in the first 250 pages. Yes, the first 250 pages. The first half of the novel. Too many show don’t tell scenes. That gem is courtesy of a discussion with my crit partner. I need more exposition. I need more summary to move things along.

Even as I change things, I constantly ask myself is this truly better? Is this as good as the first novel? Will it ever get there? There’s so much pressure to top the first and so much fear that I can’t. That I will fail my characters and my readers. It’s a different kind of fear. The fear of the sequel. It alternately propels me forward and paralyzes me.

Anyone else write series? How do you deal with the fear of the sequel?

Posted in revision, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

How an Extreme Introvert Can Survive A Day at NY Comic Con


Despite living in Manhattan and DC for 12 years of my life, crowds have always made me nervous. Specifically being trapped in giant crowds of shuffling people who are brushing up against me and stepping on me.

Which is pretty much a constant at NY Comic Con.

So how did I go and have a great time?

  1. Plan Ahead

I read the emails from NY Comic Con and followed their advice on prepping. I brought my own food to avoid the crazy food lines (which snaked all over and looked to be an hour each). I brought water to stay hydrated. I downloaded the NY Comic Con app and planned out a possible itinerary. I dressed in what was comfy for me. The temperature inside ranged from cool to warm so layers are key.

2. Bring a Friend


My buddy Ant met me on 10th and 38th and we walked in together. It’s always easier to face a crowd with a wingman. It’s also less overwhelming when you’ve got a buddy to consult with and help navigate three stories of crowds.

3. Select Panels That Fit Your Interests and Your Personality

To avoid constant crowds and long waits, I picked the writing panels which tend to be less crowded at comic cons and are also where my interests lie. Win-win. Sitting inside the panels is also a great break from the crowds.


Storytelling on the Page

This panel was about creating story in comic books. What was most fascinating was how much of it translated to novel writing (for me) and play writing (for Ant).

My favorite take aways?

*Start close on purpose to create unease.

*180 rule switch angle in comic is jarring to reader. Avoid interruption. Engage in stream of consciousness storytelling and don’t knock them out of it.

We even got a free comic book from Valiant and it’s gorgeous!


Let Me Hear You Scream

*I know that’s ghosts aren’t real, but the ghosts are in my brain.

*Horror confirms secret truths.


Wicked Reads

*I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m afraid of what’s in the dark.

*I have a fear of bad situation with no good choices.

4. Get The Lay of the Land

Give yourself time to figure out where the panels you want to get to are and where everything is. It’s a little disorienting at first. So arrive with an hour before anything you are dying to do. Keep in mind there are always lines for the ladies’ room, especially when people are in costume.

5. Budget Lots of Time to Get Around

Everyone shuffles around because there is so much to do and see. There are people in cosplay posing and taking pictures. There are lines and freebies. It’s like a casino on crack.

Between panels, we wandered around the exhibit hall area. It was amazing and intense and massive. I got a few free books from Del Rey. Woohoo!

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Exhibit Hall

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Main Entry Level


Then we checked out Artist’s Alley.

6. Be Nice

I said excuse me and sorry more in one day than I do in a month. Why? Because it lets people know I had no intention of bumping or stepping on them and also reminds me that as many times as I get bumped I’m bumping someone else.  Being nice makes it easier on everyone.

I even gave a girl a tampon in the bathroom. Because no one should have to use those horrible machine ones.

7. Have an Exit Strategy That Fits You

I knew I couldn’t last more than 6-8 hours there, so I planned my arrival time accordingly and also had potential panels only for that time frame.

8. Schedule Time to Decompress Afterwards

All the people and noise get me really wound up. I needed time with close friends to decompress. Ant and I met up with Brett in Chinatown for dimsum. We’ve known each other decades so it was the perfect way to end the day.


Lychee martinis for all of us. Steamed pork buns, steamed shrimp dumplings, sticky rice in lotus leaf.


This is the hardest dish to get in Chinatown at dinner time. For years, Brett and I would order it and be told, “Sorry, we sold out.” We ordered two servings! It’s shrimp wrapped in a gelatinous rice noodle. Num num.

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After dinner, we of course needed dessert.

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So we headed to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. I got Pandan–my favorite. Ant got Chocolate Oreo. Brett tried Durian. It starts out tasting bitter and then the scent of garbage fills your mouth. I’m not kidding, I tried it.

Worst dessert ever!

After a few bites Brett gave up on it and tossed it.

Then we went in search of a palate cleanser. None of the Chinatown bakeries were open.  We ended up at Ferrara’s in Little Italy.


As Brett savored his cream puff, I decided I didn’t want our food crawl to end and we went in search of bubble tea something I hadn’t had in a decade!


Brett and I shared Taro Milk Tea at ChaTime. Ant just came along for the excitement.


Here’s all my goodies from NY Comic Con. So that book in the middle was the best surprise ever–Stephenie Meyer was there on Thursday and the bookstore was still selling signed copies of her 10th Anniversary Edition of Twilight. Squee! I got a signed copy.

Twilight was one of my favorite series and taught me so much about writing a compelling story. I never thought I’d have a signed copy of her book. Thanks NY Comic Con!

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Where’s Kourtney in October + What’s She Reading?


October is my busiest month this year. I’m on the road the most I’ve ever been and doing the most events in the shortest bursts of time.

I always try to schedule one event a week, but well, sometimes an opportunity pops up and you have to take it. So  I have seven events in October. Three of which are out of state.

So here’s what my month looks like:

October Schedule
October 9th In New York, NY: attending New York Comic Con.
October 17th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. In Wolcott, CT, at the Farmingbury Woman’s Club Annual Craft Fair at Alcott School: selling signed copies of my novels.
October 19th In Wolcott, CT: teaching a workshop on Storyboarding: Laying out your Story for Girls Inc.
October 24th from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. In Boston, MA, at the Boston Book Festival in the Sisters in Crime Booth: selling and signing books and giving away author goodies.
October 26th from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. In Manchester, NH, at the New England Library Association Conference in the Sisters in Crime booth: giving away author goodies and a few copies of my book.
October 29th to November 1st I will be in Nashville, TN: attending the Killer Nashville Mystery Conference and signing books.
October 31st from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. I will be in Nashville, TN, at the Killer Nashville Conference: signing copies of my book, sharing freebies, & giving away cool prizes.



I’m currently reading The Killing Kind, an amazing thriller by a terrific author I know, Chris Holm. It’s one of those books you want to rush through, but you don’t because the writing is so good, you want to savor it. I alternate between gobbling up chapters and soaking in his brilliant prose and plotting.

It’s got a truly original premise (back cover blurb):

A hitman who only kills other hitmen winds up a target himself.
Michael Hendricks kills people for money. That aside, he’s not so bad a guy.
Once a covert operative for a false-flag unit of the US military, Hendricks was presumed dead after a mission in Afghanistan went sideways. He left behind his old life–and beloved fiancée–and set out on a path of redemption…or perhaps one of willful self-destruction.
Now Hendricks makes his living as a hitman entrepreneur of sorts–he only hits other hitmen. For ten times the price on your head, he’ll make sure whoever’s coming to kill you winds up in the ground instead. Not a bad way for a guy with his skill-set to make a living–but a great way to make himself a target.

I’m not the only one raving about it– check out the reviews he’s getting from NPR, AP, Kirkus Reviews (starred) and PW (to name a few).

If you only have time to read one book in October–read this book!

Posted in author appearance, Book Review, book tour, thriller | Tagged , , | 12 Comments