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Hello Mystery Readers,

Much has happened since my last correspondence. Many of you may know that White Tombs won the 2008 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award for Best Mystery. White Tombs also won the 2008 Garcia Award for Best Fiction. I'm really thrilled with the awards and grateful to the reviewers who selected White Tombs. I'm been very fortunate to receive so many positive reviews.

Writing for publication is a challenging and risking endeavor. While most authors understand that tastes vary and reviewers can sometimes be harsh, when you put your heart and soul into a manuscript for a year or more, you naturally want people to like what you've written. Any author who claims he or she doesn't care what readers and reviewers think is just not being truthful. Good reviews and awards are very gratifying and make all the hard work worthwhile.

The proofs and cover are finished for the second book in the series featuring Homicide Detective John Santana. "The Black Minute", will be released September 1. You can view the cover and read a short synopsis and the first chapter of the novel by going to my website at

"The Black Minute" publication party is scheduled for Saturday, September, 12th, from 12:00-2:00 at Once Upon A Crime in Minneapolis. Please mark that date on your calendar. Pat and Gary, the owners of Once Upon A Crime, have been wonderfully supportive. "The Black Minute" is dedicated to them.

My wife, Martha, and I are traveling to Colombia this summer for two weeks. We'll be visiting her family, and I'll be doing some research for the third Santana novel. I've completed the outline and the first seven chapters. The working title is "Bad Weeds Never Die". It's Colombian saying that Santana used in White Tombs. As you may have guessed, some of the story in the third book will take place in Colombia.

My wonderful and hard-working publicist, Karen Villanueva, is busy booking events and appearances for this fall and winter. Once I have some firm dates, I'll put those on my website, so check back as the publication date nears. I'm also planning to have a video trailer made for "The Black Minute".

If you haven't visited my blog, Probable Cause, please do so. I write about issues of crime and justice and usually blog once a week. I've also been blogging on

While social networking and blogging are interesting, fun and necessary if an author wants to attract new readers, it can take up a lot of time. I've found that I really have to stay disciplined and organized so that I have time to write about a thousand words a day.

I hope you have a wonderful summer and find good books to read. I'm looking forward to seeing all of you again soon and to making new friends and meeting new readers when "The Black Minute" is released.


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Christopher Valen
387 Bluebird Alcove
Woodbury, Minnesota 55125

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