Who is “Tess Gerrittsen”?

I was just alerted by a reader miffed by one of my comments over on Murderati. But I didn’t write it. It was signed as “Tess Gerrittsen,” which (if you’re alert enough to spot it) is clearly a misspelling.

It’s a reminder that the internet can be a confusing place indeed.

I’m off on my book tour Down Under. You can check on my schedule here.

“Rizzoli & Isles” renewed for a third season!

The TV show has been picked up for another fifteen episodes next year:

TNT has booked its blockbuster series Rizzoli & Islesfor a third season. The record-breaking drama – from Warner Horizon Television and starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander – is in the midst of a terrific second season that has it running neck-and-neck with The Closer as this year’s top basic cable series. TNT has ordered 15 episodes of Rizzoli & Isles for its third season, which is slated to launch in summer 2012. The show’s second season will continue airing Monday nights at 10 p.m. (ET/PT) through Sept. 12. Rizzoli & Isles will return to wrap up its second season with new episodes in November and December.

Rizzoli & Isles launched this summer with 8.6 million viewers, joining The Closer and Falling Skies in giving TNT three premieres with at least 8.0 million viewers, the first time a cable network has ever achieved that level of success. The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles are currently basic cable’s top two series for the year-to-date, with Falling Skies ranking as the top new series.

“This summer, Rizzoli & Isles has proven that last year’s record-breaking ratings were just the beginning of this show’s remarkable track record,” said Michael Wright, executive vice president and head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). “With a terrific cast, a top-notch production team and the kind of stories TNT fans crave, Rizzoli & Isles is poised to continue its success alongside blockbuster TNT series like The Closer and Falling Skies.”

Tee Shirt winners: please be patient!

If you’ve received notification that you’re a tee shirt winner, the shirts ARE coming. We’re just compiling the all winners’ mailing addresses and will be shipping them off in the next few weeks.

So many people have emailed asking if they can purchase a tee shirt, so we’ll soon be offering them for sale (internationally too) on this website. Check back next month for more details!

My Kindle free short story experiment.

In June, shortly before my book THE SILENT GIRL went on sale, my publisher and I decided to try a little experiment. We put up a free Rizzoli & Isles short story called “Freaks” that had earlier appeared on the TNT website to promote the TV show. It was intended as a fun little piece, a complete mystery told in about fifteen pages. It opens with a dead girl’s body in an abandoned church. There are hints of vampires, there’s a chase through an alley, an autopsy, and a final confrontation with a gunman. Mystery solved, with a twist. All in fifteen pages.

Also included in the free download were the first two chapters of THE SILENT GIRL, and a script from the TV show. We wanted to give readers just a taste of Jane and Maura, to offer a sneak peek at the new book, and maybe entice viewers of the TV show to give the books a try.

And did I mention this was all free?

“Freaks” shot to the top of the chart for free offerings and was downloaded tens of thousands of times the first week. It looked like the experiment was working. I waited and watched the reader reviews, to see if folks were getting a kick out of it. To see if it was leading them to buy a book.

What I found instead were complaints, complaints, complaints: The story was too short! Hardly any character development! Not as good as the books! Some people were pissed about the two free chapters because they resented anything promotional, and were disgusted that they got a free peek. (You know, no one forced you to read the chapters.) And for some, “free” wasn’t cheap enough; they complained that the offer wasn’t “worth it.”

The objections made my head hurt. Do people really expect a short story to be as good as a book? Do they really expect deep character development plus a complete mystery in fifteen pages?

My conclusion: I don”t think it was worth it on my end, either. Short stories are killers to craft when you’re used to writing novels. I had to distill a plot down to its basic elements, make it punchy enough to work for a TV website, keep the action tense and the twists unpredictable, all while establishing a feel for the characters. My hope was that the story would serve as a bridge between the slightly different TV and book versions of Jane and Maura, helping readers enjoy both interpretations.

For all the effort I put into it, I think the free short story experiment was, if not a failure, a disappointment. I think I’ll stick with Twitter.