Claret Murders

Book Festival Follow-up


Congratulations to Mr. Mark D. Hill, the winner of a 33-year-old claret from my personal wine collection. The drawing for the wine was held at the conclusion of the Franklin Book Festival, Sunday, June 2, 2019.   I love great wines—especially antique wines from France. That love of wines was one of the inspirations for my book The Claret Murders. The prize claret won by Mark Hill is a 1986 Chateau Certan from the Pomerol region of Bordeaux France.

In addition to signing books during the two- day event, I was one of four panelists on Sunday selected to  discuss the challenges of succeeding as a fiction author. Franklin author, Thom King, snapped this picture of me, obviously making, what I must have considered, some important point.

The books in the photograph include my latest mystery Diversion, as well as The Claret Murders, a mystery that takes place during the 2010 flood in Nashville and Franklin. The term “diversion” is used by the Department of Justice to describe the conversion of legal medical drugs to  illegal recreational purposes.  Of course, that means opioids.  Fueled by a murder mystery and a missing girl, my book, Diversion, explores the opioid crisis in our own back yard—Franklin and the surrounding Middle Tennessee area.

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. Audio versions of The Claret Murders and  Diversion are available from iTunes, Audibles and Amazon. eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

End to Amazon's Exclusive Rights & Other Updates

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Until two weeks ago, Amazon had the exclusive right to market the eBook edition of my latest Mark Rollins mystery, Diversion. That exclusive period ended January 21, 2018. The eBook edition is now available for Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and the ePub edition is available from most eBook retailers and online book services including Smashwords. Within days it should become available, like my other five books, in Apple’s iBooks.

Speaking of iBooks, if you are among the many people who use The Language of Excellence as a management guide, download the book on your iPhone for an easy to use and always available reference tool.

Work is also underway for an audio edition of Diversion. I had the opportunity on January 28th, to listen to some of the completed chapters. I was impressed with the clarity and professionalism of the reader’s voice. If you prefer to listen to your books as your drive, you’ll be happy to know that within a few weeks Diversion with join The Claret Murders on Audible. Depending on demand, I may add the other three Mark Rollins mysters to Audible. 

On January 23th, I spoke at the breakfast meeting of the Exchange Club in Brentwood. The topic was my book, Diversion. Of course, that also included discussing the opioid crisis. Diversion is a fictional story, but that doesn’t mean that the opioid problem isn’t real. I was recently interviewed for the website Serious Reading. One of the interview questions was “How realistic are your books?” – and this was my answer. "I particularly like the disclaimer that my lawyers came up with. It has been on the copyright page of every one of my novels.

This is a work of fiction. While some of the names, character, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination and some are real, the events depicted herein are entirely fictitious and should not be considered real or factual.

That is a completely accurate description of my mysteries. They deal with real places, real events, and conditions to tell a fictional story. The Claret Murders uses the real-life Nashville flood as its canvas. Diversion uses the opioid crisis as the backdrop for its story.” 

Diversion is now available in eBook, paperback and hard cover editions soon to be follow by an audio version. ForewordClarion Reviews recently gave the book three stars and wrote,

This dramatic thriller reveals many dark truths about the opioid crisis. Fueled by a murder mystery and a missing girl, Tom Collins's page-turning thriller Diversion explores the opioid crisis and illegal drugs through myriad plotlines.... The book's many antagonists add intrigue and excitement. Lena and Carlos, two drug-dealing crime lords in Florida's pill mill enterprise, are crooked and manipulative, and their scheming creates constant uncertainty as to what will happen next. Tom Lewis and Rocco, two other corrupt adversaries, are sleazy and dishonest, and their role in the story results in astonishing developments." ForewordClarion Reviews

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For signed copies of books by Tom Collins, go to the Unsigned print and eBook editions are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online bookstores. For Amazon go to For an audio edition of The Claret Murders go to eBook editions are also available through Apple iTunes’ iBook’s Store and For the new adventure novel on Amazon go to Diversion: a Mark Rollins Adventure.
Published by I-65 North, Inc.

Change by Decree

One of the wrong ways to implement change is by decree—“Do it because I said to!” or “Do it because I’m the boss.”  The problem with Change by Decree is that it is unmanaged.  It could be successful or it could fail.  The arrows in the icon illustrate that the reaction to the change can be all over the board.  It is uncontrolled.  People don’t react well to forced change so one thing is sure, whatever success is achieved, if any, it will be at a greater cost than for properly managed change.  Remember the icon for the condition required before the downward spike of the Change Curve is halted and turned upward—KASH.  Change by Decree does nothing to create a positive attitude, sabotaging the likely outcome from the onset.  Unmanaged change endangers any organization.

If change is so risky and dangerous, one might conclude that it is something to avoid.  The answer, of course, is that you can’t.  Change is the very essence of business.  Yes, change left unattended can destroy the business.  Likewise, change occurring around you that is left un-responded to reduces your competiveness and can even eliminate the market for your goods or services.  Too often entrenched market leaders ignore the changes occurring from disruptive technology or innovation.  They focus on the quality, “wrong Q”.  The Underwood company thought of itself as a typewriter company not as company to help people produce documents.  If they had viewed themselves as the latter, they might still be around.

Survival requires businesses to respond to a constantly changing environment.  Consider the chances of surviving in the music industry as vinyl was displaced by CDs only to lose out to the downloading of digital songs.  Consider what it was like to survive in the technology business as main frames and service bureaus were replaced by mini-computers which were quickly replaced by desktop computers now under assault from the “cloud” and a host of handheld devices and pads.  How does one survive in the telecommunications communications field now that the Internet is here?  How would you like to have been the leading manufacturer of FAX machines?  Consider the publishing industry now transitioning from the print age to the digital age.  Long-term survival requires companies to embrace change, not avoid it!

Change by Decree, forcing change on people, is unmanaged.  It may work or it may not.  The response to forced change, “Do it because I said to,” is random and unpredictable.

In 2010 Music City suffered a great flood.  Nashville streets were turned into streams and the streams into raging killing zones.  That is the setting for my newest novel, The Claret Murders, available on for $15.99 or at only $2.99 for the Kindle, Nook and through iTunes for the iPad.

Parkinson’s Law—Overworked and Underpaid

The Lifecycle explains one of the natural forces at work driving change, but there are other factors at work as well.  Parkinson’s Law is one of the more important of those natural forces impacting business negatively.  Cyril Northcote Parkinson (30 July 1909 – 9 March 1993) was a British naval historian and author of some sixty books, the most famous of which was his bestseller Parkinson's Law, which led him to also be considered as an important scholar within the field of public administration.  He is credited with the infallible observation that “work expands to fill available time” and by extension “expenses rise to meet income.”  It is the idea that work creates work and thus management must be constantly diligent and alert—simplifying and eliminating.  That is the ability that governments and bureaucracies seem unable to master.  Without change dedicated to simplifying and eliminating, negative forces will drive a business into unsustainable levels of inefficiency. 
PS:  I will be signing my books at the Landmark Booksellers in Franklin TN on September 13, 2012 from 5:30 to 7:30.  The event is called a Book Tasting and we will have wine (claret of course), cheese, snacks, free gifts and prizes.  If you have already purchased The Claret Murders or any of my other books bring them with you to be signed.