Showing posts with label Dead Detectives. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dead Detectives. Show all posts

Mar 21, 2016

Taking Criticism

E-book available on Amazon. Print soon
Writers have to learn to accept criticism. It starts with your editor, who takes out some of your favorite passages because they don't advance the plot.
"But it's a commentary on society!" you whine.
"You're not a philosopher. You're a mystery writer," is the reply.
Then you get the beta reader who wants the story to end differently. "Why didn't she hook up with the sheriff?"
"I preferred to suggest that she might and let the reader imagine it. I didn't want to start another whole thread in the last few pages."
(Pouty face) "I think you should say it."
Later come the readers, who go on Amazon and say things like, "The author speaks of a 'dollar' but there were no dollars in Tudor England."
Actually, the word was slang for a coin called a crown in the 1500s. But don't let my months of research top your assumption you know what you're talking about.
Of course, there is criticism that's justified. My favorite story is the person who wrote to inform me that though the first Simon & Elizabeth book was interesting and historically well done, I'd put in rhododendrons, which didn't exist in the 1500s.
Okay, I'll take the blame for that one. Who knew? And who'd have thought to include it in her research? (Well, I do now!)
Writers have to learn not only to take criticism, but to not take it as well. Tastes vary. Best-selling authors sometimes leave me cold, since they don't write things I like to read. I try not to conclude they're bad writers because of my tastes. It's hard when a reader assumes that because he/she felt a certain way about a book, that's the final truth of it. "I didn't feel connected to the characters because they were not well-developed" is hurtful. It helps, though, when the very next review says the exact opposite. "Great characters that felt like people I knew well. I was eager to know what they'd do next."


 

Jul 6, 2015

What Am I Working On, You Ask.

The weekend was great. Lots of people come "home" to our tiny town for the Fourth festivities, so we ran into old friends everywhere. The question often came up, "What are you working on now?"
Short answer: the 4th Dead Detective Mystery, but it's been interrupted a lot by the other three in the series. The first book The Dead Detective Agency, was published in 2011, the second, Dead for the Money, in 2012. Then the publisher got overwhelmed and didn't move forward with Book 3, even though it was edited and ready to release. At the beginning of this year, I asked for the rights back (the contracted time was up) and went about re-releasing the books with new covers, which you learned about last week if you're a regular reader. (I don't want people to re-buy the books, thinking they're new.)

Now it's time to finish Seamus' story, so my first priority is Dead to Get Ready--and Go, in which he will investigate his own murder. Its release is a long way off, probably early 2016.

After that, I plan to write one more Simon & Elizabeth mystery to end that series.

And that slacker Maggie Pill needs to get to work on the fourth Sleuth Sisters.

And I'm finally getting Somebody Doesn't Like Sarah Leigh into print, for all you non-Kindle readers. I know it's been irritating, but it's hard pushing those publishing people around! I like what the cover artist did with the new cover, and I'm hoping the print books will be out by the end of July. Audio books might follow, if that's your thing.


Jun 29, 2015

Choosing New Covers

I asked the original publisher of the Dead Detective Mysteries to give me back the rights to the books. They were very nice about it, and I began the process of re-publishing them. Since audiences are often interested in how book covers come about, I thought I'd share my experiences with this series.

When publishers accept a manuscript, they often ask the writer for her ideas on what the cover should look like. There is NO guarantee they'll listen, and other writers I've spoken with had covers they hated or felt didn't represent their books at all, but they were stuck with them.

When asked about a cover for Book #1, I said I pictured a girl on a ship with a mysterious man in the background. My publisher's cover artist chose this as the cover for The Dead Detective Agency. Some people liked it; some didn't. A couple said the girl looked like my daughter; others said she looked like a robot. My first reaction was disappointment, but I recognize that I am NO judge of art, so I left it to them to say what would sell.

This time around, it's up to me what the cover will look like, although I worked with a cover artist because, as I said, art isn't my forte. I still liked the ship/mysterious man combination, so this is what the artist came up with.
The second book had a great cover when it came from the publisher, with the Mackinac Bridge as the background, but I can't use someone else's art when I re-release the book. I asked the new cover artist to do much the same thing but with a little less of a dark feeling, since the books are rather light-hearted in their look at the Afterlife. They definitely aren't scary, spooky, or gory. Here's what we had and what I chose for the new version:

Book Three is my choice of cover, since the old publisher never got around to releasing it. The artist found a detective to represent Seamus and we have several poses, so it will be the same guy in Books 2, 3, and 4. Three looks like this:

I like that there's a theme connecting the books now: similar lettering, the same Seamus, and the character(s) in front of the most important setting, the ship for #1, the Mighty Mac for #2, and Toronto for #3. Note of interest: Title fonts have gotten bigger in the last few years because so many people buy their books online. It's a huge no-no to have the title too small or fussy to read when it's reduced to a tiny little rectangle online (as the original for Book #1 is).

Four isn't coming until next year, but it will feature another pose of the same Seamus with an "old Chicago" cover, since he's going back to solve his own murder. Shout out to Phillips Covers for the new art, and for taking the burden off me. Once again, NOT a cover expert!


Jun 15, 2015

And the Winner Is--

Almost everyone liked the cover with the two figures on it best. I can't show it to you yet in final form, because I asked the cover artist to do a little touching up, which she confided this morning is driving her crazy. (Better her than me!) I don't like the messiness around the girl's left hand, and since I have no idea how much work it is to smooth that out, I asked. Apparently it's a lot.
Anyway, I should have that cover soon, so the first two Dead Detective books can be re-issued by the end of June. Don't buy them again if you've already read them.
I mean, you can if you want to...   :)
I talked to a fan who thought she liked Book #3 (DEAD FOR THE SHOW) better than Book #1, so she went back and re-read the first one. Now that's dedication!
I almost never re-read books, except of course for editing and re-editing and re-re-editing. By the time mine are published, I'm tired of them. It was interesting, therefore, to read the first 2 DD books several years later for this re-issue. I still like them, though I fixed a sentence here and there.
Now I'm at work on Book #4, which will be the last involving Seamus. It's going along well, but they always take longer than I plan on. I'm thinking early 2016 if all goes well.

Jun 8, 2015

Help Me Pick a Cover

The Dead Detective Agency will soon be re-released, since I got the rights to the series back from the original publisher. I must choose new covers, and these are some options the cover artist sent me. I'd love some feedback. This is Book #1, where Tori finds out she's dead and on the ship that takes people to the Afterlife. 


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Apr 20, 2015

New Dead Detective Mystery

DEAD FOR THE SHOW is scheduled for release today. It's ready on Kindle for sure. (If you don't have a Kindle, there's an app you can download to get your other e-readers to read Kindle books. I know nothing about this, being a Kindle owner, but I'm told it's great.)

The book is also available in paperback from Ingram, which means you can order it at a bookstore and they'll have it in a day or two.

I don't see the print version on Amazon yet, but it's in the works. There's no way to predict how long it takes after we approve the proof copies.

So what is this one about?
DEAD FOR THE SHOW is Book #3 of the Dead Detective Mysteries, featuring Seamus, a throwback to the '50s who operates pretty well in 2015. In this one he's investigating the death of a the woman who refuses to believe she's dead. She was a member of a a theater group in Toronto, and Seamus ends up trying to protect her sister so she doesn't end up dead as well.

The series has a lightly humorous slant on the Afterlife and how life on Earth is viewed there. When a person is murdered, he or she can engage a dead detective to go back to Life and find out the whos and whys of the case. The situations the dead detectives get into are sometimes humorous and often suspenseful, but justice always wins out.

I enjoy writing the Dead Detective series and plan at least one more, hopefully for 2016.
Book #1
Book #2


Book #3
Note: Books 1 & 2 will be getting new covers soon when they go into new editions. They'll feature the "new" Seamus pic (center above), so don't buy them a second time by mistake!

Apr 15, 2015

An Interruption in Freebies




Winner of KILLING SILENCE was Patti T.
 
Due to the death of my laptop (purchased a scant six months ago) I'm suspending the freebies for this week. I hope the Princess Bride Effect is in play and the infernal machine is only mostly dead, but since I'll be traveling for the next few days, I have to leave it behind. I can't deal with daily updates to this blog on my iPad. Remember, my IT has DIO in the middle.

I've decided to pick the giveaways up again in May, when the third Sleuth Sisters book comes out, so stay tuned!
 
And don't forget to look for DEAD FOR THE SHOW, which will release on Monday whether I'm ready or not!



Sep 19, 2014

What Am I Working On?

Someone asks me this about once a week, so I thought I'd attempt an answer.

I just finished the final edit for the 4th Simon & Elizabeth mystery, Her Majesty's Mischief. If you've been paying attention, I had some trouble choosing a title for this one, and readers gave me some great suggestions. I chose this one because it has a double meaning. Simon is sent to Scotland to try to determine if Mary, Queen of Scots is hatching mischief in the form of revolt against Elizabeth, now Queen of England. In his absence, Elizabeth hatches some mischief of her own, secretly sending Simon's old friend Calkin to investigate a murder in Simon's family. Both endeavors lead to trouble, of course.
I have no release date yet for that one, but they said I'll get Advance Review Copies in December, which means it should come out about two months later. I will let readers know through my newsletter, so if you aren't signed up, you can text 22828. It will ask for a password, which is PEGHERRING. Then it will take your email addy, and you'll be on my list (I sound like I know what I'm doing, but I don't. If you aren't a smart phone person, you can join my newsletter list on Facebook.)

The next Dead Detective mystery, Dead for the Show, is also slated for an unknown "soon". The last notification I got from the publisher was "late in 2014 or early in 2015." I'd bet on the latter since I haven't seen the final copy-edits, but in this book, Seamus is sent to a theater company in Toronto to investigate the death of the wardrobe mistress. Anyone who knows me can guess where that idea came from!

The Loser mysteries ended with Killing Despair, at least for a while. I had an arc in mind for her character, and I think she's completed it. There's room for further development, but it seems to me the books would be less about Loser and more just mysteries--not a bad thing but not what I planned.

I've been working on the cozy series, written as Maggie Pill, (http://maggiepill.com) which has done waaaay better than I expected. I have Book #2 almost done, so that should come out in early November at the latest.

The long-range plan is for one more Simon & Elizabeth (they're getting old!) and one more Dead Detective (to solve Seamus' own reluctance to take the final step). After that, who knows?

Jul 21, 2014

Loser Mystery #3 and Dead Detectives, Too

I know I've said it before, but it looks like this time Loser #3* really will release on August 9. If you're signed up for my newsletter (below on the right side), you'll be reminded when it's available on Amazon, and I'll post on FB when I have actual copies in O-town and for signings. My itinerary is posted here, just above this box, so you can track me down in various places if you want a personalized copy.

*Killing Despair is the third and probably final book in the Loser Mysteries. Though I love Loser and have enjoyed sharing her adventures, right now there's no continuation that does her justice in my head. I refuse to write a book just because a series is doing well, because it's too easy to get stale and repetitive. Loser was broken in Killing Silence, better but a long way from healed in Killing Memories. In Killing Despair she faces the things that almost destroyed her and comes to a sense of peace about it all. I hope you have enjoyed her journey as much as I did.

I've been asked several times about the third Dead Detective mystery (Dead for the Show), and in turn I've been asking the publisher--for months now. It got sidetracked (no one explains how or why) but they've promised they'll get to it the last part of August. I don't know what that means for a release date. It's been edited, but I haven't seen cover art or been asked for the ancillary stuff (Yes, authors get to write the catalog copy, the back cover copy, etc. We love it. No, really.) I'm guessing that means it's months away, so maybe it will be someone's Christmas present.


BTW, thanks to all those who ask about the next book. It's not bothering an author when you ask; it's affirming that what we're doing is worthwhile to others.

It's Getting Close!

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