Showing posts with label Loser. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Loser. Show all posts

Nov 12, 2018

Being All-Indie

I reported recently on the reversion of the Simon & Elizabeth Mysteries, my historical series, to my own again. When you sign with a publisher, they get the rights to a book or series for X number of years. They're professionally edited, and the publisher builds an audience that can speak for their quality. Downside: the cost is high due to people other than the author needing to make a profit. When I got Simon's stories back, I got new covers and re-published the series at a much lower cost.

Now Loser will get the same treatment.

The Loser Mysteries center on a homeless woman who finds herself involved in solving a murder. From the beginning I knew it would be a 3-book series, since the stories begin with her at her worst and follow her recovery from trauma. The books are beloved by a certain set, and many suggested I might extend it, but once Loser is back to (almost) normal, I felt that further stories would only have presented more murders to solve. There were too few further character revelations to be made.

But the rights are now mine again, so Loser will get re-published at a better cost. I'm required to have new covers, and I'm looking for input. The idea is feet, and we chose pics that represent her three phases: homeless, returning to her roots, and facing her demons.

Here's Book #1 two slightly different ways. Any preference? I was hoping the first (skewed) pic gave a sense of movement, but Hubby says he can't see much difference.


Oct 12, 2015

Plain Talk for Writers: Series

3 Current Series: Upper left, Loser Mysteries. Upper right, Simon & Elizabeth Historical Mysteries. Lower left: Dead Detective Mysteries. Somebody Doesn't Like Sarah Leigh is a stand-along mystery.
Publishers love series. They invest in an author's work, and series mean they can reap the rewards of that investment more than once.

Readers love series. It's nice to know that characters we love are going to come back and visit us again, telling us about their latest scrapes.

Writers love series--to a point. It's comfortable to slip into the minds of characters we've already created. We know how they think, what they'll do. (Even if we don't, we can look back at the books that came before and refresh our memories.)

The problem with series-writing is keeping it fresh. Writers don't want their characters to "jump the shark," but it's obvious to me from reading some series that authors find it difficult to tell when they've reached that point. If you've ever stopped reading a series because things got too weird, too over-the-top emotional, or too unbelievable, you've seen it happen.

On the other hand, a series shouldn't be the same story over and over. We like familiar characters in new situations, and that makes it tough for a writer. Readers want the same thing, only different.

Publishers push their writers to keep a series going, often despite the writer's feelings. We know that Conan Doyle wanted to kill off Sherlock Holmes, as did Martha Grimes with her Inspector Jury. Steve Hamilton admits that though he likes Alex McKnight, he wants to write other things. I admire these writers for wanting to stretch themselves and not depend on a single successful character to make their whole career. Still, you'll notice that in each case, someone in the publishing industry has decreed differently: the public wants more of the same, and Sue Grafton will be required/encouraged to finish the alphabet, no matter how tired she might be or Kinsey Milhone. (Hey, it's all downhill from X, right?)

I've ended one series (Loser Mysteries) and am at working ending two more (Dead Detectives right now and Simon & Elizabeth next year), because I don't want to get tired of my characters. I did cheat a little and leave possibilities for continuing them at a later date, but right now, they're telling me they've traveled the arc that kept me and my readers interested. After three books, Loser's in a good place in her life. Seamus is about to come to terms with his demons in Book #4. Simon & Elizabeth are getting old as the fifth book circles in my head. I can't see forcing them to have more adventures--not when there are new characters talking from the back of my brain, whispering that they're waiting for their turn.

Apr 14, 2015

Freebie Day 4: April 14, 2015



Killing Silence

Want 2 free copies of this book? Respond here or on Peg’s News on Facebook to be entered in the daily drawing. If you haven't yet "met" Loser, you're in for a new and uplifting experience!

 Book #1 of the Loser Mysteries
Setting: Richmond, VA

Loser lives on the streets, washing up in public restrooms and eating when the opportunity arises. When the father of a child who’s been good to her is accused of murder, Loser feels compelled to help. In order to do so, she’ll have to overcome her demons: the inability to speak normally, the desire to be left alone, and her tragic past, which haunts her every moment.
This book is now available as an audio book as well as in print and e-formats.


Feb 2, 2015

Protagonists Who Are Difficult to Like

Now available in print, e-book, and audio                                                                                      Killing Silence on Amazon
There's been a lot of discussion on mystery readers' sites lately about books like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. Some pan them because the protagonists aren't very likeable; others claim they brilliantly reflect the realities of life. The fact that The Gold Finch won literature's highest reward indicates that reflecting reality is a big deal for the important voices in publishing and reading.

I read The Girl on the Train last week, and I have to say it was well done. I was drawn into the woman's blurry world, and I guess I understand better now what it's like to be an alcoholic, promising yourself you'll do better tomorrow while you pour yourself another drink today. I never read Gone Girl, having heard there was no one to like in the book, and I stopped just over halfway through The Gold Finch, tired of the young man's spiral downward to the point that each time I set it down, I didn't want to pick it up again.  Whether that makes me a low-class reader or not I don't know, but in any movie I watch or book I read, I want someone I can cheer for, someone I like.

That's not to say I don't enjoy a protagonist with issues. I fell in love with Craig Johnson's books because Walt Longmire was so troubled in the first one, and Steve Hamilton's Alex McKnight and the Todds' Ian Rutledge grabbed me for the same reasons. In those books, however, the protagonist tries to assure that the problem he has doesn't make the situation (whatever the mystery is) worse for others. It only makes things harder for him personally.

Loser, my homeless protagonist, is that type. She's got lots of issues, but she's desperate not to inflict them on others. For me that signals the type of nobility required of an appealing protagonist: a lack of selfishness. The boy in The Gold Finch and the woman in The Girl on the Train are so wrapped up in themselves that they make others pay for their hurt and anguish. Yes, they have excuses, but so does Loser, so do Walt Longmire and Ian Rutledge. It's their determination not to inflict their hurt on anyone else that makes them, for me anyway, worthy protagonists, people with whom I can spend a few hours of my time without feeling I've wasted it.

So while I admit to the talent of writers who can accurately portray unlikeable characters, when those characters are protagonists I'm left feeling vaguely unhappy at the end. There are already messed-up people in the world who are beyond caring whom they hurt. I prefer those who, though troubled, work to make the world better, even as they wrestle with their own demons.

Jan 29, 2015

Are You an Audiobook Person?

There are things we hear discussed among readers today, and one of them is electronic versus print books for reading. People say things like, "I want a book in my hand," or "E-books are so much more convenient."
I'm okay with both. I like reading on my iPad when I travel, my Kindle at bedtime, and a "real" book anytime, anywhere.
The other question is "Do you listen to books?"
To that one I have to say no, or at least, not yet.
I'm a fast reader, and I doubt I'd be happy with the slow pace of someone reading to me. I'm also a wool-gatherer, so I'd probably zone out when something interesting caught my eye. So I haven't done the audio thing yet.

However--

I have to listen to my own books in order to okay them for release on Audible.com, Amazon's audio book company. It's been an enjoyable experience, and it gave me a different perspective on the book, the story, and the protagonist.

Most recent was the first Loser Mystery, KILLING SILENCE. The actress my producer chose does a great job with Loser, a street person with a flat affect due to the trauma she's experienced. I was afraid that too much flatness would make the reading boring, but Karisa Bruin does an outstanding job, making Loser's personality come through with understanding and humor.

Karisa is currently at work on the second book, KILLING MEMORIES. While I'm not an audiophile yet, I'm looking forward to seeing what she does with Loser as she begins her crawl back to normalcy.

You can find KILLING SILENCE here, in all three forms: print, e-book, and audio.
http://www.amazon.com/Killing-Silence-Loser-Mysteries-Book/dp/B00SVTA68I/ref=sr_1_2
?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1422535372&sr=1-2&keywords=killing+silence

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?

Aug 21, 2014

What It's Like When You're Expecting...a Book

My copies of KILLING DESPAIR arrived yesterday, and it got me thinking that expecting a book is a lot like expecting a baby.
*When you tell people about it too early, all those months of waiting detract from the excitement.
*You can't be sure when it's going to happen, despite the dates the experts throw out there.
*There are periods of discomfort, and you have to remind yourself that something good is going to result.
*Friends are supportive, but they're seldom as excited as you are about the coming event.
*You wait for it to be "over" but soon learn there's more work after it's "over" than you ever imagined.

E-book:
 http://www.amazon.com/Killing-Despair-Loser-Mysteries-Three-ebook/dp/B00MKBH3MU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408621189&sr=8-1&keywords=killing+despair

Print:
http://www.amazon.com/Killing-Despair-Loser-Mysteries-Three/dp/0990565513/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1408621189&sr=8-1

My signing itinerary is above if you'd like a personalized copy.





Aug 7, 2014

*Killing Despair* Countdown

The third Loser Mystery, Killing Despair, launches on August 9th from LL-Publications. (Trust me; I'll remind you when it's available and post the buy-links!)

Loser returns to Richmond in Book #3, drawn there by new information about the murders of her husband and child three years earlier. Once there, she becomes a suspect in a current murder and must disappear into the world of street people, sleeping in alleys and hiding in the places no one goes. This time, however, Loser has more than her street friends for help. This time she might find the truth and escape her despair--if she survives.

The books in this series (Killing Silence, Killing Memories, and Killing Despair) were compelling stories for me to write, and fans tell me they are compelling reads as well. Loser is one of my more intriguing characters, difficult to write in many ways (like not talking much) but also very real to me. After three books, I'm done with her for a while, but there might be a time in the future when she's healed enough to embark on more adventures.



Jun 9, 2014

"Where's That Book?" You Might Ask

Coming Spring of 2014 (I was told!)
I've been asked many, many times in the last few months about upcoming books, with good reason. My last book released some time ago, and some fans have even asked if I'd stopped writing.
No. (Couldn't do it if I wanted to, because my brain keeps sending out ideas.)
What's happened is the slow publishing industry, which is frustrating for me as well as my readers.
Months ago I submitted the next Dead Detective, the next Loser, and the next Simon & Elizabeth to my publishers. They're in various stages of production, with Loser #3 likely to be the next release. No date's been given for the 3rd dead detectives (and no reason why it isn't moving along). The date for Simon's fourth adventure is 2015, due to some issues at the publisher that have nothing to do with me.
I know. It's frustrating.
Most people know very little about how a book goes from manuscript to book, and most don't care, except when it takes too long. Authors, too, wonder why the delay, but we remind ourselves our publishers are dealing with more books than just ours and an assortment of cover artists, editors, formatters, and marketing staff who all have schedules and holdups.
I know. It's frustrating.
As soon as I know something, I'll post it here. If you're signed up for my newsletter, you'll be notified by email. (If you're not signed up, go to Facebook and "JOIN MY LIST" by clicking on the pretty blue and yellow squares-- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pegs-News/108697482481217?ref=hl --I only send out a newsletter when I have a new book coming out, so you won't get spammed with promotion.)
Summer in Michigan is a great time for book signings. If I had my way, I'd be spending my Saturdays at Horizon or McLean & Eakin or Saturn or Blue Phoenix or the Purple Tree, chatting with people about what we read and what I write. I can't schedule any signings until I have release dates.
I know. It's frustrating!

It's Getting Close!

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