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Showing posts with the label mystery

It's Getting Close!

  You might think "Christmas!" when you read that headline, but for me it's the release of SISTER SAINT, SISTER SINNER on December 15th. The launch of a new book is both exciting and nerve-wracking. I dread some mistake that I and the many editors and beta readers missed. I drive myself crazy trying to come up with exactly the right categories and keywords to make Amazon and all the other search engines offer up my book when people go looking for something new to read. I'm excited to see what readers think. I'm afraid of what readers might think. It's complicated. "So what is this book?" you might ask (Oh, please ask.) It's not a mystery per se , though it has a murder that eventually is solved. It's more a family drama that spills onto the larger, national scene. But it's not one of those "Aren't these women sweet?" books. These women take matters into their own hands. For better or for worse, they're proactive. And if

Which Book Was That?

 It happens to me sometimes. A reader mentions a character or a scene in one of my books, and it takes me a second to find it in my memory. Oh, right, Caroline, the protagonist in Somebody Doesn't Like Sarah Leigh. I remember her--kind of. https://books2read.com/u/4AgVOq The thing is, authors move on. We have new ideas. We dream up new people. But there's no way to tell when a reader will find a book, read it, and get excited for more. My first book was published in 2006. I just saw online where someone ordered it. Yay...but how much of Macbeth's Niece do I even remember? https://books2read.com/u/m0xYdY My newest book, Deceiving Elvera, released on Friday. There are ads for it everywhere, and the introductory price is a bargain, so readers are talking about it. One beta reader suggested I could make it a series. Um, no. Some books are meant to be stand-alones, and this one is...big-time. https://books2read.com/u/38RZoB The other day a fan wrote to say she wished Maggie P

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 f

Simon & Elizabeth Redux

My first successful series was the Simon & Elizabeth Mysteries with Five Star Publishing. Going on the "write what you know" advice new writers get, I focused on Elizabeth I of England, one of my favorite historical characters. She had so much going against her as she grew up--I mean, how many girls can say their father had their mother beheaded? In the last decade or so, some authors have (very successfully) attacked Anne Boleyn's character, making her seem like Satan's First Date. I'm afraid that's more drama than historical accuracy, but we all interpret history to suit our own thinking...and some knowingly twist it to make a salacious story. I won't argue the right and wrong of that, since Shakespeare did a lot of the same things to make his stories work. It's just sad to me that those who read only fiction might believe it. Anyway, my series focuses on Anne's daughter Elizabeth, and she's a very sympathetic character. In Her Maje

Everything Old Is New Again

Amazon is great for authors. Their print book division, CreateSpace, has been very helpful for me in publishing books on my own, either from Day One or when the rights revert to me from a publishing contract. Recently the news came out that CreateSpace will be going away, and KDP, Amazon's ebook division, will take on both print and ebooks in the future. I decided to convert my books to KDP now rather than later. It's pretty easy if the book is already in CS, though one needs to pay attention to the details. In the process, I did some updating, including altered covers and even new covers for some of my books. Above is Shakespeare's Blood , the old version on the left and the new one on the right. I'm going to do a print version, which I hadn't done before, and that one will have the cover on the right as well. I like having Mercedes featured and like it lighter, both in mood and actual light. I still might make some changes in placement, depending on how the

New Life for a Book

One of the things authors need to recognize is that books don't just take off and become bestsellers. Some lie around for months, even years, waiting to be noticed. We're encouraged not to neglect our backlists, but it's difficult when there's something "NEW! NEW! NEW!" to talk about. That's been the case with the Loser series, which ended a couple of years ago. Killing Silence is one of my favorites among my books. I love the protagonist, Loser, who is homeless and damaged but not down and out. The idea that homeless people are counted out of society, ignored by most and assumed to be incapable of paying attention, makes her a perfect sleuth. The publisher of this series has decided to make Killing Silence free on Kindle for May 29-31. I'm really excited about this, since I think freebies are a great way to introduce a book to new readers. If you've already read the book, you can help by passing the news on to your Kindle-reading friends

Not a New Book--Just a New Look!

From time to time, authors pick up on readers' opinions, either directly ("I hate that cover!") or indirectly ("That sounds too scary for me.") I learned from listening that readers didn't consider one of my books because the cover looked dark and the title seemed harsh. Hence, a new title and a new cover: The old title was GO HOME AND DIE, and the old cover looked a little like a thriller, with two figures silhouetted against a city skyline. At the time I thought it was okay, but when I looked at the book honestly, it's more girl meets boy, grows up a little, and solves a murder along the way. If you haven't tried it, here's the link so you can download a sample and see if HER EX-GI P.I. doesn't bring back some '60s memories for you. Here's what you might want to know about Peg and her work: Writes: Mysteries, mostly. There's suspense and death but no graphic violence, sex, or language. Unique Qualities: In each

Why Do You Write Mysteries?

Why Do You Write Mysteries? I get asked that question a lot, so I've thought long and hard in order to be able to come up with a good answer. Here it is. I don't really know. Why do you read mysteries? might be a place to start. If we can agree that we read mysteries because we enjoy having a puzzle to solve, like seeing characters tossed into unusual and often dangerous situations, and feel satisfied when everything works out in the end, then I guess the logical extension of that, at least for someone who likes to write, is attempting to create her own  mystery. I like coming up with unique characters: a homeless woman, a dead P.I., a famous princess/queen. I like salting the plot with clues, both false and real. I like filling in details once the main story is in place and adding subplots like the relationships among sisters or the joys of growing up in a small town. I get to know my characters through a series, so my mind stops me if I try to make a woman or even a dog

Why Did the Amateur Sleuth Cross the Road?

Unless an author writes only police procedurals and P.I. novels, the question of why the protagonist gets involved in the mystery is present. I've never in my life wanted to investigate a murder, and I'm guessing most readers would say the same. We trust the police to do an adequate job, and while we might grumble that they didn't turn every stone in a specific case, we seldom jump in to help. If you're going to write a mystery with an amateur sleuth, he or she has to have a reason to get involved that departs from what is good behavior and good sense in real life. Loser wants to help the father of a little girl who reminds her of her daughter. Caroline is suspected of killing her former best friend. Many authors choose to have their protag or someone close to him as the suspect . This is certainly a driving force, as long as the rules of logic are applied. If you're accused of murder, are the people involved in the case likely to sit down

In Defense of Cozies

Upcoming Release of a Series I Enjoy When authors get together, there's a tendency to disparage cozy mysteries , and many of my friends think of themselves as "just" cozy writers. To be honest, cozies can get pretty silly, with amateur sleuths bumbling through situations that no sane person would put herself into. Often they have only the faintest of reasons to do so, and most of us would have called the police, told them our suspicions, and gone back to canning green beans. So why do zillions of people read zillions of cozies each year? Possibly because we trust them. We trust cozies to provide a few hours of entertainment that won't depress us, scare us, or force us to ponder the darker side of humanity. Cozy villains might be a little papery, but we don't imagine them showing up in our bedrooms with a butcher knife or shadowing us in a dark parking garage as we hurry to our cars. It might be my age, or it might be TV's predilection for long

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 talkin

All Kinds of Mysteries

http://www.amazon.com/Macdeath-Ivy-Meadows-Mys…/…/B00OQJG9NI I love reading, and I especially love mysteries. That doesn't mean all of them, of course. I don't like the ones that are too silly. I can't stand the amateur who should stay out of the way and let the police investigate. I don't like the best friend who gets the protagonist into trouble with her antics. I want some sense of reality in the world an author creates. That's why I like MACDEATH. The main character is real, funny but not silly. http://www.amazon.com/PLAN-Rory-Tate-Thrillers…/…/B00D68H8PI I also shy away from thrillers that have over-the-top heroes (unless they have a sense of humor). I don't want anyone tortured, even the bad guys. I don't care to read three full pages of gun description. That's why I like PLAN X. The hero has things to deal with. The action moves quickly. Nobody gets waterboarded. http://www.amazon.com/Nine-Days-Evil-N-West-eb…/…/B007P