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Showing posts with the label new book

Trip Through My Tale

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  What's the next book?     FAKE When will it be ready?     September 1st What's it about?       Well...      I propose that we take a while to figure that out. I will try to entertain and enlighten you over the next four months--about once a week.  What will that entail?      Cover art      Character sketches      Plot teasers     Other fun stuff.  So let's begin!      The story is told by several characters. In the first section, "Fake" applies to the main character, Kip Morgan. That's not his real name, and he's not exactly an upstanding citizen. In fact, he makes his living   as a con artist. Kip is on the run from the Chicago cops when he sees an ad for an investigator. He figures he's perfect for the job, since he has valuable criminal experience...from the criminals' side. What has he got going for him?       Good looks, charm, family tradition, and chutzpah. What's against him?     We'll talk about that next week.  

Answers to All Life's Questions

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  Just kidding, but here are the answers to the newsletter quiz from last week.  __7__What holiday song says to “put on your yarmulke”? __1__Which song describes water “like a stone”? _10___Which song do we associate with Charlie Brown? _5___Song to avoid to play Whamageddon. _8___In which song will we get pumpkin pie later? _2___Which song mentions rosy cheeks? _9___Song that mentions the hautbois (oboe) _4___Christmas wishes on steroids. _3___It should be tragic, but we laugh anyway. _6___Most popular Christmas carol in the U.S.   1.   “In the Bleak Midwinter” 2.   “Sleigh Ride” 3.   “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” 4.   “Santa Baby” 5.   “Last Christmas” 6.   “Silent Night” 7.   “The Hannukah Song” 8.   “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” 9.   “Il est nĂ©, le divin Enfant” 10. “Christmas Time Is Here”   Aunt Marge is getting good reviews from the pre-sales set, which makes my Christmas season a little brighter. One of my beta readers told

Here's Aunt Marge! Well, Almost

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 Aunt Marge has been one of my longest thought-to-production books ever. Life kept interrupting, for one thing, a broken leg and a local situation that makes me leave my writer hat off for days while I work to protect the community I love. Add to that a complicated plot. As my editor said, there's a lot going on in this book, and I had to be sure it all made sense and led to a believable ending. As the story begins, Gwen finds herself in crisis. She's overdosed on prescription painkillers, partly because she fears her husband Jeff is cheating. When her aunt offers to take her to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to recuperate, it seems perfect. She'll get back her strength and kick the drug habit. And with her gone, Jeff will realize what he's missing.  The problem is that Marge's place, called Giiwe , is full of secrets. Marge shares nothing of herself, and her ward/farmhand Charlie seems nice until Gwen learns about his violent past. When she finds out the wo

It's Getting Close!

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  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

At the Point Where I Can Tell You

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 I sent my next book to the copy editor a few days ago, which for me is a major turning point. It's a commitment of sorts; the book that for a looooonnnnngggg time has been only mine is close to being offered to others. I've certainly talked about it at length to friends and family, but no one has read it except my first-draft beta reader, my content editor, and me (many, many times). And yes, I do pay three different people to critique a manuscript before I inflict it on the public. Sending a book to the copy editor indicates that it's in its final narrative form, so now it's her job to find the silly stuff that would take away from readers' enjoyment: spelling errors, extra commas, etc. Once that's done, it will be formatted and prepared for print, e-book, and audio offerings. In other words, I'm saying I don't intend to make substantial changes anymore, and that's really hard for me. Any time I look at past work I think, "I could have done t

Audio...Again

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  Deceiving Elvera is now available as an audio book as well as print and e-book formats. Here's the link: https://www.amazon.com/Deceiving-Elvera/dp/B093C89MC7 Let me say something about narrators in general, and Naomi Rose-Mock in particular. They take an author's baby and interpret it aloud, so others can enjoy it. To do this, they must be able to read well; that's a given. But in a book like Deceiving Elvera , there's a lot more to think about. The book is set in Michigan and Thailand, so I had to provide a pronunciation guide (provided for me by someone who lived in Thailand for a time) that Naomi could consult. A third setting is a cruise ship, and the crew comes from all over, so she had to switch accents from Norwegian to Australian to Texan and so on. I would bet that requires a lot of highlighting and pre-reading to be prepared for conversations. Finally, the narrator interprets the characters and the action. Too much "color" and a character like El

Which Book Was That?

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 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

The Terrors of Publication

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Today I sent a newsletter to over two thousand readers, telling them about the book that will release on December 4, DECEIVING ELVERA. I also bought an ad on Facebook, letting readers there know how to pre-order the book. Terror. I'm gripped with terror, I tell you! Why? Because it's a little like navigating a minefield, this publishing thing.  *The print cover looks great on Amazon, but it's wonky on Draft 2 Digital (see spine above), and I haven't yet figured out why. *I have a FINAL final review copy on the way, so I might find a few leftover errors that will now have to be fixed on several sites before December 4th arrives (actually it's earlier than that, because they need time to get the files changed. More like November 30, then.) *Over the past week, I've slated ads with a half-dozen sites like Great Books, Great Deals and Kindle Daily Nation, so their readers will see the cover and read a bit about the book. Each one is different, and I dread that I mig

What Are You Working on Now?

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 Many writers will agree that the Corona virus has been horrible but also helpful. Afraid to go out, unable to do what we once did, what can we do besides write? Since the virus hit big-time, I've published two books (one as Maggie Pill, one as myself) and worked on one that's been a couple of years in the works and is now with the copy editor for its final corrections. Hoping that will come out before the end of the year,  I teased you with the cover above. The downside to Corona for me is mental. With that and other national concerns, I've had trouble concentrating for any length of time, which means my work gets done in fits and starts. When I stop each day, I feel like the work is disjointed, but when I go back the next day and start reading, it's not. It's one of those, "it's not you, it's me" things. I'm writing the same as usual, but stress makes me feel like things aren't right. And what am I writing? A book called THE CUTEST LITTLE

In Praise of Editors

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 Yes, I taught English for....many years. Yes, I'm good at commas and quotation marks and all their little friends. I know about story arcs and character development and figurative language. That does NOT mean I don't need a bunch of helpful friends and professionals to check my work. I start with a first reader . This person reads the manuscript in really rough form and gives me feedback on what she sees as its strengths and weaknesses. With her "outside" view (meaning outside my head), I begin to see where I spent too much time with unnecessary explanation or where I didn't "take the reader with me" on a plot point. I kind of feel sorry for my first reader, because she often has to piece things together and wade through a lot of junk that won't make the final cut. When I've reworked the story to my satisfaction, I hire a content editor. This is a professional who will comment on the story's development, strengths and weaknesses. I've h

Looking at Covers-Please Weigh In

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The Kidnap Capers is a three-book series starring Robin and her "hoods," who take down crooks by unorthodox, often humorous methods.  Book 3 will be out on September 1st, so we're trying to settle on a cover. I'd like input from readers on what's eye-catching and gives the sense of a humorous but suspenseful story. Here are their covers (these are for the audio books because that's what I can find right now): Keeping the red/black theme, we got these two possibilities. They'll be fine-tuned once we choose a basic idea. If we skip the idea of coordinating colors, I like this one too: Please tell me which cover you prefer, or choose elements that work for you that might be incorporated into a new cover (e.g., "I like the lettering in X but the picture in Y.")

It's Been One of Those Months

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We all have them, and at some point we wake up and ask, "Where did the time go?" My wake-up was my hair. I was trying to make it behave two mornings ago, and I'll confess, I had unkind thoughts about my stylist. What did she do wrong? Then I looked at the calendar and saw how long it's been since she cut my hair. Oh. My bad. The time between early May and mid-June has been a blur of not good things, but I did a radio interview yesterday with Patzi Gil of Joy on Paper, a syndicated author-talk show out of Clearwater, FL. Patzi has been great to me since she discovered, wholly on her own, the first of the Kidnap Capers, KIDNAP.org. Not only did she contact me for an interview last summer, but she also promised to do a second if I let her know when Book #2 came out. It did, so I did. Here's the website, the interview should be searchable there soon. https://radio-joyonpaper.com/ All that to say that I realized I hadn't yet added PHARMA CON to my website

The Point Where a Book Takes Off

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As a reader, you feel a point where you're inside the story, at least if you and the story are sympatico . When you get a good book that happens almost immediately. I recently read MERCY DOGS by Tyler Dilts, which was recommended by a friend, and I fell into the story right away. I liked the protagonist. I empathized with his situation and his father's. I was interested in the mysterious disappearance of his renter. I wanted to know how they were all going to end up. I love it when that happens. For me, writing a book has that same moment. Intellectually I know I'm going to write a story that comes floating into my head, but emotionally, it often doesn't click until I'm in the middle of actually writing it down. I'm at work on the sequel to KIDNAP.org, which got nice attention from people in the book industry as well as readers. I knew I wanted it to be a three-story arc, and with my editor's suggestion, I figured out what the 2nd and 3rd books would de

Another Oldie Reborn

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I wrote recently about re-releasing my historicals now that I have the rights from the publisher who originally launched them (2 down, 2 to go!) I explained that they have to have different covers because the original ones aren't mine. There's another book I'd like to tell you about, but we have to talk about some additional things. First, sometimes a book title just doesn't work. You might have seen FORMER TITLE on some of your favorite authors' novels (Did you know that Fitzgerald almost called his book Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires? I think THE GREAT GATSBY is a better title! ) Titles aren't etched in stone, and if one doesn't work, the smart thing to do is change it. The book I once called A Lethal time and Place is a good example. I realized over time that it sounds scary and dark, while the story is whimsical and fun. Hence a new title, NOT DEAD YET... The same is true with covers . The cover artist listened to my ideas and did as I asked, bu

Double Toil & Trouble x 2/3

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Here's the new historical romance, and the answers to a few questions. 1. Another romance?     I know! I didn't think I'd ever do it, but the story was so much fun I had to. 2. Available where?     Amazon for e-book for sure.     Amazon in print any minute now.     Ingram in print someday soon. Since Ingram connects to bookstores, it's nice to have the book offered there, but they take longer to get things set up. Give it a week before you ask your favorite library or bookstore to get it for you.     Hometown folks-It will be at Tom's, but probably not until March. It's just the way things worked out for me. 3. So what's it about?    Jenna and Jessie, two more of Macbeth's nieces. If you remember Tessa from Macbeth's Niece , my very first book, you'll see her again. Because it's ten years later, I didn't call this a sequel. It's more like a relative. 4. Where do the characters come from? If you happen to know sisters name

Soon-to-Be Book--Not What You Expect

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Many years ago, my first book came out. Macbeth's Niece is a romance set in--well, the time of Macbeth, around 1053. Here is what Five Star Publishing did for its cover. And here's what I did when the rights reverted back to me and I re-released it as an e-book. Theirs is prettier, but mine shows more of Tessa's fiery personality. Why did a mystery writer start with a romance? Well, they say to write what you know, and as a long-time English teacher, Macbeth is very familiar to me.  I always loved the story and felt sorry for Macbeth, who didn't comprehend that things seldom turn out the way you imagine they will until it was much too late. The story of a girl living at his castle who has her own adventures and comes to the same conclusion (though with a happier ending) seemed to form itself in my head without much effort (though writing it down was a little more difficult.) I was shopping two books at the time, and two different agents tried to find a pub