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

Jun 5, 2017

The Strategies of Authoring

I've been at this for a while now, and I've seen the publishing world undergo drastic changes. When I got my first contract with a traditional publisher, that was the way to go, because books published by an author in what was then called "vanity publishing," were expensive to produce and almost certain to fail.

That changed when two things happened: a few brave authors (e.g. Hugh Howey) began working to understand and use the system to their benefit and Amazon made it (fairly) easy and definitely cheap to publish books.

My time with traditional publishers was extremely valuable. I learned about the need for good editing, good cover art, and good resources for promotion. On the downside, I learned I had few options once I signed a contract, and the financial reward for my work was a long time coming and not nearly as much as people imagine when they plop down $26.00 for a hard cover book.

Now that I'm sort of independent (I've stuck with one of my publishers so technically I'm what they call a hybrid author--which sounds kind of science fiction-y but isn't) I'm learning how books sell in the times when hundreds of thousands of books are added to the possibilities readers are offered each year. Some are tossed into the world like a monkey throwing mud at a canvas, with the naive belief that someone will call it art. Others (like mine) are the result of hard work, dozens of revisions, and many people's input, both paid experts and wonderful volunteers.

All that to say this: One of the ways independent authors attract notice for their books is by giving them away. In this time of free books everywhere, it's hard to get a reader to pay for a book if they haven't read an author before or heard good things about her from someone they trust. Authors like me give away the first book in a series in order to entice readers to buy Book Two, Three, etc.

The Dead Detective Agency is now free through all Draft2Digital outlets, including B&N, Kobo, and the like. I've notified Amazon, so they will eventually price match, though I can't predict when that will happen. If you haven't met Seamus (pronounced shay mus) and don't mind a light-hearted mash-up of mystery and the Afterlife, try the e-book for free, then go back for the rest of the series at only $2.99 each.

Seamus Meets the Mackinac Bridge

Seamus Joins a Theater Group

Seamus Investigates His Own Murder


Oh, and what I'm reading now: Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis. Great scenario, but he'd better not disappoint me when I get to the truth!

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.

Aug 1, 2015

FREE E-book!

THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY is free for Kindle right now: August 1st through the 4th.

http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Detective-Agency-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B010MF5J9E/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

This is a re-release, so you might have read it, but if you haven't yet met Seamus, Dead Detective, and if you have a sense of humor about the Afterlife, you might enjoy this series (follow-ups are Dead for the Money and Dead for the Show. I'm working on Dead to Get Ready--and Go.)

One reviewer made me giggle when she said though SHE liked the book, she wouldn't want her children to read it and conclude that this is the way heaven actually is.

Really? Can you say FICTION?

I had fun with what we're taught about the Afterlife as I wrote this mystery, which another reviewer says is "Sam Spade meets Quantam Leap." Not sure about that, since there isn't much sci-fi stuff here, but I think you'll enjoy the book, which won Best Mystery of 2012.

Here are some snippets of the reviews, since Amazon hasn't yet put the old version (published in 2011 with the female close up and looking outward) together with the new one (published recently, with the female looking at the semi-transparent man).

"The story and writing proceed at a furious, breathtaking pace, and when we finally come to the end of our voyage, it's with deep regret, as if saying bon voyage to a dear friend we have known and loved for years." New York Journal of Books, Reviewer Sam Millar.

"A fun concept of afterlife and well-developed characters makes this an entertaining page turner. I am certainly looking forward to the next in the series. Would be good material for the big screen. A refreshingly new idea." Amazon Reader

"Loved the whole idea for this book. I enjoyed the comparisons about what we think of as ghosts as actually the dead using our bodies. Can't wait to read the next one!" Amazon Reader

Apr 10, 2015

Freebie Day 1: April 11, 2015




The Dead Detective Agency

Want 2 free copies of this book? Respond here or on Peg’s News on Facebook to be entered in the daily drawing.





Book #1 of the Dead Detective series
Setting: Grand Rapids, MI
Tori can hardly believe it when she wakes up dead. The Afterlife is nice, but she really wants to know why someone would murder the secretary at an investments firm. The solution to her problem? Get a dead detective and launch an investigation.

NOTE: This is one of the two that will be re-released this summer with a different cover. Same book, new edition, so watch the titles.


Mar 30, 2015

I Really Mean It This Time: Dead Detective #3

Taking the bull by the horns is dangerous, but I had to. The third of the Dead Detective series languished at my publishers for over a year. It had been edited, but that was as far as it got: no cover, no release date.
So I asked for the rights back. Luckily they were great about it, and now the book can move on with a cover from Phillips Covers and formatting from Greenerside Digital.

I took a guess at a release date and made it April 20. I'm guessing the e-book will come earlier than that, since that's a simpler process. The print copies might come later, since there's the whole "mail-me-a-copy-of-what-it's-going-to-look-like" thing. If there's something wrong, that would delay the release.

Anyway, it's up for pre-order on Kindle right now, and I'll be sure to let everyone know when everything is in place.

Here's the teaser:

Dead Detective Seamus Hanrahan is bored on the ship that takes the dead from one phase to the next. It's a perfect existence, but since when is perfect exciting? When new arrival Cassie Parker refuses to believe she's dead, Seamus agrees to return to life on Earth and find out what happened to her. The hope is that something Seamus discovers will convince the young woman her life really is over, though Cassie insists she isn't dead and she'll never believe she is.
  In a small theater in Toronto, Seamus finds Christy Parker, who came to visit only to learn that her sister was killed backstage in what appears to be an accident. When she's convinced to take over Cassie's job as wardrobe mistress, Christy's life changes so fast she can hardly keep up. The loss of her only remaining relative, the demands of the new job, her interesting and eccentric coworkers, and a chance meeting with an old friend keep her mind more than occupied.
  Seamus travels through the theater troupe, trying to learn who might have hated Cassie enough to murder her. There are lots of secrets, but he finds neither guilt nor any definite sense of what happened the day Cassie died. Christy struggles on, disappointed that the police have closed the case on Cassie's death.
  Christy's friend has his own investigation to conduct, and Seamus begins to suspect the two crimes are connected. Soon Christy's life is in danger, though she doesn't know why, and she engages in a desperate fight to survive in the old, deserted theater.
  To make matters worse, Seamus, who's trying to protect Christy and figure out why Cassie had to die, senses something he's never encountered before, an odd presence that shouldn't be there. Can a dead guy be haunted, and if so, is it a good thing or really, really bad?


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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