Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Shara Summers Series

When I started shopping DEAD COOL to publishers, I made mention of the fact that it was the second book in a series and that the first, though published, was due to have rights revert back to me fairly soon.  This was entirely true, but I had no idea whether or not the information would help.  I didn't think, at the time, that any publisher would be interested in taking on a book that was effectively a back list title.  In fact I'd already started thinking about possibly self-publishing DEATH SCENE when the rights came back.  What else was I going to do with it?

And then when MuseItUp Publishing took on DEAD COOL they also expressed interest in the first book in the series when the rights became available.

And so it is that DEATH SCENE, though not currently available, will be released by MuseItUp later this year.  Before DEAD COOL, as it happens.

DEATH SCENE is to be released Spring/Summer (which I gather can mean any time between March and August), with DEAD COOL scheduled for release in Autumn (September-November).  Once I have a better idea of dates, I will of course publicise this.

The irony in all this is that the when I was shopping DEAD COOL around to publishers, at the same time as my horror novel, the amateur sleuth novel was the one I was least confident about.  And yet, in the end, not only did I get a request for a full manuscript from every single publisher I sent the first three chapters to, in the end it got picked up first.  Thus proving that sometimes writers get far too close to their own work to be able to offer a balanced viewpoint.

So the Shara Summers books are now officially a series.  And with books 1 and 2 having a home together, I'm seriously thinking about writing book 3.

Up to now Shara's been largely ignored.  Let's hope that with her first two adventures being released into the wide world this year, she'll finally start to make an impact.  I think there's life in the old girl yet.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Gabrielle" Cover Reveal

"Gabrielle" Cover
Wanted to share my new cover for my short dark fiction story, "Gabrielle," designed by Delilah K. Stephans, to be published by Hekate Press. Like "Family Tradition," "Gabrielle" features an artist, in this case, a ballerina, who finds herself trapped in circumstances beyond her control.

Whenever I write dark fiction, I try to go for a macabre atmosphere, something like in Thriller, Twilight Zone, or Alfred Hitchcock Presents. I want the horror to creep up on the reader, get under the skin, and leave him or her with a lingering memory long after the last page. With "Gabrielle," I hope I've succeeded in doing this.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Hop

I’m a bit late to this party.  I was tagged by Christopher Mannino earlier this month to participate in a blog hop on the writing process.

Actually ‘blog hop’ is a bit of a misnomer for this one - it’s more a blog chain, as the three people you tag then have to take the same questions to their own blog.

Hence, here is my shout-out to Christopher – you can learn more about him on his blog and his website.

And here are my answers to the four questions.

1) What am I working on?

I’m working on a historical crime thriller that I am collaborating on with my husband.  It’s set in the 1960s, and is about a young woman who aspires to be a bass player, searching for her friend who’s disappeared whilst exploring the vibrant London music scene of the era.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I love strong women, and am drawn to writing about independent-minded female characters.  My amateur sleuths always have something a little bit different about them.  My forthcoming release with MuseItUp, DEAD COOL, features a Canadian actress who lives in London and notices cultural differences here and there (while solving murders, of course).  In the current work in progress my heroine, Alex, comes to London because she longs to join a band and she is learning to play bass guitar, but it is set in 1967 and she encounters a lot of prejudice – there weren’t too many women bass players in those days.

I like satisfactory endings, but I’m not fond of ‘happy ever after’.  To me, an ending must resolve the plot satisfactorily and tie up all relevant loose ends, but things don’t always go the way my characters want them to, and sometimes they have to deal with the consequences of their actions or simply that life isn’t always fair.

3) Why do I write what I do?

My writing is often cathartic.  Sometimes the only way I can deal with unpleasant or negative feelings is to write about them.  Which is generally why my stories tend to be quite dark.  Happy feelings I don’t write about because I try to hold on to them.  It’s only the bad feelings I want to exorcise, by putting them into my writing.

4) How does my writing process work?

I tend to spend a lot of time on plotting before I start working on a novel.  I’ve learned the hard way that’s the best way for me to work – I’ve got too many half-finished novels languishing in drawers because I couldn’t figure out how they were going to end.

I will try and work out a rough outline of the plot first, and then I will take this and break it down further into a chapter-by-chapter outline before I start writing chapter 1.  This plan is not set in stone - as I start to write the first draft I will often find the characters will take me places I hadn’t thought about in the plot outline, but it means when I sit down to write, I’ve got a good idea about what happens next, and it makes it easier to get to the end of draft 1.  Once draft 1 is done, I go back over the novel and work on as many revisions as it takes before it’s done.  I’m a big believer of ‘fixing it in the rewrite’.  It’s OK for the early drafts to be rubbish.  There’s always room to sort out those plot holes or tighten up that dialogue in the next draft.

I have a day job, and a long commute into London to get to it, so finding time to write can often be a challenge.  I find my most productive sessions are done on my NetBook, in coffee shops, before work.  Sometimes I get up at 5:30am and take the early train in to London so I can get an hour of writing in before heading to the office.  I never considered myself a morning person, and I hate setting the alarm so early, but it works for me so I stick with it.

Here are my three tagged authors, who will be picking up the baton over the next couple of weeks.  Do go and check them out.
  1. Janie Franz (
  2. Suzanne de Montigny (
  3. Rosemary Morris (

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Playing with Pinterest

Had to admit, I wasn't too keen on this social networking site. Fellow authors seemed excited about it, but what with all the brouhaha over copyright infringement, to be honest, I was scared away.

But I'm a visual person. And Pinterest looked as if it would be something I'd like. If only I could figure out how to use it. What pictures could I pin without getting in trouble? If I used Pinterest to help market my books, where was the line between being an engaged pinner and a spammer? (And I don't want to spam any site if I can help it.)

I found this article via my Sisters in Crime loop. And I decided to implement the ideas. I started an inspiration board for Exterminating Angel, updated my book covers, and added Silent Film Stars and Favorite Mystery Writers. I have other boards I plan to create, including one featuring Kentucky authors, as well as inspiration boards for my other works in progress, and my interests, such as Victorian houses and aviation. A balance between marketing and just sharing who I am.

If you'd like to check my boards out, you can do so here.

Now, to use Tumblr more than I've been doing. :-)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Changing Times

On January 2, 2014, Lyrical Press authors received word that the digital publisher was acquired by Kensington Publishing Corp. as one of its imprints.

What does this mean for Lyrical authors? For some, it means getting the rights back to their works. For others, it means signing a new contract(s), and venturing on to new opportunities. Exciting? Yes. Scary? Definitely. But the unknown always is, and it's how we decide to approach it that helps determine the outcome.

You can read Kensington's press release here.

As for me, I've elected to stay with Lyrical, since my urban fantasy is scheduled to come out in a few months. There will be a lot of work during this transition period, so I'm trying to focus on writing and submitting other stories while I wait. Today, also received news about another submission at another house, but until I get the official word, I'm not saying any more.

I will say, though, that 2014 may be my year. :-)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

As 2014 dawns, it's time to take stock of the writing goals I set myself for 2013 and assess how I did.

In summary, I had two goals last year - to finish both DEAD COOL and the horror novel and get them out on sub.  Happily, I can report that I have achieved both of these goals.  In addition, DEAD COOL has been accepted and will be published this year.  The horror novel, THE WHISPERING DEATH is out on sub, but I am optimistic that I can find a publisher for it this year.

I feel I did not do so well on the self-promotion last year.  I found it a bit hard to get into pimping mode without a forthcoming release, and it is sometimes difficult to stay positive in the face of rejection.  However, with another book coming out, it's time to get back on the horse, as it were.

I also made good progress in 2013 with the current work in progress - the 1960s crime thriller I am working on with Hubby.

With this in mind, these are my goals for 2014:

1.  Find a publisher for THE WHISPERING DEATH
2.  Have at least one promotional event per month in 2014
3.  Get to the final draft of the current WIP
4.  Start the first draft of a new WIP

I begin 2014 feeling fairly positive about the writing.  Let's hope it continues.

I wish you a Happy New Year, and whatever your own goals are for 2014, I hope you achieve them.