Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cover Reveal: DEAD COOL

I am happy to be able to reveal the cover for the forthcoming Shara Summers mystery DEAD COOL, once more designed by the talented Charlotte Volnek.

Unlike DEATH SCENE, which was a re-release, DEAD COOL is a brand new title and the cover was previously uncharted territory. Trying to imagine what should be on the cover of a new book is always a challenge. You want something eye-catching, which will attract readers, and which will give a hint of what the story is about. I liked some of the features Charlie came up with for the DEATH SCENE cover and wanted some of the same things on this one - the clapperboard with 'Shara Summers mystery' on, and the same font for the title, for instance.

I wasn't initially happy with the first cover model. I was rather hoping for the same model as on the DEATH SCENE cover, in a different pose, but apparently that's not always possible with stock images. So on this cover Shara looks different than she does on the first cover. I am trying not to fixate too much on this. It's sort of like changing actresses for the same character in a soap. But that always bugged me, too.

Anyway, despite that it is a cool image. Shara has an appropriately 'rock chick' look in this, and I like the purple-tinted empty drum kit and microphone in the background, looking stark and sinister under the single spot.

DEAD COOL is scheduled for release by MuseItUp Publishing in mid-October. Woo hoo!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Monthly Round-up: July 2014

And I'm back for a look at what's been going on writing-wise in my world for the past month.


Edits continue apace on both DEATH SCENE and DEAD COOL - in fact these have been keeping me extremely busy for the last few weeks. DEAD COOL is currently at a more advanced stage than DEATH SCENE.

It is looking likely at this stage that DEATH SCENE will have a mid-September release, and DEAD COOL will follow a month later. The good news is, pre-orders will be able to be placed and logged ahead of release date. The bad news is, I think this facility is only available to people in the US & Canada. My British fans are going to have to hold off until Autumn.


I've been rather busy making guest appearances over the Internet over the past month. Here is a list of where you can find me, along with the links.

16 June - Susan A Royal (interview & blog swap)
17 June - Heather Fraser Brainerd & David Fraser (interview)
24 June - Heather Greenis (guest post)
25 June - The Poet's Fire (interview)
8 July - Helena Fairfax (guest post)
10 July - Mary Waibel (interview)

Convention-wise, I went to the Theakstons Old Peculier crime writing festival in Harrogate earlier this month. I met up with a lot of other crime writers, and handed out postcards with the cover image of DEATH SCENE on. I also left a pile of them on the book swap table, where everyone seemed to be leaving their promotional cards, and I was happy to note that they all disappeared. Whether or not this interest will manifest into sales I don't know, but I am happy that the cover is attracting people's interest. That's the first step, anyway.

Next up is the Nineworlds Geekfest convention in London in August, where the writing group is running a workshop of writing exercises designed to beat writers' block, and I will be participating in a panel on 'Noir' fiction in all its forms.


I've actually got three, and they are all at a bit of an impasse.

1) The Collaboration:
This is the 1960s crime thriller I am working on with hubby. We worked on the plotting together, and I have finished the first draft, which I have since passed to him to read. He is presently working on plot holes that we need to work out how to fix.

2) The horror novel:
I believed this one to be finished, and earlier in the year I was sending it out. But identical comments were coming back with the rejections, which made me realise it needs another polish. I have yet to sit down and redraft it.

3) The third Shara book:
This began life a number of years ago as the second Shara book, and lurched to a halt because I had not plotted it properly. I abandoned it and started writing the novel that would eventually become DEAD COOL. Recently I've hauled it out in an attempt to dust it off and give it another go. But I need to fix the plot problems first, and take into account the fact that Shara starts this novel in a different place than she original did, after the events of DEAD COOL. It has been calling out to me to get back to it. But I know that if I start writing it again without working out the plot problems first, I'm going to stall in the same place I did the first time around. I will say that it's not that I don't know who the murderer is, because I do. It's the middle bit that's giving me problems with this one, and the logistics behind how Shara solves the murder.

I am ashamed to say that in spite of having three works on the go, I haven't done much work on any of them for nearly three weeks. My excuse is that having two books to edit has been keeping me busy. But that's not a very good excuse.

I am setting a pledge to myself. By the time I come to you with August's update, I must have made progress on at least one of these WIPs.

Till next time, then...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

"Recalculating": Adventures at Film-Com

This past month, I had the opportunity to attend Film-Com, a "packaging, financing, and distribution market" in Nashville. Industry professionals included financiers, producers, writers, and attorneys. Film-Com wasn't a film festival, but it drew many film and TV people, particularly those looking for their shows or movies to be picked up for distribution.

My friend Amy McCorkle was there with her documentary Letters to Daniel. Due to good luck and timing, we scored a private meeting with a producer who asked me to send a copy of one of my books. I hope he enjoys it, but I'm also well aware that in Hollywood it's very difficult if not impossible to sell or option a screenplay or a book. If authors think it takes persistence to get published, it takes a lot more to deal with the machinations of Hollywood.

If I'm lucky enough to hear any good news, of course I'll share it. :-)

We arrived in Nashville on Tuesday, with our meeting with the producer Wednesday at 7 AM. Needless to say, I didn't want to oversleep and so got no sleep. We drove from Franklin, TN to Nashville via the interstate and a GPS that kept insisting I turn down a road we hadn't even arrived at yet. Needless to say, "Recalculating" was a term I heard more than I wanted to. On our last day, when we were headed to Titan Stadium, I gave Amy a print out of Google Maps and said, "We're using this." Unlike the GPS, we had no problem reaching our destination. Go figure.

Oh, yeah, that 7 AM meeting? We made it to the downtown hotel at 6:30 AM, and he was waiting in the lobby. I'm glad we didn't make him wait.

Wednesday was also a day for panels. Amy and I attended "How to Launch Scripted Television Concepts,"
"Documentaries - Financing and Distribution," "Features - Financing, Packaging, and Distribution," and "Genre Picture Funding," the last one focusing primarily on horror films.

Being a horror writer turned out to be an advantage and I met a few people who seemed to like that I wrote macabre. When I mentioned being old school (influenced by Hitchcock, Serling, etc.), they knew who I was talking about.

I enjoyed Film-Com. It was well-organized and the volunteers rocked. Not to mention, I love Nashville. If the chance arises to attend Film-Com next year, you'd better believe I'm going.

But this time, I'll be staying in a hotel downtown. :-)