Sunday, March 30, 2014

Happy 90th Birthday, Doris Day!

Doris Day's 90th birthday is April 3. To celebrate, and to say thank you for her gazillion contributions to pop culture and the inspiration for my Mad for Mod Mystery Series, I'm running a Mad for Mod fundraiser for the Doris Day Animal Foundation for the month of April. Want to join in the fun? It's easy!
I will give a signed ARC of WITH VICS, YOU GET EGGROLL, #3 in the Mad for Mod series, to the first 10 peeps who donate!*

No donation is too small. Your donation is tax deductible (you'll be emailed a receipt).

PS: THAT TOUCH OF INK is enjoying its Henery Press release this week!

Disclaimer: Neither Doris Day nor the Doris Day Animal Foundation have endorsed or are associated with the Mad for Mod books. I will announce how much we raised when info is available from the Doris Day Animal Foundation.
*ARC=Advance Reader Copy. Winners will receive ARC when available from the publisher, expected early 2015.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Beta Readers: The Unsung Heroes of a Book

I have an unpublished manuscript that I am particularly attached to. I wrote it several years ago, and while it’s not my usual humorous mystery project and I don’t have any particular plan for what to do with it, I know that one day I want it to find its place in the book world.

Last year I dusted it off and took a peek. Cleaned up a few things. Made a few revisions. Sent it off to a small press with fingers crossed. The acquisitions editor said it wasn’t right for their catalog. No big deal; I know how the system works.
I sent it off to my agent with fingers crossed. She responded by saying it was too similar to books she’d seen before, and that it requires significant work before she felt she could sell it. No big deal; I know how the system works.
Since I have no particular timetable for this manuscript, I asked a beta reader to read it. He came back with specific feedback on motivation, implausible plot points, and character likeability. Like a patient diagnosed with an unfavorable condition, I sent it off to another of my beta readers before making changes. Second opinion and all that. She came back with specific feedback on tension, implausible plot points, and character likeability.

In some cases, they presented contrary opinions. In other cases, they said the same thing. So who do I listen to? Whose opinion do I value?

Both. Because each of them identified specific points to back up my agent’s phrase “requires significant work.” Because each of them is a readers who had a reaction to my manuscript. Because each of them respect what I'm doing enough to tell me the truth (gently) instead of lying and saying the manuscript is ready to be published tomorrow or being hurtful and telling me the manuscript is dreck (even if that's what they thought). They each gave me something I could work with. And at this stage, that’s the most valuable feedback any writer could hope to receive.
Because revising to make something better? No big deal. I know how the system works.

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Digs for Madison!

I'm excited to kick off 2014 by announcing that Henery Press has acquired my Mad for Mod Series. That's right: Doris Day-loving Madison Night, contractor Hudson James, Lt. Tex Allen, and of course little Shih Tzu Rocky are packing their polyester suitcases and moving to the Hen House. I hear they might hang a George Nelson Bubble Lamp and make all the bathrooms pink. (We've all heard of the Disco Duck; why can't there be an Atomic Chicken?)

I personally can't say enough good things about Henery Press. I worked with them for OTHER PEOPLE'S BAGGAGE, and have watched them grow from their very first title into a catalog that would make a mystery reader drool.

So what does this mean to fans of the Mad for Mod Mystery Series?
  • Temporary Out of Stock: Both PILLOW STALK and THAT TOUCH OF INK are currently unavailable, and will remain so until their re-release(s). PILLOW STALK on March 4, THAT TOUCH OF INK on April 1 (just in time for Doris Day's 90th Birthday!)

  • New Covers: While I love the current covers, I am excited to see what Henery Press comes up with

  • Book 3 in 2015: The third book in the series will be available in early 2015

The text of the Henery Press books will be the same as the current books. Added features like book club discussion guides will be included.

I'm looking forward to the partnership. Long live Madison!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New Style & Error Mystery!

Samantha Kidd is back in her third novel-length adventure, THE BRIM REAPER.
When an over-the-top collection of vintage Hollywood costumes comes to Samantha Kidd’s hometown, it brings a hat box full of hype. Close friend Eddie is in charge of the exhibit but when hype turns to homicide, he turns to Samantha for help. Brimming with good intentions, she loops in the cops, but after one too many cloche calls, she’s soon in over her head. If she can tear the lid off the investigation, it might mean a feather in her fedora. And if she can’t? She might get capped. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

2 + 2 = 5

(or why I think it’s fun to read and write about amateur sleuths who have to solve problems they appear unequipped to solve)

People enjoy amateur sleuth stories for a variety of reasons. For me, it’s about how a seemingly normal person can view a set of clues and see something different than what everyone else sees. The old expression “If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck” is a pretty straightforward way of saying that things are probably as they seem. But sometimes, people look at the same problem everyone else sees and come up with quite a different solution.

Here’s an example:

2 + 2 = 5

Most people, when faced with the above mathematical equation, will tell you it is wrong. When asked to correct it, the majority of them will do this:

2 + 2 = 5 4

A few will do this:

2 + 2 5

But how many would do this?

2 + 2 3 = 5

Or this?

1 + 2 + 2 = 5

Or this?

2 + 2 = 5”~George Orwell, 1984

This is what I think the best sleuths--amateur or not--do. They see the same problem everyone else sees, but they come up with quite a different solution.
Agree? Disagree? Have any corrections to 2+2=5 that I missed?