Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Why Building a Dry-Laid Stone Wall is Like Writing a Novel

So okay, I’ve just finished building my first dry-laid stone wall, which I’ve decided is actually a lot like the process of writing a novel. First I divide and organize the raw material (rocks/manuscript notes) and make a general plan which I may or may not end up following. Then as I begin fitting things together, I place countless pieces I later rearrange or decide to save for another spot. They’re too long, too bulky, too lovely to be overshadowed by the bits around them, and trusting that I’ll know the moment when it comes, where to place them to increase the beauty of the whole (great corner piece/nice plot twist). What’s left over is thrown into a pile for the next project. An economy of art.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Maine Island Mysteries Go to the Summer Fairs

You'll find me at two great summer fairs over the course of the next few weeks, including the 9th Annual Books in Boothbay July13th in Boothbay, ME--billed as Maine's Summer Book Fair--where I'll be signing copies of Matinicus and Reese's Leap alongside dozens of other terrific authors including Linda Greenlaw (she of  The Hungry Ocean  fame). FREE ADMISSION at this one! Check it out at

And on Saturday, August 3rd, I'll be at The Maine LobsterFest on the waterfront in Rockland, ME. Over 20,000 lbs. of lobster are consumed here each year, and if you wander into the "marine tent" between noon and 4:00 p.m., you'll find me signing copies of all three of my books. Check this one out at 

Hope to see some of you there!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

"Matinicus" Snags Some Cool Awards

May is quite the month in the world of Indie publishing. Many of the larger awards--the Ippys,  Indie Book Awards, National Indie Excellence Awards and the like are announced in the weeks leading up to the annual BEA (Book Expo America) conference in NYC—North America's leading publishing event—which takes place at the end of the month.

Optimist that I am, last summer and fall I entered Matinicus (the first book in my Maine Island Mystery Series) in every award I could find and wisely kept quiet about it. As a  writer, the corrolary to keeping mum about a new book project is keeping equally mum about award contests, lest the dreaded "So how are you coming with that book?" morphs into "So did you ever win that contest?" And when you've entered an international competition and are up against thousands of other writers, you have to be insane to think you could possibly win.
Until, quite amazingly, you do.

This past winter I was pleased to learn Matinicus had been named Honorable Mention for Fiction in the 2012 New England Book Festival Awards; then last week I learned it had snagged a 2013 Bronze Ippy for Northeast Regional Fiction. A few days ago I also received word the book was named the Winner in the Mystery Category of the 2013 Indie Book Awards. I am humbled and very grateful.

                                            The lesson for me in all this? Dream big, beleive with every ounce of your being, and work way beyond hard to make it all come true.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Matinicus FREE on Kindle for 3 Days!

Matinicus will be FREE on Kindle Friday, Saturday and Sunday (3/29,3/30, 3/31), to celebrate the release of Reese's Leap, Book Two in the Maine Island Mystery Series! So be sure to grab one, spread the word, and gift them to your friends!
More great news...The Reese's Leap Kickstarter campaign was a huge success, thanks to the support of so many of you. I'm pleased and humbled by your belief in me. Next on the list is the ad campaign. Time to kick that puppy into high gear!

Speaking of kicking things into gear, the Reese's Leap Book Launch takes place next Thursday, April 4, 7:00 RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, NH
( ), with an after party just up the street at the historic Portsmouth Athenæum ( ). Hope you can join us!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Reese's Leap Kickstarter Campaign

Hello again, and thanks for checking in! There's a lot going on just now, what with the completion of the Reese's Leap galley edits and Anna Torborg's great work on the cover. Just 6 weeks to go 'til the April 4th Book Launch...yikes!

More news...I've just launched a Kickstarter Project timed for the upcoming release.  My hope is to raise $3500 to help fund a large print run and honkin' Internet ad campaign that will not only help sell this book, but take the whole, award-winning series to the next level. Those of you who are familiar with Kickstarter as a crowd-source funding tool, know that it's an all-or-nothing proposition. The full $3500 must be pledged by the end of the campaign on March 22, or the project receives nothing. I'm offering some great rewards to encourage any and all pledges!

You'll find lots of info on my project page: details about the campaign, book synopses, review links, awards, and rewards. And whether you're able to pledge or not, you can help get the word out by taking this link viral: family and friends, FB buddies, anyone you know who reads mysteries, loves stories about Maine, or who just loves to discover new writers.  

Hope you'll come along on the adventure!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January Happenings

A happy and prosperous New Year to you all! Mine feels a bit overwhelming already, even just two days in, what with the looming launch of Reese's Leap (the second in my Maine-based Island Mystery Series) and a book appearance calendar that's beginning to fill up.

First, a note about a few cool awards I've been lucky enough to receive. Though it won't be officially announced 'til later this month, I thought I'd let you know that Matinicus, the first book in the Island Mystery Series, has won Honorable Mention in the 2012 New England Book Festival Awards. In addition, the terrific mystery blog, BloodWrites, has chosen it as one of its "Top Five Mystery Reads of 2012". Not a bad way to end 2012!

Now for a few January events. On Wednesday, January 16th, you'll find me moderating a panel of memoirists at the Portsmouth Athenaeum's second Writers' Forum in downtown Portsmouth, NH. Then on January 19th, I'll be signing books at the New England Book Festival in Boston (awards to follow that evening), and on the 26th you can find me, along with a few other local writers, at "The Local Buzz Coffee House & Wine Bar," as we read from our latest books and chat with audience members about our work. Details about all these events can be found on my Author page events listings:

Hope to see some of you there!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

whoopee...A Blog Hop!

I'm shamelessly enthusiastic when it comes to talking about writing, so I was more than happy to participate when my friend, the novelist K.D. Mason, invited me take part in a kind of pass-the-potato question and answer session, otherwise known as a Blog Hop. So here goes!

What is the title of your book? Matinicus—An Island Mystery, published in May of this year. This is the first in my Maine Island Mystery Series. Its sequel and the second book of the series, Reese’s Leap, will be released in March, 2013. All the books in the series are set on islands off the Maine coast.

Where did the idea come from for the book? I’m a sailor and the Island Mysteries grew out of my love of the Maine coast and its rugged, often remote, out-island communities. The culture of the island of Matinicus, itself, is particularly unique, with a sort of Wild West-meets-beeper-generation lifestyle that intrigues most mainlanders. I knew I had to write a novel about it the first time I visited the place, and the more I learned, the more fascinated I became.  This was maybe ten years ago.  I was sailing off the coast of Maine and pulled into the harbor on a whim.  The first thing I saw when I went walking was a couple of grinning kids drag-racing along the dusty road paralleling the harbor—no doors on either car, one of the hoods tied down with a length of lobster warp.  And I mean kids—not more than ten years old. I started getting glimmers of a plot almost immediately.

The idea for Reese’s Leap also grew out of personal experience. I’m one of a group of women who vacation together for a week each summer on a remote, very rustic, 200-acre island off the coast of Maine. No men (sorry guys). A few years ago we were fogged in for several days—couldn’t have left if we wanted to—and it occurred to me that it would make a terrific setting for a murder mystery. The series' main character is the reluctant sleuth and university botanist, Dr. Gil Hodges, who Cruising World Magazine calls “The best male protagonist to come along since Lee Child’s Jack Reacher.” He's the kind of guy you love and hate at the same time—drinks too much, is constantly drawn to women of a psychotic bent, yet he’s funny and self-effacing. He also knows his faults and couldn't care less.

What genre does your book fall under? All of the books in the series are crime-based mystery/thrillers.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Gil is constantly told he’s a dead ringer for a younger Jeff Bridges, so with enough make-up JB might work. Jake Gyllenhaal (Source CodeBrokeback Mountain) and Peter Krause (Six Feet Under, Parenthood) would be great choices, as well. As for the rest of the Matinicus cast,  I’d would love to see Taylor Swift take on the role of Tiffany. Brad Pitt would make a terrific Cash. Not sure about Kirtley, the femme fatale of the book. She’s a lithe, long-limbed and totally uninhibited brunette...anyone out there have ideas for me?

Reese's Leap? Hmmm. How about Nicole Kidman as the wild-child Brit, and Anne Hathaway as Nora—a dead ringer for the love of Gil's life, a woman he once deeply and irrevocably wronged.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  Steeped in Maine island history and lore, Matinicus is one part ghost story and two parts murder mystery—an intricate weaving of the early 19th century and the modern day that follows some pretty gritty characters through two centuries of island life, lust and vigilante justice—with a twist of an ending that’ll knock your socks off! Still working on one for Reese's Leap...

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Two years for Matinicus, about the same for its sequel, though for me a “first draft” is one I feel comfortable submitting to my beta-readers, so it’s pretty polished.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? That’s a hard one, since the setting and the character of Gil are kind of unique (or so I’m told.) If you’ve read Charlie Huston, Gil is a lot like the self-deprecating character of Hank Thompson in the series that includes Six Bad Things, Caught Stealing and A Dangerous Man. And like Hank, Gil becomes more jaded and dark as the series progresses. With some 20 reviews posted on Amazon, Matinicus has consistently gained five star reviews. Editorial reviews have also been stunning. I think this speaks to the book’s originality and the quality of the writing.

Reese's Leap pits one man and five resourceful women against a killer on a remote island where they're forced to think outside of the box in hopes of outsmarting a pretty ingenious "baddy." Not all of them make it off alive the island alive, so consider yourselves forewarned! Pre-pub reviews are great; fingers crossed on this one!

And how about tagging a few awesome authors you think readers will LOVE…

Katherine Mayfield:
D.V. Berkom: 
Jeff Foltz: