Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hunter Huntress Available Now in Kindlle!

Yeah, okay, I know. You've been after me for over a year now. So here I am to tell you that Hunter Huntress is finally available in Kindle format. This is HUGE for me. Back when SnowBooks made me an offer, I never realized that publishing a high-end softcover with a British house would be so limiting--especially one with no US distribution or marketing in place. I was the marketing department; I was fulfillment. Egads.

Now, suddenly, it's available all over the world at the click of a mouse. I'm giddy with the possibilities. Not only that, but later this fall, Matinicus (the first in my series of Maine mysteries) will also be out as a Kindle with softcover to follow, which means I've got learn everything there is to know about marketing ebooks and fast. So much to learn, so little time.

Got any tips for me?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Come On By and Say Hi!

This is just a quick down and dirty...

I'll be at the Manchester NH Public Library tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. for a reading/discussion of "Hunter Huntress." I'll be talking not just about the book itself, but how I get ideas for plot and character, the important role of dreams in my work and my next book--"Matinicus"--a double, century-spanning mystery due out in the Spring. Come by and check it out!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Spring Cleaning

So yeah, okay, I'm a little late with this one. Tomorrow night is the solstice, after all. Have to say, though, I've never been big on the cleaning chores. In this case we'll blame deadlines of the writerly sort. Now these I'm a real stickler about. One manuscript just sent to the publisher, another I'm trying to finish up to get off to my first readers. Hmm...what to do.

I decide to simplify the cleaning bit, focus on a room a day. Sounds manageable. So I start with the bedroom, do a 360, sigh. Kind of overwhelming, what with all those little bookshelves I had my husband build in. Seemed a good idea at the time. Now I see them as the little dust collectors they truly are.

Hmm...more simplifying is called for. How about I just tackle those piles of unread fiction by my bed? Let's see...there's Stand the Storm, The Beekeepers Apprentice, Cutting for Stone, the latest by Chelsea Cain (absolutely love her chilling Sweetheart series), a book by famous mystery authors on the writing of mysteries--now how did that get in there?

I'm like a kid in the proverbial candy store. Where to start? Should I stack them by size? Alphabetically by author? Sub-genre? My gaze lights on Spencer Seidel's debut novel, Dead of Wynter. Why not read now, I reason, stack later? Okay, then. I drop onto the futon, put my feet up and tuck in.

Still spring for another 24 hours, after all...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Dog and Pony Show

One of the most time-consuming parts of being a writer (besides the actual writing bit, of course) is the marketing involved in spreading the word about your book. Unless you're a big name like Stephen King or Dennis Lehane, a lot of the leg work can fall to you. Getting press kits out, lining up appearances, developing an interesting "talk"--not to mention all the follow-up involved--eats up a lot of time. Even then you don't know how many people, if any, will show up to see you. Kind of scary.

When I started down this road, I thought I'd hate this part of being published--the lining everything up, the actual showing up and putting myself on the emotional line. Strangely, though, I don't
. I find I like it--a lot. I've developed a kind of "dog and pony" show wherein I incorporate readings from Hunter Huntress into a presentation about the writing process itself, how initial generative ideas become incorporated in narrative, how dreams feed creativity, the responsibility of the writer to conduct thorough research and manuscript vetting to ensure accuracy and authenticity--stuff like that.

So if you're in the Durham, NH area on Wednesday, May 25th, come give me a listen at the Durham Public Library beginning at 7:00. The dog and pony will be raring to go!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kindle Me

Well, my birthday's come and gone, thank God. A real non-event now the years are piling up. Ironically, it's only recently, and after some 20+ years together, that my husband's up and started remembering the date on his own. Kind of like an old watch you've long ago given up on that suddenly, inexplicably, starts ticking rather reliably on its own.

Traditionally, birthdays in our house mean an actual dinner out at some place other than the Scottish restaurant at the corner (McDonalds). This year, though, my husband got it in his fuzzy little brain to surprise me with a Kindle, never mind I wasn't even sure I wanted one. First thing I downloaded was Kate Atkinson's latest: Started Early; Took My Dog which I Started Late (ha-ha) last night and hated, hated, putting down, it was so good. Bodes well for my electronic experience, I'm thinking, though I may have to keep a couple "real" books propped open in my lap while reading so I can get that "book smell" I love so much.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wintery Reads

Writers read a lot. A LOT. For me, reading an hour each day before I start my own work fires up the brain cells. The story has to grab me, of course, but I also read for craft: to see how other authors put their stories together; how they use dialogue, voice, tense, etc. And winter's the perfect time: no grass to mow, the boat's wrapped up tight in the back yard, and the icicles are getting longer by the day above the back bedroom window.

Gotta tell you, I've been reading some pretty cool stuff lately. By far the most unusual novel I've read in years is Don Winslow's The Savages, which follows three twenty-somethings as they get drawn into the world of crime--a spoiled, lost young woman and the two men in love with her (and yeah, this gets a bit kinky). Everything about this book is different: the structure, the syntax, the dialogue, even the way Winslow uses punctuation. Case in point: the first chapter is just two words. "F--- you." Succinct, no?

Just this week I finished Tana French's excellent Faithful Place (one of Time magazine's Ten Best Books of 2010). A mystery-love story set in Ireland, it follows a cop whose seminal life moment was the night the woman he was planning to elope with left him--or so he thought. Gritty storyline, excellent pacing and use of dialogue. No pat ending, either, which is very important to me.

Dennis Lehane's Midnight Mile, the sequel to his excellent Gone Baby Gone was another good one, and I'm about to start the much lauded Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.

So send me your suggestions! I'd love to add them to my list...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Snickers Bar

This is the deal. A while back, when I first got serious about trying to "sell" one of my novels, I bought a candy bar (something I NEVER do cause they're just a little too tasty) and put it in a little side drawer in my desk. It was a Butterfinger, as I remember, and I promised myself I could have it when I sold the book.

Years went by.

When I began submitting my 2nd book, I did the same thing with a Snickers bar. Sad to say, the Butterfinger was still there. The 3d ms saw a Mounds Bar added to the pile. Things were getting pretty crowded in that little drawer. Luckily, right around that time I sold Hunter Huntress and got to eat the Butterfinger which, as you can imagine, was pretty stale. I mean we're talking 7 or 8 years. Still, never has success tasted so sweet!

The recent acquisition of Matinicus means I can finally eat that Snickers bar--something I plan on doing tonight. Can't wait...this one's only 4 years old.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"Matinicus" to be Published March, 2012

Happy to report that a just last week I signed a contract with PublishingWorks, a terrific small publisher here in NH, for the publication of Matinicus--the first of three mysteries set on the coast of Maine. Matinicus is a double murder mystery tracing the development of a stubbornly self-sufficient fishing community through the eyes of a disturbed and unhappily married island woman of the 1820s, a conflicted twenty-first century teenage girl, and a middle aged, womanizing university botanist—Dr. Gil Hodges—who arrives on-island to verify the existence of a purported 22 species of wild orchid only to find himself hounded by the ghost of a child some 200 years dead. Matinicus is the prequel to Reese's Leap, the novel I'm currently writing. PublishingWorks specializes in the fiction of New England and just as importantly from my point of view has signed on for national and international sales distribution with Publishers Group West (PGW), the leading book sales and distribution company in the United States. One thing I've learned over the last few years: distribution is everything. Funny how I found them, too. I was scouring the mystery section of RiverRun, our local indie book palace, for publishers I'd not yet submitted to. PublishingWorks had just come out with a new New England-based mystery entitled Sumner Island which was set prominently on RiverRun's "new releases" table. I jotted the name down, emailed them that afternoon, later sent them some chapters and then the full ms. Four months later, they signed me. How cool is that? Look for Matinicus in March, of 2012. Available everywhere in paperback and all e-formats!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Home Again, Home Again...Tickety-Boo

Just back from Florida where I made time for a few very cool book events--the first, a "Tea with the Author" get together in the sleepy town of Welaka, where I read and discussed the book for about two hours. Lovely well-read ladies all, and I'm going to skype in to their book club meeting probably next month. Next day it was over to Jacksonville for a meeting of two book clubs--this one lasted almost three hours as so many people wanted more info about this writing business.

I've given this talk about Hunter Huntress so often now, I've pretty much got a handle on what people want to hear. Every meeting/reading is unique, of course, but in addition to hearing about the book, most are also intrigued about where I get my ideas and about the writing process itself, as well as all the crazy changes taking place in publishing. Now THERE'S a topic I could natter on about for hours!

So I'm taking my dog-and-pony show on the road again. Next up is a reading and signing February 11 at the York Maine Public Library beginning at 7:00. Hope to see some of you there!