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: 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Those Post Partum Manuscript Blues

Afraid I've been a bad corespondent of late, having been holed up in my writer's woodshed the last 6 weeks or so while I finalized the edits to Reese's Leap—the second book in my Island Mystery series due out in March of 2013. Everything else left to go to hell in a hand basket, I'm afraid. Well, I'm happy to report the manuscript is finally finished and has been shipped off to my copy editor. Thought I'd be elated but I'm feeling kind of down. I miss my characters already—Gil (with all his excesses and obsessions), Duggan (Gil's best friend whom I've just introduced in this book but plan to bring along into book three) Pete (not much to like there, I'm afraid, but oh, don't we love to hate him), and the lovely Island Women with whom Gil and Duggan find themselves stranded on remote Mistake Island during a week of unrelenting fog. Still, it's nothing that throwing myself into some major marketing work won't cure, not to mention there's always book three to gt started on!

Be sure to check back on December 19th, when I'll be part of a Blog Hop, answering some intriguing  questions about the Maine Island Mystery Series and giving you my tips for some great authors to follow!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Second Printing and Upcoming Events

Sorry to be so long between posts. So much going on here! We've finally moved off our sailboat for the year and are busy transferring our lives from our sea home to our land apartment which means moving clothing, food, bedding, etc., as well as draining and winterizing all boat systems. Not to mention a good general cleaning both inside and out. A ton of work which we'll turn around and do in reverse in the spring!

Big news on the book front is that we've just had a second run of Matinicus printed (that's me signing hundreds of copies last week at Maine Authors Publishing up in Rockland, ME) and I'm about to hunker down for the rest of the final edits of Reese's Leap, the 2nd book in my Island Mystery Series, which I will have to the copy editor by Thanksgiving IF IT KILLS ME!! This may mean another few weeks of non-communication, but so be it!

A few upcoming events to tell you about. Sunday, November 11th, I'll be one of about 50 authors participating in the annual NE Authors Expo Holiday Book Sale at the Danversport Yacht Club (Danvers, MA). This event is free to the public and runs from 1:00 - 7:00 p.m. A great opportunity to pick up some fabulous books for your Holiday gift list!

I also have two events coming up in January, the first the New England Book Festival and Awards which runs all day and into the evening of January 19th at the Parker House Hotel in downtown Boston. I'll be both speaking and selling books at this event, which also includes the annual and much anticipated NE Book Festival Awards. The second event is on January 26th, when I'll be a guest at the Local Buzz Coffee House and Wine Bar in Cape Elizabeth, ME as part of "Local Writers at the Local Buzz" from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Hope to see you at one of these events!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What I Read on my Summer Vacation

Okay, I'm back from three weeks of sailing, a vacation for the most part taken up with research on the Island Mystery Series Book #3, editing of the upcoming Reese's Leap, and lots of reading. We sailed hundreds of miles and had far too much fun--well, except for the part where I broke my nose (whole other story).

This time out I read mostly mysteries as that's what I'm writing just now, though I also picked up Mark Wisniewski's Show up, Look Good--the story of a twenty-something girl from the Midwest who relocates to Manhattan on a whim after breaking up with a fiance who prefers sex with power tools. Chapter One begins "I know of a secret murder and I've loved a speechless man...," and if that doesn't get your attention, I don't know what will.

Next on the list was Broken Harbor by Tana French, an excellent writer with a terrific series based in Dublin whose protagonist, Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy, is the brash, love'm/hate'm cop from her bestselling Faithful Place.

And right now I'm about halfway through the British author Elizabeth George's Believing the Lie--the latest in her Detective Inspector Lynley mystery series. I love this author and these characters, never mind this is #17 in the series. Very much worth a try if you're not familiar with her.

Next up will be Jen Blood's Sins of the Father, the 2nd in her Erin Soloman series, and look for a review on this blog soon. I loved the first book, All the Blue-Eyed Angels, so am really looking forward to this!

Friday, August 17, 2012

In vacation mode now…well, as much as I ever am. Two weeks of sailing in Maine while I edit the upcoming book (#2 in the Island Mystery Series) and research Book 3. Going back to Matinicus, over to Criehaven and later on to the infamous Casco Bay island of Malaga. More on this next time.

Oh, and I’m once again cooking up a storm. Nice to have time to do that again. Spent an hour or so picking blueberries in the hills above Bucks Harbor (off Eggemoggin Reach) and making my friend Marty’s Double Berry Pie—all while thinking hard about the “baddies” I’m dreaming up for Book 3. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy.

Marty’s Double Berry Pie

Prepared Graham Cracker Crust
½ C. sugar
2 TBS. cornstarch
2 TBS. water
Pinch salt
3 Pints Blueberries

Mix the first four ingredients with 1 ½ pints  of the blueberries. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and gently stir in remaining berries.

Spoon into crust and chill at least 3 hours.

Top with whipped cream.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Serendipity, Research and a bit of Vacation

Love those middle of the night plot ideas! This one for Reese's Leap, (follows Matinicus as book two in the Island Mystery Series). Decided to turn the Prologue into the first chapter and create a new Prologue dating back to 1905. Rounds out the characterization of one of the main protagonists and explains so much that happens later. Putting the bones of the ideas in now.

Rainy, foggy weekend meant the clothes were strung in the aft cabin (a.k.a. my writing room) to dry, so my "studio" was temporarily moved to the saloon.

Just so you know, I leave on an extended sailing trip  in Penobscot Bay Maine (where this series is set) on Wednesday, August 8, to do some research on book three, and grab a bit of a rest from all the crazy Matinicus marketing. I'll try and keep up the blog during the three weeks we're gone, but some of these places are pretty remote, and I may be out of pocket for a bit.

Chat soon!

Friday, July 27, 2012

On the Writing Process

I recently heard from Peter Schwartz, an old classmate/friend who's an avid and astute reader. His insightful, probing comments about my first book, Hunter Huntress (here he is, reading it somewhere in France, I believe), were unsparing and dead-on. A writer himself, he was curious about about my process, frustrated with his own, and had some real thought-provoking questions that forced me to think hard about my personal approach to my writing: how I get ideas for a book and how I massage those initial glimpses of plot into a final manuscript. Thought I'd take a break from my usual type of post to share what I sent him in response. Hope you find it interesting!  Feel free to send me your thoughts and/or questions via my website:

     Firstly, Pete, for me a story usually starts with a situation--something that happened in my own life or that of someone I know. Some writers cull newspapers for inspiration. I sit with my bit of an idea for a while, letting it resonate. Then I turn to this huge file of notes I have--things that have occurred over the years, bits of dialog I've overheard, things I decided not to use in another book for whatever reason, etc.--and cull through to see if any of it might fit to move that initial idea along.          
     Sometimes characters are part of that initial idea, sometimes not. I try not to force this early phase of things; based on your comments, I sense this might be where you're getting in trouble. And because I'm a visual person, once I have an idea for a character, I have to find a photo (LLBean catalogs, Time Magazine--they've both worked for me). That makes all kinds of things "come." You never know what will push things along. Sometimes coming up with a title helps. I'm currently editing Island Mystery #2, for instance, but also working on plot elements for #3 and have been stymied. Then my husband came up with the book's title and things began to fall into place. No idea why it works this way, but it does--at least for me.
     In the beginning I, too, had trouble being "mean" to my characters. An early reader of a draft of one of my first books complained that the people I was hurting/killing off weren't any that he cared about. Made me realize the only way to really engage the reader is to lure him emotionally, make him care about the very people you're gonna kill off. Trust me, as a writer you become inured to it after a while.
     Your questions about subplots and layers and believability had me digging deep. The mythology sub-plot in HH, for instance, only occurred to me when I was about a quarter way through an early draft and after I'd had a series of dreams much like the episodes in the book where Jamie's dreaming about the figure running through the woods. Again this part of the process has to do with patience. You have to embrace the fact that things will come in spurts, sometimes requiring you to rewrite everything to date. It takes me anywhere from two to eight years to finish a draft of a book. Probably not what you want to hear, but it is what it is.
    I think a lot of your writerly discomfort stems from the somewhat misguided belief that the writer is in control of the process. I find things go more smoothly if I simply trust my characters and get out of their way. Writing fiction is a very intuitive thing. Just wait and listen, and it will happen.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lots of Writing and a Little Sailing Trip

We dropped the mooring last weekend and took an eight-hour sail up to Casco Bay, ME, trying to wash off some of the green growth and sea critters that had grown on the bottom thanks to our staying put for so long. I spent a few hours in my aft cabin/writing room organizing yet more of the Reese's Leap editing while the skipper remained at the helm plied with sandwiches, fruit and chocolate.

First stop was Yarmouth Island, the remote island where Reese's Leap takes place and a place I've gone for many retreats. Very cool to be there again, to wander the fragrant trails through 200 acres of deeply silent woods, reconnecting with the physical setting of the new book, due out next spring.
We spent that night just a few miles upriver in Quahog Bay, working out plot elements for the third and final book in the series. Have a lot of editing to do on number two, first. Planning to hunker down this weekend at the Isles of Shoals. Look for more photos to come!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Review of "You Can't Shatter Me" by Tahlia Newland

This week’s post is dedicated to the review of a YA novel I've just finished reading about the problem of bullying--a particularly timely story in today's crazy world. So sit back and have a read.
You Can’t Shatter Me by Tahlia Newland is a moving young adult novel that grapples with the universal problem of bullying. A blend of magical realism and philosophy, it is at heart a very spiritual story without being heavy-handed about it.

Sixteen-year-old Carly Simmons, a girl with “insipid grey eyes, mousy hair and thunder thighs,” daydreams about being a courageous, avenging superhero. Both she and the nerdy Dylan have both suffered at the hands of Justin, the school bully, and watched helplessly while he abused others.

Carly and Dylan share a love of art and a hatred of injustice—commonalities that nudge their friendship toward first love as they grapple with the problem of Justin. When Carly takes the initiative and stands up to him (a parallel to Dylan’s standing up to a father who bullies him about his choice of art over engineering as a future career), she becomes the focus of his abuse.

But Newland reaches well beyond the act of bullying itself and the often devastating effect on its victims, examining not merely the complex reasons many kids don’t report such incidents, but the reasons bullies choose to abuse others in this way.

With the help of her hippie grandparents, Carly learns how to rid herself of the fear that feeds the bully’s need for attention, instead using the spiritual light inside her to disarm him—offering friendship to one who has himself always been abused and afraid, in hopes of helping him relate to others in a more healthy way.

Newland’s characters are well drawn and realistic and the story emotionally satisfying, but for this reader the real joy of the novel is the author’s structural vision and creative use of metaphor. Throughout the book, which alternates between Carly’s and Dylan’s perspectives, the problems they face take on actual physicality, becoming outsized physical objects that have to be vanquished superhero-style with the right attitude or action. In addition, the storyline is peppered with metaphors to writing, to the scripting and crafting of one’s life being much like the creation of a story (which, of course, it is!)—sometimes even backing from the actual narrative so the characters can discuss the decisions involved in the scene they are trying to create.

With You Can’t Shatter Me, Newland has given the teen reader an accessible and engaging primer on ways to handle what, for many, is a devastating situation–one they often feel powerless to change. Parents should be advised that the story contains sexual innuendo and occasional rough language, so is perhaps not best suited to younger readers.

You Can’t Shatter Me is available at Amazon ( and Smashwords (

You can reach Tahlia at; her facebook page is, and her Twitter handle is 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Book Bash, Writing Underway and Blueberry Coffee Cake

This past weekend's planned writing binge and sailing adventure was briefly interrupted by Saturday morning's South Berwick Summer Book Bash, held in the town's stunning new library where I was scheduled to do a "read & sign." I finally reached "Skater (the boat) about 2:00, loaded down with groceries and Reese's Leap notes; and Captain Cleave and I blasted off for Cape Porpoise, Maine (near the Bush compound in Kennebunkport)a four- hour sail that allowed me to hunker down in writerly fashion while my erstwhile Captain ably handled all things nautical.

That night, the Captain plied me with wine and dinner in the cockpit under an incredible sunset. Sunday morning I reciprocated with the famous Skater Blueberry Coffee Cake (recipe follows), before we blasted off for the return sail to our Kittery mooring.

In addition to my editing work, I also managed some time to finish Gillian Flynn's new novel, Gone Girla delightfully twisted tale of an increasingly poisonous and volatile marriage. Kept me on the edge of my seat, or rather the edge of my bunk. Can't recommend it highly enough!

Next time I'll post a more detailed editing progress report, as well as a review of Tahlia Newland's new YA novel about bullying, You Can't Shatter Me.

The Skater Blueberry Coffee Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 cup flour
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup softened butter/margarine
1 egg
½ cup milk
1 cup blueberries
Topping: ½ cup sugar mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter/margarine and mix well. Add the egg and milk and beat till smooth. Pour into a greased 9 X 9 pan. Cover with the blueberries and top the whole thing with the sugar/ cinnamon mixture. 

Bake for 35 - 40 minutes.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Babies and Books

This past weekend my on-board writing room (a.k.a., the aft cabin) was taken over by two little boys14-months and and 3 years old, to be exactgrandchildren of happy demeanor and angelic smiles who conspired to keep me from the writing I was supposed to be doing. So I settled for reading. Not the current book that I, myself, am addicted to (Gillian Flynn's wonderful new release, Gone Girl), but the classics. As in Good Night Moon, The Tawny Scrawny LionHarold and the Purple Crayon. Children's literature teaches succinctness and brevity. These, apparently, were meant as my lessons for the day. The universe is an amazing thing!

Apropos to the writing life, over the same two days I received several great "fan" emails and a number of web orders for the softcover edition of Matinicus. Unfortunately, the grandsons weren't impressed and pushed for a return to the reading.

Despite these adorable distractions, I'm now back at work and have managed some of the easy bits of the Reese's Leap editing along with a slew of marketing around the release of Matinicus.

This coming Saturday (June 30), and after a four-hour reading/signing stint at the South Berwick Library's Summer Book Bash, we'll be dropping the mooring and sailing off to Cape Porpoise, Mainea five-hour run that will leave plenty of time for some serious editing while underway.

Anchors away!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Back in Business

So, I've just finished transferring the bits of my writing room from home to the aft (rear) cabin of our boat. And this is what it looks like. Kinda small, but I'll get used to it. After all, most of my first book, Margel's Madness, was written in here.

I'm starting with the easiest of the line edits, collating the bits and pieces from my various readers and plan to have that part done by this weekend. Then it's on to the real work!

I've decided to throw the occasional book review into this blog and in my last post,  promised one of Jen Blood's All the Blue-Eyed Angels. I’m a sucker for this type of mystery: a smart, wounded, tough-as-nails yet emotionally vulnerable protagonist, dead-on dialogue, terrific sexual tension, and a man-I-never-saw-that-one-coming ending that leaves me thinking about the book for days.

The protagonist in All the Blue-Eyed Angels is the plucky, thirty-something female journalist, Erin Solomon, who’s come home after many years to the small, coastal town of Littlehope, Maine in hopes of uncovering the real story behind a fire that killed an entire religious cult living on a local island when she was a child—the same island where her father later committed suicide.

Unfortunately, very few of Littlehope’s residents are happy to see her—understandable considering she’s hell bent on writing a book about a past they seem determined to keep under wraps. The notable exceptions to this less than enthusiastic reception are her sexy ex-lover and his equally sexy roomie—an FBI agent with a steamy libido and his own mysterious agenda.  As for the rest of Littlehope, someone is permanently hushing up any resident Erin suspects has a promising lead, this as her list of suspects continues to grow—a list that comes to include her estranged mother who’s carrying far too many secrets of her own, and who may or may not be at the center of a longstanding cover up.

In All the Blue-Eyed Angels, Blood has given us a powerful, emotionally complex story peopled with fully-realized characters and terrific, well-honed prose.  Thankfully, this is but the first in the Erin Solomon mystery series.  I’m very much looking forward to the others!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Moving Aboard

Okay so we're in the process of moving back on-board our sailboat--a lifestyle full of complication and compromise--and things are basically unpacked. It's been a long morning. A break here as I pause for breakfast.

Okay, I'm back. Making up the bunk in the forepeak (forward cabin where we sleep), I find myself distracted by last summer's as yet unread novels tucked in the bookshelf. Cutting for Stone grabs my eye, and then there's Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects--both of which I bought before getting really addicted to my Kindle. Plus, I just downloaded her new one, Gone Girl and I can't wait to get to both of those!

I've finally finished with the enormous early marketing push for Matinicus and have the rest of it down to a schedule now (2 requests for review and following up leads for on-air interviews each day; the requisite guest posts and posting to various FB pages, Tweeting, etc.). I'm really antsy to get back to the final edits on Reese's Leap, and get on to the as yet unnamed Book 3! Plan is to take a few days to catch my breath, clean the house--something I haven't done in months-- and then hunker own with Leap.

In my next post, I'll show you the newly set up writing cabin aboard "Skater." By then I'll have finished Jen Blood's terrific mystery, All the Blue-Eyed Angels and will give you a full report.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The day before launch, May 2012
I spend a lot of my writing time on our sailboat, which is also our home for much of the year. And as we finally moved aboard this past weekend--till late fall, anyway--I've decided to incorporate observations about the sailing life in these posts, especially as they parallel my writing process and current work on Reese's Leap, the follow-up to Matinicus. So grab your life jacket and join me. Promise we won't tip (much, anyway), and we'll even do all the cooking!

Welcome aboard!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Win a Personalized Copy of "Matinicus"!

Matinicus has gone live! It's now available through (both softcover and Kindle formats) and Smashwords. The early reviews are pretty terrific, and to celebrate, I've decided to give away 3 signed, personalized copies.

This is the deal. To be automatically entered for a chance at one of the books, simply hop over to FB and like my Author Page ( Winners will be randomly drawn by Ms. Lacey Canapetti (my beautiful and multi-talented granddaughter) on Thursday, May 24th.

Good luck!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wanted to let you know about two Matinicus giveaways going on just now, one at (ending May 10) and another at (ending May 18).  All winners receive a signed, personalized copy of the book. If you win, please remember to leave feedback on these sites and on!

Upcoming events include a radio interview discussing Matinicus with the folks at Zone Radio, 103.1 FM and AM620 in Bangor, Maine at 9:05a.m. on Tuesday, May 8, followed on May 17th by the official Matinicus Book Launch Party, 7:00 p.m. at RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, NH. Hope you'll join us!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Baby Ruth

The candy bar, that is.

Those of you who follow me know the only time I eat one of these thingscandy bars, I meanis when something significant is about to happen in my "book life." It's a guilty little pleasure I've come to love. And not only are we creeping up on the May 17th launch of Matinicus (RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, NH,, but I'm heading south to Newtown, CT early this coming week for a May 1st Hunter Huntress reading at the Booth Library ( where I plan a quiet little pre-launch launch.

So why a Baby Ruth bar? It's the name, of course. One of many theories as to its origin back in 1921 was that it was named for the ballplayer Babe Ruth, whose star was then on the rise. Early readers of Matinicus will know that the book's hard-drinking protagonist, Gil Hodges, is not only named for another All Star ball player, but is himself a baseball nut known to quote Ruth at odd moments. Seemed appropriate.

So kick back and join me, won't you? I've even cut you a piece!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Lobster Lamp

I'm a firm believer that things come into your life when you're meant to have them. I'm not talking big spiritual concepts, here, but things. Stuff. A lamp, in this case--one I brought home from an old cottage slated for demolition the other day. This thing is made from a ten-inch tall lobster claw mounted on a simple block of wood. It's so big, in fact, I though it was plastic or maybe fiberglass, but a lobsterman friend of mine assured me it is (or more accurately "was"), a claw belonging to a very big, and very old lobster. Close to a hundred years, was his guess.

Now, the fact this thing had been in the cottage for at least 25 or 30 years prior to my taking it home, means it's really 125-130 years old, which puts the birth of the thing somewhere around 1885. That's about 20 years after the end of the Civil War. Freaky.

Anyway, something about the thing spoke to me--I mean other than a rather bizarre level of kitsch. Because it's a lobster. Get it? If you don't, you're clearly not reading my blog enough. Because Matinicus, my double mystery due out in May, is about life on an island of lobstermen gone wrong. An island of outsized problems, you might say. Gotta be a sign, don't you think?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Thing About Reviews

All authors want reviews. Okay, maybe not want them the way we want love and chocolate and oodles of money, but we need them. And just the good ones, thank you. They're important for the exposure they generate, and if you're lucky enough to land a few of these priceless things pre-publication and have a half-decent marketing plan in place, you can hit the ground running. Creating early buzz is important when so many hundreds of thousands of books come out every year. That's hundreds of thousands. I try not to think about that part.

Thing is, getting someone to agree to a review is a crapshoot. Even if you've managed to ink out the best book of the year, there'll be plenty of folks who don't like it. Trust me on this. Say your reviewer is a woman who was once jilted by a guy who just happens to have the same name as your lead character, lost a child the exact age as one who dies in your story, or has a fight with the boyfriend or the boss the day she sits down to read your novels. Maybe yours is the hundredth mystery/romance/science fiction/western (take your pick) she's reviewed this year and she's simply had it. Makes herself a big old martini, sits down at the keyboard and takes her snarly mood out on little-old-you.

Paying for reviews is a whole other ball of wax. Some of the most prestigious review sites charge big bucks for a review they promise will be completely honest, which doesn't necessarily mean "good" (see above). That means you can pay a lot of money for the chance to get majorly, where-did-I-hide-those-razorblades depressed. These companies charge a ton for their reviews because they know that you know that if by some miracle you manage to eek out a good one, you've got a leg up in the game.

All of this by way of explaining, perhaps, that I'm fully aware the absolutely stunning review I just received from Kirkus for Matinicus (due out in May), had as much to do with the luck of the draw as anything else. Don't get me wrong. I'm really proud of the book, I busted my ass on it, and I'm ever-so-grateful that whoever reviewed it liked it almost as much as I do.

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On the Road with Hunter Huntress

Here again to tell you about two upcoming Hunter Huntress book signing events.

Thursday evening, February 23, I'll be participating in a "Local Authors Night" at the Nashua Public Library in Nashua, NH ( A bunch of authors will be there signing books, talking about craft and the long road to publishing. This is always a great night, in part 'cause I can never get enough of talking about this stuff, but also because it's a place to meet some really terrific writers. 

Flash forward a month and a half. May 1st at 7:00 p.m., I'll be at the Booth Library in Newtown, CT for a reading/signing. This one's hosted by a local book club, but is open to the public, so if you follow me and are in the area please stop by!

BTW, keep an eye out for my revamped website, which will go live prior to the launch of Matinicus, and where I'll have an actual events page, but until then this is the place for all things writerly about moi.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Let's Launch This Thing!

Okay, so we're really rolling now. The Book Launch for Matinicus (my double mystery set on the Maine island of the same name) has officially been scheduled, so if you're a planner like me and you're going to be anywhere near Portsmouth, NH on Thursday evening, May 17, please join us at RiverRun Bookstore for a short reading and signing followed by a reception just down the street at the Portsmouth Athenæum. If you've never been the Athenæum, this alone will be worth the trip. Portsmouth's oldest cultural institution, its four floors are home to thousands of books, documents, centuries-old maps and all manner of ephemera relating to NH's Seacoast. Hope to see you there!

FYI...The cover for Matinicus is just about finalized, so be sure to check back!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Changing Publishers

Okay, I promise to be better about keeping you updated. Been offline for a bit while I regrouped. The long and short is that I needed to change publishers to guarantee my vision of Matinicus (the first book in my Maine Island Mystery Series) as both a tree book and an e-book. 

So here's my rant...While it's true that e-readership is very much on the rise and the costs of putting out paper books have become nothing short of ludicrous, it's also true that the world is chock full of people who still prefer to curl up in their favorite chair with the real thing. And when all is said and done, it's about making your readership larger, not smaller. A no brainer, really--well to me anyway. But apparently not to my former publisher's bean counters, who decided to nix my softcover version. That was all it took for me to jump ship. Scary to give up a sure thing for something as ephemeral as artistic vision, but well worth it in the end. So, after a few months of teeth-gnashing and sleepless nights, I'm back on track with "real" books and all manner of e-versions due out in May. Yeehaw!

The other biggie is that I finished the draft of Reese's Leap, sequel to Matinicus, and have sent it off to readers for commentary. One long-time reader came back with the comment "Boy, you do paint those baddies well," and I'm hoping she's right. Murderous scumbags bent on twisted, seemingly unwarranted revenge are too easy to get wrong. Tentative pub date for this one is spring, 2013.

And here's another promise...this one to share the cover of Matinicus as soon as it's ready!