Life is busy. It is for everyone. What I have I been up to?
Enjoying my family. Spending time with friends. Reading non-fiction while struggling to find novels that keep my interest. (It’s me, not the books!) Planning for an upcoming high school graduation. (Eek!) Re-evaluating my career.
I guess the last one is most prevalent to this blog. I think it’s important every so often to revisit the direction our writing takes. Revisit our goals. I’m still in the process of doing that. I will say that a lot of “stuff” triggered this period of re-evaluation, and I won’t share most of it. The one aspect I will share with you is that I grew tired of the rat race. If you write and self publish you might know what I mean. The keeping-up with the new marketing strategies before they’re no longer effective, the continual push and realization that the best way to make a profit is to write popular genres and put out a gazillion books a year.
I found myself putting my most exciting ideas on the back burner either because they were middle grade or outside of my established genre or would require more time. I didn’t want to write ten books a year. I completely understand that to keep books visible it helps to release books continuously, in the same genre, in a series, over and over and over.
That’s not why I started writing.
That’s not why I love writing.
But…I do want to make a profit. I run a small business. So I’m figuring out what that will look like for me. I’m striving to find a balance between writing what I love and what will sell.
(It also grew discouraging to see the top 100 on Amazon filled with Amazon imprints and KU books. Some in categories they clearly should not be in. Amazon is a business, so I don’t fault them for pushing their own books.)
I decided to write two more books in my original series, Circle of Spies. I follow the main characters but years later. The cover reveal is below.
And a favor, if some strange pharma links show up at the bottom of this post, please email or tweet me and let me know. I can’t see them, and I can’t get ads while they’re still on my blog. Thank you!!!!
Let me know how you’ve been doing in the comments!
I’ve always wanted them. Coveted them. I’d see them in a kitchen magazine or on Pinterest–and I’d stop and just stare at it with a dreamy look on my face.
Along those lines, hubby and I have been wanting to redo do our kitchen going on several years now. Fine, more like ten. We finally reached a point where we were ready to proceed. I studied. I researched. And found a technique called glazing, which I thought might be easier than distressing.
We did it.
Even though I knew white was more trendy, I went with what I love. We only live once, right?
Um, now we just need to get them back on the wall, install the new sink and counter, paint the walls, tear out a cabinet and insert a new range, drill through some brick, add a stone back splash, refinish the floors, and build shelving. Right. Wish us luck.
I know there’s a life lesson and writing lesson in there somewhere.
A Highly Suspicious Death is free for the next few days!
Also, the series is complete!
AMAZON ~ KINDLE UNLIMITED
AMAZON ~ KINDLE UNLIMITED
AMAZON ~ KINDLE UNLIMITED
Have a terrific weekend!
Thank you so much for checking out my new book. I’m grateful for any help in spreading the news about my new cozy mystery series!
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Don’t we all though as writers?
Never mind all the premises and stories that never made it out of my head, and died before having the chance at life. (My deepest apologies to all those ideas and characters who maybe wanted a chance. Sorry, this isn’t a democracy.)
As you might have noticed I love mysteries. I love stories with only a hint of mystery. I love heist stories. They fascinate me. I love romantic mysteries too.
What you might not know is that I love characters who aren’t the best looking or the most confident. I love when the romantic element is messy and troublesome, where the characters have to embrace the flaws in the other person even if they never have that turning point where they’re able to overcome them.
A year or so ago I was inspired by a stranger. He wasn’t particularly good looking. He had a hawk nose. He wore an elegant scarf around his neck, along with this faux-looking leather coat. I never met him, but I had so many questions. I sensed this false arrogance that possibly covered deep insecurity. I never met him. Never talked to him.
Eventually, this man became Devon Despicable in A Highly Suspicious Death. (Releasing April 19th, 2016)
A murder. Lost pirate treasure. Two amateur sleuths.
When a sea captain washes up on the beach—dead—at the worst possible time, Devon Despicable is not happy. What an inconvenience. He’s already hosting a houseguest who claims amnesia and whom he suspects is lying to spy on him—concerning the legendary lost pirate treasure.
Francesca Lovely can’t remember a thing. She woke up on the beach behind Devon’s house with nothing. Well, except for the wetsuit on her body, with a suspicious stain that looks like blood. When Devon instructs her to lie to the detective about the stain, Fran suspects Devon is hiding a lot behind his calm demeanor. And she aims to find out what.
Dodging the detective’s suspicions that one of them may be the murderer while investigating the captain’s crew, Devon and Fran work together to solve the mystery behind this highly suspicious death.
At that point in my life, and currently, I desperately needed humor. I needed to laugh. I wanted to write a comical, somewhat unrealistic, and over-the-top kind of story. I wanted it to be a murder mystery of sorts. Maybe it was everything happening in the world, all the heartache and sadness. I couldn’t read the sad books. I couldn’t write them. Still can’t.
I pictured a fictional town on the New England seacoast. (I also love pirates and the rumors of lost pirate treasure that I hear about in New England. So I had to include that.)
So is this story a cozy mystery? Yes…sort of. It’s really a love story between two imperfect people overcoming and facing their false egos, their pasts, and their insecurities. (It’s definitely not a police procedural as there is not one element of real police work. Not really.)
I had a blast writing it. I lost myself in the story and the characters. Next week, I’ll reveal chapter one and provide a chance to win an ebook before the release date.
See you next week! (Feel free to comment on any uplifting or humorous books you’ve read of late!)
To celebrate I thought I’d share what I learned writing this series.
Free on Kindle Unlimited or 99 cents for a limited time!
1. Writing is hard work.
I’m not going to lie. It was so much fun creating and brainstorming the Holly Hart series. Writing the first book was thrilling and kept me at the edge of my chair as I learned about my characters and they became real people to me. I loved the surprises.
2. Writing in a series flows faster when you know the characters and the world.
Knowing the characters and the relationships made moving from one book to the next book easy. I didn’t need to plan out character flaws and strengths or figure out the world or the voice of the story.
3. It’s so hard not to be distracted by new and shiny ideas.
So many ideas. I have several outlines of books and series that I might very well never write. Or I might. Sometimes I have to flesh it out in an outline before realizing if a premise is worth writing. So many of them I wanted to start writing the next day. Still do.
4. It might help to take a break and write something new.
With one book left in the series, I needed a break. Too many ideas pressing against me. Too many voices that needed to be written. Last spring, I took that break and wrote book one in a new cozy mystery series that will release this spring.
5. Character arc is nice but after a while it’s hard to keep it feeling new.
Thank God for my editor who kept me on track when I went in a wrong direction halfway through the series. She called me on it, and I agreed with her. I went on to make major changes in the story and the next one.
6. I don’t know how people write 12 book series or longer.
Recently, I’ve discovered a fantastic cozy mystery series. The fifteenth book was recently released. Yeah, I know. Impressive. I’m not saying I would never write a long-running series, but…it would have to be the right situation and the right series.
7 I love writing and reading mysteries, whether it’s a cozy mystery or the mystery is a subplot.
When I took a break to start another cozy mystery series, I knew I’d found a genre I’d love to keep writing. I love the mix of mystery and humor. All my ideas might not be cozy mysteries, but they will contain some sort of mystery and/or humor.
On that note, with mixed feelings, I’ve released the final Holly Hart Cozy Mystery.
But I’m very excited for the new cozy mystery series I started last year! More information will come soon!
Read any good books lately? Feel free to share.