Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I meant to write it down . . .

Postitnotes I'm a listmaker.  I have lists all around me.  Or at least I have Post-It notes here there and everywhere to remind me of things I want to remember.  Why?  Because I'm a scatterbrain.  My Dad used to say my head was filled with Tommyrot.  It's been proven that multi-tasking is a big waste of time and that you get less done when you're trying to do too many things at once.  Well, my brain likes to multitask and then I forget stuff.

The thing I seem to forget about the most is blog topics.  Oooh...I had a beauty all planned for today.  I thought about it while I was cutting up a cold roast chicken yesterday morning--to make chicken salad.  (I LOVE chicken salad.)  But my hands were all greasy, and then I had to wash
Chicken salad them, and get out the Mayo, and I figured I'd write it down as soon as I did that.

Well, I was also listening to a book on tape, so when I finished with the chicken and the mayo, I was so caught up in the story that I forgot to write down the blog topic.

And so today I'm writing about forgetting about what I wanted to write about.

I also leap out of my chair several times a day, charge across the house to do or get something, and then, because I'm thinking about three other things at the same time, get to my destination and wonder what the heck I wanted to do.

Multitasking?  Forgetaboutit.

How about you?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Kindle on my Mind

Kindle I always pick the worst times to try new things.  I'm up to my eyeballs in deadlines right now, but I've joined two new groups dedicated to learning about/and promoting e titles on Kindle/Nook, etc.

I find the topic endlessly fascinating, and there are so many aspects of it.  Formatting documents to the various platforms, designing covers (and sometimes over and over again), and the most worrying aspect, how to get the word out about my E books/stories.

I've added a page on the Blogger version of this blog, but people aren't finding it.  (I don't think blog readers are used to looking for additional information pages ON a blog.)  I need to put something up on my Lorna web site as well, but just haven't gotten around to it.  (That'll have to happen when some of the deadlines are past, too.)

Sawdust I know this is probably as interesting as sawdust to most of you guys, and I apologize.  But . . . I can't help but be interested in the whole new world open to me.  I'm finding new readers every day and that's exciting.

What's piqued your interest lately?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dog or Book? What keeps me up at night?

As I mentioned yesterday, my little doggy guest was good at waking me up and keeping me awake (by snoring directly under my head--as she was sleeping under my bed).  So, rather than stare at the ceiling, I opened a book and started to read.

Big mistake.  The book was so good, I kept reading.  Got tired.  Turned off light.  Dog woke up and kept me awake.

Dog went back to sleep, I went back to reading. 

It was a vicious cycle.  I woke up at 2:05 and I never got back to sleep.  (Didn't quite finish the book; saved that for last night!)

Tired womanjpg Whatever happened to those days when you decided with a bunch of friends -- hey, let's stay up all night and watch TV/talk/eat/have fun?  (This was in my 20s.)  Um.  Those days are GONE.  I'm a teensy bit older now and I go to bed EARLY.  I don't necessarily stay asleep all night (and get most of my reading-for-pleasure done between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m.) but I don't usually read for three-plus hours during the night, either.

Living deed Sorry, I couldn't put the book down.

The title:  NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEED by E.J. Copperman.

What's so good about this book?  It hits all my high spots.  Home renovation; believable characters; ghosts.  This thing has winner stamped all over it.  I could kick myself now, because I had an opportunity to blurb it before it was published but was just too stressed while being in my own deadline hell.

If you have an opportunity to read Night of the Living Deed, you really ought to.  And if you don't have the opportunity -- why not?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

All I Want For My Birthday Is ....?

For quite some time, I have been campaigning to get a dog.  Hubby is of the opinion that four cats (who don't especially get along all that well) are quite enough, Thank You. 

Scottie  I'd like a small dog.  Ideally, a Scottie.  But Scotties are kind of hit and miss.  You get one with a really good temperament or you don't.  (My family has had both.)  I want a dog that doesn't smell when wet, but not necessarily a poodle.  In fact, I want a small dog that's incredibly cute who will love me even on bad hair days.  (I have a cat like that, but he doesn't think it's necessary to adore me 24/7.  Cats are like that.)

Ideally, I'd like a Bichon Frise.  They are so damned cute!  My cousin has a poodle/Bichon mix that is a wonderful little dog.  I met a a Bichon Frise at a garage
Sarge sale a couple of months ago and practically interrogated the owner, then came back to the car to report on him to my husband, who again reiterated that we have four cats who don't especially get along and reminded me we have a yard the size of a postage stamp.  (Which is actually just about the right size for a Bichon Frise.)

I've spent a LOT of time at the family cottage this summer writing.  On a number of occasions, I've brought my mother along for company.  Mum comes with baggage.  Jessie, the Westie.

Jessie1 Jessie is a perfectly wonderful little dog in many ways.  She's cute.  (Incredibly so, especially when she cocks her head and laps up every word you say.)  She's attentive.  (Especially if you're eating anything.)  And when she's not in her home element, she rarely barks.  (Can't shut her up when I come to visit her home territory.  She nag, Nag, NAGS for a treat and has me trained to give them uppon arrival and departure.)

But there's a dark side to having a dog.  A.) they drink water.  A lot.  Drinking water necessitates outdoor visits.  Outdoor visits necessitates sniff-a-thons.  Sniff-a-thons sometimes uncover smelly things that dogs love (especially to roll in) and people hate (see smelly description earlier in this sentence).

When she's at the cottage, Jessie goes out on a long rope.  Because she's getting on in years, she now goes out the front of the cottage because those stairs aren't as steep as those out the back.  Two times this week I let her out and went back to the laptop to work.  Two times she came in smelling like something died.

After the first time, we inspected our shoes and the back of Jessie for . . . loose objects that we won't talk about.  Nope.  Nothing.  After the second time, I went out to investigate.

Our neighbors love to fish.  The 16-year-old son of our neighbors has been coming and going, taking his boat out (honest, despite having a hoist in the water not 20 feet from the cottage, he doesn't want his boat to get scratched, so he goes down the road to the boat launch and puts the boat in (at $5 a pop) and thing takes it out (for another $5).  The boat is 3 years old and looks like it came out of the showroom yesterday.  (He's also keeping car wax companies in shape.)

Zack must've cleaned a few of his catch in the front yard.  Jessie must have found it.  Jessie brought it over into our yard.  Jessie rolled in it (twice).

See Lorna discover stinky fish skin and guts.  See Lorna remove (with shovel) stinky fish skin and guts.

Advice from brother:  give Jessie a bath.

Reply from sister:  we have no tub, just a shower, remember.

Advice from brother:  put her in the kitchen sink.

Reply from sister:  Are you out of your mind?

Instead, Jessie gets rubbed down with wet paper towels which are then put in garbage bags and sealed.

Report to husband:  dogs who roll in dead fish are not fun to have around.

Husband:  No reply.  (But thought balloon over his head screams in bold red type:  I COULD'A TOLD YOU SO!!!)

BTW, Jessie also likes to sleep UNDER MY BED, snore, get up in the middle of the night, scratch her back for ten or so minutes against the box springs, shake her tags, and at 4:20 a.m. tell me "It's time for me to go out!" (see comment above about drinking water).

B-day cupcake So, Lorna will now refrain from requesting dog for upcoming
birthday.  (At least until the memories of stinky dead fish and sleepless nights are distant ones.)

What do you want for your birthday?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Raking in the dough?

I've spent far too much of the last day looking for ways to promote my e books. 

All we keep hearing is that ebooks are exploding, and instead of people reading less, because of Kindle/Nook, etc., people are reading more.  The hard part is getting people to find one's books.

In a bookstore, you can peruse the shelves.  Like that cover?  Intrigued by that back cover blurb?  Buy the book.  But how do readers find books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com?

That's got my knickers in a twist.

Raking in the dough You might be asking yourself "Why does she care?  Isn't she raking in the dough from her New York Times Bestselling Booktown Mystery series?"

How do I know?  I only get paid twice a year.  That's six months between checks.  But somehow the dentist has to be paid RIGHT NOW.  (It used to be you could pay on time...not any more!)  Oops--the brakes went bad on my car.  I can stall for a month until the VISA bill comes in.  Holy smoke!  The quarterly health care bill is due on September 1st!  (Ain't no employer contributing to that bill for Hubby and me -- and it's a killer.)

Authors need a steady cash flow just like the rest of society. But, we aren't paid on a weekly, biweekly or even monthly basis.  Amazon does pay on a monthly basis -- albeit 60 days after the end of the month the sales occurred.

I, and many other authors, need to find steady cash flow just so we can live and write.

So, any ideas on how to promote my e book backlist?  (And in case you're wondering what my backlist, you can find it here.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Listening To The Voice In My Head

I'm about to finish the second Victoria Square mystery, The Walled Flower, and I'm dragging my feet.  Why?

I don't want to let go of Katie and her friends.

I know it's only for six months, because that's when I'll start the next book in the series (which so far has no title), but I'm having fun and I don't want it to end.

CraftKilling.sm Katie is up to so much trouble and strife in this book and I can't even talk about with you guys because A.) you don't know her yet (the first book, A Crafty Killing doesn't come out until Feb. 1, 2011) and B.) I'd be giving away spoilers and then you WOULDN'T want to read the book.  A real Catch 22.

Of course, Tricia and Angelica are waiting in the wings and they've been nagging me.  "Hey, we're still here--you've got OUR story to tell!"

Then there's Jeff and Richard WAY back in the back alley behind the theater yelling, "Hey, we've been waiting FOR YEARS to see Bound By Suggestion find an audience!!!" (Of course, I'm still waiting for their third adventure, Cheated by Death to find an audience via ebooks.)

And then--can you believe it--I've got a NEW character on the back burner who wants me to tell HER story, too.  When would I ever find time for her?  (Hmm...I should start taking notes....)

All these characters screaming for me to tell their stories.

(Kinda cool, huh?)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Something very special in the mail

Every day the news is filled with terrible stories of murder, wars, and violence, so sometimes we (and me in particular) get jaded.  And it isn't hard to do when your job involves writing about two of those three subjects.  (Although in my books, justice will ALWAYS triumph--something that rarely happens in real life.)

Therefore, we sometimes forget that that there are many good and kind people out there, going about their lives and doing the best they can, and being thoughtful and helpful.

Last week, I was the recipient of an act of kindness.

Dru's_NYT_quilt My friend Dru-Ann Love, who is also a great friend to cozy authors, not just because she writes thoughtful reviews on our books, sent me a special gift.  Dru quilts.  Oh, I know about quilts.  My mother is a quilter and I know about the hours of work, and care and love, that go into any quilted creation.  So I was especially touched by the little quilt Dru sent to me.

Many quilters make memory quilts.  They take photographs or signatures and have them transferred to material for their projects.  Dru took the two New York Times reports for Bookplate Special and Chapter & Hearse and had them transferred to fabric.

Signed_by_dru When I opened the envelope, I burst into tears.  (Sorry, but I did.)  It was such a special, unique and thoughtful gift.  That Dru took all that time to put it together for me made it even more extraordinary.  And like nearly all quilters, Dru signed and dated the quilt. 

Thank you, Dru.  You made my day!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lordess of the Flies?

I am a germaphobe.  There, I admitted it. I ought to buy stock in the Purel company because it's one product I use on a daily basis.  (More than once a day.  More than three-four times a day.  And I wash my hands a LOT -- but not compulsively.)

Fly So you can imagine my horror when suddenly there seem to be a LOT of flies inside our house.  Where the heck are they coming from?  Okay, the garage was open for hours and once a fly flies in, it seems to get stuck at the window near the door leading from the garage to the laundry room, and often they come in after us.  But we've been going through the front door to try to avoid letting the flies come in after us.

Flyswat Monday I killed two flies.  Tuesday hubby killed three flies.  Last night I killed TWELVE flies!!!  (Don't get in my way when I'm holding onto my fly swat!)

Any fly that comes into this house is DOOMED.

What's bugging YOU today?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pay dirt at a yard sale

Counry woman mag A couple of weeks ago, I hit pay dirt at a yard sale.  An entire paper box of old Taste of Home magazines and Country Woman magazines for $5.  (We're talking less than 5 cents each.)

I first found Taste of Home on a magazine rack in Lewiston, NY.  I was on my way to England via Toronto and wanted something to read on the plane.  Wee, this was fun!  A magazine with no advertising that was all about food. It had lots of cornball--but fun--sidebars, like "My Most Embarrassing Moment In The Kitchen," stuff kids got wrong (like saying a teacher's name was Miss Salad Bar instead of Miss Salazar), ridiculous menus that could "feed your family for $1.35 a plate" (yeah, if you had most of the spices in stock and had a family of 6-8).

Every issue was good for at least an hour or two of pure reading pleasure.  And the recipes were easy, with only a few ingredients.  (And they always featured a page or two of cooking for one or two, which is great if that's the size of your family.)

Tasteofhomelogo We ended up subscribing to a bunch of these Reiman Magazines.  And on a business trip, we even stopped and checked out the home base in Greendale, Wisconsin.

And then, as always happens when something is successful and bucks the trends, they got offered a big pile of money and got bought out.  In this case, to Readers Digest.  It wasn't long before Taste of Home went right down the toilet--IMNSHO.

All the cute, fun, cornball stuff was gone.  Gone were My Mom's Best Meal, and the like.  Everything that made the magazine(s) charming and unique was gone.  They decided to aim at a bigger demographic than just farm wives.  (Hey, I wasn't a farm wife, and I enjoyed it.) It became just another slick magazine and I stopped renewing.  That's why I buy up every old issue of the magazine I can find at yard sales.  Okay,  I now own three copies of some issues, but when you buy them for pennies a copy, what's the difference?

New coke This whole situation reminds me of how Coca-Cola miscalculated when they decided to dump their successful Coke for New Coke.  Consumers let them know in a hurry what a big mistake that was.  Only so far it seems like Readers Digest won this round.  They may have found new readers, but I'll bet they lost a heck of a lot of their reader base, too.

What have you enjoyed that was ruined by improvements?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Does Death Love A Messy Desk?

Yesterday I got my order most recent order from the Mystery Lovers Bookshop.  In it was a book by my friend Mary Jane MaffiniDeath Loves a Messy Desk.  If that title holds any truth, I'm doomed.

Desk I don't know what it is, but I cannot keep my desk clear of junk.  Junk that gets in the way of my getting any meaningful work done.  Junk like a box of safety pins, dental flossers, rubber stamps, stickers, post-it note pads, wooden carvings (they're not junk; my Dad made those and I like looking at them), candy jar, candle and warmer, my sheep (doesn't everyone keep a couple of orphaned nativity sheep on their desks?), an egg timer (for when the cats go out on the enclosed porch in the winter--not that I pay attention and hear it.  Usually they're crawling up the sliding glass doors, their kitty mouths open crying "let us in--it's COLD out here!), a couple of screwdrivers, letter openers, three coffee cups filled with pens and pencils, Purell (two bottles), furniture polish, a LOT of bookmarks, envelopes for mailing, magazines.  And on and on.  And I've got another computer "desk" (well, farm table, actually) in the same condition.  (P.S.  The rest of the house does NOT look like this.  Honest.)

When I want a clear flat surface to work on, I either go into my husband's office next door or seek out the dining room table.

I keep saying I'm going to do something about it, but the truth is, I have nowhere to put all this stuff.  My closet is full of stuff.  Vital stuff.  Like boxes of books, envelopes, padded envelopes, office supplies and an entire shelf just filled with notebooks of my manuscripts, so there's no room to store any of this stuff there.  I'd love to annex Mr. Lorna's office, but I don't think that would go over very well.

The time has come to be ruthless and just start tossing stuff.

Fortunately for me, I'm heading back to the cottage to work on the book.  I'll close the door so Mr. Lorna doesn't have to look at my office while I'm gone (apparently, it gives him the heebie jeebies) and face it when I come back in a few days.


Is there some place in your home you just can't face cleaning?

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Hurrier I Go . . .

The hurrier "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get."

Truer words were never spoken.  It seems that I'm leaving more and more tasks undone this summer.

See, I've spent most of the summer at my family's summer cottage, ostensibly to write.  But I kinda sort have volunteered to help the Sisters In Crime get their blog on track, and have ended up spending just as much time on that as I have my book.  (Which is coming along nicely, and I SHOULD have it in on time, if you're reading this, Tom!)

But let's face it, if you're away from home for weeks at a time, little things pile up.  Like laundry.  Like filling the fridge, etc.  And if you're trying to write a book, write blog entries for your own blog, 2 group blogs, and coordinate another, all while promoting a new book, LOTS of stuff goes undone.

I kinda feel a little pressured right now.  But I also feel like WOW--I'm having a helluva good time doing all this.  Go figure!

So that's my wisdom of the day.  (Or was it?)  Anyway, back to work.  Have lots to do today and not enough hours in the day to get it done.

What's on your agenda for the day?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

And it's not even Tuesday*

Guest star Today I'm guest blogging over at the Mystery Lover's Kitchen blog -- talking about (of all things) chemistry.  Me, a scientist?  Hardly.  But then neither is my lead character from the Booktown Mysteries, Tricia.  Come on over and see what Tricia has been up to.

Tomorrow, I'll be on my usual 16th of the month post on the Killer Characters Blog.  well, not me, actually.  Killer Characters is about the characters in 25 different mystery authors books.  Mr. Everett will be visiting tomorrow.

Oh, and I'll probably be here, too.  Well, it is my home blog!

*Some of you may remember that Tuesdays were GUEST STAR DAY on the old (B&W) Mickey Mouse Club.  I'm not old enough to remember--thank goodness--but they reran the show on our local station when I was a teenager.  Oh, loved that Spin & Marty.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Nature gone nuts!

Toomany tomatoes We have a problem with our tomato plants.  First, they grew really, REALLY BIG.  This has never happened to us before.  The plants grew so big, they crushed their "little" tomato cages.  We started staking them with thin bamboo stakes, which snapped.  (They snapped under the weight of our bean plants, too).

The plants developed blight, but still they continued to grow big, FAT, tomatoes.  And now, they're all ripening at the same time.  Yesterday I gave a quarter of a shopping bag to my brother for him to split with my mother, but we'll have more ripe by Monday.

This was the first year we put extensions on the heavy bamboo stakes for our pole beans--they cracked under the weight of the plants.  (Which took four plantings before they "took."  They're just starting to produce beans so I'm assuming we'll be inundated any day now.

Hot pepper I picked about 40 jalapeno peppers yesterday.  I was disappointed that only two people entered my jalapeno pepper contest -- and if I get around to it this weekend, I decide which recipe wins.  (Yes, I'm that harried!!!)  The winner will receive a Haven't Got A Clue coffee (or tea or cocoa) mug.

It's been an incredibly HOT, RAINY summer, which is probably why everything has grown so well.  Even the Brussels sprouts decimated by Mr. Groundhog and replanted in pots have made a comeback.  But, whoa!  Can two people ate all this bounty?  Nope, so my mother and brother will reap the rewards.  After all, they both put their tomatoes in the topsy-turvey devices.  End results?  One or two tiny tomatoes, while ours in the ground went ZOWIE!

While it might sound like I'm complaining, I'm really not--just overwhelmed.  Especially since the season started out so badly and things refused to grow.  Heck, I'm already hoping next year to plant even MORE veggies. 

I must be a glutton for punishment.  How about you?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Where did it land?

Yesterday was Wednesday, a day Ive been anticipating and dreading because I'd get to know if Chapter & Hearse made the New York Times Bestsellers list for mass market paperbacks.  If it did--where would it land?

19 RED Okay, no more suspense--it hit at #19 -- that's one step higher than Bookplate Special and I am ecstatic! 

My biggest thanks need to go to my readers who bought the book.  You helped put Chapter & Hearse there through your loyalty and trust that I'd come through with another book you'd enjoy. 

Bw thank you card Thank you all!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Alas, poor mouse . . .

Dr. McCoy
 There's an old saying, "You don't know what you've got until you lose it."

I have lost my pink wireless mouse.

Well, lost isn't exactly true.  It's sitting here on my desk.  The little red light underneath shines brightly when I pick it up, but ... to quote Star Trek's Dr. McCoy, "It's dead, Jim."

I'm out of town and working on the laptop.  I do not like the mouse device/pad they give you on a laptop.  For one thing, I can never highlight anything with it.  The idea of approaching the
Microsoft pink mouse day's work without my wireless mouse is daunting.  But I'm out in the sticks.  Where am I going to find another wireless mouse?  The nearest Walmart is at least a half an hour's drive (if not more).

I have another mouse in my laptop case, but even with new batteries it doesn't want to work, either.

Someone on Facebook told me that dropping a mouse (which I seem to do a lot, thanks for this cute but tiny desk) will kill it.  Um...I think I dropped it three times yesterday.  But I was working along and it just stopped dead.  So I changed the battery (which I've had to do about every three weeks during the summer).

RIP tombstone Dead, dead, dead.

Oh well, glad I gassed up the car yesterday, because it looks like Walmart here I come.  Except . . . I think I'm done with wireless mice.  I'm going get one with a wire. 

They seem to live longer.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The day sure got better fast!

I was dreading Monday, August 9th.  For the past three weeks I've had LOTS of time to think about gum surgery.  I broke my bridge back in April.  (Here's the story.)  I waffled for weeks and weeks:  Should I raid my new-car fund and get implants (and hope my car will last at least another TEN years) so I can have some pearly ... um ... not very white new (implanted) teeth, or go for a partial plate, which wouldn't last more than ten years and possibly ruin another crown that would need to anchor the thing.

Dental implants2 I went for the implants.  But I don't have to have them done all at once. I did need to have the roots extracted where the crown broke below the gum line, and what remained of a root canal that went terribly wrong.  And have a bone graft. (That was the scary part.)

Organize your corpses
I've been losing sleep for weeks.  Yesterday was the day. I went there with Mary Jane Maffini's "Organize Your Corpses" in my hand.  (MJ's my friend, and clutching her wonderful book (which I'm in the middle of)  during the procedure was almost as good as having a MJ holding my hand the whole time.)

The worst thing about the whole thing?  The strawberry-flavored topical numb-er.  (Ick.  I loathe strawberries.)  Otherwise, they gave me LOTS of Novocaine.  Fifty minutes later, I was on my way home, with three prescriptions marking the pages of MJ's book. 

I hadn't been home more than fifteen minutes when the phone rang ... with a New York number. 

Hmmm...my editor is in New York. 

I snatched up the phone.  Bingo!  It was my editor--and he had good news!

Chapter.sm Chapter & Hearse:  #15 on Barnes & Noble's mass market list. 


Chapter & Hearse:  #1 on Barnes & Noble's mystery MM list!

Suddenly, the day didn't seem all that bad after all.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Waiting Game Has Begun

DIRsmall Last week I FINALLY got the copyright papers for Dead in Red.  Just a mere TWO YEARS after I filed them. I'd kind of lost track of time and a few months back realized I'd never received them.

If you're a published author with a New York house, you're probably saying, "What copyright papers?"  Most large publishers register their author's books for them.  That doesn't always happen with a small press. (Or in my case a LARGE press with a small imprint.)  So I dutifully filed them back in 2008.  Except I sent them an ARC of the book instead of the REAL book.  They sat on the request for a long time -- until I nudged them, then decided the ARC wasn't good enough and asked me to send 2 copies of the real book.

By this time, the book was nearly out of print.  It's now officially out of print.

Well, not officially.  I was told back in March that if I didn't buy up all the copies, they'd be pulped.  So I did (and can now sell them at considerably less than the publisher.  In fact, $15 less than the publisher--postage included (for media mail)!  (If you're interested click here and scroll down the page.) But I'm not sure of the REAL out-of-print date, and that's where things get sticky.

You see, I have to wait 18 months until AFTER the book goes out of print before the rights revert to me and then I can do with them what I please.  Resell them, reprint the book--or just upload it to Kindle.  (I've had a LOT of requests to upload it to Kindle and Nook.)

I don't own the cover art.  But I do now own the cover stock photo (the red shoe) in anticipation of making my own cover similar to the one my publisher used. 

I'm looking forward to the day when Dead In Red will be available to a MUCH LARGER audience.  Until then . . . I just have to wait.  And so do my readers.

Lorraine Sig

Friday, August 6, 2010

Oooh! I can't believe I wrote it!

Wednesday I blogged about the Booktown Mysteries being on audio.

Well, they arrived.  (Did you hear me whooping it up from coast to coast?)

BIM MOTM cover This is not my first experience with having one of my books on audio.  My first book, Murder On The Mind is also available on audio from Audible.com, Books in Motion, and on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  (If you're looking for it on CD -- go to Amazon and Books in Motion; Barnes & Noble is selling it as an MP3 file for only $12.40, which is considerably cheaper than Audible.com.)  It's read by Kevin Foley.

Um ... I haven't had the courage to listen to it, although I've had my author copy for well over a year now.  Before I got it, I listened to the sample on the Books In Motion web site.  It's a scene that's very vivid for me--the end of one of my very favorite scenes in the book, so it's a pivotal moment, and I must say an excellent representation of the book. 

However . . . the performer got Richard all wrong, at least in that scene.  He came off as bombastic, when in fact he was extremely worried about Jeff's sanity.  That intonation scared me away from listening to the book.  (So much so, I've never opened the packaging.)  Still, I have had one report that the audio version was good.  (A Goodreads review.)  It made me think I ought to give the audio version a chance.  (And besides, my mother has been nagging me to loan it to her.)

I'd love it if people would find this version of the book.  I mean, in a year I've made exactly $15 in royalties.  (How's a starving author supposed to eat?)

I don't think the audio version of the Booktown Mysteries will have that lack of sales problem.  First of all, the series is many times more popular than my poor Jeff series.  (Pout!  I love Jeff, Richard and Brenda and I'd LOVE for them to find a HUGE audience.)  Cassandra Campbell performs the books. 

As soon as the Fed-X man left yesterday, I ripped open the package and ran into my office to play the first part of Murder is Binding.  Whoa!  It was great--so great, I couldn't believe I wrote the thing!

I found it too distracting to play while I'm working (even on boring stuff like emptying my spam filter--I want to listen rather than work), so I'll be listening to all the books while I do housework and cook (Why do I suddenly have this urge to do laundry, too?) or driving in the car.

I sure hope a whole new audience will find the books.  I was proud of them as books; I'm even more proud of them as audiobooks.

Any chance you'll give them a listen?  (Hint, hint--libraries are the biggest audiobook buyers!)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Itching to get back to work

Thumbs up Launch day for Chapter & Hearse was pretty darn good. I had so many notes from friends and readers that a rather grumpy start to the day turned into all sunshine and smiles.

One of the best things about the day, though, was hearing from my editor.  Like -- about six times!  Mostly it was business related.  In fact, I guess just about all of it was business related.  And the best business of all...he sent me a pencil sketch for the 5th Booktown Mystery, SENTENCED TO DEATH.

Chapter.sm Writing a book is like childbirth.  It's arduous and horrible and you hate every minute of it, and then when you finally give birth, the pain is gone and you only have this beautiful baby in your hands and can't wait to show it off. 

That's how it was particularly for Chapter & Hearse, a good deal of it was written in doctor's offices, and through the whole time my Dad was in the hospital/nursing home and dying.  Some days it felt like writing that book saved my sanity.  And it turns out there are funny bits in it.  In more than just a few places, too.

I was so grateful that I didn't get writers block last year.  I delivered Chapter & Hearse on time.  And I even delivered the first Victoria Square book, A Crafty Killing, a couple of weeks early.  And then it came time to write Sentenced to Death.

Good grief!  How could have forgotten how to write a book in the two weeks between A Crafty Killing and Sentenced to Death?  I tried to write every day, but instead of 1250 words (which is my daily quota for 5 days a week), I was lucky to get 1250 In a week!  I was a month late in delivering the book and felt terrible.  I've got just over three weeks to deliver the 2nd Victoria Square Mystery (The Walled Flower), and I'm currently 14,000 words short--and I'm up to my armpits in promotion for Chapter & Hearse and have dental surgery looming over me next week. 

I am determined to make my deadline, and luckily, I know exactly what has to be done to finish The Walled Flower (I have a bunch of notes and it's been simmering on the back burner).  I just need to find the time to sit down and do it.  (I think I'll have to go on retreat to the cottage for the next couple of weeks so I can finish it.)

But getting back to that pencil sketch.  This is the FIRST time I was asked for input on the cover.  I sent a bunch of pictures.  This is the first time I was given a sneak peak at what the cover is to look like.


My editor told me about changes he's going to ask for, and I agreed with them all (it's soooo nice to be on the same page about these things).  And suddenly all the frustration about the book taking so long to write is gone.  I'm only remembering the fun scenes, and there were a bunch of them.  I wish I could share the pencil sketch with you, but I can't--for the same reason I wouldn't want someone reading a first draft of one of my books.  We want you to see the beautiful, finished product.

I won't get to see that completed cover until December, which seems like a long time from now, but I'm so excited about this book--I can't wait.  And I'm so gratified that people really seem to like Chapter & Hearse.  And I so want to get The Walled Flower done because there are only "fun" scenes left to write.  And I'm really psyched about starting the 6th Booktown Mystery in September, Murder on the Half Shelf.

Some days a writer says, "What was I thinking trying to do this job?"  Right now I'm thinking, "I must be the luckiest person on the face of this Earth."