The Last Chapter of Bruin’s Orphans

I put the last chapter of Bruin’s Orphans on my webpage.  http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/

I wrote the book for my two daughters when they were young.  It’s a bit on the bleak side and has a folktale feel, but Robyn loved a book of fairytales that were a little dark.  She read Stephen King’s SILVER BULLET when she was in second grade and wrote to him, and he wrote back!  Both girls loved Greek myths, and those aren’t always cheerful.  When they asked me to scare them, this is what I came up with.  Just a series of little scares:)

When I first wrote this, I had an old model computer that stored writing on little, hard, square disks that I can’t use anymore.  Luckily, I had a paper copy, so I could type each chapter into my current computer so that I could share it.  Boy, am I not good at just plain typing!  Anyway, now I have it again for the girls.  They asked about it, and I had to dig around to find it.  I wrote a myth-type story for them that year, too, but it’s going to stay in the box for a while.  Typing isn’t my strong point:)

Also, just to let you know, tomorrow I’m starting a blog tour.  I’ll visit a different blog every Tuesday for eight weeks.  Each stop is unique with something new on each one. Answering all of the questions the bloggers sent was fun.  I’ll share the link here each Tuesday, and I hope you’ll check them out.

 

 

 

A Little Disagreement is Good:)

I finished the contract for my six romances at Kensington.  My wonderful editor, John Scognamiglio, told me that I could write three more romances for him, or I could try my hand at a mystery, because he thought I’d do a good job on those, too.  How lucky can a girl get?  My wonderful agent, Lauren Abramo at Dystel and Goderich, told me that it would be smarter to write more romances and build an audience, but being the true lover of WRITING that she is, she told me to do what I was most passionate about.  She’s more than a gem.  People who disparage editors and agents don’t realize how overworked they are and how committed they are to writers and the written word.  Yes, they’re the business side of writing.  But they still LOVE writing and words and books.

Anyway, I’ve always loved mysteries, so I decided to go for it.  Which means that I was starting over…again…and I needed to write a proposal.  And that’s when I remembered how HARD it is.  John Scognamiglio spoiled me.  As long as he thought I had enough ideas to come up with a whole book, he gave me a thumbs up and said Write Away.  He trusted me to figure things out as I went.   Lauren has a more critical eye.  She has to.  She’s the one who shapes a synopsis and proposal so that a publisher might want to buy a writer’s book.  And Lauren and I are very different, and that plays into things, too.

Lauren never gives me a Free Pass.  We hash over how she sees a character, compared to how I see that character in my mind.  If she thinks something’s not clear or a plot point is soggy, she makes me rethink it and rewrite it.  And every book of mine that she’s touched is better for it.  If we can’t come up with a compromise with e-mails, she’s happy to pick up the phone and let me know what she thinks, but she always ends with “It’s your book.  You have to make the final decision.”  Which sounds tempting, but she’s always so freaking right.

I don’t think I’ve ever rewritten, rethought, any book as much as The Body in the Attic (the working title).  I didn’t like the girl who becomes a dead body.  Lauren REALLY sympathized with her.  I sympathized with the person who stuffed her in the attic, and Lauren sent paragraphs about how she considered him sinister.  There’s nothing that makes you learn more and stretch more than a good, healthy disagreement about how you see your book.  We’ve both compromised.  And I’m happy with the changes I’ve made.  (I think Lauren would have liked more changes, but she’s satisfied with what we came up with).  The things that really bothered me about Lynda didn’t bother Lauren. The things that really bothered her weren’t such big deals to me.  Different world views. Different experiences.  No right.  No wrong.  Just different.  And that’s just plain interesting.

NetGalley for reviews

My fifth Mill Pond romance is available for reviews on NetGalley now.  Miriam is a high school English teacher who can stop a rebellious teenager with one raised eyebrow.  Take her seriously!  Joel’s daughter is nineteen, but will always be mentally twelve.  He comes to Mill Pond to open a brewery.  Will beer and literature make a perfect blend?

https://s2.netgalley.com/widget/redeem/111228_53734_149271355558f900535e47d_9781516101375_US

firstkissonthehouse

Sagging

I’m not young anymore.  Things that used to be perky…aren’t.  Gravity takes its toll, and things shift and sag.  The same thing can happen to your writing.  The sales take a dive, and you have to work to lift them again.

When I got a publisher, I thought I could spend more attention on writing and less on marketing.  Not so.  Yes, Lyrical Shine lists my romances on their Facebook page and twitter.  They create covers and do cover releases.  For my first book, they did a great blog tour with Gallagher services http://gallagherauthorservices.com/author-assistant-services/.    I got good feedback.  For my second book, they only advertised on their own Lyrical sites, and that book fizzled and died.  Any momentum I had disappeared.  For my third book, I got excited because they were doing another blog tour, but this tour listed the book cover, a blurb, and the same excerpt at every site.  People yawned after the second one and disappeared.  For my latest book, SPICING THINGS UP, they did the bare basics.  It was sad.

I still like working with Lyrical, but I learned a valuable lesson a little too late.  Even if you have a publisher, you’d better have a plan in mind to promote yourself when you’re a new author with little or no name recognition.  And hopefully, you’ll have a book cover that grabs readers’ attention.  When I self-published my urban fantasies, I never sent a bundle/book out into the cold, cruel world without paying for some kind of advertising.  Sometimes I’d go the $20 or $30 route, and once I went for broke and used BookBub.  NOTHING beats BookBub.  The problem is that it’s almost impossible to get BookBub to accept you, and it’s expensive.  But I more than earned out what it cost.  Using it when you only have one book online is a risky proposition.  It’s useless if you make the book free.  How will you earn back any  money?  But if you have a series, it’s awesome!  At least, it was for me and my writer friends.  I had a lot of luck with the Fussy Librarian, but it did nothing for my friends.  The type of genre you write makes a big difference on which site is best for you or not.

I can’t set the prices of my books on Lyrical, so can’t offer sales or specials on my own, so I’m going to try a different tactic this time.  I paid $65 to start a blog tour with something original on each blog, using Goddess Fish Promotions.  http://www.goddessfish.com/services/virtual-book-tours/  They’ve been every bit as nice to work with as Maggie Gallagher.  I chose a little different approach.  I’ll be featured on a different blog each Tuesday for 8 weeks.  It’s an experiment.  I don’t know what I think works best yet, so it will be interesting to see what happens.  And yes, once April 25th comes, you’ll be pestered by me every Tuesday for a couple of months.  And I’ve answered more questions than I’ve answered for a long time.

Every writer writes for different reasons and has different expectations.  I know some wonderful, talented writers who are happy just putting their books on Amazon and hoping people find them.  That’s fine.  If you want to build an audience, though, advertising has worked better for me than other things I’ve tried.  Social media helped until I switched to romance.  There wasn’t much carry-over.  Urban fantasy readers aren’t impressed with kissing.  I get it.  Kickass battles don’t compare to relationships and angst.  But if you want to find readers for the genre you’re writing, advertising can help.

If any of you have any methods/tricks that have worked for you, and you want to share, I’d love to hear them.   In the meantime, have a great Easter/Passover/holiday and happy writing!

 

 

Mysteries

Writers can end up talking about and researching strange things.  When I write mysteries, though, I always hope no one tracks the history of the sites I visit.  For instance, my character dug a hole near a septic tank–so no one would get suspicious why he was digging a hole in the first place, and then dumped a body in it.  Six months later, the house has sold and the toilets aren’t draining right, so another person digs near the septic tank and finds the body.  Question is:  what will it look?  Answer:  not at all like the body my protagonists found stashed in the attic–which was above ground and protected. Hence the working title:  The Body in the Attic.  But when I read the first chapter to my writers’ group, they all had different ideas of what dear Lynda’s remains would exactly be. Would the clothes still be intact?  The hair?  Would her skin and flesh have dissolved or mummified?  Would the pillow under her head be stained from when her flesh liquefied?

How I love my writer friends!  They didn’t blink an eye while they discussed how bodies decompose or dessicate–as Lisa Black explains in her book THAT DARKNESS.  A fellow writer in my group is working on a much more grisly mystery than mine and needed to know how long a body can hang in woods before the neckbone gives out and the head and body drop and roll in different directions.  Oh, the possibilities!

I bought Lisa Black’s book THAT DARKNESS, because she’s a forensic scientist and I thought she’d HAVE to make me start thinking about stuff I usually try to avoid.  And I was right.  It reminded me of when I went to a big mystery conference in Chicago and a coroner gave an hour and a half workshop on finding clues when studying dead bodies.  He brought slides of entry wounds and exit wounds.  A bullet goes in small, but exits big.  Unless it’s a .22, and then it might just bounce around inside the skull.  (Black used that in her book, but the coroner had already warned us about it).

Black’s book concentrates on crimes and forensics, so it was fun to read–unless you’re squeamish.  I want my book to concentrate more on characters but with realistic clues to the murders.  Black’s book has lifetime criminals and cops and forensic scientists.  Her characters work with crime day after day.  Professional criminals do WAY worse things than the killer in my book.  He’s an amateur with amateur detectives finding clues they don’t want to.  My book will have a totally different feel than hers.  On purpose.  But I’m so glad I read hers.  Details make a difference.  And she’s a professional, so her details drive the story.  When she has to cut off a dessicated finger to soak it long enough that she can get prints, you believe her.  And that’s awesome!