Friday, December 29, 2006
Anyway, the second snowstorm of the holiday season moved into town yesterday morning, and we're socked in again. A fresh 8-10 inches of snow is on top of what hasn't melted from the previous storm and dreary gray skies are spitting more flakes down on us. I'm staying inside with my cup of hot chocolate, thank you very much.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Now, the Farsi translation, you ask? My "Biscuit Connection" short story, which won the fall contest for Mom Writers Literary Magazine, is now up on their website, www.momwriterslitmag.com . It's a nice little holiday story, so if you have a chance, please read it. A few days after it appeared, I received an email request from a translator in Iran, asking for a photo and bio to appear with a Farsi translation of the story in the Iranian publication, Atiye, which means Future. Cool! This will be the first translation of one of my stories into a language other than English (that I know about). The translator will ask the publisher to mail me a copy or two of the magazine issue that will contain my story. I'll have a blast showing it to my writer friends!
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
I spent a couple of hours writing letters to a half dozen ezine reviewers and packaging up those books. I'm sure the demand for the ARCs will outpace my supply, so I'm trying to choose where I send them wisely. Now, here's hoping I get some good reviews!
Friday, December 08, 2006
Here's a lesson about retargeting a story you wrote for one market to another. I wrote a story for my local newspaper's short story contest last Christmas and it lost. The first sentence had to be "Samuel didn't know how his tie got stapled to the wall." and the last one had to be "All that was left to do was sit down and eat that biscuit."
Since then, I've edited the story and sent it to a few places, such as religious magazines. I also entered it into the no-fee quarterly short story contest run by Mom Writers Literary Magazine (www.momwriterslitmag.com) and it won the Fall contest--a $100 prize! That has to be better that whatever the newspaper was offering. My story will appear in the December 18 issue of their ezine.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Sunday, December 03, 2006
After the comparative tasting, we feasted on desserts including a beautiful Bouche de Noel chocolate log complete with merengue mushrooms and chocolate curls, polenta cookies with chocolate nibs (raw ground cacao beans), truffles, chocolate cake, etc. This wasall served with a fortified red dessert wine from France. Lovely! I actually couldn't finish my plate of desserts because it was so much chocolate. Needless to say, this chocoholic was in hog heaven.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Contrary to popular belief, being a successful writer is not a solitary pursuit. Yes, only you alone can plop your butt in the chair and pound out those words on the computer, but what happens when you lose your motivation? What happens when you think you're ready to sell that finished manuscript? You need to network with other writers to gain encouragement, set goals, get critiques from knowledgeable sources, find out about the screwy publishing business, and learn which publications, agents and editors are the right ones for your work.
I'm a consummate networker, being an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, The Short Mystery Fiction Society, Romance Writers of America, Pikes Peak Writers, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Through the contacts I've made, I've found markets for my short stories and made connections with agents and editors. And I had to make a lot of those connections, because my novel manuscript was rejected almost ninety times before I found my agent and publisher six long years after I started writing seriously. Without encouragement from my writing buddies, I would have given up long before then. So, don't be a loner!
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Also, I just picked the third winner in my email newsletter gift basket contest. He is J. Tucker from Elgin, Illinois, and he chose the mystery lover basket. I selected some mysteries for him that I thought a man would enjoy, with one by Tony Hillerman, a fellow Western writer. I'll be drawing a fourth name in December. Keep those entrees coming!
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Besides the 154 students, 18 chaperones, 11 staff members and the principal, there were around 100 parents plus brothers & sisters, grandparents and friends cheering on the band. It was an enormous logistical undertaking, but we didn't lose any kids or have any disasters--just a misplaced cell phone and a stolen backpack. We were SO grateful no one got sick or hurt. The group went 5 nights with 5-7 hours sleep each, so everyone was exhausted by the end, but also very happy with the outcome. Inbetween laundry loads, I'm trying to catch up on my writing work now.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
For the exercises, I worked on defining the personality of my current protagonist's male love interest. I always have a harder time getting into my male characters' heads than my female characters. I learned a lot about good old Rob yesterday, things I hadn't known about him before!
This was the first workshop that Barb and I organized together. We are so pleased it was successful, and we even made a small profit. Much better than losing money! On to the next one...
Thursday, November 02, 2006
My list reached the second hundred mark must faster than the first hundred mark and is marching steadily toward three hundred. I can't wait to award that third basket! I'm very pleased that so many members of the DorothyL and CozyMysteryKorner email loops have signed up for my newsletter, as well as friends, neighbors, writing pals, and the ever faithful Sisters in Crime. What would I do without you all?
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
We usually don't get many trick-or-treaters at the house since we live on a hilly street. Trudging uphill in below-freezing, windy weather is not most kids' idea of fun. For those who do make the trek, I try to have a big treat so they feel the effort was worth their while. The full-size Nerds ropes go over well, and I throw in a sheet of Halloween stickers, too.
Enjoy the mystery of Halloween and stay warm!
Thursday, October 26, 2006
I handed my dear hubby a list of website updates last week, and he's been hard at work implementing them, so click on the link to my website and check them out. You'll see changes to the Books page (read the excerpts!), Press Kit page, and a new list of Appearances. Also, I've added a FAQ, a photo with my acquisition editor, a recipe for a mystery lover's gift basket, and a cover photo of the Map of Murder anthology in which I have a short story. I'm still waiting anxiously for the cover art of A Real Basket Case!
About a week ago, my email newsletter list reached 100 addresses, so I picked the first gift basket winner. I emailed her to ask what type of basket she would like and if I could publish her name. She chose the chocoholic basket. My kind of gal! The winner is:
Karen Duvall from Bent,
Now, those of you who did not win, DON'T DESPAIR! You still have many more chances to win a gift basket. When my email list reaches 200 addresses, I will draw a random number from ALL the addresses, so the first 100 will have another chance. Same goes when the list hits 300, 400, 500, and so on. So, by signing up early, you get more chances to win. Encourage all of your mystery-reading friends to join to increase your odds. The sooner they sign up, the better their odds are, too!
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Our band director was able to contact the competition officials and get our performance time switched from before the lunch break to after. However, we arrived with just enough time for the kids to sprint to the port-a-potties after being on the bus 4.5 hours, get in uniform and march in, with no practice or warm-up. They still managed to score second place in the semifinals and advance to finals.
After a good lunch and practice time, they were back to their award-winning form for their 7 pm performance at finals and took first-place. However, more trouble greeted us on the return trip. One of the 4 buses wouldn't start, so kids were crammed onto the remaining three for the cramped journey home, starting after 11 pm. Then the liftgate of the rented truck that my husband drove, which held the percussion instruments, broke when we got back to the school. So, heavy xylophones, bells, etc. had to be hand-lifted down. And, the broken liftgate motor drained the power from the truck's battery, so he couldn't return the truck last night. My son and I got home at 2:15 am, my husband at 3 am after the other truck driver took him to the U-Haul place to pick up his car. I'm moving slowly today, but I had to share my excitement!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Massager Death Murders a Marriage.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
We had a great time laughing and commiserating with each other as we read out loud our rejection letters that were in the running for prizes. The sting of those negative words was magically swept away. Those who were new to the process found out what the stock phrases were for turning down a submittal, such as "I just didn't fall in love with the work." The whole point was to embrace rejections as part of being a professional writer, to realize that every writer receives them, and we shouldn't take them personally. I highly recommend every local writing group have a party to celebrate rejections!
Monday, October 09, 2006
I was the moderator for the first Author Panel, the Many Faces of Mystery, with Kathy Brandt, Carol Cail, Carol Caverly, and Troy Cook. This was followed by a workshop, Shortcuts to a Bestseller, given by editor/book doctor Jennifer Knight. After lunch, Jennifer led a second workshop, Crafting the Mystery Hero, which was followed by an author panel on Characters that Count. I served on this panel with Linda Berry, Ann Ripley, and Margaret Coel.
The event wound up with a booksigning. I had no books to sell, but I handed out a list of online short story market databases and order forms for the upcoming Map of Murder anthology that will include my short story, Murder Cache. I had a great time meeting some of my northern Colorado chapter sisters and chatting with writers about our shared love--the mystery novel.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Carol Hightshoe is a local fantasy writer, and her husband, Tim, who taught the class, is with the El Paso County Sheriff's Department, is a weapons trainer for the Colorado Air National Guard, and at one time was rated #2 in the US for combat pistol. He KNOWS his firearms. He brought a collection worth over $15,000 for us to see and feel and fire, from a flintlock rifle to a modern day scoped sniper's rifle. I can still smell the gunpowder...
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Both Bob and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with the group and hope to do it again someday. And, the four short story writers I met with exchanged email addresses and plan to form an online critique group to review each other's stories. What a terrific outcome!
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
That 100 pages means I've written over a third of the manuscript, and I hope to pass the midway point in October. I'm still aiming to finish the rough draft by the end of the year, but it's going to be close!
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Here's what I did, and still do, to stay motivated while waiting for the good news. You need a support system. Join a critique group, a goal-setting group, a group of local writers. Misery loves company, they say, but don't just kvetch with your fellow writers. Encourage each other and set goals. I'm in a weekly online goal-setting group where we post goals and report on them. Often, for me, that means rushing to my writing chair on Friday and Saturday, after dilly-dallying Monday - Thursday, to write those pages I said I would before I post my goal report on Sunday. So, yes I procastinated but not through the whole week. Also, having a deadline to submit something to critique group twice a month keeps me on task. Breaking my goals up into small bites really helps, like "I'll just write two pages today and three pages tomorrow" instead of "I've got to finish my novel by the end of the month." Schedule a block of time to write at least five days a week and announce it to your family, so they know, and you know, this is your time. Everytime you sit down to write, the next time will be easier. Happy writing!
Monday, September 11, 2006
My panel, "It Could Happen to You" also went well, and I hope the four of us who made our first novel sale in the last year provided useful information to the audience. I was thrilled to accept my published author pen award at the Saturday banquet and to cheer for my critique group buddy, Bill Mason, who finaled in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category of the writing contest. I talked to a number of published authors about the possibility of presenting workshops to the Pikes Peak Writers. I furiously wrote notes during the Agent Panel, so I could pass on the information to the agent questors in the Sisters in Crime Guppies online group. I learned some techniques for injecting humor and rhetorical devices into my writing and how to write faster. I enjoyed getting together with my acquisition editor, John Helfers, and with the ten other Five Star authors in attendance, to swap information about the publishing process and promotion techniques. And, of course, I made lots of networking contacts and renewed existing ones!
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I attended my first Board Meeting of the Pikes Peak Writers last night, and the outgoing VP (who I'm replacing), Charlie Rush, brought me three copies of Frontier Airlines' Wild Blue Yonder magazine containing my short story, Power Play. What a sweetheart you are, Charlie! I was able to give a copy to my parents as a result. Friday morning, I'm driving up to Denver to attend RMFW's Colorado Gold conference over the weekend. In the meantime, I'll be practicing my talk, gathering my materials, and trying to figure out what to wear! I'l report in on the conference after I return.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Also, the latest issue of the Pikes Peak Writer newsletter officially announced that I have accepted the position of Vice President of Pikes Peak Writers. In that capacity, I'll primarily be working with my good friend, Barb Nickless, the new Workshops Director, on organizing non-conference events, including Workshops and the monthly Write Brain meetings. I'm excited about becoming more involved with PPW, but also a little nervous about the extra work it will bring.
Monday, August 28, 2006
We'll be taking my parents and sister to Memorial Park downtown at o'dark thirty Saturday morning to hopefully watch the hot air balloon launch for the Colorado Springs Balloon Classic. I say "hopefully" because the launch is always dependent on weather, especially winds. When they do launch, they launch in "waves" of 25-30 balloons, since there are nearly 100 total. A beautiful event to watch and photograph!
I received my cover art for A Real Basket Case a couple of days ago. I was jumping with excitement when I saw the email, then opened the jpeg file and sat stunned in disbelief. My suggestion for a cover was to show a wicker/straw basket flipped over on its side, with a hole in it and blood dripping out of the hole, and a smoking handgun lying nearby. Instead, the cover showed a woman's hand holding a shopping basket, and a kid's dart gun with stick-on darts scattered about. Huh? Well, after I recovered from the shock, I sent a detailed email outlining my concerns to Tiffany Schofield at Five Star, and she replied that she had sent a request for revision to the cover designer. Thank goodness! That means the cover won't be ready to display on my website when it goes public September first, but I prefer a late cover to the one I saw!
Friday, August 18, 2006
We put our French exchange student on a plane Wednesday and heard from his family yesterday that he made it home safely. With him gone, my youngest back in high school, and this copy-edit done, I can finally get back to work on my current manuscript, now stuck on page 47. I would really like to finish the first draft this year.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
The invitation said formal, and I got a lot of phone calls beforehand, mostly from the men, asking what exactly that meant. Coloradoans aren't known for dressing up, and the men were leery that I was asking them to rent tuxes. No way! Coat and tie was enough, but the women had fun going all out with cocktail dresses and floor-length gowns. It was fun to see everyone all dolled up and complaining that their formal clothes had shrunk in the closet since they last wore them years ago. :) A great time was had by all, especially the Birthday girl.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Friday, July 28, 2006
Still, I'm feeling very guilty about not touching my work-in-progress since before the Alaska trip. I did, however, review the edits on my Murder Cache short story for the Map of Murder Anthology. I answered the editor's questions, made a few more edits, and sent the story back. So, that's one writing task done. Summer is always this way for me, busy with the kids but guilt-tripping and feeling anxious that I'm not doing more writing. Sigh!
Monday, July 17, 2006
This same story appeared in the Kansas Writers Association's Words out of the Flatlands anthology. In that anthology, the story was titled "Global Domination," but the folks at Frontier wanted a less terrorism-related title, so it will be retitled "Power Play." It's a story about a mother who uses playing a game of Risk to resolve some issues in her family. I'm almost as excited about this as when I got my book contract!
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
I won't be posting for the next three weeks, because I'm off on a family trip to Alaska tomorrow. We're spending three days in Vancouver, Canada, then taking an Inside Passage cruise from Vancouver to Whittier, with stops in Ketchikan, Skagway, and Juneau. After spending one night in Anchorage and visiting my mother's cousin, we'll ride the Alaska Railroad to Denali to spend two nights, ride the train to Fairbanks to spend two nights, then fly back to Anchorage. There we'll rent a car to drive to Valdez to spend four nights with my husband's cousin's family, then drive back to Anchorage to fly home. Whew! Lots of modes of transportation. We're all looking forward to the adventure and to getting out of this heat. Temperatures in the 90s are rare in Colorado, and are most likely in August, not June. Our house doesn't have air conditioning, because we usually don't need it.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Sunday, June 11, 2006
I went to Kathy's launch party yesterday for Under Pressure, the fourth mystery in her underwater diving series, and brought her an ocean-relaxation-themed gift basket as a thank-you for all her help in my writing career. I enjoyed creating it: main color was blue, of course, and I included ocean-scented bath salts, a relaxation CD of ocean sounds, and a floating candle set with blue stones and blue candles. Fun! This is what makes gift basketry special, when you really know the recipient and pick a great theme you're sure they'll like.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Now back to chapter two of that new mystery...
Friday, June 02, 2006
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Also, I started writing my new mystery this week, after spending the last few months researching, plotting, and creating character profiles. Always have a story in the works!
Kathy Brandt, author of the underwater diving mystery series, just sent my first published author blurb, and it is SOOO cool! Many thanks to Kathy for making my day. Also, Andi Shechter, mystery fan, reviewer, and conference organizer extraordinaire, asked for a link to my author website, based on a couple of my recent Dorothy L postings. Thrilled to be asked, I said, it's coming, it's coming…
May 13, 2006
My husband is working on my website, and it's starting to take shape. He was slow getting started, but I think he's actually having some fun with it now. I can't wait until it's ready to go LIVE, and I can ask friends to try it out for me! I sent off a filled-in form for the Five Star Cover Art department to John Helfers yesterday, giving information to help them design a cover for A Real Basket Case. Also, from the fivestarpromo list, I've learned that cover art tends to become available about 5 months prior to publication and copy edits are done about 6 months prior to publication, so I'm looking forward to those milestones. I've also made some connections with other Five Star authors in Colorado/Texas with release dates close to mine. I'm doing some preliminary appearances planning and am trying not to go overboard with the travel.
May 9, 2006
Tonight, I spoke on a PPWC Success Stories Panel with fellow authors Karen Lin, Paula Reed, Angel Smits, and Bob Spiller. We had all placed in prior Paul Gillette Writing Contests, run in association with the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, and gone on to publication success. My critique buddy, Bob, with a YA mystery coming out in August from Medallion Press, had the room in stitches. The rest of us just tried to keep up. I brought 1/2 page handouts with short story market lists and sold one copy each of the two anthologies I brought: Dry Spell and Manhattan Mysteries. I call that a successful event!
On DorothyL yesterday, Lev Raphael said:
Actually, I can't get enough of author blogs. I want to know it all: early childhood fantasy friends, shoe size, addictions, gardening tips, alien abductions (real or hoped-for), secret network of wishes and fears, allergies, sleep preference (back? side?), opinions about flossing, favorite TV commercial, hiphop sex games. I'd rather read an author blog than read the books. Most authors blog better than they write.
I enjoyed posting the following response:
My addiction is chocolate--the darker the better, my childhood fantasy friend was a kind chocolate Easter bunny who let me nibble his ears, and my worst childhood fear was falling down Alice's rabbit hole and never having access to chocolate again. I'll never bungee-jump for the same reason. My secret wish is that I will inherit Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, which is my all-time favorite movie--the one with Gene Wilder, not Johnny Depp. More later, once my website is up and running.... ;)
April 24, 2006
Today is the day after the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, and I am exhausted but glowing. I volunteered to work at the Agent/Editor Appointments desk, so I spent the day checking in nervous writers, wishing them luck, celebrating with them when they got a submittal request, and trying to match turned-in appts with people on the waiting list or to facilitate appt. swaps. We were able to get all but two people on the waiting list in to see an agent or editor.
The highlight of the conference for me was sitting next to Diane Mott Davidson at lunch and picking her brain for promotion ideas for my book. She was a font of knowledge, overflowing with creative and helpful ideas and advice. I scribbled madly to keep up with her suggestions! I go to each conference with a goal, and this year's goal was to learn about promotion. Suzanne Strempek Shea's talk, Always Keep Five Copies in Your Trunk, was very useful, as was just brainstorming and networking with fellow authors.
April 19, 2006
Today I sent off spiral-bound copies of the manuscript I had made for four published mystery authors who live in Colorado and with whom I had developed relationships. I contacted them over the past week, begged them to read my manuscript and, if they liked it, to give me a blurb for my cover. Amazingly, all four agreed! I am truly grateful and awed by how helpful these and other published authors have been to me. This goes to show, start cultivating relationships with published authors in your genre BEFORE you sell your manuscript. That means buying some books! But reading examples of other work in your genre is always a good idea--and it's a business expense.
April 17, 2006
In my March 15 entry, I mentioned that I accepted a speaking engagement at a local high school for today, and friends had warned me that the school is a hotbed of trouble, one of the worst in town for gangs. The teacher from the school who made the arrangements said, "I love our student body and think they are all wonderful but I must warn you; we can have some hecklers. They are tough kids who will test what you are made of. Really obnoxious ones will be executed, I mean escorted out. However, it may take us a few minutes to target them, so be brave."
With all that buildup, I was expecting the worst, but the experience was wonderful. About 100-150 teens came to the presentation and were very polite. I even got some interaction from them--both in answering my questions and asking some of their own. And three teens stayed afterward to talk to me about their writing efforts. I'm so glad I didn't back out of this rewarding experience!
April 10, 2006
Big news today! Denise said she signed off on my manuscript, and it's on the way to Five Star Publications. Also, acquisition editor John Helfers emailed me that they were able to fulfill my request to move up my publication date from Summer, 2007 to March, 2007. Yippee! That means I'll have copies of books to sign for the Pikes Peak Writers Conference and Malice Domestic. Now I've got to get cracking on a list of additional reviewers (mostly for local newspapers) due Friday and asking my published author friends for blurbs. The blurbs are due by the end of June, but I leave on vacation mid-June, and I want to give the authors at least 6 weeks notice so they can fit reading the manuscript into their busy schedules. To work, to work!
April 7, 2006
Phew! I finished proofing the manuscript for A Real Basket Case and putting together an author requirements file (acknowledgments, blurb, teasers, cover art suggestions, etc) and emailed the whole package off to Denise Dietz. I made a few changes as a result of getting clarifications from retired police officers, Wally and Don, at the crimescenewriters yahoo group on a couple of police procedure questions, and I put back about 4 lines of dialogue that I considered to be important in a scene Denise cut by 1.5 pages (it needed cutting). Otherwise, I understood the reasons for her changes and went with them. Note to writers: if you can't give a damn good reason for NOT going with an editor's changes, accept them.
April 6, 2006
In critique group tonight, Bob and I did a happy dance together to celebrate that we're both on PPW's Success Stories panel, and he showed me the cover design for his YA mystery. It is SO cool. I hope mine will be as good. Another critique group member took first place in the Mystery/Suspense category of the local Paul Gillette writing conference, and a fourth announced the birth of a new grandchild. Good news all around!
April 3, 2006
I slogged through the first eight chapters of A Real Basket Case today, proofing my editor's edits. From Denise's comments about her corrections, I was expecting a lot of changes, but was pleasantly surprised with how few there were. Just goes to show how wishy-washy the definitions of "a lot" and "a few" are. I agree with 99% of what she's done, I'm working on answers to her questions, and I have made very few additional changes. I expect the work to get harder as I progress through the manuscript, though, because she warned me some larger issues cropped up in the last third of the book. I hope to get through 7-8 more chapters tomorrow, then I'll spend the rest of the week on the last third of the book. You know that old saying, BIC (Butt in Chair), meaning get to work on your writing? My butt hurts!
April 2, 2006
Yesterday, I accepted an invitation from Pikes Peak Writers to speak on a panel of "success stories" from previous year's conferences and contests for an open meeting of the organization. I won the Short Story category of the Paul Gillette contest one year and have taken third place in the Mystery/Suspense/Intrigue category two years. So, on May 9th, I'll be talking about my short story sales and sale of A Real Basket Case and will be signing copies of two of the anthologies my short stories appear in. Happily, one of my critique partners, Bob, will be on the panel, too, speaking about the YA mystery novel he sold to Medallion.
I also volunteered to moderate a session at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, in addition to my duties of manning the agent/editor appointment table. Performing these volunteer jobs in addition to judging short stories in this year's Paul Gillette contest should allow me to attend the conference for almost free. Next year, I hope to be a speaker!
April 1, 2006
It's April Fool's Day, but I have a real deadline now, no fooling. My editor emailed the edited copy of A Real Basket Case to me today and asked me to proof it by April 10th. I just got back home from a week of skiing over Spring Break with my family, so my creative batteries are recharged and I'm ready to go. But first I have to take my daughter to the airport for her return trip to college, do the laundry, grocery shop, and slog through the accumulated paper and electronic mail--all those post-vacation chores. It was fun seeing all the skiers dressed up in silly costumes on the slopes for April Fool's Day, though. Let's see, next year, which costume should I pull out of the Halloween box--the Barbarella-type space babe, the Statue of Liberty, or the giant carrot? Such choices!
I got an email from Joe Gouveia, a.k.a. "JoeGo", founder of the Biker Poets & Writers Association. He's putting together a biker anthology of poems, song lyrics, articles and short stories and wants to include my poem, Ride the Wind, about a motorcycle rider fantasizing he's flying alongside a hawk he spots. The poem took third place in the Mandy Poetry contest run by ezine Mindfire Renewed--even though I've never ridden a motorcycle! My work will be in the same book as the Holy Ranger, Rev. Martin Jack Rosenblum, official historian/poet laureate of Harley Davidson. This is just too cool!
March 15, 2006
Denise Dietz told me to expect to receive her edits the first week of April, so I'm busy clearing the decks for then, since she told me I'll have one week to proof them. Yikes! I finished up compiling my writing expenses and income for 2005 for taxes today. I also accepted a speaking engagement at a local high school for April 17th, and friends are now warning me that the school is a hotbed of trouble, one of the worst in town for gangs. Oh boy. What did I get myself into? At least, if I survive this talk, any other talk will seem like a cake walk in comparison!
March 9, 2006
I got an email from Denise Dietz today that she'll be my editor at Tekno Books. Yippee! I'm so glad I was assigned to her because we had a great conversation at Colorado Gold, and I feel we'll work well together. In the meantime, I've joined the Five Star author email loops and had some email exchanges with other Sisters in Crime members who have books coming out with Five Star.
March 7, 2006
Flowers were delivered today, and when I thanked my husband, he said they weren't from him. I read the note, and they were from my daughter, a freshman in college. Her thoughtful note brought tears to my eyes. Just so you don't think my husband didn't come through--he took me out for a lobster dinner with more champagne, and is my website designer. He's got a list of specifications from me that he'll start on soon. Right, honey?
March 4, 2006
On re-reading the contract cover letter, I saw the contract needed to have the final book title in it. I had some concerns about my title, since Carl Hiassen recently published a mystery titled Basket Case. I emailed my concerns to both John Helfers and Barret Neville with a list of suggested new titles. We all agreed on A REAL BASKET CASE. I amended and initialed the title change in the contract copies and mailed them off. In the meantime, I'm wallowing in the congratulations emails and generally enjoying the glow.
March 3, 2006
Four copies of the contract arrived in the mail for my signature today. Yippee!! My husband took a photo of me signing them (see it on my Photos page), with champagne bottle and glass at the ready. I called my mother, sister, and daughter and said, "It's signed. You can tell people now!" I started the emails to relatives, to friends, to all the email lists I subscribe to, to my book club, etc. etc. Then we cracked open the champagne--even my 15 year old son got a small glass! None for the dog, though. She just got a fresh rawhide chew.
Today was the monthly meeting of the Pikes Peak Romance Writers, a wonderfully supportive group who, along with my critique group, are the reason I haven't given up the pursuit to be published. At the "Nuggets and Noogies" portion of the meeting, where we list our accomplishments and rejections that month, I asked the President if I could go last. Then I announced my sale. The hugs, wows, congratulations and questions overwhelmed me. And I finally got my rose! (The group awards different types of artificial flowers for accomplishments--irises for contest wins, chrysanthemum for short fiction pubs, etc., with roses for books.)
February 24, 2006
Finally! A response to our proposed contract changes came to my agent a few days ago, and Barret emailed the new revised contract to me today. Our minor contract changes were accepted; a couple of others that were more substantial were rejected. I looked over the new version of the contract and emailed my response to Barret, mainly, "I'm ready to agree to this!"
February 21, 2006
I had to get a massage from the wife of one of my critique partners, an excellent Trager massage therapist, to work the tension out of my body. See, even good events in your life can be stressful!
February 16, 2006
I couldn't go through another meeting with my critique group without saying anything, so I spilled the beans tonight that I'd gotten an offer. Cheers all around. Again, I asked them to keep the news quiet, because I still felt there were lots of ways I could jinx this, and my active mind was keeping me up at night dreaming up dire scenarios.
February 14, 2006
Unable to stand the tension any longer, I emailed my agent, admitting I was getting antsy and asking if he'd heard anything. He emailed Helfers, who replied that a snowstorm had closed their offices, but that he'd get back to him soon. My fingernails are nubs now. Darn snow!
February 2, 2006
John Helfers answered the questions he could and said he could give me a contact at Five Star Publishing to answer the rest after contract signing. I'm getting anxious to hear what the response is to our suggested contract changes, and I'm starting to second-guess this whole thing now. What if he decides I'm too difficult to work with? What if he says forget the whole thing? I'm stressing too much, I know, but I can't help it.
My agent and I spoke by phone and divided up the work: I would email my remaining questions to John Helfers and discuss those directly with him, and my agent would email the suggested contract changes and handle that end.
January 20, 2006
I contacted a few published author friends, some of whom published with Five Star to get their take on the publisher, their reputation, and what it was like to work with the company. Again, I asked them to keep the news to themselves. I got lots of useful information, mostly positive, and decided to accept the deal. I purchased my website name. Also, my agent emailed answers to most of my questions to me today.
January 17, 2006
At 11 am yesterday I received an email from John Helfers saying Tekno Books would like to purchase my novel, Basket Case, for their Five Star Mystery line. I danced upstairs from my basement writing room and announced the news to my husband. After seven long years of pursuing a fiction-writing career, I'm finally going to be published in novel-length fiction! Then I called my mother, my sister and my daughter in college, who were all thrilled. I told them to keep quiet about it because I hadn't signed the contract yet. Today, I sent the contract attached to Helfers's email to my agent for review, along with a list of questions, and told John that I'd done so. Now I'm twiddling thumbs!
Note: I submitted Basket Case on November 30, shortly after signing with my agent, Barret Neville, and discussing the book with Tekno editor, Denise Dietz, both of whom I met at the Colorado Gold Conference in Denver, CO in September, 2006.