Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I want to wish all of my readers and friends a very happy holiday spent with those you love and full of health and good cheer. It looks like we'll be having a white Christmas in Colorado, and I'm cooking the big dinner for nine family members and relatives this year. May the new year fulfill your wishes and bring you joy, and if you're a writer, may it bring you book contracts!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Blogging about Mystery Scene Magazine

Today is my turn to blog at Inkspot, the blog for Midnight Ink authors, and I've chosen to talk about my favorite mystery-related magazine, Mystery Scene. I hope you'll read the article and find out why I like this publication so much. Maybe you'll even decide to subscribe as a result. :-)

Also, I've decided that I want to ask my husband to give me a subscription to one other mystery-related publication for my Christmas gift. I'm asking Inkspot readers to let me know what their favorite magazine is and why. Please go add your vote to the discussion!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My novella has been released!

My science fiction thriller novella, THE EPSILON ERIDANI ALTERNATIVE, has officially been released from Virtual Tales and is available for purchase. The short blurb is:

What would you do if you were confronted with a "kill or be-killed" scenario? What if that meant that you had to kill an infant of an alien species to save your own life? And what if the future of the human race depended on your decision?

paperback ISBN-13: 9781935460138, $9.95
eBook ISBN-13: 9781935460190, $3.95

You can buy it at Virtual Tales (free trial of first four chapters, ebook or paperback) or Amazon (paperback) or Barnes & Noble (paperback).

I would sure appreciate it if folks would tag it on Amazon and consider reading it, or at least getting sample chapters, and give it a good review on Amazon or the Virtual Tales website if you liked it. Thanks and happy holidays!

Monday, December 07, 2009

A Personal Writing Project--The Family Christmas Letter

Yesterday I took a break from working on the manuscript for my second Mandy Tanner river ranger mystery (that I'm calling Evil Eddies) to work on a personal writing project--the family Christmas letter. It always takes me quite awhile to produce this because there are multiple, sometime conflicting goals: make it interesting and entertaining and light, cover all the major accomplishments but don't make it a "brag sheet", and keep it short--about a page and a half, so a couple of photos can be inserted at the bottom.

Once I'm fairly happy with the draft, I email it to my husband, daughter, and son to review and correct, especially the parts where I talk about them. Heaven forbid if I say anything about one of them that's incorrect, passe', or is something they don't want everyone on our Christmas letter list to know!

After I get all their feedback, I make the corrections, format it so it fits on this year's holiday stationary, then start printing them on the black & white printer. My husband then adds the photos on the color printer, then the addressing and stamping begin. I'm lucky if I can get him to address & stamp those going to his relatives, and I get to do everyone else's. This is why I try to keep the recipient list down to 50 or less!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Wrestling a Manuscript into Final Layout

My science fiction novella, The Epsilon Eridani Alternative, is going to the printer on Monday for the paperback version. Working with the small publisher, Virtual Tales, has given me a view of the final steps of of the production process that an author just doesn't see with a large publisher. The press is run by two folks, Sheri and Dave, who handle all the management, layout, production, promotion, and countless other tasks by themselves. Sheri does the final layout to put the book together, merging the manuscript text, author bio, cover art, table of contents, ads for future Virtual Tales books, and more into a final print-ready masterpiece.

Early last week, Sheri sent the draft of the final book in a PDF file to me, my editor, her partner Dave, the cover artist, and a couple of other staff to review and provide missing pieces. In my review, I discovered an extra piece: one scene was duplicated, at the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. Fixing it required revising the table of contents, repaginating the book, and possibly even recalculating the price of the print run (though I didn't hear about that part). Sheri had some scrambling to do.

I also went through the manuscript with a fine-toothed comb and found a few typos, some that had been introduced since my last run-through with the editor and some that both of us had missed in all of our previous passes. This always happens, so I never turn down a chance to review a manuscript one more time. I'm sure there are still one or two typos that will make it into the printed book, but at least the dozen or so I found won't!

Sheri included me in the distribution of subsequent versions, so I saw the ads make it into the back, my bio enhanced with a frame around my headshot and wallpaper on the page, a blurb quote from Laura Reeve, a generous science fiction author friend, added to the back cover, and more. The book grew more beautiful and complete with each pass, like a young woman getting gussied up for a debut ball or her wedding.

I just sent Sheri my last email saying it looks great and good to go, from my viewpoint. I can't wait to hold the final version in my hands! To read an excerpt, go to The Epsilon Eridani Alternative Books page on my website. To order a trial subscription to the first few chapters and get a chance to order the novella at 40% off list price (hurry, the deal expires after the release date!), go to its page on the Virtual Tales website.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Two Signings in Denver Coming Up

I am looking forward to two fun appearances coming up in Denver, Colorado next week. First, on Sunday, December 6th, from 3:00 – 4:00 PM, I will participate in a group signing with fellow mystery authors Mike Befeler, Linda Berry, and Patricia Stoltey at Who Else Books? in the Broadway Book Mall at 200 S. Broadway. We call ourselves the "Mystery Through the Ages" panel, with mysteries featuring sleuths of all different ages.

Second, on Friday, December 11th, I will participate with a host of other authors in a fundraiser for the Colorado Humanities and Colorado Center for the Book at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in the Entertainment and Fashion Pavilion at 500 16 Street. I will be signing with science fiction author Laura Reeve from 11:00 AM to noon. For more information about this event and to download a voucher that assures a percentage of your purchases goes to the fundraiser, go to the Colorado Humanities website.

I hope to see some of my Colorado-based friends, family, and fans, and fellow mystery writers and readers at these events. I'm sure you all have a mystery lover on your gift list, and what better gift could there be for such a person than a signed first-edition hardcover mystery from yours truly? ;-)