Living the Literary Life by Catherine Dilts



For as long as I can remember, I craved what I thought of as the Literary Life. Being surrounded by other

Photo by Kari L. Vollaire, Artsy Phartsy Design -

Photo by Kari L. Vollaire, Artsy Phartsy Design –

writers. Having deadlines. Casually mentioning meeting my editor for lunch. Fame, fortune, and all the trappings. But perhaps I had put the cart before the horse. I had to get something published before I could live the Literary Life. Didn’t I?


That dream was put on hold while I wrote. And wrote. And wrote.


Then in one astonishing year, I sold my first short story and my first novel. My family prepared for the life of leisure on the island my royalties would purchase until harsh reality intruded. Unless you hit the New York Times bestseller list, don’t quit your day job.


On a drive to the Florida Keys to visit Hemingway House, I experienced a revelation. After years of craving the Literary Life, I had finally earned my place in that world, no matter how humble. I might not have the stature of Hemmingway, but I was a Published Author. I should be savoring the victory. Instead, I felt deflated.


I had accomplished my goal of publication. Now where were the rewards I had so long anticipated reaping?


Redefining Fame and Fortune:


  • Fortune: Non-writers seem to think that once you sell a book, you have won a magic lottery ticket. They view you with skepticism when your small press novel is not available on the shelf at the local brick and mortar bookstore. It can be humbling to explain why you are still working the day job. That initial thrill of holding a modest advance or royalty check can fade quickly. Yes, I have actually had people ask how much I was paid for a story or novel. Those same folks would not dream of asking how much my day job pays. I had to learn to politely tell people to mind their own budget. I am doing what I love. Stephen King and J. K. Rowling didn’t make their fortunes with their first story or book.


  • Fame: I sat next to a well-known cozy author at a library event. She regaled me with tales of the early days, when her New York publisher sent her on book tours, picking up the tab for travel and nice hotels. It was like meeting Snow White and hearing about the fairy tale castle and Prince Charming. Those days are gone for all but the biggest names. My fame moments have come unexpectedly, at a conference when someone bought my book and asked me to autograph it, or at the day job when coworkers introduced me to visitors as the company author. Savor these bits of glory, for the flecks of gold can meld into substantial nuggets with time.



The lesson I am learning is to enjoy the present moment. Stop to smell the roses, carpe diem and all that. I am living the Literary Life right now. My focus on an imaginary future kept me from realizing I was living it all along, well before I became published.


I might not own an island. Yet. But I do hang out with other writers, I have deadlines, and I’ve had breakfast with my editor. This is my fame, fortune, and all the trappings, and I’m going to enjoy it to the max. I have recaptured the joy of writing, and I’m finally reveling in the Literary Life!


Have you had a low moment on your publication journey? What did it take to rekindle your love of writing?


About Catherine Dilts


To Catherine Dilts, rock shops are like geodes – both contain amazing treasures hidden inside their plain-as-dirt exteriors. Catherine caught mountain fever after a childhood vacation in Rocky Mountain National Park. Determined to give up her flat–lander ways, she moved from Oklahoma to Colorado. Her husband, a Colorado native, proposed to her as they hiked Barr Trail on Pikes Peak. Catherine works as an environmental scientist, and plays at heirloom vegetable gardening, camping, and fishing. Her short stories appear in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. In her spare time, she attempts to lure wild donkeys to her property in the mountains.


Find Catherine and Stone Cold Case online:StoneColdCase

Official Website



Barnes & Noble

Tattered Cover


Synopsis of Stone Cold Case

Rock shop owner Morgan Iverson’s discovery of human remains reopens a cold case and unhealed wounds in a Colorado mountain town, while her find of a rare gemstone sparks a dangerous treasure hunt.


Sixteen years ago, prom queen Carlee Kruger vanished. When Carlee’s mother asks Morgan to investigate her death, the clues seem as convoluted as the coils on a fossilized ammonite. The hunt for the truth heats up as the local newspaper editor helps Morgan uncover the past. The rock shop’s mascot donkeys and an elderly cowboy chase after a Sasquatch look-alike who may hold the key to Carlee’s death. Whoever knows what happened to Carlee will do anything to keep the truth buried.  


In book two of the Rock Shop Mystery series, amateur sleuth Morgan Iverson digs into gemstone prospecting to solve a Stone Cold Case.


Kirkus review for Stone Cold Case


Stone Cold Case – A Rock Shop Mystery

ISBN # 9781432830991

Release date September 16, 2015 by Five Star – Cengage

Covers We Love Too Much by Lise McClendon

LiseWe all have book covers that speak to us, to our visual senses, to our emotions, to our literary curiosity. Maybe it’s that dog on the cover. Maybe it’s the blood dripping from the knife. Maybe it’s that zombie or the half-naked man. Hey, I’m not judging your reading habits. We read what we like, and that’s the way it should be.


That old chestnut ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ doesn’t really apply to books.

Every reader looks first at a book’s cover then makes some conscious or unconscious decision to look inside for more, or move on.


As an author have you ever tried to consciously copy a cover? Is there a cover you wish you’d had for your novel? For the last five or six years I’ve been doing most of my own covers, finding stock photos, fiddling with PhotoShop, making messes but having fun. I got serious a couple years ago though, when the sequel to one of my best selling books was due to release. I hired a very talented cover artist who re-did my own attempts (for ‘Blackbird Fly’) and designed another one for the sequel, The Girl in the Empty Dress, that released last year.


I explained to the designer that I adored one book cover and could she do something similar. The book cover I loved was for ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette,’ a fun novel by Maria Semple. I’m a sucker for graphic images. Since the book sold so well it has been copied a lot and was the subject of an article on Salon about why books covers look alike. Ouch. My cover artist went her own direction, not doubt wisely. She did a lovely job and I was very pleased with her results.


Fast forward to my new project. In conjunction with Thalia Press five seasoned mystery authors (including me) wrote a crime novel. Together. Serially, sequentially, and with many delays, but eventually it all gelled. It’s a darkly comic send-up of a famous novel, not exactly a satire because we admired the original. And mostly we very much loved that book’s cover. The book is the iconic Eat Pray Love with its pasta, prayer beads, and flower petal design spelling out the simple title.


Our crime story isn’t as spiritual or life-affirming or nice as Elizabeth Gilbert’s. Let’s get that out right away. (And we do apologize, Ms. Gilbert.) We twisted her title and a couple plot points but what we’ve written is really a send-up of food mysteries, chick lit, and serial killer novels. The gist of it is this: a humiliated chef has revenge on her mind and takes an All-American journey to make those she despises pay in spectacular culinary fashion. It’s got humor, mayhem, food porn, reality TV, sexual pranks, and a whole lot more, wrapped up in one decidedly-uncozy novel. We’re calling it the first culinary thriller.


But back to that cover. How to portray the foodie-ness of the story without seeming too twee? As the resident PhotoShop journeyman I volunteered to play with some food and see what I could do. We voted (we are very democratic, we five) to have some kind of meat on the cover– bacon, sausages, hot dogs, whatever, to give it some hearty flavor. Then I tracked down some squid ink pasta, mentioned in the book, and black as… ink. For the final word on the cover I fudged and used a stock photo of chili peppers but added a little mystery flare of the bloody knife.


My photography skills were tested. Also my microwaving skills and my pasta handling skills. Luckily my design skills weren’t needed as we laid out the cover similarly to the paperback version of Eat Pray Love. (I hope it’s not a crime to copy a green border and a white background…) We added a fantastic quote we got from Charlaine Harris on the top and voilà. Stick a fork in it. It’s done.


Beat Slay Love launches October 1. I just hope I can find another cover to copy that’s as much fun as this one.

  • • •

The novel is available for pre-order on Amazon (where you can also find out who my co-authors are) and we’re encouraging those on Goodreads to add it to their ‘Want to Read’ shelf.


We’re also launching a Thunderclap campaign this week. (Thunderclap is a new crowdsharing promotion site where your friends can donate a status or tweet all at the same time, thereby making the skies roar with your message.) If you’d like to donate a tweet in exchange for a recipe book called Thalia Filbert’s Killer Cocktail Party, check us out here



Are We There Yet? by Molly MacRae

P1030513Until I sat down to write this guest post, I hadn’t really thought in terms of “lessons I’ve learned along the way.” “Along the way” suggests I’ve gotten where I’m going and might stop, and although I’m a string of short stories and seven novels along the way, I hope I haven’t reached the end yet. Also, I know that I still have a lot to learn. But I do like lists, and I have learned a few things along my writing road. So I put the things down and gave them numbers, and then I revised them (see number 18, below) so I ended up with a nice, round dozen and a half. A piece of advice before you read my list, though: keep a pinch of salt handy (see number 4, below).


  1. If you don’t already have them, grow a thick skin and a sense of humor.
  2. Take interest in the world around you – in news items, community activities, and the details of other people’s lives. Be nosy. Eavesdrop. Carry paper and pen or pencil so you can take notes. Be the one at the party sitting quietly in the corner watching. Be the one listening to that guy talking on his cell phone, loudly, in a public place. Read obituaries. Take pictures.
  3. Join a writers group, either one that meets regularly in person, or an online group. Don’t let a writers group stifle or paralyze you.
  4. Listen to advice, but take it with a grain of salt. Anyone can tell you how to rewrite your story or novel. That doesn’t mean you have to listen to them. The only ones you need to please are yourself and the editor you’re trying to sell to.
  5. Believe that miracles can fall into your lap in real life. Work hard to make sure your lap is in the right place, at the right time, to catch a miracle.
  6. Go easy on the miracles in your writing. Don’t settle for convenience and a string of coincidences to wrap up a story.
  7. Be egalitarian. Treat your villains the same way you treat the rest of your characters. They all need believable motivations, actions, reactions, and dialogue. You want readers to sympathize just enough with the villain so they’re lulled into ignoring obvious signs that she or he is rotten to the core.
  8. Play fair with clues in your mystery, but do let your characters run with scissors and pointed sticks.
  9. Assume the role of a stage director when you’re writing. Your job is to make the surroundings (location, season, era, predicament, etc.) believable.
  10. Read, read, read. If you don’t read, how can you write?
  11. There’s a sort of postpartum depression that happens after finishing a manuscript and sending it off to the publisher. Let yourself have time to decompress, but try to have another project ready to jump into so that you don’t end up wallowing.
  12. There’s also a danger of too much navel-gazing after a book comes out because of all the hoopla surrounding that really cool, momentous day. Keep your head and keep moving forward.
  13. Promote your books on social media, but do it without shouting “Buy my books!” Instead, share your interests, your hobbies, your milestones, your funny bone, and the pictures you’re taking in number 3, above. Did the picture I posted on Facebook that my husband took of me typing while wearing the cat in a baby carrier sell more books? Possibly not, but I write humorous, character driven cozies, and the picture offers a glimpse of my personality. Three hundred and sixty one people “liked” the picture, seventy four commented on it, and sixteen shared it. Those numbers aren’t way out there, but they show that people were paying attention, and the ones who liked, commented, and shared that post were, in effect, promoting for me.
  14. Remember your manners. Be kind, treat people the way you’d like to be treated, and say thank you when you should.
  15. Combining a day job with a contract to write a series will consume most of your waking hours. Making the combination work takes stamina and a love for ignoring housework.
  16. Show up for the job.
  17. Don’t give up.
  18. Revision is the key to success.



The Boston Globe says Molly MacRae writes “murder with a dose of drollery.” She’s the author of the award-winning Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries, Knot_the_usual_suspectspublished by Penguin/NAL. Molly’s short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine since 1990. After twenty years in northeast Tennessee, Molly lives with her family in Champaign, Illinois.

You can find out more about Molly at You can find her blogging on the first Monday of each month at and on the 23rd of each month at


Buy link for Knot the Usual Suspects, book 5 in the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries:


An interview with Cheryl Hollon

CherylHollonCheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and the Tampa Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. A mystery conference addict, she regularly attends SleuthFest in Florida, Malice Domestic in Washington, D.C., and New England Crime Bake in Dedham, MA. Cheryl and her husband live in St. Petersburg, FL in a 1920’s Craftsman Bungalow. Learn more at


Facebook URL: (profile)  (fan)

Twitter: @CherylHollon

Buy links:


Pane & Suffering


How would your friends describe you in 20 words or less?

Cheryl is cheerful, levelheaded and funny. She loves good friends, good books and good beer – in that order.


Tell me a little about yourself

I was born in a small town in Eastern Kentucky and have inherited the oral tradition of my Scots-Irish ancestors for story telling. I grew up in Dayton, Ohio and could read before I went to school, which seriously annoyed my teacher. Science and math were my favorite subjects and led me to a career in digital communication software programming followed by flight simulation engineering and program management – neither easy but immensely rewarding.


Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?

I would live right here in Saint Petersburg, FL. During my engineering adventures, I had a chance to live and work in amazing countries, but I was always happy to come back to St. Pete.


State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.

I was a Boy Scout Leader.


What’s your current guilty pleasure?

The discworld novels by Sir Terry Pratchett. I reward myself with one after I finish the first draft of a new manuscript.


If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?

I would still be an engineer. It took me a long time to scrabble myself up the technical and professional ladder, but I would do it again.


When did you decide to become a writer?

It got serious for me when I attended my first Malice Domestic Convention in 2005. I had been dabbling with photography when a particularly haunting image spoke to me to tell her story. The image is of a homeless woman dressed completely in white moving slowly through the flower market in Boston. I titled it ‘Wishing for Daffodils.’ That was my first attempt at a full-length manuscript.


When did you begin writing?

I began writing poems in the sixth grade instead of submitting essays on my English weekly exams.


How long have you been writing?

I started writing seriously about eight years ago with a series based on a crime scene specialist who quit her job to make a fresh start as a black & white photojournalist. At her first wedding, she discovers the wealthy Indian bride collapsed and cold. The working title was ‘Shooting Brides.’


Who are your cheerleaders?

My husband George is my staunchest promoter who is ordinarily quite reserved, but he will tell complete strangers that I am a mystery writer. My friend for life, Joye, has weathered the anxiety, tears, frustration and terror of getting published. She continued to feed me a steady diet of positive praise and constructive critiques to make my writing better and better.


Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?

In the very beginning, I didn’t tell anyone I was writing. It was my secret. That was a happy time.


Did you always have in mind to be a writer or did it just happen?

I didn’t always want to be a writer, but on the long-haul flights to overseas projects, my writing took on a more structured form and I began studying the craft of writing. After a few years, I began to get serious about it as a business.


Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

My husband and I have been working in glass for a long time. He is colorblind in the green/blue range, so I have always picked out the glass and helped with the design of our projects. Our current project is making glass jewelry.


Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

After I discovered Goodreads, I enter what I’m reading now in my account and I like to use the ‘would like to read’ shelf to keep track of new books. I have been slowly entering all the books I’ve enjoyed in the past. I write short reviews to help other readers choose the books I’ve loved, but I don’t really read long ones – I could have finished the first chapter by then.


Do you read reviews written about your book?

Of course I read them, I can resist anything but temptation! I want to know what readers think.


Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No, as a child I always wanted to be an artist. After I figured out how exciting an engineering career could be, I headed that direction. I was right.


What started you on your journey to be a writer?

It was a gradual awakening to how powerful stories can be to the reader and also to the writer. I love it when a reader comes into my story world and enjoys the visit.


When you made your first sale, how did you celebrate and with whom?

When my agent called to tell me that my series had been sold to Kensington, I was home alone. I danced around the room like Snoopy and had champagne waiting when my husband returned from his errands. On that Saturday night, the whole family went to our favorite restaurant. We were a noisy group!


Do you listen to music while writing?

When I’m creating new material, I need complete silence. In revisions, however, I can listen to soft classical music.


What are your favorite hobbies?

Reading, glass art, oil painting and impossibly hard jigsaw puzzles. I prefer the wooden ones with the little whimsy figures.


What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

Nothing yet, I’ve only been on one panel at the SleuthFest Conference in Deerfield Beach, FL. I am a conference-junkie and will travel far and wide to meet with readers and fellow writers.


With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

Every writer is unique and that is what sets each one apart. I think my mystery fantasy world is inviting and the people are interesting and some even adorable. I’ll work hard to ensure that readers know about my books – they can read them if they don’t know that they exist.


What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

The fascinating thing about writing is that it is a skill you teach yourself. As a result, all input has to be filtered by what it means to you and where you are on the writing path. I’ve attended some workshops that went completely over my head – I wasn’t ready for that information. The jazz is when that one tidbit bounced along that gives you an ‘aha moment’ and vaults your work to the next level. Bliss!


What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

My mailing list and newsletter is where I have the most direct contact with readers. Every news event or promotional activity is announced to my subscribers first.


Your favorite books and author?

Louise Penny and her Inspector Gamache series. I love the small village setting of Three Pines. The first book in the series is STILL LIFE.


Which genres do you prefer to read?

I enjoy the entire wide range of mystery/thriller/suspense as well as Science Fiction/Fantasy and adventurous Young Adult.


What book is currently on your nightstand?

THE ANGEL COURT AFFAIR (A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel) by Anne Perry.


Are there any particular books and/or authors that inspired you and continue to do so?

The first book that planted the seed that I might be able to write mysteries was WRITE AWAY by Elizabeth George. Her writing process is similar to mine and it awakened the desire to prove that I could finish a novel. After that I found DON’T MURDER YOUR MYSTERY by Chris Roerden. It helped me overcome newbie mistakes and improved my plotting as well and characterization. I am always reading a non-fiction book to sharpen my writing skills.


How many books do you read/month?

I normally read five or six more a month. I usually have two novels and one non-fiction writing book going at all times. This is a drastic reduction from before I started writing. I’m resigned to that now, but it still disappoints me that I can’t read as much as I want.


What is the one book that you think everyone should read?

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. I read it every year to remind me what Olympic class storytelling is like.


Do you have an all time favorite book?

The first book I received as a Christmas gift from my Aunt Thelma was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I read that book to shredded tatters. Aunt Thelma was a kind, thoughtful soul who took special time to encourage me and my sister to spread our wings into untraditional career territory.


How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

Hearing from my readers inspires me to dig deeper and reach down to those emotional depths that make a story compelling.


Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

I like tweeting on Twitter a little more than posting on Facebook, but I prefer reading my Facebook feed.


Where can your fans find you?


My Website:

On Twitter:

On Facebook: like my Author page:


Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

My local book seller is Haslam’s Bookstore at 2025 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, Florida 33713. My first ever book signing is scheduled for October 3, 2015 at 3PM. Although around the store, I’m known as ‘Eric’s Mom’ because the owner’s son and my son went to high school together. St. Petersburg is a small town. Their website is for news of upcoming events.


Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:Pane&SufferingCover

PANE AND SUFFERING (Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries Book #1) October 2015

SHARDS OF MURDER (Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries Book #2) March 2016

CRACKED TO DEATH (Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries Book #3) October 2016


Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:


Pane and Suffering, releases October 2015


When Charlotte Webb loses her father to an unexpected heart attack, she drops everything to return home and handle his affairs—particularly the beloved, family-owned stained glass shop. When she finds her glass expert dead of an apparent heart attack on her first day at the store—and the foreboding note her father left behind—she realizes their deaths were anything but natural and sets off to catch a killer.


With a rival glass shop in town and a visiting entrepreneur looking to replace her store with a supermarket, she has a couple of good suspects right off the bat, but things start to get colorful—and a lot more dangerous—when she realizes the stained glass orders from one particular patron are suspicious, and his explanations crack under scrutiny. When she isn’t teaching the crafty locals how to make stained glass turtles, she investigates, and with help from some of her students, the bar-owning British hottie next door, and a boy and his dog, she tries to shatter the killer’s plan before someone else ends up dead.


Where can we buy it?


Amazon, Barnes &Noble,, Books A Million, IndieBound, Target, and Walmart


If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

Who’s your favorite character in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries?


Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

The Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries is a series and I’m currently working on the rough draft of Book #3, Cracked to Death. I’ve only just started it so it won’t be out until October 2016.


Is there anything else you’d like to share to your followers and readers?

The most helpful thing you can do for an author you love is write a review. Now a review is not like the dreaded book report you inflicted on your teacher ages ago. It can be three sentences explaining what you liked or didn’t like. That’s all. Really. Seriously it makes a huge difference to the author’s visibility and may make the difference when a publisher is deciding whether or not to continue publishing her books.


What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

Keep reading – that’s all, just keep reading.

5 Ways I Make Time to Write by Julie Lindsey

Thanks to technology, time management is harder than ever. In addition to the distractions of online games, the availability of digital books and an endless barrage of social media exchanges, it’s nearly impossible to find solitude. Making time to write is practically an exercise in insanity, but here are a few ways I maintain control.


  1. Time Management

Time management means different things to different people, but for me it means scheduling. I’m a dedicated scheduler. I make and revise my to-do list on a daily basis to keep me on task and eliminate wasted time. I cut redundancy. I eliminate wasted trips. I streamline my life to accommodate my writing because writing is more important than many, many things. When I’m on deadline, I organize outings to maximize my time and minimize hours away from the computer. I pair errands so I’m not running Willy nilly every day, and I organize the stops in a logical pattern to avoid criss-crossing town a dozen times.


I pack one or two days a week with running, and I fiercely protect the days I’m home. In other words, I make a continuous, conscious effort to manage my time.


  1. Outlining

My love of outlining is pathological. I do workshops on the subject. I could write multiple posts on this topic alone. Pantsers? You don’t want this advice. Feel free to skip to number three. People like me: outlining will save you HOURS of wasted time. Spend a day or two creating a rich well plotted outline and then write. It’s that easy. I write a chapter a day using my outline. When I finish the chapter, I move on with my life. I don’t waste time re-reading yesterday’s words to find out where I need to start. I don’t waste time wondering what I’ll write today. I don’t waste time thinking up transitions or flow. The work is done. All that’s left to do is write. Easy peasy. *dusts palms*


  1. Setting fake appointments

Is it pathetic? Yes. Is it super lame? Absolutely. Does it work? YES. Yes, it does.

I write a number of random appointments on my calendar each month that are meaningless. They serve the purpose of an excuse. Can I meet you for lunch again? Not that day. I’m going bungee jumping. Can I watch your kids while you have dinner with your husband – again? Nope. I’m stuffing turkeys. Those fake appointments are one more way I protect my time from people who would nag me into writing later, or never, whenever it’s more convenient for them. They didn’t listen when I had a deadline, but they never even ask if I say I already have something scheduled that day. *insert angry eyes* But, hey, it works!


It would be funny if it wasn’t true. The hard reality is I lose sleep on deadlines. Those final days before my manuscripts are due feel a lot like college revisited, but I am closer to forty than twenty-one these days. Still, I cram and stay up late drinking coffee. I lose IQ points as a result, and I’m a bit grouchy, but that’s the job. Until I make Stephen King status and can push a deadline back without making a black mark on my career, I will graciously accept a few sleepless nights and count them as blessings. Not everyone has deadlines. It wasn’t long ago that I went to sleep praying for a contract. I remember that on days when I’m sleep deprived and weeping in my Starbucks.


  1. I ask for help

It’s not easy, but I do. I reach out to those people who love me and they cheerfully help. Friends invite my kids over for a movie. Grandparents come by to visit while I catch a little nap. My husband takes the whole crew to a zoo or science museum for a day. It’s a wonderful reminder that I am loved. I may be running on three hours’ sleep, one shower and seven pots of coffee this week, but I’m loved and I’m not alone. Neither are you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You’ll likely be rewarded with a shocking abundance of support.



GEEK-GIRL_murder_ROUGHS_3A Geek Girl’s Guide to Murder, The Geek Girl Mysteries, book 1

IT manager Mia Connors is up to her tortoiseshell glasses in technical drama when a glitch in the Horseshoe Falls email system disrupts security and sends errant messages to residents of the gated community. The snafu’s timing couldn’t be worse—Renaissance Faire season is in full swing and Mia’s family’s business relies on her presence.

Mia doesn’t have time to hunt down a computer hacker. Her best friend has disappeared, and she finds another of her friends murdered—in her office. When the hunky new head of Horseshoe Falls security identifies Mia as the prime suspect, her anxiety level registers on the Richter scale.

Eager to clear her name, Mia moves into action to locate her missing buddy and find out who killed their friend. But her quick tongue gets her into trouble with more than the new head of security. When Mia begins receiving threats, the killer makes it clear that he’s closer than she’d ever imagined.

Amazon       Barnes&Noble       Carina Press     iTunes    Kobo

About Julie:

Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Julie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world.

Learn About Julie at:

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Promoting Two People by Peg Herring

30HerringsmI once heard an author say she’d contracted for three series at the same time and didn’t recommend it to those who want to keep their sanity. Being a slow learner, I went right out and did that, adding the Dead Detective and Loser Mysteries to my existing series with Five Star, the Simon & Elizabeth Mysteries. My excuse for series-jumping is that it keeps me interested. While I love reading Sue Grafton’s work, I can’t imagine writing an alphabet of books with the same protagonist.

Writing three series was hard—actually, it still is. I have a Dead Detective and a Simon & Elizabeth yet to write, and while fans are polite about it, their questions hint that they wonder what I do all day that keeps me from getting that next book done. I eat, I sleep, I walk in the woods–and I write. There’s one thing that slows my production of Peg Herring mysteries. In a moment of insanity, I invented Maggie Pill.

Peg’s books are traditional mysteries with touches of humor. The series are different from each other: one’s historical, one’s paranormal, and one presents a homeless woman as protagonist. A while ago, an idea came along for The Sleuth Sisters, a light mystery that fits into the cozy mystery category. Two middle-aged sisters open a detective agency, but they don’t want their bossy third sister involved. She doesn’t get why, so she insists on helping out. Everyone with sisters can relate, at least a little, to the resulting humor.

When a really good idea comes along, it’s hard to keep it on the back burner, so I wrote The Sleuth Sisters. It was a huge hit, so I wrote another one 150x225SSand did a Bookbub promotion, giving away Book #1 just before Book #2 debuted. Downloads ran over 60,000, and sales of Book #2 responded well afterward. When I had Book #3 ready, I did the same, giving away Book #2. That also went well, and the series is one of my most lucrative.

That’s great, except now I have two authors to promote. That means two websites, two FB pages, two Twitter handles, two of everything. At the beginning I kept Maggie and Peg entirely separate, since I didn’t want Peg, who has good reviews and even some awards, to be embarrassed if Maggie’s attempts at humor fizzled. When it turned out Maggie is in the popular authors’ group, I decided we can be seen together in public.

Still, promoting two “selves” is a lot of work. Amazon doesn’t seem to have a good way for anyone except James Patterson to show up in searches, so it’s work to let people know about each book, each series, and now each author. Facebook provides good opportunities, because friends tell friends about books they like. The site’s gone from a young demographic to a not-so-young one these days, which means there are lots of readers there who can identify with the Sleuth Sisters. Many FB groups have cozy in their titles, so it’s easy to find them, and most hosts are accommodating of self-promotion as long as it isn’t overdone.

There aren’t as many FB groups devoted to traditional mystery, perhaps because that’s a wider field. Peg does better at Goodreads, with giveaways and blogging about writing. Both of us use Twitter, but neither of us is very good at it, possibly it due to its impersonal feel.

Fans suggested I make the Sleuth Sisters into audiobooks, and that worked out well, except it’s difficult to find places to promote audiobooks. I’ve used, where authors give one of their free codes from Audible (and a small fee) to be featured in a weekly giveaway. Also, Mystery Audiobook Lovers on FB is a site for audiobook news, helping people learn what’s new in audio.

SLsmallAll that helps, but there are days when I feel like being two people requires the work of six: blogging, updating, signing, speaking, answering, not to mention writing. Maybe I should have gone the Lee Child route. Then all I’d have to do is say “HERE’S ANOTHER JACK REACHER” and I’d be done.

This morning someone asked when Maggie’s fourth book will be out. The answer? Sometime after Peg finishes the last Dead Detective Mystery. To everything there is a season.


LeaonWiscassettownpier            About two years ago my agent contacted me with a question: Would I like to start a new mystery series? And, oh yes: he knew an editor who’d be interested in a series with a background of needlepoint.

When he called I was writing the seventh in my Shadows Antique Print series, Shadows on a Maine Christmas. I was also editing Uncertain Glory, an historical for young people set in Maine during the first two weeks of the Civil War.

In short, I was busy.

Did I want to start a new series? My husband reminded me that I’d talked about new projects. I reminded him that a new cozy series hadn’t been on that list. And needlepoint? I knew next to nothing about needlepoint.

He reminded me that I loved to do research.

I called my agent back. Could the series be about knitting? I was pretty good at knitting.

Nope. Needlepoint.

I took a deep breath and agreed.

And I started blue skying. I checked: no needlepoint mysteries were set in New England. Many of my fans liked my books set in Maine.

My Shadows series is set in a small town on a tidal river, but I wanted this series to be different. I’d set it in a harbor town. So I created my setting: Haven Harbor. I sketched it out … three islands in the harbor. A lighthouse, a small rocky beach, a yacht club, a town pier, and a working waterfront with a lobsterman’s co-op and restaurant. A town green, of course. And shops, catering to both tourists and locals.

As the idea became a plan, I created my protagonist. Angie Curtis, a local kid who’d had a tough childhood, left Maine to escape it, but now was back, confronting her past. She’d be in her late twenties, and street savvy. She’d also know how to handle a gun. And the series would be written in the first person, from Angie’s point of view. Cozy, OK. But with an edge.

I even added a cat.

But where did the needlepoint come in?

Angie’s mother had disappeared when she was ten. Angie’d been brought up by her grandmother, an expert needlepointer. In the years Angie’d been away (working for a private investigator in Arizona, I decided,) her grandmother had started a small business: Mainely Needlepoint. She’d gathered a few local women (and men) to work for her business.

But why had Angie returned to Maine?

Her mother’s body has just been found. She wants to find her mother’s killer. And, to add to the complications, what if one of her grandmother’s needlepoint colleagues was also murdered …

And I had the beginning of my plot.

Because I love antiques and many of my Shadows series readers do, too, I decided Mainely Needlepoint would also be involved with identifying and conserving antique stitching. And to set the scene I’d put quotations about needlepoint at the beginning of each chapter.

Two weeks later my agent had a proposal and marketing plan. The editor was pleased – and I was writing a new series.

Twisted Threads: A Mainely Needlepoint Mystery, the first in that series, was published this week.

I’ve already finished the second book in the series (Threads of Evidence), which will be released in August, and I‘m working on Thread and TWISTEDTHREADSGone, next January’s book.

No doubt about it: I’m writing a new series.


Maine author Lea Wait writes the Shadows Antique Print Mystery series, the most recent of which, Shadows on a Maine Christmas, Library Journal named one of the best Christmas reads for 2014, as well as the Mainely Needlepoint series. She also writes historicals for ages 8 and up, the most recent of which is Uncertain Glory. For more information about Lea and her books see www.leawaitcom. She also invites readers to friend her on Goodreads or Facebook.