How I Finished My First Novel (After Years of Trying) by Heather K. Duff

heather-k-duffA few years ago I sat down on New Year’s Eve and wrote a letter to myself—to be opened a year later. It was a heartfelt letter filled with my hopes for the coming year. Figuring prominently was the aspiration to finish my first novel. I expressed frustration with my lack of success in this area, but mostly I encouraged myself to finally FINISH.

Reckoning Day loomed before me. Would I disappoint myself again?

Sadly, yes.

And the next year.

And the next.

Seven years after beginning, I finished my novel, The Wrong, and recently published it in July, 2016.

Why this year? What made the difference?

It wasn’t by chance. It wasn’t by intention. (I’d been “intending” to do it all along.) There were several factors that figured into the equation, several people whose encouragement and faith in me spurred me on. I am convinced, however, that one key decision propelled me to the finish line: I found a writing coach.

I wasn’t looking for a coach. I was looking for an answer that had eluded me for years. Why can’t I finish? Along with this novel, I had many other The-Wrong-web-HKDglorious starts. But where were the finishes?

I did some research on writing coaches and something stood out among all the other benefits. A good coach will help you identify obstacles and get a plan for working through (or around) them. I needed someone with another vantage point to look not only at my writing, but my career. I connected with a writer friend who had been “coaching” me since we’d met. I asked if she might consider formalizing that arrangement. We discussed the particulars and moved forward.

We scheduled our first meeting for January and set up weekly word counts. I didn’t need my coach to necessarily read the work and provide feedback. It was enough to know I had 8,000 words to deliver by midnight Saturday every week…until the novel was completed.

Once it was finished, my coach, Jessica Ferguson, gave it a read. She identified trouble spots and provided insightful feedback. By May, I had a finished book, ready for publication. Thank God (and thank you, Coach!).

 

How Does My Coach Help Me Now?

 

I took a small break from writing after I finished the novel—partly to focus on book promotion, and partly to refuel the creative engine. My coach has been an invaluable resource in this stage of the process as well. Her knowledge of the publishing industry, her knack for asking the right questions (when I start wandering after rabbits on obscure trails), and her desire to see me succeed, all serve as gentle guidance along the way.

There is another benefit of having a coach that runs deeper than aspiration and achievement. Writing is lonely business. Most writers I know don’t mind the solitude. In fact, when inspiration calls from the depths, we joyfully answer by leaving family and friends behind—if just for a while. Those moments alone are rich and precious. And yet, I found myself alone in ways that left me lonely. I expressed this as: “I need someone to be in it with me.” I wasn’t sure what I was asking for when I had that epiphany. But today I am sure I have found it.

If you need someone in your corner, someone with clarity of vision, someone to identify the obstacles you can’t see and classify the ones you can, consider a writing coach. We all have friends and influences within the writing community, but a formal, professional relationship with a writing coach just might be the strong foundation for your next level of success.

elechi-pen

 

Author Bio

Heather Duff is a freelance web designer passionate about helping others share their work (dreams, ideas, creativity) with the world. She enjoys serving on her church media team, working behind the scenes in the fun—and sometimes frantic—world of church media. She has a great affection for coffee and good friends, especially when combined. She writes mysteries and fantasy fiction. Heather recently published her first mystery novel, The Wrong.

 

Author Website: http://heatherkduff.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/heatherkduff

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Heather-K.-Duff/e/B014ZD0B0G/

Coaching & Marketing Website: http://creativecoachingandmarketing.com

 

Kingdom Come by Jane Jensen

KingdomCome

  • Series: Elizabeth Harris Novel, An (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (January 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425282899
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425282892

 

 

Amish country in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has always been a place of quiet beauty—until a shocking murder shatters the peace, and leaves a troubled detective picking up the pieces…

After her husband is murdered, Detective Elizabeth Harris turns in her NYPD badge and moves back home, hoping that a quiet life in remote Pennsylvania Dutch country will help her overcome the dark memories of her ten years in New York. But when a beautiful, scantily clad “English” girl is found dead in the barn of a prominent Amish family, Elizabeth knows that she’s uncovered an evil that could shake the community to its core.

Elizabeth’s boss is convinced this was the work of an “English,” as outsiders are called in Lancaster County. But Elizabeth isn’t so sure. All she’s missing is an actual lead—until another body is found: this time, a missing Amish girl. Now Elizabeth must track down a killer with deep ties to a community that always protects its own—no matter how deadly the cost…

 

Praise for KINGDOM COME

“Nicely drawn characters…lend substance to this tale of secrets hid­den deep within a closed religious community.”—Publishers Weekly

“[Jensen’s] writing style is consistently engrossing and enticing.”—Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Jane Jensen

“Remarkable… A tour de force.”—Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, authors of Brimstone

“Fast-paced, suspenseful, and a joy from beginning to end.”—The Washington Post Book World

About the Author

Jane Jensen is a novelist and game designer. Best known for her computer game series, Gabriel Knight, and her novel, Dante’s Equation, Jensen has published seventeen games and four thriller novels. She also publishes romance as Eli Easton. She lives with her husband, Robert Holmes, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

 

What A Night by Gerrie Ferris Finger

AmericanNightsChild finder Moriah Dru had accepted a Saudi Arabian prince as a client to find his missing wife and daughter. This is to be her and Richard Lake’s first meeting with the prince. Richard Lake is an Atlanta police lieutenant.

 

I called my computer geek and research specialist, Dennis “Webdog” Caldwell and instructed him to find all that was available on Prince Husam bin Sayed al-Saliba. Then I Googled the prince. Just seeing his photograph gave me a thrill. I would be having dinner with him this evening. So would Lake, and Lake was due to arrive here in half an hour.

I went from mirror to mirror checking my dress—neckline high, hemline below my calves, three-quarter sleeves—and my face, assessing my make-up, of which I usually wore little except for lipstick. When Lake’s car pulled into the driveway, I made a decision and ran to the bathroom and washed the foundation from my skin to avoid being chided for making up for a prince.

Lake had let himself in while I removed eye liner. When I went into the kitchen he was popping the top of a beer bottle. He looked at me with a frown smearing his face. A few inches over six feet tall, with dark hair and eyes, he was still the best looking man I’d ever seen. An exquisite dark blue suit, white shirt and red-and-blue striped tie decorated his trim, athletic frame.

He drank and rolled his lips inward before he said, “You look well-scrubbed.”

“I ought to,” I said. “I just removed the grime.”

“Hmmm.” He reached for my face, close to an ear, and rubbed a finger across my cheek. He held up the finger. “Flesh colored grime. Did I ever tell you, skin looks good on you?” He kissed my nose. “What if I weren’t accompanying you this evening?”

“I wouldn’t be going. You are going with me by sufferance. Portia’s.”

“Let’s get on the road then, red lips.” He finished his beer and put the bottle in the recycle container. “I think the prince will be pleased to see a naked face. Judging from the extreme make-up worn by rich and famous women, I doubt he sees many naked—uh—faces.” As we made our way to the door, he commented, “It’s nice to see you in a dress. Where are you wearing your gun?”

I patted my right leg. “Thigh holster.” Since the shootout at the church, I’ve been leery of retribution from Atlanta’s drug gangs, one member in particular.

We left my small house, and Lake locked the door. Walking to the unmarked squad car, I said, “I looked up the prince’s photograph. He’s quite handsome.”

On dressy evenings out, Lake holds the passenger door for me. After he’d done so, he lifted a hand above my head, something cops do when putting a subject into a squad car.

“Don’t touch my hair,” I said. “I spent hours on it.”

“I like the scattered result.”

“It’s supposed to be sexy.”

The car’s engine roared to life. He glanced my way. “Already, you’re trying to make me jealous.”

“Oh that I could. I’ve tried my damnedest, but you’re too practical.”

On the way I told Lake what I’d learned from Webdog. “Prince Husam’s religion is Wahabism, an ultra-conservative branch of Sunni Islam. He’s thirty-six years old, but Web said that Saudi Arabian royals have a reputation for being cagey about ages. He’s unmarried, but engaged to a Saudi princess, the name I forget.”

“Yet he has a daughter?” Lake said.

“Portia left that for him to explain.”

“An Arab man talking about procreation to a Western woman?”

 

From American Nights 6th in the Moriah Dru/Richard Lake series. New Release

 Gerrie for newspaper

By Gerrie Ferris Finger

B&N: http://bit.ly/29eFsgJ

Amazon: http://amzn.to/29jOnRa

Getting to know Katherine Prairie

Katherine Prairie v2Katherine, a geologist and IT specialist, stepped away from the international petroleum industry to follow her passion for writing. An avid traveller with an insatiable curiosity, you never know where you’ll find her next! But most days, she’s in Vancouver, Canada quietly plotting murder and mayhem under the watchful eye of a cat. She is an award-winning presenter and the author of the thriller THIRST.

www.katherineprairie.com

www.facebook.com/katherine.prairie

www.twitter.com/authorprairie

 

elechi-pen

 

 

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

London, England because it has all the theatres, culture and energy of New York City, the rugged shoreline of Canada’s east coast and easy access to Europe and beyond.

 

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

One summer, I spent four months working out of a tent in the Canadian Yukon, travelling to mountain-tops by helicopter and hiking with a pack filled with too many rocks most of the time!

 

What’s your current guilty pleasure?

Endangered Species dark chocolate with cranberries and almonds.

 

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

An astronaut. Since Neil Armstrong’s first moon walk I’ve been absolutely fascinated by space and I’d love to count myself among these modern day explorers.

 

When did you decide to become a writer?

When I had finished the second draft of Thirst and I was still excited to work on it every day, I knew this was what I wanted to do.

 

When did you begin writing?

About ten years ago I sat down to write the story that just wouldn’t leave me.

 

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

I’m a passionate traveller and photographer so I’m either planning a trip, taking one or sifting through the thousands of photos I bring back! I also quilt and read, and I’m on my yoga mat as much as possible or out for a long walk.

 

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

At my very first Left Coast Crime conference just after Thirst was released, a woman who had chatted with me the first day flagged me down at the door to the hotel. She was excited that she had caught me just before she flew home because she wanted me to personalize her copy of Thirst. That one moment when I connected with a new reader made the long hours of the conference worth-while!

 

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

Each of my stories is built on current headlines and told through the lens of a woman working in an intriguing male-dominated profession, geology. The fact that I’m a geologist myself means I offer an insider view and very-real science.

 

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

Never stop learning your craft. I take advantage of every opportunity to attend workshops and classes, especially those offered at writer’s conferences.

 

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

I really enjoy meeting and talking to people, so conferences and festivals are a lot of fun for me and I do well at them.  It doesn’t hurt that I’m a fearless presenter!

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

I find blogs the most difficult because it’s a one-sided conversation. I’d rather chat with readers and answer their questions directly than try to guess at what they would like to know about me and my writing.

 

What are your favorite books and authors?

My top three favourite books at the moment are The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy and Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. I’m also a huge fan of Daniel Silva, Steve Berry, P.D. James and Elizabeth George.

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

Mysteries and thrillers, but I also read science fiction, fantasy and literary fiction.

 

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I recently met two debut British Columbia authors, R.M. Greenaway and Marty Allen, who write police procedural crime novels. Their books, Cold Girl and Cordelia intrigued me enough that both are now on my bookshelf waiting to be read.

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George.

 

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

Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy are by far my biggest influences. Crichton used science as a cornerstone of fascinating stories and Clancy concocted sinfully good complex plots.

 

How many books do you read/month?

When I’m writing the first draft of a new book, it might drop to one or two and I tend to stay away from mysteries because I don’t want anything to influence my storyline. Otherwise, I typically read about four books a month.

 

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

I’d have to say The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m amazed by the complex world Tolkien built and he wove compelling sub-plots into a real page turner.  I also think it’s an interesting reflection on life in general with its underlying “power corrupts” theme and the importance of friendship, loyalty and co-operation.

 

Do you have an all time favorite book?

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. It’s an intriguing mystery filled with rich history and the medieval monastery library setting with its labyrinth of rooms drew me in.

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers?

I write to share stories with readers, and hear what they have to say about those stories. At the end of the day, it’s incredibly rewarding to speak to a reader who enjoys something I’ve written.

 

Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

Yes, to both.  I respect the time it takes for a reader to pen a message or review, so I give time back to them.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

Facebook by far, because it allows more interaction with others.

 

Where can fans find you?

My website www.katherineprairie.com is the hub of my communication with readers. It’s where I keep a current list of in-person events, guest blog appearances and snippets of life. I can also be reached via Facebook and Twitter.

 

Do you have a local independent bookseller you would like to mention?

Otter Books, a bookstore in the small town of Nelson, British Columbia was the first store to stock Thirst. They carry a fascinating mix of books, highlighting those set in the local area and I’m proud to see Thirst on their shelves.

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:Thirst cover

Thirst is my first novel, and it is the first the Alex Graham suspense thriller series.

 

 

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

Science. Politics. Deadly intent. In the thriller Thirst, mining geologist Alex Graham joins the search for a suspected toxic spill deep in a Columbia River Valley rocked by violence and controlled by a joint US-Canada military force. But the lethal contamination is no accident and she soon finds herself directly in the path of a killer.

 

Where can we buy it?

Through almost all independent North American bookstores, Amazon, iBooks, Indigo/Chapters and Barnes and Noble.

 

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

Where in the world would you like to see Alex Graham venture to next?

 

What topic do you enjoy hearing an author speak on other than about his/her book?

I like to hear about their research experiences – what it’s like to visit the Vatican library or an antique book shop on a backstreet in Paris.

 

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

I’m hard at work on the second Alex Graham mystery, a book that will be available late 2017.

 

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

I’m grateful that readers have embraced Alex Graham because I’ve grown to really enjoy her company.

 

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

I keep a sketch book that I use to draw scenes from my books and it also holds photographs of places and people that I find intriguing.

Review: Blue Moon by Wendy Corsi Staub

51t4ndgzleL.SX316Blue Moon-5 Stars

Mundy’s Landing Book 2

Wendy Corsi Staub,

William Morrow, 2016, 448 Pages

ISBN No. 13: 978-0062349750

 

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid

 

 

Mundy’s Landing is famous for the murders that occurred years ago.  Three girls were found dead in three different houses and the murderer was never found.  The houses came to be known as the Murder Houses.

 

Even though they had second thoughts about purchasing a “Murder House”  they went ahead and bought the house.   Annabelle Bingham and her husband Trib were thrilled with all the room the house provided for the couple and their son Oliver.  The couple felt they could put the bad memories of the house behind them.

 

That is hard to do in Mundy’s Landing particularly at the time of Mundy’s Landing Sestercentennial Vault to be opened in 2016.  People are gathering to see the town and stare at the Murder Houses which isn’t making Annabelle Bingham very comfortable but living where she does she is bound to have tourists coming around.

 

But girls are disappearing again in Mundy’s Landing.  No way could the killer of years ago return but it seems there is a pattern being followed and there will be murder before the festivities are over.

 

I am anxiously awaiting Book 3 “Bone White”.

Getting to know Sarah Glenn

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

 

I was a political blogger for a while. In 2008, the Democratic Party invited the writers from a single blog in each U.S. state to attend the Democratic National Convention with press credentials. Our blog, Bluegrass Roots, represented Kentucky. Twenty-some years after getting my degree in journalism, I had my first reporting gig. It was a heady experience, attending meetings with real political wonks, listening to elected officials give their pitches in person, and generally sharing in the excitement of the convention. I also won a seat in the skybox lottery on the final night, and had a great view of Barack Obama addressing the crowd and the fireworks afterward.

 

 

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

 

I would still be an editor and publisher for other authors.

 

 

When did you decide to become a writer?

 

When I was very young. My father taught me how to read, and books were where I found the most joy. The stories and characters came alive in my head. I couldn’t imagine anything nobler than giving this gift to others.

 

 

Who are your cheerleaders?

 

My spouse, my friends, certain relatives, the members of Sisters in Crime, and, in November, the National Novel Writing Month crowd. Other writers are my best cheerleaders. So many of us want to encourage one another.

 

 

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

 

I went to a spa and had a massage. I wasn’t being paid for the story, but it was a real victory and deserved a special reward.

 

 

Do you listen to music while writing?

 

Indeed I do. I try to find music that suits the story in some way – setting, time period, or theme. My Great Unfinished Novel was written under the influence of Debussy, Saint-Saëns, Paganini, and the Alan Parsons Project. There were several shifts in the time period, in case you couldn’t tell. I listened to a large number of standards while working with Murder on the Mullet Express.

 

Other things I listen to: instrumental music and shamanic drumming, if it’s not too jarring. Plus more Alan Parsons. It’s evocative.

 

 

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

 

I had a gentleman, Keith Stewart, show up for my first book signing (for All This and Family, Too). He’d decided to come, based on the description in the paper. He liked the book well enough to share an excerpt on an Internet radio program covering local authors for Halloween. He was an absolutely hilarious author in his own right. When he did a signing in the same store for his first book, Bernadette Peters Hates Me: True Tales from a Delusional Man, I called the shop and had the staff snag me an autographed copy.

 

 

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

 

Gwen and I have a great synergy when we write together. She brings her strong sense of justice and history together with my command of Murphy’s Law and good snark, and you get an intelligent story with layers of both comedy and tragedy. I can’t believe I just wrote that.

 

 

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

 

Get beta readers. You will develop mental fatigue after going over and over your work, missing typos, awkward sentences, and, worst of all, places where you know what you were talking about, but you never explained it to the reader.

 

 

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

 

The Internet. I love it, and I love social media. It’s amazing what you can learn, and who you can meet. Of course, that’s a double-edged sword, but the rewards outweigh the risks in my case.

 

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

 

In-person sales. My father was a great salesman, but that gene seems to have skipped me. It takes a certain amount of nerve to approach a stranger and convince her to buy something. I’ve heard other authors frequently have the same problem, at least the ones who write fiction. Many of us are introverts, and selling our work to an editor is taxing enough.

 

 

Your favorite books and authors?

 

A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J. Sobol

The first five books of the Amber series by Roger Zelazny

The Heritage of Hastur, by Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Face of a Stranger, by Anne Perry

Tales of the Unexpected, by Roald Dahl

It, by Stephen King

 

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

 

I like mysteries the best, because I love puzzles. I also like true crime, and horror that doesn’t focus on splatter.

 

 

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

 

New is a relative term. I didn’t begin reading Louise Penny until a few years ago, but I love the Gamache series.

 

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

 

I don’t really read in bed; sitting up on that soft surface annoys my back. I’m hoping to read The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny in the near future.

 

 

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

 

The Amber series got me to try writing prose. I’d been writing and drawing comic book stories before that.

 

 

How many books do you read/month?

 

Not enough. I listen to a great number of stories on YouTube, mostly creepypasta and audiobooks (FYI, many H P Lovecraft and Poe stories are in the public domain).

 

 

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

 

I don’t think one size fits all with any book. Even the Bible has multiple translations.

 

 

Do you have an all-time favorite book?

 

No single book for all time, no. I engage in serial monogamy where books are concerned.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

 

Oh, that’s a difficult choice. I enjoy talking with friends on Facebook, but I also love the quick spread of news and humor on Twitter. I join in the humorous hashtag wars and I even have a list of accounts I follow simply for the amusement value.

 

 

Where can your fans find you?

 

Twitter: @saraheglenn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MysteryAndHorrorLlc/

http://saraheglenn.blogspot.com

 

 

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

 

Books at Park Place in St. Petersburg is very nice. They have events and a wide selection of genre fiction. I also like Gene’s Books in Sanibel. The Morris Book Shop in Lexington, Kentucky was where I did my first book launch, but the owner is retiring and the future of the store is uncertain.

 

 

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

 

I have a number of short stories published in various places. My first novel, All This and Family, Too (a vampire comedy), is currently out of print but the rights have reverted to me and I hope to re-release it.

 

Murder on the Mullet Express is the first of three books Gwen Mayo and I plan to release together.MMExCoverFront

 

 

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

 

It’s 1926, and the Florida Land Boom is in full swing. Army nurse Cornelia Pettijohn takes leave to travel to Florida with her ancient uncle, who claims that he wants a warm winter home. When their car breaks down, they take the local train, The Mullet Express, into Homosassa. By the time they arrive, though, a passenger is dying of poison. Uncle Percival’s hidden agenda makes him the sheriff’s prime suspect. Furthermore, the little old man has run afoul of the local mob. Cornelia and Teddy Lawless, a twenty-year-old flapper in a body pushing sixty, must chase mobsters and corner suspects to dig her uncle out of the hole he’s dug for himself.

 

 

Where can we buy it?

 

Initially: from Amazon, CreateSpace, or our site at http://www.mysteryandhorrorllc.com. Nook and Apple versions of the ebook will follow. You can also order it through your favorite indie bookstore.

 

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

 

I’ve been puttering with a story that’s an offshoot of my vampire comedy, but it’s on the back burner at the moment.

 

 

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

 

My writing began as fanfiction. First, I wrote Black Stallion fanfiction (with horse drawings!), then Archie comics (I learned to draw the human figure from these comics). This was followed by X-Men fanfiction. After reading Zelazny, I made the jump to prose writing. So, there was Amber fanfiction and, later, Darkover fanfiction. During the process, I learned a lot about writing that I was able to apply later to my own material. All writing is valuable.

OLD DOG, NEW WORLD by Penny Richards

meme004     In 2012, after being away from writing contemporary romances for about eight years, I sold to a former editor, and began to write for Harlequin Love Inspired Historical.

I soon found out that everything had changed. Art Fact sheets were done online. Line and copy editing were done using Track Changes. Yikes! What’s that? Actually, I love it now, probably because when I’m running late I don’t have to send the corrected manuscript back via overnight mail. Hit a button and ZAP! off into the ether and the editor’s computer!

Another thing that has changed drastically is promotion. When I sold my first book in 1983, there was a publisher on every corner looking for romances. You wrote the book and they pretty much sold. There wasn’t a lot of self promotion. In 2012 I had an email account and a Facebook page, but since I was dragged kicking and screaming into this century, I wasn’t up on blogging, twitter, LinkedIn, goodreads, MailChimp or anything else having to do with promotion by social media.

Over the past four years, I’ve developed at least an uncomfortable working relationship with most of the current ways of finding new readers, but I still like the old ways. Before I dropped out of the writing world (and since I came back) I had some bad experiences with bookstores, but I love meeting new readers and reconnecting with old, and I still wanted to do signings. Now I do them in unusual places, and I’ve picked up some other new methods as well.

* Library signings: These have been good for me. My librarian friend, Ginny Evans, does up our library in the “theme” of the book (wedding, anuntimelyfrostmercantile, etc.) and encourages everyone to dress in costume. For WOLF CREEK FATHER (the schoolmarm and the sheriff) we had a school teacher, a sheriff and a jail door. For a dollar donation to the library, you could have your picture made in “jail.” Refreshments are foods found in the books. Not always your standard cookies and punch, but interesting.

* Trade Days/Festivals: I’ve had mixed results. I’ve done well and I haven’t. I have picked up many email addresses of readers interested in hearing what’s coming up.

* Antique stores, old-time five and dime: These seemed like a natural for a historical book, but again, I’ve done excellent at an antique store, and not so great at the same place on another book. Go figure.

     * Book tour on the cheap: I’ll be doing a mini book tour in Illinois where I grew up and my new mystery book takes place. I’ll be staying with relatives. I have signings scheduled at the library I frequented as a child, a florist/wine shop in the town my heroine is sent and another at a restaurant.

*Conferences/Literary Panels/Speaking engagements: I take all the speaking gigs I can get, and instead of waiting for them to ask me, I put on my big-girl panties and ask if they need speakers. No guts; no glory. If I can’t attend, I’ll donate books or baskets with books and other items that connect to the book to be raffled off. Some of the things I’ve used for my historical baskets are pretty vintage tea cups with tea/coffee/cocoa, vintage aprons and handkerchiefs, real flour sack dish towels, cameo necklaces, miniature picture frames, pretty metal bookmarks, note pads, sewing kits, good chocolate candy, etc.

In AN UNTIMELY FROST, the first book of my new Lilly Long Mystery series, my heroine is a Shakespearean actress who becomes a Pinkerton agent, so I have notepads, tee-shirts and other related Shakespeare items for my baskets. The hero is Irish, so I have some Irish items. At a recent festival I ran across a scrumptious masculine scent called “Mystery Man.” How perfect is that? The lady who sells the brand and I are now doing cross-promotion for each other.

*Guerilla Marketing: I confess to stealing this from another author. You know all those insurance/credit card junk mail thingys you get every day? Well, put in a few bookmarks or other info about you in it and use their “no postage needed” envelope. Dontcha love it?

*Mini Billboard: Probably the most innovative and cost effective thing I’ve done to promote the new series is to have a mini-billboard (4’X8′)made 20151113_085856_resizedwith my name and the series on it. Since I live on a highway that leads to a town where about 300,000 tourists go every year, I think it’s a great idea and, unlike a magazine ad, it will last for years. I’ll just change the banner with each new book that comes out.

So, I’m trying to get back in the game, and this old dog has learned a few new tricks and put a twist on the old ones! Happy writing, y’all!

https://www.facebook.com/Penny-Richards-Author-310567989068947/