Tracy Richardson interview

Tracy Richardson agreed to answer a few questions for us so we can get to know her a little better:

  1. Do you have a fear, phobia, or habit you’d rather no one knew about?

I’m afraid of rodents. Spiders and insects are fine, but mice and rats – eeeekkk!! I once beat a small gray mouse that had found its way into my pantry to death with a broom. I’m not proud of it, but it could have attacked me! Just saying…

2. Tell us about your book. (Title and story blurb.)

The Field

Eric Horton sees fire.

 

When he sleeps, he dreams of a world screaming in the midst of devastating explosions. These dreams terrify him, and as more strange happenings unfold around him, he’s unable to shake the feeling that what he’s seeing isn’t just a dream.

 

When a new student, Renee, appears in his science class, he could swear he’s known her forever. But how could that be? As they get to know each other, he meets her father, who explains the experiments he’s been conducting involving “the Universal Energy Field” and “Collective Consciousness”—two things Eric has never heard of before. They seem to be tied to the idea that we are all connected by the same energy and are all more powerful than we realize. Eric begins to learn more about these groundbreaking concepts—but can they be real?

 

As his life continues to shift and his knowledge of the Field increases, Eric will be tested beyond anything he’s experienced before. He must decide whether he believes in that part of himself which ties him to the world around him, and he must access it—or lose everything he’s been working to keep.

 

3.  Is it part of a series? If so, include other titles. What do you enjoy most about writing a series? What part do you loathe?

The book is part of a series, but they are companion books, not sequels. The first book chronologically is Indian Summer featuring Eric’s younger sister, Marcie, and takes place three years prior to the events in The Field. The next book after The Field is Catalyst, again featuring Marcie. Catalyst takes place a year and a half after The Field. The fourth book in the series will be more of a sequel to Catalyst. It’s as yet untitled and I’ve just started writing it.

 

The best part of writing a series is connecting with the characters who I love and learning more about them as their stories develop. There isn’t anything that I loathe about it! As long as there is still a story to tell I’m happy to do it!

 

4.  Of all the characters you’ve created, does one hold a special place in your heart? Why?

That’s really hard to answer. It’s like saying which one of your children is your favorite!! I love them all equally but for different reasons. In some ways, they all have aspects of myself in them. I love Eric’s athleticism and good heart. Marcie’s developing sense of self and self-confidence is something I think we can all identify with. Cole is so brash and unapologetically unique. Mrs. Horton is such a 20th-century working woman trying to balance the career she loves with taking care of her family.

 

5.  What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself from writing?

Sometimes when I go back and read what I’ve written I’m surprised at what I’ve created. While I do use actual people, places and events as inspiration, the stories themselves come completely from my imagination. I’ll think ‘dang, I did this’. Of course, it took a lot of hard work and ‘BIC” or Butt In Chair time to do it.

6. Tell us about the defining moment when you felt as if you’d finally made it as an author.

I was giving a presentation to 200 librarians at the Indiana Public Library conference. John Green (author of A Fault in Our Stars) also gave a presentation – his was to 1000 librarians, though. But still – we were at the same conference!! Of course, I was terrified at the time!

 

And here is a brief excerpt from The Field:

I position myself in the goal. I touch the left side of the goal, then walk to the right side, touch it, and then move to the center and touch the crossbar to orient myself. It’s my ritual. I crouch in the center with my knees bent and arms in position to catch a ball.

I feel confident, strong—ready.

The coach starts the play. The other team immediately takes control of the ball and the play moves onto my side of the field. Good. More action for me. The opposing team’s striker sends the ball out to his right and his midfielder runs onto it. I move to that side of the goal and my left back covers the front. Our defender is all over the midfielder. I see that the opposing striker has moved into position in front of the goal to take a pass from the midfielder.

“Watch for the cross!” I yell.

I’ve got the near post of the goal covered, coiled and ready to spring and I want my center back to cover the forward. The midfielder beats my defender and sends a pass through to his forward in front of the goal. I see it coming and leap out to punch the ball clear of the goal before the forward can head it in. My fist connects with the ball with a satisfying thwack! My center back takes the ball and sends it in a long arc to the other end of the field.

Yes! Adrenaline is surging through me and I’m pumped from stopping the cross. Now the play is on the other end of the field. I watch, staying focused on the action. The other keeper makes a save and quickly punts the ball down the field before my defenders have moved back. The opposing forward runs onto the ball. He takes off, sprinting toward the goal, and beats my defender.

It’s a breakaway!

My heart is pounding. It’s just me and him. The forward is approaching fast. Should I come out to meet him and dive at his feet or stay big and block the shot? It’s a split-second decision. Make the wrong choice and it’s a goal.

Wait! A thought flashes into my consciousness. I know where the shot will be. Left side— DIVE! I’m off my feet almost before the forward’s foot connects for the shot. I feel myself flying through the air, arms reaching. The ball is rocketing toward me. The ball strikes my palms and I push it wide, deflecting it outside of the goal and then I crash to the ground.

I jump up quickly in case the ball is still in play. My team has control of the ball and is moving it down the field. Squinting into the sun, I watch the play. Adrenalin is coursing through my veins. Total rush!

When I get subbed out I scan the sidelines for Will and jog over to him so we can rehash the play.

Will smacks me on the back. “You stuffed him!”

Will’s hair is dark with sweat, his face glistening and gritty. “How do you do that? I swear you were off the ground before he took the shot.”

I wipe my face on my shirt and take a long drink from my water bottle before answering. “I don’t know. Just reflexes I guess.” I don’t want to make too big a deal about it with Will, but sometimes I just get a feeling of knowing. It just flashes into my head. Maybe it’s from years of playing, but when it happens it feels different than reacting on instinct without thinking. It’s like knowing without thinking.

 

If you’d like to know what happens next, pick up a copy!

Buy link for The Field:

https://www.amazon.com/Field-Tracy-Richardson/dp/1612543014/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?crid=231PU5EUEKGQQ&keywords=the+field+tracy+richardson&qid=1558027149&s=gateway&sprefix=The+Field+Tracy%2Caps%2C211&sr=8-1-fkmrnull

Summer Getaways for Writers by Amy M. Reade

               The unofficial summer is coming to an end, with Labor Day approaching and kids getting ready to go back to school (if they aren’t back already).

But there’s still over a month left of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere! What are you going to do with yourself until fall arrives in late September?

Fear not. I’ve compiled a list of ten great places for writers (and readers, too) to visit. I’ve tried to include places in the general geographic area of each segment of the country, but I know some of these places will be far away from some of you.

There’s an easy solution to that: make it a two-day trip!

I’m going to stick with places in the United States for now, but maybe someday I’ll do another list for people in other parts of the world. For now, I’ll start in the Northeast and make my way around the US in a clockwise manner.

  1. New England. The Mark Twain House and Museum is located in Hartford, Connecticut, and is the place where Mark Twain said he spent the happiest and most productive years of his life. The three-story, twenty-five room mansion is open to the public and visitors can also see a Ken Burns film about Mark Twain, browse in the museum shop, and have a bite to eat.
  2. Mid-Atlantic. The Poe Museum. Located in Richmond, Virginia, Edgar Allan Poe’s hometown, The Poe Museum contains the world’s largest collection of Poe memorabilia, a wonderful gift shop, and an Enchanted Garden. There are always exhibits to see, as well as a Sunday Reading Series and a monthly Unhappy Hour.
  3. The Gone with the Wind Trail has stops in several places in Georgia. Here are just three of them: Atlanta’s Margaret Mitchell house (which houses a museum including the apartment where she wrote most of Gone with the Wind); the Gone with the Wind Museum in Marietta, Georgia, where visitors can see tons of memorabilia from the movie; and Shady Oaks (located in Jonesboro, Georgia), a Tara-esque mansion complete with outbuildings and guides in period costume.
  4. Middle South. I am one of the world’s biggest fans of Ernest Hemingway’s writing, which is one of the reasons I’m including this site on my list (another reason being that I’ve already included a trip in the Southeast, and EH’s home in Key West, FL, didn’t fit). It’s the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, located in Piggot, Arkansas. Hemingway and his wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, spent time in Piggot with her family; in fact, the Pfeiffers had a barn on the property converted for Hemingway’s use as a writing studio. He wrote portions of A Farewell to Arms while in Piggot, as well as a number of short stories. Check out this website, too.
  5. The Southwestern Writers Collection, located in San Marcos, Texas, and part of the Texas State Library System, is home to countless archives of works by writers (filmmakers, too) of the American Southwest. Included in the collections are works by Cormac McCarthy, Sam Shepard, and Rick Riordan.
  6. The Merwin Conservancy on the island of Maui is a home and 19-acre garden that belonged to the United States Poet Laureate William S. Merwin. It is only open for garden tours one morning a month, so if you want to go, check the website’s calendar. The garden, which contains one of the world’s largest collection of palms, would be a wonderful place to rest, rejuvenate, and drink in inspiration.
  7. Located in Salinas, California, The National Steinbeck Center is a tribute to all things John Steinbeck, one of the most influential American authors of all time. The permanent exhibition in the center is set up to explore the locations where Steinbeck lived, wrote about, and traveled.
  8. Hugo House is a writer-centric haven for people who love the written word. Richard Hugo was born in Seattle and overcame poverty and grief to become a nationally-renowned poet. The Hugo House is a place where writers can take classes, attend workshops, readings, author interviews, and more. Most of the events are free.
  9. Spend some time taking in the scenery and wildlife in the Arctic National Refuge, but to really get an appreciation for this upper bend in the Yukon River, read Two Old Women by Velma Wallis. The story is based on an Athabascan Indian legend and tells the story of two old women abandoned by their tribe during a devastating winter famine. Once you’ve read the book, go to Fort Yukon and begin to get a glimpse of the scenery and culture that gave birth to the legend.
  10. In Mansfield, Missouri, in the land of the Ozarks, you’ll find Rocky Ridge Farm, home to The Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum. This tribute to one of America’s most beloved writers features the farm and home where Laura lived with Almanzo and Rose and where The Little House books were written.

Do you have more suggestions for places for writers to visit this summer? Please share your ideas in the comments so we can all learn about them!

 

Amy M. Reade is a recovering attorney who discovered, quite by accident, a passion for fiction writing. She has penned nine mysteries and is working on two more, plus a Cape May County historical mystery series. She writes in the Gothic, traditional, contemporary, and cozy mystery subgenres and looks forward to continuing the two series she has begun since December 2018. She also loves to read, cook, and travel.

She is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, House of the Hanging Jade, the Malice series, the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series, and the Libraries of the World Mystery series.

Her most recent work is Dead, White, and Blue, Book Two in the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series.

How AFTER YOU’VE GONE Got Its Title By Kay Kendall

All my mysteries take their titles from popular songs. My first mysteries are entitled Desolation Row and Rainy Day Women. That’s appropriate since the books take place in the late 1960s. But my third mystery takes place in 1923, and I can hardly use a Bob Dylan song, can I?

How lucky that I found a song popular back then yet still covered today by contemporary artists.

Fiona Apple sings “After You’ve Gone.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FH3tvv-qnrI

The song “After You’ve Gone” was penned in 1918, remaining popular throughout the next several decades—especially during the 1920s, which is what I was looking for. Even in the last 30 years many singers have covered it. Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Edie Gourmet, and many more. In truth, the song is fantastic. It still holds up.

Copyright laws don’t cover song titles, but the lyrics are. While Dylan’s are still protected, “After You’ve Gone” is no longer under copyright. These from the chorus fit the storyline of my new mystery.

After you’ve gone and left me crying

After you’ve gone there’s no denying,

You’ll feel blue, you’ll feel sad,

You’ll miss the bestest pal you’ve ever had.

There’ll come a time, now don’t forget it,

There’ll come a time, when you’ll regret it.

Oh! Babe, think what you’re doing.

You know my love for you will drive me to ruin,

After you’ve gone,

After you’ve gone away, away.

 

After You’ve Gone (1918)
Music by Turner Layton and lyrics by Henry Creamer

 

When you read my new mystery, you’ll see how many of my characters are living their lives after someone has gone—someone very near and dear to them. They’ve been left bereft and must learn to carry on without these people. The biggest loss of all kicks off the mystery, of course. But there are others—oh so many others. Just count them all up. You’ll see.

Author Kay Kendall is passionate about historical mysteries.  

She lives in Texas with her Canadian husband, three house rabbits, and spaniel Wills. 

Visit Kay at her website  http://www.austinstarr.com/  

or on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/KayKendallAuthor 

Stress Manifests in Different Ways by Helen Dunn Frame

One of the reasons I moved to Costa Rica was to reduce stress in my life. Prior to making the decision, I toured the central valley followed by a few weeks living in a casita outside of Puriscal where I shed stress and felt serene. It was such a rewarding experience that I immediately knew life in the tropics was for me.

 

It took seven years of living in Costa Rica to find a place that was very convenient, allowed me to be independent, and to live well on my income. For the first two years, I lived outside of Puriscal in Carit. Initially, it was fine as I wrote and edited at home, but as I became involved in several organizations, taking two or three buses in order to attend a meeting became a chore.

 

After a serious search, I found a five-unit townhouse complex in Guachipelin. As the entrance to my unit was up 20 steps, I was able to watch fireworks from my living room or from the upstairs balconies off the two bedrooms. A major feature was a covered terrace and a garden protected by a very high wall. As the small townhome development was up a steep hill, I had to take cabs home although I could walk down slowly.

 

When I suffered two TIAs (mini-strokes) my doctor ordered, “Move to a place on one level.” The next residence I chose was in Cariari. It was a long narrow two-bedroom dark apartment. Widows were located at either end of the unit, but not on the sides. It took 15 minutes to walk to the bus stop. In the beginning, the property owners and I were friendly. Over time, the relationship changed and some of their actions were unwelcome. For example, the owners put up a wall between our large shared single terrace when they built a living room on their side, I suspect without permits. In addition, the river had a foul odor. It bordered our terrace. I became very unhappy because I was not experiencing the idyllic life I envisioned.

 

After someone finally bought the empty new house next door, he raised the wall between us that blocked light and air from the other end my end of the terrace. I needed a change. It took a while to locate a Tico house near Santa Ana. These owners offered their property furnished. While I kept a few things, I returned most of their belongings to them, having shipped my furnishings to make my house a home. Over the years that I lived within walking distance to the center of Santa Ana, we’ve become friends and go places together.

 

Earlier in 2019, the owners announced they wanted to build an apartment over my house with character and also make some improvements to my unit. Work was to begin in two weeks; it began one week later. I had to pack up many items, move stuff, and accommodate having a revolving crew of at least seven workers coming in and out of my place. The jefe of the workers told me they would be finished in my abode in two weeks. I mentally thought four to six weeks. Twelve weeks later, yes, twelve weeks, a few things still needed tweaking. As I drafted this blog, most items were completed.

 

Toward the end of the renovation, I learned I had a medical problem that had no symptoms which was frightening. Then FedEx did not deliver an expensive product I ordered delivered to a friend’s condominium in the States, causing a weeks-long hassle. As a result of these events, I developed a rash that turned out to be a form of Shingles. The dermatologist I called for three days, failed to give me an appointment. Finally, through the pharmacy where I buy medications, I learned of a doctor that prescribed the proper treatment. I should have gone to a doctor within five days of the breakout.

 

Fortunately, the attack was not that severe – burning stings where multiple pimples grew — and the meds cured the breakout but they caused discomfort in my stomach and reduced my appetite.

 

The positive result is that when all the bits are completed, I have an improved unit. I also lost some weight. Now I no longer have a Tico house with character, I have an apartment.

 

When later this year I write the fourth edition of Retiring in Costa Rica or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida I will add a chapter about renovating or building a house in Costa Rica. I’ll include the chapter in Expat Tales, a book that I currently am writing where each chapter relates personal or family experiences living in CR, and I’ll put the story in my annual newsletter.

 

If it were possible, I would recommend packing up everything and moving out for the duration even it’s complicated because you have a pet. On the other hand, I feel it is important to have hands-on each day as the contractors work even though it causes stress as one accommodates them. While it might be a pain, you could show up each day to monitor what transpires. It’s important to know what you are getting yourself into.

 

Helen Dunn Frame graduated from the Journalism School at Syracuse University and subsequently earned a Master’s Degree from New York University. She has been widely published in subsequent years. Her books include Retiring in Costa Rica or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida (third edition), Greek Ghosts, Wetumpka Widow, Secrets behind the Big Pencil, and Retirement 101. They are available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. She has lived in Costa Rica for more than fourteen years.

BETWEEN THE COVERS OF THE THIRD EDITION OF RETIRING IN COSTA RICA OR DOCTORS, DOGS AND PURA VIDA

To retire full time, part time, or not at all, that is the question. As you approach what could be the last quarter or even third of your life, it is a major decision to make. You want your adventure to turn out well in order that your golden years will be happy, healthy, and content.

This book offers a means for doing your due diligence beginning with the first Chapter, Retirement 101. This encourages you to look beyond your financial plans and to consider what you will do with your wonderful free hours. You’ll undoubtedly discover if retiring to this emerging nation is for you. You may decide that living abroad is not for you. If your choice is a different foreign country, you may recognize what you might face when adapting to a different culture.

The book contains a lot of information that will enable you to carry your due diligence to the next level. In addition, you may contact the author through her website to download a Moving Guide and workbook, useful for any move.

Review:

KUDOS: If you are contemplating permanent retirement, investing, or even birding in Costa Rica, then you must read this book. It is an in-depth, comprehensive guide by U.S. expat Helen Dunn Frame. It provides you with a systematic guide for the entire process of making your tropical retirement dream easily come true. Rowdy Rhodes, Semi-retired Freelance Writer.

Website: http://bit.ly/1KxXt7T  Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1COtMJn

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/grandi1369/

Linkedin:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/helen-dunn-frame-public/

iHeart Radio Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7kInKOWcp4

Amazon: Author’s Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Helen-Dunn-Frame/e/B0054LDOBW

What’s a publicist to do? by PJ Nunn

Imagine walking into an enormous shoe store with all kinds of shoes, then telling the salesman you’re not sure what kind you’re looking for, or what size you wear, or how much you want to spend. Just show me something…

 

At the very least, a good publicist should understand that you’re fairly new at the process and be able to ask questions that help determine what you’re looking for. Of course, that’s hard to do on a website or an email so usually a phone call is best. He or she should also be honest about whether or not what you’re looking for is going to help you achieve the desired results.

 

Many approach me seeming to think that hiring me will be a shortcut to success. I wish it was, but it probably isn’t. My job isn’t to promote your books for you, it’s to help you promote your books more effectively. What I aim to help you do is to make sure you’re making a great first impression, on the web, in person, on the radio, in print – whatever you choose to do. You may never see me do most of what I do, but it does make a difference.

 

It would be nice if there was a one-size-fits-all promotion plan that could be duplicated again and again, but there isn’t. At least I haven’t found it. A great campaign can be small or large and focused on one area of promotion or several. What’s important is that it works for you and that you feel comfortable doing what it entails.

 

Three things a publicist can and should do no matter what the campaign involves:

 

  1. Handle rejection – it happens, but it’s not personal and nobody likes to hear it. If it might be personal, I would talk to you about making some changes to take care of it, but usually it’s just business. I hear “no” in some form all the time. But I know it means “not now”, “call back another day”, or some variation of that. It usually doesn’t mean they’re rejecting you or your book. And in the rare cases in which it does, it’s easier for me to hear it than you. I’ll know to move on and look elsewhere.

 

  1. Free up your time for writing – Many of the tasks involved in promotion are hugely time consuming. Unending follow up calls are inevitable. Since this is what we do, we’ve streamlined the process and can free up large amounts of your time. Let me do these things for you so you’ll have more time to write!

 

  1. Lastly, we should be able to offer you direction when things get overwhelming and you’re not sure what to do next. Any promotional campaign should be very flexible. The market is highly unpredictable and whatever is in the news that day makes a difference whether you’ll get print space or broadcast time. If you’ve tried something and results are lackluster, your publicist can help you decide if it’s worth trying again, or time to move on to something different.

 

Above all, your publicist should be a team player, ready and willing to help you and your publisher get the right kind of attention for your book and help increase your sales base.

http://www.breakthroughpromotions.net/

The Genre Teeter-Totter by Lala Corriere

Got the bug?

Naysayers. At-a-girls. What a teeter-totter I’ve been on with the advice I’ve collected while considering a dip into a second genre.

It reminds me of when my big sister did the ultimate bad when I was four years old. She jumped off of the teeter-totter when I was on top!

The naysayers have a valid point. I’ve branded myself with my writer’s platform firmly ensconced in the genre of suspense and thriller. My fan list, my choice of conferences and associations, and even my emails and social media. Everyone and everything supports my infrastructure as a suspense writer. Don’t get me wrong. I love writing about a few dead bodies here and there. My private investigator, Cassidy Clark, isn’t going to stay quiet for long.

For two full years, I’ve had this idea in my bones that I wanted to write a story that would be more inspirational. More feel good. Maybe a book readers might pick up as a Christmas gift, sans all the murders and espionage. One great obstacle seemed to be that I had no story.

In April that all changed for me. The story became clear with an event that happened to be told to me by my father. What timing!

My seventh book and third in the Cassidy Clark series is now published.

Now, to get this novella out before fall. My first daunting challenge? Determining what the genre would be.

Magical realism. Who knew? Me? The mistress to suspense?

The positive feedback? A guru in the publishing marketing industry told me that readers are readers. If they like my writing and they believe in me, there is nothing to stop them from trying out my second genre which will be a series of novellas.

Granted, these authors have secured their mark in the publishing world, but I showcase those that have taken a ride on the teeter-totter between genres with success:

Stephen King is the king of multi-genre. He wrote of the United States in Alternate History, along with the Green Mile, and Magical Realism. Remember the flies?

Anne Rice slipped in some erotic romance.

J.K. Rowling penned the adult novel, The Casual Vacancy.

We can add Thomas Harris and even T.S. Elliot to the list.

So what’s to stop us as authors from writing from the words that are burning in our hearts?

My gutsy P.I. will be back with more thrilling suspense, and my Magical Realism will become a new series.

The key for me? These genres are so different that I fall into one or the other each time I put my fingers on the keyboard. There is no doubt what genre I’m writing in when I pull up the manuscript. It’s what’s on my mind and in my heart at that time. Some say I got devil. Some say I got angel.

I like it. You might try it.

One fall off of the teeter totter and a bruised bottom won’t stop me. A bruised ego won’t, either.

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=lala+corriere&crid=T4VMYK4W2E98&sprefix=lala+corrier%2Caps%2C254&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_12

 

Midheaven by Ken Kuhlken

When I was eighteen, I attended a Billy Graham crusade and came away with a sense that the Christian faith was far different than I had previously thought. So I started reading the Bible and tried attending churches. The Bible reading continued, the churchgoing did not, at the time.

 

Over the next few years, I started earnestly writing, and in King’s Beach, on the shore of Lake Tahoe, I attended a party where, on one side of a large room, a group of kids held a Bible study, while across the room other kids drank and smoked stuff.  And a girl stood between those groups, gazing left and right, looking bewildered, before she dashed out of the house. I followed and watched her run down the road and plunge into the lake.

 

I saw myself in that girl, often torn between what appeared to offer pleasure or fun and what felt good, blameless, and beautiful but required sacrifice. Together, the girl and I became Jodi, the narrator of Midheaven.

 

After we completed the story, I sent Midheaven to an agent named Keith who asked to represent me after he read a story of mine in the Virginia Quarterly Review. He declined to take on Midheaven since he doubted he could sell it.

 

Around that time, while I attended the University of Iowa graduate program in Fiction Writing, I gave a manuscript copy to a Viking Press editor who came to visit. After waiting a couple months for her reply, I submitted Midheaven to another editor, who soon replied that she loved the narrator but not the story, and then to another who wrote that he loved the story but not the narrator. Meanwhile, now and then I queried the Viking editor to ask if she had yet read my novel.  She didn’t respond.

 

For adventure and business, I rode a Greyhound cross country (the cheapest way besides hitchhiking, which by now I had given up). In New York City, twice I visited the Viking office and twice was told the editor was in a meeting and would get back to me. She didn’t.

 

Back home, I started a new day job as a welfare worker, and was at my desk when I got word that I should call Maureen Rolla, who would soon become my brilliant, wonderful editor.  She explained that the editor who had visited Iowa recently quit and and left a stack of manuscripts in which Maureen discovered Midheaven. She loved both the character and the story.

 

A day or so later, Keith the agent called and asked to represent the book he had earlier declined. By now, of course, I considered my future home to be somewhere along easy street.

 

But, as I would learn some years later when Maureen came to a book-signing shindig, the Viking Press sales department didn’t judge Midheaven a potential big seller, so they opted not to fund any promotion, which disturbed Maureen and helped her decide to quit her job and leave commercial publishing months before Viking released Midheaven.

 

My novel was well reviewed and chosen by Poets, Essayists and Novelists as a finalist for their Ernest Hemingway Award for Best First Fiction Book, but its sales were puny compared to John Grisham’s The Firm, which Viking released (and promoted) the same month.

 

In the memorable words of Kurt Vonnegut, “So it goes.”

 

By now I had turned to other stories including the Hickey family crime series, in book nine of which I discovered journalist Clifford, son of detective Tom Hickey, falling for Midheaven’s Jodi McGee.

 

And so, my first published novel also became book eight of the Hickey series, and book one of a trilogy I call, (strangely enough) Hickey and McGee.