Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fresh start, June 2014

Official (not tentative!) release date
A Dose of Death (formerly Nursing A Grudge) (Helen Binney #1), Gemma Halliday Publishing, June 10, 2014

Primary WIPs
Polish A Dash of Death (Helen Binney #2) and write synopsis
Brainstorm and outline A Deal of Death (Helen Binney #3)

Status of other Fiction WIPs
A Four-Patch of Trouble (cozy mystery featuring quilt appraiser sleuth), finished
Robbing Peter to Kill Paul (novella?, sequel to A Four-Patch of Trouble), outlined
A Monkey Wrench In The Works (sequel to Robbing Peter ...), first draft done
Tree of Life and Death (holiday novella, sequel to Monkey Wrench), first draft done
A Stinkin' Plot (cozy mystery on garlic farm), complete
Plowed Under (cozy mystery, sequel to A Stinkin' Plot) outlined
Fatal Forfeit (legal thriller) 50+ pages of first draft completed), on hold
One Cat is Never Enough (Crazy Cat Lady series, post-apocalyptic setting), done and polished
Two Cats Are Better Than One (Crazy Cat Lady #2), partial first draft, complete outline
Three's A Clowder (Crazy Cat Lady #3), partial first draft, not much outline
Arresting Amelia (vague idea for cozy mystery set at general aviation airport)
Victoria and the Vapors (homage to Sherlock Holmes), still in brainstorming stage

Status of Non-fiction WIPs
Financial Planning For Authors (languishing in writers' block limbo)
Legal Research for Authors (non-fiction book, outlined)
Contracts for Authors (non-fiction book, outlined)
Estate Planning for Stashes (refers to collections of yarn, fabric, art, books, beads, Tardises, etc.): four-part series posted on blog, to be edited and formatted into a digital book.

Speaking appearances
July 23-26, 2014, Romance Writers of America national conference in San Antonio, Texas. Topic is estate planning for authors. More on the conference here
May 10, 2014, RIRW meeting. Topic is estate planning for authors. More on RIRW here.
May 2-3, 2014, New England Chapter, RWA "Let Your Imagination Take Flight Conference." Topic is estate planning for authors. More on the conference here.

Blog posts elsewhere
Laffeinated Ink, the fourth Monday of every month
Ruby-slippered Sisterhood, on estate planning for authors, December 19, 2013

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The most beautiful cover ever!

With thanks to the cover artist.

The book is also available for pre-order here, and will be available at other venues soon.

Back cover copy: As the former governor's wife, Helen Binney is used to being in charge. So when illness and two pushy nieces force her to take on a visiting nurse, Helen uses every trick in the book to slip away from the annoying woman. Only someone must have disliked the nurse even more than Helen, because the woman's dead body shows up the next day in Helen's yard! Now it's up to Helen to prove that not only is she perfectly capable of taking care of herself, she's also perfectly capable of solving one cold-blooded murder. Between the nurse's shady past, an elusive "Remote Control Burglar," and an unlikely partnership with a handsome lawyer, Helen finds herself being drawn into the killer's carefully crafted web. The only question is, can Helen survive a little dose of death?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

More fun in 2014

I've been stressing recently, about this, that and the other. It's not good for me, it interferes with my storytelling, and it doesn't even fix the things I'm stressing about.

It's time to remember my motto for the year: More Fun In 2014!

Current fun thing: I've given myself the rest of the month off from deadlines, and spend three weeks dusting off an old book-of-my-heart (actually a series-of-my-heart) to polish it up and find a home for it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A rash of titles

My upcoming release started its life with the abysmal working title of Helen Incriminates Herself. 

It's an accurate summary of the premise for the story (amateur sleuth who tries to prove she DID kill someone, instead of trying to prove she didn't do it), but not exactly catchy. It's more a function of my analytical, legal brain than my storytelling brain.

When it came time to send out queries, where every word matters and needs to be catchy, I had a brilliant inspiration. The protagonist, Helen, is a tad cranky (with good reason), and she's got a nurse who really annoys her (and who subsequently ends up dead). I got to thinking that Helen was nursing a grudge against the nurse, and voila! a title was born: Nursing A Grudge.

Catchy and representative of the story, so we were all set to go with it.

And then came disaster.

It's not uncommon for multiple books to share the same title, but it can get confusing if they share other features that make them difficult to differentiate, like genre and date of release. Generally, it's best if the title hasn't been used in the last year or two, and if the books are in different genres.

At the moment, there are three books on Amazon with this title. One looks to be a legal thriller released in September of last year, another is a traditional mystery released in 2012, and then there's a cozy mystery, released just a few months ago.

The last one rang the death knell for my using the title: same general timeframe for release, same genre, same SUBgenre, and even a similar style of cover (cartoony, rather than a picture or realistic painting).

There's just no easy way to distinguish the two books. I can't say "it's the one released this year," or "the one without any blood on the cover," or "the one that's lighthearted instead of grim." I'm more than happy to support my fellow authors, and I'm sure it's a great book, but I don't want to confuse my readers.

So, brainstorms happened. My faithful betas helped, even when I sent them after a red herring. For a while, I was obsessed with getting the word "pill" into the title, and came up with "A Pill A Day Keeps the Nurse Away." My publisher wisely vetoed that one, and the whole "pill" theme.

And finally we came up with the real title. I'm thinking it's kind of like the trope in fantasy novels, where everyone has a given name and a "real" name, and knowing the "real" name for someone (or something) can be powerful.

So, promise me you won't abuse the power, and I'll introduce you to the story formerly known as Helen Incriminates Herself, briefly referred to as Nursing A Grudge, and now openly celebrated as A Dose of Death.