Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fresh start, July 2014

Primary WIPs
First draft of Secret Project, details TBA
Begin first draft of A Deal of Death (Helen Binney #3)

Status of other Fiction WIPs
A Debt of Death (Helen Binney #4), cogitating
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

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hanging out with my role models

For a while, A DOSE OF DEATH was at the top of Amazon's cozy mystery bestseller list, right next to one of my favorite cozy-mystery authors, Donna Andrews, and on the same page as another favorite, Gemma Halliday:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Time is relative

Something I learned as a lawyer was that time was different in the court system than in the outside world. A "speedy trial" in criminal cases happens in months, possibly even years, rather than in the days or maybe weeks that a non-lawyer might expect from the term. Getting onto the fast track for a civil trial meant waiting years for a day in court, instead of decades.

In any event, with experience, lawyers learn that nothing happens quickly, and sort of adjust their understanding of time into slow motion.

It's a lesson that's served me well in a publishing industry that's rife with delays and hurry-up-and-wait. The turn-around from the contract for A DOSE OF DEATH to its release yesterday was a nano-second in publishing terms, thanks to my nimble publisher. Of course, that came after years and years of learning my craft and getting (more than) my fair share of rejections.

Now, I'm learning to deal with a different sort of time issue: time shifts between the parallel universes of books on the shelves and books being written.

The first of the Helen Binney mysteries just came out yesterday, so it's brand new for readers. For me, though, it's an old story, something I first came up with several years ago, and finally got into publishable shape last year.

The good news, for those who've been asking about the next installment in the series, is that the sequel has been in the works for a while already. Book #2, tentatively titled A DENIAL OF DEATH, is being polished up to send to the publisher toward the end of this month. Book #3, tentatively titled, A DEAL OF DEATH, has a (really rough) outline.

I thought the series might end as a nice, tidy trilogy, but just as I was thinking that, I had this idea about a new challenge for Helen to face. I'm not sure where the idea will take me, but a friend gave me the working title: A DEBT OF DEATH.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Doin' it Rong (or Rite)

Less than a week until A Dose of Death hits the virtual shelves, and I'm having whatever the opposite of post-partum depression is. Pre-partum hyperactivity?

What if no one likes Helen Binney? I love her, but she is a bit cranky and opinionated. What if no one understands Tate's dry sense of humor and thinks he's just a hard-hearted, evil lawyer? What if all the wonderful nurses I've met over the years blame me for what happens to the nurse in this story?

In other words, what if "Ur Doin' It Rong" applies to everything I've written?

Wait, wait. That's only one side of the argument, and I'm a lawyer, so I should be able to play devil's advocate, right?

Here's the case for my not doin' it Rong. My publisher likes Helen Binney, and she's not the ONLY person to do so. My friends and colleagues are all thrilled for me. My hairdresser fusses over every cowlick and every last strand of hair, because now that I'm a published author, I have to be perfectly coiffed all the time. (Don't tell him what a mess I am when I'm not in his chair.) My local independent bookstore is making a fuss over me (although, to be fair, the owners are great folks, and have always made a fuss over me). I haven't seen a nurse recently, but I'm optimistic that they won't get out their bluntest needle when it's time for my flu shot this fall.

In the end, perhaps some people will indeed think that I did everything Rong in the story and some people will think I did everything (or much of it) Rite, but that's how it goes with a subjective art like storytelling. Some people will like Helen, and some won't. (Although, I do hope there are more who like her than who don't. She's really a very good person beneath the cranky.)

For now, I'm holding onto the fact that reading is an incredibly personal experience, that once you get past the fundamentals of grammar and story structure, there is no definitive Rong or Rite.

Still, I'd feel a lot less nervous if I were confident that Helen's story is as tasty as chocolate. Everyone likes chocolate, right? At least a little?

Don't tell me if I'm Rong about that. I need to believe in something, and chocolate is about the only thing I'm sure of right now.