WRITER ROUNDUP

Several writers I know have had interesting events this week that you can still look for on-line. And I have one, too. Here’s the scoop. Enjoy.

Carol Kilgore had a wonderful reveal of her upcoming, what she calls “crime fiction with a kiss,” novel, SOLOMON’S COMPASS. Look at this cover:

 Carol and I share the same cover artist, Derek Murphy. We think he’s one of the best out there. Isn’t this stunning? Here’s the description of Solomon’s Compass:

Taylor is in Rock Harbor, Texas, on a quest to unearth her uncle’s treasure—a journey far outside the realm of her real life. There’s one glitch. Taylor’s certain the buried treasure was all in Uncle Randy’s dementia-riddled mind. Now he’s dead.

Former SEAL Jake Solomon is in Rock Harbor under false pretenses to protect Taylor from the fate that befell her uncle and the other members of a tight circle of Coast Guardsmen called the Compass Points who served together on Point boats in Vietnam.

Jake is definitely not supposed to become involved with Taylor. That was his first mistake. Taylor is attracted to Jake as well, but she refuses to wait for him to locate the killer when she knows her plan will force her uncle’s murderer into action.

But the killer’s actions are just what Jake is afraid of.

Her bio: Carol Kilgore is an award-winning author of several published short stories and many essays and articles. Solomon’s Compass is her second novel, a blend of mystery, suspense, and romance she calls Crime Fiction with a Kiss – always at least one crime; always a love story. Carol and her Coast Guard husband live in San Antonio, Texas, with two herding dogs that like nothing better than pack time on the patio.

You can find Carol here:

website . blog . facebook . twitter . goodreads . amazon

Find out more about Carol and Solomon’s Compass here:

http://underthetikihut.blogspot.com/2013/01/solomons-compass-cover-reveal.html

Carol and I are old friends and critique partners. She gets to see my work before anyone else and tears it apart. We both seem to have different strengths and weaknesses, so this has become a very valuable partnership.

Next up is John Floyd.  Here’s the cover of his latest short story collection:

You may remember that I had a short story in SEEDS, an online newsletter for Texas Gardeners, last week. The editor, himself a prolific short story writer, includes a short story in every weekly issue in January because there’s just not a lot of gardening news in January. The stories need to have a garden theme. John’s story is called, “A Nice Little Place in the Country,” and you only need to scroll down a way to read it. What a twist! It’s amazing what John came up with. Go here to see (it’s short):

http://www.texasgardener.com/Newsletters/130109/

John and I have been in several issues of the same magazines and ezines over the years, including DETECTIVE MYSTERY FICTION, MYSERICAL-E, and maybe the old FUTURES MYSTERIOUS ANTHOLOGY MAGAZINE. Because we both love to write short stories more than novels, we have become on-line friends, although we’ve never met in person. John has had fifty short stories in WOMAN’S WORLD magazine alone. Plus dozens more in other places. I always check to see if he has a story in WW when I’m at the grocery checkout counter. Look for him there!

Then there’s Earl Skaggs. Here’s the cover from his first novel:

 

Now he’s written a blog post about his upcoming novel, JUSTIFIED ACTION.

http://earlwstaggs.wordpress.com/

I’d tell you more, but it’s a secret. You’ll have to read all about it on his blog.

Earl and I have known each other since before the beginning of this century. We even started a mystery critique group up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area before I went motorhoming fulltime with my husband. We still exchange, via email, writing for critique, and I keep in touch with the other members of the group, too. Earl is another writer who loves to write short stories.

And last, in case you missed it, I did a guest blog on Tuesday, here:

http://cncbooksblog.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/editing-in-layers-and-a-giveaway/

where I gave away, to a commenter, one copy of my last novel, ORGANIZED TO DEATH.

 

I also sent off my editing checklist to anyone who wanted one. You can email me (jan@janchristensen.com) to get one, too.

I’ve known Jan all her life. I know she loves to hear from you, and commenting here would make her day.

Hope this roundup has been interesting. I think it’s wonderful that so many of us had great news this week. If I missed anyone I know, contact me, and I’ll blog about you, too.

 

A SHORT HISTORY OF GETTING MY STUFF PUBLISHED

Organized to Death is my third published novel. My first one was put out by a small press that gave me a contract for three novels. They published Sara’s Search on time and with a cover I loved. When the month of June came around to publish the second novel, though, it didn’t happen. Several months went by. Promises were made to publish it in October. It had a cover (I didn’t love it as much as the first one, though), it had been edited, and the galleys had been proofed. Christmas came and went, and all of January. I found out that several other writers with the same publisher were having the same problems. Royalty checks stopped. The publisher no longer answered phone calls or emails. We all became quite concerned. And unfortunately, as a group, we decided to pull our books and ask for the rights back to those already published. Of course, the publisher’s reputation was ruined, and we all left, sadder but wiser.  Some writers went with other small presses, and several had bad luck with them, as well. I wrote some more novels. I sent them to NY agents. Nothing happened. I was reluctant to try another small publisher. (Another one, WriteWay, had shown interest in another of my books before I placed Sara’s Search , but they went bankrupt before any contracts were signed, so I was leery—authors there, as far as I know, never got their rights back.) By this time I had the one published novel and over fifty short stories as publication credits. Didn’t matter.

Then something unexpected happened. Ebooks, thanks to Amazon, started to become popular. Writers who had no luck with NY publishing decided to strike out on their own and get their books up for ebook readers. This was not too difficult to do. I watched and waited. I saw that some readers were unhappy with the books coming out because they were poorly written, had glaring spelling and grammar mistakes, and were badly formatted. I also noticed that many of the covers did not look very professional, and many were too dark to be able to read the title and/or authors’ names on the tiny thumbnails used on-line. So I decided to hire a professional cover artist, and between us, this is what we came up with:I still like it. Next, the authors I read about who were successful hired professional editors and proofreaders to go over their manuscripts. And finally, if they couldn’t do a good job themselves, they hired yet a third person to format the work for them.

This is what I did with all three of my novels. Sara’s Search, of course, already had a graphic designer, Clint Gage, do the cover (and I got the rights for that, as well) and an editor pointed out everything that needed fixing. For Revelations, I hired Anne Victory to do the editing, and Derek Murphy to do the cover (he also did the cover for Warning Signs, my short story collection). I admit to formatting all three of those books myself (no need for an editor for the short story collection—they’d already been published, so edited). For Organized to Death, I again used Anne and Derek and because there are so many different sized Kindles out there now, decided to use a professional formatter, Jason Anderson who did a great job on both the ebook and print formatting. I will be using all three again, if they’re available, for my next books—hopefully three more next year.

Someday I may change the cover for Sara’s Search because it’s too dark to show up well in a thumbnail. I also want a new paperback version, so that would need to have a back cover.

And that’s it so far. I’m open to questions, and if they’d take  a long-enough answer, that could become another blog post. So, ask away.