Maggie Pill

The Most Entertaining Cozy Author You Never Heard Of!

Monday, March 5, 2018

March Is Release Month for SS#6!

I have three weeks to make sure everything is AOK for the 6th Sleuth Sisters Mystery, Peril, Plots, and Puppies.
I think I'm ready.
Preorders are available on Amazon:
It will be available from all ebook providers, B&N, Kobo, etc.
Print version is coming along.
Reviewers are pre-reading (they like that).
I'm sure there are things I should be doing, but I can't think of what they'd be.

In this book, the sisters take on two cases: shutting down a puppy mill and finding a murderer. Neither their client nor the puppy mill owner is fun to deal with, and the added complication is that Barb was seen near the murder scene, doing a Correction Event as the Grammar Nazi. Each sister has her own concerns, but of course they come together when it's time for Sister Power.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Audible on Sale? Unheard of!

One of the criticisms I hear of Audible is how expensive audio books are, and I sympathize. Many of my fans save credits or scrimp to buy my newest book, and it's discouraging for authors, who know a new listener probably isn't going to risk $20 plus to try her book.
Lately they seem to be getting it, and I have had two hopeful signs. One is that they put my old MACBETH'S NIECE release (written as Peg Herring) into a special romance category that gives readers a price break. The other is that they're having a sale this week (Feb. 18 to 25) on "First of a Series" books, and they included THE SLEUTH SISTERS for less than $6.95 (whatever that means!)
That means if you haven't heard Judy, Laura, and Anne perform as Retta, Barb, and Faye, you get a bargain chance. 

And since Book #6 is in the works, you'll have some enjoyable listening ahead!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Pre-order Sleuth Sisters #6

It's a terrifying thing for an author to say, "I will have this book ready on..." A hundred objections come to mind: what if I hate it? what if the editor hates it? what if, what if, what if?
Still, there comes a time, and it's here. Peril, Plots, and Puppies is slated for March 23, and you can pre-order it here:
If you've missed any of the former books, you've got two months to get caught up!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Working On It, Boss

Working Cover Files
If you keep up with my adventures, you know I was conflicted about a sixth Sleuth Sisters book. I do NOT want to be the author who stretches a series beyond logic, and I feel strongly that if I'm not interested in the plot, my readers won't be either.
That was reinforced this past week as I read a book by one of my favorite authors, who has a long-running series I've always liked. The new story was beyond belief, with the detective getting naked in front of a crowd of people to force a confrontation that made very little sense and wasn't believable, at least for me. I never want the Maggie Pill name attached to a book just to have a new one out there.
With that said, I found myself interested in the sisters again somewhere in August, and the questions began. What if Barb is caught, or almost caught, doing her Grammar Nazi thing? What if it's because there's a murder nearby, so the Nazi is a suspect? That was the germ of the idea for Book 6.
Then I asked myself what the other sisters might be doing that would interest me and my readers. For Faye the answer was easy: helping animals. I began researching puppy mills by talking to people at several animal shelters in northern Michigan. There: a sub-plot! That left Retta, and her concern in the book became something many of us face in our fifties, when we start to really understand what aging is and how we're treated differently because of it. How would Retta feel if someone younger and cuter took the spotlight, leaving her in the shadows?
So we have the Sleuth Sisters' signature ingredients: a murder, some family conflict, and dogs. If that sounds like a book, well, it's becoming one. It takes repeated reads and edits, sometimes by myself, sometimes with the help of wonderful beta readers, to make sure what I think is happening in a story is clear to the reader. So that's what I'm working on, and this week I got the cover, which always inspires me to keep going. The Sleuth Sisters will power on, and of course they'll prevail, because--Sister Power!

Monday, September 11, 2017

To Be or Not To Be--That Is the Problem


I know what my fans will say if I ask: Should the Sleuth Sisters series be done? I've already heard it from some: "No! We love them!"

I get that. But what is the saturation point for a series?

I always thought it was five books, but I've got #6 mostly done, and I like it. The sisters still have issues to work through, and the two cases this book covers are interesting (There are dogs in one; that's always good.)

But in my own reading, I tend to lose interest when a series goes on too long. Yes, I've read twenty-three Sue Graftons, but I space them out so I don't get sick of Kinsey. I love Harry Bosch too, but I was pleased to see that Connelly expanded to the Lincoln Lawyer books and is trying out a new character in The Late Show. 

I think I'll know if there should be another Sleuth Sisters book. What happens is my brain starts telling me the story when I'm ready to write it down. There's no telling when that will happen. It could be next year. It could be the year after, since it will take a while to get Book 6--Plots, Perils, and Puppies--up and available.

But I think I'll know when it's time.


Monday, March 13, 2017

When Writing Is Fun

I went to see SOMETHING ROTTEN this week, a very enjoyable show. In it there's a number in which Shakespeare sings about it being "Hard to Be the Bard." That got me thinking about writing and the levels of difficulty involved. It is hard, but it's also fun.

It's hard to write the whole thing. I can't tell you how many people I've met who have three (or five or eight) chapters of a novel written but just can't go farther. Writers get that, but they also get past it.

It's hard to make it good. Writing well takes a lot of understanding of language, story, syntax, conversation, style, character--all those things your English teacher used to go on about. They matter. It might be true that everyone has a story inside, but not everyone is ready to tell it well enough that others want to read it.

It's hard to make it better. Another group I meet a lot are those who have written their masterpiece and can see absolutely nothing wrong with it. First time. First draft. Perfect. Um, sure.

It's hard to maintain focus on the final product. It takes time alone, hammering away, cutting, adding, fixing, fine-tuning, and in general ignoring life as it goes on around you. I've never been so successful that I'm forced into the public eye, but I imagine it's doubly difficult to find time to think up a story and write it when your publisher is "suggesting" you attend dozens of fan events and setting up book signings all over the place.

So when is writing fun? The good news is that any of it can be--it just won't be all the time. When you're in the zone and sense that a passage is really good. When you're out doing publicity and a fan says your book really spoke to her. When you're editing and see that it really is all coming together. When reviewers say things that reveal they got what you intended them to.

Like anything worth doing, writing well is hard--harder than most non-writers imagine. But within those tough spots is the satisfaction--if you keep going and pay attention--that you made something out of nothing. An idea has become a book. How can that be anything but wonderful?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Sleuth Sisters #5: Eat, Drink, and Be Wary

I sent it for editing on Thursday!
Anyone who has every written something for publication knows the feeling: half excitement, half dread. Our fondest dream is that the editor sends it back and says, "It's perfect just the way it is!" but that rarely happens. It's more likely to be, "Can you move Chapter Six to Chapter Eight and then merge Ten with Eleven?" Or worse, "You need to make Character D more outspoken, so look at every single line she speaks and see if you can make them all stronger."
Anyway, we're on the road to Book 5, in which the sisters go to a retreat at a winery north of Traverse City, MI, (hence the "eat" and "drink" in the title and get into all kinds of trouble (the "be wary" part).
The cover artist said I'd see something in February, so stayed tuned. If all goes well, the release will be in mid-April. I plan to put it up for pre-order soon. And for my audio friends, I'm sorry, but I can't speed that process up. Audible won't accept it until it's live on Amazon, and then the studio has to book time for the actresses, etc. Audio release is likely to be late summer.