Maggie Pill

The Most Entertaining Cozy Author You Never Heard Of!


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Building a New Series

 writer cartoon | Reading, Writing, Research   To be honest, the path of least resistance for a writer is to keep churning out her most popular characters in book after book...like the Sleuth Sisters Mysteries. I had fun with Barb, Faye and Retta for years, and they're still my best sellers.

Then my sister died, and suddenly the series wasn't fun anymore. The last book was written but not finished editing when the news came, and each time I had to read it again made me sad. How could those sisters have each other when our trio was now a duet? I decided to put the series on a shelf and try something else.

 


The people in our trailer park in Florida had for some time encouraged me to write mysteries in a similar setting. In condos and trailer parks all over the southern United States, residents come together for a few months each year from many different places. They live in close proximity, in small spaces. And they're retired, which means lots of free time. The old adage says, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop," and we might add, "and idle minds are his raw material." It can be irritating to try to separate fact from rumor, and it's inevitable that what some folks do, other folks don't like. I decided to look at all of that and present the humorous side of being a snowbird.

The first Trailer Park Tale, Once Upon a Trailer Park, was well received. 

The second, Twice the Crime This Time, is about to burst on the scene, with the same mature characters involved in crime-solving interspersed with spousal spats and neighborly encounters, both good and bad. The series is fun to write,especially since so many people are more than willing to share ideas and anecdotes. Several of the incidents in the book are taken from "real life" stories told on warm afternoons on someone's porch.Voices rise as the story heats up, and there's lots of laughter, even if we've heard it before.

I try to be fair.



I always warn them..."I'm writing this down!"

Saturday, September 5, 2020

And... Preorders Are Here

 

The second Trailer Park Tale is available for pre-order everywhere I can manage it. So far I only have an Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08HJHQ7D5 . I'll add the links to B&N, Kobo, etc. when they're available.

This one continues the adventures of four couples in a Florida Over-55 RV park and, as advertised in the title, there are two crime threads. First, Ron & Julie are asked to see if they can pin down which man living at the park might be the guy who murdered two people back in 1967. While they're working on that, rumors circulate that someone's peeping in trailer windows at night.

Of course there are humorous interactions between characters: husbands and wives, neighbor to neighbor, and senior citizens against the world. Shopping for lingerie, getting a confused old man to his doctor's appointment, and dealing with a guy who believes aliens run the government are everyday occurrences for the residents of the Beautiful Bird Over 55 RV Park. 

If you missed the first book in the series, get it here: https://www.amazon.com/Once-Upon-Trailer-Park-Tales-ebook/dp/B07YV7ML7G 

 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Trailer Park Tales-Book #2

I've been working on the second installment of Trailer Park Tales, which will follow Once Upon a Trailer Park sometime in the next few months. The same four couples you met in Book #1 will investigate a cold case, finding a man sought by police for two fifty-year-old murders. The word is he lives at B-Bird, but he's changed his identity, so the cops ask Ron & Julie to do some digging. They involve the other couples, because really, how much danger can there be with a crime from 1967?
The book is almost together, which means I'll soon be sending it out to beta readers, editors, book reviewers, etc.
What I don't have is a title, and that's where you can help.
I'd planned to follow Once in the first title with Twice in the second. But when readers search for mysteries, they use keywords like murder, crime, suspects, death, kill, etc. I can't come up with a way to do both and come up with a catchy title.
I've been spitballing ideas all morning, hoping one will stick, but I'm stuck. Below is a (very rudimentary) mock-up of what I think the cover's going to look like, and a list of possible titles I came up with. Any help, either votes for one of mine or ideas of your own, will be greatly appreciated.


Everyone’s a Suspect
Twice-told Trailer Tales
Twice Around the Park
Senior Suspects or Geezer Suspects
Suspected Geezers  or Suspected Seniors
Twice the Crime
Suspects All Over the Place
A Park-full of Suspects or A Park Full of Suspects
Crime Times Two
Whispers of Crime

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Trailer Park Tales

For those who've complimented me on the first book of the new series, ONCE UPON A TRAILER PARK, thanks. I had a man stop me in the park to say that his wife reads him bits from the book. (I'm not sure if that was an "Atta girl" or a "Look what you've done!") Others have mentioned the relationships in the book, both between couples and among park residents, which is what I hoped readers would notice and enjoy.
Since it's doing well, I started on Book Two, tentatively titled TWICE AROUND THE TRAILER PARK. There are two mysteries to be solved in this one, a cold case and a hot one. The same four couples are featured, demonstrating types that might be found in any community. The question often asked is "When will it be out?" and the answer is fall of 2020, if all goes well.

Since the release of Book #1, one of the pastimes in the park where we winter has been figuring out who is who in the book. I keep telling people that authors don't choose a person and make him or her into a character. They're all composites of people I know here in Florida, home in Michigan, and anywhere else I've been. Still, it's been like a game whenever I show up somewhere. "Al is just like So-and-so," or "I think I'm Julie."
Whatever parks your trailer!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Remember Last Year When I Said...

I said in my last post that the audio version of Once Upon a Trailer Park was due any day. I guess I should have said in many days. Through some sort of snafu, Audible didn't release the book until YESTERDAY, which is weeks and weeks after it should have happened.
If you were waiting, I apologize for the delay. If you'd like a code to listen to it free, just let me know in the comments and I'll help you out. The book is still fun, even if late December turned into early February!

Monday, December 23, 2019

...And the Audio Version!

Well, it isn't technically available yet, but any day now the audio version of ONCE UPON A TRAILER PARK will be buyable. My helpful elves at Cerny American Studios in Chicago hurried to get the audio done in time for Christmas, but the process slowed down at Audible.com. I'm still hoping people have a few Amazon & Audible gift cards to use up, so they'll find out all about the murder at Beautiful Bird RV Park in Florida.

The book launch party was held in the park where Hubby and I winter. Some very good friends handled the arrangements, and attendance went way beyond my expectations (though I did learn from my first few book launches to order more books than I think I can possibly sell). Since the party I've heard good things about the book, and quite a few people came by to pick up copies as Christmas gifts.

The funniest part is everyone trying to figure out who's who in the book. "When I finish it," one guy told me when we passed his place on our walk, "you have to tell me if I guessed who all the people are." A woman claims she knows who Ron and Julie "really" are, because we know a couple with similar names and the man had knee replacement. And one woman told me she found herself: "I'm the crazy woman who stays inside all day." I love that people are so into the book that they do that.

An author often starts with a "character type," and of course there are qualities from real people in those types. But I don't know any murderers personally (I don't think), so I couldn't write if I didn't make stuff up. As soon as a "type" becomes a character in a book, he or she becomes someone all his own, for the very good reason that I write stories, not biographies. I mix types together, exaggerate some of their foibles, and change their looks, their sex, or their background. There are folks who love to spread gossip in any group, and they often make up what they don't know for certain. That's the starting point for Hank, but his purpose as a character is to move the story along. He might seem familiar, but he won't be someone you actually know.

A good thing happened recently: a friend sent me a story of an exchange she overheard in a restaurant in Michigan. Heart-warming and a little sad, it fired my imagination, and her story became a catalyst. Soon bits and pieces of plot that had been circulating in my brain began forming a story that goes on from this one. So there will be a second Trailer Park Tale, as yet unnamed. And there will be more spousal griping on both sides, because face it: anyone who's been married any length of time at all has a million of those!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Once Upon a Trailer Park: Here It Is!

 Buy on Amazon

Once Upon a Trailer Park is the first of the Trailer Park Tales, mysteries set in an over-55 RV park in Florida. Much of the humor comes from couples who bump against each other in the smaller, closer atmosphere of a trailer. (Can a marriage survive five months with only one bathroom? Can every single thing a person does be of interest to their neighbors?)
The mystery begins with the murder of a visitor to the park, and soon gossip and rumors fly. Everyone speculates on the identity of the killer, but there isn't much agreement. When one of their own is a suspect, the investigation turns serious. Soon after that, it turns deadly for one resident of Florida's Beautiful Bird RV Park.

Available now as a pre-order in e-book form. On Nov. 15, 2019, the book will be available in print from Ingram (for bookstores & libraries) and Amazon. E-books will be available at all major retailers: B&N, Kobo, Apple, Overdrive, etc.)

NOTE for Florida Book Groups and Libraries: If you'd like to book an author visit, email pegfish@yahoo.com and see what we can set up. Discounted books and the chance to trade "spouse stories"!