Showing posts from March, 2015

The Cat Has Spring Fever--But Not Me

One of us spends a lot of time looking out the windows at the snow. One of us wanders through the house, clearly wishing she could walk somewhere more interesting. One of us complains a lot about it in a loud voice. One of us naps, not from exhaustion, but from boredom. Okay, maybe both of us do those things. Like the cat, I long to go outside without getting my feet cold/wet/muddy. I want to see living things like wildflowers, trees with leaves, and the shoots of daffodil, crocus, and hyacinth that grow around my house when spring arrives. And I might have mentioned from time to time lately that I'm really tired of winter. While I'm like the cat in a lot of ways, I don't look forward to eating the chipmunks that have begun to appear in the side yard. We suffer from the same malaise, but we differ on that one little point.

What's a Pre-order?

Of course we know what a pre-order is. You want a book that isn't out yet. You tell Amazon about your longings and they let you sign up to get the book the minute it's available. You don't have to remember the release date and then go look for the book; it just shows up on your device. Pre-orders are helpful for authors too, at least if what I'm told is true. They're counted as sales when a book launches, which bumps it higher in the rankings, which means more people see it and hopefully want to buy it. That creates a nice little circle effect: notoriety brings sales, and sales bring more notoriety. All that's said to let you know the third Sleuth Sisters mystery, MURDER IN THE BOONIES, is up for pre-order. The release date for Kindle is May 20. Print books might come later, because there's  final proofing that requires ordering physical ARCs (advance review copies). Print books require different files than e-books, so that last proofing is a good idea

Grammar Nazis & Ninjas

Barb, one of the three protagonists, in THE SLEUTH SISTERS, is into grammar big-time. Some have referred to her as a grammar nazi, but I prefer the term grammar ninja , because Barb doesn't go around ordering people to do as she says. She's pretty athletic too, climbing up to billboards and rooftops to make her corrections.    My editor calls Barb "obnoxious" and "cowardly," because of her anonymous correcting of other people's mistakes. I find it ironic that an editor would say that, but it might be because she isn't allowed to be anonymous. Barb's Correction Events are meant to be funny, since those who recognize the grammatical mistakes of others often have the desire, though probably not the nerve, to fix what's wrong. For most of us, being right about such small things isn't worth the hard feelings it might cause. Barb's method might be the kinder way to go.    Fans have an amusing response to the grammar thread in the books: I

Cat People, Dog People, Cat/Dog People, & Not People

Lad, Ching, my sister & me I grew up on a farm. We had animals everywhere, in the house and in the barn. They were expected to earn their keep in some way. Our collie, Lad, (above) helped my dad and grandpa fetch the cows when it was time for milking. The cats kept the rodent population down in the barn and pretty much non-existent in the house. Some were pets, of course, notably our Siamese cat named Ching-a-ling (above) whose main activity was looking down on any being unfortunate enough to not be Ching-a-ling. There were ponies who let us ride them when they felt like it. But mostly the animals contributed something--assistance with work, some necessary product like eggs or milk, and of course, meat. Because of all the animals I knew as a child, I became a pet person. Though Lad was our only dog through my childhood (He lived to a ripe old age), I married a dog lover, and we always had one or two around when our kids were growing up. We usually had multiple cats, too, sinc


I see you, John! Sleuthfest crowns the Mandingo--Sexiest Man Florida in February--now, that's nice. Add to that a mystery conference where hundreds of writers of all skill levels and tiers of fame mingle, and it's heaven. I've spent the last few days talking writing with writers, and there's not much I like better. I listened to agents and editors explain their thinking on the changes in publishing. I heard writers list their struggles and realized we all have the same ones. And I spoke on writing dilemmas, trying to help others solve the nuts-and-bolts problems of writing: How do you get past a plot-knot? How do you get your word count down to a number agents will accept--or up to that number for that matter. The private conversations are fun, too. Catching up with one of my earliest friends in the business and meeting several new ones. It's funny, but I often know right away if a person "gets" being a writer. Many are living on a dream that&#