I’m super excited to announce the stops at the Murder Comes Ashore Blog Tour. I have lots of great blogs on the list, most are crime fiction lovers, a few are romantics *winky face* ALL are bookish people like you and me. The best part about this tour is all the free stuff. I’ve got stories about my journey, facts about the island and woman who inspired the series, teaser excerpts and PRIZES. Yeah. What? I didn’t think you’d follow my tour for my words of wisdom. If you’ve read my blog you know those words are bananas and fruitcake, but prizes??? Prizes are motivating. Then, to round off a full month of celebration, I’m throwing my first ever FaceBook party with even more giveaways and perhaps a guest appearance or two, so be there or be missing from the awesome funsies. That’s how the saying goes, right?
Murder Comes Ashore Blog Tour
Monday March 3rd: Savvy Authors – Organizing Details is Writer Gold
Monday March 3rd: Fantasies, Mysteries, Comedy, Recipes - Amateur Sleuths, Fun & Follies
Monday March 3rd: Stacy Juba Blog- Interview
Tuesday March 4th: Rachel Brimble Romance - Romance in Cozy Mystery
Tuesday March 4th: Carina Press Blog
Wednesday March 5th: Writer & Cat A cattification
Wednesday March 5th: Marilyn’s Musings Birders & the island that inspired me
Wednesday March 5th: Books with a Bite - An Interview with two Heroes
Friday March 7th: Shelf Pleasures Snapped! at Love is Murder
Friday March 7th: Ramblings from a Chaotic Mind: Review
Monday March 10th: http://chrisredddingauthor.blogspot.com/ - Interview
Wednesday March 12th: The Poisoned Martini - Excerpt teaser & giveaway
Wednesday March 12th: Pebbles in the Water - Interview
Wednesday March 12th: It’s Not All Gravy Writing with small children
Friday March 14th: Lisa Haseltons’s Reviews and Interviews - Interview
Saturday March 15th: Ramblings from a Chaotic Mind
Monday March 17th: http://www.lisemcclendon.wordpress.com/ Shenanigans of an Amateur Sleuth
Wednesday March 19th: Nancy’s Notes from Florida
Thursday March 20th: The Mystery World of Pat Brown - Interview & Excerpt
Friday March 21st: Buried under books
Friday March 21st: Cathy Perkin’s Blog
Saturday March 22nd: Make Mine Mystery Island Inspiration
Monday March 24th: Julie Lomoe’s Musings Mysterioso - My Writing journey So Far
Wednesday March 24th: Babette James Blog Interview
Wednesday March 26th: Suspense Your Disbeliefs .com - My Make It Moment
Friday March 28th: Toni Anderson’s Blog!
Saturday March 29th: Mysterious Writers Musical Inspiration
Monday March 31st: The Stiletto Gang - Excerpt & Giveaway
Monday March 31st: Not Your Usual Suspects
The Big Thrill Magazine did a feature article about my new release, MURDER COMES ASHORE! I was interviewed by USA Today Best Selling Author Karen Harper and I dished on amazing things like Kimberly Horton, my inspiration, and my intense author love for Matt Petrunak and his mad skills….. Enjoy!
The writer life is an exercise in bi-polar living for me. The mental work is grueling. The long droughts of rejection drain my soul. I frequently look to my writer-friends for a reason to go on. Frequently. I quit writing FOREVER at least quarterly. It’s a very awful pursuit for me about half the time. Truly terrible. But. Twenty-five percent of the time, I’m inspired. When I’m inspired, I have hope and the company of a shiny new concept that keeps me up at night like the butterflies of first love. I talk about the concept and pet it and snuggle it and spend time cultivating it everyday and long into the nights. The inspired times are worth the miserable drought times. I love that portion of my writer life. Still, there’s another twenty-five percent out there.
I didn’t forget. And my math skills aren’t that bad, yet. I was saving the best for last. Grandma taught me. The good news take your mind off the bad. This post is about the good news.
Me and Jacqueline Mitchard
The very best part of the writer life is when it all becomes real. When an agent or editor likes your work. A critique partner begs for more. A readers contacts you to say you made them smile, laugh, climb a mountain, etc. Unfortunately, these times are the exception for most writers like me, but they’re worth it. The bulk of our lives is spent in the trenches, then just when we’re ready to quit writing FOREVER. Again. Something lovely happens to refuel our hearts and remind us there is purpose to the madness.
Last weekend I had an experience like that. I attended the Love is Murder Conference in Chicago. It was the best weekend event I’ve attended in ages, but not because of the event itself. Let me tell you about the weekend.
It started with me pouting around the house over leaving the kids for three days, imposing on in-laws, worried my editor would be mean to me when we finally met in real life, worry the trip was all around too costly, my career/hobby? took took much away from my family…you name it. If the tickets and airfare weren’t already paid for and nonrefundable, I would’ve backed out at the last minute. I was having a drought experience. I’d pulled manuscripts from my agent that week, discouraged at the lack of progress in submissions and resolved to self-publish. I believe in these manuscripts and refuse to stuff them under the floorboards because they haven’t found the right home. When you
Me with Laura Barth
spend your life writing not one, but two manuscripts that go nowhere, it’s a crossroads to What-the-heck-a- I-doing-with- my-life? Additionally, a third manuscript was failing to get the reception I wanted with the presses I wanted. Oh, and I was finishing 30days of writing guest blog spots in preparation for my March release, so I hadn’t written anything in ages. If you’ve ever done a blog tour, you know. You write variations of a similar vaguely promotional thing more ways than sanity can stand. I was drained. I wanted to go to bed for life.
Anyway. I didn’t. I got on a plane with my husband and we flew to Chicago. In February. During the arctic vortex. A caribbean escape it was not. Hubsy and I had a nice kid-free dinner at an overprices steak house and shared a bottle of wine at ten o’clock that night when we arrived. We ordered burgers and fries. It was that kind of day. I needed a burger. I slept like the dead, and in the morning, things looked up. Way up.
I met my editor-in-chief over at Merit Press, the gorgeous, talented and so very kind Jacqueline Mitchard. Jackie’s an acclaimed author and a mentor for me. She was a featured speaker at the event. She was so nice. I couldn’t believe my luck. I loved her instantly. We ran around like girlfriends (only way cooler than that lame description) during the event, sitting together and thankfully knowing at least one face everywhere we went. It was a wonderful comfort to me, plus, Jackie is hilarious. her wit is spectacular. I laughed so much. So very much.
Me with My Life Source
That afternoon, I went to my room to recharge. After a series of panels, my author-face was falling and my introvert was begging me to hide. I always listen to my introvert or bad things WILL happen. Back in my room, I had a FB message from my agent. I told her I was in my room for a few minutes and started typing a general recap of my morning when the phone rang. She called me. You know what that means, right? I got the call! The press where I’d hoped to place my last manuscript loved it! A win! I needed a win. It was a glorious, wonderful, very good day. Then, dinner arrived. At dinner, I had the pleasure of sitting with a woman I’d met via twitter just days before the conference. Her name is Laura Barth and she works at the Harlequin headquarters. She was tweeting something like, “Meet Heather Graham and Julie Lindsey in Chicago!” I had tweeted back to say, You just put ME in a tweet with Heather Graham? What?? LOL. I’m me and she’s Heather Graham! It was nuts. Laura was as much fun in person as she is on twitter and somehow even prettier. I was delighted to meet both Laura and Heather in Chicago. I’m now bunny trailing this story – sorry. *clears throat* So, I sat with Laura at dinner and she gave me more good news. Harlequin has chosen to pick up my Carina Press e-book mystery series for the Harlequin Book Clubs.
Me with Heather Graham
So, I said all that up there, to say this: If you are a writer in a drought period, ready to quit, ready to cry, emptying another pint of Strawberry Cheesequake ice cream….hang in there. This too will pass. Droughts always end. They take some people down with them, but you’re tougher than that. You’ll survive. So, get your chin up, Buttercup. Your good news is already in flight. It will be here before you know it, and if you’re like me, probably when you least expect it.
It’s no secret I love a good conference. I attend as many as possible. There’s something about being surrounded by crime fiction readers and writers that makes me buzz with energy. Let me tell you, I have enough energy without the extra buzz. I get downright giddy and awkward at these things, but while my sweaty palms and antsy brain scream “RUN TO YOUR ROOM AND HIIIIIIDE!” The adrenaline propels me into the mix where I watch and eavesdrop and absorb every bit I can.
This month, I’m prepping for another trip to Chicago. I went there for ALA (the American Library Association annual event) in June, but it was a quick trip. We arrived on Friday afternoon, went to the venue, stayed till close, back to the hotel and crashed. Back to the venue in the morning, then drove home that evening. Needless to say, I didn’t see much of Chicago, but I did get stuck waiting for the bridges to go up and back down, which got my mind wandering since I was reading the Divergent series at the time.
I’m bunny trailing again.
The Love is Murder conference is exciting to me for the obvious reasons, plus one more. I will finally meet the gorgeous and talented author/editor extraordinaire Jacqueline Mitchard. Jackie is the Editor in Charge over at Merit Press, my YA publisher for Deceived. She pulled my baby from the slush and gave this girl a chance to work with one of the best. I can’t wait to share an awkward hug with her. I’m slated to be on a YA panel with her, too. All good things. As a bonus, Hubsy is joining me…so…three days without kids? What? WHat? WHAT? Yep.
Here’s the info on Love is Murder. *Copied from the website Love is Murder.net*
“Love is Murder is the Midwest’s premier mystery/romantic suspense/thriller conference, drawing upwards of 300 readers, fans, authors and writers each year, with dozens of panel discussions, meet-and-greet book signings, presentations, exhibitors, book discussions, activities, entertainment, networking, and the opportunity to pitch manuscripts and ideas to Chicago- and NYC-based publishers, agents and editors.
It takes place in Chicago every February, Friday through Sunday during SuperBowl weekend.”
Hope I’ll see you there!
by Christine Kohler
When my Merit Press editor Jackie Mitchard e-mailed me the cover of NO SURRENDER SOLDIER, without hesitation I e-mailed back, “I love it!” What I loved about the cover is the perspective. I don’t know who is the illustrator of my cover, but he or she understood both the duel perspective—two alternate point of views—and the artist’s perspective of showing the WWII Japanese soldier underground looking up at the 15-year-old Chamorro boy in the Guam jungle. I am not an artist, but my dad is an amateur artist so I understand a bit about drawing and perspective, that’s why I loved that my cover illustration has spatial and dimensional perspective.
Find Christine Kohler online:
I was also tremendously relieved when I first saw my cover. I was relieved for what was not on it. I did not get any say on my cover or book description or, initially, my author bio. NO SURRENDER SOLDIER is set on Guam during 1972 with two characters—the protagonist is a 15-year-old Chamorro boy and the antagonist is a WWII Japanese soldier. It has made me anxious in the production of this book and marketing materials, such as a trailer or audio recording, that any images or vocals or representations will accurately reflect the indigenous Pacific-Islanders—Chamorros—in the Marianas, which includes Guam. (I lived in Japan and Guam.) Because of this concern of authenticity, I have not even had a trailer made. I want to hire someone on Guam to make it. I’ve also recommended to my publisher that they hire someone from the University of Guam to record the audio book because of the pidgin English and Japanese dialects in NO SURRENDER SOLDIER. But, in the end, the publisher selects, not the author. So you can imagine my relief when my cover did not show faces or clothing. The only person on the cover is a black silhouette of the Chamorro teen as the hidden soldier might see him from the underground tunnel.
My book description has been problematic in writing because it is easy to give away too many spoilers. I wondered if the book cover would prove the same—needing a description, including spoilers, to explain what is going on in this collage of greens. However, something happened after I gave a bookmark to a teen that reminded me to trust the intelligence of my readers. The teen boy looked at the cover of NO SURRENDER SOLDIER and asked, “Did a bomb go off?” I realized that he could tell there was a big hole in the ground. (See, the illustrator was successful creating dimensional and spatial perspective!) I hesitated, not wanting to give away a spoiler, and said, “This hole was not caused by a bomb; it was caused by a WWII soldier who dug an underground tunnel with a cannon shell. However, there is a bomb in the story.”
Hopefully from the readers’ perspective the cover of NO SURRENDER SOLDIER will pique their interest and draw them in to read the story.
Preorder NO SURRENDER SOLDER:
Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound
**This post first appeared 12/13/13 on UnCommonYA**
by Beth Fehlbaum
Colby Denton, whose story, BIG FAT DISASTER, will be thrust into the limelight in March/April 2014, asked if she could introduce herself to UncommonYA readers. Colby told me that she’s had enough of hiding in the shadows, and she’d rather speak for herself. She says she’s been silent long enough.
I’m Colby Denton. I’m fifteen years old, and I live in Texas. I used to live in the Dallas area until my dad cheated on my mom and stole from his campaign and investment firm clients. He was a candidate for senate, running on a family values platform. . . The irony is not lost on me, either, so go ahead and laugh. I’ll join you.
The F.B.I. seized our house as evidence of Dad’s crimes, since he paid it off with stolen money. My mom, sisters, and I would be homeless if my dad’s sister, Leah, hadn’t offered to let us use an old mobile home that’s behind her house.
Now, I live in this little bitty town in East Texas called Piney Creek. This place is so tiny that K-12 grades are in the same school building. I wish there was no Internet here. If there weren’t, maybe what happened to me—that video of me dressing that showed up on Facebook. . . <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”" normal”=”">man. Anybody got a Rewind button for my life?
I’ve been standing on stages, smiling, and waving at strangers for as long as I can remember, but the truth is, I hate the limelight with a passion, which is one reason that I don’t fit with my family. I mean, honestly, there are so many reasons I don’t fit in, at least a hundred of which are the extra pounds I carry, but hating the limelight is a biggie when your mom is a former Miss Texas.
I’ve always been pretty much alone, even when I was surrounded by people who wanted something from my parents. I’ve hidden behind a smile while rapid-fire thoughts seemed to be propelling me toward a binge, and I counted the moments until I could get behind closed doors with my Snack Stash to try to stop the feelings that felt as if they would swallow me whole.
When I found a photo of my dad kissing another woman, then found out about his crimes, I didn’t think my life could become more disastrous than it was.
Then, I moved to Piney Creek.
And the video happened.
And tragedy struck.
And there was no “Rewind” button for my life.
And. . .
Read my story to find out what happened.
Find Beth Fehlbaum, the author of BIG FAT DISASTER, online!
Enter Beth’s December Giveaway! You could win an Apple iPad 2!
Preorder BIG FAT DISASTER, and check out Beth’s other books!
Big Fat Disaster, Courage in Patience, Hope in Patience:
Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound
** This post first appeared 12/16/13 on UnCommon YA*