Kindle Exclusive

Finally after two years of Covid, another year of moving three times, and a hurricane, I have started to plan and attend book events. First a great weekend at Cedar Key. No hurricane debris! Working WiFi! New writer friends! Sold many books 🙂

I’ve got two more one day events coming up in November and January at local libraries. I want to make a Kindle Exclusive thing to show off my e-only books. Tried on Canva all morning. About to cut and paste something by hand. Maybe with help from an office supply store.

Unless anyone has a better idea…

The Hines Shakes

Photo by Sunsetoned on Pexels.com

It has been a while. Only a few months until my 20th website anniversary, which is when I’m leaving the weekly blogging commitment…so I’m tapering. The earliest iteration of this website was mostly just a blog. I wrote every day for many years and yes you can read it all here. I’m not disappearing…but I didn’t have any books out yet in 2002. Blogging was my bliss. Now I’m a multi-published novelist with e-publisher The Wild Rose Press. I’ve just turned in the second book in my second series for them. I’ve written a few stand-alones too. I even have a couple of free books and stories here on the website. My earliest novels were Kindle novels and I think they’re all 99 cents.

It’s difficult to dedicate yourself to too many things, and so not a lot of blog posts while I moved from Michigan to Florida and finished my 12th book. I’m about 75 pages into the third book in Jane in St Pete series–and wondering if it will be a trilogy. It feels like something new is hovering. Hoping to get Jane 3 out closer to Jane 2–Covid kind of upended life for me (and the rest of the world).

The most difficult thing moving has been finding new doctors and explaining things to them like the Hines Shakes. I was born Cynthia (Cindy) Hines. Sorry, the Hines Shakes are not milkshakes, but a condition medically referred to as “essential tremors.” It can interfere with writing. In our family some folk can’t write their name without meds.

I use medication, but I don’t want to become a prescription medication addict, so I check in with the doctors. I think I have finally got a plan with a good doctor and a therapist as well as a neurologist and other specialists for other conditions besides these shakes. One priority besides being able to type my novels is having the energy to run a household again. We have been in condos for almost a decade. Now we have a big yard, several garden areas, a lanai (that’s what they call a screened in porch in Michigan) with a built-in hot tub. The house is our largest, too. Not by much, but at 67, it’s a bold move. My husband has more energy than me. As our financial manager, he’s been riding this crazy stock market wave with a cool head and well as fixing up this place, which was a bit more of a mess than we thought.

He does all the difficult jobs like landscaping and keeping the hot tub spotless, plus he’s been working on the master bath walk in shower. He had to pull up tiles, clean up rot and re-whatever it is you do to make them new. We have chosen a painter, who starts on the inside end of June. After rainy/hurricane season he’ll do the outside. The hurricane shutter guy is coming in a few days. We do have hurricane shutters but after having to buy a water system, replace a dishwasher plus those floor tiles and more, we don’t quite trust them.

I’m doing my same old cooking and cleaning and laundry and shopping. Al finally got a grill so I try to have him cook dinner on that a few times a week. I still make the salad. And I’m writing!! Just not blogging so much.

Canva Update

I like this but I wish I could delete the punctuation. I did it for an Insta post and I’m still unsure about sizing. Like can I just make it fit Twitter, too? And Facebook? Pinterest? I’m sure the tools are there, just not of my ability to use them. This is not an intuitive process for me, I’m not patient enough to work through small details. Except on my books, and even there, I have an editor. Thus, creating images takes a lot of time, but I think in the end it will be worth it.

In other news I am also am working on a sell sheet, now that my publisher has distribution through Lightening Source. The PR person helps as much as my editor. She has given me a template on what to include and Canva should be helpful for that, too. Distribution is a huge thing. Before it was all e-sales or hand sell print books. Now I can send a book to the local St. Pete bookstores and hope they order some!

Galley Proofed

All was quiet. Al had gone golfing. I’d turned off my phone. And I read my book one more time. In galley, which is the final form before publishing. There are line numbers on every page as well as page numbers. This is the last chance to change or fix any errors. There was one thing my editor found (a song lyric) I needed to eliminate. I know my publisher does not run down copyright holders to ask if they can reprint a song lyric. But I seem to sneak a lyric or two into every single book.

Then there was the weird thing where a sentence starting with a number must be spelled out. Jane lives in unit 202 and sometimes I did the shorthand, and started a sentence with a number. Last edit, editor told me that rule and I said, okay well just spell it out then. But when I got the galley, it looked funny, so I changed the first word to Unit, which editor said was an option, so I could have the number not spelled out because “Two oh four” seemed ugly on the page. Especially phonetically spelling “oh” instead of zero.

So I changed those.

Then I spied a space between a quote mark and the word. Bored yet? It’s like that. With galleys I do not go in and revise unless I absolutely have to. I’ve been through three rounds of edits, all the major plot problems have been ironed out and the minor ones too. I still want to change a few things, but I don’t because that’s not what galley proofing is about. An author will always want to change things, but if a book is going to be published in a timely manner, it’s done when the galleys are proofed.

So, it’s done. Now I need to wait for what the publishers do next. Editor said “copy edit” and I am not sure why that is different than the other edits except maybe because it’s a galley? But whatever it is, I don’t have to do it. My job is done. For now. Still don’t have a pub date…but it won’t be too much longer. Meanwhile I can work on book two called (for now) Death on the Bayou. I looked and there are no other books with that title.

And then under the title, on the inside front matter, it will say “A Jane in St Pete Mystery” and maybe under that Book 2. I did see “A Jane in St Pete Mystery” Book 1 on the galley proofs. Should have taken a picture!

Heard From Editor

True to her word, I heard from my editor last week after delivering my manuscript of Jane in St Pete in early January. I’ve second and third guessed myself since then, but she said it was a “treat” to read and my characters were “quirky and interesting.” She’s sending it to the senior editor with a recommendation for a contract!!!!

There will be edits but nothing big, nothing like I imagined in my head. I am so relieved and pleased. Another piece of good luck landed last week, too. My Michigan chapter of Sisters in Crime wants me to lead a workshop in June. I’ll be the opening act for our star, Jane Cleland. What an honor. And if the virus still holds us captives in our homes, we will do it online.

My editor says it will take about two weeks to hear from her boss, so in that time I’ve been reading mystery short stories and trying to glean anything I can about writing the mystery short story. I have written a few. My vague plan is to dig out “The Charming Criminal” which formed the base upon which I built my secondary characters, Barb and George.

I am not a plotter, not really. I let the story take me where it wants to go. If I’m floundering in the middle of a long work, I step back and determine what needs to happen. Jane Cleland has a very good piece of instruction about how to deliberately plot a mystery and that helped, but still, my story tends to go its own way. I hardly know what I’ve done until it’s over.

However, my favorite part of teaching has always been planning the lesson. So my plan is to take “The Charming Criminal” apart to figure out how I put it together. Because I can’t find any books on the internet about how to write a mystery short story. Although, as a start, I’m reading the best ones published last year.

(OMG Joyce Carol Oates “The Archivist” from this collection is so good. Chillingly so.)

Some writers sneer when another author says their books write themselves. One guy said to give that answer about how you write is to be disingenuous. Nope. One example is the way I ended the book. My editor really liked it. She said it wasn’t the usual pages of monologue where the murderer tells all about his crime. Well, at the time, I was just going by intuition.

I did have to rewrite that last scene from scratch a few times. I tend to know (not always, but mostly) when things in a narrative don’t work. So I just keep trying until I get something that feels right. No idea my ending was at all unusual until my editor admired it for that very reason.

There will be edits and other writerly stuff to take care of, but for now I’m bursting with pleasure on my own little cloud of happiness.