Across the books and in person.

Welcome! Since I write two English mystery series, I thought it would be fun to chat about that. And about England. Specifically, Derbyshire, since that is the county I know the best. If you have questions about my books, about mysteries or your own writing, or want to know something about England -- perhaps you're planning a visit -- I'd love to talk with you. Let's start chatting, shall we?

Derbyshire VIllage

Derbyshire VIllage

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Closing the Gap

My lawyer assures me I'm not premature.  As pertains to writing, not birth.  The eighth novel in my Taylor & Graham series is nearly ready to submit to a literary agent (or publisher).  Paul Hornung, my writing partner, is reading the manuscript (hopefully as I type this) and will add his few chapters before returning the bulk to me.  Despite the little unresolved question with the series' publisher, I do believe this is the best T&G book yet and I am keeping everything crossed that it will be published.  I don't know what Paul thinks of it -- he usually doesn't tell me anything while he's reading it.  It's only at the correction session that I find out.  We'll have a phone conversation where he tells me what needs to be fixed (from a police point of view) or something wasn't clear, etc, and I hunt up that specific paragraph or page of the manuscript on the computer and either correct it or add a note to change it later.  Paul says he'll be finished in another week.  I hope so because I'm very anxious to hear what he thinks about this story.  It's a departure from the previous T&G stories.  In fact, I didn't tell him as I handed over the manuscript.  I figure readers wouldn't get a 'warning' when about to read the book, so why should I warn Paul?  Let him come upon the 'newness' as he reads! 

I am rather proud of the custom I used for the book, however.  It's one I had actually seen being prepared when I was in England in 1998.  I'd taken a lot of photos, wandered about and talked to participants, even attended the Friday evening opening of the custom.  But looking at my notes nine years later and writing about it in detail is something else!  So I was rather proud, as I said, as well as amazed that David (my English police detective who reads my manuscripts to catch British police problems and British English problems) had not commented on a single thing in all the pages devoted to the custom.  Pretty good!

An oddity about that....  When I was last in England (2007), David took me to visit a friend who is another retired police detective.  I spent several hours in Peter's front room, listening to his case stories and getting ideas for future books.  Peter lives in Hope, the village I'd visited in 1998 to see the custom!  I looked at my photos when I got home, wondering if I'd snapped his photo as he stood in the crowd.  Anyway, I thought that an odd coincidence because there are dozens of villages in Derbyshire that participate in this custom, and I could have gone to any one of them to see the preparations and join in the festivities.  Yet I wound up in Peter's village and then met him nine years later.  If this is important to a plot, you don't dare put this in a novel -- no one would believe it.
 Anyway, I do hope the book sees the printing press and the book shelf.  I rather like the story and the new spin I put on it.  It all depends on the outcome of the contract break with the current publisher and if I can interest another publisher in the book (and in the series).  My friend Paul Schmit tells me to go with Createspace in to self-publish the book, as he is doing with his mystery "Murder in West Clover Bottom."  I looked up Createspace on Amazon's website.  It does look attractive: nice book cover designs, your choice of page layout, free ISBN (a must if the book is to be sold in a store), print on demand so you don't have to pay for large numbers of books at the beginning (and then find a place to store them in your house!)....  There doesn't seem to be any difference in using Createspace or having the book published by a small press as far as marketing goes -- the author still has to do the bulk of the work and get the book reviewed, get her own book signings, etc.  Maybe a small press would be able to get the book in some places, but there are very few that I know of.  Big brick and mortar places like Borders usually take books from the larger presses only.  That's why we small press authors have to market, promote and write.  Anyway, it's Plan C.

So, I'm closing the gap, I think, on book eight and a break from my publisher.  I do hope I can look back on this in a month or so and chuckle at my worries.  More later....

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