Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Now we have two winners. Each of you will get an autographed copy of Demon Hunting in Dixie. The winners are: Julie and Christina C.
Congratulations! Just email me at angie @ angie fox.com and I'll put you in touch with Lexi!
Monday, May 30, 2011
I love romance. I love to read it. I love to write it.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
•Finish the arrangements with the graphic designer for new business cards, bookmarks, and postcards.
•Complete the list containing the addresses of around 2k independent bookstores and libraries which are targeted to receive the above mentioned postcards.
•Order the postcards.
•Mail the postcards.
•Send editor, agent, and the publicist assigned to LOVE LIES the marketing plans.
•Contact the Animal Rescue League about a possible book signing/fund raiser.
•Finalize the arrangements for a Q&A session at the Newton Public Library to be held on July 28th.
•Tweak notes on a creative writing workshop to be given at Fandom Fest.
•Work with website designer to create a “Jess McConkey” site.
When I stop and think about all the things that I need to accomplish over the next eight weeks, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed. As I’ve said before, I do have an issue with time management and that’s a trait that isn’t always conducive to staying on task. Will it all work out in the end? Probably—as Angie and Casey can confirm, this isn’t the first time I’ve painted myself into a corner and then have to hustle like a mad woman to finish something. And this time I am getting some help—my youngest daughter is working part time as my personal assistant—that’s the good part. (She’s the lucky one who gets to address and stamp all those postcards!!) The bad part is that she’s inherited her mother’s same issues with time management. So the bottom line…can two procrastinators pull off all of the above?
I’ll let you know!
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
To help answer those questions, I’ve written up a diary of my last week’s brainstorming session.
Saturday–thanks to mechanical troubles and a mid-air medical crisis, one of our brainstormers is 7 hours late arriving in Cleveland. But once we’re all together, we’re rarin’ to go. It’s raining, so while it would be great to sit on a patio somewhere, we head to a Middle Eastern restaurant to eat hummus and catch up on news, both personal and professional.
Sunday–more rain, but it hardly matters. We settle in at the Hampton Suites and get to work. Today, two brainstormers have sessions. One is plotting the second book in a loosely connected series. Lots of political intrigued and an international crisis or two. This author is definitely working on a bigger stage than the one I’m used to! In the afternoon, we worked on a traditional mystery. On the surface, reading the author’s notes, it looks like a slam dunk. But on closer examination, we find time line problems, and motivation that needs shoring up. We’re too tired to do tarot today so we promise ourselves we’ll catch up with two readings another night. In the evening, back to the Middle Eastern restaurant we all loved.
Monday–our sessions are conducted to the patter of raindrops. In the morning, we work on an inspirational romantic suspense. We do not worry about the characters’ faith journeys. That’s a problem this author will tackle alone. Instead, we concentrate on plot. She’s come up with a story that’s simple and powerful. It’s fun to add the twists and turns that will make it a page-turner. In the afternoon, we discuss my Pepper Martin mystery #9 which I’ll need to start writing soon. Did you know Superman was invented in Cleveland? Somehow, the fact comes up in conversation and we take off running with it. Plenty of laughter in this session. I hope that means there will be that much fun and energy in the book. We start our tarot readings and as always, they are interesting and insightful. There is talk about another night of Middle Eastern, but I nix that and we decide, instead, on a seafood restaurant. I love fish, but order chicken. Go figure.
Tuesday–more rain, but we hardly notice. We don’t have time. A women’s fiction writer is up first, and she has a complicated plot underway and is unsure if she’s attacking it the right way. We think she is and she’s reassured, and we discuss ways she can handle the story. In the afternoon, we’re back to our first brainstormer, the one writing the international thriller. I’ve had a revelation and I announce it: we need to think of this book as a James Bond movie. Once we have that idea in place, the plot bounces along. Two tarot readings tonight, and we’re finally caught up. Dinner: an Italian restaurant where they serve me enough penne pasta for an army. The nice thing about brainstorming in town is that I come home every night. My husband appreciated the doggie bag!
Wednesday–I’m up again, and I’ve got an idea for a new mystery series. So much to figure out before we can even begin to talk plot! Who are the characters, what are they up to, and why are they involved in murder? I come with an already determined setting and they love that. Now all we have to do is create the world that will exist there. My time flies by, and when it’s over, I’ve got the bare bones of an idea. Still plenty of hammering out to take care of, but things are falling together. This afternoon, we’re back with the inspirational romantic suspense writer and a different idea than the one she brought up in her first session. It’s another winner, full of Southern atmosphere and suspense. Can’t wait to read the finished product! Tarot reading for my new idea. Not sure I like where that reading was headed, which was darker than I’d anticipated the book to be, but I will re-examine it and see what I can keep from the reading. Dinner? Is it time for dinner again? We try for a restaurant in my little town, but it’s crowded and noisy, so we head back toward the hotel and find an Irish pub. A quiet Irish pub? Tonight it is, and we use the time to keep talking. And talking.
Thursday–it can’t possibly be our last brainstorming day! And it can’t possibly be still raining. We finish up with the women’s fiction writer and the traditional mystery writer. Another tarot reading. And dinner, of course, this time at a chain restaurant that is less than stellar.
No matter. Food or no food, rain or sunshine, brainstorming is always exhausting, invigorating and challenging. I cherish my brainstorming group. I’m lucky to have their collective experience and wisdom. Now all I have to do is sit down and write those books!
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
This is an anthology that is coming out on August 30. The other authors are Kathy Love and Lexi George. We're all writing about demon slayers who have found themselves in, er, compromising positions.
My contribution, What Slays in Vegas, is the story of the one half-succubus who got away after The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers. Poor Lizzie didn't realize she missed one.
Here's the blurb:
When a sexy succubus comes up against a fearless demon slayer intent on killing her boss, a truly wild Vegas night turns into a quickie wedding. But in a city where anything goes, a demon slayer wedding a succubus is strictly forbidden. Which doesn't mean either is rushing to jump out of the marriage bed.
Just post and tell us why you'd want to marry a demon slayer and you're entered to win the advanced reading copy. Oh and if you want to double your chances, I'm also giving one away on my author website. Triple your chances by entering a third ARC contest on my Facebook Fan Page. Whew! Good luck!
Friday, May 20, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Kat Bryan!! Congratulations Kat—I really hope you enjoy “Jess McConkey’s” debut and thanks for your support!! Send me (email@example.com) your mailing address and I'll send it off to you this week.
To all the rest of our readers—this won’t be the last chance to win a copy of LOVE LIES BLEEDING. The release date is July 26th and the week prior I’ll be giving away eight copies. (Eighth book—eight copies!)
Again thanks for all the comments and I’ll see you next week!
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I'm still compiling my list, so there is time, but if you want to take a look at the suggestions, check out last week's post and also my Facebook page. Why am I not surprised that the Facebookers went hog wild?
This week, I've also begun the second book in the Monster MASH series. Right now, I'm calling it Death Takes a Vacation, but as you know - titles change. It picks up three weeks after the end of book one and I'm having a blast so far.
It's both strange and exciting to jump into a new book. Strange, because I'm not sure what happens next.
After coming off the end of the previous book, when everything is coming together and I'm wrapping everything up, I know exactly how things need to unfold. The beginning of a book is the opposite - it's so full of possibilities that I find myself almost tripping over them.
Both are neat places to be, but so different, that it takes a mental switch (and perhaps a few M&M's) to navigate through.
And then there's this new character that I love. But that I can't introduce until about Chapter 10. It really makes sense for this to happen at that point in the book. Still, it's hard to be patient. I was never very good at holding back on surprises.
But I'll keep trying. And writing. Thanks for coming along on the journey!
Monday, May 16, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Last week I mentioned one of the things that I love about being an author. Here’s another—when, after months of hard work, you finally get to see that manuscript in print! It may be an advanced reading copy and not the final product, but it still gives you the feeling that “yes, this is really going to happen!”
I got to experience that yesterday. The UPS guy dropped off a nice big box of LOVE LIES BLEEDING arc’s. And believe me—I couldn’t get that sucker opened fast enough, but when I did, there they were, staring up at me—books, not rubberbanded sheets of paper. I didn’t care that they’re uncorrected proofs…they still look like books to me.
Now if you don’t care either, here’s what I’ll do—anyone who posts a comment today will be entered in a drawing for one of these Arc’s and I’ll announce the winner next week.
Just so you know what you’re getting, here’s the description from the back cover:
“Samantha Moore was the golden girl with a perfect job, a perfect man, a perfect life, until a random act of violence left her unconscious for two months. The Sam who awakens from her coma is a far different person. This new Sam is bitter and terrible pain, force to endure a diet of medications that make her sick, forgetful, paranoid, and struggling to hold a firm grasp on reality.
When her family sends her to a quiet town to recover, Sam is furious that they’ve placed completely under a physical therapist’s care and robbed of what little freedom she had left. Enraged Sam lashes out at the “nice people” who say they are there to help her and claim that her outbursts are just the byproduct of her condition. Or are they? As strange things begin to happen, it becomes clear that Sam’s fears may not all be in her head, and that the friendly inhabitants of her new town are far more secretive—and deadly—than they appear to be…”
Good luck--I'll announce the winner next week!!
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I’ll be with my brainstorming group and this time, they’re coming to Cleveland!
See, once a year, I meet with four talented, wonderful and successful writing friends. We spend five days working on our current ideas, new ideas, plans for the future. Since there are five of us, we each get two half-day sessions and in that time, we can talk about any project we want.
This year, I’ll be plotting Pepper Martin mystery #9, slated for publication in October 2012. I’m pretty open to ideas so if any of you out there have a ghost you’d like Pepper to meet or some predicament you’d like to see her get into, let me know.
For my second session, I’ll be working on a very different project, the idea for a historical mystery. No, I don’t have a publisher for that one. But I’ve got this plot pounding away inside my head, and I’m intrigued. I think it’s worth discussing and at least working up a proposal. What say you readers, would you read a mystery set in Victorian England? I’m thinking dark and gothic-y, though not paranormal.
My friends arrive on Saturday and the next week will be challenging, enlightening and exhausting. One thing I know for sure, I am grateful for these wonderful writers and always eager to hear what they have to say, not only about my ideas, but about their own. Our sessions are always wonderful learning experiences.
In addition to our "regular" sessions, we’ll also be doing tarot card readings for our books and characters. Another thing to look forward to.
I’ll check in in two weeks. Hopefully by then, I’ll have some time to recover!
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Still, every author knows not to get too attached because upwards of around seventy-percent of book titles are changed by the publishing house. Either they don't fit the finished book, or maybe they don't say what the marketing department wants to say. They could be too long, too short, or just not it.
I've been unusual in that I've gotten to keep my titles. Well, until now. This latest book is going to get a new title. I originally named it The Monster MASH because I'm writing about a group of offbeat paranormal MASH surgeons. And while my publisher is on board with the drama and zaniness inside the book, they want a grabby-er title (And yes, I'm making up a word. I like to do that.)
Anyhow, I've been thinking and thinking of a new title. But then it hit me: Why not ask for a bit of help? So I'm holding a contest. Help me re-name The Monster MASH. I'm open to any and all suggestions. If your title is one of the ones I present to my editor, I'll thank you in the book. If your title is the one we go with, I'll name a character after you.
Post any and all suggestions below.
A bit of background: The monster MASH is located down in limbo during a big immortal war. There are vampires, werewolves, demi-gods, sphinxes and about every other creature you can think of. The protagonist is a half-fairy surgeon who was drafted away from her paranormal medical clinic in New Orleans. Oh and she can see dead people.
One of my re-title suggestions was The Truth About Cats and Demi-Gods. My editor said close, but not it. So think of that kind of vibe. Thanks and good luck!
Monday, May 9, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Over the years, I’ve worked a lot of different jobs, especially as a teen and young adult, and I can truly say that there’s never been one that I’ve found as rewarding and fulfilling as this one. Not only do I have the opportunity to challenge myself (is that next book going to be a hit or a miss???) and meet a lot of wonderful readers, but I’ve had the chance to enjoy the camaraderie that exists among writers.
Let’s be honest—in the workplace one is always running into those who resent seeing someone else succeed. There can politicking going on behind the scenes and in some environments, one meets those who pat you on the back with one hand while knifing you with the other. That has never been my experience when it comes to meeting and getting to know other writers! And when you stop and think about it—that’s rather remarkable. After all, in a way, we are all competing against one another for that space on the bookstore’s shelf--for that reader’s hard earned dollars--but it’s something that never comes into play. All the authors I know are more than willing to applaud your success and commiserate with you when things are “less” than what you’d hoped!
Not only that—they’ll bend over backwards to help you. Need a website designer…an inexpensive printer to do two thousand postcards? Not a problem—let me hook you up with this guy I know and here’s the site of the online printer I use. (Stephen Zimmer’s recent response to my marketing woes.) Need a blurb? Sure—I’ll take time out of my busy life and away from working on my own “stuff” in order to read your four hundred page manuscript! (Casey and Kris Neri’s answer when I asked them to take a peek at LOVE LIES BLEEDING.) Got a problem with one of your characters? Just give me a call and we’ll work it out. (What Tamara Siler Jones responded even though she knew said phone call would probably take a couple of hours!!)
A few years ago, I was in Los Angeles for a Sisters’ In Crime event and several of us (Donna Andrews, Dana Cameron, Denise Swanson, Carolyn Hart, Jo Dereske, Patricia Sprinkle) got together for dinner and a couple of drinks. Later, when I returned to my hotel room, I felt like going down on my knees and thanking the powers that be for the opportunity to hang out with a group of such wonderful women and for allowing me to be a writer. And you know something?? After six years—I still feel the same way!
That’s it for this week—see you next Thursday!
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Back from the Malice Domestic conference in Bethesda, Maryland, and as usual after a conference, I’m exhausted. It’s great to see friends, talk to readers, sit on panels and sell lots and lots of books. But it’s great to be home, too, where I can rest my voice and my feet and wear my jammies and my fuzzy slippers instead of dressing like a grown-up.
What did I learn at the mystery-focused conference? I’ve been think
ing about that. For what it’s worth, here’s what I picked up:
Book-themed books are big. Thinking about writing a mystery series? This weekend, I met authors who are writing books about libraries, book collectors, literary agencies, you name it. If it’s about books, it’s popular.
E-books are making authors some nice money. Own the rights to an old book? Want to write a new book or a short story? E-books might be the way to go. (That being said, I haven’t put up any of the books I own the rights to yet. Maybe when I’m done writing the book I’m working on.)
Book reading and buying is a subjective thing. We all know this. And I guess that’s what makes publishing so interesting. I talked to readers who HATE certain books. I talked to readers who LOVE those same books. It’s kind of comforting, isn’t it? We don’t have to please everyone all the time. We just have to please the people who like the kinds of books we’re writing.
James A. Garfield is hot. OK, not in the literal sense. The president has been dead for more than one hundred years. But I did a panel on using real people in fiction and since my book "Tomb with a View" featured the ghost of JAG, his name, naturally, came up. It sparked a lively discussion that included a whole lot about the man and I announced at the end of the panel that I think his name was mentioned more in that hour than it had been in the last hundred years. So here’s to my bringing history to life! Even with ghosts.
The Crime & Punishment Museum in DC is very cool. I ducked out on the conference and visited it on Saturday afternoon. Great exhibits on the history of punishment (including Medieval torture–yuck!), a whole exhibit on the mob and Las Vegas, some great police memorabilia, a crime scene that visitors can investigate and an autopsy room that teaches about evidence, dental records, etc. It was great fun, and very interesting. I visited with another mystery writer and at one point (looking at an exhibit about poison) found myself saying nice and loud, "You know, I really need to poison someone. I haven’t done that in a while." Really must watch making those kinds of pronouncements in public!
PS--Shirley, lots of readers asked about you. I reminded them about your new book and told them it was coming out soon!