Monday, December 17, 2012

Meet Tempe Crabtee and Marilyn Meredith

Today is a special treat for us. Our new friend and fellow author Marilyn Meredith brings Tempe Crabtree to tell us about Raging Waters, the latest in her mystery series. Welcome Marilyn and Tempe!
Where are you from, Tempe? I’m the resident deputy of the community of Bear Creek and its surroundings in the high country of this part of the Southern Sierra. (Central California foothills and mountains.)
Tell us a bit about Raging Water. As usual, I have many issues to deal with: a burglar who sneaks into people’s houses while they are sleeping, the murders of two women who happen to be friends, the rising water of Bear Creek that is flooding the low-lying homes along its banks, finding places for displaced people to stay and be fed, and finally, a mud slide that cuts off the town from the rest of the world.
What made you choose law enforcement as a profession? My first husband and the father of my son was a Highway Patrolman. When he was killed in the line-of-duty, going to the police academy to become a deputy seemed like the logical path for me to take. My long-lasting assignment in Bear Creek has worked out wonderfully.
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with it? Yes, I would, especially now that I know how satisfying it has been for me. The one thing I might do differently if I started again, would be to learn more about my Native American heritage right away.
What is your biggest fear? I’m not sure. The nature of my job is that I have to ignore my fears. I’ve been threatened by everything from murderers to bears. At those times, any fear I may have had was pushed away while I figured out the best way to confront the problem.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? That’s a hard one to answer. I don’t have a whole lot of time to read. I do enjoy reading about Joanna Brady, J.A. Jance’s female sheriff.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Probably that from my husband, Hutch, who is also a pastor, to ask God for help, though I must confess, I also get a lot of good advice, though I don’t always understand it, from my Indian friend, Nick Two John.
Now it's Marilyn's turn: Which writer or character[s], from either books or movies, [or both] have had a major impact on your writing? Tony Hillerman is the first author who interested me in writing about Indians. The writer I learned the most from I met early in my writing career, Willma Gore. We were in the same writing critique group for years and she taught me more than anyone or any writing conference I ever attended.
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? Because Raging Water is the latest in a series, I didn’t do a whole lot of research for this particular book. I have done much in the way of research along the way for others books before this one. I’ve researched lots of legends that are passed on by the Indians on the nearby reservation and I borrow a lot from them.

For the book before this one, Bears With Us, I did a lot of research about the bears in our mountains and learned a lot from my son-in-law who is a police officer in a similar mountain community and spent the end of summer chasing bears out of homes.

We’ve experienced flooding conditions where I live (the town that I based Bear Creek on) and I know what happens and has happened in the past. The two murders are based on something that actually happened to two women here—though they were never declared to be murders.

Marilyn brought an excerpt from Raging Water:
Miqui Sherwood woke from a sound sleep. A floor board creaked. She raised her head and listened. No, she wasn’t imagining things. There it was again. Someone was in her house. Neither Cleopatra nor Blondie stirred from their comfy spot tucked beside the bend in her knees. No wonder, her two darling pets were both old and hard of hearing.
Maybe it was that raccoon again who had sneaked in through the doggie door. No. It took more weight than that to make a floor-board creak.
Someone was in the house. She’d heard from several of her friends, that they’d been burglarized but didn’t know when it happened. Well, she knew, because it was happening to her right now. Crap.
She eased out of bed as quietly as possible. What should she do? She didn’t own a gun, didn’t know how to use one, and wasn’t sure she would if she did have one. She scooped up her dogs and plucked her cell phone off the nightstand.
With her heart thumping madly, she tiptoed across to the other side of her large master bedroom and opened the door to the walk-in closet. Besides her clothes, this was one of the places she stored many of her holiday decorations, and since she still had her Christmas decorations out, the back was fairly empty.
Her Christmas decorations. She prayed the intruder didn’t share a fondness for any of her collectibles handed down to her from her mother and grandmother, priceless and irreplaceable. She adored each and every one.
Cleopatra and Blondie squirmed in her arms, letting her know they wanted down.
Miqui yanked a blanket off a shelf and put it on the floor. Carefully, she set the dogs down. Within minutes they both emitted soft snores, already back to sleep. So much for being any kind of protection.
Her bedroom was at the end of a long hall. She thought she heard the door to one of the spare bedrooms open. Good heavens, why was she waiting to make a phone call? She punched in the home phone number for Deputy Crabtree, the resident deputy of the mountain community of Bear Creek. Calling 9-1-1 would take longer, and someone else might be sent. She knew the deputy lived close by. It seemed as though it took forever for the phone to start ringing.
Two rings later, a sleepy sounding female voice answered. “Crabtree.”
“This is Miqui Sherwood,” she whispered. “I think there’s someone in my house.”

Thanks for offering us a bit of your story, Marilyn. Can you tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? What influenced your decision to submit to them? Mundania Press is my publisher. I’d heard about them for a long time. When my former publisher died, I approached the publisher at a convention cocktail party and asked him if he’d be interested in picking up the series As they say, the rest is history. It’s been great, because I never have to send in a query or a synopsis. When I have a book done, I submit the manuscript as an attachment.
Tell us a bit about their submission process. How long did it take from query to release? On the Mundania website, they have explicit guidelines on how to submit. When I turn in a new manuscript, it takes about 9 months for the whole process. The book is edited and sent to me, I approve or change the edits. A galley copy is sent to me and I have to make any corrections and send them in. From that point it isn’t long before the book becomes an e-book and then a trade paperback.

That sounds easy—but when I began, my first book was rejected nearly 30 times before it was accepted. Then it was two years before publication.
To learn more about Marilyn Meredith and the stories she creates go to: http://fictionforyou.com and http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com
To purchase Raging Water go to:
or any of the usual places.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Meet Lisa Scott and Belle Books

this morning . . .
Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome Lisa Scott who brings Kate Riley, from No Foolin’, a November 2012 release from Belle Books publishing.
Where are you from, Kate? Willowdale, North Carolina. A small town in the western part of the state.
What is No Foolin’ about? I’m a small town girl who poses as a movie star’s girlfriend to hide the real reason he’s in town. (He was desperate and so was I—I need cash to save my late Mama’s house from the tax man. But tricking the press we’re in love is one thing. Convincing each other we’re not gets harder each day. This job is much more than I bargained for.
What did you think the first time you saw Teague Reynolds? Hot damn, what’s a guy like you doing in a place like this? And why didn’t I slap on some mascara this morning?
And your second thought? That cocky, hot guys can’t be trusted.
Did you think it was love at first sight? I’d call it lust at first sight, but I wasn’t going to fall for a guy like him again. He’s the triple hot fudge sundae of men—irresistible, bad for a girl’s heart, and gone before you know it.
What do you like most about Teague? Despite his reputation—the press has dubbed him T-Rex for the way he stomps all over hearts—Teague is actually vulnerable, sweet, and kind. And damn, can that man kiss.
How would you describe him? Gorgeous, cocky, but also caring, and tender. And did I mention hot?
How would Teague describe you? Oh, he’d probably say I’m feisty, and occasionally a pain in the ass, which I can’t deny. But he also knows I’m strong and confident. Just maybe not when it comes to matters of the heart.
What made you choose nursing as a profession? I get things done. I take care of people, things, and problems. Seemed like a natural fit. Plus summers off as a school nurse is nice.
What is your biggest fear? That my mama was right. Some people are meant for love.
How do you relax? Hanging with my girlfriends at the Jelly Jar diner, dancing on Saturday nights at The Hideaway.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Oh, I’ve got a few favorites, but I’ve always admired Princess Leia’s spunk. She’s brave and feisty and distrusts men as much as I do. And I also have experience wearing a smokin’ gold bikini. You’ll have to read the book to find out.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Mama always told me when life knocks you down, you get back up again and carry on.
It's Lisa's turn: What movies or books have had an impact on your writing? I love Jenny Crusie and Jill Mansell’s romances. The movie Overboard, with Goldie Hawn, is a perfect blend of humor and romance. I want to make people laugh and sigh.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? What influenced your decision to submit to them? My story was not typical at all. I wrote this book with Harlequin in mind, and sent in a query. When I didn’t hear back for months, I figured they weren’t interested. I had the book loaded on Amazon to self publish, when Harlequin asked to read the full. So I took it down. Ultimately, they passed. So, I loaded it back onto Amazon. Then a writer friend asked why not consider sending it to Belle Bridge? (I’d been doing some audiobook work for them.) Stupidly, I didn’t realize other publishers besides Harlequin took category length books. So, after a head slap, I sent it to the editor I’d been working with on the audiobooks. She made an offer half an hour later. That was a thrill.
What about the submission process to Belle Books; how long did it take from query to release? From query to release? About 14 months. I’m so excited this is the home I’ve found for my book. They’re a fabulous publisher and a great fit for me. For those who don’t know, Bell Bridge Books is a publishing company created by several romance writer friends, including Deb Dixon and Deb Smith. They feature books located in the southern United States.
We did a little research and learned: No Foolin' is the first in Lisa's Willowdale Romance series. Belle Books will release her second novel in this fun series early in 2013. Much luck, Lisa!
To learn more about Lisa Scott and her many stories, go to: www.readlisascott.com
To purchase No Foolin’, go to: Amazon.com, BN.com, or www.bellebooks.com

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dying in a Dumpster

Today Wild Women Authors are pleased to welcome Lesley A. Diehl, author of Dumpster Dying, a January 2011 release from Oak Tree Press. Its sequel, Grilled, Chilled and Killed, will be released in upcoming months.
Dumpster Dying, a mystery set in Florida, is not just another story about sunny beaches and bikini-clad beauties. In it, Florida natives collide with winter visitors in murderous, yet often humorous ways.
Where are you from, Lesley? I divide my time between upstate New York and rural Florida and set my books in both locations. This one, the first in the Big Lake mystery series and its soon to be released sequel, Grilled, Chilled and Killed is set in rural Florida.
What is Dumpster Dying about? My protagonist, retired preschool teacher Emily Rhodes, is a winter visitor to rural Florida. She finds a body in the dumpster behind the place where she bartends. When her best friend is accused of the crime, Emily tries to find the killer, but runs into difficulties in a community where winter visitors are looked upon with some suspicion. In the sequel, Grilled, Chilled and Killed, Emily again stumbles over a dead body, this one in a beer cooler truck at the Big Lake Barbeque festival and cook-off. Her attempts to find the killer lead her into the swamps of rural Florida where she encounters wild pigs and wilder moonshiners.
What made you choose writing mysteries as a profession? Mystery writing is my second career. I retired as a psychologist and college professor, but thinking and writing about murder is much more exciting.
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with psychology, or do something different? I think my background in psychology provides great insight into developing believable characters and understandable motivations.
What is your biggest fear? That I have too many ideas for books and I’ll not find the time to write all of them.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Any character created by Elizabeth George is tops with me. All her characters are so real, so multi-dimensional and psychologically complex.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Don’t expect to get rich at writing.
Which writer or character from either books or movies have had a major impact on your writing? I like to write mysteries that are humorous with sassy and funny and adventurous characters, so I love Janet Evanovich because she seems to feel the same way I do. Nothing is too over the top for her, a message I’ve taken to heart in constructing my protagonists.
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? I spent a lot of time in cowboy bars watching folks dancing and observing the bartenders concocting their drinks. I also eavesdropped on conversations. I was part of a writers’ group, many of whom were from families who had lived in rural Florida for generations. Because this is a big bass fishing area, I drew on what the natives here told me about fishing the lake. For my take on winter visitors, I had only to talk with my friends from the north who spend the winter here. You can say most of my research involved getting some insight on the people who live in rural Florida the winter months.
Let's take a look at an excerpt for Dumpster Dying:
Emily Rhodes, the new bartender at the Big Lake Country Club, blew damp tendrils of sun-bleached hair out of her face as she kicked and dragged three plastic trash bags across the sun-baked asphalt lot behind the clubhouse. A full moon illuminated the area’s lone palm tree under which sat a metal beast waiting for its nightly feeding.
Here you go, big boy,” she said. She let go of the bags and, with one hand, lifted the dumpster’s lid on the side closest to her. The usual stench of rotting garbage assaulted her nostrils. She ignored the smell and tried to heave the bag into the container, but it tumbled back out. Too full. She shoved back the lid on the other side, and mentally crossed her fingers that she wouldn’t have to hop in there and stomp around on that stuff to make room as she did the other night.
By the glow of the security light she spotted a white object lying at the far end of the dumpster, a cowboy hat, a very special cowboy hat, a Silver Belly, expensive and worn by very few men. She’d encountered just such a man earlier in the evening. The circumstances of their meeting were not pleasant.
What the hell was that doing here, she wondered. Emily leaned in as far as she could. Her feet left the ground, and she teetered on the rim of the dumpster. She struggled to reach the hat, tugged at it, and almost went head first into the bin, head first onto the man’s face hidden beneath the hat.
Ugh! She fell back and dropped the metal lid, the clang reverberating off the side of the building in the still night. She covered her mouth with her hand, and leaned against the dumpster. That can’t be. I didn’t see that, did I?
She turned, opened the lid once more, gingerly pushed a garbage bag to one side, and peered in for another look. She remembered him from earlier in the evening when he had grabbed her blouse and tried to pull her across the bar. He had worn a brilliant white cowboy shirt with roses appliqu├ęd on the front yoke. Now the shirt front was as dark as the blood-red flowers.
She gulped hard to hold back the bile working its way up from her stomach and looked around the lot. It was empty. Help. She needed help.

This sounds like so much fun—and being two wild authors from upstate New York, we're always interested in different publishing houses so we can share the news with other authors, both experienced and pre-published. How did you hear about Oak Tree Press? What influenced your decision to submit to them? Tell us a bit about their submission process. How long did it take from query to release? The publisher of my series set in upstate New York was a regional publisher and not interested in a book set in Florida so I sent it to Oak Tree Press, a press in Illinois open to submissions from unagented writers. It was reviewed, accepted for publication and released in about a year’s time. They are particularly supportive of writers who already have a presence on the internet, and they ask for a marketing plan with the submission.

To learn more about Lesley A. Diehl and the stories she creates go to: www.lesleydiehl.com http://anotherdraught.blogspot.com

Thanks for for taking the time out of your busy schedule to visit us today, Lesley. We wish you much luck with Dumpster Dying and Grilled, Chilled and Killed.
Kat and Veronica




Monday, November 12, 2012

Let's get a close-up on CLOSE-UP

Today Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome author Kit Sloane who brings Margot O’Banion, from CLOSE-UP, a 2011 release from Oak Tree Books.
Good afternoon, Margot. Tell us a bit about CLOSE-UP. This is a behind-the-scenes mystery about goings on during the production of a movie in Los Angeles. I’m the film editor and my partner, Max, is both writer and director of the new production. He becomes fascinated with including cameos of stars from long ago, incorporating them into his movie with some unpredictable results and I warned him this could happen….
What made you choose film editing as a profession? Years ago film editing was one of the only areas in film production where women flourished. I chose it because I love movies and I love the idea of putting together miles of film or tape in creative ways to make a director’s vision come to life.
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with film editing or do something different? I can’t imagine doing anything but editing. It’s in my blood!
What is your biggest fear? That the new technologies will eliminate the creativity that goes into making movies with actual film. So far, this hasn’t happened. The main complaint to tape is that cinematographers can’t get the same depth of colors, particularly blacks and whites, from it. But filming digitally just demands different sorts of creativity. The new technological advances do, however, make it difficult to stay on the learning curve!
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Max and I love old movies. We love Nick and Nora in The Thin Man Series from the 40s, and also classic noir films of the 40s and 50s.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Do what you love. Make a success of something that really thrills you.
It's Kit's turn to be quized: Which writer or character[s], from either books or movies, [or both] have had a major impact on your writing? I think British writer P.D. James has had the greatest influence on me. I’ve read all her books several times through the years. Her descriptions and characterizations simply blow me away!
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel?
I was on a set, thanks to my daughter and cover artist, Annie Sperling, who is a production designer in Hollywood. I was leaning against a wall, trying to keep out of the way and to avoid stumbling over cables, etc, when I witnessed the makeup artist come running up to the director. She was furious that the main model had come in already made up. The director answered her with “I saw that. I recognized the eyebrows.” In other words, each makeup artist has her own style and he noticed that the model’s in question makeup wasn’t done by their own makeup person! That attention to detail started my story.
Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? No, I keyed off the comment above and took it from there. The story is about the importance of details and that works well in a mystery!
My stories highlight behind-the-scenes plots that include interesting characters who often make terrible choices, and it’s not always murder that comes to mind. To me that's what makes characters fascinating, the choices they make. I like characters who make decisions, not just mayhem. There are many kinds of bad behavior out there.… As Library Journal says about the series: “Suspects abound, from envious family members to movie backers, but Margot and Max are on the job. A terrific read, complete with sexy, slightly larger-than-life characters and lots of L.A. action.”
Kit, tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them?
I’ve known the publisher of Oak Tree Books, Billie Johnson, for years. She has longevity as an Indie publisher in a field where small publishers fail fast and often.
What influenced your decision to submit to them? My then publisher was having monetary problems and a fellow author mentioned Oak Tree. I contacted Billie and she immediately picked up my series that then numbered four books. She also wanted the covers to continue with my daughter’s cover art work. They are distinctive covers!
Tell us a bit about Oak Tree's submission process. Guidelines are available at http://oaktreebooks.com/guidelines.htm. Billie looks at and publishes many different genres beyond mysteries. She DOES appreciate a “clean” ms, meaning good grammar and punctuation and traditional ms formatting.
How long did it take from query to release? Just months from query to publication. Very quick and easy. Billie is easy to work with and I DO submit “clean” manuscripts!
To learn more about the Margot & Max Mystery series, go to: www.kitsloane.net
To purchase CLOSE-UP: go to Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble or to the publisher’s “bookstore” at http://oaktreebooks.com/Shop%20OTP.htm where the titles are listed alphabetically and at a nice discount! CLOSE-UP is also available for e-readers on Kindle and Nook.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Lrt's Get Framed

Today at Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome author Nikki Andrews and Mac (short for Maculato), assistant canine sleuth from Framed, a current release from L&L Dreamspell.
Where are you from, Mac? I’m in Nikki’s murder mystery Framed. I’m the most important character because I find the bad guy!
What is Framed about? It’s about how my human, Elsie, and her friends at the Brush & Bevel gallery figure out who really killed artist Jerry Berger and his model Abby Bingham. It’s kind of complicated for a dog to understand, but I get to help.
What made you choose bird hunting as a career? I was born to it. I’m a German short-haired pointer. Hunting is in my genes, and my wonderful human, Elsie, has helped me develop my talent.
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with bird hunting or do something different? I like hunting birds. It’s fun to get out in an open field and flush them into the air. I love to catch their scent and watch them fly away. I like hunting in the woods, too, except for having to get groomed for ticks afterwards. But—please don’t tell Elsie—what I really love is chasing frogs. They’re so funny and you can never tell which way they’ll jump. I could chase frogs all day long!
What is your biggest fear? Getting separated from my human or lost in the woods. Sometimes I run off after a bird, but I always know where Elsie is, even if I don’t come right away when she calls.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Enzo, the dog in The Art of Racing in the Rain. He’s so smart, and he gets to ride in a real race car. His people love him so much. And he even comes back to life as a human! I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet, but someday I’d like to try it.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? “Find a bird, Mac!”
It's our turn to turn the tables onto Nikki: Which writer or character, from either books or movies, has had a major impact on your writing? Must I limit it to one? I go back to Tony Hillerman again and again for the sheer beauty of his writing. Although it is as spare as the land he describes, he packs more emotion into it than many more florid writers. Dick Francis’ novels are a joy to read because of the research he blends so seamlessly into them. Not only do you get to solve the mystery, you have the pleasure of learning about a different trade or career. I try to bring a little of both Hillerman and Francis into my writing.
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? I worked as a picture framer for nine years and I loved it. Almost all my research springs from that experience. I should state right here that although I collected many stories and character sketches from my time at the art gallery, the people in my book are most definitely not real-life transplants. At most, the staff, vendors and customers served as inspirations for my fictional people.
I was very lucky in my research. When UPS did not have the lost and found policy I imagined, I searched out an independent courier to learn about her trade. She was very helpful, as were the police chief I talked to and my contacts in journalism. To my gratified surprise, I wasn’t so far off base that I had to make major changes in the book.
Here's a short description of Framed:
When a long-lost painting turns up ten years after the murder/suicide of the artist and his model, a gallery owner wants the case re-opened, to uncover the truth.
Brush & Bevel owner Ginny Brent has more reason than most to doubt the police. She was artist Jerry Berger’s mentor and agent. When a customer walks into her shop with a previously unknown work by the artist, renewed grief impels Ginny to seek answers. She knows Jerry didn’t kill himself or Abby Bingham, the model pictured among the trees in the painting. Can she discover who did?
Ginny’s loyal staffers, Sue Bradley and Elsie Kimball, employ their own methods to help find the truth. Elsie follows her exuberant young bird dog into the forest, through frog-infested puddles, and discovers a pile of glacial boulders that might be the actual setting for the painting. Sue cleans years of smoke and grease from the canvas and puzzles over strange markings revealed under the gunk. What could they mean?
As they prepare to frame and unveil The Lady in the Wood, the trio must deal with the sometimes whimsical needs of their customers and their eccentric neighboring shopkeepers. And as they get closer to solving the mystery, they also learn that art is not the only thing that can be framed.
Tell us a bit about your publisher, Nikki. How did you hear about them? What influenced your decision to submit to them? My publisher is L&L Dreamspell of Spring, Texas. A friend of mine, Cindy Davis, who had been published there, referred me to them after reading Framed. After I checked out several of their books and decided it was a good fit, I submitted my manuscript through their website and it was accepted.
Tell us a bit about their submission process. How long did it take from query to release? The Dream Team, Lisa Smith and Linda Houle of L&L, did a fabulous job with editing and creating a cover that catches the eye. After a gestation of about nine months—a pretty standard length of time—I held my first copy of Framed in my hands.
Thanks for visiting us today, Mac and Nikki. Veronica and I wish you many many sales.
Kat
To learn more about Nikki and the stories she creates go to: www.nikkiandrewsbooks.com
www.scrivenersriver.blogspot.com
To purchase Framed in print or ebook, go to www.lldreamspell.com


Monday, October 29, 2012

Welcome Victorian author, Rachel Brimble

This morning we are pleased to have a member of TWRP's rose garden and alum of the Class of '85, Rachel Brimble, who has brought a devil of a man with her, Joseph Jacob. Welcome Rach and Joseph!
Joseph, what is Love’s Debt about? It is a Victorian romance between Milly Shepherd and myself, two people fighting poverty but in entirely different ways and circumstances. When I meet Milly you could say I was down on my luck having struggled to keep my father afloat due to his gambling. He brought my family down from riches to rags. Milly, on the other hand, rose her family up and will continue to do so forever as far as I can tell. Nothing stands in her way…not even me!
What did you think the first time you saw Milly? Who is this woman? That was the first thought that went through my head.
And your second thought? I had to know her, speak to her, touch her…I was mesmerized from the very first moment and still am now.
Did you think it was love at first sight? Without doubt – she’s a beautiful woman inside and out. Her goodness, her tenacity and fire shine from inside her. Though she doesn’t realize it, there isn’t a man who walks by Milly and not turn for a second glance
What do you like most about her? Her goodness – she’s strong as an ox and as stubborn as a mule, but everything she does is grounded in good. She might give you a slap up the head or refuse you a second serving at the table, but you can guarantee both actions were needed at the time for your own good, ha ha!
How would you describe her? Strong, sassy, honest and good….with the faintest shadow of insecurity running through her. That’s what I’m here for. I’ll make her see her entire world is going to be all right…
How would she describe you? On which day? Ha ha! If I’m in her good books or in bed…then I’d like to think she’d say I was the best bloke in the world. If I’m in her bad books or not seeing to something that needs doing, she’s says she’ll kick me out with the trash. Deep inside though? That girl loves the bones of me…I hope!
What made you choose bartender and the docks as a profession? Ahh, now then, you’ll have to read my story to know that. Let’s just say it’s not by choice, the paths we find ourselves on sometimes. We can only do God’s bidding and make the most of it while we learn our lessons.
What is your biggest fear? Losing Milly or not making her happy – my entire world changed the day I met that woman. She is the single, best thing in my life. I have no idea what I’ve done to deserve her but I’ll spend my life keeping a smile on her face. That’s a promise.
How do you relax? That is far, FAR too personal a question for me to answer…like I said, I like to keep Milly happy.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Probably the Artful Dodger from Dicken’s Oliver – that kid reminds me of what it takes to survive in this world. Maybe his stealing and pilfering aren’t the best example to follow but he’s doing what he has to do, with a big lump of love thrown in. I like to think I try to do the same.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Don’t risk pride before a fall.
It's time to learn a bit about our author guest. Where are you from, Rachel? A small market town in South West England, near the famous City of Bath. I lived for the first twenty-seven years of my life in Bristol, England where my latest story is set. It is a famous maritime city that was teeming with ships, sailors and dockers during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was inevitable I set a book there one day.
What movies or books have had an impact on your writing? Wow, there are just too many to list! I read voraciously and watch TV and movies in much the same way. I find inspiration in almost every book, whatever the era. The thing I love about writing romance is that everyone can relate to it. Young, old, male or female, everyone has experienced love and/or loss.
Whether I am writing a contemporary or historical novel, love is an emotion that is global and never changing. Whether a person falls in love in 1712 or 2012, their hearts would have endured the same sensations, hurt and joy.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them?
What influenced your decision to submit to them? I learned about The Wild Rose Press through a writer friend in the US that I had been talking to for a while. I was getting rejected over and over in the UK so she suggested I try a new publisher, which was getting more and more good things said about it. That was in 2006 – I haven’t looked back since.
Tell us a bit about the submission process. How long did it take from query to release? Just recently I signed with Harlequin and Kensington but I will never forget The Wild Rose Press or their belief in me. I hope to continue to write novellas for them for the foreseeable future. I have three novels and two novellas with TWRP and each time the submission process has been fluid, fun and educational. I have learned so much from each of my editors! In my experience the process has taken around ten months from submission to release.
You signed with both Harlequin AND Kensington? Fabulous! Many, many congratulations—and thanks for visiting us today.
To learn more about Rachel Brimble and the stories she creates go to:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Meet Bob Doerr

Award winning author Bob Doerr grew up in a military family, graduated from the Air Force Academy, and had a career of his own in the Air Force. Bob specialized in criminal investigations and counterintelligence gaining significant insight to the worlds of crime, espionage and terrorism. His work brought him into close coordination with the security agencies of many different countries and filled his mind with the fascinating plots and characters found in his books today. His education credits include a Masters in International Relations from Creighton University. A full time author, his fifth mystery/thriller, No One Else to Kill, will be released later this year. Two of his books were selected as finalists for the Eric Hoffer Award, and Loose Ends Kill was awarded the 2011 Silver medal for Fiction/mystery by the Military Writers Society of America. He lives in Garden Ridge, Texas, with Leigh, his wife of 39 years.


Now that we've learned a bit about today's guest, Bob Doerr, let's chat with Jim West, protagonist from Bob's book No One Else to Kill a November release from TotalRecall Publications.

Where are you from Jim? While I have lived in many parts of the world, I’m from a small city in New Mexico, Clovis. That is where I currently reside, too.
What is No One Else to Kill about? This book recounts the frightening handful of days I recently spent in the Pecos Wilderness. I had the bad luck of timing a trip to a small lodge that happened to coincide with a couple of murders. Mix in a small group of quirky guests at the lodge, and you can see why I thought it was a strange weekend.
What made you choose private investigations as a career? Actually, that’s what a lot of people think I do, but I’m not a private investigator. I’m just a retired Air Force investigator, who happens to get sucked into the most confounding murder investigations. I do a few lectures at colleges, but mostly I’m just trying to be left alone.
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you like to be doing something different? No. I had a lot of personal reasons for retiring from the military when I did and moving back to New Mexico. I think I’m finally getting a handle on my life again.
What is your biggest fear? That fate has other plans for me. Since my retirement, it seems that murder and mayhem have followed me around. My plans for a peaceful retirement and to be left alone have been shot to hell, no pun intended.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I have so many it’s hard to pick only one. Maybe today I’ll pick Hercules Poirot. I’ve always been a fan of using one’s little grey cells over violence, but ask me tomorrow and I might pick Travis McGee.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Be persistent. A persistent person’s success begins where most people accept failure.
It's out turn to quiz Bob: Which writer or character[s] have had a major impact on your writing? I enjoy the writing styles of the mystery writers I read when I was younger, like Raymond Chandler and John D. McDonald. I like books that seem to tell you a story.
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? I really didn’t have to do too much research for this book. I’ve been to the area before, so I used a few New Mexico travel books to refresh my memories.
Did that [the research] lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept of the story? No, but it did help me refine my concept and focus on one specific region in the state.
Now, for a blurb of Bob's story:
No One Else to Kill is the fifth book in the Jim West series. In this book, Jim West travels to a small, remote hunting lodge in the Pecos Wilderness area in New Mexico to rendezvous with an old friend and do some hiking. His friend stands him up, and Jim is about to return home when a murder occurs in the lodge. Law enforcement jumps in, and Jim’s early departure plans are scrubbed. When a second murder occurs less than twenty four hours later, things really start to get dicey. Both crimes were intricately planned to mislead the authorities, no one appears to have a motive for the killings, and everyone has an alibi. Up against a wall with time running out, the deputy-in-charge asks West to be their man on the inside, but West is adamant that this is not his case to solve. Since his retirement from the Air Force, however, Fate has had her own plans for West. Why should this be any different?
Here is what Holli Castillo, award winning author of Gumbo Justice and Jambalaya Justice, had to say about No One Else to Kill: “. . . In the world of mysteries, Doerr’s protagonist stands out as a unique foil, a man with the skills and knowledge to solve a murder, but a burning desire to keep a low profile and avoid attention. Jim West is perfectly flawed, reluctant, and extremely likeable. An edge-of-your-seat whodunnit, No One Else to Kill is a page turner that will keep readers guessing until the end . . .”
Tell us a bit about your publisher, Bob. How did you hear about them? What influenced your decision to submit to them? My publisher is TotalRecall Publications, an independent publisher based out of Friendswood, TX. In the midst of my sending out dozens of query letters, I heard about them from another author. My timing was good as TotalRecall was just branching into Fiction. Up to that point they had primarily focused on non-fiction publications.
Tell us a bit about their submission process. How long did it take from query to release? Their submission process is much like any other small, independent publisher. Send them a query letter and keep your fingers crossed. Once they accepted my book, it took about four months for it to get released.
To learn more about author Bob Doerr and the stories he creates go to: www.bobdoerr.com .
To purchase No One Else to Kill or any of his earlier Jim West mystery/thrillers via his website or directly through www.amazon.com or www.B&N.com or at select bookstores near you.
We thank Bob very much for visiting us this week and wish him many many sales!
Veronica and Kat


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Confessions of a Teen Idol

Good morning.
Today 2 Wild Women Authors are pleased to welcome author Sally Carpenter who brings Sandy Fairfax from “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper” a 2011 release from Oak Tree Press.
What is The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper about? It’s the story of what happens when a former ‘70s teen idol tries to make a comeback in a world that’s pretty much forgotten him except for a handful of faithful fans. My biggest fan, Bunny McAllister, invited me for a guest appearance at a small and somewhat disorganized Beatles fan convention in Evansville, Indiana. Unlike the ‘70s TV show I had starred in—Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth—things didn’t go exactly according to the script. A member of the tribute band was shot and he died in my arms (rather traumatic for me and more so for him). The local Barney Fife detective thought I did it and to prove him wrong I took on my boy sleuth persona to track down the killer. All this while dealing with the fans and filling in for the dead musician for a concert.
What made you choose teen idol as a career? Teen idols are made, not born. That particular career chose me; I didn’t pursue it. All my life I knew I’d be a musician. My father conducts a symphony orchestra and my mother was a singer before she was married. I grew up with piano and violin lessons and choir rehearsals while the other boys were out playing sports.
I went to college with the notion that I’d eventually pick up my father’s baton—at least that was his plan. But in college I fell in love with rock and roll and started a band with my school buddies. After my freshman year I quit school so I could play professionally with the band. My father was angry with me turning my back on “real” music, meaning classical.
After a few months in Los Angeles, working odd jobs and playing dives at night, an agent named Jarvis Lycowitz saw the band perform. He didn’t think we sounded that good (he was right) but he thought I had the looks and personality for pop stardom. He offered to groom me and promised me the world if I’d signed with him—just me, not the other guys. They were furious at me for quitting.
Next thing I knew Jarvis had me in front of a mike at a recording studio, in front of a camera at a movie studio, and in front of the lens of a teen magazine photographer. Pretty soon I was selling more records than Donny Osmond and Shaun Cassidy.
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with teen idolism or do something different? That’s a loaded question. Sometimes I wonder what would my life be like if one of the other guys in my band had become the big star. One of them ended up teaching music in high school and the rest drifted off into menial jobs. Ultimately it’s pointless to play the “what if” game because I think most people, no matter where they are in life or what they do, wished their circumstances were different. And they might regret it if their wish came true. For me, stardom is a two-edged sword. It gave me my highest highs and lowest lows.
I loved performing. I loved the fans. I loved the money I was earning. I had a great time making my TV show. I met the woman I married there. I had some amazing experiences. I traveled the world and met many incredible people.
But the downside is once your time in the spotlight is over—and it will end eventually—life is hell. After my TV show was canceled and my records stopped selling, I couldn’t get work. I became an alcoholic. I went through a miserable divorce and lost the respect of my family. And being in the public eye means that when you goof up, and did I ever goof up, the whole world knows about it.
I recently sobered up and now I’m trying to get my life in order. I’m starting to get jobs and I’m trying to make amends with my family. Having the world worship me means nothing if my kids think I’m a loser.
What is your biggest fear? That I’ll end up like too many actors who die alone, destitute and drunk in some filthy Skid Row flop house.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I don’t read much but I love movies. When I was a kid I saw all the Gene Kelly films. That’s what got me into dancing. Gene showed that dancing wasn’t for sissies and that cool dance moves will help you get the girl. So I like any movie character than Gene Kelly played.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? I had precious little acting experience when I started filming my TV show. I started getting up tight and worried about how I would play a scene. One of my co-stars, the man who played Buddy’s guardian, was a fantastic character actor. He told me, “Trust your instincts.” He said I should relax and react naturally to what was happening in the scene and the acting would take care of itself.
His advice is good for life in general. When I’m facing a problem and people are giving me conflicting advice, I “go with my gut,” as they say. I go with the solution that feels best for me and generally things work out right.
It's our turn to ask Sally: Which writer or character[s], from either books or movies, or both, have had a major impact on your writing? Lt. Columbo. He acts disorganized and slovenly but his mind’s razor sharp. I like the structure of the shows, how the clues are laid out with such precision and he builds the case brick by brick. Columbo doesn’t suddenly “figure it out” at the end. Sandy’s sloppy in some areas but he’s smart and can piece clues together.
Frank and Joe Hardy. The Buddy Brave TV show is blatant takeoff of The Hardy Boys Mysteries TV show. According to my book, the two shows ran simultaneously. I also use the Hardy Boy “style” to some degree—lots of action, fast pace, humor, threats on the hero’s life, stunts.
Sherlock Holmes. Natch! Not only for Sherlock’s crime solving skills but the use of the sidekick. Sandy has his “Watson” that he uses as a sounding board to figure out the case.
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? The concept didn’t change, no. I knew pretty much what kind of protagonist I wanted. The best research I did was reading autobiographies of real teen idols, not only for the factual information but insights into their personalities. That’s why my book is in first person—it’s Sandy relating his own memoir.
I also had first-hand experience in attending concerts, talking to other fans, the collectibles and all that. I was doing this long before I started the book. When I decided to set the story at a Beatles fan convention, I re-played all my Beatles records (on vinyl!) and re-watched the movies and re-read my Beatles books. Who says research isn’t fun? I used Beatles references for the clues.
Here's a blurb for The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper:
Detective Braxton turned over a fresh leaf in his journal. I had a feeling he wouldn’t let me go until he filled every stinking page in that stupid notebook. “How well did you know the victim?”
Exhausted, I sat in the easy chair and clasped my hands. “Not well. I only met him today.”
“Why did you come to the room?”
“Earlier this evening he wasn’t feeling well and I wanted to stop by and see if he was okay and . . . “ The more I said, the lamer I sounded. Braxton crossed his arms and shot me a disapproving look that spoke volumes. “It’s not what you think.”
“Uh huh. Just checking up on him. Is that all you had in mind?”
I tried to give the Sherlock Holmes wannabe an outraged scowl, but with my pretty boy face the best I could muster up was a peevish frown. Damn my good looks. In school the girls I dated didn’t take me seriously because they thought I looked like a kid brother and the boys beat me up because they said I looked like a sissy.
Before I could say something to the detective that might land me on the wrong end of a police baton, Bunny screamed. She had sneaked past the police and now stood outside the door of the crime scene. She stared through the open doorway at the body, her hands over her mouth. I jumped up and pushed my way past the cops to reach her. I grabbed her shoulders and turned her away from the unpleasantness.
“Don’t look at it, Bunny,” I said.
“Is he really dead?”
“I’m afraid so. I’m so sorry.”
I handed her my linen handkerchief. She gripped it in a fist as the tears kept flowing. She cried so hard that I wrapped my arms around her and patted her on the back.
“Shhhhh, now. It’s all right. Everything will be all right.”
She hugged my waist and rested her head on my chest. Her tears dampened my shirt. “Sandy, what are we going to do?”
Her words triggered something deep in my subconscious. I answered her loudly, full of confidence. “Don’t worry! I’ll think of something!”
Bunny gazed up at me and grinned through the tears. “That’s your catch phrase from your TV show!”
My frazzled brain must have checked out for the night without leaving a forwarding address. And I can’t explain why I did what I did next. Maybe I felt sorry for Bunny as she gazed at me with those sad eyes. Or perhaps old habits are tough to break. Whenever Buddy found himself in a tight jam, he always kissed the girl before pulling off a fantastic escape. So I leaned over and bussed Bunny. A gentle peck on the check.
From a few feet away a camera shutter clicked.
I raised my head and stared straight into a telephoto lens. The only paparazzo in the Midwest and he’d found me.

Tell us a bit about your publisher, Sally. How did you hear about them? Oak Tree Press is a mid-size independent publisher that puts out trade paperback and e-books. I first heard the name on the Sisters in Crime list serv where some of the other members were talking about the good experiences they had with that press.
What influenced your decision to submit to them? When I started marketing my book, I contacted some agents but nowadays the Big Six publishers and most agents won’t handle unpublished writers. That’s why small presses and self-publishing is booming—the major publishers are shutting out writers.
Tell us a bit about their submission process. How long did it take from query to release? To submit to OTP, one first emails a query to Sunny Frazier, the acquisitions editor. Like most small presses, OTP does everything electronically, which was a change for me as I was used to the ol’ paper and stamps routine. Sunny liked my query and I sent in some chapters. At first she turned it down and told me why. I asked if she would read my manuscript again if I made revisions. She said okay and sent me more feedback. I did some extensive surgery on the opening chapters and sent it back. Sunny liked my rewrite. I might mention that very few publishers will read a mss. a second time even with revisions. Some publishers even say so in their submission guidelines.
Sunny then passed on my story to the publisher, Billie Johnson, on a Thursday or Friday. The following Monday I received a “yes.” Billie must have read the book over the weekend! The book came out six months later—most publishers take 12 to 18 months. I don’t know if OTP publishes all of its books so quickly but I was impressed.

Veronica and I appreciate Sally taking the time to blog with us today—as well as giving our visitors more information about Oak Tree Press. Thanks, Sally—and much luck in your career.

To learn more about Sally Carpenter and the stories she creates go to Facebook or scwriter.com or www.sandyfairfax.com.

To purchase “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper,” go to amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com or www.oaktreebooks.com (available in paper, Kindle and Nook).

Monday, October 8, 2012

Good morning!
Wild Women Authors is very pleased to welcome Holli Castillo, fellow PSWA member and ADA out of New Orleans who brings us a honey of a story. We know you'll be as intrigued with the characters as we are. . .
First, here's a little teaser for Holli's book, Jambalaya Justice, and protagonist Ryan Murphy. . .
When the body of a hooker is discovered in a crack house, New Orleans prosecutor Ryan Murphy refuses to let the case languish into yet another unsolved homicide. She has a connection to the victim and won't back down until the murder is solved, even if it means insinuating herself into the investigation. And if she hides her involvement from her detective boyfriend, it's only because he's busy working late nights on a secret case of his own.
When Ryan isn't hounding the homicide detective for information or investigating the murder behind his back, she's juggling her Strike Force cases, including a four-victim mob hit, a nasty domestic violence assault, and the armed robbery of a strip club.
At first, Ryan's only concern is getting justice for her victims. By the time the weekend ends, she'll settle for staying alive.
Let's meet Ryan Murphy. First, tell us where you're from. New Orleans, Louisiana
Tell us a bit about Jambalaya Justice. A hooker is murdered in a crack house in New Orleans and the detective on the case doesn’t seem to care a whole lot about getting to the bottom of it. He doesn’t know that the dead woman is sort of a friend of mine and I’m going to do everything I can to make him find out who do it. So I insinuate myself into his investigation while trying to prosecute my own cases and hide the fact that I’m looking into the case from my boyfriend, who is an NOPD detective. He wouldn’t like some of the things I have to do and places I have to go to look for answers. I don’t want to give too much away, but by the time the weekend ends, I’m going to have to fight to stay alive. But that’s how New Orleans life is sometimes, whether you’re a prosecutor or not.
What made you choose prosecution as a profession? I come from a family of cops. Daddy’s a cop, my four brothers are cops—hard as it is to believe they would let those fools carry guns—so being a prosecutor seemed the normal path for me to follow. I also love to argue, so it was a natural fit.
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with prosecution or do something different? I would definitely be a prosecutor. I like putting the bad guys in jail and getting paid to argue. You can’t beat that. Not that the job doesn’t have its drawbacks. Sometimes, it can be pretty dangerous, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. I’ve saved myself from some pretty scary people.
What is your biggest fear? Losing. I hate to lose, whether it’s a case, an argument, a promotion, or a boyfriend. I’m a little competitive, which is a necessity for advancing in the male-dominated D.A.’s Office, but it also makes me a little impulsive sometimes. And that’s usually when I run into trouble…
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? I love Scarlet O’Hara. Being from the south I can totally relate to the need to sometimes act helpless to get your way, the whole time knowing you really have the upper hand. Scarlet knew how to get what she wanted and knew how to compete in a man’s world while still being a woman. I don’t think I’m quite as dramatic as Scarlet, but I can turn on the waterworks if it helps me get out of trouble. I’m not as mean as Scarlet, but I’m also not a pushover. I always mean well, even if it doesn’t always come off that way.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Advice I didn’t follow and I wish I would have. Daddy told me to make sure I double bolted my back door, because it would be too easy for someone to break in. I ignored his advice and almost ended up dead. But I don’t want to ruin any surprises.
It's Holli's turn to take the stand. Which writer or character[s], from either books or movies, [or both] have had a major impact on your writing? John Sandford who writes the Prey series influenced me when I first started writing because I loved the way his earlier books made you sit on the edge of your seat and want to warn the person what was coming. Similar to slasher movies, but not as graphic and a lot more intelligent, the first Lucas Davenport books showed me how to hook a reader and drag them into the story and make the reader want to keep reading. Not that his later books in the series aren’t good, but they don’t have that same “grab ya” factor. We couldn't agree more. We've been hooked on Lucas Davenport since the first time he hit the book stores. It's nice to find a fellow Sandford groupie!

With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept?
For Jambalaya Justice, I already had the premise of the story set out. I didn’t do a whole lot of research because most of what I use I learned as a prosecutor and that stuff stays with you. The one area I did research was location. It was problematic because Katrina happened while I was writing the novel, so half way through my writing the landscape of New Orleans changed. I had to figure out whether to fast forward the book to the present day or keep it in pre-Katrina New Orleans. I elected to keep things, such as buildings, the D.A.’s Office, and local bars, as they were before Katrina, and use the next book, Chocolate City Justice, to bring Ryan into the present climate.
Another thing that changed from my original concept is that the original premise had Ryan working undercover as a hooker to help the detective find the person who killed a prostitute. This idea came about a few years before I started writing, when I was a child support collector at the D.A.’s office, a job I did during the day while I attended law school at night. At that time, the Child Support legal supervisor was working undercover with the police on a prostitution sting. They were only looking to catch customers, but the idea served a springboard for the rest of the novel. By the time I finished, the original premise was just two scenes in the book.
Here's an excerpt from Jambalaya Justice:
Dead eyes.
Ryan could think of no other way to describe them. Except maybe dead eyes staring back, if something dead could stare. Did eyes actually die? Or did they just stop working when the heart stopped beating and the brain synapses stopped telling them to see? She should have paid more attention in biology. Or was it chemistry?
Assistant district attorney Ryan Murphy let the jumbled thoughts brew in her mind like the coffee and chicory that once percolated in the battered silver pot on the dead woman’s stove.
She fought the urge to close Cherry’s eyes. Regardless of whether the cause was biological or chemical, the woman couldn’t see anything now. She was smiling, though, or so it seemed, dying the way she lived, with a gold-capped grin spread across her ebony face.
Ryan remembered that smile and the way Cherry called everyone baby. She also remembered Cherry’s help, which had saved Ryan’s ass on more than one occasion.
And now Cherry was dead, her pit-stained tank pushed up to reveal a bloody, makeshift tattoo. If anything would salve Ryan’s conscience, it was that crude smiley face, cut just above Cherry’s right breast. The bodies of two other prostitutes had recently been found bearing the same mark, making Cherry’s lifestyle the more likely reason for her untimely death than Ryan’s tenuous connection to her. Either way, Ryan doubted she would get much sleep tonight.
Murders were common in New Orleans, and homicides occurred for a multitude of reasons–drug deals gone wrong, gang and turf wars, or in the case of a working girl, sexual deviance carried too far. But this was different. Whatever his motivation, this killer wanted the world to know he thought the murders were funny.
Friend of yours?”
Ryan jumped at the sound of the detective’s gravelly voice.
If the rotting carpet in the decaying house had muffled the sound of his holey tennis shoes, the stench that accompanied death and crack houses had also masked his odor. Up close, Detective Octavio Christakos–Tave–looked as if he had just rolled out of bed and smelled like he had recently stumbled from one of the nearby bars.
Tell us us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? What influenced your decision to submit to them? Tell us a bit about their submission process. How long did it take from query to release?
My publisher is Oak Tree Press. I read about them in the Writer’s Market and they weren’t in my first cycle of submissions. My original idea was to try to get an agent. It didn’t occur to me initially to query a publisher because I thought it was a scary idea. Not knowing enough about the publishing world, I thought a publisher was unobtainable without an agent.
Eventually I submitted to my target agents and was shot down. I realized at some point that my target was not targeted enough. About half of the agents gave me a reason why they wouldn’t take me on, and most of them said such things as they didn’t handle work with serial killers, or this was too dark for them, etc. I realized then I was not researching agents carefully enough. At the time I didn’t know I was extremely lucky to have received notes with reasons from the agents, because at least I could figure out what was wrong with my submission process.
I took a break from querying to research more agents and added publishers to my list. I purchased books from the publishers I was considering to make sure this time my targets published novels that were at least somewhat similar to mine. In the meantime, I took an online novel writing course for writers who had a completed novel and found out on the first day that my novel was much longer than most agents or publishers would accept from a first time author. So I edited and ended up with a shorter, but in my opinion better, novel.
I started submitting again and this time caught the interest of an agent. While she was still considering it, Katrina hit and I was busy with life for a while. The agent contacted me eventually and said she wasn’t taking on new clients because of health issues. I was seriously contemplating self-publishing when I received an e-mail from Billie Johnson at Oak Tree, who I had previously queried, asking for the manuscript. I emailed it to her and in time she said she wanted to publish it.
Right as we were discussing a date for release, I was in a head-on collision with a drunk driver, which put me on my back for seven months with a broken left femur, broken right tibia and fibula, shattered left elbow, and fractured lower lumbar vertebrae. This pushed the release of my novel back by a year while I had surgeries and learned to walk and function again with a lot of titanium in my body. Almost a year to the day of the wreck, my novel was published.
It was a long road. I received over 40 rejections, most of them before I edited, one not too nice one from a well-known agent who said my dialogue wasn’t believable. From the time I finished the manuscript until publication was about 5 years, including the delay from Katrina and the car crash. I don’t know the exact amount of time it took from the date of the query to Oak Tree, but from the date of the manuscript request until publication was two years, including the year delay from the wreck.
Kat and I thank Holli, and Ryan, for taking the time to visit Wild Women Authors today. We extend our best wishes for a complete recovery from what sounds like devastating injuries.
Kat and Veronica
To learn more about Holli Castillo and the stories she creates go to: www.hollicastillo.com, www.gumbojustice.net, or www.jambalayajustice.com.
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