Write what you know…is a quote usually attributed to Mark Twain. Twain might have been a great American novelist, but his advice better suits authors of the 19th century. What are authors supposed to do in the 21stcentury when expected to produce two or three novels a year? As books become shorter and faster-paced, some writers are releasing books faster than that. If as a full-time professional writer you only write about subjects you’re familiar or experienced with, won’t you run out of story fodder? On a personal level, how many stories about a schoolteacher, living on the edge of Amish country, who loves gardening, animals and American history will readers tolerate? Perhaps more practical advice for this day and age would be: Write about what fascinates you, or perhaps the person you hope to one day become.
I have reached an age when retirement isn’t a distant pipedream. As much as I love Ohio, winters have grown intolerable. My husband and I are determined to live three or four months of the year in the warmer and sunnier South. Recently we’ve combined our quest for inexpensive spots to “snowbird” with my mystery series. The setting for my first story was easy…New Orleans, a city we visited while family lived in the area and many times since. After several stays in Cajun country I was playing the washboard with spoons and cooking gumbo from a roux. My second mystery allowed me to indulge my love of the blues while researching Memphis and the Mississippi delta where rice and cotton fields stretch to the horizon. Next I prowled the streets of Natchez, a charming town overlooking the mighty Mississippi, where the police captain turned out to be the nicest person I’ve ever interviewed. Then we went to beautiful, age-old Savannah for my last book in that series. Recently, (as in three days ago) we returned from our fourth trip to Charleston, South Carolina, the setting for the first of my Marked for Retribution Mysteries. What a delightful town! I’ll be sharing details as the release date for Hiding in Plain Sight draws near. (August 1st)
As we investigate places to live during the winter, I’m also discovering new spots for dead bodies to wash ashore or characters to go missing. If you’re looking for new story ideas, why not consider places you’ve always wanted to visit? Start with research at your local library and on the internet. Then create the characters of your dreams. Maybe you can give them the talents you always longed to have. Your enthusiasm will turn your story into a page-turner readers can’t put down. And just think…when you visit the area to tweak the details, your trip becomes a tax deductible expense. Sounds like a win-win situation, no?
Blackstock. This is the sequel to Terri’s great novel, IF I RUN. Iola says this book is: “A must for thriller fans!”
in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery.
On Wednesday Suspense Sister Mary Ellis is talking about “Lessons Learned From Walks on the Beach.” She’ll be giving away a copy of her new book, SUNSET IN OLD SAVANNAH!
an article titled “The Power of Pinterest.” She’s also giving away a copy of her new book, DEEP EXTRACTION!
A bombing at one of Nathan’s oil rigs days earlier indicates his death could be part of a bigger conspiracy, a web Special Agent Tori Templeton must untangle. But her first order of business is separating the personal from the professional―the victim’s wife, her best friend, is one of the FBI’s prime suspects.
Clearing Sally’s name may be the biggest challenge of her career, but Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan’s personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer―and to each other―the more intent someone is on silencing them for good.
|In my blissful, pre-published days, I erroneously believed that once an author received the coveted “call” and turned in a complete manuscript, she could relax and put her feet up. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being published means honoring contracts in a timely fashion, along with a multitude of details. No longer was I squeezing time to “write a book” into my daily routine of tending home, family and day job. With each new release, the juggling act increases from three balls in the air, to four, five or even six.
Let’s take a look at how five projects could potentially demand your attention simultaneously:
First, there’s the book you’re currently writing and editing, according to your publisher’s expectations for word count, level of violence, etc.
Secondly, the book you recently submitted is by no means done. A plethora of add-ons must be finished before the book heads to the printer, such as developmental edits, line edits, back cover copy, book cover suggestions, and blurbs for catalogs and sales brochures.
Thirdly, if this was a series, chances are a book was recently released and requires promotion. Your title will either sink or swim during the first several months. An author must get the word out to readers through blog interviews, website and newsletter giveaways, and book signings, along with social media. Otherwise, with so many fine books releasing each year, how will potential readers find yours?
Fourthly, an author needs to research the next book she intends to write, and that often involves travel or at least long hours spent in the library. Not everything on the internet can be trusted for accuracy, so first-person travel, when possible, is especially helpful.
And finally, what happens when your current series draws to a close? If you don’t wish to be out of a job, you must devise an irresistible proposal that your publisher cannot turn down. Publishing houses consider projects well in advance, so authors need to think far down the line too. Considering all this stress, hard work and long hours, you might conclude that I’m complaining. Nothing would be farther from the truth. I love being an author and pray each night for God to make me a better juggler. Happy reading!
Mary Ellis has written twelve best-selling novels set in the Amish community and several historical romances. Her latest, Magnolia Moonlight, is third of a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, from Harvest House Publishers. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate, a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits. She enjoys traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming, and lives in Ohio with her husband, dog, and cat. Sunset in Old Savannah releases in early 2017. She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or www.facebook.com/Mary-Ellis/Author
Without Losing Your Mind!” She’ll be giving away a copy of her Amish cozy mystery, BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE, nominated for a 2016 Carol Award
Friday, Suspense Sister Mary Ellis will interview author Rachel McMillan. Rachel is giving away a copy of her book, THE BACHELOR GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER!
Don’t forget, readers, this is the release week for Magnolia Moonlight, which has already made CBD’s fiction best-seller list, top 20. Thank you to everyone who pre-booked a copy. It is still 7.99 at http://www.christianbook.com . It will release for electronic readers on August 1st. Also on August 1st, books one and two of series will be on sale in all e-formats. Midnight on the Mississippi will be .99 and What Happened on Beale Street will be 2.99.
Don’t you just love a sale?? Have a great week. Mary
Happy Tuesday, readers. It’s another great week on the Suspense Sisters!
A cryptic plea from a childhood friend sends Price Investigations to Memphis, land of the Delta blues. When they arrive they find Danny dead and a lifestyle not in keeping with the choirboy they remember. Nate and Nicki follow clues into smoky clubs, trail potential stalkers, and confront drug traffickers to find a killer, in a world where your friends are all you have left.
Happy Monday, Readers,
While asking for blog idea among my author pals, one of them suggested that I interview my heroine in my latest book. Just like she was a real person instead of an figment of my imagination. So here goes…an interview with Nicolette (Nicki) Price of Midnight on the Mississippi.
Nicolette Price, tell me the most interesting thing about you. I used to be quite a tomboy. I could swim farther, run faster, and jump higher than any boy in the neighborhood. Now that I’m a grown woman living in a sophisticated city, being a “crack shot with a squirrel rifle” doesn’t give me much of an edge with the competition.
What do you do for fun? I haven’t had much fun since childhood. I’ve worked since I was 15 to help pay the bills, and then to put myself through college. Now that I’ve landed my first real job, I would like a Saturday of watching reruns of Colombo in my pajamas with nothing but popcorn and ice cream to eat.
What do you put off doing because you dread it? I have put off dealing with my father’s death because I was too young and ill-equipped to do much else. Now I’m neither, so it’s high time I find out if someone else had a hand in his death.
What are you afraid of most in life? Swamps! I was stranded on an island in the swamp as a prank—snakes, gators, and plenty of bugs. Luckily, my best friend got wind of the plan and paddled out to rescue me.
What do you want out of life? I suppose I want what every woman wants—love and acceptance. I’ve never felt like I measured up to expectations, so it would be nice to find one other person who thinks I’m special.
Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read? I love to read biographies about famous fearless women—Madame Curie, Clara Barton, Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt. If they can rise above humble upbringings or difficult circumstances and excel, why can’t I? I gain courage to do what I need to do when I read their stories.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I suppose it would be my hair. I like to wear it long, but it’s thick and curly and looks like a lion’s mane when the weather is humid. My complexion turns a tad green when I see women with silky, straight hair that stays where it’s supposed to all day long.
Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? No, I had a pet turtle but it died. Once I had a crow that used to follow me around the neighborhood, but it grew bored and flew away. My mother wouldn’t let me have a dog because our yard was too small. I hope to one day have an entire menagerie of pets.
If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? I would go back to my childhood when my father was still alive. I’d tell him that “nobody is perfect” and that I loved him. He died never knowing how much he meant to me.