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imagesThis Wednesday afternoon, I’m returning to Upton, MA, to participate in a follow-up interview with Jan Lewis, hostess of the Upton local cable show ‘Be My Guest’. We’ll be talking about the 3rd story in my Gwen Andrews mystery series ‘Bed, Breakfast, & Blackmail’.

All you writers who follow my blog should actively pursue the local cable shows in your town and surrounding towns. You never know if you’ll find an outlet to spread the news about your latest story!

As soon as the station advises that editing is completed, I’ll provide the link to the interview on their website.

So exciting!

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I recently participated in an interview with a local radio host in Attleboro, MA. That interview has now been uploaded to the stations’ website. If you’d like to have a listen, here is the link: http://www.wararadio.com/?powerpress_pinw=4388-podcast

The path to this interview was a winding road!  You may not be aware that in addition to writing mysteries, I sing in a female barbershop quartet called ‘Serendipity’. On occasion, we perform with a larger chorus Notable Blend. Last year, the chorus came on the local radio show to publicize their upcoming Christmas show, and I tagged along with them.

After the show ended, I approached the host Dominic and asked if he ever interviews authors. He said he did, so I jumped right in and explained my efforts as a mystery writer. He was very interested, but we experienced delays scheduling me for an interview. After many calendar conflicts, he was able to squeeze me into his morning show at the end of July.

Here’s my challenge to other writers who follow my blog… call your local radio station and ask if you can be scheduled for an interview. Dominic advised that many of his loyal listeners are avid readers, and very interested in authors.

To use an old cliche ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained.’

Enjoy the interview!

Debi

 

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BB&B front cover croppedSo excited to open my inbox yesterday and find an email from my editor/publisher Stephanie Blackman, owner of Riverhaven Books in Whitman, MA! As scheduled in our contract, yesterday was the due date for her to provide me with suggestions to fine-tune ‘Bed, Breakfast,  & Blackmail’.

So far, her suggestions have been small adjustments, with no major changes to plot, characters, or basic writing technique. My plan is to continue the review process through the weekend, and zip this file back to her bright and early on Monday morning.

After she finalizes the adjustments, she’ll request the galley copy which I will need to review with the proverbial fine-toothed comb before advising any final changes. Steph will then upload to Amazon and order printed copies from the local print shop on my behalf.

Looking forward to the day when I hold the actual book in my hands… nothing more satisfying for an author!

And then the marketing efforts begin!

 

 

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2018 Mansfield Craft FairThere is nothing sweeter than setting up an author table at a holiday craft fair, then waiting for the browsers to wander past, stopping to chat about my characters, the setting, the storyline.  If the two of us connect over my mystery series, another reader will  walk away with one of my books, anxious to meet my amateur sleith Gwen Andrews.

Such was the case when I purchased a table for the 4th Annual Craft Fair in Mansfield, MA, this past Saturday. Although my spot in the second room placed me away from the entrance, many shoppers made their way into my section. Young and old, male and female, mystery lovers come in all shapes and sizes.

The first story in the series ‘The Uninvited Guest’ outsold the second ‘Where There’s Smoke, There’s Trouble’, simply because readers were new to the series. Several purchased one of each as a Christmas gift set. Several accepted my bookmark as a reminder to link to my Amazon page and download the eBook version.

At the end of the day, I was pleased to realize I had placed more books in the hands of mystery lovers than in any previous single event… yea!

 

 

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A_Woman_Reading_Papers_At_Her_DeskAfter two years of sharing my writing journey with audiences in New England, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Florida, I received a return invitation from the friends group of my local senior center to speak to them again about the current status of my writing life.

My first author talk to these volunteers explained the ins and outs of creating my debut mystery The Uninvited Guest.’ Now that I’ve published my second story, ‘Where There’s Smoke, There’s Trouble’, my author talk needed to focus on the challenges of writing a series. My talking points had to be updated.

To this end, I pulled out my crib notes for the original talk, opened a new file titled ‘Author Talk, The Sequel’ and updated each step of the process from the viewpoint of the second story.

  • The fictitious seaside town of Harbor Falls remains
  • My amateur sleuth Gwen Andrews again solves the mystery
  • Creating Characters becomes ‘Who Stays, Who Goes’
  • The season switches from autumn to spring
  • The location within the town switches to the local bookstore
  • The plot has to be totally unique… no repetition from the first story
  • Research and local experts change as needed to support the new storyline
  • Decision to omit expensive outside editor
  • Cover creation based on new storyline
  • Publication remains with same independent house
  • Marketing is adjusted during approach to previous venues for follow-up talk

After I share this new Author Talk the first time, I’m sure I’ll find sub-topics that need to be tweaked, but that is simply the nature of a presentation.

My writers life in my retirement years remains a fulfilling activity.  I continue to meet new and interesting people, keep my brain active, and hopefully provide enticing stories to my readers and ever-expanding base of fans.

 

 

 

 

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waitingBecause my first two published mysteries are set in a fictitious Massachusetts town, I’ve had no resistance from New England library directors or senior complex program organizers to schedule my Author Talk about the writing process. I’ve even had success in Pennsylvania and Delaware because I have siblings living in both states.

Similarly, New England bookstore managers have been open to placing my books on their shelves as either an outright buy or consignment.

But down here in Florida, where I’m a first-time snowbird for these winter months, stirring up interest in mysteries that do not take place in Florida are a hard sell. In all fairness, most library calendars are set months ahead of time, and I’ve been encouraged to make contact this fall for possible appearance in the 2019 calendar of events.

One of the most fascinating old-style bookstores in this area is ‘Haslam’s Book Store’ in St. Petersburg, FL. After a lengthy chat, the owner advised me in the nicest way possible that he doesn’t deal with out-of staters. He did offer to consider a future novel if I place the story down here on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

I’ve cast my net far and wide along the Gulf Coast towns in search of readers who might want to learn what it takes to write a mystery, for I know they will enjoy the learning experience, and perhaps be inspired to write that story that’s rattling around in their head.

My only option seems to be patience. Oh, yea, and planning ahead for next year.

 

 

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Back in October, a week after I returned to Massachusetts from my 50th Class Reunion in Delaware, I tumbled from my bicycle into some frightful bushes edging a bike path and broke my wrist in three places. This injury put a big dent in my plans to place Gwen’s second story into the hands of readers.

Burdened with a purple cast, a swollen hand, and not a little pain, I chose to cancel three author events in November with great sadness. One of them will be rescheduled. The other two were unfortunately one-time events.

My cast is now gone, and I’m regaining strength and flexibility in my right hand. I’m finally able to grasp a pen, although a signed autograph still appears a little funky with the restriction of three stiff fingers.

For those of you who enjoyed Gwen’s debut mystery, ‘The Uninvited Guest’, you may want to follow her next adventure in ‘Where There’s Smoke, There’s Trouble’, which takes place the following spring. As the story creator, I imbued Gwen with my personal dislike of cigar smoke and built a story around that aversion.

Here’s a link for your convenience:

Thanks to all of you who continue to support my writing journey!

Debi Graham-Leard

 

 

 

 

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