If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our July author interviews: Ellen Byerrum (7/5), Day of the Dark anthology authors (7/12 and 7/19), and Nancy Cole Silverman (7/26).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in July: 7/1--Fran Stewart, and 7/8--Nancy Cole Silverman. WWK Saturday bloggers write on 7/15--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/22--Kait Carson, and 7/29--E. B. Davis.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.”

In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on October, 18, 2017. Look for the interview by E. B. Davis here on that date!

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Beginning…Again

Please welcome today's Salad Bowl Saturday guest, Toni Goodyear. This is her debut blog, and we are honored. I met Toni at last year's Malice Domestic conference and enjoyed her company and sense of humor. Without further ado...here's Toni.

~ Jim

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So here’s the thing: I want to write fiction for a living.

Let me say that again.

My nefarious objective is to write murder mysteries and thrillers, for money. My goal is to be able to support a reasonable lifestyle—or even an unreasonable one, for that matter—with fiction. And to be able to say that out loud without blushing. To misquote Dickens, that part must be clearly understood or nothing good can come of my story.

Oh, I lived among writers long enough to understand not only the futility, but the gaucheness of this. I dig the artists’ mantra, really I do. I spent my young years in Greenwich Village; I even play a folk instrument and darn my threadbare jogging pants on the outside. I am one of what my mother called ‘late bloomers’, her phrase for those too-long obsessed with purposes ‘higher’ than getting jobs. So I get it. We write because we need to write. We write because it’s who we are. My purer self is still there, still headed for that oh-so-bright second star to the right and straight on ‘til mourning (ouch). But the less-pure me now wants to hang a quick left and aim for the white dwarf that’s about to supernova, preferably with a big bang, dollarwise. In my mother’s terms, I guess that means I’ve bloomed.

Okay, so I’m shallow, but that’s not what worries me. What worries me is that I’m so bad at it.

I don’t know jack about how to make fiction pay off.

Journalism I get: they give you jobs, they pay you salaries. You can get paid for other oddities, too, like writing paperback jacket copy of the ‘It was a dark and windswept night…’ variety. You can even make money writing instructions for craft magazines on how to make reindeer ears out of toilet paper rolls and foam peanuts. There’s tons of paid stuff for non-fiction writers out there. I know, I did them.

But fiction? Don’t make me laugh.

I started sending short stories to magazines when I was fifteen. I wish I’d saved those earliest rejection letters. (Does a cosmic circuit close if you staple the rejection letter you received from AHMM at age sixteen to the rejection letter you received at age sixty-five? I’m just asking.) The few I did save were from my twenties. In 1974, the Atlantic Monthly wrote, “We’ve enjoyed your story. Although it doesn’t seem quite ready for the Atlantic, we certainly wish to encourage you in your career, and hope that you will feel free to try us again. You write with great flair, wit, and brightness, but your style of fragmented narrative ….” Yeah, yeah, yeah, but, but, but. The rejection went onto the pile of ‘one hundred reasons to give up fiction writing’.

Onto that same pile went rejections on which the editor took the time to scribble ‘We’re sorry’ at the bottom of the form letter (Redbook), or ‘Do try us again” (Family Circle). Close but no cigar. And then there was my favorite: “Thank you for letting us read your story. I think you’re a funny writer and an excellent stylist, and hope you’ll write something else for us which will be right for Playgirl. Unfortunately, we have a reluctant spouse-swapping story in inventory already….” I don’t remember the story, honestly I don’t. I only know they didn’t buy it. Nor the next one. So much for funny stylist.

But enough of that. Other dreams caught me up and I went happily with them. A doctorate in psychology, a little ghost busting for the hell of it, two kids, computers and corporations, a few bucks to buy groceries and Christmas presents, a good and simple life. Now I’m back in crazy land: I want to write fiction for a living, and this time I’m determined.

I proceed with my usual energy. I write my first book, a cozy set in a craft brewery. I find Malice Domestic, Sisters in Crime, and the Guppies. I’m astonished at the welcome, at the warmth of a community so committed to mutual success. I enter the Malice contest, the Daphne contest, get praised, get walloped. I become a judge, a co-moderator, a member of critique groups. Bag that backstory, ditch those adverbs, toss that still-fragmented prose. Okay, okay. I make changes, I make friends, I meet an agent who wants to hear from me and another who doesn’t, I revise my novel and get two short stories accepted for publication, a third ready to go. Nary two pennies to rub together from any of it, but it’s a start—and more than that, I’m having fun.

Alas, I also learn that writing is the least of what I have to do if I want to stand a chance of meeting my goal. Where once the worst an author had to suffer through were book tours and local interviews—and if you were very successful, maybe a squirm on the Johnny Carson Show—now there’s a veritable storm of things to master. Surreal, technological things with insane names, like blogs, tweets, likes, threads, listservs, hashtags, e-pubs, keywords, web sites, instagrams, links, virals, you tube, hosts and fat daddies, pinterest, pay pal, upmarkets, skypes, affiliates. Now there are tools that eliminate the need for people ever to meet face to face, and, strangely enough, they’re called social media. As a writer, it’s my obligation, apparently, to socialize via these media. Ernest Hemingway would have to learn to socialize via these media if he wanted to get published today. (Actually, that might almost be worth it; wouldn’t you love to see the look on his face? A whole new meaning to bells tolling for thee.)

Did writers always have to do crazy stuff? Maybe, I don’t know, I can’t think about that now. I’ve got to do something to get over the hump, to take my first step toward the web…anything at all.

So here it is, my first attempt to blog (thanks, WWK!) I do some basic research and learn that a ‘blog’ is a truncation of the term ‘web log,’ at least according to Wikipedia. I further discover that WWK is a MAB – a ‘multi-author blog’. I’m not sure this is useful information but, strangely enough, it makes me feel better. I guess we’re all Mabbers…or Mabbites? That sounds pretty social.

I discover something else: There may be something like 300 million blogs out there competing for attention. That means that while there are millions of viewers and billions of posts, it’s spread pretty thin for most of the world’s bloggers and chatters. Will this really contribute to my goal of making a living by writing fiction?

Help!

I decide to ask a writer-friendly publisher how to make sense of all this. I pick on Kendel Flaum of Henery Press. I met Kendel at Malice, she seemed a good sport. So how do I start? What in heaven’s name is a writer supposed to do?

She reads my list of techno-tasks and immediately points out “You forgot trending, tagging, and cross-promoting. Oy!”

Oy indeed!

“It’s not as overwhelming as it seems…” Kendel says enthusiastically, “My advice: choose two social media platforms you’re most comfortable with (Facebook, Twitter, your blog, Linked In, etc.) and become more active with your writerly persona. Balance posts/comments/retweets between your brand (a WIP, book promotion, conferences), your personal life (your adorable dog and your trip to Disney), and supporting others (sharing good news from author friends, retweeting their interesting blog posts). With only 3-4 hours a week, you’ll build a solid fan base, even before your books are published. They’ll be excited to connect with you, watch your journey, and cheer you on! Approach it with a positive attitude, work it into your schedule, and most of all, have some fun with it!”

Fun. Positive. Uh huh. I’ll just press those two ‘be happy’ buttons on the sides of my head.

But Kendel is right, of course. (Thanks, Kendel!) I’ve got to get my heart into this thing, quit being such a pill. A friend of mine recently opened a craft brewery (yup, I’ve got my very own advisor). By spending an average of an hour and a half a day keeping folks up to date on the brewery’s progress via Facebook and Instagram, he built a following of nearly six thousand thirsty fans before his opening . The new business hit the ground running without the traditional down time a new venture might expect. All from the power of social media.

Two questions occur to me as I write this. Since the goal of a blog is to stimulate discussion, I’ll throw them out to you, my fellow victims:

Without the promise of alcohol, can a mystery writer hope to have the same social impact as a brewer?

And, within the course of a workday, how do we juggle the introverted task of creation and the extroverted task of promotion without our skulls exploding?


Anybody got that one figured out?

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Toni is a former journalist, winner of the North Carolina Press Association Award for feature writing.
Other past careers include market research, public relations, ghost busting (yes, really), managing data for clinical trials, and teaching undergrad psychology. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Her short story, "Stuffed," appeared this year in Untreed Reads’ Thanksgiving e-anthology The KillerWore Cranberry: Room for Thirds. A short story, “Heart Surgery,” is slated to appear in Triangle Sisters in Crime’s new anthology, Carolina Crimes: Tales of Lust, Love, and Longing. She’s just completed her first novel, a cozy mystery, Trouble Brewing in Tanawha Falls, set in a craft brewery in Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

9 comments:

Shari Randall said...

Hi Toni! Loved your comment about Ernest Hemingway and social media. I like to imagine what the Facebook pages of authors like Jane Austen or Edgar Allan Poe would look like.
You got some great advice from Kendel - thank you for sharing. I guess this is all just the brave new world for authors...

Warren Bull said...

It's nice when someone else shares the thoughts that you've had. Been there but haven't done that yet. Please come back and let us know what's happening on your journey,

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Toni,

You are no longer a blogging virgin.

And no, I don't have the introvert promotion thing down at all - hoping you get some great comments I can steal from.

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

Can't wait to read your short and your novel, Toni. NC is my second home, which is why I submitted to the Carolina Tales anthology. My story, "Ice Cream Allure" will share the pages with yours. Once you learn, Toni, blogging is like riding a bicycle. Come on back, now, ya hear! We'll have blogging space for you. :>)

Gloria Alden said...

Toni, I am so looking forward to reading your first book. If it's as funny as your blog, it will be absolutely delightful. Like you, I don't want to get so involved in all the promotion stuff Just keeping up with the list servs I'm on is too time consuming for me. Fortunately, I am quite content being a little fish in a small pond. I'm happy when a book sells or someone tells me they like what I've written, but I know I'll never make any best seller list and that's okay with me.

KM Rockwood said...

I think you've just about got it summed up! It's not the writing, it's all the other things involved that drive me crazy.

If you enjoy it, of course you should do it! And if you persevere, I'm sure you will get published. And make some money. There certainly are people who turn this into a career that will support them, and there's no reason why you shouldn't be one of them if your work is any good (which it must be if you're placing short stories) and you're willing to put in the effort.

I wish you the best!

TG said...

Thanks to all for your comments. It's a relief losing one's blogging virginity...

E.B., I'm honored to share the anthology pages with you, and thanks for the invite back.

Jim, if/when I figure it out, I'll do another blog!

Keep the faith
Toni

Kaye George said...

Hey, you're on your way! Blog? Check. Now you just have to pick one more social medium, right? Two more if you get bored. Yeah, we all say we hate promotion, but it CAN be fun. If you put out a newsletter or get a facebook page, sign me up!

TG said...

Thanks, Kaye. Will do!
Toni