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Monthly Archives: August 2014

Beyond Blood my mystery novel debuts amid promo frenzy

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Publishing is a business. Writing may be art, but publishing, when all is said and done, comes down to dollars.

  • Nicholas Sparks

 

 

My first mystery novel Beyond Blood is making its debut in the e-copies on amazon.com and Kobo now – early. I am still frantically doing all the pre-book launch PR and wishing I had a clone or astral body to do some of the work.

Not that I mind – I love doing the PR but my two-week holiday earlier this month probably wasn’t a good idea time-wise. However, I did do some promo during my vacation– lining up possible reading gigs for Beyond Blood in southwestern Ontario and telling my cousins – “you’ll get an invite for the book launch once the details are finalized.”

Well, after all the other promo that comes before is done. And yes, I do have a marketing plan. Finding the time to do all that is on it for pre-book launch is the challenge. Too much else going on but I am trying to prioritize. Whatever can wait goes on hold on the back burner. That includes answering some email and even some client work. For the latter I am focusing on one editing client’s manuscript evaluation because the deadline is the end of next week.

But I am so happy that my fraternal twin characters – Dana Bowman and Bast Overture are back. Some of you may remember them from the four linked stories in Beyond the Tripping Point. Or from the series of Dana interviews on this blog a few months ago. Beyond Blood’s story is actually the prequel to the four linked stories.

Watch for Dana and Bast. They will be returning here in these blog posts soon.

Meantime, check out the book. The book at the top of this blog post links to amazon.com and for those of us with Kobo’s, here is that link for the e-pub version. http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-blood-1 And when I (finally) get my amazon profile and web page updated I’ll give you the links to them.

Print version of Beyond Blood is coming out soon.

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Authors – read from your book or chat too?

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection

“Be awesome! Be a book nut!” — Dr. Seuss

While touring around southwestern Ontario, Canada  to promote my upcoming mystery novel Beyond Blood, I ran into opposite takes on how the author should present his or her new novel in person to readers.

A bookstore owner who wants me (and a few other Crime Writers of Canada authors) to read in his bookstore this fall or early spring said authors need to do more than just read. People no longer want to sit through an author only reading from her published book. I agreed and said my publisher had told me – not more than 10 minutes of reading or the audience starts fidgeting. I explained that what crime fiction and non-fiction authors have been doing is interviews – either myself or Nate, the CWC Ontario Regional Director who organizes these readings (some with my help), interviews the other authors presenting and we get one of them to interview us. Interviewing yourself is not cool or hot or even lukewarm.

I added that some of us are or were journalists so there is the contrast there and how we switched to writing about crime – fiction or fact. And we open it to the audience for a Q and A. He was enthusiastic about that.

Then, one of my readers told me she would rather have the author read from his or her book rather than talk about it or about their writing.

Hm. This is maybe less work for the author. But I still think anything that will get the author to interact with her audience and provide some insight on where her characters come from, adds to the interest. That is what has been my experience in the Q and A – even when we do reveal something about our writing and our characters.

Maybe the latter also whets the reader’s appetite.

So, the answer may be to blend in the reading with the back story and a Q and A.

And sell some books, of course.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

You can read about my characters and their stories in my short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at http://www.amazon.com.
More info on Sharon A.’s upcoming gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html And keep checking http://samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondBlood.html for the latest news on the release of my first mystery novel Beyond Blood, also published by Blue Denim Press http://www.bluedenimpress.com More info on the Beyond Blood page as we get closer to the date. And remember that clicking on the book icon at the top gets you to my Amazon profile.

Cover of Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

 

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Your life in fiction?

amazon.comlink to Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection

amazon.comlink to Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection

If you have other things in your life—family, friends, good productive day work—these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer.

  • David Brin

 

How much of your life do you put into your fiction? What do your favourite fiction authors do? It is supposed to be fiction after all.

But life creeps in – sometimes a barely-concealed fact turned into fiction – usually because the story is too painful to the author or she is afraid to put herself into a real-life story with all the people who did her wrong or are, well, scoundrels. Then there is the fear of retribution or the desire to tell her story but keep herself out of it. My personal opinion here is to write it as a memoir and use pseudonyms (and state you are doing so). That’s what I’m doing – but that’s another story.

So that leaves us with what can you put from your life into fiction and how can you do it?

Disclaimer here: this is my opinion from my experience. It is not the only way to go about it and some of you may think I cross some lines between fact and fiction.

Here are a few instances from my short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point and my soon-to-be-published first mystery novel Beyond Blood.

In “No Breaks” (BTTP) two female friends are driving to one woman’s family cottage and on the way the car’s main brakes fail. In my life I once did ride with a friend up to her mother’s cottage and on the way her brakes failed. Except for the way my friend managed to get us up to the cottage (she had a few driving tricks up her sleeve), the two friends, Millie and Jessie, in “No Breaks” are completely different from my friend and me. The storyline in “No Breaks” also gets somewhat sinister and crimes are committed (it is mystery fiction). And the title is not spelled incorrectly as the main character in the story feels life has treated her very badly and so she has had “no breaks” in life – and that includes the trip to the cottage. Even when she tries to give herself some breaks it doesn’t exactly work out as she planned. As many of us do, sometimes I feel as if I am getting a lot of bad breaks in life – but there are good things happening too. Millie doesn’t feel that way about her life.

So how did I go from some facts to fiction? I took this scenario in my life and pulled out relevant parts that I thought could be the root for a story. Then I used my imagination to develop my plot and characters.

In Beyond Blood I take so many things from life – not just mine – and fictionalize them into the mystery. One of the threads running through the story is something many mothers can relate to – the working mother and how she balances raising her child(ren) and doing her job. Dana Bowman, one of the fraternal twins is a private investigator and she is always concerned that she doesn’t give enough of her time to her son, David, yet she has to work and she chooses to work with her twin brother in something she is interested in. It doesn’t help that Great Aunt Doris disapproves of Dana working and chastises her constantly for it – another thing working mom’s have to deal with, although it might be a mother-in-law. So when something happens to David, Dana is really in conflict – should she be “working on the case” (Note: I don’t want to give away some of the plot) or just spend her time being mom. Also the twins are in their late 30’s, David is six years old, and Dana is divorced – more fodder to connect to today’s working moms who are having children into their 30s and even 40s. I don’t think Dana would resonate with readers as much if she was in her 20s. (And I have been told by several readers that they like Dana and Bast, too)

So how did I get from fact to fiction here? David did come from the fact that I have a son and am divorced (although he was much younger than his 36 years and my ex and I were separated, not divorced, when Beyond Blood was first conceived in my head and I started writing it.) Yes, it has been a long haul of on and off writing because I had to make my living as a single mother of one son. Not as a PI but as a freelance writer, book editor and writing instructor. The direction I take with all of those have changed and I do less editing and more teaching, but it is doing something I enjoy.

Which Dana was doing with her twin Bast when they opened their investigative agency on the attic floor of their house. Then thing started happening and…

But that would be a spoiler. You’ll have to read Beyond Blood when it comes out. Stay tuned here and my other social media – I will be posting as soon as I get more details about the book launch.

 

 

Sharon A. Crawford

 

You can read about my characters and their stories in my short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at http://www.amazon.com.
More info on Sharon A.’s upcoming gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html And keep checking http://samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondBlood.html for the latest news on the release of my first mystery novel Beyond Blood, also published by Blue Denim Press http://www.bluedenimpress.com More info on the Beyond Blood page as we get closer to the date. And remember that clicking on the book icon at the top gets you to my Amazon profile.

 

Cover of Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

 

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Final touches on books make a difference

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.'s short story collection

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

Half my life is an act of revision.

  • John Irving

 

Tuesday evening I commiserated with Klaus Jakelski, the other mystery novelist being published in October by Blue Denim Press. His book is a medical mystery – Dead Wrong – and mine is the prequel novel Beyond Blood. For the past couple of months it has been back and forth with the publisher’s editor to fix a few things in our novels. In my case a freelance editor I hired and the author doing the back page review got into the act.

Klaus and I gave a combined sigh of relief (on the phone) that this part is over and we can get down to the business of promoting our books – some of it we will do together.

Despite all the work, sometimes with a day’s turnaround, it is worth it. Speaking for Beyond Blood, the hired freelance editor fixed all my ellipses. One of my characters, Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding stutters. This editor hoped that by the next book in the series, Fielding’s stuttering is decreased. Not too much hope for that as he stutters most when in the presence of one of the fraternal twin PI’s – Dana Bowman because he has a thing for her. Is it mutual? Well, you’ll have to read the books. I’m still deciding how I will play that out in the next book – Beyond Faith – as I continue with that in my spare time.

The author writing the back page review found a couple of things that didn’t make sense – just a slight change in words and one word added to Dana’s activities with her son – to make it more believable for something she does near the end of the book, were a big help.

Meantime while to-ing and fro-ing with the publisher’s editor, we both found a few errors. To my horror I discovered I had spelled Bobby Darin’s name incorrectly and also his big hit Mack the Knife. These are the correct spellings. I also found a couple of errors in the acknowledgements – I had misspelled that editor’s (he of the ellipses issue) last name although it might have been a typo. And one of my previously published books, a novella co-authored with another writer, had the authors’ names mixed up – that was the publisher’s editor. I also found a period after one of the chapter numbers.

But mostly it was commas we fixated on, especially on the back page.

I also had to check the back page for wordage as he had to delete and reword a bit for space. Not a problem with me.

And the cover is awesome. See below at the end of this post for book covers for both Klaus’s Dead Wrong and my Beyond Blood. Right now everything for Klaus’s and my book is off to the printer. And yes, both books will be available in Kindle and e-pub on amazon.com, etc. The publisher already has the ISBN numbers for that and for print.

So, despite all the back and forth, I am glad it was all done that way. The more pairs of eyes the better – although when it gets down to those pesky commas, you won’t get two editors in a room (physically or online) who agree completely with comma usage. To paraphrase my publisher’s editor – it is all subjective.

The main thing is being accurate, consistent and no spelling errors or typos.

Toes crossed (can’t cross fingers and type) that all is now well with both Klaus’s and my books.

And we now are working on the PR.

One thing we are looking for is more book reviews. We have leads and also ways to get some book reviews but are open to suggestions. In particular, I’m looking for ways to get online book reviews that I can post on my social media accounts. I had a chat with another writer who is doing research on the author-reader connection and he said that after the book launch hoopla has worn off an author still needs book reviews and the six to 12-month period after publication dates is crucial.

Meantime I will continue with posting to some of the groups I belong to in Linked In. I’m pretty active on Linked In and want to do the same with my Goodreads account – which I have to update. But I find Goodreads a bit of a pain to manoeuvre around in. Others say the same. It is still a good place to connect with readers. So are libraries (and I do lots of that with readings and teaching workshops).

And posting here. Sometimes a progress report on the PR, sometimes more fiction-writing tips. And as we get closer to the book launch (October 19), I will be bringing back those characters from Beyond the Tripping Point who are also in Beyond Blood – to well, take over as they did before. So, just like the regular TV series (and even the same timeline) returning soon will be Dana Bowman and her fraternal twin Bast Overture, Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding, PC Joseph Oliver, Great Aunt Doris Bowman, Dana’s son David, as well as a few other characters from Beyond Blood.

Stay tuned.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

You can read about my characters and their stories in my short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at http://www.amazon.com.
More info on Sharon A.’s upcoming gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html And keep checking http://samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondBlood.html for the latest news on the release of my first mystery novel Beyond Blood, also published by Blue Denim Press http://www.bluedenimpress.com More info on the Beyond Blood page as we get closer to the date. And remember that clicking on the book icon at the top gets you to my Amazon profile.

Cover of Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

 

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