Writing mysteries feels like driving a coach with four feisty horses under my reins: my two sleuths, Kyle and Lyssa; the killer; and the victim. Letting each of them have their heads would mean disaster, but they’re the force that propels the story. My job is to keep them working together. No wonder my hands hurt all the time!
This photo shows book two of The Penningtons Investigate, obviously a work in progress. The 20 chapters are drafted, and I’ve just done a critical read-through and chapter-by-chapter analysis, noting flaws, missed opportunities, development of the character arcs (his, hers, and theirs), progress of the investigation, and so on. I didn’t do that for book one, but my wonderful editor did.
I humbly learn with each book.
The plan is to have the full revision in the hands of my wonderful editor and my beta readers by year’s end. I’ll bet your process is different, isn’t it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
I focus on academic mysteries in my blog entries. These are not formal book reviews, simply my thoughts as an author and avid reader of traditional mysteries. Often, something about the way characters are drawn or the way settings are introduced motivates me to freshen my style, broaden my skills, or simply admire a master of the craft. If you have a favorite academic mystery, whether it’s recent or long ago, please share.
The Root of Murder, Lyssa and Kyle Pennington’s first Tompkins Falls Mystery, is now fully revised and in the hands of trusted writing partners. So many people have contributed to the book already, most especially Anne and Martha.
I’m at the point of developing a query letter, promotional ideas and materials, and marketing strategy. What an awkward place!
The most productive thing I’ve done today is thoroughly vacuum my house. Ohmigod, I emptied the dust catcher four times. Oh, and I finally sprayed my walking shoes with that silicone spray that’s supposed to keep them dry. I hadn’t gotten around to that before the trip to Cornwall.
All this is telling me that I need to get a lot more organized about this business of writing and publishing. With a complete (4-book) romance series behind me (the Lakeside Porches romances under the pen name Katie O’Boyle, published by Soul Mate Publishing) I know a few things about the publishing world of today and the heavy responsibilities placed on authors.
The internal debate is: find a publisher who’ll commit to my mystery series vs. self-publish? This is one of those decision I can only make by doing some footwork in each of those directions. So, stay tuned on that one.
This afternoon I have a one-to-one at the Apple Store to learn about iCloud and about sharing manuscripts between my iPad and my new laptop. Next lesson will address book trailers. It’s been four years since I created a book trailer with iMovie and Garage Band. I can’t wait!
I think my first project will be the bridge book Waking Up to Love, book four of the romance series that tells the love story of characters Lyssa Doughty and Kyle Pennington (opening and closing scenes in Cornwall!). Due out in October, that story convinced me Lyssa and Kyle deserved their own mystery series. And now they have it.
On to the business of getting The Tompkins Falls Mysteries published. And, of course, to writing the second of the mysteries.