Saturday, November 29, 2014

Rekindling the Passion

Recently I attended Bouchercon 2014, the World Mystery Conference. It's always so much fun to get together with readers and with other writers and I had a blast. But one of the things I came away with was a renewed passion for my writing career.

Self publishing or independent publishing has been around a very long time. My Odelia Grey novels began with the first two books in the series being originally released by me via iUniverse before they were picked up by traditional publisher Midnight Ink.  In addition, I've been self-publishing short stories on Amazon for several years now with moderate success.

Over the years, Midnight Ink contracted with me for a total of 12 Odelia Grey books. I have only two books left under contract and I'm currently working on #11. In 2017, the 12th and final Odelia Grey book will be released by Midnight Ink and the series will come to an end ... or will it?

But we'll come back to that...

I've been a bit burned out by my writing career for a while now.  I'm not bored with writing either the Odelia Grey or the Ghost of Granny Apples series, but I am burned out on working so damn hard and not making much money from my efforts. Even though I'm considered a "successful" author with nearly 20 books in publication, there is no way I can support myself with my royalties and advances. That's the ugly truth of publishing.  Most of your favorite authors, except those in the rarified air at the very top, can. 

For a few years I've been chatting with many authors who do support themselves with their novels and who are not at the top of the New York Times Bestsellers List. And almost all of them are indie authors, meaning they self-publish their books.

Here's another dirty little secret, usually the author of a book makes the least amount of money from it. That hardly seems right, does it?  But indie authors make the lion's share of the sales of their books. No wonder they can support themselves.  They are selling thousands and pocketing most of the money.
Where do I sign up?

I'm not looking to quit my job. I like my day job. More importantly, I am just a few years away from retirement. To leave now would be foolish, unless I won millions in Powerball. But there's no time like the present to think about extra money for my retirement. I'm also not looking to dump traditional publishing. As long as Granny Apples has a home with Berkley, I'm happy with that arrangement. And my agent has some ideas for other publishing projects. But authors today need to have a foot in both traditional and independent publishing. Even my wonderful agent agrees with that.

After coming home from Bouchercon, I made a list of all of the writing projects I want to complete that are not under contract. It's a long list:

Holidays From Hell, a novel based on my popular short story series
More Madison Rose Vampire Mysteries (Midnight Ink canned the series but my readers are still clamoring for more)
More short stories
A new steamy and humorous romance series
A dark murder mystery that I've had on the back burner for quite a while
A new paranormal series

With the list made, I got to work.  First, I finished up a short story that I'd been working on and published it via Amazon for Kindle.  It's called HO HO HUMBUG and contains two Odelia Grey Christmas short stories.  The first one, HO HO HOMICIDE, has appeared now in two anthologies. With my rights returned to me, I paired it with a new short story called HO HO HELL. You can find it on Amazon for Kindle for 99 cents. 

I'm also working on another short story called EARLY RETIREMENT. That should be done and ready for release in the next several weeks.

As for the steamy romance series, I've already started the first book in the series, which has a working title of RUNNING WILDE.  The series is called The Adventures of Winnie Wilde and will feature Winnie Wilde, a woman who just turned fifty and is on a journey of self-discovery.  These will be released under the pen name of Meg Chambers.  Meg already has her own Facebook page. Expect the first one to be released in the summer of 2015.

Madison and her vampire pals will be back, too! Expect to see BETRAYED BY BLOOD, the 3rd book in the series, come out in late 2016 or even early 2017 if I get bogged down with other things.

Why the delay? Remember, I'm still writing books for two traditional publishers and working a full-time day job.

As for the Holidays From Hell novel, the dark murder mystery, and the new paranormal series, those are in the mix but I don't have anything scheduled for them yet. But stay tuned.

NOTE: All of my self-published works will be released by Arakel Press, my personal imprint. I don't want anyone to think I'm trying to hide my self published status on these projects. I'm proud to be an indie.
Now back to Odelia ...

Yes, I am planning on there being a 13th Odelia Grey novel, but that's all I'm saying at this time, except that Odelia may be returning to her indie roots.  Expect it out in early 2018, providing I live that long and people still want to read about her sleuthing.

In this season of giving thanks, I want to thank you all for supporting my writing career and my work. Without my wonderful readers and without the support and information given me by my writing colleagues, I couldn't think of starting this journey. Now I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bouchercon, Here I Come!

This year Bouchercon, the annual World Mystery Conference, is being held in Long Beach, which is just down the 405 freeway from me.  I haven't been to a Bouchercon in a few years, so since it's practically in my backyard, decided to hit it this time around.

Bouchercon is a fan-based conference where mystery writers and mystery readers from all over collide for 4 days of fun, panels, workshops, awards, and the celebration of mystery books.

It's the Comic Con of murder and mayhem, but without the funny costumes! 

I have two panels scheduled, one on Thursday and one on Friday, and so far one signing time besides those after the panels. I'll also be attending the Penguin/Berkley cocktail party and have at least one meal scheduled with friends.

This should be so much fun. These conferences are not only a place for me to connect with readers, but with other writers and friends who are scattered far and wide.

If you're going to Bouchercon, here's my schedule. Come up and say "hi."

November 13 - 9-11 am
Author Speed Dating

November 13 - 1-2 pm
Panel:  Murder Most Ghostly and Paranormal

November 13 - 5:15-5:45 pm
Book Signing at Mystery Mike's booth
November 14 - 11:30 am -12:30 pm
Panel: Make 'em Laugh: Balancing the Lows of Loss with Highs of Humor

Friday, November 07, 2014

Typing As Fast As I Can!

HELL ON WHEELS is now out in both digital and print formats!   This is the 9th book in my long-running Odelia Grey series. 


Currently there are two contests running to win a copy of HELL ON WHEELS.

One can be found at the Sue Ann Jaffarian Fan Club on Facebook. The entry deadline is 9 pm November 8th, so scoot on over and check out the details for entering, which are pinned to the top of the feed.

The other is a book give-a-way on the Book Babe Blog. I'm guest blogging there today about how I created the character of Greg Stevens, Odelia's paraplegic husband.

Looking back on all the novels I'm written so far, I can see that I've left a pretty long trail of dead bodies in my wake. I guess that makes me a serial killer of sorts.

And there's more blood shed and mystery solving to come!

I just turned in book 10 in the Odelia Grey series, A BODY TO SPARE, and am madly scribbling away on book #11, which has a working title of GUN 'N GEEZERS.

And just so I'm not bored, I'm also working hard on GHOST WRITER, the 6th Ghost of Granny Apples novel and the next novel due to a publisher. It's deadline is March 15th.

And because idle hands are the devil's workshop, I'm also noodling along on the 3rd Granny Apples digital novella, THE GHOST OF MISTLETOE MARY, which will be out in time for the holidays in 2015.

I see lots of coffee in my future ...