Kaye George is an award-winning novelist and short-story writer who writes cozy and traditional mysteries and a prehistory series, both traditionally and self-published. Her two cozy series are Fat Cat and Vintage Sweets. The two traditional series feature Cressa Carraway and Imogene Duckworthy. The People of the Wind prehistory mysteries take place within a Neanderthal tribe. About 50 or more short stories have also been published, mostly in anthologies and magazines, though a few are for sale separately. She used to review for Suspense Magazine and now writes a column for Mysterical-E from her home in Knoxville, TN.
PITCH FOR SONG OF DEATH: Aspiring conductor Cressa Carraway arrives at her grandmother’s cabin at a rural Illinois lake resort, hoping to find the ideal place to finish composing the symphony she needs to earn her master’s degree. Instead, she finds her grandmother’s corpse in the lake. The authorities dismiss the death as an accidental drowning, but when Gram’s best friend drowns in the exact same spot, Cressa knows something is off-key in this idyllic setting.
The Journey Can Be Long – And it can be round-about. I had a new novel come out in August, but it wasn’t really a new novel. It’s actually the first one I ever completed that I thought had a chance of being published. It wasn’t the first one published, however.
Before I started keeping good records, I was querying that novel, now called SONG OF DEATH, so I don’t know exactly how many rejections I got on it. But, eventually, after CHOKE was published in 2011 after 65 queries, SONG did find a home at Barking Rain Press in 2013.
SONG will always be very dear to me because I set it at my mother’s lake cabin. I know she would love that, but she wasn’t here when I started to get published. She’s a BIG part of why I write, though. She used to want to write a novel and would even tell me some of her plots. The only one I remember is the parrot plot. She wanted someone to think they were hearing a murder inside a house, but eventually, it was disclosed that the parrot was very loud and screechy. And yelled, “Murder!” Okay, I know some of her plots were better than that, but I can’t remember them.
Here’s an amusing query story. One New York agent turned down SONG OF DEATH because it’s set at a lake resort in central Illinois, and this New York agent knew there weren’t any lake resorts in Illinois. Right. It’s set at a REAL Illinois lake resort. And it’s far from the only one. So there.
Anyway, I’m so pleased to be able to carry through on this, this getting published thing, even if my mom couldn’t. Snags and detours and side roads I’ve encountered.
Because that’s not the end of the SONG OF DEATH story, Barking Rain went under after publishing that one and the sequel. Barking Rain changed the title to EINE KLEINE MURDER. I know. I thought it was not the most accessible. The main character is a musician, so it’s a play on a piece by Mozart, EINE KLEINE NACHTMUSIK. She, Cressa Carraway, is a musician because I’m a musician. “Write what you know.” Right? She’s a keyboard player, though, not a violinist like me, because they are much more useful.
The piece she composes during this novel is called SONG OF LIFE, but a murder mystery is better suited to SONG OF DEATH, right?
I had high hopes for this series. It was going to be my one magnum opus and go on for many, many sequels. Cressa composes and eventually conducts, and my dream was she would be a guest conductor worldwide. I would have to visit the places she went and write off the trips on my taxes. Great plan.
Things don’t always go the way you plan them.
I kept writing more things, different series, and lots of short stories, and I had great success at Untreed Reads with my Neanderthal mysteries. So, maybe about a year ago, I asked Jay Hartman, the editor there, if they wanted to reissue my Cressa Carraway books with my original titles and new covers. He said yes!
Then things changed again. Untreed Reads had a shuffle, and Jay is no longer there. But the Cressa e-books were still published in August, two on the same day. SONG OF DEATH and the second one, REQUIEM FOR RED. There should be paperbacks by the time this blog runs. I hope!
Oh, and that first published novel, CHOKE, in 2011? Things didn’t work out with that publisher at all. I took it back in a year and self-published it in 2012, then went on to do three more in that series.
I would always much rather have a publisher, though. I’d rather write than do all the pubby things, for sure!
When the third Cressa Carraway novel comes out, it will be my sixteenth novel! I sometimes have to pinch myself. I love being a mystery writer! And I know my mom would love reading my books.
I owe George Cramer my thanks for letting me post here today. Thanks a million!
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