THE MONA LISA SISTERS – Now Available on Audible

the mona lisa sistersThe Audible release of The Mona Lisa Sisters on October 9, 2023, marked my first foray into putting my work on audiobooks.

After listening to author Alec Peche talk about the number of books she has released as audiobooks, I reached out to Lois Winston for help understanding audiobooks. Lois took the mystery and fear out of ACX in about a half hour. I was able to begin the process.

After completing all of ACX’s questions—extremely easy— I uploaded my manuscript. When these tasks were complete, I began the search for a narrator. There was a simple choice among a mere 200,000 or so. What!

I found the project tool and narrowed the search to over one hundred.

Listening to maybe twenty narrators, I narrowed the search to six or seven. The three at the top of my wish list were all royalty-sharing listed artists. I listened again to all three and dropped one. I sent an offer to my top choice. Her response was, “I belong to SAGA/AFTA. I can’t work for less than $250.00 an hour.” I didn’t care for her response when I pointed out she was listed as available for royalty sharing. I hope she corrects that before another new author wastes time listening to her.

On to my second choice, Connie Elsberry, she accepted my offer. Connie was a dream to work with, responsive and always timely—a consummate professional. Her voice was perfect for my female protagonist. Connie captured the protagonist and the story as if it were her own. I especially appreciated how she was able to communicate and deliver the emotions where I envisioned them. Listening to her recordings, I had to wipe my eyes once or twice.

Will I do it again? You bet.

I created a new project for Robbers and Cops and have asked several narrators to audition.

The Mona Lisa Sisters at Audible is waiting for you.

1 Comment

  1. Michael A. Black

    Your fortitude in venturing into the realm of audio books is inspiring. Good luck with the new project.

    Reply

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ERICA WYNTERS – Marriage and Family Therapist – Romance Writer

Erica Wynters is the author of Marigolds, Mischief, and Murder, the first book of the Camelot Flowers Mystery series. She’s also written four novellas making up the series Alexandra Briggs Mysteries. She may have lived most of her life in the frigid Midwest, but now she spends her time in the warmth and sunshine of Arizona. She loves hiking, hunting down waterfalls in the desert, reading (of course), and napping. Can napping be considered a hobby? When not weaving tales of mystery with plenty of quirky characters, laughs, and a dash of romance, Erica works as a Marriage and Family Therapist, helping others find their Happily Ever Afters.

Marigolds, Mischief, and Murder: Gwen Stevens will do just about anything to prove she’s ready to take the reins of the family business Camelot Flowers. But when Gwen stumbles on the dead body of a high school friend, everything else in her life suddenly takes a backseat. Between a corpse, an attraction to two different inconvenient men, and a slew of suspects, can Gwen find the killer…before they have her pushing up daisies?

Do you write in more than one genre? I write cozy mysteries and romantic suspense, but all of my books share some common themes. There is always a love story, there is always some crime committed that must be solved, and there is always a happy ending. I love the combination of romance and mystery or suspense together. I wouldn’t want to write one without the other.

What are you currently working on? I’m writing the second book in my Camelot Flowers Mystery series. It was an exciting day when my publisher contacted my agent to ask if I’d be interested in writing a second book in the series. I immediately said yes. Without giving too much away, this book has all the charm and fun of the first book, Marigolds, Mischief, and Murder. There’s development in the love triangle between Gwen, Finn, and Chris. There’s a murder to be solved, and as always, someone Gwen cares about is the main suspect, which drives her to become involved in the investigation.

Has an association membership helped you with your writing? A month after finishing my first novel, I discovered the Romance Writers of America. I was so new to writing that I hadn’t even realized I’d just written a romance novel. So many of my preconceived notions were around historical romances with bare-chested men on the cover. At the time, I had no idea so many wonderful subgenres of romance existed. Joining my local chapter of Romance Writers of America was a game-changer. I met many generous authors who shared their wisdom, gave me advice, and cheered me along on this journey. It’s also where I met my first critique partner. I always tell new writers how important it is to find a writing community. I believe it’s hard to grow as a writer without feedback, and it is discouraging to walk the journey of being a writer alone. We need critique partners and cheerleaders; if those two roles can be combined, then even better.

How long did it take you to write your first book? I wrote my first book in just three weeks! I hadn’t even intended to write a book. The night before, I’d had a dream that I couldn’t get out of my head. By that night, I was still thinking about it. So, with my husband and my kids in bed, I sat down with my computer and told myself that I was going to write out the dream. It seemed like a good idea for a book, but I had no intention of doing anything more than getting that dream out of my head. Three weeks later, I had a finished novel. I spent every free moment I had writing, including too many late nights. It’s impractical to write a book that fast all the time. It takes me about three months now, but it was a fun experience and got me hooked on the excitement of watching a story unfold on the page.

Looking to the future, what’s in store for you? The second book in my Camelot Flowers Mystery series will come out next spring. I also have a romantic suspense set in New York City with a publisher, and it will hopefully come out in 2024. I’m also working to get a four-book series published soon. The series is romantic suspense and follows four best friends living in Chicago. Each friend has her own book, love story, and dangerous situation she has to overcome.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and your books? Besides being an author, I am a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in codependency and trauma. Because of that, all the romances in my books are healthy representations of relationships. It doesn’t mean couples never have problems, but those problems are never dealt with in a toxic way. Sometimes romance novels can romanticize, for lack of a better word, behavior that is fundamentally unhealthy or toxic. I don’t believe that’s necessary for a compelling romance. I want my books to show a healthier path to love.

Book Link: http://bit.ly/43yWzEe
Website: www.ericawynters.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ericawynters
Instagram: www.instagram.com/ericawyntersbooks

 

6 Comments

  1. Juliet

    I loved Marigolds, Mischief and Murder. Very excited for the next book in the series and excited to hear about all the other books coming. It’s wonderful she uses her expertise to write about healthy relationships.

    Reply
    • Erica Wynters

      Thanks, Juliet. I’m so glad you loved the book!!

      Reply
  2. Michael A. Black

    Congratulations on your success, Erica. Writing a book in 3 weeks is awesome. Keep it going.

    Reply
    • Erica Wynters

      Thanks, Michael! I didn’t do much else during those three weeks but write. My family was incredibly understanding!

      Reply
  3. jill amadio

    Erica Winters is commendable for usinf her books to send a message. Readers can take heed of her characters’ situations. As a therapist, Erica is in a great position to offer advice in her subtle way.

    Reply

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PAMELA MEYER – Her Journey to Finding an Agent

As a high school forensic science teacher, Pamela Ruth Meyer discovered inventive ways to solve crimes and was inspired to write mysteries. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, and the Historical Novel Society. Her debut manuscript was a Page Turner Writing Award 2022 Finalist.

 

 

Pamela’s Pitch: Kate Belli’s Gilded Gotham Mysteries meets Bones in this turn-of-the-century love story wrapped in a historical mystery intricately solved by a woman who would one day change the face of forensics for all time.

Journey to Finding an Agent

One day I read about an art exhibition featuring the creations of a woman who’d helped shape forensic science. Poof, the idea for a historical mystery materialized. I dreamed it and spoke it to anyone who’d listen. It was with me when bike riding or showering. And I wrote it—had my first draft. Exhilarating.

I thought I was done. I signed up for a Writer’s Digest (WD) Querying Workshop with an agent I was sure would love my story. She requested the full manuscript, provided I fulfilled the romance genre’s major requirement—change the ending to a happy one. Challenged but hungry, I took to the keyboard. Months later, I had draft #2. Unfortunately, the agent had run into trouble, and most of her staff had quit. I never heard back from her.

If you fall off the horse, you get back on, right? Enter WD Querying Workshop 2. I read the agent’s reply, heart pounding. POV? Head-hopping? I’d never heard of these things. The very skeleton of my story would need to change—the revelation was bone-crushing. A year later, I had a story told from five distinct POVs. Next step … pitch the manuscript at the 2020 WD Annual Conference. I signed up, hefty price tag and all. But then Covid punched. I was to make a video of my pitch for agents to watch remotely. It must’ve been pretty good because 7 out of 8 agents requested submissions. Surely at least one would love it and offer representation.

Alas, no. But their rejections gave helpful tidbits about the manuscript’s weaknesses along with spoonfuls of encouragement. Now with actionable feedback, I could fix it. Novel-writing classes, conferences, workshops, and contests followed—an enthralling and enlightening process that helped me realize how very far I’d yet to go on the journey to publication. Humbled and aware, I figured out something important—I needed a professional editor. Said editor recommended using fewer POVs and taking out the multi-chaptered thread that had been the original spark of the idea to write the story in the first place. Devasted, I cried for days. But I tell you now, not even for an instant did I consider giving up. I bucked up and tore down what I’d built to make room for what would become. My story got better. With it, I entered the query pit in full force.

Out of 60 agents, only a few had requested pages. Slap. Pow. Bam. Crickets and crickets and crickets. That was the moment I could have given up. Of course, I did the opposite. I paid the largest fee to date and struggled through the month-long lessons of the Algonkian New York Pitch Conference. Slowly, it seeped in. My story needed something a gazillion other mystery stories didn’t have—a unique selling point. The facilitating agent’s personalized and razor-sharp insights made that blatantly clear. Weaving that necessary thread into my plot would take serious mental gymnastics. But I’ll tell you I’d already learned the most important thing I think a writer can learn—trust your subconscious to deliver an answer. Solutions came. Words came. Write, write, write, I did. Now, I thought, I have a story they’ll want.

2022 WD Annual Conference. This would be my first live pitch. The line extended the entire hotel-length hallway. Inside, I’d spend the precious hour waiting in an agent’s line until I reached the front. Then, 90 seconds to pitch and 90 seconds for feedback, including submission instructions. Then repeat. I’d done my research and ranked agents in order of most likely to want my story.

An announcement. My #4 and #5 agents didn’t come. Darn. The doors opened. I dashed to agent #1. She requested a submission. Next line… Time was called, and home I went, four requests in my pocket. Surely, one of these will love it.

The next day WD sent a link to query the absent agents. I did. A week later, my agent #1 responded. She’d found my writing “pedestrian.” My tears from this experience filled buckets. With none of the other agents requesting more, I turned to rewrite #6. My subconscious brain started niggling me about my story’s ending not fitting with my characters. As fate would have it, it’d take months of mulling it over.

Before the final ending took shape, agent #5, who’d been absent the day of the Pitch-Slam, requested the full manuscript. She’d be abroad, so I shouldn’t hear back from her until a given date, at which time I was to ‘rattle her cage.’ Two days after that date, I did just that. Then I went out to buy a lottery ticket—the prize a staggering billion dollars.

Fifteen minutes later, while standing in line, my phone pinged. It was her! I’ll trade the billion dollars for her. ‘Yes,’ I pleaded to the sky. Expensive, no doubt, but I swear to you that was the best deal I’ve ever made. She loved my story. Further, she knew and loved my characters almost as much as I did. Elation… I have an agent! Her only concern had been the ending. Lucky me, I had changed it. We’re now awaiting word from several editors, leaving me with an interesting mix of agony and euphoria up here in the clouds. I promise to let you know what happens next along our path to finding my story’s forever home. Until then, wish me luck.

Contacts:

Proudly represented by AKA Literary Management: www.akalm.net/
Website: https://pamelaruthmeyer.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pamelaruthmeyer
Instagram: www.instagram.com/pamelaruthmeyer

Blogger Intrusion: Check out the fantastic miniature Pam sent me:

 

 

 

 

52 Comments

  1. Pamela Ruth Meyer

    Janet, I say run, don’t walk back to that horse, especially if writing that original project brought you joy. My experience tells me to write what I love and edit it to be what the experts tell me the world wants to read later.
    PS: one person’s feedback does not a novel make. Write it the best you can, and then seek out feedback from the best professionals you can find and afford. And if possible, more than one.
    PSS: Join writing organizations if you haven’t already. Writer’s Digest is a good place to start. If you write mysteries, Sisters in Crime is magnificent.

    Reply
  2. Janet Alcorn

    Thank you, thank you for sharing your story. Your perseverance is inspiring. I queried a little, entered a contest, got some feedback that really threw me, and… moved on to another project and lost momentum. I’ve been floundering ever since. Your story has got me seriously thinking about getting back on the horse, so to speak, and trying again.

    Reply
  3. Mini

    Pam,
    The best students are the ones that have love learning and are willing to work at it… your roller coaster ride towards publication serves as a model for all of us. How fortunate your students are! May your diligence, tenacity, and fantastic storyline find its place… on our shelves soon!!

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      Thanks, Mini. It has been exactly what you say—a roller coaster ride. And as a fellow teacher, you understand so much more than most that it is the love of learning that can get both a teacher and a student through the lows to ensure they keep going to make it to the highs. Thanks for coming, cheering, and sharing.

      Reply
  4. Carol L White

    Pamela,
    Inspiring story, well told! I, too, was at the edge of my seat and could totally relate. Your writing journey gives me hope, that one day I, too, will find a wonderful agent.
    Happy writing!
    Carol

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      You will find your way to an agent, too, Carol. Just keep making yourself, your manuscript, and your submission package better and better. I’m glad this story was inspiring for you on you journey. Let’s keep in touch and cheer each other on, good times and bad, my fellow Sister in Crime. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Reply
  5. Kimbra

    Fortitude and determination are assets to creatives, which is what you are. Way-to stick to it 😊

    Reply
  6. ZJ Czupor

    Pamela, what a wonderful story of tenacity and passion for your project. Belief in our writing is a strong motivator and so glad you didn’t quit. Thanks for sharing your inspiring journey.

    Reply
  7. Terrie Wolf

    I’m over the moon to be working with you. Every step you took has its place on your path to successful publication, and I’m so excited to be involved in your journey! Thanks to George Cramer for including Pam in his own travels.

    Reply
  8. Elisabeth Ruth Mann

    Great story of persistence and turning what could have flattened you into inspiration! I shall take y our words to heart–

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      On my dearest Beth, we both know one must avoid being flattened at all costs. Hence, the persistence. What’s wonderful is that that can turn into inspiration. Fancy that ( ;

      Reply
  9. Mary Ekwall

    Can’t wait to read your book when published. I love your story. Good luck.

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      Mary that means much to me, especially from one who read an earlier draft and therefore knows this story better than most ( ; Thanks.

      Reply
  10. Karen (KC) Catalona

    I’d wish you you luck but with that level of tenacity and dedication, I don’t think you’ll need it! thanks for your inspiring story.

    best,
    KC (from Vicariousthrills.blog

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      What a nice message you left for me here, Karen. It is such a thrill to have someone from another blog visit. know that your faith in me strengthens me. Thanks.

      Reply
  11. Francelia Belton

    Wow, Pam! I love your story and your tenacity! My fingers are crossed, but I’m sure you don’t need it. Your moment is going to come!! 🙂

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      Optimism and hope are the balances against adversity and challenge. As you say here, Francelia, the lovely woman with the beautiful name, this story of mine is filled with ‘tenacity.’ And it is optimism and encouragement, such as you have given me here, that helps fuel that. Thank you so much for stopping by today and crossing your fingers with me.

      Reply
  12. Kathy McIntosh

    Wow. Your post is an ode to determination, courage, and flexibility! All traits necessary, I believe, to succeed as a writer.
    You go.
    Kathy McIntosh

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      Like wind in my sails, Kathy. Having a published author take the time to come and read my guest post and share that after doing so, they believe I have the traits I’ll need to succeed as a writer will carry me far. Thanks so much for stopping by and urging another writer forward.

      Reply
  13. Michelle Brier

    Wow Pam! Your work ethic is unparalleled and you should be so proud of your journey. I really enjoy reading everything you write and absolutely cannot wait to read the novel. 💙

    Reply
  14. John Powers

    Jeez Pam. Thanks for sharing your ongoing journey. My biggest takeaways are your commitment and willingness to never give up as well as your ability to sit your butt down on a consistent basis to write despite having a full time job. You have inspired me to get more of my own writing done. Good luck.

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      You sure called it right, John Powers. That full-time job thing makes it pretty tough. But you and I share a passion for writing (mine just a bit more recently discovered than yours), and we each have the good fortune to have more time to do exactly that.
      We have always inspired each other, JP, and likely always will. Your being here today bolsters me, supports me, fills me with the courage to keep going forward when the next obstacle inevitably blocks my path. Your ‘first-ever’ and ‘second-ever’ twists and turns in this new life we’ve both dove head-first into are waiting in the wings. It will give me such joy when I get the chance to champion you and your work as it first steps out into the light of the world. Thanks for keeping our connection strong, O Captain, My Captain, my principle principal, my friend.

      Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      That full time job thing sure does make it harder, heh? But we each have a passion for writing our hearts out and the gift of recently acquiring more time to do just that. For us, the future is ripe with that joy.
      We inspire each other, JP. Always have, always will. Your support here today means the world to me. Please be sure to give me the chance to do the same for you on whatever your “first-ever” or “second-ever” may be. Good luck right back at you, O Captain, My Captain, my principle principal, my friend.

      Reply
  15. Donnell Ann Bell

    Lovely, lovely, lovely, Pamela. Not only did you write a sensation story that spoke to you and said, “Keep Going No Matter What.” And you did just that: You never gave up! Much success to you, and thanks, George, for introducing us to Pamela.

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      You pulled out the kernel of the story so well, Donnell Ann. And I appreciate with a resounding three cheers that you also thanked George for hosting me for this. Hip-Hip Hooray! Hip-Hip Hooray! Hip-Hip Hooray for all the people like George and like you who turn around and offer a hand to those further back but trying.

      Reply
  16. Peg Roche

    Congratulations, Pam! Hope it all works out. I’m wondering about that ending…

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      Oh, oh, oh, that ending Peg. I do so hope you get to read it one day. Until then, thanks so much for coming by and leaving me a note of support.

      Reply
  17. Joseph Bellacero

    Pam, I am in awe of your ability to “preposition” every obstacle no matter what the project. You go over, around, between, across, under, along, about, and through, whatever stands in your way. Like your students, your characters deserve your best efforts, and you see to it that they receive them. It would have been easy to say, “Oh well, I have a day job” and let your book languish in a drawer once your tears had been spent. Instead, you say, “Oh well, I guess I’ll have to put in more work.” And you do exactly that. No matter what the current publishers say, I have total confidence that one day in the not-too-distant future, I will be opening a “First novel by exciting new voice in the mystery genre, Pam Meyer.” That will be a truly exciting day.

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      Sometimes another person just gets you, and your heart opens. Then, if they pour sunshine inside, you grow. To me, Joe Bellacero, that is you. I’m sending you a gigantic smile through the internet waves. Thanks for being alongside me through so much of my journeying. Thanks for being here today.

      Reply
  18. Pamela Ruth Meyer

    GEORGE CRAMER, you are wonderful. Thanks for hosting me on this blog. You took a chance on a writer who hasn’t proved herself yet. And you gave her a chance to try. I LOVED EVERY MOMENT OF THIS. Thank you. Thank you.
    Oh, and you put the hugest smile on my face with your ‘Blogger Intrusion.’ I love that everybody who came here got to see the small NEW LIBERTY mini-book in your hand. May it inspire many to get the real-sized NEW LIBERTY book in theirs.

    Reply
  19. Barbara Nickless

    What a fantastic story, Pamela. Thanks for sharing. I’m impressed with your determination to keep honing your craft. Fingers crossed at least one editor recognizes a great story and jumps on it.

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      My, oh my, Barbara, my fingers are thoroughly crisscrossed. Thanks for the encouragement at a moment for me when it really makes a difference, here on my second-ever guest blog post. Accolades and shoutouts of gratitude to George Cramer for taking a chance on one like me who is not yet there but moving forward. Thanks for coming.

      Reply
  20. Margaret Mizushima

    Pamela, thanks so much for sharing your agent story! Whew! Goes to prove this business is not for the faint-hearted. I love how you’ve highlighted that attending educational opportunities is such an important part of the writing process. It’s one of the best ways to show us what we don’t know! Very best wishes to you on your journey to publication!

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      MARGARET MIZUSHIMA’s in the house! Margaret. Margaret, thank you for stopping by. Seeing your name here in the comments feels like a jolt of good wishes from my head right down to my feet. Encouraged by one like you who has gone so far along the journey to publishing so many terrific books certainly puts a spring in my step. May the knowledge that you’ve helped another on the path have a similar effect on yours.

      Reply
  21. Michael A. Black

    Wow, your blog reads like an adventure story in itself. It’s also a good reminder at how shabbily agents treat prospective authors. Through the years the influence of agents has continued to dwindle and rightfully so. As the old saying goes, having the wrong agent is worse than having no agent. The one you seem to have settled upon sounds like a good fit, but more importantly, your drive and quest for perfecting you manuscript is the most important attribute a writer can have. Good luck and stay strong,

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      Oh what joy it brings me to hear you found the story here an adventure. And you are right, my outstanding agent, Terrie Wolf, is a perfect partner for me as I live that adventure forward. Onward, appreciating both luck and strength, is so much more meaningful when shared with others. Thanks for sharing yours here today.

      Reply
  22. Alexandra

    Woweee! That’s awesome!

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      YIPPEE, it really is Alexandra, right? Thanks for reading and commenting. It helped make my day.

      Reply
  23. Elaine C

    Thank you for sharing your story of perseverance and determination. May your hard work be rewarded.

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      Thanks for stopping by, Elaine. Your well wishes have made an impact on me and my optimism.

      Reply
  24. Leslie

    Pam, I’m so honored to have been even a small part of your journey! Being able to read an early version of your book was the highlight of my summer last year, and I can’t wait for so many more people to fall in love with your characters and story. I wish you the best of luck, and know you will be a huge success!

    Reply
  25. Marie Sutro

    Wonderfully inspiring story about the power of determination. Thank you for sharing!!

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      And, dear Marie, thank you right back at you. It’s days like this when people like you show up to lend a hand and cheer me on that I keep in my back pocket for the times when my determination wanes. It’s a treasure.

      Reply
  26. Annarose

    I love hearing about this journey! It gives me hope! Fingers crossed for you.

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      Annarose, you caught the note under all this, I think. It does all come down to hope. Thanks for stopping by to add to mine today. ( ;

      Reply
  27. Kait Carson

    Congratulations, Pamela! This is one of the truest and most inspirational agent story blogs that I have ever read. Fingers crossed you get that “we’d love to publish your manuscript” emails soon.

    Reply
    • Dayle Schwarzler

      OMG, Pam, I am enlightened and awed by the story of what it takes – courage, perseverance, patience, and more – to get from the idea for a story to learning and learning and learning some more about how to make that story take shape in words, and, then, finally, to connect with an agent to whom it speaks the way you want it to. I, too, was privileged to read parts of an early version, and I know it’s good. I can’t wait to see it in print!

      Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      Kait, you’re kind words and consistent support encourage me more than I can say. You know this climb we’re both on better than most. I’m touched that my telling of the tale this far hit a chord with you. Thanks for coming by and cheering me on at this step.

      Reply
  28. Michael Gonzalez

    Pam I am in awe of your perseverance and dedication to your craft. You never gave up and look where you are now. Good things always come to those who work hard. I am positive you day of extreme elation will come sooner than you think. You definitely deserve it. I am cheering for you from the sidelines and cannot wait to read your book and share it with friends and family in the future.

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      Michael, I truly can’t wait for that day, either. Yet, I find I do. Maybe that’s the trick to perseverance, heh? Just not giving up at each step along the way even though you think you might. Your support lifts me up. Thanks.

      Reply
  29. Mansura Matin

    Wow Pam, what a journey! It’s incredible how resilient and dedicated you are to making your dreams and ambitions come true! I was on the edge of my seat reading all the steps you had to take to get here!

    I can’t wait to read the novel when it becomes published! Look forward to seeing your name on the bookshelves 🙂

    Reply
    • Pamela Ruth Meyer

      Mansura, you know the last leg of this journey so far better than most from sharing the classroom with me all year. I love that you found the story intriguing even though you had already heard it unfolding day by day (well, near the end of it thus far anyway).
      Thanks for being there for me at every turn.

      Reply

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SUZANNE BAGINSKIE — Retired Paralegal Authors a Romantic Suspense Series During Covid-19

Suzanne Baginskie recently retired after twenty-nine years as a paralegal/office manager with the same law firm. Formerly a short story writer, she has written and sold many fiction and non-fiction stories. During Covid-19 in 2021, she authored her first book, Dangerous Charade, submitted it to a traditional publisher, and was offered a five-book contract to write a series. Her FBI Affairs novels blend mystery and suspense with a bit of romance. Suzanne has been writing ever since her mother gave her a diary for her eighth birthday. Unknowingly, her mother’s inspirational nudge helped the writer inside her emerge.

Dangerous Charade begins when an undercover mission in a Las Vegas Casino goes wrong. FBI Agent Noelle Farrell’s cover is blown, and someone wants revenge. She’s sent to Florida under the Witness Protection Program, where she runs into her old partner, Agent Kyle Rivers. He’s assigned to keep her safe. Deep in hiding, someone targets Noelle. Kyle vows to protect her, unaware she has a secret—one her assailants already know.

How long did it take you to write your first book? Six months during Covid-19, and here’s why. I entered a Harlequin contest advertised for romantic suspense novels with a six-month deadline. They asked for the blurb, a synopsis, and three chapters. My submission was chosen, and the novel had to be finished in the required time. After working at a law firm, I worked well under pressure. When I sent the completed manuscript in, my book made the final ten but didn’t win. Two months later, a new traditional publisher advertised for romance manuscripts. I submitted Dangerous Charade. Shortly after, I signed a contract for a series. Each book can be read as a standalone.

How do you come up with character names? I use three different ways. Sometimes, I search for the first name in an old baby name book, which shows the meanings, origins, and derivations. My surnames are borrowed from the daily obituary page. I also used the telephone book’s white pages before they became obsolete. At times, I feature one of my friends or family’s names, first or last. Then I see if they mention it after they read the book. It’s one way to see if they really read them.

We hear of strong-willed characters. Do yours behave or run wild? I write high-profile female characters who work alongside their macho FBI male partners in the Cybercrime, Human Trafficking, and Homicide Division of the FBI. The circumstances they face are basically the same for both sexes when working on a mission alone or with a partner. Therefore, my female agents harbor the qualities of critical thinking, good communication, make dire decisions in dangerous situations, and are brave enough to risk their lives to bring down the perps in a run wild way. All the titles of my book begin with Dangerous.

Where do you place your settings—real or fictional locations? I set my novels in real towns. Analytical, I tend to research so I can use the correct interstates they’d travel and some highlights of the city to add to the ambiance. I also like inserting the weather because it may play a role in my books. My first novel is set in the small fishing town of Crystal Springs, Florida, the second in Allentown and the mountains of Pennsylvania, and the third in Daytona Beach, Florida. My continuing FBI theme of Cybercrime, Human Trafficking, and Homicide is based on the Orlando area. It ranks third in the nation for the highest human trafficking crimes.

Looking to the future, what’s in store for you? I’m writing my next book, Dangerous Undercurrents, Book Four in my FBI Affair

s series, and I hope to have it completed very shortly. I’m a frequent cruiser and a Thalassophile (a lover of the ocean.) This book will take my FBI characters off dry land and have them board a cruise ship without any weapons to solve an undercover mission on a seven-day cruising adventure.

Book Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B09JPCX2CX
Website: http://www.suzanne.baginskie.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sbaginskie
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14062235.SuzanneBaginskie
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SBaginskie

Groups I belong to:

Mystery Writers of America
Florida Mystery Writers of America
Romance Writers of America
Florida Writers Association
Sisters-in-Crime
Florida Gulf Coast Sisters-in-Crime

6 Comments

  1. Pamela Ruth Meyer

    It sounds like you jumped from the legal-world’s frying pan right into the writing-world’s flame, Suzanne. What a rollercoaster! Doesn’t your hurried tightrope new life fit perfectly with the breathless pursuits of your protagonist? Best of Luck with the series and enjoy the ride!

    Reply
    • Suzanne Baginskie

      Pamela,

      Actually. I wrote and sold lots of short fiction and non-fiction stories for years. Like other writers my dream was a novel with my name on the cover. I learned that you totally have to invest all your time and effort to achieve it. In the end, my goal was accomplished while stuck at home with the unknown Covid-19 virus. Thanks for commenting.

      Reply
  2. Michael A. Black

    It sounds like you’re on a roll, Suzanne. Best of luck keeping those dangerous books flowing.

    Reply
    • Suzanne Baginskie

      Michael. Thanks for the good wishes. George so graciously hosted me and helped me get the word out on my series. I appreciate you taking the time to read my post. Have a good Memorial day.

      Reply
  3. Glenda Carroll

    Suzanne, your books sound fascinating. I can’t wait to read them. Especially the one set in Allentown, PA. My parents are from that region, Wilkes-Barre and Kingston. I learned to swim at Harvey’s Lake!

    And George, thank you for all you do for the mystery community, both the readers and the writers!

    Reply
    • Suzanne Baginskie

      Glenda,

      Thanks for your comment and interest. I’m originally from New Jersey and my dad was from Scranton PA. I hope you enjoy my books and have a good Memorial Day.

      Reply

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VICKI WEISFELD – Help Authors and Books You Love!

Not long ago, Vicki published the tips below in the Public Safety Writers Association’s newsletter. She previously posted the tips on her blog (https://vweisfeld.com). The purpose is to help all of us in “reader relations.” I can’t think of a better way to start the new than by sharing her words.

 

Readers may be quite willing to help an author but may not know how or may need to be reminded (possibly more than once). You can use these tips in your own promotion—take copies to readings, put them in your own blog or newsletter, etc., etc.—or, if you’re a reader who wants to give a boost to your favorites.

I developed this list around the time my mystery/thriller, Architect of Courage (reviews are great, btw) was published. But I saw it could be a generic product others could use—just a small Thank You for all the support the writing community has given me.

I hope you find it useful—reprint it freely! And customize it with a picture of you or your book (instead of the blue box), and links to your content in #s 8, 9, and 10.

Friends and family members can be incredibly patient when they ask an author solicitous and innocent-sounding questions—like “How’s the book coming?”—and are met with blank looks, or, worse, groans and sighs.

Most authors today—OK, James Patterson’s an exception, and so’s JK Rowling—find that reaching “The End” is just the beginning of their work. Now they have to let the world know about it.

If you have a sense of how much time and effort authors invest in their books, maybe you’ve wondered “What can I do? How can I help?” Yes, indeed, there are things you can do that will help! And, whatever you find time to do, you can be sure it will be greatly appreciated!

Ten ways you can help promote an author or book you admire:
1. Buy your friends’ books. They may have written it with readers like you in mind.
2. Don’t be too quick to pass around a book; instead, encourage others to buy it. Amazon (or book stores), and the author’s publisher keep most of the price of the book. If a book sells for $16, the author receives $2 to $4.
3. Remember, books make great gifts! Maybe a friend or family member needs a thank-you or has a special day coming up.
4. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of book marketing. So, tell people about a book you’ve loved. Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. Marketers say it takes 13 to 15 repetitions before a message “sticks.”
5. What you say about the book in an Amazon or Barnes & Noble review will influence other would-be purchasers. No need for cringy flashbacks to high school book reports. Just say the two or three things you’d tell a good friend who asked, “Read any good books lately?” Reviews are vital to a book’s success.
6. Share a few words about what you’re reading on social media—GoodReads, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
7. If you enjoyed a book, your book club might too! Many authors are willing to participate in book club discussions in person or by Zoom, etc. People who’ve read my book have invited me to their book clubs, and it’s a fun change-of-pace for me.
8. You can “follow” your favorite authors on Amazon. Search for one of their books, click on the author’s name, and if they have an author page, it will come up with a big “follow” button.
9. If your author has a newsletter, sign up! Author newsletters often include interviews, reviews, and favorites.
10. An author’s blog and website are other ways to keep track of new releases and to learn more about the authors you like to read. Remember, they create them for you.

Many thanks, and happy reading!

Vicki blogs at www.vweisfeld.com

 

2 Comments

  1. Peg (M. E.) Roche

    Great ideas. I’ve saved and will pass on. Thanks, Vicki.!

    Reply
  2. Michael A. Black

    Vicki is a talented writer and has her own fabulous blog as well. I recall her list of helpful suggestions from the PSWA Newsletter and I agree with Big George that it’s very helpful. Her book, Architect of Courage is also a great read. This lady can write.

    Reply

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