Pop-Up Shop

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ME

Five Sisters-in-Crime writers spent an amazing day at the Pop-Up Shop event held inside the Monroe Library today. Eileen Watkins, Roberta Rogow, Daria Ludas, Nicki Montaperto, and yours truly, sold our books and spoke to readers and several would-be writers. It’s remarkable how talking writing can bring out the best in people. I heard life stories, dreams, and aspirations of those wishing to write, but lack the confidence to take that very first step and begin the process.

102_0451Eileen Watkins, Nicki Montaperto, Daria Ludas, and Roberta Rogow (front)

I also learned something that surprised me – I’m not as technologically-stupid as I had previously thought. Can you imagine? I actually knew how to transfer and download pictures from phones and cameras, and explained the process to a fellow writer. I also created (with the help of my daughter-in-law and WordPress) and maintain my own website. One writer has a website and she’s lost when it comes to posting – even though she had hired someone to design the site for her. I gave some suggestions (like, who am I to suggest this stuff to anyone?), but I found I actually knew what I was talking about! Okay, I’m no computer genius, but I almost feel like a tech-guru because I kinda get it.

Anyway, I had a successful book-sales day and loved talking writing, as always, to anyone who would listen.

No word on Recurring yet, but I haven’t really been sending out queries either. Hopefully more about that next week.

Enjoy the long weekend everybody. Stay warm if you’re in cold, blustery Jersey!

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Pop Up Shop

Good evening everyone! This is just a brief post to inform Jersey readers (and those in nearby states) that I’ll be at the Monroe Township Library on Saturday, November 10, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. for a Pop Up Shop. The shop will include several members of Sisters in Crime, and we will all be peddling our wares, ummm, I mean selling our books at the event. Join us if you’re in the area.

On a personal note, I went to an exclusive spa over the weekend for a complete head-to-toe makeover. Cost me a fortune, but I think it was well-worth the money:

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BEFORE                                     AFTER

Let me know what you think! Have a great night all of you readers!

All Saints Day and I Don’t Feel a Bit Saintly

 

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Old Bridge, NJ

Hello readers and writers. It’s been a while. As this is the official fall color season, I’m posting a few pics of the semi-local trees changing. They’re gorgeous this year.

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Thompson Park – Monroe Township, NJ

Onto writing, or rather the search for an agent. I’ve sent Recurring to two thus far, and have heard not so much as a peep from either of them. This is probably the most discouraging part of getting a book published. Good representation is key to placing a manuscript with the right publisher. Unfortunately, almost every agent I’ve researched list in their guidelines that they might take anywhere from two weeks to two months to let you know if they decide to request the full manuscript – and if you don’t hear from them you can assume they are not interested. Oh, as an added bonus, they would rather you didn’t query more than one agent at a time. This has always annoyed me, as a poor writer could be left hanging for months, hoping and praying, all for naught. One sap I know has been waiting for six months to hear back from an agent! He absolutely refuses to send his book elsewhere until he hears from the literary agency where he originally sent his manuscript. It seems we writers are the bottom of the barrel in the publishing world. I know agents have their pick, but at least let an author know one way or another.

So I’m playing the waiting game, but I do have other news. Yeah, it’s equally unpleasant.

The publisher of my Jersey Girl cozies, PageSpring Publishing, is officially closing up shop in December. This means the books (both paperback and electronically) will no longer be available for sale after November 30th. If you’ve skipped one of the books in the series, order it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble this month or you may never be able to read it. The links below will lead you to all the Jersey Girl books:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Jo-Ann+Lamon+Reccoppa

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Jo%20Ann%20Lamon%20Reccoppa

The only good news is that PageSpring is being kind enough to gift their files to all the authors in their writers’ stable come December. This means I can go to a different publisher who will re-issue the series with a new ISBN, and who perhaps will request additional books for the series. We’ll see how that goes. The first step is to contact various publishers to see if they’re interested, or even find an agent (sigh) to see if they’ll consider representing the series.

Meanwhile, I’m diligently working on my Boardwalk Psychic series and as always, hoping for the best. Who knows? Maybe this is the incentive I needed to kick my output up a notch or two.

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South Brunswick, NJ

Have a great night and wonderful weekend everybody! Get out and enjoy the beautiful fall colors.

 

Labor Day Weekend

As a writer, I tend to put off reading until I’m nearly finished with whatever fiction is in the works for me. Recurring is close to being completely done, wrapped up with a pretty bow, and ready to send to agents, so I’ve been binge-reading. By a strange coincidence, most of my friends just happen to be writers. Imagine that!

Linda Author Photo

Enter Linda Rawlins, V.P. of Sisters in Crime – Central Jersey chapter.

Linda is probably the most upbeat, amiable person I know. She’s the author of two series: the Rocky Meadow Series and the Misty Point Mystery Series.

 

Linda's Misty Point books                                Rocky Meadow Series

 

 

 

 

I haven’t started on the Misty Point books yet, but I have read all three of her intriguing Rocky Meadow books. Because many scenes take place in religious surroundings involving Father Michael Lauretta (one half of the endearing Doctor Amy/Father Michael sleuthing team), I find this series comforting. For those of you who know me, I’m about as far from a bible-thumper as a person can get, yet my background of years (and years and years) attending parochial school, have left me somewhat nostalgic for the good old/bad old days (my teachers were tough nuns, enough said).

Other settings, such as the hospital where protagonist Doctor Amy Daniels is the acting medical examiner, are familiar to anyone who has ever given birth, or had the various health scares and mishaps life brings. Author Linda Rawlins is a physician (in addition to being a writer – where does she find the time?), so she has the inside scoop and intimate knowledge of medical procedures and venues, and her writing proves it.

All-in-all, the series is a great escape. Of the three, Sacred Gold is my absolute favorite!

Now onto other things.

I’ve found creativity in everyday misery. I’m outlining a short story inspired by two weeks of on-again, off-again back pain. As you’ve probably guessed, it involves a rather sinister murder plot. What’s the use of lower back pain if you can’t kill someone off and find relief? Once finished, I intend to pitch it to Ellery Queen’s or maybe Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. On second thought, the plot is probably too icky for Ellery Queen. After that, I might finish a decent outline of Lesser Saints (as always, I’m dragging my feet on that, too), or even resume my Boardwalk Psychic series. What a way to spend a holiday weekend.

Everybody have a fun and safe Labor Day. And if it rains and you find you’re bored to death with indoor activities, for God’s sake – pick up a book and read!

Deadly Ink 2018

This past weekend was the Deadly Ink conference in Iselin, NJ, and a more devoted group of mystery lovers couldn’t be found anywhere else in country. Granted, some people don’t find crime as uplifting and simulating as those of us who chatted with talented authors and sat in on discussion panels. I personally don’t like the idea of skydiving or some of the other activities where you can lose an arm or a head, and prefer murder and mayhem as a way to get my kicks.

To each her or his own.

What fun it was to hear story plots, unusual death scenes, insights into investigation, and the bad guy’s motivation!

New Jersey and You

I took some really awful pictures of several panels. Above are mystery writers Linda Rawlins, Jane Kelly, Jeff Cohen, Peggy Ehrhart, Eileen Watkins, and moderator David Manfre. I guess my hand was shaking, or someone moved, or EVERYONE moved at the same time – and I wasn’t wearing my glasses! Above was the clearest shot! Excuses over. I’m posting previous pics of several panelists (I guess taken when I was wearing my glasses and nobody moved), so no one will hate me.

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Meanwhile, Recurring is almost completely revised and edited. I’m shooting for the end of the month to get at least a query letter, brief and/or long synopsizes (that doesn’t look right but spell check assures me it’s correct), and the first three chapters of the book into the hands of agents. Wish me luck!

Meanwhile, stay dry if you’re in New Jersey. If not, I hope you’re in a spot where the sun is shining and there’s no humidity.

I’m Melting!

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Good afternoon from beautiful, sweltering New Jersey. Every single flower around my house is drooping from the soaring temperatures. I’ve been watering them twice a day during this heat wave and it barely helps. It’s too hot for outside activity. I’ll stay in the house, but there’s not all that much to do. My indoor options are as follows:

Eat myself into oblivion

Binge yet again on Criminal Minds

Write

I’m on a diet, so eating is out. If I watch another episode of Criminal Minds and Thomas Gibson doesn’t step out of the television and into my living room, I’m putting my foot through the screen (similar to his alleged kicking incident involving a writer – and most of the writers I know deserve a good, swift kick now and then).

Gee. I guess I’ll write.

My posts have been few and far between this year with good reason. There’s no real news to share about anything I’m currently working on. Having work published is, of course, the goal of most writers. Stories in the planning and editing stages, as well as waiting to hear back from agents and editors, takes lots of time. The rewrites are torture and also time-consuming. What’s a writer to do?

I ran into my good buddy Jane this morning and she asked me if I write anymore. I explained that yes, I’m writing, but writers go through all kinds of steps before their work is published. I suppose if an author chooses to self-publish, it’s a whole different story. I don’t do that and I doubt very much I ever will. The process seems complicated and some of the work out there presented by self-published authors, to be frank, isn’t up to par. The continuity of the story lines wouldn’t make it past a professional editor, there are spelling errors, grammatical errors, and many of the plots aren’t all that interesting. So I’m going the traditional route for the two stand-alones I’m working on, as well as sticking to traditional publishing for the new series. I hope to God all of you out there will recall my name and remember that I do, indeed, write!

Stay cool everybody. Drink lots of water. And if you happen to run into Thomas Gibson inside some nice, air-conditioned place, please send him over!

Muggy May

Storm night-Sept 2015

Good evening everyone! It’s been over two months since I last posted (far too long), so I thought I’d let you know what’s going on with my fiction. I am still revising Recurring with the help of a critique group and it’s working out. The group catches the errors and inconsistencies an author fails to notice in a manuscript when she reads it over on her own. Critique groups can be painful, but for the most part they’re helpful. All you writers out there can benefit greatly by joining one.

New Math Is Murder Cover

My second bit of news is that I’ve submitted New Math is Murder to the Sisters in Crime – National June Book Club Central Booklist. The theme is Humorous Mysteries, and New Math is Murder is certainly funny enough to qualify in that category. Submissions are picked at random. Please keep your fingers crossed that Colleen and the gang make the cut!

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For a bit of nature news, there’s a Mourning Dove that has built a nest in one of my house gutters (please excuse the grid pattern from the window screen). This was a particularly bad choice on the dove’s part. It’s been raining like mad here in New Jersey and the poor thing has been sitting there night and day for an entire week, incubating the one egg I spotted in the nest. She’s always soaked, I know she’s cold and uncomfortable, but she’s a mom and that’s what all mom’s (whether bird or human) do – sacrifice for their children. No guilt trip intended for my kid’s if one of you happens upon this post!

Have a wonderful evening and stay dry no matter where you are.