Kate Flora here, exhibiting typical February madness. So of course you are wondering what on earth the title of this blog means? Well, here it is in a nutshell: Part of what has been keeping me chained to my chair lately has been trying to figure out how to draw readers’ attention to my new book. That involves a lot of e-mails, a lot of trips to the post office to mail out review copies, a lot of praying that reviewers will like the book, and a lot of asking other writers what might draw traffic to a blog site, a web site, or something that I might write.
Paul Doiron, who, in addition to being a wonderful writer spends a lot of his time on Downeast Magazine and Downeast Books (his day job), recently remarked that three magic words that draw the attention of those who are fond of Maine are: Acadia, Lobster, and Lighthouse. Thus the title of the blog. Marketing merged with insanity. Having boldly written this title, I’m sure there’s a short story or a children’s book in my future which actually relates to the title. Who would not want to read about Acadia the Lobster? Perhaps even a lobster sleuth? But what this blog is really about is gratitude.
Many years ago, when I was complaining to my publisher that I really, really would like to know when my next book was coming out, so I could plan some events and some publicity (in truth, it was probably an unsightly combination of complaining and begging, in a smelly bar, and he was probably into his tenth or eleventh beer) he told me that I really ought to be more grateful that I was being published at all. Despite my frustrations with that publisher, in a whole lot of ways he was right. I am grateful. I’m amazed each time I finish a book, each time a publisher decides to publish it, each time it arrives in plain brown box on my front porch, and each time a reader tells me how much he or she enjoyed it.
And I am especially reminded to be grateful for all the ways that generous people are helping me get out the word about this book. As you’ve probably already gathered from reading our posts, mystery writers are a delightful bunch. We’re congenial when we get together. We tend to be a group that remembers what it was like to be unpublished and understands the difficulties of having to be our own publicists. Mystery writers are generous with advice and support. And no more so than when another writer asks for help.
Back in January, I sent out an e-mail to my Sisters in Crime (a national organization of writers, readers, booksellers, librarians, etc.), asking them for suggestions about who might be interested in reviewing Redemption or hosting me as a guest on their blog. My sisters wrote back with suggestions, with the names of reviewers, and with invitations to be a guest. Now the reviews are coming in, and I’m getting ready for a month of blog-hopping.
I thought the task would be daunting. I tend toward the Flaubertian view of writing, where the work ought to speak for itself. But that does not furnish much material for blogs. The post that simply states: “Go read the book” might be viewed as too spare. So where was I going to come up with so many different ideas for blogs? I discovered that many of these blogs have themes to give me direction. Dru Ann Love, whose blog is http://notesfromme.wordpress.com/ , hosts a special section where authors introduce readers to their characters by writing “A Day in the Life of…” Since there’s a year long lag between writing the book and seeing it in print, it was fun to sit down with Joe Burgess again, still dirty and rumpled from hours at a crime scene, and watch him give an interview to an eager college student.
Lisa Haselton sent a fascinating interview template for a posting at her blog spot: http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com and invited me to be a guest in The Writer’s Chatroom on March 4 from 7-9 p.m. Among Lisa’s questions:
Q. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Golly…what an interesting question, Lisa. I’m not sure that I have one. Perhaps, recently, that I’ve figured out that when I’m stuck in a chapter or a scene, I can grab the sticky bit out of it, open a new file, and just play around, trying different approaches, giving my characters their heads to see what they will do. It’s great for getting unstuck, making new discoveries, finding interesting dialogue etc. Sometimes the results are surprising.
Or maybe my quirk involves shoes. When I’m stuck and frustrated, sometimes I go buy shoes. The upside of this is that I only buy second hand, so I can indulge on a writer’s income. The downside is that I own too many shoes. Anyone who wears a size 7 and feels in need of a box of shoes might want to get in touch with me.
For Lois Winston’s blog, http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com/, featuring killer crafts and crafty killers, I got to write about the places that research often takes mystery writers. Not the glamorous ones like Paris, London, New York, but the tick-infested fields, riding ATVs in the back woods, going to the shooting range with a bunch of Canadian cops, or walking to a real grave site in the gloom of a late October afternoon.
Who wouldn’t want to be a guest on Jungle Red Writers, where so many of my favorite people hang out? Or at the delightful Lelia Taylor’s Creatures and Crooks blog? http://www.cncbooks.com/blog And I am very much looking forward to blogging at the colorfully (and aptly) named http://www.poesdeadlydaughters.blogspot.com.
So while my sisters have given me a lot of deadlines, I’m basking in their generosity and enjoying the ways in which my fellow writers are challenging me to talk about the stories behind the books. I have four more blogs to write and then? Well, I think I’m going to write a book. A new Thea Kozak. So far, what I have is a title: Death Warmed Over. Imagine it–a writer writing a book. Pretty radical, huh?
Love your blog title, Kate! And — in keeping with your theme — want you to know that my copy of your new book, REDEMPTION, arrived yesterday, and I’ll be reading it just as soon as I can get it away from my husband. He says he opened the box, so he gets first dibs. Unfair, but hard to argue with someone already deep in the third chapter. Enjoy your blog hopping this spring … may you and Joe Burgess make many new friends along the way!
I’m going to log in with a big vote in favor of Acadia the Lobster, and her plucky crime-solving adventures in Maine. She can join forces with her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Officer Baxter Park Lobster, and get sound advice from her patrician old great-uncle, Kennebunk.
You can write two series while blogging, touring and researching, right, Kate?
Julia…I think Acadia the Lobster Saves the Day can be our group project right after we finish the Aroostook Noir that Gerry suggested.
I can just see the cover on The Late Potato Blossom Queen…proclaiming that Aroostook is the new Sweden.
But Acadia does have her charms.
p.s. I think there has to be an Uncle Bigelow involved, also, and Grand Aunt Manan.
Perfect Juvenile picture book: Acadia the Lighthouse Lobster. It could be a nice ‘saves the bad lobsterman’ book, or you could do a YA theme with a goth lobster who mutates after a solar flare and takes over the light house at the end of the long granite breakwater in Rockland, seducing and then devouring yuppie yachtsmen as they sail into the harbor.