Kate Flora: It’s a darn good thing I don’t write cozy mysteries, starting out with a title
like that, right? Well, as another presenter at Murder by the Book this weekend put it, I write medium boiled mysteries in my Thea Kozak series, and pretty darned hard boiled in the Joe Burgess series. The audience on Friday night at the Jesup Library discovered that when I read part of the opening chapter of the next Burgess, And Led Them Thus Astray. No doubt about it, when he’s mad, Joe Burgess uses language I would never use. But there I was, swearing in front of a room full of strangers.
But that, of course, is not what this blog post is about. What it is about is something like (if you inclined to take it that way), an extended whine.
Yes! I have now revealed a deep, dark secret of crime writers: sometimes we whine. Sometimes we whine and dine. Mostly to (or with) each other. Occasionally to a close friend. Far more rarely—to you. Because after all, we want you to believe we are always even tempered, which is mostly true because we can get a whole lot out of our systems by writing crime. And we want you to believe that we are always successful, heaped with praise from our loving readers, and showered with cash from our devoted publishers.
Maybe I should stop right here, and leave you cherishing that notion.
Actually, this blog might not be so much a whine as a question: What am I doing wrong? If I give up a glorious weekend, drive six+ hours, give “good value” on my panels and am cheerful, thrifty, clean, loyal, brave, and reverent, and at the end of the day, I’ve managed to sell two $8.00 paperbacks, this is not a viable economic model. What should I be doing instead?
Stop saying yes, even though I love to talk about writing, love spending time with other writers, and so appreciate the hard work Jesup’s amazing librarians did to put on a great event and draw a crowd? Can I believe that all those lovely people will later log on and buy the e-book? Allow myself a temporary moment of discouragement and frustration?
So yes, as I sit here puzzling my way through how to organize the next book (having given up a couple hours today dealing with the SPOD, or spiraling pinwheel of death that wouldn’t open Microsoft Word), part of me wants to kick the cat. Fear not. I do not HAVE a cat. In one book, I gave Thea a stuffed cat to kick, and if I had one, that would suffice. I do have a stuffed moose…but who has ever heard of “kicking the moose?”
And then, having gotten it out of my system (and writing things out of our systems is why
we crime writers usually are pretty cheerful) I shall go back to trying to find out who is killing those poor women and why he is using a sword?
And you—because you don’t want me to kick that moose—and because you are also cheerful and kindly and well-disposed toward helping writers stay published—will follow this link and order up a copy of a really fun, if slightly outrageous, book I wrote with Katy Munger, Lise McClendon, Gary Phillips, and Taffy Cannon: Beat, Slay, Love. Amazon: http://smarturl.it/BeatSlay