A Nic & Nigel Mystery, #2
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Date of Publication: May 8, 2016
Number of pages: 240
Cover Artist: Kim Johnson/Lindgren & Smith
Walking the red carpet at the Academy Awards with a bow-tied Bullmastiff draws Nic and Nigel Martini plenty of attention from the press. But that's nothing compared to the attention they receive at the A-list after party, when Hollywood royalty learn that Nic and Nigel have discovered behind the scenes footage from A Winter's Night, an acclaimed film known for backstage love triangles and the tragic death of its original star, Melanie Summers.Guest Post:
Returning home after the party, Nic and Nigel find their house in shambles and their employee DeDee Evans beaten within an inch of her life. And when the weapon used to pummel DeDee implicates beloved actress Christina Franklin, Nic and Nigel drink and banter their way into a modern-day version of a golden-era crime caper.
For What It’s Worth
At the recent Malice Domestic Convention, the conversation turned to advice various authors had received over the years. Some of it was pretty good; “Be patient. Do your best, and don’t stop trying to do better.” Some of it was pretty horrible; “Put glitter in your query letters so agents remember you.” There is no end to good advice (or horribly, horribly bad advice, for that matter. Glitter? Really?), but if I had to narrow the list to my top three gems of wisdom, it would be these.
“It's okay to write crap. Just don't try publishing it while it's still crap.”
Almost every author has an unpublished manuscript in a drawer somewhere that will always remain unpublished. And for good reason. Writing is a process, and most authors don’t pen a work of brilliance on their first or even their second try. It’s a craft that must be honed and polished just like any other. Unfortunately, unlike say a surgeon’s skill, an author’s talent is subjective. I think any new writer needs to realize that their families, while most likely lovely people, are liars. Big fat liars. They will tell you that your writing is “brilliant,” “amazing,” perhaps even “epic.” (Some families are a little more grandiose than others.) But before you compose your acceptance speech for the Pulitzer, stop for a moment to remember that these are the same people who burst into applause the day you mastered tying your shoe and riding a bike. They cheerfully plastered the front of the refrigerator with every wrinkled art project you ever pulled out of your backpack. Your mom probably even once wore that necklace you gave her for Mother’s Day. You know the one – it was made out of macaroni, glue, and string and looked like a collection of small tumors. The bottom line is your family loves you. And because of that, they probably aren’t the best critics of your work. Join a writing group. Get independent feedback. It is worth it. A writing group will tell you what works and what doesn’t work. If you’re lucky, they might offer helpful suggestions as to how to make your writing stronger. If you are not sure how to spot an independent reader here’s a tip: If they receive your manuscript without gently placing their hand on their chest and saying through misty tears, “Oh, I am just so proud of you!”/”You wrote all this?”/”Your grandmother would be so proud of you” you are headed in the right direction.
“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career, that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”
– Harper Lee
Remember that like most everything thing else, writing is a business. Yes, publishers love books. They love to read. They love finding a book that moves them, that makes them laugh, that makes them cry, that makes them question. You know what else they love? Keeping the doors to their business open. You can write a wonderful book, but if a publisher doesn’t think it will make money, they aren’t going to buy it. It is as simple as that. Publishers spend a great deal of time and effort on a book. They need to know that they are going to get a return on their investment. Rejection is a part of writing. Not everyone is going to love or even like your book, just as you probably don’t love every book in print. The more you realize that any rejection you encounter is business and not personal, the better your psyche will fare.
“Lots of times I’m not crazy about the writing, but I keep moving ahead and somehow it gets better. The important thing is to move forward.”
There will be times (days/weeks/months) when you will come to believe that your Muse stepped outside for a cigarette and got hit by a bus. You will stare at your computer screen and… do nothing. You will find yourself surfing Pinterest and emailing picture like these to friends.
Seriously, there are like a zillion cat pictures on the Internet. When did this start?
But you need to keep writing. You need to keep going. Some days are great; some days not so much. Some days will make you feel as if you are only fooling yourself and you probably should check if McDonald’s needs a new fry guy. Write through it. Write around it. Write over it. But just write. The more you write, the better you will get. And, don’t worry, your Muse will return. She always does, even though sometimes she returns reeking of stale tequila and cigarettes. Clean her up and keep going. You will get to the day when your writing will be pure shiny gold.
Oh, which reminds me…never, EVER put glitter in your query letters.
Tracy Kiely is a self-proclaimed Anglophile (a fact which distresses certain members of her Irish Catholic family). She grew up reading Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, and watching Hitchcock movies. She fell in love with Austen’s wit, Christie’s clever plots, and Hitchcock’s recurrent theme of “the average man caught in extraordinary circumstances.”
After spending years of trying to find a proper job that would enable her to use her skills garnered as an English major, she decided to write a book. It would, of course, have to be a mystery; it would have to be funny; and it would have to feature an average person caught up in extraordinary circumstances. She began to wonder how the characters in Pride and Prejudice might fit into a mystery. What, if after years of living with unbearably rude and condescending behavior, old Mrs. Jenkins up and strangled Lady Catherine? What if Charlotte snapped one day and poisoned Mr. Collins’ toast and jam? Skip ahead several years, and several different plot ideas, and you have her first mystery Murder at Longbourn.
While she does not claim to be Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, or Hitchcock (one big reason being that they’re all dead), she has tried to combine the elements of all three in her books.
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