Tag Archives: publishing

So Much to Write, So Little Time

I’m very excited about the initial interest in Deadly Valentine and Endangered. Feedback has been positive, especially for Endangered, which is a different kind of romantic mystery. Instead of coming together during the story or rediscovering their love, the Delecoeurs are 100% in love and committed. I was wondering if readers would find a story in which the conflict rests completely on the circumstances — someone is out to kill Madeleine — and not on what will happen to the relationship interesting. So far, people have found it “refreshing” and are asking for the next story.

This brings a new, yet welcome problem…what to focus on publishing next. I’m eager for Microsoft or Apple or some other tech company to invent a gadget that will allow me to plug my brain directly into my computer. This gadget would make it fast to get my ideas downs and first drafts written. I have no shortage of stories for Max and Madeleine, Tess and Jack, and even new characters that aren’t published. But there is only so much time in the day and currently, my fiction writing is second to my ‘making  a living writing’. Then there is the question of what do I work on first? Do I write the new Delecoeur mystery or do I edit the next Valentine books, which are on their fourth edits? Can I do both? These are questions I’m grappling with as move from a writing hobbiest to professional writer. Perhaps I need to ask you the reader…which story do you want to see next? Delecoeur or Old Flames Never Die – Valentine Book 2?

New Edits to Deadly Valentine Coming Shortly

The difficulty in publishing your writing, is finding all the errors. Although there were several readers and edits before publishing Deadly Valentine, several errors remain particularly in the second half of the book. A new cleaned up version of the book will be posted shortly. If you got one of the “problem” edits, forward a copy of your Amazon receipt to jennahart @ gmail.com and I’ll make sure you get a clean edit for free. I’ll even throw in a copy of Endangered.

Deadly Valentine: A Valentine Mystery, Book One

Deadly Valentine: A Valentine Mystery, Book One is now available through Amazon. This is my first full-length novel and I’m so glad that it’s finally published.

After years of writing fan fiction, I’d decided to write a novel with original characters. It was much harder than I thought it would be, but I’m pleased with the finished product. Deadly Valentine includes all the elements of a story I love; a sexy romance, fun banter, and a mystery. Here’s the description:

Tess Madison walked away from her two-timing fiancé, a multi-million dollar trust fund and a cushy corporate law job to pursue the single life indulging in chocolate and fancy French underwear. But her newly reordered life comes unraveled when she reluctantly accepts an invitation to a dinner party and stumbles upon the host’s dead body. Now Tess is the middle of a murder investigation pitting her wannabe-boyfriend police detective against Jack Valentine, a man from her past with blue-green eyes and sinful smile that causes her to rethink her self-imposed celibacy. Tess has many reasons to avoid Jack including the fact that he’s the prime suspect in murder. But Tess doesn’t believe Jack’s the murderer and with an honest attempt to keep her hormones in check, she agrees to represent him. With Jack’s help, she uncovers a 30-year-old secret someone is killing to keep hidden and discovers sensual delights that don’t include chocolate or French underwear. But when her professional and personal relationship with Jack threatens to ruin her career and end her life, Tess has to decide if Jack, is worth the risk.

Deadly Valentine is the first in the Valentine Mystery series featuring Tess Madison a chocolate and French underwear connoisseur and Jack Valentine, her handsome, environmentalist, pteromerhanophobic (fear of flying) love interest.

This is a full-length 103,000 word novel of mystery and romance, including mild sex scenes.

Do Roberts, Grisham or Evanovich Write Blurbs?

You may find this hard to believe, but writing blurbs — the information on the book that tells what it’s about — is harder than writing the story itself. At least it is for me. First of all, a good blurb is crucial to sales. It’s the next thing readers look at after the cover. That’s a lot of pressure! Second, you have to fit the plot of the story into a few lines of text. But it’s not just the plot that needs to be explained. You also have to convey they tone of the story and the personality of the characters.

Example of a bad blurb…

Tess left Washington, D.C. after a betrayal. She’s rebuilt her life and her law career in a small central Virginia town. All is well until she is invited to a dinner party where her date abandons her, a man from her past, Jack Valentine, shows up and the host ends up dead. Tess doesn’t like seeing Jack, but she doesn’t think he’s a killer and so she agrees to represent him. As they investigate the crime, they learn about a 30-year old crime and grow closer together. But when her life and career are threatened, will Tess take a chance on Jack.

That’s the basic story of Deadly Valentine, but it doesn’t give you any information about whether or not the story is noir, funny, or serious, or any clue to what the characters are like.

Below is blurb I eventually pulled together..

Better Blurb:

Tess Madison walked away from her two-timing fiancé, a multi-million dollar trust fund and a cushy corporate law job to pursue the single life indulging in chocolate and fancy French underwear. But her newly reordered life comes unraveled when she reluctantly accepts an invitation to a dinner party and stumbles upon the host’s dead body. Now Tess is the middle of a murder investigation pitting her wannabe-boyfriend police detective against Jack Valentine, a man from her past with blue-green eyes and sinful smile that causes her to rethink her self-imposed celibacy. Tess has many reasons to avoid Jack including the fact that he’s the prime suspect in murder. But Tess doesn’t believe Jack’s the murderer and with an honest attempt to keep her hormones in check, she agrees to represent him. With Jack’s help, she uncovers a 30-year-old secret someone is killing to keep hidden and discovers sensual delights that don’t include chocolate or French underwear. But when her professional and personal relationship with Jack threatens to ruin her career and end her life, Tess has to decide if Jack is worth the risk.

Professional authors/publishers would probably have critiques of the better blurb, but you can’t deny it’s better than the first.

So now I’m working on the blurb for Endangered and I’m stuck. I’ve got a bad version, but am having a heck of a time beefing it up. As I work on it, I realize that I’m going to have to write a blurb for every book I publish and I couldn’t help but wonder if the mega-authors write their own blurbs. And would I have to be a mega-author to get someone else to write my blurbs?

Writing What You Love…Even Across Genres

I once heard M.J. Rose talk about how she couldn’t get her book published because no one could figure out its genre. It had suspense, sex, psychological thrills, etc. So she sold it herself, garnered tons of fans and now has a publisher.

Writing what you love, but not being able to get published because the book doesn’t fit into a neat category is frustrating. I enjoy romantic suspense, but prefer series over stand-alone books. This creates a dilemma for my writing because many mystery readers don’t like too much sex in their books and most romances don’t have series that are focused on the same two characters. But that is what I really want to write — a mystery involving two characters who are in love and do what people who are in love do.

The first manuscript of Deadly Valentine had all the mystery and romantic elements, but I toned down the “good bits” because I know most mystery readers don’t want explicit intimate scenes. I thought by watering down the love scenes I would increase my chances at getting published.

After making a few rounds and being told I have a “page turner”, “a great writing style” and “it could make a great romance if you elaborated on the intimacy”, but not getting an agent, I’ve decided maybe it’s time to just do what I want. So I’ve added the heat. It’s still a mystery, but offers more than a little cozy. One could consider it a romance, except that I have completed drafts of two more books in the series. Each has a mystery while also continuing Jack and Tess’ romance. I’ve done the same with the Delecoeurs; a happily-married, sophisticated, bantering couple ala-Nick and Nora Charles who often find themselves embroiled in murder and mystery. They also find time for passion.

That’s not to say I’ve gone all “Fifty Shades of Gray”. Although I don’t have anything against explicit sex scenes, I much prefer intimate moments that focus on emotion and sensation over tactical details.

I’ve discovered that many e-publishers are open to books that don’t necessarily fit within one genre, and I’m hopeful one will take a chance on Deadly Valentine.