Today I signed a contract with Turquoise Morning Press. They will publish my first mystery, Skeleton in a Dead Space, though I have no pub date yet. Hoping for 2012. Turquoise Morning is a young press, founded by two women who write romances. The list at first was all romance, but they are branching out into mystery, I gather particularly cozy mystery. I think they will publish in trade paperback and e-book formats, and I'm happy with both. In correspondence, the staff has been responsive, friendly, and enthusiastic. I am truly looking forward to the experience of working with them. And of seeing my first mystery in print, although it is far from my first book. I've always been an avid reader of cozy mysteries, and for the last few years I've told myself if others could do it, so could I. But it's been a long and difficult road, with many disappointments along the way. The world of publishing is changing so fast,(especially the focus on the New York "big" pubishers) and though mystery writers aren't quite competetive with each other (we call ourselves sisters, after all), there are a lot of us. It's easy to get lost in the crowd.
Most publishers want a series, usually at least three books, and the second in my series, tentatively titled No Neighborhood for Old Women (with apologies to Cormac McCarthy) is in its second draft, and I have ideas for the third book rattling around in my head.
I'm not sure this feels real yet. You'd have thought this was another snow day--actually it was a beautiful day in the seventies--but I never did venture beyond the house and back yard. I had plenty to do--haven't yet done all of it--and I was content to stay home. Tomorrow I'll get out. But I have serious work to do--the chili book, a review book, and then back to fiction. But my point is I didn't celebrate. I did announce the contract on the listserv of Guppies, a sub-group of Sisters in Crime. After all, I found Turquoise Morning because of an in-depth interview on the listserv of the Guppies sub-group Guppiespressquest, which studies small presses now publishing mysteries. When I announced it, I was deluged with wonderful, warm congratualtions. A lot of Guppies are toasting me tonight with their Valentine wine and chocolate. They are the ones who truly understand what a big thing this is. It also means lots of work--writing, promotion, etc. But it's what I retired to do--and I'm happy. And lest they feel slighted--I have to say my family is full of praise and excited about this. I think Thursday Betty and I are going to a posh restaurant, so that will be my celebration (I have a coupon:-).
Five stars to Lorraine Bartlett's A Crafty Killing, a cozy set in an artists' mall. I love the concept of a huge building, like an antique mall, devoted to artists' work. The building is in Victoria Square (in a fictional town near Rochester--NY, I suppose, but maybe Minnesota). So the whole atmosphere is Victorian, and there are lots of wonderful characters--and a few bad ones. I decided this afternoon, with my desk piled high, that finishing that book was the thing I had to do first. My reasoning was that if I finished it, it would no longer tempt me. Now I'm reading a serious (and probably heavy) book on the place of literature in today's culture. Good to stretch the mind.