Wednesday, January 01, 2014

An author to meet amd her wnderful fantasy

Wednesday is guest day on Judy’s Stew, and I’m delight to start the new year off by welcoming Terrie Moran. Take it away, Terrie, and share your good news with us.


Hi Judy. Thank you for inviting me to spend New Year’s Day 2014 with you and your friends.

I have exciting news this year. Well Read, Then Dead, the first novel in my Read ’Em and Eat Café and Bookstore series is scheduled for release in August 2014 by Berkley Prime Crime.

And how did this miracle come about?

Easy peasey. I got a brilliant idea that I knew would make a fabulous, highly saleable book, and I sat at my computer day and night for three weeks until, voila! I had a perfect manuscript—no revision necessary. Then I sent the best query letter ever written to the head of Berkley Prime Crime who replied within forty-eight hours and said although they normally don’t accept un-agented manuscripts, they would certainly make an exception for me. They immediately sent a lackey to my house to pick up a copy of the golden manuscript. A Berkley honcho called me a few hours later and offered a paltry six figures for the book. I scoffed; they raised the offer to a comfortable mid seven figure range and the deal was sealed.

So now sunset finds me sipping Mojitos as I lounge on the sand in front of a silk-sheeted cabana on my private Caribbean island. Mornings I swim with the dolphins. In the afternoon I dictate my next New York Times Best Seller to my amanuensis, Greg the Gorgeous. If my brain gets knotted, we stop working and he massages my feet and then...

Oh wait, I think I’m jumbling my fantasies.

The truth is Well Read, Than Dead and the two subsequent books in the series are being published because I trudged along a very traditional route to publication. For more than thirty years I promised myself that when I retired I would join a gym and write a cozy mystery. The problem was, would I ever retire? Two weeks after the horror of 9/11, a close friend died. Both events reminded me that life isn’t finite. The following year my first two grandchildren were born, twelve days and 1300 miles apart. Within weeks I retired. Two days later I joined a gym. And in 2003 I began writing a cozy novel. I wrote. I revised. I struggled. Finally, in early 2006 I completed the first draft. And instead of dancing gleefully around the house, I looked at my computer screen and said, “Now what?”

Zig led to zag and I found a mystery writers’ conference called Sleuthfest scheduled two weeks in the future. That first conference was my introduction to Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and many wonderful friends in the mystery community, readers and writers both.

When I joined my local chapter of SinC, they were in the midst of a call for submissions for a short story anthology. I decided to try and found that I loved writing short stories. So, while editing my novel, I wrote and submitted shorts. By late 2007, I thought the novel was ready for prime time. But wait!  I needed a synopsis, and a buffo query letter to send to agents. More drudgery. Eventually I began the arduous query process and was astonished to get form rejections within two or three days. I’d polish up the query and send it out again.

In the meantime, I wrote short stories. I attended conferences. I made more friends.

Time marched on. The query process evolved from snail mail to email. I managed to have one or two of my short stories published each year. And the years flew by.

In 2012 Sleuthfest rolled around again. I met with Kim Lionetti of Bookends Literary Agency. She listened to my pitch but was not encouraging. My characters were too old for the storyline. Still she offered to read a few chapters.  Weeks later she let me know that her initial assessment was correct but asked if I would write something else. And so I did. I wrote Well Read, Then Dead.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Still I wouldn’t trade how my career actually progressed for all the Mojitos and cabanas in the world.


Short-listed twice for The Best American Mystery Stories, Terrie Farley Moran gathered some of her previously published short stories, added in a couple of new stories and put together an e-collection, The Awareness and other deadly tales, which you can find on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The only thing Terrie enjoys more than wrangling mystery plots into submission is hanging out with any or all of her seven grandchildren.  You can find her blogging at www.womenof and she is on Facebook as Terrie Moran.


Clare2e said...

Okay, I love the fantasy, too, and can I borrow Greg?

Srsly, you're a great example of how persistently working on the thig you have most control over--the writing--eventually gets you somewhere, and somewhere great! Can't wait for August!

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Hi Clare,
In fantasyland, Greg is a wonder to be hold, but you nailed it--in the real world persistence is the key.

Laura K. Curtis said...

Rock on, Terrie! Can't wait to read your book.

Cathi Stoler said...

Your persistence totally paid off. And your stories are so great. I can't wait for the book! You deserve your success.

Cathi Stoler said...

Your persistence paid off. Your stories are truly wonderful and I can't wait to read the book. You deserve much success.

Dorothy Hayes said...

Geez, I was buying the cabana thing and feeling totally depressed.
Congratulations, Terrie, I'm sure your book is wonderful, I thought your short stories well written and absorbing.

Triss said...

So happy for you that persistence and talent paid off. You write terrific stories, so I am looking forward to the book.

(Apologies if this shows up more than once. Google and I are not seeing eye to eye today)

Triss said...

So happy for you that persistence and talent paid off. Can't wait to read the book.

(Apologies if my comment shows up more than once. Google and I are having issues today)

Terrie Farley Moran said...

It's so nice to see you all here. I think it is important to have fun with the daily struggles of the writing life. I am really sorry to report that the cabana is merely a figment that keeps me going because, hey, it could happen.

Debs said...

Who does love a fantasy? Well done, Terrie. Can't wait to read Well Read and Dead!

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Thanks, Deb!

Anita Page said...

Terrie, I love the fantasy, but what I love even more is the real story--the fact that persistence, hard work, and talent like yours is rewarded. Your success is so well-deserved.

Lois Karlin said...

Giggles, here! I can't wait to get my hot little hands on Well Read, Then Dead...great title, fabulous series title, too, btw. It's grand to see a compatriot succeed like this, especially one who writes so well. Trading in the fantasy for the reward you were offered was a wise plan.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Aww, thanks so much everyone for your kind words. I remember the nuns telling us in school: "Hard work is it's own reward." And, as with so many things, they were right.

Hugs to all,

Kathleen A. Ryan said...

Thanks, Judy, for welcoming Terrie to your blog ~ a great way to start the new year!

Congratulations, Terrie, on your 'overnight' success! You've worked long and hard during that 'overnight' period :-) So happy for you! Can't wait for WELL READ, THEN DEAD to be released in August.

I think your Greg the Gorgeous is a fab assistant ~ he should attend to all the Women of Mystery!

Happy New Year & Happy New Reading in 2014!

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Thanks for your good wishes Kathleen. I am seriously thinking of renting a suite for Greg at future conferences. then we could all visit as needed!!

Meredith Cole said...

Congratulations!!! I'm so happy for you, Terrie! I love the fantasy, but think how much you've learned during your journey... Enough for countless more great books!

Meredith Cole said...

I'm so happy for you, Terrie! I love the fantasy, but think how much you've learned during your journey... Enough for countless more great books!

Terrie Farley Moran said...

How are you? It is so nice of you to stop by. thanks for your kind wishes.

Hugs, Terrie