October 2021 Newsletter

A Bad Case of the Ya-Gottas

“Ya gotta,” says the voice in my head.

“Ya gotta get a COVID booster shot.”

“Ya gotta work on your website; it’s a mess.”

“Ya gotta trim the hedges before the weather gets bad.”

“Ya gotta redo your Amazon Author Central page and add pages in other countries.”

“Ya gotta get the dishwasher, clothes washer, and dryer serviced before the warranties run out.”

“Ya gotta read the newspaper today because you vowed to do that everyday until COVID is gone.”

“Ya gotta get to the DMV to send for the title of the car you paid off with some of the COVID money.”

“Ya gotta spiff up all the sales pages for all your books and stories currently available on Amazon.”

“Ya gotta back up everything on your desktop computer somewhere else, because Jess says your hard drive is dying, so you don’t lose anything important like the novel you’re writing.”

“Ya gotta get somebody over here to fix the broken door to the garden shed before the raccoons set up housekeeping in there when winter sets in. Also you need to get somebody to fix the rotten window frames, fix the ceiling in the front bathroom, and fix the . . .”

“Ya gotta reformat all your books and publish them all the platforms, not just Amazon, so you can maybe make some money off of them. But oh no,” the voice in my head says. “You can’t do that right now because first you need to redo the covers of some of your fairy tale mysteries. And anyway, why bother with doing that because you haven’t made any money off your books right now. What makes you think you ever will?”

And so the maddening mix of personal, household, and authorial “ya gottas” has continued in my head until one recent afternoon during a walk around the neighborhood with my daughter, I started crying about it. That got a stare from the guy who stopped his car at the intersection so we could cross the street. And then Jess said something that I’ve repeatedly told my students over the years. I’ve also said it to myself and to Jess about her own creative work. “Mom,” she said. “Ya gotta put your creative work first because it’s the thing that nurtures you and gives you joy. All the other stuff ya gotta do gotta wait till later.”

And finally, the voice in my head shut the hell u

So I’m pleased to say that Die by the Sword is going well, and I’ve now increased my word count from the 23,000 words I mentioned in my previous newsletter to 51,475 words, so I think the book is more than halfway done. Also I’ve done a couple of versions of the cover, but I didn’t like the advice my art teacher gave me on the one featuring the full length, slantwise sword, and there are copyright issues with both, so it’s back to the drawing board. But it will get there.

FYI: Novel Basics, a concise yet complete guide to writing a novel, is on sale for only $0.99 from October 24 through October 30 at www.amazon.com/dp/B07K2LXFRP and for £0.99 at www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07K2LXFRP.

Stay safe and well, Juliet.

P. S. Our sweet Safa boy, shown at the top of the page with some of my books, says “Hey!”

Busier than a button on the . . .

Hi, Everyone!

As my dear old darling dad used to say, it’s been busier than a button on a back house door at the Kincaid house this past month. Whew!

For instance, the ceiling in the front bathroom of our house had been leaking since the summer of 2019. No need to deal with it during the drought and no way to deal with it during the lock down. But this month, the time came for me to deal with roofers and assorted personnel of my insurance company before the ceiling fell on our heads. The process got a little messy especially when the salesman from the company I hired found a raccoon’s nest on the roof beneath the trumpet vine that birds and critters enjoyed all summer. It was so beautiful. But it should come back next year.

Here’s a picture of the finished roof. That’s 40-year shingle up there now, I’ll have you know.

I’ve been enjoying my multi-media art class very much though watercolor remains challenging. I got in a hurry with this painting, tentatively called “Ghost Tree: Tulip Poplar,” the first in a series about trees that no longer live in my neighborhood. And so I botched the roof on a house in the neighborhood (unlike our new roof) . Maybe I can fix it the painting. Maybe not. We’ll see.

In spite of all of these distractions, I am making progress on the WiP, Die by the Sword, so now the novel is almost 23,000 words long and close to Plot Point 1 when the protagonist Vanessa Price Mathison makes an important decision that moves the story into the second story arc. I’m especially enjoying the way Van’s sort-of-boyfriend Guy Truelove is developing in this version of the book that I’ve tried to write several times before.

Some of you who have read my calendar mysteries will recognize Van’s middle and last names. At this point I haven’t quite figured out the connection to business girl Minty Wilcox and dashing detective Daniel Price, let alone developed a family tree, but in time I will.

Speaking of that series, in case you missed it, Apart in April, Book 5 and the fourth novel in the series, is now available as an eBook for $4.99 at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B095J4BB94 and also as a paperback for $14.99 from Amazon (ISBN 9780996160490).

 

 

Also currently available is Novel Basics, my complete yet concise guide to writing a novel, at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K2LXFRP. It’s perfect for those of you planning on doing NaNoWriMo this year. The book will be only $0.99 from October 24 through October 30, but if you need it sooner, the eBook is now $3.99. The paperback in “easy on the eye” 14-point font is $8.99.

I’ll be back next month. Meanwhile, stay safe and well, Juliet

August 2021 Newsletter

My Once and Future Novel (Part 2, I think)

Hi, All!

A few nights ago, I thought about retiring on my birthday coming up really soon on 9/11/2021. I’ll be eighty, and maybe it’s time to stop. I told myself that maybe I’d be happy and fulfilled reading and reviewing other people’s books and taking weekly art classes.

But who am I kidding? Nothing gives me more joy than being lost in the fiction I’m writing. Besides, it’s back. . . In this case instead of a monster, I’m talking about my once and future novel, the one that I’ve worked on for about three decades, the one set in part at a Renaissance Festival sort of event and in part at activities of a group similar to the Society for Creative Anachronism. This is a book concept that just won’t let me go.

Over the past thirty years, this book has gone from a fairly conventional detective mystery with one protagonist to suspense with quite a different protagonist. Overall, I think I’ve produced three different detective mysteries and two versions of the basic story as a novel of suspense. In fact, one of the challenges for me, now that I’m having at it again, is to locate scenes I vividly recall writing though when and in which notebook and which digital file, I’m unsure. I know that some of you have read an earlier version. In fact, I still have your comment sheets along with print-outs. But right now I can’t remember where I put them.

The characters have undergone several variations as well. For instance, I have two characters whose role is providing the protagonist (whoever the heck that turns out to be) with information about the Ancient Ways Society. The twosome started out as a lesbian couple, one white and the other Black. Eventually, they became an elderly man and not so elderly woman with a very large Great Dane. As I embark on the final version, I’m not sure I really need the dog. But I really can’t predict at this point.

The book also has a couple of working titles: Death in Shining Armor and Die by the Sword. I took a poll on Facebook recently and most of the people responding favored the first one, as did I. But once I really got into the first chapter, I decided that Die by the Sword was the better choice. But you know what? The book is alive and well and I’m looking forward to completing it.

Meanwhile, I’ve had lots of distractions. For one thing we’ve been dealing with a leaky roof and predatory roofers, but we’ve found a decent one now. But once the dust settles on that and other issues, I hope to plunge back to the book . . . I’ll keep you posted on the project next month.

Best, Juliet

 

Postcard Anyone?

As you can probably tell from the photo, my trials making postcards to promote my publications often include plenty of errors . . . And now that the touch pad on our multi-purpose printer no longer works, we need a printer, especially to print color images on the front sides of postcards that I make to promote my work. So I’m wondering, do I really need to replace the printer? More to the point, even if we buy a new printer, do I really need to make postcards to promote my books at all? Maybe not . . .
Note: I prefer postcards to business cards because I just can’t get enough information on the typical business card, for example, information about a new book like the book blurb (“love, loss, dangerous secrets, and FUN” for my new Apart in April ), the series blurb (“mystery and romance in old Kansas City, a place that could get downright dangerous a hundred years or so ago” for my calendar mystery series), the link to the sales page, and social media information.
Of course, like most authors, I mostly promote my stories and novels through social media and online advertising. And indeed for well over a year I had no in-person meetings or social events to go to like most other people on the planet, so I didn’t need postcards.
And to be frank, now that I do have some in-person, non-Zoom book club, writers’, and retirement association meetings to go to, I’m still a little shy about handing out postcards. There might be that rude person who flings up his hand when I hold out a card as if it were a viper. (That’s happened to me.) Still, at the last two out of three meetings I went to, my friends eagerly took the postcards I offered them. So I’m leaning toward making some more postcards.
I’ll end this exploration with a question for you. As a potential reader, what do you think about an author giving you postcards to promote their work?
P. S. The digital version of Apart in April is currently on sale for only $0.99 at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B095J4BB94
And a penny less than a pound at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B095J4BB94

June 2021 Newsletter

I have become the old woman that . . .

I have become the old woman that, wearing pajamas, robe, and flip-flops, totters to the curb on trash day to put one last plastic bottle in the recycle bin. Or still in her nightclothes, she carries the bird feeders to their hooks in the back yard. Or she takes pictures with her phone of the lovely lavender hosta blossoms that line the garden shed. (She hopes to start a watercolor painting of them at her weekly art class and possibly insert a rabbit among them.)

But I’m also the old woman that, changed into a green and pink striped camp shirt she’s had for decades and black pedal pushers with an elastic waist band she bought last year, gets to her computer in the home office by ten most mornings and averages twenty hours a week on her writing project.

So I’m pleased to announce that Apart in April, Book 5 and the fourth novel in my Calendar Mystery series, will be published on June 30 as an eBook. It’s now available to pre-order for only $2.99 at  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B095J4BB94. This special price is going away on July 6 when the price will become $4.99, so better get it cheaper while you can. And if you like it, please write a brief review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

For those of you who prefer reading print books instead of on devices like a Kindle, a Nook, or tablet, I am very pleased to announce that I’m currently working on the cover for the paperback version of Apart in April and it will be available for purchase by July 15. (Yay!) I haven’t figured out the price yet, but I’ll let you know.

And just so you don’t think I’m asking you to buy a pig in a poke, here’s a brief description of this forthcoming book.

Apart in April features  love, loss, and dangerous secrets. In April 1901, after a deep personal loss, Minty Wilcox Price runs away from her husband detective Daniel Price. But she leaves behind letters containing clues (both false and true) as she goes undercover on her own to find out the truth about how a young woman died. Will the secrets Minty uncovers prove deadly? Will Daniel bring his own grief under control to find her and help her with the case before she comes into danger, too? You’ll find the answers to these questions and much more in Apart in April, Book 5 of Juliet Kincaid’s Calendar Mysteries that tell the story of business girl Minty Wilcox and detective Daniel Price from newly met to newly wed and beyond in Kansas City, a place that could get downright deadly a hundred years or so ago.

Also “The Barn Door” and “Lost Dog,” two prequel short stories to the Calendar Mystery series that feature business girl Minty Wilcox and detective Daniel Price when they first meet though they don’t realize it, will both be FREE from July 1 through July 5, 2021, at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B073G7ZXMP and http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0752SWBG1.

Don’t have a Kindle? When you get the stories, you can also download the free app to most tablets including a Nook. My books look especially neat on my iPad mini.

Stay safe and well in this troubled world, my friends.

Juliet

P. S. If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends.

May 2021 WiP Report

Hi, Everybody!

The first photo was me as Covid-19 Alien Juliet about a year ago. But thanks to receiving both my shots and the lifting of the mask mandate, lately I’ve been able to do some things for the first time in over a year.

For example, about a month ago, my daughter Jess and I ventured out to some place besides walking to the post office, picking up dinner from a restaurant or going to the grocery store. And that was to a place called Whiskers Cat Cafe where kitties recline on fake fur in sybaritic bliss.

This month for the first time in over a year, I went to a couple of in-person meetings instead  of via Zoom. One evening my book club met in person outside on a member’s driveway.  Since we all had received both our shots, we removed our masks and raised our hands with the V for vaccination for some photos our hostess’s husband took. And this month, the chapter of Sisters-in-Crime I belong to met outside a member’s house on the deck. It was lovely to be with friends in person at both meetings.

The best outing requires a bit of background. On the twelfth of every month, my daughter and I celebrate her being seizure-free for another month with a special meal. For the past fifteen months, we’ve done pick-up for dinner that evening. But May 12, 2021, marked the ten-year anniversary of Jessie’s last seizure, so we ventured out to a restaurant to celebrate this momentous event.

 

I’m also quite pleased to announce that I’ve resumed taking a weekly art class after a break of more than three years. Here’s my first piece. The medium is colored pencil, and it’s supposed to be a peony though it resembles a head of red cabbage with strange leaves.

 

 

I’d hoped to complete Apart in April, Book 5 of my calendar mystery series featuring a business miss and a dashing detective from newly met to newly wed and beyond in Kansas City, a place that could get downright deadly a hundred years or so ago,  in time to publish it in April this year. But it took more time in the editing phase to do a good job of it, and I decided not to rush. Rushing a project always creates opportunities to mess up. So now the publication date is June 30, 2021. You can pre-order the eBook for the special initial price of only $2.99. Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B095J4BB94

Till next time, all the best, Juliet

 

 

 

 

April 2021 WiP Report

I hoped to report that I’ve finished my current Work-in-Progress, Apart in April, Book 5 of my Calendar Mystery series.

But it’s not happening, partly because my characters keep talking to me as I write. One of them will say, “How about I do this?” Another might say, “I wouldn’t do that! Take it out!” Or worst of all, some person in the book will say, “I’m bored.”

It’s practically axiomatic that every time a writer changes something, s/he introduces at least one error like a missing so there’s nothing for it but to edit each and every line of each and every page with a ruler on paper and/or by sliding the cursor down the margin, and/or reading each and every page word by word out loud at least once if not TWICE. (Did you see the glitch in the previous sentence in the previous sentence? [Repetition is another kind of glitch that often happens when the writer is switching stuff around.])

I’ve rushed the process before and ended up publishing a book or story that wasn’t ready yet. I’m not doing that this time. I have only forty pages to go in this draft, so it will be done by April 30 for sure. But then I will make myself take as long as the book and its characters demand for one last edit. After I’m done and I’ve tweaked the cover, too, I’ll begin the production phase, leaving time to set up the pre-order and all that other stuff. I’ll let you know when Apart in April is ready for you to pre-order at a reduced price.

In closing, an observation, especially for my fellow old fogey friends . . . At this stage of writing, I have to hold the entire three hundred pages of the book in fairly specific detail in my head. (Since I’ve made so many changes over the four drafts of this book, sometimes I have to go back and check the most recent draft to see what actually is in there.) A person with dementia can’t do that, and so I’ll end this WiP Report by highly recommending writing a novel as a preventive measure against senility.

Best, Juliet

P. S. It’s spring and doing stuff like potting these plants shown above is another distraction I’m dealing with.

 

WiP Report January 2021

Last Friday, I finished what I hope will be the next-to-the-last draft of Book 5 of my Calendar Mystery series, set in Kansas City, a place that could get downright deadly a hundred years or so ago for a business girl named Minty Wilcox and a dashing detective named Daniel Price. (Just practicing my blurb here . . .) The next day we ordered BBQ carry-out for a celebratory dinner. Baby back ribs! Yum!

In its binder, the book weighs 6.4 pounds which makes for quite a weighty tome though I hope of course that it won’t feel like that for readers when it’s done. The text now is 306 pages and 86,489 words long. I started it on November 1 for NaNoWriMo, so it took me 83 days for an average of 1,042 words a day. That’s really not bad considering everything that’s been going on including a very weird holiday season, the pandemic, and the political turmoil.

An FYI for my fellow indie authors: whenever I start a novel, I format it for its eventual publication, that is, with 6” by 9” pages, 0.75” margins, 1.15 line spacing throughout including between paragraphs, 12-point font, usually Book Antiqua, all paragraphs except the first in a section or chapter indented 0.3”. I also mark all section breaks with <> <> <> because I never know where they’ll end up after revisions. Plus, I paginate the pages, create different first pages for the starts of chapters, and different odd and even pages for the rest. And yes, I type my first drafts and all the rest. All of this lets me get a feel for the overall proportions of the book and about where to place the plot points in later drafts.

For more guidance, check out my Novel Basics, a concise yet complete guide to brainstorming, drafting, and revising a novel available in print from Amazon. com and as an eBook at www.amazon.com/dp/B07K2LXFRP . . .

Now back to the report . . . If I can cut the 10% that Stephen King says in his author’s memoir On Writing he cuts from the first drafts of his books, Book 5 of my Calendar Mystery series will be around 78,000 words or 275 pages long. Hopefully, I will get it out by the end of April. (The tabs on the book shown in the photo on the left mark pages where I need to do some editing. Yikes!)

I’ll let you know how it’s going in next month’s WiP Report. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for the fun short story “The 9th Street Gang” free from 02/03/21 through 02/07/21 at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B079YYVTTX and Book 2 of the Calendar Mystery series Fatal February, on sale for only $0.99 at  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017081JHM and £0.99 at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017081JHM from 02/10/21 through 02/16/21.

Eye Drops

A Live and Learn Blog

This coming week, I’m scheduled to have cataract surgery on my right eye and the left eye the week after that. Now this is a rather alarming prospect in itself. How come? Well, it’s like this. As a fiction writer used to creating all sorts of nightmare scenarios, I can think of an abundance of things that can wrong. The information sheets the eye clinic sent me home with don’t help since they include complications like losing an eye. I’m not sure an eye patch is really the fashion look I’m after though maybe a black satin patch with sequins . . . ?

The info sheets also list major risks that include a droopy eyelid. Oh great! My eyelids are already so droopy that when I went for my eye exam last October, the technician at my regular optometrist’s office took at least two-dozen pictures of my eyeballs in one test before she thought she got a good one. For another test, she called in another technician who grabbed hold of the back of my neck and tried to pry my eye wide open with her other hand, thus blocking the camera.

These exams turned to be such an ordeal that when I finally saw my doctor, I said, “Oh gosh, I think I flunked my eye test.”

Nice guy that he is, the doctor merely smiled and said, “You’re fine.”

Nervous about the surgery, I put out a call to my Facebook friends and they were quite reassuring as in “easy peasy.” So I’m feeling a little more relaxed about it. Still I have a problem. In the build up to the surgery, I have to put eye drops in my eyes. This wasn’t immediately easy since I had to take a pair of manicure scissors to the plastic on one of the tiny bottles of eye drops just to get it open. (What is it with these companies that make the containers they put eye drops, food like mini quiches, juice, and other things in that it’s such a struggle to open them?)

But here again my droopy eyelids were problematic. There I stood in front of the mirror in my bathroom trying to drop the once-a-day stuff in my right eye. And it’s cloudy and it gushes out and I feel it on my cheek. Plus extra comes out of the vial that I have to wipe off. This stuff isn’t cheap. Those three tiny bottles shown above altogether cost $75. So I worry about wasting the eye drops, having to buy more, and also being scolded by the eye surgeon for not properly preparing for the surgery.

The first two applications of the other pre-surgery eye drops ended up on my cheek as well, or mostly anyway. Thank goodness for my daughter. She suffers from chronic dry eye and so she’s developed a method for dropping liquids in her eyes. She gave me an eye drop tutorial. She tilts her head left when she wants to put eye drops in her right eye, puts the tip of the bottle close to the corner of the right eye but not against it, and squeezes the vial. I tried her technique and sure enough, most of the drop went in my right eye instead of rolling down my cheek.

So this whole saga goes to show you that old dogs can learn new tricks. Plus it’s really great to have a kid and friends that care. Thanks, everybody!

 

P. S. January Jinx, Book 1 of my cozy historical mystery series, is only #99cents athttp://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HSSSBE4 and a penny less than a pound at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HSSSBE4 today through Tuesday January 7, 2020.

Bargain Fiction

Get real Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargains in a boxed set.

The Calendar Cozy Historical Mystery stories and novels by Juliet Kincaid tell the story of business girl Minty Wilcox and dashing detective Daniel Price from newly met to newlywed and beyond in Kansas City, a place that could get downright deadly a hundred years or so ago.

The boxed set includes January Jinx, Fatal February, Mischief in March, and the bonus short story “Detectives’ Honeymoon,” all for only $2.99 at www.amazon.com/dp/B07QDKF413 and £2.99 at www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07QDKF413 from 11/28/2019 through 12/03/2019, many pages for your holiday reading pleasure. Happy Thanksgiving.

Praise for JANUARY JINX

Book 1 of the Calendar Mystery Series

The delightful, creative, and charming January Jinx introduces a terrific character in Minty Wilcox, a good old-fashioned cozy mystery persona who will surely be able to carry the planned-for series. It’s Minty who drives the readable narrative, and author Juliet Kincaid keeps the pace steady and fast at the same time for quite a readable experience . . . The unique setting of 1899 Kansas City is full of flavor that never overwhelms the story and the characters. With a terrific, original, but still comfortable series concept, there are certainly big things afoot for Juliet Kincaid and Minty Wilcox’s Calendar Mysteries.