A New Beginning: Fall 2022 Newsletter

A New Beginning: Fall 2022 Newsletter

  A New Beginning to Die by the Sword aka To Die by the Sword aka Death in Shining Armor

Night . . .

Saturday, September 10, 1988

The Medieval Fair Site . . .

I didn’t want much that night, just to go out to the shop on the Med Fair site to drop off some pots and cups and mugs that had finally cooled off enough to pick up from the Ceramics Department of  the City College of Art and Design back in town.

Now let me tell you why I decided to open Ye Old Oddities Shoppe and sell my pottery at Med Fair that fall. It was because there I was, pushing forty, and still working in the Registrar’s Office at C-CAD where I graduated with highest honors way too many years before. (Not going into the life-happens events that kept me working there for so long right now.) And I didn’t want to still be at C-CAD when I turned forty the next year.

Instead, I wanted to make and save enough money from Med Fair and other ways that I could go to the university the next fall, get a job as a teaching assistant and get experience in the classroom, get my master’s, and become a professor of ceramics at some college or university for the rest of my life. It would be ideal, I thought, to teach the same thing that I loved to do.

But . . .

BUT, thanks to some crazy person wearing armor from head to shiny toes, I about got myself killed that night, the first of several attempts to murder me.

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Something interesting happened recently after I revised my Novel Basics, An Illustrated Guide to Writing a Novel. I noticed that I didn’t follow my own advice in writing Death in Shining Armor, a novel that I’ve worked on for decades in several different forms. That is, I didn’t establish early what the protagonist wants to accomplish in her journey. I mean the very first card in the brainstorming system I describe in Novel Basics is called the heart card for a novel and asks the question “Who wants what?” for goodness’ sake. And I blew the beginning of my own novel. Oops! So I figured out what my protagonist wanted and put it on the first page.

 I also took some of my own advice presented in my concise yet complete guide to writing a novel: If you’re having trouble with a novel, play around with the point of view, that is, the perspective in time and space of the narrator. Most of the earlier versions of the book were in what’s called third person point of view (she/he/they, her/his/their, etc.) limited to three characters. But when I restricted the perspective of Death in Shining Armor to only one character, the novel’s protagonist Vanessa Laura Mathison aka Van the Potter speaking directly to the reader in first person (I/me/mine), she started talking to me, too. And the novel started coming to life in ways it hadn’t done before. Propelled by that new beginning, I’m now about eighty pages into the novel.

FYI: the new eBook version of Novel Basics, An Illustrated Guide to Writing a Novel, that now includes a section on self-publishing, is available at www.amazon.com/dp/B07K2LXFRP for $3.99 Plus, it’s always free through Kindle Unlimited. Also, I’m offering the eBook on Amazon for only $0.99 from Friday September 30 through Thursday October 6, 2022. It’s your perfect resource to prepare for National Novel Writing Month 2022.

Best, Juliet

P. S. Currently, I’m rebooting eBook versions of some of the short stories and books in both my Calendar Mystery series and Cinderella, P. I. Fairy Tale Mystery series through several different retailers in addition to Amazon. To keep up with my publications on Amazon, click here: https://www.amazon.com/Juliet-Kincaid/e/B00DB4HWRG. And to keep up with my publications through other retailers now including Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, click on https://books2read.com/author/x/subscribe/1/305166/?preferred_retailer=0&book=927193 and complete the form.

May 2022 Newsletter: for love or money?

May 2022 Newsletter: For Love or Money?

Do I write for love or money or something else entirely?

A couple of months ago, I had an encounter with a person who made me think about my motives for writing fiction. Here’s what happened.

A few days before the incident, we’d had our house sprayed for ants, but the ants persisted and were swarming up the tiles around my shower. So, I called the owner of the pest control company we’ve used for more than thirty years, and he sent over his dad who started the company and now fills in on jobs when the technicians are out on scheduled calls.

Dad, whom I will call Sam for the purposes of this essay, arrived promptly at 1 o’clock when I’d just begun attending a webinar on writing. And probably because he saw me look in the direction of my home office, he asked, “Still writing?”

“Why yes,” I said. “In fact, I’m very excited about the book I’ve been working on. It’s coming out soon.” This book is Die by the Sword, a novel of suspense, a project that has lured me back to it in different forms for thirty years.

“Make any money?” Sam said. And before I could respond, he said, with a sneer, “I know you don’t. You wouldn’t live in this house if you did.”

Pretty obviously, in Sam’s mind, the only reason for doing anything is making money. But for me, probably money goes at the bottom of my list of reasons why I write. Mostly that’s because if I think a lot about the money I might not make from my writing, I get depressed and don’t write at all. (We’ll come back to making money later on.) We’ll keep love at the top. I simply and absolutely love to write fiction. But I have other reasons why I write.

Let me flashback to the ‘70’s. When I went to the Ohio State University, I wrote papers required by my courses and stories like “Graduate Student Blues” to entertain myself and my friends. I also wrote a novel (my first) in diary form as a way of exploring the subject of my dissertation, fiction in diary form.

But there’s another motivation as well. In my novels and stories, I like to show people my readers and I like solving problems like rescuing a loved one from peril and not letting killers get away with their crimes. Our troubled world certainly needs a whole bunch of problem solvers.

I write because my characters need me. Without me, they can’t exist of course. And even as I write this, I have one character in my mind who says, “Get back here. You said you were going to change my name. You promised. And you haven’t done it. And I won’t shut up until you’ve given me that nifty new name that connects me with the place shown in Die by the Sword with the old Kansas City my grandfather and grandmother know in your calendar mysteries like January Jinx.”

And I need my characters. They make me laugh. They make me cry. They surprise me. And they help me escape this troubled world.

On the practical side, I write fiction because it helps keep my brain alive and well. You better believe that I need to keep my mind alive to juggle the major plot line of a novel, especially a mystery novel like Die by the Sword with all its clues and suspects, and two to four subplots as well.

But I do want to explain how unfortunate the timing of Sam’s visit was for me when I was rushing to complete Die by the Sword in time to meet the pre-order deadline of Memorial Day weekend (this weekend!) that I’d set up. The conversation with Sam caused me to lose my confidence in myself and in Die by the Sword, so I came to wonder if that novel had too many plot holes that, in my dotage, I couldn’t even see to fix. So, I abandoned that novel and went over to another project I’d started but abandoned early this year: publishing my calendar mysteries on other platforms through a service called Draft2Digital.

And something fascinating happened. As I edited the text of digital version of January Jinx, Book 1 in the series, I found myself laughing and tearing up for my wonderful characters and rooting for them, too, even though I’ve read and rewritten the book at least a dozen times in at least three quite different forms. The joy I find in writing fiction is my primary motivation to do it.

And so, I’ve decided to resume work on Die by the Sword with a tentative publication date of September 2, 2022, though I’m not setting up another pre-order in case I don’t make that deadline. I’ll keep you posted.

Stay safe and well in this troubled world . . .

Best, Juliet

P. S.

the new cover of January Jinx

 

 

I’m really pleased with my new cover design for the digital versions of my calendar mysteries with facets of the birthstone framing the image. And I want you to know that you can now buy the eBook version of January Jinx not just from Amazon but from Barnes & Noble, as shown in the screen shot above, Apple, Kobo, and a number of other platforms as well. I hope to publish the other books in the calendar historical mystery series through Draft2Digital at a regular pace this year.

 

April 2022 Newsletter: The Perils of Self-Publishing

Hi, Everyone!

Some of you may have noticed that I withdrew the pre-order of Die by the Sword, a standalone novel of suspense. Here’s why. As I worked on that book, I discovered that I was doing lots more revising than copy editing. And I realized that I wouldn’t make my publishing date of May 27, 2022, after all. So, I decided not to publish this novel at this time. Thanks to those of you who gave me feedback on it. I appreciate your observations.

As many of you know, I do almost every aspect of writing and publishing myself, from drafting through final editing and including designing most of the covers for my books. Plus, I promote and market them all. For the eleven years that I’ve been an indie author starting with Walls, my Cinderella, P. I. fairy tale mystery novel for grown up people, I’ve usually set deadlines that I’ve rushed to meet. And so, some of my works have gone out with glitches like the dreaded missing word. At the same time, I’ve neglected important indie author chores like increasing my knowledge of self-publishing and building my author brand effectively.

 

Besides my writing work, I have household tasks like bookkeeping and grocery shopping. I do the major ones, but I put off doing many of the minor ones. And frankly, I’m tired of seeing some of my paintings leaning against the fireplace instead of hanging on the wall. I’d also like to clean up the seeds under the bird feeder on the patio before they grow into towering sunflower plants.

Since there are literally not enough hours in every day or days in the week to do all of these tasks properly and write and publish a new book, I’ve decided to step back from the latter to catch my breath and possibly catch up with some of my other tasks. For example, I’d like to re-edit and reboot my historical fiction Calendar Mystery and Cinderella, P. I. fairy tale mystery series, increase the readerships for both, and explore options for my future work. But as I often say, better busy than bored.

Happy Spring! Juliet

 

P. S. Apart in April, Book 5 of my calendar mystery series, is available Wednesday April 27 through Tuesday May 3, 2022 for $0.99 at www.amazon.com/dp/B095J4BB94 and for £0.99 at www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B095J4BB94. (And it’s forever FREE on Kindle Unlimited.) If you already own Apart in April, please review it. And in any case, please share this information with your friends.

January 2022 Newsletter

Starting a New Year . . .

Somehow, I’ve managed to start the new year by catching a cold. Apparently, this happened when I went to my doctor for a well woman check-up about a week ago. Of course, I went fully masked and observed the distancing protocol for the most part except when my doctor listened to my heart beat. Bummer!

But my temperature was the usual 96.9 this morning. I can still breathe deep and slowly exhale without coughing. And the COVID test I took yesterday turned out negative. So overall I’m good to go in 2022 with several projects. I’ll just talk about two of them.

Recently, to enhance my career as an indie author and increase sales of my books, I started publishing on a platform called Draft2Digital, a service that allows me to format my eBooks for lots of other platforms in addition to Amazon like Barnes & Noble Nook and Kobo. You can check out January Jinx at https://books2read.com/u/mqX1d. You can expect Fatal February to come along soon. And in the coming months, I anticipate getting all the historical Calendar Mysteries and the Cinderella, P. I. fairy tale mysteries on it.

Print lovers, please note that Amazon will continue to be my publisher for the paperback copies of my books. To discover what’s available, check my Amazon Author Central page: www.amazon.com/Juliet-Kincaid/e/B00DB4HWRG.

And here’s a progress report on Die by the Sword, a standalone thriller set in 1988 partly at a Renaissance Festival. The book features a young ceramic artist stalked violently by the mysterious and murderous Sir Scourge, the Lord of Lamentation.

The protagonist’s name currently is Vanessa Mathison. You might recognize the last name from my Calendar Mystery series. And I might change Van’s first name to Meneatha after her great grandmother Arminta Meneatha Wilcox known mostly as Minty. (I need to do a family tree before I start the last draft.) I hoped to finish the current draft by the end of 2021, but didn’t make it. But now the book is in pretty good shape to leave simmering on the back burner while I do some other things like the Draft2Digital project.

I’m aiming for a Memorial Day weekend publication date for Die by the Sword or possibly Labor Day. Regardless, sooner or later, I’ll need some help with it. So, if you’d like to read an Advance Review Copy and give me feedback on it, please let me know.

Please stay safe and well, my friends, Juliet

 

 

 

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.

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.