My journey with Peri and her friends

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Archive for August, 2008

Say ‘hello’ to Mark

Posted by Gayle on August 30, 2008

Meet Mark Tieslau. He actually looks a lot younger in person. And I look a lot thinner.

Why is Mark here? He’s the bartender at the Firewoods Restaurant in the Gray Eagle Lodge (, a place in the Plumas National Forest where my family and 5-6 other groups of our friends gather yearly for a week of fun in the outdoors.

When I was writing Freezer Burn, I was looking for a high end drink that Peri, my heroine, would drink when she could afford it (when she’s broke, it’s cheap light beer). Mark suggested a Grey Goose dirty martini, and of course, fixed one for me to try. I love green, stuffed olives, and Mark makes some of the best drinks EVAH, so it worked for me.

There was an additional benefit to giving this to Peri for her signature drink; before she was a P.I., Peri had a housecleaning business. Now I can tell people that she likes clean houses and dirty martinis. How cool is that?


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Kat’s in the house!

Posted by Gayle on August 27, 2008

On Monday, I got an email from someone called “Senior Editor”. Turns out it was Kat Thompson, senior editor at Echelon. My book is out of the queue and into her hands, yay! She assured me that she’s not going to try to change my story, just insist that it’s clean.

I’ve never worked with a book editor before, but I’m looking forward to the experience.

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And, in related news…

Posted by Gayle on August 25, 2008

By mid-July, I had a severe case of the “antsies”. I kept working on other stories, writing my columns, but a little voice in the back of my head kept whining that it wanted to get started on edits for the book, wanted a release date, wanted something, dammit.

I sent an email to Karen, hoping to sound casual about “just checking in” and wondering “if there’s anything I can do to help” and a lot of smoke and mirrors that really just meant, “I need dates and action plans.”

Here’s what she sent as a reply:

How fast could you write a short story? 5000 words.

Huh? How was that even relevant to what I’d asked?

It wasn’t. Karen was putting together an anthology of stories about missing persons to profit the John Walsh Center for Missing and Exploited Children. So, no royalties/advance/$$ for this, but a chance to be charitable with my words, and to appear in a book with the likes of J.A. Konrath and Michele Scott. How could I resist?

I wrote a short story with my main character, Peri, back when she had her housecleaning business. It was a good way to introduce her, as well as to establish how she became a P.I.

Missing! will debut at Bouchercon, the mystery writer’s convention, to be held in Baltimore, MD, on October 9-12, 2008.

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It’s looking like a book now

Posted by Gayle on August 22, 2008

After I accepted the book deal from Karen Syed, I wandered around squealing a bit. Then I settled down to wonder what happens next.

“What happens next” was that I started working on other things to keep from asking Karen what happens next. About a month after I signed the contract, I got the next email with my cover art (see above). It wasn’t anything like I had pictured, but I love it. I emailed it to all of my friends, then I printed it out and carried the email message around with me, folded weird to show off the cover. It’s a little dog-eared now, but I still drag it out and show people.

After the cover art came, I waited some more…

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After the contract, the rest is gravy, right?

Posted by Gayle on August 8, 2008

I admit I was disappointed in the contract money, although not at all in the contract terms. I wasn’t expecting to get rich, but… okay, I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised. I knew Echelon was a small, independent publisher, so I knew that the $$ would be more like $.

I thoroughly believe in this book; it would be false modesty to say, aw, shucks, I’m an okay writer. I’m a good writer, and Freezer Burn is a fun read. It’s not a literary masterpiece, but that wasn’t my goal.

So I could have passed on Echelon and gotten an agent and shopped my book around. I’m certain it would have been picked up by a bigger operation, offering me more money. But…

1. With an agent, some of my “more money” would go to their outstretched hand.

2. I had met Karen (the publisher) and I liked her directness and her energy. Everyone I spoke to about Echelon sung her praises.

I debated this for at least a week, maybe two. I had friends saying that I should take the deal. I had friends saying I could do better. Then, my friend, Pam, gave me the best advice of all: “Screw everybody else. Follow your heart.”

My heart wanted to go with Echelon. I took the deal.

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