My journey with Peri and her friends

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Posts Tagged ‘Karen Syed’

All the news in fits of print!

Posted by Gayle on February 21, 2009

I met with my (fun, funny and savvy) publisher, Karen Syed, last week and found out Freezer Burn will be officially released in September 2009. But wait, there’s more: we will have a pre-release launch party in July! I’m very excited, especially since I know just where to have it – the Backs Building at Kraemer Park. Why there? Because I can rent it for, like, fifty bucks, and it’s where the first body is discovered. Cool, huh?

So, I’ll have my big launch party in the building (I’m still thinking of creative ways to work murder, mayhem and Dean Martin music into the soiree), then I’ll invite my friends back to my house to truly enjoy Peri’s weakness for dirty martinis… and their weaknesses for beer, wine, and munchies!

Then I’ll pack up some books and head to the Gray Eagle Lodge, where I will do an event at the Lodge. Why there? Because the bartender, Mark Tieslau, suggested a dirty martini as Peri’s favorite drink. It was a perfect suggestion, in that karmic-soprano-chorus way: Peri used to have a housecleaning business, so she likes clean houses and dirty martinis. Score, yes?

In the meantime, Peri’s life as a housekeeper, and her subsequent career change, are chronicled in a short story, “Cleaning up at the Franks”, which has been included in an anthology, MISSING, from Echelon Press.


This anthology includes short stories by a lot of really good authors, and all the proceeds from the sale of this book go to benefit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. You see, in addition to being a savvy businesswoman, Karen wants to give back to the community, so each year she finds a charity that will allow us to advertise that we’re raising money for them by publishing an anthology in their honor. Last year’s THE HEAT OF THE MOMENT benefitted the families who were affected by the San Diego wildfires. This year we’re trying to help the people who find the lost. Click here to buy a copy – you’ll get to meet Peri!

Just to give you a teaser, here’s the opening sentence:

Either Grant was getting better with his aim, or he hadn’t been using this toilet for at least two days.


There. Now you’ve gotta figure out who Grant is and why he can’t concentrate long enough to pee in a bowl.


Gotta run, children. Much to do!


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Getting some attention

Posted by Gayle on July 18, 2008

Kraemer Park, one of the locations in the book

Kraemer Park, one of the locations in the book

In February 2008, I did one more round of edits, printed my manuscript, and headed down to San Diego for yet another SoCal Writer’s Conferences. This time, I had sent in the first 20 pages for three different people to read: an editor (Mike Sirota), an agent (quite frankly, I don’t remember her name), and a publisher (Karen Syed, Echelon Press).

I tried to use my time wisely, by going to workshops that had information on getting published, attending a few read & critique sessions to get feedback, and hanging out with Gordon Kirkland. Okay, that last activity was only useful and wise in that I like hanging out with him.

For my advance submissions, Mike Sirota was semi-encouraging. As I sat down, he said, “Ah, at last someone I can give good news to.” Then he proceeded to tear my work apart and tell me to rewrite it all from a completely different perspective and using completely different characters.


The agent was very young and perky and “played devil’s advocate” with me, questioning Peri’s motivation for going to Benny’s place, Benny’s fascination with Dean Martin, etc. She wasn’t a horrid person, but I could tell that, even if I changed it to please her, we would not work well together.

Then there was Karen. She not only liked my work, she “got” it.

“Have you finished this?” she asked. “Send it to me.”

(Insert girlish squeal here.)

But-but-but… I had already asked Jean Jenkins to work with me, as my editor. Although I had re-read and edited, I wasn’t confident that the book was really publisher-ready. What a lovely dilemma!

Jean said to go for it, so I did one more quick clean-up, then sent it to Karen the following week.

I didn’t hear from her for four months, so I figured she just wasn’t that into it, and I sent it to Jean for editting. As timing would have it, that’s when Karen contacted me and said, do you want a contract?

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