Monday, October 28, 2019

My October Newsletter


October 28, 2019



Thank you to all my subscribers! I appreciate you so much!

WHAT’S NEW

**The anthology, A MURDER OF CROWS, came out earlier this month. It not only includes my own story, “Grist for the Mill,” is contains an introduction by the editor, Sandra Murphy that begins with this sentence:
“It’s all Kaye George’s fault.”
It really is, too! You’ll have to take a peek, and maybe buy the e-book or paperback while you’re there.



In fact, here’s a link to an interview of Sandra by Jacqueline Seewald.


**Do you remember my Cressa Carraway Musical Mystery series that got orphaned when the publisher went out of business earlier this year? The same place that published that above anthology has taken it on! I promised a third book to round out the over-arching plot that wasn’t quite finished at the end of the second book. They will get new titles and new covers from Darkhouse Books. I’m very excited that this series will be revived!


**I’m on a Darkhouse Books roll right now! Another anthology is coming out very soon, MID-CENTURY MURDERS and will include my story “Life and Death on the Road,” based on the true story of when my little brother ran away and joined the carnival.


WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON

--You may remember that I got a hip replacement in August. I’m well on the road to recovery, as far as decreased pain and increased function. Only problem is, my back still hurts like the dickens! My cousin’s wife had all her back pain go away when she got a knee replaced and I hoped I would get similar results. But, no luck. So that’s the next body part to work on.


WHAT I’M DOING
--Yes, still trying to finish up INTO THE SWEET HEREAFTER, the third Vintage Sweets cozy. But right now, packing for Bouchercon in Dallas! This will be my first Bouchercon. For some reason, I’ve never been to one and I’m very much looking forward to it. I’m on a self-publishing panel on Thursday (Halloween!) at 9:30. I have several meetups planned with other writers there, plus my former co-workers from when I lived in Dallas. I’m taking a little more time to drive to Austin to see my son’s family and people I know from the time I lived in Austin.


WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT

Bouchercon, Oct 31-Nov 3, in Dallas, where I lived for nearly 20 years.

Left Coast Crime in San Diego, where I have cousins I haven’t seen in too long. March 12-15.


Malice Domestic, of course, very soon after LCC. May 1-3 in the DC area where I have more family—my daughter, son-in-law, and two grandsons.


WHAT I SHOULD BE DOING
Charging my laptop and organizing files I want to access while I’m away. And packing. And putting holds on the mail and paper. And getting the cab and the rental car set up. Probably some more things that I’ll forget entirely.


RECENT WEB APPEARANCES
Blogs: Killer Characters and Writers Who Kill, and, less often, Travels With Kaye.



MY STANDING SHORT STORY OFFER
If you don’t have this yet and would like the audio MP3 file of my story “Rescue, 2005,” based on pet rescues in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the Ninth Ward, please let me know by reply or email. You can access another audio story, “Driving out of Dumas,” on my webpage.


CONNECTIONS
Here’s where you can connect with me if you haven’t already:
Authors Guild of Tennessee: https://authorsguildoftn.org/


PUBLIC FACEBOOK GROUPS:
Nose for Trouble Facebook group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/NoseForTrouble/
Prehistory Writers and Readers Campfire: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1466936593554809/
Smoking Guns E TN chapter of Sisters in Crime: https://www.facebook.com/groups/391058174841953/

Thanks so much for subscribing!

Kaye

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Not Another Fork!




I’ve reported forks in the road during my Travels quite a few times now, and I encountered another one this last week. It’s either a bump or a fork—too soon to tell. 


On the surface, it doesn’t look like a good thing, but it may turn out well. One of my publishers, Barking Rain Press, has gone belly up. This has happened to a lot of my writing friends, but never before to me. Yes, Berkley Prime Crime is out of business, but the whole publisher isn’t gone, just that branch—the branch that published me (as Janet Cantrell), of course.
 
This time, though, it’s like those other closings where the writers are left dazed and bewildered. Okay, dazed and confused—might as well say it. There are some authors with BRP who published their first books there. Some who had one in the pipeline and have been waiting for the release through weeks of delay. Some are heartbroken and at least one has vowed to give up mystery writing.

This closing leaves a lot of debris in the road for most of us. I’m trying to pick up the pieces the best way I can. The books that are orphaned are my Cressa Carraway Musical Mysteries, EINE KLEINE MURDER and REQUIEM IN RED.

I’m seeing this as an opportunity for a fresh start for these books. I’ve been delaying the third in this intended trilogy (at least), so this is a chance to get some things straightened out and move forward with Cressa. I would like to possibly use the titles I proposed originally, and new covers should brighten up the books. If my agent succeeds in getting a publisher for them, I’ll look forward to fresh edits, too. Heck, I’ll look forward to all of those things, even if I self-publish them. And this is the spur I need to get that third book written.

It could turn out okay for me. I sincerely hope it turns out at least okay for many of my fellow BRP orphans.

all photos from morguefile.com

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Something New for Me!


I got an invitation out of the blue this week and I’m eager to tell you about it. Another new road for me.



E. B. Davis, a mystery writer I’ve known for some time, asked if I would like to fill an upcoming vacancy at the excellent blog, Writers Who Kill. I thought it about it long and hard for about two minutes.

I’ve followed this blog for a long time and know at least a little about all the bloggers, and am good friends with most of them.

James M. Jackson, author of the Seamus McCree mysteries, is stepping down to do other writerly things, so I’m filling his spot, which is every other Sunday.

I’m still blogging once a month at Killer Characters, wherethe characters do the talking. And I’ll keep up with Travels with Kaye. My intention here has always been to blog once a week, but I admit I’ve been lax lately, so maybe not quite once a week. In fact, maybe every other week. That sounds about right.

Most of the blogger pictures at the side of the new place contain lethal weapons, so I dug out mine from a Writers Police Academy. I believe it’s the only picture of me with an actual lethal weapon. I could totally fire it and I would totally shoot nowhere near the target. I’m a terrible shot.

I’m looking forward to joining the group there! I hope some of you reading this will follow me over and check out the other writers there, too.

new road photo by johnlindsay at morguefile.com

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

I LOVE JUNE




June has been a good month for me. Looking through my short story publications, I realize that a lot of them were published in June. I’d like to pull this one up and post it here for you. It came out in the June 9th issue of “King’s River Life Magazine” in 2012. It’s billed as a mystery/horror story. I think it’s pretty funny.

My own little Jeeves, dearly departed


I’ll give you a bit of background. I’m a HUGE Roomba fan. My son bought me my first one quite a few years ago. By 2012, its battery had died a sad death. It turned out that replacing the rechargeable battery would be nearly as expensive as buying a new one, and other parts, mostly the plastic ones, were getting worn. I ended up buying a new one, but before that, had a weird dream. The Roomba was dead, but would occasionally come to life. It was a little scary! This story came of that.

(Oh yes, I got married in June too. We spent a little over 50 years together, so that turned out to be a good move.)

It’s still at this link, http://kingsriverlife.com/06/09/the-takeover-an-original-mysteryhorror-short-story/, but I’ll also stick it here. (The picture is by me of my own Jeeves. His replacement is named R2, for Roomba #2)

The Takeover: An Original Mystery/Horror Short Story
IN THE JUNE 9 ISSUE
FROM THE 2012 ARTICLES,
ANDFANTASY & FANGS,
ANDMYSTERYRAT'S MAZE SECTIONS
by Kaye George
The Takeover by mystery author Kaye George has never before been published.

When Jeeves quit after working only twenty minutes of vacuuming one sunshiny spring morning, I didn’t think it was that big a deal. Maybe he hadn’t gotten fully charged at his comfy docking station. I picked the dear little thing up and placed him carefully back at his home. His tiny orange heart started beating, telling me he was happily charging. All was well with the world. I was so glad I had a Roomba.

The next day he started out across the kitchen floor as usual. He made those endearing beep-beep-beep backing-up noises that made him sound like a piece of toy construction equipment. But this time he cleaned a few feet of the floor, then stopped, crying, “Uh oh!”

“What’s the matter, my darling Jeeves?” I asked. “Is something wrong with your charger?”

On my hands and knees, I could see the charger was plugged solidly into the outlet and his belly. I got up and went to my home office to look online for answers. I found a few workarounds and fiddled with him and his battery for awhile, but nothing worked. I was stumped. Was he dying? I decided to let him charge overnight again.

The following morning he wasn’t in the corner where he belonged. He was next to the kitchen table, sitting quietly on a section of newspaper I’d left on the floor beside my chair. When I’d read the paper late the night before, I’d been dismayed to read that another zombie uprising was expected. The last one hadn’t happened very close by, two states away, but this next one was expected in a nearby town. The graves there had shown signs of upheaval. The uprisings were increasing in frequency, according to the article. On the stroke of midnight, a cemetery would erupt, zombies would emerge from the ruptured graves, sit up, and struggle to their feet to wreak havoc on the nearest humans. The papers displayed images of the carnage almost every day.

I didn’t like reading about an infestation so close, but I hadn’t been able to avoid the headlines, or the talk in the line at the grocery store. Not only were formerly human zombies taking over small towns, farmhouses, and abandoned shopping malls, a food processor in Chicago had leaped off the counter and pureed a cat, a beloved household pet. The bereaved owner called it a zombie food processor. Strange things were going on.

Lifting Jeeves gently, I snatched the newspaper and crumpled it into the wastebasket.

Jeeves said “Uh oh,” when I picked him up. It was one of his standard programmed noises–for when he was stuck. But he refused to vacuum. Again. I was getting fed up with the little bugger. I went into my office and got online again to see how much a newer model would cost. Maybe I could afford another one. Jeeves seemed to be dying. I supposed I should mourn his loss. He’d been such a fine cleaner. The price of a new battery was almost as much as a new machine. My kitchen floor, and the others in the house, too, were getting dirtier by the day.

The next day, I paged through the paper, averting my eyes from the lurid pictures of the zombie carnage. After breakfast I threw the paper on the floor, as usual, to remind myself to take it to the recycle bin on my next trip to the garage, and got to work in my office at my editing job. When I left the office for a break mid-morning, Jeeves was on top of the newspaper again. Was he reading the damn thing?

I grabbed him, maybe somewhat roughly, and got a mild shock. I shoved him back onto his docking station, determined to take him to the trash tomorrow when I ran my Friday errands. A low rumble emanated from him. It wasn’t a sound I’d ever before heard from his programmed innards. For some reason, it made the hair on the back of my neck prickle. I shook my head at my silly apprehension and closed the door between the office and the kitchen to work that afternoon.

As I sat at the kitchen table at dinner time, I heard the ominous, dull growling noise again. I inclined my head toward Jeeves. There could be no mistake. It was coming from him. Maybe I should rename him Spot or something. If he were human, or even if he were a dog or cat–at least an animate object–I might think he was expressing anger, hostility. Maybe dismay at his dysfunctional state. I shook off a shiver.

I told myself it must be one of the sounds he’s programmed with to show something’s wrong.
 For a few moments I continued eating. When I felt a sucking sensation on my bare toes under the table, I looked down. Jeeves was working away, vacuuming my feet. He’d drawn blood from my left big toe. I slammed him onto the charger and weighed him down with my large dictionary.

I took my plate into the den and turned the TV volume up to mask the disturbing grumbles in the kitchen.
That night, a soft whirring noise awakened me from a restless sleep. My first thought was that the ceiling fan needed oiling. Then I felt it. Something tugged on my hair. It pulled. Harder and harder. I switched on my bedside lamp and tried to sit up, but couldn’t. Jeeves was eating my hair, pulling it out by the roots. I stuffed a pillow on top of him and jerked my head away.

More hair ripped out. Blood dripped onto my sheets.

I trapped him between two pillows to avoid shock.
 Using that morning’s paper, I succeeded in wrapping him and carrying him to the trash container, which I wheeled to the end of the driveway so the automated garbage truck could forklift it and dump it into its hopper tomorrow.

It felt good to get rid of that unsatisfactory piece of hardware. I took a deep breath, relieved. Maybe I would look for an old fashioned vacuum. Most of them must be pushed, but some uprights are self-propelled. I’d shop around.

When I returned from my mid-morning errands the next day, I wheeled the empty trash bin back to the side of the garage and went inside. The growling sound greeted me and Jeeves sat just inside the doorway. It was as if he were waiting for me.

Was there no way to get rid of him? Had he climbed out of the trash barrel? I needed to get him out of here, permanently.

A few steps into the kitchen he darted at my feet and I tripped and went down, my feet smarting from his sting even through my tennis shoes. He reversed and came back at me. I managed to scramble to my feet and jump onto a kitchen chair. He butted against it, but didn’t dislodge me.
Atop the chair, I seemed to be safe from being shocked and vacuumed, but I couldn’t stay there forever.
What to do? I had to get him out of the house. I realized I was breathing heavily and my thumping heartbeat was competing with his low, menacing rumbles.

This would not do. I would not be cornered in my own home by a piece of machinery. I wiped damp palms on my jeans and calmed myself. Putting all my effort into making a tremendous leap, I got past Jeeves and raced to the linen cupboard. Grabbed a large tablecloth and threw it over him. Wrapped it around him, ignoring his muffled cries, which sounded more like pleading now than threats.

I managed to get the horrid thing into my car trunk without a shock. I drove straight to the dump, listening to thumping and groaning from the trunk.

At the entrance, I got out and approached the man in the gatehouse. I hadn’t thought what I would say. How could I tell him I had a rogue Roomba in the trunk?

He greeted me with a cheery smile and I thought fast.

“There’s an appliance in my trunk that I need to get rid of.”

“I’ll get it for ya,” he said, walking to the back of the car.

“Be careful. I’ve been getting shocks from it.”

He paused at the closed trunk. “It’s not one of those vacuum do-hickies, is it?”

Startled that he had guessed, I admitted it was.

“We’ve gotten a few of those in the last couple days.” He grabbed a long handled shovel and took it and a wheelbarrow to the rear of my car. “I should be able to get him this way.”

“How did you know–” I almost asked how he knew Jeeves was a male, but that would sound too ridiculous.

“How do you know how to handle it?”

“After a couple shocks, I figured it out.”

I popped the trunk and he maneuvered Jeeves into the wheelbarrow, then threw a piece of thick cloth over him. “I’ll take it from here,” he said.

I drove off, relieved to be rid of the pest.
 That night I went to bed, secure in the knowledge that my house was rid of the alien, metal enemy.

The next morning, my friend Anna came over for coffee, as she usually did on Saturdays. After some chat about local library funding, the lack thereof, and the deplorable deaths in the neighboring town from the zombie infestation, she glanced at the empty docking station.

“Did your Roomba quit working?” she asked.

“Yes, he just died. I think it might have been the battery,” I lied. “But a new battery is so expensive.”

“That’s weird. Mine died, too, on Thursday. And my mother’s quit working Friday.”

“What did you do?”

She looked away. “We had to get rid of them.”

“Did yours, well, attack you?” I had to know. If this was a widespread defect, the company should be told.

She leaned toward me and lowered her voice, as if a Roomba were nearby and might overhear. “Yes. They both shocked us. Mother fell and we had to take her to the emergency room for the burns. She’ll be okay, but it was upsetting to her. What with her heart and all.”

“I took Jeeves to the dump,” I said.

“Jeeves?”

I reddened, realized I had revealed my pet name for him. “Yes, that was his name.”

“Joe threw mine in the lake,” Anna said, referring to her husband. “And mother’s, too. They didn’t have names.”

“At least we’re rid of them.”

We finished our coffee with some gossip about the new couple in the middle of the block and the way their dog barked so much during the day, then Anna left. I spent the rest of Saturday checking vacuum prices online and eventually ordered one, to be delivered in a week.

Clouds gathered all day Sunday and by nighttime a gentle rain was falling. It was lovely to fall asleep to the regular patter of raindrops on the roof, feeling safe.

Monday morning the sun burst through the clouds when I opened the door to fetch the newspaper from the lawn. I shook it out and started to read the headline, but thought I heard thunder. I looked up to see if the rain was starting again. But the sound was coming from lower, from the ground.

I looked down to see a line of Roombas between me and my front door. They smelled like rotten food and some trailed streamers of gray trash behind them. One winked his glowing top light at me and I thought I recognized Jeeves.

They growled and surged toward me, sparks flying from their evil innards. As I fell, the paper flew from my hands, but I caught the words “Zombie Roombas” in the headlines.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

COMING UP

My new newsletter and Facebook header



I put out my sporadic newsletter today. If you got it, you can skip this blog—it’s a partial recap. If you do NOT get my newsletter, and want to, let me know in these comments!

For quite a while now, I use the same format, mostly, which includes what’s coming up, books, stories, appearances. I realized, putting the newsletter together, that I have some things coming up. I’d like everyone to know about them, so I’ll put them out here, too.

WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT

--I’ve been asked to be on a panel at Mystery in the Midlands, June 22, in Columbia SC! It’s a day of workshops and panels put on by Southeast Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and the Palmetto Chapter of Sisters in Crime, for mystery writers, readers, everyone. My panel is full of top notch writers, and me too! Special guest Nancy Pickard, will be interviewed by Cathy Pickens. Info is at: https://www.evensi.us/mystery-midlands-st-paul-lutheran-church/311494925

--Mystery in the Pines, an afternoon mystery event at the White Pine Bookstore in White Pine TN, September 7, 2-5 pm. Games, contests, snacks, and mystery writers—some there, some Skyping in.

--In October, Darkhouse Books will publish an anthology, MID-CENTRY MYSTERIES, which will contain my short story, “Life and Death on the Road.” I ripped it from my own brother’s life, using the time he ran away from home and joined the carnival. Yes, he did!

--Bouchercon, Oct 31-Nov 3, in Dallas, where I lived for nearly 20 years. Details on that conference aren’t out yet.

--Left Coast Crime, San Diego March 12-15 2020. More on this later.

--“Revenge Is Sweet” release from Lyrical Press, March 2020 (!!!) Cover and pre-order info coming.

PLUS, the next meeting of the off-and-running Smoking Guns Chapter of Sisters in Crime will be June 22nd, 1 pm at the Bearden Public Library. Details here:

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A Writer's Life



You’d think that the main occupation of a writer would be, well, writing, wouldn’t you? The activity that takes up the majority of my time, the thing I think about the most?



Turns out, writing a book is a small part of it. You can write a hundred books, but eventually, you’ll want other people to read them. To do that, they have to be published. Aye, there’s the rub. (I’ll add that writing a book IS hard. You have to learn how to do it—read books, take classes, seek feedback wherever you can, and keep reading and writing, over and over and over, until something clicks.)    


So, you want someone to read it. Someone besides your close family and friends. Today, there are several ways you can get a book published. You can learn how to DIY, as I’ve done with one series and my short story collection. There it is—all published, with a professional cover (that I paid for), sitting out there on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other places too, for all the world to see. Um, why isn’t anyone seeing it? Because thousands of other writers have done the same thing and the field is crowded. I gave that series a leg up by having one of my actual publishers distribute it. Almost all my sales of that series come through them (Untreed Reads). 


Another way is to submit it dozens (or, in my case, hundreds) of times to small presses. After you learn to write an appealing cover letter, summarizing your book in one succinct paragraph. For that, you’ll probably have to take a class, or at least read books and articles on it. Then, when you do get a small press to say they’ll publish it, it’s sitting out there with your self-published series and a few people are noticing, but not many unless you learn to promote it. Another class or two, or ten. I’ve had the great good fortune to be associated with several excellent small presses, but I have to help them out with marketing and selling.



The old fashioned way is to attract an agent to do all that work. Ha! Getting an agent is harder than any of the above. If you’re sending a proposal, you’ll have to have the cover letter, a one or two page synopsis (take another class to learn to do that), and at least the first three chapters of a proposed book. Or, you can take 6-12 months to write a whole book and submit that—with the completely professional cover letter. Then you hope the agent gets you work published with a big enough press to get it onto an actual bookstore bookshelf. That’s the way to sell lots of books. The only way I’ve found, personally. Other writers can sell books in other ways, but, so far, that’s worked best for me, quantity-wise.


So, reading books about how to write, how to market, taking classes in all those things, writing blogs, writing guest blogs, putting out newsletters (first building a newsletter recipient list), joining writers’ organizations, getting my name in front of people by doing columns and reviews, giving away review copies in hopes of getting actual reviews, attending conferences so more readers will have heard about me, and doing tons and tons of networking—because priceless connections and advice come from my fellow mystery writers: every bit of that is valuable. And it’s not writing!

So now, that I’ve done a blog on all the other activities, I’ll submit this and…WRITE.

REPEAT FROM PREVIOUS BLOG—THIS IS STILL GOING ON UNTIL THE END OF THE MONTH!

An important announcement! All month long, my two Neanderthal mysteries will be on sale, in both paperback and hardcover! 15% off PLUS free shipping. If you haven’t yet picked up DEATH IN THE TIME OF ICE or DEATH ON THE TREK, this is the perfect time.

Untreed Reads, the publisher, makes an unusual offer, too. They can customize any print book you purchase to include a special message inside...at no extra charge! Just put in your notes what you'd like it to say. See all of the titles at http://store.untreedreads.com





photos from morguefile.com by, in order,
kconnors
dhester
mockingbird
lauramusikanski
click


Friday, May 10, 2019

Malice Conference and a Nice Sale


I’m back from a fully packed weekend in Bethesda for Malice Domestic and thoroughly exhausted and energized—at the same time. I know, it’s weird. It’s a wonderful thing to be breathing the same air as all those mystery writers and readers, sharing thoughts and laughs, and a few tears sometimes. Oh, and drinks. OK, not sharing drinks, but, you know.

As usual, I came home without any pix of my own. Several people posted some with me in them, so I’ll “borrow” some of those. 

Janet Bolin, Linda Wiken, Vicki Delaney, me, Daryl Wood Gerber (Avery Aames) and Sheila Connolly--by Daryl (Canadians to the left, Americans and one Irish American to the right)

Elisa A. Varey, me, and Laura Oles, by Elisa

Me, Grace Topping, and Kristin Kisska at Malice Go Round
Me, Julie Hennrikus, and Sheila again by Carol Pouliot


This Malice was the most fun ever so far! I was kind of dreading my panel, since I left town before the info went out, so I had no files with me. The story the moderator wanted to discuss was “Dream Girl” in the BOULD anthology. Darned if I could remember the names of the characters! Since I had bought copies for my family, I found I could download a free digital version onto my little Amazon Fire that I took with me. (First time I’ve ever traveled without a laptop! I always bring one and NEVER use it.) The panel turned out to be hilarious, entertaining, and a whole lot of fun.

Ed Aymer, moderator, and Robin Templeton, Alan Orloff, me, Eleanor Cawood Jones, and Josh Pachter--SO honored to be sitting with such talent! Photo by Art Taylor, husband of the Agatha winner, Tara Laskowski.

Stylized photo by Elisa of me and Mary Lee Ashford (with Steve Carter in the foreground), lamenting the flooding back where we're both from in Iowa and Illinois.

No picture of my and my daughter at the banquet SITTING NEXT TO ANN HILLERMAN! Darn!

And now for an important announcement! All month long, my two Neanderthal mysteries will be on sale, in both paperback and hardcover! 15% off PLUS free shipping. If you haven’t yet picked up DEATH IN THE TIME OF ICE or DEATH ON THE TREK, this is the perfect time.

Untreed Reads, the publisher, makes an unusual offer, too. They can customize any print book you purchase to include a special message inside...at no extra charge! Just put in your notes what you'd like it to say. See all of the titles at http://store.untreedreads.com