Mystery Fans at Large

In 10+ years of trying to get published, I’ve received feedback from supportive friends and family. In the course of getting published, the feedback has been positive, constructive, and sometimes embarrassing. Now, that I’m published, my book just started receiving feedback from complete strangers — people who are in no way connected to me, the industry, or my publisher. Mystery fans are actually reading my stuff? WOW!

 

 

 

Hurray! Yippie! I’m Published!

After years of work, it’s finally happened. I submitted my first manuscript in 2005. (It was mediocre) I wrote a couple more books. My work improved a lot. I signed the contract with my publisher 18 months ago. Of course, the work didn’t end there, it just shifted gears. Now, my 2nd book is under contract and I’m writing my 4th. But for me, today is a real milestone.

 

Editing fatique

With The Hatbox Murders and The Tugboat Murder both coming out next week, I’ve just finished a final-final read of each–just in case. Besides that, my editor and I have been editing The Charlatan Murders for several months now and we’ve still got plenty to do.

While it’s a good problem to have, at this point, I’m ready for a break. Even cleaning my house sounds like a nice change of pace. (Yep, it’s bad 🙂

The Publishing Process

I’m new to publishing. Even though I’m currently writing my 5th book, the Hatbox Murders will be the first one published.

Over a hear ago, Barking Rain Press assigned me to a wonderful editor, and we spent 6 months going over the manuscript. We did 3 complete in-depth passes. After that, two more editors came on board and we all went through it again.

I thought the editing was finished. Silly me. I just received the final “Final foJennifer Berg mystery writerr Print,” proof. Now, there are 5 of us on the project, all reviewing the Hatbox Murders cover-to-cover.

It really helps me appreciate (and maybe even dread 😉 all the work that goes into a traditionally published book.

And it keeps me really, really busy.

The Tugboat Murder: a novelette

photos-from-jennifers-phone-087When my editor and I finished working on my first book it disappeared into the design process I began to wonder how I could help mystery fans decide whether or not my work fit their interests. After all, there so many types of mysteries, and I don’t want anyone spending their time or money on books that aren’t actually their style.

To that end, I wrote a 15 thousand word “mini mystery,” called The Tugboat Murder. It’s a single mysterious murder and the whole story takes place over a weekend. More importantly, it will give curious mystery lovers a chance to sample my storytelling. It will soon be available, free and in its entirety, on the Barking Rain Press website.

Book Cover Art

I’ve just reviewed 2 more artist’s concept sketches for my upcoming book. Originally, I thought THE HATBOX MURDERS would be an easy cover. After all, it’s got two main characters, a hatbox, and it’s set in the 1950s.

But each sketch goes in a completely different direction from what I had been imagining. They’re unexpected but also very cool, and I can can only guess what the finished art will look like.

At the end of the day, I’m neither the artist nor the publisher, but it will be fun to see what Barking Rain Press and the artist come up with for my book! I love the old covers for Rex Stout, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy L. Sayers, but I’m not sure if they would fit the contemporary mystery market. Here’s the Pinterest board I’ve created for Mystery Retro Book Covers: http://pin.it/J0RjENY

Welcome to my blog!

This is where I share my love of classic mysteries, my work as a mystery writer, some random stuff, and a bit about my dog. Do you love sleuths, detectives, clues, and puzzles? If so, you’re in good company!

I love comments, so please feel free to add your thoughts, follow me on social media, or just browse around. 🙂

Last sunny day this week

20161221_162744The change won’t stop.

We’ve had lots of rain in the last few weeks. But there’s still enough sunshine to go around. Whether it’s sunny, cloudy, or pouring, I always find nature and seasons inspiring.

I’m currently reading two mysteries for fun (a Rex Stout and an Agatha Christie) and I’m outlining book #4 in my Elliott Bay series while going over book #2 with my editor.

Lots of plots, work, and fun. So here’s to the ever changing-weather which helps me stay on top of it all.

Cast of Characters in Mysteries

20170101_140622I’m currently reading Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse (which is excellent!) and I noticed that it begins with a bio list of all the pertinent characters. It’s the sort of thing we expect from plays, but it can be a great cheat for mystery books as well. Keeping characters straight in a mystery isn’t hard when everyone appears at more or less the same time, but when characters drift in and out of the plot, or trickle in over time, it’s too easy to unknowing mix them up. When mysteries don’t list the characters (and they usually don’t) I generally make my own cast list as I read. Sometimes, it’s overkill, but at least I can enjoy the actual mystery as the author intended instead of some weird disjointed story caused by my unintended character swapping. For the record, I didn’t include a cast list for my first book, The Hatbox Murders, because I didn’t think about it in time, but now that I’m editing The Charlatan Murders, I’ll definitely talk to my editor about including a Cast of Characters. Maybe the rest of the Elliott Bay series will feature a hand cast list.

Saturday Galley Proofing

photos-from-jennifers-phone-019-2

It’s a beautiful and relatively warm Saturday. (for October)  Kids are out playing. Grown ups are out playing. I can see them and I can hear them. And what am I doing? I’m in my studio, sitting at a computer, and reading The Hatbox Murders, which I’ve already read and edited nearly a dozen times over the last two years. Writing is work. Galley proofing is my final chance to help the editors and publisher ensure that everything is perfect. And that’s a wonderful way to spend a beautiful Saturday.