"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hit or Missus - It's all quite a process

When I decided to go ahead and use Createspace & Digital Platform services for my second Peri mystery, there was a little timeline in the back of my head that went:

1. Cover - one week
2. Format manuscript - one day
3. Publish - one day

Which sounded good, except that this timeline is totally bogus and an example of why I try not to schedule anything that doesn't involve my frontal lobe.

It took me a full day to just figure out how to make my manuscript's headers and footers look correct. Then I read the story again, and actually changed a couple of things in it. Joe has been working on the cover art, but to do a paperback, I also need a back cover, so I need to write a jacket blurb.

If you are an author, you understand how much I hate to write jacket blurbs. They are like query letters and synopses - you'd rather write a 110,000-word saga than that 250-word Reader's Digest version. Every time you think, "But that information is important," you have to ask yourself if it is needed. Will it tempt a buyer to pick up your book?

And more often than not, you don't know the answer to that question.

So I have two versions of the blurb. The first one was more or less what I used in my queries. For kicks, I submitted it to a website that likes to tear apart queries, where it was savaged. (I didn't have the heart to tell them it got me four requests for a full manuscript.) The second one is more like some of the blurbs I see on famous mystery authors' books (except for John Lescoart, whose jackets just have a picture of him surrounded by a bunch of glowing reviews).

Here are your assignments for the day:

1. Which blurb do you like best? (See below)
2. Should I try to get some reviews to quote? Or do you care, when you're cruising a bookstore, who liked the book you're holding?

Please help me. Otherwise, I shall be left to choose by myself, and I'm afraid the back of my brain will keep my frontal lobe out of the loop. We've seen how that turns out.

Jacket Blurb #1:

Peri Minneopa thinks she's taking a typical case: a rich businessman suspects his wife of cheating. Snapping pictures and collecting hotel receipts should be easy money. So color her surprised when she is suddenly being threatened, possibly by the woman herself, along with her gang of wealthy BFFs.

Her boyfriend, Skip, is worried, but as a detective in the Placentia Police Department, he has his own case to handle. Peri's elderly neighbor died of a heart attack, which wouldn't be unusual if her husband hadn't died of the same thing two weeks earlier. Skip doesn't believe in coincidences, and his suspicions prove correct.

Peri's cheating wife case soon collides with his murder case, and Peri finds it hard to keep her nose out of everything. The deeper she investigates, the more dangers she encounters. She's willing to ignore the threats on her life to get to the truth, until the bodies start piling up…

Skip's concern for her safety has led to constant fighting, leaving Peri feeling insecure about their relationship. Her self-doubts couldn't have come at a worse time, as a younger female officer is pursuing the handsome detective.

And in the middle of completing her case, defending herself against the vengeful wife and her friends, and protecting her relationship turf, her former client Benny Needles comes to her, needing a job.

Peri must decide what's worth keeping, her boyfriend, her career, or her sanity. Can't she have it all, with a dirty martini on the side?

Jacket Blurb #2:

Private investigations may be a new career for former housecleaner Peri Minneopa, but she's done a few surveillance assignments already. They're low stress - take some pictures, write a nice report and collect the fee. Her new case is a routine one, a rich husband suspects his wife of infidelity. Just because bad things start happening to her when she takes the job doesn't mean anything. It could be a coincidence.

Peri's boyfriend, Detective Skip Carlton, is investigating the death of Peri's elderly neighbor. It looks like a heart attack, which is how her husband died two weeks ago. It's not unusual for an elderly couple to die within a short time of each other. It could be a coincidence.

Skip's elderly couple had left legal papers lying out on the table, involving a year-old real estate purchase. An attached note from Peri's client, a real estate developer, doesn't mean anything. It could be a coincidence.


Peri doesn't believe in coincidences, any more than Skip does. When their cases collide, she begins poking her nose into police business and immediately butts heads with her boyfriend. She wants to know who is harassing her, and what happened to her neighbor. Skip wants to keep her out of danger and keep his case from being compromised.

Getting to the truth will require help, and Peri gets it from an unlikely partner, an annoying little man who is obsessed with Dean Martin.

If she can keep her sanity and her life -


1 comment:

Enid Wilson said...

I think having quotes are good. I now try to do a warning line too for the blurb too, such as, BE WARN: This title contains poison, blood etc.

Bargain with the Devil

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