"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

Thursday, October 24, 2019

It's time to start my engines

I've written the book. It's been edited. Formatted for Kindle and paperback. What now?

1. Choose a release date.
2. Start making people want what I've written.

I made a couple of videos to kick off the process. One is to give you the release news.

The other is to make you want to know more.

Want to know more? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Choice is made!

Extra points if you know what movie that quote is from.

After tallying all the comments, the cover art selected is: Cover 2!

Which is, coincidentally, the cover I liked best, too.

So now what happens? The manuscript is in its final edits, which means I am reading it aloud one more time. After that, I will begin the formatting. One format for the Kindle, one for the paperback, and possibly one more for the hardcover. My manuscript will be a book.

With each platform, I will re-read the book (yes, cover-to-cover), looking for errors. For these re-reads, I will read the actual medium. The e-book will be downloaded to my Kindle. I will order a proof copy of the paperback, and the hardcover. Any changes I make will now have to be made in all the formats, plus the original Word file. 

It's all painstaking, but IMHO, all worth it. Is perfection too much to ask for?

My little author's heart would love to publish it as soon as I get this all finished, but my publisher's head says no. We need to elicit reviews. We need to set up book signings. We need to engage potential readers and build excitement.

What do we want? The 5th Peri Minneopa Mystery!
When do we want it? NOW!
When will we get it?

FEBRUARY 21, 2020. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The suspense is killing me. I hope it lasts.

Extra points for the movie this post's title is from.

I've been a busy bunny these past many months, trying desperately to finish the 5th Peri mystery, give it a name, and prepare for its debut. At times, I thought it would never happen. At times, I was willing to "half-ass" it, throw it all together, shrug, and release it without much fanfare. 

But reason prevailed.

I can't release a book I'm not proud to have written. There are a couple of books among the ones I've published that are not my favorites, but I'm not ashamed to have my name on the covers.  The more I edited this novel, the more I fell in love with it, and the more justice I wanted to do to the story.

The current status is:
1. It's in its final phase with my lovely and talented editor, Jennifer Silva Redmond.
2. It has a title.
3. It has a jacket teaser (that probably still needs tweaking).
4. I have four strong contenders for the cover art. This is where you come in. Take a gander at the cover options I'm considering and let me know your preference. BTW, we can mix and match fonts and colors if you think there's a better combo.

People of Earth, I give you:


P.I. Peri Min­neopa has had enough. She’s clos­ing her busi­ness, mar­ry­ing her detec­tive boyfriend, and set­tling down to a life of ease–until her brother shows up, accused of a mur­der he swears he didn’t com­mit. Now she’s back in the thick of things, inves­ti­gat­ing the death of an engi­neer who may have been steal­ing techno-secrets from other com­pa­nies. Her rela­tion­ship with her brother is an icy one, at best, and she strug­gles with her ambiva­lence, as well as her desire to leave inves­tiga­tive work behind. Dig­ging around in people’s lives is rea­son­ably easy, but when the bul­lets start fly­ing, will Peri be able to keep her promise?

Cover Option 1

Cover Option 2

Cover Option 3

Cover Option 4

Look for one of these covers, and more Peri Minneopa to come your way February 2020!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Maybe I'm amazed

Yes, I really AM still working on Peri #5, and yes, I can see the ending, just around the bend, as they say. It's been an absolute beast of a story to tell--simple and yet complicated and I couldn't find its rhythm and more whining that you don't want to hear. It will require more editing than any book I've written, but as I work toward the end, the structure has announced itself, and I'm glad we met.

For those of you who think each book gets easier to write, consider that a Public Service Announcement. And a warning label.

In the meantime, of course, I'm wrestling columns and attending meetings and conferences and HAY! riding my horse. And I recently had the joy of talking to my son. It doesn't happen often, and I love it when it does. He is composing a piece of music for his high school music director (with her knowledge) for her students to perform for her 20th anniversary teaching. Which is a pretty cool idea, to showcase works by your former students, who you encouraged and mentored. 

I started thinking about all that time I spent in the choir booster club, and those hours in the classroom, helping organize folders and count robes and pull out the ones that needed cleaning/mending, etc. I would listen to each class come in as a ball of noise chaos. The teacher would have to settle them, make them listen, make them sing, make them learn.

Words came to mind, a poem about the noise and the music, the howl and the trill. I wrote it all down (because why wouldn't I), then noticed three short lines: "They come." "They are here." "They are home." They were at different places within the poem, and I noticed they could be inserted, together, in a few places, and make a chorus.

And as I edited, I heard a choir arise from cacophony, into radiant strands of music. And whether it's a good poem or a bad poem, I'm amazed at the written word and where it can take you.


In the silence of a beat
A single voice,
A ringing bell invites.
They come.
       They are here.
             They are home.
Whispers curl like napping cats,
Waves softly brushing the shore,
Words rise and clash,
Cymbals, punctuating space.
They come.

       They are here.
             They are home.

They bring their rainbow dreams
And lift them in a roar of thunder,
The howl of angry wolves,
The mournful cry of the lost, the lonely.
Bird-songs, high and giggling,
Break through the storm.
They come.

       They are here.
             They are home.

The cacophony swirls, rises, meets, joins, blends.
New sound is born, sweet and joyful,
Embracing the air.
Soft, sad, harsh, happy, peaceful.
They come.

       They are here.
             They are home.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Is it good? Does it have to be?

FWIW, I am working feverishly on the 5th Peri mystery, and finally feel, in the second-muddle of an act, that I know where it's all going. That's the good news.

While I write, however, life goes on and other deadlines pop up, one of which is my weekly column. Every Wednesday, I leave Peri and her friends to write 600 words on Some Other Topic. It makes one feel a little distracted.

And when I went to Sonny Boy's choral concert last month and heard the beautiful words set to music sung by beautiful voices, I felt pulled to compose a poem of my own. I used to write poetry, in my angsty youth--all Rod McKuen, free verse, in a kind of yearning cadence. Whining. Let's just call it what it was. Teenage whining wasteland.

When Sonny Boy first went to kindergarten, his teacher had them keep a journal, where they would draw a picture, and she would help them write a sentence underneath it. Each day had a kind of topic. Something You Like. Your Favorite Game. What You Eat for Breakfast. Whatever. 

The first day's topic was, I Feel Like... Marcus drew a spectacularly hot mess, spirals and curls and jagged lines, all in black crayon. Underneath, the teacher had written what he dictated: "I feel like a tornado."

That's pretty much how I feel at least once a day lately. The politics, the environment, the constant battening down of my hatches I need to do to keep Fear away from my door. My own advancing age. The storm seems relentless. 

But I am an optimist. I am eternally looking for light, smelling the roses, tasting the wine. As dark as Life gets, I look for the Escape hatch in the corner. I see shards of light poking through. And so my poem took the form of my darkened world and the sunlight that infiltrates it. 

I spent a few days worrying about the structure and theme and was it any good at all. And then I decided, screw structure and theme and goodness--it felt good to write it. I considered each word, each line, and made them mean something TO ME. It was MY expression. The "goodness" of it was in its creation.

I'm going to share it with you, not because it's good or I'm so proud, but because I am Creator and I Created, and everyone should share that piece of them. Do not fear. Share your work with the world. Let them see you.

By Gayle Carline

Clouds fold across the sky
A blanket tucks in the land

Snug as a bug in a cliché

Shadows deepen
Hills are dark
Valleys cloaked
All is hidden

Sleepy eyes at rest

Pop—what was that?
Heartbeats quicken



The clouds thicken, rumble, roar
Hands raise, a-tremble
Thru the grey mist

It holds no weight
Keeps no shape
Yet holds fast


Beyond the gloom, something comes
A shard of light, a glint, a ray

Slender as a cactus prick
Pierces through
One small hole, one punch

The blanket frays
Exposing the bright
Digging in the corners

The clouds sit heavy, stubborn

The sun is coming.

Bring the warmth

Bring the truth

Kick the covers off.

* * * * *

I guess I'm trying to say, write what you want, when you want to. It doesn't have to be good--it has to be yours.

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