"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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Feeling the love.

On Friday, I released my book, A MORE DEADLY UNION. It was fun, but on Monday, I had the release party. For two hours, we took over Craftsman Wood Fired Pizza (http://craftsmanpizza.com/), thanks to owner Joe Rasic. 

How did it turn out? I think these photos tell the story. 

Rick Ochocki was the first to arrive. And yes, I wore the tiara (and I thought of Tameri Etherton, who couldn't attend).

I get by with a little help from my friends. Dot Caffrey held the mic so I could read.
Dino came to the party. Everyone wanted a photo op with him - even PJ Colando and Garrett Miller.
Garrett, BTW, took most of these shots.

Pina Bell needed an autograph - of course I obliged!

As usual, I was moving around too fast to get a steady photo.

My lovely and talented assistant, Cristina, took over the book sales - she was phenomenal!

MOST of the folks who came - I was so overjoyed! Thanks, Garrett, for this shot!

Me and The Boy.

My only regret is that no one captured Marcus and his smokin' hot combo du jour on video - they were so damned good, everyone was throwing money and compliments at them.

Right to left: Donghee Kim, Mark the Bassist, Marcus the Sonny-boy. They were AMAZING.

And now that the book is out in the world, onward to bookstore signings, library events, and more!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A letter from the front

Dear Writer Friends Who Struggle to Get Their Books "Out There",

Next weekend, I will be releasing my 11th book. With each release, I've done about the same amount of release-style advertising. I've used social media, I've run Goodreads giveaways, Amazon promotions, blog tours, etc. It seems like each thing I do is less effective the second time around, which is frustrating.

You want to believe that your books will become more well known if you have more books out there to find. So I made the decision to try something different with A MORE DEADLY UNION. 

I hired a publicist.

My few friends who had used them gave me mixed reports, from "I love mine," to "she kept sending me places where I couldn't possibly sell anything." But I met Paula Margulies at the Southern California Writers Conference in San Diego, took her workshop, spoke with her briefly, and filed her name in the back of my mind.

When it came time to start planning this release, I visited Paula's website (http://www.paulamargulies.com/) a bunch of times, spent several days wrestling with indecision, and finally contacted her. We laid out a plan, a price, and a timeline, then I took a deep breath and a deep drink of good wine. As usual, I stood atop my personal roller-coaster and looked down at the frenzy that awaited.

It's a view I'm used to.

How's it going? So far, she's sent out press releases, given me two lists of book reviewers and book contests, a sample query letter for book reviews, and set me up to sign at bookstores (3 confirmed, 3 pending), and talks at libraries (1 confirmed). That's two weeks' work.

In two weeks, I've learned two things:

1. Having someone else tell everyone I'm the bomb makes it easier for me to say it. My friends and I discuss this often -- we can sell someone else's books better than our own. You all know me. Even a couple of blog posts ago, when I was promising to be the Big, Talented Fish, I was wondering how I was going to do that. Apparently, when I read my publicist's press release referring to me as "acclaimed author Gayle Carline" and talking about my "thrilling new mystery", I can start talking about this person, Gayle Carline, and what an acclaimed author she is.

I'm either getting better at promoting myself, or I'm developing a split-personality disorder.

2. Author Gayle Carline may be acclaimed, but little Gayle Sue still wants to recoil from the spotlight. After 11 books, as hard as Paula is pushing me forward, there's still a hefty chunk of me that says, "No, wait! If I start getting noticed, and people start taking me seriously, then I'll have to get serious about this." 

So what? *in a teeny whisper that only you and I can hear* "if i become a serious author then i'll be a bigger target for people who hate my books and my writing and i'll probably have to write more and give up something that i like doing now and Life. Will. Change."

Maybe it will. If it does, I just have to suck it up and enjoy success. 

What's next? My launch party is next Monday. It's going to be My Big Fat Book Party, semi-expensive and hugely fun. In the meantime, I'm having a good time working with the fabulous Paula. I'll report back with more gigs and results!

Love you and keep writing,

P.S. For some reason, every time I think of a publicist, I picture this clip:

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Save the dog!

There's a certain hesitance in writers to include pets in their stories. The reason to include a pet might be to disclose something about the character, but if you're not careful, they can be treated as an afterthought, or even forgotten. 

If you are a pet owner, you know that neglecting a pet makes you a bad person, so if you are a writer and your nice character has a nice pet that they love, you have to make sure they don't forget them.

Even when I put the fat orange tabby in HIT OR MISSUS (aka Mr. Mustard, renamed by Benny to Matt Helm), I knew I was taking on the responsibility of virtual pet ownership. When Matt Helm went to live with Benny's friends, the Nickels, I had to make sure the readers knew he was being taken care of...through every one of the remaining Peri Minneopa Mysteries I'd ever write.

"Forget me? Don't be ridiculous."

Having had some success in keeping the cat alive, I ventured to put a dog in MURDER ON THE HOOF. It seemed natural to have Willie Adams owning a dog, since she spends a lot of time at a horse show, and horse people tend to have dogs. It's just a thing we do. Rudy the miniature schnauzer held his own as a character, even helping Willie at various points in the story.
"Don't let her kid you - I solved that case, all by myself."

For some reason, I decided at the beginning of writing A MORE DEADLY UNION to add a dog to the story. I could give you a calculated and creative answer about why, but seriously, who knows why writers do anything? We just get a wild hair and go with it. 

My couple, Jared and Willem, needed a dog, perhaps to anchor them to the idea of being a settled, monogamous couple, ready to legally tie the knot. Their dog served as a baby for them to dote on. A sweet, fluffy, little...


I've never owned a pitbull, but I have friends with pitties (is that how you spell it?) and they are a much-loved dog. A mystery author has to be thinking of dangerous situations for her characters, so it seemed that owning a pittie would open up a world of danger, more so than a Chihuahua. 

"Really, I'm lovable!"

Yes, a pitbull is sturdier than a toy breed, but they're the most often assumed to be aggressive. Anyone with a weapon, facing a pitbull, is probably going to shoot first and worry about it later. If ever. For the hundreds (thousands) of pitbulls who are big babies, pussycats, sweethearts, this is a danger they face too often.

Any danger Jared and Willem face would be doubled with a pitbull at the end of a leash.

Anyway, I'd like to introduce you all to Miss Moonie:

(Peri) spotted a black and white lump staring at her from the porch. An American Pit Bull Terrier sat askew, its back legs jutting at awkward angles, and a goofy grin splitting its broad face. One eye had a black half-moon underneath and the other had the matching half over, giving it the look of someone who’d been in a fight but was still too dazed to remember who won.

Hey, Moonie.” Peri rubbed the dog’s head as she passed. Moonie’s tongue rolled sideways, the grin widening.


I've been looking all over the internet for a pittie that looks like Moonie, to no avail. Perhaps you could help a girl out. Anyone got a pittie, or a picture of one, who looks like my little Moonie, as I've described her? 

Post it in the comments below - I'd love to meet your babies!

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