Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ghouls and Goals

Winner! Winner! Virginia, please snail mail me your address to send to Liz. You won a copy of her book.

Today I have another guest blogger with us. And she’s talking about ghouls and goals. One of my favorite subjects. Well, not ghouls, I can do without them, but goals . . . Oh, yeah, those I love. Thank you Liz, and I already have your book on my kindle and can’t wait to read it. Oh…and thanks for signing with me. We had a blast. Liz has some of neatest friends—fun, full of laughter, and a little bit crazy. Just what we all need in friends. Now…I’ll turn it over to Liz…

* * *

First of all, thanks to the wonderful Christie Craig and her band of merry suspense writers at Killer Fiction for letting me come and hang out with them today. I’ve decided that since we are about to enter the only month in the year set aside as the spooky one, it might be fun to compare ghouls versus goals. Webster defines ghouls as legendary evil beings that rob and feed on corpses. Goals are the marks set as limits to a race.

I kinda think the two are closely related and I’m about to tell you why.

Each year at the December meeting, my local chapter passes out sealed envelopes to every writer attending who wrote their goals for 2011 and put them in a sealed envelope at the December meeting in 2010. Until last year, I have NEVER met my goals since I aim big. This year I reached another one. I can’t wait to open my envelope.

But you know what? I’ve decided it isn’t about meeting goals at all. It’s about doing what we love to do with the hope that one day we will hold our books in our hands. It’s about the camaraderie we get from all the writing groups we join, all the writer friends we make along the way. We don’t need the validation from someone to know we are authors, all of us.

This month, Liver Let Die, the first book in my Clueless Cook Mystery series came out, and I can’t tell you how excited I am about that. But it didn’t come easy or without drama. That’s why I’m going to tell you about all the ghouls that have tried to take away my goals for so many years.

CHASING THE MARKET – Although I’ve never actually done that until just recently, I have to list this as the number one reason why it took so long for me to find a publisher willing to take a chance on me. I never really did go for what was selling—I usually wrote what I loved and, unfortunately, what NY wasn’t buying for one reason or another.

Manuscript Number One - my Colombia book – the ghouls said no way you can have a romance in Columbia. Two heroes will never work in a romance. (My favorite book, BTW.)

Manuscript Number Two - my YA – the evil blankity blanks said it was too gritty back when I wrote it…not gritty enough now.

Manuscript Number Three - my first mystery about stealing sperm which I did not realize was a mystery until recently (long story!) NY said it broke too any rules, so Mortal Deception will go up on Amazon this week at the great introductory price of $.99 until the end of November. Be forewarned, it is not a cozy and is written under the pseudonym, Liz Roth (my maiden name,) so that my cozy readers won’t download it, expecting the PG version.

Manuscript Number Four - my ghost story - the jury is still out on that one, as I wait to hear what the editors at Thomas & Mercer are going to do about it. If they reject it, I will put it out there myself. This is the story that pole-vaulted me into the publishing world. So why is it still looking for a home, you ask? Because my editor loved it but couldn’t use it. She was looking for a cozy series and said she would have to take out all the “good” parts to convert this one into a cozy. Could I write a cozy, she asked?

Which brings me to chasing the market. Cozies are selling right now, or at least they were. I had no idea what a cozy was when she asked, but you can betcha I quickly came up with a proposal and got a three book deal. They say by the time you sit in on a chat at a conference with one of the NY publishers, and they tell you what they’re looking for, it’s too late to start writing one. Now, if you already have a manuscript that would fit their needs, good for you.

The second thing that has kept me from selling sooner is my own STINKING THINKING. It throws me into writers’ block so fast, my head spins. “I can’t finish this manuscript.” “I’ve run out of things to say.” “No one will ever want to read my stuff.”

What’s up with that?

And lastly, meet the “You suck ghoul.” We’ve all danced with him once or twice or a million times before. I’ve let too many contest critiques, comments on my stories, and/or rejection comments make me doubt myself at times. Right now, I am smack in the middle of getting reviews for Liver Let Die. Hello, roller coaster ride!! Most are great, some average, but a few are not so good. All my published author friends, including the incredible Christie Craig, tell me not to read them, but that’s impossible. I’m surprising myself, though, by not letting the boo birds out there convince me I’m a bad writer. Different strokes and all that.

I wrote a book, dammit! That’s something to celebrate. So, when I read a bad review, I reread one of the really good ones. Take that, all you haters out there.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of signing Liver Let Die next to Christie, and I can’t tell you how awesome she is, which you all already know. I made her tell the mattress story to a standing–room only crowd at the bookstore. It was the third time I’d heard it, the second that day, but I laughed as hard as the rest of the audience . It’s classic. Thank you, Christie, for inviting me to sign with you. It’s a memory I will keep forever..

Okay, I’ve bared my soul and told you all my insecurities, Now I want to hear yours so I don’t get even more insecure. What ghouls are keeping you from achieving your goals?

Maybe if we can find a pattern, we can put our heads together and find a way to say “Bite Me” to the goal-sucking ghouls.

And guess what? Berkley is giving away a free copy of Liver Let Die to one lucky commenter (U.S. only, their request.) Be sure and give your email address so we can contact you.

Excerpt from Liver Let Die:

Jordan dropped her review on Dwayne Egan’s desk and stepped back to await her fate. She’d spent the entire morning researching foie gras on the Internet and had come away outraged and ready to make a stand on the issue.

That was before Egan grabbed the report and lowered his eyes to read, and all her bravado dissipated. Shifting nervously and second-guessing herself, she tapped out the melody of a rock song along the side of her slacks with her fingers.

Too late to change her mind as Egan motioned for her to sit.

She eased into the chair behind her, eyes fixed on the editor while he finished the first page and flipped to the second. Her nerves were like aliens ready to burst through her skin.

“You actually ate this?” he asked, finally glancing at her over the top of his silver-rimmed reading glasses.

“Yes and no,” she replied. “Mostly, no.”

Egan had already turned back to the report, re-reading the first page. “And this is how they get the duck liver?”

Her eyes lit up. Maybe he wouldn’t scream at her after all. “Yes sir. They force-feed the animals to fatten them up.” She paused, remembering how the pictures had sickened her, how seeing the tubes shoved down their throats had nearly made her gag. “The ducks are kept in tight cages so they can’t exercise or even move around.”

“Geez! And they’re serving this right here in Ranchero?”

“Yes,” she answered quickly. “At a price that would water your eyes.” She stopped, not sure she wanted to remind him how much she’d charged on the company card.

Egan dropped the report on his desk and leaned back in the chair, hands behind his head, making his ears protrude even more. “This is going to ruffle a few feathers at Longhorn Prime Rib.” He grinned, obviously pleased with his play on words.

Jordan shifted in the chair. “I was totally complimentary about the restaurant in general.” She thought about the Chocolate Decadence Cake that had doubled as breakfast that morning. “The desserts were phenomenal and the service – fantastic.”

Egan studied her face, his head tilted as if in deep thought. “I had you pegged for a simple meat and potatoes girl. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why you’d order this when you’re obviously so outraged at how they get it.”

Here it is! This was where she’d have to admit she was clueless when it came to fancy food. This was where he’d realize what a big mistake he’d made giving her the job. “The waiter recommended it. Said it was imported from Canada. Since I knew it was too expensive to ever try on my own, I went with it.”

“I still find it hard to believe you’d even order the dish, knowing how you feel about it.”

“I thought it was chicken,” she blurted, looking away for a moment, imagining the pink slip falling from this week’s pay envelope.

Egan threw back his head and laughed. And continued to laugh until Jordan finally gave in and smiled.

“So, let’s see,” he began when he was finally able to speak. “I have a culinary expert who has no idea what she orders at restaurants.” He slapped the desk. “That’s rich. Loretta would never see the humor in that, of course, nor would she be caught dead ordering anything but a thick, juicy steak.” He leaned forward and lowered his voice. “And just between you and me, she wouldn’t know foie gras from chicken piccata, either, even if it bit her on her overpaid butt.”

“I’m sorry, sir. Maybe you should give this job to someone else.”

His eyes bored into her. “Are you joking? This is going to grab the attention of every animal lover in Ranchero who probably has never even looked at Loretta’s column before.” He slid the papers across the desk. “Take this down to the copy room ASAP. I want it in tonight’s edition.”

Stunned, Jordan grabbed the report and headed for the door.

“Oh, and McAllister?”

She whirled around, expecting her little bubble of excitement to burst like a piñata at a birthday party with eight year old boys on a sugar high.

“From now on, you’ll do a bi-weekly column with recipes and food information. Fancy food like this. A couple of exposés would be great.” He rubbed his hands together. “If my gut is right, with the exception of the restaurant owner, the good citizens of this fine town are going to love you.”

“What about the Personals?”

He smiled. “Look at this as a freelance opportunity,” he said. “And the Personals as your day job. Now go.”

Jordan wondered how he could say that with a straight face, but she was too excited to care. She hurried out the door, surprised to see Jackie Frazier smiling. She’d obviously been eavesdropping. She imagined her, as Roseanne Roseannadanna saying, “It’s always something,” and she smiled back.

Who knew fatty duck liver could wipe the sarcasm off the secretary’s face and maybe even jump-start her career?


Unknown said...

Cute post! I have some good things about this book and I would love to read it. I love humor in my books so your book seems to fit the bill. I will be looking for it. Thanks for sharing.

Liz Lipperman said...

Good morning, Virginia. I also love humor, which is why I adore Christie and can't wait to get into her newest book. Both of us sold out at the book signing, BTW.

Maybe you'll win the free copy and get started on LLD right away!

Di R said...

I love the idea of writing your goals down and sealing the envelope. I'm going to pass the idea along to the board of my local chapter.

This book sounds great. I think I'll be purchasing several copies as Christmas presents.

Fun post!


Anita Clenney said...

Liz, you found a way to beat those ghouls, and now your book is on fire. AND you sold out at your signing. I'm so happy for you and for us cozy mystery lovers, who should be rejoicing that you put those ghouls in their place.

Liz Lipperman said...

Hey, Di, thanks for commenting. Yes, it is exciting to see what you thought was so important a year ago and if you accomplished any if your goals. But like I said, the fact that we keep on writing is a big goal in itself. So many writers let the "ghouls" get to them.

And yay on buying LLD for Christmas gifts. Thanks. If you do that, send me the names of people you want to give it to, and I'll send autographed book marks.

Diane Kelly said...

To heck with the evil blankety blanks!

Loving your book, Liz! So much fun to read!!!

Christie Craig said...

Hi Liz,

Thanks so much for guest blogging today. We did have a blast signing books.


Anonymous said...

Liz, I always love reading your posts. Such great humor and advice, all wrapped up together. :)

I hope we can all elude those ghouls. I hate to think of all the wonderful stories stolen away because of the doubts they place in our minds!

No need to enter me in the drawing because I've got my copy of LIVER LET DIE right here and am looking forward to reading it VERY soon. :)

Donna Cummings

Liz Lipperman said...

Anita, you are so sweet. And I get to watch you on your blog tour next month when your second release, EMBRACE THE HIGHLAND WARRIOR, comes out.

Liz Lipperman said...

Hey, Diane, I'm glad you're enjoying the book. You're another one I get to follow around on your blog tour next month when your debut, DEATH,TAXES,AND A FRENCH MANICURE comes out.

Liz Lipperman said...

Christie, I love being here. I love all the authors who blog with you. As for the signing, it was my absolute pleasure. I enjoyed meeting your hubby. I asked him if he really was cheap like you mention in your mattress story, and he grinned and said, "I am."

Liz Lipperman said...

Hey, Donna, thanks for following me all around. Sooner or later, you win a free book, which is exactly what happened to you.

Thanks for your nice words. If you win today, I'll send a free download of MORTAL DECEPTION.

Cynthia D'Alba said...

Hi Liz. Don't put me in the drawing either!

Very cute post. You are leaving me breathless with all your blogs. Don't know how you're doing it all. :)

Liz Lipperman said...

Cyndi, thanks for being my blog groupie!! And y'all, Cyndi has a new release coming next year to Samhaim called Texas Two Step. Yay!!

catslady said...

Sometimes you just need to laugh and that fits most things in life. Sometimes just reading a book from an author with a great sense of humor does the trick! Love your title too.

Liz Lipperman said...

Hey, catslady, thanks. I love to laugh, too. Sometimes when I'm writing, my characters make me laugh. There is a scene in book 2 that is physical comedy. I have never used that before and usually don't like reading it. But it felt right, and I can't get past that scene without cracking myself up.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much, sent in my info