I'm so pleased to welcome Lorrie Unites-Struiff back to the Author Spotlight. It's Lorrie's last stop on her official blog tour, so please give her a rousing applause! And please leave her some insightful comments in answer to her question.
Thank you so much for hosting me today on your blog. I hope the readers will understand more about the small press novelists with my article.
A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE
I think of the rock as my stories that I write, and the hard place is trying to roll that rock before the eyes of my target readership.
I’m new to this side of publishing since I’m basically a short story writer. I’ve sold shorts to publishers and then I’m done with them. Forget it, nothing more to do. But, “Gypsy Crystal” is novella length and is now published both in multi-format e-reader and print.
I’m enjoying writing longer pieces for readers now, be it romance, paranormal, horror, or well…whatever.
Since this won’t be my last novella or a full novel in the future, I’ve read many blogs suggesting how to get that rock before the readers. But what new author can afford a PR person? Or run ads in the local newspapers? Was that Grisham I saw on the TV spot advertising his new release? Yes, the same John Grisham who wrote the legal thrillers, “The Pelican Brief” “The Firm” “A Time to Kill.”
So, how do I reach my target audience without paying a huge amount of money?
Authors form a network to promote each other by offering guest blog spots, like today.
Then, there are the usual, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. This approach helps reach more readers. I have a fan page on Facebook and many have joined to keep up with my latest news.
Review sites are wonderful. They have seasoned reviewers who read our novels and offer the readers honest opinions. It’s always a good idea to follow these sites to see what is new in the publishing world.
Finding an agent to handle your work is difficult, no matter how good the novel. Agents can only handle so many clients per year. Some turn down even the best of writers to preserve their sanity--I’ve heard this at conferences I have attended. “I don’t give a damn if he’s the next Hemmingway, I can’t look at another query.”
We have to grow as writers. To grow we must write more and more novels. We work, have families, and write in whatever free time we can manipulate. Most of us are not overnight wonders. We choose small presses to begin our careers, and it’s a long hard road we travel. If you don’t believe me, ask Mr. King, or Ms. Roberts.
Do you know what I find to be the most amazing side of publishing now that I am with a small press?
I’m stunned at the amount of great novels that are released by small press authors every month. They are wonderful stories by talented authors that so many readers may be missing out on only for the fact that we can’t afford the great PR person.
“Gypsy Crystal” required a lot of research into Roma customs. I love research. It took me more than a year to write the novella—the rock mentioned above-- due to real life interruptions. It happens to all of us. I’m pleased to tell you my reviews have been fantastic. Writing the novella gave me the chance to spread my wings and let my imagination run wild. I want to do it again, soon.
But it will be a while before my next WIP is complete. I’ve found the hard place to be the time I have to spend now in getting my name out there.
Yes, Mr. Grisham, I did see your ad.
We’d like to see more readers making comments. It makes us feel all warm and fuzzy to see the support of our fans. *hint, hint.* Plus, I’d like to hear comments from the readers about how effective you think these blog spots are in reaching our target audience. This information will help us in our future endeavors, so don’t be shy, please share your thoughts.
Everyone has secrets.
Homicide Detective Rita Moldova has a secret, a crystal amulet from her Roma bloodline that shows her the last image a victim had seen before they died. Now, a ritual killer is terrorizing her town and the crystal’s magic has suddenly stopped.
FBI agent, Matt Boulet, is sent to lead the task force and gives the group strange orders. Worse, Rita senses he is holding back a deep dark secret about the killer.
When she confronts her seer mother’s advice, she learns another secret about their clan that she finds impossible to swallow.
Rita swims through a whirlpool of confusion as the investigation continues. Can Rita deny the lore of the ancients? Can she deny her growing feelings for Matt Boulet?
Doc read from the screen. “Body completely exsanguinous. Time of death between eleven p.m. and one a.m.” He looked up at Rita and pushed his glasses higher on the bridge of his nose. “Like the others, this woman was alive when the killer began extracting the blood from her jugular. Once drained, he excised the vein with a sharp instrument, postmortem. Why does he bother?”
Rita shrugged. “He’s performing some sort of a ritual, then taking a trophy. Doc, I still think the women had to be unconscious or bound while he took their blood. Any rational woman would fight, or run like hell.”
“The evidence disagrees. There are no ligature marks on the wrists or ankles of any of the bodies. The bruises on the arms indicate a frontal assault, as if they were pinned or held still. Other than the bruises, no needle marks were apparent, no drugs in any of the stomach contents, no contusions on the heads to indicate they were unconscious until the loss of blood weakened, then killed them. Lack of tissue under the nails also indicate they didn’t struggle at all.”
“This doesn’t make any damn sense.” Rita shivered, imagining the women awake, not fighting, as the life drained out their bodies.
Doc rubbed his jaw, shook his head. “And, no matter what weapon I come up with, nothing matches the excised wounds. All evidence so far suggests the killings took place elsewhere, then the bodies were moved.”
“That’s what my gut is telling me, too.” She glanced through the glass at the woman on the table, the Y incision was puckered and ugly under the harsh lighting in the examining room. “The jogger who found this one on the river path yesterday freaked. Can’t say as I blame her.”
Rita had become familiar with a few of the prostitutes during a previous case and found the women to be friendly and open, once they knew she wasn’t there to hassle them. When she had inspected the first victim, the dead woman’s eyes reflected another working girl Rita had met before. Carmella.
Carmella told Rita that she had bummed a cigarette from the woman before a black van pulled to the corner. Her brief glimpse as the interior light of the van flashed on revealed a dark-haired man with a noticeable bump on his nose. Carmella didn’t bother to look at the plates. The woman who had entered the van turned up dead in an alley a day later. Rita had confirmed Carmella’s alibi.
Her confusion deepened with a different reflection in the eyes of the second dead prostitute. The pizza delivery boy remembered seeing the woman at the Ridge Motel, but his alibi also proved solid.
She should see the last person the victim’s eyes captured--the killer’s. Damn. The crystal had never failed her before. She rubbed her arms to ward off a feeling of dread creeping over her skin.
Rita glanced at her watch. A little after twelve. She had time to find out how good ol’ Bobby Driscoll fit into this scenario.
She jumped when Doc nudged her elbow.
His thin lips tightened into a scowl. “I’m still trying to determine the gouging tool. We’ve made the impressions, but nothing matches. Tell the Chief I’ll fax what I have to him in a few hours. You know, he’ll want you on the task force.”
“Yeah. He already set up the meet.”
The only ones who knew of the crystal’s abilities were Chief Lipinski, Rita’s mother, and her uncle. Her gift had spooked the Chief, but he had sworn to keep her secret. If the others found out, she may as well have “Freakazoid” stamped on her forehead.
Rita patted Doc’s hand. “Thanks, I really appreciate the heads-up.” They left the cubicle. She looked at the dead woman again and sighed. “Damn it, Doc, we need to nail this dude’s ass fast. The newspapers are already calling him ‘Keyport’s own Jack the Ripper.’”
Gypsy Crystal is available in PRINT and Multiple E-book formats at Amazon.
Visit my website to read the reviews and more info
This is Lorrie's final stop on her virtual blog tour! Congrats on a successful run, Lorrie!
To celebrate, she's giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter. The giveaway will be open until next Wednesday, August 11, when Lorrie will select a winner at random.
Thanks for being my guest, Lorrie!