Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Blog posts as Cathy Ace

Every week we answer a set question. This week you have the opportunity to write about whatever you want to write about as long as it has something to do with the intent of our blog.

“Write what you want…” sounds appealing for a while. Then it doesn’t. It’s like setting off on a journey with no map, no goal. And I’m not good at that. Nope, I need to know where I’m heading, and why. I’ve always been the same, and you know what they say about old dogs and new tricks. I cannot enjoy the journey for the journey’s sake, not unless I have a destination in mind. Aimless wandering is not for me. 

I’m in a reflective mood at the moment; those of you who read this blog will know I’ve just been in Wales visiting Mum, who suffered a broken shoulder. It was wonderful to spend time with her – and my sister – but it made me think long and hard about what I value most in life. About what I should be doing with the most important commodity I have (and everyone has) – time. So here goes with using this blog post as something of a confessional...insofar as I'm about to let you all visit my inner thoughts.

Five weeks after her fall, Mum was up to lunch and a concert in Cardiff, when I visited Wales earlier this month

The past five and a half years have been all about writing and the world of publishing and promotion for me; twelve books traditionally published, plus one self-published, during that time, with a few short stories thrown in for good measure. I’ve achieved certain goals I set for myself (get a book published, get another series published), and even some I never imagined possible (winning a national writing award). 

With several 7 Criminal Minds bloggers and alumni at Bouchercon 2017
I’ve attended a lot of conventions and met some wonderful readers, reviewers, bloggers and authors – many of whom are people whose work I have read, enjoyed and admired for many years. It’s been quite a ride.  

Now? With my husband about to retire, and me due to step down from my role as Chair of Crime Writers of Canada in May, I have to think beyond that point, and come up with a new plan. 

Why? Big question.

One of my publishers told me in June 2016 that they would not publish mysteries any more. Given the fact they still do, I have to now view their words as meaning they weren't going to publish MY mysteries any more. My other publisher was recently bought up by a company with a radically different contract model that doesn’t really fit well with my publishing preferences. So, what to do? Sign, write another book in that series and feel my hands are tied when it comes to the book being available to readers? No. I didn't do it; I have gone through the pain and frustration of learning that the availability of a book within the marketplace is critical to successful sales, and that retaining ownership of SOME rights is important for author sanity. 

2012, with my first book...before I really understood how the world of publishing works

So I’m going back to my “writing roots” and starting all over doing what I first did – writing what comes from the heart, and is exactly what I want to write, rather than something that’s massaged into a well-defined publishing niche.

What does that mean specifically? Well, I’ve recently waded into the deep waters of self-publishing to get out an anthology of novellas and short stories that go back to the “genesis” of my characters Cait Morgan and the WISE women, and I’ll be working on another anthology of four novellas which take those characters to the point they’d reached before their lives began in novels. (I dare say I shouldn’t ask everyone reading this to buy the book I've just self-published, but if you'd like to check it out, click on the link under the photo to reach it and there you can read the entire first short story, Dear George, which was the first thing I ever wrote and had published, back in 1988!)

Click here to read an entire short story from this book

And I’m just starting to work on a book that’s been fighting to get out of me for a while now – a domestic suspense novel, which considers how obsession and denial come into play when a gruesome murder is investigated in a not-yet-quite-regenerated Welsh seaside community. Three generations of women – a widowed grandmother in her eighties, a divorced mother in her fifties, and her seventeen-year-old daughter – share a somewhat dilapitated house on the seafront, and are all connected (whether they know, or admit it, or not) with the shocking murder of a local youth.

I always think that writing a book is rather like three-day-eventing for horses…and I am looking forward to the thrilling “steeplechase” phase right now, which is how I think of writing a first draft. Then it’ll be on to the “showjumping” phase, of editing and reshaping with a bit more finesse, then, finally, the “dressage” of finagling all the finer points until I’m happy with it all. Then it’ll be off to an editor I enjoy working with so we can see how it can be buffed and polished to be ready for market.

Remember – you heard about it here first, folks! Meanwhile, thank you for taking the time to read this far– I know how precious your time is.  There - that's my confessional done with for a while. Now back to what I love about being an author...the writing!

Cathy Ace is the Bony Blithe Award-winning author of The Cait Morgan Mysteries and The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries.  You can find out more about Cathy, her work and her characters at her website, where you can also sign up for her newsletter with news, updates and special offers:


Unknown said...

Wow, Cathy. Change is always scary, but exciting too. Your seaside project sounds scintillating. I had to look up "steeplechase" but now I have a new word for "first draft", which is a lot more picturesque than what I've been calling it lately :)

Celia Fowler said...

I just ordered Murder Keeps No Calendar -- I look forward to being introduced to all your characters from their beginnings and to see what influenced where they are today, namely investigating murders. I love that the WISE Agency books take place in Wales where my Mom's family used to live (Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare) before they moved to Ohio to start a coal mining company (the late 1800's). I'm glad your Mother has recovered from her shoulder injury and that you got to be with her.

Cathy Ace said...

Thanks, Rae...I'm enjoying looking toward new horizons. And I'm delighted to be able to bring you a new word :-)

Cathy Ace said...

Thanks, Celia,for your support and must be that Welsh blood in you! Mum's doing well, thank you, and it's interesting that - like so many others - your forebears literally carved out new lives for themselves in a New World, using their traditional mining background. My paternal grandfather worked underground in a coal mine, after having been gassed in the trenches in WWI...died very young, which I suppose is hardly surprising!

Susan C Shea said...

Cathy, you're a writing dynamo and I haven't the slightest doubt you will continue to blaze. Publishers too often treat us like disposable hankies and your attitude is inspiring. Count me a fan!

Jane Burfield said...

I look forward to your new direction. Well done.