What I love about today’s guest post:
It features a dear friend of mine, Eileen Goudge, and a turning point in her life when she was trying to decide whether to indie publish her next title, or stay with traditional publishers. Eileen is a New York Times bestselling writer. Not counting her YA titles, Eileen has written 15 women’s fiction titles (worldwide sales of roughly 6 million) so the decisions she was making while walking on the beach (the subject of today’s guest post) were quite profound for her.
But that wasn’t the only decision Eileen was struggling to make.
What if she crossed over to a completely new genre, too?
You may remember my talking about my friendship with Eileen and my recent trip to hunker down with her and four other writers at her beachfront writing retreat in California – during the very time she was exploring this new direction in her writing life. I allude to it briefly in this recent June 18th “Pizza, oh pizza, I love you.” blog post where I recap a pizza party we all had during BookExpo America in New York City.
Eileen is a wonderful, warm person that loves interacting with other writers and readers. After this guest post, please leave a comment for Eileen. I know she’d love to say hello.
Eileen’s latest novel, BONES AND ROSES (first book in her new Cypress Bay Mystery series), releases August 5th and is available for preorder HERE.
Be the first to read this new title by this accomplished author. And won’t it be fun for you, as a reader, to know a bit about the inner life of the writer just before this book was written? Order your copy today. You won’t be disappointed!
Enough from me – this is a guest post, for heaven’s sake. I’m supposed to be quiet!
Take it away, Eileen!
SAND BETWEEN MY TOES
– guest post by Eileen Goudge
It all began with one of life’s simple pleasures: sand between my toes.
I was strolling along the shore, in my hometown of Santa Cruz, California, pondering my next career move. I needed a change. And it had to be drastic. Like many authors who cut their teeth during the golden era of traditional publishing, I was feeling the seismic shifts brought by the expansion of the digital world. Earlier in the week, I’d received a much-needed kick in the butt from an author friend who’d made the leap from to traditional to indie publishing and was reaping the rewards.
Now I had to decide if I was brave enough to take a leap of my own.
Career-wise, I was like an adult child still living at home. I had “Mom” (my publisher) to do my “laundry” and “cook my meals.” There was always someone on hand or behind the scenes to edit, design book covers, come up with and execute a marketing plan, deal with all aspects of distribution and the bulk of publicity. One day I found myself looking around at all my colleagues who’d taken control of their own fates. I felt like a spongy old cabbage. I also felt stymied. I was known primarily for women’s fiction, and that’s what editors and publishers had come to expect from me. But I wanted to step outside the box, flex my muscles a bit, see what else I could do.
In short, I was frustrated and running low on inspiration.
That day on the beach I asked myself a simple question, “What would you write if it was just you and your laptop?” Leaving aside dire predictions from traditional-publishing diehards and my own fears concerning sales and rejection. Like how it was in the beginning before I was published.
The answer left me stunned. I wanted to write a mystery. I’ve always been a fan of mysteries, dating back to when I used to read Nancy Drew under the covers at night by flashlight (the reason I needed glasses, my mom used to say), and many of my women’s fiction novels have elements of mystery and/or romantic suspense, most notably THE SECOND SILENCE and WOMAN IN RED.
“No way,” piped the VOR (voice of reason) in my head. “What about your readers? Won’t they be disappointed?” The VOR went on to point out that competition was stiff. I’d be entering a field so crowded you could fill a few football stadiums with all the mystery novelists out there.
Thankfully the voice of my Muse would not be stifled by the mutterings of my VOR. On that day, during that soul-searching walk on the beach, my Cypress Bay mystery series was born. My amateur sleuth, Leticia “Tish” Ballard, came riding in on the waves in a half shell, fully formed. I couldn’t ignore her. She wouldn’t allow it. She has a mouth on her. She’s persistent, too.
“Okay, okay, so shut up already and I’ll do it,” I told her. Then went back to my desk and got to work.
I live in New York City, but spend a month each winter at a beach house in Santa Cruz, CA, generously provided by my sister, Karen, and her husband, Miles. I hole up to write for days on end, interspersed with long walks on the beach and inspired by breathtaking ocean views. At night I’m lulled to sleep by the sound of waves. In no time my batteries were recharged and my mojo was back.
By the end of that month-long sojourn I had an outline and the beginnings of first draft for what would become Book One of my Cypress Bay mystery series, BONES AND ROSES. I was channeling Tish and loving every minute of it.
Becoming my own publisher was another story. Many sleepless nights and days of nail-biting later, I now have a handle on it, I think (judging by the fact that my stomach is no longer in knots 24/7). And for the parts I can’t handle on my own, I have professionals. I also have my wonderful, warm, generous indie author buddies who’ve guided and encouraged me every step of the way. I even have a first draft for Book Two in the Cypress Bay mystery series, SWIMSUIT BODY, which comes out in 2015. Below is a brief description of BONES AND ROSES, which debuts August 5th (digital only) and is currently available for pre-order.
From home invasions to cheating spouses, Rest Easy Property Management owner Leticia “Tish” Ballard thought she’d seen it all. Almost four years sober after flambéing her real estate career in an alcohol-fueled blowout, she’s finally in a good place in her life when the discovery of skeletal human remains rocks her world and plunges her headlong into solving a decades-old crime. Now she must delve into the darkness of her own past, including the one-night stand gone horribly wrong with Spence Breedlove, who happens to be the lead detective on the case. When the truth comes out at long last, Tish finds herself pitted against an enemy who will stop at nothing in a fight for her own life.
I hope you enjoy it. I won’t be offended if you don’t, and I’ll still be glad I wrote it.
– Eileen Goudge