Monday, April 28, 2014

Priceless literary festival

Priceless because of the quality of the information I received. Priceless because it didn't cost a nickel. Yup, you read right--not a nickel. Got to love those free literary festivals. 




This is the second year I've attended this warm and welcoming festival. And it felt like going home. The biggest hurdle I had to jump was picking which workshop to attend. Three streams of workshops ran simultaneously throughout the day--from 11:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Three. 
Now, at home, as I glance through the pamphlet I think, why didn't I attend that or that or that. But instead of 'shoulding' myself, I'll share what I heard, saw and did.

My day began with..
 The Business Side of Writing (11:00 a.m. to noon) by Daniela Elza
Ms. Elza encouraged participation and tailored the workshop to serve our needs and interests. We began by brainstorming around the question:  What is the business of writing? 

Submissions: Ms. Elza suggested that we read widely--magazines and books--and as we do harvest (my term) the names of the publishers of our favourite literature. That way we'll have a list of publishers to contact. But as well as names, we should also take notes regarding which of our stories would best suit the publishers' interests. And she encouraged us not to stop there but to record our reflections about the publisher as we read. 
Ms. Elza gave us other helpful tips regarding submissions such as following each publisher's submission guidelines to the letter, taking the time to thoroughly edit our work before we send it and carefully tracking our submissions.

Rejections:  The more submissions you have in the pipeline the better your odds and the less painful a single rejection will be. Ms. Elza reminded us that there are many reasons that your piece could be rejected and disliking your writing is only one reason. She suggested that one way to deal with your feelings about being rejected is to share them with your fellow writers--a good reason to belong to a community of writers. And, as an editor, she told us that if we thought it was hard to receive a rejection image writing one

Doing author readings: 
Don't List:  apologize, go over the time allotted, fidget, feel sorry for yourself, explain your reading, mumble
Do List:  smile, breathe deeply, drink hot water, believe in your work, practice in front of a mirror or videotape yourself

Writing Block
I told Ms. Elza that I referred to 'writing block' as 'writer pause'. She said that was one of the best terms she'd heard for it. (a high point of my day)
-having a daily writing routine is a very helpful way to minimize the effects of writing block or writer pause.          
It's important to keep positive about your writing life. One way to do this is to volunteer your time and to help promote others.

How do you balance marketing your work with writing?
-learn to say no
-remember that you and your work is (and should be) the most important to you
-keep it fun
-take care of yourself

Both Sides Now:  Essential Elements of Adaptation (12:45 to 1:45 p.m.) by Don Hauka
Description (from the pamphlet) 'Adapting your book to the screen is tough--how about adapting your screenplay to the novel form?...Hauka will use his personal experience in adapting his mystery novels to the screen and vice-versa'
Mr. Hauka presented a well-organized, thoroughly researched, multi-media presentation.
I was especially struck by what he said about being a screenwriter. A screenwriter is only one member of a team--above you is the producer and, in the case of TV, network executives. They will put limits on your story. Mr. Hauka stressed that it is the story that is most important. And the core of the story should never change, regardless of how it is being presented.
I walked away thinking that I probably won't become a screenwriter.

Double Exposure's Introduction to Comedy Writing (2:00 to 3:00 p.m.) by Bob Robertson & Linda Cullen
Description (from the pamphlet) 'Canada's multi award-winning comedy team..., the creators of one Canada's most successful CBC radio and TV series...will teach you the basics of writing comedy scripts.'
This was the most well-attended workshop. The room was packed--standing room only. And no one was disappointed. Their presentation was both entertaining and informative. They began by giving us a quick definition of comedy writing--the ability to make people laugh. They told us there were no rules. But advised us to avoid puns. Then shared four tools that would lead us down the road to ha, ha:  satire, parody, literalism (take a phrase or a lyric and putting it in a different context), anthorpomorphism (giving human characterics to something other than a human) and observational humour
Interview with Double Exposure

Publisher's Panel (3:15 to 4:15 p.m.) by Brick Books, Ekstasis Editions, Libros Libertad Publishing
Brick Books publishes poetry
Libros is now focusing on publishing translations
Ekstasis has a special interested in sharing the wealth of Quebec literature with the English speaking Canada.
The publishers spoke of the challenge of making money. And all stated that they were committed to continuing their press whether or not they made a profit.
-indi publishing (small press) offers the most opportunity for authors
-manuscripts that are accepting now will be published in 2016
-author readings are mainly done in bookstores

And
Market Place 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Publishers and printers exhibited their products and services; writers sold their books
Open Mic Poetry Reading 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Showcase at Douglas College 7:00 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.
Authors reading, actors acting, comedians imitating, musicians accompanying, computer artist creating.
***
My next year to-do list:  
take more photos
take more business cards and blog fact sheets
***
This week's guest Dennis E. Bolen



Friday, April 25, 2014

Cozy Cat Press Publishes Light Mysteries for Niche Market

Cozy Cat Press began business in 2010 with publication of its first two cozy mysteries––founder and publisher Patricia Rockwell’s “Sounds of Murder” and Diane Morlan’s “Too Dead to Dance.”  The small independent publishing company, is located in Aurora, Illinois, a Chicago suburb.  
Cozy Cat Press is devoted to the publication of “cozies” or light mysteries that focus more on characters and plot than on graphic violence or explicit sex.  The “cozy” has a long tradition, starting with Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple character, and continuing to the present-day with the television series “Murder She Wrote” starring Angela Lansbury.  Modern cozy fans are typically more interested in reading about amateur detectives and their exploits in solving crimes in their communities.  The genre has become quite popular recently with cozy mystery heroines (most cozy main characters are female) coming from the ranks of school teachers, librarians, shopkeepers, seamstresses, caterers, nurses, babysitters, hairdressers, and various other careers.  Cozies are generally filled with humor, romance, and lots of local color. 
At present, the company has over thirty authors from the United States and Canada in its catalogue with over fifty books published in total. 

Authors (veteran or novice) who are interested in submitting their work to Cozy Cat Press and readers interested in learning about Cozy Cat Press books, can check out the website at:  www.cozycatpress.com.

Here's a sampling from Cozy Cat Press' catalogue...


"Hollywood is in trouble and only one man can save it!

Obsessed actor Joshua Mclintock is not on the "A" list--his last role was playing bad breath in a mouthwash commercial. Assisting him as he struggles to the top is his agent, Robert Bigalow (aka, Biggie), who keeps him busy running to auditions.  Although he’s appeared in numerous films and stage productions, most of Joshua's roles have been dead bodies. But his attitude is unfailingly positive and he knows his big break is just around the corner. His life takes a strange turn, however, when he becomes the prime suspect in a murder case. Of course, any normal person would rush to clear his name. And Joshua would do just that if it weren’t for the fact that an audition beckons. Besides, he believes he can straighten out the misunderstanding by tracking down the real killer, himself.  As his investigation gets a little too close to the truth, his ex wife Randy is captured by a secret organization, and Joshua realizes that there are some things more important than career. He attempts to rescue her, not knowing the deadly consequences awaiting him and the rest of the world's actors.
Will Joshua be able to save his one true-love, Randy? Will he be remembered as the actor who played dead bodies, only to turn up dead himself?
Can he save Hollywood!"

 Retired librarian Carolina Pennsbury is quite content living in a retirement home.   She just wishes that her meal time tablemates felt as she did.  However, all seem to have their own complaints.  But those complaints are put on the back burner when one of the retirement home’s residents is stabbed to death in her apartment and the police arrest one of Carolina’s tablemates, Margie, for the murder.  Carolina, knowing her friend cannot possibly have committed such a deed, sets about to prove Margie’s innocence––a difficult feat for an elderly woman with a cane.  Knowing the real killer is probably still roaming the halls, Carolina uses her wits and her wit to investigate, and ultimately––after a fake fire alarm and a lengthy blackout––manages to ferret out the killer.  But clearing Margie and getting her out of jail is not the end of Carolina’s tasks.  She has work to do for all of her tablemates and she won’t quit until they are all happy.


Jeremiah Milk lived a life filled with emotional extremes. Amniotic band syndrome—a congenital condition—left his fingers and toes malformed. Ridiculed as a child, he became an adolescent hermit. As an adult, Jeremiah’s wounds healed when he landed a position as a park ranger and married a woman who loved him despite his physical appearance. But fate ripped his life to shreds when his wife and infant son died on the same night in separate calamities. Shortly thereafter, the tides turned once more as an act of Jeremiah’s ostensible benevolence translates into a financial boon. The book on Jeremiah’s life closes without mercy when he’s found murdered at Tripping Falls State Park.

Damon Lassard—Hollydale’s loveable civic leader, amateur sleuth, and Jeremiah’s neighbor—springs into action. He’s obstructed by a prickly lieutenant, but wriggles information unknown to the police from a colorful bevy of suspects. Aided by his best friend Rebecca and his reluctant ally Detective Gerry Sloman, Damon engineers a deep dive into Jeremiah’s past to solve the crime. Along the way, Damon strengthens his relationship with the breathtaking Bethany Krims, cracks a local horticultural mystery, and tries in vain to tame his wickedly sarcastic mother.

Join Damon Lassard in his latest adventure, Don’t Cry Over Killed Milk.

Monday, April 21, 2014

book review How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn (historical)


How Green Was My Valley is about a family, a community, a place, a country, a culture, a time. But, even though it is nestled comfortably in history, the author's comment on environmentalism is timeless.
This book was acquired for my library thanks to a friend's moving-off-island yard sale.
First published in 1939; it was re-released in 1968. 
I mentioned reading this book to another, older friend. She replied, "I loved that movie. Roddy McDowell was so cute."
I didn't know that the book had become a movie. And I was delighted to find this - which gave me an opportunity to watch the movie in its entirety. (But, in my humble opinion, the movie is a pale imitation of the book. However, I did find others on the Internet who disagreed with this views.) More about the film.

Blurb (from the back of the book):  In the beginning were the green mountain and the fertile valleys and the people were happy.
Then below the meadows they discovered coal. And the men of the fields were transformed into people who laboured in darkness. People who fought, loved, drank and sang in the shadows of the great collieries. People who lived with danger and disaster -- who had forgotten how green their valley had been.


'I am going to pack...and I am going from the Valley.' (p. 5)

Why? Where is he going? In search of the answers to these questions I began to read and soon I was captured within the pages of this book.

The following are my reflections as I read...

The wording is so simple and yet so vivid...
'[H]er face white and her eyes black and her hair blowing about her, and her cloak like a witch's in coils with the wind.' (p. 125)

'Beautiful were the days that are gone, and O, for them to be back.' (p. 127)

The hold a land has on its people...

'[W]e were part of the Valley, not one more than the other, never one without the other. Of me was the Valley and the Valley was of me...
My Valley, O my Valley, within me, I will live in you, eternally.' (p. 179)

'My little one' is a term of endearment in general use throughout the book--men to women, women to men, men to men, women to women. It struck me, at first, as a belittling term. But, with further reading, I saw clearly that this wasn't the intent. 

The book is riddled with surprises. Yet none as much as the feminist overtones. The opinions expressed seem so advanced for the time.

It's interesting to read the protagonist, Huw Morgan, heap praise on Dicken's books and realize that, that author must have influenced Richard Llewellyn's work. In this way, the character reveals the author.

The Morgan's live such a simple life, such a hard one, and such sadness--but they seem so happy. What do they have that we, with all our technical advancements, have lost?

Such wonderful terms of phrase...
'[L]ooking around the kitchen to see if things to say were hiding behind the teapot, or behind the plates on the dresser, or the copper pots on the mantlepiece.' (p. 304)

As the book draws to conclusion, I wait for the big reveal. When will Huw bring us to his present time? What is Huw doing now? Why is he preparing to leave his boyhood home? 
The answer I'm given is more profound then my silly questions.
'An age of goodness I knew, and badness too, mind, but more of good than bad, I will swear...
But you have gone now, all of you, that were so beautiful when you were quick with life. Yet not gone, for you are still a living truth inside my mind...
For if he is, then I am dead, and we are dead, and all of sense a mockery.
How green was my Valley, then, and the Valley of them that have gone.' (p. 376 - 377)
I find in these words a tender longing for the sweetness of belonging. And yet, it is not gone as long as we remember it, as long as we carry it within our heart.

And here's an even better review of this book
***
Guest Post Friday:  Cozy Cat Press
***
Sharing my author journey

Usually there's a difference between Manitoba and B.C. rain. When it rains in Manitoba you're going to get wet and it's going to happen now. In B.C. there are categories of rain from light showers to heavy downpours. But usually it trickles. Usually but not last Thursday. Last Thursday it poured. And through this sheet of rain my in-laws and I searched for the Cottage Bistro. It wasn't easy but 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Interview with Alexandra Bogdanovic

 Alexandra Bogdanovic was born in Bronxville, N.Y. and grew up in Greenwich, Conn.  She knew she wanted to be a reporter at age 12, and received her first byline in the Greenwich Time when she was a high school freshman.  By the time she graduated from the Convent of the Sacred Heart in 1987, she’d been covering high school sports for a daily newspaper for four years.
     In 1991, Bogdanovic graduated from Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y., with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in writing.  She officially began her journalism career as an editorial assistant at The Advocate in Stamford, Conn., soon after graduation.  After paying her dues at a daily newspaper, Bogdanovic decided to devote her efforts to community journalism in order to have a more direct and meaningful impact in the towns and villages where she worked.
     Bogdanovic covered police, courts and municipal government at several weekly newspapers in the New York City suburbs from 1996 to 2003.  As a reporter for The Sound Shore Review, she received recognition from New York Press Association for a story about poor emergency response to a bomb threat at an elementary school.  One of her greatest challenges while working in Rye was covering the mutual aid response and local reaction to the Terrorist Attacks of September 11.
     After receiving 10 Virginia Press Association awards for her work at a twice-weekly newspaper in Warrenton, Va., from 2004 to 2012, the veteran reporter returned to Connecticut, where she is now a freelance writer.
    Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Agency published her first book, “Truth Be Told: Adam Becomes Audrey” in August 2012.
   She enjoys spending her free time with family and friends, chilling with her cat, Eli and watching and photographing high-goal polo.
   

How/why did you start to write?

  I’ve been writing one thing or another for just about as long as I can remember. I knew I wanted to be a reporter by age 12 and got my first byline in a local daily newspaper when I was 14. I essentially did a four-year apprenticeship with that newspaper while I was in high school and a one-year college internship there.
I got my first “real” newspaper job after I graduated from college and devoted more than 20 years to a career in community journalism. Along the way I won 10 Virginia Press Association awards and one New York Press Association award, so I guess you could say I had a pretty good career…

How did you become an author?

That’s a long story. Basically, I met, fell in love with and married the man of my dreams in a fairytale wedding. Two years into my marriage I found out that he had a devastating secret, and immediately demanded a divorce.
As I told the story over the years, a lot of people said, “You’re a great writer – you need to write a book.” I took their advice and started writing my memoir in 2008. I landed a publishing contract shortly thereafter and the rest is history.

What was your first published piece?

My first book, “Truth Be Told: Adam Becomes Audrey,” is my memoir. In it, I share the story I summarized earlier – how I met, fell in love and got married, only to find out that my husband self-identified as and planned on having surgery to become a woman. I also share what happened after I learned the truth.

Where was it published?

It was published in the United States by Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Agency.

How long ago?

My book was released in August 2012.

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?

That’s a good question and I wish I had a good answer. As I said earlier, I’ve been writing “professionally” since I was in high school – so aside from baby-sitting and doing a few clerical jobs during summer vacations, I really can’t remember doing anything other than writing.

What inspires you?

Wow. I think, like most authors, I draw inspiration from my life experiences and from the people around me. I know so many phenomenal people, it’s impossible not to be inspired by them.

Please share one of your successful author platform building technique

Honestly, I think one of the best things any indie or self-published authors can do is support their fellow wordsmiths. If possible, make it a point to buy books by other self-published or indie authors. Barring that, participate in review forums or find other ways to help each other through social networking. Ultimately it’s not what you can get out of the situation that really matters – it’s what you give back.

Parting words

Who cares if you are not a celebrity or you are not famous? You matter. Your story matters. Tell it. Don’t let anyone convince you that it’s not worthwhile.


Monday, April 14, 2014

An Easier Way to Achieve Your Goals


Jenny Hansen wrote an interesting article titled:  Is Fear Freezing Up Your Creativity? In the article she discussed a strategy she's used to abandon her fears and work toward her monthly goals. She concluded the article by asking a series of questions. But one stood out for me: How do you approach your goals?

I use to make a long list of goals. I even added a fun goal at the end to help with motivation--something like eat chocolate. But nothing worked. Lists were usually abandoned, half finished. Well, I chided myself. But all that did was make me feel bad. 

My overall goal was to build my author career. I knew what I needed to do to work towards this goal. I was doing it, everyday. But the lists didn't reflect this. Clearly something had to change.

2014 dawned and, with help from my friend Laurie Buchanan (of Tuesdays with Laurie), I fell into a brand new plan. This year I choose one word to summarize my goal. That word was 'keep'--as in I will keep writing; keep submitting; keep working on revisions; keep learning the writing craft; keep building community. 'Keep'--that one word is so easy to focus on. Motivated, I now do at least one thing everyday to work toward my goal. At the end of the day, I use a journal to document my progress this helps to keep me on track and motivates me to build on my daily successes.


***
Sharing my Author journey:

On March 25th I received an email from Room.
They wrote 'We'll be launching [37.1 Fashion, Trend and Personal Style edited by Taryn Hubbard & Nailah King] at Cottage Bistro, located at 4468 Main Street in Vancouver on April 17 alongside EVENT, Poetry is Dead and PRISM International. The fun starts at 7 p.m. and will feature a reader from each of the four magazines. Hope to see you there.'
And I will be there.
Why?
-Attending this event will motivate me to continue to work on my career
-I have and will continue to submit to many of these magazines so I'm interested in learning more about them
-Attending this event gives me practice in networking
-Attending this event presents me with an opportunity to promote this blog
***
Guest post Friday:  Interview with author Alexandra Bogdanovic

Friday, April 11, 2014

Interview with Ayelet Tsabari

Author Bio: 
Ayelet Tsabari is an Israeli of Yemeni descent. After growing up in a suburb of Tel Aviv, she travelled extensively throughout South East Asia, Europe and North America before moving to Vancouver in 1998. Tsabari adjusted to writing in her second language, and studied other ways to tell stories through film at photography in the Capilano University Media Program. She directed two documentary films, one of which won the grand prize in the Palm Spring International Sport Film Festival. Tsabari wrote her first story in English in 2006. She is a two-time winner of the EVENT Creative Non-Fiction Contest and has been published in literary magazines such as PRISM, Grain and Room. Her unpublished non-fiction manuscript was shortlisted for the First Book Competition sponsored by Anvil Press and SFU’s Writer’s Studio. She is a graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of Guelph and now calls Toronto home.

Interesting facts:
* Ayelet was a soldier in the Israeli army.
* English is Ayelet’s second language and she wrote her first story in English just six years ago.
* Ayelet is married to a sailor.

Twitter/Website: @AyeletTsabari/www.ayelettsabari.com

Ayelet Tsabari's title page on the HarperCollins website:http://www.harpercollins.ca/books/Best-Place-Earth-Ayelet-Tsabari/?isbn=9781443411950

Photo taken by Sean Brereton

How/why did you start to write?

I was telling stories before I could write. I used to draw comic strips and narrate them to my mother. As soon as I knew the alphabet I started to write stories and poems, so I guess I never really chose it.

How did you become an author?

It’s the only thing I ever really wanted to do. When I decided to take my writing seriously, I applied and was accepted to the Writer’s Studio at SFU in Vancouver. I loved the program and had grown a lot as a writer during that year, so I knew I was on the right track. After that, I moved to Toronto to attend the MFA program at Guelph. My first book, TheBest Place on Earth, was my graduate thesis for the MFA program. I submitted it to HarperCollins after I graduated and to my shock and delight, they accepted it for publication right away.

What was your first published piece?

It’s a two-part answer: my first publication in Hebrew was a poem I wrote as a child and dedicated to my father after his passing, titled “Why?” I also began sending stories and poems to a children’s magazine during that year. My first piece in English, my second language, was “You and What Army,” a memoir essay about my time in the Israeli army.

Where was it published?

The poem was in the beginning of my father’s book of poetry, which was published after his death. “You and what Army” was the winner of Event’s Creative Nonfiction contest and was published in Event Magazine.

How long ago?

The poem was published when I was ten. “You and What Army” (my first Canadian publication!) was published six years ago.

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?

I started out as a journalist in my teens and early twenties, but I found that it actually inhibited my writing. I had deadlines to meet and spent so much time working at the computer that by the time I was done, I wasn’t inspired to write my own things. After that, I spent thirteen years working as a waitress. I think waitressing is a perfect job for a writer: it’s never the same, and you get to meet different people every day, observe human behavior, eavesdrop on conversations, and hear many stories.

What inspires you?

Everything! Books. Music. Photography. Art. Television. Smells. Travelling. My home. The sea. My family and friends. Taking transit. Cities and the people who live in them. The desert. History.

Please share one of your successful author platform building technique

I love Twitter. It builds a community of writers and readers, and I met some great people and made real connections through it. I also enjoyed building my website, though sometimes blogging can also take away from the precious time I have for writing. 

Parting words

Thank you for having me!

(Thank you for this interesting interview, Ayelet.)


Book Synopsis/Teaser:
Confident, original and humane, the stories in The Best Place on Earth are peopled with characters at the crossroads of nationalities, religions and communities: expatriates, travellers, immigrants and locals. Poets, soldiers, siblings and dissenters, the protagonists here are mostly Israelis of Mizrahi background (Jews of Middle Eastern and North African descent), whose stories have rarely been told in literature. In illustrating the lives of those whose identities swing from fiercely patriotic to powerfully global, The Best Place on Earth explores Israeli history as it illuminates the tenuous connections—forged, frayed and occasionally destroyed—between cultures, between generations, and across the gulf of transformation and loss.


Click on image to embolden.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Writing Picture Books


I cared for infants, toddlers and preschoolers in a day care centre for over fourteen years. Before that, I was a Sunday school teacher and a child minder. Happy memories of sharing stories with children skipped through my mind and my pen flew across the page. When I finally ran out of ink, I'd written two picture books.

Something Good to Eat (inspired by Icelandic folklore)
Gryla lives on the tallest mountain peek in Iceland. She feasts on the naughty children who live in the valley below. Unfortunately, her diet has resulted in a digest disorder. Gryla has lived with stomach pain for years but one night she meets a child who ends her pain.

Something Special for Pearl
Pearl visits her grandma. During the visit, Pearl learns were wool comes from and receives a special gift.

Two picture books in need of a publisher. 

'Competition for publication of picture books is fierce. Many publishers receive hundreds of these manuscripts every month and picture books are expensive to produce. You will be competing with well established children's writers...and with the work of author-illustrators....
[I]t's best to approach this genre armed with information...
The Canadian Children's Book Centre web site provides links to the web sites of dozens of Canadian publishers of children's books.'

My journey to seeing my manuscripts published has just begun. Over the months to come, I will continue to share this adventure with you.

One thing I won't be doing is self-publishing these--or any other--picture book. 
Why not?
Listen to Joanna's Penn with picture book author Karen Inglis.

And even if I don't find a publisher, I've already gained from the experience of writing them.

I assure you that with every picture book manuscript you write, your ability to write tight and clever will improve. How to Write Children's Picture Books by Tara Lazar.

And as always, reading is key.

Picture books have a unique rhythm and cadence, a certain subtlety that can only be understood by reading and absorbing them...I suggest reading 500 picture books before you sit down to write your first manuscript. How To Write Children's Picture Books by Tara Lazar.

So, as I travel this journey to publication, I return to my favourite bookstore. 

"What's your best-selling picture book," I ask the clerk. Because if you want to live there, you need to visit...

And why travel alone?
Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators and Performers
***
You may also be interested in reading...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Author Lea Wait writes...

I’d written corporate nonfiction, and nonfiction about adopting (I adopted my four daughters as a single parent) for many years, but I was in my mid-40s when I starting writing fiction. At first I wrote literary short stories, a few of which were published. Then I spent a year or two working on a book-length manuscript that never came together.
Finally, I decided to write a mystery. I hoped the structure of a mystery would help with plotting and keep me going when writing was tough. I wrote a full mystery – but it was rejected by 40 agents.
So I decided to write in a genre I’d always loved: historicals for middle grades (children aged 8-13.)
My first book for young people, Stopping to Home, sold immediately to Simon & Schuster. It was published in 2001, and I started working on Seaward Born (published in 2003).
About that same time I pulled out the mystery manuscript that hadn’t sold, edited it once again, and it was picked up by Scribner, became Shadows at the Fair (2002), and was a finalist for a “best first” mystery” Agatha. Of course, I was thrilled!
The Shadows Antique Print Mystery series revolves around New Jersey antique print dealer and community college professor Maggie Summer who is 38 and wants to adopt an older child. Her beau, Will Brewer, does not want to be a father, and, as the series develops, he takes on the care of his aging Aunt Nettie in Maine. The sixth in that series, Shadows on a Cape Cod Wedding


published in 2013, revolves around the wedding of Maggie’s best friend, who has post-polio syndrome.  Of course, there are murders … and a late-season hurricane, just to complicate matters! Shadows on a Maine Christmas will be published in September of 2014.

My next book, UncertainGlory, which can be pre-ordered on Amazon on BN.com now, is about a (real) fourteen-year-old boy who ran a publishing business on the coast of Maine in the mid-19th century. The book takes places during the first two weeks of the Civil War, and is based on events that took place in Wiscasset, Maine, then. Joe must pay off a debt in two weeks or lose his business. At the same time, he tries to convince his best friend not to enlist, becomes involved in the life of a visiting girl spiritualist, and tries to find a young friend who runs away when he discovers his father won’t be allowed to enlist because of his race.
I’m especially excited about Uncertain Glory. It’s my fifth book to be set in the seaport town of Wiscasset during the nineteenth century.
I’m currently working on the first in a new mystery series, Time’s Tangled Threads, set in Haven Harbor, Maine …. just down the coast from Cabot Cove! It will be published by Kensington in late 2014 or early 2015.  
While I was raising my daughters I worked for many years as an AT&T manager. That experience hasn’t become a part of any of my books, but adoption advocacy has. And I’m a fourth generation antique dealer – I’ve dealt in antique prints since 1977 – so there are obvious connections there. I’ve also set many of my books in Maine … a state I’ve known and loved all my life, but a state I didn’t live in year round until 1998. 
I’m lucky now to be writing full-time, and married to the long-time love of my life, Bob Thomas, who’s an artist.  I’m inspired by him, by our house that was built in 1774, by the lives of my children and grandchildren, and by the history of New England.  I’m proud to be identified by many as a Maine author, despite having been born in Boston, and spending many years “away” in New York and New Jersey. Maine has always been the home of my heart.


To find out more about Lea and her books, see www.leawait.com.  She also blogs regularly with other Maine mystery authors at www.mainecrimewriters.com and invites readers to friend her on Facebook.