Recapping 2016 and Looking Forward to 2017

You know, dear readers, we Wickeds haven’t been blogging together all that long. Four years this May, is that right? And though Jessie, Barb and Edith (aka Tace Baker) had published books prior to the Wickeds forming, this blog coincided with the launching of several series. 2016 was a bumper crop for all of us, and 2017 promises to top this year. So we thought today we’d celebrate this past year, and give you some books to look forward to in 2017.

WhispersBeyond_FixJessica Estevao/Jessie Crockett/Jessica Ellicott

2016:
Whispers Beyond the Veil by Jessica Estevao, Book 1 Change of Fortune Mysteries, September, 2016

2017:
Body of Water by Jessie Crockett, Book 2 The Granite State Mysteries, Spring 2017
Whispers of Warning by Jessica Estevao, Book 2 Change of Fortune Mysteries, September, 2017
Murder in an English Village by Jessica Ellicott, Book 1 The Beryl and Edwina Mysteries, November, 2017

ALL MURDERS FINAL mech.inddSherry Harris

2016:
All Murders Final, Kensington
“The Lighthouse” in Edgar Allan Cozy
“Anna, Belle, and Lee” in Edgar Allan Cozy

2017:
A Good Day To Buy, April

ClockandDaggerJ.A. Hennrikus/Julianne Holmes

2016:
Clock and Dagger by Julianne Holmes

2017:
Chime and Punishment by Julianne Holmes, August
J.A. Hennrikus will have news soon!

Edith Maxwell/Maddie Day

2016:
Delivering the Truth – April (Quaker Midwife Mystery #1)
Grilled for Murder (as Maddie Day) (Country Store Mystery #2)
Murder Most Fowl – May (Local Foods Mystery #4)
“An Intolerable Intrusion” in Edgar Allan Cozy – January
“The Mayor and the Midwife” in Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016 – September

2017:
When the Grits Hit the Fan (as Maddie Day) March (Country Store Mystery #3)
Called to Justice – April (Quaker Midwife Mystery #2)
“The Tragic Death of Mrs. Edna Fogg” in Malic Domestic 12: Mystery Most Historical – April
Mulch Ado About Murder – May (Local Foods Mystery #5)

MurdermostfinickyLiz Mugavero/Cate Conte

2016:
Murder Most Finicky (A Pawsitively Organic Mystery Book 4), January

2017:

Custom Baked Murder, (A Pawsitively Organic Mystery Book 5), December/Jan.
Pawsitively Organic Mystery Book 6, December 2017
Cate Conte’s first, Cat About Town, Aug. 1, 2017

catbouttown

Barbara Ross

2016:
Fogged Inn
, Maine Clambake Mystery #4, February
Eggnog Murder (with Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis), October

2017:

Iced Under, Maine Clambake Mystery #5, January
Stowed Away, Maine Clambake #6, late 2017

Sheila Connolly

2016:
A Turn for the Bad (County Cork Mystery #5), February 2016
Dead End Street (Museum Mystery #7), June 2016
Seeds of Deception (Orchard Mystery #10), October 2016
Search for the Dead (Relatively Dead Mystery #5), October 2016

2017:
Cruel Winter (County Cork Mystery #6), March 2017
A Late Frost (Orchard Mystery #11), October 2017

Susannah Hardy/Sadie Hartwell

A Killer Kebab Cover2016:
Edgar Allan Cozy (Susannah, Barb, Edith, Sherry, Sheila)
A Killer Kebab by Susannah Hardy

2017:
A Knit Before Dying by Sadie Hartwell, August

Edgar

Readers: What’s on your docket for this year’s reading? And were you able to keep up with all our 2016 publications? (Don’t worry, it’s not quiz!)

Books, Bagels, and Wicked Cozys

By Julie, feeling a bit of holiday spirit in Somerville

wicked-cozy-authorsRay Daniel is a good friend to the Wicked Cozys. This past Sunday he invited us to his temple, Congregation B’nai Torah in Sudbury, MA. It was a Books and Bagels event. When he asked us to participate back in October, he may have expect the more local Wickeds would make it. Instead, we turned it into an event. Sherry flew up for the weekend, Liz drove up from Connecticut, and Jessie drove down from New Hampshire. For the first time EVER, all six Wickeds were on a panel together. To cap the day, we went to the Wayside Inn afterwards. Ray and his wife Karen (an amazing quilter and HUGE cozy fan) came with us, along with Elias (Jessie’s husband) and Bill (Barb’s husband and frequent dead body model for Sherry’s first line photos).

img_8486

Wickeds at the Wayside Inn. Clockwise from bottom left: Barb, Bill, Edith, Julie, Sherry, Jessie, Elias, Karen, Liz. Photo by Ray Daniel.

Each of us sat at a different table for breakfast. Afterwards, we all  did a panel that Ray moderated. Conversation ranged from genre to our protagonists, to new series coming up. None of the Wickeds is shy, and we all have opinions, so the conversation was lively. The audience was also very engaged, so it was a great conversation that lasted over an hour.

Now, I’m going to spill the beans about the Wickeds. We all really like each other. We take the business of writing and selling books seriously, and support one another in that. But we also care about each other as people, and seeing each other is a tonic. Ray Daniel (a wonderful writer in his own right) is a good friend of the Wickeds. He gave us an excuse to spend some time together this past Sunday.

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Myth Busting Part II – Word Count

Last week, we started tackling the (many) myths and rules that fly around about writing and the writing process, and busting them.

This week, we’re talking word count. Some say you have to decide on a word count to hit each day (or week) in order to declare success. So what do you think, Wickeds? Do you have a word count goal? Do you feel like you need one in order to feel like you’ve had a productive day/week?

Edith: I do use word count to push myself when I’m writing a first draft. I know some people don’t, and I’m not saying anybody else has to! But for me, to set a word count goal of 1500 or even 2000 words for a day keeps me in my seat, which is where the words flow onto the page. I started the first draft of Quaker Midwife #3 at the start of June, and I finished it at a too-short 56000 words last week on the 13th – which is fast even for me. And I accomplished that by setting word count goals.

Liz: Some kind of goal is helpful for me to stay on track, but it totally depends on where I am in the process. If I’m writing a first draft, I try to do a thousand words a day – but I’m also realistic enough to know during the week sometimes I won’t, so if I log a good number on the weekend instead, it’s ok. If I’m in the plotting phase, which I’m just trying out, maybe it’s 1-2 scenes a day, and then a few more on the weekend. And if I’m editing, I try to do a certain number of scenes, depending on how much work they need.

scrivener project targetsBarb: When I’m in first draft mode, I use word count to push myself. I leave the Scrivener project targets window visible at all times as a motivator. (“When I finish this, I can go for a swim.”) A good, comfortable day for me is 1200 words. For revisions, I have a number of scenes as a goal, or a number of pages. Often I’ll work on one day of the narrative.

Sherry: Early in the process I do a steady 1000 to 1500 words a day. I usually cover the word count on the computer so I focus on writing instead of the number of words.

Julie: I love that Scrivener helps with goals and word counts. I am a plotter, so I try and write a scene at a time. Wish I could say I wrote a scene a day, but having a full time job makes that tough for me. But I try for 4-5 scenes a week. Average manuscript has 60-65 scenes. I would love to establish a 500-1000 words a day habit, but I have trouble enough keeping up with my steps.

Edith: FYI for our non-writer reader friends, 250-300 words makes a page, usually. You can translate our daily goals for yourself.

Readers: How do you keep track of project goals, whether at work or at home? Writers, does word count motivate you?

Wicked Wednesday: Malice Edition

NEWS FLASH: Reine Harrington Carter won The Immaculate! Marian will be contacting you, Reine. Congratulations!

The Wickeds did Malice last weekend. Malice Domestic is an annual fan convention in Bethesda, Maryland. We’ve all been several times, but haven’t all been there together for a couple of years. Panels, banquets, dinners, meetings, catching up with friends and laughs, lots of laughs. You’ll  be hearing a lot about the weekend in the next few weeks, but for this Wicked Wednesday, here’s the question. What is your favorite Malice Memory of 2016?

Edith: Can I have three? I got to listen to two of my very favorite authors be interviewed as honorees and later get my picture with each. Katherine Hall Page was the Lifetime Achievement awardee – and she’s one of the reasons I write the kind of mysteries I do. Victoria Thompson was this year’s Guest of Honor – and she also writes about a historical midwife solving crimes. And then the great Margaret Maron moderated Julie’s Best First Novel panel, the panel she has moderated every year – and brought us all to tears with her farewell ending remarks, because she is retiring from the business. Three awesome, talented, productive women. Truly a Malice to remember.

IMG_8871Sherry: I have to share three also. Getting to see people I only see at conferences and catching up with them is first! I’m going to have Leslie Budewitz withdrawals since we’ve been at five conferences together in the last six months. Second, I signed next to the amazing Charlaine Harris — what a thrill and she is lovely! And third, I’m still new enough at this author thing that when someone asks me to sign a book I want to leap up and hug them.

Liz: Every moment at Malice is a fabulous memory. Just being able to be on a panel and sign books that people have bought is a fabulous feeling. Seeing old friends and meeting new ones is the best part of the weekend, and of course enjoying two of the Wickeds being nominated was fabulous! And agree with Edith – Julie’s panel moderated by Margaret Maron was unforgettable.

 

dinner with friends

Pre Malice Dinner: Wickeds, Accomplices, Friends

Jessie: I loved the interviews with both Victoria Thompson and with Hank Phillippi Ryan. It was such a pleasure to hear about their careers and the plans they have for the future.  I also love being surrounded by all the positive energy that always fills the conference.

Barb: Seeing friends, especially the people I only see once a year is a definite. Malice-Go-Round was a blast. I remember what a deer-in-the-headlights I was the first time I did it. Also, so wonderful, the third New Author Breakfast including a Wicked in a row–Liz, then Sherry, then Julie. So cool!

Julie: Being nominated for Best First Novel was wonderful. I can remember the first time I went to Malice, and walked in the hotel alone, seeing groups of friends (authors I knew and admired) sitting together, laughing and talking. I wasn’t jealous as much as I could never imagine sitting on one of those couches, laughing. Yet, here I am, living my dream, seeing friends, meeting new ones.

 

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Wicked Wednesday-Stopping by the Wayside

ALL MURDERS FINAL mech.inddWe are celebrating the release of Sherry’s book All Murders Final! Yesterday Sherry wrote about one of her favorite historical sites in Massachusetts, Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts. Sarah Winston goes there in All Murders Final, and I wondered, dear Wickeds, if you have ever been. If not, do you have another favorite inn or haunted place?

Edith: Congratulations, Sherry! So happy for you. I’ve never been to the Wayside but have always wanted to go. My imagination tends to run away with me, so I know if I thought about a place being haunted, I’m sure spirits would manifest and I’m not that comfortable with the idea. We went to the historic Exeter Inn this winter, which has lovely interiors. And several restaurants in Amesbury are in historic mill buildings, with much of the inside intact.

Liz: Yay Sherry!! Can’t wait to read this installment. I’ve never been to the Wayside either, but there’s an awesome restaurant here in Mystic that’s haunted, the Captain Daniel Packer Inne. It’s alleged to be haunted by Captain Daniel Packer’s niece, who died at age seven. She plays in the stairwell and befriends children who come to eat. I’ve never met her, but always hoped to!

Jessie: Congratulations, Sherry! It never gets old, does it? I have never been to the Wayside Inn but am eager to travel there through the pages of All Murders Final! I love the idea of haunted places but have yet to encounter one.

Barb: Congratulations, Sherry! I can’t wait to read All Murders Final. I’ve been to the Wayside Inn too many times to count. It’s one of my mother-in-law’s favorite restaurants, so we’ve taken private rooms for many graduation, milestone birthday, and other family parties. For several years we had a “grown-ups” only Christmas season dinner there when the place was all decorated. Our house in Boothbay Harbor is supposedly haunted. I’ve never seen the ghost, though our dog was convincing in his belief one night when we had to sleep in the haunted bedroom.

Julie: Add my voice to the chorus! Can’t wait to have you sign a copy of ALL MURDERS FINAL at Malice. When I was growing up, we spent April vacation with my grandparents. During those wonderful years, trips to the Wayside Inn were common. It is really wonderful. (I’m adding it to a day trip later this spring.) RE haunted houses–I lived in an apartment with a poltergeist. Random things would fly across the room. Jewelry would disappear, and then show up in the center of a table one day. Lights would flash in mirrors, but you could never find the source of the flash. Good times…

How about you, dear readers? Have you ever been to the Wayside Inn? Any haunted dwellings in your past?

A Wicked Good Time in Hollywood

Julie: In MA, thinking about the lovely weather back in CA.

The contest winner of the sock contest is Edie Lewis! Please email your address to Sherry at Sherryharrisauthor@gmail.com

IMG_8330Sheila, Jessie, Sherry and I all went to Hollywood for a Sisters in Crime conference: Adapting to Hollywood. There we joined 121 other SinC members from across the country, learning about the business of film and television and what we needed to consider when doing an adaptation of our own work. We also got to pitch to a Hollywood producer. I know I am still thinking about the weekend, and mulling over all that I learned. Today, we’re going to chime in on a highlight of the weekend, a favorite memory, and something we learned.

Alison Sweeney talks about working with Hallmark, being a producer, actor, and author.

Alison Sweeney talks about working with Hallmark, being a producer, actor, and author.

Jessie: First off, I wanted to send out an enormous thank you to all the people involved in organizing this event. What a tremendous amount of work this must have been! I had such a wonderful time. I learned that while the film business and the publishing business tell stories really differently, they are both industries that require a lot of patience and tenacity. Nothing is over until it is over and enthusiasm goes a long, long way. One of the highlights for me was listening to Megan Abbott talk about her journey towards a seat in the writers’ room on a television show. She was funny and sincere and generous. A favorite memory was sitting with G.A. Maillet, Leslie Budewitz, Sheila, Sherry and Julie late into the evening on the hotel patio talking life and business.

Sheila: Talk about intense! We spent two full days listening to an amazing array of speakers, with different areas of expertise in the film/television/I don’t know what industry, telling us what it’s really like behind the scenes and how to break in. A huge thank-you for Sisters in Crime for putting this together.

IMG_8424I took a lot of notes, but they don’t always make sense. The first thing that jumped out at me what a comment made by writer Megan Abbott, the keynote speaker: “people in the business don’t live in the same world as other people.” You could say the same for writers. The question we all wanted answered was, where do these two worlds intersect?

Other messages? You’d better know someone to get your foot in the door. You need an agent, but your agent needs to know a California agent with connections. There is a lot of demand for IP (intellectual property, which I think means something you wrote that isn’t based on something else) because there are so many outlets for new work–but you still have to get it on the right desk or in front of the right eyes or whatever.

And then there’s the stuff we already know: write a good story, and tell it well. Make even your synopsis or screenplay entertaining. Trust yourself, and don’t lose your own voice. Be persistent and enthusiastic. And keep your fingers crossed!

Sherry: What a fabulous weekend! Thank you Sisters-in-Crime and the LA Chapter of SinC for putting on such a great event. I’m guessing getting all the speakers lined up was right up there with herding cats. And when someone didn’t show up you fixed it! To add to what Sheila said, if you don’t have an agent you can hire an entertainment lawyer to pitch your work to producers, etc. But never send anything on your own or unsolicited.

IMG_8389Most of you are probably familiar with the IMDb website which is full of information about movies, actors, and TV shows. But I learned in LA there is also an IMDb Pro which lists contact information for producers and executives. They have a thirty day free trial which I

Nancy Parra aka Nancy Coco, Leslie Budewitz, Jessie, Sheila, and Julie

Nancy Parra aka Nancy Coco, Leslie Budewitz, Jessie, Sheila, and Julie

signed up for because I wanted to email someone I had hoped to speak to but didn’t get a chance. So now you can find me on IMDb (for the next 25 days)! I wrote a quick note thanking him for being there and asked if he like my agent to send my books. (Okay, I’m trying not to check my email every five minutes to see if he’s answered.)

Another thing that really struck me is something that Laura DiSilverio said and was reiterated by the speakers over and over. Your art (book) is your art. Hollywood will change it into their art. They might use one aspect, they might not for legal reasons be able to use the names as they appear in your story, they might cut characters for smaller budget TV movies. Lastly, it is always fun to hang out with fellow authors and we had so much fun!

Julie: I took a screenwriting workshop years ago, and couldn’t

After a day of listening to Hollywood insiders, walking around the City Walk was fun.

After a day of listening walking around the City Walk was fun.

do it. Telling the story through dialogue rather than exposition? I just wasn’t there. But now, one of my takeaways is that I want to try again. The conference was just terrific at explaining in very clear terms that Hollywood is commercial, which is about making money. It doesn’t mean that they don’t care about story, or art (necessarily). It does mean that budgets and potential income matter.

I also thought about how lucky we are as novelists. Though we need people in our production pipeline (editors, publishers, booksellers, librarians, readers, etc.) our imagination is our own movie studio. It is a special skill, but not necessarily transferable.

What a terrific weekend. I learned a lot, and look forward to learning more. The dream is still to have a movie on the Hallmark Channel. I am grateful to Sisters in Crime for helping me realize this will be as big a challenge as getting published.

Any other sibs want to weigh in on what they learned last weekend?

A Wicked Visit to the Flea Market

Jane/Susannah/Sadie here, feeling generous…

One of the things my family likes to do together is visit flea markets. My son looks for vinyl record albums (yes, these are resurging in popularity). My husband looks for old, well-crafted hand tools and fishing equipment. I…try not to buy books or any more china or sparkly glassware or crystal, but I do allow myself to indulge in some costume jewelry here and there.

A couple of weeks ago we visited a flea market in Dudley, Massachusetts. Because I really shouldn’t bring more stuff into my home until I can get some stuff out, I decided to buy virtual gifts for all the Wickeds.

For Edith, I got this oval cast iron griddle because it reminded me of Maddie Day’s new series . Suggest removing that piece of combustible-looking rawhide around the handle and just using a potholder:

Wicked Griddle.jpg

For Sherry, I got this 4-foot-high urn. Because you can never have too many of these. And I felt like this was some thing Sarah Winston might find a clue in:

Wicked Urn

For Jessie, I got these boxes of yarn. I didn’t paw through them, but there’s a good chance there’s some gorgeous baby alpaca in there in just the right color and quantity:

Wicked Yarn

For Barb, I got this awesome hand-carved mariner’s head. This is another thing you can never have too many of. She can hang this prominently, well, anywhere really, for that nautical, fishy, Gorton’s of Gloucester touch. Although, now that I’m looking at this again, it might be a conquistador or Miles Standish, in which case Barb can regift if she wants. Oh no! Is that some crystal in the background? Move away, Jane/Suze/Sadie!

Wicked Mariner

For Liz, I got this adorable little stuffed animal that reminded me of her dog. Clearly, I was so overcome by the cuteness that my hand shook as I was taking the picture. Liz’s dog could also use this stuffie as a chew toy. I love gifts that do double duty.

Wicked Puppy

For Sheila, I got this set of apple candlesticks. At least I think they’re candlesticks for a fat candle? Or maybe a dish can go in each of these metal circles for candy or nuts. Anyway, I just know she needs more apple-themed stuff.

Wicked Apples

For Julie, I was looking for something to do with the theater. But then I saw these Paris Hilton heels and knew I must get them so Julie can wear them to the Agathas banquet to accept her award.

Wicked Shoes

Finally, for Kim, I got this … tall metal cop. I don’t know exactly what it is because it was up high and I wasn’t wearing my glasses. The head might come off, then she could store stuff in there, liked cursed rings:

Wicked Tin Cop

And frankly, it’s a good thing this cop was around. Because there might be some criminal activity going on at this flea market–at least of the grammatical variety:

Wicked Grammar

And that ended my shopping spree. Or did it? Fine. I did buy a couple somethings for myself. And they were shiny! But practical too. I bought a small vintage copper-bottom Revere Ware saucepan, and a matching 6″ skillet with lid, all for $8.00. These will go to my cabin, and I really do need them to replace other cookware of lesser quality. So I felt quite virtuous when I left.

Wicked Pans

So, readers, do you love flea markets? What kind of virtual gifts would you buy the Wickeds?