Chasing the Case launch party (dragged)
Chasing the Case, Isabel Long Series

Virtual Party, Real Fun

It was my first rodeo, as they say, for a Facebook launch party last Friday for my new mystery Chasing the Case. I had already done a physical reading, but this online event would be a way to reach people who live around the globe and obviously couldn’t attend in person. Yes, a lot is possible on the Web.

I will admit this was new to me, so I was lucky enough to have the camaraderie of my fellow authors at Crooked Cat Books. I popped into their Facebook launches. They were free with their advice such as writing posts and gathering graphics ahead of time, so they can be inserted easily.

I planned my prizes: appearances in a third Isabel Long book plus signed editions of my earlier books. I created a welcome video.

Just have fun, my author friends said. Hmm.

The hardest part was choosing a time given friends live in Europe, the Mideast, Australia, and of course the U.S. So I settled on 2 p.m. Eastern Time Zone. I planned to keep the discussion up for 24 hours, so people could join in when it was convenient.

The fun actually began before 2 p.m. with authors posting celebratory good wishes. Thank you.

Then 2 p.m. came. First the video and then a contest question. Here it is: “I always have a bar in all of my adult fiction. Chasing the Case has the Rooster. In my novel, The Sweet Spot, it’s the Do-Si-Do. It’s your turn to create a name for a bar. I will use your name as a character in my next Isabel Long mystery. Fair warning: the character could be a suspect.”

I was a little worried because it started slowly. But my son, Zack, weighed in and then my longtime friend, Fred. Then things started rolling.

In all I had six contests, all connected to Chasing the Case.

I was surprised who came to the party — a delightful mix of family (my husband’s cousins who are now my cousins had a strong showing), authors, high school and college friends. Oh, the list goes on.

I returned in the evening to find my author friends from Australia weighing in. I was glad to go back and forth with them.

The contest winners have been notified. To tell you the truth, it was hard. There were some clever people on Facebook that day.

I believe the launch went well. Others said the same. A few who were also rookies to these sort of events said they look forward to the next one. Yes, there will be another Sept. 26 for the next in this series, Redneck’s Revenge. I will let you all know. I hope you can make it.

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: A portion of the conversation at my Facebook launch party.

GET YOUR OWN COPY: Here’s the link to get your copy of Chasing the Case: http://mybook.to/chasingthecase

 

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Joan cover 2 copy
The Sweet Spot

The Sweet Spot Is Here

As of today, my new novel The Sweet Spot is available in paperback and Kindle. I hope you will read the first of my hilltown novels set in Western Massachusetts. Of course, that means I hope you will buy my novel in whatever format you prefer. Thank you if you do.

To get the business out of the way, here is the link to my author page on Amazon where you can find my novel: The Sweet Spot on Amazon

Just like Edie St. Claire offers her new neighbor, Harlan Doyle, I toast the novel’s launch with a glass of well water that I’ve let run until it’s as cold as it is deep in the ground. Well, it is morning. Maybe later I’ll have a beer straight from the bottle.

To set the mood, I choose Country and Western music, preferably pre-eight track with the likes of Patsy Cline and Hank Williams.

For those new to my novel, here is a brief synopsis. It is set in 1978 by the way. Most in Conwell love Edie St. Claire, the widow of a soldier killed in Vietnam, until her affair with his married brother ends badly. She tries to survive this small town’s biggest scandal through the help of her rough-sawn family and a badly scarred man who’s arrived for his fresh start.

It’s been a bit of a process bringing The Sweet Spot to readers. I wrote the first draft in 2004 while I was recuperating from being hit by a car. I was a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The guy claimed he didn’t see me. It took me less than two months to finish the draft. I was living in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, where the novel takes place.

My then-agent wanted me to start the book in the middle, which I did, but he couldn’t sell it after all. The Sweet Spot remained unpublished for years. Once in a while I would give it a read until finally I decided to return to its original and rightful plot.

Eventually, after I had moved to Northern New Mexico, I showed The Sweet Spot to my second agent, who gave me some solid advice about upping the dialogue, which is one of my strengths. There were other changes. The novel got better. Alas, he didn’t sell it either.

So here I am doing it on my own, except for Michelle Guiterrez, the novel’s skilled designer. She came up with the cover and font after she read the novel. I believe it’s a classy-looking book. Thanks, Michelle.

I have also had the encouragement of writer friends like Teresa Dovalpage and Fred Fullerton.

Doing it on your own is tough. I should have kept track of how many times I read The Sweet Spot — forwards, out loud, and even backwards a few times. But it makes me feel good that I still enjoy reading the book. I love its characters, even its so-called bad guy. Edie. Walker. Gil. Harlan. Benny. Leona. Amber. The whole damn town of Conwell. They all came from my imagination but they are very real to me. I hope you feel the same. And if you do, I’d love a review.

The Sweet Spot on Kindle

The Sweet Spot in Paperback

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: Hank shot that photo of me holding The Sweet Spot in our front yard. Yeah, I’m really that happy about it.

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