Cheating today by referencing my own work from another site. I’m fortunate enough to be included among the Murderers’ Row slate of bloggers for the Thrill Begins, International Thriller Writers’ site for debut authors.

I joined ITW when my first book was published, and have found it a wealth of resources, especially for newbies. Check out this issue: In addition to my piece on scouting locations or J.J. Hensley’s excellent advice to Go Forth and Be Terrible, it features interviews with authors on how they got published (How It Happened); insights into the publishing industry (Publishing Panel); Q&A’s with debut authors (Debut Spotlight), and more.

KillingKindFor instance, in this week’s How It Happened, Chris Holm tells what happened after it happened. His publisher drops him. And he drops his agent:

It had taken me almost two years to land an agent. Another four to find a publisher. Although I believed this manuscript had the potential to be my breakout novel, I was forced to wonder: What if I was wrong? Had I just blown up my writing career?

It’s a cautionary tale, thankfully one with a happy ending.

If you haven’t been published, there’s plenty of helpful information to get you there. And if you have, you’ll get insights into the bewildering world of publishing. It’s worth a gander.



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I spent nearly four decades in the slam-bam world of daily journalism. In the early days, you’d report and write a story one day, and see it in the newspaper the next. By the time I left, the intensity had ramped up considerably, with stories going online within minutes of being written and, please God, edited.

By comparison, book publishing seems glacial. (As does, on most days, the writing. Why, oh why, does it take forever for the words to reveal themselves?) anxietygirl

I turned in the manuscript for my third novel, Disgraced, to Midnight Ink a few weeks ago. It’s not due out until March. That sort of time lag can make a neurotic writer worry that it’s all just a dream. One clutches anxiously at the bits of proof along the way—the galleys, the reviews, the wonderful delivery of the actual book itself, with that delicious new-novel smell. Unfortunately, those things are still months away. Until recently, I was in full Anxiety Girl mode.

But now my first shred of proof exists, with an order form for Disgraced on IndieBound, the site that serves independent bookstores, and Amazon. The cover image isn’t available yet, but I’ve seen an early version and it’s fantastic.

Here’s the description from Amazon:

When former foreign correspondent Lola Wicks heads to Wyoming for a Yellowstone vacation, she comes across a story that hits close to her past. One Wyoming soldier returning from Afghanistan commits suicide, two others spark a near-fatal brawl, and a woman is terrorized. Lola, accompanied by her young daughter, senses a story about whatever happened on the far side of the world that these troops have brought so disastrously home. But she soon realizes that getting the story must take second place to getting herself—and her little girl—out of Wyoming alive.

Cue the music of doom.

And speaking of doom, revisions to the manuscript are due in a few days. That l-o-o-o-o-n-g process I like to complain about? Times like these, it feels just as pressured as that old daily deadline.