Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Read Matanzas Bay Now!

If you saw the lead on my home page, you know the cat is out of the bag and my long-awaited mystery novel, MATANZAS BAY, is now available to eBook readers. Take a look at the cover and you instantly get the feel that something is amiss in the nation's oldest city. You might think it's the name of the author. Who is this Parker Francis? you ask. As blogged last week, that's my newest persona, a pen name under which you'll find the Quint Mitchell Mystery series and a short story collection to follow soon.

MATANZAS BAY has had a long gestation period, undergoing countless rewrites and winning two major awards as an unpublished manuscript. Now you can read about the nasty doings in St. Augustine for yourself. Download MATANZAS BAY to your Kindle by clicking here, or to the Nook from the Barnes & Noble catalog. And for a limited time, the price is only $2.99.

Here's the book description: When PI Quint Mitchell volunteered to help with an archaeological survey in St. Augustine, he didn't count on digging up a murder victim. In the nation's oldest city, Mitchell discovers links to ancient sins, comes face to face with his own past, and unleashes powerful forces that will do anything to keep their secrets — even if it means taking his life.

The eBook also contains the prologue and first chapter of the second Quint Mitchell Mystery, BRING DOWN THE FURIES, hopefully available by the end of the year. Let me know how you like it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sleuthing Out the Mystery

Mystery readers live vicariously inside the pages of the fictional world an author spins for them. The reader is able to tag along as the sleuth tackles the bad guys, butts heads with clueless cops, ferrets out clues, and finally solves the case.

Whether it's a cozy like Elaine Viets' Mystery Shopper Series, or the hard-boiled Harry Bosch mysteries of Michael Connelly, the mystery has always fascinated readers. Even while I was writing my adventure/fantasy Windrusher series, I kept reading mysteries. In my second Windrusher adventure, Windrusher and the Cave of Tho-hoth, I introduced a private
detective named Quint Mitchell who helped the Trembles track down their stolen cat. As I was fleshing out Quint's character, I provided him with an interest in archaeology dating back to his college days. A "what if" idea popped up in which Quint unearthed a murder victim while volunteering on a dig in St. Augustine. As writers do, I made a few notes about the scenario before returning to complete Cave of Tho-hoth.

That little what if moment cascaded into a 4-year project in which I wrote and rewrote MATANZAS BAY multiple times, entered it into several competitions, and tried to find a publisher. The novel won the 2007 Josiah W. Bancroft Sr. Award and was named a Book of the Year in the 2009 Royal Palm Literary Competition. This win allowed me to hook up with an agent, but after a year of sleuthing, she wasn't any more successful than I was.

Now the time has come to take the step so many other authors are taking and self-publish MATANZAS BAY. If you've kept up with the rapidly changing publishing world, you know that ebooks have grown into a major force in the marketplace. Previously rejected and unpublished authors like Amanda Hocking are making huge waves, selling tens of thousands of books, and raking in big money on the strength of their ebook sales.

And it's been recently reported that bestselling thriller author Barry Eisler turned down a $500,000 advance to ePublish his next Rain novel. Eisler believes that traditional publishing will soon be a niche business dealing in paper books, while ePublishing is the wave of the future. Hocking, J. A. Konrath, Stephen Leather, L. J Sellers, John Locke, and Selena Kitt are only a few of the many independent authors who have struck gold in the digital mine fields.

As I wrote in my last post, MATANZAS BAY will be coming to Kindle and Nook platforms very soon under the pen name Parker Francis. I'll report on the progress of the book launch in future posts. Stay tuned and wish me luck.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Pen Name By Any Other Name ...

Writers have adopted pen names almost since Gutenberg made books available to the masses. Emily Bronte once wrote as Ellis Bell, her sister Charlotte as Currer Bell. Among Washington Irving's many pen names was Jonathan Oldstyle. And you may know Josef Teodor Korzeniowski better under his pen name of Joseph Conrad.

Most everyone knows that Stephen King wrote as Richard Bachman, and that Nora Roberts writes as J. D. Robb. The Ed McBain mysteries were penned by Evan Hunter, who was born as Salvatore A. Lombino. The list goes on and on, and you can find a long Wikipedia list here.

Writers assume pen names for different reasons, the most common might be to not confuse an audience of readers when the author begins a totally different series. One extreme example might be a successful children's author deciding to write erotica. It could happen. Others might feel their real name is too ethnic or difficult to pronounce, as with Joseph Conrad or Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum, aka Ayn Rand.

All of this musing comes from my decision to publish my mystery/suspense novel, Matanzas Bay under the pen name of Parker Francis. The name has some family connections, but it was done to keep these adult mysteries separate from my Windrusher books, which have a wide audience of young adults.

Upcoming posts will unveil more details about Matanzas Bay, the release date, and perhaps a sneak preview of the cover.

Let me hear your thoughts on pen names and some of your favorites.