A Muddied Murder
A Greenhouse Mystery, #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press
Date of Publication: March 29, 2016
Number of pages: 288
When Megan Sawyer gives up her big-city law career to care for her grandmother and run the family’s organic farm and café, she expects to find peace and tranquility in her scenic hometown of Winsome, Pennsylvania. Instead, her goat goes missing, rain muddies her fields, the town denies her business permits, and her family’s Colonial-era farm sucks up the remains of her savings.
Just when she thinks she’s reached the bottom of the rain barrel, Megan and the town’s hunky veterinarian discover the local zoning commissioner’s battered body in her barn. Now Megan is thrust into the middle of a murder investigation—and she’s the chief suspect. Can Megan dig through small-town secrets, local politics, and old grievances in time to find a killer before that killer strikes again?
Writing is fundamentally a solitary act. In a very existential way, it’s an author’s mind and the page—that’s it. Oh, eventually there’s the reader too—or many readers, if you’re lucky. But not immediately. In the beginning, there is only that empty white screen, the tabula rasa.
When I started writing, I wrote alone. I edited alone. I studied the marketplace alone, penned query letters alone, and despaired over rejections alone. I’d taken two advance fiction writing classes in college, both of which were taught by MFA students. But I was a psychology major, and if the other students had critique groups or writing clubs, I wasn’t aware of them. I really thought at the time that things would continue this way. I had visions of writing, turning in my novel to a publisher (hopefully!) and then while my publisher did the heavy lifting of selling that novel, I would turn to the next empty white screen.
What I didn’t realize then, but what I know all too well now, is that writing is only half the equation. Yes, the act of writing is something you do alone for long stretches of time. But when you’re not tapping away at the keyboard, it’s important to network because not only can other authors offer support, feedback and encouragement, the simple truth is that most publishers (large and small) look to an author to help market a work, and it’s easier to market when you are part of a community. I wish I had done more of this before my first book was accepted for publication. By the time I started networking, I was playing catch-up, which made marketing my first book that much more difficult.
Whether your work is already in the marketplace or you’re a newbie author just starting out, there are things you can do to create your support base, including:
They say it takes a village to raise a child. I think it also takes a village to produce and market a book. Writing comes first, but building your network—your village—is critical too.
Wendy Tyson is an author, lawyer and former therapist whose background has inspired her mysteries and thrillers. Wendy’s latest novel, DYING BRAND, the third Allison Campbell mystery, was released in May 2015. The first Campbell novel, KILLER IMAGE, was named a best mystery for book clubs in 2014 by Examiner.com. Wendy is also the author of The Greenhouse Mystery Series, the first of which, A MUDDIED MURDER, is due out March 29, 2016. Wendy and her husband are passionate organic gardeners. They live with their three boys and three dogs on a micro-farm just outside of Philadelphia.
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