Please join me in welcoming author Patricia Fry to Socrates' Book Review Blog and Socrates' Cozy Cafe. She writes a charming cat mystery series, "A Klepto Cat Mystery". Her newest is book and the third of the series is Sleight of Paw. Isn't that a great cover? Check out Patricia's guest post and then enter for a chance to win a Kindle copy of her new book.
Guest Post with Patricia Fry
I haven’t always been in love with fiction. While I’m a seasoned reader of cozy mysteries and stories involving animals, I’m a newcomer when it comes to writing in this genre.
I’d dreamed of becoming a writer and an author. And I’ve been living that dream for over forty years. Yes, I managed to parlay a love of writing into a way of life and, when it became necessary, a means of support. I started my writing career pounding out articles for magazines on a manual typewriter in 1973. Over the years, a few nonfiction books materialized from my knowledge, experiences and tons of research. I established my own publishing company in 1983 and produced many of my own books through Matilija Press.
During the last fifteen years, my focus has been working with and writing for other authors—helping them to publish and market successfully. My most recent books for authors were published by Allworth Press/Skyhorse. They are: “Publish Your Book,” “Promote Your Book” and “Talk Up Your Book.”
I don’t know about other authors/writers, but I reinvent myself and my business every few years or so. Each year, I evaluate my contributions to my readership. I hold a moistened finger up in the air to see which way the wind is blowing for me at that time and make adjustments accordingly. This method has led me to hang out my shingle as an editor/consultant, present workshops, to take the helm of an international networking organization for authors (SPAWN) and to go on tour each year to writers conferences throughout the US and personally connect with the authors who needed my expertise.
In 2011, when I tested the direction of the wind, I was surprised to find myself where I thought I’d never land—a bit burned out, a tad restless and lusting after a little creative excitement. It was my birthday and I decided to treat myself to the time and space to try writing a novel.
I put some thought into what type of novel I would attempt and it didn’t take me long to decide: a cozy mystery involving my favorite animal, the cat. I was surprised at how quickly I fleshed out the premise of my first novel—which I pretty much figured would also be my last. But I should have realized that with my addictive/obsessive personality, I could not stop at just one.
I came up with the main cat character first. Ragsdale (Rags), a kleptomaniac cat who’s strange uncat-like habit helps to solve the mystery at hand (er…at paw). I patterned Rags after two cats: my mother’s cat, Smokey, who is lanky, large and oozing with self-confidence and one of our kitties, Lily, who is a bit of a keltpo. The first book, Catnapped, is based on a true story that one of my daughters was involved in. Cats really were going missing in her neighborhood and she even caught someone walking off with one or her own cats.
When I started writing Catnapped, nothing else in my office or my life received much attention. And I finished this book in a matter of a few months of actual writing. (I did take on a few clients between chapters.) When I wrote the second in the Klepto Cat Mystery series, Cat-Eye Witness, I had fewer interruptions and completed that book in only a couple of months. So I wrote a third. Sleight of Paw is the latest in the series. Currently, I’m putting the finishing touches on the fourth in the series and I’ve started fleshing out the fifth.
I’m amazed and amused at how much fun it is to write fiction and how attached I’ve become to my characters. In Cat-Eye Witness, Michael, a veterinarian and Savannah’s husband, is attacked by an angry client. I meant to have him beat up pretty bad, but found that I couldn’t do that to him. It began to hurt my heart to give him the beating I originally planned, so I backed off and just had both him and Savannah bruised a little. And the bad guy always gets what’s coming to him or her!
I get a kick out of myself when I shed a happy or sympathetic tear or two while writing a touching scene. And I especially enjoy the magical experience when the story seems to write itself. What a trip! If you’re a writer who loves what you do, you’ve probably encountered moments when you watch your story materialize on the screen before you with little effort on your part. You’re typing and you have no idea what words will appear until you see them come alive in front of you.
I’m surprised at how well the Klepto Cat Mystery books are selling. I had heard good things about the Kindle Direct Publishing program and decided to test my novels there. Turns out they are selling well and I’m enjoying generous royalties! Receiving rave reviews is pretty fun, too.
People are most interested in how a hardcore nonfiction, give-me-the-facts-type writer could transition into fiction—and rather easily at that. Well, I took my own advice:
• I read books in the genre I wanted to write—lots and lots of them.
• I considered a genre with a large following.
• I also considered a genre I enjoy reading. I figured if I like reading it, I’d enjoy writing it.
• I added another popular hook to my cozy mystery series—cats.
• I considered marketing strategies before publishing the first book.
• I kept my readers in mind throughout the writing process.
• I had my manuscripts professionally proofed before publishing.
• I capitalize on my large platform as a writer in order to promote these books.
• I listened to readers and started publishing this series in print as well as digital.
I’m thrilled to stop over here at Socrates Book Review and share my story with you. If you’re interested in revved up cozy mysteries and/or you like cats, I invite you to read my books:
Catnapped, which is now in Kindle and print. http://amzn.to/14OCk0W
Cat-Eye Witness, still available on Kindle http://amzn.to/1bJiq0x
Sleight of Paw, a new Kindle book. http://amzn.to/1mGuAXQ
Learn more about me and my work here: http://www.matilijapress.com and http://www.patriciafry.com
Patricia is giving away one Kindle copy of Sleight of Paw. She will gift it to the winner through Amazon. Thanks Patricia!
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The giveaway begins on February 13th (midnight est) and ends on February 20th (midnight est).
The winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen.
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