Janis Susan May
How on earth did it get to be December so
quickly? What happened to 2012? The whole year just went by in a
blur. I know I say this at the beginning of every letter, but itís
true Ė time just rushes by and itís so hard to grab a bit and make
it slow downÖ
Two subjects this time Ė some really, really,
really good news and more on my ongoing agent saga.
On to joyous announcements Ė I have received
most of my Christmas gifts early! This past five days has been
simply unbelievably superb! First of all, the incredible Lee Lofland
has most generously added my Janis Patterson website to the sidebar
of his famous Graveyard Shift blog, putting me in the company of
most of the magnificent mystery writers in the world. Thanks, Lee!
Second, 3 December was release day for
EXERCISE IS MURDER (written as Janis Patterson) from FiveStar/Gale
Cengage. Itís a hardback, and my first hardback in a number of
years. (And no, Iím not going to tell you how many!) That release,
coupled with the mid-October release of BEADED TO DEATH (also
written as Janis Patterson) from Carina Press, has made my
end-of-the-year simply splendid.
Now for the really spectacular news!
As we all know, Carina Press puts out a large
number of great books every year. What I didnít know was that there
is a list called ďBest of 2012 Ė Staff PicksĒ containing twelve
books the staff liked best. Twelve out of all the books they publish
And this year, of that twelve, TWO of them are
TIMELESS INNOCENTS, by Janis Susan May Ė a
THE HOLLOW HOUSE, by Janis Patterson Ė an
historical mystery, which was also an RT Top Pick when it was
Can you still hear me shrieking in joy? I
swear, my feet havenít touched ground since the list came out.
Now Ė for the not-so-fun stuff.
Iím still looking for an agent. Still. Iím on
rejection one hundred twenty six, (yes, 126!) and frankly, Iím
beginning to get discouraged.
Youíd think that as one of the founders of RWA,
a professional writer nearly all my life, former editor-in-chief of
two multi-magazine publishing groups and a multi-published novelist
I wouldnít have this much trouble. My work has been honored (see
above) for years. I have sold over twenty (maybe thirty Ė Iím casual
about counting) in my career) novels to well-respected publishers,
six in 2011 alone. I keep deadlines, try always to be professional
and have a work ethic that wonít quit, but still no agent wants me.
And Ė what I donít understand is that so many of the agents I would
love to sign with (and have turned me down) will snap up some
unknown on the basis of three chapters and a synopsis, in spite of
that said unknown having never finished a novel in his/her life! I
just donít understand.
Somehow, returning to jewelry design is
starting to look awfully good, in spite of the great rush I got from
the Carina Staff Picks List.
My work ethic is kicking in. I must at least
finish the work in progress, a traditional Gothic called CURSE OF
THE EXILE Ė itís a great tale of 1850s Scotland, with an isolated
castle, lost gold, a brooding laird, a shy and prim female
librarian, a ghost called Mad Margaret and a murder. Once a most
perspicacious reviewer called me Ďthe logical successor to Phyllis
A. Whitneyí Ė that was a rush, too.
Hope all is well in your worlds, and that each
and every one of you have the Merriest of Christmases and the
Happiest of New Years!
PS Ė Iím also having Safkhet Books bring out
my backlist as ebooks, but thatís a subject that will have to wait
for another letter!
Wow! Where did the summer go? And wasnít it
both hot and weird on top of that! We got softball sized hail in
June that fell like rain for over half an hour. Our front lawn was
solid white Ė the whole thing looked like it did under snow last
winter. Our roof was destroyed, our trees shredded and my car
totaled. Everyone in the neighborhood got a new roof Ė it was like
living inside a popcorn popper for a while Ė and the trees needed
thinning anyway. Thatís what I tell myself, at least.
But I mourn my old car. I loved that car. Named Moby Chick because
it was big, white and feminine, it was about ten years old and had
almost 100,000 miles on it, but aside from the new cellulite-look
outside and a small ding on the bumper (the interior was pristine)
it was magnificent. Ran like a watch. I cried when they towed it
away. On the other hand, The Husband made up for it, gifting me for
my birthday with a brand new (7 miles on it when we took possession)
BMW SUV. Her name is Princess and sheís a pale metallic blue. She
has a totally different operating system from any car Iíve ever
seen, so Iím having to learn how to drive again. She also has a
sunroof, which I can operate easily! Iíve always wanted a sunroof,
and this is the first one Iíve ever had. What am I saying? This is
the nicest car Iíve ever had!
And I donít care what The Husband says. I did
NOT spend the first night in her. Not all of it, at least.
The writing news has been good. BEADED TO DEATH
(by Janis Patterson) was released by Carina Press on 1 October. This
is a light-hearted cozy mystery about a widowed bead artist who
comes home from an art-fair circuit to find the dead body of a
stranger in her house. Before itís all over she finds herself
involved with drug smuggling, a devastatingly handsome FBI agent who
may or may not be rogue, and a 7í3Ē nephew on the run from an
unwanted basketball scholarship. She also almost loses her life.
BEADED TO DEATH is also available as an audio book by Audible.
5Star is bringing out EXERCISE IS MURDER (also
by Janis Patterson) early in December as a hardback Ė first hardback
Iíve had out in years and years. This is a little bit darker tale,
with two sleuths. Rebecca Cloudwebb is a former police detective who
was crippled in a shootout that might have been set up by her
dirty-cop former lover. She is now an antique dealer. Flora Melkiot
is the wealthy widow of a jeweler and can be most charitably
described as the dark side of Miss Marple. When a new tenant whom no
one knows is brutally killed in the exercise class of Floraís
exclusive condo building Flora blackmails Rebecca into helping her
solve the crime. Thatís no easy task, as just about everyone in the
class has motive to murder just about everyone else in the class, no
one even knew the victim or had any motive to kill her.
covers from both. I think youíll agree the covers are spectacular!
Right now after a heavy year of revisions and
publicity on the six books I sold in 2011, Iím behind in my writing,
but now Iím starting to create again. As Janis Patterson Iím working
on two mysteries, one set in 1916 New Orleans and one a sequel toÖ
ah, but youíll have to wait until I find out how they end before I
can talk about them. Yes, you read that correctly. Sometimes I donít
always know whodunit before I finish the book Ė though I always
think I do. Remember, books take on a life of their own. As Janis
Susan May Iím still trying to finish the traditional Gothic romance
CURSE OF THE EXILE. I know where it goes, I know what happens, and I
donít have that much left to do Ė itís just that life gets in the
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