Saturday, January 31, 2009

Revising Web Site for "Bleeder"

Now that the book is definitely coming out, I'm re-working my web site so that the first page promotes it and my other books take a back seat. It will be a work-in-progress while I wait for a publication date, the ISBN, price and, of course, the final cover design. I'll also add a teaser for the sequel, Day of the Dead, that features a minor character from Bleeder, Selena De La Cruz (here's her car, introduced in the first story).

The original 'home page' will be a 'media resources' page with a press release, bio, photos and contact information. Come by for a visit and let me know what you think of the design. I'm open to suggestions from more experienced writers/bloggers.

Friday, January 30, 2009

"Bleeder" cover art part 2

Here are the other two prototypes for the cover of my contemporary mystery, Bleeder.

It seems to me that the cover should announce right away that this is a mystery with a spiritual angle, yet accessible to readers of all faiths and even those with no faith at all. After all, agnostics and other sorts enjoy Andrew Greeley's Father Blackie Ryan, Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael, and Harry Kemelman's Rabbi Small. I see my story as being very 'doubter-friendly' (the protagonist is a lapsed Presbyterian with serious spiritual doubts since his wife died of leukemia - and he isn't 'converted' at the end) and not heavy-handed in any way. I don't like reading that sort of story and I won't write one like that. It seems to me that mystery writers of all persuasions are interested in the same things: the 'higher mysteries' of suffering, the conflict of good and evil within the human heart, the meaning of justice and the ultimate mystery, death itself. We're all trying to make sense out of the short dash that appears between our tombstone's birth date and departure date.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Bleeder" Cover Art

With Bleeder on a fast track for summer publication, some proto-types for the cover art have already been produced and I'll post them here.
With my previous two novels, I wasn't really consulted at all about the cover. The cover is a marketing tool, and as such, it's the marketing and promotion people who make all the decisions. For The Throne of Tara, the art people phoned me to ask about my main character. For Relics, I had no input at all. In fact, the titles themselves are up to the publishers; Crossway chose The Throne of Tara and I suggested Relics, a title Thomas Nelson decided to keep. For Bleeder, I offered a few alternative titles (though Bleeder was my first choice).
What's your take on these proto-type covers? The figures are from stock photos; the publishers are hiring a model for the real cover and any exposed hands will wear fingerless gloves a la Padre Pio. Here are two of four I've seen. Any comments?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bleeder to be published!

Great news: my first mystery novel, Bleeder, will be published this summer by the Fiction Forge Imprint of Sophia Institute Press.

Here's what the "pitch" to editors was:

When classics professor Reed Stubblefield is disabled in a school shooting, he retreats to a rural Illinois cabin to recover and to write a book on Aristotle in peace. Oddly, in the chill of early March, the campgrounds and motels of tiny River Falls are filled with the ill and infirm -- all seeking the healing touch of the town’s new parish priest, reputed to be a stigmatic. Skeptical about religion since his wife’s death from leukemia, Reed is nevertheless drawn into a friendship with the cleric, Rev. Ray Boudreau, an amiable Aquinas scholar with a fine library – and sure enough, bandages on his hands and bruises on his head that come and go. On Good Friday, Father Ray collapses and bleeds to death in front of horrified parishioners. A miracle? Or bloody murder? Once Reed becomes the prime suspect in the mysterious death, he seeks the truth with the help of an attractive local reporter and Aristotle’s logic before he is arrested or killed. Can he, in the process, find the healing he desperately needs?

I owe many thanks to readers and conference critique-givers who helped to shape the manuscript with suggestions and encouragement. Now let the promotion work begin! As soon as I have information on the book's availability, I'll post it here. I'll revise my web site so that readers can find out more about Bleeder, how to order, and all that.

For the moment, though, it's off to a nice restaurant to celebrate!

Bleeder to be published!

Great news: my first contemporary mystery novel, Bleeder, will be published