Patricia Gligor is my guest on day 11 of the Mystery We Write Blog Tour. Patricia is a Cincinnati native. She enjoys reading mystery/suspense novels, touring and photographing old houses and traveling, especially to the ocean. Mixed Messages, the first novel in her Malone Mystery Series, was published in April 2012 by Post Mortem Press. Unfinished Business is the second novel in the series.
Welcome, Patricia. What are your thoughts on the importance of an online presence for writers?
Patricia - I doubt that there’s anyone who hasn’t heard the expression, “I learned it the hard way.” Well, that’s exactly how I learned how important having an online presence is to a writer.
I’ve been writing for a lot of years and my dream has always been to be a published author. In 1995, I got the idea for Mixed Messages, which was originally intended to be a standalone novel. (My characters wouldn’t let me go and so the book became the first in my Malone Mystery series.) For many reasons, I didn’t start the actual writing of my novel until 2002 although I had a fully developed chapter by chapter outline. Between writing, rewriting, editing and searching for a publisher, it was ten years after that before Mixed Messages was published.
So, why did it take so long? A couple of reasons. For one, instead of sending my manuscript out to small publishers, I queried numerous agents. As a rule, if you’re a first time novelist, the odds of finding an agent to represent you are minimal, actually probably closer to nonexistent. And, without an agent, no big publisher will even look at your work. This is reality but it took me a long time to realize that. That was one mistake I made but the biggest mistake was having absolutely NO online presence. Even if an agent had been interested in representing me, when she Googled my name (they all do), she would’ve come up with a blank.
I finally got smart – well, smarter – and began to query small presses. One of the first small presses I queried was Oak Tree Press and I quickly got a reply from Sunny Frazier, the Acquisitions Editor, who had (as all editors do) Googled my name. In her email, she stressed the importance of creating an online presence and invited me to join the Posse, an online marketing/promoting group she had created. Needless to say, I welcomed her help and gladly accepted her invitation. That’s when my writing career began to move forward!
I jumped in with both feet, following her suggestions and coming up with a few ideas of my own. J In October 2011, I met my current publisher at a local event. He was interested in my novel and asked me to send him my query. Thanks to Sunny, when Eric Beebe Googled my name, he came up with more than a blank, which proved to him that I was serious about my writing career. Not long after, he sent me a publishing contract!
Mixed Messages was published in April 2012 and the sequel, Unfinished Business, was published this past November. Two books in the same year!
As a footnote: I need to mention that I had finished both novels before I submitted the query for Mixed Messages to my publisher. You see, I knew that, if my first novel was accepted, the publisher might want a second book in six to nine months and, since I’m not James Patterson, I wanted to be ready.
Here’s the blurb for Unfinished Business :
The Westwood Strangler is dead. Or so everyone believes.
Ann Kern is busy preparing for her favorite holiday. She’s especially looking forward to her sister’s annual Christmas visit. But, several things threaten to ruin her festive mood.
The National Weather Service issues a severe winter storm warning for the Cincinnati area, predicting blizzard conditions, and Ann worries that her sister and her new boyfriend won’t be able to make the drive from South Carolina.
Then, a woman is found strangled in Ann’s neighborhood and everyone, including the police, assumes it’s the work of a copycat killer. However, when two more women are murdered in their homes, the police announce their conviction that the Westwood Strangler is responsible.
When Ann hears the news, the sense of safety and security she’s worked so hard to recapture since her attack on Halloween night, shatters. If the intruder who died in her apartment wasn’t the Westwood Strangler, who is? And, who will be the next victim?
At the end of the blog tour, I will be giving away one copy of Unfinished Business, the second novel in my Malone mystery series. Leave a comment and you’re automatically entered to win. Please include your email address with your comment so that, if your name is selected, I may contact you to get your mailing address. The winner will be announced on my blog on December 11. Best of luck!
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