Tuesday, June 22, 2010

APA Guest Spot: Lorrie Struiff

Hello Lauren,

Thank you so much for hosting me today on your blog. I hope the readers will understand more about the small press novelists with my article.


THE ROCK AND A HARD PLACE


I think of the rock as my stories that I write, and the hard place is trying to roll that rock before the eyes of my target readership.

I’m new to this side of publishing since I’m basically a short story writer. I’ve sold shorts to publishers and then I’m done with them. Forget it, nothing more to do. But, “Gypsy Crystal” is novella length and is now both published in multi-format e-reader and print.

I’m enjoying writing longer pieces for readers now, be it romance, paranormal, horror, or well…whatever.

Since this won’t be my last novella or a full novel in the future, I’ve read many blogs suggesting how to get that rock before the readers. But what new author can afford a PR person? Or run ads in the local newspapers? Was that Grisham I saw on the TV spot advertising his new release? Yes, the same John Grisham who wrote the legal thrillers, “The Pelican Brief” “The Firm” “A Time to Kill.”

So, how do I reach my target audience without paying a huge amount of money?

Authors form a network to promote each other by offering guest blog spots, like today.

Then, there are the usual, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. This approach helps reach more readers. I have a fan page on Facebook and many have joined to keep up with my latest news.

Review sites are wonderful. They have seasoned reviewers who read our novels and offer the readers honest opinions. It’s always a good idea to follow these sites to see what is new in the publishing world.

Finding an agent to handle your work is difficult, no matter how good the novel. Agents can only handle so many clients per year. Some turn down even the best of writers to preserve their sanity--I’ve heard this at conferences I have attended. “I don’t give a damn if he’s the next Hemmingway, I can’t look at another query.”

We have to grow as writers. To grow we must write more and more novels. We work, have families, and write in whatever free time we can manipulate. Most of us are not overnight wonders. We choose small presses to begin our careers, and it’s a long hard road we travel. If you don’t believe me, ask Mr. King, or Ms. Roberts.

Do you know what I find to be the most amazing side of publishing now that I am with a small press?

I’m stunned at the amount of great novels that are released by small press authors every month. They are wonderful stories by talented authors that so many readers may be missing out on only for the fact that we can’t afford the great PR person.

“Gypsy Crystal” required a lot of research into Roma customs. I love research. It took me more than a year to write the novella—the rock mentioned above-- due to real life interruptions. It happens to all of us. I’m pleased to tell you my reviews have been fantastic. Writing the novella gave me the chance to spread my wings and let my imagination run wild. I want to do it again, soon.

But it will be a while before my next WIP is complete. I’ve found the hard place to be the time I have to spend now in getting my name out there.

Yes, Mr. Grisham, I did see your ad.

We’d like to see more readers making comments. It makes us feel all warm and fuzzy to see the support of our fans. *hint, hint.* Plus, I’d like to hear comments from the readers about how effective you think these blog spots are in reaching our target audience. This information will help us in our future endeavors, so don’t be shy, please share your thoughts.

Thank you,

Lorrie



Blurb

Everyone has secrets.

Homicide Detective Rita Moldova has a secret, a crystal amulet from her Roma bloodline that shows her the last image a victim had seen before they died. Now, a ritual killer is terrorizing her town and the crystal’s magic has suddenly stopped.

FBI agent, Matt Boulet, is sent to lead the task force and gives the group strange orders. Worse, Rita senses he is holding back a deep dark secret about the killer.

When she confronts her seer mother’s advice, she learns another secret about their clan that she finds impossible to swallow.

Rita swims through a whirlpool of confusion as the investigation continues. Can Rita deny the lore of the ancients? Can she deny her growing feelings for Matt Boulet?

(Excerpt)


Doc read from the screen. “Body completely exsanguinous. Time of death between eleven p.m. and one a.m.” He looked up at Rita and pushed his glasses higher on the bridge of his nose. “Like the others, this woman was alive when the killer began extracting the blood from her jugular. Once drained, he excised the vein with a sharp instrument, postmortem. Why does he bother?”

Rita shrugged. “He’s performing some sort of a ritual, then taking a trophy. Doc, I still think the women had to be unconscious or bound while he took their blood. Any rational woman would fight, or run like hell.”

“The evidence disagrees. There are no ligature marks on the wrists or ankles of any of the bodies. The bruises on the arms indicate a frontal assault, as if they were pinned or held still. Other than the bruises, no needle marks were apparent, no drugs in any of the stomach contents, no contusions on the heads to indicate they were unconscious until the loss of blood weakened, then killed them. Lack of tissue under the nails also indicate they didn’t struggle at all.”

“This doesn’t make any damn sense.” Rita shivered, imagining the women awake, not fighting, as the life drained out their bodies.

Doc rubbed his jaw, shook his head. “And, no matter what weapon I come up with, nothing matches the excised wounds. All evidence so far suggests the killings took place elsewhere, then the bodies were moved.”

“That’s what my gut is telling me, too.” She glanced through the glass at the woman on the table, the Y incision was puckered and ugly under the harsh lighting in the examining room. “The jogger who found this one on the river path yesterday freaked. Can’t say as I blame her.”

Rita had become familiar with a few of the prostitutes during a previous case and found the women to be friendly and open, once they knew she wasn’t there to hassle them. When she had inspected the first victim, the dead woman’s eyes reflected another working girl Rita had met before. Carmella.

Carmella told Rita that she had bummed a cigarette from the woman before a black van pulled to the corner. Her brief glimpse as the interior light of the van flashed on revealed a dark-haired man with a noticeable bump on his nose. Carmella didn’t bother to look at the plates. The woman who had entered the van turned up dead in an alley a day later. Rita had confirmed Carmella’s alibi.

Her confusion deepened with a different reflection in the eyes of the second dead prostitute. The pizza delivery boy remembered seeing the woman at the Ridge Motel, but his alibi also proved solid.

She should see the last person the victim’s eyes captured--the killer’s. Damn. The crystal had never failed her before. She rubbed her arms to ward off a feeling of dread creeping over her skin.

Rita glanced at her watch. A little after twelve. She had time to find out how good ol’ Bobby Driscoll fit into this scenario.

She jumped when Doc nudged her elbow.

His thin lips tightened into a scowl. “I’m still trying to determine the gouging tool. We’ve made the impressions, but nothing matches. Tell the Chief I’ll fax what I have to him in a few hours. You know, he’ll want you on the task force.”

“Yeah. He already set up the meet.”

The only ones who knew of the crystal’s abilities were Chief Lipinski, Rita’s mother, and her uncle. Her gift had spooked the Chief, but he had sworn to keep her secret. If the others found out, she may as well have “Freakazoid” stamped on her forehead.

Rita patted Doc’s hand. “Thanks, I really appreciate the heads-up.” They left the cubicle. She looked at the dead woman again and sighed. “Damn it, Doc, we need to nail this dude’s ass fast. The newspapers are already calling him ‘Keyport’s own Jack the Ripper.’”


Gypsy Crystal is available in PRINT and Multiple E-book formats at Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Crystal-Lorrie-Unites-Struiff/dp/1770650415/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

Visit my website to read the reviews and more info

http://struiff.wordpress.com/

14 comments:

Cate Masters said...

Great post Lorrie. Marketing can be a time suck, but sometimes you have to step away from the Internet and just write. It's why I never connected my laptop to an ISP. It's for writing only.
Great excerpt! Best of luck with Gypsy Crystal.

Marva said...

Hint taken and here I am!

I know about trying to overcome the "if it ain't put out by Random House, then screw it" mentality.

Keep at it, Lorrie. You have a great story with Rita. It's already growing legs of its own.

You know you have my best wishes for success.

maria altobelli said...

You hit that rock and the hard place right on the head, Lorrie. I doubt it's been easy to publish at any time in history, but it sure had to be easier even ten years ago than now.

And I love your comment on the effectiveness of blogs. I've been intrigued about this same question myself. I even went to the San Miguel Writers conference this February to take a workshop on just that subject. The only problem was that the instructor for the workshop quit in a snit because she felt the enrollment didn't justify her time.

So I'm still weighing the options versus the time involved. It would be great to get some dialogue going on the pros and cons and especially how to maximize the effectiveness of a blog.

Very nice post, Lorrie.

Tabitha Shay said...

Lorrie,
I loved your blog...all so true, every word. It's such a long, emotional road to getting published, then as u say, all the hard work of promoting because we're small press. Maybe one day, all that hard work will pay off. I like to think mine has paid off by just having a great group of fans and readers who follow my books...Tabs

Amber Stults said...

I think getting your name out there is difficult but it does pay off. It's an intangible payoff though.

I know for me sometimes I'll see a cover I like but don't always read the synopsis/review until I've seen the author's name a few times.

Lorrie - if you haven't contacted them yet, you may want to see if Bitten By Books or SciFiGuy.ca have room to do author spotlights or reviews for you.

BK said...

Another great post Lorrie! Kudos!

Author Mary C said...

So true about there being some remarkable books out by small press authors. The talent is phenomenal.

I myself enjoy the blogs and finding out tidbits of an author's real life.

Historical Writer/Editor said...

interesting post! I wish you well with your writing endeavors. -Laura

Dave Cushing said...

I have only written short stories and use the 'submit them and forget them' strategy myself. Reading your post makes feel a little daunted at attempting to get a longer piece published. I wish you all the best of luck with your novella and all your future endeavors.

Thanks for sharing your publishing experience with those of us who have yet to have experienced it.

Dave Cushing said...

I have only written short stories and use the 'submit them and forget them' strategy myself. Reading your post makes feel a little daunted at attempting to get a longer piece published. I wish you all the best of luck with your novella and all your future endeavors.

Thanks for sharing your publishing experience with those of us who have yet to have experienced it.

Dave Cushing said...

I have only written short stories and use the 'submit them and forget them' strategy myself. Reading your post makes feel a little daunted at attempting to get a longer piece published. I wish you all the best of luck with your novella and all your future endeavors.

Thanks for sharing your publishing experience with those of us who have yet to have experienced it.

Margaret West said...

I do agree with Lorrie. Most writers rely on networking and good will to get their name out there. Most work full time, have families and so on, yet still we strive, hoping that one day we'll get recognition for our work. I have noticed its the same lovely people who visit blogs, events etc, wouldn't it be nice if others particiapted too. I know time is a great bane of many, but support is always needed and welcomed. Great blog post.

Frances Macias Mossman said...

I've been a fan of Lorrie's since her short stories and was delighted when she came out with a novella."Gypsy Crystal" is a page-truning thrill ride entrenched in Romany heritage.

Great Interview!

Darla said...

Fantastic article, Lorrie.
We've talked about the odds of getting recognized out there. Like having someone go into this huge library and telling them to pick just one book. What are the chances that that one person is going to pick yours? It can be discouraging...but that shouldn't stop you, me or any of us from trying.

Yeah, I saw those ads for Grisham, too.

You wanted to hear comments from the readers about how effective you think these blog spots are in reaching our target audience. IMO, I think any publicity to get noticed is a great source. And you've mentioned quite a few good ones in here.

Ok, I'm done talking.
Best of Luck with Gypsy Crystal.
Darla