Category: Amazon

Word architects

After a long hiatus, I finally started working on a novel again this month. With apologies to all the very patient Lindsay Harding fans, I haven’t started working on the next chaplain mystery. Instead, I’ve begun revising the manuscript for the middle-grade adventure novel I wrote a few years back in the hopes that I can submit it to agents in the fall. It feels good to be back in the saddle!

During this fallow period in which the sum total of my finished writing projects consisted of a single 1,500 word short story, something surprising happened. I’ve been offered two really cool opportunities to put on my Author Hat© and do Cool Author Things©. In my experience, that doesn’t usually happen. I’ve found that if I don’t promote the heck out of my books, attend conferences, and crank out new material, my sales dwindle to a trickle and my Author Hat© gathers dust in its metaphorical closet. Luck was on my side the past few months, though!

jeriandmindy
Celebrating with Jeri Rogers, Literary Editor of Artemis Journal at LitFest Pasadena.

Cool thing No. 1: I got to go to LA and be fancy in a room full of extraordinarily talented people. That 1,500 word short story I mentioned above won the Artemis-Lightbringer “Women hold up half the sky” competition for science fiction with feminist themes and a strong female protagonist. My story received dual publication in Artemis Journal and on the Hollywood NOW website in addition to a cash prize from Hollywood NOW. You can check out my story in the 2018 edition of Artemis or hear it performed by actor and filmmaker Kamala Lopez, recorded live at LitFest Pasadena a few weeks ago. My story starts around minute 57. There’s also a little awards ceremony at the end where I give an impromptu, margarita-fueled speech.

Cool thing No. 2: I’ve been invited to go to one of my favorite places in the world, the Outer Banks, and give a book talk on Saturday, September 29th. Here’s how that whole thing came about. My friend Pam is an innkeeper. Kind of an 18th-century throwback job, huh? She keeps inn (inn-keeps?) at the White Doe Inn in Manteo on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. She recently started up a series of evening arts events and, knowing that A Death in Duck is set near there, she invited me to come give a book talk as part of the series. I said yes before she even finished inviting me.

Both of these unexpected wonderful opportunities reminded me of something. When you publish something or otherwise put your writing out into the world, you lose control of where that writing goes or how it will impact people. Being a writer is kind of like building a house. You may build that house for a specific client or with a clear vision for who will inhabit it. But years, decades, or, if you’re incredibly lucky, centuries later, that house could be roughly the same. Or maybe it will have undergone a complete renovation or maybe it’ll be a crack den. Once you hand it over to the world, you can’t control who lives there or what they do.

The same is true of writing. People’s reactions can be scary or disappointing, like when a series of negative reviews from homophobes blights your book’s Amazon page (the literary equivalent of a crack house?). But they can also be thrilling and encouraging, like when you get to travel to both coasts within the space of a few months to share your work. Not bad for an unproductive year.

Dingbatters and Duck Dialect

Agatha Christie was a shy person. Clever as her mysteries were, she felt that, in real life, her wittiest remarks and most amusing observations always came to her too late–when she was alone at home or long after she’d left a dinner party. Part of the reason she loved to write was that she could use these slightly-too-late bits of dialogue for her characters. I, too, love to take a phrase that didn’t come out quite right when I said it, polish it until it gleams, and then put it into a story. Or, better yet, to steal a great turn of phrase I overhear and put it into the mouth of one of my characters. Writers are a bit like magpies, always on the lookout for shiny objects to add to our collections.

A great joy of writing the Lindsay Harding series is that the books are set in different locales around North Carolina. This has allowed me to play with not just dialogue, but with dialects. This was especially true of the second book in the series, A Death in Duck, which opened my eyes, or, more appropriately, my ears to the High Tide/Hoi Toid accent of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

To write dialect is to walk a fine line between authenticity and reader comprehension. For example, it may be authentic, but the dialogue in James Joyce’s writing has baffled readers for almost a century.

“That made him mad, and he said, liter’ry tone be durned.”

“Thunderation! Keep the durned millingtary step.”

Say what?! I’ve never been able to make it through Joyce’s classic Ulysses because the whole book is populated with incomprehensible jargon and phonetically-rendered accents.

My solution for the native ‘Banker characters in my book is to sprinkle in the occasional regional word–e.g. “dingbatter” to mean “outsider,” “whomperjawed” instead of “crooked”–to give the reader an authentic sense of place. And when the accent is first introduced, I explained the sounds this way:

“Well, you must be Little Miss Lindsay, all grown up,” he began. “I remember seeing you around when you was just a tiny, little thing. Have to say, you got your mama’s good looks. I’d’ve almost reckoned that that was a young Sarabelle Harding sitting there by the fire.”

Even after many decades of living in Duck, Butterworth’s High Tide brogue hadn’t been altered in the slightest. For him, “fire” was “foyer” and “sitting there” was a single word— “settinehr.”

I’m not saying I’m a better writer than Joyce, but if you’re looking for a book to take on your Outer Banks vacation and read on the beach while sipping a cold beer, might I humbly suggest you choose A Death in Duck over Ulysses?

If you’ve never heard the unique Hoi Toid accent, take a listen: http://www.greatbigstory.com/stories/hoi-toider-ocracoke-brogue-in-north-carolina.

Hoi Toider Accent

Far out, huh?

Mount Moriah in Primetime

When I write, I often think of chapters in terms of “scenes.” I usually see all the action play out in my mind’s eye before a single pixel appears on screen. Leander lurking in the shadows watching Lindsay, Lindsay beating her ex over the head with a get-well-soon bouquet, Geneva digging through her giant handbag–all scenes I can picture as clearly as the room I’m sitting in.

When a number of readers of the Mount Moriah books began suggesting that they’d like to see the books turned into movies or a TV show, I was delighted. If other people could “see” the books, that meant that not only was I not the only one with a disturbingly overactive imagination, but that, for those readers, I’d succeeded in creating vivid and memorable characters and situations. Beyond that satisfaction, I didn’t give the idea of adapting the series much thought. My books are published by a tiny press, and although they sell steadily, I’m not seeing Gone Girl royalties yet. For books like mine, Hollywood doesn’t usually come a’ callin’.

Praying woman_Depositphotos_43517345_s-2015But fellow writer Nicole Loughan told me that Amazon has recently developed a way for writers to drop a line to Hollywood. Amazon Studios sifts through submitted scripts and videos, allowing actors, directors, writers, and producers to collaborate to tell stories. For the lucky few, they might buy the movie or TV rights. I decided to take a shot at adapting the Mount Moriah world as a small screen sitcom. I’ve re-imagined the story and characters minus murder, plus even more zany slapstick, in a series I’m calling Little South of Heaven. I hope you’ll check out the pilot episode, which you can read and rate here: https://studios.amazon.com/projects/106689. (Click on the PDF link below the image). Please leave a comment or two. The interface is flexible and designed so that it’s easy to update and change the pitch and the script and to add new material. I’d love to incorporate your ideas and suggestions into the small-screen version of Lindsay Harding’s story and here your thoughts on my first attempt at screenwriting!

Murder in Mount Moriah – Mindy Quigley – Holly Adams

I was a little worried when I read the first sentence of this blog post, but actually, it’s an awesome review of the Mount Moriah audiobook! Book two, also narrated by the amazing Holly Adams, is out now.

Source: Murder in Mount Moriah – Mindy Quigley – Holly Adams

Mount Moriah Box Set and Death in Duck Audiobook

Just in time to fill your virtual Christmas stockings, critically-acclaimed actress Holly Adams is back narrating A Death in Duck, book two in the Mount Moriah series. Her warm, vibrant characterizations take Lindsay Harding on an adventure to the Outer Banks, where murder muddles her friend Anna’s carefully-planned Christmastime beach wedding. The quirky characters, zany antics, and terrifying tension come alive in Adams’ word-perfect rendition.

Virtual stocking still note quite full? Stuff it to overflowing with a bumper box set of all three Mount Moriah mysteries! Download all three books in the Reverend Lindsay Harding series for only $6.99.

Giving rather than receiving more your thing? Remember that I’m always grateful to receive your reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

CLICK TO BUY Mount Moriah Mysteries Box Set
CLICK TO BUY
Mount Moriah Mysteries Box Set
A Death in Duck is now an audiobook
CLICK TO BUY
A Death in Duck is now an audiobook

 

 

Two days, 9 hours, seven minutes, 24 seconds. Make that 23 seconds!

I’m not a savvy shopper. I love stumbling across a bargain as much as the next guy or gal, but in general I’m a person who goes out with a pretty fixed idea of what I want. If I’m in the market for an eight-roll box of Earth Rated® Poop Bags Dog Waste Bags, for example, I won’t be swayed because I see that the EZ Scoop brand comes in purple or that ordering a bulk box of 100 rolls would make them slightly cheaper. And, although I see the benefits of my mother-in-law’s willingness to drive to five different grocery stores to ensure she gets the best price on Saran Wrap, you won’t find me among the ranks of the Super Couponers. Not that I automatically buy the most expensive things. I’m devoted to CVS brand cosmetics and non-prescription medications. I would buy Food Lion’s generic sodas for the names alone. After all, who wouldn’t want to drink Mountain Lion or Dr. Perky? But for most purchases, I don’t care about price as much as I care about getting exactly what I want.

Food Lion sodas have the best names!

Maybe it’s laziness. Maybe it’s an affectation of a newly-bourgeois person who was raised without much money and who is trying desperately to appear to not have to scrimp. Maybe it’s a affectation of a control freak who is trying desperately to be in a position to demand exactly the products she wants. Whatever Freud or Marx or any other German-Austrian dude from the nineteenth-century would have to say about my shopping habits, the fact is you won’t find me shoulder-deep in bargain bins or sleeping in the Walmart parking lot in the run up to Black Friday.

But just because I don’t get a contact high from clipping a two-for-one coupon for Stainless Steel Chicken Beer Can Roaster Deluxes (with Recipe Guides!) doesn’t mean I don’t like to offer my loyal readers a good bargain now and again. In fact, lots of readers have told me they discovered the Mount Moriah Mystery series through a BookBub freebie deal or an Amazon 99-cent discount. So for the next two days, The Burnt Island Burial Ground, book three in the series, is only 99 cents on Kindle (regularly $4.99). If you do snag this bargain, please don’t forget to leave a review and tell everyone what a great deal you got!

I forgot to water the blog.

I’ve been neglecting the blog lately, but I have a good excuse! I’m working on two exciting Minty Fresh endeavors:

Firstly, I’m busily drafting A Burnt Island Burial Ground, the third book in the Lindsay Harding series. Although I’m still a few months from publication, here’s a little sneak peak of the Back Cover blurb:

“We hid the body. The money belonged to everyone, but we stole it for ourselves. You have to help me give it back before it’s too late. If I don’t stop this, that money’s gonna drag us all straight down to hell.”

With these words, whispered to hospital chaplain Lindsay Harding as part of a cryptic confession, the stage is set for another intricately-plotted Mount Moriah mystery. All signs seem to point to a murder, but no one can find any trace of a body. Lindsay’s sure that not all is as it seems, but she’ll need hard grit and quick wit to follow a trail that leads from the deathbed of a wealthy textile magnate back through history to Burnt Island, a remote patch of swampland in eastern North Carolina.

Lindsay’s task is made all the more complicated by the quickly shifting landscape of her personal life. After pre-wedding jitters jeopardize a relationship that seemed to be her best shot at happily-ever-after, Lindsay falls under the spell of a charming stranger. Whether she gets another chance at love will depend on following her heart…and on whether she can keep that heart beating for long enough to unlock the mystery of Burnt Island.

The second major development here at Minty Fresh HQ is that I got word last week that A Murder in Mount Moriah is being turned into an audiobook by ACX! I just listened to the first few voice-over artist auditions, and they are SO GOOD. I’ll be posting more on my progress with that as the project takes shape.

Oh! If you don’t yet own A Death in Duck on Kindle, now’s your chance to snarfle up a copy for dead cheap. It’s only 99¢ until January 21st.