Tag Archives: M. Ruth Myers

Self-Publishing: 3 Things I’ve Learned Using Createspace and Kindle Direct Publishing

Now that the paperback and Kindle versions of All the Different Ways Love Can Feel are available for purchase, I thought I’d make a quick list of tips for potential self-publishers out there. These are based on my experiences using Createspace for my paperback and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for my eBook.

  1. Make sure to set up your paperback and eBook for pre-order. Doing this allows you to set-up a comprehensive marketing plan before your book’s official release. To set up your paperback for pre-order on Createspace, something I failed to do, you will need to use Amazon Advantage; from there, it is a fairly long and drawn out process. Click on this link for step-by-step instructions on how to utilize Amazon Advantage.  Setting up your eBook for pre-orders on KDP is a much simpler process, and, fortunately for me, I did manage to make All the Different Ways Love Can Feel available for pre-orders (click here). On KDP, there is a “Make my book available for pre-order” option. Click here for the step-by-step instructions. 
  2. Making your manuscript Kindle-ready IS A PAIN! In Microsoft Word, you will need to set up your book according to very specific formatting guidelines. I did that. I took my time to do it, carefully following KDP’s instructions on the subject. My manuscript still didn’t look right on the digital proof. So I got a recommendation from Shamus Award winner M. Ruth Myers, who self-publishes the excellent Maggie Sullivan series.  She suggested I use Karen Perkins, an author and editor who works in publishing, to do my Kindle conversion, which I did. It cost me $70 and was totally worth it. Karen was friendly, professional, and quick. Based out of England, Karen emailed  me a little worksheet about my book, I filled it out, and two days later she sent back my book, Kindle-ready.  If you’re interested, here is her contact information. I give her my highest recommendation.
  3. Edit carefully. Yes, this is an obvious one, but so necessary. Just before I published my book, I went back and proofread/edited it one more time. And I’m glad I did. I found about three typos per story, which I was able to correct before sending my book out into the world.

Please leave me comment. Let me know what self-publishing tips (or thoughts) you have.

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Max Everhart’s latest book is a collection of short stories called All the Different Ways Love Can Feel.  It is available on his Createspace store and Amazon. Find him on Facebook and twitter.

Guest Blog: M. Ruth Myers

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WHEN MYSTERY MEETS HISTORY, SPEED COUNTS

M. Ruth Myers

A mystery writer has to juggle a few more elements than the regular novelist. Set it in the past, and the writer needs to keep even more in the air to avoid painful goose eggs on the head. Here’s what goes up and how to keep it aloft. (Feel free to blow smoke in my face and tell me my story doesn’t check out. I’ve been grilled before)

Any good novel needs certain basics — plot, pacing, character, dialog – skillfully done and in a balance to keep the reader reading. A mystery, in addition, must have clues and red herrings woven through those basics, sometimes sliding by unnoticed, other times producing an “Ah-hah! I’ll bet I know whodunit!” reaction. Writing a historical mystery calls for an additional set of elements which, like clues, must be worked in without slowing the story.

Some of those elements are ones found in any historical novel. If you’re thinking clothing styles, technology and jargon of the era, as well as actual historical events and personages, give yourself a gold star. Then consider additional ones which are particularly important to a historical MYSTERY where people are followed, eliminating a suspect may hinge on the time required to get from Point A to Point B, detectives interface with police and life-or-death chases are known to occur. For starters:

* Streets. Which have vanished or appeared or changed direction between your time period and the present? Certain types of mystery, such as private eye yarns and noir, characteristically tell the route the detective is taking when following someone or being followed — or thinking through the fastest way to get somewhere. A writer can locate a business or house on a fictitious street, or better still, refer to it as “just off” (fill in name of actual street), but keep it anchored to real places in order to give the historical authenticity readers expect.

* When unincorporated areas around a city were incorporated as separate towns or villages. If a suspect lives there, and your detective is going to follow or question him, best know how to refer to the area. Also, differences in jurisdiction might come into play.   Believe me, someone who has lived in the area or is a history buff will point it out if you slip.

* Changes in locations of government buildings, jails and police stations. Even an amateur sleuth may have occasion to visit such a place, so make sure buildings haven’t wandered.

* Changes in laws and speed limits. Some race cars of the late 1930s, when my Maggie Sullivan series opens, could go 100 mph or more. However the speed limit, even on U.S. highways, was 35 mph in most states.

* The attitudes and world-view of people in your chosen time period. This is far too often violated. It seems to me that writers are especially likely to attribute overly modern attitudes to female characters, presumably to make them more appealing to contemporary readers.

What forensic methods were available at the time? Were they widely used?

You may recall I said this information needs to be threaded through the mystery itself. If you periodically dump in paragraph upon paragraph, you stop the action cold. A historical MYSTERY is first and foremost a mystery. Maintaining pace is crucial.

Here are some ways I’ve approached it.

Tough Cookie, the second Maggie Sullivan mystery, opens with the PI in her office. She’s playing jacks with spare slugs for her .38 because: It beat trudging through slush and ice from Dayton’s last snowfall to spend three cents on the Daily News only to learn Herr Hitler was still bamboozling leaders in Europe. We get a sense of time (which becomes more specific later), of the media of the day, and of prices. Just as a new case walks in.

Later in the same book, as the case is starting to break, she waylays a photographer pal from the evening paper to ask him the fastest route to a town between Dayton and Cincinnati:

“Scenic or speed?”

“Speed.”

“State route, then. The national’s better in places, but it swings west so far you lose time cutting back over. Speed limit’s thirty-five on both, so there’s nothing to even out the extra distance.”

“It entered my mind I might risk forty if I took the US route.”

“Adds lots of time if you get a ticket. Or blow a gasket.”

It sounded like the voice of experience.

In Don’t Dare a Dame, Maggie wants to call her client to warn her to expect the police: Going back to the office was faster than finding a pay phone.

Historical details need to become mere threads in the mystery itself. What’s the fast food of the detective’s time? What kind of lodgings does he or she have? Does he walk to appointments like Anna Castle’s Tom Clarady? Hire a horse cab like Susanne Alleyn’s Aristide Ravel? Or does she drive a DeSoto like Maggie Sullivan?

If you’re a mystery fan who hasn’t tried any with a historical setting, try some. You might enjoy them. If you favor historical novels, sample a few that are mysteries as well. You might discover new treats. Those of us who write them think the combination is as satisfying as tea and crumpets… or gin and tonic.

 

SHAMUS IN A SKIRT by M. Ruth Myers…only .99 cents!

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Okay, the Maggie Sullivan books are definitely among my favorite of the P.I. series running, so I’m delighted that the latest installment, SHAMUS IN A SKIRT, is available now for only .99 cents! The third book, DON’T DARE A DAME, won the Shamus Award for Best Indie Novel last year, and it’s great. Check out a bit of my review below to get a flavor of these first-rate mysteries.

Myers definitely makes good on the “strong women” in this novel, especially the protagonist Maggie Sullivan.  Tough and pretty with a smart mouth and a strong moral compass, Sullivan is a “dame” a reader can root for.  This is the passage in chapter one that really sold me on this character when Sullivan takes a bully down:

I hated to persuade him, but Neal seemed like one of those guys who needed taking down a peg or two. I gave him a quick little kitten jab in the snoot. Not enough to break it, just enough to start blood gushing down to his chin and get his attention. . .’Don’t drip on the rug on your way out,’ I said.

Now that’s my kind of detective, but if you remain unconvinced of her toughness, here’s a great exchange between Sullivan and one of her operatives after she’s caught a beating herself:

“Holy smokes, Sis! Someone roughed you up bad.”

“Yeah, but I shot him,” I said to allay his dismay. ..

“Was it Cy Warren’s mugs did it?”

“Nah,” I lied. “Some girls have a fan club. The one they started for me is people lining up to break my nose.”

 

New Maggie Sullivan short story…for free!

If you’re a fan of hard-boiled PI novels like me, you’ll definitely want to check out the Maggie Sullivan series by M. Ruth Myers. . . and now is the perfect time to get an introduction to the character because the author has just released a brand new Sullivan short story FOR FREE! It’s called “The Barefoot Stiff,” and to get your free copy, click the link below and enter coupon code AM64N when you check out.

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/468670

Also, you should Like the author’s Facebook page, which will keep you abreast of new writing projects.

https://www.facebook.com/M.RuthMyers.author

Finally, be sure to check out her Shamus Award Finalist novel DON’T DARE A DAME (Maggie Sullivan #3).

http://www.mruthmyers.com/#!

 

 

Interview with M. Ruth Myers, author of DON’T DARE A DAME, Finalist for the Shamus Award

Why do you write?

MYERS: I write because I have to. It’s too painful not to. Writing is who I am – which I don’t think is especially healthy. Even when I want to tear my hair out because my scene or pacing isn’t working, I’d rather write a book than win the lottery.

When do you write?

MYERS: Whenever I can. At some points in my life I was able to keep a regular schedule of six hours a day, five days a week. Right now I count myself lucky to get in 15 hours a week. Real life has a rotten way of making demands.

Where do you write?

MYERS: I’ve always been fortunate to have a private writing space. In Nebraska, it was an unheated attic that was freezing in winter & broiling in summer. Mostly I’ve had an actual, civilized room. In my current study, as well as the previous one, I enjoy the utter hedonism of wall of bookshelves.

For some time now, I’ve written my novels on a laptop computer that is not connected to anything else. I step over to the desktop computer with printer and internet connections for all other purposes. Somehow I like the magic of the novels not sharing bytes or electrons or whatever with other work.

What do you write?

MYERS: I write the Maggie Sullivan mysteries, a series featuring a woman private eye with great legs who keeps a gin bottle in her desk and a Smith & Wesson under her seat. The series follows her, and the city of Dayton, OH, from the waning years of the Great Depression through the end of WWII. I’ve also written books that aren’t in the series, and will probably be a repeat offender.

How do you write?

MYERS: I’m a plodder and a plotter. I like to have a sense of my opening scene and my climax scene before I write the first word. In addition, I need to have some key plot points in between so I know the book will really hang together. I may throw some out and add others, but that’s how it starts. Then I use index cards and a flow chart to check the flow of the story and test for rising and falling action. It sounds more anal than it really is. There’s plenty of room for spontaneity.

Tell me about your books and where they can be found.

MYERS: I did nine books with New York houses. The last, a thriller titled (not by me) A TOUCH OF MAGIC, is the only one I’ve reissued as an ebook. I hope to bring out my first novel, which was classic romantic suspense, as an ebook within the year. In between were assorted types which are out of print but available used from various sources.

Tell me what you’re working on.

MYERS: I’m currently working on the fourth Maggie Sullivan. It starts with hanky-panky with jewelry in a hotel safe, but quickly leads to murder and attempted murder. Maggie wouldn’t mind getting through a case without broken ribs or stitches somewhere, but we’ll have to see.

Tell me something funny.

MYERS: I’d love to, but I broke my funny-bone tripping over a misplaced comma.

BIO:

My first novel, a romantic-suspense novel set in Peru, was published by Coward, McCann & Geoghegan in 1979. Since then I’ve had more than a dozen novels published in assorted genres. They’ve been translated into various languages, optioned for film and condensed for magazine publication.

Early on, I wanted to write more mysteries, specifically a series with a woman P.I. The traditional publishers I worked for kept telling me there just wasn’t enough market for that sort of book. Finally I took a long break from fiction writing. Then I decided to do the Maggie Sullivan mysteries. On my own. I’ve never regretted it.

I was born in Warrensburg, MO, moved to Cheyenne, WY, with my mother and grandmother when I was eight, and returned to Missouri to earn a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Missouri. Prior to novel writing, I was a reporter for city dailies in Michigan and Ohio.

My infinitely patient husband and I live in Ohio, and we have one grown daughter.

M. Ruth Myers
author of the Maggie Sullivan mysteries & other novels

 

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Review of DON’T DARE A DAME by M. Ruth Myers

On M. Ruth Myers’ website, the author claims her books have “strong women–small guns–smart dialogue.”  And Don’t Dare a Dame, the third book in the Maggie Sullivan detective series, makes good on those claims.  And then some.

Set during the Depression Era in Dayton, Ohio, Don’t Dare a Dame starts off in classic P.I. form with Maggie Sullivan taking a seemingly dead-end case. The Vanhorn Sisters, two sweet spinsters, one of them blind, hire Maggie to look into the disappearance of their father, who vanished some quarter of century ago during the Great Flood of 1913.  The investigation immediately turns deadly when the Vanhorn’s stepfather–and Maggie’s chief suspect–commits suicide, and then she gets hauled before the Chief of Police for asking too many questions. From there, the pot really begins to boil as Maggie discovers that the Vanhorn sisters’ suspicions are justified: their father was, indeed, murdered; the only question is: who is the killer?  But before Maggie can identify the killer and bring justice to the Vanhorn’s, her P.I. license, her livelihood, and her life will be put at risk.

Myers definitely makes good on the “strong women” in this novel, especially the protagonist Maggie Sullivan.  Tough and pretty with a smart mouth and a strong moral compass, Sullivan is a “dame” a reader can root for.  This is the passage in chapter one that really sold me on this character when Sullivan takes a bully down:

I hated to persuade him, but Neal seemed like one of those guys who needed taking down a peg or two. I gave him a quick little kitten jab in the snoot. Not enough to break it, just enough to start blood gushing down to his chin and get his attention. . .’Don’t drip on the rug on your way out,’ I said.

Now that’s my kind of detective, but if you remain unconvinced of her toughness, here’s a great exchange between Sullivan and one of her operatives after she’s caught a beating herself:

“Holy smokes, Sis! Someone roughed you up bad.”

“Yeah, but I shot him,” I said to allay his dismay. ..

“Was it Cy Warren’s mugs did it?”

“Nah,” I lied. “Some girls have a fan club. The one they started for me is people lining up to break my nose.”

But it’s not only Sullivan’s toughness and sharp tongue that make this an enjoyable read. It’s also the setting. The descriptions of the area, the secondary characters and how they act, speak, and think, and the police procedural aspects of the novel: all of these elements are authentic and highly readable. And when you add those elements with a formidable lead character and a page-turning plot, it all adds up to a great mystery.

Maggie Sullivan is in the running for my favorite new P.I. series, and I’ve already downloaded Tough Cookie to my Kindle. Don’t Dare a Dame, which was recently nominated for the Shamus Award for Best Indie P.I. novel,has everything working for it. Go buy it. You will not be sorry.

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http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Dare-Maggie-Sullivan-mysteries-ebook/dp/B00GJQEGO0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404217688&sr=8-1&keywords=don%27t+dare+a+dame