Leave No Trace of the Fatal Catch with Roxe Anne Peacock
Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?
The sky’s the limit. As I begin my next journey of taking on the task to be an e-publisher, I feel the need to be able to write in multiple genres. First, I went through my art stage, which was invaluable for working with cover art. My art was featured in Border’s coffee shop for one month, in specialty shops, museums, and art galleries. The moment I savor most is when I was asked to be in a juried art book, Art Rockford, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. At the conclusion of that accomplishment, I decided it was time to venture out into the world and try my hand at writing.
I began my writing journey composing poetry and then submitting my works to a local newspaper. Then I joined a local writer’s group who hold an Ide’s of March contest each year. I entered several short stories, some of which were chosen for their book. My next project seemed imminent. The first mystery I worked on was Fatal Catch, but Leave No Trace was the first to be published. I wrote the book in third person and wasn’t happy with the results. I then rewrote the entire book in first person. What a task.
My experiences weren’t much different than most. I worked on two books at a time; one of which I thought was fantastic. Boy was I wrong. I decided to attend my first writer’s conference, in February no less; snow storms, stranded. I went around to all the panels and like a kid in the candy store. I did a lot of networking and met many new friends. The next step was the dreaded pitch which I rehearsed for days on end. I walked into the first pitch, greeted by the perfect publisher for a first time author, Karen Syed, Echelon Press. I pitched my heart out and she gave me positive feedback. Whew, that went well, I thought. My time was up. I held my head high and smiled all the way out the door, only to fall face first in front of a group of writers waiting in line. With it almost being time to dress for dinner, I retreated to my room and called everyone at home and said, “I am going to get published. They loved my book. I have three or four parties interested”. No such luck. After I returned home, I was still pumped. I submitted about forty cover letters and synopsis to agents and publishers, only to get rejected on all accounts.
The moral of this story is to make sure your work is polished. Don’t let friends and family critique your work, find a good editor. I also was told by one agent to change the title of one of my books which I did. Now this doesn’t mean I change everything suggested, I do keep what I truly believe in.
If you are a new writer, join good writer’s groups online and locally. Attend conferences and panels. But most of all, don’t rehearse your pitch so much you come off like you are reciting a political speech.
The next step to boost my sore ego was to write a short story, Battlefield Ghosts. It was published by Dragoon Publishing in Ghost Voices. The great news gave me strength to continue writing.
After Fatal Catch and Leave No Trace came my non-fiction project, my nightmare, torture and wonderful adventure. I never knew writing a historical cookbook could be so demanding. History Lover’s Cookbook is based on nineteenth century recipes and the Civil War. With all the research, also comes the trial and error of trying to interpret recipes which have a language all their own. Thank goodness for grandkids who are willing to eat the rejects. After many times making the same recipe, there are the dreaded photographs. Food photography needs to be respected people, it is difficult. A good cup of coffee comes with a dab of dish soap swirled around to make the bubbles. The food photography alone caused my hair to turn gray.
But on another note, I have a fantastic Civil War photographer, Tom George Davison, at http://www.tgdavison-photography.smugmug.com ,who is contributing many Civil War food and re-enactment photographs for the book.
History Lover’s Cookbook will be the first book published by Jupiter Publishing in October 2012. Next year I hope to be able to publish two books a month from other authors.
How much research do you do for your books? Have you found any cool tidbits in your research?
The research for my books depends on the genre. History Lover’s Cookbook has taken over two years of steady work. My mysteries aren’t as demanding and only take about one month of research.
Leave No Trace did take a bit longer due to my getting sidetracked. I fell in love with the Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. I didn’t know I would unveil an article about a true story which took place in the canyon of the park. Two best friends, Raffi Kodikian and David Coughlin planned a journey across country together not knowing one would be murdered and the other allegedly committed the crime. I couldn’t put the book down nor can I get the book, Journal of the Dead, out of my mind.
How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?
I am glad you ask that question. My daughter, Heather Land, edits my work, designed my last book cover, and Photoshops some of my food photography. She contributes more than her share. My husband, Tom, will go over the books a few times which is good for him; he really doesn’t like to read.
My daughter, Angela, reads my books on her breaks at work. She also attended my book signing for my art book, Art Rockford, which the Rockford Chamber of Commerce put on. The rest of my family, including grandchildren, won’t even open the books.
As far as the cookbook goes, it is difficult balancing a “diet” and butter laced recipes. When my family comes for dinner, they never know what they are going to eat, vegan, vegetarian, etc. My oldest daughter, Sandy, told me, “No offense, mom, but I liked how you used to cook. I prefer ham, cheesy potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn pudding, biscuits and gravy, bacon, and fruit salad with marshmallows”. I said, “You mean the 1980’s?” My granddaughter, Jenny, said, “Yeah, Grandma, if you can cook all those fattening foods for the cookbook, why can’t you cook like that for us”? I responded, “I didn’t used to have a kidney disease”.
Do you have a ritual when it comes to writing? Example….get coffee, blanket, paper, pen and a comfy place
When I write, I get out all my reference material, spiral notebooks, three ring binders, favorite ink pens with padding, Kindle Fire of course, phone, TV changer, pillows, favorite blanket, bottle of water and a glass of iced tea. Then I plop down in my comfy oversized recliner with my dog, Spike, at my feet.
For me, I need noise when I write. I guess it comes from raising five of my own daughters, and some AFS exchange students. You learn to multi-task quick.
When I get several chapters handwritten in my notebook, I transfer the information onto the computer, editing at the same time. I then print out what I typed and edit again. Then I go back to the notebook and start the process over.
A writing day for me might consist of two to eighteen hours, with a few breaks for stretching. And then I continue writing in my dreams.
Can you please give us a sneak peek at any of your upcoming books?
My next book is entitled, The Garbage Eaters. As blue lights appear near the Smokey Mountains, hikers disappear. Spring 2013.
When you have writer’s block, how do you break free?
Sometimes with writing it is difficult to stay on task. When I have a brain freeze, I turn to shorter goals such as poetry, or short stories I can submit to contests. I find that there really isn’t much of a difference between a writer’s block and dieting, when you reach a plateau, it takes you a few weeks to get back on track. Set short goals, twenty-five pounds, twenty-five pages, etc. It might take a little longer to get to your goal, but the end result will be fantastic.
Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven’t yet?
I have a desire to explore science-fiction. This is a bit confusing since I have cringed at the thought of watching any science-fiction on television. No Star Trek for me, Planet of the Apes, and no V. The older I get, the more adventurous I have become. I am currently researching material for my next project, science-fiction. I have become obsessed with aliens. Maybe they visited me and I don’t recall?
What would be the best way for readers to contact you? Do you have a website? Email address? MySpace site? Blog? Message Board? Group?
I am also on Twitter, GoodReads, and Facebook. I am sorry I can’t take on any new friends at this time for Facebook, I am at the limit and need to compose a Fan page.
What type of books have you always wanted to write?
My writing career wouldn’t be complete if I couldn’t write a book on How to Take Over Your Life and Become Fit at any Age. The older I get, the more health issues I acquire. It doesn’t help that I sit on my behind most of the day, or at least that is what I blame my condition on. But really, if we truly want to get healthy and lose weight, we can find 10 minutes a day to walk or exercise. In fact, the little bit of extra oxygen you might get, might decrease your writer’s block.
Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
If there are no deadlines set for me, I will set a realistic one. Since I am a self-published author, I think I am harder on myself than another publisher would be. For History Lover’s Cookbook, I have a formatter which sets up a time-frame of availability. I need to be considerate of their schedule as well as my own.
LEAVE NO TRACE
Jessica Waters was looking forward to attending college in the fall with her best friend, Sandra Adams. But when Sandra disappears the night after prom, mutual friend, Jason Harris becomes the number one suspect in the tight-knit community of Carlsbad, New Mexico. Before Sandra disappeared, she confessed to having an affair with coach and teacher, Carl Lundstrum. Now Jessica is going to make it her mission to find out what happened to her best friend if it is the last thing she ever does.
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press LLC (February 15, 2011)
It’s 1963, and Chief Riley Bennett knocks on Dody Canfield’s door informing her that her husband died instantly when his car struck a telephone pole. Not wanting to raise three children alone, it isn’t long before she brings home Frank Billings; and he’s moving in.
Mama sends thirteen-year-old Missy to take her little brother, Billie, fishing so she can have some alone time with Uncle Frank. Billie casts his line into the murky river water hooking the granddaddy of all fish. He quickly hands the reel to Missy hoping not to lose his catch. Missy reels in slowly—bubbles begin emerging—releasing an undercurrent of secrets, deadly lies, and terror on the Canfield family.
Publisher: Roxe Anne Peacock (October 30, 2011)