Sometimes the Dog Really Does Eat the Homework
Muffin, who does not eat homework!
It has been an eventful year for me, but not in the manner most folks look forward to. There has been joy and much thankfulness, true. My angst came in preparing for the release of AppleJacked the second book in my mystery series. It.has.been.stressful. So stressful in fact, that I had vivid flashbacks of overdue or poorly executed homework from my grade school days. Sister Mary-I-Do-Not-Care-If-Your-Dog-Ate-Your-Homework dominated one particular recollection, because, well, Goober (said dog) didn’t really eat my homework and I’ll never forgive my brother for planting the idea in my eight-year-old-brain.
So, to quell my anxiety about missing my publishing deadline, I fell back on what I knew, blaming Goober. Irony, right? Here I am over half a century past Sister Mary and her homework deadlines and I’m still looking to blame Goober for his gluttony. You see, AppleJacked, the second book in my Moccasin Cove Mystery series, and the book I am currently promoting, was actually assigned an original due date in 2012. Yep, a full decade ago.
Instead of Goober though, I should blame this newbie writer with no clue how publishing worked for the original missed deadline. I have since learned that well-crafted cozies are not dreamt up on Spring Break 2012, written on Summer Break 2012, and query-ready by September of, you guessed it, 2012. Especially at 150K words. Geez.
Many how-to books, more cozy reads, and dozens of burnt-bridges agent queries later I discovered the GUPPIES and author blogs. Thank the Lord! I read the feeds with a furious purpose. Over the years I gutted the word count, applied many lessons to improve the writing, and ultimately, in 2019, again with help, I realized a huge thing. I had started the series in the wrong place. My first-born book baby, AppleJacked, had to become Book 2. I was actually AHEAD of a due date on my writing, but now I was also behind one whole book in the series. Karma, I am sure, for blaming poor Goober.
So, naturally, I fell back on old habits. I wrote the draft for ChainLinked in one month on Summer Break 2019. This time however, I had my writer’s toolbox chock full of lessons learned, GUPPY and otherwise. ChainLinked was published under the misterio press banner in August 2021, and I am both humbled and jazzed by the global 5-Star reviews. It has been picked up by three public libraries in Florida, including my home county system in Pasco. BTW-I'll be appearing on an Author's Panel at New River Library in Pasco County on November 12. More details will be posted soon. Okay, back to my homework woes.
With ChainLinked out in the world, it was time to unpack AppleJacked for a 2022 publication date. “Everything will be great,” I told myself, as Goober had gone to the big dog park in the sky when I was a tween, and I could no longer saddle him with my missed deadlines. AppleJacked would only need a few plot tweaks to fit the new series timeline and I could get it out to the world by January 2022.
Then I became the star contestant on Queen for a Day. Yep, life suddenly involved hospitalizations (mine and my loved ones’) work shifts from virtual school to brick n mortar, pet sadness and loss, roofing issues, two job changes, Covid, laryngitis, and most recently, production issues with a key publishing partner, who apparently has Goobers of her own, which I can totally understand and empathize with. So, when January 2022 became February, then May, then, sometime this summer, and now late October, a surprising thing happened. I let peace claim my heart because I realized I needed every bit of that time to produce the best book possible (thank you, Sister Mary). My blog-tour supporters graciously accepted my Goober woes on needing to reschedule my posts, twice, and my appreciation runs deep.
So, do you have a Goober and what homework of yours has he gobbled up?
Tampa native, Liz Boeger, writes the award-winning Moccasin Cove Mystery Series about an elementary school principal who has a lot to learn about murder. If you like your traditional mysteries with a cozy edge, a hint of Southern snark, and always a happy ending, this series is for you. Don’t worry, she promises the suspicious search history on her laptop, the crime scene tape on her bookshelf, and her real-life run-in with the US Secret Service all have perfectly reasonable explanations.
AppleJacked releases in late October 2022.
APPLEJACKED, A Moccasin Cove Mystery, Book 2
Elementary principal Ana Callahan knows a thing or two about flipping failing schools, but she’s discovered the learning curve on solving murders is steep.
Now in the second year of her school rescue, in Moccasin Cove on Florida’s Gulf coast, Ana is on the verge of winning a pivotal grant award. But her grand plan hits a snag after a teacher is murdered and the crime is pinned on a runaway teenager Ana mentored. The story goes viral. Ana’s campus is besieged by the media, angry parents, and complex questions about the dead teacher’s past. Worse, the myopic rookie detective assigned to the case has her sights set on all the wrong suspects.
While grieving the teacher’s death, Ana starts her own investigation, but her discovery of a body on the beach pins a bullseye on Ana’s back. In her quest to solve two murders, locate the missing teen, and salvage the grant win, Ana unwittingly unleashes a riptide of childhood secrets that force her to learn a hard lesson...
It takes a village to raise a child, but it may also take your life.
2021 Finalist: Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense
2015 Finalist: Royal Palm Literary Award, Florida Writers Association