Tag Archives: mystery

Mystery Writer Barbara Ann Derksen Tells How She First Published


Christian Canadian mystery author Barbara Ann Derksen.
Barbara Ann Derksen

I’m so happy today to have Canadian author Barbara Ann Derksen on “How I First Published.” Barbara writes fabulous mysteries. I  love her latest series, Finders Keepers. And now, here’s Barbara to tell us how she published.

Essence of Evil by Canadian Christian author Barbara Ann Derksen

What  was  your  first published novel? Did you go  indie or traditional?

 My first book was in the mystery genre and written from a collection of short stories while I worked as a journalist for a nearby newspaper. When the story was finished, I sent query letters to several traditional publishers expecting to be “discovered.”
Eleven rejection letters later, I began to explore self-publishing. .

The name of the book is Mind Trap. It is the story of a woman with anger issues stemming from abuse when she was a child and how it affects her life and the lives of those around her. Road rage is a topic that radio shows and TV interviews picked up on because she used her car as a murder weapon in a fit of rage. That was in 2003. Then in 2004 I attended my first writer’s conference and learned what I didn’t know and why the book was not picked up by a traditional publisher.

I chose to use Authorhouse. I learned a lot but found over the years better ways to publish that are less costly and more supportive. I discovered that whether you publish traditionally or indie, the work of marketing is pretty much left to you. These days we need to have a social media voice and a brand before the traditional publishers will even look at you. I also write in different genres (May be good or bad depending on who you listen to) and a traditional publisher, I’ve been told, won’t let you do that.

Authorhouse created my cover based on the short synopsis I gave them of the book. However, now that I’ve pulled the book to rewrite and edit it, I will also have a new cover designed. I’ve learned a lot about what to do and what not to do since Mind Trap was published so plan to put my knowledge to work to perfect the story. Once they had the book done, I began to make the rounds of bookstores in major cities nearby and schedule TV and radio spots when I could to let people know I was in their city. It was a learning experience all around but fun.

How did publishing make you feel?  Has it been as good as you expected, or a letdown, or exhausting, for example?

I experienced a wonderful sense of accomplishment when I held that book in my hands for the first time, as I do with each subsequent novel I’ve written. I was disappointed that some publisher wasn’t just waiting for my work but then I didn’t know how many manuscripts they have to peruse and at the first writer’s conference I learned they can afford to be choosy. I also learned that my boss was God and that to submit shoddy work was not appropriate. Writing from a Christian perspective is ministry, a calling from God. So the results, if I’ve done my part, are His.

Tell us what’s happened with your writing journey since.

Since that first book, I’ve successfully self-published 18 titles. I’ve completed a four-book series in the mystery genre with two books of another series done. Six devotionals speak to motorcyclists and others on a variety of topics and three books are children’s stories with another children’s series in audio book form only. I completed a collection of short stories honoring the veterans of the Korean Conflict, and a household management guide for busy parents. I am currently working on Book three in the Finder’s Keepers Mystery Series.

Shadow Stalker, Book one in Finder’s Keepers:

Shadow Stalker, Book one in Finder's Keepers, Christian mystery series
An ominous shadow hangs over her, as Christine Finder, alias Melissa Rompart, visits the
brutal slaying of her parents most nights in a dream. The threat of discovery propels her to search for the
whereabouts of the killer to see the man brought to justice. In the meantime, the killer stalks her mind
while she operates Finder’s Keepers, an agency that searches for the people her clients hire her to find.
Nathan Brent is only four years old and missing. Will she find him in time or will the killer find her first?


About Barbara:

Born in Canada, Barbara lived in the US for 12 years. There her writing surfaced as she worked under contract as a journalist for six years with over 2500 articles published in newspapers and magazines during that time. Meeting and interviewing people, digging for the hidden gems in their lives, made those years informative as well as instructive. She began attending Colorado Christian Writer’s Conferences and each year, under the tutelage of great Christian writer’s like James Scott Bell, Angela Hunt, and others, she honed her skills.

Barbara has developed a speaking platform and has spoken across the US and in Manitoba, Canada for women’s groups and in church services on topics such as The Writing Experience, working in the ministry of Christian Motorcyclists Association, Love, Parenting, Time Management, and a host of others.

With 17 books to her credit, one currently inactive and awaiting revision, each one surpasses the last, according to her readers. They look forward to discovering the new characters in a new series Finders Keepers.  (Book One  is Shadow Stalker.)

Connect with Barbara at:
Google + – http://bit.ly/1fvrT7L
Twitter – http://twitter.com/@BarbaraADerksen

Publishing a Novel: Carole Brown on How She First Published


Indie and traditionally published author Carole Brown on  how to publish.
Author Carole Brown

Wondering about publishing a novel? In this regular blog feature, authors tell the story of how they published their first book. I’m excited to talk to Carole Brown today, who is both traditionally and indie published! Here’s my interview with Carole: 

What was your first published novel?

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman. A women’s fiction with strong elements of suspense and romance, it deals with a woman who’s bent on revenge upon the men in a cult where she was raised because of the murder of her eldest daughter. It’s intense and suspenseful with just the right touches of lightness and hope and romance to lift the reader from the seriousness.

The Redemption of Caralyn Hayman, suspense about woman escaping cult.

Was it a traditional publishing contract or did you go Indie?

Traditional for my debut novel. I’ve been “raised” to believe it was THE way to go so that was pretty much the only aim I had. For a long time.

How did that come about?

I was really discouraged, ready to quit. I’d studied hard, re-learned writing, acquired an agent and critique partners, attended conferences and workshops and talked with editors. Still no results.

At the lowest point of my despair, a dear older lady set me down, figuratively speaking, and told me God gave me the talent and that I needed to believe. Use what I had and leave the rest to God. Still with struggling faith, I pushed ahead. In April of 2012, I talked with an editor of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas who asked me to have my agent send my manuscript. I was approved, accepted and signed the contract in December. October 21, 2013, my debut novel released.

How did this make you feel? Has it been as good as you expected or a letdown, or exhausting, for example?

I’ve loved it for the most part. But then I believe I found the publishing house that worked for my aims and goals and for my writing style. I also believe with all my heart that they work hard to encourage and help their authors to achieve success. They’re certainly willing to try many ideas to help us.

There are always snags and sometimes a few disagreements, but for me, it has smoothed out nicely. I work hard at marketing and believe my editor is pleased with my efforts. I now have three versions: print, kindle, and audio to offer readers of different requirements.

Tell us what’s happened with your writing journey since.

Smiling . . . A month after The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman released, I was fortunate to Indie publish (with help from a good friend) the first book in a mystery series: Hog Insane, introducing the early-retired couple: Denton and Alex Davies who head to Tennessee in their RV with their dog, Taffy. It’s a fun, lighthearted, quick read. Entirely different from The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, but a nice read.

For the near future, I should have two more novels releasing. The second book in my mystery series: Bat Crazy which, of course, features Denton and Alex Davies again, only in New Mexico this time. Hint: What do vampire bats have to do with the story? J

My second release is the first book in a WWII Spy series (light suspense). Three sisters, Three spies. Three stories. Each of the three books deals with one of the red-headed sisters and their spies.

Here’s a brief blurb about the first book in this series, With Music in Their Hearts:

Angry at being rejected for military service, Minister Tyrell Walker accepts the call to serve as a civilian spy within his own country. Across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, a spy working for a foreign country is stealing secret plans for newly developed ammunition to be used in the war. According to his FBI cousin, this spy favors pink stationery giving strong indications that a woman is involved.  

He’s instructed to obtain a room in the Rayner Boarding House run by the lovely, spunky red-haired Emma Jaine Rayner. Sparks of jealousy and love fly between them immediately even as they battle suspicions that one or the other is not on the up and up.  

Will their love survive the danger and personal issues that arise to hinder the path of true love?

 Thanks so much, Carole, for visiting my blog! I loved hearing your  story–so encouraging! 

Thanks so much, Robin, for allowing me to visit your site!

Carole Brown not only has her award winning (Selah finalist; Genesis semi-finalist) debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, available for purchase now, but a companion book called West Virginia Scrapbook: From the Life of Caralynne Hayman, filled with tidbits of information about West Virginia, quotes, recipes from West Virginia and from Caralynne’s life, pictures and discussion questions for the novel. November, 2014, the first book in her mystery series, Hog Insane, released. It’s a fun, lighthearted novel introducing the characters, Denton and Alex Davies. 

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

 Connect with her here:

Personal blog: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaroleBrown.author

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/browncarole212

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sunnywrtr/boards/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5237997-carole-brown

Carole is  also am part of several other blogs:

Stitches in Time:  http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/

Barn Door Book Loft: http://www.barndoorbookloft.net/

Authors, if you would like to  be considered for this blog feature, use the “Contact Me” tab up at the top and let me know. Thanks!