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  • michellebennington

Celebrate??? The Writing Roller Coaster

I don't always write about the writing and publishing side of things, but the last few have been about that because it's been the most on my mind. I'm actually looking forward to when I can write about other things. For now, I have some fantastic news to share--2023 has been an amazing year! It's also been a trying year. I feel like I'm channeling Dickens now: It was the best of times and the worst of times. He was describing something that hadn't been invented yet--the roller coaster. And I think the roller coaster is the perfect analogy for what this year has been so far.

Mermaid Cove, the second book in the Small Batch Mysteries set in contemporary Kentucky, was due to release May 31. But there were some issues that caused a delay until June 6. The Kindle released first, but then we couldn't get the paperback to show up on Amazon. ARGH! The cart is climbing the first hill...

Finally this weekend on July 2, the book landed. WHOO-HOO!! The roller coaster is on it's first big stomach-flipping drop. My big fear now is that the delay will cause me to be lose a spot in the Kentucky Book Festival, which is one of the biggest festivals in our state. Also, everything else in my life has coalesced into a perfect storm of busy, busy that I haven't had time to properly launch and promote the book the way I'd like to.

The other release, A Sampling of Sleuths, did release--on time--and seems to be doing well in the mystery anthology lists. The downside: I participated solely for the marketing and promotion of my "brand." I won't make a dime on that book unless I'm lucky enough to sell some in person. What would've been really helpful is if the USA Today Bestsellers List had made a comeback before this book landed. One of my dreams is to be on that list, but I think the timing was off for this book to land there now. One can hope...Would this be the side swoosh of the roller coaster?

The third release this year, which is the manuscript I'm currently working on editing, is Widow's Blush, a historical mystery. It should release around October, and I have been racing against the clock to get this sucker edited. Turns out the audio publisher wants the completed manuscript sooner than the book publisher. My hope is that by getting it done early, I won't run in to late landing issues. If all goes well, it should land October 10. I'm really looking forward to this one. I have something fun planned for this one at a local level, BUT I'm not sure I can pull it off because it requires one big thing I'm short on these days--TIME. But the editing of this book has been painful....LOL. If I'm being honest, ALL editing and revision is painful for me. I'd rather write the stories and let someone else clean up the mess. Isn't that every writer's dream? I think this must be the coaster loop.

In September, I have a re-release landing that I'm super-excited about: Dumpster Dying from the Hazardous Hoarding series. It's a rare thing to have a self-published book to be picked up by a publisher. But I took a shot in the dark, sent it to a publisher, crossed my fingers, and got VERY lucky! No one else wanted Dumpster Dying when I first wrote it. But, oddly enough, it's the one that people have enjoyed the most. I'm so happy to have a publishing house for my quirky little tale of a hoarder who lives with her husband's ghost and solves mysteries. Down goes the roller coaster cart.

Further, I found out earlier this year that I've placed as a finalist in the Florida Authors and Publishers Association Award for my book Devil's Kiss. The event is August 6 in Florida and I want so badly to go, to see where I placed, to network with other authors, to collect my award. But I'm fretting over money. There are things in my house that need to be fixed. I will have to spend money to promote my books. I just don't know how I can afford it all. And up the hill I go.

Now, looking ahead, by the end of this year I will have FIVE books under my belt. WHOA! I never thought I'd see the day.

When I finish the edits on Widow's Blush, I will immediately have to finish writing Book 3 in the Small Batch mysteries (Unbridled Spirits). It's due December 1st. UGH! In August, I will likely have to work on edits for the Dumpster Dying re-release and then as soon as I finish Unbridled Spirits will have to start writing the follow up to Widow's Blush, because it's due in April. That sounds like a long time away, but it's not. It's going to be here before I can blink.

From the writer's blocks and motivation doldrums to the awards and publications, this year has been one heckuva wild ride. But you know what? I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm having a blast--even when I'm climbing that hill, waiting for my cart to drop and take off!



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