Thursday, December 2, 2010

It’s Taken Awhile . . . by Molly MacRae, Guest Blogger

Back in 2006 when my first book was accepted by Five Star, I joined the Five Star author Yahoo! Group. There was a list of authors and their contact information in the files for those who were interested in connecting offline. To my surprise, one of the those authors was from my home town in Illinois. A bonus, this author was a librarian. Some of my most favorite people in the world are librarians.

Since then, Molly MacRae and I have met up for lunch in both Illinois and Colorado, joined with Illinois author Sarah Wisseman for a presentation and book signing, connected at writer's conferences, and stayed in touch to share events in our writer's journey. I'm very pleased to introduce Molly and to help annouce her upcoming release, Lawn Order, as well as her new news....but I'm not going to spoil the surprise. Read on....


It's Taken Awhile. . . by Molly MacRae, Guest Blogger

Graduation day is almost here. My girls, Margaret and Bitsy, are ready and they’re going for it. They’re launching themselves out into the great big world and it makes me proud and scared to death at the same time. There are so many opportunities out there, so many pitfalls. But I think they can do it. They’ve got a lot going for them, if I do say so myself. And, in fact, I don’t have to say it all myself. Someone very kind at Publishers Weekly called them witty. Gosh, I still remember, so vividly, the day they came into the world twenty years ago. It’s hard to believe they’re finally taking off. I mean, what in heaven’s name took them so long? Criminelly.

Of course, if I were talking about real children someone should string me up for expressing such impatience. But Margaret and Bitsy, sisters whom I do love dearly, are my short story characters who have been appearing in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine off and on since January 1990. I mean, come on girls, get the lead out. What are you doing fooling around in short stories all these years?

But, finally, finally, they’ve grown up and are going to live in a novel called Lawn Order coming out December 15th (according to the publisher, Five Star) or January 5th (according to Amazon). I don’t particularly care about the actual date. My general feeling about the whole thing can be summed up this way: Woohoo!

But, really, what did take them so long? Or, to be fair, what took me so long? The answer: Nothing. Everything. Raising real children. Working full time. Job loss, moving, upheaval. Another full time job. The sort of things most people experience. Life.

I’ve had a general writing/publication plan throughout the years, though. True, it’s been a protracted plan, because I am slow and distractible (aw, there’s a cat on my lap and he’s purring and needs me to pet him) . . . but I keep returning to the plan and have, point by point, checked items off my to-do list. Here’s the rough outline of my goals and their outcomes:

1. Write mystery novel (part way through toss it in drawer to molder)

2. Join writing/critique group (check)

3. Write short story and submit to Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine (check, story rejected)

4. Set arbitrary deadline of getting something published, and getting paid for it, by time youngest child enters kindergarten (check, Hitchcock accepts fifth story I send them same month child starts school)

5. New goal: two more stories in Hitchcock and join Sisters in Crime (check and check)

6. Attend writers conferences and workshops (check)

7. Finish novel moldering in drawer (check)

8. Find agent (desultory search ends after one rejection)

9. Toss novel back in drawer (check)

10. Write more Margaret & Bitsy stories (check, seven stories appear in Hitchcock)

11. Join Mystery Writers of America (check)

12. Write novel featuring Margaret & Bitsy (check)

13. Remove first novel from drawer and use for practice pitching to editor at Love is Murder in Chicago (check, to my surprise editor buys novel. Wilder Rumors published by Five Star in 2007)

14. Find agent (less desultory search ends after several rejections)

15. Submit Margaret & Bitsy novel to Five Star (check, Lawn Order accepted for publication in December 2010)

16. Believe in miracles (check, because of Margaret & Bitsy and Hitchcock stories, agent contacts me out of blue, suggests talking to New York editor on my behalf and lands three book deal for new mystery series with Penguin)

Some people could have written two or three dozen books in the amount of time I’ve accomplished so little. That’s okay. I’ve enjoyed myself on the scenic route. But did you notice number 16 up there? It might have taken me awhile, but in the end it doesn’t matter. The girls and I have gotten somewhere. Woohoo!


Molly, it was great having you here today. I'm looking forward to reading Lawn Order, and I can't wait to hear more about your new series. Congratulations!

Learn more about Molly and her books at her website. Wilder Rumors and Lawn Order can be ordered through most local bookstores as well as and other online booksellers.


Molly MacRae said...

Thank you for having me, Pat. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - you're a peach!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Molly, it's my pleasure. By the way, I love the Penguin tattoo.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Congratulations on your new series with Penguin, Molly, and best wishes for your upcoming release! I think it's great that Margaret and Bitsy get their own, feature-length plot!

Jacqueline Seewald said...


I loved Wilder Rumors and am looking forward to reading Lawn Orders. I love your unique sense of humor. Congrats on getting an agent and a terrific book deal. I don't have either one right now but your story gives me a lot of encouragement.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patricia - Thanks so much for hosting Molly.

Congratulations on your series!!! And thanks for sharing some of the story behind it. I admire your perseverance.

Maris Soule said...

Molly, that's wonderful news. Congratulations. You deserve it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Something tells me she has a great sense of humor!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Yes, Alex, and it shows in Molly's novels.

Michael Allan Mallory said...

2010 has been berry berry good to Molly.

N. R. Williams said...

Entertaining interview. Thank you Molly and thanks to Patricia for having you.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

The Golden Eagle said...

Congratulations, Molly! Wow. That's amazing! :)

Anonymous said...

I loved this interview. Thank you, Pat, for hosting Molly.

And Molly: Thanks for sharing your journey. I'm even slower than you were. But the journey is important, and for you the end result has been great. I want to read your books!
Ann Best, A Long Journey Home

Molly MacRae said...

You're all very kind. Thanks for taking the time to leave comments!

Hi, Maris! See you at LIM in February?

Michael, baseball been berry, berry good to me, too. It's a long story - I'll tell you over a beer when we meet up at a conference sometime. It involves sheep, redwoods, a rather large headache and the 2004 World Series.

Good luck to all of you and may 2011 be as kind to all of us as 2010 has to me.


Molly MacRae said...

Elizabeth/Riley and Jacqueline - Hi! Thanks for stopping by!

Hi, Ann - the journey makes us who we are, don't you think? And there are so many ways of getting somewhere. Glad you want to read my books. I hope you like them!


Julie Hyzy said...

Love your story, Molly... and love your stories, too. Congrats on all your successes. Can't wait for the debut of the Penguin series. Woo-hoo is right!

Molly MacRae said...

Oh, Julie, thanks! You should know that you're my role model!

GutsyWriter said...

As a memoir writer, starting the query process, I am very happy for you and love the catchy title of your book. Thanks Patricia for having Molly as a guest poster.

Patricia Stoltey said...

And one more thanks from me for being here today, Molly. I really appreciate it.

Jan Morrison said...

This is great - thanks Patricia and thanks Molly. this is very inspiring because I'm also taking the long scenic route. I like to hear about people who REACH the destination though. Yay!

Teresa Bohannon said...

I'm so excited for you.... I've always loved your Margaret and Bitsy stories most of all.

Morgan Mandel said...

Good for you!! It's not how long it takes, but what the result is. That's the main thing. Your book looks really cute.

Morgan Mandel