Hard to believe the blog hasn’t updated for so long, so here goes.
2018 was a good but tiring writing year. I published the first book in my Psychedelic Spy series, “Flower Power Fatality.” It’s a retro-cozy set in 1967, a mash-up of a cozy mystery and a spy caper.
This time I put in all the traditional elements of a cozy mystery: female protagonist, small town setting, a cat, family, a store for the heroine to work in (Groovy Vinyl Record Store) as well as a Christmas-all-year-round theme. Can’t miss with all that.
Why 1967? The 1960s have almost intrigued me. I grew up in the 1960s but as a child I didn’t pay much attention to world events. I lived in a small rural Midwest own (the setting of my series), so much of the fads of the day bypass me. When I went off to college and was on my own I could finally learn about the’60s but then the world was in the ‘70s, a decade with its own unique culture that I also enjoyed. Ah, if only I could fit into the beautiful clothes I had then.
The ‘60s is known with its zany clothing, bright colors, pop art, rebellion, innovative music, the space race, consumer goods and household conveniences. The era suffered a dark side as well: drugs, runaway youth, the dire consequences of free love, the bloody battle for civil rights and the Vietnam War. Norms, social structures and the nature of family were challenged. Quite a chaotic time.
Writing a mystery in of this era allowed me to explore the facets of a bygone time that made such a mark on my generation. The setting also required my detective to work hard. No cellphones to call for help when my protagonist was in danger. No smartphones to provide quick answers. No GPS devices to find locations.
Why a spy caper? Spies were all over the media in the ‘60s. The advent of home TVs brought the Cold War into every living room. The success of the James Bond movies led to an explosion of spy shows on TV and Bond knock-off films. In recent years, the Austin Powers spoofs demonstrated that audiences still love their spies.
After publishing “Flower Power Fatality,” my publisher and I put my first book, “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper,” back in print with a cleaner copy and brighter cover. Readers were still interested in the book, but I was not getting royalties on the sales of used copies.
I was also never happy with the book when it was first released. The back cover, which I had no control over, was a dog’s breakfast. In my haste for publication the first edition had a typos and spots of awkward writing.
After two years my then-publisher put the book out of print and was not interested in any further books from me. I moved on and found my current publisher, Cozy Cat Press, which published three more Sandy Fairfax books and “Flower Power Fatality.”
In a bit of irony, about the time the revised second edition of “Beatlemaniac” was released, my former publisher passed away and her publishing house closed.
While working on my books, I was still holding down a full-time day job, writing a faith column for a newspaper, and contributing monthly posts for a mystery writer group blog. Whew!
On a sad note, last year one of my cats was put down, leaving me with one cat. This year I discovered Boots has thyroid issues, but she seems to be responding to medicine. And she loves curling up in cardboard boxes.
Plans for this year are to write the second book for the spy series and an anthology of Sandy Fairfax stories. But first, I have a large presentation to give at a church at the end of March. That is mostly done, so perhaps now I can turn my efforts toward fiction writing.
And hopefully, keep up with this blog throughout 2019. Stay tuned.