A little help from my friends …

https://www.lesliebudewitz.com/bitterroot-lake/

Friends, I need your help. It seems sales of BITTERROOT LAKE, my suspense debut written as Alicia Beckman, have not yet convinced the publisher to take on Alicia’s next novel. In my editor’s words, “we need something to push you over that bubble.” Would you please take a moment this week to tell at least one person to buy BITTERROOT LAKE? A friend, your sister, a librarian—they love hearing from patrons and many libraries have online request forms. While I plan to keep writing cozies as Leslie, I love writing moodier stories as Alicia, and I know many of you have enjoyed the book. I hope you can help—and let me know if you do!

Here are a few places to find BITTERROOT LAKE:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
Bookshop.org
Indie Bound
And your local booksellers!

In the Flathead Valley, find my books at Bookworks in Whitefish, the Bookshelf in Kalispell, and Roma’s Gourmet Kitchen Shop and the Bigfork Art & Cultural Center in Bigfork.

My thanks, always,

Leslie

Saturday Creativity Quote — creating and connecting

I’m a big fan of what author Dan Blank, who works directly with writers and other artists to develop their author platforms, launch their books, and create marketing strategies, calls “human-centered marketing.” He challenges those who say they hate marketing or to reframe it as connecting with their audience — and we all want that.  

“The more we create, the more we express, the more we connect. Creating is the best marketing, and the foundation for all the other ways your work will get shared.”

Dan Blank, newsletter 8/20/21

In other words, stop thinking of marketing as an evil separate from your creative work, and apply those key principles — creativity and connection — to all the work you do. Your readers will notice the difference — and just as importantly, so will you.

Writing Wednesday — “There’s a video for that”

You may know this already — or not. People will post YouTube videos about almost anything. I just finished the 2022 Spice Shop mystery and when I wanted to know how the pandemic (“the P word,” as one character calls it, or “the time that must not be named”) affected Seattle’s Pike Place Market, I spent a Sunday morning watching YouTube videos. A vlogger (video blogger) who is rather boring so I won’t name him posts a video of himself walking through the Market the last Saturday of every month. Seeing the differences from February 2021 to June 2021 was really useful. Another vlogger focuses on downtown Seattle, including Pioneer Square, the CID — Chinatown International District, and South Lake Union. Yet another focuses on downtown coffee shops. Just go to YouTube and use the search function and you’ll be amazed — you name it, there’s a video for that!

Saturday Creativity Quote

Flames, metal sculpture by Michael Jones (photo by the author)

As artists, in whatever medium, we spend a lot of time alone. Maybe sometimes, getting out and about — out amongst them, as my late father liked to say — is just the spark we need.

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people that rekindle the human spirit.”

— Albert Schweitzer, French humanitarian, philosopher and more (1875-1965)

Saturday Creativity Quote — finding the joy

Bay and Bridge

“In a way, regaining the joy in writing is nothing more complicated than getting out of your own life and taking a vacation in the world of your story. That’s not so hard. It only takes ten deep breaths. It’s as simple as a walk down to the harbor. It may not seem that there is time for that. If you feel so, let me ask you this: Is there anything more important to do with the next two minutes than to nurture your soul and dream your story’s dream?”

Don Maass, literary agent and teacher, on Writer Unboxed

Writing Wednesday — “Read What You Like”

In mid July, I participated in the “More Than Malice” online literary festival, created by the organizers of the annual Malice Domestic convention celebrating the traditional mystery as a way to bring readers together with authors for a conversation. Some of the authors usually attend “Malice,” as I do, while others don’t, because they write other types of mystery or crime fiction. My panel was moderated by BOLO blogger and reviewer Kristopher Zgorski and featured Carol Goodman, Rachel Howzell Hall, Wm. Kent Krueger, PJ Vernon, and me. What we have in common is that each of us writes in multiple subgenres — the list Kris read off was amazing, and amusing!

The conversation kicked off with a question about what we read — and alphabetical order put me first! Writers, I pointed out, don’t read like readers who don’t write. We’re always studying, noticing what an author does, how well it works, whether it fails and why and how could the problem have been solved or avoided. “Reading forensically,” Rachel called it. When we first start writing, this can take some of the joy out of reading. “Ruined for reading,” as Carol said.

But now, after thirteen published books, I realize that for me, the noticing has become part of the joy. I can both relish what I read and notice what insights it prompts for me, for my own work.

My co-panelists all agreed. There can be moments of jealousy — “premise envy,” as its sometimes called. (I felt that when I read Kent’s This Tender Land — oh, what a terrific story and lead character!) Envy of a fluidity with language, a comfort with metaphor and description, an ability to make a setting pop or set a mood that keeps us glued to the page long after we should turn out the light. Rachel glowed when she described a rare afternoon home alone, her day job work done, when she simply sat and read. And PJ talked about the importance of “cross-pollenization,” when you read, for example, a literary mystery like Kent’s and see a few things you can borrow for your suspense novel, or how an approach to portraying one underrepresented community can influence writing about another.

I also quoted a piece of advice from Elizabeth George, who is as great a teacher as she is a writer. She says “read up.” That is, read writers who are working at a level or in a style or genre you aspire to. While I try to follow that bit of wisdom, I’ve also discovered I can learn something from almost anything I read. And learning is part of the joy.

(The More Than Malice panel discussions were recorded and are available at the Malice website to conference registrants.)

BITTERROOT LAKE is a 1.99 Kindle Deal this week!

From Monday, Aug 9 through Sunday, Aug 15, my suspense debut, BITTERROOT LAKE, written as Alicia Beckman, is a Kindle Deal, at only $1.99. Such a great price, even I want a copy!

And if you’ve already bought it in another format, hugs and kisses to you! If you liked the book, please spread the word!

“Atmospheric, character-driven, and truly absorbing, Bitterroot Lake is crime fiction at its finest.” —Christine Carbo, award-winning, best-selling author of the Glacier Mystery Series

Bitterroot Lake is a twisty, haunting thriller propelled by a delicious hint of otherworldliness. It’s a book that’s both an expert mystery and an affirmation of love and family. I was absolutely enthralled.” —Emily Carpenter, bestselling author of Burying the Honeysuckle Girls

“With a rich sense of place and a deft handling of fractured relationships, the pull of the past, and the pain of new grief, Alicia Beckman weaves a satisfying tale of secrets and lies eating away under the surface of happy families and close-knit small towns.”—Catriona McPherson, Edgar-nominated author of Strangers at the Gate

Saturday Creativity Quote

I’m at the Bigfork Festival of the Arts today and Sunday — wish me cool temps and clear skies, great conversations with readers, and many sales!

“Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.”

— Christopher Morley, American journalist and novelist (1890-1957), quoted by two NY newspapers as his last message to his friends.

Saturday Creativity Quote — nurturing the creative spirit

I just finished a manuscript, the 6th Spice Shop mystery, and while I often leap write — er, right — into the next project, this time I’m feeling the need to take a few days off, to read, cook, garden. Whatever calls to me. Artists often refer to this as “filling the well,” nurturing their creative energy, and that’s exactly what it feels like to me. August starts tomorrow — crazy, right? — and the last month of summer is perfect for a bit of a refresh. so for the next few weeks, the quotes will focus on fueling the creative spirit.

“When I walk into the white room [her dance studio] I am alone, but I am alone with my: body, ambition, ideas, passions, needs, memories, goals, prejudices, distractions, fears. These ten items are at the heart of who I am. Whatever I’m going to create will be a reflection of how these have shaped my life, and how I’ve learned to channel my experiences into them.”

— Twyla Tharp, American dancer and choreographer (b. 1941)