I am delighted to have Toni L.P.Kelner with us today.Toni writes the Laura Fleming Mystery series Some of you know Toni as Leigh Perry where she writes The Family Skeleton Mystery series featuring Sid.
Welcome Toni, so happy you are joining us here today.
A Writer’s Thanksgiving, or Only Turkeys Diss Their Copyeditors
By Leigh Perry / Toni L.P. Kelner
With Thanksgiving approaching, I thought it only appropriate to publicly express gratitude to some of the people and things that make my authorial lifestyle more productive, richer, and a whole lot less embarrassing.
I admit it’s a time sink, and I’m as likely as anybody to get sucked into articles about where the stars of The Brady Bunch are now or to use Google Earth to check out houses where I haven’t lived in forty years. I may even play more games that is strictly necessary. But when I need to know what time sunset was on April 3 on Cape Cod, or read first-hand accounts of haunted house scare actors, or figure out how long it would take to drive from Hickory NC to Greensboro NC, there is no substitute for being able to find that information almost instantly. So the internet deserves a big dish of mashed potatoes with gravy! THANK YOU!
First off, social media provides even more research opportunities because if you can’t find a site with the information about small-town murder investigations, you can get in touch with a friend who was herself a cop in a small town and knows where are the bodies are buried. And how they’re investigated. So THANK YOU! Second, never have writers been able to have so much wonderful interaction with readers. Meeting people at events and bookstores is great, of course, but instead of two-and-a-half minutes of chatting with somebody as I sign a book for her, I can actually have a correspondence. Instead of a rare fan letter forwarded from my publisher, I can find out how people liked a book the second they’re done, sometimes when they’re in the middle of reading. A couple of weeks ago, I heard from a young person who was delighted that I’d referred to a character not seeming to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. In other words, I didn’t assume the character was straight—that tiny bit of inclusion meant the world to that person and reminded me that little things make a big difference. You guys get all the stuffing you can eat, from Grandma Ward’s special recipe. THANK YOU!
So few newspapers and magazines review books these days, and there are so many books to review that it’s easy for books to get lost in the shuffle. So an extra serving of cranberry sauce for all the pro reviewers; bloggers; people who post to Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble; and people who go on Facebook and say, “Hey, I read this great book the other day.” THANK YOU!
My other thanks have been for relatively new players in the world o’ publishing. (Well, they seem new to me. I’m old, okay?) But copyeditors have been with us since somebody noticed mis-numbered verses in the Gutenberg Bible. Now you’ll often hear writers at convention bars moaning about copyeditors who don’t realize that nonstandard punctuation is a style, not a mistake, or that Southern dialect isn’t expected to be grammatically correct. I myself have complained about one copyeditor I dubbed the Semicolon Queen for the way she rearranged my sentences. Then there’s the copyeditor who fixed half a dozen quotes in one of my Laura Fleming books. I had an edition of Shakespeare's plays with tiny little print, and messed up my Act and Scene numbers repeatedly. And there’s the copyeditor who realized a character’s hair color had changed—not just between chapter, but between BOOKS. And most recently, the copyeditor whose husband is an adjunct professor, like my character Georgia in the Family Skeleton series, and she cheered me on for getting details right and corrected one I didn’t have perfect. You guys get turkey and gravy, for making sure I don’t look like a turkey. THANK YOU!
I don’t know how to put this without sounding as if I’m sucking up, but the fact is, the best book in the world means nothing without somebody to read and appreciate it. So readers get the extra slice of pumpkin pie for my Thanksgiving. (Only it’ll probably be chocolate mousse because nobody in my house likes pumpkin pie that much.)
Leigh Perry / Toni L.P. Kelner is grateful for pseudonyms. As Leigh Perry, she writes the Family Skeleton mysteries featuring adjunct English professor Georgia Thackery and her best friend, an ambulatory Skeleton named Sid. The Skeleton Haunts a House is the third and most recent. As Toni L.P. Kelner, she’s the co-editor of paranormal fiction anthologies with Charlaine Harris; the author of eleven mystery novels; and an Agatha Award winner and multiple award nominee for short fiction. She recently released Crooked as a Dog’s Hind Leg, a collection of short stories No matter what you call her, she lives north of Boston with two daughters, two guinea pigs, and one husband. (She’s grateful for the husband, daughters, and piggies, too.)
Giveaway: Leave a comment and email by November 22nd for a chance to win THE SKELETON HAUNTS A HOUSE and a gently used Velma action figure.