Today is publication day! Or part of it, anyway. As of about noon today, my young adult mystery, Twenty Minutes Late, can be had from its publisher, fireandiceya.com. Four to six weeks from now it will be available for Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook, as well as print versions from both.
Basically, the story is this:
Cree arrives late for her babysitting job to find the mother gone, the older child in a daze, and the baby missing without a trace. The police, the neighborhood searchers, even the FBI can find no clues. At school Cree makes a new friend, a girl with troubles of her own. Maddie has just escaped from an obsessed and violent boyfriend who continues to stalk her. Her handsome brother Ben, who has Asperger’s syndrome, is also accused of stalking, although in his case it was unintentional. Cree and Maddie team up to find some answers. But there are those who don’t want the answers found. As things come to a head, Cree finds an odd connection between the two cases. If she can live to tell about it.
Twenty Minutes was originally inspired by the ordeal of Ryo Kiyan, which is mostly what this blog had been about. That by itself made for a depressing and not very exciting plotline, so I added the mystery, which is the primary plot. The Asperger situation is more of a subplot but is intermingled with the mystery, and the young man’s complainant is given a concrete motivation for her fears. The whole thing seemed just right for a young adult book, so that’s what it is, with characters in their mid-to-late teens.
The first six books I ever published, many, many years ago, were for young adults, issued by such houses as Doubleday, David McKay, and Random House. After that I had a happy career writing adult suspense for Dodd, Mead, keeping company with such authors as Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters (they are the same person), as well as Agatha Christie. Her books were originally published in the UK, then re-issued in the US by Dodd, Mead.
Unfortunately Dodd, Mead fell on hard times and was taken over by a starry-eyed young woman who had more knowledge of books than business practices. She obtained her financing from a venture capitalist, and in her naïveté didn’t realize she was hooking up with a crook. I have it on good authority that he gutted the company for his own profit, and that was the end of that honeymoon.
At the time they shut down, the new Dodd, Mead (the venture capitalist) owed me $9,000 in royalties. In their official letter, they offered 7 cents on the dollar, as well as the chance to purchase the rights to my own books.
The whole offer was ridiculous and I refused. I had a contract with Dodd, Mead, and the money they owed me had already been earned through my own creative labors. In an effort to get rid of me, they offered dribs and drabs. Finally, their closing seemed so imminent I was afraid I would end up with nothing, so I reluctantly accepted 33 cents on the dollar, and demanded that the rights revert to me at no charge, which they should. The rest of my earnings, he kept. In those days, before print-on-demand, books were printed in large quantities and warehoused. I found out later that said venture capitalist really needed that money of mine. He hadn’t paid his warehouse bill, so the warehouse owners locked their doors and wouldn’t release any more books. (To me that seems counterproductive, but as the heroine of my current work-in-progress would say, What do I know?) It was an especially bitter blow, as my last two Dodd, Mead books had been Doubleday Book Club alternates and now were no longer available for sale.
Fire and Ice, the young adult imprint of Melange Books, is a much smaller publisher than Dodd, Mead, but more stable. No venture capitalists on the horizon. I’m sure not all vent caps can be crooked, but the very term has bad connotations for me.
That’s enough of blowing my stack about vent caps. It was years ago, but it still rankles. Today is a new day, Publication Day for Twenty Minutes Late.
I had wanted to add a photo of my book cover but once again WordPress is making it nearly impossible to insert a photo. It used to be so easy. My profound apologies.