HOPE DAWNS ETERNAL now available on Kindle – buy it, I’m begging you!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00069]It’s official! Hope Dawns Eternal is available on Kindle for $2.99. It’s been five days since I successfully uploaded it, but now the trick is getting people to visit the site and buy it. I’ve got a lot to learn about that. To find it, go to Amazon, type in my name, and it should take you right there. My two previous books are there too, but I’ll be reissuing them soon with new covers at a lower price, so please hold off on buying them.

Within a few days, if I don’t succumb to my technophobia, the CreateSpace paperback version will be available as well. In the meantime, here’s the description I wrote for Kindle. I hope it whets your appetite and that you buy the book!

Can soap stars live forever? If they’re vampires, anything’s possible. In the hotbed of intrigue that is daytime television, sometimes the deadliest dramas are unscripted, and passions transcend anything the censors dare allow.

Hope Dawns Eternal is the first in a new series of romantic paranormal thrillers set at the fictional QMA television network in New York City. The novel features Jonah McQuarry, the new cop in town on the beloved soap opera Sunlight and Shadow, his lady love Abigail Hastings, and his arch-rival Tony Giordano. Played by the actor Mark Westgate, Jonah is tall and slender, with dark good looks and piercing blue eyes. Thanks to his years on Hope Dawns Eternal, a recently cancelled soap, he already has millions of fans, so the showrunners bring him along to S&S when the QMA network replaces Hope with a self-help reality show, Brand New You. 

His first day on the set, when Jonah meets the raven-haired Abby, the erotic chemistry between them is instantaneous and off the charts. Soon Jonah suspects he knew her in another incarnation, when Mark played a vampire on the long-defunct soap opera Oak Bluff and the actress who played Abby was his leading lady. 

When the host of Brand New You turns up dead and drained of blood, there’s immediate buzz about vampires, and Jonah becomes a prime suspect. Even worse, he begins to suspect himself. He’s been having black-outs, with long periods of time he can’t account for, and he’s developed a ravenous appetite for bloody rare meat. Could the reclusive Mark Westgate be suffering from dissociative identity disorder, and could Jonah be just one of several personas who inhabit the actor’s psyche? 

Tensions escalate as Jonah tangles with mobster Tony Giordano and his enforcer Mick Hastings, Abby’s dangerously possessive hulk of a husband. As Jonah’s relationship with Abby heats up, he also finds himself increasingly drawn to Gloria Kemp, an evening news anchor about to launch her own daytime show on the QMA network. She wants him as a confidant and a friend with benefits. But does she truly lust after Jonah, or is she just chasing after the most sensational journalistic coup of her career? Can Jonah trust her? More importantly, can he trust himself? As the bloodthirsty killings continue, all bets are off.

Hope Dawns Eternal is the first in a darkly humorous series of romantic paranormal thrillers featuring the characters of the last remaining soap opera on the QMA network.  Watch for the sequel, Sunlight and Shadow.

Julie Lomoe is the author of the mystery novels Eldercide and Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders. Both books draw on her decades of professional health and home health care experience, and both explore issues of vital importance to today’s society. Eldercide focuses on the ethical dilemmas that arise when quality of life declines with age and illness, and families confront life-or-death decisions. Mood Swing features a feisty heroine with a bipolar diagnosis who confronts the stigma of mental illness while investigating mysterious deaths at a psychiatric social club on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Julie attended Radcliffe College and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard. She received her MFA in painting at Columbia University and exhibited widely in New York City and at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. In 1979 she received her MA in Art Therapy from New York University. Her work as a creative arts therapist at a psychiatric hospital inspired her to turn to fiction as a creative outlet for processing her feelings about spending her days on locked wards in the company of the mentally ill. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, dog and cat.

I hope that’s enough to intrigue you. As the Temptations sang all those years ago, I ain’t too proud to beg. So please, folks, hunt down and buy my book! At just $2.99, what have you got to lose but a night’s sleep?

Ready for May Day Lift Off – Hope Dawns Eternal

May Day! May Day! I’ve zeroed in on the first of May as the launch date for Hope Dawns Eternal. That gives me a few days to figure out how to upload everything to Kindle and CreateSpace. I’m thrilled with the gorgeous cover illustration by Kim Killion, and Rik Hall has finished formatting the manuscript, but I’ve still got a steep learning curve to figure out the next steps before it’s actually accessible to buyers. With my technophobia, I’m still in acute avoidance mode.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00071]

Now it’s high time to focus on marketing strategies. The publishing scene and especially the online opportunities have changed dramatically since I published Eldercide in 2008, and this time I swear I’ll be relentless in promoting my work, because as outlandish as it seems, my happiness seems to hinge on becoming a successful author.

My first publicity salvo was shot down almost immediately. I posted a shot of the cover to one of the soap opera fan groups I belong to, telling them how excited I was that the book would soon be available. I assured them they’d love it, since the hero is inspired by the actor the group is about. Big mistake – my post smacked of blatant self-promotion, and the group’s moderators removed it with a message warning me not to make the same mistake again, lest I be banned from the site.Caleb Morley

Fair enough, but how do I let people know about the book without being obnoxious about it? Word of mouth is reportedly the best way of creating the buzz that boosts sales, and there are multiple ways of going about it. First and foremost, I’m renewing my connections to the writers’  networks I’ve lost touch with over the years. I’ve rejoined Sisters in Crime, and I’m about to rejoin Mystery Writers of America, especially so as to get the discounted rate to their Edgar Symposium in New York City on April 28th. As a member, I’ll be able to attend their wonderful cocktail party that evening, where schmoozing with authors, editors and agents is lubricated by an open bar and bountiful hors d’oeuvres.

For the first time ever, I’ve joined Romance Writers of America and their Capital District chapter, because this book is the most romantic – even, dare I say, sexy – I’ve ever written.*

Most of all, I want to reach my primary audience – the millions of devotees of soap operas and especially of General Hospital – without being blatantly obvious about it. My fictional network, QMA, and its last remaining soaps retain only the sketchiest suggestions of the soaps and actors that I solemnly swear didn’t inspire me. (Yeah, right – if you swallow that, I’ll sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.)

So what’s my strategy? I’ll be networking like crazy. I’ll trade guest blogs – you can be on my blog if I can be on yours. I’ll be looking for reviewers. If you like, I can send you a free advance review copy. Just leave a comment or email me at julielomoe@nycap.rr.com, and we’ll figure out the logistics.

eldercidefrontcover1Above all, I solemnly swear I won’t launch Hope Dawns Eternal into the vast black hole of oblivion that swallowed my last two novels, Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders and Eldercide. Those mysteries basically sank without a trace, triggering major depressive episodes that laid me low for far too long, and I hope never again to experience those depths of despair. To that end, I’ll be resurrecting both novels in new online and print editions in May, or at least before the summer solstice. In the meantime, you can still buy the first editions on Amazon, but I’d rather you buy them from me directly, because I suspect the original publisher hasn’t been paying me the requisite royalties.

Speaking of money, I’m reviving my GoFundMe campaign. At the rate I’m racking up expenses, it won’t be long before I max out my credit card, and I can use all the help I can get. You could win prizes, including maybe an acknowledgment or a character named for you in Sunrise or Shadow, the sequel to Hope Dawns Eternal. For more information, check out my GoFundMe campaign at www.gofundme.com/gep8ts. Every little bit helps, and who knows, before long you may be able to brag that you knew me when! I’ll be eternally grateful for each and every donation.

*Strictly speaking, Hope Dawns Eternal is the most romantic and sexy since The Flip Side, my unpublished first novel inspired by my work as a creative arts therapist in a mental hospital. One of these days, I may actually publish it too!

I

Here at last – Hope Dawns Eternal!

A Hope Cover 4mbAt long last the formatting and cover art are done for Hope Dawns Eternal. Now comes the daunting part – pulling it all together and publishing it! I’ve already hit my first roadblock – Kim Killion sent me five versions of the cover illustration in various jpeg sizes, but I can’t seem to copy them to display the whole thing on Facebook or here on this blog. I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually, but meanwhile, I can’t resist sharing!

For the cover, I found the photos I wanted on Shutterstock, and she put them together as per my suggestions. Strangely enough, the images I chose all came from Russia or Romania. Those Slavic folks really know how to create dark, passionate art – think Rachmaninoff, Dostoyevsky and all those cats. I like this male model I found – he makes a great vampire, don’t you think? And he looks like a soap star, but not any specific one, which is a good thing.

By the way, the tag line, which is cut off at the top, is:

In a world of TV soaps, the deadliest dramas are unscripted.

I’m writing this at the Denny’s in Latham – scene of Sunday night NaNoWriMo sessions, but at 5 pm on a Wednesday, the room we usually use is totally deserted. I came here a couple of hours ago after seeing my shrink, who keeps my biochemistry on an even keel. He told me he’s phasing out his private practice, concentrating increasingly on nursing homes, and suggested it might be time for me to start shopping around for another drug dealer, aka psychopharmacologist, though he did give me an appointment for July. The fact that I took it in stride shows just how leveled out I am!

More later – I need to finish my Caesar salad, then head over to choir practice at FUUSA. I’d hoped to get in a couple of hours on Sunlight and Shadow, the sequel to Hope Dawns Eternal, and then hit the mall, but I’m running out of time. Time enough to tackle S&S when Camp NaNoWriMo starts in April.

Subscribe to this blog, and you’ll be the first to know when Hope is published – probably within the week.

 

Wanted! Advance Readers and Reviewers for HOPE DAWNS ETERNAL

Caleb MorleyHow would you like to be one of the very first to read my vampire soap opera thriller, Hope Dawns Eternal? So far, only my husband has read the entire novel. A few writers have read isolated chapters, or heard me read scenes aloud, but no one else has read it in its entirety.

I’m not looking for critiques or editorial suggestions. I welcome comments, but I’m not going to change anything – not unless someone signs me to a three-book contract and pays me lots of money upfront. My last post about why I don’t want an editor inspired some spirited discussion in some online discussion groups, particularly the one associated with the International Women Writers Guild, but I’m standing my ground for now.

Right now I’m looking for people who will commit to reading the entire manuscript and then writing blurbs or brief reviews that I can use in publicizing Hope Dawns Eternal online. If you’re really speedy, I may be able to quote you in the book itself, because I still haven’t completed the front and back material. I’m envisioning the kind of quotes you see filling the first couple of pages of a trade paperback, comments that tempt the reader to buy.  But you need to get them to me by Sunday, February 22nd, at the latest, because I’m going to send the book off for formatting next Monday. If you miss that deadline, I’d still welcome your comments for future use, but they won’t appear in the book.

Not my cover but it has the right noirish feel

Not my cover but it has the right noirish feel

Of course if you hate the book, you don’t have to write anything at all. But I welcome your opinions anyway – if nothing else, I may take them into account as I begin the next installment. You can even tell me I should have hired an editor! I especially welcome comments from published writers, and I’ll gladly include a book or series title after your name. But if you’re simply a reader, that’s fine too. And I’d love to include quotes from a few soap opera fans, because you’re the audience who will love this book the most.

So how much reading am I talking about? The manuscript stands at 78,318 words. That’s 265 pages double-spaced, typed the way you’d see them fresh out of my printer before formatting. If you’re interested, please e-mail me privately at julielomoe@nycap.rr.com. In addition, please leave a comment on this blog so that I’ll know you’re motivated enough to actually type something!

If you’d rather donate money, that’s great too. Go to www.gofundme.com/gep8ts. Better still, do both! You’ll have my undying appreciation.

Woman reading summer hammock

UPDATE Saturday, February 21st. Since I published this post two days ago, I’ve changed my strategy. It’s too late to expect you to read or react to anything by Monday, and I’m not going to include blurbs in the first edition, but I’m still looking for readers – especially published writers. There’s no longer a huge rush. But please, if you’re interested, include a paragraph about who you are and why you want to read it, so that I know you’re literate. Also, I may send out just the first couple of chapters. Then, if you like it, I may send more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What, me hire an editor? No way!

Pierre Bonnard

Pierre Bonnard

Hallelujah! HOPE DAWNS ETERNAL is finally ready to publish, or almost. Yesterday I finished combining the prologue and 36 chapters into one gigantic document of 265 pages and 78,318 words – longer than I’d expected, but an ideal length for the first book of a trilogy. Or who knows, maybe it’ll become a longer series. I feel as if I’ve barely begun to explore all the possibilities in this paranormal soap opera vampire saga.

In countless workshops and articles, I’ve heard the same advice: get an editor. I’ve always disregarded it, convinced I’m my own best editor. This time my husband, who has extensive professional experience in publishing, gave my final draft a careful read-through, and he found relatively few things that needed changing. Even so, it’s amazing how many nit-picky things I’ve found to research even after I thought I was finished.

Murray's Cheese Bar, Bleecker Street, NY

Murray’s Cheese Bar, Bleecker Street, NY

The names of cheeses, for example – how do you know which to capitalize? Swiss cheese, with its many holes, is a no brainer, but how about Brie or Stilton? Yes, they’re capitalized because they’re named for specific locations where they originated, but it takes some Googling to find out which are actual place names. Some are capitalized because they’re domain-protected, like Parmigiano-Reggiano, which can only be made in those specific cities. We don’t capitalize ricotta, though, because the name simply means “recooked.”

And what about hats? I had my hero hunkered down in a cab, with a fedora Hat styles - menpulled down low to hide his face, but I thought I’d better check to be sure that was actually the correct word for the hat I was visualizing. Turns out I was right. Picture Bogart, Sinatra or the film noir heroes and villains of countless 40’s movies – they’re all wearing fedoras. But in the course of my research, I learned all about porkpies and homburgs too.

 

Then there are new-fangled terms like showrunner. It’s the trendy term for the head honchos/creators/auteurs of TV series, like David Chase of The Sopranos  and Vince Gilligan of Breaking Bad.* But is it one word or two? When I was working on my first draft two years ago, Word’s Spellcheck underlined showrunner with that squiggly red line every time I used it, but now the powers-that-be at Microsoft have decided it’s a genuine word, and the red squiggle is no more. In the new Vanity Fair, however, Beau Willimon, the creator of the Netflix series House of Cards, is described as a hyphenated “show-runner.”

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano

Consistency is the key – that’s why publishers and periodicals have style guides, and they don’t always agree. In my personal style manual, showrunner is one word, but I found a couple of instances where I’d made it two, so I changed them. And I’m ultra-cautious with the “find” and “replace” functions, which can lead to weird consequences. For example, I had a villainous character named “Nick,” and I changed him to “Mick.” My husband caught the line where I said something happened “in the Mick of time.”

But these are just copy editing issues. Then of course there’s the over-all flow of the story line, the characters – I could go on and on about that kind of editing, but I’ve said enough for one post. I’ve done my damnedest to make this novel the very best it can be. That’s not to say it couldn’t be better, but I’m not changing a word. If some agent or publisher wants to take it on and offers me a gazillion dollars upfront, I may reconsider. Until then, for better or worse, Hope Dawns Eternal is a fait accompli, and I’m ready to send it out into the world. With any luck, it will be available by the end of February. Then it’s on to the sequel!

*Brett Martin’s book Difficult Men (Penguin, 2013) is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the evolution of modern series like The Sopranos, Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

P.S. I still haven’t found my illustrator and designer, and I need money to hire good ones. Please help by donating to me at www.gofundme.com/gep8ts. Every little bit helps, and I’m offering prizes. I may even name a character after you!

 

 

 

 

Etan Patz trial begins 35 years after he disappeared in SoHo

Paul BrowneYesterday in New York City, the trial began for Pedro Hernandez, the man arrested for murdering Etan Patz. I wrote the following post in June, 2012, when he was first arrested. Etan’s disappearance had a major impact on my husband and me, influencing us to move upstate, away from the city we loved. It’s painful to revisit this tragedy, and I can’t begin to imagine how his parents, Stan and Julie Patz, have lived with it these past 35 years.

According to the Washington Post, “Despite its grim denouement, experts say that the Patz case helped revolutionize the way law enforcement responds to potential child abductions. “Of course, technology has changed so dramatically and that’s had a major impact, but we have so many more resources as a result of the Patz case,” said Robert Lowery Jr. of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Here’s what I wrote in 2012:

At long last, after 33 years, they’ve arrested the alleged murderer of Etan Patz, the six-year-old boy who went missing on his first walk to the bus stop near his home. I knew Etan and his family, and to this day, I have a vivid memory of the moment I learned he had disappeared. Like the Kennedy assassinations, the murder of John Lennon, the Challenger shuttle disaster and the fall of the towers on September 11th, the event burned permanently into my brain, and I can conjure up exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news.

Etan’s family and mine lived in the same coop loft building on Prince Street in SoHo. Our daughter Stacey played with

Stan and Julie Patz, 1980

Stan and Julie Patz, 1980

Etan, and she spent many days in the preschool his mother Julie ran in their third-floor loft. But by May 25, 1979, the day Etan went missing, we were living in a raised ranch 90 miles upstate in Poughkeepsie. We’d rented the house four months before, after I landed a job as an art therapist at Hudson River Psychiatric Center.

We were ambivalent about leaving Manhattan, but we were becoming disenchanted with SoHo. I’d lived there for 12 years, long enough to see the grungy artists’ lofts being swallowed up by gentrification. Real estate prices were rising, and glitzy boutiques were beginning to drive out galleries. Upscale ladies from the Upper East Side and the suburbs were prowling the streets to check out the newly trendy scene, and teens camped out on the steps of the cast iron manufacturing buildings that were home to hundreds of artists.

We were no longer sure we wanted to raise our daughter in the city. In any case, I’d already confronted a harsh reality: I was a good artist, but I’d never be great, and I’d never scale the heady heights of the art world. After my daughter’s birth, I began researching professional careers that offered the promise of a steady paycheck. Art therapy won out over journalism, and by late 1978 I’d acquired an M.A. in Art Therapy from New York University.

We didn’t want to cut our ties to the city, so we unfolded a New York State map on my drafting table. Then, with a compass, we inscribed a circle centered on Times Square, with a ninety-mile radius delineating the outer boundaries of my job search. So it came to pass that in the wintry depths of February, 1979, I immersed myself forty hours a week in the alien wards of a psychiatric hospital for severely and persistently mentally ill adults.

Oh, the stories I could tell. In fact I did: working at Hudson River Psychiatric Center proved so overwhelming that later that year I began writing fiction as a way of processing my feelings. But first came disco – and specifically the double albums of Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls” and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack album featuring the BeeGees.

Before Poughkeepsie, absorbed in my art therapy studies, I hadn’t had the time or inclination to immerse myself in music, much less disco, but commuting to and from my work on the wards, the joyfully insistent beat blaring from the radio made me a convert. Stacey was three and a half, and we cavorted endlessly around the living room to the strains of “Bad Girls,” “Hot Stuff,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” and “Night Fever.” Those songs might have remained my most indelible memory of the raised ranch on Robert Road – until we heard about Etan Patz on May 25th.

It was early evening, and I was sipping a screwdriver at the end of a long day’s work on the wards, watching the local news from New York City, when all at once Etan’s face filled the screen. He was missing, the newscasters said – walking along Prince Street to catch the bus for first grade, he’d never made it to school. The police had mounted an intensive search, but as the world came to know, they turned up nothing.

Tri-Prince Coop facade

Tri-Prince Coop facade

My husband and I followed the news for weeks, and as hope for Etan faded, we gradually reached a decision: we would make a decisive break with the city, sell our coop loft on Prince Street, and use the proceeds to buy a house with a few acres of land in upstate New York. And so we did – by October we were settled in a new home surrounded by 16 acres of woods and wetlands a couple of miles from the Shawangunk ridge west of New Paltz.

I can’t claim we’ve never looked back. We still visit New York City a few times a year, but we no longer feel we belong there – these days we could never afford it. We’re just tourists, like those ladies I once looked down on. Occasionally I’ve walked along Prince Street past Tri-Prince, Inc., our old cast iron coop of three connecting buildings. The Patz family name is still on the buzzer outside, but I’ve never had the courage to ring the bell, nor to phone or write. We were neighbors, not close friends, and what could I possibly say to them?

Lately the press has been full of stories about the crime. Pedro Hernandez, then a stock boy at the corner store where we bought our milk and orange juice, has confessed to killing Etan, but the physical evidence has long since disappeared. How will they ever know for sure? Stan and Julie Patz refuse to talk to reporters, and who can blame them? After long, illustrious lives, Robin Gibb and Donna Summer leave musical legacies we can enjoy forever. We can say they’ve found closure, but for Etan Patz and his family, there will never be peace.

 

 

Hope Dawns Eternal nearing the Finish Line

Chicago under ice by Shawn ReynoldsHow do you know when you’ve finally finished your novel? Especially when it’s the first in a series?

I thought I’d completed Hope Dawns Eternal, my vampire soap opera thriller, a couple of months ago, but when my husband read it, he thought I needed a more dramatic ending that wrapped up more of the unfinished business. I took his advice, and I’m delighted with the results. Now I’ve finished the final edit, and I’m compiling the 36 chapters into a single document to send off to the man who’s going to format it for me. Yes, I know I could probably do it myself, but I don’t want my technophobia to get in the way of launching it into cyberspace ASAP.

Now I need to confront my biggest bugaboo: marketing. To that end, I’ve just created a new Facebook group called HOPE DAWNS ETERNAL. I just need to figure out how to get people to join it. I printed out a six-page sheet of suggestions from Facebook with helpful hints about involving people in your group, but that’s assuming you already have members. Oh well, I’ll figure it out before I launch my book.

Speaking of marketing, my GoFundMe campaign has been pretty much in limbo since before the holidays, but I’m Goddess Selenereviving it once again in hopes of raising enough money to hire a professional designer and illustrator for my new novel as well as my earlier ones, Eldercide and Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders, which I’ll be reissuing soon. My goal is a modest $3,333. I’ve found an illustrator I love, but his book covers begin at $1,500, so I’ll have to scale down my aspirations in that department. I did the cover illustrations for my previous novels, and I still love them, but I think I can find someone better.

Please visit the site at www.gofundme.com/gep8ts and consider making a donation, however modest. You’ll have the satisfaction of supporting a worthy cause, and if you act soon, you could be listed in the acknowledgements in Hope Dawns Eternal, and maybe even have a character named for you in the sequel, Sunlight and Shadow.

I’m signing off for now. I’m not good at multitasking, and I’m dying to get back to assembling that humongous document. I’m tweaking here and there as I go, making only minimal changes. For example, on a recent visit to Manhattan, I walked the High Line, the marvelous linear park created atop elevated railroad tracks that used to carry livestock to the slaughterhouses in the meat packing district. Surveying the Chelsea neighborhood from above, I realized I should move the location of the QMA studio from Tenth Avenue around the corner to a side street. And I’m dropping in a few clues foreshadowing the surprise twist at the end.

I’ve left a few loose ends that cry out for resolution, but that’s the great thing about writing a  series instead of a stand-alone – they’ll make a good starting point for the next book. The ideas are already whirling around in my brain, and I’ve already written a few scenes, but I need to keep my priorities straight and launch Hope Dawns Eternal into the big wide world. When exactly will that happen? Subscribe to this blog, and you’ll be the first to know!

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