In The Writer's World

The state of the state

Once again, it is past mid-month and I find myself wondering how on earth this happened.

Four of us doing our best to keep the wheels of democracy rolling!

The month began with several days spent in the bowels of the Multnomah County Elections Office doing the very necessary and unglamorous business of preparing ballots to be run through counting machines. Democracy isn’t tidy, nor is it easy. But it beats the alternatives, folks.

I actually enjoy the experience. We are such a dedicated little community down there. We meet people we otherwise wouldn’t encounter. We feel that we are doing good work. It’s easy to see why some people do this for decades, even taking time off from their regular jobs.

The state of the novel

As of last night, total word count was 87,027. The perfect length for a genre/popular fiction book. Now comes the fun part, working with my website guru and designer to bring about the necessary changes to said website, and getting a cover designed.

The other part of the equation is marketing. I love planning the launch events, and visiting friends’ book clubs. But there is so much more involved in getting the word out. Marketing is everything to the success of a book, and the competition is ferocious. Self-publishing is here to stay. Anyone can write and publish a book. It’s relatively easy and not expensive.  The average indie book sells 200 copies. While I have enjoyed more success than that, I have not yet achieved what I have hoped.

More will be revealed as we venture deeper into this subject. There is more editing to be done, but overall I’m pleased with Blackthorn. Writing a gothic mystery novel has been a lifelong ambition.

If you are in a book group, please let me know. Much of book marketing depends upon one-on-one contact. I would love nothing more than to visit your book group, talk about mysteries and the process of mystery writing, and pitch my new book. Contact me and we will set up a visit for spring.

Everything else

Saturday night I walked into a place called The Barn in Northeast Portland and thought I’d walked into a time capsule where it was 1963 again and Peter, Paul and Mary and The Kingston Trio were popular on the radio. Or the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis. Audience members warmed up by singing Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”, and then several local singers and singer/songwriters performed. We all had a nice potluck supper at 7:30.

Steve Greenwood and Sit Back and Relax perform at The Barn.

I was there for my friend Steve Greenwood and his group Sit Back and Relax. Steve is the husband of my dear friend and walking partner Lynn Greenwood, so I’ve followed his music since they moved back to Portland some years back. It’s come a long way since I first heard him sing his still popular original “I’m Not So Bad” in their living room.  In addition to Steve there are lead guitar Dave Collier, bass guitar Andy Ginsberg, and vocalist Tina Izen.

During the past year, the band has come together into a solid performing presence. And, due to experience–or perhaps the times–Steve’s songwriting has deepened and sharpened. If you like the old Prairie Home Companion or Lyle Lovett’s laid back, self-deprecating, tongue in cheek-y style, you’ll enjoy this combo. Steve and his group frequently appear at Starbuck’s in the Pearl and other venues around Portland, and have been known to do house concerts–a very fun and increasingly popular way to enjoy live music in an intimate setting.

Thanksgiving this year will be a quiet one. Wishing you all the best for a very enjoyable day.






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  • Laurie Wickwire says:

    Hi Judy,

    I have been waiting patiently for this new book to become available. You have been one busy lady. I keep up with you via your newsletters. You can count on me again to purchase this new book when it is ready but you will need to autograph it and send it to Laurie now instead of Leonard. Yes I am one of them… and always have been.

    Always your fan,
    Laurie Wickwire

    P.S. Could I please get my name changed on your mailing list from Leonard Wickwire to Laurie Wickwire? Thank You

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