A Christmas Novella

Hi. Barb here. It’s August and it’s hot and humid for Maine and I am sitting on the porch thinking about Christmas.

So, I haven’t exactly announced this anywhere yet, though I haven’t been quiet about it, either, so let this serve as the “official” announcement. I am writing a holiday novella about Julia Snowden and Busman’s Harbor for Kensington for fall of 2016. (I don’t have the exact release date, but it seems to me Kensington’s holiday books usually come out in October.)

foggedinncoverKensington has done a series of these books, packaging novellas by Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine and Leslie Meier. I had read them and really enjoyed them. The truth of the matter was, I desperately wanted to be in one. So when I sent my proposal for books four through six to Kensington, I set the fourth (Fogged Inn) the week after Thanksgiving and the fifth (Iced Under) in mid-February, neatly side-stepping the holidays. I confided my desire to some of the Wickeds during our retreat in 2014, but I never mentioned it to my editor at Kensington, John Scognamiglio, or my agent, John Talbot. In other words, I never said anything to anyone who could actually do anything about it.

So imagine my surprise when I got a call from John Talbot in January of this year telling me I’d been offered the chance to write this novella. Even he was surprised. “Sort of out of the blue…” he said. Hey, universe. Thanks!

gingerbreadcookiemurderThis novella will include stories by Leslie Meier, who writes the Lucy Stone Mysteries which are set in Tinker’s Cove, Maine and by Lee Hollis, who writes the Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mysteries set in Bar Harbor, Maine. I’ve known Leslie for a number of years through Sisters in Crime New England and she’s someone I really admire. I also like Lee Hollis’ books (actually, the brother-sister writing team of Rick Copp and Holly Copp Simason). So I am psyched!

The theme is Maine, obviously, but also eggnog. And I just happen to have been savoring, for years (you’ll excuse the pun) a killer eggnog anecdote. So, again, kismet.

candycanemurderHow is writing a novella? The truth is, I am bursting with over-confidence. My short stories are always too long, and my novels are always too short, so I’m hoping the novella (defined by Kensington as 20,000 to 30,000 words) is my “natural length.” I have the whole story in my head (unusual for me). I also have the tone, which I’m hoping will be a little more lighthearted and funnier than the Clambake series as a whole, but still very much a part of it. I just have to, you know, write it. It’s due January 15, which would be highly doable, except that Iced Under, the next book in the Maine Clambake series, is due March 1. Ulp.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Meanwhile, I am thrilled to have the opportunity!

What about you, readers? Do you like these collections? Just the right length to sample a new author, or too short to satisfy?

40 Thoughts

  1. Your post reminds me of the saying, “Be careful what you wish for.” But if anyone can meet tight deadlines, it will be you. Congratulations.

  2. How interesting the back story is, Barb. I don’t think I’ve heard about your longing to be in one of those collections before! The universe definitely came through for you.

    I’ve never read a novella. I’m kind of amazed to even write that. But the length does sound perfect for you. Now all you have to do is get the story out of your head and onto paper. ;^)

  3. Great news! I’ve read the previous collections because the authors are some of my favorites (especially Leslie Meier). Can’t wait until this one comes out! Congratulations!

  4. I remember you telling us your hopes for a novella and I know the eggnog story. I can’t wait to see what you do with it! As far as I’m concerned, anything you write is just the right length.

  5. It sounds wonderful. Christmas stories and novellas are a tradition (Child’s Christmas in Wales, A Christmas Carol). I used to make homemade egg nog before the salmonella scare. So sinfully good.

  6. Sounds great, Barb! A writing challenge .. and a great way to introduce your series to new readers! (And .. what about that mincemeat recipe you told me about???!)

  7. I love these collections! Depending on who happens to be included they are a nice quick visit to some old friends, or an introduction to some new ones. They’re also perfect reading when you are visiting around the holidays – it easier to squeeze in a novella or two without being interrupted than an entire novel!

  8. I think you should change “over-confidence” to “confidence” and go with that! You have idea, length, tone. Finding time to write it is the easy part! (Ha ha ha)

  9. Dear Barb,

    I love the novellas. It is a great way to discover new cozy authors. That is how I got to know Leslie Meier. They are just the right length to get to know new authors and new characters. I am extremely excited for you and for the new book to read. I read a cozy a week and sometimes it is hard to find new ones. I love the clambake series and am waiting for the next two adventures.

    Mike Vecellio

  10. Congrats, Barb! I normally read novels, but I enjoy reading short stories and novellas around the holidays. I get so busy with holiday stuff it cuts into my reading time! So I think shorter pieces are a perfect fit for that time of year.

  11. There is only one author in that Christmas collection I read – you. But considering I’ve read Christmas romance novella collections for authors I love (Joanne Fluke and Laura Levine), I will gladly pick this one up and read it. Congrats! Already looking forward to it.

  12. I’m with Sherry Harris. anything you write I’ll read and my want list is just getting longer and longer

  13. Enjoy the process. It’s a honor to have been asked.

    I don’t read short stories–that’s my prejudice, and has nothing to do with the quality of the writing. I’ve been saying I don’t write short stories, but, oops, I do, and some have been published. But if I like someone’s writing, I want more.

    Berkley tried briefly to put out “specials” which as I recall were about 15,000 words. I did one, but I don’t think they pursued that length.

  14. Congratulations on getting the chance to write your dream story. That’s really exciting.

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