Welcome, Shawn Reilly Simmons! Thanks for taking time to stop by during your busy debut week! Shawn is giving away an ebook of both books to one commenter!
Here’s a bit about Murder On A Silver Platter: Penelope Sutherland and her Red Carpet Catering company just got their big break as the on-set caterer for an upcoming blockbuster. But when she discovers a dead body outside her house, Penelope finds herself in hot water. Things start to boil over when serious accidents threaten the lives of the cast and crew. And when the film’s star, who happens to be Penelope’s best friend, is poisoned, the entire production is nearly shut down. Threats and accusations send Penelope out of the frying pan and into the fire as she struggles to keep her company afloat. Before Penelope can dish up dessert, she must find the killer or she’ll be the one served up on a silver platter.
Shawn: It finally happened. Last Tuesday, I became a traditionally published author, twice over, when my first two Red Carpet Catering mysteries were released by Henery Press. It’s been a whirlwind of activity: good wishes, blog posts, Facebook likes, friend requests, checking sales ranks and reading reviews (I know you’re not supposed to but I can’t help myself). It’s been so hectic that I’ve had a hard time remembering the other things, like buying groceries and paying bills, you know…regular life stuff. (What day is it again?) Release Day was also my final rewrite deadline on the third book in my series, Murder on a Designer Diet, which will be published in June. I made my deadline, and somehow managed to maintain my sanity. At least that’s the story I’m sticking with.
When momentous things like this happen in my life, I tend to reflect on how I got to that particular point. For publication day, it was a series of firsts: the first time I sat down to write the initial draft of Murder On A Silver Platter; the first time someone I respected encouraged me to pursue my dream of being a writer; the first phone call from Henery Press saying how much they loved my books. Those are all excellent memories.
One of the most important firsts was attending Malice Domestic in 2003.
I didn’t know anyone there, but I was excited at the prospect of making new friends who liked mysteries as much as me, and I was thrilled to listen to people like Edward Marston and Tony Hillerman talk about their writing careers. I attended the Malice Board Meeting panel that year and sat behind Anne Murphy, the Volunteer Chair. She noticed that my last name at the time was Reilly, which happens to be her maiden name, and we started chatting. We realized quickly we weren’t related, at least in the immediate sense, but shortly afterwards I was invited onto the Malice Board to fill the vacant PR Chair position.
I went from sending out a few press releases about the Agathas in those early years to taking over the registration duties and communications in addition to PR. We’ve evolved from the snail mail era to today, where I get to interact regularly with a huge community of mystery writers and fans, a vast number of whom I consider close friends. Malice is my favorite part of every spring, my mystery family reunion. Much of the confidence I needed when writing my books is a direct result of the love and nurturing I’ve received from that sweetly malicious family.
I’ll always be grateful for that first conversation with Anne, which led to so many other firsts. I’m anxious to see what else it has in store for me.
Readers: What is your best “first step” memory? What got you started on a path that you always wanted to take? Or alternately, what steps are you contemplating taking going forward?
Shawn Reilly Simmons is the author of the Red Carpet Catering mysteries published by Henery Press. The first two books in the series, Murder on a Silver Platter and Murder on the Half Shell, were released on February 23rd. The third, Murder on a Designer Diet will be published in June. Besides being a Board Member of Malice Domestic, Shawn is co-editor/owner of Level Best Books, which publishes the annual Best New England Crime Stories Anthology each fall, debuting at Crimebake. Her short story “A Gathering of Great Detectives” will appear in the upcoming Malice Domestic anthology: Murder Most Conventional. When she isn’t writing, Shawn is usually running, reading, cooking, watching movies or drinking wine. She lives in Maryland with her husband, son and English Bulldog.