A CHRISTMAS PERIL Release Day! (and giveaway!)

Cover of A Christmas Peril by J.A. HennrikusDear Readers, you have been on the publication journey for all of us Wicked Cozy Authors, and I hope you know how much your support means to us. We all talk about our books, or new series, but today I want to tell you about what a joy it is for me to hold A Christmas Peril in my hands. You see, this book was the first book I wrote and tried to sell. I got to a point where I never thought it would get published. But now it is. And the timing and publisher couldn’t be more perfect for this series.

Here are some of the bumps along my path to publication for this book.

1999-2001. I wrote the book in third person, and it was boring. I was in the middle of editing it into first person when my house was broken into, and my computer was stolen. I lost several drafts, but rather than despair, I decided to rewrite it the book, keeping the story, changing the point of view. That decision made it a much stronger book, and I finished it the next year. And yes, this has been a book for fifteen years.

The first title was The Power for Good, which was a reference to a line in A Christmas Carol when Marley and Scrooge see all of the ghosts who can’t alleviate suffering, because they lost their power for good. A Christmas Peril is about an ex-cop who is now running a theater company. The company is doing A Christmas Carol. I loved the title, but it wasn’t selling the book. Sherry Harris and I were standing in line at the New England Crime Bake, practicing our pitches to agents and editors. I told her that someone had suggested I change the title, and she came up with A Christmas Peril on the spot.

This book was a labor of love. Like many pre-published authors, I didn’t appreciate the long, slow pace of rewriting and editing without contractual deadlines. But I always knew I loved the world I was writing about. At the time of its inception, I was working at a concert hall, and my theater life was more as an audience member. But I’ve always loved theater (I work in theater now, running a service organization called StageSource), and felt comfortable writing about that world.

I sent this book out to agents and editors, and got lovely rejections. Then I got the opportunity to write the Clock Shop Series as Julianne Holmes, and I jumped at it. What a gift that was–jumping onto the path of being a published author, and learning what that meant. Were A Christmas Peril my first time working with a professional editor, I would have been much more resistant to the process. But, I was able to work with my editor, and tear Just Killing Time apart because it made it a better book.  Going through edits on this book was much easier because I’d been through it three times before. Also, I was able to rework the text because I had a better sense of what needed to be done.

The final part of my path happened last fall. My agent and I were talking about my writing life,  and we decided to send A Christmas Peril to an editor from Midnight Ink. Edith published her Quaker Midwife series with them, and spoke very highly of her experience. At Bouchercon I saw the editor and she said that she was looking forward to reading the proposal. By the New England Crime Bake, I had a contract.  Even more amazingly, they had space in the Fall 2017 publishing schedule, and since A Christmas Peril was done (though it needed editing), it would get moved onto the schedule. Things don’t move that fast in publishing, but they did this time.

Holding a book I wrote in my hands is always a thrill. This time, it’s a dream come true. I hope you all enjoy A Christmas Peril. Know that I am floating on air today.

To celebrate publication day, I am going to send a copy to a commenter of the blog. I’ll pick a winner Sunday at noon.

100 Thoughts

  1. Definitely adding this to my TBR list. Sounds like a book determined to get out into the world! Congratulations.

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  2. I read the Wickeds before I read Dru Ann so this is my first review of A Christmas Peril. I love the Ruth Clagan books, so I’m sure to love this one.

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  3. What an amazing journey. I cant wait to read this interesting sounding story. Do hope I win and thanks for sharing your journey.

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  4. Just downloaded and looking forward to reading. I’ve had books that took the long way around to publication too. It just makes the triumph sweeter. Enjoy the experience. And mega congrats, one writer to another.

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  5. I know exactly how it feels (as a reader) to be so in love with a world in a book that you don’t want to let it go. The fact that this world has stayed with you for fifteen years must mean that this will be a great story! I can’t wait to read it.

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  6. What an amazing journey! Thank you for sharing. It is fascinating to read about a writer’s journey to publication. I look forward to reading it!

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  7. I usually decide whether I’m going to buy a book first by it’s cover. The cover draws me in to find out what the plot is within. Thank you for sharing your fine work with us. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  8. Thank you for sharing your long journey with us. It makes the reading that much more interesting and compelling. Not being a book author, I don’t know all the behind-the-scenes trials and tribulations. I appreciate the Wickeds and all authors more because of that insight. And I LOVE the title! Can hardly wait to read it (along with a mile high TBR stack!)

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  9. Happy Friday book birthday! While I know all books are a labor of love, this sounds especially so. I look forward to reading it! Thanks!

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  10. I knew this was a dream book for you, but I didn’t quite realize how much time and work you’d put into it. Congrats again! It’s a wonderful book. (And don’t enter me in the drawing.)

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  11. Wow! What a long journey! I am so glad that you were able to come upon a happy ending! Congratulations! The book looks great. Thank you for the chance to win!

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  12. I was a backstage techie in high school (I ran lights and sound) I was also the English Dept. movie projectionist. My daughter even has a friend who is the costume person on Blue Bloods. So your books tempts me greatly and I hope I’m your lucky winner.

    NoraAdrienne (at) gmail (dot) com

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  13. Congrats on the book and it sounds so good. Would love to read and post reviews on goodreads and amazon. Hope it is a hit!

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  14. I’m very excited about it and can’t wait to read it. A Christmas Carol is my favorite Christmas story of all time. It’s nice when everything works out, isn’t it?

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  15. This sounds like my kind of book. I love holiday themed books and, as a thwarted thespian, books centered around theaters and theatrical productions get my attention. Looking forward to reading this.

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  16. This looks like an amazing book and awesome new series, thank you for the giveaway! barbie17(at)gmail(dot)com

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  17. My daughter recommended your books to me. I have greatly enjoyed the Clock series and look forward to your new offering. Cozy mysteries are my weakness. As a retired Reading teacher, it is a joy to read for pleasure at any time during the day. Thank you!

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  18. Julie, I couldn’t be happier if I’d written the book myself! SO thrilled for you. We’ll also share the Agatha bond, but more than that, we share a theatre background that makes the publication of this book truly special. Send love and a cargo ship full of congratulations!

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  19. Looking forward to reading this book. My only activity in high school was Properties at our Winter Carnival of Music Man.

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  20. This sounds awesome! And I enjoyed reading your expedited publishing experience. I love the Clock Shop mysteries, and am looking forward to reading this one.

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