Edith here, also known as Tace and Maddie, having a big old party complete with giveaways!
Murder at the Taffy Shop releases today – and its my 20th novel. I’m still in wonder that this has even happened, so I thought I’d share a timeline of how my alter-egos and I got here.
1961: “The Viking Girl” wins a children’s fiction contest in the Pasadena Star News. Age 9, I’m paid $2. I write stories all the time until high school, then turn to nonfiction.
1994: Younger son goes off to kindergarten. After being home with babies for four years, I start writing a cozy mystery because that’s the kind of book I like to read. I’ve never studied creative writing and know nothing about the craft, but I join a critique group. I complete 2/3 of a farm-based mystery (which ends up becoming A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die).
1995: I return to the salaried workforce and can’t find time (or mental space) to finish the book.
1996: I keep writing short fiction. “The Odaku Line” wins a holiday flash fiction contest from North Shore Newspapers.
2001: “The Taste of Winter,” a story of love and loss in later life, is published in the Larcom Review, Fall/Winter 2001.
2004: My first crime story, “Obake for Lance,” is published in Riptide: Crime Stories by New England Writers (Level Best Books). I go to my first New England Crime Bake. I join Sisters in Crime, attend my first New England chapter meeting (at Kate Flora’s house), and start taking workshops.
2008: I’m laid off the hi-tech documentation job I’ve had for fourteen years. I write short story about murderous revenge after layoff (giggle), then start writing a mystery, which ends up being Speaking of Murder.
2009: I get another job but have Fridays free to write. I use them. I keep studying the craft, writing short stories, attending Crime Bake. And I start meeting the Wickeds.
2010: “Reduction in Force” (that layoff story, now for free on Smashwords until 4/20) is published in Thin Ice: Crime Stories by New England Writers (Level Best Books). I join the Guppies, the online SINC chapter.
[Right about now you’re saying, “But she said she was going to tell us how she got to 20 books, not short stories.” Patience, Grasshopper. Practice is a good thing.]
2011: I finish and polish Speaking of Murder, give up after 50 agent rejections, and look for a small press.
2012: An agent comes looking for authors. I (and all the Wickeds, eventually) sign a contract with him. I sign with Kensington Publishing for three Local Foods Mysteries. Barking Rain Press offers me a contract for Speaking of Murder. Kensington says I need to use a pen name for it. Tace Baker is born. Speaking of Murder releases in September. I write books around the edges of a now five-days-a-week job.
2013: I take the plunge and leave the day job. A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die releases. I write a second Tace Baker book, more Local Foods mysteries, and “Fire in Carriagetown” (free on Smashwords until 4/20) about 1880s Amesbury (the story was published as “Breaking the Silence” in Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold from Level Best Books).
2014: The historical characters and setting refuse to go away. I invent midwife Rose Carroll and write Delivering the Truth. I sign a three-book contract for the Country Store mysteries. My editor wants a pen name. Maddie Day is born.
2015: I sign a three-book contract for the Quaker Midwife Mysteries with Midnight Ink. Flipped for Murder, the first Country Story Mystery, releases.
2016: Delivering the Truth, the first Quaker Midwife Mystery, releases.
2017: I sign a three-book contract for the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries, also to be written as Maddie Day. The Local Foods Mysteries end after #5, Mulch Ado About Murder.
2018: Midnight Ink ceases mystery production. I move the Quaker Midwife Mysteries to Beyond the Page Publishing for two more books, because I wasn’t done with the series. Murder on Cape Cod, the first Cozy Capers Book Group mystery, releases on the last day of the year.
2019: My first novella, “Christmas Cocoa and a Corpse,” appears in Christmas Cocoa Murder with two other authors. This throws off my book count and is why you see 21 books in my latest shelfie, not 20!
2020: “One Too Many,” comes out, my first short story to appear in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Another appears in The Beat of Black Wings and one more is under submission. I kept writing short crime fiction throughout all these years, and it keeps my mind sharp for new ideas and voices. See the rundown of stories here. Murder at the Taffy Shop, out today in a one-year Barnes & Noble exclusive, tips the novel count to 20.
So that’s how I got to this point, with twenty books in print, all traditionally published. I have four more in production and will start writing #25 tomorrow. I seem to thrive on writing three books a year, plus short fiction. Right now I’m noodling an idea for a new project. Stand by for news.
I wouldn’t be here without readers – including librarians and booksellers – who love my books (and review them). Without my agent. Without editors who see the potential in my writing. Without my Sisters in Crime tribe, my cherished Wicked Authors, my faith community, and my supportive family. Thank you, all!
Readers: Do you follow an author all the way through a series? Through all her series?
I have an ARC of Nacho Average Murder (Country Store #7) to send one of you, and one of Taken Too Soon (Quaker Midwife #6) for another (US only, please). You might as well get started on books #21 and #22, right? Let me know if you have a series preference.