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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Getting back to work, and a preview of NET STALKER

Writers know well that there is what we do for love, and what we do for money, and the most frequent piece of advice to any writer is not to quit her day job (that is, until the sales of the first of your series about a boy wizard reach the stratosphere). I am blessed to be able to say that what I do for money is also a labor of love, for together with my husband Christopher, I own and run a bed and breakfast called A Butler's Manor. It does, however, absorb every fiber of my being during the summer months. While we're still busy either side of the summer high season, with the advent of fall, I can begin mentally to get back to the computer to pen stories, rather than reservations.

Up on the third floor of the bed and breakfast, I have a secret space that I call my writing office, tucked under the eaves. Between the workload of high season and the fact that it's located above one of our most popular guest rooms and accessed by way of a pull-down staircase in the hall, I don't see it for months at a time. But after Labor Day, when the weather cools and the phones aren't quite so crazy, one of the first things I do is carve out some time to reclaim my space...give everything a good clean, reread my files, put Pandora radio on my headphones and settle back into my desk chair to find my muse again, who takes the summers off  but awaits me up under the eaves.

It does feel good to get back to writing. I have two projects underway: I'm noodling a brand new book on which I hope to make real progress this winter, and doing a final edit of my next psychological suspense book, which I hope to release on Kindle somewhere around Thanksgiving. Titled NET STALKER, it is the story of a woman whose search for her ancestry attracts a predator whose quest for revenge is also mired in the murky waters of her family history.

Here's the draft of the jacket copy:

In Orange County, California, Geordan Taylor’s shock and grief over her mother’s sudden death is great enough without discovering in the days that follow that everything she thought she knew about her mother is a lie. Bewildered and angry, she turns to the Internet in search of information about the only family she’s ever known. Much to the consternation of her roommate Jess, she soon finds a kindred spirit in a cyber buddy named Chase.  

She has no idea she’s attracted a stalker.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a killer dubbed the Bagman has claimed his fifth victim, and once again FBI Special Agent Sam Cathcart is frustrated by the lack of leads. His colleagues don’t know how personal the case is for Cathcart; eerily, the Bagman’s victims resemble his own long-ago murdered daughter. But time is running out for if he doesn’t crack the case soon, the FBI’s retirement mandates and his own health problems will force him to end his career in failure.  

When Jess is brutally attacked, similarities to the Bagman’s modus operandi draw Cathcart’s team. But it isn’t Jess who resembles the killer’s previous victims—it’s Geordan. And because Jess’s attack too conveniently followed a date Geordan broke to meet her cyber buddy in person, Cathcart soon believes that the key to apprehending the Bagman is to be found in the same family background that Geordan seeks.

At the FBI agent’s request, Geordan offers herself as online bait to draw the fiend who nearly murdered her best friend. Though masked in cyberspace, this stalker is circling ever closer…a killer who believes he will avenge a decades-old injustice only with Geordan’s death.

The hardest thing about writing Net Stalker is making clear the time frame: It's set at the turn of the millenium, late1999 - 2000, and of course many things to do with how we communicate have evolved since then (texting, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Still, the dependence upon and addiction to the Internet was in place then and has grown exponentially since, making the threat which is the centerpiece of the story all the more relevant in today's world.
Beyond the proofing, there remains some non-writing work to finish, such as cover design and permissions to obtain for quoted material...the sort of stuff a traditional publisher would be responsible for were I choosing to publish through one.
What do you think?