Posted in books, Career, Friends of Mine, guest article, Interview

Interview with the Editor: Kendel Flaum of Henery Press


LynDee Walker’s new book, Buried Leads, is due out in October.  I am very excited to start talking about it, but you’re going to have to wait just a little longer–ee!  Meanwhile, I had the great pleasure of meeting LynDee’s editor, Kendel Flaum, and thought you’d enjoy hearing from her.  As the managing editor of Henery Press, she has great insight and is, of course, very interesting.

But don’t just take my word for it.  This is Kendel’s bio:

Kendel Flaum is a Southern California native who now parks her flip flops in Dallas, Texas. Deciding to combine her fifteen years of entrepreneurial savvy and over a decade of designing, writing, and editorial experience, she launched Henery Press, an independent publishing house focused on mystery and suspense. As managing editor, she’s always looking for captivating stories — from cozies and crime capers to paranormals and PIs. She’s got a coop full of award-winners and nominees in the Hen House, and just loves finding a gem in the slush pile.

LYNN-pic

Henery Press is an independent publisher in the mystery/suspense genre focused on engaging stories with sharp twists and lively characters. We want every reader to enjoy a captivating story written by a talented author wrapped in a pretty package.

Q)  I love the story of how Henery Press came to be.  Will you please tell it for our audience?

Let me nutshell it for your readers: It started from a love of writing. Which led me to an amazing organization, Sisters in Crime, and its upstart sub-chapter, the Guppies. I met my mentor there, I met my bff there, and I met 500+ mystery writers looking to be published there. After several years, Diane Vallere, the aforementioned bff, and I decided to create a sub-chapter of the Guppies called called Press Quest where we’d spearhead the efforts to compile information on every mid-to-small-to boutique press open to mystery writers. We researched until our fingers cramped – we detailed lists, facts, databases, interviews, websites, and on-the-ground commentary.

Some of that commentary proved scary: contracts that fell apart, offers to publish in weeks (weeks! oy.), cringe-worthy covers, non-existent support. After years of being in the trenches, writing, editing, designing, I decided there had to be a better way. One with a chicken at the helm. (Side note: In a previous life, I spent over fifteen years building a completely separate business from dollar one into a multi-million dollar company, so I knew what it would take.)

That’s some nutshell.

 

Henery: Where it happens.  And by "it", I mean "great fun."
Henery: Where it happens. And by “it”, I mean “great fun.”

 

Q)  When we met, we talked about how covers sell books. The cover art coming out of Henery is every kind of eye-catching, captivating, and charming.  Who creates the art, and how do you fit the art to the book?

Why, thank you for the kind words! I absolutely believe the cover is essential to the book, everyone likes to see a pretty package. We consult with the author to get their take, then meet with the in-house staff to discuss. Once we have a concept, we’ll either design here or hire freelance – or both.

 

Just a few of the eye catching covers coming out of Henery.
Just a few of the eye catching covers coming out of Henery.

 

Q)  What are the most challenging, and the most delightful aspects of your work?

The nuts and bolts of publishing can be the most challenging, probably because it’s not as much fun as engaging artwork and intriguing editorial. It’s also quite a challenge to find manuscripts – our catalog has limited space (about 2 books per month), and we’re building quite a niche in the mystery market. 

Q)  A good editor can help an author craft a decent manuscript into a great book.  How do help an author on the edge of greatness make that leap?

Agreed, an editor can see things the author can’t. Mostly because the author has read the manuscript about 113 times. I’d say the most useful tool in the box is remembering “less is more.” Truly, tighten, tighten, tighten. Keep the dialog snappy, the scenes vivid, and the narrative on point. And when if your beta readers all love your work, you need new betas.You need the beta who enjoys your writing, but dishes out the sharp critiques. Like you said, it’s turning decent into great.

 

LynDee's new book, due out on October 15, 2013.  In an upcoming interview with the author, LynDee will give you her take on the importance of having a great editor like Kendel.
LynDee’s new book, due out on October 15, 2013. In an upcoming interview with the author, LynDee will give you her take on the importance of having a great editor like Kendel.

 

Q)  How can an author make an editor’s job easier?

Don’t forgo the beta/editor stage when writing the second, third, fourth books. When you wrote your first, it probably went through 57 drafts, plus a multitude of critiques, contests, betas, and revisions. Over and over and over again until that baby sparkled. Now that you’ve sold it, and it’s published, and you’re onto the next, take the same care. Only more. Push yourself to be better, stronger. And that generally means better betas. (I’m sensing a theme…)

Q)  What advice would you give to aspiring editors?  Or people looking to break into publishing on the publishing house side of the industry?

Start freelancing. Even if you don’t get paid in the beginning, just to prove your work. Start with 50 page critiques, and move on from there. Read every writing book you can get your hands on, read lots of genres to understand techniques. Then grab an internship if you can find one. Nothing like learning from the inside.

Q)  What was your favorite book growing up?

Just one? I’m torn between A Wrinkle in Time, Charlotte’s Web, Little Women, and The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot.

Lane, thank you so much for having me. It was a delight to meet you in person, and an honor to be featured on your blog!

Stay up to date with all the great books coming out of Henery Press.  Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest; add them to your RSS Feed, and connect with them on LinkedIn.

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Posted in books, Career, Explaining the Strange Behavior, Friends of Mine

Flat Friends


Did you know that you can track your pizza delivery from Dominos now?  With cute animated pizza guy and everything.  Like I needed something else to distract me!

dominos

Between that and Pottermore…

Some books, I wish I could experience again for the first time.  I wish I could experience all of Narnia again, A Wrinkle In Time, Skinny Legs and All, Tam Lin, and the first Harry Potter book.  And Slummy Mummy, because I laughed out loud at that book more times than you need to know.

Pottermore (and yes, I was sorted into Gryffindor, though I expected Hufflepuff) is bittersweet because even though JK Rowling writes for it, the adventure is over and no matter how many potions you get to make, Harry, Ron, and Hermoine have long left the building.  I like to think we’d all have been friends.  I like to think the Pevensies, the Murrys and I would all have gotten on–I always thought my dearest elementary school friend was exactly like Meg Murry, so I loved Meg Murry all the more. 

Yesterday, I was thinking back to how I got started writing.  I can’t remember a time I wasn’t making up stories for my own entertainment.  When forced to lie down for naps, I would tell myself stories–frequently involving Mr. Spock ending up as my guardian, since he was a favorite.  Then, when I was in 3rd grade, a friend introduced me to fanfiction, and it wasn’t long before I was crossing over Battlestar Galactica with Star Blazers.  –That’s an easy way to go to practice writing.  No character development required.  You only have to work out the plot.  Or, in my case, work out how live action could cross over with anime.

Maybe if I am ever a famous writer, Leonard Nimoy and Dirk Benedict will find out how instrumental they were to my development and–well, that’s not ladylike writing, and Leonard Nimoy might not be limber enough at this stage of the game.

Posted in Beauty, Friends of Mine, GNO

More Stuff I Like: The Pure Romance Edition…oooooooooh!


I went to a Pure Romance party last night, and it was fun!  I had expected it to be raunchy, and full of TMI, and embarrassing, but it was surprisingly Network TV friendly, full of laughs, and not embarrassing at all.  I give a lot of credit to the Sales Consultant, Sonia (her online store is here), who ran through her line of products with equal parts grace and sense of humor, and credit to the women at the party, who were all equally as graceful and funny.  I came away with a couple of new acquaintances, who I hope become friends, and a freaking amazing faux hot stone massage pack that heats up and will make my feet feel like normal human feet, rather than blocks of ice.  That’s right–I’ll be using it for my feet.

This will be heating up my feet, heart to sole.

Even if you’re not interested in all the geegaws and hoohahs you can find at a toy and lotion party, you can score some really good skin products that have the bonus of tasting nice if you accidentally wind up with some in your mouth–just don’t get them in your eye because that burns (contact lens wearers, beware.)  I came away with a sugar scrub that smells delicious.  Added bonus is that the Pure Romance products come in pretty packaging.  They sit prettily, rather than screaming XXXLUBEXXX from the shelf.

Pretty packaging.

I actually had so much fun, I booked my own party for my April GNO.

One thing that crossed my mind was this:  No one wants to be seen shopping for this any more than a teenage girl wants to be seen buying tampons, so the markup has to be insane on the products.  People are paying more for privacy than for the item itself.  We put a premium on our prudery, don’t we?

I do anyway!  You’re not going to find me shopping store front!  😉

 

Posted in A Day in the Life, Beauty, Explaining the Strange Behavior, Family, Friends of Mine

It Girl


I can’t sleep.  Part of it is the snoring that was coming from beside me, and part of it was the coughing coming from the other room, and part of it was good old fashioned insomnia.  I tried to entertain myself with fantasies of being on the X Factor.  I can usually tell myself stories to sleep–generally, I would zonk out halfway through my audition fantasy, but tonight I made it all the way up to my Top 3 song choice before giving up and getting out of bed.  By the way, my Top 3 consisted of a really hot girl who sang like Whitney Houston, and a cutie patootie boy band.  I was eliminated in that round, but not before Simon Cowell said I was his favorite contestant ever, and had a hissy fit that I’d been voted out.

So, I looked down tonight, after I’d gotten into my pajamas, and I thought, “Good lord!  My boobs used to be a lot higher!  When did they fall down there?!”  You would think that having read and/or listened to so many women talk about the changes time and gravity bring, I would have internalized some expectation of it.  Not so.  Time and Gravity continue to be startling shocks to my system.  I know where things were.  I know where I think things should still be.  Joke’s on me.  They ain’t there no more.

Lately, I am coming to realize I need reading glasses, too.  My optometrist has been telling me this was coming.  The past few eye exams, the doctor has said something like, “After 40, vision changes rapidly, and you may find yourself needing reading glasses.”  I guess I thought I was special, or impervious, but the other day a client loaned me her readers “just to see” and it was like–  Well, it was like I need reading glasses.  I’ll have to find a chic pair so that my transformation into Little Old Lady isn’t quite so sudden.

I’m not complaining about aging.  I am enjoying my age.  I wouldn’t turn back time at all.  I like where I am, who I am, and who I have around me.  The little niggling changes are all worth the exchange.  I don’t like the wrinkles, but I really don’t mind the wrinkles either.  Some of the people I love most in the world have a whole lot of them, and it doesn’t change how I feel for them one bit.  The people who love me feel the same way.

Isn’t that lucky?  I think it is.  I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by, and loved by people who see past my flaws.

I feel about bodies, the way I feel about houses.  Curb appeal only really matters if a) you intend to sit outside in your front yard a lot, or b) you’re trying to make a sale.  Of course you want your exterior to be in good shape, and as attractive as is feasible to maintain because the health of the exterior is what protects the health of your interior, but it’s what you find past the front door that makes a house a home.  How comfortable are you inside?  How good does it feel to just kick back and relax?  How happy are you when it’s just you and the clock ticking?

I’m pretty happy.  Happy enough to get myself through to the Top 3 on X Factor!

It's been a few  years since I've hit the stage, but I still plan performances.
It’s been a few years since I’ve hit the stage, but I still plan performances.

 

 

Posted in books, Friends of Mine

Front Page Fatality–an Interview with the Author, LynDee Walker


You may remember my Cousin-in-Law, LynDee Walker, from such hits as Women Worth Knowing: Meet LynDee, or What is Sexy: Part Two, or her parenting articles for The Examiner, but pretty soon she is going to stand out in your mind as one of Henery Press‘ premier authors.  Nothing could make me happier than to introduce you to LynDee as the author of the Nichelle Clarke Headlines in Heels Mystery Series.

Isn't that the cutest book cover ever?!
Isn’t that the cutest book cover ever?!

Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke’s days can flip from macabre to comical with a beep of her police scanner. Then an ordinary accident story turns extraordinary when evidence goes missing, a prosecutor vanishes, and a sexy Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime. As Nichelle gets closer to the truth, her story gets more dangerous. Armed with a notebook, a hunch, and her favorite stilettos, Nichelle races to splash these shady dealings across the front page before this deadline becomes her last.

The first book of the series, Front Page Fatality, will be available to the public on January 29, 2013, but since I know the author *hair fluff* I got an advance copy to enjoy.  Now, I love spoilers, but I know most people don’t, so I won’t tell you ANYTHING about the story (because if I try, I’ll spill), but I will tell you this:  Front Page Fatality is a tightly written, interesting mystery that is fun to read because of how vibrantly and realistically Nichelle Clarke is written.  From the top of her head, to the soles of her Louboutin shod feet, Nichelle is personable, relatable, and exactly the kind of person you’d like to take out for Happy Hour.

Since I can’t do any real talking, I asked LynDee if she would.  I’m excited to bring you The Outside Lane’s first official interview with soon-to-be-best-selling author, LynDee Walker.

LynDee Walker
LynDee Walker

 

TOL: Welcome to The Outside Lane, LynDee!

LW:  Thanks for having me! I love your reviews, commentaries, and general attitude, and am very glad to be here!

 

TOL:  Get us started!  Tell us the story of how Front Page Fatality came out of your brain.

LW:  The first draft came out insanely fast. It took five weeks to finish. And it was super long and very messy. It all started with a scene that’s in the middle of the book and is a spoiler for the story, so I don’t want to say which one, but it pestered me for a few days and I thought putting it in the computer would make it go away. Instead, I got bitten by the fiction bug.

 

I think it was borne of a desperation to get back to some sort of writing, because after almost five years away from journalism–as a stay-at-home mom–I didn’t realize how much I missed just the act of putting down words until I started writing that scene. I also missed the newsroom. Ergo, a reporter heroine that gives me the ability to play in that world without the long hours away from my babies.

 

I went back to what I thought then was the beginning of the story and wrote through to that original scene, then wrote from there to the end. I pantsed it the whole way: the best description I have for you is that it was like watching a movie in my head and transcribing what was happening. I had no idea what was coming next, and wrote so manically because I wasn’t sure when or if it would stop.

 

As I wrote, I took chapters to my mom and my best girlfriend and they kept asking to see more, so I kept writing. But then there were literally years of revising and revamping the story to get it to what you see today. I think there are maybe five or six sentences in the entire book that have survived since the rough draft.

 

TOL:  That’s a lot of work.  What was the most difficult part of getting the story from your thoughts to the page?

LW:  Initially, it was finding time to do it fast enough with two small children and a part-time job. I knew nothing about writing fiction when I started, except that I got to use descriptive words and let people have opinions, so I just wrote.

 

When I began learning about good fiction writing and started revising, the most difficult parts were learning how to reveal a character in layers, and making sure the words conveyed the scene I had in my head to the reader (which is one of many reasons I adore my beta readers).

 

TOL:  The audience is always right!  But you’re used to an audience.  You are an award winning journalist, and journalists are required to get straight to the facts and tell a story in short order. How did that affect your novel writing style?

LW:  Adversely, at first, actually. I had so much fun getting to use all the flowery words I’d always been told were off-limits that the rough draft was way too long. But during revisions, I think my training came in handy by helping me pare out unnecessary words without affecting the story.  And my fantastic editor and I tightened the book even through the last round of copy edits. I think in the end, my journalism background made for a fast pace and a tight story.

 

TOL:  And your journalism background taught you how to write a tease, too.  What comes next for Nichelle?

LW: She’s getting herself into more trouble digging around in another murky story, and her relationship with Joey is heating up. And of course, she’s shoe shopping.

 

TOL:  I can’t wait!  But we’ve got another month before everyone else can read Nichelle’s adventures, and I’m going to have to wait a lot longer!  In the meantime, where else can we find your work?

LW:  I do local freelance articles in Richmond, and I also write a parenting column for examiner.com. (http://www.examiner.com/elementary-years-parenting-in-richmond/lyndee-walker).

 

TOL:  Thank you so much, LynDee!  I’ll be sure to keep The Outside Lane readers updated on how to get Front Page Fatality.

For more information about LynDee or the Nichelle Clarke Headlines in Heels Mystery Series, check out these links:

FRONT PAGE FATALITY: A Nichelle Clarke Headlines in Heels Mystery (Henery Press, January 29, 2013)
Twitter: @LynDeeWalker
Facebook: LynDee Walker
Goodreads: LynDee Walker
Amazon author page: LynDee Walker
Pre Order from B&N here
Pre Order from Amazaon here