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Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!

Today's guest blog is by an author who has visited before - JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!

 

JSpencerFleming

 

Her website is here: http://juliaspencerfleming.com/

 

 

Julia Spencer Fleming - novels of faith and murder for readers of literery suspense

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!

 

Bestselling author Julia Spencer-Fleming is the winner of the Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, Dilys, Barry, Nero Wolfe, and Gumshoe Awards, and an Edgar and Romantic Times RC Award finalist.

 

You can find her on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/#!/jspencerfleming

 

She's on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Julia-Spencer-Fleming/177457288939862

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!

 

http://mainecrimewriters.com/authors/julia-spencer-fleming

 

Julia Spencer-Fleming

A former military brat, New York Times best-selling author Julia Spencer-Fleming grew up in places as diverse as Montgomery, Rome, Stuttgart and Syracuse. A graduate of Ithaca College, George Washington University and the University of Maine School of Law, she took up writing while still a stay-at-home mother of two. During the time it took to finish her first novel, she got a full-time job at a Portland, Maine, law firm and had a third child. Julia didn’t want to write yet another lawyer-sleuth, so she used her army past and a keen eye for the goings-on at her Episcopal church to create the Rev. Clare Fergusson, a new priest who partners with police chief Russ Van Alstyne in the small Adirondack town of Millers Kill. The resulting series has won or been nominated for every American mystery award available, including the Edgar, the Anthony, and the Agatha. The seventh book in the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series, One Was A Soldier, was released in April 2011.

Now happily quit of the law, Julia lives in the Maine countryside with three kids, two dogs and one husband. Learn more about her at www.juliaspencerfleming.com.

Books In Print:

One Was A Soldier    ISBN: 0-312-33489-3
A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin’s Minotaur
I Shall Not Want    ISBN: 0-312-93399-1
St. Martin’s Paperbacks
I Shall Not Want    ISBN: 0-312-33487-1
A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin’s Minotaur
All Mortal Flesh (mass market)  ISBN: 0-312-93398-2
St. Martin’s Paperbacks
All Mortal Flesh                                             ISBN: 0-312-31264-4
A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin’s Minotaur
To Darkness and to Death  (mass market)      ISBN: 0-312-98887-7
St. Martin’s Paperbacks
To Darkness and to Death                               ISBN: 0-312-33485-0
A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin’s Minotaur
Out of the Deep I Cry  (mass market)              ISBN: 0-312-98888-5
St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Out of the Deep I Cry                                       ISBN: 0-312-31262-8
A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin’s Minotaur
A Fountain Filled With Blood  (mass market)  ISBN: 0-312-99543-1
St. Martin’s Paperbacks
A Fountain Filled With Blood                           ISBN: 0-312-30410-2
A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin’s Minotaur
In The Bleak Midwinter (mass market)             ISBN: 0-312-98676-9
St. Martin’s Paperbacks
In The Bleak Midwinter (hardcover)                 ISBN: 0-312-28847-6
A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin’s Minotaur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!

One Was a Soldier (Clare Fergusson Series #7)  

 

 

 

One Was a Soldier

 

 

One Was A Soldier

On a warm September evening in the Millers Kill community center, five veterans sit down in rickety chairs to try to make sense of their experiences in Iraq. What they will find is murder, conspiracy, and the unbreakable ties that bind them to one other and their small Adirondack town.

“Explor[es] the inescapable legacies of soldiers come home, including a crushing burden of imagined, and unimaginable, guilt.” 
—Kirkus Reviews

The Rev. Clare Fergusson wants to forget the things she saw as a combat helicopter pilot and concentrate on her relationship with Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne. MP Eric McCrea needs to control the explosive anger threatening his job as a police officer. Will Ellis, high school track star, faces the reality of life as a double amputee. Orthopedist Trip Stillman is denying the extent of his traumatic brain injury. And bookkeeper Tally McNabb wrestles with guilt over the in-country affair that may derail her marriage.

But coming home is harder than it looks. One vet will struggle with drugs and alcohol. One will lose his family and friends. One will die.

Since their first meeting, Russ and Clare's bond has been tried, torn, and forged by adversity. But when he rules the veteran's death a suicide, she violently rejects his verdict, drawing the surviving vets into an unorthodox investigation that threatens jobs, relationships, and her own future with Russ. As the days cool and the nights grow longer, they will uncover a trail of deceit that runs from their tiny town to the upper ranks of the U.S. Army, and from the waters of the Millers Kill to the unforgiving streets of Baghdad.

Praise

“Spencer-Fleming's most ambitious book yet - think The Best Years of Our Lives with corpses....fans will continue to be impressed by her resourceful determination never to tell the same story twice.” 
—Kirkus Reviews
“Spencer-Fleming explores a serious societal issue - the reentry problems of soldiers home from combat... while concocting an an absolutely irresistible combination of crime fiction and romance...this is a surefire winner. This series, as intelligent as it is enthralling, just keeps getting better.” 
—Booklist
“A story of greed, betrayal, and wounded love.” 
—New York Times Bestselling author John Hart

Reviews

Kirkus editor review (December 10, 2010)

The good news is that Rev.Clare Fergusson has come home from her Mideastern deployment as Maj. Fergusson to a marriage proposal from Millers Kill Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne. But that's about the extent of the good news. Despite its high murder rate (I Shall Not Want, 2008, etc.), Millers Kill, NY, is a small town, so it's not surprising that everyone in the therapy group clinician Sarah Dowling runs for returning veterans knows everyone else. But Clare Fergusson, orthopedist Trip Stillman, double amputee Will Ellis, bookkeeper Tally McNabb and MP Eric McCrea, who's returning to the civilian police force, can't imagine how closely and painfully their lives will become tangled over the coming months.... The author is less interested in fixing individual guilt, however, than in exploring the inescapable legacies of soldiers come home including a crushing burden of imagined, and unimaginable, guilt. Spencer-Fleming's most ambitious book yet think The Best Years of Our Lives with corpses can't quite live up to its lofty goals. But fans will continue to be impressed by her resourceful determination never to tell the same story twice.

Library Journal (starred review)

Clare Fergusson comes home from Iraq to Millers Kill, NY, a damaged version of herself. She must now reconcile her combat experiences with her other job as an Episcopal priest. When a fellow veteran in her therapy group is killed and the death ruled a suicide, Clare sets off to uncover the truth. In her latest mystery (after I Shall Not Want), the award-winning Spencer-Fleming calls attention to the stress, nightmares, anger, and guilt many military personnel experience on their return to civilian life. VERDICT In the hands of a lesser writer, this novel would not fly, but Spencer-Fleming carries it off and concludes with a believable resolution. As always, there is a cliffhanger ending for Clare. Outstanding.

Booklist (starred review)

...As in her previous novel, I SHALL NOT WANT, Spencer-Fleming explores a serious societal issue - the reentry problems of soldiers home from combat - that extends even to small-town Millers Kill, New York while concocting an absolutely irresistible combination of crime fiction and romance. ...this is a surefire winner, taking the linchpin Fergusson- Van Alstyne relationship to a new level, probing the personal lives of other members of the town's police department,and personalizing the toll taken by war. Spencer-Fleming's fans who have been waiting anxiously for her latest won't be disappointed; this series, as intelligent as it is enthralling, just keeps getting better.

 

 

 

 

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Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!

GUEST BLOG 

By Julia Spencer-Fleming

 

It's that time of the year again when we all make resolutions or set goals, or, if you're sufficiently enlightened, articulate your intentions to the universe. The most popular resolutions – you'll see them time and again if you read a magazine or newspaper in January – are to get in shape, eat better, quit smoking, save money and lower stress levels. Unless, of course, you are an unpublished writer. There's only one resolution for someone who wants to see his or her name in print: finish the book.

 

That was my resolution back in 2000. I had been in an on-line writing group since 1997 and had been dubbing around with a novel – first science fiction, then mystery – since late 1998. Assuming I survived the end of civilization (that's right, remember the Y2K scare?) I was determined to finally get disciplined and put that baby to bed. I had a powerful motivator – I was expecting my third child in August, 2000. Going back to work full-time in '99 had put a major dent into my writing time; I was pretty sure a newborn would shelve my manuscript permanently if I didn't get my fanny in gear.

 

Unlike most other resolutions, I made my writing goal. I finished In the Bleak Midwinter a scant few weeks before my daughter Virginia was born. How did I get there? Simple...in the same way that “eat less and exercise more” is simple. These are the rules I put into effect:

 

  1. Put the work first. Back when I was a stay-at-home mom with kids in school or preschool, I could pick and choose my writing time. Mid-morning, afternoons when the kids were watching Power Rangers, or the evenings, after I had put them to bed. Once I was working full-time, I had to get disciplined. I set my alarm for 4:20 every morning. I got up, made myself a pot of tea, and sat down to write for exactly two hours. The rest of the family woke at 6:30 and at that point, I saves my pages for the day and switched into Mommy/lawyer mode. Once I got over the initial horror of waking up at the back crack of dawn, it became an amazingly productive time for me. But how did I manage getting up so early?

 

  1. Accommodate your schedule to the work, not your work to the schedule. I stopped staying up to read or watch TV or do needlepoint. I put myself to bed as soon as I had tucked in the children at 8:00. In order to have writing time during the weekends, I gave up gardening and severely curtailed my social activities. Yes, I was a very boring conversationalist during that time (and there's a half-made pillow of my husband's law school crest that still hasn't gotten finished.) But I had writing time. And I used it.

 

  1. Write forward. This is even harder to do than going to bed at eight. I made myself stop going over and over the previous pages. I ceased editing myself. Instead of fixing plot points (a constant situation when I write mysteries, as I figure out what clues and events I need as the story unspools.) I wrote relentlessly forward, promising I'd fix everything once I had typed “the end.” In a similar vein:

 

  1. Give up the research. This is pretty radical, especially for a genre that relies on solid facts about guns and forensics and police procedure. But let's face it, I didn't have to read every article ever written about blood spatters. I really had all the basic research I needed when I started the book. The rest could wait until I was fixing and editing. There comes a point when researching or drawing maps or devising family trees stops being productive and starts being procrastination. And trust me, that point is sooner than you think.

 

  1. Identify yourself as a working writer. This was hard for me. I was unpublished and knew no professional authors. But when you're trying to finish a book, you need to see yourself as a professional, and you need to have your family understand you as such. If you were taking classes and networking and putting in applications in order to change careers, your friends would treat your ambition seriously. Trying to break into publishing is no different. And getting the word out about your goal - “I'm going to finish the first draft of my novel by X date” - has the same bracing effect as telling people you plan to swim three times weekly. They'll ask you about it, and you don't want to be embarrassed and admit you haven't even put your suit in your gym bag, do you?

 

I did the revisions to In the Bleak Midwinter while I was at home during maternity leave. (This isn't as superwoman-like as it sounds – my husband was back in school and my other kids were old enough to be a huge help around the house.) Not knowing anything about how to sell the finished manuscript, I sent it into a contest I had read about in Writers Digest. It took the St. Martin's/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery award for 2001 and went on to win the Agatha, the Anthony, the Macavity, the Dilys and the Gumshoe awards in 2002. Since then, I've written six more Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mysteries, and have three more under contract.

 

So unpublished authors, take heart. Your career could be just a few simple resolutions away. Pack your gym bag and get going.

 

Want to see how that first novel turned out? St. Martin's has re-released  In the Bleak Midwinter as a trade paperback, with a spiffy new cover and a reading group guide perfect for book clubs.

 

Got a Nook for the holidays? In the Bleak Midwinter is on sale this month for only $2.99!

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!

Here's the pretty new cover art for the trade paperbacks!

In_the_Bleak_TP.jpg
Fountain_Filled_With_Blood_TP_large.jpg
One_Was_A_Soldier_TP.jpg
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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!

More of the new cover art:

Out_of_the_Deep_TP.jpg
To_Darkness_TP.jpg
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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!

Shame on me - how could I forget to mention that Julia blogs with the fabulous JUNGLE RED WRITERS?

 

http://www.jungleredwriters.com/

 

Jungle Red

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maxcat
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!

Great blog! It gives some incite as to what writers go through to finish a book! It's fascinating how writers each vary their routines and schedules to make the book come to life.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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eadieburke
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!

[ Edited ]

Love Julia's Clare Furgesson series. Did I read on her facebook page that they are picking actors for this series? Are there going to be movies or are they playing "what if" like we always do?

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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JS-F
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!

Maxcat,

 

One of the thing I always try to drive home when I'm teaching is that there's no one right way - every writer takes a slightly different path in his or her writing journey. So these rules are meant to be extrapolated - not that one has to work from 4:30 to 6:30 am in order to finish the book, but that one needs to set aside a dedicated time for writing.

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JS-F
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!

Eadie,

 

My agent has been in talks with producers a few times, but so far, nothing concrete has happened in the TV/film realm. We play Movie Casting Monday on my Facebook page because I find readers LOVE to suggest, approve, argue about and debate different actors in the roles of the characters they know. I have to admit, I find it a lot of fun, as well...

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eadieburke
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!

[ Edited ]

JS-F wrote:

Eadie,

 

My agent has been in talks with producers a few times, but so far, nothing concrete has happened in the TV/film realm. We play Movie Casting Monday on my Facebook page because I find readers LOVE to suggest, approve, argue about and debate different actors in the roles of the characters they know. I have to admit, I find it a lot of fun, as well...


We love to think which actors would be good for different characters in books here at Barnes and Noble. I watch movies but I don't remember the actors' names, so I don't usually participate. I did like the woman from Lost as Clare that was suggested on your Facebook page though! I wish you could find a part for Hugh Jackman - I do like him!
Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!


JS-F wrote:

Eadie,

 

My agent has been in talks with producers a few times, but so far, nothing concrete has happened in the TV/film realm. We play Movie Casting Monday on my Facebook page because I find readers LOVE to suggest, approve, argue about and debate different actors in the roles of the characters they know. I have to admit, I find it a lot of fun, as well...


Who would YOU pick for your ideal cast, Julia?

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JS-F
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!

Eadie,

 

If Hugh Jackman were interested, I'd WRITE a part for him. Of course, it would require long hours of usworking one-on-one for him to master the character...

 

Becke, I don't have any one favorite. I've been pleasantly surprised by many of the (unknown-to-me) actors readers have suggested. They're the ones expanding my concepts, not the other way around!

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eadieburke
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!


JS-F wrote:

Eadie,

 

If Hugh Jackman were interested, I'd WRITE a part for him. Of course, it would require long hours of usworking one-on-one for him to master the character...

 

Becke, I don't have any one favorite. I've been pleasantly surprised by many of the (unknown-to-me) actors readers have suggested. They're the ones expanding my concepts, not the other way around!


Of course, since he was my idea, I would have to at least hold his script for him!
Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!


JS-F wrote:

Eadie,

 

If Hugh Jackman were interested, I'd WRITE a part for him. Of course, it would require long hours of usworking one-on-one for him to master the character...

 

Becke, I don't have any one favorite. I've been pleasantly surprised by many of the (unknown-to-me) actors readers have suggested. They're the ones expanding my concepts, not the other way around!


I hope you'll let us know if the TV or movie possibilities ever come to fruition!

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optic_i
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Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING!

Hi Julia, welcome to the mystery forum !

 

Hi everyone !  

 

Julia, I am new to your books, I just started reading your first book of the Clare Fergusson series. I must say, I'm enjoying it very much. I really like the down to earth characters. This setting is in upstate New York but I noticed in your bio that you live in Maine. If you haven't already, would any of your characters be set in Maine for the story?   :smileyhappy:

 

Optic 

 

 

In the Bleak Midwinter (Clare Fergusson Series #1)