Sunday, January 29, 2012

Those early weeks... weeks of excitement, anticipation, anxiety. Those weeks following the release of your next book when you wait for the early affirmation that your story has connected with readers, that it will be accepted and supported by the book stores, and that it will have life beyond the early flurry.

My third novel, Grayton Winds, was released this past December. We've been busy supporting distribution through independent books stores in the Midwest, and down along the Northern Gulf Coast of Florida where the story is set. Schuler Books in West Michigan has again gone above and beyond, stocking and supporting the book in prominent locations in their stores. In Florida, both Sundog Books in Seaside, and the Hidden Lantern Bookstore in Rosemary Beach are providing enthusiastic support and encouragement. I'm looking forward to attend book signing events at both locations in March and April. For those of us who love our local book stores, we need to continue to support them, even if it's through their online distribution.

And then there are the early readers and the first true feedback from people who have paid to read your work. There is a great sigh of relief that I'm sure most writers share, when those early bits of feedback are strong and encouraging.

I had the pleasure of attending a reading group session two weeks ago. The ten women in the reading group had read my first two novels, and most had already read the new Grayton Winds. They had even taken a field trip last summer to Charlevoix, Michigan to visit the many local sites that were prominent scenes in my first two weeks. As usual with reading group visits, the discussion was delightful.

The true sign of acceptance comes when you see people begin to recommend your work, and those referrals lead to even more. Those long hours of research, writing, editing and on and on, all become well worth the effort when you find that you've connected with a reader, and that your story moved them to have real emotions around the people and places in your story.

So the early weeks are showing positive signs for Grayton Winds. There is much work left to be done, but it's nice to take just a moment and a deep breath of relief.

And then there's the next story coming together in your mind...

Michael Lindley

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Finally, the launch of a third novel,"Grayton Winds" in December 2011.

After three years, five storyline changes, four reader critiques and sixteen edits, "Grayton Winds" is now on bookstore shelves, book retailer website pages and in reader’s hands.
A departure from my previous two books set in Northern Michigan, "Grayton Winds" moves to Paris in the years following WWI, to Atlanta, Georgia, New York City and a small beach village on the northern Gulf Coast of Florida in the Prohibition years of the 1920’s. Mathew Coulter is an aging writer resting one day in 1985, on the deck of his beach house in Grayton Beach, Florida, waiting for the celebration of his 85th birthday with family and friends gathered. An unexpected visitor sets off a chain of memories, causing Mathew to look back on a life of lost love, family betrayal and bitter compromises.
Mathew is the son of a ruthless family who controlled the liquor business in the South during Prohibition. When he turned 18, he followed his older brother, Jess, into the Army to fight in the War with Germany on the battlefields of France. He barely survives a horrific battle outside Verdun near the end of the War, and during his recovery in the American Hospital in Paris, he is haunted by his own cowardice in the face of the enemy guns. A young French nurse helps him to put the wounds to his body and mind behind him, but their doomed love affair will continue to preoccupy him for the rest of his life.

Returning to his home in Georgia, he finishes school and reluctantly works in the family business. During an evening when he is betrayed by both his father and brother, Jess, with a woman he had hoped to marry, he seeks refuge in a friend’s cottage in the remote village of Grayton Beach, Florida, There he meets a blind and gifted ten year-old girl who will change the course of his life
Melanee Dalton has been blind from birth and abandoned by her mother who is off in New
Orleans in a downward spiral of drinking, drugs and dangerous men. Melanee is living with her grandmother, Lila Dalton, who runs a small hotel at the beach. As Mathew tries to deal with his own demons, he finds himself drawn into the lives of Lila and Melanee, helping them to deal with the wayward mother. He also reluctantly befriends a dangerous gangster, hiding out in Grayton Beach from rivals and the law in the North. Willy Palumbo will bring Mathew to repeatedly face terrible life choices and compromises to protect his family’s interests, and to attempt to salvage the life of Melanee’s mother, Sara.
"Grayton Winds" was a marvelous journey and challenge, as all books are. It’s always so surprising to me to see the stories come together; to see the characters take life and grow before my eyes; to suddenly see a completed book in my hands and people holding it in their own and reading it. There is always the nagging doubt of whether anyone will actually like the story, and then those early reader comments begin to come, and a sense of great satisfaction and relief in knowing that you’ve been able to tell a story that people will enjoy and recommend to others.

Surprisingly, it seems far easier to write and publish a story, than in reaching out to build an audience beyond family and friends; to actually break through and reach a broad audience. Just look at the shelves of any bookstore and the thousands of titles for readers to select from. How does a writer stand out and have their book find success among so much competition? It is a pursuit that is exhilarating and maddening and wonderful. It all starts with simply telling a good
I hope you will find "Grayton Winds" to be one of those “good stories”.

M. Lindley