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newschat April 2007

Precious correspondent,

Most people on this mailing list are on it because they signed up for it. Others I added at my own initiative. I regret this. Why? Because more and more of us are inundated with unwanted email. If you're on this list and would prefer to be OFF it, just hit reply and type REMOVE in the subject line. I've stopped adding anyone to my list except those who sign up. And new enemies. I always add my latest enemies to the list.

Here now the news!

Escape with me from all things grim, just for a minute. It's April, the buds are popping, the birds--thrushes and vultures alike--are screaming for love, and book contracts are being signed.

Yes! Last month I accepted an offer from St. Martin's Press for a two-book, hardcover-to-mass market paperback deal launching a new mainline suspense series under their Minotaur imprint. The first book, THE ACTRESS, concerns a struggling Hollywood actress who gets hired to secretly coach the defendant in a high-profile murder trial. And well, as you might hope in a situation like this, one thing leads to another. And another. And another.

Given the 12 months or so it takes for a publisher to bring a title to market after acquisition, THE ACTRESS is scheduled to hit the shelves in spring or summer 2008. Yes, it's a long wait, but when you read this book, you will say, "Worth it. SO worth the wait. I am stunned by how worth it this wait was." In the meantime rest assured I'm working on the next book in the series, tentatively titled TAKE TWO.

The series doesn't have an official name, but the milieu is Los Angeles and outsider Hollywood--- as much a mood as a place, peopled by those who dwell at the edges of that big juicy pie hoping for a slice to call their own someday.

How did this new series come about? Basically, I wanted to reach more readers, and I knew the way to do that would be to break out of the gay ghetto into the mainstream. My agent, Cameron McClure at the Donald Maass Literary Agency, suggested I write something new, and I did, and she made the deal for me. I'm grateful to her for her help and good advice all through the process, from outline to finished manuscript to contract negotiations with a major publisher. Such music to my ears when she told me recently, "From now on, my job is to be a bitch on your behalf." Sweet, sweet music.

I'll post more info on THE ACTRESS in a future NewsChat, as well as an excerpt on my Web site.

What of the Lillian Byrd books? I hope Lillian will ride again, but I don't know when.

In other self-oriented news, I've written an updated history of the Port Angeles (Wash.) Symphony Orchestra, in whose percussion section I play. (Local fans should not miss this season's final concert on Saturday night, a smack-down combo of von Suppe's 'Poet & Peasant' overture, some Grieg lyric pieces including my personal fave, the ill-tempered 'March of the Dwarves', some Satie for leavening, then Tchaikovsky's volcanic 'Francesca da Rimini'.) The book comprises mostly oral histories by current musicians. The experience of collecting these personal stories was absorbing and moving. Currently the book is going into design and production, and should be available in the fall. All proceeds will go to the non-profit symphony. More info on that later as well.

I hope you have a wonderful summer.

Elizabeth Sims

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