Friday, November 13, 2015

More books in the HIDDEN series!

I am so thrilled to announce that there will be a third book in the HIDDEN series! I have recently signed a contract to continue the series with Severn House Publishers. The title will be BETRAYED.

The second in the series, SHADOWED, will debut in the UK on February 28 and in the US on June 1. Here is a teaser:

The computer hacker formerly known as Nicole Jones is now living as Susan McQueen on a remote island in Quebec, Canada. She is living a quiet life, working as an artist - but she has not given up her computer. While in an online chat room, she sees a shadow - someone is inside her laptop, watching her every move, and somehow knows exactly who she is. Afraid that he will track her down, Susan is on the run again - but from whom? Is it the FBI or someone associated with her past crime sixteen years before? Making her way across the border and back to the USA, some unsettling discoveries make Susan realize that she won't be able to escape her past a second time.

Are you hooked yet?

And here is the cover of SHADOWED:

 What do you think?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

New website and title reveal!

My website has a new look!

I decided that I needed to change it up a little, since my new books are more suspense than mystery and definitely not cozy. It had been a long time since I really updated my website, so it was definitely time. I have separate pages for my Annie Seymour and Tattoo Shop mysteries, and a new page for HIDDEN, with an excerpt from the book and the acknowledgments that were inadvertently left out of the actual book itself.

I'm really thrilled with how it looks. Check it out!

And please send me your comments through the Contact page. I set up a new contact form and I'm hoping it keeps the spam at bay.

In other news, I finally finished the sequel to HIDDEN and have sent it off to my editor! The title of the new book is:


In this book, Nicole Jones, who is now Susan McQueen and living in Canada, discovers that she has a "shadow" in her computer who is watching her every move.

SHADOWED will come out in the UK on February 28 and the US on June 1.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I should be writing

The title of the post says it all.

I should be writing.

And I am. In the way that this book is being written.

To explain: I have never written a book like this before. I am a fairly linear writer. The story comes out of my head in the order that it will appear. Usually. This book is quite defiant, though, in that it doesn't want to be linear in my head at all. It wants me to write a scene but it doesn't necessarily want to be in the place that I have written it. I am constantly cutting and pasting, moving bits of text around to find where it fits best.

I am also spending a lot of time thinking about what is going to happen next, or what should have happened before, or what's going to happen at the end. So when I "should be writing," much of the time I am "thinking about what I'm going to write."

I have finally hit 40,000 words, though, which means I am about halfway done. I have two months to go. But the book isn't the only thing on the agenda this summer. I have a daughter who has just graduated high school, we have just hosted a graduation party, we have to start organizing what she's going to need to bring to school. We are heading to New York City for the Boomer Esaison Foundation's Run to Breathe in a couple of weeks; we have a trip planned to Montreal in August.

So I grab at moments to sit and write, move more text around, see if the story is jelling, even though it's not linear and I don't know where it's going to end up. Except that I do. Know where it's going to end. Or at least I know what the big reveal will be at the end, or close to the end. Or maybe in the next page I write.

That's the way this book is going. I have no idea what's going to happen from one day to the next.

So I should be writing.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Nods and breaths and other victims of copy editing

I've just gotten the page proofs for HIDDEN. This is the last stage of the editing process, when the book has been typeset and I get to look at it one last time for any errors. I really like seeing how the pages are going to look inside the book, because I notice that sort of thing when I'm reading a book. Because the pages have been typset, though, I can't make any huge changes at this point; it's merely to look for spelling or small grammatical issues. It was in the copy editing stage that those bigger fixes can be made. And I made them.

I was appalled at how many times characters in the book were nodding. They nodded here and there, sometimes two or three times to a page. That's not all, either. Everyone seemed to take deep breaths. All. The. Time. There was so much heavy breathing going on, it could've been an erotic romance. Or a long description of an asthma attack. How I didn't see this before I sent it off to my editor is a mystery. And I'm embarrassed that I didn't see it. But not looking at the book for four months helped me look at it with much more open eyes. So there is a lot less heavy breathing and nodding going on now.

I have a superb copy editor at Severn House. Sara caught a lot of those little nitpicky grammatical problems that are the bane of the copy editor's existence. I admit to loving being a copy editor, so the copy edit stage is one of my favorites. One thing about being published by a British publisher is that sometimes my Americanisms were questioned. As an example, there was a sticky note asking what it meant when one character said he had to "hit the head."

There were times while I was looking at the copy edits that I wondered if I didn't like this more than the actual writing. But that came from the fact that the second book in the series is very slow going at the moment, and copy editing was so much easier because HIDDEN is already written. (There are a ton of reasons why writing is slow right now, most of them external, like the fact that my daughter is going to be graduating high school in less than a month and there is so much to do that isn't writing.)

I have a week to go over the page proofs and then the book will be out of my hands completely. I won't be able to change a word, and what's there will be there when you open the book to read it. That scares the daylights out of me, she says while nodding and taking a deep breath...

Friday, March 27, 2015

HIDDEN cover revealed!

I have a cover for HIDDEN! My new publisher, Severn House, has created the perfect cover for the book. It evokes the atmosphere I've created perfectly. Check it out!

Severn House has also sent me the cover copy:

Nicole Jones – if that is her real name – lives off the grid. She doesn’t have a license, passport or bank account. She definitely doesn’t own a computer. She hasn’t left her refuge, Block Island, in fifteen years. She’s hidden from the world and she likes it that way. Nicole doesn’t use a computer, not because she’s afraid of it, but because she’s afraid of what she – a badass hacker in her past life – would do with it.

When the last person Nicole wants to see suddenly reappears, using a name he knows will draw her out, Nicole realizes that her time hidden is now ending. Her past secrets tumbling into the open and her carefully constructed new life set to fall apart, Nicole must re-hone her long-suppressed computer skills in order to escape from an island that is no longer a haven, but suddenly a prison. 

I can't wait to see it in print!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A strong sense of place

I'm so excited that my new book HIDDEN will be out in the UK on July 31 and in the US on November 1. I hope to be able to share the cover with you soon. But in the meantime, I'm working on the second book in the series, which is due at the end of August.

When my agent asked if that deadline was possible, it was before Christmas, I did the math, and said, sure. And then I started the book. And started it again. And started it again. Whatever I wrote just wasn't working. Finally, after many mis-starts, I finally had a first chapter I was happy with, a launching point for the book.

It's hard writing a sequel to a book that wasn't supposed to have one. But the more I'm writing, the more I realize that Nicole's story isn't entirely over yet, and I'm glad that Kate, my new editor at Severn House, saw that.

However, I did leave Nicole in a place that is so remote, I couldn't figure out how to get her out. Because get her out, I felt I had to do.

At least at first.

Nicole is in Quebec. A beautiful place, a place I've loved to visit. And while it is remote, I'm discovering that she needs to stay there for a while. Maybe even through the whole book (although I'm only 50 pages in, so that can change, too).

Even though I've been there, it's been a while, so I hunted down the travel pieces I wrote for the New Haven Register after our trips there. As I read them, they brought me back, and I could close my eyes and see the mountains edging up to the St. Lawrence, see the pinks and oranges of the sunrises on Ile-aux-Coudres, still smell the exhaust of the car as it struggled up the incline after getting off the ferry going back to Baie-Saint-Paul. Since I'm probably not going to get to Quebec again before I finish the book, I have to rely on my words and memories from before.

I believe setting is a huge part of every book. It is a character in and of itself, and I tried hard to bring Block Island alive in HIDDEN. As I hope I can bring Quebec and the Charlevoix region alive in this second book.

Are you drawn to books with a strong sense of place?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

HIDDEN to be published!

I'm so thrilled to announce that the Manuscript from Hell, which now has the title of HIDDEN, will be published by Severn House!

Here is the official announcement that was in Publisher's Marketplace:

Tattoo Shop Mystery series author Karen Olson's HIDDEN, a new series featuring a woman who has spent 15 years hiding from her criminal-hacker past with zero carbon footprint, only to be discovered on Block Island, where she's been living as a bicycle tour guide and painter without a cell phone or bank account, to Kate Lyall-Grant at Severn House, in a two-book deal, by Josh Getzler at Hannigan Salky Getzler (World English). Translation: Film/TV: 

I have been working on this book for a long time. Years, in fact. It is a huge departure from my previous books in that it's not a mystery, but a suspense novel.

I am also very excited to be joining the Severn House list. HIDDEN will come out first in the UK, possibly even as soon as July 2015, and then here in the US, possibly in November 2015.

I did write HIDDEN as a standalone, but my new editor saw a series potential in it, so I am now working on plotting out the second book, which is due at the end of August. While I have been busy this past year, I will be busier in the new one.

It promises to be a very Happy New Year!