Friday, December 15, 2017

A Book Birth Day (with the longest gestation period ever): Wishing Caswell Dead

Thanks so much to the Blood Red Pencil team for letting me announce my new book release here. I’m happily rejoining the Blood Red Pencil blog in 2018 as a monthly contributor after a long break to work on other projects. It’s great to be back working with this excellent team of writers and editors.

About the book: It took ten years, five rewrites, the refusal to give up on the novel of my heart, and the miracle of the right publisher creating the right fiction line at the right time. That’s the story in a nutshell of the conception and finally the birth of Wishing Caswell Dead, a historical novel from Five Star/Cengage Frontier Fiction (December 20, 2017).

In 2007, I had a short story about Jo Mae Proud trying to escape her horrid life in the fictitious Village of Sangamon in the early 1800s. As I read and reread that tale, I kept thinking how much more I could write if I developed each one of the flawed or evil characters in the story and told how they all came together on the day Caswell Proud was murdered . . . and revealed who the killer was.

I wrote, rewrote, edited, moved chapters around, submitted to my group for critique, rewrote some more, and collected lots of agent and editor rejections.

And then one day, Five Star/Cengage expanded their Western line to include Frontier Fiction novels, stories of almost any genre set in the U.S. up to about 1920.

This is the main reason I keep telling writers never to give up on a novel they believe in. The publishing world changes faster and faster, as do reader preferences and genre trends. What won’t find a publisher today might be in high demand next year.

The short synopsis:

In the early 1800s in a village on the Illinois frontier, young Jo Mae Proud wishes her cruel brother dead. Forced into prostitution by Caswell, Jo Mae discovers she is pregnant and vows to escape her unpleasant life. When Caswell is injured by a near lightning hit, he becomes more dangerous and more hated. The flawed residents of the Village of Sangamon harbor many secrets. Caswell knows them all. Will he tell? Jo Mae runs away and eventually finds shelter with Fish, the old Kickapoo Indian who camps by the river. Wishing Caswell Dead is a historical mystery about the evil that hides within a village, one girl who is determined to save herself and her child, and a violent murder no one wants to solve.

Publishers Weekly says this book is a “worthy historical” and describes the characters as “surprisingly complicated and wonderfully individual.”


Pat (Patricia) Stoltey is the author of four novels published by Five Star/Cengage: two amateur sleuth, one thriller that was a finalist for a Colorado Book Award in 2015, and the historical mystery Wishing Caswell Dead (December 20, 2017).

Pat lives in Northern Colorado with her husband Bill, Scottish Terrier Sassy (aka Doggity), and brown tabby Katie (aka Kitty Cat).

You can learn more about Pat at her website/blog, on Facebook, and Twitter. She was recently interviewed for a Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers podcast that you can find at the RMFW website.

12 comments :

  1. Congratulations, Pat! Wishing you great success with your book baby. May it make your heart proud.

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  2. Persistence pays off. A friend of mine's agent worked for 8 years to get her story placed. She just had to wait for diversity to be embraced. I love Frontier fiction and can't wait to read your book baby. And welcome back to BRP.

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    1. Thanks, Diana. I feel as though I'm going back in time to be reading and writing frontier fiction. I read every book Zane Grey ever wrote when I was a kid.

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  3. Sounds like a good story, Patricia. Congratulations on finding it a home in this fickle publishing world.

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    1. Isn't that the truth! You never know what's going to be in or out tomorrow.

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  4. Congratulations on the release of the book of your heart. It sounds like a terrific story. And you are so right about not giving up on a story you are so passionate about.

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    1. Thank you, Maryann. It does feel good to know it's finally going to be a book!

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  5. Yay! Another book is born! Congratulations.

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    1. Thank you, Dani! When I was a kid I had serious plans to read every book in the world. I was crushed when I finally realized that was not possible. :D

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  6. Congrats, Patricia! I look forward to reading it.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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