Sunday, April 14, 2013

Guest Blogger Cathy Ace: The Chicken and the Egg...

Two Firsts = an egg and a ????

My thanks to Jill Edmondson for inviting me to write this, my first ever “guest blog”—one First. Yesterday I gained a spot on my first ever “Bestseller List”—another First.

Two Firsts in two days. It makes me think of chickens and eggs. 

The week my publisher offered me the contract for my first novel, THE CORPSE WITH THE SILVER TONGUE, I bought myself a memento: a one-foot-tall plaster egg with French windows cut into it, flung wide to reveal a chicken inside, peeking out. Quite surreal, and referencing the unanswerable question: “Which came first?” 

I know that traditional publishing, i.e. having a printed book published by a recognized publisher, is not the route every writer wants to take. Personally, I self-published two volumes (one of short stories, one of novellas) in order to help find a traditional publisher. For me, it worked: TouchWood Editions read the Cait Morgan Mysteries I’d written in my first two volumes, liked them, and asked if I could produce a full-length novel showcasing Cait’s character. THE CORPSE WITH THE SILVER TONGUE was well reviewed by The Globe and Mail, Publishers’ Weekly and Library Journal—three highly influential sources covering Canada and the USA. I was, of course, delighted. That was in the spring of 2012.

In the spring of 2013 my second novel, THE CORPSE WITH THE GOLDEN NOSE, was published. Again it’s been very well reviewed (how can being likened to “Christie or Marsh, with a bouquet of Kinsey Millhone” in the Globe and Mail, March 2013, be bad?) and, yesterday, my publisher excitedly passed on the news that it had appeared on the list of the Top Ten Bestselling Adult Books in BC. In fact, it was the only work of fiction listed! They were delighted, as was I. And, again, I returned to the age-old question about chickens and eggs.

During the past year I have learned something very important: neither the chickens nor the eggs will survive if there isn’t a farmer tending to them all the time, so I’ve become the farmer.  I’ve
Facebooked, Tweeted, reviewed on GoodReads, Liked, Shared, Commented, typed countless smiley faces, and winkey ones. I’ve found groups of people online, who, like me, enjoy traditional mysteries without strong language, sex or gratuitous violence. I’ve grown to feel a true sense of camaraderie with people I’ve never met, and probably won’t. We share photos of our dogs, other people’s cats, agree about the importance of coffee, reading, and staying positive in the face of challenges, big and small. They’ve graciously commented upon my news, and I’ve been inspired and, sometimes, saddened, by news of their lives. It’s been a revelation. I am not alone! Who knew? 

There’s also been another revelation: I’m not just the creator of the chicken, or the egg (depending on which you think comes first) I also have to be the farmer. It’s not enough to write a book. It’s not enough to find a publisher. It’s not enough to polish your original work with a team of professionals who’ll midwife it into the world with you. You have to hang in there, tend to it, guide it toward people who can enjoy it. No, I’m not complaining about this aspect of living the life of an author—I know there are many who’d kill (!) for the chance to have this work facing them every morning. I delight in it. It’s become an important part of my life. I know how very fortunate I am.

So: chicken or egg? If the egg is the author, the chicken is the character. If the egg is the character, the chicken is the manuscript…you get the idea, I’m sure. Manuscript/finished book. Finished book/ reviews. Reviews/sales. Sales/happy readers. Happy readers/the Bestseller List. And, if the egg is the Bestseller List for BC, then the chicken is…..? 

I have no idea. 

Sorry. I didn’t mean to let you down there, but it’s inevitable. As I said, it’s an unanswerable question. I know…if the original egg is the author—me—then I should refer you to my Mum. She
must be to blame for it all!

You can find out about Cathy Ace’s traditional mysteries at

You can keep up to date with Cathy Ace at her author’s Facebook Page: Cathy Ace – Author, or you can follow her on Twitter: @AceCathy

 Cathy's books and bio on AMAZON

Update May 29th, 2015: Cathy and I finally met for the first time last night at the Bony Blithe Awards Dinner!  Here's the evidence:

1 comment:

  1. Chicken, egg, or farmer, conrats on all your firsts!
    (I used to be a chicken farmer ;) )