Author Archives: Edith Maxwell

About Edith Maxwell

Agatha Award winning author Edith Maxwell writes the historical Quaker Midwife Mysteries (Beyond the Page) and short crime fiction. As Maddie Day she writes the Country Store Mysteries series and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries (both from Kensington Publishing). She lives north of Boston in an antique house with her beau, where she writes, gardens, cooks, and wastes time on Facebook.

Cam’s Garden Tips: Seed Starting

Cam Flaherty here. It’s still cold in New England. But we’re not just acting on faith that temperatures WILL rise and summer will come. And when it does, don’t you want to be ready with some of your own seedlings? … Continue reading

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Burdette and Ryan Share News, Tips

Edith: Welcome to New England SINC members Lucy Burdette and Hank Phillippi Ryan! You each have a new book out. Tell us a little about your books. Lucy: DEATH IN FOUR COURSES is the second in the Key West food … Continue reading

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On Outlining

I have learned that part of having a multi-book contract with a publisher is the requirement to provide them with an outline of the second book. My publisher (Kensington Publishing) is also the publisher for several other SINC-NE members, Liz Mugavero and … Continue reading

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Beach Reads, Newburyport

We had a fabulous Beach Reads event in Newburyport two weeks ago. Four authors talked about their own books as well as their recommendations for what to take to the beach this summer. I had fun moderating the panel, and … Continue reading

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The Liking Project

Over at the national Sisters in Crime Yahoo group, we’ve been undertaking a great project to help promote each other’s writing and publicity efforts. Many of us know about the Like button on fan/author pages on Facebook. It’s the only … Continue reading

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Thoughts on Theme Marketing

We’re writers here. We want people to read our writing. Lots and lots of people, preferably.  A frequent topic of discussion is how to let readers out there know that our books are available. I have a book coming out … Continue reading

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On Self Publishing

Edith Maxwell here. I invited two New England SINC members, Susan Cory and Anne MacDonald, to talk to us about their recent experiences in self publishing. Welcome, Susan and Anne. You each have a new mystery novel out. Tell us … Continue reading

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Perils of Multitasking

Edith Maxwell here. Multitasking – sounds like it might be a useful thing in this society, right? Taking a call on the cell while you’re out getting exercise. Checking the author email account during a break at the day job. … Continue reading

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Finding a Pseudonym

Edith Maxwell, here. I needed to create a pen name, a pseudonym. I am fortunate enough to suddenly have contracts for two different series. My current Local Foods Mysteries contract stipulates that I can’t publish a different mystery under my real name (or any name resembling it) during the term of the contract. Kensington Publishing doesn’t want the competition, I guess. I agreed to the clause.

But Barking Rain Press is going to publish Speaking of Murder, the first in Speaking of Mystery series with Quaker Linguistics Professor Lauren Rousseau, this fall. So I had to come up with another name, and it was a lot harder than I had imagined..

My late father, Allan B. Maxwell, Jr was a big writer but not a published one. He nevertheless had a pen name he was fond of using: R.J. Nalla. Clever. Pronounceable, spellable, and with logic behind it: Allan Jr spelled backwards. Somehow I don’t think LLewxam Htide is going to really catch on with readers. I wish Daddy were still with us so I could ask for his ideas.
So I went looking for guidelines on creating a pseudonym. Jamie Hall’s essay on the topic made a lot of sense to me. Besides a name that is pronounced and spelled unambiguously, it should also have the following characteristics:
    • Be short (you hope you are going to have to sign it dozen of times in a row).
    • Be toward the front of the alphabet, so it’s shelved at eye level in a bookstore or library. Of course, with ebooks this loses all relevance.
    • Have the URL/domain name available.
    • Have few or no existing hits in an Internet or Facebook search.
    • Be available as a Twitter handle.
    • Be a name you aren’t going to mind responding to.
    • Sound like the gender in whose voice you wrote the book.
    • Preferably have a two-syllable first name and a one-syllable surname.
That’s a lot! I was also hoping to work in some kind of family name. Lots of people already call me Max, but I think that a male-leaning name doesn’t fit with the voice of my book.I thought of Ruthie or Maxie, but while the book is a traditional mystery, it isn’t a cozy, so those didn’t quite fit. I’m not really interested in using initials instead of a first name, either.
I wanted to come up with name I was happy with so I can start building that “brand” — web site, FB page, new photo, and so on (a somewhat exhausting prospect, frankly). Avery Aames did it for her Cheese Shop mysteries, and admirably, successfully (she also got a separate picture taken), so I know I can, too.
Because my protagonist is a Quaker (I am, too), I started looking into old Quaker names for women. I found a few I didn’t care for, and then I saw Tace. Ooh. I liked that. And it’s certainly unique on the Internet. I decided on Baker for a last name, since it fits the easy-to-spell and front-of-alphabet criteria. And there we have it. I registered the domain name, took out the Twitter handle, and when I find a corner of free time, will set up my Facebook Author page. I just hope I can direct enough readers from Edith to Tace and back. 
What about you? Have you created a pseudonym? Is it working for you? If not, how have you felt when you discovered an author you like was operating under a hidden identity? What kinds of names attract you or turn you off?

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Retreating to Write

Productive Bliss at Wellspring House (This is a repost of my [Edith Maxwell’s]  blog on an wonderful long weekend’s writing retreat.)   Wellspring House. How can I thank you? I’m greeted by Preston Browning at the door of the Wellspring … Continue reading

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