Tuesday, May 3, 2022

STRAWBERRIED ALIVE! Jenn's 50th book is released TODAY!

 


JENN McKINLAY: 50!!! How crazy is that? A reader commented when I made the announcement, that my publisher should give me a car. I like the way they think! 

Aside from this being my 50th book, it's also the 14th book in the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series. How is this even possible? I remember the day the idea for the series came to me. It was spring of 2009. I was still working as a part-time librarian and my coworker was getting married. We spent our entire shift on the reference desk debating cupcake flavors for her wedding cupcake tower—chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel, cookies and cream...the options were endless. On the same day, my agent at that time posted to her social media that she always checked out the local cupcake bakery when she traveled. I thought this was a brilliant tip. And that evening, my son’s godmother texted me that we had to check out the new cupcake bakery that had opened up the street from my house because they sold shots of frosting. Yes, please! 

It occurred to me as I tried to sleep that night that this was the mystery series hook I had been seeking. I mean cupcakes and death, what’s not to love? 

So fun! Even so, I thought it would be a three book series, maybe five if I was lucky, and now, well, I just signed a contract for two more so we're going to sixteen, baby! I am gobsmacked! I absolutely could not have accomplished this without all of the amazing readers who took Fairy Tale Cupcakes and my wacky bakery crew into their hearts and I have to say I am so very grateful. 

Of course, because I'm me, I fret about how long a series should run. When should an author end it? When they have series fatigue? That seems like an obvious yes. Or do you just keep writing until the publisher pulls the plug? What do you think, Reds and Readers? When do you think is a good time to end a series? 

Now everyone has my permission to go buy a cupcake and celebrate the release of STRAWBERRIED ALIVE!



 

77 comments:

  1. Happy Book Birthday, Jenn . . . and congratulations on book fifty and more to come!

    For a reader, it’s hard when a series you love comes to an end.

    Perhaps the answer for the writer on ending the series is when you’ve accomplished what you set out to do when you started the series and you’ll feel satisfied if the characters’ stories end. Going out on a high note when you decide it’s time seems like the right idea to me . . . .

    But today is a day for a bit of celebrating . . . and maybe a chocolate cupcake.

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  2. Happy Book Birthday! Congratulations on your 50th book. Happy there will be more books in the cupcake bakery series.

    I think it's up to the author to know when to end a series. As long as you keep it fresh with new ideas, it can go on. JD Robb is at 55 books in her series.

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    1. JD Robb (Nora) is my role model. Love that series!

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  3. 50, Jenn - just wow! Was the first cupcake book your first published book?

    I ended two of my series as a business decision - one after two books, one after seven. My publisher cut the cord at five for another series. But the two series I write as Maddie Day are going strong. As long as I keep having new ideas and people want to read the books, I'll keep signing those contracts!

    Now, where's that chocolate cupcake?

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    1. I wrote romcoms for HQN in the aughts - those were my first three books, then I did a writer for hire series, an then the first cupcake - a long and winding road, for sure.

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  4. Congratulations Jenn, we are in awe of you! I haven't yet chosen to end a series so I can't be sure...but if the writer's enthusiasm has dimmed, that seems a sure sign. Luckily for all of us, yours has not! xoxo

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    1. I keep thinking I'm out of ideas and then I read the news or hear a true crime story or a person irritates me (lol) and away I go, sharpening my knives. ;-)

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  5. JENN: 50 books is an awesome milestone, congratulations!!! I am willing to keep reading a series for a very long time. However, I have stopped reading a few long-running series when either the quality of the story has declined and/or something unexpectedly horrible happens that turns me off. Neither is likely to happen with your books!

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    1. DO NOT kill off a character I love. I hear you, Grace!

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    2. JENN: Yup, those 2 best-selling authors I stopping reading killed off a character for the shock value.

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    3. JUDY: Yes, there was no hint the deaths were going to happen, so it was jarring to read. I did try and read the subsequent books as the surviving spouse/protagonist dealt with the trauma and grief but eventually stopped reading those series.

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  6. Congratulations! As long as you have readers and ideas, keep your books coming.

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  7. Congratulations, Jenn. I am delighted for you and for myself, too, being a BIG
    fan! 50 published books is quite a milestone and I probably own most of them...some in two formats! Mazel tov, Jenn!

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    1. Todah rabah! You're lovely to be so supportive, Judy!

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  8. Congratulations on your immense publishing success, Jenn. You deserve that car, for sure. Your readers love the characters, communities and stories you create, so keep them coming!

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    1. I will say it's a heck of a nice escape from reality for me, too! Hiding in my writing is my super power. LOL.

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  9. Congratulations Jenn! What an amazing milestone!

    My answer is much like Grace's. There are several long-running series I have stuck with and would certainly do so again. In those cases, I usually come to care about the characters like old friends. But there have been others where the quality has fallen off, usually because they began to feel "phoned in" to me. And like Grace, there have been a few times when the author did something so unexpectedly horrible to one of the regular characters that I just couldn't continue. so I guess for me, it is all about maintaining the same level of quality and remaining true to the relationships of your characters and to your readers. I suspect if the time ever comes when the series should end, you will know.

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    1. I hope so. I don't want to "jump the shark". I will rely on my readers to call me out if i do!

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  10. Congratulations, Jenn!

    I think you'll know when you need to end the series. If writing the next book feels like, "Oh, gosh - do I have to?" instead of "Yippee, let's go!" it's time to pull the plug because your heart won't be in it.

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    1. That's an excellent way to think of it. So far so good, although there are days where the writing is hard and I want to blow the entire bakery/library/hat shop up and call it, but so far, i have managed to muscle through it. Writing comedy helps, I think. Crack a joke and keep going!

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  11. Oh, Jenn - thrilled for you! 50???? So amazing. Can't wait to read Strawberried Alive.

    Last weekend I was waiting for my train home from the new (spectacular!) Moynihan Hall extension of Penn Station and there was a branch of Magnolia Bakery, known far and wide for its cupcakes, becoming. I bought one with (wait for it) strawberries on top of a glaze (no frosting). And savored it as my train pulled out of the NYC tunnel.

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    1. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 3, 2022 at 9:26 AM

      Oh, I’d love to hear about Moynihan station! I hope you will do a blog about it!

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    2. That's so funny! I love Magnolia Bakery - their cookbook is AMAZING! I also went in and out of NYC using Penn Station and was in awe of Moynihan Hall - definitely giving Grand Central some competition for its glam.

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  12. Hank Phillippi RyanMay 3, 2022 at 9:25 AM

    This is so fantastic! And I think there’s no end to a series, as long as you love it, and your readers love it, Long may cupcakes wave! this is so fantastic, hooray! I am not much of a cupcake person, until for some reason I have to eat one. And then I think, wow, I forgot about this! I’m a minimal frosting person, I have to say. But when you get just the right proportions, fantastic. someone gave me a gift of cupcake tops once. They were fantastic.

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    1. HANK: I am the same as you, a minimal frosting person. Often, the store-bought cakes & cupcakes are too cloyingly sweet for my taste. But I could enjoy eating one of those thinly glazed strawberry cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery that Hallie mentioned.

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    2. The frosting-cake ration is critical!!!

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    3. And the ratio deserves a LOT of research. A LOT. xo

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    4. My mother used to say that she could bake me just one cupcake and keep new frosting on it. I would just lick the frosting off and leave the cupcake. Frosting the best part! Congratulations, Jenn. Elisabeth

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  13. Congratulations, Jenn! Wow! As I understand it, for breakfast you like to eat such things as cake. Is that the answer to your energy and wild success? Maybe I should forgo the yogurt and whip up some cake.

    From a reader's point of view, if the books in the series are good and I'm loving them, I want them to go on forever. From a writer's point of view, I would think that you will know when you have had enough.

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    1. Very wise, Judi. I do think you have to listen to your inner voice. And, yes, I do start most every day with dessert. It makes me happy and I burn off the calories early :)

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  14. JENN: Congratulations! Happy publication day! I love these mini cupcakes - easier to eat than the big cupcakes. LOL. I always make a mess whenever I eat regular sized cupcakes (too big for me). It finally dawned that I could cut the regular cupcakes into smaller pieces. I love strawberries, especially in the summertime. 50 books! When is it time to end a series? I have loved too many series that ended, unfortunately. My guess is that the series ended because the publisher ended the series.

    Diana

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    1. I do think it is usually the publisher but sometimes authors get series fatigue. I think it helps that I have several different series going so if one irritates me, I go work on a different one.

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  15. Fifty Shades of Cupcakes! Happy book birthday, Jenn, that is quite an achievement.

    I'm with Hank on cupcakes and frosting. I can take them or leave them. My daughter and grandson, though! They can eat their collective weight in anything cake, most especially the kind sold for birthdays or weddings. I prefer fruit pies. Or my grandfather's spice cake with coffee buttercream. If that is on offer, stand back.

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    1. COFFEE BUTTERCREAM??? How have I never thought of this? Do you have a recipe? Let's get your grandfather's spice cake and coffee buttercream in a book!!!

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    2. Dead easy, Jenn. When making buttercream frosting, use strong coffee as the liquid. SO good. I wish I had his spice cake recipe! It was fantastic.

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    3. OHHHHHH that sounds delish! Very bohemian coffehouse...

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  16. More on the mystery of Blogger: I just noticed this morning that my login status is now at the top of the JRW page--has that always been there, or is it new? Anyway, there's a link to the Dashboard, where you can find "settings", which seems to be one setting: a toggle for Draft mode.

    I wonder if this will help anyone else. I'm afraid to toggle the Draft mode on, for fear of messing up what is so far an easy way to post.

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    1. Blogger has a personality disorder, I swear. Every day, it's something else. Thanks for the tips!

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  17. Congratulations to you! I love your books!
    My answer to your question is that, as a reader, I don’t ever want a series I like to end. I’m always heartbroken when it happens.

    So, today I’ll try to choose what sort of cupcake to buy from which bakery, so I can celebrate with you! Mine will have at least some chocolate in it!

    DebRo

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  18. Wow, congrats on book # 50. Truly an incredible accomplishment. My copy arrives today and I'm so excited to dive in. I love the story of how this series came to be. Three signs from the universe, all within 24 hours!

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    1. Thank you, Alicia. Looking forward to our chat next week. And, yes, it was wild. Definitely a sign from the divine.

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  19. 50 books! Congratulations. I lift my buttercream frosting spreader to salute you.

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  20. Yay, Jenn! 50 books is such an amazing accomplishment!!! I'm waiting for my copy of Strawberried Alive to land on my front porch and then I might celebrate with a yummy strawberry cupcake from a cafe on the town square.

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  21. Congrats on 50 books and on this new book. I enjoyed it, and my review will go live Thursday morning. Thrilled to hear there will be two more.

    How long should a series go? I think when an author is ready to move on. If an author isn't passionate about it any more, that will come through in the finished product.

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    1. Agreed. Luckily, my love of cupcakes and death remains strong! Ha!

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  22. Jennifer PoslusnyMay 3, 2022 at 11:55 AM

    Congratulations, Jenn! I am happy to say I have read all of your books and while I’ve really enjoyed them all the Cupcake series stands alone at the top for me. I will happily read them as long as you want to write them.

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer! You're a peach to be so kind.

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  23. Congratulations to the hardest-working author I know! I myself am looking for the ultimate Jenn McKinlay crossover, where a thirty-something finds romance, comedy, and a new lease on life by opening a cupcake shop inside a public library...

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    1. ...where she stumbles across a dead body and has to work with a hot guy to solve the murder. Done!

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  24. Once I start a series and like the characters including most of the Reds characters, I am hooked and have to read the next. I can’t log in for some reason and haven’t been able to comment for a long time. Teri Soares

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    1. Hi, Teri! Yes, blogger is being difficult these days.

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  25. Test comment (sorry!)

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  26. Fifty!! Have a couple of cupcakes, Jenn! And let's hope you never have to end a series until you decide to do so.

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  27. Congratulations on 50 really great books Jenn! As long as you want to know what happens next, or wonder how the characters are doing, then yes please, let the rest of us know with more books.

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    1. Will do! There are still so many possibilities!

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  28. To have written fifty mysteries is an extraordinary accomplishment. I have trouble imagining it. Hats off to you, Jenn. As for ending mystery series, many of you may know this, but British (and Edgar-award-winning) crime writer Nicolas Freeling killed off his well-known and popular detective Piet van der Valk in the middle of what became the last book in the series and had the detective's wife take over the case! Apparently readers were appalled by this move. But Freeling eventually started a new series with a French detective that supposedly became equally beloved.

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    1. KIM: Yes, I liked the Van der Valk books. But it's good that Freeling realized he was tiring of his character and decided to kill him off. I never read the subsequent books with his widow but I did enjoy reading the Castang books.

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    2. I think I would retire a character before killing them off but, yes, when an author is done, they're done.

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  29. 50 is a major accomplishment, Jenn! Don't give up on this series; your readers will go into mourning.

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  30. What an amazing milestone in your writing career, Jenn! You've written fifty books! That is gobsmacking wonderful. Congratulations!

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  31. Congratulations! You'll know when to end it - when it feels stale to have to write it. Keep those ideas bubbling. Now I want a frosting shot. Perfect!

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    1. Me, too! I think I have some buttercream in the freezer - lol - because of course, I do.

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  32. Congratulations! I love all of your series. I usually read my favorite series as long as they are published. But I have stopped some for the death of a main character, not having a mystery in the books, or getting too silly. Little dog in a woman's bra was jumping the shark for me. Strawberried Alive should arrive this week.

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    1. Thank you, Sally! No dogs in bras - noted ;-) But I agree on the killing off of a beloved character. Isn't life hard enough?

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  33. Congrats on 50! I liked the way Graham Hurley ended his Faraday and Winter books. Those 2 were headed for nothing good because they could never learn from their mistakes. Took 11 books, but they reached their natral ends.

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    1. Oh, I'll have to go investigate those series. Thank you!

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  34. woohoo congrats! I can't wait to read Strawberried and the next two! I strongly identify with Mel and even have a friend like Angie. She's a huge fan of your books too! The series should go on as long as your heart and mind are in it. No phoning in or pages of inane dialogue and pointless repetition can save a book from an author's ennui. Don't ever do what Conan Doyle did to Sherlock Holmes in "The Adventure of the Final Problem." Of course we know that didn't stick but it must have been quite a devastating shocker for the fans at the time.

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    1. Agreed. Better to take the hit and take a sabbatical than to force it.

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