Thursday, November 10, 2022

When Your Dream Comes True: The Dark Side by Christine Falcone

LUCY BURDETTE: Today's guest has been in a writing group with me forever. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when her book sold--of course I invited her to be a guest on JRW. 

"What should I write about?" she asked.

I made a suggestion.

"No way, that's too personal," she said. "They'll think I'm crazy."

But she thought it over and decided to try it. I know you'll love her post, because just about all of us will be able to relate to what happens when a dream comes true...I'm also sure you'll love her book!


CHRISTINE FALCONE: I was sitting in my car waiting for my husband to be done with his colonoscopy. It was going on three hours now and I was freezing as it was January. I had finished reading my book and counting the people leaving the facility who weren’t my husband and decided to check my email on my phone.  My first reaction upon opening the email offering me a three book contract was amazement. I’d expected the usual “Thanks, but no thanks” I’d been hearing for years. “Yay! Oh my gosh! This is wonderful!”  That spark of joy lasted about ten seconds, then it was followed by a thought of  “THREE BOOKS! Oh, crap what do I do now? How am I going to do this?” 

It had taken me a long time, working in fits and spurts to write the first book. Fortunately, I had started writing the second book because the first leant itself to being the first in a series. Also, as a long-time member of a writing group I was expected to write, and while I didn’t always have pages to send for each meeting, I was inching along. But now I HAD to write that next book, then the one after that. This time with a deadline – no fiddling around or dragging my feet. I began to panic!

I told myself that I had been working toward this moment for years, and it happened at a perfect time. I had just retired from my day job so I would have more time to write. Now, cleaning out all the junk accumulated over the years and dreams of reading and eating bonbons all day long would have to wait – I would have to treat my writing like a new job.


Lucky for me I have two good friends, experienced in publishing and excellent writers, to talk me off the ledge. (Thank you, Lucy and Ang!). It wasn’t as if I didn’t want to write, but as it’s been said before, writing can be HARD. It feels great when the words and the plot are all coming, but torture when your brain seems as barren as a desert with the wind whistling through it stirring up dust. But no one was making me do it. Ok, there was the little fact that I signed a contract saying I would have another book written by X date. But my publishing company wasn’t going to send a hit man (or woman) after me if I failed. The situation wouldn’t be pretty but not fatal. At least I don’t think so anyway. But I did want to write those books, right? So I needed to pull up my big girl panties and as the NIKE add says – Just Do It! And also, STOP WHINING, because there are people out there working like heck to get their first book published and I’m sure would gladly change places with me.

So I’m pushing on, and finding that the dust in that barren landscape clears a little bit more the more I write, and the more I write the less panic I feel. This new job is actually fun! Most days.

Have you ever had your stomach clench in panic over something that felt too difficult at the time? Or have you ever had mixed feelings when you finally get something you always wanted?

About EX’D OUT: After their divorce, Visiting Nurse Melanie Bass must keep in contact with Dr. Artie Krapaneck, her philandering ex-husband as they share custody of her beloved dog, Bruno. When she arrives at a Connecticut highway rest stop to retrieve the dog for “her week” she discovers the body of her ex-husband along with that of an unknown woman.  It seems that now Artie will finally be out of her life forever. He isn’t.

Melanie soon has reason to suspect that her gruesome discovery has put her own life, and Bruno’s, in danger. She decides she must find out who killed Artie and why. She begins to fear that he may have left in her possession the link to something the killers want. As the police try to solve the murder, she uncovers information on her own. Melanie learns how much she never knew about the man she was married to for five years, a man she thought she knew so well. She comes face to face with his first wife, Lynn, a woman she never knew existed. However, with Lynn’s help, as well as that of a kind and eligible veterinarian who is treating Bruno for PTSD, she takes on the killers before they kill both her and Bruno. You can order the book right here...

About the Author: Christine Falcone’s short stories have appeared in publications such as Imagine, Lancrom Review, and Deadfall: Crime Stories by New England writers. After working for nearly forty years as an RN in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Christine is delighted that retirement coincides with the publication of her first full length mystery. EX’D OUT will be out in October 2022. She is a member of Sisters In Crime and Mystery Writers of America.


51 comments:

  1. Christine, I love the set-up of your book. Sharing custody of the dog, discovering her dead ex when she goes to retrieve Bruno, an eligible vet treating Bruno for PTSD, a first wife just surfacing, and the man she didn't really know who was her husband. How could all these great elements do anything but make a great story. I admit to being fond of dogs in stories, but I have a feeling Bruno is going to be a great character, not just window dressing. So, congratulations on this first book, and I think you're going to give us lots of crime solving fun in more stories, too. Oh, and that clever title Ex'd Out.

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    1. Thanks Kathy! Yes, Bruno is fun to write, and as anyone who has a dog knows they really are part of family and while she hates having to share Bruno, Melanie feels as if she doesn't want to disrupt his life any more than necessary when she and Artie split.

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  2. I understand the feeling perfectly. You're excited because you want it, but it is extremely terrifying at the same time. Congrats on the first book coming out!

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  3. I'm so happy for you, Christine! Welcome to the ranks of full-time writers. I left my last day job nine years ago and I still haven't cleared our all that junk, LOL. You can do this thing.

    I'm having those feelings in a different realm - my younger son (almost 34) is (finally) getting married to his Puerto Rican sweetheart in February - in Puerto Rico, where they live. I am so happy and excited for them, and I'm already waking up at three AM and worrying myself into awakeness. What about clothes? Shouldn't I be studying Spanish so I can talk with Alexandra's grandmothers and parents? My poor introverted partner will be with ALL those people he doesn't know for nearly a week. And more. I know it's going to be fine, perfect, really, but there are a lot of meddlesome mental dervishes whirling through my desert in the dark.

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    1. Do we, ever! And I have the added spectre of having to be near my son's father for most of the trip, too. Ugh.

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    2. Ha Ha! Edith you sound like me! I am very familiar with the 3 AM wake up to worrying - and the more tell myself not to think about it ( whatever the worry is at that point) the more it swirls in my brain. Like Lucy says "busy brains!"
      Congratulations on your son's upcoming wedding. I know everyone is probably telling you this, but it will work out fine. Enjoy!

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    3. Edith, if your ex is anything like mine he will suffer way more than you do.

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    4. Congrats on your son's wedding, Edith!

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  4. Congratulations Christine. I enjoyed the book and hope everyone does as well. The one thing I recall is working with you on trying to get the cover for the cover reveal. I was frustrated for you because it took forever and I believe we both were panicking if we'll get to do the reveal before the book comes out. Glad it worked out well.

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    1. Yes, publishing glitches are so frustrating because we have no control!

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    2. Yes Dru, I was really sweating out getting the cover to you in time. But what I most remember was how flexible and patient you were as I had to keep asking you to push the cover reveal date back. THANK YOU!

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  5. CHRISTINE: Congratulations on your first published book and your three-book contract!!
    As the saying goes, you can take forever to write the first book, but then there's nothing like a firm deadline to keep on writing. Glad you are having fun and have a great support network.

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  6. Congratulations, Christine. What a wonderful story about a first book contract. I'm off to find Ex'd Out. Keep on writing!

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  7. that's such a smart idea Judy! Chris was going to come to Milford to meet you and DebRo, but she turned up sick. Another time!

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  8. Wow, Christine!! Congratulations on that contract! And for putting butt in chair and discovering that, yes, book 2 is happening. You've got this--a NICU nurse for 40 years?? There ain't nuttin' you can't do now!

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  9. Congratulations Christine! I'm so glad all your hard work paid off. I had to chuckle when I went from "waiting for husband to be done with his colonoscopy" to "oh crap" and "working in fits and spurts".

    Your book idea sounds excellent. I've known several couples who have shared custody of dogs after divorcing. Thank you for your career as a nurse. It's such important work.

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    1. HAH! That's funny! I never even caught the connection between those phrases until you pointed them out! Yes,aways worry when a couple I know get a dog together then break up - what about the poor dog?!

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  10. Thank you Judy! Yes I was planning to come to meet you in Milford but those plans were crushed by a virus we will not mention. I will keep in mind what you said about getting a pep talk from my readers. One "I really liked your book!" can make my day.

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  11. Congratulations, Christine! Looking forward to reading the books.

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  12. Your teaser for the book has me hooked! Can't wait to read it. Best of luck on the series.

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  13. Congratulations, Christine! Just remember, you got the first book done, now all you have to do is do it again...just a little faster. I'm sure you'll do well.

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  14. That would have been such a fun surprise! We surely can meet at another event. I cannot go to Crime Bake this year because I am flying to a family wedding the next weekend and it would be just too much. But I do hope to attend more live events soon.

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  15. Thanks! That is exactly what i keep telling myself.

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  16. Christine,
    Congratulations on your book contract! And thanks to Lucy/Roberta for introducing you to JRW. Now I have another Connecticut author to follow! I was at that event in Milford when you were sick. Roberta promised that you would show up on JRW, and I’ve been waiting eagerly to see you here. I have a feeling I’m going to love your book!
    DebRo

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  18. I just bought EX'D OUT for my Kindle.

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  19. Congratulations, Christine! Love the title, by the way. Feeds into some people's fantasies, I'm sure. LOL

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    1. Thanks! The title came very early in the writing process, and i was thankful i didn't have to change it.

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  20. 1.: HURRAY! This is so great.
    2: Have you ever had your stomach clench in panic over something that felt too difficult at the time? Or have you ever had mixed feelings when you finally get something you always wanted?" EVERY DAY.
    And that's just our lives. Because what comes after that? "It'll be FINE! Be HAPPY!"

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    1. Yes! Exactly what I keep thinking - it's going to be fine, be happy, enjoy. Amazingly - sometimes that really works!

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  21. Congratulations again, Chris! You’ve worked hard for this and deserve the recognition for a great book. Enjoy the ride. And I happen to know that your second book is shaping up to be just as great.

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  22. Good for you, Christine! I really like your book plot. Lots of elements to elaborate on. It is funny how when you finally get something you want, you have an oh crap, now what? moment. Or two. Or three.

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    1. Do you also? I know it's crazy. I just keep telling myself to enjoy the moment and forge ahead and it will be fine.

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  23. Congrats, Christine! Loved this post. Highly, highly relatable. Happy writing & reading to us all!

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    1. Thank you Alicia. It is hard to admit that something so wonderful gave me pause, but I think self doubt is often a part of being a writer.

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  24. Congratulations, Christine!! I had the same experience with my first book! When my agent called and told me I had a three-book contract, I was so gobsmacked I couldn't say a word. She thought I'd fainted! I think you'll find that parts of the process get easier. It's always challenging, but it's fun, too. Now I'm off to look for Ex'd Out!

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    1. Thank you Deb - knowing thar you also went through a similar experience helps! I think you are right about some things becoming easier also.

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  25. I had the pleasure of reading this awhile ago and Christine has really hit it out of the park! A multi-book contract is thrillng and terrifying... I also remember that feeling that I had absolutely no idea what the heck I was doing and how on earth was I going to write the next book in... a year?

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  26. Thank you Hallie! Yes, I certainly did have both the feeling of joy and also terror. I'm not usually a person who panics ( at least so you could tell!). When I was working as a nurse and in charge of the unit I would get compliments from my colleagues on how I kept calm when all hell was breaking loose. My mantra was "Don't spook the herd". I just needed to remind myself of that !

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    1. That's could be a hysterical mantra for all of us Chris--Don't spook the herd! I love it...

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  27. I am late, late, late to the party today.

    First, congratulations, Christine! The book sounds wonderful.

    Second, oh yes. The feeling does not only apply to publishing contracts. I have four deadlines for the day-job next week, all of which MUST be met and there is no room for slippage. Because as Hank says, "The 6p.m. news is going to be aired whether I'm ready or not."

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