A Writer Never Retires

Marilyn Levinson’s debut mystery, A Murderer Among Us, came out with Wings ePress in June of this year. Her ghost mystery, Giving Up the Ghost, will be out next spring with Uncial Press.  All of her mysteries take place on Long Island, where she’s lived since moving from Brooklyn at the age of fourteen and a half.

A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn is the author of several novels for children and young adults.  Her first, And Don’t Bring Jeremy, was  a nominee for six state book awards.   Rufus and Magic Run Amok was selected by the International Reading Association and the Children’s Book Council for “Children’s Choices for 2002.”

After attending her first Malice in 2010, Marilyn decided it was time to start a Long Island chapter of Sisters in Crime.  With Bernardine Fagan, she co-founded the chapter, which held its first meeting August of 2010.  She is the chapter’s current president.  She also belongs to the Authors Guild, MWA, RWA, and the Guppies.

Though past the age when most people stop working, I continue to write novels.  My retired non-writing friends play mah jongg and canasta, while I spend my days glued to my computer where I compose, edit, blog, and promote my work. For my fellow writers and I, writing is a way of life that doesn’t stop when we hit a particular birthday.

The advent of ebooks and the popularity of self-publishing are keeping me busier than ever. This year I signed three contracts with two different epublishers. My debut mystery, A Murderer Among Us, came out in June with Wings ePress, to a bevy of good reviews. Holly Price, who reviews for Suspense Magazine, named it her favorite indie publication of 2011. My ghost mystery, Giving Up the Ghost, is coming out with Uncial Press in the spring of 2012, and my romantic suspense, Dangerous Relations, will be out later that year.

These days, writers must not only write a great read, but also market and publicize each book that we publish. Hence, we guest blog, hold contests, create trailers, and make ourselves known via Facebook and Twitter. Though I constantly receive notices that people are following me on Twitter, I wonder if I’m tweeting correctly. Or if my notices on Facebook reach anyone. I struggle to email photos and covers correctly, to format ebooks properly. Each week there are new skills to master. The learning never stops. I like to think I’m creating new cells, and, in the process, warding off senility.

With my wonderful webmistress’s assistance, I’m putting up some of my out-of-print kids’ books on Kindle and CreateSpace. Since these books were first published traditionally, the covers were done by artists hired by the publisher. I had no input whatsoever. Now that I need several new covers, I’ve learned my way around stock/photograph websites, and, more importantly, how to convey what I want to a graphic artist. I was lucky to find Karen McCullough, http://www.karenswebworks.com/covers.html, who’s creating covers I adore.

Writing keeps me eager to get up each morning to find out what trouble my sleuth has gotten herself into. And when I get stuck, I email my writing buddies, who often come up with a wild suggestion I like or one that sparks an idea of my own. Writing is my way of life. I intend to keep at it as long as I can.