I went on a new adventure last week. It occurred to me that two of my short stories that were published in the last ten years included some dark back story for two of the main characters in Speaking of Murder.
My story "Reduction in Force" describes revenge after corporate layoff and was published in Thin Ice, an anthology of mystery and crime fiction, by Level Best Books, 2010. The main character is Lauren Rousseau's sister, Jackie, who is an important secondary character in Speaking of Murder.
"Obake for Lance" was a short story about murderous revenge published in Riptide, an anthology of mystery and crime fiction, by Level Best Books, 2004. This story describes a dark incident in the past of Lauren's best friend, Elise, who plays a pivotal role in Speaking of Murder.
The rights to both stories reverted to me a year after publication. People who read Speaking of Murder have asked me when the next Lauren Rousseau book is coming out. It won't be out anytime soon, despite being mostly written, because I need to keep writing and promoting the Local Foods mysteries around the demands of my day job and daily life.
But it occurred to me that these two stories are directly related to Lauren and might satisfy some of the hunger of readers. So I read my writing colleague Kaye George's booklet The Road to Self-Publishing and cleaned up the formatting.
With the help of Kaye's booklet, I figured out how to publish the stories for most formats through Smashwords and for Kindle through Amazon. And while it requires some careful attention (that is, don't start doing it at night if you're a morning person), it really isn't that hard.
Through the unfailingly helpful Guppies I found a cover artist, Stanzalone Design, who uses open-source stock photographs and adds the lettering, which makes her covers very affordable, so I commissioned a cover for each. Which I love!
I also liked the cover for "Reduction in Force" since it takes places in a software company and tea plays a critical role in the revenge. It's up on Amazon, too.
This exercise gave me confidence in the world of self publishing, even though I have "non-me" publishers for all my books so far. I can track sales and let people who ask know that there is more of my writing out there they can read. For a mere ninety-nine cents! I'm not expecting to get rich on a couple of short stories but I like having them available. And you never know...