Sunday, 24 May 2015

A Unifying Brand – KTW Guest Blogger Edith Maxwell


Edith Maxwell, Mystery Author
My Guest Blogger at KTWs today is Amazon bestselling author Edith Maxwell. I have a great affinity with Edith; like her, I love my garden, I love my kitchen and I love researching interesting settings for my crime fiction.



Edith describes her novels as cozy and traditional mysteries, and she writes under several pseudonyms with an interesting link; almost all the novels include recipes readers can cook up in their kitchens.


She’s Maddie Day when writing her country story mysteries

As Edith Maxwell, she writes the local foods mysteries series and the historical Quaker Midwife Mysteries.

And just to keep things interesting, she writes the lauren rousseau mysteries as Tace Baker.

Edith is a fourth-generation Californian, and lives with her beau and three cats in an antique house north of Boston, where 
she's currently working on her next Local Foods mystery when she isn't out gardening. She’s well equipped to write about food; she’s a former farmer of a certified organic farm and she also holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, and blogs every weekday with other Wicked Cozy Authors (http://wickedcozyauthors.com). You can find her at @edithmaxwell, on Pinterest and Instagram, and at www.facebook.com/EdithMaxwellAuthor

Like me, she also can’t resist shorter fiction; she’s an Agatha-nominated and award-winning writer of short crime fiction, with stories appearing in the anthologies Fish Nets, Burning Bridges, Thin Ice, Riptide, and The Larcom Review.


Here she is talking about her books and her web presence – writers who are thinking of creating their own blog or website should listen up:


I’m really excited at the moment about the new Quaker Midwife series, which features Quaker 
midwife Rose Carroll solving mysteries in 1888 Amesbury. John Greenleaf Whittier, the actual Quaker poet and abolitionist, features in the novels. The series will debut in March, 2016 with Delivering the Truth, I love the cover – midnight ink books have done an excellent job.

The latest book in my Lauren Rousseau mysteries, under the pseudonym Tace Baker (Barking Rain Press), is Bluffing is Murder. Out now, it was recently review by blogger Mark Baker; “In this page-turner of a mystery, linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau uses her smarts, her Quaker faith, and her summer vacation to bring a vicious murderer, and a secret from her own past, into the light.”

My first book in the Maxwell’s Country Store Mysteries, Flipped for Murder, from Kensington Publishing,  will be out in November 2015. I recently took an extensive research road trip from Massachusetts to southern Indiana to refresh my memory of landscape and dialect. The series will feature Robbie Jordan and Pans ‘N Pancakes, her country store restaurant in fictional South Lick, Indiana. 

And my latest in the local foods mysteries series, also from from Kensington Publishing, Farmed and Dangerous, will be out in late May. Kirkus R
eviews said; “Quirky characters, lots of organic farming tips, and a well-developed mystery make this Cam’s best outing yet.



I wanted to be sure my web site reflected all these identities and all these series, and my previous site on Blogger wasn't cutting it. The banner was made up of my book covers, but that meant it had to change every time a new book came out, and there were other issues. I started drafting a new site on WordPress, and wondered what I could use for a banner, for a common theme.



So, as often in the mystery world, I went looking to my friends for help. I checked out Sheila Connolly's new site, http://www.sheilaconnolly.com/orchard-mysteries.php. Doesn't it have a great look?

I looked at Catriona McPherson's site http://catrionamcpherson.com/ – I love those crows. She writes one series and one line of standalones, but also all under a single name. And I checked out Leslie Budewitz's site - she writes two series under one name. Isn't that an evocative painting? http://www.lesliebudewitz.com/


What I saw on each site was a unifying graphic. In the latter two, the art doesn't necessarily represent the settings of the book, but rather the author. In Sheila's, there are pictures of the places where her series are set: Ireland, Philadelphia, and small-town Massachusetts.

I considered hiring an artist to create a banner for me, either with pictures or art. Then I looked at the wall in my office and realized I had it right there!

 Edith's World, painted by Jennifer Yanco  from www.edithmaxwell.com



My dear friend Jennifer Yanco (a published non-fiction author) commissioned Boston-area artist Jackie Knight to create an oil painting for my sixtieth birthday a couple of years ago. It's titled "Edith's World." It's mysterious and imaginative and gorgeous. It doesn't look like any one of my series or names, but instead represents me and my work. Right?



So, I took a high quality photograph of the painting, cropped a horizontal slice of the digital image, and made it the banner for my web site. It shows up on every page. I also use it on my Facebook Author page.

And then, because I could, I made up business cards, note pads, and even a few mugs.  So I have my brand, I have my new web site, and I have a lovely connection to the friend I have known and journeyed with for almost forty years.

The pen names are on the web site on each series' page and on the business cards, in case anybody needs to find one of my selves.

Heck, maybe t-shirts are next...

Readers: Can you find other examples of multi-name multi-series web sites you like? Any suggestions for my site? (Be brutal!) Go to www.edithmaxwell.com to take a look.



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