Thursday, June 20, 2013

Gayle Carline - HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Gayle Carline. Gayle is an author of the fun and quirky Peri Minneopa Mysteries and a Humor columnist.

Author Genre: Humor Columnist, Mystery Author

Website: Gayle Carline - Humor Columnist
Author's Blog: On the edge of the chair of literature
Twitter: @GayleCarline
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description:
Gayle Carline is a typical Californian, meaning that she was born somewhere else. She moved to Orange County from Illinois in 1978, and landed in Placentia a few years later.

Her husband, Dale, bought her a laptop for Christmas in 1999 because she wanted to write. A year after that, he gave her horseback riding lessons. When she bought her first horse, she finally started writing.

Gayle soon became a regular contributor to California Riding Magazine, and in March, 2005, she began writing a humor column for her local newspaper, the Placentia News-Times. Every week, she entertains readers with stories of her life with Dale and their son, Marcus.

In her spare time, Gayle likes to sit down with friends and laugh over a glass of wine. And maybe plan a little murder and mayhem for the next novel.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on From the Horse's Mouth. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH is a completely different genre for me - think Black Beauty in southern California. Next on the drawing board is another mystery. I'm leaving Peri and her cohorts briefly to work with some new characters in the world of AQHA horse shows.

You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How much has it changed your book launch process?

I've met so many people on social media that have turned out to be readers! I began in chat rooms for other authors, like Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath and became friends with folks. Sooner or later we went to Facebook and Twitter. I confess, I do most of my work on Facebook. Everything goes by so quickly on Twitter, I feel like a cat batting at a laser pointer.

I definitely use my social media contacts to let people know about my books. With the last book, I sent out an email to specific friends and gave them some sentences (with book links) that they could cut and paste into Twitter, Facebook, or even at the end of their daily blog posts. It's not something I'd do with every book, but my friends all said they appreciated that I made it easy for them to advertise my new release.

Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I will go anywhere to sell and sign my books, or to just talk - I once said my perfect job would be to sit in a comfy chair all day and give my opinion. My co-worker at the time said, "Apart from the comfy chair, what would be different?" I'm looking to set up a signing at the Thrifty Horse Store in Norco, probably in the July time frame. And I'll be teaching some writing workshops at the Southern California Writer's Conference. They have two conferences, one in September in Newport Beach, and one in February in San Diego. (

I love interaction in any of the social media, or email. I have a contact form on my website, I love comments on the blog, oh, yeah, I almost forgot: I use my main webpage ( to list the events where I'll be appearing.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them in both genres. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

First of all, I have a great cover designer, Joe Felipe of Market Me. I send him a very brief description and list some images for the cover. He sends me three samples. I pick one and we mold it and hone it and perfect it from there. Sometimes, I ask readers for their opinion, although usually I can tell right away when the cover is right.

You have several book trailers. (See links below.) Do you know how much impact they had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailer?

I don't know what kind of success I have with anything. To quote my buddy, Michele Scott, I throw it all out there and hope something sticks. I'm of the opinion that book videos in general (did you know that the term 'book trailer' is trademarked?) are not being utilized or pushed forward enough. There's more we can do with them, need to do with them to get them into the public consciousness. I'd love to walk into a bookstore and see screens with nothing but book videos playing. Or BookVideo TV, like MTV only for books. Or embedded in ebooks...

As far as my process, each video is born of its own. For Freezer Burn, I loved the Old Spice ad so much, I had to parody it, especially since my son has a great 'radio announcer's voice.' Hit or Missus really made me think about friendships, and my son (again) had written and recorded a song with the right kind of mood to it. And for The Hot Mess, that song of "A Hot Time in the Old Town" kept running through my head.

What kinds of writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

My writer support comes pretty much from the Southern California Writer's Conference. In the early days, I would take my pages to their conferences and do readings, when I wasn't in the workshops learning something. Their critiques were so helpful and they were so supportive. Now I have an entire dossier of people from that conference who can give me their opinions of my work, brainstorm about marketing, etc. I even have publisher/editor/agent friends who can talk about publishing and marketing. They're absolute gems.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I've had good and bad experiences with the free thing. The key to giveaways is to promote the freebies like crazy and work up a desire to have the book, even if they don't get the free one. This means hooking up with outside resources like Ereader News Today, or BookBub. Some of these services cost money, but as an example, I paid BookBub around $250 to advertise Hit or Missus for free (on Kindle). I gave away 31,000 copies (which sounds like money escaping through my fingers), then when it went off the free list, sold about ten times my normal amount, reached the top ten in Mysteries, Women Sleuths, and earned much more than it had cost me.

The keys to any giveaway are: 1) don't do it more than 3 days in a row; 2) you may have to do it more than once to keep your title in the public's eye.

Knowing you are in the computer world in a previous life, how do you manage your plots, characters and timelines to keep your stories going? Do you use any software to keep track of your books?

Excel is my friend. I have spreadsheets with characters names, plot outlines, and daily word count. I also use Excel to chart the action/information sections of my books to see if my pacing is good. I did a workshop on this at last February's conference.

You publish two different genres. Does changing hats create any problems? Any tricks you can share with us? Which genre did you enjoy writing the most? Does moving from one to the other give you some breathing room?

With FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH, I now publish in three genres. I worried at first that I might dilute my brand. I even considered a pseudonym. In the end, I decided to go with my own name. No matter what genre I write in, my voice is one of optimism and lightness. Readers of my humor will not be frightened by my mysteries. And technically, FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH is by my horse, Snoopy.

As far as switching genres, every week I have to write a new humor column for the newspaper, so I'm always having to change hats, but it's not so hard. Essay writing is about story telling. Writing a novel is about putting yourself and your reader into the story and living it. Once I've told you what happened when my dryer caught fire, I can go live in my fictional world and investigate a murder. It's perfect.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and providing useful information to other writers. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

My primary goal with my blog is for people to get to know me. A lot of it is about my journey as a writer and the kinds of things I learn and want to share. When I read an author's blog, I like to read where their characters came from or how difficult a passage might have been to write. You don't sell books by shouting, "Buy my book!" You sell books by saying, "Hi, my name is Gayle and I'm an author. Let's share our stories."

How do I make time for all this? Don't visit my house unless you don't mind the mess.

Knowing you have a special attachment to horses, is there a dog in the picture? I grew up in Illinois also, and there was always a dog running behind my horse.

There are always dogs under my feet (we have a Corgi and a Retriever-Muppet mix), so I don't know why I haven't put them into a book. The new mystery has dogs in it. We'll see if they help solve the murder.

Author's Book List
From the Horse's Mouth: One Lucky Memoir
"When I was a young horse, I thought if I wasn’t always good, I could at least be useful. Then I broke my leg." When Snoopy was three years old, he won the 2007 Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Association Trail Futurity. His trainer and his owner had his career mapped out—he would be campaigned around the circuit and qualify to be invited to the AQHA World Show. Then in 2008, Snoopy broke his left hind sesamoid, a small bone in the leg. This injury can mean anything from surgery to euthanasia. Surgery didn’t guarantee he could be ridden again, much less shown. In the tradition of Black Beauty, this is Snoopy’s own story, told from his special point of view. He tells of his youth, his training, his injury, and his long fight to return to the show arena, to prove he’s the same horse he always was, only different.

Order the Book From: Amazon
The Hot Mess - A Peri Minneopa Mystery
No one in the small town of Placentia, California is surprised when Benny Needles’s house catches fire. The outside hasn’t seen a paint brush in years. The inside is stuffed with Dean Martin memorabilia. It would be a simple case of homeowner negligence, except for the body found inside. Under suspicion of both murder and arson, Benny turns to the one person who has always helped him, private investigator Peri Minneopa. Fire investigation isn’t on her menu of services, but Peri’s weak spot for Benny overrules her reluctance, and she agrees to look into things. Her investigation takes a dangerous turn as she uncovers family secrets, going back several decades. There are skeletons in everyone’s closet, and even Benny’s bones are rattling.

Book Trailer: The Hot Mess

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Are You There Erma? It's Me Gayle
When Gayle Carline clawed her way into her local newspaper office and groveled until they gave her a weekly humor column, she worried about not having enough material. Then she took a look at her life. Nearly every week something in her house or car needs repair, her son doesn't know why being able to see his carpet is a big deal, and her husband believes less is more, especially when it comes to communication. In What Would Erma Do, she chronicled her first two years as a paid exaggerator. Now she's back with two more years of merriment, along with editorial high jinks and readers' opinions. It's the most fun she's ever had without a credit card.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Hit or Missus
How far would you go to help a friend? Private investigator Peri Minneopa finds out when she takes a case spying on a cheating wife and ends up being hunted by the wife's circle of pals. After all, a friend will help you move - a good friend will help you move a body.

Book Trailer: Hit or Missus

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
What Would Erma Do?: Confessions of a First Time Humor Columnist
What Would Erma Do?: Confessions of a First Time Humor Columnist

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Freezer Burn - A Peri Minneopa Mystery
Peri Minneopa has heard her name mangled a thousand ways to Sunday and hates them all. What she does like are clean houses, and dirty martinis. She recently traded in her housecleaning business for a P.I. license. Her timing seems perfect, when she cleans a former client's freezer and finds a severed hand inside, wearing an expensive ring. The client, Benny Needles, is a Dean Martin fanatic who swears he's innocent. But where there's a hand, there's a body, waiting to be found. It's a brand new world for Peri, and she has a lot to learn. Her boyfriend, Skip, a detective in the Placentia Police Department warns Peri that this case could be dangerous, but she can't stop sticking her nose into the middle of things. Her first lesson is that investigating murder can have bad consequences. In the middle of trying to solve the case, Peri takes on a surveillance job. The philandering husband is unhappy with her, and she discovers that even surveillance isn't always low risk. As the two cases collide, will Peri learn the truth behind both of them? And more important, will she ever get that dirty martini?

Book Trailer: Freezer Burn

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: Terry Ambrose
Terry Ambrose is a Author of Mystery & Thrillers as well as a blogger He writes Mysteries with character.
Check out Terry's Author's Spotlight.


  1. Thanks so much for having me over at your blog today, James. It was fun!

  2. Although I have known Gayle and even featured her on my own blog, I always learn something new. Gayle is a powerhouse of talent, knowledge and wit. Great interview, James & Gayle!

    (One of these days I will interview Snoopy.)

  3. Snoopy loves to do interviews. Well, mostly he just likes to chew on the interviewers.

  4. I'll be sure to bring carrots if I ever meet him. Good job, Gayle!