Polly Iyer's Blog

January 5, 2017

description Psychologist Abigael Gallant fought her way back from her ex-husband's brutal attack that killed their daughter and left her blind. Now she "reads" audio books, runs with a guide at a local track, and has a thriving practice that specializes in treating the newly disabled. The last thing she needs is another man in her life.

Enter Detective Luke McCallister, a cop forced into counseling a year after a gun blast during a meth lab take-down robbed him of his hearing. Luke is fighting hard to stay on the force, but computer work and fingerprint analysis are not what he has in mind. Initially reluctant to Abby's therapy, Luke's barriers tumble because Abby sees deeper into him than anyone ever cared to.

Though Luke's lip reading is excellent, he refuses to "listen" to Abby's warning that his romantic overture jeopardizes her professional ethics. But when break-ins and threatening computer messages escalate into a physical attack on Abby and her guide dog, Luke walks a fine line between cop, protector, and lover. Unable to deny their physical attraction, Abby and Luke tiptoe around their personal baggage and enter into a delicate relationship.

Then Abby is kidnapped. While Luke puts his life at risk to find her, Abby discovers the ghosts of her past are back to haunt her, and the man she once loved was as much of a victim as she.

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Published on January 05, 2017 20:22 • 20 views

June 2, 2016

Indiscretion is on sale through the month of June here: http://www.amazon.com/b?node=12573935011
Regular Price - $3.49. June price $1.99.
Use code READJUNE16

Separated from her controlling husband, romance author Zoe Swan meets a charismatic art history professor on the beach and begins a torrid affair. But who is he really? By the time Zoe finds out, she's wanted for murder and on the run with her husband, his jewel thief brother Paul, and a priceless painting stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. With the FBI and the murderer in pursuit, the trio heads to Boston to take refuge in the home of Paul's friends. Soon the lines are blurred between the good guys and the bad, and the only way to prove their innocence is to make a deal with the very people who want them dead.
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Published on June 02, 2016 09:40 • 55 views • Tags: amazon, code, sale

January 21, 2016

What is it about damaged heroes that attract women readers, and writers? Damaged and tortured heroes and heroines, either emotionally or physically, are a staple in literature: Hamlet, Quasimodo, or Heathcliff. Maxim de Winter in Rebecca. In film, give an actor or actress the role of a handicapped or emotionally challenged character and you can almost be sure an Academy Award will follow. The Three Faces of Eve, My Left Foot, The Theory of Everything, A Beautiful Mind, Charlie. Even children’s books have damaged characters: The Secret Garden, Beauty and the Beast. How about theater’s award winning Phantom of the Opera? Those are but a few of the examples. The list goes on and on.

My critique partner says that I make heroes out of damaged characters. I never thought of it that way, but I went over my bibliography, and she’s right. My stories are full of damaged characters, both emotionally and physically. I’ve written eleven books, eight suspense novels under my name and three erotic romances written under a pseudonym. Out of the eleven novels, nine have damaged heroes/heroines. The two that don’t are the second and third books in my series, but that’s only because the main characters’ histories are explained in book one. No sense beating a dead horse.

All villains are messed up, but in my book, Mind Games, the villain is almost sympathetic, even though he’s evil to the core. It’s much easier to write a pure villain with no redeeming qualities than it is to make him understood, in that weird villainous way.

Not only do I write damaged heroes, I read them. The most interesting, in my opinion, is Will Trent, Karin Slaughter’s series character. Because he’s dyslexic and wired differently—he literally can’t read―he uses other methods to piece together the clues in a crime that “normal” cops don’t see. He’s socially inept, almost backward, but that’s because he had a Dickensian childhood. I root for him. I want him to succeed. More about that later.

I have a character like Trent in my book Threads, written long before Will Trent came on the scene but published long after. I worked on it for years, but one character remained true, and that was Garrett. What a mess, but I fell in love with him. I’ve fallen in love with all my heroes. If I don’t, I can’t write them.

My book Murder Déjà Vu may have my favorite damaged hero. Architect Reece Daughtry spent fifteen years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit and was released when his lawyer proved he was convicted on tainted evidence. Fifteen years in prison has left him with a form of PTSD. He has a terrible fear of being confined. Even the house he builds has skylights in every room, so he can “see the clouds and stars and know the universe exists.”

There’s Luke McCallister in InSight, a deaf cop forced into counseling with Abby Gallant, a psychologist blinded by her ex-husband’s failed attempt to kill her. Now there’s an interesting coupling.

Abby isn’t my only damaged female character. I believe in gender equality. There’s retired call girl Tawny Dell in Hooked. She can’t fall in love, so she does her job and goes home to an empty loft. A little messed up? Ya think? Then she meets the cop who might send her to jail if she doesn’t do a job for the NYPD. Bet you can guess what happens. Oh, he has a history too, of course. Lincoln Walsh, is a cop who discovered his mother’s suicide, which left him a ward of the state.

So what’s the fascination with damaged characters? I might be a little close to the situation to answer, but I think it’s because readers want to root for a character, whether male or female, to beat the odds, to win, to come out of their shells, or take the first step. To find love because they never experienced it or because they were so badly hurt by someone they shunned the very people who could give them what they don’t know they need. As readers and as writers, we want to care about the people in our stories because they become real to us. From the time we create them to the time we type, THE END, we live with them, become them, and feel them.

Of course, the real answer why we’re fascinated by flawed and tortured characters might be that normal is boring. But don’t tell anyone I said that.
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Published on January 21, 2016 16:30 • 198 views

January 4, 2016

Amazon, in its infinite wisdom, is featuring my Kindle Scout winner, INDISCRETION, all this month for $1.99.

Separated from her controlling husband, romance author Zoe Swan meets a charismatic art history professor on the beach and begins a torrid affair. But who is he really? By the time Zoe finds out, she's wanted for murder and on the run with her husband, his jewel thief brother Paul, and a priceless painting stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. With the FBI and the murderer in pursuit, the trio heads to Boston to take refuge in the home of Paul's friends. Soon the lines are blurred between the good guys and the bad, and the only way to prove their innocence is to make a deal with the very people who want them dead.

Here are a few more great deals. Find them on Amazon.

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Published on January 04, 2016 08:31 • 54 views

December 11, 2015

I asked a few of my indie friends what they like most about being an indie writer. Then I asked them what they liked least. I agree with everything said.

ELLIS VIDLER www.amazon.com/author/ellisvidler
Most: Control
Least: Lack of respect

CARMEN DeSOUSA – www.amazon.com/carmendesousa/e/B006PW...
Most: Control: That I can write what I want, when I want...
Least: I don't ALWAYS want to be in control: All the work falls on me. There's no one to keep me on track, telling me when my next book should be ready, or if my new book totally sucks.

EM KAPLAN - http://www.amazon.com/author/emkaplan
Most: Creative freedom! I have final say on the cover, the plot, the characters, the blurb, the release date...even the genre.
Least: The marketing learning curve. Yikes. So much to learn. So much trial and error.

MARILYNN LAREW - http://www.amazon.com/Marilynn-Larew/...
Most: Control of my product. (Plus not having to query anymore)
Least: Having to do all the marketing to get few sales, even if I were traditionally published. So would the heavy lifting in marketing. One of the reasons I went indie.

AARON PAUL LAZAR www.amazon.com/Aaron-Paul-Lazar/e/B00...
Most: It’s a rush to choose my own titles, cover art, and marketing strategies, then list my titles on Amazon Select so they are eligible for Kindle Unlimited.
Least: So far, there's no downside, Polly. I'll let you know if anything crops up!

SUSAN SCHREYER - http://www.amazon.com/Susan-Schreyer/...
Most: The lack of pressure to break out of mid-list territory. I may never earn big bucks, or even a living wage, but I’m not pushed forward by someone else's bottom line. Freedom to create, enjoy my family, and my life without added stress.
Least: The uncertainty and responsibility for finding my own way, without guidelines. The indie revolution has spawned a cottage industry of businesses whose aim is to take advantage of indie writers with promises of success, if you will just pay them enormous amounts of money.

KERRY DONOVAN - http://www.amazon.com/Kerry-J-Donovan...
Most: Freedom to write whatever and whenever takes my fancy. Retaining a huge portion of my royalty cheque. Complete control over my work
Least: Having to do everything from cover design to promotion - but it's a small price to pay for freedom. I'd love to have a PA. Nothing else

LAURIE BORIS - http://www.amazon.com/Laurie-Boris/e/...
Most: Having control over what and how I publish and how I promote it. It’s empowering to have the flexibility to respond to the market, choose opportunities, and make changes as needed.
Least? Exactly the same thing! The flexibility and control comes at a price: I have to put in the work and pony up the marketing budget. If everything goes south, that’s on me, too.

T.J. SHORTT - http://www.amazon.com/TJ-Shortt/e/B01...
Most: Control and freedom over every aspect of my writing career. I select, choose my cover art or book launch dates or how many books I’m ‘allowed’ to write or release in a year.
Least: Marketing. Indie authors have to be prepared to market and advertise your work because regardless of how good you are, if no one knows your work exists - then no one is reading it.

JINX SCHWARTZ http://amzn.to/QpYtAR
Most: Freedom! I write what I want, when I want. I am free to give away my books to introduce readers to my series, and have made many new friends on Facebook
Least: All that freedom. To be successful as an indie, you have to really work at it, and stay focused. While I push myself to produce a book a year, I am easily distracted by social media.

DAVID WIND http://amzn.to/15Pec64
Most: The ability to write what moves me, to write in any genre I feel confident about, and not be limited by a publisher’s need to keep an author set in the genre they need to have filled.
Least? The time it takes for PR; Social Media, Marketing, and Advertising. Finding the best editor and cover illustrator, etc. The biggest downside is the time spent not writing!

JACKIE WEGER - http://www.amazon.com/Jackie-Weger/e/...
Most: I make all decisions about my books from covers to editors, to formatting and promotion. Networking with other indie authors is a magnificent learning experience.
Least: Three things disturb me. 1. The indie author who balks at learning our industry, gathers misinformation and spreads it as if it’s the golden rule. 2. The author who owns a sense of entitlement to reviews and sales. 3. The unsavory promoters who hype an easy road to success.

FLORENCE OSMUND – http://www.amazon.com/author/florence...
Most: The control I have over everything—content, timing, pricing, title and covers—just about everything involved in publishing a book.
Least: That’s easy—the marketing. To succeed as an author, I spend half my time marketing my books or myself.

EILEEN HAMER - www.amazon.com/Eileen-Hamer/e/B0169VI...
Most: The freedom from being told what to write and when, from possibly being saddled with an unsympathetic editor, from working to someone else's timetable.
Least: Not having that supportive relationship with a really good agent and/or a great editor. Not having someone else worry about covers and publicity. And of course, not making much money.

GEOFFREY MEHL - https://www.facebook.com/Geoffrey-Meh...
Most: I can incorporate my publication skills: photography, editing, design, website development and book production management, as well as explore evolving technologies.
Least: Fragmentation of the market has to be the single greatest obstacle to all writers. As indies continues to gain acceptance, the flood of new work overwhelms market value and smothers recognition opportunities. This challenge faces both traditional and indie and is not likely to dissipate anytime soon.

JULIE FRAYN - http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Frayn/e/B...
Most: Total control and ownership over everything. I can play with pricing, offer my books for free, re-cover, re-name, re-anything I want. The next best thing is the community: like-minded authors who help each other and readers who contact me to tell me what my book meant to them.
Least: Marketing and promo! The time it takes to find the best sites with the highest return on investment, and the cost that often isn't recouped. They’re outshone by the good stuff.

JUDITH MEHL - http://www.amazon.com/Judith-Mehl/e/B...
Best: I have no deadlines. It allows the creative juices to flow.
Least: I have no deadlines. Nothing to shut off the creative juices and force the writing.

RICH MEYER www.amazon.com/Rich-Meyer/e/B004HV1GTM/-
Most: The hours, the water-skiing, and the adulation of the crowd. And that I am the final arbiter of what I do and produce.
Least: The stigma associated with the "indie" label, because of a lack of due diligence by new writers, and "real" publishers seeing indies as nothing more than a revenue stream to be fished at the WRONG end with outlandish, PublishAmerica-esque "opportunities".

SARAH MALLERY - http://amzn.to/1r3GUsZ
Most: Seeing how many books have been sold, downloaded, or pages read. Changing keywords, book covers, etc. whenever I want. Finally, getting royalty deposits on time without waiting.
Least: Having to constantly promote, but my former publisher did very little of that, so I don't feel a big difference! Also, getting into libraries and big bookstores has been slow in coming.

CINDY BLACKBURN - www.amazon.com/Cindy-Blackburn/e/B009...
Most: Indie means truly self-employed. I don't play well with others. :)
Least: I like to think this is changing, but indie still carries a stigma that I'm not a "real" author. Although I'm happy to report that my fans don't seem to worry about this distinction.

MARY D. BROOKS - http://www.amazon.com/Mary-D.-Brooks/...
Most: The freedom. I've been published my small press publishers before and it makes a huge difference in how I approach my work. I have complete control.
Least: Marketing drives me batty. It's a necessary evil and one every author should master. Suck it up, learn all you can and just do it.

SHARON WOODS HOPKINS - http://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Woods-Ho...
Most: The freedom of my own schedule, the artistic control I have over book design, and pricing my books for promotions.
Least: Not having my print books as available to all outlets as trad published authors.

BILL HOPKINS - http://www.amazon.com/Bill-Hopkins/e/...
Most: I can set my own publication schedule and my own promotion schemes.
Least: I haven’t run into any “like leasts” yet.

BRONWYN ELSMORE - http://www.amazon.com/Bronwyn-Elsmore...
Most: The freedom to make my own choices and follow my own feelings about my stories.
Least: All the work that comes after the writing is over. “I’m a writer, not a business person,” I wail constantly as I have to deal with the details of publishing, marketing and selling.

WENDY DELANEY - http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Delaney/e...
Most: The control. Now that I’m my own boss after having been traditionally published, I find that I’m really enjoying it!
Least: The “boss” is more of a taskmaster than I thought she’d be. That’s okay though. It means the next book will come out that much faster.

DV BERKHOM - http://www.amazon.com/D.V.-Berkom/e/B...
Most: I love making my own deadlines, having final say over my covers, better royalties, and success is 95% on me. I can take advantage of new opportunities when they come along. But I REALLY enjoy the support and friendship of the indie community.
Least: The ever-lingering stigma of going it alone, although it does push me to prove the naysayers wrong :-) Happily, that stigma seems to be slowly eroding as more authors are actually making a living doing what they love.

EFFROSYNI MOSCHOUDI - http://www.amazon.com/author/effrosyni
Most: The freedom and flexibility involved, from the cover and blurb, to the editor and launch time. Plus I can make changes to the published book as often as I wish.
Least: The huge amount of marketing. It takes a lot of time to read online and learn new approaches and tips. I just wish I had more free time to write books.

LESLIE ANN SARTOR - http://www.amazon.com/L.A.-Sartor/e/B...
Most: I love that I can write my story my way. And in my time frame.
Least: I dislike the fact that there is a lingering sense that indie writers are respected less than traditionally published writers. I get so frustrated at having to explain why I chose this route.

MICHELE DRIER - http://www.amazon.com/Michele-Drier/e...
Most: I write and publish at my own schedule and have total control of the look, read and feel of my books. And, oh, the money! I net between $2 and $5 depending on format.
Least: The constant marketing and promotion. I spend at least half my time on social media, library appearances, book festivals and group readings.

R.P. DAHLKE - www.amazon.com/RP-Dahlke/e/B004S2NJFO
Most: The freedom to write what I want when I want with no pressure to produce for a publisher--I'm my own pressure pusher!
Least: I don't think there's anything I don't like. I can find everything I need to provide a professional looking book from author groups and I can promote when and where I want to and not have to share the proceeds with a publisher who probably wouldn't do anything for me anyway.

DIANA HURWITZ - www.amazon.com/Diana-Hurwitz/e/B002BO...
Most: I love the creativity, to envision a final product and see it brought to life by your own hand.
Least: Self-promotion. I prefer to make the widget and let someone else deal with marketing it!
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Published on December 11, 2015 12:00 • 1,082 views • Tags: dislikes, indie-authors, indie-publishing, likes

September 29, 2015

Q. What genre do you write?
A. I write cross-genre fiction.

Q. What’s that?
A. That’s the genre that agents and editors tell you they can’t place on the bookshelf when they reject you. Bookstores can’t find a place for your book either.

Q. So, do you write either mystery, suspense, or thrillers?
A. Yes, all three, sometimes in one book, but there’s also romance.

Q. Then it’s romantic suspense?
A. Not really.

Q. Why not?
A. Because I don’t follow the romantic-suspense formula. Sometimes the romances in my books don’t have a HEA, Happy Ever After. Romance Writers of America classifies Romantic Suspense this way: The love story is the main focus of the novel, a suspense/mystery/thriller plot is blended with the love story, and the resolution of the romance is emotionally satisfying and optimistic. Though my books have a romance, crime is the focus of the story. RWA has tempered their former explanation of a definite HEA to an ending that is emotionally satisfying and optimistic. That leaves some room for H/h (Hero/heroine—notice the female H is in small letters. I take umbrage.) to maybe get together, maybe not, but probably. My book Hooked has that kind of ending.

I leave it up to the reader to decide. I have one more book with the same kind of ending.

Q. So, Hooked is a romance with a satisfying and optimistic ending?
A. I thought so, but some reviewers did not find the ending at all satisfying. They wanted to know what happened after the last page. Oh, and there’s humor in this one too.

Q. So it’s a Romantic Comedy?
A. Oh, no. There’s humor but there are a few murders, so it really isn’t funny. Just humorous in parts.

Q. So how do you characterize your work?
A. Broadly? Suspense with a hint of romance.

Q. And humor.
A. Sometimes. My last book, Backlash, is very serious. Even though the two main characters are a couple, there’s no hot romance in this one. But there are romantic elements.

Q. Sigh. I’m thoroughly confused. Maybe you should create a new genre to satisfy everyone.
A. Oh, that’s impossible. A writer will never satisfy everyone. I’ve had readers think I tell the best stories ever and others who think I should learn how to write. Agents, on the other hand, are only satisfied if the book meets the current genre in vogue, and writers better be fast because that changes as often as women change shoes. Agents can’t pitch a novel and call it Crime Fiction with Romance and Humor, now, can they? Editors of large publishing houses already have the books filtered first by agents, so they don’t see all of what’s out there, but they want to be on the cutting edge as well. Publishers want to be able to pitch the book to the bookstores, and bookstores have to know where to put the book in the store. What it comes down to is some writers have to put up with an unimaginative bunch in order to get published.

Think back to J.K. Rowling, who had a hell of a time getting any publisher to read Harry Potter. Then, when it became a huge success, agents, editors, and publishers all wanted wizard books. Then it changed again to vampires, and that changed to--you get the picture. Exhausting, isn’t it?

Q. How do you do it then?
A. I self-publish.

Q. What does that mean?
A. I can do anything I damn well please and hope readers find me and like what I write.
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Published on September 29, 2015 15:01 • 355 views • Tags: backlash, cross-genres, harry-potter, hea, hooked, humor, j-k-rowling, love-story, mystery, polly-iyer, romance, romance-writers-of-america, suspense, thrillers

August 23, 2015

I was fortunate to have my newest book, Indiscretion, chosen as a winner in the Kindle Scout program. The book is now on pre-order and will be released on September 1st. I was interviewed by E.B. Davis on the blog Writers Who Kill about the book. I thought I'd repost it here.

Here's the blurb:

Separated from her controlling husband, romance author Zoe Swan meets a charismatic art history professor on the beach and begins a torrid affair. But who is he really? By the time Zoe finds out, she’s on the run with her husband, his jewel thief brother, and a priceless painting stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. With the FBI and the murderer in pursuit, the trio heads to Boston. The only way to prove their innocence is to make a deal with the very people who want them dead.

Indiscretion Small photo Indiscretion small_zpsqkzb5stm.jpg

EB Davis: I started interviewing Polly Iyer several years ago before she published. Having read all of her seven books, in my opinion, Indiscretion is her best. She has created the perfect, insidious setup incriminating main character Zoe Swan and her husband, David. To avoid charges of art theft and murder, they must rely on David’s brother, Paul, a criminal, to elude the FBI.

The tension Polly has created among the characters propels this story. The brothers share a pained relationship that parallels Zoe and David’s disintegrating marriage. As the mysteries of their relationships unfold so does the resolution of the crimes for which the FBI seeks their arrests. The plot is complex. The characters feel real, their flaws and strengths exposed. Like a painting created over top of another, in the end Polly strips off the layers of naiveté and self-delusion to expose the truth. Indiscretion explores the falsehoods of relationships. Polly wrote with cutting honesty, requiring courage.

EB: You’ve numbered and named each chapter by a descriptor. In one of my own manuscripts, I did the same thing. Why do some manuscripts harken us to do that?

Me: I’ve created chapter subtitles in every one of my books. Once I started it, I kept going. It’s also easy to find a certain scene while I’m writing. Besides, I think it’s fun to give the readers a hint of what’s to come.

EB: You could have written Indiscretion as a mystery, but you chose to write it as suspense. Why did you decide on that structure?

Me Most of my books incorporate mystery, suspense, thriller, and bits of romance. This one has a hint of women’s fiction, I think, because it delves into a marriage. I’m definitely a mixed-genre writer, which keeps me from relying on any formulas.

EB: In the opening scenes of your book, main character Zoe is living at the beach on a trial separation from her husband. She launches a sexual affair with a man she meets on the beach. Even though Zoe and her husband, David, are separated, we give her a “you go girl,” which is an inappropriate response. Zoe is still a married woman. Why do we applaud her behavior?

Me: I’m not sure everyone will, and that was a consideration while writing Indiscretion, especially because it’s not something you usually find in a mystery, etc. genre. I know my critique partner cheered when Zoe stood up for herself when David, Zoe’s husband, is introduced. If we applaud, and I did, it’s because someone validated who she was as a person.

EB: Zoe’s lover is murdered. She finds his body. After being questioned by the police, she returns home to find that her condo has been ransacked and, the next day, her husband shows up. Why does she confess to the affair?

Me: She really didn’t have a choice. She’d already called the police, and David would have found out anyway from that. Better to face the situation head on.

EB: Zoe was an art history major in college. She helped build her husband’s advertising firm into a success. She started writing and made herself into a bestselling romance author. If Zoe wanted to make a success of her marriage, she could. Why doesn’t she?

Me: That depends on what you mean by a success. Success in that relationship would be to do whatever David wanted and to put up with his belittling. I don’t see that as a successful marriage.

EB: When Zoe and David are setup for murder charges and trapped, they turned to David’s brother, Paul. Why doesn’t Zoe know Paul better?

Me: David and Paul have a secret, and David never wants Zoe to find out what it is. Therefore, the two brothers have kept their distance, so Zoe hasn’t had much contact with Paul.

EB: You’ve drawn a portrait of David and Paul’s lives, but we find out little about Zoe’s personal history. David acts as if he is injured by Zoe, making her feel defensive and insecure. She acknowledges her youthful insecurity and that she fell for his game playing throughout their marriage. Why was Zoe an insecure young woman?

Me: I think creative people are always a little insecure. If we’re not, we’re probably somewhat egomaniacal. We put ourselves out in our writing and in our art and music. We depend on people liking what we do. We fret over bad reviews. Worry whether what we’ve done/are doing is good enough. Insecurity comes with the territory.

EB: Eluding the police, Paul takes David and Zoe from the Cherry Grove, SC beach condo to Charleston and then to Boston. Is Cherry Grove real? Are you familiar with all of your settings?

Me: Cherry Grove is not only real, Zoe’s condo was mine before we sold it in 2013. That’s where I came up with the story.

EB: While in Boston, they stay with a couple, who are both artists and who are old friends of Paul. While surrounded by the drama of housing, protecting, and helping people wanted by the FBI, the couple continue to work. They seem unflappable. Are these characters based on anyone?

Me: Yes. The female was my best friend since we lived together in Rome decades ago. She passed away in 2010. I still miss her. We all went to college together. The house is exactly as I described it.

EB: Why did art theft interest you?

Me: I’m from Boston and went to art school there, just like Zoe. The theft from the Gardner Museum left many art lovers sad, especially when you see the empty frames in the same places where the stolen painting were. Where have the paintings been all these years? Where are they now? What a premise to build a story around.

EB: While on the run, Zoe’s respect for David plummets while Paul’s negotiations on their behalf and the impressive company he keeps increases her respect for him. We champion Paul. As a criminal, again we seem to have an inappropriate response. Is it our repulsion at David and/or do we like bad boys?

Me: A little of both. I always mention that all my books have characters who cross ethical lines. There’s a fine line between good and bad. I tend to elaborate on that premise in my stories, whether it’s a charlatan psychic or an ex-call girl. What made them that way? Some people present a “good” face, but they’re really hiding a bad soul. I like to play with my characters’ characters. I try not to condone those who’ve done questionable acts, but I like to make readers think about the reasons good people might be forced to do bad things. I make some strong correlations in this book.

EB: Throughout their ordeal, David never fails to remind Zoe that their dilemma resulted from her “indiscretion.” Paul reveals that he has made bad choices, too, making him sympathetic to Zoe. They start to identify with each other. How can a criminal and a law abiding wife and mother have much in common?

Me: What determines who has what in common? Sometimes it’s a simple as being on the same wave length, hitting that inner chord that binds two people. Going deeper than the surface we all present to the world.

EB: When you plotted Indiscretion, which element of the plot came first—the crime or the relationships?

Me: Hmm, interesting question. I think it was Zoe’s attraction to her lover, then the twist, then it went on from there. It was definitely a “What if” story.

EB: After they exonerate themselves, Zoe finds her sales increase from her notoriety. Are people curious, morbid, and/or perverse?

Me: Definitely curious and probably a bit of both the others. We don’t need to look much further than today’s sensationalistic news coverage and the people who are famous for being famous, without anything else to offer. Haven’t you heard? There’s no such thing as bad publicity.

EB: Tell us how you made the decision to put Indiscretion into the Kindle Select competition and what were the results.

Me: I had written Indiscretion a few years back and was tentative about publishing it because I kept hearing the case was going to be solved and the paintings found. After twenty-five years, and the capture of Whitey Bulger, who had been mentioned as being involved in the theft after the fact, and he divulged nothing, I felt more secure. Since the book was finished, I had nothing to lose by entering it in the Scout program. The plus of being chosen is Amazon’s marketing. I’m fortunate that after thirty LONG days during which people had to nominate the book to keep it “hot and trending,” Amazon chose Indiscretion for publication by Kindle Press. I received my edits, and they were outstanding. The editor found a major plot hole, which took some rewriting to fix, but I was very pleased with the thoroughness of the edit.

You can read a few chapters of Indiscretion here:

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Published on August 23, 2015 00:53 • 72 views

June 27, 2015

On July 5, I'm giving away 6 copies of Mind Games. Click the link below, then on either of my Facebook pages to be entered in the contest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Two grand prizes will be given away at the end of the month -- a $100 Amazon gift card and an Amazon Kindle Fire HD tablet.

Check out the chance to win other giveaways all month long on The Fussy Librarian:

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Published on June 27, 2015 10:45 • 63 views • Tags: 100-gift-certificate, choosy-bookworm, enovel-authors-at-work, kindle-fire, mind-games, rafflecopter

May 27, 2015

I'm happy to report that Indiscretion was chosen as a Kindle Scout winner. Look for publication sometime in August. Thanks to everyone who nominated the book. You will receive your free copy before the book is available on Amazon. Cheers! ~ Polly

May 26, 2015. Indiscretion Small photo Indiscretion small_zpsqkzb5stm.jpg

This is the fifteenth day my new book, Indiscretion, has been on Amazon’s Kindle Scout program. It’s been off and on the “Hot and Trending” list. This is measured by how many people read the sample and nominate my book during a thirty-day period. I’ve done some promotion, but there’s a fine line between promo and overkill. I try to be cognizant of where that line is.

Self-promotion has never been an easy fit for me. I’ve never sent out a Facebook blast that asks people to Like my page or for people to buy my books. I do post, but hopefully within acceptable limits. Now I find myself asking people to read the pages of my book and nominate it for publication if they want to read more. One perk is those who do so will get a free copy if Indiscretion is published by Kindle Press.

So what is Kindle Scout, you ask? This is from the Kindle Scout website:

“Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.”

Bloggers have debated the pros and cons of the program. From my point of view, the answer depends on where you are in the publishing world. I’ve self-published seven books with Amazon. The difference with Kindle Scout, besides the nice advance, unheard of for an indie writer, is the strength of Amazon’s marketing that I wouldn’t get otherwise.

No longer can writers just write. Due to the increased number of indie and hybrid writers and the plethora of free book promotions, we must now be creative to keep our books from falling into obscurity, in contrast to those days when I first started, way back in 2011. We now pay companies to advertise our free or specially priced promotions to their huge reader mailing lists, many times at high costs. The outlay is usually refunded by greater sales.

We are social media experts, promotional gurus, Pinterest pinners, LinkedIn joiners, and Twitter tweeters. We join groups to support each other and share writing tips and posts about the things we learn on our writing journeys.

In order to submit to the program, Amazon Scout insists on a professional cover, editing, and formatting. If my book is chosen by reader nominations and the Amazon Scout Powers-That-Be, it will receive a complete edit.

I created the cover for Indiscretion, but after 25 years as an illustrator, and eight book covers under my belt (one for my alter ego) I have no problem immodestly calling my covers professionally designed. Everything would be the same if I decided to self-publish, so I’m used to the parameters established by Kindle Scout. From what I’ve tracked, most of the books chosen in the first few groups are doing well.

I tried something new with Indiscretion. Though there have been books that set a story around a real event, I incorporated an actual unsolved crime, Boston’s 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist, and made it the focal point of a fictional story.

SO, unwilling to miss an opportunity, here’s my pitch for Indiscretion in 500 characters or less (Scout’s limit):

“Separated from her controlling husband, romance author Zoe Swan meets a charismatic art history professor on the beach and begins a torrid affair. But who is he really? By the time Zoe finds out, she’s on the run with her husband, his jewel thief brother, and a priceless painting stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. With the FBI and the murderer in pursuit, the trio heads to Boston. The only way to prove their innocence is to make a deal with the very people who want them dead.”

There are a few sample chapters on the site. If you like what you read and would like to read more (if my book is picked, everyone who nominated it receives an electronic copy), consider clicking “Nominate me.” Sorry for the blatant self-promotion. Here’s the link: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3GQQ...
Thank you kindly if you do.
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Published on May 27, 2015 05:46 • 904 views • Tags: boston, kindle-scout, myrtle-beach, mystery, sample-pages, suspense, win-a-book

February 21, 2015

Though things are changing, there have always been certain “requirements” of a particular genre of fiction. In romances, the hero and heroine ride off together into the sunset, otherwise called the HEA or Happy Ever After. If the book doesn’t meet that criterion, it is no longer considered a romance. Now, Romance Writers of America has a mystery sub-genre in their contests called Romantic Elements that releases the author from the hard and fast HEA. Sometimes a couple needs time to develop their relationship because relationships can be complicated. (See my book Hooked.)
Hooked by Polly Iyer

Many readers don’t like graphic romance scenes mixed in with their mystery and suspense novels, even if they’re classified as romantic suspense. I always have at least one romantic scene in my books and some language that fits with the characters and the situations, so after a bunch of negative comments, I now have a disclaimer attached to all my book blurbs clarifying a reader will find both. Enough with lowering my book rankings because I have a cuss word or two. Readers, you know who you are.

Mysteries have a crime, usually a murder, and the sleuth, who’s either an amateur or a professional, must find the killer by the end of the book. Exceptions take place in a series—think Sherlock Holmes’s ongoing nemesis, Professor Moriarty, or Kyle Craig/The Mastermind, in a bunch of James Patterson’s Alex Cross books. Jeff Lindsay and Chelsea Cain have popular books with main characters who are serial killers who get away with their crimes. Cozy mysteries have nothing to offend anyone. Murders aren't gory, romance is behind closed doors. Sometimes the heroine (usually) has a craft or profession or culinary skill. There's an animal or two. Or three.

The plots of thrillers are usually a race against time, and the hero or heroine has to thwart the evildoer’s plan to destroy or control the world or to kill a bunch of people. Ian Fleming’s books, Goldfinger and Doctor No are two examples. Frederick Forsyth, and just about any book by Robert Ludlum are others.

So what if these things that classify a particular genre don’t happen? What if the evildoer’s plan isn’t thwarted at the end of a thriller and there’s semi-destruction? What if the villain succeeds in crashing the economy? What if a murderer gets away? What if the hero of a series isn’t a hero this time?

Backlash (Diana Racine #3) by Polly Iyer Backlash While writing Backlash, the third book in my Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, I decided I didn’t want to do what the reader expected: put Diana in mortal danger so that the hero could swoop down and rescue her. Don’t get me wrong, she is put in danger, twice—sorry, predictable—but that’s not the crux of the story. This time the hero is in danger. Very serious danger that could affect his career―he’s a New Orleans police lieutenant―his relationship with Diana, his life. Though he’s a big part of the book, he’s effectively taken out of her part of the story, unable to help her, unable to help himself.

I gave great thought about deviating from the expected, but there’s nothing more irritating than reading the same book by different authors over and over again because they adhere to formula.

Diana’s life is put in danger, and she doesn’t do anything “to stupid to live” to wind up under the villain’s control. (I’ve been guilty of writing one scene like that in another book. Once is enough.) She is neither Wonder Woman nor Lara Croft. She’s five-two and weighs a hundred pounds soaking wet, and the bad guy is a tough cop (that’s not a spoiler, by the way). There is no hero to help extricate her from the bad guy’s clutches. Brute force won’t work, so whatever happens has to be realistic, believable, and, hopefully, clever.

Writers need to take chances with their storylines, need to do the unexpected. It may not always work, readers might be disappointed, but I think it’s worth a try.

Next time: Major surgery
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