Saturday, October 21, 2006

Part 4 - End of the Article

A portrait of a contest
After spending years of sweat and tears writing, then enduring the nail-biting process of finding an agent and landing a contract from a major publisher, the newly minted author finds that her book is but one of thousands lining the bookstore shelves. Though we’re lucky enough to have a great, supportive publisher, it is still up to the new author to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, most authors would rather sit at a clackety typewriter (or, more likely, a computer keyboard) for a week than spend a single hour on marketing. Still, the novelist must find a way to get her books into readers’ hands.

Shortly after the release of our first novel, Feint of Art, Julie painted a reproduction of a Georges de la Tour painting –aging the canvas, just as Annie Kincaid does in our books-- to attract attention at book signings. Our agent, Kristin Lindstrom of Lindstrom Literary Management, loved the portrait, which is of a beautiful woman looking slyly out of the corner of her eye. She called one day with a proposal: there are a lot of writers out there, she said, but I don’t know many who can paint. Why don’t we take advantage of that?

And so the Art Lover’s Mystery Series Portrait Contest was born. With the launch of Shooting Gallery on October 3, we invite readers—and other interested parties, no purchase is necessary—to send us their names and contact information, either by post or e-mail, by December 8, 2006. The following week we will draw a winner, and Julie will work from photographs to paint an Old Master or Impressionist portrait of a subject of the winner’s choice.

Portrait painting is time-consuming and a lot of work, but there’s a special kinship between the subject of a portrait and the artist, making portraits Julie’s favorite thing to paint. She is looking forward to working with the lucky winner to create an heirloom that will only grow in beauty and value over time. As authors, we hope the contest will connect our art mysteries with mystery lovers. For more information on the Portrait Contest, see our website. And please spread the word!

Writing is hard work, no two ways about it. But if you find the right person to share your voice, the collaborative writing process can be mostly enjoyable, occasionally frustrating, but ultimately fulfilling. My sister and I stumbled upon a winning recipe by writing, together, about a subject we love. We hope you will give the Art Lovers Mystery Series a try – you’ll laugh, enjoy the romance, learn a little about the art world… and you might even win an original portrait!

*Register for the Art Lovers Mystery Portait Contest send an email to the author, or by mailing a postcard with your name, email address and phone number to Art Lovers Mystery Portrait Contest, 871 N. Greenbriar Street, Arlington, VA 22205.

Hailey Lind’s Art Lovers Mystery Series: Feint of Art (January, 2006); Shooting Gallery (October, 2006); Brush with Death (July, 2007).

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