Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nancy Drew would be so disappointed - update!

Take a look at this 1930 edition of The Hidden Staircase:

I found this in our basement when I was nine years old. I was supposed to be helping my parents clean, but when I found the pile of books that had been my mom's when she was a child, all bets were off. I remember sneaking away to a cool patch of cement under our back stairs. This had once been an outside spot until the home's previous owners walled it in, creating a back porch above and my secret little alcove where dust, spiders, and forgotten building materials took up residence. In other words, the perfect place to read a mystery. A hidden hideout to read The Hidden Staircase.

I zipped through this story the first time I read it and I remember feeling that terrible dread as the number of pages yet to read became fewer than the number of pages I'd already read. I wanted more of Nancy's adventures and yet as I turned each page, I knew I was drawing closer and closer to THE END. Then, to my surprise and infinite joy, I found this on the next-to-last page: 

Indeed, Nancy Drew's days of adventure were by no means over. Before many months had elapsed she was destined to be involved in another mystery case, equally as baffling as the one she had just solved. Readers who wish to follow her strange adventures may do so in the next volume of this series, entitled "The Bungalow Mystery."

There were more?? 
Yep, and from the sound of it, lots more! 
This was turning out to be the best day ever. 

Over the next few years I collected every Nancy Drew I could get my hands on. The books sported yellow spines now and it got so that I could spot them in my local Woolworth's or Korvette's half a store away.

The thing was, I wasn't content to simply read Nancy Drew. I wanted to be Nancy Drew. I set off to conquer bad guys, determined to see justice served and to right the atrocious wrongs heaped on unsuspecting, innocent victims. Looking back, I think I probably terrorized the people I spied on as I fervently scribbled notes about their comings and goings and set up stakeouts outside their homes. I was so convinced of an elderly woman's murderous tendencies that I often spied in her basement windows looking for evidence of her grisly crimes...but that's a story for another day.

When I couldn't find a single conspiracy to uncover, I invented some of my own and began writing the Mary King Mystery series. I was determined to be published by the time I was 12.

Didn't happen.

If you've landed at this blog you probably already know that I did manage to get published. Admittedly, my success came quite a bit past my tween years, but I'm doing well with both my White House Chef Mysteries and Manor House Mysteries. I also have another series that originally came out in hardcover --- the Alex St. James series -- but it went out of print some years back. Thank goodness for eBooks. Alex is back on Kindle, Nook, and on other friendly ereaders near you (eBook tab at top of page).

In all my books and short stories thus far, my protagonists ---Ollie, Grace, and Alex --- are very Nancy Drew-like. They're strong, resourceful, respectful of authority, and unfailingly polite. They have many differences of course, but they're all optimistic in nature and willing to fight for what's right. Nancy Drew would be proud.

Good old Nance would not be so pleased with Riley Drake nor with Bets Tracer. These are my two newest protagonists. Riley -- whose first adventure, Playing With Matches, has been featured on this blog before; and now Bets --- who can't quite get the hang of this PI business, who waitresses in a local joint to make ends meet, and who is more than a little rough around the edges. 

Cover by Robyn Hyzy 

Bets is introduced - fresh today - in Tracer's Blues, an anthology of three short stories that gives you an idea of what life is like for an inexperienced girl trying to establish herself as a PI in Chicago.

She needs help, and though she gets it from an unlikely source, she never seems to rise above the rank of amateur.

The three shorts are "Blue Angel," "Something Blue," and "Blue Morning." All three are available in this single volume, Tracer's Blues on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords and are written under my N.C. Hyzy pseudonym.

Just a reminder... N.C. stands for "not cozy." Language and situations are a little more coarse than you'll find in Ollie's or Grace's adventures. But there's a little bit more humor, too.

I hope you'll give them a try. And to entice you further, I'm offering a Kindle only sale from now through the end of August. Here's the deal:

Buy one of my three mystery ebooks listed below on Kindle between today and August 30, 2011 and send me proof of purchase (forward the receipt from Amazon) via email: JulieHyzy (at) gmail (dot) com (no spaces) before September 4th:

As of August 12, 2011, THESE THREE TITLES ONLY:

Deadly Blessings by Julie Hyzy
Deadly Interest by Julie Hyzy
Playing With Matches by N.C. Hyzy 

As soon as I receive your proof of purchase, I'll "gift" a copy of Tracer's Blues by N.C. Hyzy to you.

I deeply regret not being able to do this via Nook. I love my Nook, but BN doesn't allow me to gift titles the way Amazon does. If you purchase via Smashwords and want to take advantage of this offer, let me know. I should be able to make that work.

If Nancy Drew and Bets were to meet up, I have no doubt that Nancy would quickly enlist her friends Bess and George to help convince poor Bets to undergo a makeover. The foursome would then pile into Nancy's blue roadster and, with Nancy's titian hair flying in wind, drive to the nicest and most expensive makeover boutique in River Heights where Nancy would generously cover all expenses.

But...I like Bets the way she is. I hope you do, too.


Robyn decided to tweak the cover and has presented me with this new version. I'm in the process of updating the Kindle and Nook sites. Smashwords to follow.

Robyn put a gun in Bets' hand and added these incredible bricks to the background. I love it! What do you think?


hillary said...

sigh. . .I so loved Nancy Drew. . .I believe I read all the volumes available during my 6th-10th grade years. . .and maybe that explains why I love Grace and Ollie so very much!


Julie Hyzy said...

Hi, Hillary,

I hear you! I think my family and friends got so tired of me saying, "I learned all about that in Nancy Drew..." To this day the idea of cracking open one of her adventures fills me with a little thrill!

Shel said...

Loved Nancy. Still do. *nostalgic sigh*

Plano Soprano said...

I loved Nancy, but I was always more of a Judy Bolton fan. Not sure why...maybe it was because Judy actually matured, got married, GREW UP, which was all I wanted when I was reading the books!

Dru said...

What perfect timing since I was looking for a short story to read before I start on some required reading. Going over to Amazon and download your book.

Thank you Julie for putting your stories in print/digital for me to read.

Julie Hyzy said...

Shel... I'm sighing here with you!

Plano - You have the most interesting name! Care to share more about it? I've never read Judy Bolton, but now that I look her up - those books sound very interesting. I wish I would have known about her way back when.

Deshay said...

The public library in the small town my grandparents lived in had Nancy Drew's of that vintage. I could only check out 2 at a time so I biked back and forth to the library a lot when staying there in the summer. Liked Nancy but loved (and still do!) Trixie Belden.

Julie Hyzy said...

I remember Trixie Belden! I used to enjoy her books a lot as well, but she was always much harder to find than Nancy was. You know who else I enjoyed? Donna Parker and Cherry Ames. Wow... flood of memories all of a sudden! All good ones.

Julie Hyzy said...

Dru - How did I miss your comment here? Thank you for posting a review of Tracer's Blues on Amazon!

Shel said...

Read at least some of all the series that have been mentioned. Plus Sue Barton, LOL. My small town library was amazingly well stocked with these series when I was growing up.

Julie Hyzy said...

I never read Sue Barton, Shel, but I love the fact that there were so many great choices when we were kids. Of course, I was a kid well before you were!

Terry said...

My first Nancy Drew . . .Witch Tree Symbol . . . all things Amish. I was probably nine years old at the time, visiting my aunt and uncle in Deer Lodge, Montana. I found my older cousin's copy of the book and could not put it down. I had to make shoofly pie. I had to pull out the encyclopedia and read about the Amish people. I had to read more Nancy Drew's. The start of a lifelong love affair with female detectives. I bought probably 40 Nancy Drew books for my daughter . . . and made her read them in order. She wants the books for her future daughter(s). Maybe they will have to read them at Grandma's . . .

Julie Hyzy said...

It's amazing how much Nancy Drew has affected my life and it's so great to hear I'm not the only one. My daughters enjoyed the books, but never got into them quite as fully as I did. But they're all good readers, so no complaints.

Linda said...

Just loved reading all he comments. I've read most all of the series but I'm a die hard Trixie Belden fan. I have the complete set...most from when I was a girl in the 60s and completed with a few missing ones I found on ebay. Thanks for the memories everyone!

Julie Hyzy said...

Thanks, Linda. I did enjoy Trixie Belden when I could get my hands on her books. They weren't available nearly as readily as Nancy. So cool to have the complete set, I know exactly how you feel!