Wednesday, December 16, 2015

All Good Things...

I'm borrowing a title from one of my favorite Star Trek episodes (taken from a Chaucer quotation originally) to lead off because I can't think of a better way to begin this bittersweet post.

Ten years ago (give or take), a gentleman by the name of Marty Greenberg called me at home. Marty, if you don't already know, was an amazing guy and a big personality in the publishing world. Back then, he headed up Tekno Books, a book packaging company that had its corporate fingers in lots of projects -- far too many to mention here. Also back then, Tekno worked closely with my first publisher, Five Star. I didn't meet Marty face to face until the Chicago Bouchercon in 2005. He was a heck of a great guy.

Anyway, when I answered the phone ten years ago, Marty got right to the point. He wanted to know if I'd be interested in writing a new series, one featuring the first female White House Chef as amateur sleuth. It didn't take longer than a heartbeat for me to answer "Yes, definitely!" Marty assured me that I wouldn't have to come up with recipes. Denise, an amazing woman on the Tekno team, would serve as editor and chief recipe-provider.

Amazon
BN.com
Aunt Agatha's
And so, over the course of several months, I went to work creating Ollie and her friends, writing the first three chapters of what was to become State of the Onion, and devising plots for three additional books. Marty and Denise worked with me and presented the package to Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin). To my absolute delight, the wonderful editor in charge liked what she read and offered Marty (who then offered me) a three-book deal.

Now, here's where I want to emphasize that the entire White House Chef Mystery concept belonged to Marty and Tekno Books. I didn't (and still don't) own the copyright. This is what's known as a Work-for-Hire. Even though I created every character -- even though I came up with the plots -- even though I wrote every single word of every single story -- I don't own any of it. The contract I signed was for a small advance on each book, and an equally small portion of the royalties.

From day one, working with Berkley has been wonderful. I can't say enough about the people there. I've been treated well and really feel valued. And, when I was working with Marty and Denise at Tekno, I felt the same way. Even when Tekno started having financial difficulties and had to let Denise go, I still felt as though my efforts were appreciated.

Marty Greenberg died in 2011 and with his death, Tekno changed. A lot. I don't know the legal intricacies that went on behind the scenes. What I do know is that the editor I'd been working with after Denise left -- John (an awesome fellow I'm still friends with to this day) -- was soon let go, too.

Although the people remaining at Tekno all seem very nice, the company was different -- at least it seemed so to me. I no longer felt as though I was part of a team, I felt more like a tiny cog in a very large conglomerate. The new editor I was assigned to was very nice, but didn't bring the same enthusiasm to the recipes the way Denise had. Where I'd been able to work with Denise to plan menu themes for each book, my new editor seemed considerably less excited about coming up with dishes for me. I'll admit to getting a bit frustrated.

What was also frustrating was that -- at one point -- Tekno experienced cash-flow problems and my royalty payments were delayed. Very delayed. I can't remember if this was before or after Marty died. But, because of my frustrations with getting paid on time, and because my portion of the royalties was so small, I asked my agent to negotiate my third contract with Tekno, for books # 7, 8, and 9. Up to that point, I'd been negotiating on my own. I'd hoped that involving an agent would get me a better cut of the royalties. I'd also hoped that involving an agent would mean that future payments would arrive on time.

Before I go further, some specifics:

* You may already know this, but most of the traditional publishers pay their authors twice a year. The cut-off for the first half the year is June 30th with checks expected to arrive in authors' accounts around October 1st (yes, you read that right). The second payment of the year cuts off December 31st (checks expected to arrive in authors' accounts around April 1st).

* Even though Tekno owns the series, they don't do much (if anything) in terms of promotion. If they do, they've managed to do it in such a way that I remain completely unaware of their efforts. All promotions, whether offered on FB, here on the blog, via newsletter, etc. are all on me. All costs for giveaways are on me. All mailing expenses are on me. That's no different than any other cozy author, right? But in my other series (Manor House) where I own the copyright, I earn 64 cents per paperback sold, whereas I only earn 21 cents per White House Chef paperback sold. Tekno earns the remainder. That means that the cost of postage for sending out a single postcard costs me more than I can earn on the sale of a book. And that 34 cent expense doesn't include the cost of the postcard itself. That means operating at a loss.

* My agent at the time (a very nice woman and a good agent in other matters) wasn't able to negotiate much in terms of a better cut. My increase, in fact, was so minuscule that (because I now also have to pay her commission out of my royalties) I'm no better off than I was without her intervention.

* I did not get into writing to get rich. I got into writing because it's all I've ever wanted to do. I signed my contracts with Tekno knowing full well that I would be paid very, very little for my hard work. But that was okay with me. When I signed that first contract with Marty, I had a gut-level feeling that this series would be very good for my career. And it has been.

* Involving an agent in the Tekno situation actually made things a little bit worse for me. I take responsibility for that. It was my decision. As a rule, payments for books #1- 6 for my WHChef series come much later than do my payments for the Manor House series. (Berkley ALWAYS pays promptly) Payments and statements for Books #7, 8, and soon-to-be 9 come even later than that.

Remember how I said royalty checks are expected to arrive around October 1st? I received my Tekno checks for WHChef #1 - 6 in mid-November. I will receive nothing for book #8 (All the President's Menus) this year, and the payment for book #7 (Home of the Braised) -- because it needed to be routed through my former agent as well as through her former agency -- didn't show up until mid December. And even then, the royalty statement had been left out. Sigh.

*In my opinion, an author should not have to chase her royalties and statements.

So, sadly, the time has come for me to say good-bye to Ollie and the gang. As much as I love her and everyone in her life, the reality is that things have gotten to the point where it makes no sense for me, business-wise or sanity-wise, to continue.

The good news is that Tekno (recently acquired by another company, btw) can hire a new author to continue the series if they like. I have no idea if they plan to keep Ollie sleuthing, but if they do, someone else will be writing the books.

Amazon
BN.com
Aunt Agatha's

The last in the series, Foreign Eclairs, comes out January 5, 2016. Nine books is a good run, isn't it? I think I've ended the series in a way that's satisfactory and yet leaves the door open for possibilities. Let me know if you agree.

I truly hope you've enjoyed Ollie's adventures. I know I've loved every minute of writing them. I love Ollie, Gav, Bucky, Cyan, and even Peter Everett Sargent. They became my dear friends and I will miss them terribly. I hope when you read the final installment you look back on the series with fondness. It's been a heck of a journey for our intrepid chef. Maybe she'll appreciate some time off.

As for me, I'm still writing for Grace in the Manor House mysteries. The seventh in that series, Grace Sees Red, comes out in June. If you haven't met Grace yet, I hope you'll give her a try. But you'll probably want to start with the first book: Grace Under Pressure.



Thank you so very much for all your support.
Love,
Julie



Oh, one more thing:
My editor at Berkley really wanted the series to continue. Please don't write to Penguin Random House to complain. They've been wonderful and tried to work on my behalf to acquire the copyright from Tekno. But, all good things must come to an end.

How many times can the White House Chef save the world anyway? ;)




95 comments:

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Loved this series so much Julie--thanks for writing about Ollie and gang. And thanks for sharing this peek behind the curtains. Fascinating and discouraging!

Wishing you much success with the Manor House mysteries and whatever else you're cooking up. Where you lead, we will follow...

Julie Hyzy said...

Thanks, Roberta. It wasn't a particularly easy decision, but I know it's the right one for me. And, we will follow you as well! I love Hayley and enjoy all her adventures!

Joyce Tremel said...

I understand perfectly, but I will truly miss Ollie! The White House Chef series has been my favorite cozy series. I love that it kind of led the way for a new kind of cozy and that new definition is what I relied on when I came up with my series idea. I thank you and Ollie for that!

I enjoy your Manor House series as well, so I guess I'll have to be content with that and with whatever new ideas you have cooking!

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

I love this series so much, so sad to see it end! Each time I hear mention of the White House Chef on the news (like this morning!) I think of Ollie!

Tamara Ward said...

I really have enjoyed these books, but totally understand where you are coming from. Many continued blessings to you in your career! - Tamara

Sue Ellis-Palacio said...

You have lots more in you. I have learned from years of rounding these corners of life, that better things undreamed of are often waiting there. Like you said, it was a good ride. Well done on your part.

Kay said...

Julie,
First let me thank you for all of joy and entertainment you have given me in your White House Chef series. You bring a certain reality to your stories that many of these series lack.
I think it is sad your publisher has chosen to treat a wonderful author so poorly. OK, OK, I'll give them the first book or two until you had "proven" yourself, but to continue with such low percentages, little or no publicity, and paying your royalties late does not reflect good business practice.
I'm sure you will continue to create amazing new books, and I look forward to them. A few years from now I predict you will look back and be even more positive that everything happens for a reason. Best wishes on your continued success. - Kay

ptclayton said...

I am so sad as that was a really good series but I am sure whatever you are going to write next will be just as good and can;t wait for the last one to come out. Happy Holidays Julie.

Toni L.P. Kelner said...

Thanks for sharing this, Julie. Even other writers are often left in the dark about how decisions are made and where books come from!

Evelyn David said...

Bravo on your White House Chef series -- and BRAVO to you for sharing your experiences. So sad (frustrating, maddening, outrageous) that the author of the series is treated so poorly.

Good Luck - and thanks!
Evelyn David (both halves)

Katrina Powersrt said...

I hate to hear this but totally understand. It must be very frustrating going through all of that. I will miss Ollie and her friends.

Katrina Powersrt said...

I hate to hear this but totally understand. It must be very frustrating going through all of that. I will miss Ollie and her friends.

Julie Hyzy said...

Oh my gosh, thank you all for such a wonderful outpouring of support. I can't tell you how much it means to me that everyone is being so understanding and kind. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart. Your messages are making me puddle up!

Julie

Edith Maxwell said...

As you know, I'm also sad to see the series go away, but you have my complete support. The world of publishing is a wild, crazy, and confusing one, and there's no need to stay in a situation that's even worse than that. I never knew it was a work for hire! I assume if Tekno continues it, they can't use your name, right?

We'll keep love the Grace series, and look forward to any new ventures you let us in on!

Tammy Barker said...

I am sad to see Ollie go. But for good reason, IMHO. I have enjoyed the series as well as meeting you at Malice. It was a pleasure getting to know the entire cast, and wish you success on the remaining books

dollycas aka Lori said...

So sad that this series is ending and I applaud you for letting us know why. You have been treated unfairly and you kept smiling and creating awesome stories for us to enjoy. I will miss Ollie and her gang but truthfully Tekno left you with no choice. Thank for for sticking it out as long as you did.

(((hugs))) coming your way!!

Lori

Maria said...

Wow. Great post. I'll have to link to it from my blog. I had no idea you wrote these as work for hire and I admire you for sticking with it this long. It's a fun series and we have talked about it several times on my cozy group.

Here's to bigger and better things in the future!!!

Maria
www.BearMountainBooks.com

Jill of All Trades said...

Oh my, had no idea all that was going on. I love, LOVE the series but I an also a fan of the Manor series and will continue to read them. Thanks Carla Hefley

Dianne Casey said...

So sorry to hear this series is ending. I'm sure you have other good things coming.

Julie Hyzy said...

I wish I could "Like" or respond to each of these comments individually! Thank you for this wonderful outpouring of support!

Hugs to you all!

Julie



Jessie said...

Wow, Julie. While none of this comes as a surprise it's still hard to take . I think it's really good of you to share the reality of writing, which is almost always a labor of love rather than financial gain. Thank you for sharing your story with us and for giving Ollie such a great send off!

Judy Mckay said...

Julie i am so very sorry for all this stuff. I am a very big fan of Ollie and i will miss her. But i understand the troubles you are having. I love Ollie and reading about her. But things happen and you have to do what you must. You are a awesome author and i wonderful lady. I hope that we can keep talking. I will for sure get the last book. I have 3 of the books about her and will keep looking for the others so i can reread them. I have some of your other books about Grace and i will read them. You are super and i have loved talking with you. You are on my fb as a friend and i would very much like to keep you there. Here is a big hug right back to a very special lady.

Judy Mckay said...

Sorry but i keeping hitting something so reply delete comes up but if you want to repy that would be grest.sorry.

Judy Mckay said...

Sorry but i keeping hitting something so reply delete comes up but if you want to repy that would be grest.sorry.

Judy Mckay said...

Julie i am so very sorry for all this stuff. I am a very big fan of Ollie and i will miss her. But i understand the troubles you are having. I love Ollie and reading about her. But things happen and you have to do what you must. You are a awesome author and i wonderful lady. I hope that we can keep talking. I will for sure get the last book. I have 3 of the books about her and will keep looking for the others so i can reread them. I have some of your other books about Grace and i will read them. You are super and i have loved talking with you. You are on my fb as a friend and i would very much like to keep you there. Here is a big hug right back to a very special lady.

Laurie Iglesias said...

As a reader I didn't know the publishing process and have always wondered how authors are paid for their books. Your story devastated me because you deserve so much more for your efforts in producing the White House mysteries. I have the first book in the manor house mysteries series so I will be looking forward to enjoying those. I hope all the best to you going forward. You're a very talented writer.

readerlady said...

I really hate to hear this. The White House Chef is one of my favorite series. I'm sad that there won't be another after "Foreign Eclairs". I do enjoy the Grace books, but Ollie and her gang are my favorites.

Heather said...

Julie,
When I read the first line of your email I knew what was coming even if I didn't know the details. I too am a STNG fan. :( And as sad as I was when that poker game faded I'll be as sad when I read the last of Ollie's adventures. This is the series that got me started on Cozies. :) I love your Grace books too and am pleased to hear you have the copyright for those. I also appreciate you taking the time to post this to help your fans understand why the series is ending. And whether or not they have someone else write it I I will not be reading them. For me it will end with Foreign Eclairs. I totally understand your reasons and I will continue to read whatever you write. I've even tracked down your sci fi stuff. ;)

I also wanted to mention that I am a high school librarian and the first cozy series I tried in our library was the White House Chef. This Thanksgiving for our display case we made a "Thankful Tree". It was a tree made of twigs in a large flower vase and we attached cut out leaves with a book and author of a book we were thankful we had read. Buffalo West Wing made the tree! :)

Take care and have a lovely holiday season.

Heather

Nancy J. Cohen said...

I'm sorry to hear this. I've enjoyed your series, but I completely understand.You have to do what a reasonable business person would do, and that's not sticking to an activity that causes a loss instead of a profit. It's painful to leave a series whichever way it happens, and kudos to you for offering an honest insight into your decision.

Julie Hyzy said...

That final scene in TNG was wonderful, wasn't it? The sky's the limit, right? That's exactly how I feel right now. Thanks for adding BWW to your Thankful Tree, Heather!

Thanks, everyone, for understanding. It's been a learning experience for me, and a fabulous journey, and I'm grateful for every one of you!
:)

Julie

Christine Husom said...

As sad as it is for your readers, I agree that's it's the best thing for you to do. Too bad Tekno is being so short-sighted in all this.

Karen B said...

HUGS to you and thanks for a terrific series. Will miss Ollie and friends.
BOO HISS to Tekno. Sorry, I couldn't resist that.

Judy Alter said...

One of my favorite series, and I'm grateful that it introduced me to your writing. And probably that it kicked your career into high gear. So understand your decision. I contributed to some Tekno anthologies, which worked fine, but had an unpleasant contact with them after Marty died. He was a wonderful, energetic, creative man. Good luck in the future--I like Grace, and I bet another series is simmering in your head.

Elaine Klingbeil said...

I am sorry you have had to make this very difficult decision. I do like the Grace series and I am sure you have other fun characters that are waiting for their stories to be heard! Thanks for being a writer!

jennifer60201 said...

The White House Chef series will live forever on my "favorites" shelf, right beside the Manor House mysteries. Thank you for so many happy evenings with Ollie, Gav, and the gang.

Of course, now you'll have time to start another series that will go straight into my "must buy" list! I can't wait. ;-)

Chris said...

I will miss Ollie and the gang....thanks for writing such a great series!

Kathleen George said...

Oh, what a tale! You have been valiant. We were on a panel together--do you remember? You are witty and wonderful.

Sarah from Canberra said...

I'm really really REALLY sorry to hear all of this. I so adore this series. I kind of want to argue about the copyright issue, but I get that it's gone past that for you now. I just hope you've written a bit where my character retires to be a professor with 20 cats, like Data. ��

Sheila Connolly said...

Thanks for sharing some of the realities of the publishing world with readers (they may be surprised by some of the facts, but you're bang-on). No matter what the origin, you gave Ollie a great voice and a wonderful spirit, and I can't imagine anyone else picking her up and running with her. But you will keep writing. We insist.

Julie Hyzy said...


Thank you so much. I wish I could tell you all how much your support means to me. I'm humbled and so very grateful for all of you!

Kathleen, of course I remember! I've been following your career ever since!

Sarah - what a fabulous idea! I wish I would've thought of that! LOL!

Sheila - thank you, my friend.



ROCCO LOTEMPIO said...

Interesting insight! I remember submitting to John at Tekno years ago, but we couldn't make a deal. Julie, if you would like to appear on ROCCO's blog to promote your GRACE series, email me at roccomom53@gmaildot com!

Toni

Chris said...

Julie - Thanks for nine great books (Ok, haven't got the January release yet, but I know it will be great) and thanks for being so open about your experience.

Yes, once we lost Marty and Denise things changed a lot at Tekno. (Note to readers: I also had a series with Tekno and my story is similar to Julie's, except with fewer books and minus that NYT Bestseller part.) My heart goes out to you, I know what it means to lose a cast of characters you developed and loved. Sure, we went in with our eyes open, but it still stings!

I'll be looking forward to following Grace, and whatever else you give us in the years to come! Keep writing, my friend. There are a lot of us out here who want to see what comes next!

Julie Hyzy said...

Thanks, Chris. Means a lot to me, as I'm sure you know.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Julie, with this series, you've given readers and fellow writers the definitive demonstration of how delightful and, hmm, maybe the word I want is "writerly" a work for hire can be. You've worked hard to develop your craft and your readership, and you deserve, aw, gotta say it, a bigger cut of the pie. Best of luck with grace and future projects!

Cynthia Sample said...

Hi Julie. Thanks for sharing so much of your history with all of us. I've been with a now defunct small press, a large publisher who pays even lower royalties than you received,and am now an indie author (which I love). I've enjoyed your series from day one but I also enjoy the Manor House series. And perhaps you'll have time to begin an additional series, one that is more profitable for you. You certainly deserve it!

The Jessee Journal said...

So sad to hear! The White House Chef cozies are the only ones I consistently recommend to friends. Good luck and I can't wait to see what you come out with in the future.

Lyn Gideon said...

Sorry to hear how things have ended up with the White House Chef series. I look forward to the last in the series and was hoping to see a switch over to vineyard mysteries with Ollie and Gav.
I also love your Manor House Mysteries and hope Audible.com will carry 4-6 as audiobooks are just about the only way I have time for personal reading anymore with a 40 hour work week, carpooling with my husband and full time school. The audiobook saves my sanity. :-)

Julie Hyzy said...

Many thanks to everyone who visited here and especially for your kind words. I can't begin to express how much your support means to me!

Kay said...

I've loved this series, but have been a bit behind on reading it. Look forward to catching up and also reading your other series (which has been on my TBR for a long time - so many books). That being said, I understand why you've made the decisions you have. And...I'm so excited to think about new avenues for your writing. Will be waiting with bated breath to see where that muse will take you. Good luck to you!!

Hallie Ephron said...

Julie, thanks for pulling back the curtain on this. You have a gazillion fans out there now (like me) who can't wait to see what you get up to next. Hope you don't give up on having an agent...

Aurian said...

I am sorry that this series will end Julie, but reading your post, I completely understand the why of it. And of course I will continue reading Grace, and whatever else you will be writing. Good luck with all your ideas!

Judy Clemens said...

Sounds like you had to make a lot of hard decisions, Julie. Best of luck as you start new things and continue with Grace. This business isn't easy! You handle it all gracefully, even though it's so hard. xoxo

Di Richards said...

Julie, thanks for sharing your experiences here!

Sorry to hear that it's the last (from you!) about Ollie, but as you say, it has been a good run and a good time to end. My copy of Foreign Eclairs is already on order with Amazon and should arrive soon. I look forward to it as I have all of this series.

I wish you well with your other books and anticipate many hours of good reading! I will "see" you on FB and other channels.

Wishes for a safe, happy, healthy 2016!

Ingrid King said...

I'm so sorry - on so many levels. I love this series, and I'm sad to see it end. I hate that you had to go through all of this. I know none of it is unusual in today's publishing landscape, but just because it's common doesn't mean it's acceptable.

I wish you well with the Manor series and anything else you will write. I'll be reading for sure.

Molly MacRae said...

Bravo, Julie, for everything you've done, everything you've put with, and everything you'll do in the future. You've always been one of my writing heroes - now more than ever.

NoraA said...

It certainly sounds like Ollie was the one who ended up "under water" and not Grace.

I'm sorry to see this series end but I'm very sure you'll have a new friend whose adventures we will be introduced to very soon.

lavendersbluegreen said...

I loved this series! Your grace in this situation is amazing. At the same time your honesty and the way you make it abundantly clear how torn you have been is appreciated. Sometimes when a series I ,love ends with no explanation - I feel a little angry. My angst is at a 0. I will miss the series - but I feel a sense of closure already that is right. Thank you.

Nancy L Gessner said...

Julie, I live this series and can't wait to read Foreign Eclairs. I am so sorry that you have to let it go. I know that you went through a lot and hope things are looking better for you. Thank you for sharing your reasons with us. I love the Manor series and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Michelle Mabry said...

I love both of your series. Thanks for writing them! I will miss this series, but greatly appreciate your openness about the situation. Too often, as a reader, I've been left wondering why a series ended, or, even worse, eagerly awaiting a new book year after year that never comes! Looking forward to reading Foreign Eclairs and following Grace in her upcoming adventures!

Shell2309 said...

I've been meaning to leave you a comment about this, but life has gotten in my way, and it's only now that I'm finally getting around to it. I'm so sad to see the end of one of my favorite book series, but I certainly understand and support your decision. Unfortunately, sometimes there comes a time when it just doesn't make sense to continue with something. I also love the Manor House series, and I will continue to enjoy Grace and her exploits for as long as you are writing them. I'm not sure how I feel about someone else continuing the White House Chef series - I don't know if anyone else could write it as well as you have, but I suppose that all remains to be seen. If you ever decide to write something else (individual books or another series), I will happily read that one, too. As it is, I avidly await the release of any book that you release, and I recommend your books to everyone I know! Thanks for providing me with many hours of enjoyment! :)

DelAnne said...

I will miss Olie and her friends, but you have given us other new friends to follow as well. Others may take the series, but we know the style will alter to suit the writer. I hope you enjoyed the journey along the way. Thank you for the memories. We will cherish them. Your talent is worth so much more than pennies per book. I do not believe people realize the time, effort and sweat each book takes out of the author. You show your love of your characters with each new book. Again we understand and sympathize with you over your parting of the ways with The White House Chef series and all the nuances you gave each character to bring them to life for us.

Julie Hyzy said...

Oh my goodness, I missed these new messages! Thank you so very much, Kaye, Aurian, Di, Nancy, Michelle, Shell2309, and DelAnne.

Hallie - That's exactly what I'd hoped to accomplish here, pulling back the curtain. As you know, the intricacies of the publishing world are often kept hush-hush. And I do hope to find a new agent once I have a new manuscript to offer!

Molly - Thank you. That means a great deal to me.

NoraA - made me laugh. Yet again!

Judy - thanks for your support and friendship!

lavendersbluegreen - I'm very glad you, and other readers, have taken the time to read this explanation. I would hate for anyone to finish Foreign Eclairs and not understand why I'm ending my role in the series. Thanks!


Robin S. said...

Loved the White House chef series and am sorry that it is (probably) at an end. I don't know that, should Tekno decide to continue the series, that anyone else will be able to do as wonderful a job as you. I really appreciate your posting the reasons behind your decision; I certainly had no idea of what was involved in the publishing game. Just finished Foreign Eclairs and, like the other books, couldn't put it down. I know that this is a series that I will reread over time, and while I will miss Ollie, look forward to the continued adventures of Grace in the Manor House series.

Ruth Treadwell said...

I liked the way you ended Eclairs. I had to say goodbye to them and you posed the situation where I could. I know you planned that, I am just saying thank you. I have read the Manor Mysteries up to date and look forward to following your writing career.

Linda Rima said...

We should bombard Tekno for them to pass the copyright to Berklyey or you! Even if the find another writer, it won't be the same. Thank you for the 9!

Allure of Deceit said...

The state of publishing is dire, as suggested by this post, and Julie epitomizes the graciousness of authors who work with a smile, without complaint or even hints of these challenges. We look forward to the next series.

Good luck, Julie!

Meg in Tennessee said...

Thank you for the series, I really enjoyed it. I know that your new series, along with Grace, will be wonderful. Keep us with the newsletters and blogs!

Stephen Zumbo said...

Dear Julie,

I was shocked and saddened to hear that the White House Chef series is ending, but I was grateful to hear about it in some detail from you, via Facebook and your blog. Thank you for the wonderful characters and situations you created. Even though mysteries are still not my favorite genre, I got so caught up with Ollie that, for a time, I read little else, and then had to re-listen to them on Audible. Due to the intrusion of real life in recent months, I have at present the last two WHC mysteries to read or listen to. Then I will try your Grace Series again. I haven't gotten through the first novel in the past; I guess she's just not Ollie.

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement to me during your library visits years ago, for your autographed paperbacks, and fun replies n threads on Facebook. Thank you always for Ollie and the series. Blessing to you and yours. I'll be watching for what you write in the future

Julie Hyzy said...

Many thanks - heartfelt thanks - for your kind comments. I wish I could reach through and hug each of you! Thank you!

Robin S. - I'll actually be surprised if Tekno continues the series. I suspect they barely know it exists. I could be wrong, but that's my impression.

Ruth - I'm so happy you liked the ending. It was absolutely the only way I could leave them. Several readers on Amazon are a little less than pleased ;)

Linda - That would be interesting. Thank you for reading the series!

Allure of Deceit - What a lovely compliment. Thank you.

Meg - I plan to keep the updates coming. Thank you!

Stephen - I hope you're enjoying life in the warm weather. It was nice to get to know you. You're right, Grace isn't Ollie. They're like two very good friends of mine. Very different people, but I cherish them both.



Connie Archer said...

Dear Julie ~ I'm very sad your wonderful series is ending! But you've come through it all with flying colors. I know you'll continue to have hits! I was there the night you won the Anthony in Cleveland, and you have a very special place in MY heart because you gave me my very first blurb! All the best to you!

RobinfromCA said...

If Ollie & Co. had to leave, I think you did a fantastic job of creating a story for her. I hope nobody tries to continue the series because Ollie's voice is in your head. She will be very much missed and I am so glad Tekno doesn't own Grace! I started reading Manor House as soon as it came out because I love your writing. I look forward to anything and everything you write in the future.

Marcia McCracken said...

I just finished reading Foreign Éclairs, and loved it! What a cool way to end the series! In honor of the end, I actually bought the book. (I read 5 to 6 books a week, so obviously I can't buy too many or I'll have to rent storage units just for my books.) The White House Chef mysteries are so well written, and set the standard for quality cozy mysteries. I'm so sorry that the series is coming to an end. Thanks for explaining what went into the decision. You're doing the right thing - it's unfair for you to get so little out of your work. Meanwhile I'll continue to enjoy the Grace Under Pressure books and look forward to the new series that I hope you're going to start. ;) I'll buy the first book, I promise! Thank you SO MUCH for giving me hours of enjoyment. When I hear about the White House now, I think of Ollie.

badgermirlacca said...

I am SO sorry to hear this. I love this series, but having done WFH myself, I deeply sympathize with the position it puts you in; the numbers just don't work and you have to put your energy in places where it gets replenished. When I thought that you owned the copyright, I was hoping that you could self-publish new books in the series, but obviously that isn't an option. What a shame--I'm really going to miss Ollie!

I see you have a new series coming out which IS available only as an ebook, so go you! I hope the Riley Drake series is a fabulous success!

Susan said...

It never ceases to amaze me that writers - without whom there would be no publishing industry - always get the least and the last when it comes to finances. And control. And applause. It's just not right.

Heather said...

I'm a little late hearing about this, I know, but I still wanted to tell you how much I have loved this series, and how sorry I am that it is ending. Foreign Éclairs was really a great way to end it. Thank you. I understand why it's the end, and certainly hope they don't hire someone else to write the series, as it just wouldn't be Ollie. (Though I do fantasize that in a few years you somehow manage to acquire the rights and pick up Ollie's story!) :)

Janelle Mitzner said...

Thank you for giving us cozy readers one of the best series and set of characters there is. You and Monica Ferris are tied in my list of favorite copies. You have a remarkable way of making Ollie and Gav and the gang seem remarkably like our friends. I just finished Grace Cries Uncle and loved it. I have Foreign Eclairs ready for me in my Kindle.Your books occupy me during bad days of back pain and waiting for test results.

Beth Perry said...

Julie,
first I'd like to thank you so much for the White House chef series, and I am so sorry to see Ollie go. But what I want most is for you to be given the respect you deserve for such a fabulous series.
Do not fret, Grace IS my FAVORITE character of your writings, and although I will miss the White House greatly, I would be a TOTAL mess without Grace.
so good luck and good writings to you my dear, you have much, MUCH bigger things in your professional career ahead of you. You are a wonderful writer and role model.
Again, I just want to say thank you

pam said...

I just finished Foreign Eclairs and was dismayed to hear that it was the last of the series and to read the reason why. Thank you for a great series and a great character who will always be one of my favorites. I found you first when I found Grace Under Pressure. I hope that series has a long happy life.

pam said...

I just finished Foreign Eclairs and was dismayed to hear that it was the last of the series and to read the reason why. Thank you for a great series and a great character who will always be one of my favorites. I found you first when I found Grace Under Pressure. I hope that series has a long happy life.

Ellen C. said...

Your story breaks my heart, Julie. As a freelance writer for several national magazines, I was often faced with work-for-hire contracts. Fortunately since I came up with my own ideas and sources, I was able to turn them down and negotiate better terms.
I realize being an indie author (I write the Jazz Age mystery series set in 1920s Galveston, TX) isn't ideal, but at least I maintain all my rights and creative control. Perhaps you could consider that possibility and keep your loyal following?
Good luck and thanks for the eye-opening post!
Ellen Mansoor Collier

jennifer60201 said...

Meant to leave this note ages ago back when I read Foreign Eclairs, but, you know, Life. I figure better late than never.

I wanted to let you know that I was blown away by how perfect the series ending is. It offers a strong sense of closure while at the same time leaving me optimistic and excited about Ollie and Gav's future. Even if you had not been trying to leave the door open for another theoretical writer, I can't imagine an ending that would have made me happier.

Truly, this series is a work of art. Thank you so very much.

Biff Danger said...

Julie, I've been a fan of yours from the first word you wrote, at least that I know of. Even before that when I directed Biz in my plays you've always been a person I can look up to.
I'll miss Ollie and her crew but I'm sure I won't miss you and your talented creativity. I know I'll see you in print again soon and in the meantime I've got at least one other of your novels to read in order to catch up. Love all your stories. Hey, let's have dinner and talk shop sometime.

duppole765 said...

I have read all your books and whenever we go on a trip my husband and I play your audio books. We love the WHITE Chef series and will miss them so much. Love the Grace series too, but Ollie and the gang are so special. Can'the tell you how many times we sat in parking lots of the motel we were staying in so we could listen to more of your stories! Thank you for the many many hours of enjoyment. If you ever find a way to bring them back, please do!

Diana Supple said...

Thank goodness for friends! I'm an avid reader, but you weren't on my radar until a friend loaned me State of the Onion and Hail to the Chef. I loved getting to know Ollie and her companions and being a part of the intrigue in the White House. Sad that you won't be writing their continuing stories, but I plan to read anything and everything you write! You are now on my list of "favorite authors"!

Nancy S said...

So sad to read the ending of Foreign Eclairs and know that Ollie's story has come to an end. Thank you so much for your many grateful reads! I'm definitely continuing with the Grace books.

I was very curious when you wrote about your great editor Denise. I was not surprised that you enjoyed working with her. I got to know her years ago in NY. Spending time with her was always a treat.

Julie Hyzy said...

I am humbled and honored by all the beautiful messages I just found here. Sometimes I forget to check my own blog (I know!) and I can't thank you all enough for your kindness and understanding. Thank you all, for your warm support!

Julie

Judith Kahn said...

I have just finished foreign affairs for the second time and liked it even better than the first time. I am sick about losing Ollie, gave and the the rest. I will never buy another book from tekno

Judi

Greg Scott said...

Oh wow. I'm a beginning author myself, with one published Indie book, "Bullseye Breach," and another manuscript ready for editing. My main character, Jerry Barkley, is a talented IT contractor, but with no special superpowers, who finds himself in extraordinary computer security situations. Any ST:TNG fan will recognize Jerry's great great great great great great grandson.

Like most writers, I'm also an avid reader. My wife found "Inaugural Parade," which includes "State of the Onion," "Hail to the Chef," and "Eggsecutive Orders" at the Dollar store. I just finished "State of the Onion" a few days ago and I'm eager to get into the next stories. I like Ollie because, like Jerry, she is hard-working and talented, but with no superpowers, and finds herself in these extraordinary situations. Just a great character all around.

So I wanted to check out the author who invented her. And I just now read this blog post and learned she's gone. Ollie, I look forward to getting to know you better in subsequent stories and I already miss you. And Julie, I'm also looking forward to getting to know your newer characters.

My secret agenda was to ask you about finding a good agent and publisher, so thank you so much for sharing your experience with Techno. Let's tip a glass to the past and painful lessons and look forward to the future.

- Greg Scott

Carolyn McNulty said...

So sorry to see Ollie and Gav go! They’re some of my favorite cozy characters. After reading your reasons for ending the series, I can only thank you for writing the incredible culmination. I read the last chapter twice. I’m looking forward to making the acquaintance of Grace Wheaton and am delighted that you’ve been writing a Grace book each year. Again, thank you for hours of enjoyment and hours yet to come!

Michelle Morris said...

I was intrigued by this series,as mysteries are not my favorite genre,but now I'm hooked! I'm in the middle of "Onion",with "Chef" on order,and "Eggsecutive" on stand-by! Now I find that the series is ending???? Major sadness. Even if someone else takes it over (which I doubt),it just won't be the same. However,it's not fair that you work at a deficit,and I believe you made the right decision. I'm saddened that as I make my way through the series,the end is coming :( ,but as you said,how many times can the White House Chef save the world? Then again,the crew of the (first) Enterprise have been doing that for 50 years,so let that be your inspiration! :D Anyway,I thank you for the books we have now. Perhaps a miracle will occur (like gaining ownership of your characters...hey,it could happen!),and you can retake your rightful place as the creator of Ollie and Co. I will read the Grace books afterwards,and any other series you've got up your sleeve. Congratulations! You've brought a long time science fiction fan into the mystery fold! Bravo,thanks,and good luck to you!

Angela Dail said...

This truly has been one of my favorite series. I was so sad to when I heard that it was ending but after reading your blog truly understand why. I'm off to order your other series :-).

Khristina Stock said...

I will miss Ollie. I like grace too but not as much. I wish you hadn't ended the series with her going into witness protection. She is a chef and in that program won't be able to stay a chef which isn't fair to her.

JCY said...

Aww, that really bites. Normally, I wouldn't comment on a post this late but...I just gotta say how I really loved the series and how much I'm going to miss getting new adventures with Ollie and the gang. I guess I'll just have to settle for more rereads. Thanks for the stories! And I'm glad you own the rights to the Manor House Mysteries. MOAR STORIES!(please and thank you!) :D

maryann5905@yahoo said...

I cried at the end of the last book because Ollie had to change her life. I was waiting for the er doctor who gave her the blood tests for the paralyzing agent she was shot up with to call and tell her she was pregnant and the next book would have her trying to keep Josh alive to be her soon to be baby's godfather !

peacebwithyou65 said...

No, no, no. I love this series and the characters that you created and I was so looking forward to find out what happens next. Someone might continue the series but it will not be same. Thank you for your delighful stories.