I have often thought that having a book released is akin to giving birth. As writers, we first conceive of the idea. Then comes the gestation period, where the concept grows, changes, becomes an ever-better version of itself. Rewrites follow rewrites, edits upon edits. After a very long, difficult labor, your baby novel is born. Whew, what a process!
For those of us who were unfortunate enough to go through that experience in the middle of the pandemic, the journey became even more challenging. For me, it took an unexpected turn.
My original concept was to write a murder mystery that took place at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where I had been a violinist for 21 years. I found a traditional publisher and drew upon my experiences at the Met, adding large doses of my wicked imagination, and Murder in the Pit was born. Readers requested a sequel, and I delivered one that took place at Santa Fe Opera. My “Opera Mystery” series was created. San Francisco Opera asked me to write another that took place at that venerable institution, and another sequel was published.
Then, the pandemic happened.
The San Francisco novel languished in e-book only, with no print version. I was at a loss. My Puget Sound Sisters in Crime colleagues sent me to the wonderful local organization, Washington Lawyers for the Arts, who advised me to get back my rights and find another publisher.
I lucked out. Level Best Books offered me a contract to re-publish all three books, with different titles and covers. I then went to work adding changes: new plot points, updates and more. Et voilà: the first book in the series is now about to be reborn as Aria for Murder, releasing Oct. 28. New sequels will be published in 2023 and 2024. That’s what I call great family planning!
Violinist turned author ERICA MINER now has a multi-faceted career as an award-winning author, screenwriter, journalist and lecturer.
Erica’s lectures, seminars and workshops have received kudos throughout California and the Pacific Northwest, and she has won top ratings as a special lecturer for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. An active contributor to OperaPulse.com and LAOpus.com, she also contributed a monthly Power of Journaling article series for the National Association of Baby Boomer Women newsletter. Other writings have appeared in Vision Magazine, WORD San Diego, Istanbul Our City, and numerous E-zines. Erica’s lecture topics include “The Art of Self- Re-invention,” “Journaling: The Write Way to Write Fiction,” “Solving the Mystery of Mystery Writing,” and “Opera Meets Hollywood.” Details about Erica’s novels, screenplays and lectures can be found on her website.
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ARIA FOR MURDER
Chi eÌ morto, voi, o il vecchio?
Che domanda da bestia! Il vecchio.
Who’s dead, you or the old man?
What an idiotic question! The old man.
—Mozart, Don Giovanni, Act I
Collateral damage. Sometimes it just can’t be avoided.
That was what his partner had told him. When you’re trying to kill someone, other people can get in the way. It’s not planned. It just happens. Though the Metropolitan Opera’s orchestra pit was the largest in the world, when the orchestration of an opera was vast, as in Wagner or Strauss, things could get quite crowded for the one hundred or so musicians squeezed together there. Tonight’s Verdi was no exception. Grand opera at its loftiest, with plenty of brass, extra strings, and the like. He would do his best to hit his target precisely. But it wasn’t an exact science. And if, under pressure, he was slightly off, well...
Tanto peggio, as they say in French.
He chortled to himself. Everyone in the Met knew “tanto peggio” was Italian, not French.
He salivated with anticipation as he lovingly cleaned his VAL Russian sniper rifle with its special bronze-bristled brush, and oiled and lubricated the ammunition chamber with the fine-spray One Shot gun cleaner and a cotton swab. He picked up the last tiny fragments of powder residue with an alcohol patch threaded through a needle attached to the brush. Then he polished the entire instrument with one of his special-order McAlister microfiber gun cleaning cloths.
If you look after your firearm, when the time comes, it will look after you.
And what better time for an assassination than opening night at the Met?
Copyright © 2022, Erica Miner
Publisher: Level Best Books (October 28, 2022)
Paperback: 254 pages
Item Weight: 13.4 ounces
Dimensions: 6 x 0.58 x 9 inches