Guest Post: Dee Garretson on her move to Self-Publishing

Let me introduce Dee Garretson, she has published with HarperCollins and has recently moved to self-publishing with her new book, The Gargoyle In The Seine.

The New World of Self-Publishing
Viewing old photos of Paris, researching French pastries and imagining my perfect vision of a handsome, sophisticated 19th century British spy is not hard work. Writing a story pulling all those elements together so that someone else wants to read it is the hard part. Okay, it was easy to throw in the French pastries, but it was tough to come up with a plot involving my lovely spy, Reese, and Reese’s reluctant counterpart in crime-solving, Clary, the art student. Once the story was written, hoping I had something others may like, but knowing I had to reach readers, became the really tough part.
This is not a for or against statement on self-publishing. Each writer and each book is a special case, and everyone thinking about how to proceed with a writing career should weigh their choices and goals very carefully. I’m thrilled my middle grade fiction is published by HarperCollins, and I hope to continue on that path with future books. I’m working with my agent right now on revising a new middle grade to submit to publishers.
I like to write many kinds of fiction, though, not just children’s, and as I researched the idea of self-publishing, it made sense for me to publish my historical mystery, and, soon, some of my contemporary mysteries. As an avid reader of mysteries myself, I know there are large numbers of readers who devour these stories the way I do.
Some have asked why I decided to go forward with self-publishing when two agents offered to work with me on this story. There were many reasons, but the main one was that their visions for the book were very different from each other, and very different from my own. I appreciate the thought that went into their views, but with no guarantee of a sale even after I completed their revisions, I just didn’t want to go down that path. The other drawback with taking a traditional route is the inability to continue a series unless a publisher’s marketing department gives the okay. I love my characters and their world, and I want to continue to write about them.
I’m a huge fan of the Amelia Peabody mysteries by Elizabeth Peters, and while my story and characters are very different, I wanted to write a story that would appeal to the same readers. The best advice for writers is to write types of stories you like to read, because that’s when the passion will show through. I firmly believe that. It all comes down to this: Life is short, and I don’t want to regret not doing something. I have many stories to tell, and I’m going to make sure I tell them. 
The first two chapters of The Gargoyle in the Seine are available on my website, as well as on online retail sites with a “look inside” or “read inside” feature. I also have a short story prequel available, which introduces Reese, called The Haunting of the Oceania. It can be downloaded as a pdf on my website, or a reader can download it for free to an ereader from

Review of The Gargoyle in the Seine
Art student Clary Ashton can’t imagine a more perfect spot to study painting than Paris in the spring of 1878, until she witnesses a body thrown into the Seine, the body of Liam Heaton, another art student whose origins are clouded in mystery. What Clary thinks is murder becomes much more as Liam’s secrets come to light and Clary’s own brother falls under suspicion. Determined to clear him, she finds caught between two dangerous men- a political extremist days away from assassinating the Prince of Wales, and the young intrepid British secret agent, Reese Tretheway, who is determined to stop him.

Reese Tretheway could be described as a complicated nineteenth century version of James Bond-type spy, but the artist, Clary, is no Bond girl. Awkward and completely lacking in social skills, Clary was brought up like a gypsy, can roast an iguana to perfection, but can’t embroider a tea cloth if her life depends on it. Reese manages to hunt revolutionaries without ever losing his savoir-faire, wrinkling his evening clothes, or revealing his own secrets, all of which Clary finds maddening. When Clary realizes she knows too much, and has become a target of the revolutionaries, Clary and Reese have to tolerate each other long enough to try to save both Clary’s brother and the Prince, and in the process save their own lives.
This is another mystery that I did not solve before the end! That as I have said in previous reviews is a good start to show that this is a well written book. I also really like the setting, as a lover of European history, 1870's Paris is a great hook. The writing makes you feel as if you are entering a different world and Clary is a great guide through the time. She is clever and caring and has an edge that shows she can take care of whatever situation she gets involved in. I enjoyed the story and found the writing to be inviting and well paced. I know I have said it before but for me if the book is paced well and the characters are enjoyable and inviting - the combination makes for a great story!
I highly recommend this to those who enjoy historical fiction with a mystery and or thriller slant. I also think those who just like historical fiction should give this a try. If you are a mystery lover and don't usually read those with a historical slant, try this as an introduction! It is not difficult as the era is described beautifully.
To find out how to get your own copy go to


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