Dying to Get Published

Dying to Get Published

by Judy Fitzwater


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Mystery writer Jennifer Marsh has a stack of unpublished manuscripts and rejection letters to match filling her closet. All she needs is publicity to get her books published. How about murder?

She'll find a target so mean that she'd actually be doing the world a favor by bumping them off. And she knows just the person:
Penney Richmond, a high-powered literary agent who's made it her job to ruin people's lives. All Jennifer has to do is frame herself, do the deed, and come up with an iron-clad alibi, and she'll be well on her way to getting a three book deal. But there's a huge flaw in her plan. A vegetarian good girl who rescued a greyhound could never actually kill someone. But when Penney is found murdered and the police think Jennifer did it, she'd better find the real murderer before she goes away... for life.

Along with her eccentric writer's group, spunky old ladies with a nose for sleuthing, her neurotic greyhound, and a sexy, sarcastic reporter named Sam, Jennifer embarks on a journey filled with danger, deception, and disguises that could leave her Dying to Get Published..

DYING TO GET PUBLISHED was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Mystery.

"Suspenseful, funny, and bracingly perceptive." - Janet Evanovich

"A sprightly novel." - Carolyn G. Hart

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781720403418
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 06/13/2018
Pages: 198
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.45(d)

About the Author

Judy Fitzwater grew up an Air Force brat and has lived in New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Hawaii, Maine, Kentucky, Georgia, New Jersey, and North Carolina. She began her writing career freelancing as a columnist, feature writer, and reporter of Superior Court proceedings for a newspaper in rural North Carolina. Her interests soon turned to fiction, and she has been writing mystery novels ever since. She lives in the Washington, D.C., suburbs with her husband, two daughters, and their Norwich terrier.

From the Paperback edition.

Read an Excerpt

The jail cell was cold. Cold and gray and ugly. Jennifer ran her hands through her long, taffy-brown hair and sank wistfully against the wall.
The chill reached through her sweater and embraced her shoulders. She shot straight up on the backless bench and shivered. She felt as though something were crawling down her back, something with many legs, but she knew it was her imagination. She prayed it was her imagination.

She thanked God that she was alone in the cell--no gun moll, no whore in wig and fishnet stockings, no runaway street kid whose innocence had just been ravaged. She knew them all so well, but not in the flesh, never in the flesh.

She wondered how she had come to such a state, how she would ever explain to Sam or Dee Dee or Mrs. Walker. Or anyone else she had ever known in her twenty-nine years.

And what would all this mean to Jaimie, her unborn child? She patted her stomach and sighed. She had promised Jaimie she (or was it he?) would someday be born. He (or she) had yet to be conceived. "Don't give up hope,
little one," she whispered. "We've been through so much together." Not for the first time, she wondered about her own sanity. She was talking to an unfertilized egg.

Jennifer would like to pretend that her arrest had been a complete misunderstanding. She didn't belong in a jail in Atlanta, Georgia. She'd only toyed with the idea of murder. A mere whim. An elaborate game.

Okay, so she'd planned the whole thing, but that wasn't the point. Except for a brief dalliance with Buddhism, she was a good, Baptist girl. She knew right from wrong. The Ten Commandments were clear. They were even numbered for easy reference, and number six left no room to hedge.

And hadn't she promised God when she was immersed in the baptismal pool that, if He didn't let her drown, she would always be good? By the third dip she truly believed in miracles, and came up sputtering with a new understanding of what it was to be "reborn."

Jennifer Marsh was no more a murderer than Jimmy Carter was an adulterer.
She was a caterer and a novelist--a mystery novelist. True, she had committed murder twelve times in eight novels--if you didn't count Sir Conrad's death, which turned out to be the result of natural causes. Eight novels that were stacked neatly on the shelf in her hall closet--eight novels collecting layers of dust--nearly three thousand manuscript pages in all.

Stacked next to them in a pile that seemed to tower over the manuscripts were rejections from some of the best publishing houses and most prestigious agents in the country. The story was always the same: "While your characters are interesting, I feel they are not unique enough to carry a series," or "I'm sorry but while your material is exceptionally well written and plotted, I could not become sufficiently enthused with it to take it on."

So they wanted unique. She gave them unique in her last book. Her heroine,
Jolene Arizona, was a left-handed, blind-in-one-eye, bareback-riding circus performer turned Hollywood detective who took stunt gigs on the side when her client list dwindled. And she slept with all of them--every solitary client--employing a few tricks she'd learned on the circus circuit.

Jennifer sighed and settled back against the wall, letting the cold creep into her bones--she didn't deserve any better--and let her mind wander back to the day just three weeks ago when she set in motion the events that would inevitably lead to that cold jail cell: the day she decided to commit murder....

As usual, she'd been hard at work, writing most of the morning. A little after eleven o'clock she typed the words the end on page 293 of Jolene Arizona's first adventure. Tears of joy stung Jennifer's eyes. This one,
she promised herself, this one would sell. The elation was suddenly washed away with a wave of nausea. She pushed back from the word processor and ran to the bathroom, where she stripped off her clothes and let the warm water of the shower flow over her, mingling with her tears. She would not sell her soul for a buck just to be published. She would not.

The roughness of the fresh towel brought her back to reality. She dried off, folded herself into the warmth of her royal blue terry-cloth robe,
and wrapped the towel about her head. She caught her reflection in the mirror that ran the width of the small bathroom. She looked tired, bereft of vitality. Who was she fooling with her dreams of being a novelist?
Maybe it was time to settle, time to make a little fire in the fireplace,
time to clean the closet.

She sighed, wiped a final stray tear from her cheek and walked barefoot into the bedroom. The remote control was where it always was, between the pillows on the unmade double bed. She sank onto the sheets, not caring that the damp from the towel was seeping into the feather nest of her pillow. She touched the on button and the face of Geraldo Rivera loomed before her. Another show about prostitutes. How quaint.

She touched the CHANNEL UP button and Sally's red glasses appeared on her smiling, blonde head. Nice work if you could get it--talking to people day after day who made you feel like you were so much better off than they.
The topic was romance gone bad. What a unique idea!

Another flip of the button brought Oprah's smiling face into view. She was talking to an author. Jennifer lay paralyzed on the bed. Turn it, she ordered herself, but her finger lay still. Turn it, she demanded again, but it was fatally too late.

This was no celebrity book this woman was promoting. She had been unjustly accused of murdering her husband. The trial had been in all the papers.
Jennifer remembered it vividly. It was such an involuted case, she'd clipped several of the articles for her idea file. But the woman had been exonerated. She was not guilty after all. Not only was she not guilty, she had written a book released just last week that was already in its third printing. She was famous, she was acquitted, and she was on her way to living happily ever after.

Jennifer pushed the power button and the screen went blank. Her eyes fuzzed out of focus, a nervous twitch settled into one corner of her mouth, pulling it upward into a half-crazed smile, and her thoughts ...
her thoughts strayed in a direction that would lead her straight to jail.

From the Paperback edition.

Table of Contents

Customer Reviews

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Dying to Get Published 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 124 reviews.
A_Daily_Reader More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be a delight. It has a strong determined heroine who is trying to do her best to become a mystery writer. She has a critique group of other aspiring writers who are zany, believable and an all-around group of people you wouldn't mind meeting. Jennifer may be a little obsessive but her heart is always in the right place. She might be able to write about murder, even plan a murder, but commit murder -- no way! The problem, of course, arises when she plans a murder but someone else carries it through - leaving her with no alibi and in a jail cell. Thank God she has friends! This is the kind of book you can read on vacation and people will look at you wondering what you are laughing at. Whether or not Jennifer will ever get published, we don't know, but I am sure you will be as glad as I am that Judy Fitzwater did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun read with the heroine of the story, Jennifer Marsh, an unpublished author of murder mysteries being a suspect in a real murder. Fans of the Ivy Malone series will like this, although a much younger heroine, Jennifer gets in and out fixes that she has created herself. No foul language or gory details of the murders.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good, not great. A fun read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Funny story with easy to like characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was hard to get involved in, and just didn't keep my interest!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a fun read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept me reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This wasn't a gripping, can't-put-it-down type of book but it was entertaining nonetheless.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Funny, mysterious and even a little bit of romance. Perfect!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was perhaps just a tad slow at start...got going with good characters. It was very entertaining. Plan to read about jennifer and her further adventures soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Long boring plot
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a must read for writers. An hilariously refreshing look at the publishing industry. Any writer can study the plot, dialogue, and show not tell passage and learn how to hone their craft. Evonovich has nothing on Fitzwater but fans at this point.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed every word. The humor has a natural flow that doesn't feel forced like some I've read lately. I'm ready for the next book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting characters, good quick read
reds63 More than 1 year ago
This book was short and kept me interested the entire time. It actually had a few twists I didn't see coming. Quick summer read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story line was good and entertaining and I enjoyed reading this book. It held my interest. A good short read.
Barb025 More than 1 year ago
For anybody who has ever tried to write a mystery, this is a great idea. The author has a great sense of humor along with good plotting skills. I look forward to the next book. Barb
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun and lighthearted read!
fruitopia More than 1 year ago
Good Free Read Jennifer Marsh is a mystery writer who cannot get her book published.  One day she comes up with this brilliant idea of why her manuscripts keep getting rejected, she needs to think like a murderer.  All she needs to do is find someone to kill.  She decides that she is going to kill the literary agent Penny Richmond.  All she needs to do is get herself locked up for the murder, and have herself a good alibi that the police cannot prove that she did not commit the murder.  Jenifer comes to her senses and realizes that she is not a murderer, but someone kills Penny, and Jennifer becomes the prime suspect.  How will she get herself out of this?   This book at times had be laughing out loud, some of Jennifer antics were just outrageous.  Jennifer’s group of friends who are also writers were just as funny and she was, and then you have the old ladies who were just as fun with their sleuthing.  Oh, and don’t forget Sam Culpepper who writes for the Macon Telegraph, he has become a distraction, she likes him, but he is getting in the  way of her plans.  In all I really did enjoy reading this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book - keeps you on the edge of your seat. Hope to read more by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! This was a fun read, I enjoyed the plots, schemes and trying to figure out who done it! Fast paced page turner that was a fun read! I loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written, good characters. Good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was okay , kind of wird bit entertaining
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was okay but kind of weird but entertaining