Sunday, November 12, 2017

New Release: Fatal, Family, Album: Book #13 -- Win a copy!

The American Childcare Problem
For most American families, childcare is a huge issue. Finding a reliable, affordable person is critical and difficult. Even when you do find that magic person who’s a perfect fit for your family, keeping her/him can be nearly impossible. We once had a terrific nanny who was lured away by another family who could double her wages. One couple we knew hired a young Mennonite woman. They laughed to us that their secret of retaining her was to pay a huge tithe each year to her church so that rather than find her a husband, that institution would leave her languishing in spinsterhood, and thus playing her role as nanny. (I have no idea if that’s true or if these people were joking, although they did employ the best nanny/housekeeper I ever met.)

Childminding in Other Countries

In many countries, young women get training that prepares them to work as nannies. They learn about child development, toilet training, basic first aid, diagnosing and treating common childhood ailments, and so on. Childcare there is a respected career. Also, working as a nanny provides the perfect mechanism for a young woman with limited English to gain fluency. Many nannies go from childcare to other professions. When we lived in England, many childcare workers or childminders came from Eastern Europe. (Since then, I’ve met a young Brazilian woman who was a lawyer in her country, but who came to the US as a nanny to improve her English.) Their transport to the UK was part of their stipend, as well as regular vacations and transport back home for visits. It was expected that you would give the nanny her own room and regular time off. These young women would supplement their childminding wages by cleaning houses for ex-pats and Brits. One nanny would recruit the next, insuring families of fairly seamless childcare while maintaining a high standard of care. After all, you didn’t want to be the one nanny who “dropped the ball” and disappointed everyone. If you did that, the younger girls waiting in the wings wouldn’t get their chance to work for a nice family.
A Modest Proposal

Being born and raised here, I naturally have a lot of pride in our country. Living abroad I learned that there are things we could do differently that would make life better. Having trained, semi-professional childcare, and holding such workers in high esteem is one of those changes we should make.

Introducing Fatal, Family, Album--A Hard Labor!
I drew on my experiences as a young mother desperate for reliable and responsible healthcare as I wrote Fatal, Family, Album: Book #13in the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series. It’s been such a crazy fall—after repackaging and re-releasing 13 other Kiki books—that I was up against my deadline for FFA. In fact, I did something I’ve never done in my life…I worked for 23 hours straight to edit and revise FFA so I’d meet my deadline. My husband was on a business trip. His absence assured me of no interruptions. I got up at 5 a.m. one morning and worked until 4 a.m. the next, straight through.
Immersion--Highly Recommended

While I wouldn’t recommend it, I have to say there were advantages to pulling that all-nighter. Because I was totally immersed in the book, because I did NOTHING but revise it, I could more easily spot redundancies, inconsistencies, and other problems. I had a trust corps of beta readers who had given me input, as well as several talented proofreaders. I used that input to make changes, but I also totally re-arranged the book to improve the narrative flow, so it’s entirely possible that I introduced new mistakes. As Robert Burns eloquently put it, things gang aft agley. (Stuff happens.)

How I Come Up With This Stuff--and a FREE Book
Every book is a patchwork quilt of ideas, impressions, memories, research, personal observations, anecdotes, and so on. I hope my readers will enjoy Fatal, Family, Album. Right now it’s on sale at an introductory price of 99 cents. Get it at  Also, today and tomorrow, Paper, Scissors, Death: Book #1 in the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series is free because of a BookBub promotion Go to

Questions? Comments?

Did you have any trouble finding reliable and responsible childcare? Are you curious about the penguin on the cover of Fatal, Family, Album? Do you have any questions for me about the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series? Comment and I'll choose one lucky person on Tuesday night to win a free copy of Fatal, Family, Album.


Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting.

Sharon said...

Love the story behind your book. Yes, what is the penguin doing on the cover? Just purchased the book. Couldn't take a chance on winning a copy.

Joanna Slan said...

There's a chase scene with penguins. That's all I'm saying. Don't want to ruin it! I'm eager to hear what you think of the book.

Joanna Slan said...

Anonymous, send me an email at and I'll "gift" you a copy of FFA!

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