For this third installment in our series about Shaggy Dog’s Lady Writers, we feature Belinda Gordon, the founder and director of our publishing cooperative. Belinda is a lady of many talents, and we learned more during a recent conversation with this dynamic entrepreneur.
SMJ: I just read and thoroughly enjoyed your award-winning book, The Good Pharmacist’s Deadly Secrets—a Finalist in the 2020 AIN Book of the Year Award. I see it’s listed as book one in a new series, following your 4-book series “The King’s Jewel.” All of these include mythical creatures from a world very different from our own. Do you consider these works urban fantasy, and what prompted you to write them?
BG: I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. Thank you for taking the time to read it.
I started planning the first book in The King’s Jewel series when Twilight was at the height of its popularity. My initial thoughts were that I wanted to write a paranormal romance—a story about soul mates that were adults—not teenagers, and I wanted to write from the point of view of the non-human. I also knew I didn’t want the story to be about werewolves or vampires.
After tossing around various ideas, I settled on using the fae from Celtic mythology, namely the Tuatha de Danann or Sidhe. Of course, other fae-Leprechauns, Pixies, and Brounies—make appearances. It was a nice connection to my own Irish heritage.
I do consider the books to be Urban Fantasy. The first book, Tressa’s Treasures, has the most romance in it, but the series follows the same couple through their adventures as they search for the four treasures of the Tuatha de Danann and fulfill an ancient prophecy.
The Good Pharmacist’s Deadly Secrets, the first book in what will be The Findale Fae Mysteries, is a spinoff of the first series. These books are Cozy Mysteries with an Urban Fantasy twist. I’ve always been I huge fan of mysteries and I’m excited to write them myself.
SMJ: Being a resident of the Pocono Mountains, I particularly appreciated reading about our beautiful part of the world which is your setting. And I noticed that your protagonist, Sloan, has opted to spend her life in our world even though she is fae. Why is she followed by the fascinating creatures from the other world?
BG: Sloan decides to stay in the Human World because that’s where she feels most comfortable—although she doesn’t truly fit in in either place. Her adoptive father raised her as human and, although she always knew she was different, she didn’t discover the truth about herself until after her introduction in the book Xander’s Folly.
Her adventures in The King’s Jewel series make her a celebrity in the Otherworld. She also develops the loyalty of a small band of Leprechauns. They send a representative and his rascal of a nephew to look after her when she settles in a small tourist town in the Pocono Mountains.
The other fae recognize her when they meet, because of her notoriety, but the implication in all the stories is that fae live around us here in the Human World and we have no idea! That’s the thing that tickles me about Urban Fantasy, mixing these fantastical creatures into our everyday world.
SMJ: It’s my understanding you’re considering going in an entirely different direction with your next project. Can you tell us about that?
BG: First, let me say, Sloan will be back with another mystery to solve! But yes, my next release will be something entirely different.
I wrote, or rather attempted to write, a book many years ago. It was my first effort, and I spent a couple of years working on the story. In the end, I put the book aside, considered it a learning experience and gave up the idea of getting it published.
My husband recently encouraged me to dust off the manuscript and take another look. Now I’m so glad that I did. With all the additional writing experience I have under my belt, I think the final draft will be something I’m excited to share.
The story which takes place in1997, is about a woman who is a trader on Wall Street. She’s balancing a career, motherhood, and marriage. Back then they told women that you could have all these things, give them all 100% and nothing would suffer. As things go wrong, she needs to figure out what’s truly important to her and how to rebuild her life in a way that works. The title is Having It All. Watch for its release before the end of the year.
SMJ: Let’s talk for a minute about another hat you wear, founder and director of Shaggy Dog Productions, LLC. What prompted you to establish what has become a writer’s cooperative, of which I am a happy member?
BG: I’m an entrepreneur at heart. Shaggy Dog Productions, or SDP for short, is a company my husband and I started several years ago for my various side interests. At that time I dabbled in stock photography. I still have a small portfolio available on various sites. And, as you know, I sell handmade candles and jewelry.
When I became serious about writing, it was a natural progression to add publisher to the SDP repertoire. I did my research and started with publishing my own books.
Along my writing life journey, I had the pleasure of being invited to join a wonderfully warm and supportive group of women known as The Lady Writers of the Poconos. If anyone is interested, they can read about my path to joining this amazing group in this blog post: My Writer Besties.
This group became the nucleus of the SPD Writer’s Cooperative. Together we have put together this website and, whether or not SDP is a member’s publisher, we work together to bring our work to the public’s attention.
We recently entered a new phase in our growth that I’m thrilled about. SDP now offers Author Services. Our current offerings include customized graphic images for social media marketing and book formatting. Soon we hope to offer editing and cover design. We’re combining our various strengths to provide what I hope will grow to be a one stop destination for other authors on the road to publishing their books.
SMJ: How do you balance your writing with everything else you do at SDP?
BG: Hmm, maybe it’s no coincidence that my next book release is about balance!
Honestly, it’s a significant benefit to have you and the other ladies in the cooperative helping me by providing articles like the series of author interviews you’re doing now. And various members will split the Author Services duties. But, like I said earlier, I’m an entrepreneur at heart and I love running the business side of things.
Of course, it takes away from the time I can allot to writing and I’m a slow writer as it is. But it suits my personality to have several things going at the same time. Hopefully, my readers won’t mind being patient about waiting a little longer to get a new book from me!
Author of the Augusta McKee Mystery Series