Gayle Carline ~ Killing it with Humor

First off, I want to say a HUGE thank you to all of you awesome readers for helping out my daughter! She's overwhelmed by your generosity and can't wait to get on her bike to do some good. Not sure what I'm talking about? Check it out here. Thank you so much!

Today I'm super thrilled to have my gal pal Gayle Carline on the blog to talk about fun stuff like horses and her writing journey. That's her with her mare Frosty in the pic. Don't they both look gorgeous?!

I met Gayle at the Southern California Writer's Conference and was immediately smitten. Of course, at the time she had no idea who I was, but I managed to stalk her long enough that she eventually gave in to my charms and befriended me. Little did she know that I'd drag her to porn shops for a research field trip! If we lived closer, we'd be lethal.

Gayle's written two mystery books ~ Freezer Burn and Hit or Missus, that feature her heroine, Peri Minneopa. As well as two humor books, What Would Erma Do? and Are You There Erma? It's Me, Gayle. Because she's totally awesome (and it's her 20th Anniversary), on Wednesday, May 16th, Gayle will be offering all of her books for free on Kindle! Don't worry, I'll remind you again on Wednesday.

Enough jibber jabber, let's get to know Gayle a little better!

Me: Your mysteries have a very interesting main character, where did the inspiration for Peri come from?

Gayle:  Think of Peri as “Jessica Fletcher meets Murphy Brown” (the youngsters will have to Google those references). Peri came out of a joke between my friend and me. We made up Peri Menopause, Private Eye, who solves every case by crying, eating chocolate, then bitch slapping people until someone confesses. She's sassy, she's feisty, she says the things I'd like to say, if I wasn't so desperate for people to like me.

Me: Peri's totally feisty! You're working on book three now, how many more books do you envision for Peri and her friends?

Gayle: I could easily come up with more stories of things for Peri and the crew, but I'm going to take a little break from her and write a different series after the third book. Depending upon how that one goes, I'll probably alternate writing a book in each series. Damn, I better get busy.

Me: You're already so busy! What with your multi-genre empire you're building. What's your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?

Gayle: Does sleeping count? It's hard for me to think of ONE favorite thing. I love playing with my horses. Love going to horse shows. Love listening to my son sing. Love hanging out at a sports bar with my hubby and watching a game with him (btw, NEVER watch sports otherwise). And love-love-love hanging out with my friends and yacking.

Me: I'm all about that hanging out and yakking part! Speaking of yakking… a lot of my writer friends use music or soundtracks for inspiration, but you like movies. What are some of your favorites?

Gayle: The Thin Man series, for certain. I love their banter. Also, The Big Sleep (Bogie and Bacall), and a lot of the old comedies, like You Can't Take It With You, My Man Godfrey, and Abbott & Costello Meet the Mummy. Dialogue's a big thing with me.

Me: I'm always so impressed you can write with a movie playing. I'd get distracted and sucked into the movie! You seem able to do many things at the same time, like branding yourself in different genres. Was this hard for you?

Gayle: Yes, sort of. When I was developing my website and my Facebook page, it took me a few tries to figure out how to introduce myself as a mystery AND humor writer. I started out a little more wacky-humorous, then over the years have calmed down into a (hopefully) more confident, serious presentation of who I am.

“Why,  yes, Gentle Readers, I'm delightfully witty and yet can give you a few dead bodies for your puzzlement.”

Me: Killing it with Humor! So, you've gone the indie route with a publisher and you've also self-pubbed, what's your sage advice to us writers?

Gayle: My traditional publisher was a small, indie press, and required me to do a lot of the work on my own. I was responsible for my publicity, for setting up my book signings, for my marketing, etc. (I've been told that a big publisher wouldn't have done much more for me as a midlist author.) So once I tried self-pubbing, I found I wasn't doing THAT much more work. Sure, I'm working with a cover designer directly, seeking out a professional editor and beta readers, and formatting my books (I could pay for this, but as a former engineer, I know how to do it myself), but once the book hit the shelves, it wasn't any more work than the traditionally published book.

Self-pubbing is work. You need to ensure your product is as good as you can get it. You must have either professional editing or LOTS of vetting from beta readers who don't love you. You must hire a professional cover designer. If you think you can't afford it, don't self-pub. The outside packaging must make them want to look inside. If you're shy but you want your books to be read, you're going to have to suck it up and get out of your shell. Maybe take a public speaking class or join Toastmasters. Get used to talking to groups of people.

Me: Dang it! I have so many more great questions for you, but this post is getting long. I'll post more questions and answers on Wednesday when I feature your super fabulous book trailer!

One last thing, okay two really. First, who does your covers?

Gayle: Joe Felipe of Market Me ( has done all my self-pubbed covers. He's so easy to work with, and we collaborate really well. I met him when his daughter and my son were singing in the high school choir together. Networking works!

Me: And finally, if you couldn’t have coffee, what’s your favorite kind of hot drink. And remember, the answer here should be tea. What kind of tea. 😉

Gayle: Call me old school, but my favorite is Constant Comment. I buy it loose and fix a pot. Hmm, there's none in my pantry… gotta go, see you later.


And she's off! It was great having Gayle here today. Come back on Wednesday when we find out what her favorite curse word is and what she's got coming up next. Hint: It involves her horse Snoopy.

Remember too, Wednesday is her Anniversary and she's giving all of her books away for free! Here's a link to her Amazon Author Page.

  • You an find her on facebook at:
  • Twitter: @GayleCarline
  • Check out her website!
  • Then, check out her blog! This one is her writing blog. On the edge of the chair of literature.
  • And this one is her blog where she ruminates about her life with horses. That's My Snoopy!

26 thoughts on “Gayle Carline ~ Killing it with Humor”

  1. Gayle CarlineGayle Carline

    I’m so glad you stalked me! I think God had a plan when he put us in homes an hour apart – we’d probably get into too much trouble and possibly dismantle all societal norms if we lived closer. It was great seeing you this weekend. Hope you had a terrific Mother’s Day!

  2. Coleen PatrickColeen Patrick

    “suck it up and get out of your shell!” oh no, this is me! Yikes.
    Great interview and advice! Thanks 🙂

  3. Jenny HansenJenny Hansen

    And really, who WOULDN’T succumb to your charm??! What a great interview…

    p.s. It’s nice to meet you, Gayle!

  4. Natalie HartfordNatalie Hartford

    Ok…anyone who went with Tameri on her porn expedition is a kindred spirit!! I sooo wish I could have been there in person.
    Wonderful post Gayle and Tameri. So wonderful to hear one author’s experience and advice. It helps make everything less daunting for us newbies starting out.
    Gayle, I would love to hear about your writing process? How has it changed from when you first started out to now? Do you plot? Do you pantz? What’s the biggest lesson learned in that aspect?
    Have a GREAT day ladies and thanks again for sharing….

    • Gayle CarlineGayle Carline

      Natalie, my biggest surprise is that after three (fiction) books, I’m still not in a groove, where I could tell you I definitely outline, or I’m a definite pantser. For the first book, I outlined like some kind of spazz-monkey. I was paranoid that the plot would completely fall apart without a roadmap. I outlined the second book, too, then got bored in the middle of a scene and hit Peri in the head with a golf club.
      After that, I never went back to my outline. It took me longer to write, but it was a fun ride. My third book is probably half-and-half. I did a lot of journaling of the characters, so I know where things are headed. Now that I feel like I’m in the last act, I went back and outlined the ending, again, to make certain the plot holds up.

      I really, really wish I had a set method. I guess each story is different. It’s like raising kids – you have to give each one what they need.

      • Natalie HartfordNatalie Hartford

        Amazing to hear Gayle and quite frankly, very soothing! Because I am so pragmatic, I worry about getting the “process” right from the beginning and it soothes my anxiety to know that it’s an evolving process that may change for each and every book – and that doesn’t mean you won’t have success – quite the contrary. Thank you so much for sharing…your insight is tremendously valuable.

  5. EmmaEmma

    Doing book readings is something I’m terrified of but like Gayle says, I’ll just have to suck it up if I’m ever lucky enough to get that far.
    I grew up with Murder She Wrote!

  6. Louise BehielLouise Behiel

    great interview Tameri. it’s time to face my fears. yuck

  7. Debra KristiDebra Kristi

    LOVED this interview. Laughing my butt off at the comments. My goodness you gals sound like a blast. Poor Peri getting hit in the head with a golf club! That had to hurt! I consider myself a hybrid. Something between an outliner and a panster and I don’t see that ever changing. I could be wrong, but I have to follow my muse or I get stuck.

  8. MarciaMarcia

    Love the interview, Tameri and Gayle! I’m so happy you both found each other–sounds like a great friendship! Gayle, I have no problem with talking to people (learned how to get past the nervousness), I just don’t know what I’d talk about–or what they expect you talk about. Any hints?
    Looking forward to reading your books!

    • Gayle CarlineGayle Carline

      Thanks, Marcia!

      Your talks should depend upon your audience. Readers usually want to know how you got your start, who are your characters and where is your story set, and any funny/interesting things that have happened to you as a writer. Writers want to know more about your process, how you got published, what kind of publicity and marketing you do, etc.

      If you go listen to other authors speak at different venues (library, writers conference, etc) you can get a better idea of what to talk about. While you are listening to them, what do YOU want to hear about?

  9. Marcy KennedyMarcy Kennedy

    It’s official. I must be old. I know who Murphy Brown and Jessica Fletcher are without having to Google them 😉 Thanks for bringing us this great interview!

  10. susielindaususielindau

    Awesome interview! Anyone who will share publishing secrets and drag you to a porn shop is a friend of mine!

  11. Leanne ShirtliffeLeanne Shirtliffe

    Always great to “meet” other humor writers. And T, let me know the next time you’re on a research mission, okay? 😉

  12. jansenschmidtjansenschmidt

    Ooooo, really fun interview! And what’s this about free books? I’m there.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  13. August McLaughlinAugust McLaughlin

    Jessica Fletcher meets Murphy Brown? I’m all over it! I respect funny, talented ladies so much. Thanks for the great interview. 🙂

  14. mj monaghanmj monaghan

    Tameri Tiara, I’m not so sure crazy getting together with crazy is the best idea. We need to keep So Cal intact for the rest of us! hehe

    What a splendid interview with sound advice. Every writer is unique, but some things are universal. Thanks for bringing Gayle to us.

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