Magpie Murders

Seven years ago I was on the cover my hometown women’s magazine, Yellowstone Valley Woman. The magazine, a colorful, slick freebie, was just three years old then. I was thrilled with the article (and the photos, bless you Phil Bell) and when they called me up awhile ago to do a follow-up article for their tenth anniversary issue, I was happy to oblige.

Lise McClendon

by Julie Koerber

A new pen name, a new book & a new line of work

Stirring up a new plot has never been a problem for Lise McClendon. Just like a rich stew, ingredients are added and sprinkled until the perfect mystery has been simmered to perfection. When we first met her in 2004, she had a handful of novels under her writing belt. Since then, she’s grabbed a new pen name, has a new book fresh on the shelves and has taken on a new role, that of publisher.

“It’s a whole new world of publishing these days,” Lise admits when sharing how she got into the publishing side of the business in the first place. Two years ago, she and a fellow author and friend started a small press with the hopes of bringing back some of their out of print books. The venture is called Thalia Press and since then, they’ve taken a handful of authors under their wing. “We recently opened up our press to a small group of mystery writers who wanted to bring their books back,” she shares. “We are trying to help each other. With electronic readers and print on demand, you can do a lot yourself. You don’t need a big publisher.” And, since she learned the ropes to bring her own books back to life, “You can help others avoid some of the pitfalls.”

She shares that with one of her “publishing experiments,” she put one of her books up as a free download for the Amazon Kindle. “This summer, I had ‘Blackbird Fly’ as one of my free books. It hadn’t really gotten a lot of notice so I thought I would just try this. In 10 days there were 57,000 downloads. Then, the price went back on the book and I sold quite a few after that. It was extremely exciting.”

Turn the page in Lise’s life and you’ll also find a new pen name – Rory Tate. It’s ambiguous, she says, on purpose. She laughs when she says, “Sometimes men don’t necessarily like to read books by women. Women will read books by men but it doesn’t always go the other way around!”

“Jump Cut” is the new Rory Tate novel, one Lise describes as an “edgy, modern thriller” about a television news reporter with a serial killer, some humor and romance all melded together on its pages.

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Read the rest of the article, and about some cool Montana women doing all sorts of amazing things at: Yellowstone Valley Woman Magazine. The glossy is now over a hundred pages long, and still free!