Sunday, January 19, 2014

Paths to Publishing: Sydney Katt || AGENTS OF DECEIT

Breaking All the Rules by Sydney Katt

I’ve been frustrated as a reader for as long as I can remember. Or since I was a teenager. Either way.

You see, I love a good whodunnit. I crave the suspense of a tightly-plotted thriller. I’m a sucker for all those red herrings that make a plot go all twisty-twist. Yes, I can even really sink my teeth into a delicious villain whose evilry knows virtually no bounds.

Unfortunately, I also want romance.

The problem is that I can rarely find both done well in the same book. As I’m reading the masters of suspense and mystery, I always find myself wishing they’d thrown in a juicy sex scene or three. As I read a romantic suspense, I always feel cheated at the end when the main characters are suddenly madly in love and getting married. It’s not that I don’t want the happy endings; I just want the characters to earn them.

Since everyone says to write the book your little reader heart desperately wants to read, that’s what I did. In 2003, I completed the first book in my suspense series (AGENTS OF DECEIT) and promptly began the sequel (THE SHATTERED ALLIANCE). Life got in the way for a while, but the next two books in the series (FORESIGHT IS FLAWLESS and LOVE LIES BLEEDING) streamed from my fingers and took just a few months each to complete. I, my friends, was a writing rockstar.

Queue reality.

I started doing the conference circuit and looking for agent representation in 2006 or 2007. People loved me. People loved the short writing samples I brought to make them crave me as much as I did chocolate. I got invitations to submit chapters. Published authordom, here I come!

Yeah…no. All the feedback was the same. They loved my writing style, yet they didn’t think my work would be a good fit for either the romance or mystery genres. Without a clear way to market my work, there was little hope of getting publishers interested.

So, basically…don’t pass Go, don’t collect your money and send us more work if you ever figure out how to follow the rules. Super, y’all. Just…super.

Discouraged that I would never be able to write the books I wanted to read AND get them published, I was all too happy to let life get in my way yet again. I started a writing business and picked up good clients that kept me busier than I could handle. I dealt with a massive house flood that basically destroyed everything in my house. (Stupid busted icemaker line.) And I thought about all those manuscripts taking up space on my computer that I didn’t have time to resubmit anywhere.

Near the end of 2012, something snapped in me. I didn’t just want to be a business writer. I wanted – needed – to get my fiction out there. But I still wanted to write the books that I wanted to read, even if it meant getting a traditional publisher was out of the question.

It was time to start breaking some rules since I’m apparently good at it.

In 2013, I started Random Distraction Publishing and released my first three books using Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace. It’s gone well, but I now totally understand how difficult it is to market a genre hybrid. Romance readers complain it’s not relationship-driven enough, while mystery readers complain that there’s too much sex. But the right readers are finding me, more with each book I publish.

In retrospect, I kick myself for not publishing as soon as the first Kindle was released, but I’m here now. Any sooner and I might have thrown up my hands in disgust at formatting issues and walked away. Now, I’m better equipped to handle the challenges that come with being a publisher in addition to an author.

Looking ahead, 2014 is guaranteed to be just as busy as 2013 was. In addition to the release of LOVE LIES BLEEDING on February 13, I’m also looking forward to releasing a handful of more traditional romance novels. This may also be the year Random Distraction Publishing opens its doors to other authors looking for a publisher.

But for now, I’m running a Kindle Countdown promotion on AGENTS OF DECEIT, the first sarcastic sexy suspense book in my Undercover Series. If you’re looking for a distraction, there’s never been a better time to check me out. But act fast - the promotion ends January 25!


Publisher: Random Distraction Publishing

Date Published:February 2013

Genre: Sarcastic Sexy Suspense

Word Count: 90,000


When bombs are in play, hearts shouldn't be...
When word of a terrorist plot against DFW International Airport reaches the FBI, Special Agent Jackson Caldwell travels to Dallas to investigate. This is his chance to prove to his superiors that he's ready to be back in the field after being trapped behind a desk for far too long, but a beautiful woman with a secretive past and a bet with his partner threaten to get in the way.

Jenna Monroe leads a mundane life while running from a past she'd sooner forget. She knows how every day will unfold until a man with dangerous good looks and deadly secrets rents the condo across the hall. As the two men in her life play out a lethal game of chess, is she really just a hapless pawn?
Or is she the one controlling all the moves?

“I need to get all of this cleaned up or it will drive me crazy all night.”
“Well, we wouldn’t want that,” Jackson said, helping her carry everything into the kitchen.
Jenna hadn’t been looking at him when he’d said it, but she was sure he’d have that damn sexy, mischievous grin on his face. It was just as well he couldn’t see her face since his comment caused her cheeks to blush. Again. She tried to busy herself with things in the kitchen for as long as she could. Despite how much she was attracted to Jackson, now that they were alone again, things felt awkward to her.
Jackson was leaning against the door to the kitchen, blocking her in, when she turned to face him. One look into those intense blue eyes told Jenna what was on his mind. His grin did little to calm her nerves.
“So,” he began, his tone casual, “What do you want to do now?”
Jenna was clueless as to how she was supposed to answer that question. She couldn’t say she wanted to move this conversation into the bedroom. Then again, anything else she might say would sound contrived. Of course, she hadn’t known him all that long so a part of her was screaming to slow down. Too bad, that was such a small part.
“I, uh…” Jenna stammered, looked away, saw the counter, remembered the way his body felt against her and blushed. She didn’t think she could remember a time that she’d been this nervous.
“I get it,” Jackson said. “I know what you want.”
Because she didn’t even know what she wanted, she was startled enough by his response to look up at him. Jackson advanced on her and backed her up against the wall, boxing her in by placing a hand against the wall at either side of her. Jenna fought to control her ragged breathing as she prepared herself for the raw passion of his kiss.
Instead of kissing her, Jackson moved his lips to her ear and whispered, “We don’t have to rush this.” He pulled back enough to look into her eyes. “Another night.”

AGENTS OF DECEIT will be  99 cents through January 22, $1.99 until January 25 (US Amazon only).

Available for purchase on:

Author Bio:

Sydney Katt has been writing books for as long as she could string words into sentences. Today, her books are more complex and feature romance, murder and mayhem, all subjects her grade school teachers frowned upon.

Happily married since before the beginning of time, Sydney and her husband live in the Dallas area, where three demanding cats rule their lives. When they aren't slaying video game dragons, the five of them keep a watchful eye for the first signs of the Zombie Apocalypse.

For more information about Sydney's adventures in Dallas, new book projects and upcoming releases, visit if you dare.

You can also join the Katt Lovers community at

Author Links:


  1. I'm looking forward to reading Katt's series, even though I'm usually a strict Sci Fi fan. Katt, much like her host Snark, has a witty sense of humor and a writing style that I find engaging and entertaining. Best of luck with Random Distraction Publishing!

  2. Sydney,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Like you, I was always a frustrated reader too. My desire to see certain things in stories is what led me into writing. Good luck with your series moving forward!