What Ever Happened To: Karen Rose Cercone

Book Cover Diving Belle asks for help finding a novelist whose fourth book promised some awesome romance.

I’m (still) looking for Karen Rose Cercone who—back in the late 90s—started a three kick-ass historical-mystery-with-a-terrific-romance subplot series and then stopped.

(Seriously, go read them— Coal Bones, Steel Ashes, Blood Tracks.)[Hey! They’re set in Pittsburgh! Awesome! - SB Sarah]

The two leads—Milo Kachigan and Helen Sorby—are a great couple and over the course of the three books, it was a delight watching their relationship develop—I always felt book number four in the series would resolve most of their issues and finally give me a HEA.  Except book #4 never came. . .

I believe that Cercone may have collaborated on a number of Star Trek novelizations during the same time period but can’t find anything recent.  Help, please!

And I’m SO happy to see this feature on SMTB!!!!

Anyone have any idea what became of the series? Have you read it? This sounds like some really interesting historical mystery.

Categorized:

General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    Juliana says:

    This page at Ricia Mainhardt Agency (RMA) website lists Cerone as one of their authors. With a picture and a biography in hand, Google tells me she’s gone back to/is now (?) teaching at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (http://www.iup.edu/page.aspx?id=9887 ). At least, I think the bio and picture match up.

    I’m not sure: perhaps contacting RMA might be a way to let her know how much you enjoyed her books, ask about other books (doesn’t look like there are, though), and/or maybe give her a nudge in the direction back to writing.

  2. 2

    Amplifying on the Star Trek connection: Ms. Cercone was one of the writers (along with Julia Ecklar) behind the pseudonym “L. A. Graf”, which appeared on a number of original Trek novels and anthology stories in the 1990s and early 2000s.

    She appears to have been active in science fiction fandom of the period (having been a guest at Pennsylvania-area conventions).  Under the Graf byline, she and Ecklar evidently finished an SF novel titled Phobos Rising in 2006, but I’m not sure if the book was ever actually released.

    The impression I have is that Cercone may have been a victim of the “vanishing midlist” sales-crunch phenomenon; it wasn’t that she stopped writing, just that publishers wouldn’t buy the books.

  3. 3
    Barb in Maryland says:

    I loved those books and I’m happy to see that someone else did too.
    I have to agree with @John C. Bunnell.  She probably had a 3 book contract and when she didn’t go large, that was the end of that.
    It has happened to too many authors, especially in the mystery genre.

  4. 4
    aspe says:

    Perhaps the author should think about re-releasing her books digitally. I think that more authors should try self-publishing their work, especially if the book rights have reverted back to them (and especially if their publishing house has dropped them, as seems to be the case with Karen Rose Cercone). 
    And it might not cost too much to have the e-books formatted – in an article on TeleRead, SciFi/Fantasy author Diane Duane said that she “borrowed” electronic versions of her own books that fans had scanned and made available online for free via P2P.

  5. 5

    I had the same response as aspe above – she should think about re-releasing them digitally herself and then self publishing any stories in the series that come after. Thing is, so many people who aren’t really plugged in to the digital book work don’t really even think about it or consider it a viable alternative. Perhaps some diehard fans could nudge her in that direction!

  6. 6
    Diane Duane says:

    Well, even after taking back scanned-and-posted works, formatting and propping books for self-pub is still a serious pile of work. Reclaimed files have to be carefully checked against the originals. And then you need new covers. And have to learn how to handle the conversion software(s). Or you have to hire someone to do this stuff for you. In either time or money, ebook conversion isn’t cheap…

  7. 7

    Goodness, that was quick…. :-)  Very true, though, that e-conversion is a specialized process (as I know from conversations with my own e-publisher).  There may well also be no fourth book in the series to convert; depending on how the contract situation actually fell out, Ms. Cercone might not have started that project—let alone finished it—without an advance forthcoming.  Also, her primary genre interest seems to have been SF/fantasy, going by the Trek novels, the later Mars-related book, and a handful of references I ran across pointing toward Pern fanfiction.

    On the plus side, the actual author-location took just two posts (the IUP professor is definitely the right person).  However, if anyone’s inclined to contact Ms. Cercone, I’d recommend doing so directly via the IUP channel.  The Ricia Mainhardt Agency Web site has not been updated in at least several years, and many if not all of the authors listed there are now represented by other agents.

  8. 8

    I love these books. So sad there aren’t more.

  9. 9

    Well, even after taking back scanned-and-posted works, formatting and propping books for self-pub is still a serious pile of work. Reclaimed files have to be carefully checked against the originals. And then you need new covers. And have to learn how to handle the conversion software(s). Or you have to hire someone to do this stuff for you. In either time or money, ebook conversion isn’t cheap…

    Too true. It might actually be easier in the end to just type all the books into a word processor and go from there! Her heart would really have to be in it to go to the trouble, but you never know until you ask, right? She might not know that there are people in the world who are pining for the fourth book or who remember her at all. At the very least, a short note to that end would no doubt make her day :)

  10. 10

    I like the series .

  11. 11
    Kerry says:

    I loved these books and still have them. I did some heavy stalking a few years ago (I’m a librarian; I have a degree in web stalking) and found that post-2000 Cercone had gotten a MFA in creative writing and had also been heavily involved in dog showing. I think she was teaching at University of Pittsburgh previously.

    She was a few years ahead of the current trends in regional and unique period historical mysteries.

  12. 12
    xm sherry says:

    The story is interesting and romantic!GPS vehicle tracking

  13. 13
    Gail says:

    The 1st book was published in 1999. They did have computers then. Even had Microsoft Word. It’s possible she might have “done away with” her manuscript files—but I’ll bet she’s got them on some back-up disk/hard drive somewhere…It’s unlikely the only copy is a book on the front hall table… But it does take some work. Maybe more than she wants to take on. Alas.

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