Nominee — Kindle Scout

Forgotten_ebook final coverThere are a lot of good books listed on Kin­dle Scout for read­ers to nom­i­nate. For­got­ten Body is mine. It’s a good deal for read­ers as well as authors. The pro­gram lists each accepted book for thirty days, then gives read­ers the oppor­tu­nity to nom­i­nate their favorites. Best part—when a book is cho­sen for pub­li­ca­tion by Kin­dle Scout, all those who nom­i­nated that title get it free (as an e-book) shortly before publication.

The pro­gram is good for authors too as they receive an advance and a favor­able contract.

My blurb: Jo Durbin, embed­ded reporter, cov­ers a reen­act­ment of America’s for­got­ten War of 1812. Piece of cake. Action, faux dead bod­ies, pre­tend bat­tles, and every­day lives of the RVers (Workampers)—all fod­der for her pen. Except there’s a real body, for­got­ten in the grass. With the victim’s check­ered past, sus­pects mul­ti­ply. When chil­dren are endan­gered, Jo fol­lows a fig­ment of her imag­i­na­tion despite any help or hin­drance from her sis­ter, a friend, and the man who wants to be more than a friend.


It’s Bazaar Time

11-19 christmas-bazaarI’m gear­ing up to sell my books at a local Christ­mas bazaar. Books will be in the minor­ity of prod­ucts. There will be sewn lovelies, cut felt hang­ings, hand-made jew­elry, paint­ings, and a vari­ety of dec­o­rated items want­ing to be under someone’s Christ­mas tree. There will be com­mer­cial booths with candy and good­ies galore that may not last until Christ­mas. (I know, any I buy will suf­fer that fate.)

Ah, but books? One can par­take of their delights and still gift them to oth­ers. (That’s what often hap­pen to my hol­i­day pur­chases. How­ever, one must hold the book only par­tially open so as not to crack the spine, def­i­nitely not dog-ear any pages, and never read while eat­ing any­thing sticky.)

And after the bazaar? Will I count my money, always assum­ing I actu­ally sell a few books instead of buy­ing oth­ers’ good­ies. Well, hope­fully. But I’ll go back to pro­mot­ing my book that is cur­rently avail­able for nom­i­na­tion at Kin­dle Scout. (You knew I wouldn’t miss that oppor­tu­nity right now.)

That taken care of, I won­der how many of you par­tic­i­pate in Hol­i­day Bazaars. Or, do you suf­fer (like me), with ambiva­lent thoughts of—what? It isn’t even Thanks­giv­ing yet.

Kindle Scout book coming-Forgotten Body

Forgotten_ebook final coverNovem­ber 14, 2015, is the big day! I just got word this morn­ing (the 12th). My next mys­tery, For­got­ten Body, will be on Kin­dle Scout.

Okay, you want to know exactly what Kin­dle Scout is? It’s partly a choose-your-own-read, in that any­one can nom­i­nate books they would like to read. After giv­ing the read­ing pub­lic thirty days to choose a book, Ama­zon decides which ones they will pub­lish in e-book form. (Part of their deci­sion is based on the book’s pop­u­lar­ity.) The best part for the reader: You receive a free e-book copy of each of the books you nom­i­nated. Okay, that’s only true if they decide to pub­lish the book. (If not, they tell you where it is avail­able.) As a reader, I’ve nom­i­nated many books I’d like to read. (They allow three nom­i­na­tions at a time.) Sev­eral have been pub­lished by Kin­dle Scout, so I’ve received free e-books. They were all great reads. They earned four or five stars when I placed my reviews on Ama­zon and Goodreads. (Since I know those reviews help the author and the reader, I try to review every book I read.)

Of course, there’s good news for the author too. The Kin­dle Scout pro­gram offers a favor­able con­tract with advance and roy­al­ties, as well as publicity.

The Kin­dle Scout site for For­got­ten Body will include the one sen­tence teaser, the blurb, and almost all of the first two chap­ters. It will even tell you some­thing about me and ask me ques­tions. (I answer, of course.) Mean­while, I’ll tell you For­got­ten Body is a sequel to Yesterday’s Body. Jo Durbin, my ama­teur detec­tive will do her thing (along with that elu­sive, imag­i­nary cat) at a reen­act­ment of the War of 1812. On Sat­ur­day the 12th, the whole thing will go live here. So visit, and if you like what you see, nom­i­nate. If you have any ques­tions, ask here.

Five Stars for The Driving Lesson

11-9 Driving LessonI enjoyed this book tremen­dously. Rather sur­prised me— It’s in 14-year-old Charlie’s view­point (and I’m a great-grandma). Grandma’s really should say some­thing like this is scandalous—a child dri­ving a car half-way across the coun­try, aided and abet­ted by his grand­fa­ther who is seri­ously ill, dodg­ing the police and evad­ing his par­ents. But that’s not what I want to say. I say, “Go for it!” (Just don’t let MY grand­son try this 😉 ) It’s thought­ful, sur­pris­ing, and sounds just right.

This book is from Edgar Award-nominated author Ben Rehder. The aver­age read­ers review is 4.6. Most think it quite won­der­ful. It’s hilar­i­ous with a quite seri­ous under­tone, I guess you might say. One review gave it a good score for the writ­ing, but didn’t agree with the viewpoint.

Since this is rec­om­mended for ages 13 to adult, it might be on your list for hol­i­day giv­ing. Ama­zon list­ing here.

Do You NaNoWriMo?


I should, I really should. NaNoW­riMo, I mean. I’m between books, I have a pretty good sized ker­nel of an idea, and…it is the sea­son. But, I prob­a­bly won’t.

Make that, I should, I really should. I can do it, I really can. Fifty thou­sand words toward a new man­u­script. How appeal­ing is that? A big boost on cre­ativ­ity. And…it is the season.

But, I’m in the midst of work­ing toward get­ting the com­pleted one pub­lished. I’ve just com­mit­ted to a reju­ve­nat­ing cri­tique group. I’m final­iz­ing a cou­ple of short sto­ries. Thanks­giv­ing is com­ing. Novem­ber is a short month as it is (by one day, but who’s counting).

Maybe I can get all that done next week and start NaNo late. (You know, do the Scar­let option and think about it tomorrow.)

The first time I NaNoed I piled up just over the fifty thou­sand words.

Yeah, but the sec­ond time I really tanked.

But, but, that idea didn’t really pan out. And I suc­cess­fully com­pleted a mini-NaNo last July. Doesn’t that count?

At this stage, I must admit, I start all over at the top with the same arguments.

I think I’ll stay in Scarlet-land for a while. After all, it is a whole two more days until November.

How about you? Will you NaNoW­riMo this year?

Five Stars for Gaining Ground

10-26 Gaining Ground coverFirst, I just heard about this book yes­ter­day. Sec­ond, I have not read it. So, how can I list it as one of my five-star reads? By a bit of slight of hand—magic, if you will.

It’s somebody’s five star read. In fact, it has way over 200 reviews on Ama­zon with an aver­age of 4.9 stars.

So, how did I come to choose it? How did I hear about it? My good old local news­pa­per. Seems the book was the pick of patrons of 80 libraries in six coun­ties in my part of Penn­syl­va­nia as the book to read for One Book: One Com­mu­nity.

Sounds like an excel­lent pick. The book blurb is: “One fate­ful day in 1996, after dis­cov­er­ing that five freight cars’ worth of glit­ter­ing corn have reaped a tiny profit of $18.16, young For­rest Pritchard vows to save his family’s farm. What ensues–through hilar­i­ous encoun­ters with all man­ner of live­stock and col­or­ful local characters–is a crash course in sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture. Pritchard’s biggest ally is his rene­gade father, who ini­tially ques­tions his son’s career choice and rejects organic foods for sug­ary main­stream fare. But just when the farm starts to turn heads at local farm­ers’ mar­kets, his father’s health takes a turn for the worse. With poetry and humor, this inspir­ing mem­oir tugs on the heart­strings and feeds the soul long after the last page is turned.”

The book will be avail­able in all the libraries, prepar­ing for the early 2016 events. Does your local book­store carry this book? Prob­a­bly. It’s also avail­able by order from Ama­zon and Barnes and Nobel. Con­sid­er­ing the com­plete title: Gain­ing Ground: A Story Of Farm­ers’ Mar­kets, Local Food, And Sav­ing The Fam­ily Farm, sounds like a win­ner to me.

Lazy Autumn Day

autumn leavesWe’ve had a cold snap. The tree leaves are turn­ing almost a bright red. (Some years they are more yel­low, oth­ers a dingy brown.) It’s warmer than it has been for days. Who wants to sit inside to write?

Any­body? Hands raised? Ummm. Okay, let’s stroll out­side in the autumn sun­shine. It will be win­ter soon.

Five Stars for Deadly Occupation

10-19 Bloody OccupationDeadly Occu­pa­tion is a just-published pre­quel to the other Michael Stod­dard his­toric mys­ter­ies. Lieu­tenant Stod­dard is a British offi­cer sta­tioned in the Amer­i­can colonies dur­ing the Rev­o­lu­tion. As such, one might not think him a hero to a 2015 Amer­i­can reader, but that is not a con­cern for this Amer­i­can reader. I have read the other mys­ter­ies in this series, and while I rec­og­nize char­ac­ters from those, this book gives back­grounds of char­ac­ters with­out spoil­ing or reveal­ing any­thing from other books.

The Stod­dard books bring out the ambi­gu­ity in Amer­ica at that time. There were Amer­i­cans who pre­ferred British rule as well as those who didn’t. (And there were nas­ties on each side, one revealed for sure.) Deadly Occu­pa­tion also illus­trates the ambi­gu­i­ties of his­to­ri­ans, for Suzanne Adair has delved into his­tory that is sel­dom reported. Makes for a (excuse me) damn good read!

Other read­ers agree. Here’s a bit from one Ama­zon five-star review: “Michael Stod­dard is a young, 27-year-old, Lieu­tenant with a gift for solv­ing crimes, a chin full of blem­ishes, and a murky past. In this novel, he chooses an assis­tant, 18-year-old Nick Spry. Spry has his own tal­ents, an eye for detail and a relaxed way with peo­ple that encour­ages them to open up to him. He’s young, but he’s no one’s fool. They are an unlikely pair, yet they get results.

Whether sta­tioned in one loca­tion or on the move with the Reg­i­ment, the set­tings are well-crafted with his­tor­i­cal details that bring each scene to life. The sus­pects and char­ac­ters pop­u­lat­ing the nov­els are real­is­tic, with basic human moti­va­tions. They are col­or­ful, inter­est­ing, and many are seem­ingly drawn from authen­tic his­toric figures.”

One place to order Deadly Occu­pa­tion is Ama­zon. (There are oth­ers as well.)

Letters to the Editor

Years ago a local woman reg­u­larly con­tributed to our newspaper’s11-15 writing let­ters page. Her pieces were well writ­ten and thought out. She wasn’t polit­i­cal or addicted to any orga­ni­za­tion or move­ment. She looked around, lis­tened, made deci­sions and shared her view­point. If she missed a week, other writ­ers won­dered what hap­pened to her. Def­i­nitely an insti­tu­tion, and the read­er­ship mourned her death. Some­times a new scribe turned up, but it isn’t the same. For one, now the paper won’t pub­lish any one per­son more than once a month. There must be other rea­sons. Per­haps they have other avenues of expres­sion. Per­haps some are now blog­gers with followers.

Some­times I write to my news­pa­per. Once it was about a way out-dated front-page piece on med­ical pro­ce­dures. (Some­thing about it made me look up the orig­i­nal report cited. I learned it was com­piled seven years before from queries com­piled in the pre­vi­ous ten years and included the com­ment that it was deemed unre­li­able.) Some years ago it was more apt to involve absent cov­er­age of our local school dis­trict activ­i­ties (where my chil­dren were involved, naturally).

Not often, but occa­sion­ally, I’ll com­ment on some­thing polit­i­cal. If I do, I’ll sign my name dif­fer­ently than I sign any­thing to do with my writ­ing. That’s because, with the inter­net pick­ing up every­thing, I once dis­cov­ered my com­ment over a local issue right there, with my name, for every­one with a com­puter to see.

Okay, that’s good, right? Get your name out, can’t be bad. Except, the way I see it, our coun­try is almost evenly divided, and very par­ti­san. In fact, I see the same divi­sion within my friends and fam­ily. We all know which is which. We might even dis­cuss our dif­fer­ences ami­ca­bly. But that never hap­pens in print. Don’t know why. Maybe it’s the news­pa­per with their unfunny car­toons lam­poon­ing both sides. It dri­ves a wedge through a coun­try that calls itself United. And, view­ing all that angst, peo­ple take sides. They could eas­ily say, “If she thinks that, I’m cer­tainly not going to buy her books.” And who wants to alien­ate half of their pos­si­ble readership?

So, do you write let­ters to the edi­tor? Actu­ally, I still do. Not often, I have other writ­ing that calls me.

Twittering Memes

I’m twit­ter­ing memes, even though I’m not sure memes is the word I want.  Accord­ing to the dic­tio­nary a meme (meem) is “an idea, behav­ior, or style that spreads from per­son to per­son within a cul­ture”. So, I can only hope my memes will fit that description.

And why do I hope that? Because I’m using them to adver­tise on Twit­ter. I’m hop­ing the count­down project I’m run­ning for one of my books this week will catch some atten­tion, and some pur­chasers. What do you think? Some of them are below. (Suc­cess­ful pro­mo­tion for the self-published is just another writ­ing skill. Hope I’m accomplish

And, by the way, you may have noted this Mon­day post is not my usual review of a five star book. (Tune in next week when I’ll be back on schedule.)

Cherish countdown meme 1

Cherish countdown meme 2 Cherish countdown meme 4