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.)

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

Five Stars for Between Mountain And Sea

10-5 Between Mountain and SeaI really love M. Louisa Locke’s historic mysteries. When she announced that she had joined a group writing about a future world, despite not being a science fiction reader, I had to check it out. I’m certainly glad I did. Between Mountain And Sea: Paradisi Chronicles is this week’s five star read.

This is the story of Mei Lin Yu in the future world of New Eden. It takes place a century and a half after ten families left an increasingly devastated Earth to colonize the distant planet.

Chapters begin with the 2092 AD diary entries of Mei Lin’s ancestor. But the story is Mei Lin’s. She’s a teenager who doesn’t really want to follow her parents’ desires, that she train at a top university for a successful career. She has trouble taking tests, but misses the all important test when minor surgery on her eyes goes wrong. She is dumped in the ancestral home that is far from the elite centers. But she loves it there. The relatives she meets for the first time, the original planet natives, the land, the animals—all seem more real to her than the life she had so far led.

I’d better not tell more. It’s hard for me, but it would ruin the story for others, and I won’t do that. Just believe it only gets better. I recommend it for all lovers of a good story. YA appropriate as well.

My question today: Do you sometimes read outside your usual favorite genre?

I’m on the Hen House Blog

The years my husband and I spent sailing on Chesapeake Bay and beyond contributed to my mystery writing. For one, I found a couple of boats I wanted to include in my stories. One, a small lobster boat converted to a live-aboard cruiser, is front and center of my second published mystery. Here’s the picture, and here’s the resulting cover.

Snapdragon1

HotChickSmallerFrontCoverThat’s just one of my stories. As one of the contributors to the Sisters in Crime Writes of Passage, today I visit the Hen House Blog. Come read my story and see a couple of pictures of why I place my mysteries on Chesapeake Bay.

 

Five Stars for The Witch Doctor’s Wife

9-28 Witch doctors wifeWith The Witch Doctor’s Wife, Tamar Myers delves into her personal history as the daughter of Christian missionaries in the Belgian Congo. Rich and alive with the sights and sounds of the continent—as exciting, evocative, charming, and suspenseful as Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels—Myer’s unforgettable excursion to colonial Africa recalls Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, even the Academy Award-nominated film Blood Diamond. Award-winning author Carolyn Hart raves: “Mesmerizing….The Witch Doctor’s Wife will long linger in the hearts and minds of readers. Authentic. Powerful. Triumphant.”

The above is part of the publisher’s blurb for the book that followed many of Tamar Myer’s two wonderfully funny and clever cozy mysteries. I read The Witch Doctor’s Wife about five years ago, before I joined Goodreads, before I had a blog, and, mainly—before I began reviewing the books I read. However, I remember it fondly, so you know it has staying power.

I did interview Tamar for the Sisters in Crime blog. I remember a couple of answers from that interview. For one, she had a computer dedicated to writing, with no games or internet access. (That’s one I really, really should follow.) Also, she said she didn’t write the story—it was already written. All she did was ask the Universe to deliver her daily portion of creativity and it did. She then sat down and wrote a thousand polished words a day, five days a week.

And that is talent!

Incidentally, she has written more books in that series, as well as continuing the cozy series. In fact, she has a four-page Amazon author page. For a taste of Tamar’s fun, I would suggest reading the acknowledgments in Death of Pie.

Five Stars for Digital Dick

I like mystery: cozy, noir, historic, romantic, suspense, and especially off-beat mystery. Digital Dick definitely qualifies on that last one.

9-21 Digital Dick coverI absolutely love this book about a sentient computer. That’s a computer who learns to solve crimes while wishing he had hands so he could plug into the electricity himself. He learns as he goes along, but he’s quite knowledgeable for a seven-year old. Still, his goofs on proper behavior are funny (or exasperating to his human sister), while, of course, he mentally runs rings around the bad guys. Even the guys who aren’t bad, just don’t believe in Digital Dick.

The publishers says, “As a computer with a human personality, Dick Young struggles to understand people. Some would deny personhood to Dick, others who fear him would take him apart chip by chip.

“After he witnesses a bloody murder, Dick offers to assist the San Diego Police Department catch the killer. But when the search for the murderer turns up a second body, Dick’s Satisfaction Index plummets. He breaks company with the police and begins investigating the case on his own. As he follows the clues, Dick learns more and more about humans: how they live, how they love and how they murder. He will need that knowledge to overcome the killer who threatens to destroy Dick and everyone that Dick holds dear.”

The July 2015 Midwest Book Review, puts it this way: “In addition to taking the prize for originality, this book is a great piece of story-telling and a good read. I highly recommend it.”

And I add, if you like your mystery with a great sense of humor while keeping up the suspense, this is the read for you.

Covers

All of my covers have been designed by one of my daughters while she was grossly underemployed. Fortunately for her, that is no longer the case. Unfortunately for me, I have to rethink covers. I want to go GREAT. I want to go PROFESSIONAL. I want to go with a cover that says, “BUY ME!” So, of course, I’ve asked a pro whose covers are striking and versetile to design the cover of my upcoming mystery.

In the meantime, I’ve been writing  a couple of short stories that I intend to offer for free—to further encourage readers to buy my new mystery. So I’ve been diddling with canva.com. I have used it to make a small design to put on Twitter, promoting one of my books. (Don’t know if it actually works, but…it looks good.) I’ve tried a lot of different designs using a variety of free and personal photos. This is what I’ve come up with so far.

HIDDEN BODY cover B

Deserter cover 2Tell me, what do you think? Good enough? Or not.

Five Stars for Buried In A Bog

9-14 Buried in a Bog coverI’m going back in my Goodreads file of five star reads. If I look at one I read two years ago and I can remember the story with renewed pleasure, I know it deserved every one of those five stars. That’s this one, Buried In A Bog, by Sheila Connolly.

My review:  This is the first of Sheila Connolly’s third mystery series, and my favorite. Buried in a Bog is far more than a mystery–it’s the story of a young woman from Boston dealing with loss and finding her way forward, as well as a story of a small village in Ireland. It was grandmother’s last wish that she visit. It’s a story of relationships, generations, and above all, real—actually fictional, but for sure real people. It’s a mystery too, dealing with murder. This book satisfies on every level.

Another reviewer said, “Awesome book! The setting was cozy and real and made me want to head off to Ireland for a spell. Can’t wait for the next one!”

Since then, Sheila Connolly has written the next one, and others as well. I especially like the first of her fourth series as well. (It’s a bit woo woo.) But why don’t you check out all of her series on her Amazon author page? You’ll be glad you did.

Five Stars for Murder on Lexington Avenue

8-31 Victoria Thompson coverMurder on Lexington Avenue is the 12th in Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight Mystery series. I’ve read several, but this one is a favorite of mine. My review: Sarah Brandt, New York midwife in the early 1900s, keeps getting involved in murder while delivering babies. It isn’t anything about souls passing in and out, it’s just that the same people are involved. While one woman is having a baby, someone she knows, be it her family or her neighbors, is mixed up in murder, often as the victim. Sarah is handy and willing to help out an Irish cop, Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy. In this case, the teenage daughter of the victim is involved with conflicting schools of training the deaf. Her father is a generally disliked business owner. But, who killed him? Seemingly he was alone at his place of business. His business partner, and several others may have visited. Or, none of them saw him, if one is to believe the testimony. And, even if Frank Malloy finds the killer, 1903 in New York often meant Frank, although he was the police, would find it difficult to accuse anyone who had the money to make sure he didn’t keep his job. Then another murder complicates the possibilities.

The ambiance is authentic, the plot is devious, the characters are a mix from delightful to devilish. Best of all, the outcome is completely unexpected, but, oh so absolutely right! Highly recommended to mystery and history readers.

Victoria Thompson has been nominated for an Agatha for historic mystery. There are now 17 books in the series. Her Amazon author page is here. (I believe the midwife and the police detective sergeant are planning to wed in the latest. Must read that too!)