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.

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.

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.