How Jo Changed

I have a new cov­er for my first book, Yesterday’s Body. Inside the book, my ama­teur sleuth is just the same. On the cov­er, she’s changed.

The first cov­er was done by the small pub­lish­er, Wings ePress. Then, after my con­tract with them was up, I self-pub­lished with a cov­er by my daugh­ter, Don­na Hedricks. Now, since I’m about to pub­lish a sequel, I want­ed them to match. So… a new cov­er, by Karen Phillips. But let’s face it. Jo’s image has changed.

First Cover

First Cov­er

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Cover

Sec­ond Cov­er

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Third Cover

Third Cov­er

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, I must admit, there’s not much of Jo on the third cov­er. But they all have the yel­low cat.

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.

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, I vis­it­ed the  Hen­ery Press Blog (no longer active). I told them why I place my mys­ter­ies on Chesa­peake Bay.