Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Past, Present, Future-and Free Download of My Austin Starr Short Story by Kay Kendall

Past, Present, Future—and Free Download of My Austin Starr Short Story
By Kay Kendall

Once upon a time I believed my dreams would all come true when I wrote a book. With that accomplished, of course I wanted to have it published. And then when I held it in my hands, I knew I would be ecstatic.

Those dreams did indeed come true. With lots of hard work, more than I ever imagined would be necessary, my debut mystery was published two years ago this spring. Now I have its sequel coming out this summer.

The goal posts keep moving, however. I am now striving to juggle more than one writing project at a time.  Today I will share with you how I’m doing in that regard.

CURRENT PROJECT – Free download! 

Last month I published a short story that bridges DESOLATION ROW with its sequel RAINY DAY WOMEN. The story is “Strangers on a Plane,” and through March 6, you can download it FREE on Amazon. You don’t need a Kindle to read it either. You can read “Strangers on a Plane” on other devices—your PC, Mac, cell phone, or other type of tablet. If you’ve been curious about my fiction, now is a great time to read, absolutely free.

FUTURE PROJECTS—Mysteries #2 and #3

Mystery #2, RAINY DAY WOMEN, is in its final stages before publication. I’ve done edits based on my editor’s suggestions and await her verdict on the changes I made. With my first mystery, DESOLATION ROW, I enjoyed the revision stage. I like the back-and-forth process with a professional who helps me make my book as strong as it can be. Meantime the cover, blurbs from other mystery authors, and promotional copy are in process. All of this is exciting. Almost every part of publishing thrills me—except for the torture of first drafts.

But here’s a surprise. I am shocked to confide that I am already planning mystery #3. I don’t have its name yet, although several song titles by Bob Dylan are in contention. The theme of the mystery is haunting me, and possible plot points pop into my mind now at the oddest times. I hesitate to say this, but I think, I hope, I believe—sort of—that I just may be a writer.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My Upcoming Author Appearances, by Marilyn Meredith

No longer do I head off to far-away places that need to be reached by air. (I may ignore that decision if something intriguing enough should arise, but that's how I'm feeling now.) Most of the in-person appearances I'll be making in the next few months are driveable.

Last Saturday was the first one of this year, a local authors' day at a lovely library several cities away. A fun time and I connected with a friend and fan who recetly moved to this city and  met many other delightful readers.

On March 14th, from 2-4, I'm participating in a peanl about how mysteries have changed sine the days of the Maltese Falcon at a wonderful used bookstore--the Book Barn in Clovis. The reason for the Matlese Falcon is that is the book for the Fresno Library's annual Read-a-thon.

Because I'm a board member of the Public Safety Writers Association, I'm headed to Ventura for their annual board meeting the following weekend. Not a book selling event, but important for the organization--with a bit of fun thrown in. Plus, I have a daughter who lives nearby and we'll squeeze in some time with her and her family.

The last weekend of the month, we're off to Santa Maria, where we're staying in the Santa Maria Hotel--this is where all the movie stars stayed on their way up the coast in the good-old days. The lobby, dining room and bar area are full of nostalgia (there's even a bank of private telephone booths), We like to stay in the older part of the hotel--the rooms are smaller, but each one is unique and they are the actual rooms the stars stayed in--some even with name plates on the doors.

On Saturday, the March 28th, I'm speaking to the Central Coast Sisters in Crime, 10 a.m. at the Nipomo Library. My topic: How to Create and Sustain a Mystery Series. I belong to this chapter but don't get to go over there often enough. I'm looking forward to sharing and seeing everyone.

On April 2nd, I'm participating in a Mystery Authors' Symposium at 6:30 p.m. in the Fig Garden Library in Fresno.

My official book launch for Violetn Departures is on April 16th at 6 p.m. in the Porterville Library--and there's going to be cupcakes!

And that's about it until July 16-19 when we'll be in Las Vegas for the Public Safety Writers Association's Annual Conference. Love this conference where mystery writers can share and learn from all sorts of law enforcement officers, firemen, and other public safety personnel. I've become friends with so many of this group who are willing to share their expertise.

As time goes by, I"m sure I'll be booking other dates for appearances--but that's it for now.

For all you readers out there, do attend author events in your local area, it means a lot to those of us who do these.

Looking forward to meeting and introducing both my series to new readers.

Marilyn Meredith aka F. M. Meredith

The Rocky Bluff P.D. Mystery Series

The Deputy Tempe Crabtree Mystery Series

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Idea Store by Lynn Cahoon

Last summer, before my life turned upside down, I committed to joining Toastmasters at my workplace. Since August, I've given one speech.

This month, I'll be giving two, one in a competition. Crazy, right?

The good news is I've been speaking in public since my first job where I was the radio girl who listed off the new, hot job opportunities available at your local unemployment office.  Then I spent over ten years training the regional staff at Idaho's Health and Welfare department. Want to know how to deal with computer issues, or what assets count against Medicaid? I'm your girl.

But the speeches I'm giving this month are more personal. And I'm hoping I can keep my emotions in check while I'm talking. The first speech talks about where the ideas come from for my books. My mother asked me the same question. "How do you come up with all these ideas?"

The answer I gave her was kind of broad, but I'll tell you the true writer secret. We're magpies. We take bits and pieces of everything we've ever did, seen, or heard for our stories.  We're taught to write what we know, so my first published book was The Bull Rider's Brother.

No, I'm not a bull rider expert. But I love cowboys. Especially those in tight fitting jeans and a pearl snap western shirt? Add in a hat and boots, and I'm gone. The book's first line tells you a lot about my main character Lizzie, but also, a lot about the author - me.

Cowboys aren't easy to love, but they sure are easy on the eyes.

Then I mixed three or four of my favorites sites in the Idaho mountains and imagined the new town of Shawnee Idaho. I added in two brothers, the older being way too protective of the younger, to the point it affected his own happiness, threw in a too cute kid and a main character who's been burned by love, one too many times.

All things I know about.

There's a saying that authors pass around that says use your life history to season your writing. If  the people you know wanted to be painted in a positive light, they should have been nicer to you on the way.

I love this.

So where is your idea store?
If you're interested in starting the Tourist Trap series before Dressed to Kill launches in June and Killer Run, in August, eKensington has Guidebook to Murder on sale for the month of March - digital $1.99. Check out the story that started it all....

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Bobbsey Twins and Agatha Christie by Debra H. Goldstein

The Bobbsey Twins and Agatha Christie by Debra H. Goldstein

When I was a child, I was given a copy of The Bobbsey Twins of Lakeport by Laura Lee Hope.  It’s book jacket claimed “Ghosts! Everyone agrees that the old Marden House is as haunted as a chimney on Halloween, but when there’s a mystery to be solved, the Bobbsey Twins, Bert and Nan, Freddie and Flossie, don’t intend to let a little thing like ghosts stop them.”  I became a diehard mystery reader from that moment forward.

Mysteries let me escape from school, chores, piano practice, and my pesky younger sister.  Reading the entire Bobbsey Twin series let me be part of solving a mystery at the circus, the beach, the mountains, and by the end, even Japan.  I explored more places and felt like the series’ characters became my friends as I read my way through Cherry Ames, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden.  Then, I found Agatha Christie!  Not only were the characters of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot addictive, but their reasoning abilities challenged me to read carefully so that I could beat them to figuring out whodunit.

To this day, I relish the plot line in Christie’s The Pale Horse because it stumped me.  When I finished the book, I realized that Agatha Christie had hid the clues in the plot’s twists and turns, but I had been so engrossed in the story that I forgot to focus on putting them together.  It was at that moment I realized the complex analysis and delicacy of writing that makes a good mystery just plain fun to read.

Throughout the years, mystery writers have entertained and challenged me. They’ve kept me from being bored on long flights, distracted me when unpleasant things are happening, and interfered with my sleep because I was too intrigued in a book to put it down.  It is the latter type of books that remind me of the technical skills of word choice, plot, and characterization necessary to write an enjoyable mystery. These type of books are, as Flossie of The Bobbsey Twins would say, “bee-yoo-ti-ful!.”