How I Spent My Break

If you’re looking for free mystery and suspense novels, I have one more BookFunnel promotion I’m taking part in this summer. This one ends on August 1st and there are nearly seventy authors participating. My Casey Holland mysteries, Deadly Accusations (#2) and Beneath the Bleak New Moon (#3) are also free, but only through BookFunnel’s newsletter campaign till Aug. 1. You can find the whole roster of books HERE.

I’m not sure that writers truly ever stop writing, even while on holiday, but I sort of managed it. I didn’t look at my urban fantasy for eight days, which became kind of difficult after four or five days. The thing is, when your mind is relaxed and all is quiet, ideas pop up.

This is how I found myself working on characters and an outline for the paranormal mystery I’ve mentioned in the past. It was great fun exploring ‘what-if’ concepts and creating characters. It was even more fun coming up with ideas for monsters. I’m trying to stay away from old familiars like vampires, werewolves, and ghosts, at least with this book. Creating monsters is a whole new challenge in my writing life, but I’ve read a couple of good books on the topic.

Speaking of reading, I read a terrific how-to book called Mastering Your Mystery by Cheryl Bradshaw. She goes through the basics of writing a crime novel, but takes it further in the second half of the book by offering helpful advice on marketing, publishing, and promotion. I especially liked that she went the extra mile to provide a list of awards and competitions to submit to, and a list of sites to help promote your work. Although I’ve read my share of how-to books, I always find that reading these books sparks ideas for current projects.

Last, but definitely not least, I spent a great deal of time with little Ellie, who’ll soon be one year old. Last week, she learned to crawl up a couple of steps and had her first ‘swim’ in the lake with her mom and dad. I’m always amazed by the astonishing changes during a child’s first year of life, and can’t wait to see what the next year will bring.

She’s hold a favorite new toy, a bowling pin.
She loves her food.

A Different Kind of Christmas

Well, it’s almost Christmas, and I hope you’re all doing as well as you possibly can. Christmas at our house will certainly be different this year. My daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter will be celebrating with us via Zoom. My son, who lives with us, will hook up my laptop to our big screen TV so they’ll be as close to us as possible. If luck, we might be able to get my brother-in-law in Ottawa to Zoom in with us as well.

I’m still cooking a turkey and enjoying some wine, and gift unwrapping. I still feel excitement and joy by the holiday season and am heartened to see people doing so many generous things to make the holidays a little better for others.

Today, I’m sharing some photos that represent some of my December. First up are three of my favorite tree ornaments. The chandelier and First Nations design are gifts from my sister who usually brings me a new ornament every year. The pink flamingo was purchased from the gift shop at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, where we took my mom for her 75th birthday just over a decade ago. This will be our second Christmas without Mom, and I still miss her very much.

But we’re also overjoyed to spend our first Christmas with Ellie. This photo was taken on Dec. 10th, after she’d been to the doctor for her checkup and vaccines. She’s now 4-1/2 months old.

Ellie and me

It snowed in our area on the first official day of winter, which is kind of cool. When you’re retired and don’t have to drive to work every day, you appreciate snow a little more.

Taken two days ago. There’s little snow left.

To those who celebrate, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!! And happy holidays everyone!

Canada’s most closely guarded secret: October is Women’s History Month

I came across Jane Fritz’s incredible post and wanted to share. I had no idea that October was Women’s History Month in Canada. Not one person in the media has mentioned this, as far as I know, and I watch several news channels everyday.

Robby Robin's Journey

OK, all of you readers who are Canadian women, raise your hand if you knew that October is Canada’s Women’s History Month, so almost over? I’m not raising my hand, or at least I wouldn’t have a few days ago. I came across it inadvertently while meandering around the Internet (where I spend a great deal of my time, I admit).

I have to ask: why have a Women’s History Month different from March (when the more well-known International Women’s Day is celebrated) if you’re not going to promote it? Once you know it exists, you can find a little information, but just a little. According to a post on the government’s Status of Women website, “in 1992 the Government of Canada designated October as Women’s History Month, marking the beginning of an annual month-long celebration of the outstanding achievements of women throughout Canada’s history. Women’s History Month includes International…

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Puzzling Promotion Possibilities

If you’re an author, you’ve probably received numerous emails from people who want to sell their services for social media blasts, blog tours, press releases, and other things. Reviewers, jacket designers, and proofreaders have also invited me to purchase their services for a wide range of prices.

These aren’t all scams, but it does take some digging to determine which ones are legitimate and/or useful and which are not. The Writers Beware website is helpful, but it doesn’t cover everything, so I often do my own research.

Lately, I’ve been inundated with emails inviting me to list my books on promotion sites. Some of these offers are free listings while others come with a price tag. A few sites give you an option for free or paid listings, depending on how much visibility you want.

Here’s what I’ve found with a quick search. All of the sites below want me to set up an account, which I’m not prepared to do right now. The emails I’ve received suggest that these are the best book promotion sites in 2020, which is likely subject to opinion. I have started a basic search and most of these sites list featured, standard, or basic listings, likely dependent on the price.

Giobooks.com – offers different levels of visibility, so assuming it provides both free and paid

Bmibooks.com – has a startup fee starting at $10.00

Olto.App – has a free and paid options

BookswiFi.com – again offers a varying price range.

Bestreads.app – invites you to share your amazon purchase link for free

Reactbooks.com  – little info is given about this site without registering

Wordlikes – charges $15.00 for one year

I’m sure that several of you have also received similar emails. Have any of you tried these book promotion sites or do you think it’s a waste of time? Do you use any specific sites for your books? Honestly, you could join a new site every day for a month and still not have covered them all. If I get enough responses, I’ll share them with you, plus other searches I plan to do over the next couple of weeks.

Guest Appearing on J.P. McLean’s blog

I’m delighted to appear on J.P. McLean’s blog today. The topic is Writing Before and After the Pandemic, which turned out to be a more complex issue than I envisioned.

As I considered ramifications for contemporary fiction writers, issues kept cropping up, so it seemed more straightforward to use The Blade Man as a reference point. You can find the piece HERE, and please have a look at J.P.’s wonderful urban fantasy novels. She’s another terrific British Columbia author. Thanks!

6th in Casey Holland mystery series.

Amazon: mybook.to/TheBladeMan

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-blade-man

Apple books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1495092401

Guest Blog-Debra Purdy Kong-Part 2

Today, I’m very pleased to present Part II of my piece, It’s All About Relationships, on David’s Life and Random Thinking blog. Thanks again to David for hosting me twice in one week!

Life and Random Thinking

One of the bonuses you don’t expect when you begin blogging is the friends you make. That has certainly been my experience leading to my guest blog today. 

Today one of my blog friends, Debra Purdy Kong, is my special guest for a second time. In her first guest post Debra shared about the importance of relationships when writing a book and today she is sharing the importance of continuing to build relationships after a book is published.

I love to read, and now I know more about what it takes to write and publish your own book. 

Enjoy the insights from Debra.Have a wonderful day!  – David

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It’s All About Relationships, Part 2 –

By Debra Purdy Kong

After publishing a book, Photo of Debra Pudy Kongan author is faced with numerous promoting and marketing tasks.

Long gone are the days when an author signed a contract, held a launch arranged…

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Special Guest Blog- Debra Purdy Kong

I’m delighted to appear on David’s blog, Life and Random Thinking, today. This is the 1st of a two part series about building relationships in a writer’s life. David is a BC blogger I met through the blogging community and I really enjoy his photos and descriptions of life in Penticton, BC.

Life and Random Thinking

One of the bonuses you don’t expect when you begin blogging is the friends you make. That has certainly been my experience. Today one of my blog friends, Debra Purdy Kong, is my special guest.

She is a fellow Canadian and a published author and I have offered to have her as my guest for two posts, first post today. –

Thank you for taking the time to meet my special guest today.  – David

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It’s All About Relationships, Part I

By Debra Purdy Kong

Debra’s Bio:  Debra Purdy Kong’s volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and various jobs, inspired her to write mysteries set in BC’s Lower Mainland. Her employment as a campus security patrol and communications officer provide the background for her Casey Hollandtransit security novels.

Photo of Debra Pudy KongAs a self-published mystery author of ten books, it’s become clear to me that the success I’ve enjoyed over the years…

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Handling Secondary Characters in a Series

WordDreams...

I haven’t written about secondary characters in a long time, maybe never! Thankfully, Debra Purdy Kong, author of the exciting Casey Holland Mysteries series and webmaster for Mystery Deb, has some great ideas on them.  In this article, she covers how to sketch them out (with an Excel spreadsheet), how to make them memorable, and how to keep them relevant.

I am so excited to host Debra here on WordDreams!

Handling Secondary Characters in a Series

My Casey Holland mystery series is set at Casey’s workplace, Mainland Public Transport. This fictional bus company has about 100 employees which provides opportunities to introduce a wide range of characters. Casey is a transit security officer, who often rides the buses dealing with harassment and smaller types of crime that either turn into or merge with more serious crimes. The company’s security department has only five staff plus Casey’s supervisor, Stan. Her…

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Guest Blog for Debra’s 6th Mystery Novel

I’m delighted to appear on Darlene Foster’s blog today, where I’m discussing the inspiration for Casey Holland mystery #6, The Blade Man.

Darlene Foster's Blog

I am pleased to have as a guest on my blog, Debra Purdy Kong, who has just launched her 6th mystery novel. Debra has been a guest on my blog, here where she talked about how she gets her ideas and gives some great advice to anyone thinking of writing. Today she talks about her inspiration for the latest Casey Holland mystery, The Blade Man.

So, This Bus Driver Approached Me…
By Debra Purdy Kong

After my third Casey Holland mystery, Beneath the Bleak New Moon, was published, a local bus driver contacted me through Twitter to ask about my books. My series is set in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, which is where the driver and I live.

My protagonist, Casey, is a 33-year-old transit security officer who’s employed by a private bus company. She rides the buses, usually after a customer complaint, to deal with smaller types…

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