Back to My Regular Routine

Pexels Image by Doug Brown

Happy Groundhog Day and Kung Hei Fat Choy (the Cantonese version, I’m told), or Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin) to those who celebrate. The new year officially started yesterday, but celebrations go on for several days. It is now the year of the tiger, which symbolizes strength and courage, among other things.

Pexels Image by Angela Roma

Normally, we would be going out for a large family dinner, but in these Covid times, small family gatherings are safer, especially for eighteen-month-old Ellie. How is your 2022 going so far? Has it been productive and smooth-going, or a bumpy long haul?

Before Covid, my husband I were lucky enough to spend a few days in Mexico in January 2018 and January 2019. It was a welcome break, although we had no plans to go ever year. Good decision, too, as it turned out. But I do enjoy breaks in late January. By the third week of the month, most of us feel that winter’s become a grind we could live without. My husband, hardly a world traveler, has actually been checking the daily temperature in Puerto Vallarta, which I don’t think helps his longing for warmer weather.

I had a break from my usual routine this past week, as my daughter was on a week’s holiday, so babysitting services weren’t needed. I used the time to finish tasks that had been on hold for several weeks, and to catch up on rest and reading. This week, I’m back babysitting, amazed by the way Ellie’s language and motor skills are progressing, and how she’s now crawling up on the furniture and running at, what for her, is top speed. Yikes!

I’m grateful for the great feedback I received from my beta readers on the Casey novella. Of course, changes are needed, and I’m rethinking the title, but it shouldn’t take too long to make the changes.

Meanwhile, I’ve joined the largest BookFunnel group promotion yet, with over 80 authors offering samples, excerpts, or full books of suspense and thriller mysteries. You can find the link HERE.

Unexpected Goals, Who Knew?

First, thanks to those who volunteered to beta read my Casey Holland novella. I truly appreciate your taking the time to read the book and offer comments.

Last week, while I was sitting on the floor with my granddaughter and not really thinking about anything, ideas started popping into my head. Some of the ideas had occurred before but I’d dismissed them as too much work. Something’s now telling me that 2022 is the time to get moving. A couple of the newer ideas occurred after attending an online publishing workshop a few days ago.

One of the earlier ideas I dismissed came from an online course from marketing guru and author, David Gaughran. He advises re-doing covers on older books and sprucing up book blurbs prior to launching a marketing campaign for a new book in the series. I need to do this for the first four books in my series, as the covers were designed by my former publisher. I also have decided to use IngramSpark to make print books available to libraries etc., another idea I’ve put off for a long time.

When I acquired the rights to the cover art back in 2016, I didn’t realize until much later that the resolution was too low to publish on Amazon. Unfortunately, I had a lot on my plate back then, so only ebooks are available.

I’ve been using Draft2Digital for platforms aside from of Amazon, but one of the new ideas (again from the workshop) is to add PublishDrive to the roster, as they apparently have a larger audience in other countries than D2D does. If any of you have experience with PublishDrive or IngramSpark, especially pitfalls to avoid, I’d love to hear them.

Lastly, for those of you who might not have picked up a copy of the third book in my series, Beneath the Bleak New Moon, this book is now on sale until February 8th for $.99. I really enjoyed researching this book, as I learned a lot about street racing, legal and illegal, for my story. The book can be found through the BookFunnel link HERE:

Compartmentalizing My Life

mujerdetective-841x1024[1]I have a part-time secretarial job at a university. I’ve worked in a couple of different departments over the past five years, yet only a handful of colleagues from each department know that I’m a mystery writer who spends her free time plotting crimes and coming up with intriguing ways to kill people. You can see why I don’t advertise this fact, right?

Marketing-savvy folks will likely be aghast at my reluctance to discuss my books, and tell me that I’m throwing away plenty of selling opportunities. But the truth is I simply don’t feel that comfortable talking about writing while I’m being paid to do other things. And when you only work four hours a day, you don’t get lunch breaks to sit and chat.

 

Occasionally, on quiet days, someone will ask me a few questions, and I’ll answer them, but I don’t encourage these types of conversations. This week, a colleague asked to purchase a couple of books for birthday presents. While I certainly obliged, I handed the books discreetly to her while no one else was around.

Everybody has a private life and personal challenges, or hobbies…important parts of their lives that they don’t spend much time, if any, yakking about at the office. It seems only natural to compartmentalize our lives. There’s a time and place for each of those boxes to be opened and explored. I’ve learned to pick and choose my times wisely.

Two Goodreads Giveaways!

I’m starting 2018 by offering two giveaways, one for each my recent releases, on the Goodreads site.

Knock Knock, front cover

 

My 5th Casey Holland mystery, Knock Knock (published in November) is offered to anyone in the U.S. and Canada until January 24th!

The link is: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/273020-knock-knock

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00049]

My 2nd Evan Dunstan mystery novella, A Toxic Craft, (published in December) will offered until Wed., January 31st.

The link is: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/273253-a-toxic-craft

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the huge Goodreads site, there are plenty of other books up for grabs, so best of luck!!

Craft Fairs and Crime? You’d Be Surprised

When plotting a mystery, I ask myself one essential question. What if? 

The idea for my second Evan Dunstan mystery (to be released one week from today), A TOXIC CRAFT, was born from that question and a very specific setting.

One of my favorite pre-Christmas activities is to sell my books at local craft fairs. I’ve attended several high school fundraisers, many of which have knitters selling their goods and trust me, they take their business seriously.

One year, my table was placed between a pair of knitters, who seemed well aware of each other, yet didn’t strike up any conversation. Furtive glances at one another’s tables suggested that there might have been a bit of competition between them.

By late afternoon, the fair’s attendance had slowed down, which gave me plenty of time to ponder craft fairs, big and small, and think about crime. For this mystery author, it was a natural progression to ask, what if a vendor took her rivalry a bit too far? What if she was a little bit crazy? A little bit violent?

I have to say that in real life everyone’s been friendly and generally have a good time selling their crafts. But in my line of work, I don’t deal in real life. Evan’s situation is much crazier, especially when his feisty grandmother’s involved. As this book shows, Gran has a real knack for annoying people. Find out just how much trouble she gets into in A TOXIC CRAFT, on December 6th!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00049]To pre-order, go to:

http://getbook.at/AToxicCraft

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/ycsvuaj5

 

Evan Dunstan is Back in A Toxic Craft!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00049]I’m thrilled to announce that Imajin Books will release my second Evan Dunstan “Qwickie” novella, A Toxic Craft, on December 6th!

For those who aren’t familiar with my novellas, Evan is a 22-year-old security guard at post-secondary campus. Evan’s ambition to join the RCMP inspires him to prove himself at solving campus crimes, as long it doesn’t interfere with his hot dates.

Evan’s latest adventure centers around his grandmother and her cronies as they host a seniors Christmas craft fair in STT’s gymnasium.

Here’s the blurb:

A crafty senior…

Evan Dunstan’s spunky grandmother is giving him major headaches. As organizer for the seniors’ Christmas craft fair, Gran faces warring vendors and acts of vandalism that threaten to ruin the event. When nasty knitter Cora Riddell is knocked unconscious and her water spiked with a hallucinogen, Gran begs Evan to find out who’s responsible before more harm is done—or someone dies.

A daunting task…

In charge of the fair’s security, Evan faces a challenge that grows more difficult by the hour. His boss expects him to find the culprit before police are called in and Southwest Trades & Technology’s reputation as a safe campus is destroyed.

A friend or foe?

A search for answers reveals the disturbing possibility that even friends and coworkers hope Evan will fail. Is the culprit closer to him than he thought? Whose startling secrets must be exposed to find the truth?

Pre-orders are available at:

Amazon: http://getbook.at/AToxicCraft

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/ycsvuaj5

 

#amblogging: Imajin Book’s Summer Sizzles Ebook Sale, July 1 – 1 5!

Summer Sizzles sale-July 1 -15

My publisher, Imajin Books, is about to launch a terrific two-week sale on their ebooks from July 1st to July 15. My first Evan Dunstan mystery novella, DEAD MAN FLOATING, will be on sale for only $.99 (U.S.) through the following links:

http://www.imajinbooks.com/kindle-ebook-sale

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/573302, (use promo code HF32M)

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/l77ymg5

Amazon: myBook.to/DEADMANFLOATING

Imajin Dead Man Floating Qwickie
Evan Dunstan, Mystery #1

One wrong decision… 

Security guard Evan Dunstan didn’t expect to find a body floating in a campus stream. An empty vodka bottle nearby suggests that the highly despised George Krenn, head of the plumbing department, had drunkenly fallen in. Refusing to let the death of a vile man ruin his romantic plans, Evan decides to leave the body for the next shift to find.

One friend in trouble…

When it’s discovered that Krenn was murdered, Evan has a lot of explaining to do. So does his friend Sully, Krenn’s least favourite student. Evan uses his hacking skills and campus knowledge to keep them both out of jail, but the investigation forces him to question Sully’s innocence.

One mystery to solve…

Uncovering the truth proves to be more than challenging. It may cost Evan his job, his friendship, and his woman. Will Evan find the killer, or will the killer find him first?