Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reflections on 2015 and Looking Ahead to 2016


New Year's Eve is always a time for looking back and looking ahead. As a writer, 2015 has been a good year and I accomplished a lot:

  • I "met" some great fellow authors and learned a lot from them through Clean Indie Reads, Rave Reviews Book Club, and twitter - their knowledge and support has been wonderful!
  • The number of followers on the blog has increased and I receive many more requests for book reviews as well as continuing to participate in blog tours
  • I changed out the covers with professional ones - thank you Victorine Lieske!
  • I finished and published the third book in the Cold Creek series - MURDER AT THE GRILL (released 11/15/2015)
  • I improved my marketing skills as evidenced by increased sales - my royalties for 2015 are more than for 2014 though I need to keep my day job
  • I became a tweeter and it amazes me how many followers I have and how many tweets I have tweeted
What do I plan for 2016?
  • I plan to continue to support my fellow indie authors on twitter, FB, and the blog
  • I have a blog tour scheduled for MURDER AT THE GRILL - Great Escapes once again - and I'm excited about that!
  • I have blog tours scheduled, but cutting back to about once per week to focus my efforts on writing
  • Book 4 of the Cold Creek series is started with hopes to complete it (draft, editing, beta readers, editing, more editing) by November 1, 2016 
  • I have an idea for a new series (young adult) and started the first -- my hope is to finish that one as well by November 2016
  • The last two mean less time gaming online and more time spent writing 

  • On a personal note, of course the usual - eat better, exercise more, and find something positive every day 
I liked the suggestion of some unknown person to write down something positive that happened each each week in the coming year and then read them all next New Year's Eve...  I'm going to give that a try!


How about you? What are your hopes and dreams for 2016? I hope it is a happy, healthy and productive 2016!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Guest Post: SUZANNE BURKE Author of LOGAN'S SECRET

Today I am pleased to have Suzanne Burke, author of a children's book trilogy, as my guest.  If you are a dog-lover like me, you will enjoy this post (and probably the books!)

A Dog Inspires a Children’s Book Trilogy, by Suzanne Burke

I never planned to be an author, but a greyhound changed all that ten years ago! In 2002 I decided to adopt a “rescue dog” and remembered Zeus, a greyhound who had crossed my path on Thanksgiving day years earlier in a most unusual way as an escaped greyhound. I helped a young girl safely capture Zeus hours after escaping from his backyard. This event inspired me to look more into the greyhound as a pet. I did some research on the Internet and found a local adoption group in Dallas, Texas, Greyhound Adoption League of Texas, and met my first greyhound, Allie who I eventually adopted.

After experiencing this wonderful intelligent, regal and docile breed, I became hooked. I jumped into volunteering and fostering with the Greyhound Adoption League of Texas to help retired racing greyhounds. I never anticipated that a dog would change my life so dramatically, but a greyhound named Sam entered my life in 2005 in the most unexpected way and what he taught me was so life changing that I had to tell others so, they too, would know a secret that would lead to a much more abundant and happy life.

Sam was a large, sweet fawn colored male greyhound with a positive and confident air. He loved everyone! In the Spring of 2005, Sam escaped from his foster home through an open backyard gate. I became involved with his search and rescue effort that would last six weeks. This effort was a true test of patience and faith for many volunteers who spent countless hours posting missing dog flyers, and searching through woods and brush in a lake community in Dallas, Texas. It was amazing to watch a community come together through this lost dog. Everyone knew of Sam. Volunteers searching for him never gave up hope of finding the beloved greyhound.

As a last resort, five weeks into the search a huge humane trap was set up at the edge of a wooded area in the lake community in hopes of capturing Sam. Volunteers were scheduled to replenish the trap with the most alluring food possible morning and night only to find wild animals caught each morning. One morning a raccoon and her babies were caught and of course released. It was a true test of patience, ending in frustration each morning when Sam did not appear.

One evening a volunteer and I were scheduled to bait the greyhound trap. As we finished our chore and took a rest on a park bench to watch the sun set, we noticed a unique formation of a large fluffy cloud in front of the sun. It wasn’t just any formation, but one I will never forget. The cloud shaped before our eyes in the form of a greyhound’s head with its unique long needle nose and relaxed ears. We wondered if the cloud image had significance and both of us walked away that evening with a feeling that something was about to change.

The following day at noon, I received a phone call from the volunteer screaming in my ear that Sam had been found safe – on a ranch, thirty miles from the lake where the trap had been set up. How in the world would a greyhound end up thirty miles from the area where we consistently received sightings?

Logan’s Secret tells of this true-life story told from the canine’s perspective. It is about a dog that wanted nothing more than to know a home filled with love, warmth, and happiness. Sam experienced unbelievable challenges and odds to find his forever home. And it was his story that inspired me to begin writing. This is a delightful book with a happy ending where a greyhound with one wish for a loving forever home comes true and is given the new name of Logan. Through the illustrated story, Logan teaches readers about the art of positivity, decision making, and perseverance like no human or dog before. 

The book became popular with dog lovers and children and I was asked to write another story about Logan. An idea was formed, and I started a book series teaching children (and adults) about the different historical periods in which greyhounds held importance. The stories are illustrated time travel historical adventures to periods such as Ancient Egypt and Medieval Europe to peak the interest of readers to not only teach important social issues, but also history lessons. 

Logan and the Mystical Collar which is the second illustrated book in the series, teaches not only lessons about bullying and courage, but also historical facts about Ancient Egypt in an interesting and fun way for children and adults. In August, 2015, Logan and the Mystical Collar was awarded dual medals in the 2015 Global E Book awards, one of which was for “best illustrated children’s story”.

Book three in the trilogy, titled The Rise of the Phoenix, is in production and is expected to launch the first quarter of 2016. The Rise of the Phoenix, set in Medieval Europe, is an exciting adventure that includes Logan, a wizard, a large imposing dragon, and Tess, a royal greyhound, who are brought together to save a kingdom from an evil black mist that has plagued the countryside and threatens all of humanity. There are clues on Logan’s collar that lead the team to unlock the mystery of a 500 year old secret – the phoenix, which is their only hope to annihilate the killer black mist. Look for this richly illustrated story to be launched on Amazon.

More stories are on the horizon to teach important life lessons and history for readers. Logan’s Secret and Logan and the Mystical Collar are available on Amazon.com in both print and Kindle versions. To learn more about the stories, the greyhound’s history, and about this breed as a pet, visit http://www.greyhoundstories.com.

Brief bio and links for Suzanne Burke

Suzanne Burke, a native of Richmond, Virginia currently lives in a suburb of Dallas, Texas, with her retired racing greyhounds. She has more than ten years’ experience working with the greyhound breed as a volunteer for the Greyhound Adoption League of Texas. Suzanne also has more than 15 years’ experience in the information technology field in project management and technical writing.

http://greyhoundstories.com/

@LoganGreyhound

Buy links:

Logan’s Secret http://www.amazon.com/Logans-Secret-Greyhounds-Survival-Greyhound/dp/1478325380/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429203089&sr=8-1&keywords=logan%27s+secret

Logan and the Mystical Collar http://www.amazon.com/Logan-The-Mystical-Collar-Adventures/dp/1490992421/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y



Monday, December 14, 2015

Blog Tour: Interview with TERESA A LARUE, author of A TALENT FOR MURDER

Today it is my pleasure to have Teresa LaRue as my guest.  She agreed to answer some questions...

How long have you been writing?

Since I’m holding at twenty-nine, I can’t give you an exact number of years. Let’s just say, it’s been awhile. I started writing as a hobby, something to occupy my mind while raising three rambunctious kids. I managed to publish a few items, which gave me the courage to tackle a novel. A Talent for Murder is my third novel. The other two are gathering dust in my file cabinet.

What inspires you to write?

I think stories are in my DNA. Growing up, I often wrote little skits for my girlfriends to perform. We needed an audience, so we bribed the neighborhood boys to attend with promises of food.

How long did it take you to write A TALENT FOR MURDER?

I only work two or three hours a day, and I did extensive rewrites, so it took me about four years to complete.

What was your favorite scene to write?

The scene where Kate sneaks up on Happy and Lula Mae while they’re breaking into a house. They’re so frightened, they begin squealing like a couple of pigs, then try to attack her.

The subtitle, A Flower Patch Mystery, suggests this is a series. Is that the plan? If so, when do you expect the next one to come out? How do you anticipate your characters growing and changing as the series progresses?


I’m already working on a second book. Whether it’s picked up by my publisher - I guess that depends on how well A Talent for Murder does.

I’m sure Kate will eventually marry and set up housekeeping with her new husband. As they grow older, they’ll face new challenges. One thing you can be sure of: Happy, Lula Mae, and Kate will find themselves in the middle of another murder investigation.

How similar are you to Kate Spencer?


Physically, we’re nothing alike. She’s tall - five eight. I’m short - five two. She has curly brown hair; mine is brown and ruler-straight. But like her, I understand what it’s like to deal with a strong-willed mother. But I’m pretty sure my love of chocolate far exceeds hers.

What are your favorite things to do besides writing?

I love to watch movies and work in my garden. But my favorite pastime is reading. Mostly, mysteries and thrillers.

Who is your favorite author and why?

I love so many authors it’s hard to narrow it down to one. I suppose my favorite would be Carolyn Hart. I’m a big fan of all three of her series: Annie Darling, Henri O, and Bailey Ruth. Her main characters are strong women, who don’t wait around for someone else to solve their problems. She does a great job of bringing her settings to life. And there are enough plot twists to keep me guessing.

Anything else, my readers might want to know about you or your new series?

I got the idea for A Talent for Murder from my daughter, who stormed into the living room one afternoon and declared she was never going anywhere with her grandmother again. That she and her sister were just too embarrassing! (I believe that was the time one of them sprayed her dress with an anti-static spray in the middle of the store.) Which got me to thinking . . . what if a thirty-some-year-old woman got caught up in a murder investigation, only her mother and aunt kept bumbling around in her way, and her ex-cop-boyfriend got assigned to the investigation . . . .

Thank you so much for sharing with my readers. I, for one, hope it doesn't take another 4 years before the second book in the series comes out!

About the Author
Teresa A. LaRue grew up in a small town along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She fell in love with the mystery genre in fourth grade. She’s worked as a secretary, assistant manager of an audio book store, and manager of a fashion jewelry store. She is an avid reader, gardener, and movie buff. She lives across the lake from New Orleans with her family, which includes a dog named Bones and a cat named Chloe.
Author Links

Synopsis of A TALENT FOR MURDER

A Talent for Murder is a cozy, southern mystery filled with humor and colorful characters, with a touch of romance thrown in for added fun.

When Kate Spencer learns her aunt’s fiancĂ© is two-timing her with an old rival, she has no choice but to pass along the information to her mother. They are as shocked as the rest of the town when the rival turns up dead and the two-timing fiancĂ© disappears.


Making matters worse, the lead investigator happens to be Kate’s old boyfriend. If her aunt has any hope of being cleared, the trio must conduct their own investigation. Even if they have to alienate a few friends and tell a few lies to discover the truth.
Purchase Links

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Blog Tour: THE BODY IN THE LANDSCAPE by Larissa Reinhart

Synopsis:
“Anyone who likes humorous mysteries will also enjoy local author Larissa Reinhart, who captures small town Georgia in the laugh-out-loud escapades of struggling artist Cherry Tucker.” –Fayette Woman Magazine

Cherry is a quirky spitfire who lights the match that sets her little town on fire.” – Dru’s Book Musings

When Cherry Tucker’s invited to paint the “kill portrait” for the winner of Big Rack Lodge’s Hogzilla hunt, it seems like a paid vacation. Back home in Halo, a Hatfield-McCoy-style standoff builds between Luke and Cherry’s families. She’s ready for a weekend away, hobnobbing with rich and famous hunters, where she can forget her troubles and nobody knows her name.

As Georgia sunshine turns to bleak December rain, Cherry’s R&R goes MIA when she finds a body in the woods. While the police believe the local drunk took an accidental spill, Cherry has her doubts, particularly when a series of malicious pranks are targeted at the rifle toting contestants. With loyal companions at her side—sort-of-ex-husband Todd and a championship bayer named Buckshot—Cherry tracks suspects through a forest full of pitfalls and perils. And all the while, a killer’s stalking the hunt party with a bead on Cherry.
Review:
Cherry Tucker's life is anything but boring. The family feud continues to thwart the rocky relationship between Cherry and Luke, but at least she has a painting ordered. What sounds like a dream job - hang out while the hunters do their thing and then paint the winner - turns sour when Cherry finds a dead body. Her interactions with the man are at odds with what townsfolk and police say about him. They are all willing to accept an accident, but not Cherry. And the hunt goes on, despite pranks and near misses. 

As with the other books in this series, Cherry's personality shines and her antics bring a smile.  The characters are well-developed, especially Todd. The story progresses at a good pace with twists, turns, and quirky personalities. All in all, Reinhart has once again managed to spin a humorous who-dun-it sure to please. Although this is the fifth in the series (and I've read them all), this can be read as a stand-alone. I hope the sixth is not far behind.

Books in the Cherry Tucker Humorous Mystery Series:

• QUICK SKETCH (Novella prequel to PORTRAIT in HEARTACHE MOTEL)
PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY (#1)
STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW (#2)
HIJACK IN ABSTRACT (#3)
DEATH IN PERSPECTIVE (#4)
THE BODY IN THE LANDSCAPE (#5)


About The Author:

After teaching in the US and Japan, Larissa enjoys writing, particularly sassy female characters with a penchant for trouble. She lives near Atlanta with her family and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit. Visit her website or find her chatting on Facebook. THE BODY IN THE LANDSCAPE is the fifth book in the bestselling Cherry Tucker Mystery series. The first, PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY, is a Daphne du Maurier finalist, Emily finalist, and Dixie Kane Memorial winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

BookBlast : CITY OF GOLD by Carolyn Arnold

CITY OF GOLD large banner640

CITY OF GOLD by Carolyn Arnold

Hardcover: 314 pages 
Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc (November 27, 2015) 
ISBN-13: 978-1988064666 ASIN: B016LLDQIY
goodreads-badge-add-plus

Synopsis

Action-adventure books for the mystery lover. In this series, modern-day archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor travels the globe with his two closest friends to unearth treasure and discover legends the world has all but forgotten. Indiana Jones meets the twenty-first century.
CITY OF GOLDFinding the Inca’s lost City of Gold would be the discovery of a lifetime. But failing could mean her death...
Archaeologist Matthew Connor and his friends Cal and Robyn are finally home after a dangerous retrieval expedition in India. While they succeeded in obtaining the priceless Pandu artifact they sought, it almost cost them their lives. Still, Matthew is ready for the next adventure. Yet when new intel surfaces indicating the possible location of the legendary City of Gold, Matthew is hesitant to embark on the quest.
Not only is the evidence questionable but it means looking for the lost city of Paititi far away from where other explorers have concentrated their efforts. As appealing as making the discovery would be, it’s just too risky. But when Cal’s girlfriend, Sophie, is abducted by Matthew’s old nemesis who is dead-set on acquiring the Pandu statue, Matthew may be forced into action. Saving Sophie’s life means either breaking into the Royal Ontario Museum to steal the relic or offering up something no one in his or her right mind can refuse--the City of Gold.
Now Matthew and his two closest friends have to find a city and a treasure that have been lost for centuries. And they only have seven days to do it. As they race against the clock, they quickly discover that the streets they seek aren’t actually paved with gold, but with blood.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CAROLYN ARNOLD is the international best-selling and award-winning author of the Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher, and McKinley Mystery series. She is the only author with POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT.™
Carolyn was born in a small town, but that doesn’t keep her from dreaming big. And on par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and cases to solve. She currently lives in a city near Toronto with her husband and two beagles, Max and Chelsea. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Carolyn Author Photo 2013 ColorConnect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:

Website - http://carolynarnold.net/ 
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Carolyn_Arnold Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolynArnold 
 And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.

Purchase Links


Tour Participants
December 1
December 2