Friday, June 14, 2019

What a Month or Three New Babies!

What A Month or Three New Babies! by Debra H. Goldstein
May proved to be a crazy and wonderful month. It was so exciting, I want to share it with you.
The month began with my husband and I being on pins and needles anytime the phone rang for fear our daughter, Jennifer, whose first child was due on May 25th had gone into early labor. We breathed a sign of relief at the end of the first week.
Then, the doorbell rang. It proved to be a different kind of delivery. Two boxes from Harlequin . I tore into the box and held the new Harlequin Worldwide Mystery version of my second baby (book).
Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery.

Here’s the history of my second book. In 2014, Five Star purchased Poker. Because its 2015 calendar was filled, the book was scheduled for publication in 2016. A hardback version was released in April 2016, but to my dismay shortly thereafter Five Star ended its mystery line. Instead of a series, Poker became a standalone. Then, a nice thing happened. Harlequin Worldwide Mystery bought the book’s mass market rights. That meant it would be distributed to Harlequin’s book clubs and mystery subscribers and would also become part of its catalog for the general public to buy in a reasonably priced paperback format. With joy, in May 2019, I held the new edition of Poker, which officially releases on August 6, but already can be pre-ordered for the special discounted price of $6.39 -

Despite my happiness of the rebirth of this book, my attention still was on when Jen’s baby would   Another week went by – nothing. Her due date came – still nothing. She appeared to be no closer to delivery than I was. The doorbell rang again. When I opened it, no one was there. I looked down and was surprised to see a box. Confused, I carried it inside and carefully opened it. The box contained ARCS of Two Bites Too Many, the second book in my Sarah Blair series, which will be available on September 24 (but can be pre-ordered for delivery on that date at or .

Again, I was excited, but my mind was on Jennifer. Would her baby ever arrive? Of course, on May 31, 2019, Eliza Rose Feld entered the world. As happy and excited as I was at the other two May deliveries, neither topped Eliza. I’m over the moon at my third May delivery … and I think it will be a few days until I come down long enough to write anything that isn’t gibberish. Do you blame me?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

It’s Fra-Gee-Lay!

by Bethany Maines

In the Christmas classic, A Christmas Story, the father wins a “major award” which turns out to be a leg lamp that arrives in a large box marked “fragile.” His love for the major award is only matched by his wife’s hatred for the fishnet clad leg and the battle between the two has never stopped being funny.

This week, I was reminded of the leg lamp when I won my own “major award.” I recently converted my story Blue Christmas to a screenplay and submitted it to some screenplay contests that provided feedback to all entries.  As a first time screenplay writer, it was the feedback that I was pursuing.  In novel writing, it’s hard to find a beta reader that can help identify problems.  Most readers are not analytical and are really just there to enjoy the book (and that is just fine and there’s no reason to change!), but to advance a project it sometimes requires someone be more critical.  I’ve been fortunate to find a handful of good beta readers for my novels, but when it came to a screenplay I was at a loss! So I was excited to get feedback from genuine screenplay professionals.

The first contest said my script was “VERY close” and provided some valuable insights.  And this week I received notice from the second contest that I had been selected as a winner! The only way I could be prouder is if it came with a leg lamp. Winners have their screenplay’s opening scenes read by professional actors in a “table reading.” Which is pretty much what it sounds like – actors at a table doing a reading of the script.  The table reading is filmed and posted on the contest site, so obviously I will linking that here when the video goes live.  I can’t wait to see actors saying words that I’ve written!  And I’m excited to continue my adventures in scriptwriting.

And case you want a sneak peak at this action-packed romantic comedy before it hits big screens (I wish!)...

$1.99 - Amazon · Barnes & Noble · Kobo · Itunes
High-rise burglary to pay for her grandmother’s cancer treatments might not be ideal, but Blue Jones is determined to do what it takes to get her grandmother the best care possible. She just didn’t plan on being tackled by gorgeous Jake Garner. Jake, drunk and recently dumped, mistakes Blue for the dog sitter and begins shoving his ex’s belongings at her including her French Bulldog—Jacques. But soon Jake is being pressured to return the dog and Blue is being targeted by mysterious attackers. Can Jake and Blue stop these mystery men without also getting Blue arrested for theft? For Blue, Christmas has never been quite so dangerous. For Jake, Christmas has never been quite so Blue.

Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie Mae Mystery Series, San Juan Islands Mysteries, Shark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous short stories. When she's not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her fifth degree black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and BookBub.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Oh, The Places We'll Go

By AB Plum

When writing a novel, time and place matter. They anchor, at the simplest level, the story setting. Characters don't exist in a vacuum so I like putting them in a place, at a time, when they have to make choices.

The Early Years, Book 1 in The MisFit Series gives the month, the city, and the specific location in the city. The narrator makes a choice to commit murder. He pinpoints at the micro level a horrific train accident and its relationship to him. The train station, the frigid cold, the crowds—all symbolize the trajectory of the narrator's future. 

All this setting gets settled in less than a page.

When I wrote the Danish descriptions, I did so from memory and with a few details from my husband, born in Copenhagen. All the while I wrote the MisFit Series, we discussed how much fun we'd have going back and staying for more than three weeks.

So, this summer, we'll leave Silicon Valley and stay in a Copenhagen apartment near where my husband lived as a little boy. (Go figure that my WIP is the Ryn Davis Mystery Series set in the shadow of Google. Who knows? Ryn may meet a Dane in one of the upcoming mysteries).

My plan is to absorb more than the kringles, polse, plaice, and rødgrød med fløde (flaky almond-stuffed pastry, hot dogs, flounder, and raspberry/strawberry porridge with thick cream). I hope to return to the US speaking en smule dansk (a little Danish). I plan to visit all the tourist spots and those out-of-way cultural and historical landmarks known only to Danish citizens. With lots of family there, I think we'll experience this setting more deeply than we now can only imagine.

I'll write my July blog from Denmark. My plan is to write about the main train station (Københavns Hovedbanegård). This setting is the scene referenced above in The Early Years. This setting lays the groundwork to delve into a psychopath's dark mind.
AB Plum lives with her husband and alter ego, Barbara Plum off the beaten path but writes in Silicon Valley—a setting unto itself. She tries to capture the nuances of the place in her new Ryn Davis Mystery Series.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Special Snowflakes

Before I was published, back when a pair of rose-colored glasses were fused to my nose, I was sure my first book was a special snowflake. Everyone would fall in love with it.

Maybe not everyone. Maybe not men (the first book I wrote was a romance). Maybe not women who read contemporary romance (the first book I wrote was a historical romance). Maybe not women who read Regency romance (the first book I wrote was set in New Orleans in 1902). Those maybes left me with a small (tiny) slice of potential readers but everyone in that slice would love it.

I’d written a niche book and the niche was small.

Not surprisingly (in retrospect) it took forever and a day for that book to sell to a publisher.

While I waited, I wrote a second book. A mystery. Had I taken off the rose-colored glasses, I’d have written a book about a woman who moves to small town, runs a dress shop, cooks amazing muffins, keeps a strangely intelligent cat, and talks to dead people. Instead I wrote about Ellison Russell, a woman who lives in the city of her birth, paints, can’t cook, keeps a dog, and finds dead people. Oh, and I set the story in the 1974.

The mystery sold. Quickly. Go figure.

Next week, the ninth book in the Country Club Murders releases. Ellison still paints, she definitely can’t cook, her dog has yet to solve a crime, and the rate at which she finds bodies would depopulate a small town.

Thank heavens for rose-colored glasses.

If you’ve not yet made Ellison’s acquaintance, the first book in the series is free (this week only, so grab it now)!

Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders and the Poppy Fields Adventures. 

She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean--and she's got an active imagination. Truth is--she's an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.