Halloween is Coming and Fun on the Schedule Today

Is everyone ready for Halloween? Yes, this is Halloween week, and I’m celebrating the fact today over at a weeklong Facebook event Kathi Daley is hosting that she’s calling a Halloween Spooktacular. Trust me, that event name sums it up nicely. Different review bloggers each day invited their favorite authors to come and takeover an hour of the event. Today’s blogger is Girl with Book Lungs and I’m filling her 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT takover hour (1-2 p.m. CDT, noon-1 p.m. MDT, and 11 a.m. to noon PDT). Here’s the link if you want to come and join us Kathi Daley’s Halloween Spooktacular on Facebook and click Discussion to see all the posts and follow all the fun.

Lots of terrific things planned, and I’ve even had some help with my posts by a few of the other authors in our MIDNIGHT MYSTERIES anthology. I’ll be giving away a copy of that ebook and some other great things. The anthology will only be available a few more weeks, then it will disappear forever, so we want to make sure these fun stories have their time in the 2016 Halloween moon before they vanish like this seasons ghosts.

So, if you like Halloween hijinks and fun, giveaways and great guest authors, come by this week’s Facebook event and share the time with us. And remember the event lasts until Halloween, so be sure and check out what all the other authors have to say the rest of this week and weekend. No tricks–all fun treats.


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Some Good Reads Free Right Now

I haven’t done a freebie blog in quite a while. However, this weekend I’m noticing a number of good free books available–with more reading options for later by the authors–so wanted to take a second to put a few up for y’all to scoop up for your Kindles while you have the chance.

While I tend to lean toward mysteries, I think this list is a nice mix of fiction and nonfiction today🙂

I’ve seen several authors use merchandise tied to their books to help promote their miscbrands, so thought I’d post this while the book is free today (I think it goes back up tomorrow to $4.99). The author worked at the British Museum and grew up in Italy. The book isn’t long (a little over 100 pgs), but filled with some good ideas to use to promote an author. But it occurred to me that many of these tips could be used successfully for a blogger, or even a club or a school. Merchandise for Authors

Kind of along these same lines, remember I’ve posted some coloring pages for adults and kids here on my website at  Coloring Pages to Download that are places I’ve used in my Bodies of Art Mysteries series.

miscThe first book in one of my longtime favorite series, the Maggie series by Kasey Michaels is available for free right now at Amazon, grab Maggie Needs an Alibi before the price goes up.

miscAnother great series I enjoy is Maria Grazia Swan’s Mina Adventures series and the first book in that series is free this weekend too on Amazon. Click here to grab Love Thy Sister while it’s a freebie.


miscIf you’re like me, you can sometimes use a little boost in the memory department. Truth–without lists I wouldn’t remember anything. So, this book caught my eye while it’s free, and I’m going to be seeing what kind of insights it offers. You can get it at Smart Memory Booster on Amazon.

I enjoy this cozy mystery series bymisc H.Y. Hanna a lot. It’s set in the Oxford community and the main character owns a tea shop. All the books in the series are resonably priced, but this first one is free–called a prequel because it was published after the actual first in the series came out, but it is a full length mystery. Get it from Amazon at All-Butter Short Dead.

miscI’ll admit that I scooped up this free book by Laurie LeClair because I was judging the book by its cover–I recognized it immediately as being one designed by one of my favorite designers. But in this case, the snap decision was worth the price I paid. It’s cute, funny, and a feel-good story. Plus you can download it for free on Amazon at  If the Shoe Fits.

That’s all for now. I’ll try to get another What’s Free Wednesday ready to get posted soon. Happy reading everyone!

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Laurel Beacham Offers a Peek Behind the Scenes

Laurel Beacham may be dodging her “pet journalist” at the moment to keep from giving an interview about her job, but she agreed to sit down at Dru’s Book Musing for a little Day in the Life action. You know Laurel is about three cups of coffee into the day already, but if you want to take a coffee or tea break with her, I promise she’ll have something interesting to say. And there’s a signed book up for grabs to one lucky commenter. However, this is a fast contest, and you’ll need to enter quickly. This is also the last weekend for the 99¢ sale on Counterfeit Conspiracies, so if you want a bargain please hurry before it’s gone!drus-banner-with-2-boa-books

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Excuse Me While I Change My Hat

amazon-aaThis has been one exciting week. Nothing like a new book release to have all my friends come out, send congratulations, and tell their friends about my new book. I am so very grateful for that. For authors, release week leaves us to the point of almost walking in our sleep–it’s exciting, but completely exhaustng. There are so many things for authors to do All At The Same Time, and trying to keep up makes us long for the kind of promo teams James Patterson and Stephen King employ. But most of us do not make the kind of revenues those bigname authors get, so we happily jump in and change hats to whatever other job(s) we have to do besides writing.

Even more exciting, to celebrate the release of ABSTRACT ALIASES, my publisher has discounted COUNTERFEIT CONSPIRACIES to just 99¢ until Sunday night. This is the first time Henery Press has discounted one of my Bodies of Art Mysteries, so if you haven’t started the series yet, but want to, please grab a copy before the price goes back up. And please tell your friends. I love when my readers can get a bargain!

Quite honestly, I’ve had so much fun with this new book. Gigi Pandian and I  co-hosted an event this weekend where we didn’t talk about our books, but instead showed pictures and gave info about the places and art and history associated with our respective new titles. How fun is that, right?

But I’ve fallen behind in my reporting tasks and fun duties. If you look on the banner above, I’ve not only added a webpage where you can download a coloring page copy of ABSTRACT ALIASES and Gigi’s new release MICHELANGELO’S GHOST, but I’ve also added a second page of downloadable coloring pages for places in my Bodies of Art Mysteries. I’ve also added an ABSTRACT ALIASES link on my Chapter Excerpts page if you’d like to read the early chapters of the new book. You can find that Chapter One Excerpt by either clicking on the tab in the black navigation bar under my top banner, or just click the link below.

Chapter One Excerpts

In  ABSTRACT ALIASES my readers and london-skylinecharacters globetrot from London to Rome to Cologne to Baden-Baden, then back to London. All in just a couple of days. Exciting, huh? But not nearly as exciting as again coming face-to-face with the bad guys they’ve been looking for the past few months. And that surprise comes in the most unlikely place–when they’re surrounded by a 100,000 or more Londoners waiting for a holiday extravaganza. I won’t spoil things by adding too much detail here for anyone who hasn’t yet read ABSTRACT ALIASES, but I promise surprises at every turn.

You can find all the bookseller buy links for ABSTRACT ALIASES on my Where To Buy My Books page, found on the black navigation bar at the top, or click the link below. All my books are on this page, with ABSTRACT ALIASES listed at the top and COUNTERFEIT CONSPIRACIES (on sale for 99¢, remember) directly below it:

Where to Buy My Books

Laurel’s & Jack’s mission doesn’t keep them from doing a little art sightseeing however, and these are some of the images they saw.

colognwindow2 cologne-germanyTo the left is just a small sample of the stained glass windows in the ginormous and art filled Cologne Cathedral in Cologne (or Koln), Germany.  You can see a picture of the entrance to Cologne, with the cathedral in the distance, in the next picture. Below is a night shot of the Trevi Fountain in Rome the way Laurel & Jack saw it. And below is a larger shot of the fresco Sibyls magnificently designed and painted by Renaissance artist Raphael in the Santa Maria della Pace. The last picture is a sunrise in Rome. I’m ready to go on another European vacation now!trevi-fountain-night-crowd-2





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Come Join in for the Fun and Celebration!

Gigi Pandian and I will be on Facebook this weekend–Friday, October 7th through Sunday, October 9th–to celebrate our new releases Michelangelo’s Ghost and Abstract Aliases. Lots of fun, discussions, and prizes on the way. Stop by, enter the daily fun contest, and come back the next day for more fun and festivities. The photo collage below gives you your first hint about the contests, and here’s the event page if you want to click the Interested or Going button so Facebook will send you an event reminder and update you on posts, just Click Here. Hope to see you there!gigi-ritter-art-facebook-collage-promo-1

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Reviewing Reviews

miscAs a reader, I’ve written scores of reviews. Often under what I think are clever usernames so no one can truly peg who I am or what gender and/or demographic I represent. Why do I do that? Because I don’t want my reviews to be typecast or scrutinized as more than my opinion on the title. But until my first novel was published, I had no idea how important those reviews are.

I write reviews because I love good books, and I want other readers to find those books in the ever-growing tsunami of new books released in the ever-growing number of genres and sub-genres every day. Not everyone has to agree with me on books—I’m giving my opinion, what I loved about each book, why I would suggest it to my best friend. If someone doesn’t like it and offers a contrasting review to mine, that’s fine. I’m not going to say their review wasn’t helpful, because what they have to say is important to the type of readers who read books they prefer—not the books I enjoy. I don’t write negative reviews. I’d rather use my time to throw a spotlight on books I really want other people to read.

For fun and a bit of illumination on the subject, go out and do a Goodreads or Amazon search on your favorite author, then check out the range of stars and written reviews on that author’s books. Even titles held up as classics or best-loved are going to have negative reviews sprinkled in with all the many four- and five-star reviews. And that’s okay. Really. Because books are the great leveler in our society. There truly is something for everyone. While a good many of the books and stories I read in school were “because it was mandatory,” and many I would never recommend to my worst enemy, there was something in each that needed to be said to someone.

I belonged to a book club for several years, and one of the titles we discussed once was The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Everyone in the group read the book, but one man in particular wanted to know why in the world anyone would want to read it, much less suggest it for a group read. I’d been a longtime Atwood fan, so kept my mouth shut to listen to the others respond. Several members offered a comments about why they liked the novel, but he wasn’t buying any of it. Finally, I spoke up and said, “It’s a cautionary tale. It’s something to think about if the wrong people control society.” In that instant, we all saw the light pass over his face finally, and he nodded and said, “Okay, I get it now.”

When we discussed John Irving novels, another of my favorite authors, I learned how about half the readers in our book club—despite being voracious readers—truly did not understand symbolism. Until our discussion, in our little circle on the second floor of our neighborhood indie bookstore, all of these readers missed so many important elements of the Irving title we read. Half went back and reread the book after our discussion, when the rest of us explained the symbolism and quiet information they’d missed. Nearly all realized they liked the book the second time, after dismissing so much in the initial read.

Reviews help readers see what others are thinking, and understand things read too quickly in our hurry-up-world. I read negative reviews as often as I read positive ones. Many times, the very things readers point out as reasons they didn’t like a title is exactly why I knew I wanted to read it.

Of course, as an author I wish every review of my books was a five-star glowing soliloquy to why it is the best novel the reader has ever read, and why that reviewer wants everyone in the world to read it too. Let’s be reasonable, though. That’s never going to happen.

However, honest reviews, thoughtful reviews, short, long, or medium reviews—all help the reader decide whether to choose a book and make a purchase. That’s what I’ve learned as an author—the power a review has to help some anonymous buyer decide from the words written by some anonymous reviewer that a title is exactly the one the anonymous buyer wants to purchase. Especially if the author is a “new-to-me” author to that purchasing reader. I’ve learned to add one quick line like, “I can’t wait for the next in this series” to my reviews, to not only tell readers what they need to know, but to also give the author a boost of confidence, too. Because I really do hate having to wait any longer than I have to, and I want to do everything in my power to make a favorite author write that much faster.

What about you? What’s your philosophy about reviews?



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Don’t Miss This!

Wow! What a week. Our new release, Midnight Mysteries, came out a couple of days earlier than expected–with the booksellers trying to beat each another to the punch–so on yesterday’s official release date the sales roller coaster ride just went straight up! All the way to the #1 spot in Amazon’s Mystery Anthologies and #3 in Cozy Mysteries, to #127 overall on the B&N charts, and all the way to #1 for Kobo in Cozy Mysteries and #2 in Women Sleuths. Wow! Loved seeing that gold ribbon appear when the #1 spot was filled by our title.

These are all Brand New Stories from nine Bestselling Mystery authors, and feature the characters from eight fan-favorite mystery series. But that’s not all the good news–there’s more!

gift-to-our-readers-memeFor just the first week–ending this Sunday night–we’re offering this great new anthology for 99 cents at all booksellers. Come Tuesday, Sept. 20th, we’ll be raising the cost to the regular $2.99 price at Amazon. So anyone who loves great fall-themed mysteries, some spookiness, and a lot of fun–and especially if you want to purchase a format other than Kindle–hurry before everything changes next week. This book will only be available until mid-December, so don’t miss your chance to get a copy–or to take advantage of this bargain weekend!

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll remember I previewed all the stories, and told all the series they tie to in a Preview blog earlier this month. But if you’re new here, or would like another look at the list, just Click Here for the Friday Preview for Midnight Mysteries. There are already more than 30 reviews–4 and 5-stars–and as I mentioned earlier, the title has gained its gold ribbon as a best seller on the Mystery Anthologies chart. We were So Excited Yesterday!

You can find all the currently available buy links here:

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/Amznhamm

Kobo: http://smarturl.it/KoboHamm  already taken down at Kobo morning 9/19

iTunes: http://smarturl.it/iTunesHamm  already taken down at iTunes p.m. 9/19

B&N: http://smarturl.it/BNHamm  already taken down at B&N evening 9/19

Happy reading, everyone!


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