Ritter Ames — USA TODAY Bestselling Mystery Author of the Bodies of Art Mysteries series and the Organized Mysteries series

Archive for July 2016

Yes, believe it or not, July 2016 has less than half-a-day left. Where has so much of the year gone? Sunday Sneak PeekWhile I don’t normally like to hurry time–as I seem to be crunched by it most days–I am looking forward to the cool temps of fall. To that end, I’m currently editing/proofing stories for a Halloween anthology to be released a few weeks before the trick or treat holiday. More on that in the coming weeks. And I’m handing out treats today in the form of a sneak peek of my story included in the anthology “Organized for Trick or Trap.” Hope everyone likes it 🙂

Organized for Trick or Trap Excerpt

Kate McKenzie looked out the windows of her cheery cherry-patterned kitchen curtains and watched lace-like snowflakes drift down lazily on the other side of the pane.

Definitely going to be a white Halloween, she thought. Something she was learning to count on since moving to Hazelton, Vermont. As she placed bananas into her seven-year-old twin daughters’ lunches, her energetic tomboy daughter, Samantha, barreled into the room with her coat and backpack slung onto one arm. “Oh, good. You’re ready, Sam. Is Suzanne about set to go too?”

“Yeah.” Sam chewed her lip, then asked, “Mom, can witches turn real people into zombies, or just do that to animals?”

“What?” Kate laughed and pushed on the Velcro ends of one insulated bag, sealing up the opening. She turned and faced a solemn faced Samantha. Oops. “Sorry I laughed, honey. I thought you were joking. I think I need a little more information on this cat zombie thing.”

“Monica says the lady down the road in the turquoise colored house is a witch and can bring animals back from the dead. But all the cats are zombies.”

This wasn’t the first wild story her twins had brought home thanks to this particular facts-challenged classmate. Kate had meant to already visit the new neighbor, but life had a way of filling every spare minute. Now, she had an even better reason to go and introduce herself. “I think someone told me she fosters cats, honey. How about we drop by her house after school with some of the jack o’ lantern cookies I made last night and introduce ourselves.”

“But Monica says she makes zombies out of the cats. They walk around and don’t see or hear anyone,” Sam persisted, just as her blonde identical twin Suzanne walked into the kitchen.

“Are you talking about the cat witch lady?” Suze asked.

“Yeah.”

“Girls, stop.” Kate handed each a lunch bag and steered them toward the front door, reconsidering her idea about taking the girls to meet the new neighbor. Probably best to pop in alone first, and take the girls later after she could reassure them with tangible evidence the woman didn’t turn anything into zombies. At least she hoped the fact she’d come home without being zombiefied succeeded in putting this story to rest. “There are no cat witches. And from what I know about our family’s cat, the entire breed only hears and sees what it wants to. Probably Monica tried to call one or two, wanting to pet them, and the cats ignored her.”

“But—”

“No, girls,” Kate pointed to their coats. “Suit up with those jackets and stick your lunches in your backpacks. Meg and the boys are taking you to school today. I’ll check out the new neighbor this afternoon and give a full report when I pick you up from school. And in the meantime, stop believing everything Monica tells you.” She opened the front door and crossed her arms in defense to the October blast of frigid air.

So, there you have it. More coming soon. 🙂

 

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Does everyone have a relaxing weekend planned? I’ve spent most of the afternoon doing marketing work for the release of Abstract Aliases, but I spent the morning running errands–and running into friends I hadn’t seen in awhile (because Life is so busy–right?). One in particular told me she’s learned to really calm herself down by scheduling time each evening to color and “simply Zen out.” (her words 🙂 )

Between my Abstract Aliases work, and her comment about relaxing with colored pencils, I thought I’d post some free adult coloring pages that are a little abstract-at-heart. Download, color, repeat–and enjoy!

Each clickable link below is a different free design.

Kind of modified starburst abstract design

Kaleidoscope-like abstract design

Tighter-drawn abstract design

Makes me think of the Spyrograph designs I made as a kid

Abstract Flowers  printable-abstract-coloring-book-1

Zentangle drops

Zentangle Flowers

Circles within circles

Ovals connected to ovals

More Ovals connected to ovals

Tricky oval bridge

Fun Abstract Design

 

 

 

Yes, it is a fabulous anniversary, my friends. One year ago I signed my contract with Henery Press to publish my Bodies of Art Mysteries series. So with two books released and another available in preorder, how am I celebrating? By working all day on lovely book #4, of course–but that’s not all. In a surprising coincidence, I have a blog post today over on Club Hen House telling behind the scenes stories about writing book #3, Abstract Aliases, and there’s even a giveaway to one lucky commenter for a copy of Marked Masters.  The post isn’t long, but it was fun to write, and I hope that makes it fun to read too. If you like “story behind the story” reads, grab a cup of tea or coffee and take a break over at Club Hen House. And be sure to leave a comment on the Club Hen House blog so your name will be in the drawing. 🙂

AbstractAliases front sm

This week I have a half-dozen writing projects at all different phases of completion. So what will I spend my evenings doing? Well, it’s elementary…since PBS is rebroadcasting the Sherlock series this week on one of their digital channels–and I get to feast on double servings of the fabulous episodes the next few nights. Sherlock

Yes, I know there’s some kind of party going on in Cleveland, with the planners there ready to offer me a front row seat to the festivities while the event plays out in prime time on the main PBS station. But really, I just prefer switching to digital channel two and follow along behind Benedict Cumberbatch as he so beautifully resolves crimes that he’s already shared the answers to before. I don’t watch a lot of television series reruns but Sherlock is one I cannot resist.

LewisAnd I hear there’s another big party coming to Philly soon for the opposing team to the current festivities. Think I might send off an email to PBS and suggest they run another Masterpiece Marathon featuring Inspector Lewis that week, or maybe bring back The Bletchley Circle. They probably don’t need my input though. I can’t think of a Masterpiece show–especially those with the Masterpiece Mystery label–that isn’t a winner.p9432939_i_v9_ab

Makes me almost wish we had more than two political parties, so I could look forward to more weeks of Masterpiece marathons. In the meantime, this week I’ll be the one in the comfy chair watching every move Sherlock & Watson make, and reveling in every line of evidence and banter. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite “gotta watch it” marathon show?

The newest title in the Bodies of Art Mysteries–Abstract Aliases–has a review and cover reveal today on the Girl with Book Lungs site. This book is the sequel to Marked Masters. Check out the blog for a first peek.GirlwithBookLungs

The title is available for preorder now, and will be released by Henery Press on October 11th–but that’s not all! After you read the review and check out the fantastic cover, head to my Preorder for Even More page and see all the great bonuses coming to fans who purchase ahead of the official release date.

And I’d like to thank Jenna for the fabulous review–Laurel & Jack are pleased too 🙂

I turned in a blog post recently on what I do with stories and scenes that don’t necessarily make it into whatever book I’m currently working on. That got me thinking about ways books and stories have changed. In particular, I thought about the original opener for Counterfeit Conspiracies. While most of the original opener still makes up over half of the first chapter, the whole “reclamation” scene that starts the book now wasn’t even an idea for a long time. The book originally started with this:

CC Giorgio quote

This line is still in the first chapter, but the book was originally written to start with this line when she was in the castillo and trying to work through the party to find the contact who was supposed to give her the snuffbox. She was feeling ill at ease about the way things were going, and wishing she had some backup.

But even after adding the whole scene ahead of this opener, so the line was now buried about a third of the way into the first chapter, the line didn’t even get to stay where it was. Instead, it was moved to the the balcony scene where Laurel and Jack had their interchange–and yes, by that time her wanting the gun was more because of irritation and concern about Jack, than over all the other irritations and concerns she had by that point.

It really is fun to think back on all the ways books evolve between original idea and publication. The blog post I mentioned in the first paragraph is focused almost entirely on all the different openers I test-drove before I decided on the final one for Abstract Aliases, and what I’ve changed those earlier openers into in the meantime. When my guest post goes live on the 26th, I’ll add a link here in case anyone would like to read it, too.

And just noticed a little while ago that Abstract Aliases is already up for preorder. I didn’t think it was supposed to happen until Monday, but an early start is always good news. I’ve built the page to start revealing the extras I’m offering to people who preorder Abstract Aliases ahead of the 10/11 release day. Look on the banner line above for Preorder for Even More! There will be additional details about the freebies coming next week. There will also be a cover reveal on the Girl with Book Lungs blog, and her review of the book–so look for that link here on Monday 7/18.

Have a great weekend. What are you reading?

 

FP&OF meme

This contest is Over–thanks to everyone who stopped by and entered!

Fun fast contest over on my Facebook Author Page. All you have to do is Like (or have already Liked) my FB page and comment on your favorite summertime snack to enter. Just go to my My FB Author Page and look for the pinned post at the top. Drawing will be this evening. Here’s a clue about the prize 🙂


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