It’s Simplify Your Life Week

The first week in August begins SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE WEEK.

No, I’m not advocating “If it doesn’t give you joy, you must throw it away.” But we should spend time thinking about what makes our life a little less stressful, and we can applaud that and cheer about items playing a role. We’ve all heard the “less is more” slogan, and yes, it is easier to find things when it’s not part of a crowd. But just “throwing away” is wasteful, and without being present in the moment as we acquire things–instead just grabbing up what does the trick when we’re in a panic over something–we’re destined to repeat our mistakes again and again.

While I write the Organized Mysteries and the Frugal Lissa Mysteries, my characters, Kate & Lissa, are the experts in their fields–I’m just the happy mentee that follows along behind them and documents their advice on decluttering and money-saving. Running a busy household can be stressful, and even before I signed my first fiction contract, I knew I needed tricks and hacks to stay on-track each day, whether we were talking about organization or budget-planning.

For both these necessities, I found colors were my heroes. From markers to folders to plastic bins for wandering possessions–whenever I need to keep track of kids’ and spouse & my activities on a calendar, or where to put permission slips to sign and return, colors made the difference. Everyone in our house has his/her own color. Even the dog has as her own color to help remind when to give her meds each month or when the dreaded vet appointments are scheduled. One glance at the family calendar easily tells me from a distance who has an appointment/activity/deadline to make in the coming days–even when I’m too far away to actually read the note in the calendar square, I can see how much is on the horizon. Everyone has a personal colored file on the kitchen desk, where items are filed that they need each week, so we don’t have to hunt through the house and every backpack to find the necessary paper to fill out or sign by the end of the week. Bills, such as those paid regularly for utilities and insurance, have their own colored folders as well, making end-of-the-year tax prep and finding data needed in an emergency easier as well. I’ve blogged about using colors in my writing business for years–giving each series it’s own color of notebooks to scribble into, hold notes I’ve found in my research, or keep safe when I pre-write or rewrite scenes when I’m brainstorming. And yes, I use series colored ink to remind me at a glance which note is for which series. Which makes it all the easier too, since if I’m looking for something relating to the Organized Mysteries, for example, I only need to focus on things tied to light blue.

Beyond this simple “color scheme,” probably my next favorite way to simplify is to primarily read on an ereader. No, I haven’t completely given up books. I’ve given a lot away in the past couple of years to my library, but I still have multiple bookshelves and even book closets in our home–way more than my husband is happy about (his issue; not mine 🙂 ) But I have to say I truly love being able to toss my Kindle Fire in my purse and know I have dozens of books available to me at any time–whether I’m on the run for errands, or taking a week or weekend away. I’m covered and my ereader is always ready to go. And if I forget I already have a title and try to buy it again, Amazon reminds me I’ve already puchased the book, then nicely asks if I’d like to read it now. I even carry a secondary power source in case my Fire’s battery charge is lower than I remember. And both of those things are key because the Fire and the extra power supply also offer the ability to “see in the dark” too. My Kindle has a bright white page that doubles as a flashlight, and my secondary power supply (about the size of the palm of my hand) actually has a flashlight as one of its features–and can shine for most of a day. I’ve used both when I’ve been away from home and needed a personal light source. So, being able to wear “more than one hat” is something extra that I value in items I use every day.

What about you? Do you have a favorite way to keep on-track and reduce the stress in your life? Are you a “I have to see everything at a glance” kind of person, or do you prefer to simply know where everything is at all times? We’d love you to share your ideas in Simplify Your Life Week.



Winner of the Weekend Love Your Dog Magnet Giveaway

Happy Monday, all! I love starting a new week announcing prize winners!

So much fun seeing all the entries over the weekend for the magnet giveaway, and I loved seeing what everyone wrote about the dogs in their lives. My neighbor’s granddaughter came over yesterday evening and drew the winning names. Congratulations Lisa Hudson and Susie Johnson! Y’all are the winners of the magnets! You can send me a message from the Contact page here on this website, or message me on Facebook with your snail mail address, and I’ll get your magnets in the mail.

Thanks, everyone, for coming by and entering. We’ll have more giveaways coming soon!

Do You Love a Dog?

Anyone who follows me on Facebook, this blog, or even my new Frugal Lissa cozy series knows I love my dog, Honey. Recently, I was shopping for my loveable Lab and found these fun and “oh, so accurate” magnetic paw prints that tell the world how so many of us feel about our fabulous pups. They’re about 5 inches high (and wide) and the magnets work for your refrigerator, your car, or any place you’d like to tell the world about the pet you love.

Today, I have two available for a weekend giveaway. To win, just comment here on my blog with your favorite dog in the world–either your own, or the loveable pet of a friend or family member. I’ll collect names until my neighbor’s granddaughter comes to visit this weekend, and I’ll have her pick the names of the two winners. Good luck, and give your dog a hug for me!

Sunday Fun-Day

When Honey and I went to the bank recently, the teller asked if I had a new book coming out. I said, “Actually, Honey and I both have a new release.” I explained our favorite Labrador was a character in Frugal Lissa Finds a Bodyhow it was a cozy mystery about a money-saving blogging mom of two, and that Honey was the canine creative advisor for the book. Our teller was so excited for Honey that she gave her a pair of Pennywise sunglasses to wear. What do you think? Is hot pink her color? Have a happy Sunday, everyone! Honey is 🙂

Honey glamming it as a creative consultant

What’s New & a Bargain Wednesday

Is everyone ready for a firecracker weekend? Yes, a Fourth of July weekend is ahead for all of us in the U.S., I hope everyone worldwide has an equally exciting weekend. And in somewhat-related news, I’m celebrating the New Release of Frugal Lissa Finds a Body by extending the $1.99 Sale Price through July 4th too. So, please grab a bargain if you’re interested in reading this title, because the book will go to $3.99 starting Friday. Click here to get to the Frugal Lissa page, and find all the bookseller links at the bottom for easy clicking. This page also includes the book description and early reviews (under Praise) to see what others are saying about the book. Don’t want to sound pushy–just want my readers to get 50% off while it’s available. Have a wonderful weekend!

What’s New, Free, and a Bargain Wednesday!

Hey, gang, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, I know. I’ve been revising the 2nd book in the Frugal Lissa Mysteries series and will put it up for preorder soon–my designer is working on the book cover, so there will be a reveal on that in the coming weeks too.

My dog Honey has been excited by this series, too, since she’s my canine co-author and the model for the blonde Labrador retriever in the mysteries. And boy, does that dog have a nose for finding murders! You can spot her busy tail in the lower right corner of the cover.

In the meantime, the first book in the series, Frugal Lissa Finds a Body, is available now in preorder at all booksellers (YAY!) and even better, it’s preorder price right now is half-off the regular sale price! The book will go to $3.99 at release. So, if you want a bargain, grab a copy before the special pricing disappears!

I’ve had so much fun writing this series. It’s all in my main character, Melissa (Lissa) Eller’s, point of view, and she doesn’t pull any punches about anything. She’s a stay at home mom with a globe-trotting husband, and their two young sons keep her life grounded and full of challenges & humor. But because the household money doesn’t come in as regularly as if her hubby had a regular 8 to 5 job, Lissa found she must “recycle every copper penny until it’s as thin as aluminum foil.” She accomplishes that feat by staying up on every money-saving reward, rebate, and resale opportunity, as well as grabbing loss-leader and coupon bargains when she sees them. To help other families in the same budget boat, Lissa also blogs about how to save and “keep the jingle in your pocket.” She shares these same money-saving tips in the books, as well as family-friendly recipes that help keep the food budget down too. She has a real talent for spotting frugal options in life, and in this book learns she also has talent for unmasking murderers. Which is good, since the police had her fingered as suspect #1 in the murder.

If you’d like to read an excerpt of the book, check out the Frugal Lissa Finds a Body page on my website and scroll down to the black bar that says Click to Read an Excerpt. Click those words, and the first chapter will open up. That page also includes the links to all the booksellers, but if you’d like to just go straight to your favorite bookseller’s book page, here are all the links —

Amazon —

B&N —

Kobo —

Apple Store —

Hope everyone has a wonderful and frugal week! 

Happy April 1st! I Love April Fool’s Day! So many laughs, so many smiles. Okay, yes, I like a little practical joking in my life.

To celebrate, ORGANIZED FOR SCHEDULED SABOTAGE is on sale today at only 99 cents! No Foolin’!

Feel free to tell your friends because this is one April Fool’s Day announcement that is truly TRUE. No Foolin’.

But it will go back to full price overnight, so hurry! Here’s the link –

Looking for Spring Reading Bargains?

There are a lot of saving opportunities to mystery readers this weekend, with me and my friends offering free and 99¢ books for your spring reading. At you’ll find nearly two dozen Fun & Flirty Mystery titles that are all 99¢ this weekend only. Big savings, and a lot of fun authors and series.

Find over 90 books either free or 99¢ this weekend at–

You’ll find my Organized for Homicide on sale for 99¢ at both sites, and a lot of my friends, including two by Julie Moffett, No Money Down & White Knights and a box set by Maria Grazia Swan, 3 Books in the Mina’s Adventures series — and many, many more.

Not in either of these particular sales, but a great deal nonetheless, is a 5-Book Box Set of Trouble, the Black Cat Detective, specially priced right now at only $1.99. That’s an almost $18 savings over the full price of these books. You can find that bargain here —

What’s New & Free & a Bargain Wednesday!

I’m trying to finish three manuscripts by summer, get the newly polished up print versions of the Organized Mysteries proofed and back up for sale, and keep Honey’s tug-of-war-play addiction satisfied. So, I’ve been away from blogging for awhile. Today, however, I’m back with impulse buys and goodies I’ve run across lately that I thought y’all might be interested in. Enjoy! Read more…

What’s New and Free Wednesday–New Website Edition

Happy Wednesday, everyone, and welcome to my new revamped website. I spent the last couple of weeks working with a fabulous website designer who gave my URL the full Elizabeth Arden treatment. What do you think of the new look? When you have a minute, feel free to check out the other pages using the top of page links and the Explore the Site links in the right column. And you can always return to my home page by clicking “Ritter Ames Mysteries” in the top left corner of the banner. That shortcut works on every page on this site. Read more…