Travel Tuesday, Anyone? Bring Your Own Armchair

One of the best things about being a mystery author is brainstorming new stories and settings. I love that I can “virtually” hang around London most days as I write, and have my characters hop a fictional plane at any moment to go to France, Italy, Spain–or wherever. My friend Eleanor was “literally” hanging out in England last week and sharing pictures of her trip on her FB page, and giving me some fun new things to think about as I work up future Bodies of Art books.

That’s the beauty of writing about characters who use their passports on an almost daily basis, all the time I spend reading my friends’ FB pages that show their travel shots counts as research, too. But that’s not all.

If you like your mysteries with an international flair, consider joining me and four other fun mystery authors (including the afore mentioned Eleanor) at a new Facebook group we’re starting called Passport Ready Writers. The page doesn’t officially open until June 1st, but here’s the link if you want to check it out, and click the JOIN button to be ready on day 1:

What’s the connection? All of us write fiction that globe trots, and we want to connect with readers who want to know behind the scenes info and why we write what we do. The five of us don’t just put our characters in danger, we make sure they’re in great settings while they run for their lives or catch a murderer. So, do you like mysteries with English tea and scones, overlooking the pyramids, or in a gondola on an Italian canal? Or fast-paced plots with more twists than a Grand Prix at Monte Carlo? How about likeable characters and lively conversation? If so, grab your virtual passport and join us as we cross borders and solve murders. After all, crime doesn’t require a visa.

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What Have I Been Up to Lately?

Mostly, I’ve been whining about not being able to go to Malice Domestic because a few important family issues are keeping me grounded at the moment. But that’s just giving me more time to write. Right? So win-win.

And my dog prefers when I stay home to play tug of war with her, too–though I dearly love seeing how super-fast her tail can go when I return after a few days away. Seriously, if we could just harness the energy, we could power our house all summer.

But, that all leads to what I’ve been doing.

First, cover for a new Organized Mystery coming in about a month–still putting finishing touches on that cozy mystery story. I’ll post when it’s available for preorder, but in the meantime here’s the book description (Until I change it again. We authors can’t stop tweaking anything we write).

Organization expert Kate McKenzie is intrigued when a publisher hires her company, Stacked in Your Favor, to help the author of a bestselling calendar line get organized for a photo shoot to illustrate next year’s editions. Even better, she and Meg Berman learn the proceeds of the calendar business fund an animal rescue program in their home state of Vermont. But once sabotage turns to murder, and the police start looking for suspects, Kate and Meg find their lives suddenly upended by chaos and their own reputations are at risk. Now, it’s not enough to fulfill the terms of their contract, they must also find a way to save their client and her rescue program, too. All while making sure their next work outfits aren’t matching orange jumpsuits.

And beyond all that, my daily writing time is geared toward meeting my August deadline for the 5th book in the Bodies of Art Mystery series, title as yet unknown. I know this is kind of confusing since I’m currently promoing the release of the 4th book in that art mystery series, FATAL FORGERIES, but that’s one of the crazy things about publishing–authors cannot sit on their laurels and just smile at the bright and shiny new release, as we have to be working to complete the next one at the same time.

Not that I’m complaining. I love diving into all of my characters’ lives and see what they’ve been up to since last we met. I even have the first of a new series completed that I want to get released as soon as I have time to go back over the manuscript to be sure it’s ready for the editor. Then I also have a couple of short story options to pursue soon as well. So, keep an eye out on this space. It could really get busy soon.

Happy reading, everyone! Hope you’re having a terrific week!



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The Glamourous (Not!) Life of a Bestselling Author

In between eating bon-bons and going to red carpet events with my peeps (HA!) thought I’d blog today about the Real Life of an author.

Ever buy something and be told “Easy to assemble” and “No trouble to carry along” and actually believe them? Don’t. People lie. Especially people who want to sell you something.

Case in point:

I bought banners that are about 1-1/2′ by 3′ for each of my novels. Thought they’d be great to stand or hang one behind me at speaking and booksigning events. For the first two books, I didn’t have a metal stand–I used the super-sticky plastic foldover holes the printer provided with the banners and hung whichever banner I wanted using removeable hooks. Worked fine, but I had to make sure I was positioned near a wall with the kind of backing to which the 3M hooks stuck/unstuck well.

So, I decided to buy the metal stand recommended and sold by the same printer to hold my banners. Beside the afore mentioned “easy assembly” and “no trouble to carry” lines, I was also told this stand was perfect to hold one banner of my choice, and “ideal for show and presentation.” Easy, light, perfect for my needs–what could go wrong?

Yesterday, I found out.

I began assembling the stand for the first time. Easy instructions–they actually gave me both full sentences and drawings, not just stick figure pictures. The stand was taller than I’d planned, as it was made to accommodate banners as small as mine and up to twice the size as the ones I’d chosen. That gave me a moment of hesitation, because I couldn’t shorten the back rod. But I realized the device would easily show most of the banner above my head when I was seated at a signing table, or keep everything at eye level if I was standing to speak, so I kept an open mind.

Until I loaded the banner.

No hooks this time. Just nice skinny little aluminum and plastic rods that stretch as long as the width of the banner and anchor the top and bottom, then the rods clip to the display stand. Used the dining room table as a flat surface and put the rods onto each end of the banner. The tension didn’t really clip the banner super tightly, but I figured that was so there was no risk of a crease made into the graphic.  So far, so good.

I gathered the banner and rods in my self-satisfied arms and headed back to my office where the stand awaited.

The banner displayed beautifully–for a nano second.

Then the top of the banner slid out of the top rod, and as it flipped to the ground the bottom of the banner slipped out of its rod.

Okay…Plan B.

I thought it just needed more width banner-wise, so I added a second banner behind the first and tried a double thickness. That clipped somewhat tighter, but when I pulled on one side the banners still slipped easily from the clip. Three banners were too bulky–and too heavy for the clip/rod anyway–and slipped out before I could even attempt to hook the top rod to the stand.

Which leaves me with a sad little stand that kind of looks like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, and four book cover banners again hanging on my wall with the more successful plastic sticky-holes and 3M removable hooks.

I’ll try again–likely by adding some 3M removeable squares inside the wimpy clip mechanism so they hold the banner while the rods just sit around and look pretty. Luckily, I’m a firm believer in keeping a ready supply of 3M removeable products and replenish supplies regularly. Just have to remember to always take them along wherever I go.

On the other hand, maybe this stand thought it was just going to sit around and eat bon-bons. Someone has to maintain the image 🙂

What about you? Have you bought some “easy to assemble and/or perfect to use” item that didn’t live up to the salesman’s pitch? Would love to hear your story. Feel free to add it in the comments!

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What’s New and Free Wednesday–Another Big Giveaway Edition

Would you like to win a new Kindle Fire & 32 ebooks from mystery authors writing Amateur Sleuth mysteries? Then head over to the Henery Press website & enter the giveaway for a Fire & all of the titles shown in the group graphic at the end of this post. Do it now–contest ends soon!

Here’s the link:

This contest is only open one week (ends April 11th), so don’t miss out! There will be six (6) winners in all — one (1) Grand Prize winner of the Fire and all 32 ebooks, one (1) First Prize winner of all 32 ebooks, & four (4) Second Prize winners who receive eight (8) ebooks. To see all the titles, check out the group graphic below.


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Weekend Excerpt Available for Fun Fast Mystery Reading

I’ve been talking a little lately about FATAL FORGERIES, book #4 in the Bodies of Art Mystery series. And for anyone who hasn’t yet had the chance to start the series–so you’ll be ready for the June release–Henery Press is running COUNTERFEIT CONSPIRACIES on sale this weekend only for 99¢

Is that good timing or what?

But if you want to test drive the book before you buy the bargain, Kindle Nation Daily was nice enough to provide an excerpt today. Just click this link– KND Early Chapters Excerpt of COUNTERFEIT CONSPIRACIES

But if you’re rather simply buy, go to my Where To Buy My Books page, and find all the buy links for COUNTERFEIT CONSPIRACIES at all the different booksellers. Links for FATAL FORGERIES and the rest of my books are on that same page.

Happy Reading this Weekend!



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March Books, News, and Giveaway!

Happy Spring, Everyone! And with spring comes new events and fun news for readers–at least that’s what happens in my house 🙂 It’s been a busy month, and time to announce all the great news.

First Up, Here’s a Terrific Contest to Enter—but it Ends Soon!

If you’re one of my newsletter subscribers or follow my author page on Facebook, then you already know my publisher, Henery Press, has begun a new giveaway program they are running with me and more than 30 other authors. But I wanted to talk about it now so everyone else knows too. Entering means you’ll received the authors’ newsletters, but you can unsubscribe later if you aren’t interested in all the authors—there will be an unsubscribe link at the end of any newsletter you receive. Tomorrow is the deadline for entry, and there are 6 reading related prizes offered—1 Grand Prize, 1 First Prize, and 4 Second Prizes. These pictures give more details. The giveaway ends on Tuesday, so check it out if you want to enter. Here’s the link with a bigger pic of all the books and all the details:

Next, I’m Finishing One Project and Jumping Back Into Another

I’m celebrating the end of final proofreads on FATAL FORGERIES. While the book is currently available in preorder, yesterday it broke the top 100 in the International Mystery & Crime category on Amazon. YAY! If you’re one of the readers who’ve already preordered this title, Thank You So Much, and for being a part of getting these book sales started so well. I truly appreciate all the help. Also, the wonderful Girl With Book Lungs Blog posted everyone an exclusive excerpt from FATAL FORGERIES last week that offered the first scene in the book. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, here’s the link to check it out now–

Exclusive Excerpt from Fatal Forgeries by Ritter Ames

And for All the Organized Mysteries Fans

Starting next week, I’m completing final edits/proofing on the next Organized Mystery—ORGANIZED FOR SCHEDULED SABOTAGE. I’ll send out more info on that title soon, but Kate & Meg have their hands full when they sign on to help a calendar author get organized for a publisher’s photo shoot for her next edition. I have the designer working on the final cover now, and it will be available in preorder next month and will be released in May.



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What’s New and Free Wednesday–Giveaway Edition!

WN&FWMy posts have been on the lean side lately, I know, but I’m rounding the editing bend on the next to the last set of proof pages for FATAL FORGERIES. I received my cover last week, too, and will share it soon–probably around the time preorders go live in March (yes, March is almost here–unbelieveable). But in the meantime, I scooped up links for some freebies by my author friends, and have a giveaway of my own today (My giveaway at the end, so be sure to check it out and enter, or please tell all your friends if you already have a copy).

Ready? Here goes–

First up is one of my all-time favorite cozy series is Michele Scott’s Wine Lovers Mysteries series, which is set in Napa Valley and features Nikki Sands. The covers have been updated, and the first book in the series is free right now on Amazon. Grab it and see if you don’t like it as well. Just click the Murder Uncorked picture below.

designerdirtylaundryNext, my friend Diane Vallere is featuring the first book in her Samantha Kidd series, Designer Dirty Laundry, free right now on Instafreebie. You can sign up and request the freebie download at


Just learned my friend Morgana Best has the first book in her Kitchen Witch series up for free at the moment. If you like cozy paranormal mysteries, grab a copy before this title goes back to full price. Fun read!

I haven’t read MA Comley’s JUSTICE series yet, but several people who read the same types of books I do have given it high praise. But if that’s not incentive enough to try it, the box set of the first two books in the series Cruel Justice and Impending Justice are free right now on Amazon. Yes, I downloaded my copy and will crack open the file as soon as my edits are completed. Pick up your own copy by clicking the picture below–

COUNTERFEIT CONSPIRACIES coverIIFinally, I went out to Amazon this morning and generated a couple of coupon codes, and I now have two copies of Counterfeit Conspiracies available for giveaway. If you’d like a Kindle copy of Counterfeit Conspiracies, just leave a comment below and I’ll draw the names of the two winners on Friday and post the names. So if you don’t Follow this blog, please check back in case I’m trying to contact you.

Okay, that’s all, folks! Now back to my writing cave to work on proofing more edits. Have a great Wednesday  🙂





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