November Edition of What’s New and Free Wednesday

Yes, it’s been several weeks since I posted, but thought I’d pop in today and–before you get glassy-eyed from all the Christmas lights and carols appearing everywhere now that Halloween is over–I want to let you know I’ve added a free…Christmas story to Wattpad. Yep, it may not be a classic like Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but if you like reading about Kate’s & Meg’s Organized adventures, here’s the one with the Christmas twist Organized for Christmas Wishes. No dead bodies, but there is a nice little mystery to get everyone in the mood for the holiday season. It will be available on Wattpad through New Year’s Day, so feel free to share the link with friends if you like the story and want to spread a little Christmas cozy mystery cheer.

Oh, and speaking of Dickens, be sure to catch the trailer for The Man Who Invented Christmas coming to theaters this year. I was hooked the first time I watched the trailer, Yes, I clicked first because Dan Stevens plays Dickens, but when I saw the agony he showed Dickens going through as he tried to wrestle the classic story into shape and make the characters do as he wanted–well, let’s just say EVERY author is going to identify with this (I admit, I become irritated when my characters think they know better than I do, and Dickens got a good taste of that, too). So click the link in the first line above and watch the two-minute trailer. Bet you want to see more 🙂

And in a little bit of a London tie-in, I’ll probably add a Bodies of Art Christmas story soon, so check this space for more details 🙂

A friend of mine, Rebecca Barrett, has a free Christmas story available at all booksellers. She writes for the fun, new Familiar Legacy cat mystery series, and this story features the series characters The title is Trouble Under the Mistletoe (Trouble is the name of the cat in the series–perfect, right?) and it is available at all booksellers. Here’s the Amazon Buy Link. And check out the whole series–the first book Familiar Trouble was penned by Carolyn Haines, and is available free right now, it’s not Christmas themed but it will go back to paid status soon, so grab it fast. Here’s the link to the Familiar Legacy Series on Amazon, and click the cover there to download the book for free.

 

I’ve also added some new Christmas themed coloring pages to my web page with downloadable coloring pages. So if you have crayons or a set of colored pencils itching to be used, color yourself a holiday page. You can find these new holiday coloring pages at the bottom of Coloring Pages to Download link in the Newly Added section on that page.

Happy early Holiday Reading, Everyone!

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Friday Preview–Midnight Mysteries

FP&OF memeI thought today would be a good day for a sneak peek at the short stories coming in a couple of weeks in MIDNIGHT MYSTERIES: 9 Cozy Tales by 9 Bestselling Mystery Authors.

Midnight Mysteries large web sizeAs I already mentioned in an earlier post, this collection has All Brand New, Never Before Published Stories from favorite mystery authors and feature bestselling mystery series. The book tops 400 pages, and I’ll post the buy link in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, look forward to these stories–

Ritter Ames“Organized for Masked Motives” (from the Organized Mysteries series) Kate McKenzie never dreamed when she started her business, Stacked in Your Favor, that she’d spend nearly as much time crime solving as organizing. But with Halloween approaching, and too many items on the to-do list, she and Meg Berman find themselves in another puzzling dilemma—where every answer leads to another question.

Morgana Best“No Time to Witch” (from The Kitchen Witch mystery series) Offering both a historical mystery and a paranormal flair, in this story Thelma Spelled must discover the mystery around a murder that entangles her and her husband. The tale is also a prequel to the novel Miss Spelled, and reveals more about the magic of the house, as well as about Australia in the early 20th century.

Karen Cantwell“It Takes a Ghost” (tie-in to the Sophie Rhodes mystery series) Newly promoted detective Brenna Sage wants to be taken seriously in her new position, but that’s difficult when she can’t solve a series of robberies in Stephens City. Until she gains a partner in the guise of Marmaduke Dodsworth. While Marmaduke might be better versed in decorum and refinement than forensics and interrogation, he has one decidedly clear advantage: He can walk through walls.

Carolyn Haines“Clacking Bones” (from the Sarah Booth Delaney series) When Jitty’s husband, Coker, goes missing from the Great Beyond, Sarah Booth Delaney, Tinkie, and all the animals sign on to find out why the spirit is AWOL. Sarah Booth has to dig deep into the past to find the answer to this puzzling mystery.

Eleanor Cawood Jones “Salad Days, Halloween Nights” (from the author of A Baker’s Dozen) A vegetable-loving chef finds he’s cooked his way into trouble when a Halloween treat leads to murder. If he wants a happy future, he must first make sure the police don’t have him down as the main ingredient in a recipe for a prison sentence.

Larissa Reinhart“The Vigilante Vignette” (from the Cherry Tucker Mystery series) Cherry Tucker can get herself into the worst predicaments without even trying. This time, a mercy call on a neighbor gets her roped into a quid pro quo deal—if Cherry recovers a stolen family heirloom that is both somewhat embarrassing and due to be discovered missing very shortly, the neighbor will use his family clout to help her with some zoning issues. But if she fails, the expression “someone’s got her goat” will take on a whole new meaning for Cherry. And when she discovers a thievery ring, illegal auctions, and some green-eyed emotions after spotting Luke where she doesn’t expect him—well, it’s just another hilarious day in Halo, Georgia.

Connie Shelton“Spellbound Sweets” (from the Samantha Sweets Magical Cozy Mystery series) It’s Halloween, one of the busiest seasons of the year for Samantha Sweet and the crew at her pastry shop, Sweet’s Sweets. The gang looks forward to a gala costume party at the neighborhood bookstore, but the evening takes a different turn when a guest is murdered, a rare book vanishes, and Sam finds herself in the midst of another mystery.

Maria Grazia Swan“Weeping Moon” (from the Lella York Mysteries series) Lella York has a way of getting herself into trouble, even when she’s doing volunteer work. Who is the mysterious storyteller, and what is going on at the senior living center? And will Lella find out before it’s too late?

LynDee Walker“Frightening Features” (from the Nichelle Clarke Mystery series) Nichelle Clarke is not a patient recovery patient. While she’s waiting for an injury to heal, all she really wants is a story to write and research—hard news to get her mind occupied, even if she can only work one-armed. Instead, her boss gives her a fluff piece. Not her idea of fun. But with Nichelle snooping around, it’s not surprising her soft story takes a decidedly hard turn.

Organizing My Seasonal Game Plan

sicilian-chicken-souI’m taking part in a girlfriend reconnaissance mission this weekend. A bunch of great friends and I are bravely going to start looking for Christmas presents. I’ve never started shopping this late before, but my year has been one that has been more-than-heavily-scheduled, and this was the first available weekend when several of the other women didn’t already have other plans. So, we strike out, armed with our debit cards and shopping lists. Before I go, I’m putting soup in the crockpot to have simmering and savory for hubby to eat while I’m gone, and ready for me to grab a bowlful when I stumble back through the door. Here’s a favorite of my family that your family might also enjoy–Sicilian Chicken Soup. Once the soup is cooking nicely Saturday morning, I’ll grab my car keys and head out to meet up with my friends. We’re expecting a successful mission, so Our Great 2015 Girlfriend Holiday Recon will get home in the evening worn out, laughed out, and probably maxed out on our budgets. But we plan on not having to do this again for 2015. There’s only so much fun one woman’s body can handle.

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Oreo CrustBut no, I don’t think we’ll all necessarily be done with our gifts for the year.  I’ll be doing some additional online shopping (wonder if Santa does much of his shopping by clicking). I’ll also be doing some craftier gifting varieties, too. Here are a few of the ideas I’m already getting from websites:

  • A Gift in a Tin: Christmas Baking Kits – where you can get the detail on the baking kit and also some sample pics of other terrific ideas like Cold Winter Kits and Spa Kits in a tin
  • 15 Homemade Gifts that Aren’t Cheesy offers easy craft ideas that produce some really wonderful gifts
  • and for my food giving gifts this year I’m giving Triple Chocolate Cheesecake with Oreo Crust–here’s the recipe to try with a warning that you may have to make many more than planned since pieces tend to disappear out of the family fridge when one is left unattended. Even when I label one with a sign that says “Do Not Eat This–It’s a Gift.”  Maybe I ought to start saying they’re “poisoned for authorial research” instead–Nah, my family would likely try a piece anyway. LOL

Cozy Holiday Escapes-Amazon coverFinally, my gift to my readers this year is a group effort with some of my wonderful author girlfriends. I’ve talked about the Cozy Holiday Escapes anthology. It’s been on sale a week now at our special giftable price of 99 cents, and readers are giving back by posting wonderful reviews. If you’d like some light-mystery, character-driven stories to read when you put your feet up after this year’s Christmas tasks, we would love if you’d take a look at our anthology. It’s only available through the holiday season–then just like Santa and all the seasonal decorations it will disappear from sight. Click my Where to Buy My Books link for all the clickable links to all the booksellers. I’ve included a new Bodies of Art story “Seasonal Switches” as well as the Organized Mystery “Organized for Christmas Wishes.” Best of all, you might discover a new author to read or discover an old favorite.

So that’s my game plan for the weekend. How about you. Do you have a shopping/gifting strategy in place this year?

Can You Hear the Season’s Changing?

Thanksgiving is this month in the U.S., and the older I get the more gratitude I have every day of the year. It’s not that my life is without potholes–far from it. But those potholes aren’t quite so treacherous anymore since I’ve learned who I can count on to help me figure out how fill the hole so it’s no longer a problem, or who will willingly ferry me across any problem too big for me to handle. It was a huge lesson the day I realized I truly could ask other people for help. And my thankfulness grows with every day.

To that end, I’m spending the whole month of November posting the things I’m thankful for on a daily FB post on my profile page, and inviting others to share what they are grateful for in their lives. I have to tell you, it’s something I look forward to doing each day. Spending just a few minutes thinking about this makes the whole rest of my day go much better. I “hear” the thanksgiving goodness in each comment made by the people who read my posts, and I love getting this small insight into their lives and their month of Thanksgiving.

Cozy Holiday Escapes-Amazon coverAnd speaking of seasonal happiness and helpful people and reasons to be grateful, I want to take this opportunity to tell you about a fabulous group of authors who invited me into their authorial fold to contribute to a Christmas-themed anthology that was just released this week. I’ve read all these authors for years–been a fan of each long before I was published myself–so I have to pinch myself every day to believe that my “story gifts” are in this anthology with all of theirs. Karen Cantwell penned a new story in the popular Barbara Marr series, “How the Finches Stole Christmas.” Joanna Campbell Slan offers two short stories, one in the Kiki Lowenstein scrapbook series, “Kiki Lowenstein and the Secret Santa,” and another in her Cara Mia Delgatto series, “Cara Mia Delgatto’s White Christmas.” Carolyn Haines includes “Bones on the Bayou” a Sarah Booth Delaney story that will make you laugh and gasp until the mystery is solved. “Christmas in Venice” by Maria Grazia Swan tells the story of a pet-sitter investigating a missing tortoise over the holidays. Leslie O’Kane brings an Allie Babcock short mystery, “A Dog-Gone Christmas,” and makes readers worry and smile until the end. And since I’m in the middle of writing the third book in the Bodies of Art Mystery series, I wrote a brand new Christmastime story, “Seasonal Switches,” featuring Laurel Beacham and Jack Hawkes, as well as a Kate McKenzie Organized Mysteries story, “Organized for Christmas Wishes.” In all, there are eight stories in the book, seven tied to bestselling mystery series that gives a yuletide taste of the characters’ worlds.

This anthology will only be available for this years holiday season–it will disappear from the virtual bookseller shelves in January. Right now we have it priced at 99 cents, so if this sounds like something you’d like to read, please grab it while it’s a bargain and before it completely goes off sale. It’s our little Christmas gift to our fans, and we hope y’all like it–and maybe find a favorite new author or two. I’d love it if my favorites become yours too.

To find the buy links to the anthology, just go to my Where to Buy My Books page. You can click this link, or find the link to the page along the toolbar above.

Hope everyone is planning a Happy Thanksgiving. Is that jingle bells I hear with that turkey gobble?