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:   https://www.facebook.com/groups/PassportReadyWritersReaders/

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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Armchair Traveling on a Chilly November Afternoon

Had the need today to page through some pictures that tie back with books in my Bodies of Art series, and thought I’d share them with anyone needing a little Armchair Traveling for the day. I’ve thrown in pictures I used for all four books written–but only 3 are available for sale right now. The fourth, Fatal Forgeries, will be released in 2017. Sit back. Enjoy.

For a bit of a picture legend to these shots–

The first two pictures are London, where all the Bodies of Art Books are at some point each time. Third is the hilly street of Le-Puy-en-Velay from Counterfeit Conspiracies, fourth-through sixth is Florence for Marked Masters, seventh is a picture of Cassie’s flat entrance mentioned in book #1 & visited by Laurel & Jack in book #4, with the eighth the artists restoration pit where Cassie worked at the Victoria & Albert Museum that Laurel used to get away from Jack in book #1.

The next beach shot is Barcelona from Fatal Forgeries, followed by the Raphael Sibyls featured in Abstract Aliases. The small church coming up next is the Rome’s Santa Maria della Pace where The Sibyls reside, then Baden-Baden one of the stops after Rome in Abstract Aliases. 

The bar scene beside the Baden-Baden shot is in the Bar at La Boqueria in Barcelona as in Fatal Forgeries. The two fountains are the Trevi Fountain in Rome (left with classical statues) and Font Magica in Barcelona (right-colorful). And the next two shots are additional colorful sights of Barcelona, Spain from my Fatal Forgeries notes–the first a market shot of Le Boqueria on La Ramblas and the second a view of the mosaics used in architecture by Gaudi. The final two are shots Cologne, Germany–both of which feature the amazing cathedral where the mystery continued for Laurel & Jack in Abstract Aliases.

the-london-skyline-the-beginning-of-most-books-in-the-bodies-of-art-mysteries london-underground-shot-characters-use-the-tube-most-in-books-1-4 hilly-streets-in-le-puy-in-velay-as-a-setting-in-book-1-and-discussed-in-book-4 the-moon-over-the-ponte-vecchio-bridge-florence-italy-as-in-marked-masters florence-italy-from-the-tuscan-hills-as-in-marked-masters ghibertis-gates-of-paradise-at-the-florence-duomo-in-abstract-aliases artists-restoration-pit-at-the-victoria-albert-museum-where-cassie-interned-in-book-1 entrance-to-cassies-flat-near-portobello-road-mentioned-in-book-1-and-visited-in-book-4 barcelona-beach-a-setting-in-fatal-forgeries-book-4 raphaels-the-sibyls-as-in-abstract-aliases romes-church-of-santa-maria-della-pace-as-in-abstract-aliases baden-baden-as-in-abstract-aliases bar-at-la-boqueria-in-barcelona-as-in-fatal-forgeries romes-fontana-di-trevi-as-in-abstract-aliases font-magica-in-barcelona-as-in-fatal-forgeries mercat-boqueria-barcelona-as-in-fatal-forgeries-book-4 barcelonas-park-guell-as-in-fatal-forgeries cologne-cathedral-as-in-abstract-aliases entering-cologne-germany-as-in-abstract-aliases

 

Picture Me Organized

I never imagined when I penned my first story that I would eventually have to balance my writing work with such daily tasks as comb research sites and flag them for later use, file tax records, discover marketing options, network with advertisers, find fabulous clothes for my characters to wear, locate spy and tech stuff for my characters to use, figure out group activities for my characters’ children…and still find a way to write and have some fun in the middle of this publishing circus. One social media invention that helps me keep on top of all my treasured data is Pinterest. Yes, Pinterest. I know, a lot of people say it’s a time waster, but for me the site is an organizing sensation. Here’s why–

London Horse statue in streetSince I write two mystery series, I can have multiple boards about the endless number of things that relate to each series. I have fabulous European sites and travel tips for my Bodies of Art Mysteries series (and yes, this is where the spy and tech research comes in), and organization, parenting, and money saving tips for my Organized Mysteries series. The pictures are fun to find, easy to post, and a snap to locate later when I need to describe a scene or how to do something in one of my character’s lives. The site also allows me to create boards for each of my series, so I can add new covers as books are readied for release.

Horse statue in FlorenceAnd you can learn some really unique things. Take a look at these shots of London, England and Florence, Italy, for example. Who would have thought that you could get similar shots with a horse statue anchoring the street scene in each city, with the premier landmark of the city centered in the background of each shot? Sure, it isn’t an earth shattering fact that will make or break a mystery novel, but it is an interesting factoid I can have one of my characters mention to another. Little things like these that I can’t necessarily catch in a week-long vacation are some of the greatest attributes of Pinterest.

Even better, others can see my boards and follow the ones that interest them, giving us a connection we never had before. And the people who follow me often pin things on their boards I’m interested in, too, so I discover new places and tips without the time consuming searches. You can probably imagine how much help I find with these specialized boards when I’m writing my Bodies of Art series and needing to describe these fabulous settings. My boards are kind of Florence-heavy at the moment since so much of the action in my latest release, Marked Masters, took place in that glorious Renaissance city. London was more heavily featured in Counterfeit Conspiracies, as well as areas in France.

Does it all sound intriguing to you? If so, feel free to wander over to my Pinterest site at http://www.pinterest.com/ritterames where  I have a couple of dozen boards up now, and I welcome everyone to come and browse. And if you follow me, you’re likely to find I’ve wandered over to check out yours as well. Happy reading and pinning, everyone!

We’re Going Into the Home Stretch…

Duomo complex with Giotto bell towerDo you know how writer’s whine? Well, let me tell you I’ve been happily whining up a storm lately because I’m having such a difficult time staying focused. But all the promos are starting on Marked Masters, the second book in my Bodies of Art Mysteries, and that makes me think of Florida and Florence, Italy–the two places Laurel & Jack focus their own attention in the book. The picture at the right shows the Duomo complex in Florence (you can see a hint of the exquisite dome on the far right edge) and the Giotto Bell Tower in the background plays a key role in the book. So… I’m having some difficulty staying in one point of view each day, and my cozy deadline is looming, and I have to keep reminding myself to get out of Laurel’s smart mouth POV and back into Kate’s much nicer and more dedicated one. However, Girl and Her Ebooks did a lovely chapter excerpt of Marked Masters over Valentine’s weekend, along with the synopsis of the noveland readers who received pre-release ARCs of the book have already started posting reviews of Marked Masters on Goodreads. So, I alternate between whining and grinning all day every day. And writing, of course–I seem to never stop writing 🙂

Giotto bell towerThe fun will continue in the next couple of weeks. As I posted here last week, I did a giveaway of a Bodies of Art large canvas tote bag at Laffeinated Ink on Wednesday, and plan to do another very soon. I’ll also be giving away copies of the book in March when I guest post at a couple of blogs, so stay tuned for information on those prize ops–I promise to post all the information here in case any readers want to enter. And if you haven’t yet subscribed to my newsletter, there will be more giveaway tie-ins offered with the next issues, so feel free to sign-up for my newsletter here.

I’ve also been putting some finishing touches on a short story that features Laurel Beacham doing one of her “pro bono” retrievals. I’ll post when it’s available for viewing soon. It will be on the Short Stories page whose link is along the banner at the top of this page, and which currently contains the link to my Organized Christmas story.

Moonrise over the Arno in FlorenceHope your February is going well, and you’re staying warm. We just had four inches of snow last night, and expect another couple overnight tonight. So my agenda for the next few days is to stay in, keep dry, and don’t stop writing. And to view wonderful pics like these of Florence to take my mind off the cold. If things get too difficult, I’ll have a little wine with my whine. Sounds like a good plan, right? Florence at Night

In the meantime, here are a few more wonderful shots of Florence that tie in with the events in Marked Masters. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Now, I have to get back to my Organized camping trip. I can almost taste the s’mores–David by Michelangelowhen I’m not helping Kate solve the murder of course!  Buonasera!

To purchase Marked Master in print or ebook, you can find the links on my Where to Buy My Books page. The book will be released in all bookseller outlets March 2nd.Florence at Night