What’s New and Free Wednesday?

I realize it’s been a while since this blog has posted one of the Wednesday info blasts for new and free. It’s not from lack of trying, but rather from an extraordinarily challenging year that has seemed to derail my writing projects with a kind of focused consistency of a toddler walking through a shop filled with crystal.

Organized for Labor Day Foul PlayI’ll switch things up a little and start with What’s Free.  For anyone who hasn’t read the summer Organized Mystery short story “Organized for Labor Day Foul Play,” that was available for a short time in ebook, and later as a quick fun giveaway here on my blog, it’s available free again right now on Wattpad at  https://www.wattpad.com/story/118778329-organized-for-labor-day-foul-play?   You will have to be signed up to Wattpad, but membership is free and the story read is free. I’ll only have it available there a few more weeks, so don’t miss it.

Not free, but definitely a great bargain — a Halloween mystery short in the Organized Mysteries series is also included in the Midnight Mysteries cozy Halloween anthology we released for only a few months last fall during the trick-or-treat season. We’d all planned to use the stories later for our own individual marketing efforts, but we had so many fans ask us to put the anthology up again that we’ve put it back on sale at all booksellers in all eformats for another short run.  And it’s even available this time to libraries on Overdrive. So please feel free to ask your favorite librarian to order it. If you’d like more information on the nine cozy mysteries in this anthology, look to the preview post I added to this blog last fall at  https://ritterames.com/2016/09/02/friday-preview-midnight-mysteries/ . And if you missed your chance to get a copy of this 400 page anthology, or know someone who wanted one of their own, here’s a second–and probably last–opportunity. It will be available until the first week in November, then it will likely be gone for good.

And we’ll finish this Wednesday post off with what is new and in preorder at the moment. With all those challenges Life has been flinging my way over the past year or so, ORGANIZED FOR SCHEDULED SABOTAGE stayed in limbo all summer. I apologize to everyone who’s been waiting for this newest adventure for Kate & Meg. However, it’s just been set up for preorder and specially priced right now at only $1.99 until release day (then it goes up to full price). So if you have friends you know like this series of cozy mysteries, please feel free to share the news while the sale price is available. The Amazon buy link is live now, but the other booksellers will have the book up for preorder soon. http://smarturl.it/O4SSamz

I’ll try to start posting regularly again about What’s New and Free on Wednesdays. Hope you’re keeping cool this summer and finding lots of great books to read and reread!

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Halloween is Coming and Fun on the Schedule Today

Is everyone ready for Halloween? Yes, this is Halloween week, and I’m celebrating the fact today over at a weeklong Facebook event Kathi Daley is hosting that she’s calling a Halloween Spooktacular. Trust me, that event name sums it up nicely. Different review bloggers each day invited their favorite authors to come and takeover an hour of the event. Today’s blogger is Girl with Book Lungs and I’m filling her 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT takover hour (1-2 p.m. CDT, noon-1 p.m. MDT, and 11 a.m. to noon PDT). Here’s the link if you want to come and join us Kathi Daley’s Halloween Spooktacular on Facebook and click Discussion to see all the posts and follow all the fun.

Lots of terrific things planned, and I’ve even had some help with my posts by a few of the other authors in our MIDNIGHT MYSTERIES anthology. I’ll be giving away a copy of that ebook and some other great things. The anthology will only be available a few more weeks, then it will disappear forever, so we want to make sure these fun stories have their time in the 2016 Halloween moon before they vanish like this seasons ghosts.

So, if you like Halloween hijinks and fun, giveaways and great guest authors, come by this week’s Facebook event and share the time with us. And remember the event lasts until Halloween, so be sure and check out what all the other authors have to say the rest of this week and weekend. No tricks–all fun treats.

pic-halloween-spooktacular

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.

Evolution of a book cover

A few weeks ago, I offered a sneak peek here on the blog of a new Halloween Organized Mystery I’d written for an upcoming fall anthology that will be released the middle of next month. We authors have moved past the writing and editing stages now and onto the graphic portion of our program, so I thought I’d offer a little behind the scenes cover action. Sound interesting?

There is nothing more fun than working with terrific author friends on an exciting projectMidnight Mysteries we’re doing for our fans, and this anthology has been a blast. All of the stories are brand new, all are 40 pages or more long–two are twice that length–and most of them tie to favorite mystery series we already love to write and our fans have told us they love to read. We wanted our book cover to not only translate that series fun into the graphic, but give readers as much information as we could when the cover was seen online. We liked having all our names on the front, so readers can tell at a glance whose stories are inside, but we also wanted a bit of whimsy to play a role. We sent our designer all our ideas–even preliminary designs Larissa graciously did on Canva (Larissa is doubly talented as an author AND an artist–I’m so jealous) as we all worked through our stream of consciousness ideas. Once our designer received all the info, she took on the challenge and the first cover came back like this first graphic at the right–>

Midnight Mysteries 2To clarify, the “shutterstock” watermark wasn’t going to stay–we knew that–and we liked the balance and placement of everything. But we were concerned if we used the first cover and it went down to the thumbnail size that appears for Amazon search pages…well, our names would likely become just one unreadable block of squiggly lines. And the more we looked and thought about it, the more we decided we might need to get rid of the subtitle, to give the cover a little cleaner look. So, our marvelous (and patient) designer went back to her computer and returned with the option seen at the left.

Nice, huh? We thought so. And we were almost ready to use the design as the final cover until we had one more idea. While the subtitle was great about telling readers more Midnight Mysteries large web sizeabout what was inside, and would still be listed on the anthology’s book page, now that it was gone from the cover readers couldn’t easily see what kind of mysteries the anthology contained. We lost our “cozy.” So, we again went to our very patient and wonderful designer and asked if we could get a tiny bit of the subtitle back onto the cover. This is the final work–>

Well, what do you think? We authors kind of love it ourselves. And since the designer sent it back to us on August 17th–which is Black Cat Day–the cute kitty seems to be giving her meow of approval, too. Okay, maybe her “look” of approval.

What do you think? Is it a “4 paws up” design?