Ritter Ames — USA TODAY Bestselling Mystery Author of the Bodies of Art Mysteries series and the Organized Mysteries series

Posts Tagged ‘mystery

Due to some unforeseen computer problems last week (thanks so much Microsoft), I had a couple of days when I had to work at simply getting my laptop up and running correctly again. Which meant I lost two days of actual worktime and didn’t get to post a Friday Freebie highlighting the Chapter Two excerpt of Bronzed Betrayals on Wattpad. So, since versatility is my middle name anymore, I’m posting the link here to the excerpt and calling it a Travel Tuesday offering because the excerpt lets readers follow behind Laurel as she journeys to her latest “reclamation” destination. Today’s location is the Knightsbridge area in London, and you can Read the Excerpt for Chapter Two for free on Wattpad.

If you missed reading the Chapter One excerpt, you can Click Here to read from the beginning on Wattpad. If you start with Chapter One, at the very bottom of the excerpt is an orange Continuation bar that you can click to shoot over to Chapter Two and keep reading. And yes, I will be posting Chapter Three soon so keep an eye on this blog space 🙂

In the meantime, don your black catsuit, grab your electronic gizmos, and follow Laurel Beacham on this Travel Tuesday–Heist Edition to see if she can reclaim the stolen art!

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Because Counterfeit Conspiracies was on sale last month, and the sale on Marked Masters was this week, AND because a New Release in the Bodies of Art Mysteries is coming the end of next month–a la Bronzed Betrayals–I thought today would be a good time to open up the short story vault and pull out the short titles that fall in the timeframe between Marked Masters and Abstract Aliases. These stories have been posted here before, as I pull them out a time or two each year–usually around the holidays–and they will be returning to the vault again soon. 

You don’t have to have read the books to enjoy these short stories. Just like you don’t have to read these short stories to know what is going on in the novels. But reading all does give you a bigger picture of the series and characters, of course. Since both the Bodies of Art Mysteries short stories fall in the timeline after Marked Masters and before Abstract Aliases, they can offer a bit more info and fun in the months not covered in the novels. Plus, these stories are free–another win-win. Information in the Christmas story also alludes to facts that were used in the fourth Bodies of Art Mystery, Fatal Forgeries, which was released June 2017. The fifth book in the series, Bronzed Betrayals, has a June 26th release date and is currently available as a preorder from all booksellers.

*****   This Event is over, but Organized for Scheduled Sabotage is still on sale until Feb. 7th at all booksellers. To find the buy links for each bookseller, Click Here   *****

All the books listed below are mysteries bargain-priced this weekend–from FREE to 99¢! And most are available on all bookseller platforms. No need to sign up for authors’ newsletters–just scoop up the bargain books you’d like to read. The books range from cozy mystery to edgier thrillers (yep, my author pals Larissa Reinhart & Linda Crowder books are in this grouping too). But don’t click the covers below–they’re just static pictures for this blog. Instead, Click Here to go to the event page and click on the cover(s) of the book(s) you want more info on. You’ll be taken to each Book’s Page for details about each title and the quick & easy bookseller links. You can also sign up on the event page for a chance to win a $50 gift card–that will also automatically subscribe you to receive My Book Cave daily sale emails.

Happy Reading!

Cover for Organized for Scheduled Sabotage

Organized for Scheduled Sabotage
by Ritter Ames
$3.99$0.99

Cover for Portrait of a Dead Guy

Portrait of a Dead Guy
by Larissa Reinhart
$0.99
Cover for First Touch
First Touch
by Teyla Branton
FREE

Cover for Sign Off

Sign Off
by Patricia McLinn
$4.99FREE

Cover for Tales from Harborsmouth

Tales from Harborsmouth
by E.J. Stevens
$4.99$0.99

Cover for Trouble at the Red Pueblo

Trouble at the Red Pueblo
by Liz Adair
$4.99FREE

Cover for One Night in Tehran

One Night in Tehran
by Luana Ehrlich
$0.99

Cover for Three Tequilas

Three Tequilas
by Tricia O’Malley
$3.99$0.99

Cover for Voice in the Wilderness

Voice in the Wilderness
by H. L. Wegley
$0.99

Cover for The Case Of The Disappearing Corpses

The Case Of The Disappearing Corpses
by Alan Hardy
$0.99

Cover for Relative Evil

Relative Evil
by Debra Erfert
$5.99$0.99

Cover for Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis
by Debbi Mack
$0.99

Cover for The Case of the Questionable Quadruplet

The Case of the Questionable Quadruplet
by Jacqueline Diamond
$3.99$0.99

Cover for Case: 0

Case: 0
by May Freighter
$0.99

Cover for Justice for Katie

Justice for Katie
by Linda Crowder
$2.99FREE

Cover for False Identity

False Identity
by Jennifer Youngblood
$2.99$0.99

Cover for The Forever Stone

The Forever Stone
by Gloria Repp
$3.99$0.99

Cover for A Very Private Grave

A Very Private Grave
by Donna Fletcher Crow
$2.99$0.99

Cover for The Irish Inheritance

The Irish Inheritance
by M J Lee
$3.99$0.99

Cover for Southsiders - That's All Right

Southsiders – That’s All Right
by Nigel Bird
FREE

Cover for Texas Troubles

Texas Troubles
by N.C. Lewis
$2.99$0.99

Cover for The Stationmaster's Cottage

The Stationmaster’s Cottage
by Phillipa Nefri Clark
$1.99$0.99

 

Confession time: I try to stay away from Kickstarter because I like just about everything that hits the site. While I love encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship and innovation, I also like to eat and pay my electric bills (my laptop appreciates when I pay that bill too). So I tend to ignore a lot of the enticing emails Kickstarter sends my way–they’ve already pegged me as a soft touch. But when one of the guys at Litographs sent me an email saying they were starting another Kickstarter project earlier this spring, I opened it. And yes, I contributed (in about 0.5 seconds–told you I was a soft touch).

I already adore Litographs. The company takes the words from a published book and creates a picture on a t-shirt using just the words. I’ve loved this company for many reasons:

  1. The shirts not only have great designs, but they’re high quality and very comfortable to wear.
  2. I love wearing my favorite books (yes, the text is clear enough to read, though I usually just stick with the paper or Kindle versions for my nightly reading).
  3. Every time Litographs sells a shirt (they also sell totes and posters) they give away a book to an under-served community. The exact wording on their website is: “We’re committed to promoting literacy all over the world — to make a direct impact, we proudly partner with the International Book Bank to send one new, high-quality book to a community in need for every order placed on Litographs.com.”
  4. And my very selfish reason for loving Litographs is that their products help bolster my side in all the arguments I’ve had–okay, heated debates–with some rather egotistical graphic designers who’ve tried fruitlessly to convince me the picture or design is much more important than the words (y’all know I love visual art, but I’m not going to back down when someone disparages the written art of creativity). In the case of Litographs, it isn’t just that the words create the book that inspires the picture–yes, it does that–but more importantly The Words Are The Medium Used To Actually Create The Picture. So, from two different directions (or points of evidence if discussing this as a debate), the t-shirt (or tote or poster) could not Happen in its sell-able form without the words. The words don’t just come first, they are necessary to completely conclude the project. Okay, I’ll step down from my soapbox now.

Then there’s the new Kickstart project they launched and I contributed to. The offer? I could not only use of my own books for my “reward” for helping in the effort, but I could choose between either a t-shirt or a scarf (long scarf or infinity scarf). Wow, Litographs is already one of my favorite “gotta buy this because” companies, but now I’m offered a brand new choice to showcase my own words.

The Kickstarter campaign ended–it was a success–and I’ve been waiting for my followup email to give my choice in what kind of wearable art I want them to use for my word art. I picked…The Infinity Scarf. I already have two of their t-shirts (Don Quixote and The Princess Bride, and I want many more) and I don’t need another tote (yes, I have several from VistaPrint with my book covers printed on the canvas). But I love the idea of throwing on a plain tee and jeans, then adding the infinity scarf to any outfit.

For the book of words to use, I chose Counterfeit Conspiracies, since it was my first published novel. And for the color I chose a light green to go with the lovely new book cover. I won’t receive my prototype until sometime in August (hurry faster, Litographs, faster), but here’s what the sample looks like–just envision my words in light green instead of this text in dark pink.

If you’d like to check out their products, the website is http://www.litographs.com/ I highly recommend them 🙂

Litographs scarf sample

I’ve just sent off an Organized Mysteries short story for a summer anthology project (more about that later), and I’m spending the next couple of weeks finishing up another full length Organized novel (again, more info coming soon). All that organized writing got me thinking about early interviews I did that talked about the series. I’m reposting one of those interviews today, conducted by Mason at Thoughts in Progress. If you’ve already read it, I apologize for the repeat, but when I reread it this morning it was a nice reminder that planning out a series well ahead of time truly has helped me keep all my writing on-track.

Interview – April 9, 2014 (Thoughts in Progress–Interview Organized for Murder)

Mason – How did you come to write a mystery featuring a protagonist who is an organization expert?

Ritter:
I was at an author signing once, before I started writing ORGANIZED FOR MURDER, and it suddenly hit me that if I didn’t want to just talk about writing I needed to figure out something else to talk about that would tie in with a book sale. I kind of mined the inner “what the heck do I know about” fathoms, and remembered all the times people loved the little methods I used to stay organized and keep down daily stress. And my cozy theme was born.

I’ve always been a person who thinks outside the box, and my biggest pet peeve is to have to look for things. Using colors as cues to keep like things together is something I do automatically now. I also hate to do repetitive things like laundry—which even when you’re done just means it will be time to start over again. So I started using tricks to make myself think things weren’t so bad, like always living by the white rule for sports socks and everyday towels and things, to cut down on sorting and matching.

But while Kate has slight OCD, I’m just a potentially lazy person who doesn’t want to have to do things over again. I have a couple of people in my life who suffer from slight OCD tendencies each day, so I’ve seen their struggle at different times in life. I didn’t want Kate to be “perfect,” so used a bit of this knowledge and made her an above average worrier who is working on this problem each day, and has a supportive family environment to help.

Mason – Do you work on your two ongoing mystery series – Organized Mysteries series and the Body of Art mystery series – at the same time? How do you schedule your time?

Ritter:
I brainstorm each series while I’m writing the other, but I don’t write both at the same time. My protagonists are very different in each series, as are the settings and objective, and I write one from first person point-of-view and the other from third person. Plus, the Bodies of Art series is actually light suspense, and follow a series arc, so the plot twists are more important. Whereas in the Organized Mysteries I get the fun of adding the organization tips within the story, and have to have the big reveal of the murderer. 

All of those differences help me get into the next book in each series as I finish one manuscript, and switch to organized-for-murder-finalbegin a manuscript in the other series. The Body of Art books take longer, about six months because of all the research. The Organized Mysteries are also quicker because of the closed community, and the fact that the neighboring families are all solid characters at this point and I don’t have to invent as many new characters each time.

I also work on nonfiction projects through the year, so my calendar really is like an extension of my right hand. And all of this has to be worked around marketing tasks to promote the book, which I think takes more time than the actual writing does.

Mason – What are the advantages and disadvantages of writing about a small town?

Ritter:
For a cozy, I don’t think there are any disadvantages. The small town setting is one of my personal must-haves when I pick a cozy mystery. The cozy genre has changed a lot in the last couple of decades, but I still prefer the tried and true criteria: a small, inclusive community, mystery solved by an amateur sleuth, no gory murders, characters who understand the quirks of the community, a bit of humor and minimal swearing. I read cozies to escape, and I think I probably write them for the same reason. The small town gives an added advantage that everyone knows everyone else, which sets up a shifting dynamic when a new character enters the mix.
 
Mason – Tell us something about your protagonist that we wouldn’t be able to learn reading ORGANIZED FOR MURDER.

Ritter:
Honestly, I can’t think of anything I haven’t already at least suggested a hint of in ORGANIZED FOR MURDER. You might say that Kate is an open book. Smile I haven’t told her entire story, or the whole stories of everyone else in the series, for that matter, but more will be revealed with each book.

If I had to say the one thing that Kate McKenzie doesn’t completely know about herself, and is learning, is how capable she truly is. I’ve tried to make all my characters extremely relatable, and have been rewarded in how this is something that is noted in most of the book’s early reviews. Because of that, Kate acts like a typical person, and more readily notes her deficiencies than recognizes her abilities. We all tend to toot other people’s horns better than we do our own, and Kate McKenzie is no different.

One thing that keeps me energized as an author is playing music as I write. My daughter used to always say she could tell which writing project I was currently working on based on what music came out of my home office. Her favorite was when I worked on a suspense/thriller with a particularly no-nonsense reporter as the protagonist, because I played Sheryl Crow all day. I’m not sure why, but the music perfectly fit that particular character.

Right now, I’m on deadline for the next book in my Bodies of Art Mysteries series, and beyond watching YouTube videos of Barcelona and Switzerland (that’s all the clues I’m giving, no spoilers) I added new music to my “escape in Europe” repetoire. Have been writing to the soundtracks of the Oceans movies, thanks to a tip from terrific author Ellie Ashe. But a couple of weeks ago I saw the new The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (and yes, I’ve Man from UNCLEalways had Henry Cavill in mind for Jack Hawkes–even before Guy Ritchie cast him in the role of Napoleon Solo and proved Cavill had the acting chops I’d long suspected he had and “owned” the role). Loved the movie, will likely see it again (and again). Especially loved the chemistry between the three spys. And something I didn’t even consider when I bought my ticket (but should have, since this is a Guy Ritchie film, after all) was that I LOVE the movie’s soundtrack.

The best part is that this soundtrack is the perfect music to play on my computer or Amazon Echo (yes, love that little marvel, too) while I’m writing scenes for a Bodies of Art mystery. Don’t have a final title worked out yet for the little jewel of a sequel for Laurel & Jack, but thanks to this original music created for the fabulous film, words flows from my brain to the keyboard as smoothly as this smooth soundtrack shuffles from one excellent song to the next.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me. One of the bad guys from the first book, Counterfeit Conspiracies, has surfaced again in a book #3 scene (no, I won’t give the name), and thinks he’s trapped our heroine. I can’t wait to see how Laurel gets out of a very sticky situation–or whether the baddie is limping (or worse) by the end.

Do you have any favorite music you like to motivate you while working? Feel free to share in the comments 🙂


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