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

Posts Tagged ‘Vermont mystery

Organized for Homicide doesn’t go on sale for 99¢ very often, but that’s what’s happening now. But if you want a bargain, please grab a copy soon because it’s only on sale through the weekend. Here’s the link to all the buy links — Click here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yes, believe it or not, July 2016 has less than half-a-day left. Where has so much of the year gone? Sunday Sneak PeekWhile I don’t normally like to hurry time–as I seem to be crunched by it most days–I am looking forward to the cool temps of fall. To that end, I’m currently editing/proofing stories for a Halloween anthology to be released a few weeks before the trick or treat holiday. More on that in the coming weeks. And I’m handing out treats today in the form of a sneak peek of my story included in the anthology “Organized for Trick or Trap.” Hope everyone likes it 🙂

Organized for Trick or Trap Excerpt

Kate McKenzie looked out the windows of her cheery cherry-patterned kitchen curtains and watched lace-like snowflakes drift down lazily on the other side of the pane.

Definitely going to be a white Halloween, she thought. Something she was learning to count on since moving to Hazelton, Vermont. As she placed bananas into her seven-year-old twin daughters’ lunches, her energetic tomboy daughter, Samantha, barreled into the room with her coat and backpack slung onto one arm. “Oh, good. You’re ready, Sam. Is Suzanne about set to go too?”

“Yeah.” Sam chewed her lip, then asked, “Mom, can witches turn real people into zombies, or just do that to animals?”

“What?” Kate laughed and pushed on the Velcro ends of one insulated bag, sealing up the opening. She turned and faced a solemn faced Samantha. Oops. “Sorry I laughed, honey. I thought you were joking. I think I need a little more information on this cat zombie thing.”

“Monica says the lady down the road in the turquoise colored house is a witch and can bring animals back from the dead. But all the cats are zombies.”

This wasn’t the first wild story her twins had brought home thanks to this particular facts-challenged classmate. Kate had meant to already visit the new neighbor, but life had a way of filling every spare minute. Now, she had an even better reason to go and introduce herself. “I think someone told me she fosters cats, honey. How about we drop by her house after school with some of the jack o’ lantern cookies I made last night and introduce ourselves.”

“But Monica says she makes zombies out of the cats. They walk around and don’t see or hear anyone,” Sam persisted, just as her blonde identical twin Suzanne walked into the kitchen.

“Are you talking about the cat witch lady?” Suze asked.

“Yeah.”

“Girls, stop.” Kate handed each a lunch bag and steered them toward the front door, reconsidering her idea about taking the girls to meet the new neighbor. Probably best to pop in alone first, and take the girls later after she could reassure them with tangible evidence the woman didn’t turn anything into zombies. At least she hoped the fact she’d come home without being zombiefied succeeded in putting this story to rest. “There are no cat witches. And from what I know about our family’s cat, the entire breed only hears and sees what it wants to. Probably Monica tried to call one or two, wanting to pet them, and the cats ignored her.”

“But—”

“No, girls,” Kate pointed to their coats. “Suit up with those jackets and stick your lunches in your backpacks. Meg and the boys are taking you to school today. I’ll check out the new neighbor this afternoon and give a full report when I pick you up from school. And in the meantime, stop believing everything Monica tells you.” She opened the front door and crossed her arms in defense to the October blast of frigid air.

So, there you have it. More coming soon. 🙂

 

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.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00001]I have two books coming out soon. The first, Organized for Homicideis another featuring organizational expert Kate McKenzie as chief sleuth and bottle organizer. To coincide with this September 8th release, my publisher has discounted book#1 in the series, Organized for Murder, to 99 cents for a short time in all ebook formats. And the rest of this week I’ll be posting excerpts of the new book, Organized for Homicideso everyone can get a sampling of that story as well.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00001]In my Organized Mysteries series, Kate and her sidekick, Meg Berman, find that starting a small business sometimes leads to having to do more than your mission statement implies. Sometimes it means figuring out whodunit when someone involved in their business contract gets killed, and law enforcement focuses on the wrong person as the murder suspect. In the first book, Kate is in the hot seat herself, so she is absolutely sure the state police are pursuing the wrong person.

If you already own the first book, thank you, and please come back by in the next few days to read excerpts from the new release. But if you don’t have a copy of Organized for Murder, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to pick up a copy while it’s on sale. I just love a bargain, don’t you? You can click here for the Amazon link to get a Kindle copy or check my Where to Buy My Books page to purchase Organized for Murder in any of the other ebook formats, and where you can also find links to pre-order copies of  Organized for Homicide. All the buy links will be there once it’s available at all booksellers next weekend. I can’t wait to share the excerpts with you this week! Hope to see a lot of you return soon.

One of my favorite things about this series is that I get to share terrific organizing tips I’ve figured out on my own or learned from others. Do you have any favorite things you do every day to keep life organized and running a little smoother? Feel free to tell us in the comments 🙂

 


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