New release: Shares the Darkness by John Lindermuth

jrlindermuthThere’s something comfortable about writing a crime series. You get to know your characters, their location and other aspects necessary to plotting the story. Still, sometimes those characters surprise you and demand a bigger role.

Such was the case in Shares The Darkness, seventh in the Hetrick series. Officer Flora Vastine, one of Hetrick’s proteges, wanted the lead in this book. What’s a writer to do? I just let her have her way. And I’m rather pleased with the results (of course that’s the author speaking and not a reader).

My original idea for the book’s title was The Accidental, a birding term for a species found outside its normal range. Then I realized it was inaccurate, because the victim had told her mother she planned to go birding in the area where she’s murdered. Deciding on titles is sometimes more difficult than writing a book. Anyway, here’s the book blurb:

Jan Kepler and Swatara Creek Police Officer Flora Vastine were neighbors and schoolmates, but never close.

When Jan, a school teacher, avid birder and niece of a fellow officer, goes missing and is found dead in a nearby tract of woods Flora finds herself thrust into the middle of an examination of the other woman’s life, as she searches for clues.

As usual, the police have more than one crime to deal with. There’s illegal timbering and a series of vehicle thefts taking up their time. And there are other issues to deal with. Flora is concerned there’s some shakiness in her relationship with Cpl. Harry Minnich who seems to be making a lot of secretive phone calls.

Still Flora maintains focus on the murder. Despite evidence implicating other suspects, the odd behavior of another former classmate rouses Flora’s suspicion. Flora’s probing opens personal wounds as she observes the cost of obsessive love and tracks down the killer.

Shares The Darkness will be published on Sept. 16 by Torrid, a subsidiary of Whiskey Creek Press/Start Publishing. Here’s a short excerpt:sharesthedarkness2

There were a number of well-defined trails criss-crossing the expanse of woodland. Convinced it was unlikely Jan Kepler would be found on these trails, Brubaker ordered his searchers to fan out. Broken into two teams, comprised of police, Finkbine’s men and Flora’s father and his friends, the searchers made repeated passes across the expanse of the woodland, shouting the missing woman’s name and blowing whistles in hope of getting her attention in the event she was lying injured somewhere in the vicinity. Despite some grumbling about the mud and clothing being snagged on brush, they moved slowly and carefully, trying to cover as much ground as possible. Corporal Harry Minnich and Officer Brent Taylor, both of whom had worked the night shift, had been called back for town duty and Minnich conferred with Brubaker periodically to let the chief know all was well in the community. Harry, who was Flora’s boyfriend, called her twice, too, for updates on the search.

Near noon, after a call from his son, Elmer Finkbine sent out a truck with lunch for the search team.

“That was nice of him,” Brubaker commented, accepting a bag lunch from the younger Finkbine.

Jimmy grinned and nodded. “I know what you think about him, but the old man haint all bad.”

Brubaker reddened. “Now, Jim I never…”

Finkbine raised a hand and grinned again. “Don’t go gettin’ flustered on my account, Aaron. I know he can be a bastard as a boss. I’m just sayin’ there are times when you least expect it that he does surprise you.”

The two sat side by side on a convenient log and gave attention to their sandwiches. Fred Drumheiser, a sandwich in one hand and a styrofoam container of steaming coffee in the other, squatted opposite them. “I’m beginning to wonder if this isn’t a waste of time,” he said.

“Whadya mean?”

Fred swung his sandwich in a circle around him. “I’m just sayin’, how many times we traipsed around this bush and we haint seen a sign of Jan?”

“There’s a lot of woods we haint hit yet,” Jimmy told him. “I hunt out here, so I know how big the place really is. Haven’t even been on the state lands yet.”

“Jim’s right. Your niece is a tiny thing. She could be down in a gully unconscious and we could walk right by without seeing her.”

Fred scowled. “If she’s even out here in the first place.”

“Whadya mean by that?”

Fred sighed. “Look, I hate to say it but since Ken died my sister has got real clingy with Jan.  She always was over-protective of the girl, but it got worse these last couple years. Jan complained to me about it. When I broached the subject to Sylvia she got pissed. Hasn’t talked to me since–and that’s been months.” He exhaled again. “That’s probably why she went to Flora instead of me this morning.”

“So what do you think happened, Fred?”

“I’m just sayin’, maybe we’re wasting our time. Maybe Jan just got tired of her mom’s naggin’ and took off on her own for a while.”

 

For more about my writing, visit my website: http://www.jrlindermuth.net

 

Buy links:

http://torridbooks.com/

http://www.amazon.com/author/jrlindermuth

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/lindermuth?_requestid=362650

http://www.simonandschuster.com/search/books/_/N-/Ntt-lindermuth

And other major booksellers.

Using an Event to Trigger a Tale by Helen Dunn Frame

dsc09287What does a mother do when she outlives her son and her elderly Greek friend senses his widow may have a played a role in his death? Whether true or not if you are a writer, you write a novel. Using a tragedy to create a book is cathartic, helps one to deal with grief, and to come to terms with the loss.

My son died in 2000 after a “minor” operation during which he developed Swiss cheese-like gangrene in his stomach and infection in his entire body. Months later, work began on Wetumpka Widow with the same sleuths from Greek Ghosts because it would be the second book in the series. At the time, I was working two jobs, grieving, and dealing with other losses. For example, one friend ended our 10-year relationship because she was uncomfortable with my feelings that she failed to understand. When my son’s widow invited  another man into their house three months after my son’s death, and married him six months later, my Greek friend felt she had to know her third husband before becoming a widow. She had waited five years after her first husband was murdered to marry my son.

In 2005 I moved to Costa Rica on my own. After settling into my new adventure, writing books and articles and editing others’ creations became my modus operandi. As the complicated story evolved from several viewpoints it provided the added benefit of keeping my brain active to avoid dementia. The result was an epic story fired by greed, manipulation, murder, romance, and sex.

As part of my brand the titles of all the books in the series would be alliterative. During a visit to  Montgomery, my friends took me to Wetumpka, a nearby town discovered online. Seeing the rapids clinched my belief that it was the place to start the novel. Its title became Wetumpka Widow, Murder for Wealth. As the cover is the first point of sale, the designer created a new cover for Greek Ghosts similar to that of Wetumpka Widow to link the books.

Events in all my books feel real because descriptions are based on actual locations. Over the years I have created many albums about trips and events with photos and saved menus from a variety of restaurants. Because I picture the places in my mind’s eye, scenes pop for the reader.

Beyond researching Wetumpka and incorporating perceived circumstances surrounding my son’s death I investigated the death of my daughter-in-law’s first husband. Information garnered from newspaper clippings became the basis for one of the other husbands in the book. The third husband comes from a family from Greece that opened a branch of its business in San Diego.

Readers called Greek Ghosts a page turner. How is it possible to compel people to keep reading? First hook them within the first chapter, or in a prologue even though some editors frown upon writing one. Keep the chapters short to enhance the feeling:  “I can read one more chapter before I turn out the light.” Without forecasting future events, end each chapter with a hint of a future situation. In Wetumpka Widow after a reader learns about one character, I switched to another’s viewpoint for a chapter or three before resuming the first’s story.

To prepare for the next book in the series leave a way to start the next story. In Greek Ghosts, a sleuth’s lover disappeared. He returns in Wetumpka Widow. Jennifer and Jason leave for London at the end of the novel which sets the scene for the next one in Great Britain. I lived in Gerrards Cross outside London for two years which will add reality in the third book in the series.

Was it Hemmingway that quipped, writing a book is five percent inspiration and 95 percent perspiration? To that  add 100 percent marketing. So think of logical situations to include in a novel that fit seamlessly into the tale and provide possible pegs for promotion.

For example, in both books, Greek Orthodox weddings are celebrated. This justifies a book signing in June. In Wetumpka Widow, one minor character owns one of the first Mustangs. When an anniversary is touted, maybe Ford would be willing to tie an event to the book. If a restaurant still exists, perhaps the owner would sell copies. In other words, think out of the box for ways to promote your books.

Having read about my inspiration, what memorable event in your life inspired an idea for your book?

 

Books Written by Helen Dunn Frame:

Retiring in Costa Rica or Doctors, Dogs and Pura Vida (Second Edition). (Look for the third edition in the next few months.)9407aa2c-2b83-46ed-a76e-ffc4f8d389b8-jpgentirewwcover

Greek Ghosts; Book One in the Series

Wetumpka Widow, Murder for Wealth; Book Two in the Greek Ghosts Series

Secrets Behind the Big Pencil, Inspired by an Actual Scandal.

 

Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/helendunnframe.com

 

Helen Dunn Frame, whom I had the benefit of having on my writing team at Inkwell Newswatch, and for whom I have consequently had the privilege of proofreading her work, is an enormously talented writer. She’s flexible, professional, and very thorough in every writing assignment; whether it was from other sources, her own books, or me. She’s definitely a top notch writer with the desire to perform beyond the call of a “normal” writer. Rowdy Rhodes

Review: Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

trynottobreatheTry Not to Breathe -5 Stars

Holly Seddon

Ballantine Books, 2016, 368  Pages

ISBN No.   978-1101885864holly-seddon-bw-300x300

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid

 

 

Alex Dale and Amy Stevenson might be referred to as two lost souls.  Alex Dale’s problem is alcohol.  Alcohol is the main factor that destroyed Alex’s marriage and destroyed Alex’s career as a journalist.  Alex fights her addiction but so far, it is a losing battle.  Alex’s ex-husband is remarried and has a child.  Alex is surviving as a freelance writer but just barely getting by.

 

Amy Stevenson was attacked 15 years ago.  She is in a coma and has been silent the entire 15 years.  Her only visitor is Jacob, her boy friend from 15 years ago.  Jacob is married and his wife is pregnant but she is unaware of Jacob’s visits to Amy.

 

Alex is writing a freelance article about patients that are in a coma and the doctor who is trying to communicate with patients that he feels are functioning on some level.  She visits the hospital and recognizes Amy from the story of her abduction fifteen years ago.   Alex makes a decision to try to find out the true story behind what happened to Amy.  Part of that decision is to make a stronger attempt to curb her desire for alcohol.

 

Amy as well as Jacob and Alex speak to the reader from the various chapters of Try Not to Breathe.  Alex feels that she is reaching Amy and notices little changes in her.

 

The book is well written and an exciting read.  I look forward to more books by Holly Seddon.

PROMOTION THROUGH THE YEARS by Marilyn Meredith

Me and others at Book BArn.This observation is strictly from my perspective—others may have had a totally different experience. Plus the fact that I’m getting older, has changed some of the things I do.

When my first book came out there was no Internet to help with promotion. The only promotion I had a clue about (and not a very big one at that) was that I should have a book signing. I planned one at the only bookstore anywhere near. The bookstore owner advertised in the newspaper and we had a great turnout. And yes, that’s all I did.

Since that time I’ve had many bookstore signings in many different places—some turned out great with lots of people attending, and others not so much. I learned that the signings were better attended if I gave a talk of some sort.

Though many still do lots of bookstore signings, I seldom do any. There are other things that seem to work better for me.

I love appearing at libraries, because I’m fond of libraries. If it’s just me, I like to make a presentation of some sort. Sometimes book sales are great, and sometimes not.

Though you never know how they’ll turn out, I like to do book launches in all different places. I’ve had them in art galleries, a local inn, recreation spots, used book stores, and gift shops.

Book fairs are fun and I enjoy doing them because the people who attend are usually book lovers. I’ve done many over the years. I used to do craft fairs where you set up your own table and tent and I’ve done well at them, but nowadays I only do fairs of any kind where the set-up is done for you.

I’ve attended and been a participant at many writing conferences and mystery conventions and loved every minute of them. Sometimes they’re like going to a friends’ reunion and they are great places to meet readers. I’m no longer traveling around the country as I used to, now only going places that are driveable.

Years ago I sent out postcards with information about my latest book. Now I have an email newsletter that goes out once a month to let everyone know what I’m doing and about any new book that I might have. Let me know if you’d like to be on my newsletter mailing list.

I’ve been doing blog book tours like the one I’m on now for a long, long time—and I still love doing them. And yes, I do think they sell books.

And of course this brings the subject of promotion around to the Internet—one of the greatest boons to promotion. I have my own blog where I promote other authors and once in a while write something on my own—especially when I have a new book out. I love Facebook, to me it’s like chatting with friends. I use Twitter minimally, usually to promote a new blog or book.

Nothing stays the same, so I expect much will change over the next few years.

If you’re an author, let me know what works best for you—one of the older methods, or something more modern.

If you’re a reader, let me know what kind of promotion attracts you the most (or the other way around.)

Marilyn

 

Seldom Traveled Blurb:

The tranquility of the mountain community of Bear Creek is disrupted by a runaway fugitive, a vicious murderer, and a raging forest fire. Deputy Seldom Traveled Front CoverTempe Crabtree is threatened by all three.

Marilyn Meredith’s Bio:

Marilyn has had so many books published, she’s lost track of the count, but it’s getting near 40. She lives in a community similar to the fictional mountain town of Bear Creek, the big difference being that Bear Creek is a thousand feet higher in the mountains. She is a member of Mystery Writers of American, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, and is a board member of Public Safety Writers of America.

http://fictionforyou.com

http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com

 

New Contest:

Winners will be randomly picked from those leaving the most comments on the blog posts. Each winner can choose one of the earlier books in the series as either a print book or e-book.

Tomorrow I’m headed to M. M. Gornell’s blog https://mmgornell.wordpress.com/

Buy links: http://mundania.com/book.php?title=Seldom+Traveled

 

Review: A Portrait to Die For by Radine Trees Nehring

A_Portrait_to_Die_For_Rev_smA Portrait to Die For

Radine Trees Nehring

Dark Oak Mysteries, 2016, 289 Pages

ISBN-13: 978-1610092227

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid

 

 

Carrie McCrite and her husband Henry King have had several adventures that have brought them both close to danger and now Henry has put his foot down.   He is insisting that Carrie stop getting the couple involved in criminal activities.  Carrie has a habit of noticing things that others might overlook and so she has managed to get the couple in some tight spots.   Carrie has promised that she will abide by Henry’s wishes.

 

That promise lasted just about as long as it took Carrie to get to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art where she was volunteering.  First she ran into a woman who was trying to get away from a man and she asked Carrie to say she had gone the other way.

 

As Carrie wondered around the museum viewing some of the new items she stopped to study “Twins With Daisies” by Marie Forneau. This was part of the items on loan from Port View Historical Society’s collection.  Carrie immediately noticed what she took to be a discrepancy in the picture but decided to keep it to herself.  Valerie Knight, the museum’s director of communications requested that Carrie speak with Maylynn Brewer, a reporter, who was interested in Carrie’s observations as a volunteer.

 

The two didn’t hit it off right away but that changed when Maylynn suddenly disappeared.  It turned out that Carrie’s son Rob was an old friend of Maylynn’s. In addition, Catherine who is engaged to Rob was also acquainted with Maylynn.   Rob also informed Carrie and Henry that Maylynn had a twin brother who had some problems that arose from his duty in the service overseas.  In spite of all the promises not to get involved, Carrie and Henry are trying to find out what has happened to Maylynn and how it might be connected to “Twins With Daisies” since Maylynn had also mentioned noticing a discrepancy in the picture.  Rob and Catherine decide to join in the hunt for Maylynn and soon they are all four in more trouble than they ever thought of.

 

I enjoyed this book and looking forward to more from this author.

 

How I Finished My First Novel (After Years of Trying) by Heather K. Duff

heather-k-duffA few years ago I sat down on New Year’s Eve and wrote a letter to myself—to be opened a year later. It was a heartfelt letter filled with my hopes for the coming year. Figuring prominently was the aspiration to finish my first novel. I expressed frustration with my lack of success in this area, but mostly I encouraged myself to finally FINISH.

Reckoning Day loomed before me. Would I disappoint myself again?

Sadly, yes.

And the next year.

And the next.

Seven years after beginning, I finished my novel, The Wrong, and recently published it in July, 2016.

Why this year? What made the difference?

It wasn’t by chance. It wasn’t by intention. (I’d been “intending” to do it all along.) There were several factors that figured into the equation, several people whose encouragement and faith in me spurred me on. I am convinced, however, that one key decision propelled me to the finish line: I found a writing coach.

I wasn’t looking for a coach. I was looking for an answer that had eluded me for years. Why can’t I finish? Along with this novel, I had many other The-Wrong-web-HKDglorious starts. But where were the finishes?

I did some research on writing coaches and something stood out among all the other benefits. A good coach will help you identify obstacles and get a plan for working through (or around) them. I needed someone with another vantage point to look not only at my writing, but my career. I connected with a writer friend who had been “coaching” me since we’d met. I asked if she might consider formalizing that arrangement. We discussed the particulars and moved forward.

We scheduled our first meeting for January and set up weekly word counts. I didn’t need my coach to necessarily read the work and provide feedback. It was enough to know I had 8,000 words to deliver by midnight Saturday every week…until the novel was completed.

Once it was finished, my coach, Jessica Ferguson, gave it a read. She identified trouble spots and provided insightful feedback. By May, I had a finished book, ready for publication. Thank God (and thank you, Coach!).

 

How Does My Coach Help Me Now?

 

I took a small break from writing after I finished the novel—partly to focus on book promotion, and partly to refuel the creative engine. My coach has been an invaluable resource in this stage of the process as well. Her knowledge of the publishing industry, her knack for asking the right questions (when I start wandering after rabbits on obscure trails), and her desire to see me succeed, all serve as gentle guidance along the way.

There is another benefit of having a coach that runs deeper than aspiration and achievement. Writing is lonely business. Most writers I know don’t mind the solitude. In fact, when inspiration calls from the depths, we joyfully answer by leaving family and friends behind—if just for a while. Those moments alone are rich and precious. And yet, I found myself alone in ways that left me lonely. I expressed this as: “I need someone to be in it with me.” I wasn’t sure what I was asking for when I had that epiphany. But today I am sure I have found it.

If you need someone in your corner, someone with clarity of vision, someone to identify the obstacles you can’t see and classify the ones you can, consider a writing coach. We all have friends and influences within the writing community, but a formal, professional relationship with a writing coach just might be the strong foundation for your next level of success.

elechi-pen

 

Author Bio

Heather Duff is a freelance web designer passionate about helping others share their work (dreams, ideas, creativity) with the world. She enjoys serving on her church media team, working behind the scenes in the fun—and sometimes frantic—world of church media. She has a great affection for coffee and good friends, especially when combined. She writes mysteries and fantasy fiction. Heather recently published her first mystery novel, The Wrong.

 

Author Website: http://heatherkduff.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/heatherkduff

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Heather-K.-Duff/e/B014ZD0B0G/

Coaching & Marketing Website: http://creativecoachingandmarketing.com

 

Kingdom Come by Jane Jensen

KingdomCome

  • Series: Elizabeth Harris Novel, An (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (January 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425282899
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425282892

 

 

Amish country in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has always been a place of quiet beauty—until a shocking murder shatters the peace, and leaves a troubled detective picking up the pieces…

After her husband is murdered, Detective Elizabeth Harris turns in her NYPD badge and moves back home, hoping that a quiet life in remote Pennsylvania Dutch country will help her overcome the dark memories of her ten years in New York. But when a beautiful, scantily clad “English” girl is found dead in the barn of a prominent Amish family, Elizabeth knows that she’s uncovered an evil that could shake the community to its core.

Elizabeth’s boss is convinced this was the work of an “English,” as outsiders are called in Lancaster County. But Elizabeth isn’t so sure. All she’s missing is an actual lead—until another body is found: this time, a missing Amish girl. Now Elizabeth must track down a killer with deep ties to a community that always protects its own—no matter how deadly the cost…

 

Praise for KINGDOM COME

“Nicely drawn characters…lend substance to this tale of secrets hid­den deep within a closed religious community.”—Publishers Weekly

“[Jensen’s] writing style is consistently engrossing and enticing.”—Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Jane Jensen

“Remarkable… A tour de force.”—Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, authors of Brimstone

“Fast-paced, suspenseful, and a joy from beginning to end.”—The Washington Post Book World

About the Author

Jane Jensen is a novelist and game designer. Best known for her computer game series, Gabriel Knight, and her novel, Dante’s Equation, Jensen has published seventeen games and four thriller novels. She also publishes romance as Eli Easton. She lives with her husband, Robert Holmes, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.