Long ago, old-fashioned stockings hanging on the mantel above the fireplace were filled with wonderful holiday gifts like candy canes, oranges, walnuts and ribbons—or, if you were naughty, filled with lumps of coal. Books in the old days seldom appeared in anyone’s stocking. They were too precious and rare. Today, more books are written and published than ever before. EBooks can fill a stocking called Kindle or Nook with gifts that satisfy the Christmas lists of everyone you know.
Another advantage: eBooks are inexpensive compared to hardbacks or paperbacks. Also, some are $.99, or free, when ambitious authors want to distribute their books. Readers are more important than dollars and dimes. If you have friends who love to read, you’ll fill their holiday stockings in no time at all. And you’ll fill their free time with eBooks to read, curling up with a cup of hot chocolate near the Christmas tree.
What particular genre do your friends love? My friends love cozy mysteries, the kind of novel I love to read and also to write. Cozy mysteries feature women sleuths who find clues to bloodless murders and solve the puzzles involving greed, jealousy or revenge. They’re set in a small town or neighborhood, like Agatha Christie’s novels starring Miss Marple. A little romance adds to the story, too.
What setting do your friends enjoy? The small towns for cozy mysteries can spring up anywhere. Agatha Christie moved Hercule Poirot from English manors to Paris to the Orient Express in Egypt. My Texas ranch land setting sheltered the Hargrove Family Cemetery, the center of Cemetery Whites, the beginning of the Caroline Hargrove Hamilton Mystery Series. Caroline Hargrove Hamilton and her cousin Janet become amateur sleuths when they decided to find whoever murdered Professor Harrison. They found his body when they visited the family cemetery; then they set off on a trail of clues. Detective work put Caroline and Constable Bob Bennett together; they became friends–and romantic, too.
A cozy mystery series, set in a small town surrounded by ranch land, develops a group of family and friends who live in certain houses and see each other predictably. In my second novel, Chances Choices Changes Death, Caroline’s cousins and friends solved the death of a single mother and found her young son who disappeared. This story is set on a large ranch where Caroline and Janet took Western riding lessons and their cousins, Donny and Danny, worked for the summer. There’s a murder to solve, bad men to find, good men to love, weddings on the way, engagement rings encountered, and adoptions of two boys without parents. Lots of things happen in a small town!
Novels may offer some specific items that interest your friends. In Cemetery Whites, genealogy of the Hargrove family and Texas history are explored. In Chances Choices Changes Death, trail riding takes Caroline and Janet to a run-down small adjacent ranch that seems threatening. They’re also introduced to Marilyn’s Steel Dust horses, ancestors of the quarterback horses. Marilyn is working on restoring the old breed.
Do you know of an author with a series of books that your friend enjoys? Some well-established authors may have new books on the market; see what your friend thinks about this book or that. New, independent authors—indieauthors—may offer eBooks that your friend knows about, or would like to find out about. See what you can find. Amazon listings include reviews, author pages, excerpts of the book, comparisons—you should be able to find eBooks that your friend will enjoy.
And while you’re shopping for eBook gifts, keep yourself in mind—especially if you like cozy mysteries. There must be a list of special books just right for you.
Connie Knight’s interest in Texas history is reflected in Cemetery Whites. Murders in 1875 and 2010 are solved, with the detective’s family history unraveling to reveal information. Knight’s hobby of gardening produced the title Cemetery Whites. The victim’s body is found sprawled in a patch of white irises in an old family cemetery. The flowers with that name still exist today, at old homesteads and in current gardens, including Connie Knight’s.
Connie Knight now lives in Houston and has just finished a second mystery, Chances Choices Changes Death, a sequel to Cemetery Whites. She is now working on her third mystery novel in the Caroline Hargrove Hamilton Mystery series.
Chances Choices Changes Death