Monday, January 23, 2017

Writing Team Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger Share Their New Book, Desert Ice

ABOUT JANET ELIZABETH LYNN & WILL ZEILINGER

Published authors Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger had been writing individually until they got together and wrote the SKYLAR DRAKE MURDER MYSTERY Series. These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1955.  Janet has published seven mystery novels and Will has three plus two short stories. Their world travels have sparked ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and live in Southern California.


Janet was born in Queens, New York and raised in Long Island, until she was 12 years old. Her family escaped the freezing winters and hurricanes for the warmth and casual lifestyle of So. California. She has traveled to the far reach of the planet ending with new found friends and a basket of hotel shampoo and conditioner samples.

Will is from Omaha, Nebraska, living in Turkey for 10 years before returning to the states with his family ending up in So. California on their way to Samoa. Go figure.
      
ABOUT THEIR LATEST BOOK, DESERT ICE
In 1955, a missing Marine and stolen diamonds lead Private Eye Skylar Drake to Sin City, where the women are beautiful and almost everything is legal—except murder.
            The FBI and a Las Vegas crime boss force him to choose between the right and wrong side of the law. All the while, government secrets, sordid lies and trickery block his efforts to solve the case.
            Common sense tells him to go back to L.A. but is gut tells him to find his fellow Marine.

EXCERPT:

This was the first Veteran’s Day Parade I’d attended since I got back from Korea. Seems like a lifetime ago. Claire wanted to go every year, even offered to make it a family affair... I never took her up on it.

Standing at attention, I saluted as the color guard passed. Next came the tanks and trucks and I was transported back to my time in the Corps. A pretty young girl dressed in red, white, and blue approached me with a basket full of tin American flag lapel pins. She held one out to me. The paper tag attached to it read Veteran’s Day, November 1955, but my hands wouldn’t come out of my pockets.
“Here sir, take one, they’re free.”
I reluctantly pulled out my hand. She placed one in my palm, and smiled and turned away. The cadence of the drums sounded like artillery as a formation of jet fighters passed overhead. I was back in Korea on Jeju Island, snow, guns, bombs... I shut my eyes and clenched my fists.
A woman wearing a big hat bumped into me. “Oh, excuse me sir.”
Slowly I opened my hand. The sharp edges of the flag pin were stained with my blood but I didn’t feel a thing.
“You should get something for that hand,” she said.
I couldn’t move.
“Come.” She led me to a hot dog stand and handed me a couple of paper napkins.
I leaned against a chain link fence, wrapped the tin flag in a napkin and dropped it in my pocket. I looked down at my blood smeared hand, the one that took shrapnel at Jeju. My head spun. I leaned forward until my head rested on the fence. “Keep breathing,” I told myself.
“So you’re a vet,” the lady with the hat said. “Korea?”
 I nodded.
She lit a cigarette. “Here.”
I shook my head. “No thanks.”
“Suit yourself.” She hung the cigarette in her mouth and took my hand. After she wiped the blood, she wrapped another napkin around my palm.
“Just a minute.” She disappeared into the crowd. I stepped back and rested against the chain-link, staring at the tops of the trees. She returned and handed me a cup of coffee. I don’t know why, but my hand shook when I reached for the cup.
“It was pretty tough over there.” Her large hat covered most of her face.
I nodded, “How would you know?”
“47th M.A.S.H., Ouijonbu.” She joined me against the chain link fence and sipped her coffee. There wasn’t much more to say. After a few moments I looked at her. “Jeju Island, 1948. We got caught up in the rebellion.”
She held out her gloved hand. “I’m Nancy.” Still hidden under her hat she said,, “Pleasure to see you again, Mr. Drake.”
I studied her. “Have we met before?”
“We have a mutual association with an Officer Graves of the LAPD.”
I spit out the coffee and threw the cup in the trash. “Did that ass send you to...?”
Nancy shook her head. “No, he didn’t.” She took out a jeweled compact, held it at an angle and looked behind her with the mirror. “I didn’t say I knew him. I said you and I had a mutual association.”
Still checking behind her, she whispered, “Meet me at Hollenbeck Park in Boyle Heights." (568 words)



For More, Check Out Their Websites:
  Janet Elizabeth Lynn http://www.janetlynnauthor.com/


Janet and Will would appreciate any comments you might leave.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Conquering the Dilemma of Selling eBooks in Person by Jacqueline Vick.

Note from Linda Thorne: I'll be back with my own post next month, but today I have another guest taking my spot with an interesting topic. I'd like to introduce you to Jacqueline Vick and so begins her post.

With eBook sales on the rise, it can be difficult for an author to convince the reading public to purchase a paperback copy of his or her book, especially if that author is unknown to the reader.  It
would be much easier to persuade the customer to part with a few dollars for an eBook than to hand over ten or fifteen dollars for a physical book. Some folks who attend author events optimistically promise to buy the eBook when they get home, but will they remember?                 

To make an immediate sale, the author could open up a tablet or smart phone to the Amazon page, but most people, including me, would hesitate to enter password information into another person’s device. Then there is human nature. When people buy, they like to walk away with something tangible. It’s a quandary. 

A possible solution appeared when I was at a local author event last year. One author had little cards that looked like credit cards, each bearing the image of his book. I thought they were promotional items, but when I picked one up to take it, he told me they were his eBooks and they were for sale. What a great idea!

I discovered three companies that provided this service: Dropcards, Ethrill, and Livrada. While the finished product shown on the websites looked cool, I was wary of going with any of these three companies. Dropcards specializes in MP3 downloads, and their target clients are musicians. Ethrill and Livrada both promote themselves as the place to purchase bulk orders for conventions and the like. Since I assume that companies promote what they do best, I didn’t think they were a good fit for my needs – the delivery of a few eBooks as needed. 


Enter Book Funnel.  https://bookfunnel.com


Book Funnel is a digital book delivery channel most often used in situations that call for free books – to share works-in-progress with proofreaders, deliver free copies to reviewers, or to provide eBooks that are offered as prizes. I use them for giveaways. It occurred to me that there must be a way to utilize their service as a fulfillment center for purchased books, so I contacted them to find out if this was possible. They were delighted with the idea. 


Once I uploaded my eBooks to their site, I was provided with a redemption link. I made business cards that have my book cover artwork on the front and the redemption link on the back. 


The representative at Book Funnel suggested that I limit the number of cards for each redemption code to 10. That way, if anyone is naughty and passes on the link to friends, there will be a limit in the number of free downloads associated with the link.  I will probably make it twenty to make certain that no one who bought the book finds the redemption code invalid because of unauthorized book claims. 


The cost to use Book Funnel for up to 500 downloads per month is $20 per month.  One feature that I love is, should I go over the 500 downloads, they will fulfill the orders and contact me to advise me to bump my membership level. This lets me save face and keeps readers from being frustrated by a “maximum number of downloads met” message. 


It’s easy to forget that writing is a business, and one of an author’s top priorities should be to meet the demands of the reader, who is the customer. Book Funnel is a great way to meet the demand for digital downloads in a face-to-face selling situation. 


NOTE:  While this will work for self-published authors, traditionally published authors will have to check their contracts or discuss this option with his or her publisher. 



Picture of Jacqueline at a library event in South Carolina. About the author:
Jacqueline Vick spent her childhood plotting ways to murder her Barbie doll. Mystery writing proved a more productive outlet. She is the author of over fifteen novels and short stories including the Frankie Chandler Pet Psychic mystery series.

You can find out more at www.jacquelinevick.com.


Her latest book, Civility Rules. 


Everybody loves Aunt Civility's etiquette books, but no one has ever met the author. That's because Aunt Civility is really the short-tempered Edward Harlow, a secret shared only by his publisher and his younger brother, Nicholas. As far as the public knows, Aunt Civility is a recluse, and so Edward makes select appearances as her official representative, with Nicholas along as his secretary. Edward's latest appearance is at the Victorian Preservation Society's annual convention, held at the isolated Inglenook Resort. The guests are snowed in before the society members arrive, and when dead body turns up in the room next door, Edward is in danger of losing his manners. Will an association with murder—the ultimate unpleasantness—sully Aunt Civility's reputation? Like a good secretary, Nicholas will do whatever it takes to keep the boss happy, but as the body count rises, so does this secretary's chances of becoming the next victim.

Amazon purchase link: Click Here






Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gurus, Schedules and Misbehaving Muses


by Janis Patterson

All the successful ‘make a million’ and 'you too can write a bestseller' gurus stress the importance of structure… how dependable it is. How good it is. How having specific times and goals for specific projects increases your creativity. How freeing a firm schedule is. One even said ‘discipline is freedom’… Sounds like something out of a totalitarian work camp doesn’t it?

Heaven knows I’ve tried. I’ve set word goals and deadlines and definite working hours. I’ve made charts and visual reminders and promised myself chocolate if I fulfill all these targets. I just can’t understand how I can concentrate on goals and targets if I’m thinking about the chocolate that I supposedly can’t have until it’s all over? That’s a real killer – and not the good kind like I put in my mysteries. Then there’s life itself… the laundry must be done, or perhaps the washer maniacally crashes just as The Husband runs out of his favorite shirts. Aunt Edna comes into town for the first time in years and must be looked after. Accidents, problems, family… the world is full of interruptions just waiting to happen.

Unfortunately, my Muse is not well trained. Pretty much untrainable, if you ask me. She comes when she wants to but not when she is ordered. She sulks when something takes precedence over her when she is ready to pour forth deathless prose. Sometimes when she doesn’t want to work I can jumpstart her by forging through by typing a bit of rubbish that she rushes in to improve, but she has never responded well to regimentation. I can work without her, of course, which usually sends her into a sulk and my writing into the pits, but at least that way I have something down that might lead to something worth keeping when she is ready to forgive me. All in all she’s a pretty good Muse and I guess she should be allowed some leeway.

My real drawback is me – and the worst problem is Procrastination.

No, not writers’ block. To me that means you can't work or create at all. With Procrastination the mind keeps running at full tilt, adjusting scenes, coming up with dialogue (with me saying all parts, of course), hatching beautiful metaphors and descriptions… I just don’t want to write it down right now, even as I know full well that once I am ready to get back into writing mode all those beautiful words will have irretrievably dissolved into vapor. I just don’t want to do it now. I want to straighten my handkerchief drawer, or do just one more jigsaw on that lovely new site, or just sit in front of the TV and pretend to be a vegetable.

Not productive, but I firmly believe necessary to the soul. And I will write a piece expounding on that theory, too. When I get around to it. Eventually.


ps - in case you haven't seen it, my new Flora Melkiot mystery is out -


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Well, Darn, I haven't a new book to brag about!

Actually, I have one finished--sort of--a Rocky Bluff P.D. What sort of means is that I haven't quite finished reading it to my writers' group, and I haven't gone over it all the way myself. That's what I'm in the process of doing, though I've had many distractions. Next, I'll send it off to be edited. The biggest being that the publishing house that series is with is in a major flux. More about that at a later time.

I do have a title for it, absolutely no idea for a cover, but hopefully I'll think of one before too long.

I really, really should be starting on a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery but only have ideas flitting around in my brain, nothing written down as yet.

I've been busy--besides with holiday stuff--doing work that actually brings in some money, so my writing has been put aside.

Family life around here is always lively, because we have three generations living on the property--my granddaughter and her family which consists of her hubby and two darling little girls who live in the house with us. In the small house next door our son and his wife reside. We eat many meals together and I do the majority of the cooking.(I like to cook.)

And of course, there are promotion plans ahead--I have plenty of books to sell at book fairs and when I give presentations.

Hoping to soon have time to get to my writing.

How about you? How is you New Year going?

Oh, and if you haven't heard, California is finally getting some rain--lots of it. Rivers are overflowing everywhere, including the one behind our house.






Marilyn







Thursday, January 5, 2017

New Year Traditions from around the World





Make Mine Mystery
Thursday, January 5, 2017
 New Year Tradition from around the World – Linda Kane
On the first Thursday of every month I will be regaling you with history, fun facts, and interesting tidbits. I look forward to hearing from you, I’m always interested.
Here I am, sixty-five years young and just realized that maybe people in other countries don’t celebrate the New Year in the same way that the US does.
For those people living outside the US for us, the most celebrated event is the “ball drop’ in Times Square, N.Y. which was begun in 1907, add in the free flow of wine, champagne, feasting and of course, our national past time, football.
The United Kingdom welcomes the New Year in with loud cheers, warmth of family, friends, with feasting and drinking.
In China, they celebrate their New Year with much pomp and grandeur. Celebrations may last for 10-15 days. Beating of drums chase away evil spirits, Lion Dancing, and feasting.
In Japan they visit Temples to pray for the departed and for a good harvest. Temple bells are rung 10 times to chase off evil. Also, Japanese homes have straw ropes at the entrance to bring good luck.
In Denmark they collect dishes all year and throw them at the front door of their friends on New Year’s-the more broken plates, the more friends you’ll have in the New Year.
These are just a few of the traditions from different countries. I’d enjoy reading what some of your traditions are and some you may be familiar.
 Linda Lee Kane has a master’s degree in education, school psychology, people pupil services, and learning disability specialist. She has authored eight books; two are mysteries, The Black Madonna: A fast-paced action adventure and an exciting, exhilarating read. Murder, mystery, and intrigue keep you on the edge of your seat. Chilled to the Bones: An adventurous and chilling ride where four high school friends find themselves embroiled in a historical mystery more than a century old. Secret codes, murder, and a lurking evil presence lead them to the point of almost no return. A page turner from beginning to end.
Check out :
 Blog: https://lindaleekane.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

And So Begins a New Year


Do you make New Year's Resolutions?

I don't, but I do make goals and plans, for instance:

I need to start over with my Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery. The first draft is done, but going over it and editing is the next and most important step. 

I've already got a title for my next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery--but no real idea about the plot. I do have some fuzzy ideas floating around in my brain, but nothing substantial.

A biggee is that I stay healthy enough to do my writing and be able to do all the events that I have planned and any new ones coming up. What I'm not doing is any long distance traveling. Oh there are some things I'd love to go to--but that's no longer in my future.

I do plan to spend time doing fun things with my husband and my family. Over this past year we lost one grown grandchild. Plus learning about all the famous people who died this past year, especially those who passed unexpectedly, brought home the fact that you never know how much time you have to spend with your loved ones.

For all of us, I am praying that our 2017 be peaceful and full of love and friendship.

Happy New Year!

Marilyn





Wednesday, December 21, 2016

No Killing This Christmas

by Janis Patterson

This Sunday is Christmas. It’s a wonderful day – a day for thankfulness, a day for prayer, a day for family, a day for reflection, a day for gifts, a day for… Well, there are as many ways to spend Christmas as there are people.

I remember enormous family Christmases at my grandparents’ when I was a child, with great-aunts and uncles and cousins and lots of people whom I really didn’t quite know how were connected but they were kin, and that was all that counted. My mother and her sisters would each bring enormous amounts of food and we would feast continually all day long. No dishes were ever assigned or discussed, but somehow we always ended up with a fair balance of meats and vegetables and salads and desserts. My grandmother was not allowed to cook – not because her children wanted to spare her, or because they wanted to show off their own culinary expertise – it was because while she was a lovely woman she was a rotten cook! About all you could say was that she never poisoned anyone.

I take part of that back. She made the best divinity candy in the entire world, and she made it every year. She couldn’t do a roast and her mashed potatoes were … interesting, but her divinity, which I’ve heard is one of the hardest candies to make well, was simply and literally divine. Even now, many decades later, her divinity is to me the real taste of Christmas.

After the feasting and the exchange of gifts around the tree and the shadows were growing long across the ground it was time to go home. The sisters would divide up the food – and I swear each year everyone took home more than they brought, though to a logical mind that seems impossible – and at my house we would eat Christmas leftovers for at least two or three days.

Through the haze of memory those Christmases were perfect, though I do have clear memories of someone always a-feudin’ and a-fightin’ with someone else and painful memories of one of my younger cousin’s repeated attempts to significantly damage all us other cousins, but this is too magical a time to remember old hurts, be they mental or physical.

I know this is a mystery blog, but crave your indulgence just this once. Sunday is Christmas, and too wonderful a time to talk about murder and mayhem, no matter how many books are set around the holiday. This is a time to enjoy friends and family and faith and tradition and bask in the glow of the season.


Merry Christmas, everyone!