I'm very excited that Frannie's second adventure is now available on Amazon for Kindle. It will soon be in paperback and other formats. Watch this space for further updates!
Tuesday night, I participated in a Local Authors Night at the West Liberty Library. I was joined by Roger Hileman (Hammon Falls) and Shirley Hendrickson (The Starting Gate-S.J. Carey). Thank you to all who attended and librarian Janette McMahon, as well as to the Aquarius Club for yummy cookies. I was delighted that budding writer and neighbor, Carson Heath, was in the audience.
Roger and Dave Hoing's book is set in Waterloo and based on Roger's grandmother's experience; Shirley's book Takes place in the 1950s and centered around harness racing. Give them a look!
Today will be the last time Bats and Bones will be free for the Kindle on Amazon. The Blue Coyote is just about ready!
Larry Shoemaker sometimes has a heavy load. He keeps getting roped into helping his wife Frannie solve mysteries when they are supposed to be enjoying a relaxing camping trip. He has to stay on his toes in the insult competition with his brother-in-law, Mickey. Because he's a retired cop, people expect him to handle their problems. However, in the second campground mystery, The Blue Coyote, Larry himself becomes the target of accusations.
But all in all, he manages to keep his head up. He is the oldest of four children and was raised in a blue collar family. Jane Ann Ferraro is the second oldest sibling and his only sister. Larry has always been a participator in and fan of sports, but in high school was best known for his roller skating abilities in in the small local rink. As a retiree, his favorite sport is golf.
Larry is a stickler for rules, is very protective, and takes responsibility seriously. He is tall and slender with gray hair in a crew cut.
This seems to be an appropriate topic considering our non-spring. But actually, I've been asked from time to time what a cozy mystery is and why I'm writing them.
The generally spouted definition includes several criteria:
Cozy mysteries have been around for years starting with Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, and more recently in TV shows like Murder She Wrote and Monk. The number of series has mushroomed in the last twenty years to include, in addition to the interests listed above, horse vets, basketball coaches, genealogists, antique buffs, house appraisers, scrapbookers, and now Rvers! As a bonus, many writers include information pertinent to the theme such as recipes, needlework patterns, or antiquing hints.
Several websites list cozy mysteries by author, hobby, occupation, holiday, and location. So, until spring arrives, grab an afghan, a cup of tea or cocoa, and hunker down with a cozy mystery.
Saw a photo on Facebook today of Punxsutawney Phil dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound due to his inaccurate forecast. That's too bad, because if he had forecast six more weeks of winter on February 2, it still should be spring, right?
I mean, when it snowed the first week of March, it was no surprise. When it snowed the second week, it was disappointing, but you know it won't last. This week, I'm taking it personally.
We plugged our camper in in order to restock the fridge, do some cleaning, etc. and haven't even been inside it yet. We met with our camping cronies to plan some outings and talked about a shakedown trip the first weekend in April. Sure. We entered a contest for a free weekend of camping on the Iowa DNR site, but what if it never warms up enough to turn the water on in Iowa parks?
The TV weather chick talked about the possibility of setting a new record low today. Some honors I am willing to forego. How about this: at a given time today, say 3:00 p.m., everyone in Iowa yells "Uncle!"
Not just mine--everybody's. Several writers, much better known than I, have pointed out lately how important reviews, posted on places like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads, are to the success of a book. Say you are looking for a historical romance or a book on repairing plumbing or a self-help book on parenting teenagers--whatever. The suggested titles that come up will be based not only on sales, but also on the number of reviews. A good summary of the process can be found on this blog:
The point is, if you read something you like, the best way you can help the author is to post a review. It doesn't have to be lengthy, but can just state what you like best about the book and what you didn't like if that applies.
Unfortunately, like every other field on the Internet, scams have developed. There are sites where authors can buy positive reviews and have them posted. But Amazon and others have been working to combat this by purchasing reviews for fake books and then searching their own sites for other items by that reviewer and removing them. And there are writers who actually open several accounts with different email addresses so they can put up several reviews of their own work.
So, the more real readers who post reviews, the more obvious these fake attempts will be. All ethical writers will thank you.
A first glimpse of the rough draft of the cover for The Blue Coyote. My sisters have done it again--I love it!
I am still shooting for an April publishing date. Frannie and Larry are camping with their friends and two grandchildren at a park based on Ledges State Park. The story involves flea markets, storytellers, marshmallow guns and abduction. How can one go wrong?
How often do you get that offer? But on Thursday, March 14 the Kindle version of Bats and Bones will be available for free download. I was going to do it Friday but I bewared the Ides of March. So especially if you are a camper, and looking forward to warmer weather, here's a chance to get in the mood...cheap!
I love this poster from the Library of Congress. It embodies my purpose in writing the Franny Shoemaker mysteries. Camping is a perfect opportunity to read--TV reception is unreliable, you're on vacation, and in a beautiful setting. Ereaders must have been invented for travel and camping. Those of us who live in fear of not having a book on hand when we have time to read can stock up and never run out. Take along a book!
For those who are on Pinterest, if you do a search for RV storage, there are an incredible number of great suggestions there. For example, there are spice containers out of Tic-Tac boxes that take up very little room, from doityourselfrv.com. Some of the ideas are homemade; some purchased. Check it out!
Some random thoughts about writing, camping, and eating.