Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy Book Launch Day, Julie Hyzy: Fonduing Fathers

Today is Book Launch Day for my friend Julie Hyzy, with her 6th White House Chef mystery FONDUING FATHERS.

Fonduing fathers.smWhite House executive chef Olivia Paras has enough on her plate. But after gaining new information about her father’s death, the First Family isn’t the only family Olivia is concerned about…

Olivia has always believed that her father was an honorable man—until a trip to visit her mother reveals that he was dishonorably discharged from the army. Olivia is even more shocked to learn that he was brutally murdered because someone at his company suspected him of selling corporate secrets. Refusing to believe that her father was a scoundrel, Olivia won’t rest until she proves his innocence.

Enlisting the help of her boyfriend, Gav, Olivia must reach out to her father’s colleagues to discover the truth behind his murder. What she’s about to discover may not only put her at risk, but threaten national security as well…
It's available from:

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Indigo/Chapters ~ Book Depository

Kindle ~ Nook ~ Kobo ~ iTunes ~ Sony

Hey, did you know Julie also has a bunch of great indie e books from her backlist? From Mystery to SF--Julie's got all genres covered.  Check them out on her Backlist Ebooks page.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Show me your Nook--download a free story!

The holidays can be stressful, and maybe even lonely.  I've always found that books are a wonderful escape--whenever you need it.  They can take you to new worlds--or visit the world you live in but see it in a new way.  They can introduce you to new friends (via series like mine).  It's said that readers don't just live one life--they live thousands!

NookYou see a lot of free ebook promotions, I know (because my readers tell me) that not enough of them are for NOOKs. Today, we remedy that. Until December 31st, we're offering a meme game to those who would like a little bit of fun -- and to earn free EPUB (the Nook format) books for playing. (Although *cough* DRM-free EPUB files can readily be converted to MOBI for the Kindle.  Like I said, we’re all about choice!)

We believe that if we want a thriving book community, we need lots of options. We need print, we need ebook, we need CHOICE. So that's why we are doing this. We support choice! Over at Backlist eBooks, that’s exactly why the authors provide links to all of a book’s available retailers to which many of the participating treasure hunt authors belong.

Cold_Case.smI'm offering my short story, COLD CASE.  If you haven't read the Jeff Resnick mysteries, this is a good introduction.  It was the first published story about that character, and the basis for teh 5th book in the series (Bound By Suggestion).

Psychic Jeff Resnick has no expectations when investigating the disappearance of a four-year-old, until he confronts the mind responsible--a shattering experience for all involved.

It’s easy to play!  Just show me a picture of you–or your four-footed friend–with a NOOK!  It doesn’t have to be your Nook, if you’ve a hankering for the story.  

You can post your photo on my FaceBook Author Page.  You may have to “Like” the page, but that only takes a moment.  When you do, I'll message you via Facebook with the Smashwords Coupon Code for the story via Epub file. (See below for how to download the story for your Nook.)

Here are the other authors who are participating.
  • Cat Kimbriel:  Fires of Nuala  (Science Fiction)  FaceBook & LiveJournal
  • Jeffrey A. Carver:  Eternity’s End  (Science Fiction)  FaceBook
  • Phyllis Irene Radford:  Guardian of the Balance, Merlin’s Descendants #1  (Fantasy)  FaceBook & LiveJournal
  • Mark Chisnell: The Defector  (Thriller)  FaceBook
  • Brenda Hiatt:  Lord Dearborn’s Destiny (traditional Regency romance) FaceBook
  • Phoebe Matthews:  Demonspell  (contemporary fantasy)  Web Site
  • Lorraine Bartlett: Cold Case  (Mystery)  Facebook
  • Ruth Harris: Modern Women  (Fiction/Chick Lit)  Blog
  • Jennifer Stevenson:  King of Hearts  (romantic comedy)  Web Site & FaceBook
  • Vonda N. McIntyre: Starfarers, Book One of the Starfarers Quartet  (Science Fiction) Book View Cafe
  • Lise McClendon:  All Your Pretty Dreams  (Adult Fiction)  FaceBook
And in case you’re wondering, this is how to sideload an EPUB file into your NOOK:
1) Download the epub file to your computer.
2) Attach your NOOK to the computer with its USB cable.
3) A “Nook” drive will appear in My Computer (PC) or Desktop (Mac).
4) Copy and Paste, or Drag and Drop downloaded EPUB (or even  PDF!) files into the My Documents folder on the Nook drive.
5) Go to My Library on the Nook, hit View My Documents, and then hit Check for New Content.
6) Choose one of the files you sideloaded into My Documents and press Select to open it.
You can also read EPUB on other devices! It’s a widely-used format with great convenience.
Be an explorer.  Show me your NOOK!

Obligatory disclaimer: Copyright to these free books is retained by the authors. You may share this post in its entirety. All pictures must be posted by 11:59 PM, December 31, 2012, CST. If anyone posts any of these EPUBs to a torrent site, the portal closes and we won't have any more games. This is a gift to you, not an invitation to set the book free forever. If you post a picture that would be considered in bad taste, it will be deleted and you won't get a coupon code. Thank you for keeping things fun!

Monday, December 17, 2012

A small, life-changing thing?

A writer never knows what she writes that will influence a person--hopefully for all the right reasons.  And where do we get all these wonderful tidbits we share with readers?  Usually from real life. 

BuddyYears ago my parents had a West Highland terrier who was a joy to walk.  Buddy had gone to obedience school twice. Um, he flunked the first time, but it couldn't have been by much, for he aced it the second time.  And the thing he learned best was how to walk.  That doesn't sound that difficult, does it, but it actually is.  How often do I see people supposedly walking their dogs who are either being dragged by them, or dragging them, or struggling just to control them while on their constitutionals? The answer to that is wayyyyy to often. 

I would often take Buddy for a walk.  You didn't have to take a litter bag with you when you walked with Buddy.  He knew where he was to do his business--and that was at his own backyard.  When you came to a curb, he automatically sat down and waited for the "all clear" signal that it was safe to go on.  He trotted beside you with a smile on his doggy face and tail held high and wagging.  Is it any wonder that when I added a dog to the Booktown Mystery series that I would have him be as well trained?

Christmas letterAs I wrote last week, I LOVE getting Christmas cards.  I also love to get those newsy Christmas letters from friends.  Sadly, I don't get as many as I used to get, but I thoroughly enjoy the ones I do get.  I got one on Friday, and added at the end were a couple of personalized paragraphs.  It said:

"As I was reading MURDER ON THE HALF SHELF, and noting the little Bichon would stop at the corners, I found myself remembering how I used to tell my dogs to "stop" and, surprise, they actually did.  Glad I saw that, because now I've begun trying to train my Bichon-Poodle mix and ten-year old shih-tzu to also stop at corners.  This is even more important to me since January, when my next-door neighbor and best friend was killed by a car about a block from home while she was walking two of her shih-tzus.  Thanks for the reminder."

I cried when I read that paragraph. First, for the loss of my friend's friend, and second, that something I wrote has caused her to train her dogs to sit and stay until it's safe to cross the street.

It's just such a little thing, but it made me glad that I write books.  That my words can touch people.  That in some small way I can make a difference.

Holly thank youThank you, Karen.  You made my day.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Where are all the Christmas cards?

Candy cane cardI admit it, I love Christmas cards.  In fact, I collect them.  Well, I collect VINTAGE Christmas cards and have about 50-60 of them.  Thanks to Pinterest, I now have an even bigger collection (spread out over several of my writing personas). 

I like cards from the 1950s.  It was such an innocent era.  (Well, we like to think that.  The WWII had ended, but Korea was in full swing, and there was the Cold War going on ... but let's think innocent.)

Most of my cards came from yard sales.  Usually when daughters were cleaning our their parents homes.  They bagged them up and I bought them. (I also have an entire box of assorted cards for every occasion that I got FOR THREE BUCKS!) I love them all!

Every year I hand the last Christmas card I got from my Granddad back in the 1980s.  It wasn't an expensive card, but it has his signagure on it and it says "with Love"  (sniff).

But so far this year I haven't received one Christmas card.  I'm so sad that that tradition seems to be going the way of the doh-doh.  I looked forward to the mail every day in December. Now people send virtual cards which, less face it, don't entail much effort at all.  Especially when all one has to do is gang a load of email addresses and shoot off one card with one message.

A cheery christmasI've got my cards all ready to work on this week, and will feel sad that my wall of cards might only have a couple of it this year.

If you like vintage cards, they have reproductions on Amazon.  I'll be sending out a few of my vintage cards to a chosen few.

Will you be sending out Christmas cards this year?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday stories to put you in a festive mood

Are you having a tough time getting into the holiday spirit?  Well, have I got some great holiday stories for you.  Okay, two of them are mine -- but a lot more are by my friends at the Incredible Indie Authors. (We're all traditionally published authors who have backlist and new titles available as ebooks.)

Mine are:

Humbug.smBah! Humbug (which really won't make much sense unless you've just read my 4th Jeff Resnick mystery, Cheated by Death).  It’s Christmas Day, and Jeff and Maggie spend Christmas dinner with Maggie’s family, who are not receptive to her new significant other. It’ll be a Christmas to remember . . . but who wants to?


Uncle_Albert_Cover.smWe're So Sorry, Uncle Albert:  The Nichols family finds that their stingy Uncle Albert, who’s been mooching off of the family for years, is actually quite wealthy.  Naturally they aren’t at all that happy about it and decide that Uncle Albert has overstayed his worldly welcome.  What to do?  They plot to get rid of him–just in time for Christmas.  It’s a jolly holiday all right!

Both are just 99 cents.  Such a deal!

They have a Facebook page (please LIKE us!), and a Pinterest account.  Here's the link to our Christmas stories (in many genres--and even a few audio books),and here's the link to our regular Pinterest page.

Please come and visit!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Icing fever strikes!

R and 2 cookiesEvery couple of years I make cut-out cookies for Christmas. The reason I don't do it more often is because ... well, let's face it.  If you make it, you must eat it. If I didn't already need to lose (mumble, mumble) pounds, I'd go for it.

Pinterest is terrible.  It is.  There are hundreds and hundreds of pictures of cut-out cookies and dammit--I must repin and admire them over and over again. I was actually so inspired, I spent Sunday making cookie dough, and yesterday baking the cookies.

I lost my favorite recipe, so I often punt--and use an unfamiliar one.  I must stop this.  Next year (for I've already baked my cookies), I'm going to do more research to find the perfect recipe ... although, perhaps i won't have to look that far.

Thanks to Google, I found a great blog that walks you through decorating your cookies.  (And gives recipes and tips and stuff.)  OMG -- I could explore this site for days on end.  It's called The Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle. Of course now that I have investigated the site I want to go out and buy all the things you need, like icing bottles, and have learned all kinds of new terms like 20-second icing and fill icing and icing bottles, etc. And that I should make icing 4 pounds at a time.

CookiesWill I ever have the talent to make gorgeous cookies?  Not unless I practice a whole lot and I won't do that because I would eat the cookies and gain more weight and ... it's a vicious cycle.  Maybe I should just BUY a cookie now and then.

Still, I've got 5 dozen uniced cookies in the freezer and must hit the craft store (which has a HUGE Wilton section), or maybe just Amazon.  After all, I have just under three weeks before Christmas to finish these cookies.  (Mostly stars.  I'm a star girl.)

Are you baking cookies this year?  If so, the Cozy Chicks Blog is going to hold a Cookie Exchange -- 7-8 (we haven't decided yet) of our favorite recipes to share.  It'll be Dec. 16-22.  Don't miss it!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Make a Beeline to Trouble!

Yay!  Today my pal Hannah Reed (aka Deb Baker) has a new book out. 

Beline to troubleIt’s a real buzz-kill when beekeeper Story Fischer gets a visit from her frantic sister. Now she has to help host a combative trio of professional food flavorists. Good thing the well-stocked shelves of Story’s grocery store, the Wild Clover, can provide the morning meal.

During a pre-lunch tour of Story’s hives, however, one of the guests is found dead. Just what Story needs only days after hunky boyfriend, Hunter Wallace, finally decided to move in. As if a dead body isn’t enough to put a damper on romance, Story becomes a prime suspect when the carrot juice she brought with the breakfast fixings is found to contain poison. Now it’s up to Story to comb through the evidence and find the real perpetrator before she ends up getting stung herself...

You can get it from:

Amazon ~Kindle

Barnes & Noble ~ Nook

Book Depository ~ Chapters


Monday, December 3, 2012

Time to bake?

Saturday I made a HUGE batch of cookie dough for cut-out cookies.  By the time I'd done that, I was too worn out to actually spent another couple of hours BAKING the cookies.  Okay, baking doesn't take all that much time.  It's the cutting out and trying to get the cookies onto the cookie sheet without mushing them that takes the time.  I'm saving that for later this week.

Mr. L has already given me a list of holiday treats he's eager for.  Some of them don't take much time, and some of them do.  (I must admit, I like the ones that DON'T take much time.)
Icing pen
BTW, I got a great little cookie decorating tool at the grocery store the other day.  (Okay, I haven't tried it out yet, but I'm anticipating it'll be a great little cookie decorating tool.)  The E-Z Deco icing pen.  I've never been able to draw a straight line with a pastry bag, and I'm hoping this little gadget does the trick.  I'll let you know.

But for now, I have to figure out when the best time will be for baking the cookies.  This week is booked pretty tight, and I'm already behind on my self-imposed writing schedule.  This time of year is just so busy ... even if all I seem to do is spin my wheels.

On tap for tonight:  decorating the tree.

Where are you in your countdown to the holidays?