Thursday, September 13, 2012

My love-hate relationship with my computer

Heart my computerOver the weekend, I got a new computer.  I've been stalling for over a year, despite the fact my old computer ate my mailing list FOUR TIMES.  I lost updates to books in progress.  It froze all the time.  It was very slow.  Still, I dragged my feet.  It wasn't just the investment, it was ... the dreaded learning curve.

I worked production in a machine shop for 18 months.  While there, I learned to swear like a sailor.  (When you work with a group of really rough guys, you'd better grow a thick skin PDQ.)  I think I repeated everything I learned there during the past few days of adjustment to my new computer.

The good?  A 27-inch screen.  Can you say, "SAAAAWEEEEEEETTTT?"  It's wonderful.  I pumped up the font size and don't have to wear glasses when I work anymore.  And I can have my spreadsheets open while looking at websites.  I found a lovely wallpaper of an alien planet with planets and stars filling the sky.  The screen saver puts on a show with my own pictures, and I've found myself sitting there watching the slide show.

It bytesThe bad?  New software.  I loathe when software engineers have to change everything around JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN.  Luckily, I have someone I can email and yell, "HELP!"  (I love you, Dru Ann!)  Even just making a new file folder has become a strange and alien practice.  There's all kinds of new software on this thing and I have no idea what it does or why it's there.  I have strange new icons.  What are they for?  I used to line up my windows on my bottom tool bar thingy in a certain order.  Well, forget that.  They're in whatever order some engineer wanted them (and look suspiciously like the set up on my iMac).

It's going to take me weeks before I figure this all out.

And did I mention I got a new laptop, too?  I can't wait to try that out this weekend. 

How about you?  Did you have a long learning curve the last time you got a new computer?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What's in a (duplicate) title???

SnafuDo you know what a SNAFU is?  In the Army it's "Situation Normal:  All Fouled Up."  (Um, that's not the real F word, but we won't talk about that.)

Guess what?  The next Booktown Mystery has the SAME TITLE as another Penguin mystery.  Only that one is scheduled to come out in December, and mine is scheduled to come out next July.  To make it worse, my shame is public.  They're both already up on Amazon!

Short of happy mealHello!  Do the people in the Marketing Department (which approves these titles) talk to each other?

Now, if I had chosen the title, I might not be as perterbed. I chose a FUNNY title. It's a pun. It directly relates to two major aspects of the story. But no, they want to go "in another direction." Well, let's hope the direction they choose doesn't include another duplicate title that's about to see print, or one from the recent past.

There are many fine things that a big-name publisher does for its authors, but they aren't perfect. They don't always know what's right for a book. I know and love my book much more than they do. And the fact that the protagonist has a major meltdown early in the story might just mean that a little levity is definitely in order.


I admit it. I'm upset. I announced to the world (on Facebook, here on this blog, and just Monday to THOUSANDS of readers via my newsletter) what the new title for my book would be. All I can hope is that those of you who read it have immediate and total amnesia on the subject.

So what is the title of the next Booktown Mystery?

I'm pretty sure I'll be the last to know.

Monday, September 10, 2012

ROOM AT THE INN: now available

ROOM_AT_THE_INN_medIt's official, my (now 3rd of 5) new Jeff Resnick mystery, ROOM AT THE INN, is available from the following e-tailers:

Amazon (Trade paperback)
Smashwords (all e formats)

(It'll take a couple of weeks, but the paperback will be available at Barnes & Noble, and on the other big e-tailer sites (iTunes, Sony E Reader, Diesel, etc.).

Here's the blurb:  Jeff Resnick is definitely out of his element when he and Maggie take a working vacation at a quaint Vermont inn. For most people, the chance to spend time with a beautiful woman in a romantic, isolated setting would be a plus, but the moment Jeff crosses the Sugar Maple Inn’s threshold, his sixth sense warns him that someone is about to meet a violent death.

His anxiety intensifies when he travels on one of the local roads and he is nearly overwhelmed by feelings of impending doom. Ultimately, Jeff can only find respite in his brother Richard’s presence and it is only after one of the inn’s guests is murdered that Richard reluctantly becomes a third wheel on Jeff and Maggie’s trip. With their own lives at stake, Jeff, Maggie, and Richard must use all their wits and skill to bring a ruthless killer to justice. And if they don’t, one of them might just become the next victim.

Hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I shouldn't have, but did anyway ...

Last week, Mr. L and I went to beautiful Niagara on the Lake to visit the even lovlier Prince of Wales Hotel for afternoon tea.

Prince of Wales-cropped


One of the things I like best, besides the charming ambiance, the delicious food, the nice strong cups of tea, is the china.  I wondered what it was, turned my saucer over, but didn't see any marking.  : (

So there I was last night, flipping through the latest issue of Teatime Magazine and there it was--featured in a story.  Oh boy, you never saw someone flip to the products page so fast in your life.  It said they had obtained the china from Replacements Ltd.

Hey! Over the years I've bought a bunch of china from Replacements Ltd. Of course, I didn't like the price they quoted so I went online to see if I could do better. Damn. It was the same price. Still, I went ahead and ordered ONE cup and saucer.  I love the pattern so much I had to have it so that I can drink my tea from it and think about those lovely afternoons at the Prince of Wales.

Oberon Wedgewod cupWhat do you think?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

That was one happy mailbox!

Sample copies

Wee!  As you can see, the other day was a great mail day.  Not only did I get my sample copy of Room at the Inn, but two sample copies of Murder In Three Volumes

It might not look like it from this picture, but that three-volume book (Murder Is Binding, Bookmarked for Death and Bookplate Special) could A) choke a moose, and would B) make a great doorstop.  But the best use would be as a gift (Christmas is coming!).  Have a relative or a friend who doesn't yet know about cozy mysteries?  This might be a way to introduce them to the genre.  (Not that I'm being pushy or anything. No--no!  Perish the thought.) 

Even better, Amazon and Barnes & Noble are currently discounting it by 43% (it lists for $16 and is being sold for $9.09--free shipping at Amazon if you spend $25).

Room at the Inn will be available at most online retail outlets on September 10th.

Murder in Three Volumes will be available everywhere on October 2nd.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Tuesday of the month = new cozy mysteries!

Oh, how I love the first Tuesday of the month.  It's when my publisher releases new cozy mysteries, and there're three really good ones I think you should consider.

Murder 4 coursesMurder In Four Courses by Lucy Burdette

The annual Key West Loves Literature seminar is drawing the biggest names in food writing from all over the country, and Haley Snow is there to catch a few fresh morsels of insider gossip. Superstar restaurant critic Jonah Barrows has already ruffled a few foodie feathers with his recent tell-all memoir, and as keynote speaker, he promises more of the same jaw-dropping honesty.

But when Hayley discovers Jonah's body in a nearby dipping pool, the cocktail hour buzz takes a sour turn, and Hayley finds herself at the center of attention--especially with the police. Now it's up to her to catch the killer before she comes to her own bitter finish.

Murder unmentionableMurder Unmentional by Meg London (also known as Peg Cochran)

Emma Taylor thought she knew what to expect when she abandoned life as a big-city fashionista to help her aunt, Arabella, breathe new style into Sweet Nothings, her waning lingerie boutique. As Emma settles back in to Paris, Tennessee—a world where pie is served with a parable and a pitcher of sweet tea is the cure for most of life’s ills—her escape seems smooth as silk.

But when the town acquires a touch of unneeded je ne sais quoi with the arrival of Emma’s philandering ex, an unseemly murder turns her world inside out. As the police’s top suspect, Emma is going to need more than fishnets to snare the real killer. And when she and Arabella refuse to let death threats wrapped in knifed nighties stall Sweet Nothings’ vintage lingerie fashion show, it becomes increasingly clear that any garter may hide a gun and that bullet bras might have to live up to their name…

Cat's meowMurder of the Cat's Meow by Denise Swanson

When ex–Vegas showgirl and local business owner Bunny Reid starts an online dating service called Cupid’s Cat’s Meow, out-of-town visitors flock to her bowling alley for the speed dating and cat show events that she hosts to bring in extra cash. Bunny’s scheme sounds harmless enough, but school psychologist Skye Denison knows all too well that an influx of strangers in Scumble River always spells trouble….

Meanwhile, Skye is convinced that her house is haunted and is afraid her fiancĂ©, police chief Wally Boyd, won’t move in until the ghost moves out. But ghost-hunting takes a back seat when Skye is called to the bowling alley, where a riled up contestant is choking a cat show judge for insulting his feline. Skye breaks up the scuffle, but the next morning the judge’s dead body is found, strangled with a cat toy. Now Skye must solve this purrplexing mystery—and show a devious killer that her sleuthing skills are the cat’s meow.

Hope you'll give them a try!