Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A summer adventure story for summer reading!

Luminous astronautSometimes a character just marches up and say, "WRITE MY STORY."  That's what happened to me with Amanda Shelton and my (so-far) two Tales of Telenia fantasy-adventure novels. I wrote them while on vacation (two different vacations) as an amusement.  I sat poolside, starting from about 9 am until 6 pm and just wrote all day.  And I enjoyed it. A summer story for summer!

I thought my readers would enjoy them, too.  I think SOME readers (not necessarily those who read my mystries) will eventually love them, although so far it's been a tough sell. Changing genres always is.

Last week, my friend Doranna Durgin and I (aided and abetted by friends Leann Sweeney and Julie Hyzy) worked on a new blurb for the first book. Here it is:

THRESHOLD-medAmanda Shelton is clever, adventurous, and tough—and she'll have to be, because she's crash landed on a world where her saviors might well be her enemies. It takes fierce determination to keep the people of this frightening and unfamiliar place from stealing her shuttle technology, or imprisoning her while they do it. Yet what she knows could save countless innocent lives—including those who keep this world safe. Facing this test of spirit will take everything Amanda has...if she survives at all.

The books are bargain priced at $2.99 (so far in e-format only). 
Click here for the video and buy links (she said, being optimistic).

Read the reviews on Amazon.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer Tea Party: Stories and winners

My friends Leann Sweeney, Jennifer Stanley (also known as Ellery Adams) and I recently held a contest for our readers.  The prizes?  Two lovely teacups and/or five tea bag holders.

Silver maple teacupTea parties and pretty bone china tea cups have a special place in our hearts.  For me, just gazing at the pretty patterns, and the delicate cups (in many shapes and sizes) takes me to a more peaceful, beautiful place. A place where you can enjoy your surroundings, and partake of a lovely custom of taking tea.

Grandma_cpI collect teacups, and have a collection of about 30 or so.  (I posted all of them on my Facebook author page earlier this year.  Go have a look--but you'll have to scroll back through several months worth of posts.) I'm lucky enough to have inherited a lovely tea set from my grandmother, and my mother gave me her Royal Albert Silver Maple tea set.  I love them both, but must admit I'm afraid to use my grandmother's cups and saucers.  So few of the cups survived.

TeacupLeann talked about her collection:  "As a child of an alcoholic mother, I sought beauty in my life anywhere I could find it. We lived in England when I was a toddler and my parents collected bone china, Wedgwood, Dresden and Hummels while we were there. They also bought a lovely small display case. Once we were back in the states, my sister arrived in the world. As we both grew, we would spend hours staring at those small pieces of china. We loved what they represented--a lovely party, a time where people were polite and civil and smiled over a cup of tea. We longed for peace in our lives even as children.

"Those beautiful tea cups and figurines took on special significance because we couldn't touch them, just as we couldn't touch my mother's heart and make her well. But we could wish. Today, we own them all and display them proudly. Part of my new home is designed with a built-in display case, as well as cabinets with glass fronts so we can continue to honor these lovely remembrances."
We wanted to share the rembrances from some of our readers.

PosiesOur first prize winner for the Floral cup is Karen K. from Rochester, NH.  Karen told us:  As a child I had a great-aunt that had a tea cup collection, and I remember the beautiful but dainty cups and saucers with great fondness.  This contest would be just the thing to start a collection of my own.

RosesThe winner of the Roses cup is:  Vicky H. from Garden Grove, CA.  Vicki said:  "My favorite tea cup is one that has 'sister' (written) on it. They are part of a set (the other has brother on it.)  They belonged to my father's step-dad and when my grandmother passed away. The brother one went  to my brother and the sister one went to my sister. When she passed away a few years ago at 47, I got it, so it not only reminds me of my grandmother and step-grandfather, but of my sister."

Our red or white tea bag holders go to the following readers, who also shared a tea-time memory:

Flower n teaacupGloria W. from Boeme, TX:  "I have a cup and saucer from my grandmother’s china.  She was an avid gardener and always had the most beautiful flowers."

Lynn Marie S. from Goshen, CT:  "My children love me to make loose leaf tea so we can do tea leaf readings like Harry Potter!"

Teacup2Katherine C. from Oxon Hill, MD:  "I remember my 'Elegant Aunt,' who always served afternoon tea in a similar pattern to Floral.  I was four so it was milky tea, but I was allowed to drink from that beautiful cup."

Mary C. from Blaine, MN:  "Shortly after I graduated from college (1973) my mother gave me a teapot that was decorated with a floral pattern.  The teapot was stoneware, from a local gift shop, and nothing specia,but I liked the floral decoration because it had several different types of flowers in addition to the standard rose."

Toy tea setMarguerite G. of Meeker, OK:  "I have a set of children's china tea cups that my great grandmother gave to me.  I can remember many happy hours sharing "cups of tea" with her and my grandmother!"

Those getting an assortment of our bookmarks are:

Mari R., Maple Grove, MN
Adrienne J., West Babylon, NY
Toni M., Claudville, VA
Terri A., Michigan City, IN
Renae D., Worthington, MN
Jane S., Chicago, IL
Mary I., River Vale, NJ
Gwen B., Katy, TX
Tea timeHeather H., Spotsylvania, VA
Jennifer W., Glenolden, PA
Brooke B., Neffs, OH
Beth M., Chicago Park, CA
Michele H., Bethany Beach, DE
Debbie C., Casselberry, FL
Tonja M., Orrville, OH
Suzanne H., Mobile, AL
Congratulations and thank you to all who entered our summer tea party contest!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mushrooms, anyone?

You may have noticed I'm not blogging as much as I used to.  The truth is, after eight years ... I've run out of things to say. Not that I was ever the most interesting person in the world. Let's face it; I'm a writer.  I earn my keep by vicariously living fictional lives.  (And it's fun!)

But once in a while something interesting or odd crops up, and I'll blog about it.

Like my front yard.  We've had a LOT of rain here in Rha-Cha-Cha of late and for the first time since I've lived in this house (20 years) we've got a trail of mushrooms under the trees in the front yard.

Mushroom trail

Those below look big enough for brownies, gnomes, fairies, or hobbits to live under.

4 mushrooms

This guy here is trying to grow as big as a dinner plate.

Big mushroom

So, what's happening in your world?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Booktown Bonanza!

Hot off the press:  NOT THE KILLING TYPE, Booktown Mystery #7

It’s time for the Stoneham, NH Chamber of Commerce elections. The race is already heated, as the longtime Chamber president is being challenged by a former lover—Tricia’s sister Angelica. Then Stan Berry throws his hat in ring. Unfortunately, it’s not there for long when he’s found murdered. Tricia soon uncovers a ballot box full of lies and betrayals, and a Chamber full of people who had grudges against the victim.

Kirkus said: "Barrett continues her winning ways with another mystery chock full of interesting suspects and a surprising denouement."

The Richmond Time Dispatch said:  "Barrett lays out a key 'clue' that will have readers thinking they know the villain's identity. But don't become too confident. The best-selling author has pulled off surprises through this series, and 'Not the Killing Type' is another entertaining entry.

Amazon ~ Kindle     B&N ~ Nook     IndieBound

half shelf-MMPB-sm 2At long last Murder on the Half Shelf is available in paperback.

Pippa and Jon Comfort’s Sheer Comfort Inn opens its doors in a week and the couple has offered some locals a free night as a trial run. What should have been a pleasant overnight stay for Tricia Miles becomes a nightmare when she makes two startling discoveries: Pippa’s murdered body in the backyard, and that Pippa’s husband Jon is actually Harry Tyler, a man Tricia loved—and believed dead—for nearly twenty years.

Amazon ~ Kindle     B&N ~ Nook     Kobo    iTunes    Sony    IndieBound

P.S. What if you arrive at your favorite bookstore and can't find the books on the shelves? Summer is a busy time and the books could be hiding in a box they haven't had a chance to open. So ask. They'll get the book for you!  Thanks.

Have a long drive ahead of you?  Listen to the Booktown Mysteries on audio!
Grace Takes Off-medAlso available today, GRACE TAKES OFF, by my good friend Julie Hyzy.
When Grace and her boss, Bennett Marshfield, turn up at the Italian villa of one of his oldest friends, they’re troubled to discover that most of his friend’s impressive art collection—including a prized bronze skull crafted by Picasso—is fake. Someone has been selling the real deals and replacing them with skilled forgeries.

Unfortunately, Grace and Bennett have to fly home the next day, so there’s no time to investigate. But their troubles are hardly over. On the plane, Grace catches a woman trying to poison Bennett. The woman, of course, isn’t talking, but by the end of the flight, there are two dead bodies. Now Grace has to wing it to find a mile-high murderer—especially since she suspects Bennett is still in danger…

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ IndieBound
Kindle ~ Nook