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A New Mystery Series

A new series means we’ll be introduced to a story about a new person with a problem to solve. 

Meet RILEY MALLOY, a talented veterinary technician who understands her patients. When her employer abruptly closes the veterinary clinic where she has always worked, she adopts an abandoned dog at the worst possible time – no job and no animals allowed in her apartment building.

After she moves to her family’s hometown for a new job, death follows her.

TAGGED BY DEATH

Riley Malloy has a remarkable talent for understanding her veterinary patients. Unknowingly, she’s also the only one who can identify a serial killer. 

As one murder follows another, the evidence she discovers may lead her to expose the murderer’s scheme. When she gets too close, Riley finds herself in the crosshairs of the desperate killer as he escalates to a final murder. Can Riley escape his deadly intentions?

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2020 – View from the Author’s Seat

My goal for 2020 was to write and publish four books.

One of the four books I planned was a complete rewrite of a novella because it was Book 1 of a series. Little did I know in my younger years – back in the day – of 2018 that a novella is not Book 1 of a series of novels; instead, it is Book 0.5. Learning is fun. And hard. New Book 1 became a novel and is officially Second Edition of Book 1.

The other three books were planned to be one book for each of my three series. My editor was busy, as all editors are, but she was onboard for four.

Then 2020 happened, and just like the rest of the world, both my editor and I were less busy than we had planned. I wrote, she edited, and I published six books in 2020.

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Author Goals – 2021

RECAP

2018 Goals: Publish a book Results: Published two books

2019 Goals: Publish four books and earn a prestigious award Results: Published four books and received three prestigious awards.

2020 Goals: Publish four books, receive a prestigious award, sell one book through a bookstore; and stretch goal, end the year with a POSITIVE net income

Results: Published six books, received a prestigious award, sold books in US and UK bookstores, and ended the year with a POSITIVE net income of four figures

Note to any far-flung relatives who show up looking for a handout now that I’m only four figures in negative net earnings: I will feed you, introduce you to the dogs and chickens, provide you a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and boring conversation about books, chickens, trees, and dogs then sell you a book or two before you leave.

GOALS for 2021

2021 Goals: Publish six books including Book 1 of a New Series, sell a complete series through a bookstore; and a wild dream of a stretch goal, end the year with a positive net income of five figures.

Bonus Goal for 2021 – Tame the Wild Unicorn

 

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Apples or Pumpkins

So many annual events have been postponed until 2021, so I wondered how many of the 2020 outdoor fall festivals would proceed as planned. My research led me to conclude there are two major fall festivals – apple and pumpkin.

As an aside, did you expect Halloween festivals in addition to apple or in place of pumpkin? Not this year. My theory is that not everyone can fit into last year’s costume.

Back to our fall festivals. From there, I jumped into the next rabbit hole – given a choice, which would people prefer? Or more specifically, apples or pumpkins – which do readers prefer?

So, I asked my newsletter readers their preference – apples or pumpkins. The result? Apples won and by such a large percentage, that I gave APPLE the opportunity for a cameo appearance in my newly released novel. Much to my surprise, Apple made two appearances. Let’s see if the readers find both of them.

If you are interested in becoming a subscriber to my newsletter, you are welcome to join us in our shenanigans.

Here’s the link! Click or tap!  Subscribe to the Newsletter!

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Old Hens Know All the Tricks

   

We started our chicken journey with eight chickens in February 2014. The one-day-old chick is a Buff Orpington. This one could be Eva, Joanna, Ruthie, or Leah. The other four chicks were Black Australorps: Lydia, Ninja, Sarah, and Rachel.

Lydia checks the fenceline for grasshoppers. She is the only one of the original eight that we still have, and she is still laying beautiful, light tan eggs with a purple sheen at least every other day. We have forty other chickens. They may be bigger, faster, and more aggressive, but nobody gives Lydia grief. Old hens know all the tricks.

 

Sadie is a German short-haired pointer and was born in December 2005. She was a rescue dog and came our way five years later. Her back legs aren’t as strong as they used to be, and her hearing is almost nonexistent. The aggressive tumor in her right eye was removed last year along with her eye, and her left eye doesn’t see so good. But she’s a happy old girl and still runs the paths and deer trails and keeps track of everyone. She loves the dog door because she can stick out her nose and check the weather and the smells.

Sadie loves camping and being outside, but when it’s hot, she loves being in the air conditioning. Old dogs know all the tricks.

 

Farmer Woman was born way before you all. Her eyesight is lousy, and she can’t see stars at night. She cleans the chicken coop every day and loves to learn new things. She writes novels, established a publishing business, and is a marketer. She drags heavy limbs to the burn pile and is a weather expert.

She loves camping and being outside, but when it’s hot and buggy, she loves being in the air conditioning. Old Farmer Women know all the tricks.

 

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Reader Magnet Short Story, Chapter 1

What Is a Reader Magnet?

A year ago, I had no idea what a reader magnet was. In my literalness, I envisioned a nice refrigerator magnet with a picture of a book and a puppy. And maybe a kitten and a chicken for good measure. I don’t know about anybody else’s readers except mine – but we all like books, puppies, kittens, and chickens.

Then I stumbled across the idea of a “short story” that would give a reader a taste of the author’s brilliant writing. My first thought: That’s dreadful.

The Short Story that Wasn’t a Reader Magnet

Case in point: I wrote a short story called Barter and Bargains three years ago and submitted it to millions of contests. (I typed jillions, but autocorrect frowns on exaggeration.) The maximum word count allowed was 5,000, so I had to trim my 7,500-word story back with a hatchet.

I received two recurring criticisms:

  1. The story was too nice.
  2. The critic/judge wanted to know more about the characters.

I learned four things from the experience:

  1. I write nice characters that people want to know more about.
  2. I am a great storyteller.
  3. My writing craft skills needed work.
  4. I can’t write short.
  5. Wait, make it five: I’m not deflated by criticism.

Continue reading “Reader Magnet Short Story, Chapter 1”

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SECOND EDITION? Why?

SWEET DEAL SEALED, SECOND EDITION

DONUT LADY MYSTERY SERIES, BOOK 1

SDS 3D Paperback May 3 2020

Why a Second Edition?

Short answer:

More Story! The first edition of SWEET DEAL SEALED: A NOVELLA is 115 pages; the new SWEET DEAL SEALED, EXPANDED SECOND EDITION, is 235 pages!

Long Answer:

The first edition of SWEET DEAL SEALED is a novella – a short novel or a long short story. In the publishing world, there is a rule that says a series cannot have a novella as Book 1 unless all the rest of the books are also novellas. Who knew? Not me.

For example, Book listing services list SWEET DEAL SEALED: A NOVELLA, BOOK 1  in the DONUT LADY MYSTERY SERIES as Book 0.5; SWEET DEAL CONCEALED, BOOK 2, is labeled as BOOK 1; SWEET DEAL REVEALED, BOOK 3, labeled as BOOK 2. Ugh. Were readers confused? I know I was!

With DONUT LADY MYSTERY SERIES, BOOK 4 in the plans for 2020, it was time to channel my inner Don Quixote and pick my windmill/battles. Taking on the entire literary and publishing world to force them out of their antiquated rules didn’t seem fun. And I’m in it for the fun. I realized there was so much more to the Donut Lady’s earlier story. Who knew? And the EXPANDED SECOND EDITION was born. Now that was fun!

QUESTION: I’ve already read/never read Sweet Deal Sealed: Novella. Do I read Sweet Deal Sealed, Expanded Second Edition?

ANSWER: YES!

If you’ve read the original novella, you’ll enjoy the expanded story.

If you haven’t read the original novella, all of its story is included in the expanded second edition.

 

Are you interested in Book 4? Watch for it in the fall!
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Author Goals 2020

My Author Goal in 2018 was to publish a book. Results: I published two books.

My Author Goals in 2019 were to publish four books and earn a prestigious award.  Results: I published four books and received three awards.

My Author Goals for 2020: Publish four books, receive a prestigious award, sell one book through a bookstore, and end the year with a POSITIVE net income. 

That last one – positive net income – is a stretch goal. At least I know the IRS is cheering me on!

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WARNING Label? Read the Series in Order

Maggie Sloan Mystery Series, Books 1 and 2

I’m struggling with whether I need to add a warning label or spoiler alert to the beginning of RED IS THE NEW GRAY, MAGGIE SLOAN MYSTERY SERIES, BOOK 2.

For anyone who has read  I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY, BOOK 1, you know about Maggie and her men and her heartbreak.

It is possible for a new reader to read RED IS THE NEW GRAY, BOOK 2, without having read BOOK 1 because the men and other characters from BOOK 1 are introduced.

HOWEVER, the dilemma is that BOOK 2 of course also mentions Maggie’s heartbreak from BOOK 1. THAT’S a spoiler! Do I add a warning label to the beginning of BOOK 2?

WARNING: READING BOOK 2 WITHOUT READING BOOK 1 FIRST IS HAZARDOUS TO YOUR READING ENJOYMENT.

or

WARNING: DO NOT PROCEED WITH READING BOOK 2 UNTIL YOU HAVE READ BOOK 1. WE DON’T CARE IF BOOK 2 WAS FREE. GO READ BOOK 1.

or

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ BOOK 2 UNTIL YOU READ BOOK 1. ANGRY READERS MAKE CRANKY REVIEWERS.

 

LINK TO MAGGIE SLOAN MYSTERY SERIES