Only the dog whisperer can identify a serial killer … if she can put the pieces together before she is murdered. Death follows her.
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.
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?
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.
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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:
- The story was too nice.
- The critic/judge wanted to know more about the characters.
I learned four things from the experience:
- I write nice characters that people want to know more about.
- I am a great storyteller.
- My writing craft skills needed work.
- I can’t write short.
- Wait, make it five: I’m not deflated by criticism.
DONUT LADY MYSTERY SERIES, BOOK 1
Why a Second Edition?
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!
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?
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!
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.
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.
SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ BOOK 2 UNTIL YOU READ BOOK 1. ANGRY READERS MAKE CRANKY REVIEWERS.
RED IS THE NEW GRAY
MAGGIE SLOAN MYSTERY SERIES, BOOK 2
MAGGIE SLOAN – former librarian, self-trained spy, literal, and brilliant – has the skills of a deadly assassin. Our Gray Lady (like the Gray Man who blends in, except shorter) accepts a two-week assignment in Galveston, Texas, to find a missing spy who trusts only her. Larry, her original police officer protector and “cousin” from her hometown, is her backup.
The Gray Lady is rocking her new red boots as the fill-in cook at a diner, but before the end of her first week, she is shot. The attacks escalate and so does Maggie’s determination to solve the crimes. Note to bad guys: Maggie is irritated, and Larry and Maggie’s men are furious.
Maggie and Larry struggle with the disturbing clues that point to the guilt of everyone they meet. How many more people will die before Maggie uncovers the vicious leader who has escaped detection for so long?
I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY has been awarded the 2019 EBook New Apple Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing by New Apple Literary Services.
New Apple’s Annual Book Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing were established to honor the creative achievements within the world of indie and self-publishing that so often go unnoticed among the multitude of book releases.
Not sure who Spike and Larry are? Time to read I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY.
30 July 2019
Maggie Sloan always knew that she wanted to be a spy. She is unusual, almost emotionless. More than just a loner, she separates herself from the world, looking in at it, observing everything, making copious notes and filing them away, but not truly engaging with other people. This in an adult would be odd enough, but Maggie has been this way since a child. But do not pity her, because Maggie has grown up happily enough. We see snapshots of her early life – an absent father and over-protective mother – which seem to be filled with trivial episodes, yet like an expert quilt-maker, Judith A. Barrett creates an image of this character which is so strong, that she is far more flesh and blood in this, her first book, than many others become through a whole series. And I truly hope that this is the beginning of a series, because I want to spend a lot more time with Maggie. There is death and betrayal along the way to Maggie connecting with other people, but the delight she finds as she learns to live: to cook, colour-coordinate (she was always in first black, then grey shades), open up to love, learn fighting and weapon skills and ultimately put everything she ever learned into practice, is truly affecting. Oh, and she sees imaginary people – a side-effect of a medical procedure – which is presented so matter-of-factly that no one can question their existence. Maggie will haunt you long after you put the book down.
* * * * *
Have you read I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A SPY? Maggie Sloan Thriller, Book 2 is in the works!
This review if for the first 3 books in this series – because just like donuts I could not read/eat just one! I heard this author speak on a panel at the Indie Book Fest in Orlando and got an immediate fan girl crush! She was a hoot – and when I enjoy someone that […]