QuickJAB

A Mountain of Goodness

Our beautiful Buff Orpington and Appenzeller Spitzhauben chickens were two days old when we brought them to their forever home coop from the feed store last August.

This morning, they had their first experience of two mountains of newly-mowed grass and weed clippings from the front field. Initially, they were very suspicious of the two new monstrous creatures in their run, but eventually two of the Buffs ventured close and discovered seeds, fresh green grass, and bugs. Game on!

The chickens have spent the entire day scratching and snacking at the two large piles; the mountain in the back that is much smaller than it was this morning, probably because it had the most green grass blades on top, but they are discovering more tasty grass, seeds, and bugs in the closer mountain.

I understood exactly how they felt when they first saw the two large, foreboding creatures. I tackled my first 2023 mountain when I expanded selling my books through new retailers: Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google, Apple, and a myriad of other international booksellers in addition to Amazon. As I scratched and searched through the mountain of goodness, I’ve discovered a few yummy royalties and am sharing the bounty with my newsletter readers.

The second mountain, with which I’m more wrestling than tackling, is the daunting monster of developing an online book shop, so I can sell my ebooks and paperbacks directly to readers. I’m taking small steps because it’s an entirely new world with all kinds of strange creatures to wrangle. I’m hoping Barrett Book Shop will be live by the end of February.

Have I ever told you learning is fun? It still is!

QuickJAB

Not Your Typical Holiday Stories

There are two types of books that I could never write: the first is a horror book because scary stories scare me. I suppose some people enjoy being too terrified to go to sleep, but I’m not one of them. No horror or Halloween stories for me.

You may already know that in 2021, a publisher asked for cozy mystery stories to be included in a Halloween collection of stories, so I wrote a Halloween story, Sweet Scary Deal, with a crime or two for Donut Lady to solve while the zombies sold donuts. Not at all your typical horror story.

The second type of book that I could never write is any type of romance; I apologize to all romance readers and authors in advance, but I don’t understand romance because I keep waiting for a body to show up: you know, one of those dead ones; not a person who needs to put their shirt back on. If you’re looking for a December holiday or Christmas story to read, you’re almost guaranteed a romance book or as a twist, a horror book, but not a book that I would write.

You know where this is going, don’t you? Yep, I have a Christmas story in preorder for you, Book 6 of the Grid Down Survival series. I decided that even after the grid, economy, and everything else in the world as we know it ends with an abrupt collapse, we would still have Christmas, but my story wouldn’t have to be romancey or terrifying because we’d still have our usual killers, conspiracies, and gangs and cartels trying to take over.

Season of Danger, Grid Down Survival, Book 6

Season of Danger Cover (6 × 9 in) beveled 

Release Date: December 15 2022

Spirits are high in the anticipation of Christmas and snow at the four Georgia farms until the head of a cartel targets one of their own.

Tap HERE to PreOrder Now to be among the first to receive your copy!

QuickJAB

Celebrating The Limping Lady

Virginia Hall Spy

Virginia Hall, The Limping Lady

After completing her college studies in the US, Virginia Hall studied and traveled in Europe in the early 1930s. She had a knack for languages and a thirst for adventure. She lost her left leg below the knee in a serious hunting accident in Turkey. She’d always dreamed of being in the Foreign Service, but she was rejected because of her disability.

Virginia Hall was determined not to let her prosthetic leg “stand” in her way. With Europe deeply involved in World War II, the British Special Operations Executive not only accepted her, but gave her extensive training in clandestine tradecraft, communications, weapons, and other resistance activities.

Our daring Virginia Hall spent thirteen months in France from 1941 to 1942; she organized spy networks, ran safehouses, and delivered important intelligence to the British government.

She stayed one step ahead of the Gestapo, who called her “The Limping Lady,” by fleeing France in spite of the Nazis’ best double agents. After she was hired by the US Office of Strategic Services, which later became the CIA, Virginia Hall returned to France in 1944 and resumed her work with the Resistance. In 1945, Hall was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for her heroic actions during the war.

Want to read more about Virginia Hall, Limping Lady?  The CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence has published a more comprehensive story of her adventures complete with excerpts from her own journals. Tap HERE to read A Climb to Freedom: A Personal Journey in Virginia Hall’s Steps by Craig R. Gralley.

QuickJAB

Sponsor a Judith A. Barrett Book

Support Judith’s Writing to Create More Books!

Judith is reader-sponsored. If you buy Judith a cup of coffee,  she promises to drink it while she’s writing her next book; did you know her VIP readers vote at the beginning of the year which books they’d like to read next?

Tap on the cup, the ko-fi link (get it?), or HERE to donate to Judith’s coffee fund.

Ko-fi logo

ko-fi.com/judithawriter

You are invited to put your feet up, grab your favorite beverage, and bring your imagination with you when you open one of her books.

BONUS! Become a member of the Silver Tier VIP Readers to read the exclusive Behind The Scenes posts that I write every month. I encourage my Silver Tier VIPs to suggest topics for me to tackle!

Follow her on BookBub, your favorite book store, or her blog to be notified of New Releases!

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing!

     

QuickJAB

Bugged by Bugs

 

I love dragonflies because they eat mosquitoes. Anything that can catch a mosquito and chomp it down is a hero to me. I managed to snap a photo of a red dragonfly as she zipped past me. 

I had a day this week that was obviously a concerted attempt by bugs to terrify me, and they were successful.

Are you squeamish about bugs? Stop reading now because this is not for you.

Bugged #1

I was sweeping out our chicken coop that hasn’t had any chickens in it for almost a year. Most of my sweeping was sweeping down the walls and corners near the ceiling because the cobwebs were thick and sticky. I had my hair pushed up into a ballcap, not my writer ballcap, and I wore work gloves, but my arms were bare because it was hot. I had knocked down all the cobwebs and spiders’ eggs and was sweeping the floor when FarmerMan came into the coop to check on me. 

 

We have dropdown doors on the inside of the coop for the nest boxes that close the boxes when the chickens are too little to lay because we don’t want them to learn to roost in the boxes. FarmerMan knows how I feel about cockroaches, so he peeked behind the doors and told me he found cockroaches. He sprinkled the poultry dust that we use in the nest boxes to keep out bugs and mites. Cockroaches evidently hate poultry dust because 200 (okay, maybe it was 20) cockroaches flew out from behind the doors and LANDED ON ME. I screamed, brushed off cockroaches, and flew out of the coop, almost literally.  

Bugged #2

Later that morning, we sprayed our trees. FarmerMan had more chores that didn’t require my participation, so I went to the camper to write.

 

Toby helps with mowing by clearing the mowed area of grasshoppers that fly up, in case you wondered why I don’t help with mowing.

The camper is my favorite writing spot because I don’t have any distractions. When I went into the camper, TWO aggressive, black WASPS went in with me and buzzed me. I’m allergic to stings, but my most severe reaction was a few years ago when a black wasp stung me, and I collapsed. I had no intention of a repeat performance, so I flew out of the camper. FarmerMan killed the two, found their nest, and dispatched the nest. I was kind of over trying to write in the camper, so I went inside the farmhouse.

Bugged #3

 

After I was inside, I was certain I was over being bugged. I wrote until it was almost time for lunch, then my computer rebooted itself then came back up and rebooted itself: automatically and repeatedly. I pulled out every computer trick I knew, including trying to catch it mid-reboots, so I could run a diagnostic test or two. It finally quit rebooting and mooned me with the Blue Screen of Death. 

I called a Computer Guy, who said it sounded like a hardware failure, but they could probably recover my hard drive. FarmerMan took it to the computer shop. I discovered I have every file on the computer backed up, except for one: my Character Bible, which is a listing of  the names of all my characters (4 series with 27 books and approximately 50 different characters per series), major, secondary, and minor and their physical descriptions, relationships, and in which books they appear. I certainly hope they can recover the hard drive. I bought a new laptop, so I can write in the camper, at the coffee shop, on trips, and while I sit on the sofa with my feet up.

Meanwhile, that’s The End of my sorry tale of being Bugged by Bugs, and I’m writing.

 

Guess which series my newest book belongs in…

 

Did you know I’m a full-time author who is completely supported by my Readers?

If you buy me a cup of coffee,  I promise I’ll drink it while I’m writing at the coffee shop. 

Tap on the cup, the ko-fi link (get it?), or HERE to donate to Judith’s coffee fund.

ko-fi.com/judithawriter

QuickJAB

Donut Lassies

The original US National Donut Day was created by the Salvation Army in 1938 to honor the brave women, “Donut Lassies,” who made history when they risked their lives during World War One to raise the spirits and to bring hope to thousands of soldiers, in part by serving donuts.

In 1917, Salvation Army volunteers traveled to France and set up makeshift “huts” in abandoned buildings near the front lines then provided writing supplies, stamps, a clothes-mending service, and most importantly, donuts and sweet treats to boost morale. The donut became a symbol of hope and home to the young American men, with over half of them between the ages of 18-23, who fought in France.

Next time you have a donut, other sweet treat, or a cup of coffee or tea in your hand, raise a toast in remembrance of the courageous Donut Lassies who took a taste of home and comfort to the fighting soldiers on the front lines of WWI.

And to slip in a book about donuts, you might be interested in SWEET DEAL SEALED, Book 1 of the DONUT LADY COZY MYSTERY SERIES.

       

QuickJAB

16 Post-Apocalyptic Novels of Survival

All 16 are FREE May 22-26

What is Post-Apocalyptic?

The “code word” for Post Apocalyptic is TEOTWAWKI: The End Of The World As We Know It caused by catastrophic disasters of political upheaval, nuclear annihilation, or  power grid collapse from an EMP, solar flare, or hacker attack.

Sound grim? It would be if that’s all it was. BOOM. The End. 

But Post-Apocalyptic Novels focus on unlikely heroes with skills and flaws who struggle with the challenges and fight to survive. Our heroes might be knocked down by the sheer magnitude of TEOTWAWKI, but their slivers of hope don’t die. 

IASFA

The International Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors banded together for a rare opportunity for you to pick and choose one or sixteen of their best post-apocalyptic books that are free only from May 22 – May 26. 

Tap the link to sign up choose your books and there’s a bonus of an extra 5 books when you sign up!

https://iasfa.org/May22

 

QuickJAB

Honey Bee Buffet

We don’t mow our front field in the early spring because the honey bees love the clover buffet. The bees gather pollen after the sun dries the dew in the morning until early afternoon when it’s bee quitting time because the Georgia sun is hot. I guess they get too sweaty, and they aren’t that kind of bee. *

Toby always goes with me when I take a walk in the front field. Evidently, Sadie taught him to take over her job of guarding me, and he takes his work seriously. I am particularly safe from all birds and grasshoppers. He used to snap at bumblebees, but he decided against that; we’re not to discuss that ever.

I don’t know if our bees are wild bees or if they have a lovely apartment at a beekeeper’s farm. It doesn’t matter to us; we’re happy they are enjoying their springtime buffet at our place.

I suppose you think there’s a story that was inspired by the Honey Bee Buffet… and you’re right. I’ll give you a hint: Donut Lady and Andrew decide to celebrate National Honey Bee Day.

You’ll have to wait for the story because it’s in SWEET AND SOUR DEAL. You can preorder now, and Book 6 of the Donut Lady Cozy Mystery Series will automatically be delivered to you on June 21.

       

Extortion, Murder, and Honey Bees. 

Another Story with a Twist.

Sweat bees* don’t make any honey and are particularly drawn to the salt and minerals of sweaty humans’ skin.

Not Into Cozy Mysteries? No Sweat*

*See what I did there? There’s a new Sci-Fi or Thriller book every month or so for you! Tap the link… to subscribe to the newsletter for book news and stories!

Or if you like, Tap on the cool Word Cloud!

QuickJAB

Inspiration, Weeds, and Books

How could weeds that overtook a garden be an inspiration for books? There’s a story for that!

This is one of my four raised garden beds. When I first heard about raised gardens, I thought the gardens were on tables that were waist-high. I loved the idea of not having to bend over or kneel in the dirt. I signed up for the local county Department of Agriculture Extension Service classes on raising vegetables, and I was excited that one seminar was devoted to raised beds. I was sorely disappointed when a tall (everybody’s tall to me), young (ditto, young) woman led us outside to view the raised bed garden she had constructed for the class.

Her raised bed garden was six feet by six feet, and she had some green plants in it. She knelt next to her raised bed to show how easily she could weed and maintain her garden. She implied that a raised garden bed had to be six feet by six feet for the garden magic to work, but I pointed out that she had a little trouble reaching the middle of the raised bed. She said her raised bed was new, and everyone limbers up as they garden.

I’m not sure how much gardening it takes to become so limber that you’re taller. She didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

A few years later when we moved to the farm, FarmerMan built a raised bed for my short self, and I can pull weeds from the middle of it without climbing in. Last year, this raised bed had serrano peppers. After a visit to the hardware store yesterday, I came home with vegetable plants and vegetable seeds, and it was time to weed.

The best weeding news of the week is that it rained a total of three inches this week, so pulling weeds could have been much worse.

Here we are! I weeded the raised bed garden and planted nine plants: all collard greens. The irrigation system is in place, and rain has been in the forecast for today and one day next week. The perfect supplement to our irrigation system.

So, how does that relate to books?

My oldest series got a little weeding and a snazzy new look too. The series is great and fun to read, but the covers weren’t quite limber enough because they didn’t line up well with the cozy mystery theme.  You wouldn’t see them in a group of covers and say, “Ah ha! That’s obviously a cozy mystery novel!” They aren’t bad, and they kind of imply they are mysteries, but that doesn’t make them limber or cozy mysteries.

Old Cover. You can tell it’s a mystery because it says so on the bottom line, but you probably didn’t immediately read the fine print at the bottom before you saw the picture.

  

New Cover. If you’re a cozy mystery reader, you’ll probably recognize this as a book that’s suited for you because of the cover. If you aren’t a cozy mystery reader, you might like the donut cover better; not because it’s a book you’d want to read, but instead…Donuts.

  

If you’ve read any of the Donut Lady Mysteries, just a note for you that the stories have NOT changed. We just gave our DONUT LADY more of the center stage on the cover. Unless you want to have the paperback with the most current cover, please wait just a little bit longer for Donut Lady, Book 6, for a new Donut Lady story.

 

QuickJAB

What’s In a Name?

If you grouped the first three novels in a series together, so readers could read them one after the other without having to search for the next book, what would your call that group? A litter? A caravan? A herd?

While caravan has a nice ring to it because you read the books one after the other, I’m not sure anyone but us would understand. There isn’t an actual word that everyone in the book world uses for a group of related books, so we have choices.

When I researched the online bookseller websites, I found three common terms:

  • Collection
  • Omnibus
  • Boxset
    • Collection may be confused with an anthology, which is a collection of unrelated short stories in one book; according to the dictionary, a collection of books is a library.
    • Omnibus sounds a little old-fashioned, but it’s probably the most accurate because it’s defined as a volume of several novels that were previously published separately.
    • Boxset originated with paperbacks sold in bookstores that were sold in a physical container: an actual open-ended box with a cover portraying the series. When ebook publishers first published ebooks as boxsets, readers, especially literal me, were disappointed because we didn’t receive the novels inside the pretty box in the mail.

Which term do you like?

Here is a caravan of three novels for you. No fuss, no bother; each novel leads you to the next while Donut Lady solves another murder or two.

Donut Lady attracts customers with sprinkles, donuts, and coffee and attracts the attention of killers when she closes in on solving murders.