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Dragon On Her Shoulder

If you have read the Maggie Sloan Thriller series, you might remember Kiki, the tiny imaginary dragon in Book 5 who rode on the shoulder of Maggie’s new friend, Tonya.

If you haven’t read any of the Maggie Sloan books, it’s okay. You can start with Book 1, I Always Wanted to Be a Spy. It’s available as an ebook, paperback, or audiobook. You have choices.  Maggie Sloan Thriller Series

Not to give too much away, but Maggie has two friends who are imaginary men; one is Palace Guard.

Here’s a tiny excerpt from “See Beyond the Fog.”

Tonya, who has been hard of hearing since birth, said, “I didn’t have many friends when I was a kid; only an imaginary dragon, and she was my best friend; she still comes around once in a while, but she really is shy. My husband can see my Kiki; can Kevin see your imaginary Palace Guard?”
“Yes, he can. Do you have any idea how strange this conversation is?”
“Yes, and it’s also why I don’t have many friends. When someone talks to me in a rude way, Kiki pretends she is wounded by their words and reels then drops to the floor and plays dead; unfortunately, I laugh.”
I giggled, and Palace Guard grinned. “I’m afraid I’d laugh too.” 

I went to a weeklong writers’ conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. So, given the fact that I believe in imaginary men and tiny dragons, can you imagine how excited I was to see an author with a dragon on her shoulder? I chased her down the hallway to get a photo with her dragon, Cobalt. I didn’t see anyone else waiting to get a snapshot with Cobalt, so I’m pretty sure he must be imaginary too.

Dragon on the shoulder

N. A. Davenport, author, writes YA and middle grade books. Check her out on Amazon. N. A. Davenport, Author Tell her Palace Guard sent you.

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Legendary Author/Legendary Readers

Pepper Festival Sept 2023

My latest festival was the two-day Pepper Musical Festival: I wore my taco socks and used my chili pepper apron to spice up my table.  I expected to see a pepper eating contest or some  reason for the event to be the Pepper Festival, but as far as I know, it was the Pepper Festival just because.

You might have noticed that we finally realized that putting up the side panels on our tent helped block the sun. We also remembered to charge the fan the night before. For some unexplainable reason, I forgot all my tablecloths except for one small, white one. Walmart to the rescue! We found the cheap (yay!), green vinyl tablecloth that is now my favorite.  I love a bargain!

The vendor sites were spacious because of the large field where the event was hosted; we didn’t feel crowded at all and had a perfect location for our booth. The stage for the bands and the bleachers were in front of our site with an open, spacious, grassy area between us.

The two-day event was a challenge because the festival lasted until ten o’clock both nights, but Friday night was a blast. The headliner band played Hispanic music, and the area in front of us was filled with families. In addition to our  all time favorite music from the southwest, we had live entertainment as the children chased each other and rolled in the grass, and the toddlers bounced to the music.  We enjoyed an impromptu wrestling match between preteen boys that could have rivaled any high school wrestling team for style and technique.

Saturday was exhausting. We had to take our books back to the campground Friday night then haul them back to the event on Saturday morning because books and morning dew don’t mix; however, our campground was less than ten minutes away, which was a wonderful bonus.

A young, local police officer entertained himself most of Saturday by stopping by my booth and teasing me about some imaginary flaw in one of my books. He brought  a group of other police officers and firefighters to my booth to show them my fan then expounded on the imaginary flaw. I told him he was fired as my public relations manager, and his buddies roared with laughter.

The Saturday night crowd was mostly teenagers who were there to see and be seen. They were entertaining enough to watch, but they couldn’t come close to  the bouncing toddlers. The headliner music was not their type of music or ours either. Adults sat on the bleachers and politely applauded; it must have been their type of music.

The most amazing sight of all on Saturday night was the number of food trucks that magically appeared; everyone we saw was eating something!

We quietly packed our things and left at nine o’clock.  In theory, we won’t be invited back as vendors because we left before ten, but we’re okay with that. Our campground was great, and we had a terrific time; we’ll go back next year to camp at the great campground,  shout out to you, Tifton KOA Journey,  and enjoy the Friday night music and entertainment.

Will we consider another two-day event? It depends…

Remember the pesky police officer? The police chief stopped by my booth later and told me I was a legend.  Legendary Author: should I add that to my biography?

You know who reads the works of a Legendary Author, don’t you?

Legendary Readers: readers who  form theories based on clues and stray, almost random, hints the author leaves along the way in the story. That’s you, isn’t it?

How’s this for a new tagline?

The Legendary Author Who Writes for Legendary Readers.

Buy Judith a cup of coffee!

Did you enjoy the story? Consider buying me a cup of coffee – it’s writer’s fuel and keeps me writing, photographing, and sharing stories with you. Thank you for your continued support and being a Legendary Reader!

$2.00

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When the Wind Blows…

When the wind blows Jun 2023 smaller

Everybody knows that trees shouldn’t be planted too close to a house. When a particularly vicious storm roared through our area this summer, the wind took down a gigantic oak tree that was in the woods behind our house.

The good news is that the gigantic oak tree fell away from the house. Even though the tree was in the woods, the root ball was so large  that it took our chain link fence with it!  An interesting fact is that people who lived in the county south of us didn’t know anything about our severe storm, so I’m positive you didn’t either.

We lived in New Mexico for a number of years where everybody knows about dust storms and tumbleweeds, but I didn’t know about the severe dust storms that plagued Arizona until part of our family moved there a few years ago.

Our oak tree and the dust storms in Arizona reminded me that there are things that only “the locals” know, especially when it comes to weather. I know about hurricanes because we lived in Florida and tornados because we lived in Texas. I also know about blizzards because we lived in Minnesota, but I’m hoping I don’t ever have a blizzard in any of the books I write because I’d get too cold. I have a very active imagination, but you knew that!

My latest novel takes place in Arizona, and my main character is from Georgia, so I knew she wouldn’t know about a ‘haboob,’ which is a word frequently used for the miles long, towering  Arizona dust storms with sand and debris. Thank goodness one of the locals told her, or it would have been my shortest novel ever!

What is it that “everybody knows” where you live that a newcomer wouldn’t know? I’m always looking for a weather story I can use in a book!

Interested in reading a book that takes place in Arizona?

Bloodshed in the Badlands Cover April 24 2023

Wren’s new writing assignment, a haunted campground in Arizona, is perfect except for the killer who wants her dead.

Shop HERE in the Barrett Book Shop

or Buy the new book  HERE if you have a favorite retailer.

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing! 

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Where is the Best Place to Start?

In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis G. Carroll, we read, “Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” 

Start here 4  Sounds logical enough,  Wait here  but how do we know when we’ve reached The End? 

I’ve been like most writers,  a great story pops into my head, and I start writing. Midway in the story, usually at the 40,000 word point, I realize I probably need a title, a cover, and a description of sorts. Let the scrambling begin!

With my latest new book, I started with the cover! And not just A Cover, but covers for all the books in the new series. After I had the cover and the title, the description was easy.

I’m just past the 40,000 word mark, and I don’t miss the scrambling. Starting at THE END has made the book easier (notice I didn’t say easy) to write. I think I even know how the series might end – rare for me!

Bloodshed in the Badlands Cover April 24 2023

Wren’s new writing assignment, a haunted campground in Arizona, is perfect except for the killer who wants her dead.

BLOODSHED IN THE BADLANDS Release Date: August 21.

Tap to Preorder NOW from Barrett Book Shop

or Tap to select your preferred Retail Book Seller.

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing! 

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Small Town, Big Heart for Reading

In May, we packed up books and dogs and took our camper trailer to Ellaville, Georgia, population 1,500 (not a typo), for an Arts and Crafts event sponsored by the town’s Chamber of Commerce who named their event Luau in the ‘Ville. Kind of snappy, don’t you think?

I wore my  flowered shirt, which is my version of appropriate luau attire (my grass skirt is at the dry cleaners), for the occasion, and if you carefully examine my tent, you’ll see my new “ceiling fan” is in place to keep us cool.

My new friends from the Wine Festival who told me about the Ellaville event were two booths away from me with their son who was selling his debut novel. We were too busy to chat very much, but I told them about the arts and crafts event that is close to me: Elevate Artisans; I hope to see them in October.

The most amazing sales wizard I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness was next to me in the purple tent. She sold  jewelry, T-shirts, drink cups, and stickers, and she knew how to work a crowd.  She maintained a constant, almost musical patter, and people were drawn to her booth.

  • Mother’s Day is coming up; do you think she’d like earrings or a T-shirt?
  • That’s our best-selling T-shirt, feel how soft it is. We have your size.
  • What’s your mom’s favorite color?
  • You need to get yourself a Mother’s Day present. You deserve it.
  • You’re ears aren’t pierced? These earrings make great charms.
  • You need a Georgia Bulldogs drink cup to go with that shirt.
  • You’re from Alabama? We still love you. Here’s an Auburn drink cup: you won’t see another one here.

Her charming delivery made her aggressive-sounding style a magnet as she magically became everyone’s favorite friend, including me.

It was another scorcher of a day in the afternoon in Georgia. Remember my fan? It was great until it wasn’t. We forgot to pack the charger, so we weren’t able to charge it fully the night before the Luau. It fizzled out around two, and I baked in the heat until five when the party was over.  I have a new addition to my packing list: the charger for the fan.

Because all of the ebooks for each one of my series are included on my online Barrett Book Shop, I was fully prepared for anyone who said they didn’t read paperbacks. I asked everyone who stopped (or kind of slowed down) by my booth, if they read paperbacks or ebooks. The readers of Ellaville and the surrounding towns surprised me when they almost 100% said, “Paperbacks.”

I was even more surprised when many of them bought one or two of my books or an entire series. While all of my First in Series books sold, the number one favorite was TAGGED BY DEATH. I sold out before the end of the day. In terms of sales, Ellaville  far surpassed any other event that I’ve ever attended. You’ll find me in Ellaville next spring trying to figure out how to get next to the sales wizard’s booth.

Pro tip: Readers are Everywhere.

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing!

QuickJAB

Go for the Burn

The past year has been rough on our trees: windstorms, heavy rain, a tropical storm, a hurricane, and two tornados have taken their toll.

We’ve waited for the downed trees and branches to dry out, then we waited for a relatively wind-free day  to Go for the Burn.

Do you see the helpers who showed up? There’s a fire witch and a fire ghoul who brought their cannon to the fire. If the fire hadn’t been roaring so loudly, we would have heard the fire ghoul signaling, “Ready? Aim! FIRE!”

If you don’t see them, it’s okay. I don’t write horror, so you won’t see them later in a book, which is why we don’t know their names.

This was a cameo appearance of the fire apparitions to encourage me to Go for the Burn while I’m writing, and I am! I’m on a roll and ready to announce the PreOrder of the new GRID DOWN SURVIVAL Series, Book 7.

Ready?

FIRE IN THE HOLE!

Here’s the cover!

Preorder Now!

Barrett Book Shop

Use the Barrett Book Shop link for a 15% discount off any Grid Down Survival Series novel (through May 31)

Pick Your Retailer

Release Date: June 29, 2023

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Starting Over

The fragrant, beautiful gardenias in the front of our house have bloomed every May since we bought the house in 2018, and we know they were there when the previous owners bought the house  in 2013, so they had survived the high and low temperatures that fluctuated from year to year for more than ten years.

When the hard freeze that lasted four days hit in February 2023, we were saddened by the loss of so many of our pine trees that we had planted over the past three years but were completely shocked that our three sturdy gardenia bushes didn’t survive.  So, we started over.

In November 2022, in a series of unfortunate events, our faithful camping trailer that we bought new in 2015 bit the dust in a most unlikely incident. Out of respect for her faithful service, we won’t go into the details, but no humans, dogs, or chickens (even though they weren’t there) were injured. We had a choice: give up camping or get a new camping trailer. I’m certain you aren’t surprised that we bought a new camping trailer. We’re starting over by taking short trips to get used to our new trailer.

As an author with a publishing business, I’ve been closely tracking the dwindling benefits of exclusivity with a single online book distributor. I started over in January 2023, and now all 30+ of my books are being sold by over a dozen book distributors.

In February, I investigated several options of selling my books directly to readers online. By the beginning of March, my online Barrett Book Shop was live and in business!

 

I’ve been excited to learn that other authors are doing the same!  Take a peek at a very delightful author, Maria E. Schneider, at Bear Mountain Books. 

I’ve found my toe-tapping, head-bobbing theme song for 2023 on You Tube:  Chris Stapleton

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing!

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Grand Opening! Barrett Book Shop

Do you try to buy from your favorite local store or vendor? It’s not always that convenient, is it?

Announcing a new way to purchase Judith A. Barrett books – the ONLINE Barrett Book Shop!

All the thriller, post-apocalyptic science fiction, and mystery books  are conveniently at your fingertips; it’s just like going to an in-person event to buy a book from your favorite author, Judith A. Barrett, amiright? without spending money for transportation or even having to  put on your shoes or change out of your comfy pants.

Barrett Book Shop has the same deals and specials as any of the Big Gorilla Book Sellers in addition to exclusive discounts and deals!  Match THAT, Big Gorilla! <- I say that lovingly, BG, in the extremely unlikely event you’re reading this blog.  

Tap the link Barrett Book Shop and browse, drop a book or two into your cart then check out for a special Welcome Discount!

REMEMBER to mark Barrett Book Shop as a favorite in your browser, and let me know what you think!

Meanwhile, You keep reading; I’ll keep writing! 

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Celebrate the Small Stuff

Have you heard the old saying, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”? Not all that easy, is it? It hasn’t been for me!

Here’s an idea, before we hustle from one small stuff thing to another, let’s CELEBRATE the Small Stuff we’ve accomplished! Our timeless sage, Oprah Winfrey, said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

Here’s my first celebration for 2023:

I haven’t been celebrating the glorious, but small accomplishment of  THE END when I publish any of my books, and I have no idea why not. FarmerMan has been so faithfully supportive since my first book was published in 2016, my second book was published in 2018, and all the books after that. I was on a roll, or maybe it was a roar because I never took time to celebrate THE END before I charged forward with the next book.

How did we celebrate? We went to a new-to-us restaurant and enjoyed a nice dinner. I don’t have any photos to commemorate the grand celebration because our phones were OFF while we talked and laughed.

What have you celebrated lately? What should you celebrate this month?