Venice Book Fair

Spring is here and with it comes the annual Venice Book Fair & Writer’s Festival. It’s one of my favorite events in our quaint little beach town. I’ll be there signing my newest release so if you’re any where near us next weekend, stop in and say hi & get your books signed by some fabulous local authors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pet Psychic Book 3 released!

Have you met Darwin Winters yet? She gets visions from traumatized animals, which has landed her in all kinds of trouble in Books 1 & 2. She’s taken a moment out of running her pet boutique, saving animals and helping her hunky detective boyfriend solve murders to talk to the cool folks over at ParaYourNormal. You can read her interview HERE.

And now you can also read about her newest adventure in: SILENCE IS GOLDEN which has just been released!

When a St. Pete native is killed in a hit and run, pet psychic Darwin Winters gets a vision from the victim’s prized golden retriever that leads her to believe it was no accident. As suspects start piling up, Darwin finds herself in the middle of the dead woman’s family and friends, not knowing who she can trust.

Stories of artifacts and pirate legends, strange disturbances at the Pinellas Point Indian Mound, and show dog shenanigans all add up to one thing… motive for murder. Can Darwin separate family secrets from cover ups and lies to dig up the truth? Or will it be silenced forever along with the victim?

Available for your KINDLE & NOOK   (*paperback coming soon)

 

This is my old gal, Rainey… the sweet soul this book is dedicated to. Isn’t she purty?

 

 

 

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Halloween Treat & Cover Reveal!

My goal was to have the third book in the Pet Psychic Mystery series, SILENCE IS GOLDEN, out this month. Unfortunately, due to a medical emergency and surgery that I’m still recovering from, the release date has been pushed back to the end of November.

But, I can give you this sneak peek at the cover, which I am totally in love with!

TA-DAAAAA!

Isn’t she fabulous?! Can you guess what kind of adventure Darwin has this time?

And because HALLOWEEN is my favorite holiday, I want to give out some TREATS!

Just leave a comment telling me what your favorite Halloween candy is, along with your email address & format you prefer  TODAY ONLY and I will plop KARMA’S A BITCH (Pet Psychic Mystery No.1) into your Halloween bag inbox!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!

 

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Online Halloween Party!

I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone that Halloween is my favorite holiday! So, I want to invite you all to come celebrate with me on Oct. 25th at the Facebook Halloween Bash my publisher is sponsoring.

Along with other misterio press authors, I’ll be giving away ebooks as well as a signed print copy of Lady Luck Runs Out!

There’ll be games, prizes and lots of swag to win!

Click the link and join the PARTY HERE!

See ya there!

 

 

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Summer Book Crush – Sale!

Hey, my lovely readers! Grab a beach chair and a fruity umbrella drink because summer’s heating up!

SUMMER BOOK CRUSH offers 50+ titles in a variety of genres. FIFTY! This means 50+ chances to (fictitiously) fall in love. And the best part? Each of these gems is only 99¢! (For a limited time only.) You won’t find a hotter group of reads on the internet, especially at this fantastic price.

ANNOUNCING THE SUMMER BOOK CRUSH

(Click the banner to get to all the books in the sale!)

 The SUMMER BOOK CRUSH event starts on June 26th and ends (yes, even the best things in life end at some point) on June 28th. So don’t wait! Mingle with our BOOK BOYFRIENDS and invite all your friends to participate too. Spread the word…this is a lot of fun reading at an awesome price and it won’t last long. Grab ‘em while it’s hot outside — there are plenty of BOOKS to share!

THE MONARCH is participating in the sale, too! So, if you haven’t read it yet, here’s your chance to grab a beach mystery for 99¢ and meet Anna Maria Island’s hunky, brooding detective, Sam Larson.

Find your summer fling between the pages of a book. And don’t stop at just one – after all, there’s a host of men for you to mingle with. Why limit yourself?

* HAPPY READING * HAPPY SUMMER *

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Five Reasons I Love Mysteries

Okay mystery lovers, I have a treat for you today! Kassandra Lamb is here talking about why she loves mysteries! I’m just going to give her the floor:

Thanks so much for having me over to your place, Shannon. Can we take those cutie boys of yours down to the beach later?

But of course, you know what they say about all work and no play!

Hi Everyone,

I used to be a much more eclectic reader in my youth. I read historical fiction, family sagas, romance, and mysteries. Somewhere in my late thirties, however, I found myself gravitating mostly toward mysteries. Today I may read the occasional romance or sci fi fantasy but my true love is a good whodunnit. Here are my 5 reasons why.

The Puzzle – I’ve always loved puzzles: jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, whodunnit puzzles. I think my love of puzzles is one of the things that attracted me to psychology as a profession.

by Lynn Kelley Author, CC-BY-SA 2.0 WANA Commons

I loved puzzling out what makes people think, feel and act the way they do. But being a psychotherapist isn’t easy, and as a specialist in trauma recovery, my days at the office were pretty intense. So I also love… The Escape – Fortunately my everyday life does not involve murder and mayhem. The events in mystery novels are totally different than my own experiences (and please God, they always will be!)

Clients and students would often recommend books or movies on psychological topics, assuming I would find these fascinating. I didn’t. They were too much like work! I rented “A Beautiful Mind” three times before I finally made myself watch it. (And was glad I did; great movie!)

Nope, give me a well-written mystery; they provide excellent escapism.

The Excitement – It’s not a good mystery unless at some point the protagonist is in danger. I love the vicarious adrenaline rush as the hero/heroine is being shot at, chased down an alley, struck on the head from behind or in some other way is fighting or running for his/her life.

The Characters – My very first blog post was on this topic. We don’t think about mysteries being about character development, but the good ones are. It has even been said that mysteries aren’t really about the mystery itself as much as they are about how the characters deal with the mystery!

My favorites are books in which ordinary people like you and me are challenged to deal with extraordinary events. I like to live vicariously through their experiences and pretend that I would rise to the challenge as well as they do.

And I love series because then I can revisit my old friends, and see how they are evolving over time (Come on, Shannon, I’m dying to know what happens next in your pet psychic’s life!)

The very first mystery series I got hooked on.

The Competition – This one may have you scratching your head. Competition? Yes there is a competition, between the reader and the author. Can you, the reader, figure out whodunnit or will the author fool you until the very end?

If the author is playing fair, s/he drops a few crumbs along the way, while also throwing some red herrings in the reader’s path. It isn’t even totally about whether or not you figure it out. It’s also about how sure you are. If you think it was Colonel Mustard, but it could be Miss Scarlett, or maybe Professor Plum, then you will have a satisfying end experience either way. If the colonel is truly the dastardly devil, you think Aha! I knew it! And you feel really, really smart!

But if it’s the little miss or the good professor, you’re a bit surprised but still satisfied, because you kinda suspected them once or twice. But then again, sometimes it’s someone you never saw coming, but looking back, you realize it all makes sense. That last great twist at the end can be even more satisfying!

I love that Aha! moment, no matter who the culprit turns out to be. And then I sigh a satisfied sigh, feel a little sorry that the adventure is over… and pick up the next whodunnit to dig in!

So, tell us… what’s your favorite genre to read and why?

And now Kass is writing her own mystery series. Book 5 was just released last week. Check it out!

When a former client reaches out to psychotherapist Kate Huntington and reveals a foreign diplomat’s dark secret, then dies of ‘natural causes’ just days later, Kate isn’t sure what to think. Was the man delusional or is she now privy to dangerous information?

Soon she discovers her client was totally sane… and he was murdered. Someone is now trying to eliminate her, and anyone and everyone she might have told. Forced into hiding, she and her husband, Skip, along with the operatives of his private investigating agency, struggle to stay one step ahead of a ruthless killer. Skip and his P.I. partner are good investigators, but this time they may be in over their heads… and they could all end up drowning in a sea of international intrigue.

(This book is part of a series but is designed to work quite well as a stand-alone.)

Now available on AMAZONB&N, and UK AMAZON  And  ON SALE FOR $1.99 thru June 12th! (Goes up to $3.99 on 6/13)

Connect with Kassandra on Facebook, Twitter & Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Elephants Take the Stage

I wrote a post awhile back, about elephants, after taking our boys to the circus and having a very unexpected emotional reaction. I left there with a heavy heart and a promise to educate myself about the elephants’ life in captivity. This is a follow-up post to what I’ve learned.

One of the questions that came up in the comments was whether the elephants are better off in captivity because the wild has become an inhospitable place with an  ever-shrinking habitat and resources and poachers thinning herds yearly by the thousands. Plus, they’re intelligent creatures, maybe they enjoy learning tricks and performing for us?

I’ve watched some horrifying videos of elephants being abused by circus workers “training” them to perform, and I’ve also read the opinions of people defending such practices of using chains, ropes and bull-hooks. But, last night I stumbled upon a HBO documentary called “An Apology to the Elephants” and it was the nail in the coffin for me. Elephants have been shown to experience grief, trauma and depression. Living in chains, being intimidated into entertaining us and having their calves separated from them forcefully causes them pain. There’s no doubt left in my mind. We are harming these majestic creatures.

Here are some facts from the documentary:

• Roughly 38,000 elephants a year are killed for their tusks. At this rate, we will have wiped out their entire species in the wild in ten years. TEN YEARS.

• Over 50% of elephants in captivity will die of foot-related disease. These are creatures built to roam, not stand on hard surfaces for hours.

• It is still legal to keep an elephant chained for up to 19 hours a day.

• In the wild, they spend 16 hours a day roaming and foraging for food. Their bodies are built for this, and the swaying motion you see in zoos and circuses is from the anxiety of not being able to act on this natural instinct.

Believe me, I know there are issues in the world closer to home than making sure elephants don’t go extinct and aren’t abused and suffering in our hands. And I know that there’s only so much one person can do. But, this is my personal burden now.

So, here are some simple ways you can help:

• Don’t buy ivory

• Don’t support circuses

• Do support elephant sanctuaries and zoos that give them room to roam, like the Oakland Zoo

• If you’d like to get more involved, support PAWS Elephant Sanctuary

• Pass this knowledge on!

On a positive note, Britain has recently banned wild animals from being used in circuses. It will take effect in 2015. We need to follow their lead! As the documentary stated, “Zoos can be fixed, circuses cannot.”

Thanks for reading this far. Stepping off my soapbox now. If you have a cause you’re passionate about, please talk to me about it!

♥This post is dedicated to the memory of Topsy♥  (Warning, this is a very disturbing story)

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: The Infernal Detective

Genre: Paranormal Mystery

Author: Kirsten Weiss

Blurb: When Riga Hayworth finds a dead body in her bedroom a week before her wedding, it’s par for the course. When the corpse drives off with her fiancée… That’s a problem.

Riga knows dead. More intimately than she’d like. So when a murdered photographer gets up and walks away, she’s believes there’s necromancy afoot. And when she discovers that several of her wedding guests are under the influence of dark magic, she’s certain. But how can she catch a killer and stop a necromancer when even her nearest and dearest are lying to her?

My rating: 5 out of 5 paws

     

 

My thoughts: The Infernal Detective is the brand spanking new fourth book in the Riga Hayworth Mystery series and it may just be my favorite. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot and spoil the small surprises sprinkled throughout, so I’ll just say that the story opens with a pre-celebratory wedding bash for Riga and Donovan that leaves them both in a terribly sticky situation.

 There’s a dead photographer that walks away from the party and a groom-to-be that disappears. Riga not only has to worry about who murdered the photographer but what has happened to the man she’s about to marry. Some of my favorite scenes involve Riga’s aunts, two very colorful characters who provide comic relief. I also enjoyed the descriptions and explanations of the magic used and Riga’s growth in her magical abilities. Yeah sure there’s crazy mob bosses, witches and necromancy, but at the heart of this story, it’s still about the strength of the human spirit and that’s a magic all its own.

 

Now available on Amazon

Book Trailer

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Catie Rhodes Gets Cozy!

I’m so excited to have Catie Rhodes on my blog today! Not only is she a fantastic writer with a new paranormal mystery out, but she’s a writer I respect as a person, fellow animal lover and just, flat out, one cool gal!

Catie’s fabulous new paranormal mystery!

So, Catie, have you ever experienced anything paranormal yourself?

Nothing as dramatic as my series heroine, Peri Jean Mace, experiences on a day to day basis. However, I’ve had some odd experiences. Right now, I’m trying to think of the right one to talk about. Okay. I think I have it.

Back in 1995 or so, my husband and I took a fall trip to New Orleans. We used to go to New Orleans a lot. My husband likes to take pictures and is a history buff, and I have a paranormal jones. New Orleans was a good place for us.

That trip, we stayed at the hotel built on the site of the old French Opera House, which burned down in 1919. You can still see the indention in the curb where carriages pulled up to the opera house to let out opera goers. It’s a neat place.

We had a large corner room that we both loved because it had a couch and a little table. The problem was that the room’s temperature went from icy cold to blazing hot. The hot water was intermittent, making showers a duck and run affair. And we couldn’t sleep. Both of us kept hearing footsteps and doors slamming.

Finally, on the last night of our stay, I woke from a nightmare to find a form standing over the bed. It wore a mask that reminded me of something you’d see at a Mardi Gras parade. The mask sort of looked like a dragon. The figure leaned toward me and did this little jig, waving its hands around its head.

I elbowed my husband, trying to get him to wake up, but he could sleep through Godzilla ripping the roof off the house. I pulled the covers over my head while I tried to figure out what to do next and went back to sleep.

The next morning, we woke to rain pattering on the streets below our room. If you’ve never seen New Orleans’ French Quarter in the rain, it’s very noir in its mystique. It’s unforgettable. My husband and I packed and got ready to go home. On the way out the door, he said, “Maybe now I can get a good night’s sleep. I kept dreaming somebody was in the room with us.”

So there you go.

Yikes! Putting New Orleans on my must visit places! So, your protagonist, Peri Jean Mace, is such a strong, feisty character. I’d call her a survivor. When writing this book, did you create her first or the plot first?

Peri came first. I love watching those paranormal documentaries on TV. Peri is made up of bits and pieces of things I saw on those documentaries that caught my interest and made me ask “what if…”

As a fellow paranormal junkie, I understand. If you could see ghosts, like Peri Jean can, do you think it would be a curse or a gift?

A little of both. If the information I got from interacting with the ghosts was as limited as Peri Jean’s, I suspect it would be pretty frustrating. I mean, she’s got these beings who don’t need sleep, aren’t going to take a lunch break, and who will never go away harassing her to fix the unfinished business they left behind when they died. Problem is, she has to sort of figure out by trial and error what they want her to do.

However, it might be sort of a gift because seeing ghosts is not something everybody can do. It might lend an advantage if the right situation came up.

Now we understand why you write what you write, but when did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was in 5th grade and read THE OUTSIDERS by S.E. Hinton. Then, two years later, I discovered Stephen King and thought I’d never be able to write that well and sort of gave up on the dream of being a writer. But, when I was 35, I reached a sort of crossroads in my life and took up writing again. And here I am now.

Luckily for us! What are you working on now?

I am in the process of edits on a novella set in the same world as FOREVER ROAD. In it, Peri Jean gets involved in a twenty-year-old missing persons case that leads her to discover a murder. And I won’t say any more than that.

GET FOREVER ROAD HERE

Visit Catie’s online home HERE

Connect with her:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

 

Leave Catie a note & tell us, would you want to have the gift of seeing ghosts?

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$ Fact or Fiction

Today, I want to introduce you all to a fellow author, Sheryl Hoyt (aka Saralynn Hoyt). Sheryl writes historical and contemporary romance and has recently been featured in Time Magazine! How cool is that?

She’s going to talk a bit about the money side of Indie publishing and how it differs from being enslaved traditionally published. Take it away, Sheryl!

 

Thanks, Shannon! Recently, I was featured in an article in the 12/10/12 issue of Time Magazine, entitled “The 99¢ Best Seller” where journalist Andrew Rice wrote about my self-publishing journey.

In the article, Andrew talks a lot about the money side of the Indie publishing equation. What he didn’t talk about was how it differs from traditional publishing, but I think it bears mentioning.

Sure traditional publishing has its perks; like the editors and cover art are free and you can feel pretty confident that your mass media book will show up on some bookstore shelves or maybe even at Wal-Mart or the grocery store.

So how much can you expect to pocket while the publisher takes on these costs? The authors I know who have shared this information with me say for a first time romance author, it’s usually under $3000 for their first book, if they get an advance at all. Lately, it’s common practice to not get an advance, but receive a higher percentage of sales. If you do get the $1500-$3000 advance, you might expect a 6-8% cut of sales as your royalty. For an established author, who can count on their books being on bookshelves for a long time, this works out to some residual income. For new authors, whose books have a very short shelf life, sometimes only a few weeks to a few months, they may never advance out (sell enough books to pay off the advance).

My good friend and critique partner Deborah Schneider, sold her first book in 2001, and with stars in her eyes she dreamt of future sales with the same publisher.  That dream never materialized. Instead Deb spent her whole advance on her own promotion, because although the publisher did pay for the edits and cover art, they did not do any promotion for this new author. To make matters worse, Deb never saw a royalty payment. It took her nearly ten years to sell another book— no more stars in her eyes. This is a tough business for authors to make a profit in until Indie publishing and Ereaders came along.

The difference being, your book is on sale forever now, or as long as you want it to be. You know exactly how many books you sell every day. Traditional publishers make sure that you never find out exactly how many books you’ve sold, so you will probably never know if your royalty statement is right. Another key difference is as an Indie published author, you make between 35-70% of your sales price. Which means on an $8 dollar book (the lowest standard price for a paperback) a traditionally published author earns 8% or .64¢ per book sale. But an Indie author can sell their book for $3.99 (half the price of a paperback) and earn between $1.40 to $2.80 a copy. Not too difficult to figure out which one is more beneficial to the author.

Sure there are NY Times bestselling authors making huge multi-million dollar advances and being treated like kings and queens by their publishers. But for every one of those there are thousands who are not. It’s no different from any other entertainment professional. You have your ‘A’ list authors, musicians and actors. Then there are the rest of us, the extras and the wannabes. The difference being that writing books takes time—a lot of time—and readers read faster than writers can write. In order to feed those readers appetites, they need to have more choices. And the gatekeepers—the publishing houses—have unfortunately, tried to monitor this production by only being interested in the next JK Rowling, the next Hunger Games, the next—fill in blank of the latest hottest book. This creates a vacuum whereby the reader is simply reading a different version of the same books over and over.

I say let the reader decide what is a good book and a good read. Maybe they want something different? Like my historical romances that aren’t regencies? Dangerous Heart is set in 1838 Philadelphia, Heaven Made is an Edwardian paranormal and The Scoundrel and the Saint a twist on a western. I say it shouldn’t be up to a few underpaid assistant editors to find and publish a handful of books that may or may not keep the readers buying.

I say, “Amen, sister!” Let the readers be the gatekeepers. What do you think?

Follow Sheryl on Facebook & Twitter!

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