Author Spotlight: Ritter Ames

Today on Reade and Write I welcome Ritter Ames for our special Fourth of July edition of the Author Spotlight. Ritter is the author of two mystery series: The Bodies of Art Mysteries and the Organized Mysteries (I need to run, not walk, to get this series. Organization is often a mystery to me). She’s here today to discuss her most recent release, Fatal Forgeries. Glad to have you here, Ritter!

Tell me about your new book.

My June 2017 release is Fatal Forgeries, the fourth book in the Bodies of Art Mysteries. It begins with my main character, Laurel Beacham, in the process of rescuing a stolen masterpiece—then everything goes sideways and she scrambles to find a way to get things back on-track.

Who is the audience for the book?

Anyone who likes to read fast paced books with smart characters, quick dialogue, art crime, and amazing settings.

Speaking of amazing settings, tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?

London acts as kind of the hub for this series of novels. In each title, however, the crimes take my characters to different European locations as Laurel and her crew track the masterpieces and the master criminals. For Fatal Forgeries, the action runs from London to Barcelona and back.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Figuring out the title each time, and deciding how Laurel is going to lose her luggage.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?

In a perfect world, I’d love Grace Kelly to play Laurel and Cary Grant to play Jack. I have an idea for contemporary actors for both, but I think I’ll just leave it at that.

Tell us about your other books. 

There are three more books in the Bodies of Art Mystery series, and two books published in the Organized Mysteries, with another to be released soon. I also have another Organized Mystery I’ll be releasing in the coming months, and the first in a new cozy series will be out by the end of the year.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

Not anymore. I’ve been in three different groups through the years, but between beta readers, my editors, and just really kind of being a veteran of these series by now, I’m out of the group mindset.

Do you write every day?

Yes. A minimum of 1000 words, no matter how hard it is to get them written in a chaotic day. Usually I average about 5000 words a day.

What authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

I’m a very eclectic reader, but mysteries are my overall go-to. This summer I’m rereading the Jackson Brodie series by Kate Atkinson, but since the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter just passed I’m really tempted to reread that series, too. One author I now have to read as soon as possible is Christopher Fowler, but there are truly too many to name. I dearly love reading series fiction—whatever the genre. When I get invested in characters I want to always know what happens to them next.

Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?

Switzerland. I’ve never made it there for some reason, but I’ve dreamed about going to that country since the fourth grade.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just write. There will always be someone or something that will try to say you can’t do it. Don’t listen. Anything can be improved with revision, but you must get it written first.

What is your favorite movie and why?

Oh, that’s tough. There are three movies I can think of that I ALWAYS sit down and view again when they come on the schedule—no matter how many times I’ve already watched them: His Girl Friday with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, Ocean’s Eleven with Clooney & company, and Casino Royale with Daniel Craig. They’re all so different, but they each have the kinds of things I love in characters and a story—the characters are smart & brave & operate with their own personal integrity, the dialogue is fast & witty, and the stories all revolve around a stellar crime.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Start writing sooner. And take marketing courses in college!

Describe yourself in three words.

Curious, capable, constant. And no, I didn’t mean to start each word with the same letter, they just came out that way.

Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?

Nothing I can think of.

Where can readers connect with you?

I’m everywhere online—

My Facebook page:   https://www.facebook.com/RitterAmesBooks/

My Twitter page:      https://twitter.com/RitterAmes

My website:                http://www.ritterames.com

Where can readers find your books?

My Amazon page:         https://www.amazon.com/Ritter-Ames/e/B00I78AQEW/

Or for all booksellers:    https://ritterames.com/heres-where-to-buy-my-books/

Ritter, thank you for being my guest today. 

Amy, thanks so much for inviting me to your blog. This has been fun!

I wish everyone in the United States a happy, safe Fourth of July!

Until next time,

Amy

 

Author Spotlight: Linda Berry

Today’s guest author is Linda Berry, whose new book, Pretty Corpse, was recently released. It’s getting fantastic reviews on Amazon and I’m honored to have Linda here today to talk about the book. The subject matter of the story is a little out of my comfort zone, but in Linda’s capable hands I think I’m going to enjoy it. I invite you to share your comments at the end of the post, but please note that Linda is very busy this week with promotion and other activities and may not be able to respond right away.

Tell us about Pretty Corpse.

The year is 1999. A serial rapist is targeting teen girls in San Francisco. While on patrol, Officer Lauren Starkley discovers one of the victims, and she’s shocked to find out the girl is a close friend of her daughter. The case instantly becomes intensely personal. Because she isn’t a detective, Lauren is restricted from investigating, but she does so nonetheless on her own time. Lauren has an uncanny ability to find obscure clues and link them together. Her relentless pursuit of the rapist draws her deeper into his world. He in turn, starts getting closer to Lauren and her daughter. Lauren needs to lure him out of hiding, fast, before her daughter becomes his next victim.

Your novels are filled with an interesting mix of characters. Tell us about that. 

My stories reflect the range of characters each of us knows in real life. We all have people we admire, people who threaten us or are just plain loony. I like to keep readers alert and surprised by creating several interrelated stories that and ebb and flow through the main story. We are all multi-dimensional, and have many stories happening simultaneously in our lives, and sometimes conflict erupts on many fronts. I like to get into those emotional tsunamis and explore a person’s breaking point, and how they deal with the challenge. Complex characters that are bitterly wounded or pathologically twisted are interesting to me. I like to contrast the most vile and repugnant aspects of human nature to the most heroic and noble, and throw some quirky characters in for good measure.

How did you research this police thriller?

To write authentically, I do extensive research. That doesn’t mean I let my fingers do the walking. I have to give a big thank you to the police officers at Mission Station in San Francisco in 2001, when I wrote this first draft. My research for Pretty Corpse came in the form of dozens of ride-alongs I did with various female patrol officers. I chose the night shift when the city was rife with criminal activity, and I got to see these courageous women in action. Several of my characters were inspired by the female cops I came to know, and also by the captain of the station, who gave generously of his time to help me authenticate my writing. Many of the side stories in Pretty Corpse are based on actual events relayed to me by police officers from Mission Station. 

Where do you write?

I write in a sunny office in my home overlooking a canal and peaceful wooded area. I live in Central Oregon, a resort town in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains.

You were an award-winning copywriter and art director for twenty-five years, and worked part of that time for the film industry. How did that experience shape your decision to become a novelist?

I had the privilege of collaborating with talented writers and some of the best editors in the business. I love books and have been an avid reader my entire life. I wrote novels as a passionate hobby. In fact, my three novels released this year by Winter Goose Publishing are the result of my efforts spanning a decade. Now that I’m retired, I write every day. It’s so much easier to produce good work when you can keep your train of thought moving forward, and are not constantly interrupted. 

What do you love most about your work?

I love the creative process itself—the challenge of developing and constructing plots that continually surprise the reader and hold them in a state of suspense. Writing is both a passion and a compulsion—a truly satisfying form of escape. My reward comes when a reader tells me they couldn’t put my book down and they talk about my characters as though they’re real people. Then I know I did my job well.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Happiness comes to me in many forms. Appreciation of life itself is the foundation of happiness. I find this planet miraculous, from subatomic matter to the galaxies in space. I enjoy the beauty of ecosystems, how so many forms of life—plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, insects—the smallest creature to the largest, are dependent on each other for survival. My idea of perfect happiness is living on a healthy planet where people live together in peace and are trusted guardians of nature.

What is your greatest fear?

Being impoverished, homeless, or mentally or physically impaired and dependent on others. I did undergo some terrible threats to my health six years ago. I had a bout of debilitating pain for about 8 months, which diminished my ability to enjoy life. I’m now completely recovered, and feel I’ve been given a second chance at life. The experience sharpened my awareness of how fragile life is, how it can be taken away in an instant, and how one might be forced to languish in pain for a period of time. It heightened my appreciation for the quality of life I have now, for every precious moment I’m healthy and independent.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Lack of patience. Sometimes I get caught up in the everyday demands of life, and the illusion that I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do.  I have to remind myself at times to live in the moment, address what is happening right in front of me, and listen to people, even when I feel I’m short on time. Giving another human being a few minutes of conversation can make a huge difference in that person’s life. Kindness goes a long way.

Who in your profession do you most admire?

I read everything, and admire countless writers, from journalists to screen writers to poets to authors. I especially love mysteries, and I read an average of two books a week. If the writing is solid, and the story is well-constructed, I’ll read it regardless of genre.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Disconnecting from the world. Getting out in nature with my husband and our dog in our motorhome. I love being on a lazy schedule and disconnecting from social media, where the only decision I have to make is when to eat and what hikes to take. I can write in uninterrupted peace for hours at a time, surrounded by nature, sometimes listening to the gentle patter of rain, watching water drip off leaves. I love going to national parks, off season. We went to Bryce and Zion and Arches and the Grand Canyon two years ago. Last year we went to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, and this year we may be going to Yosemite.

On what occasion would you lie?

I don’t tell big extravagant lies, but I do tell baby lies frequently, mostly when complimenting people. For example: “no, your ass doesn’t look big in those jeans” or “you look marvelous” when in actuality, you look hungover, and you have stains on your shirt.

What do you dislike most in your work?

When I hit a brick wall and I have to stop writing, sometimes for days, while I process my story and play out different scenarios in my head. I never force the creative process. What generally helps me break through the logjam is reading. I’ll bury my nose in a good book, and before long, ideas start percolating to the surface. I also have a muse, my nail goddess, who’s held captive doing my mani/pedi for 2 hours, and I bounce ideas off her. She has a creative mind and has been a wonderful contributor to my stories for years.

When and where were you happiest in your work?

This current period in my life is the happiest. Now that I’m retired, I have the luxury of writing every day. I wake up eager to get to work. I take my coffee up to my sunny office and dig in. I believe I’m at my most happiest when my husband and I are traveling and we’re parked in a beautiful wilderness area and the peace of the place seeps into my bones. I can write with no interruption.

If you could, what would you change about myself?

I would take twenty years of physical wear and tear off my body. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, I would change nothing. If I had to lose twenty years of life experience to be in a younger body, I would say no. I’m more at peace with myself at this stage of life than I have ever been.

What is your greatest achievement in work?

Having three novels completed and coming out this year, 2017. It’s a wonderful sense of accomplishment to see the culmination of years of work and endless rewrites in a physical book. Hidden Part One and Pretty Corpse are out, and Hidden Part Two comes out in September. I’m expecting my fourth mystery, Quiet Scream, to be out in December or January.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My friendliness, and my sense of humor. I have always had a keen interest in people and I’m a good observer, passionately interested in humans and the world around me. I’m an optimist at heart, and I’ve been blessed with a jolly spirit. I enjoy socializing but the greater part of my waking life is spent in solitude, writing, reading, and doing projects.

What is your most inspirational location in your city?

I like to get out on the wilderness trails with friends and dogs. We have a beautiful river, the Deschutes, that meanders through town and its character changes every foot of the way. There are many meadows, sagebrush flats, waterfalls, and breathtaking views of the Cascade Range. The look of a wild river, the various sounds of water rushing, falling, cascading over boulders, is invigorating and soothing. Hiking clears my head of thoughts and worries and puts me in a state of peacefulness.

What is your best advice for beginning writers?

Write about something you love and then your passion will come out in your words. Write often, everyday, if possible. Read, read, read. I read one or two books a week, and I also watch movies and TV productions that tell good stories. I take notes. I have volumes of notes, and refer to them daily.

 

Watch Linda’s Youtube trailers:

Hidden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-bNoFgaD9U&t=7s

Pretty Corpse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QHSvirTYdw&feature=youtu.be

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.berry.94617 

Website: www.lindaberry.net

Twitter:@LindaBerry7272

Contact: lindaberrywriter@gmail.com

Best of luck with the new book, Linda!

Until next time,

Amy

Sally Cronin is Back!

 

For many of us in the world of authors-marketing-ourselves, we know Sally Cronin as a treasure who selflessly promotes others, spotlighting their new books, re-showcasing their old ones, and offering endless encouragement and support to artists of all stripes.

But Sally is also an author, and a prolific one at that. Not only does she write blog posts that enlighten her readers on everything from the benefits of garlic to heart health to the weather in Ireland, but she also writes short stories and books, both fiction and nonfiction. And she’s here today to tell us about her latest work, What’s In a Name.

Welcome, Sally!

Thank you so much Amy for asking me over for an interview.. It is a real pleasure.

Tell me about your new book, What’s in a Name.

The short stories in this collection are about ordinary people who in some way bring their own unique spin on their names.  Can Alexander, a small boy with a mother who is a fan of Richard Burton, be great?  Can Clive conquer one of the most deadly predators in India?  There is romance, ghostly events, serial killers and those who need revenge and hopefully something for everyone who enjoys an eclectic mix of genres.

What made you decide to write about that particular subject?

Names are fascinating things. They often identify the decade you were born in and in the cases of some celebrities where you were conceived. We might be named after a favourite aunt or uncle in tribute and to keep their memory alive. In my case I was given the second name Georgina after my maternal grandmother. If we are named after someone famous it can also be a huge challenge to live up to their exploits. Imagine being called Napoleon, Caesar or Einstein!  The alphabet provided a great prompt for the stories and as there are stories for both male and females for each letter… There will be 52 tales by the time the second volume is finished.

How long did it take you to write it?

I spent about six months writing the stories and posting them on my blog. I wanted to get initial feedback before publishing and this was very useful. Also it was easier to fit in a story a week rather than sit down and write twenty all at once.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Probably coming up with a different concept for each name. It helped when the name was previously owned by someone with exploits or historical connection as the story could be geared to something similar. Also I wanted to avoid offending anyone on and offline if depicting a less than reputable character!  I still wanted friends at the end of the book.

Do you see aspects of yourself in the stories?

Certainly I have used locations that I know and have visited for example in France, Ireland and Sri Lanka where I spent some of my childhood. From that perspective it uses my experiences but with 52 stories over the two volumes, I am going to have to get creative.

Tell us about some of the other books you’ve written.

My books are a mixed bag. Non-fiction relating to health and media and then fiction in the form of novels and collections of short stories. I love the discipline of non-fiction where things have to be exact if the book is to be taken seriously. This is why I always have a fiction book of some description on the go at the same time for some light relief.

Do you write in a solitary environment or do you like to be around other people, noise, etc. when you write? I suppose what I’m asking is, do you write at home or in a coffee shop or another location?

I share an office with my husband who is a book designer and we tend to get on with our own work and confer from time to time on specific projects. I cannot write if there are distractions or lots of noise. I love music but keep that for the treadmill or when we are out walking.

Do you write every day? What does a typical day look like for you?

I do write every day in one format or another. The blog is important to me and so is maintaining my social media platforms that I use for the promotions that I do for other authors. I spend an hour or so going through the overnight traffic and also boosting the posts that have been scheduled from midnight. I may then do one of the daily blog posts before getting on with a chapter of my latest book or a short story to post during the week. I do take breaks for shopping, cooking and exercise, but it is fair to say that when it comes to writing… I need to get a life!

Do you have a favorite story in What’s in a Name?

I do have a favourite and it is the story of the toddler Clive in Sri Lanka who finds himself in a dangerous place. I was his age when we lived there and my first memories are of my amah pulling me away from danger. Touching any of the wildlife could be lethal as rabies was rampant even in the dogs and of course plenty of poisonous insects and predators. But I also remember the smell of curry, the warmth of the sun and swimming with my sisters.

Did you design the cover? If so, what’s in the background of the picture?

The photograph of the peacock was taken in the royal gardens of the king’s palace in Madrid when we took my mother and sisters there when they visited in 2000.  We took a number of shots and so we can use a slightly different one for the second volume.  My husband designs my covers and in the last few books I have used photographs that mean something to me.

Do you like to do readings, say at a bookstore or a library? Do you get many opportunities to read your work?

I did do some readings in the UK when I was living with my mother from 2008 to 2012 and had the opportunity. I loved it but we returned to Madrid  after my mother died and of course the language was an issue. This is another reason to get some of my books translated into Spanish at some point.  Since coming back to Ireland last year we have been focused on getting our new home finished but I am keeping an eye open for book festivals coming up in the summer.

What’s next on your writing horizon?

I have three books that are on their way to the final process. Two non-fiction, one on surviving modern life and some of my thoughts on why we find ourselves at odds with the world at times. The other is a people management manual for home and work… There are parallels including working with outside contractors, communicating with those in authority, and teenagers! I am nearly finished with volume two of What’s in a Name and then I must make a start with the sequel to Tales from the Garden which will be set in Ireland.

Where can readers find your books?

My books are all on Amazon, most in print and Ebooks.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

My books are also available via my own publishing site, some at a reduced price.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books/

And where can readers find you on social media?

Blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

It has been such a treat having you on Reade and Write, Sally. I hope you’ll come back again sometime!

Thank you again Amy for asking me over.

Until next week,

Amy

 

 

 

50 Shades of Cabernet

It is my great pleasure to have THREE authors here today–Maggie King, Kristin Kisska, and Heather Weidner. They’re here to discuss their stories in the newly-released anthology 50 Shades of Cabernet. This book, perhaps more than any other I’ve discussed on my blog, fits in perfectly with the theme of my blog which, besides reading and writing, is wine!

I should apologize in advance that some of the links below have to be copied and pasted into another browser for them to work. I tried two dozen times to get the links to work for this post, and unfortunately not all of them do.

  

Let’s get started. Here’s how it’s going to work: the authors, arranged alphabetically, will each provide an answer to my questions.

How does an author get invited to participate in an anthology?

Maggie: I have stories in the Virginia is for Mysteries and Virginia is for Mysteries Vol. II anthologies. They were collaborations with two Sisters in Crime chapters: Central Virginia and Mystery by the Sea (Virginia Beach). Participation was open to all chapter members.

Teresa Inge and Jayne Ormerod, editors for 50 Shades of Cabernet, honored me with an invitation to submit a story. I had worked with Teresa and Jayne on the Virginia is for Mysteries projects.

Kristin: Authors can contribute to anthologies in many different ways.  Some are contests which have calls for open submission, while others are through writing groups (Sisters in Crime has many local chapters which publish mystery anthologies).  In the case of 50 Shades of Cabernet, I was personally invited to contribute by the organizers of the anthology.

Heather: Each anthology has its own criteria for submitting stories. For 50 Shades of Cabernet, the organizers, Teresa Inge and Jayne Ormerod, invited short story authors to participate.

Tell us about some of the other short stories you’ve written.

Maggie:

“A Not So Genteel Murder”, Virginia is for Mysteries:

A birthday party at Richmond’s historic Kent-Valentine House sets the scene for this tale of betrayal, loss, and the power of family ties.

After two years, Sharon Taylor is still reeling from the deaths of her husband and daughter, but she drags herself to her friend’s party. Divorcee Olivia Thompson has her eye on Sherwood Aimsley as her new husband and is devastated when he shows up at the party with a statuesque beauty on his arm.

Sharon and Olivia keep each other company while their happier friends whoop it up and spread cheer. Until truth and illusion collide … and the evening ends in tragedy.

“Reunion in Shockoe Slip”, Virginia is for Mysteries II:

One day bestselling author Nancy McGregor and Internet security expert Roger Rucker meet by chance in Richmond, Virginia’s historic Shockoe Slip. Thirty years before they were lovers in sunny Southern California. Their reunion sets off a series of memories and events that change their lives forever.

Kristin: All of my short stories have been loosely connected to the mystery genre.

“The Sevens” was a fictional origin tale of a very real secret society at the University of Virginia and included a murder.

“A Colonial Grave” is a contemporary mystery in which a William and Mary architecture student stumbles on the bones of a cold case murder at a dig in Colonial Williamsburg.

“Wine and Prejudice” is a flirty little bling-heist set in the Historic District of Savannah.

Finally, “To the Moon and Back” is a dark psychological suspense story in which a mother goes to extreme lengths to save her daughter.

Heather: 

In “Washed up” in Virginia is for Mysteries, a suitcase with a rusty gun and shriveled hand appears on the beach outside of a struggling bar near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in Virginia Beach. A friend of the bar’s owner seems to know where it came from, and he gains instant celebrity with his story about a paranormal experience. The attention does wonders for the bar’s profits until something ordinary provides the missing piece of the puzzle.

In “Spring Cleaning” in Virginia is for Mysteries II, medical records manager Douglas Weimer gets more than he bargained for when he’s moved onto a new team and receives a project with a drop-dead delivery date. His assignment in Roanoke, Virginia, gives new meaning to work deadlines.

Where can we find your other short stories?

Maggie: Wherever fine books are sold: in brick-and-mortar stores or on Amazon (print and e-book):

Virginia is for Mysteries: http://amzn.to/2oNlcdQ

Virginia is for Mysteries II: http://amzn.to/2qfTXsT

Kristin: The anthologies are available in ebook (Kindle & Nook) and paperback versions via Barnes & Noble and Amazon.  Below are links:

“The Sevens” in Murder Under The Oaks

A Colonial Grave” Virginia is for Mysteries: Volume II

“Wine and Prejudice” 50 Shades of Cabernet

“To the Moon and Back” Day of the Dark (available July 2017)

Heather: I’ve written short stories for Virginia is for Mysteries and Virginia is for Mysteries Volume II.

Do you also submit stories to magazines and literary journals?

Maggie: So far, no. That’s part of my long range plan.

Kristin: No, I haven’t. Yet.

Heather: No. I haven’t submitted stories to magazines and journals yet. I’m working on two different mystery novels at the moment.

If you also write novels, do you write short stories in the same genre as your novels or do you prefer to branch out?

Maggie: I do write novels and they’re very different from my short stories. My novels are traditional mysteries with a crime and an investigation; the killer, or killers, are nabbed in the end and justice is served.

My short stories are morally ambiguous. Justice is served, kind of, but not in the conventional way. I can’t say more—you must read them!

Kristin: Yes.  Both my novels, neither of which are currently published, are contemporary suspense, a subgenre of mystery.

Heather: Yes, all my short stories and novels are mysteries. They tend to be traditional mysteries. My Delanie Fitzgerald mysteries have a female private investigator, and I’m working on a cozy series set near Charlottesville, Virginia.

How long have you been writing short stories?

Maggie: Since 2012.

Kristin: I started writing short stories in 2015 after I’d penned my first novel.  My local chapter of Sisters in Crime was gearing up to publish a sequel anthology to their first successful one, Virginia is for Mysteries.  I wrote two stories, but the chapter had such a large response, they could only accept one story from each author.  I submitted my second story to Bouchercon’s Murder Under the Oaks anthology contest, and I won.

Heather: I’ve been writing short stories since the early 1980s (7th grade). I wrote and illustrated a mystery about a dog who was a detective.

How did the theme for 50 Shades of Cabernet come about?

Maggie: Teresa Inge and Jayne Ormerod were relaxing at their favorite wine bar, contemplating their next anthology project. As they sipped their Cabernet, they looked at each other and exclaimed in unison, “Cabernet! Wine-themed mysteries!”

They never would say how the 50 Shades came into play. Maybe they didn’t want to admit to reading the steamy bestseller, 50 Shades of Grey? Or did they decide that a send-up of a popular title that is now part of the lexicon was a smart marketing ploy? Whatever their thought process, I think it was inspired.

Kristin: I was never told how our organizers for the anthology were inspired, but I assume there was a lot of wine involved.

That said, my short story, “Wine and Prejudice” was inspired by a recent trip to Savannah.  The fountain, the ancient oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, the park squares, and even the old cotton warehouses along the river all created an enchanting setting for a short story.

My story is: When a bride-to-be’s diamond bracelet goes missing, only wine and time and reveal the true thief.

Heather: Mysteries pair well with a variety of wines. It’s a fun theme. And we held several of our anthology planning meetings at local wineries.

What do you think is harder—writing short stories or writing novels? Which do you prefer?

Maggie: I love writing both, but writing novels is harder. Aside from the length, novelists are expected to conform to exacting standards for plot, characterization, and writing style. With short fiction, an author is freer to experiment. An agent is not required. Still, the writing must be concise and  top notch. If I had to choose (thankfully, I don’t) I’d devote my writing to short stories.

Kristin: In general, I prefer writing novels because I have more pages and time to develop characters.  However, with short stories, I’ve been able to experiment with structure and storytelling techniques.  It’s also lovely to go from story idea to seeing my work in print in less than a year, which is an extremely short timeline in the publishing world.

Heather: I like writing both. I get to experiment more with themes, plot lines, and characterization in short stories. But I think short stories are harder to write because they are more compact, and every word counts. Many journals and anthologies have word limits, and you have to be able to have all of the elements of a mystery in just a few pages.

Tell us about yourselves personally. Where are you from, what jobs have you held in the past, and what do you love most about writing?

Maggie: I’m from New Jersey and have lived in Massachusetts and California. These days I call Richmond, Virginia home.

I started my career as a retail sales manager and customer service supervisor before taking on my longest stint as a software developer. In 1999 I took a break from IT. I’m still on that break! For a time I had a computer training business, did web design, worked and volunteered for non-profits.

What I love most about writing is creating great, but ordinary characters and putting them in extraordinary situations to test their mettle. I get much satisfaction from seeing justice served in an unjust world—even if it’s just make-believe. I also love mining my past experiences and people I’ve known for story ideas. I don’t expect the well to dry up anytime soon.

Kristin: I live in Richmond, Virginia with my husband and three children. I own a marketing company and write whenever I can carve out a spare half hour.  That’s a tall order, some days!  I like to call myself an MBA-turned-fictionista because my first love was working on Wall Street as a financial analyst and a corporate banker.

I didn’t aspire to write anything more than a Facebook post or corporate memo, but one day I was inspired by an idea for a novel that I just couldn’t shake.  A week later, I had a detailed eight-page outline of the plot and started writing.  That was nine years ago, and I’ve been writing fiction ever since.

I love that my writing is about being a conduit for transcribing the creative ideas that ignite in my brain.  Nothing makes me happier than when my characters take over and write the story themselves. I’m only along for the ride (and the typing).

Heather: I am a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, Lethal Ladies Write, and James River Writers. Secret Lives and Private Eyes is my debut novel.

Originally from Virginia Beach, I have been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. I live in Central Virginia with my husband and a pair of crazy Jack Russell terriers.

I earned my BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan College and my MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, I have been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

The thing that I love most about writing is the whole process. I love to research, plot stories, write, and revise. It’s a chance to create another world and a variety of people/characters.

Do you find it easier to promote an anthology rather than a novel? Why?

Maggie: In some ways, yes. Anthologies generate exposure for the participating authors.   Coordinating promotion efforts among the contributing authors can amplify the effects, making it an effective strategy.

However, while anthologies have gained in prestige in recent years, they still take a back seat to novels.

Kristin: Neither of my novels is published yet, so I don’t have much to compare from personal experience.  Logically though, I believe that sharing the energy, fan bases, and resources of nineteen authors to promote an anthology would be more effective than a single author promoting a novel.

Heather: The work is the same, but I think it’s easier to promote an anthology because there are multiple authors. Everyone has different skills and talents, and it’s nice to be able to divide up the work. Plus, there is power in numbers on social media. I am on the planning team for this anthology, and we worked with the authors to share the tasks. I chair the social media group, and we’re responsible for the website, Facebook, and Twitter pages. We’ve hosted online events and coordinated a blog tour.

Are you a wine drinker? If so, do you like cabernet?

Maggie: I am not a wine drinker. I do drink grape juice and eat grapes so I’m not too far off course ;-). I attend an annual winetasting fundraiser in Richmond (much like the one in “Wine, Women, and Wrong,” sans stabbing), so I get to observe the goings on and make up stories.

Kristin: I love wine and try to go to the Virginia Wine Trail vineyards every year!  My book club jokes that we’re technically a *wine club with a book problem*.  My favorite go-to wine is Italian pinot grigio, but I definitely reach for a good cabernet sauvignon on occasion.

Heather: I am a wine novice, so I’m doing my 2017 wine tour on my blog as we promote the book at wineries, wine shops, and vineyards. I’m posting what I learn and stories of our adventures. (I’m allergic to sulfites, so I stick mostly with iced tea.)

Tell us where we can find 50 Shades of Cabernet.

For the answer to this question, I’m taking the liberty of combining the responses of my three guests.

You can find 50 Shades of Cabernet at your favorite bookstore or online. The link to the book on Barnes & Noble is http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/50-shades-of-cabernet-various-authors/1125894631?ean=9781633933576. The link to the book on Amazon is https://www.amazon.com/50-Shades-Cabernet-Mysterious-Anthology-ebook/dp/B06XH65CP7/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493665772&sr=8-1&keywords=50+shades+of+cabernet

50 Shades of Cabernet also has its own website, Twitter page, and Facebook page! You can find the website at https://www.50shadesofcabernet.com/, the Twitter page at https://twitter.com/50ShdsCabernet, and the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/50ShadesofCabernet/.

And last but not least, the anthology authors are appearing at a variety of locations and events. This is the link to their events calendar. Stop by and see them. https://www.50shadesofcabernet.com/events/

Please share your social media links with us.

Maggie:

Website: http://www.maggieking.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaggieKingAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaggieKingAuthr

Instagram: maggie8208

Kristin:

Website – www.KristinKisska.com

Twitter- https://twitter.com/KKMHOO

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/KristinKisskaAuthor

Heather:

Website and Blog: http://www.heatherweidner.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherWeidner1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherWeidnerAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heather_mystery_writer/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8121854.Heather_Weidner

Amazon Authors: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HOYR0MQ

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/HeatherBWeidner/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-weidner-0064b233?trk=hp-identity-name

Anything you wish I’d asked? Anything else you’d like to say?

Maggie: Amy, your questions are great and we appreciate the chance to promote 50 Shades of Cabernet.

Kristin: Aside from buying their book(s), how can a reader support a starting-out author? All the following suggestions are completely free:

  • Request their local library stock the author’s book(s).
  • Follow the author on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Goodreads, etc.
  • Tweet or post pictures of the author’s book *in the wild* (either on a trip you take or if you see it in a local bookstore). Be sure to tag the author and the location.
  • Encourage your book club to read it. Many authors will Skype/Facetime with the club to answer questions and comments!
  • Sign up for the author’s newsletter/blog (usually via their website).
  • Attend one of the author’s book events (in person or online).
  • Participate in giveaway contests the author hosts. Encourage your reader friends, too!
  • Connect with an author. Leave comments on their blog. Ask questions.  We’re people, too!
  • And probably the single most important, leave reviews! Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, or anywhere.

Heather: I am honored to be a part of this anthology with so many talented and creative writers. I love anthologies because you can read one or two stories in a sitting, and you get to sample a lot of different literary styles.

Ladies, what a treat it’s been having all of you here today. I wish you continued success with 50 Shades of Cabernet and I hope that you’ll each come back to Reade and Write when you have other projects coming out!

Until next time,

Amy

P.S. Heather’s debut novel, Secret Lives and Private Eyes, can be found at https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Lives-Private-Eyes-Fitzgerald-ebook/dp/B01FGRFI1C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493664322&sr=8-1&keywords=secret+lives+and+private+eyes. You’ll have to copy and paste the link into your browser like some of the others above.

Two Readers in the Spotlight Today: Karyne Corum and Jennifer Pero

Today I continue the series of interviews in which I introduce my readers to each other. Since these interviews were completed a few months ago, the books these women have read most recently are out of date, but hopefully they’ll each have time to stop by to update us. Welcome to two readers, Karyne Corum and Jennifer Pero!

Karyne:                                                       Jennifer:

            1

*I tried to get these pictures to be the same size, but I couldn’t figure it out!*

First question: How often do you read?

KaryneAs often as I can. When I’m working on my manuscript, it tends to be less because I get so sucked into whatever I’m reading that no only will I not do any writing but dishes will go unwashed, clothes will pile up and frankly, family members will starve.

Jennifer: I try to read everyday, it relaxes me and keeps my mind active. I try to be a role model for my children to read everyday (only I don’t have my hubby sign a reading log for me).

What is the name of the last book you finished?

Karyne: The Book of Beloved (Pluto’s Snitch 1) by Carolyn Haines

JenniferDebbie Macomber’s Christmas Wishes

What are you reading now?

KaryneI’m usually dipping in and out of several books at the same time depending on my mood. Currently lined up is The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King, A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught me About Love, Friendship And The Things That Really Matter by William Deresiewics and, to keep up with my ten year old son, Lockwood and Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud.

JenniferActually I teach nursing school and I am reading their textbook, but I did start Danielle Steel’s A Gift of Hope.

What is your preferred genre?

KaryneMystery and Paranormal (as in ghost stories) are my top two favorites, but they run close to Suspense/Thriller.

JenniferFiction, life is too short to read all non-fiction!

How often do you venture outside your preferred genre?

KaryneIf I see a subject or an author that intrigues me, I’m always eager to try something new.

JenniferOccasionally I will if someone recommends a book to me.

What was the last book you read outside your preferred genre?

KaryneThe one I’m reading now, A Jane Austen Education. I’m a huge fan of Austen but normally I’d steer clear of non-fiction books about her because they tend to be dry and often clinical. So far this one as is funny and very clever.

JenniferSecrets of Hallstead House by Amy Reade.

Note from Reade and Write: I think we can all agree this answer gets extra points. 🙂

Are you in a book club?

KaryneNo. I have a hard time finding one where I live and online ones have tended to be very cliquish. If someone knows of a good one, I’d love to hear about it.

JenniferNo, if I had more time, I would enjoy that “me” time.

Where do you obtain most of the books you read- from a bookstore, online, the library, borrowed from a friend, etc.?

KaryneAnywhere and everywhere, from second hand bookstores and Amazon to Biblio.com, which is a used library book recycler. You can get great books for really cheap, but a lot are hard cover so you have to be ready to make that sort of space commitment. I also have the Kindle App on my iPad so I will get some there but I’m more of a paper and ink kind of woman.

JenniferI go to the library often and borrow from my mom or mother-in-law. If I see an interesting book at the book store I will buy it and share with my family.

How do you decide which books to read?

KaryneIf it’s an author I love, I will pretty much read anything by them unless the subject doesn’t grab me. If the synopsis of a book really sounds good and the first couple of pages hook me then it’s going home with me. But I have been known to leap blindly and find a real treasure or a clunker. I’ll also go on recommendations by friends or fellow writers. I’m recommending the heck out of Book of Beloved right now because it was just such a phenomenal book.

JenniferHonestly, the title, if it is inviting, I will give it a shot. I also look at known authors’ work and read that book

What is in your To-Be-Read pile?

KaryneAlong with the books above that I mentioned I also have The Red Dahlia by Lynda La Plante, The Burning Man by Christopher Fowler and Finders Keepers by Stephen King.

JenniferIn my home office on the floor and the titles are a laundry list in length……….

Do you pay attention to especially bad reviews of books when deciding whether to buy or read them?

KaryneI don’t think that reviews have ever played a huge role in what I choose to read. If I read a review by someone on Amazon, I’m less likely to take it seriously because of all the scandal that’s been going on with paid reviews and revenge reviewing. I tend to be skeptical in general with professional reviews. Reviews in the paper or through a celebrity book club can be manipulated by the prestige of the author or the house publishing the book. I don’t mean to disparage them entirely it’s just that there are too many non-impartial forces in motion behind them. Personal recommendations are more likely to get my attention because the person giving them is usually someone I can trust. Word of mouth can sell a book far better than anything else, in my opinion.

Note from Reade and Write: Amen to that!

JenniferNo, I try to make my own opinion of the books that I read.

Lots of people don’t have a favorite book for a variety of reasons. Do you have a favorite? What is it?

KaryneI could never be pinned down to one but there are several that stand out because of how they impacted me at the time I read them. My new favorite, Book of Beloved (Pluto’s Snitch #1) by Carolyn Haines, is a creepy, spine-tingling ghost story set in 1919 America amidst racial tensions, a dark and titillating legacy and a heroine who simply shines like no other. Raisa spoke to me as a woman on the cusp of voting rights struggling to find a career at a time when women were so oppressed. She never gives up or gives in, and considering how much women are fighting today for rights that should be a foregone conclusion, it’s very timely in its power and emotion. It will also scare the heck out of you. Pride and Prejudice because of how it affected me as a young woman in high school. Elizabeth Bennett became my favorite role model as I was beginning to flex my feminist muscles. Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, a powerhouse story of emotion about a small community of friends during glory days of San Francisco. Requiem for a Glass Heart by David L. Lindsey for intricate and exceptional female friendship story amidst chaos and espionage with a heart wrenching ending that will stay with you for a long time.

JenniferNo, it depends on the mood I am in, the season we are in, my life events that year.

Where is your favorite reading spot?

Karyne: On the couch, with a cup of coffee, and no one to disturb me.

JenniferAt the beach, on the deck, by the pool.

Anything else you want me to know?

KaryneI’m a writer, a mom, and a photographer. I love to offer up my services as a beta reader and interviewee.  Anyone who’d like to take me up on that just email me at karynecorum04@gmail.com.

JenniferI enjoy your books and look forward to more in the near future. Thank you for the opportunity to participate!!

Thank you both very much for participating in my reader interview series. I liked showcasing two readers today because it’s so interesting to see the differences in the books people read, how they choose those books, and their reading habits. I appreciate you both being here!

Until next time,

Amy

Author Spotlight: Patricia Gligor, Part II

Today on Reade and Write I’m thrilled to welcome Patricia Gligor back for another interview! She’s here to discuss her brand-new, just-out-today book, Marnie Malone. Happy Book Birthday, Pat!

Tell us about Marnie Malone.

Marnie Malone is my fifth Malone mystery. I think the best way to tell you about it is through the blurb:

Someone is stalking Marnie.

It’s Marnie’s last week at the law firm of Cliburn & Reeves and she feels like she’s riding an emotional roller coaster. Up when she wins the divorce and custody battle for Callie Jackson against her abusive husband, Jed. And plummeting down when one witness after another decides not to testify against Mark Hall, an attorney at another Charleston firm and an “alleged” serial rapist.

Marnie receives one threat after another and she constantly feels the need to look over her shoulder, convinced that someone is stalking her. With Sam out of town on business, she’s alone in the big, old farmhouse and strange things are happening. Noises in the attic, creaking floorboards and someone watching her from the woods.

As she tries to determine the identity of the stalker, the list of men who have grudges against her grows longer each day. In her line of work she’s made enemies. Is the stalker someone from the past or one of the men on her list? And, how far will he go?

It sounds exciting! How long did it take you to write?

I started writing Marnie Malone in the early summer of 2015, after the release of Mistaken Identity. I was making progress when, unexpectedly, my mother sold her house and I had to move both of us into apartments. So, from October until the beginning of January 2016, I put the book on hold; there was simply no time to write. I finished writing and proof-reading the manuscript and I sent it to my publisher this past August.

Do you write linearly, or do you write each scene separately and then piece them together like a puzzle? Or is there some other path you take to writing a novel?

For each of my Malone mysteries, I started with a stack of notes, ideas for the book. Then I compiled them and created a chapter-by-chapter outline, listing what absolutely had to happen in each chapter. I guess you could say I wrote the book in my head first – to a degree. As I wrote, the outline was updated as necessary because, as in life, things didn’t always work out the way I’d originally planned. Often, my characters had other ideas.

This is my favorite question: Tell us a secret about one of your characters- something that’s not in the book.

I wracked my brain trying to answer this question and then I had to smile. Because I realized that any secrets my characters had were revealed by the end of Marnie Malone. A fitting and necessary conclusion (at least for now) to a series I’ve loved writing.

What time of day do you do your best writing?

I’m a morning person so I do my best writing then. As the day progresses and other responsibilities pop up, my creativity lessens. By evening, I’m lucky to write a cohesive sentence. Or my name. LOL

Can you tell us what you’re working on now?

I’m currently working on something different. A mystery/suspense standalone told in the first person. I hesitate at this point to call it a Romantic Suspense novel but there will be a strong romantic element, which has a huge impact on the plot.

Tell us about the dedication in Marnie Malone, if you wish.

I’m dedicating Marnie Malone to my brother, Steve, and my two beautiful nieces, Amber and Kelly. Family and friends mean everything to me!

Do you prefer to read a physical book (with paper pages that really turn), or do you prefer an E-reader, or perhaps audio books?

I definitely prefer a physical (paper) book. However, I read a lot of books on my Kindle, only because I’m on a limited budget and I can get so many more books for my money.

Remind us where we can connect with you.

You can connect with me (and I hope you will) at:

My blog: http://pat-writersforum.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patricia.gligor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PatriciaGligor

Where is the new book available?

Marnie Malone can be ordered through your local book store and is available online at:

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/gnvn4kq

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Patricia+Gligor/_/N-8qa?_requestid=305533

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?Query=Patricia%20Gligor&ac.morein=true&ac.title=Patricia%20Gligor

   

Thank you for inviting me to be your guest, Amy. I had a lot of fun responding to your questions.

Pat, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you and I look forward to having you here again! Best wishes and congratulations on Marnie Malone!

Until next week,

Amy

 

 

 

 

 

Reader Spotlight: Angela Holland

reader-spotlight-graphic

As promised, this week I am featuring another reader here on Reade and Write. Welcome, Angela Holland!

How often do you read?

Every day.

What is the name of the last book you finished?

Newton & Polly by Jody Hedlund.

What are you reading now?

A Carol Christmas by Sheila Roberts.

What is your preferred genre?

Historical Fiction but I also enjoy cozy mysteries, romance and biographies.

How often do you venture outside your preferred genre?

Often.

What was the last book you read outside your preferred genre?

I am reading one now that is not historical fiction.

Are you in a book club?

Yes.

If so, what book did your club read last?

Sting by Sandra Brown

Where do you obtain most of the books you read- from a bookstore, online, the library, borrowed from a friend, etc.?

From Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

How do you decide which books to read?

First my genre and then by subject.

What is in your To-Be-Read pile?

I have many books in my TBR I am working my way through: Patience Griffin’s Quilts and Kilts Series as well as Laura Childs’s Tea Shop Mystery Series. 

Do you pay attention to especially bad reviews of books when deciding whether to buy or read them?

No. It seems that is people don’t like things, then I tend to like them.

Lots of people don’t have a favorite book for a variety of reasons. Do you have a favorite? What is it?

The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon is one of my favorites.

Where is your favorite reading spot?

Anywhere and everywhere.

Anything else you want me to know?

I have loved reading since I was little girl and never leave home without a book.

Thank you, Angela! I’ve enjoyed getting to know more about you and your reading habits!

Until next time,

Amy