Highland Peril Has Arrived!

I’m thrilled to announce that it’s Release Day for Highland Peril!

I’m participating in a blog tour for this book in the hope of getting the word out to lots of people over lots of platforms. Yesterday I was a guest on Kristina Stanley’s Mystery Mondays blog and on Amy Metz’s A Blue Million Books. You can click on the blog names to visit the posts.

Here’s where I’ll be for the next week:

Today: Nadaness in Motion

Wednesday: The Pulp and Mystery Shelf

Thursday: Dee-Scoveries

Friday: Back Porchervations and Readeropolis

Saturday: The Editing Pen and Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book

Sunday: The Power of Words

Monday: Cozy Up with Kathy

Next week I’ll give you a few more posts to check out.

And now I have a wee request: if you’ve already read a pre-release copy of Highland Peril, would you do me a HUGE favor and post your review on Amazon? I appreciate it very much.

Thanks as always for your support and love!

Until next time,

Amy

 

 

Advertisements

And Now for Some BSP: Blatant Self-Promotion

My latest release, The House on Candlewick Lane, is on sale for 99¢ and I’m trying to spread the word far and wide. If you’ve read the book, thank you very much. If you’ve read the book and left a review, you are awesome.

And if you haven’t read the book, this is your chance!!

Here’s a quick summary of the novel:

It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Greer Dobbins’ daughter has been kidnapped—and spirited across the Atlantic to a hiding place in Scotland. Greer will do anything to find her, but the streets of Edinburgh hide a thousand secrets—including some she’d rather not face.

Art historian Dr. Greer Dobbins thought her ex-husband, Neill, had his gambling addiction under control. But in fact he was spiraling deeper and deeper into debt. When a group of shady lenders threatens to harm the divorced couple’s five-year-old daughter if he doesn’t pay up, a desperate Neill abducts the girl and flees to his native Scotland. Though the trail seems cold, Greer refuses to give up and embarks on a frantic search through the medieval alleys of Edinburgh—a city as beguiling as it is dangerous. But as the nightmare thickens with cryptic messages and a mysterious attack, Greer herself will become a target, along with everyone she holds dear.

Doesn’t that sound like something you want to read TODAY?!

Here’s the Amazon link if you’re interested: http://amzn.to/2ruijTR

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2kJMNLO

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2s3VUKO

Google: http://bit.ly/2kV6JNQ

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2rkeD7M

Thank you! If you’re inclined to share this post, I would be most grateful!

Until next week,

Amy

It’s Release Day!

Good Tuesday morning! When I started working on The House on Candlewick Lane a million years ago (at least it seems that way), it felt like February 7, 2017, would never arrive. But here it is, and I’m thrilled to have the book out in the world!

amy-reade

For those readers who may not be familiar with what the book is about, here’s the Amazon teaser, along with the link to purchase the book if you’re interested:

“It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Greer Dobbins’ daughter has been kidnapped—and spirited across the Atlantic to a hiding place in Scotland. Greer will do anything to find her, but the streets of Edinburgh hide a thousand secrets—including some she’d rather not face.

Art historian Dr. Greer Dobbins thought her ex-husband, Neill, had his gambling addiction under control. But in fact he was spiraling deeper and deeper into debt. When a group of shady lenders threatens to harm the divorced couple’s five-year-old daughter if he doesn’t pay up, a desperate Neill abducts the girl and flees to his native Scotland. Though the trail seems cold, Greer refuses to give up and embarks on a frantic search through the medieval alleys of Edinburgh—a city as beguiling as it is dangerous. But as the nightmare thickens with cryptic messages and a mysterious attack, Greer herself will become a target, along with everyone she holds dear.”

Link: click here

If you read my guest post on Just 4 My Books last week, you’ll know that I spent one semester in college as an intern at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. And even though I was only there for a few months, the organization and the work it does for families made a lasting impact on me. I learned that familial kidnapping is far more prevalent than stranger kidnapping, even though stranger kidnappings are almost always the ones we hear about on the news. The topic of familial kidnapping is explored in the book, albeit in the wrapping of a larger, more far-reaching mystery.

The House on Candlewick Lane is the first book in the Malice series, which currently consists of three books. Each book has a different main character, but you’ll find some characters that drop in throughout the series (some more than others). The second book in the series is called Highland Peril and will be out in the fall. The third book, with a working title of Death Comes to Thistlecross, will be out next year. I sincerely hope you’ll read the books and enjoy them as they introduce you (or take you back, if you’ve been there) to some of the most beautiful places in the United Kingdom.

Until next time,

Amy

P.S. Please feel free to (read: you’ll have my eternal gratitude!) spread this post far and wide!

Fun Facts: Scotland Edition

housecandlewicklane_final-1

It’s getting very exciting around here: The House on Candlewick Lane is released just two weeks from today! To get everyone in the mood to read about Scotland, and Edinburgh in particular, I have put together a list of some facts about Scotland you may  not have known.

The first fact on today’s list, and by far my favorite, is that the unicorn is Scotland’s national animal.

Second: Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, was the first city in the world to have its own fire brigade.

Third, the first recorded appearance of the Loch Ness Monster was in 565 AD.

Fourth, Scotland is home to the oldest tree in Europe, a 3,000-year-old twisted yew.

Fifth, the raincoat was invented in Scotland. And bonus fact: it was invented by a man named “Macintosh.”

Sixth, it is believed that the world’s first toilet was invented in Orkney, Scotland, in 3,000 BC.

Seventh, one of Scotland’s most famous products, whisky, was actually invented in China.

Eighth, Scotland’s national flower, and one of its national symbols, is the thistle.

Ninth, Scotland has the highest proportion of redheads in the world, at 13% of the population. About 40% of the population carry the recessive gene for red hair.

Tenth, the game of golf originated in Scotland in the 15th century.

Eleventh, Scotland is comprised of 790 islands, 130 of which are inhabited.

Twelfth, “Alba” is Gaelic for “Scotland.”

And finally, in 2004 Edinburgh became UNESCO’s first “City of Literature.”

This photo was taken on the Isle of Skye earlier this year:

13346215_934202553365668_615481189350087050_o

Do you have a favorite fun fact? Do you know of others that I didn’t mention here? Share them with us!

Until next week,

Amy

Around the World on New Year’s Eve

USA Today Bestseller!

With thanks to Silver Threading and her Christmas Trees Around the World blog event, I have decided to do something a bit similar and devote my blog post this week to New Year’s Eve customs and traditions around the world.

First, my own plans: we’re staying in this New Year’s Eve, as we normally do. We got some fun games for Christmas, so we might break those out. I usually make a few dips and snacks and we’ll graze on them throughout the evening. At midnight we’ll watch the ball drop on Times Square, and that’s about it. We like a pretty low-key New Year’s Eve at our house.

Now for the things you came here to read…and in the interest of keeping things brief, I’ve chosen just a few places to highlight. Coincidentally, most are places I’d like to visit.

Scotland: I chose Scotland because it’s the setting of my next three books and I love it there. I’ve only visited once, but it made a wonderful and lasting impression. In Scotland, the last day of the year and all the celebrations that go with it are referred to as “Hogmanay.” It’s an event which has its roots in ancient customs surrounding the winter solstice, so many Hogmanay celebrations include torchlight or bonfires. “The Bells” is the midnight hour when the old year turns to the new. And in Scotland a popular custom is called “first footing” and it refers to the first person to set foot in a house after the New Year begins. Traditionally, the first foot should belong to a dark-haired male in order to bring good luck to the home. And the first-footer should always bear a gift, such as coal, shortbread, or whiskey, for the host.

Bonus Scotland tidbit: The popular New Year’s Eve song “Auld Lang Syne” was written by a Scot, Robert Burns, in 1788.

Denmark: There are two main events that take place on New Year’s Eve in Denmark. The first is the monarch’s televised speech at 6 p.m. and the second is the tolling of the Town Hall Clock in Copenhagen. Often Danes will enjoy a marzipan ring cake at midnight, and in some parts of the country the traditional New Year’s Eve menu consists of boiled cod, stewed kale, and/or cured saddle of pork. Most of the foods are lower in calories than the rich Christmas meals.

Spain: in Spain revelers (often wearing red underwear under their clothes) eat one grape for each toll of the bell at midnight on New Year’s Eve. This is supposed to bring good luck in the new year. And before (and after) the grapes, they enjoy a glass of champagne with something gold in the bottom of the flute.

Greece: The Greek tradition is to serve vasilopita (New Year’s Bread) at midnight. This almond bread is baked with a coin or a small charm inside. The head of the household cuts the bread at midnight and the person who gets the piece with the trinket inside will have good luck in the coming year.

France: New Year’s Eve in France is celebrated with a feast called le Reveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre, which often includes oysters, foie gras, and champagne. New Year’s celebrations in France last for six days, until Epiphany.

Japan: Here’s one I love. In Japan people clean their homes to usher out the old year and welcome the new. I’m wondering…if we move to Japan, will the kids clean the house? I’m guessing not. And Buddhist temples in Japan ring their bells 108 times, representing the necessity of avoiding unwholesome actions.

Whatever your plans for New Year’s Eve, I wish you and yours a happy and healthy 2016.

Until next week,

Amy

Who’s Your Muse?

Do you have a muse? Do you know what a muse is? I had heard the term bandied about, but never really understood it’s meaning.

So I looked it up.

The word “muse” comes from the nine mythological goddesses who presided over the arts and sciences. There was a goddess for lyre playing, epic poetry, comedy, history, and astronomy, among others.

So what is a muse in modern parlance? I guess you’d define it as the source of creative inspiration, and it’s usually a person.

I have always read about authors and songwriters and artists and their muses. For F. Scott Fitzgerald, it was his wife Zelda. For John Lennon, it was Yoko Ono. For Alfred Stieglitz, it was Georgia O’Keefe.

As I thought about muses throughout history and the artists and writers they inspired, I got thinking…who’s my muse?

And the more I thought about it, the more obvious it became that I don’t have one. There is no one person who inspires my writing. And I consider this a good thing. I noticed while I was reading about historical muses that the relationships between them and their respective artists were often toxic and depressing. They frequently seemed unhappy and lost. And I don’t want to cause the people around me to feel any of those things.

I am inspired by places and by nature. I love to read about people and locales all around the world, and so I suppose it’s natural that I would choose to write about those same things. I want to inspire people to visit the places in my stories. My first book takes place in the Thousand Islands in upstate New York, and if I can get my readers to want to know more about the Thousand Islands, then I’m happy. My second book is set in South Carolina, near Charleston, and I hope I’m able to describe it well enough that readers will be able to share the experience of being there. My third book will be set in Hawaii. The islands are a feast for the senses, and I want to share that with the people who read the book.

I’d love to set a story in New York City (where I used to live) or in South Jersey (where I live now). I’d love to set a story in San Francisco (where I’ve visited) or England (where I’ve never been) or in Scotland (also, where I’ve never been). When I visit someplace new, I take lots of pictures and maybe even some notes about interesting things and people I see. I keep maps of the places I’ve been, because they can be helpful in setting a story.

I get inspired by people, too, but I could not refer to any of them as my muse. The inspiration these people provide is not creative, but motivational.

Do you have a muse? Or are you inspired by something else? I’d love to hear about it.

Until next week,

Amy

My Bucket List

One of my daughters is a consummate list-maker.  She has lists for everything you can imagine, from her favorite foods to her favorite Disney movies to places she wants to visit.  I’m taking my cue from her today and making a list.  My bucket list.  I’m going to stop myself at ten items because that’s a nice round number and because I don’t want to bore you to death.

When I thought about writing this post, I realized I don’t really have a bucket list.  But when I actually tried to decide what might be on it, I had a hard time narrowing it down to ten.  I imagine most people have that same problem.  

Here goes.

First, I’d like to travel to Greece.  I want to see the postcard places with the white buildings and cerulean ocean in the background.  I want to taste real Greek cuisine.  I want to see all the places I’ve only read about in history books.

Second, I want to take a class at the Culinary Institute of America.  It doesn’t have to be any particular kind of class, though I’m partial to desserts.  

Third, I would love to learn French.  I took French in high school, but I remember almost nothing and if I had to have a conversation, I would be limited to “please” and “thank you” and “shut your mouth” and “I love cheese.”

Fourth and Fifth, I’d like to take two kinds of vacations:  an eco-vacation and a volunteer vacation.  The eco-vacation doesn’t have to be anywhere specific, but it would be nice if it were in a warm place.  And I’d like to take a volunteer vacation in South America. 

Sixth, I want to see a performance at Carnegie Hall.  In all the years I lived in and near Manhattan, I never visited Carnegie Hall and it’s one of the few things I regret about that time. 

Seventh, I want to go to Scotland.  I want to see the mountains and the plaids and the lochs.

Eighth, I want to go to Ireland.  I want to taste honest-to-goodness Irish pub food and see lots of green and lots of sheep.   

Ninth, I’d love to go whitewater rafting on the Colorado River.  I don’t even know why.  It just looks so cool in pictures.

And last, but not least, I’d like to see the Northern Lights.  Preferably from Norway.  

So that’s my bucket list.  I hope it inspires you to come up with your own if you haven’t yet, and I hope it inspires you to let me know what’s on yours. 

Until next week,

Amy