Friday, October 28, 2016

NEW RELEASE - Murder Between the Pages

New release this morning! Murder Between the Pages is a 1940s madcap mystery novella set in Concord, Massachusetts, the Birthplace of Literacy.


There are launch parties going on this weekend over at Facebook and Goodreads! Let's do launch! ;-)

Anyway, this is, as previously mentioned, historical (so if you don't like old black and white movies, you probably won't--WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU?) and it's also, just for the next 90 days, an Amazon exclusive. I thought I would experiment with Kindle Unlimited, since we keep hearing all these stories about how no one can survive without it. I apologize in advance to those of you who don't purchase through Amazon.

Felix Day, author of the Constantine Sphinx mysteries, and Leonard Fuller, author of the Inspector Fez mysteries, are bitter rivals and the best of enemies. Both happen to be present when a notorious author of roman à clef is shot by an invisible assailant during a signing at historic Marlborough Bookstore.

Even if they weren’t both suspects, it’s the perfect opportunity to match wits and sleuthing skills.

If only the murderer was equally amused.

Harp tapped the point of his pencil on his notes. At last he raised his head and fixed me with a bleak and wintry stare. “Was Shelton blackmailing you?”

Me? No. Of course not.”

I realized too late the correct answer was what would he have to blackmail me about? But Harp already knew the answer to that.

“Tell me the truth. If he was, I’ll do what I can for you. You’ll go to prison, maybe the chair, but I’ll see that the truth doesn’t come out.”

I stared at him—gawked is probably the more accurate word—and then I began to laugh. At Harp’s change of expression I laughed harder. In fact, I had to put my hands over my face to try and smother the guffaws that threatened to tear out.

“Say,” Harp said, frowning. “Are you screwy, or are you just having some kind of fit?”

I shook my head, still gulping
“All right. All right.” Harp pulled open a couple of drawers and found a silver flask. He unscrewed the lid, sniffed the contents, and rose. He handed the flask across the desk to me.

I wiped my eyes, half rose to take the flask, and swigged down a couple of mouthfuls of rye. The liquor burned its way down my throat and splashed into my empty stomach. I felt slightly sick but more composed as I handed the flask back to Harp. He sniffed it a second time and then also took a quick swallow. He screwed the lid tight and placed the flask back in the drawer.

“Was that a confession?” he asked.

Unfortunately that started me all over again.

“For Christ’s sake!” Harp muttered.

I managed to get control of myself. “Sorry,” I said. I wiped my eyes again, sat up straight. “Why don’t you tell me what evidence you’ve got against me?”

Harp began to tell me.

You can buy this little amusement over at Amazon. I hope you enjoy it! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

While You're Busy Making Other Plans...

So anyway, about a week and a half ago (October 5th, if you want to be precise) I was in my usual high energy (some call it panic) mode. So much to do, so little time. As things stood I was in the middle of edits for both Murder Between the Pages and Fair Chance and I had a 3-day gig that following weekend. If that sounds kind of stressful, you have fully grasped the situation. But I'm kind of used to stressful--that's part of the job description of self-employed writer--and I was reassuring myself that so long as I stuck to the program and nothing else came up, I'd be okay. I could deliver everything to everyone on time. And then do it all again next month--only also serve a fancy Thanksgiving dinner for twelve.

And then that selfish, inconsiderate bastard of my SO had to go and have a stroke.

I say that with well, love, yes, but also exasperation, which doesn't negate the fact that the past week and a half were probably the most terrifying in my life. His too, no doubt, but there's something especially terrifying about being left the grown-up in charge of the other grown-up.

Anyway, not to dramatize. He's fine. Complete recovery. Which is actually a problem in itself, but I won't go into that here. I am also fine, but running slightly late. Not so much on the immediate projects because they were far enough along that the sudden explosion of plans and schemes and strategies did not actually set me back too much. But certain projects have been pushed back about two weeks.

Which is kind of disappointing for all concerned, but here's are the lessons of the last week and a half. Things Change. And You Will Adjust.

Generally in that order.

The funny thing about these two lessons is the older you get, the more likely the Things Change part is to happen to you. And the tougher it is on you. :-)  But the You Will Adjust remains just as true now as it was back then when things couldn't possibly change fast enough.  

Personally I find that kind of comforting. And that's really all I have to say this morning. Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Author! Author! DAL MACLEAN

If you're a lover of mysteries and have not read the absolutely brilliant Bitter Legacy by Dal MacLean, you're missing out on a delicious and deadly morsel of Male/Male mystery-romance.

Here's the blurb:

Detective Sergeant James Henderson of London’s Metropolitan Police Murder Investigation Team is no ordinary police officer. His remarkable gut instincts and relentless detective work have put him on a three-year fast track to becoming an inspector.
When the murder of barrister Maria Curzon-Whyte lands in his lap, he finds himself drawn back into the insidious world of London’s privileged elite―where men like James’s father possess wealth and power enough to hold the law in contempt. As James navigates the promiscuous, secretive and corrupt spheres of the rich, the murderer strikes again.
Soon James begins to fear that these crimes lead dangerously close to his own heart and home. And now, he risks losing everything he’s made of his life unless he can expose the sordid truths that have bred this bitter legacy.

Dal and I go way back. We first met whilst singing waulking songs and fulling (or cleaning) the wool for the Harris tweed jackets we were making to sell in--okay, no. Actually we met over our mutual darenotspeakitsname love for a certain 1970s gritty UK crime show. We corresponded a bit (mile long letters that I still have archived somewhere in my mailbox) and then sort of lost track of each other for a couple of years. When she popped up again--bored and lonely and desperately in need of a pen pal while living in an exotic foreign clime she seriously needs to write a book about--I was delighted. And I remain delighted because there's nothing lovelier than rediscovering long lost friends.

Anyway, allow me to present the wicked lovely Ms. MacLean.

JL - So remind me where we first met. Live Journal, wasn't it? What were you doing there? Is it true you were in the Witness Protection program? 

DM - I think I wrote you a gushing appreciation of Adrien and Jake demanding you get rid of the Professor immediately. (Which you did and I take full credit) Yes, I was in the witness protection program (with you) and our bodies were being guarded closely by Bodie and Doyle.

JL - LOL. I suspect it was probably the other way around. I recall being quite in awe of you (and still am). In fact, I should link this blog to LiveJournal because I know there are some long lost fans of yours who would love to know what you're up to. Anyway, next question! Last piece of music you listened to? Did you sing along? 

DM - A Lyke Wake Dirge by Andrew Bird and Matt Berniger. Its a medieval dirge. Yes I sang along. It was very jolly.

JL - It sounds ever so jolly! Next question. Why mystery? What attracted you to the mystery genre.

 DM - Mystery’s my go-to genre to read for fun, and I’ve found writing it is fun too, in a deeply masochistic kind of way.  Its a real challenge, trying to lay enough clues, but not too many, when you’re well aware your readers are smart as hell.  Teaming it with romance makes it even trickier too, doesn’t it? What are we thinking?

JL - We are genetically programmed to embrace lost causes. ;-)  Do you know how to fence? Would you like to learn? What's your favorite sport?

DM - No, I don’t know how to fence (have you been drinking? Please may I have some?). Actually, I’d love to learn to fence.  Its so melodramatic — the mask, all that lunging. My favourite sport to watch is football (soccer), but to do, cycling. 

JL  - What was it like working with editor Nicole Kimberling of Blind Eye Books? I've heard she's fantastic to work with.

DM - No! She’s a monster. Stay away! Nah, actually she’s the way I'd hoped and imagined a professional editor would be - involved, experienced, super clever.  She has great ideas but she’s also very ready to listen and accept alternatives. And she’s kind, which is a much underrated virtue.  Other than that though, she has brilliant chat, which is the highest possible compliment in Scotland (= great fun to talk to). (She made me say all this by the way).

JL - Speaking of Nikki, who is your all time favorite villain? (I'M KIDDING, NIKKI!!! YOU KNOW I ADORES YOU.)

DM - Tom in Tom and Jerry. Yes, he was the villain, but he had Reasons and Pathos and you couldn’t help rooting for him to win just once, even though he was trying to ruthlessly slaughter a small animal. He was the perfect bad guy really. He may be doing the wrong thing, but he leaves you feeling conflicted. I never got over the one where he was guillotined. Do you think I possibly took T & J too seriously?

JL - I...think I must have blocked T getting guillotined. Or maybe we weren't allowed to see that on US TV! Sooo what do you love most about writing? What do you like least?

DM - I love when it flows, when you can’t get the words out fast enough. I love when an idea is fighting to be written. I hate when no idea is fighting to be written.

JL - I usually ask my interviewees if they've ever broken a bone, but you contracted Dengue fever last year and that's SO MUCH MORE interesting. Did you break any bones while recovering from Dengue fever? Are you going to use your experiences with exotic illness in a story? 

DM - This is where I tell you my fevered hallucinations drove me to dive off the roof and break every bone in my body. Unfortunately though, I’d be lying. It’s like very bad flu. Very, very, very bad flu, just passed along by particular types of mosquito which adds the exotica. Basically I was too weak make it to the roof. I could write a story detailing very high temperatures and long bed rest. Do you think there's an audience?

JL - *Nervously clears throat*  You KNOW there is. Which brings me to...Doyle or Bodie? Support your answer by showing us your arithmetic.

DM - Bodie and Doyle. B+D=X (that's algebra but who’s counting?)

JL - I admire the diplomatic dodging there. So what do you think is the most important thing to remember when creating fully realized main characters?

DM - I think giving characters actual human flaws and sticking with that. Plus trying to give them internal consistency — basically making sure anything they do follows from who they are. Actually Adrien and Jake are absolutely brilliant examples of that.

JL - Whisht, lassie! Is it true your native tongue is Gaelic? What's your favorite Gaelic proverb?

DM - Where I grew up, Gaelic was spoken everyday but I wouldn’t call it my native tongue - English is my first language. It was my grandparent’s native tongue I’d say. I do have a  working knowledge of it though.

My favourite Gaelic proverb.  Hmmm.  Well a lot of them go big on humility. My Granny’s favourite when given a compliment was “Glòir mhilis a heallas an t-amadan” which means “Sweet words beguile a fool.” All right then. 

JL - Oh! Timely perhaps, given all those sweet (and very much deserved) words right now with the release of Bitter Legacy. ;-) But that was yesterday. What are you working on now?

DM - A murder mystery set in London, involving models. Sort of. If I sound shady it’s because I’m still making it up. As you do.

JL - Hey!!! No spilling professional secrets. :-D Is there any genre you'd like to tackle but you're kinda sorta afraid? 

DM - Historical. I would love to try (history was what I studied) but the minutiae of the research terrifies me. You really need to get the details right for it to work, but I'm so anal I could spend years making sure the forks are correct. Other than that, Fantasy.  

JL - Speaking of fantasies: All time favorite dessert?

DM - Oh, brutal question. I love them all. I have such a sweet tooth, I’d live on dessert given the chance. Ummmm Creme Catalana’s nice, with berries.

JL - Tell us something surprising. Anything. Go on. Surprise us! 

DM - I was once offered a job as a dominatrix. At least I think that’s what she was offering me.

JL - Hahahahahaha. Dear Dal, you've just won Most Interesting Job Ever Offered to a Person Interviewed on This Blog Award. I was I had a suitable prize for you.

To find out more about Dal, you can visit her website or pop over and friend her on Facebook.