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Chasing the Case

Paperback Writer

This week my publishers sent me the full cover for the paperback version of my new mystery, Chasing the Case. That’s it above. And I will say unabashedly that I love it.

Laurence Patterson, co-publisher of Crooked Cat Books, emailed me the final design Wednesday. In about a week or so, I will have the book in my hands after it arrives by mail.

At that point I will officially be a paperback writer. (Yeah, yeah, I will post a photo.)

In this digital age, eBooks are huge. I understand why. They are affordable and accessible. Buy one and it will appear on your Kindle, computer or whatever in a minute. It’s also a good way to try out a new author.

And my understanding is that most sales are via eBooks these days.

Ah, traditionalist that I can sometimes be, there is still something about holding a book I wrote.

I’m reminded, of course, of The Beatles’ song Paperback Writer, which was largely written by Paul McCartney. Admittedly, it’s not one of the Fab Four’s best songs, but the message hits home for me and I am sure other authors who are trying hard to make it in the publishing world.

As a refresher: In the song, a wannabe author begs a publisher to take a look at his book — “a dirty story of a dirty man . . .” Yeah, he really begs.

Ha, the guy is totally delusional to think the publisher could possibly make a million dollars off the book.

And I have to laugh when he brags that it has a thousand pages and he could write more. (Man, he needs an editor.)

Of course, way back then, wannabe authors typed up a query letter and mailed it with a self-addressed, stamped envelope along with the entire manuscript or a sample. Maybe they received a form letter or a personal reply. Nowadays query letters get emailed and except for the rare occasion, don’t hear anything back.

Yes, I can relate.

And I am also grateful to Laurence and Steph Patterson of Crooked Cat Books for taking me on.

But back to the cover — I love the mood it sets for my mystery, the first in the Isabel Long series. Using black, gray, and red is dramatic and the image captures a key scene in the book.

On the back is a short synopsis I wrote plus an endorsement from thriller author Craig Dirgo: “Take a trip to the land of pot roast, and murder. I did, and I liked what I read.” (You can find other endorsements inside and on Amazon.)

Craig’s words made me smile and I hope it wins over readers. After all, that’s what covers are for.

Chasing the Case will be formally released May 18 with a big to-do on Facebook. I will post info about that, but there will be a lively discussion and contests. Want me to use your name as one of the characters in the second sequel I am currently writing? That’s one of the prizes.

Here is the link to pre-order your copy of Chasing the Case:

I say: why wait? And thank you if you pre-order.

Author Interview

6 Ws with Author Heidi Catherine

Heidi Catherine is the next Crooked Cat Books author to be featured in this series.

Truthseeker CoverCrooked Cat Books draws authors from around the globe. Heidi, who currently focuses on fantasy romance, is from Australia.

The theme of her current series — The Soulweaver, The Truth Seeker, and The Shadowmaker —  is about loving the same souls over many lifetimes. “It explores not only romantic love, but love between a parent and child, between siblings or even just friends,” she says.

The Truth Seeker will be released March 19.

Here are Heidi’s responses to my 6Ws — who, what, when, where, how, and why.
(How does end with a W.)

Who is author Heidi Catherine?

Me! I’m an Australian writer, from Melbourne. I’m married with two sons and think I might possibly have a charmed life. My family and I live in a fabulous little part of the world. At one end of our street is a wildlife sanctuary with kangaroos and emus and at the other is a disused church from an old mental asylum. Even though we love it, we’re a little obsessed with the beach, so most weekends we head to the coast where we have a house. It’s a great place to spend time together, go for walks and get inspired. I feel extremely lucky.

What does she write?

My current focus is on my romantic fantasy series, The Soulweaver. It’s a story 51Oi7cRi2uLabout loving the same souls over many lifetimes. The second book in the series, The Truthseeker, is out on 19 March and will be quickly followed by the third and final book, The Shadowmaker on 31 May.

When does she write?

I write on weekdays when I have the house to myself (apart from my dogs, who watch me work, hoping I’ll get writer’s block and take them for a walk). It hasn’t always been this way though. When I first began writing seriously, I was in my 20s and would write on weekends. When I was in my 30s and my kids were young, I’d write any time I got the chance, usually with one of my boys pulling my hair or throwing a ball at my head. It’s a lot easier now!

How does she write?

I put on some music and sit down at my laptop. I’ve gotten into a habit of lighting a candle and I’m now superstitious about it, believing it helps my writing – at the very least it makes the house smell nice! I draft my stories using Scrivener, which I find really useful for being able to quickly jump around within a manuscript. It’s also great for setting daily word targets to meet a goal. When the book is finished, I compile it into Word and edit that version.

Where does she write?

Almost always at home. I don’t like to be locked away in a room, so I have set up a library right in the middle of our house with a small bureau and that’s where I base myself. It’s a little bit too close to the kitchen, which doesn’t help my waistline, but has great light and I enjoy being surrounded by books while I write.

Why does she write?

Growing up, my father was a forensic scientist with the police and my mother was a teacher, so conversations at our dinner table were never boring! I think this was where my imagination got a kick start in life and I was always writing something in the background. Then my mum had a middle grade novel published and I started to wonder if maybe this was something I could think about doing too. The first book I ever wrote was a middle grade novel and I’d still like to get that published one day. I’ve also written two crime novels, inspired by some of my dad’s stories. Again, I’d like to think about getting these published too. I just need to figure out the best way to do this now that I’ve established myself as a romantic fantasy author. A nice problem to have!

More: The Soulweaver and The Truthseeker are both published by Crooked Cat Books and are available to purchase on Amazon in either for Kindle or in paperback. They will soon be joined by The Shadowmaker, which is the final book in the series. The Soulweaver won Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Pro award, for the best unpublished manuscript, although it’s more of a “romantic elements” novel than your usual love story.

The series is about loving the same souls over many lifetimes. It explores not only romantic love, but love between a parent and child, between siblings or even just friends. Readers have been describing it as a highly original series that’s made them look at life and love in a different way.

Here are the links:

Heidi Catherine on social media:


Amazon author page





Kindle  copy
Chasing the Case, Isabel Long Series

My Low-Pressure Sales Pitch

I’ve been thinking of ways to tell readers nicely how happy it would make me if they pre-ordered my brand new mystery, Chasing the Case. So, here goes.

Pre-order, you say? This is how it works: you tell Amazon ahead of time you want to buy the Kindle version of the book, and on May 18 it will pop into your computer, tablet, or device like a pleasant surprise.

I am grateful for those who have already made a purchase. As for others, I can imagine what you’re saying: May 18 is a long ways off. Why can’t I wait?

Here are ten reasons.

ONE: Chasing the Case is a really good mystery, if I say so myself. Yesterday somebody sent me a challenge on Twitter about what three things I need to write. My top answer was: A story I can’t let go. That’s the scenario for this one. It was my first attempt at this genre and I found I loved writing mysteries.

Here’s a short summary. Isabel Long, a long-time journalist, becomes an amateur P.I. after she gets canned from her newspaper job. She’s got time on her hands, so she decides to solve a mystery of a woman who went missing 28 years earlier. It was her first big story as a rookie reporter. And it happened in her town of a thousand people.

Isabel is smart, sassy and doesn’t take crap from anybody. She’s got a Watson, her 92-year-old mother who lives with her. And she takes a job tending bar at a local watering hole so she can get up close and personal with those close to this case.

The story is set in an imagined hilltown in Western Massachusetts.

As a journalist, Isabel never lost a story she chased. Now, as an amateur P.I., she’s not about to lose this case either.

TWO: It’s damn cheap at $2.99 (US), £1.99 (UK) and $3.99 (AU) and CDN $2.99 (CA).

What could you possibly buy at that price that would bring you lasting pleasure? Not much these days. I’ve had coffee that cost more than that.

By the way it’s free, if you have Kindle Unlimited.

THREE: It’s damn easy to buy. Just go to these links. On a box, you will see a place that says “Pre-order with 1-Click.” Just click it.

You go to: Amazon US or Amazon UK or Amazon Canada or Amazon Australia.

FOUR: It’s good for the novel’s ranking on Amazon. Yup, the book industry is a numbers game.

FIVE: Uh, I don’t own a Kindle. You can download a free Kindle app for your computer, tablet, even your phone.

SIX: Hold on. I prefer a book in hand. Yes, I understand. I have a library of books I’ve collected.

My friend, Amy, sent me this humorous message on Facebook: “Troglodyte Murphy awaits the hard copy… Ring me on my 2006 Tracfone when it’s ready.”

Paperbacks will be available soon and I will let you know when.

SEVEN: On launch day, I will be hosting an online party on Facebook. It will last a few hours. There will be opportunities for fun discussions and contests with prizes. Would you like your pet’s name to be used in the second sequel I’m working on? Perhaps you would like one of the characters to have your name. That’s a start. It’s open to anyone on Facebook.

EIGHT: I promise not to be a pest about this. My publisher, Crooked Cat Books, recommends our presence on social media should be 80 percent us and 20 percent our books. I am going to have to post a whole lot more to make up for this pitch.

NINE: Let me repeat: you will make me happy. Very happy. And grateful. Writing brings me immense pleasure, but it takes a lot to put together say a 75,000-word novel. I want people to read it. Luckily, I have the support of Crooked Cat Books and I hope you.

TEN: Thank you for sticking with me if you’ve read this far.

My good luck

Lost Then Found

It was a small thing, really, an earring. That piece of jewelry and its pair meant a lot to me. And I was distraught when I lost it.

But hold on. There’s more to this story.

First, the earrings are Native-made from the Four Corners area of the Southwest. That’s where my sister, Christine, bought them. They were a gift from her several years ago, which adds to their value.

I loved the earrings’ design created in silver and a bit of coral. So have countless strangers who have stopped to tell me. A Taos Pueblo shop owner told me he hadn’t seen that quality in twenty years.

I wore them almost every day.

But then one night about two weeks ago while watching TV, I touched my right earlobe and discovered the earring was missing. Oh, no.

So, the search began, hampered from the get-go because I didn’t know exactly when I lost the earring — only when I discovered it was gone. I searched the apartment we’re renting and the house we’re renovating. Both cars. Hank helped. Nothing.

Then I retraced my steps for the day.

Since moving to Western Mass., I’ve been typically wearing three tops, a heavy jacket, scarf, and woolen hat because it’s so darn cold and damp. Could I have lost the earring when I removed one of them during my errands?

I asked at the coffee shop and stores in the village. Nothing. (I must say from what I’ve seen, people lose a lot of eyeglasses.) I searched the ground where I walked. Nothing again.

Two weeks passed. I became philosophical about attachment and loss. Perhaps, as a daughter suggested, I could turn the sole survivor into a pendant.

But every time I’d see one of my photos, I would be wearing those earrings. Damn, they were a part of me.

Then the other day, we had a wet four inches of snow . I grabbed a shovel to clear my parking space at the house. Because it’s so close to the road, it catches a lot of heavy snow from the highway department truck’s plow blade.

As I shoveled snow, I notice something shiny on the ground. I looked closer. Yes, it was the earring. It must have fallen beneath the car when I took off my hat or a scarf or something else.

I cried out loud at my good fortune. Hank, who was working inside, was surprised when I told him.

During the past two weeks, there was a long spell when that parking space was clear to the asphalt. Why hadn’t I noticed the earring before? I guess I just wasn’t looking there.

So, where are the earrings now? That night I cleaned and polished them with a jeweler’s cloth and put them away for safekeeping until I no longer wear heavy clothes. I vow to use guards on the hoops. In the meantime, I wear a pair that would take quite a yank to lose.

Is there a lesson here? Oh, sure, probably something about faith and attachments. But the God’s honest truth? I’m just happy to have it back.

SOME WRITING NEWS: Thanks to Fiona Mcvie for hosting me on her author blog. Here’s the link:


Chasing the Case cover copy
Chasing the Case

The Cover Story

Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard about not judging a book by its cover. But it can sure give you a good idea of what to expect inside. And that’s why I’m excited about the cover my publishers designed for my mystery, Chasing the Case. You can see it above. Here’s the story behind it.

Chasing the Case is my first mystery and the first in a series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. after she gets canned from her newspaper. With time on her hands, she decides to solve the disappearance of a woman 28 years ago from her town of a thousand people. It was also Isabel’s first big story as a rookie reporter.

She has a Watson, her 92-year-old mother, who lives with her. And she takes a part-time bartending job at the local watering hole where she can get up close and personal with those connected to the case. Yeah, things are not just sweetness and light in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts.

So, how do I project that to potential readers? That’s where Laurence and Steph Patterson, of Crooked Cat Books, come in.

When I signed onto the publishing house, I was asked to suggest an idea for a cover. Given the title and a pivotal scene in the mystery, I thought of a woman running through the woods as if she’s giving chase or being chased.

But Laurence and Steph came up with a better idea.

Besides the images of women running through the woods available to us were athletic-looking babes in sporty gear. They were all too young to be Isabel, who, as the French say, is une femme d’un certain âge. Another consideration: the story takes place in the fall/early winter.

Laurence and Steph researched other book covers in my genre and considered what style would fit the mood of Chasing the Case and set the theme for its sequel, Redneck’s Revenge, which will be out this fall. They sent me sample images and encouraged me to look for my own.

The one image that intrigued me from the get-go was of a woman walking along a path — or it could be a dirt road. The air is dusky or foggy in the black-and-white image. It could be just before the sun breaks in the morning or after the sun sets in the evening. Without spilling any secrets, it could be a crucial scene in the story.

We went back and forth a bit. I showed the image to two friends who had read the book. I kept looking at other images.

But nothing was as good as that image.

Once I gave the go-ahead, Laurence and Steph came up with the wording and design. My name is in a dark red on top.

I love it.

And it appears those who have seen it on social media do as well. What especially makes me happy is that it is appealing to both men and women. Yes, a woman is the central figure, but I am hoping anyone would want to read it.

(By the way, my first two adult novels that I self-published —  Peace, Love, and You Know What and The Sweet Spot — were designed by Michelle Gutierrez. A talented designer, she read both books before coming up with their great covers. You can find them on Amazon.)

So what’s next? There’s more work to be done before we hit the switch on Amazon and elsewhere for the eBook and paperback editions. We have a release date of May 18. You can pre-order the Kindle edition before that and it will pop into your device that day. But — smile — the paperback for Chasing the Case can be bought before that.

I will keep you informed without being a pest about it.

By the way, here’s the link to Crooked Cat Books so you can check it out and learn about its other authors and their books.