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Darkstroke Books, Isabel Long Mystery Series, Killing the Story

Killing the Story: Ready for Pre-Order

Today’s a big day for this author. My latest novel, Killing the Story, number four in the Isabel Long Mystery Series, is available for pre-order for Kindle readers.

The official release date is Aug. 26. Yeah, yeah, that’s a ways off. But you can order the Kindle version of book now and forget about it until that day arrives when it will mysteriously appear in your device. Or if you can buy the hard copy, when it’s ready soon, and it will be making its way in the mail on that date.

The last several days have been busy for Laurence Patterson, of Darkstroke Books, and I. We worked hard to to find just the right image for the cover. It was important that the fourth match the other three in its theme, color and composition. There were other design parameters. But in the end I found the right image and then Laurence worked his magic.

What else? I came up with a new bio, dedication, acknowledgment, and the all-important blurb for the back cover. Here it is:

An accidental death that was no accident…

For the record, Estelle Crane, the gutsy editor of The Observer newspaper, died after a hard fall on ice. But years later, her son discovers a cryptic note hinting her death might not have been an accident after all.

Was Estelle pursuing a big story that put her life in danger?

That’s what Isabel Long — along with her 93-year-old mother, Maria, her ‘Watson’ — agrees to investigate in Dillard, a town whose best days are in the past.

A former journalist, Isabel follows leads and interviews sources, new and familiar. She quickly finds a formidable threat in Police Chief James Hawthorne, who makes it clear Isabel is not welcome in his town — and who warns her against poking her nose into Estelle’s death.

Of course, that’s after Isabel has discovered the chief’s questionable policing and a troubled history with Estelle that goes way back.

Killing the story means dropping it because there aren’t enough facts to back it up. But Isabel won’t make that mistake. She’ll see this one through to the very end.

Can she uncover the plot that led to Estelle’s murder?

Killing the Story is the fourth in the popular Isabel Long Mystery Series.

Of course there is more work to be done like edits. I am collecting endorsements from fellow authors. And I am planning on how to celebrate and promote release day. For something new, I may do a Google Hangout or a Zoom session. Would you be interested in participating?

So here’s the link to place your pre-order: Killing the Story on Amazon

And thank you if you do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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three days hillerman copy
free, Isabel Long Mystery Series

Free for the Taking

Well, you’ve got to start somewhere, and that includes writing a series although frankly, it was not my original intention. One day I decided to write a mystery, fell so in love with the characters, the plot twists, the setting etc. I couldn’t let them go, and now I am closing in on the end of book number four in the Isabel Long Mystery Series.

So my gift to Kindle readers: you can have the first book, Chasing the Case, for free. Plain and simple, I want you to get hooked on my series. Here’s your chance, but only for three days: March 20-22, so hurry.

I have had wonderful support from family, friends, acquaintances, who have bought my books. I express my deep appreciation to them, so I am reaching out to more recent acquaintances, many of whom are authors themselves. And if you don’t mind, let your mystery-loving friends know as well.

So what is Chasing the Case about?

Isabel Long has just come off a bad year. Her husband, Sam, died and she lost her job running a newspaper when it went corporate. So she decides to put those transferable skills to good use as a private investigator solving cold cases in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts where she lives. Besides, she has a perfect “Watson,” her 92-year-old mystery-loving mother who’s come to live with her.

Isabel’s first case was also her first big story as a rookie reporter: the disappearance of a woman 28 years earlier in her small town of a thousand people.

To help her case, she takes a job at the local watering hole, the Rooster, so she can get up close and personal with those connected to the mystery.

That’s the bare bones to that story. When I decided to attempt a mystery, I wanted my protagonist to be a woman. She wasn’t going to be a sweet, young thing. She was going to be a woman with some good miles on her — what the French call une femme d’un certain age. Isabel has three grown kids and a granddaughter. She’s also a recent widow. As for looks, she’s attractive enough to gain the attention of older men.

And Isabel had a long career as a journalist — starting as a reporter covering the dinky hilltown where she lives to being the managing editor of a newspaper. When the new owner said everybody had to reapply for their job. Isabel said, “To hell with that.”

Yeah, Isabel is a bit on the sassy side. She doesn’t take crap from anybody. She’s also savvy, which made her a good journalist. Now, it will come in handy as a private investigator.

Isabel’s also ready to reinvent herself — as a private investigator and as a single woman. The second part means after a year of properly grieving her late husband whom she loved, she’s ready for relationship with another man — and she finds it. Her relationship with Jack, owner of the Rooster Bar, is complicated. But I’m not going to spoil what happens for readers.

So, how much of me is in Isabel? I’d like to say the sassy and savvy part, especially since I wrote these books in first person. I, too, was a journalist who started in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, where I’ve lived twice. But unlike Isabel, I didn’t become a P.I. Instead I write about one, and that’s fine with me.

Here’s the link to Chasing the Case: Chasing the Case on Amazon

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99c_99p Kindle Sale on Amazon FB copy
The Sweet Spot

Let me tell you about The Sweet Spot

I published The Sweet Spot 18 months ago. I did it on my own — a long story there. And for three days, Dec. 7-9, you can buy the Kindle version for 99c/99p because I want more people to read it. (More below.) If I say so myself, it’s a damn good book about what can happen in a small town when somebody makes a big mistake.

It’s the first book I published that’s set in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts where I now live. scan TSSAnd its characters, starting with Edie St. Claire and her rough-sawn family, have stayed with me like old friends, even the ones that are not so nice.

Let me share a post I wrote about Edie. Here goes.

Real people have real feelings. And since the characters of my new novel The Sweet Spot are real to me, I believe it applies to them.

Actually, the novel is filled with emotion. Love. Joy. Humor. Grief. And then there’s the ugly stuff. Jealousy. Anger. Hate. Oh, there’s more than that certainly.

But let me focus on Edie St. Claire, the novel’s main character. She’s a young widow who still grieves for her husband, Gil, who was killed in Vietnam eight years earlier. (The novel is set in 1978.) I don’t blame her. He was a sweetheart of a guy. I should know. I created him.

They were high school sweethearts who married young. Gil was taken by Edie’s fun-loving spirit. She adored his tenderness. They would have had a wonderful future together, except he pulled a low number during the 1969 lottery and had to go to war.

I’ve never been a widow. But the blessed part about being a writer and a person with a creative mind is that I can imagine it.

When The Sweet Spot starts, Edie raises their young daughter by herself. She does her best, whether it’s helping her crusty old father who runs the town dump or her fiery aunt who live next door. Still, she knows how to have a good time, whether its playing softball — the camaraderie and banter among her teammates are a lot of fun — or hanging out at the local watering hole, the Do-Si-Do Bar. These are simply ways for her to escape her grief.

Then, there is her affair with her married brother-in-law, Walker. The man could never replace his brother although he sure keeps trying.

I can’t give away the rest of the book, but things turn out badly for Edie and Walker.

Now Edie must deal with different emotions like shame, hatred, and pride. How does she handle them? Let’s say I’m rooting for her.

BUY MY BOOK: Well, unless you know somebody who has a copy, you need to buy my book to be able to read it. Those who read Kindle have an advantage for three days. The Sweet Spot is also available in paperback. Here’s the link to Amazon: The_Sweet_Spot

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William Cullen Bryant homestead
The Sweet Spot

Countdown

Monday, Feb. 20, the official launch day for The Sweet Spot, fast approaches. For the past couple of months, I’ve been trying to generate interest in my hilltown novel’s characters and plot. I will continue that practice over the next few days via these posts.

This has been a hectic week for Michelle Gutierrez, the novel’s designer, and me. Dissatisfied with the proofs of the book’s physical cover — the spine’s printing was off — she decided to change the design a bit to alleviate any problems. Ah, so another set of proofs had to arrive, which they did Wednesday. Voila. The cover looks fabulous. But I am holding off publishing until last minute. (With Create Space and Kindle, you can’t set a future release date.)

The Kindle version was a bit trickier. But Michelle figured out the formatting problems.

Then I had to come up with ad copy through Amazon marketing for the Kindle version. I plan to run the ad for the next two weeks at least, starting Monday. People were nice enough to weigh in on the ad copy on Facebook.

Ah, then I found out I had to reduce it all to 150 CHARACTERS. Wow, how do you reduce 80,000 words into that amount? Here’s what I came up with: Most love Edie, widow of a soldier killed in Vietnam, until her affair with his brother ends badly. Can she survive her small town’s biggest scandal?

That will appear on certain ads, like when somebody opens their Kindle e-reader.

I also came up with a headline for the other types of ads: Secrets and Scandals in a Small Town.

Of course, I will do promotion via social media, and later next month, a reading in Taos. It would be fun to return to the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts to have one.

And hopefully, those who read and like my novel will write reviews as they did for my last novel, Peace, Love, and You Know What.

More tomorrow ….

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: That image of the road leading to the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington, Massachusetts was taken from an old postcard. Hank and I used to walk the old-growth forest beside it when we lived in the hilltowns. Conwell, the fictional town in The Sweet Spot, would fit nicely beside Cummington.

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