Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Release! Claiming a Heart

The last book of the Halsey Homecoming Trilogy and the eighth book in the Halsey Brothers Series is now available. While I've had a wonderful time writing about the Halsey family and their extended family members, I'm ready to start a new historical western series. Watch for that early in 2016.

Don't fret, though. In October the very last Halsey story will be available as a novella. Shayla's story has a happy ending at Christmas time. ;)

I had fun writing Claiming a Heart. The idea for the story came when I visited the underground tunnels in Pendleton, Oregon. As always when I find something that tweaks my interest I started "what iffing".  I wanted a character who lived in the underground tunnels to help another character.  That way I could show the tunnels and inform people of the history that was connected to the tunnels. 

Claiming a Heart - Donny's Story

Book three of the Halsey Homecoming historical western romance trilogy that is a sequel to the Halsey Brothers Series.

Callie MacPherson - or Mac - is hiding from the law. When she witnesses a group of lawless thugs beating a newcomer, she drags the innocent man into the underground tunnels of Pendleton. Caring for the man, Callie discovers she hasn’t become as hard-hearted as she’d feared.

Donny Kimball’s loss of sight didn’t blind his heart. It can see far more than his eyes ever could. His heart tells him Callie MacPherson needs him as much as he needs her. If only he can convince her of that before they both get killed.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Getting Ready for a Book Signing

Today I'm getting my promotional items ready for a book signing event this Saturday, July 18, 2015.

 Oregon Writers Fair
10 am - 6 pm
Adult and Teen Challenge
31700 Fayetteville Dr. 
Shedd, Oregon

 Some authors pack up their books, a pen, and a bookmark or two and head to a signing.

Unfortunately my giving personality won't allow me to do something so easy. Oh no! I have to make labels with my books and promo for water bottles. I made the labels in Publisher, then made them a JPG and added them to a word page. Using a paper cutter, I cut them in strips and used clear package tape to adhere the labels to the bottles.  I just have to make sure the bottles don't set in water and they should hold up. I'll see if I can find a short, aluminum looking tub to put them in on my table.

Another promo item I've made before is a small booklet with the first chapter of each of my mystery books.

I used publisher to make two booklets per page. That gets more items for a better price. There are the chapters, a cover and back cover with information about the mystery series, my website and Windtree Press. I sent the pdf of the booklet to Staples. They printed, cut the pages in half, stapled, and folded the booklets. All I had to do was sign them, put them in a clear envelope along with bookmarks and a caramel(Shandra Higheagle's favorite flavor).

 I also made signs to put on my book displays and signs with prices. I have a banner with my website header, table cloth, bookmarks, and extra candy.

Yes, I can't just walk into a signing with books and a pen. I have to make sure everyone who stops by my table goes away with something that has my website on it whether they buy a book or not. The back of my Volkswagon Sportwagon is full! Now to find room for my clothes!

Do you like to get freebies at book signings?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Monday Mystery Guest Judy Alter

You can climb any mountain….
Unlike Julie Andrews, I know I can’t climb mountains. If I put my mind to it, there’s probably a whole list of things I can’t do—like sky-diving, parasailing, triathlons, things like that. But it’s okay because I never wanted to do them. On the other hand, ten years ago my list included something I desperately wanted to do—write mysteries. I’m a lifelong fan of reading mysteries, and sometimes as I read I wished I could write like that. Other times, I thought, “I can write better than that!”
About 2002 my twenty-some year writing career appeared to have cratered. I’d been writing fiction and nonfiction about women of the American West, including longer fictional biographies of such women as Libbie Custer, Jessie Benton Frémont, cowgirl Lucille Mulhall, and outlaw Etta Place. But my agent died, and I had no success placing proposals or getting a new agent. I found myself writing educational books for the middle-school library audience. Interesting, paid a little money, and made me feel I was writing. But I wanted to write fiction.
I told myself if I could just see one mystery in print, I’d be content. I combined a story I’d heard about doctor’s wives (I used to be one), a college campus (I worked on a private university campus for nearly 30 years), and of course the requisite murder and romantic interest. It all came together pretty well, and I began the fruitless hunt for an agent. I didn’t let myself in for the 200 rejections some have but got about 20 rejections before I submitted to a fairly well-known mystery house as an exclusive—they kept the manuscript a year before rejecting. Lesson learned about exclusives. Then I found an agent—who also kept it for a useless year. Lesson learned about agents who start out wildly enthusiastic and end up indifferent. I gave up, wrote a second novel that was accepted almost immediately by a new small publisher. Skeleton in a Dead Space (2011) was the first of my Kelly O’Connell Mysteries, and last year I self-published that original academic novel, The Perfect Coed.
Now, just four years later, I have nine mysteries in print and four projects at various stages on my desk; two of them are mysteries. Retirement has helped me revitalize my writing career, but so has the confidence that I can do it. Who wants to climb Mt. Everest anyway?

Meet Judy Alter
Award-winning novelist Judy Alter is the author of six books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series: Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Trouble in a Big Box, Danger Comes Home, Deception in Strange Places, and Desperate for Death. She also writes the Blue Plate Café Mysteries—Murder at the Blue Plate Café and Murder at the Tremont House and The Oak Grove Mysteries which debuted in 2014 with The Perfect Coed.
Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame and the Western Writers of America Hall of Fame.
Judy is retired as director of TCU Press and the mother of four grown children and the grandmother of seven. She and her dog, Sophie, live in Fort Worth, Texas.
Desperate for Death (May 2015) is her latest release. Watch for a new book in the fall.

Desperate for Death
Just when Kelly's life has calmed, she faces yet another puzzle. Except the pieces in this one don't fit. First the apartment behind her house is torched, then a string of bizzare "accidents" occur to set her off-balance. Who is stalking her? Where does the disappearance of a young girl and her disreputable boyfriend fit in? And why are two men using the same name? Is the surprise inheritance another part of the puzzle? At a time when she is most vulnerable, Kelly can't make the pieces fit. Before Kelly can get the whole picture, she helps the family of a hostage, rescues a kidnap victim and attends a wild and wonderful wedding.

Buy Links
Social Media Links
Twitter: @judyalter

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Christmas in July

It's kind of crazy but after finishing the last book of the Halsey Homecoming series, I jumped right into writing the Christmas story that will wrap up the Halsey series.

I hadn't planned to write this story now and only knew it would be about Shayla, Aileen's daughter in Miner in Petticoats.  She's now nineteen, it's 1904, and she's coming home after being in England with her brother, Colin and his wife, Livie, from Staking Claim.

Writing a Christmas book when we've had nearly 100 degree days for over a week would seem a bit awkward but it's working out quite nicely. When I started writing this story, all I knew about the story was Shayla, her coming home, and she'd find a husband all while reconnecting with the Halsey family.

The hero Mace Walker popped into my head with very little stewing and brewing. In fact, none! I sat down and started the story with Shayla and her friend Randal from England putting the Eldredge Runabout into a snow bank on their way to Sumpter. Along came a man on a horse, who turned out to be the hero.

From there the story has rolled off my fingers easily, and I'm very happy with the results. You'll find this story in October.

Right now you can find another Christmas short story available through Amazon only. You can get it FREE if you are a prime member or for $.99.

Secrets of a Christmas Box

Isabella’s plans of a wonderful Christmas are thwarted when her father hands her a World Intelligence Agency mission. He allows Tino to help her with the mission, so they can be together. As the days hasten to Christmas can she decipher the wooden cube she’s been handed or will her first Christmas with Tino be a bust?

 Kindle U.S.

Isabella and Tino met in the Guatemala Jungle in Secrets of a Mayan Moon. They found their missions intersecting in Secrets of an Aztec Temple. This Christmas story takes place before Isabella meets with her aunt at the Hopi Reservation and becomes entangled in Hopi myths and human slavery in Secrets of a Hopi Blue Star.