Another Wonderful Writer

Have you discovered Eva Pohler and her Gatekeeper’s Saga yet?  Eva is featured this week on the blog hop, which gives you a great opportunity to learn about her and her work.  I loved this comment:

At the very center of each of my stories is a woman fighting a battle. Sometimes it happens to be a literal battle, but even then, there are figurative ones. Always.

The Gatekeeper's Secret

The Gatekeeper’s Secret

That’s something our work has in common–a strong woman, seeking justice.  We’re proud of our heroines and all they accomplish, often against overwhelming odds.  And while Greek mythology and Ozarks legends might not seem to have much in common, both series feature story lines focusing on family, love, and the need to avenge a wrong.  In this, Eva knocks it right out of the park!

There’s mystery, myth, and legend just waiting for you. The fifth book in the series is due out very soon. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the first in the series free. Discover this great writer today!

Hop on over . . .

The Scent of Danger

The very talented Doranna Durgin has joined the blog hop party!  Doranna is a marvelously prolific writer and I promise you’ll enjoy learning about her background, process, and current projects.  I’ve invited her to share her post here, so check back soon. Meanwhile, here’s a link to her mystery fiction, featuring what just might be the world’s cutest Beagle!

Let’s Get to Know Rae Davies

There are lots of great authors out there writing in many genres. In today’s publishing world, authors often (usually) have to take the lead in marketing and publicizing their work.  And so, in the spirit of collaboration, I’m inviting authors to share a bit of their writing lives here.

Whether these authors are old friends or new to you, I hope you’ll check out their work, click on their links, and share your thoughts about their books.  This week, we’ll hear from mystery author Rae Davies. Let’s get to know her!

You’ve written in quite a few genres in your career.  Tell us a bit about that experience, and how it shaped your writing today.

Rae Davies, Author

Rae Davies, Author with Despereaux and Nigel

I started in mystery and light, as in funny. That book was Loose Screw. While I was still shopping it, I started Love is All Around, my first romantic comedy. I sold that book very quickly which put me on a romance path and took me away from mysteries for quite some time.

Unfortunately, after two books it appeared light wasn’t selling. So I had rethink my career. Returning to  mysteries would have required a huge shift—finding  a new agent, leaving behind many contacts I’d made in the romance world, etc. So I went in another direction. I tried light paranormal, but that seemed a dead end for me. Then I went dark and sold to Harlequin’s Nocturne line. I wrote a number of books for them. I also wrote two urban fantasy novels which were published by Pocket Books. Those were also dark, but had shades of humor I think.

When authors discovered we could self-publish, do it well, find readers and pay our bills, I was there. I started with a vampire short story, but soon decided to go back to my very first book, Loose Screw and I’m glad I did. Writing the books make me happy and I love knowing the readers who “get” my books are happy too.

You and I share a common writing ground—the Ozarks.  Which books use that setting?

I’m from the Ozarks and I am very proud of my heritage. My romantic comedies are set in the Missouri Ozarks. The people in Love is All Around and Love is All You Need are based on people I knew, many of whom I’m related to.

Your Dusty Deals mystery series features an amateur sleuth with a gorgeous Malamute.  Tell us about them.

My main character, Lucy, lives in an old Montana mining community/ghost town that only has 20 year-round residents. She lives in an old log house bordered by National Forest with her Alaskan Malamute, Kiska.

I believe characters should love something so intensely they would do anything for that thing, person or place. Kiska is that for Lucy. Lucy’s a bit goofy, dives in to things headfirst, and is a little insecure, especially about her weight. Still, she is a good soul and I enjoy spending time with her and the quirky characters that surround her.

RaeDavies_LetLoose800

Where can readers find excerpts of your books?

I have an excerpt of my newest book, Let Loose, on my website.  And you can download a free sample of my books from any of the ebook retailers.

 What’s next in the Dusty Deals series?

I’m working on a novella right now set around Valentine’s Day. I’ve had readers ask for more time with Lucy and her cowboy detective boyfriend. In this novella the two of them, with Kiska, head out for a Valentine’s mystery weekend.

 

Thanks for reading. Now that you’ve had a chance to get to know this author, connect with her! Find her on Facebook and follow her on Pinterest  and Twitter. Plus: check out her Amazon Author Page and her Twitter Paper for Cozy Mysteries.

Get to Know …

My recent adventure in blog-hopping introduced me to an eclectic group of writers, each with their own view of the creative process.  If you’d like to backtrack through the hop, you can meet C.A. Newsome,  Anna J. McIntyre, Susan Haught, Eden BayleeCorrie Fischer, and Christy English.

Continuing in the spirit of the hop, I’m inviting authors to share a bit about their writing lives here. You may already know some of these authors, while others might be new to you. And, like the blog hop, you’ll see a mix of writing styles and themes in the “Get to Know…” conversations. My first guest is the author Mike Faricy, who writes crime fiction. Let’s get to know him!

How did you come to the writing life?

Mike Faricy AuthorFrom the time I was a little boy I’ve written stories. I was on the school paper and yearbook staff as a kid. When my children were young I’d write the first chapter of some future work of genius then put it aside for a while, write another first chapter, put it aside. After doing this for twenty-plus years I finally decided to either get serious or stop wasting paper.

A friend set up a lunch for me with William Kent Krueger, a local highly successful author. I knew without a doubt this was my ticket to the big leagues and showed him my manuscript. He laughed and told me that every writer has at least one project they keep hidden in a box under their bed. An inauspicious beginning if ever there was one! But he did encourage me to continue writing and make the next work better than the one I’d just completed. Probably some of the best advice I’ve gotten.

Some reviewers suggest your work is reminiscent of pulp fiction detectives. Another described your main character as “a ne’er-do-well detective.” What sort of character is he?

Last Shot by Mike FaricyDev Haskell is the sort of guy (or gal) we all knew in high school, he’s a little different. You wonder whatever became of him, but you also have enough sense to keep him at a distance. He’s not fighting terrorists or solving some major banking conspiracy. He’s not stopping some government coup. Instead, Dev deals with the social pool that lingers somewhere below polite society. The trouble these people find themselves in is due to their own bad decisions. But then, bad decisions make for interesting tales.

In addition to the Dev Haskell series, you have several stand-alone novels published. Of all your books, which is your favorite, and why?

My favorite is whichever book I’m working on. I just become totally absorbed. The relationships, clues, plot lines, character details. Does the person walk with a limp, or have a dog? All those intricacies take over completely. Once that book is finished, published, I’m onto the next project. If my manuscript is finished on Friday, Monday morning I’m writing page one of whatever the next work is.

What’s next for your readers?

Dev Haskell is back in Ting-A-Ling, due out later this month. You can keep up with Dev online at , and find news about all my work at Mike Faricy Books.

 

My thanks to Mike for giving us a chance to get to know him. Next week, I’ll interview Rae Davies, a fellow dog lover who writes mystery fiction. Please drop by and get to know this author!

WOOFipedia

If you’ve read my book Deadly Ties you know all the dog details match up with the standards and practices of the American Kennel Club.  The AKC website is a treasure trove of information for dog lovers of all kinds.

Responsible Dog Ownership

Responsible Dog Ownership

So, whether you’re a professional in the dog world or you count a canine among your family members, there’s something on the AKC site that’s sure to appeal to you.  One terrific resource provided by the AKC is WOOFipedia:

WOOFipedia, provided by the American Kennel Club, celebrates all dogs, and the people who love them. Our aim is to engage, entertain, and educate. The American Kennel Club is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its Registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function. Founded in 1884, the AKC® and its affiliated organizations advocate for the purebred dog as a family companion, advance canine health and well-being, work to protect the rights of all dog owners and promote responsible dog ownership. For support, please contact us at: woof-info@woofipedia.com

Jump over to the Dogs, Dogs, Dogs section of this site to find links to two of my favorite WOOFipedia articles: Ten Surprising Truths about Dogs and Lessons Dogs Can Teach Us.

 

My Writing Process (A Blog Hop)

Susan Holmes Author Photo 300dpi

I’ve been tagged!  Tagged, that is, to participate in a blog hop for writers. My thanks to C. A. Newsome and Corrie Fischer for inviting me to play along!

Every Monday authors blog about their own writing process, using a standard format and answering the same questions.  This is definitely a multi-genre hop; I’ve seen mystery, paranormal, young adult, and romance. Follow the links to “meet” more writers.

What am I working on?

I’m writing Death Tracks, the second in the Waterside Kennels mystery series. This one picks up soon after the events of the summer chronicled in Deadly Ties. After the trouble she had over the summer, all Maggie Porter wants to do is run her boarding kennel and training business. And she wants to spend time with her own dogs—an aging Cocker Spaniel, a champion Labrador Retriever and a Beagle retired from federal service.

Alas, a quiet life is not to be. First, an abrasive community member launches a campaign to enact a “dangerous dog” ordinance which could force Maggie out of business—or into jail. When he’s found dead near the kennel, some in the community have their own reasons for wanting to pin the murder on Maggie herself. Under a cloud of suspicion and with her home and business at risk, she sets out to clear her name and finds herself caught in a murderous land feud that could tear the mountain community apart.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

You’ll find elements of the traditional cozy mystery in my work: an amateur sleuth, a small community, connections to local law enforcement, and a mystery my sleuth is motivated to solve. There’s an eclectic group of characters, a hint of romance, and plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing.

You won’t find vulgar language or graphic violence in my books. I do push the traditional definition of a cozy, though, by introducing a bit more suspense, a bit more trouble than you might see in a typical light-hearted, whimsical romp. My characters—including the dogs!—are good, bad, and sometimes both. That might be why my work has been called “a cozy with an edge.”  Still, they’re the sort you finish with a sense of satisfaction. Mystery solved, justice served, the villains get their comeuppance, and you’re not left with violent images to disturb your sleep!

Why do I write what I do?

I like puzzles. I like writing about ordinary people in challenging situations. If my sleuth gets into trouble, she’s smart enough to figure a way out. She’s loyal and willing to stand up for what she thinks is right.

I write about the Ozarks because I love the region. I want readers to see beyond the stereotype and appreciate the beauty of the place and its people. I’m fascinated by Ozark myths and legends, and by the family stories handed down from one generation to the next.

How does my writing process work?

I start with a “What if …?” and tinker until I can see how the pieces fit together. Then it’s time for research. I won’t start writing until I know the end of the story. From there I work backward to identify key plot points, character actions, and major scenes. I’ve tried various software programs but eventually go back to what works best for me—sticky notes I can move around on a board.

For many years I wrote with my beloved spaniel, Alix, at my feet. Now I have a rescue kitty, Buddy, who keeps me company. He prefers to supervise me in my office, where he’ll watch my progress from the comfort of a window seat. When he thinks I’ve worked long enough, he strolls across the desk and stands on my keyboard.

Somewhere around the third or fourth draft (I’m a serial reviser), I’ll send bits to my beta readers. I work with three or four beta readers, each with a specific focus. One, for example, is an expert dog trainer. If she says something won’t work, out it goes and I’ll revise until she’s satisfied.  Another is a mystery writer, who is wonderful at spotting plot issues and talking through scenes. A third is an English professor and avid reader who understands the writing process, has a keen eye, and is a wonderful listener. And so it goes, until the book is the best it can be.

Keep on Hopping!

Thanks for reading. Be sure to check out author Corrie Fischer’s post from last week. And on March 10th, look for new blog hop posts by authors Rae DaviesGeorge Jackson, and L. A. Remenicky.

Find a Book Festival Near You!

Books Image

Looking for book and literary festivals in North America? Start here:

Here’s a great annual calendar compiled by Omni Mystery News.

And another list worth checking out: BookTV (Note: despite the page title, the festivals listed feature both fiction and nonfiction books)

Interested in Canadian book festivals? Check this list.  

Specific events writers and readers have recommended (by date scheduled):

Tucson Festival of Books March 15-16, 2014 in Tucson AZ.

Left Coast Crime March 20-23 in Monterey CA.

Ankeny Authors’ Fair is set for April 12 in Ankeny IA.

Arkansas Literary Festival runs April 24-27, 2014 in Little Rock AR.

Northern Arizona Book Festival takes place in May (location TBA).

Malice Domestic is in Bethesda, MD May 2-4.

Books in Bloom Literary Festival is May 18th in Eureka Springs AR.

Book Expo America May 28-31 in New York City.

West Hollywood Book Fair is in September in West Hollywood CA.

The Big Orange Book Festival takes place in October at Chapman University.

The Iowa City Book Festival is October 2-5 in Iowa City IA. 

Wonder of Words Festival is November 9 in Des Moines IA.

The famous Bouchercon is November 13-16 in Long Beach CA. 

Phoenix Festival of the Arts is December 12-14 in Phoenix AZ.

Want to recommend a festival, or know of another comprehensive list? Let me know!