Sharing a Love of Mysteries

One of my favorite places in the world is a library. That’s where I’ll be today, visiting with fans and friends at the Fayetteville (AR) Public Library. If you’re in the area, I hope to see you there!

Susan Holmes Book Discussion-Signing 10-11-15

*

I’ll be back here soon to share more about facts and folktales in regional mysteries. Remember there’s a giveaway in progress, so be sure to leave a comment!

October Journeys

Elk in Boxley Valley, Arkansas © Steve Creek, Photographer www.stevecreek.com

Elk in Boxley Valley, Arkansas © Steve Creek, Photographer http://www.stevecreek.com

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, every fog in October means a snow in December. The hills and hollers I call home have been cloaked in fog at least five mornings to date, with friends in remote homesteads and farms reporting even more. We’ve been lucky (so far) that the sun breaks through by mid-morning and the days quickly warm, making it perfect for great adventures.

One adventure sure to interest the whole family is the 27th annual Pea Ridge Mule Jump on Saturday, October 10th. From what I’ve learned, mules are not particularly impressed with the idea of jumping, and their handlers have quite a task to get them moving. If you, like me, wonder why anyone would expect a mule to jump at all, here’s one explanation I found in a post authored by Times editor Annette Beard:

“Mule jumping comes from a tradition in coon hunting of having mules jump over fences rather than finding gates. Hunters throw a blanket over the fence so the mule will jump it. Mules can jump flat footed.”

Elkhorn Tavern National Military Park

Elkhorn Tavern National Military Park

Pea Ridge, by the way, was home to what’s considered by many to be one of the most pivotal battles in the Civil War. Also known as the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern, Pea Ridge is one of the most intact battlefields in the nation. It’s a National Park site and worth a visit. History buffs might be interested in comparing the Union Army and Confederate Army reports, found here.

River View at Calf Creek

River View at Calf Creek

If you miss the mule jump or want to see a different sort of wildlife, head over to the Buffalo River area. A friend who lives out that way reports that visitors are already crowding into Boxley Valley ahead of the fall colors to see the rutting elk. (Rutting season runs mid-September into November.) If you’re planning a trip out that way, you’ll find maps and helpful information at Arkansas.com and the Buffalo River Regional Chamber site. Enjoy the scenic drive while you’re out that way, too. Explore the Buffalo River (the first national river), the Lost Valley State Park and its trails, or just enjoy a leisurely scenic drive through the valley.

And–in keeping with the theme of legends and folklore this month–mark your calendars for Voices from Eureka’s Silent City (a fundraiser for the Eureka Spring Historical Museum):

Eureka Springs Voices from the silent city

*

So…what’s on your schedule this month? Don’t forget: leave a comment on any or all posts this month to be entered in the drawing mentioned here.

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.

Books in Bloom Literary Festival

Books in Bloom 2014

The Books in Bloom Literary Festival is famous for hosting literary stars and emerging authors on the grounds of the Crescent Hotel in historic Eureka Springs, Arkansas in mid-May. This year, I’m honored to be one of those authors!

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Crescent Hotel and many others, plus the dedicated volunteers and staff of the Carroll and Madison [Counties] Library Foundation, this is a FREE event celebrating writers and readers. (There’s even a shuttle service and easy parking!).  Visit with authors, listen to them discuss their work, and take home your own signed copies. The 2013 festival included Catherine Coulter, James Grippando, Craig Johnson, and Anna Loan-Wilsey, just to name a few. (You can see all the 2013 authors here.)  Coming this year:

2014 Books in Bloom Roster (so far): Elizabeth Berg, Terry Brooks, Mark Christ, Steven Foster, Susan Holmes, John Hornor Jacobs, Anne Ream, Kathy Reichs, Kerry Reichs, Kat Robinson, Lothar Schafer, and Michael Shelden.

You can “like” their Facebook page Books in Bloom Literary Festival to get the latest news news about the festival, and bookmark their website www.booksinbloom.org for more information. Author details should be posted to the website by mid-March.

It’s a beautiful time to visit the Ozarks; if you’re in the neighborhood, I hope you’ll come by!

In the Spirit of Giving…

DEADLY TIES 

I’m sharing a free excerpt of Deadly Ties!

If winter weather has you shivering,  visit Eagle Cove where it’s sizzling hot and mystery awaits!

Come meet Maggie Porter and her dogs—a champion Labrador Retriever, an aging Cocker Spaniel, and a Beagle retired from federal service. Maggie’s returned home to reopen the family dog kennel business, where she’s plagued by problems from the start. Serious trouble arises when a gossip-loving employee turns up dead holding an heirloom locket belonging to Maggie’s mother. Anonymous threats and break-ins occur as the violence escalates, and Maggie becomes a target when she searches for answers. With her loyal dogs at her side, she must dig for the truth. Along the way, she learns that everyone has something to hide—and some secrets are worth killing for.

 Deadly Ties FREE EXCERPT