Good Things Come in Threes

With little fanfare, I released my three new books into the wild yesterday. Within hours, they were in the premium catalog at Smashwords and available at Apple iBooks. Amazon was quick to review and make available the Two Sisters and a Journalist books, but Buckeye Hunter has been stuck in review for over twenty-seven hours now. Hopefully, they will release the book soon.

Amateur private investigator, Jo Ravens, is the only common link in the murder of three people and the abduction of a cab driver. While police are busy building a case against her, Jo races to prove her innocence. Her sister Pepper and journalist friend Jackie are on hand to assist in catching the real killer. The antics of her ex-husband and eccentric Mama add to this humorous mystery.


Jo Ravens is busy trying to locate a stolen car, find a missing teen, and catch a philandering husband in the act. She already has more work than she can handle when she finds a murdered girl leaning against a dumpster. Jo also meets Susan Hunter when Susan comes to town to assist in the opening of a Slimmers Weight Loss center.



Susan travels to Southeast Ohio to assist in the grand opening of a Slimmers Weight Loss center. There she meets Jo, Pepper, and Jackie – local sleuths from Two Sisters and a Journalist . When a murder is committed on Susan’s doorstep, Jo is the one to find the body. Susan can’t believe the trouble swirling around her even though she is only two hours from home. She makes a life-changing decision in this final book of the Susan Hunter series.


That’s all for today. In my efforts to continue chronicling my writing efforts via my blog, I wanted to post the new releases.

I’m going to eat some chocolate now.

What Are You Reading in 2015?

readingchallengeAfter traipsing all over Northeast Ohio for sixteen years to attend library book sales, I assembled a nice collection of hardcover books for myself. Other than my Janet Evanovich books, I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve actually read from my bookshelves.

Enter the era of the eReader.

Rich bought a Nook for me in 2011. Many of my blogging friends had books available only at Amazon, so I bought a Paperwhite in January of 2013. This past summer, I couldn’t pass up a great buy on a Kindle Fire.

The amount of free, public domain, and purchased books on those three devices would fill a small house. I’ve only read a few of them.

I used to be an avid reader. I always had two or three books going at one time, and I could usually read a book in a day.

I don’t know when I stopped reading. I’ve made a few attempts in the past to read again, but I simply couldn’t find the time.

When I recently logged into Goodreads, I saw the notice for the Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge. I set a goal of twenty-five books. I thought one every two weeks sounded just about right for me. I had no idea the challenge would light a fire under me to start reading with zeal again. As of this morning, I’ve read eight books this month. I suspect I’ll be increasing my goal soon. (Side bets may be taken now for how soon I’ll peter out.)

books2015I’m finding out some things about my reading habits …

I like reading in bed at night until I fall asleep, which could be after five minutes or after several hours. I read for at least half an hour before I get out of bed every morning.

I keep a hardcover book on my desk downstairs and one on my desk upstairs. Depending upon whether I am editing (downstairs) or writing (upstairs) determines which book I’m reading. For most of my day, I rotate around writing/editing for an hour and reading for twenty minutes.

I tend to drag my Kindle with me around the house. If I decide to take a longer break and land somewhere else for a bit, I have a book with me.

I have no problem whatsoever dumping out of a book and deleting it from my eReader simply because I don’t like it. I’ve tossed three so far this month. One was written in a style I didn’t enjoy. I was gone at the 8% mark. I settled down fully prepared to love the second book. I loved the writing style and the dialogue was great. However, the subject matter was dry and depressing. I managed 32% before giving up. This author has more books in the same series. I’ll probably try another one later. The third started great, but devolved into nothing more than descriptions of criminal acts and a pretty blatant attitude against women. I hit the delete button on this one at 11%.

The only books I’m listing on my Goodreads challenge are books I’m currently reading and confident I will finish. When finished, the book is going to get five stars. I read for enjoyment; I don’t read to critique. If someone is a good storyteller and has entertained me for the few hours it took to read the book, they get five stars from me. Thank you for the good read.

The next book to be added to my list? A fifty-cent book sale find – a 1964 Erle Stanley Gardner hardcover with a dustjacket, The Case of the Phantom Fortune. I love a good Perry Mason mystery.MasonPhantom1

How many books do you hope to read this year? Have you signed up for the Goodreads challenge? What are you presently reading? Do you read more than one book at a time? Do you give up on books that don’t entertain you? What are your reading habits like? Chime in!


Free Advice

FreeAdviceNot free advice for you. Free advice for me!

We’ve had some fun in the past trying to figure out a book cover or title. Let’s do it again.

In my Two Sisters and a Journalist series, all of the titles begin with the word Murder. The book I’m currently writing will have a lottery theme running throughout as Mama goes overboard buying scratch-off tickets. A murder will be connected to the lottery as well. There won’t be any jackpot drawings; everything revolves around scratch-off tickets. I prefer to keep the word Lottery out of the title.

So far, I’ve come up with these titles:

Murder Is A Numbers Game (However, I don’t really want another title that begins with “Murder Is.”)
Murder Unlucky
Murder Wins the Game
Murder Scratches the Game
Murder by Chance
Murder by Scratch

I’m leaning toward Murder Wins the Game or Murder Scratches the Game. Scratch is a term also used to cancel, eliminate, dismiss, etc., so I think it works physically and figuratively … but I’m not 100% sold on it. Which do you prefer? Or did you think of something else?

As for the cover … There are no people on the covers in this series. The backgrounds are less vibrant colors. I’m leaning toward a dusky green on this one simply because of the money/greed aspect of the story. (You can see all the covers for the series in the right sidebar of my home page.)

I’ve ruled out lottery balls with numbers. Mama has a lucky scratcher with a four-leaf clover in it, so I tried several four-leaf clovers on the lottery_ticket_bloodcover with a lottery ticket that has blood dripping from the top. Even with the blood, it’s cheesy enough to impart a “lighter mystery” feel, which is what I want. We all know I love cheesy!

However, I think I like the idea of a vault in the morgue, with the body pulled out feet first, and a lottery ticket hanging as the toe tag.

It’s hard to know what works until you see it. If you have any ideas, please share!

My standard disclaimer is to ask that you not be offended if I don’t use your idea(s), and please don’t expect anything other than a free book if I do use your idea(s).

Thanks for brainstorming with me!

P.S. – For all the friendly wisenheimers out there, whom I’ve come to know and love, Hunter will not be part of the title. Nor will any body parts. Thank you very much.


Dipping My Toe in the Pool

Princess_Pancake_BeachI’ve been thinking about coming back to blogging on a regular basis.

My “few months” of hiatus turned into just over nine months of disappearance. Stepping away for a while was a good move for me, but I miss reading blogs and the friends I’ve made here.

I made two main goals for myself this year. One is to read every day, and one is to write every day.

I started my year of reading with Janet Evanovich’s book, Top Secret Twenty-One. I enjoyed the book, and I especially enjoyed seeing how many exclamation points she uses in her writing.

I’m currently reading two books – A Hardboiled Murder by Michelle Ann Hollstein and an autobiography, Dick Van Dyke. Both are good reads.

My writing goal is coming along just fine, and I think I’m in a groove now. My current work in progress is book number four in my Two Sisters and a Journalist series. I started it last week. Here’s the opening line: In exactly one minute, I was going to be a millionaire and quit my job as a private investigator.

I suppose Jo may be overly optimistic with that statement.

There isn’t much to tell about my hiatus, but here are a few highlights:

Our six-year-old granddaughter stayed with us again for six weeks over the summer. It was very fun … and very exhausting. That’s her in the beach picture above.

I managed to go nine months without a dryer. That’s right. My dryer laundryburned up last March, and I insisted I could hang laundry just fine. Rich bought a dryer last month. He finally had enough of jeans stiff enough to stand on their own and towels so rough, you could exfoliate your skin when you dried with them.

I power-watched all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls – late at night – under the covers – on my Kindle – twice. How did I not know about this show?

I changed my spot in the house for writing. After our granddaughter left, I claimed a nook in her room upstairs, so I could sit near a window and have a view of the center of town while I write. I’m surrounded by pink walls and pink Minnie Mouse curtains. It has been a productive move.

I cleaned up the mess I wrote for National Novel Writing Month in 2013 and wrangled it into a book – Murder Is Where the Heart Is.

I fulfilled the goal of having the two main characters in my two series meet. Buckeye Hunter is the seventh (and final) book in the Susan Hunter series. Murder Welcomes You to Buxley is the third book in the Two Sisters and a Journalist series.

All three books are currently in various stages of editing.

Three_BooksMost recently, I was getting out of our truck with my arms full of grocery bags, and I slipped on ice and fell. The only thing that broke was a box of tissues. I crushed it with my … er, never mind.

I hope to see you soon. I’m sure I’ll come and go, but I’m optimistic I can add blogging to my goals for the year.

What have I missed while I was gone? What’s new with you?