Comfort, Hope, and Joy

Pussy willows mean spring is on its way

Since moving back to the US, our family has been bouncing between western MA and northern NY, staying with our respective parents until our own living situation is in place. This week we’re in both places at once, as Carl and the kids are with his mom and I’m hanging out with my folks. Yesterday, in between measuring and cutting out pieces for the girls’ flower girl dresses I’m sewing for them for May, my mom and I went for a walk and brought back a bouquet of pussy willows. Always my favorite harbinger of spring!

This is a wild time in our world right now, as the CORVID-19 pandemic spreads further and further across the globe and new measures pop up every day to contain it and protect the vulnerable in our societies. There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty, but also a lot of beauty. It’s wonderful to see people coming together to protect the elderly, the immune-compromised, and those who can’t protect themselves. I’ve seen offer upon offer crop up of people volunteering to grocery shop for their elderly neighbors, for children now at home to write letters to people in nursing homes, of educational websites offering content for free, of places like the Metropolitan Opera streaming operas for free … people offering what they can to take care of each other.

In that spirit, I’m adding my own small offering to the pile of good things coming out of the pandemic, a way to bring comfort to those now stuck at home with too much time on their hands and too much frightening and negative information pouring in on them from various sources. From now until the end of April (possibly longer, should the self-isolation period continue past then), I’m making three of my books–all my first-in-series–free*.

Magic Most Deadly: Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Amazon

For Maia Whitney, life after the Great War is dull, monotonous, and drab. Nursing soldiers in the bloody fields of France hadn’t been easy, but it was better than life at home, standing in her sisters’ shadows. There seems no chance for a change until the night she witnesses a murder in the woods.
The last thing Magic Intelligence Agent Lennox Davies needs is this outspoken, independent lady crashing his investigation. Bad enough that a murder happened on his watch; much less that she had to see it happen. He works alone, and he does not have time for Miss Maia Whitney’s interference.
But as Maia’s own magical talent blossoms and danger thickens around the two with every step they take, before long Len and Maia must rely on each other in a fashion neither has ever done before. If they can’t learn to work together, England itself might topple. Even worse, if Maia doesn’t learn to control her magic soon, she might do more to destroy them even than their shadowy enemy.
Can they set aside their stubbornness and self-reliance in time to save themselves—and all England?

MMD is my first novel, and first in the Whitney & Davies series, followed by Glamours & Gunshots and Magic & Mayhem (the latter being a short story collection). The third novel will be coming out sometime in 2020–I can’t give away too much information, but I can tell you that it is set in Cambridge, an area of England I can now claim to know rather well after living there for a year and a half!

From the Shadows: Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Amazon

Whisked from her troubled, solitary life to a spaceship centuries in the future, widowed folk musician Riss Waldon must first figure out how she got there, and then if it’s possible to get home. Before long, she is visiting strange and deadly planets and meeting new alien races, and forming friendships with the crew. Even as they strive to discover a way for her to return, she wonders if it possible to step out of the shadows of her past life and stay here. But when the well-being of the entire crew rests on her shoulders, she isn’t sure she’s up to the task. What if she fails them? All she can do is try …

FTS was originally intended to be a stand-alone space opera. It was also originally intended to be a lighthearted tribute to Star Wars and Star Trek and other such shows. Somewhere along the line it developed a lot more depth and heart, and by the time it was finished I couldn’t bear to say goodbye to the characters forever. A sequel had to wait until the right story presented itself, but recently it did, and I’ve been tapping away at it off and on when my time hasn’t been taken up with moving concerns.

Candles in the Dark: Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Amazon

Pauline Gray, journalist by day and novelist by night, discovers anonymous letters are being sent to a young widow, insinuating that her husband did not die by accident. Pauline’s compassion and journalistic instincts combine to help her to seek an answer to who is sending these letters, and why. Was Bob Ferris really murdered, and if so, by whom? Before long, Pauline is uncovering evidence of a local smuggling ring and stirring up secrets some people would rather remain buried along with the dead. Despite the danger, Pauline won’t stop until she has shone a light into the hidden places of the past and seen justice done for the grieving widow and her son. No matter what the cost …

Candles is an unusual story for me–no fantastic elements, for one thing. It’s a novella, for another. My wordy self usually needs the room of a full-blown novel to spread out properly. It’s set in my hometown, a little village in the northern foothills of the Adirondacks, in the 1930s, and it is as much a tribute to community and family as it is a story about justice and compassion. The second novella in the series will be published soon–it’s in the final stage of edits.

So there you have it! My small offering to hopefully bring some light, some joy, and some comfort in the midst of these troubled times. No strings attached, no requirements from you (though obviously if you did choose to leave a review on any of them I’d be thrilled–but that’s not an obligation by any means). When we are so physically limited from each other, it’s good to be able to reach out in other ways, and this is mine.

*Amazon will not let me lower the price to free on their website unless I sell exclusively through them. I’m not willing to do that, so the books can only go to $0.99 there. If you want them through Amazon and you want them free, your best option is to click on their “report lower price” button and put in the link to any of these other retailers. If enough people do so, they should (emphasis on “should”) price match. It stinks, but it’s the best I can do.

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