Books, fiction, mystery, publishing, writing

Cover Reveal, Pauline Gray #3

At long last, it is time to reveal the cover for the third (and most likely final) Pauline Gray novella. Are you excited? I am excited to show it to you!

This is the fifth book cover I’ve designed (I’ve done all the covers for the PG mysteries, as well as the cover for Magic & Mayhem and While Shepherds Watch), and while I’m not planning on taking up graphic design as a career any time soon, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed developing my skills in this area. I’m also indebted to my husband Carl and my editor A.M. Offenwanger, both of whom have a far better artistic eye than I do and who both always offer valuable input on the cover before I declare it ready.

So now, without further ado, here is the cover for Secrets of the Past.

Old Secrets Cast Long Shadows …
 
When newspaper columnist Pauline Gray agrees to help a retired schoolteacher write her memoirs, she has no idea it will lead to murder. Someone doesn’t want old memories stirred up … and they are willing to kill to keep the past a secret. Now it’s a race to uncover the truth that the murderer is so desperate to keep buried. It will take all Pauline’s ingenuity to solve this case before the killer strikes again—and this time Pauline herself might be the victim …  

This has been one of my most challenging stories to write, and I am looking forward to at last being able to share it with you all–soon! I don’t have a specific release date yet, but it should be sometime in February or, at the very latest, early March.

One more adventure for Pauline, and this one the most difficult yet! We can only hope she survives it …

Books, fiction, Sci-fi, stories, writing

From the Shadows–Sale!

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 …

From one sale to another! I decided impromptu today to run a “Black Friday” sale for From the Shadows. From now (Nov 23) to Dec 1, the ebook of From the Shadows is only $0.99 at all digital retailers.

Click here to get your copy of the story readers have dubbed: “science fiction for people who don’t like science fiction.”

*****

What people are saying about From the Shadows …

“The inner and outer journey of Riss is a riveting tale of a young woman who comes out of the shadows of her past, and finds her way on new horizons.

“Although [this book] has a fun futuristic space backdrop, it’s really a quiet story about one woman’s journey from grief to embracing a new life and her own potential.”

“This story makes me feel the way I feel when reading Jane Austen, L.M. Montgomery, or the Mitford books. It’s a lovely book to curl up with on a blustery autumn evening or a lazy Saturday morning. I didn’t want it to end!”

“Waiting for a sequel…”

Pick up your copy today and see for yourself what it’s all about!

1920s, Books, fantasy, fiction, mystery, reading list, stories, writing

Paperback Sale

To my surprise and delight, Amazon has noticed the lowered ebook prices for the Whitney & Davies series and has obligingly dropped prices on the paperbacks as well–which is something I’ve heard about happening to other authors, but have never experienced myself before now. This is entirely Amazon’s doing, and I have no control over how much or how little they lower the price, or for how long it will last, and they don’t actually bother to inform the authors about this to begin with, so when I say, hey, if you want a paperback you should get it now, that’s not just me being all salesperson-y, that’s because I genuinely don’t know how long they’ll keep the prices lowered.

So! Magic Most Deadly, on sale now for $11.51 paperback!

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Glamours and Gunshots, on sale now for $5.19 paperback

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Magic & Mayhem, on sale for $6.99 paperback

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I don’t know about you, but this sure seems to me to be a great time to get in some early Christmas shopping!

(Disclaimer: if you’ve been around this website for a while you know that I prefer to promote sites other than Amazon for buying my books. Alas, only Amazon is providing these prices right now, so I am reluctantly bowing to corporate rule and promoting it. Believe me, if I could offer you these prices through Bookshop.org or your local indie bookstore, I would!)

1920s, Books, fantasy, fiction, mystery, publishing, writing

While Shepherds Watch

“Of all the ghastly holidays, Christmas is the worst!”

When apprentice magician Maia Whitney’s plans for a quiet Christmas with no obligations toward anyone are disrupted by a friend in need, she resigns herself to yet another holiday filled with indigestion and artificial cheer. Things look up when her friend and fellow magician Len Davies joins the adventure, but Maia is still far from feeling merry or bright.

Len would go with Maia to the ends of the earth, but this crumbling manor in the remote Yorkshire countryside tests even his goodwill toward man. He doesn’t object to the ghost supposedly roaming the halls, but he wishes he knew just what has his host’s young sister so scared. To top it all off, he can barely spend any time with Maia, as she is so busy helping her friend.

Will ghosts, curses, cads, and thieves ruin this Christmas for everyone? Not if the intrepid duo of Whitney & Davies has anything to say about it! It will take all their magical abilities and ingenuity, but they are determined to make this a happy Christmas for all.

*****

Today is the day! Christmas comes early for all you lucky readers, because While Shepherds Watch is published today! Click here for links to Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Kobo, and more.

I honestly had so much fun writing this novella. It reminded me of all the reasons I began writing the Whitney & Davies series in the first place–the sheer delightfulness of these characters, and the enjoyment of adding a magical twist to a traditional British mystery. I wrote it when I ought to have been working on any number of other writing projects–the third Pauline Gray novella (so close to being ready for publication, guys), the next Whitney & Davies novel (set in Cambridge, no less!), the next collection of Whitney & Davies short stories (all plotted out, just not written), the next adventure for Riss & co aboard the Caledonia (my heart’s children!) … but I threw all those out the windows and just wrote for fun, and as a result, I have this lovely Christmas gift for all of you.

And that’s not all! Click on the following titles to take advantage of a Whitney & Davies sale, because every ebook in the series is on sale for $0.99 this week to celebrate the new release.

Magic Most Deadly

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Glamours and Gunshots

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Magic & Mayhem

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How about that for an early Christmas gift?

Happy reading, friends, and be sure to spread the word (and Christmas cheer) about While Shepherds Watch and the Whitney & Davies sale! I can’t wait for you all to share in this new adventure with Maia and Len.

1920s, Books, fantasy, fiction, mystery, publishing, reading list, stories, writing

New Book!

Friends, I am so excited to be able to share this news with you. Not only is the next Pauline Gray novella being released this autumn/winter, coming on November 2 is a new Whitney & Davies story!

I’ll be releasing more info about it soon, including the cover and back blurb, but for now I can tell you that it is a Christmas story, novella-length (I originally conceived it as a short story, but, well, it grew), featuring Maia and Len, and it is set between Magic Most Deadly and Glamours and Gunshots.

The title is While Shepherds Watch, and here is at least a little teaser of the cover:

So set your calendars for Nov 2!

I hope to be able to set this up for pre-orders this week, so that you can be extra sure to get yours in time for Christmas, and if I am able to do that I will let you know. Stay tuned for paperback info, a full cover reveal, and the back blurb soon!

And be sure to check in later this month for info about the third Pauline Gray novella’s release date! All kinds of exciting stuff happening here at StarDance Press this season.

Books, fantasy, fiction, reading list

Epic Science Fiction/Fantasy Sale

I am taking a small break from my focus on Pauline Gray (I have now entered the editing phase of Book 3!) to let you all know of a fabulous science fiction/fantasy sale happening over these next seven days! This sale features SFF books that have been personally recommended by various readers, book bloggers, and authors as a story that they personally loved. There are over 50 books on the list, and all of them on sale for $0.99!

Not only are there a bunch of books here that I am eager to try, I am happy to say that Glamours & Gunshots is one of the recommended books. Yes! For this week only, you can purchase Glamours & Gunshots for $0.99!

Maia Whitney has held men as they died before, but never in peacetime, and never in her aunt’s front hall. And this unexpected death is only the beginning. Someone is stealing magic and life from England’s magicians and using them for his or her own gain. No one is safe, not even Magical Intelligence Agent Lennox Davies, whose targeting by the parasite brings him his own set of challenges to work through. Though she is only an apprentice, Maia will not sit back and wait for others to bring about justice, and teams up with Len as she did once before. Using a blend of magical skills and detective work, together Maia and Len dig deep into a case that has its roots buried in the shadows of the past … and could leave one of them magic-less forever.

Glamours & Gunshots was one of my most challenging books to write–sequels are never easy, and this one seemed particularly recalcitrant, going through several different iterations before at last coming together in its final form. I was all the prouder of it for that very reason when I was finally able to publish it. It also has one of my favorite scenes I’ve ever written in any story–but I won’t tell you which scene that is. Feel free to guess in the comments if you’ve read it!

This is my first time participating in a sale with other SFF authors, and it’s pretty great seeing G&G up there on the list with all those other titles. I can’t wait to check out all my new reading material, and I hope you find many to enjoy as well!

So go ahead, visit the sale page, and stock up your e-reader! What are you waiting for?

1920s, Books, fantasy, fiction, mystery, publishing, stories, writing

Categories and Genres

Genre, sub-genre, categories … when trying to find a home for a story on the shelves of a bookstore or library, the options can sometimes seem overwhelming. Is this fantasy or science fiction? Historical mystery, cozy mystery, or some other type of mystery altogether? Thriller or adventure? Memoir or autobiography?

This is made even more difficult when you have an author who likes to cross two or more genres in one book. And yes, I’m talking about myself and the Whitney & Davies series here. Since the beginning, these books have been hard to categorize. Do they go on the fantasy shelf or the mystery shelf? (One local library solved the puzzle by sticking Magic Most Deadly on the “fiction” shelf–going more generic instead of less, I guess!) It wouldn’t matter so much, aside from causing headaches to librarians and bookstore owners, except that muddled categories can make it difficult for readers to understand what sort of book they are looking at, and thus make them less likely to pick it up and read.

The basic premise of the Whitney & Davies series–taking an already-existing genre and adding a magical twist to it–is not unique to me. My first exposure to the concept was with Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer’s marvelous fantasy of manners Sorcery and Cecilia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot. Other well-known Regency fantasies are Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories, and of course Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

Then there’s the “gaslamp” or “gaslight” fantasies, which take the same idea and place it in a Victorian or Edwardian England setting. Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series would likely fall into this category, as well as Marie Brennan’s Memoirs of Lady Trent.

However, I’ve not yet found anyone besides myself taking Golden Age Detective Fiction and inserting fantasy into that, and I’ve been racking my brains for ages now trying to coin a phrase to neatly sum up this sub-genre to make it clear from one glance what type of a story the reader is getting. “Mystery-fantasy set in 1920s England” is, let’s face it, way too clunky.

I’ve narrowed it down to two options, although I am open to suggestions for something else! I like “Golden Age Detective Fiction” for its descriptiveness, but on the other hand it is still long and a little bit clunky. Then there’s the short and snappy “Whodunit Fantasy,” but the downside to that one is that it doesn’t necessarily convey the sense of time and place–between wars in England–that the other does.

So I am tossing the choices out there for my readers! Which do you prefer? Which one conveys the feel of Whitney & Davies best to you? And if you haven’t read my books yet, you may still feel free to comment–I’d like to know what type of story you think of when you see either of those two categories.

I would also be curious to know if you have any comparison books or series that come to your mind when thinking of W&D–you know, the old, “If you like _____, you will like Whitney & Davies.” The closest I’ve come up with is Martha Wells’ Death of the Necromancer, and I’m not exactly sure that’s the best match. I think that’s the sort of thing that is difficult for an author to judge about his or her own work, especially when one of the main reasons for writing the books is that no one else out there is!