It’s sale time! From now until November 30, my first-in-series and stand-alone books are only $0.99.
Magic Most Deadly, my first published novel, the first in my Whitney & Davies series, combines murder, mystery, and magic in 1920s England. It’s Agatha Christie with magic!
From the Shadows, a sci-fi stand-alone (so far …). A journey through space and time that is really all about finding one’s place in the world. This story is especially dear to my heart!
Last but not least, Candles in the Dark, an historical mystery novella, set in the Adirondack region of NY State in the 1930s (aka my hometown). Written under the name Louise Bates to distinguish it from my fantastic writings, this is currently the only title in the series, but Book 2 is coming soon, and I hope will be followed by many more.
Happy reading, and Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I hope this week is filled with love and laughter–and good books–for all of you.
“Think how exciting it would be,” went on Tuppence, “if we heard a wild rapping at the door and went to open it and in staggered a dead man.”
“If he was dead he couldn’t stagger,” said Tommy critically.
-Partners in Crime, Agatha Christie.
If you’ve read Glamours and Gunshots, the above passage might ring a faint bell. I open G&G with:
Merry birdsong filled the air on that bright April morning when the dead man stumbled into Aunt Amelia’s front hall.
Technically, he was dying, not dead, else he couldn’t have stumbled anywhere; corpses in general being no longer animate.
Glamours and Gunshots, E.L. Bates
I try not to do too many obvious “Easter Eggs” in my books, since it can be irritating to a reader when an author goes overboard with clever allusions (or allusions that attempt to be clever) to other works. This one, I hoped would be subtle enough to pass without annoyance to anyone, and I had to include a tip of the hat to Tommy and Tuppence–Maia and Len wouldn’t even exist without them.
I’ve shared this before, but it’s been a while–the idea for the story that eventually became Magic Most Deadly sprang from having recently finished reading Patricia C Wrede and Caroline Stevermer’s The Enchanted Chocolate Pot immediately after having read a Tommy and Tuppence book, and wistfully wishing someone would write a Tommy-and-Tuppence-with-magic story.
Being a writer, my very next thought was, “well, if no one else has written it, I guess I’d better,” and voila, the seed took root.
I swapped the personalities around so that Tommy’s steady and cautious nature became Maia’s, while Len had Tuppence’s craving for excitement as well as tendency to act on impulse. As the characters came to life their personalities grew more rounded and took on characteristics of their own, but the initial forming remained at their core.
Today is three weeks since I published Glamours and Gunshots; three more days marks Magic Most Deadly’s fifth birthday. This world and these stories have come a long way from that initial seed, but my appreciation for Tommy and Tuppence has not abated. My opening sentence of G&G was a small, private way for me to show that appreciation.
(PS: there’s also a subtle nod to Dorothy L Sayers in the book–did you spot it? Hint: it’s NOT the conversation Maia and Len have regarding detective stories.)
A brief reminder that reviews for Glamours and Gunshots are most appreciated! So far it has one on Amazon and one on Goodreads, but it needs more than that in order for it to fit into their algorithms and help other readers find it. 50 or more reviews is ideal! I’d settle for making it into double digits.
Have a wonderful weekend, friends! We are one week and one day away from leaving for England, which means my next post will be written on the other side of the pond!
If you enjoy mysteries set in 1920s England, stories set in the real world but with a twist of magic, if you enjoy men and women working side-by-side as friends and partners, if you enjoyed Magic Most Deadly and wished for more books in the series, I have good news for you! All that in one book is ready for your reading pleasure. And even if you haven’t read Magic Most Deadly, Glamours & Gunshots can stand alone.
It was a long five years getting here. But the end result is worth it. I am so proud of this book. I hope you love it, too.
If you are interested in receiving an early copy for reviewing purposes, let me know and I can send you a pdf! I’ve never really done official ARCs, but unofficially, I’m all for it.
Also, don’t forget that Magic Most Deadly and Magic and Mayhem are both on sale for $0.99 until the end of August! Now is the perfect time to dive in to the Whitney & Davies series and fall in love with Maia and Len and all their friends and family yourself!
Hello friends! It’s been a long time since I’ve done a giveaway, and I think it’s time I changed that.
The Prize: A signed paperback copy of Magic & Mayhem, my newly-released short story collection (if you already have M&M, contact me and we can work out a substitute of one of my other works).
The Rules: Between now and next Saturday (5/19), leave an honest review on any or all of my books on Amazon and/or Goodreads (links below).
Come back here and leave a comment with a link to your review(s).
Each review is one (1) entry into the giveaway. (Four books, two places to leave reviews, means you could potentially have up to eight entries.)
On 5/20, a winner will be randomly drawn, and on 5/21 they will be contacted about how to claim their prize.
The Reason: Glamours & Gunshots, Book 2 of the Whitney & Davies series, is coming out this year. THIS YEAR. Hopefully even this summer, though let’s not get too carried away.
I would love to stir up a lot of interest for this release, and one way to do that is by having enough reviews on my other books for potential readers to take note of the series and consider purchasing the new book when it comes out. Reviews are an author’s lifeline! Without them, our books tend not to show up in searches, they don’t get featured anywhere, and we lose so many potential readers.
Extra Stuff: If you have already left a review on all of my books but would still like to enter the giveaway, that’s fine, too–send me a link to them and you’ll be entered. Winning does not depend on the quality of the review–even if it’s one-star because you really didn’t like it, BE HONEST. All I’m looking at is that a review has been left, not its content. This contest is open to international participants as well as US!
I follow Susan Cooper’s fan page on FB, and when I saw a couple weeks back that she was going to be doing a book signing/reading/talk in Cambridge, MA, I gasped in delight and immediately told my husband we needed to go. After a bit of comic misunderstanding of him thinking I meant “our” Cambridge, Cambridge, England, and trying gently to remind me we didn’t have money or time for unexpected trips across the channel, and me trying to figure out why he thought we needed to plan so far in advance for a town less than an hour’s drive from us, we got it straightened out and scheduled it in our calendars.
It was rich. It honestly would have been worth flying to Cambridge, England to experience it (plus, you know, Cambridge. You wouldn’t have to twist my arm to get me back there; I’ve missed it every day since we returned from our visit last year). She was so full of warmth and wisdom, joy and humor. I couldn’t even think of any questions to ask during the Q&A session; I just wanted to sit and soak in whatever she had to say, from children’s instinctive aligning with the land and nature versus the adult idea of progress, to her anecdote of CS Lewis and Tolkien teaching them at Oxford to believe in dragons, to her advice for helping reluctant writers.
One thing she said that really struck me was when she spoke of how much her writing is all rooted in a sense of place. The best writing, it’s always seemed to me, does have a rootedness in something beyond the immediate story or theme. For Tolkien, it was language (and myth, and Story, and … look, he had a lot going for him). For Lewis, it was the notion of Truth beyond religious packaging. For someone like Lloyd Alexander, I believe it was joy. Madeleine L’Engle’s work was rooted in the idea of names and naming.
What, I mused on the way home, and that night, and the next day, and on into the next week, is my writing rooted in?
Oh, there’s lots of themes that wind their way through my writing. Joy is a big one (there’s a reason LA is my favorite author of all time). The notion of Story is another, most especially Truth as Story. Finding one’s own place is something else that comes in to most of my stories, whether overtly (as in From the Shadows, where it’s pretty much the whole plot), or more subtly (Magic Most Deadly isn’t quite as blatant, nor is Candles in the Dark, but the idea is there with both of them). Still none of those felt quite like the answer.
The answer in fact came to me just a couple days ago, as we were walking through the nearby bird sanctuary. The setting sun shone a golden, warm light on the fields and trees as we made our way back out of the woods, and I found myself stopping to take pictures, just like I always do, despite the fact that I have dozens if not hundreds of photographs of different qualities of light already.
And that’s when it hit me. Light. That’s what my stories are all rooted in. The idea of light. That’s why I write, to be a light. That’s what I most deeply resonate with. This is what my self is rooted in, so of course it is what my writing springs up out of.
Sometimes it’s a warm light. Sometimes it might be a harsher one, even blinding. Sometimes it’s the sun on the water, sometimes a candle in a window. Whatever the type, that’s where my stories are born.
It seems rather fitting that this revelation should be inspired by the woman who wrote an entire series based around the struggle between the Dark and the Light. Even more fitting that one of the books she signed for me was The Dark is Rising, the first book in that series I ever read.
I am grateful.
(Also on that same day we went to hear Susan Cooper speak I got in the mail the edition of FrostFire Worlds containing my short story “A Spot of Orange”! It is available to purchase at the Alban Lake Shop, if anyone is interested in a copy of their own. It was a really good day.)
Remember me talking about that mystery novella set in my hometown of Canton, NY in the 1930s? The one that was going to get published in June?
Well, it hit setback after setback, but at last it is ready, and it will be available on Kindle tomorrow, and in paperback soon after!
The timing has turned out beautifully appropriate after all, as the idea of shining a light in the darkness and justice interceding for the broken is so fitting for Advent.
Candles in the Dark, by Louise Bates
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 …
In a near-future post I’ll talk a little more about the inspiration for this story and some of my reasons for writing it. For now, I’ll simply tell you to stay tuned! It’s coming soon.