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 …

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

***

Glamours and Gunshots

***

Magic & Mayhem

***

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, publishing, writing

While Shepherds Watch Cover Reveal

Today is the day! I am so excited to be able to share the cover for While Shepherds Watch with you all, as well as the story’s description.

I feel as though I should create a huge build-up, but to be honest, I don’t really go in for that sort of thing, so let’s skip right to the reveal, shall we?

Without further ado … 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.

❆  ❆  ❆

While Shepherds Watch will be released on November 2 in paperback and ebook format, and the ebook is available for pre-order now. There’s also a Goodreads page for it already, so if you are a Goodreads user and want to add it to your TBR, click here.

I’m so looking forward to sharing this story with you all! Some holiday magic coming your way, November 2!

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.

mystery, publishing, writing

Organization Achieved

The votes are in! The final tally is:

  • Pauline Gray: 6
  • Caledonia: 5
  • Whitney & Davies: 4

I will admit, the results surprised me. I didn’t realize until after I counted up all the votes that I had fully expected Maia and Len to win by a landslide. Instead it was a tight race, and they came in third!

So, Pauline it is. In honor of the choice, here’s an unedited snippet from the third book, accompanied by an illustration borrowed from a fashion illustration of the 1930s.

“How about a cup of tea before you go, dear?”

Miss Lewis said this every time, and every time, Pauline smiled and accepted. She didn’t care very much for tea, but she had said “yes” the first time out of politeness, and now it had become something of a ritual.

She enjoyed watching Miss Lewis prepare the brew. First she brought the kettle to a boil while she washed out the flowered china teapot. Then she poured the boiling water into the pot to warm it while setting out the two delicate teacups and adding a cookie from her always-filled tin to each delicate saucer.

Once the pot was warmed, Miss Lewis emptied it, added the fragrant black leaves, filled it once again with boiling water, turned her three-minute hourglass over, set the fine wire mesh tea strainer over the first teacup, and at last, when the three minutes were up, poured the tea.

It was an elaborate process, and it put Pauline in mind of the Old World, and the ritual that afternoon tea had been in Victorian England. She appreciated this touch of European elegance into her life, and in truth, the flavor of the tea wasn’t so bad once one got over wishing it was coffee.

Today’s cookie was molasses, much to Pauline’s relief. Some days it was a peanut butter cookie, which took all her grace to eat without grimacing. Those were the days she had to hurry home and eat an apple or drink a glass of milk, anything to rid herself of that cloying taste and feel in her mouth.

Today, she was happy to linger over the tea, looking out the kitchen window at Miss Lewis’s garden. Mostly vegetables, there were occasional bursts of color and bloom from various types of old-fashioned flowers: sweet peas, peonies, narcissi, sweet-smelling lavender, and of course roses.

“There is such a peacefulness here,” Pauline said, a trace of wistfulness in her voice.

“I do love to give out my books and flowers. I let the neighborhood children pick flowers out of my garden to take home to their mothers, you see. They do the weeding that my arthritic hands can’t manage anymore.” Miss Lewis looked ruefully at her gnarled fingers. “That’s the way to get through life, Miss Gray. Give what you can to others, and allow them to give to you when you have need.”

Pauline’s motto was more along the lines of “take care of oneself and never be beholden to anyone,” but she thought Miss Lewis’s way was, perhaps, the better.

Cycling back home with Barchester Towers and Cranford nestled into her basket beside a nosegay of roses and campanula, she was sure of it.

That passage is from Secrets of the Past, and I hope you will enjoy meeting Miss Lewis as much as Pauline does, and the story that unfolds from that meeting.

1920s, fantasy, goals, mystery, publishing, Sci-fi, writing

Organizing Projects

If you’ve spent any time at this blog at all, or even if you wandered here wanting to learn more about my other writings after reading one of my stories, you probably know that I have three “universes” I mainly write in: The Whitney and Davies universe, aka Golden Age Detective Fantasy, aka Whodunnit Fantasy, aka Agatha Christie with magic; what I call the Caledonia universe, or the setting for From the Shadows; and the Pauline Gray historical mysteries, no magic at all.

I currently have projects in mind for all of these universes, and choosing between them for what to work on next can be almost as much of a challenge as the writing itself–or at the very least, a distraction from actually doing the writing. So I thought I might toss the options out there and see if there’s a preference from readers as to what project I turn the majority of my attention to first. So far my plan of “write whichever one strikes my fancy at the moment” has resulted in a pile of unfinished drafts, shockingly enough. (I KNOW. Who would have thought?)

The first question, then, is: which universe are you most eager to read another story in?

  • Whitney & Davies
  • Caledonia
  • Pauline Gray

After that, it gets a little more complex.

For Pauline, the options are fairly straightforward: the next installment of the series. Actually, that’s not “fairly” straightforward, that’s completely straightforward, and it’s not even “options,” it’s one choice: the next novella.

For Caledonia, I think it would look like a long short story that works as an interlude between the events of the first novel and the events of the next, followed by said next novel. It is possible that I might be able to jump right into the next novel without the interlude, but the way things stand for story development right now that would leave a gap between the stories, and so I think we really do need that bridge.

In the W&D universe, the choices are:

  • Another collection of short stories, this time mostly featuring Maia, Len, Gwen, and Becket
  • A one-off novella or long short story set in the same world but featuring entirely different characters
  • The next novel in the series

My instinct here is to get the next novel out there, but I don’t know, are people interested enough in the short stories that they would be a nice filler between novels? Is the novella something only I would be interested in? Would readers like the occasional short story in between novels but not necessarily an entire collection of them?

So these are the questions I am asking you all to answer: what do you want to see next from me–the next Pauline Gray novella; the continuation of Riss’s story; the next W&D novel; a short story or stories around W&D, or a novella set in their world but featuring different characters? Feel free to answer with only one option or with putting your choices in order of what you want most to read down to least.

As I shuffling off the responsibility of organizing my work onto my readers? Yes, I absolutely am. Do I feel guilt over this? Nope, not a bit.

Let me know in the comments, or send me an email if you’d rather keep it private! Also feel free to let me know some of what you hope to see from any or all of these universes by way of long-term storytelling. I know what my ideas are for the futures of these stories, but what are yours? Let’s chat!