Books, characters, fiction, mystery, publishing, stories, writing

Secrets of the Past, Published

It’s been one week since Secrets of the Past published!

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 … 

I confess: I forgot to post about it on the blog on the actual publication day. I was so busy updating all my other social media sites that writing a post for here slipped my mind. So I decided I would wait and do a “one week” post instead (and then nearly forgot about that as well).

I am so happy to have this book out in the world. It’s a bit surreal to think that I have completed this series. Originally I had intended for there to be 7-8 Pauline Gray books, but as I went along I started to realize that this was better suited for a shorter series, and when I started working on Secrets, it became very clear that this was the final story. The final chapter was a little emotional to write! But I am satisfied with the three stories, satisfied with Pauline’s character arc throughout the series, and pleased to see the project completed.

The ebook of Secrets of the Past is available at pretty much all the usual retailers, via this link. So far the paperback is only available through Amazon, but it will eventually be distributed through other retailers as well. The process takes a bit longer with print than with ebooks.

I hope you have all enjoyed going back in time to 1930s Canton, NY with me, and getting to know all the characters I chose to people this town with, and I hope you enjoy this final book in the series. Happy reading!

Books, fiction, mystery, publishing, writing

Secrets of the Past, Print Release Date

The second proof copy of the print edition of Secrets of the Past arrived in the mail yesterday, and … it’s gorgeous. I’m so pleased with how it turned out.

The first proof copy had some problems with the margins, which I was able to finally sort out, and I wasn’t happy with a couple of details on the cover, things that looked fine on a computer screen but just didn’t work well on a physical book. That’s why we have physical proof copies, to work out all those little details in order to have the final product be as close to perfect as a human can get!

The really good news, so far as my readers are concerned, is that with the success of this proof, I will be able to release the paperback edition of Secrets of the Past on March 1st, right along with the ebook edition. Hurrah!

So mark your calendars for March 1st, 2022, whichever edition you prefer to buy, because you will be able to take your pick.

Less than a week to go!

Books, characters, fiction, mystery, publishing, reading list, writing

Secrets of the Past Release Date

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 … 

I am very happy to be able to announce a release date for Secrets of the Past, the third and final Pauline Gray novella. It will be available in ebook form on March 1, 2022. You can preorder it now using this link: Secrets of the Past

I am hoping that the paperback will be available on March 1 as well, but I can’t make any promises with that.

This book was one of my most challenging to write, and one of the most rewarding. I can’t wait to share it with readers! This is a bittersweet release for me–I am pleased to have brought Pauline’s journey to completion, and a little sad to say goodbye to her. I hope all of my readers find satisfaction in how this final mystery works out.

You can also add Secrets of the Past to your Goodreads list here, if you like.

I will update once I have a set release date for the paperback as well!

1920s, Books, fantasy, fiction, goals, mystery, publishing, Sci-fi, stories, writing

Publishing Plans for 2022

I often hesitate to post about upcoming books and publications, because so often life ends up turning my plans upside down–or the book refuses to be written–or the prior book takes longer to be written than planned and so this book has to be pushed off yet again–and so on and so forth. However, I also do like to keep my readers informed as to what they can expect, and so with the qualifier that these plans are very, very loosely held, here is what to look out for in 2022, and possibly beyond.

Secrets of the Past. The third and final (at least for now) Pauline Gray novella will be coming soon–possibly even this month, though a March publication date is more likely.

Death by Disguise. The third novel in the Whitney & Davies series, following after Glamours & Gunshots. (The current chronological order of the series, for those who are curious, is: Magic Most Deadly, The Third Thief*, Masks & the Magician*, While Shepherds Watch, Glamours & Gunshots, Death by Disguise.) My original plan for 2022 was to have this published by April. Substantial rewrites are making that look less and less likely, but I am still intending to publish it this year, just most likely later than the original goal.

Another collection of short stories in the Whitney & Davies collection, these to feature some of the smaller cases the team solves between Glamours & Gunshots and Death by Disguise. This collection is tentatively titled Sorcery and Suspicion, but we’ll see if the title lasts throughout the actual writing and organizing of the stories!

Those three books make up my publishing plans for this year. I have not forgotten about the Caledonia sequel I hinted at however many months ago (either here or on one of my social media sites, I can’t remember now where I talked about it). That story is still proving recalcitrant, and since it is more important to me to get it right rather than publish it fast, I’ve stopped trying to set a publication date for it. It is still happening, just … not very fast.

I also have two more Whitney & Davies novels planned, and my hope is to publish one if not both in 2023. After that … who knows? We shall see where the muse strikes!

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions about the upcoming books, or an urgent request for a story that you are hoping to read, or a character you’d like to see featured in an upcoming story, or if you just want to talk about the books! I always enjoy chatting with my readers.

*found in the short story collection Magic & Mayhem

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, 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, research, world-building, writing

A Day of Research

Canton, N.Y. is a small town tucked between the Adirondack Mountains and the St. Lawrence River. It is home to St. Lawrence University as well as SUNY (State University of N.Y.) Canton. The Grasse River winds its way through the town, as well as numerous streams and brooks. The park in the center of the village has been there–if not as long as the town has existed, then pretty darn close. It shows up on every old map I’ve seen, and I’ve looked at a lot of them.

It is my hometown, where I was born and raised, and it is also the setting for the Pauline Gray mysteries. All the characters in the Pauline stories are fictional, but I have done my best to keep the setting as authentic to Canton in the 1930s as possible. The photos and memories posted on the Historian Town & Village Canton Facebook page has been one great resource for this; family has been another.

In the end, though, nothing beats poking around the town in person for inspiration and authenticity. For all that I spent my formative years there, there’s a lot of the town I never explored growing up, and so now I take advantage of any trip up to visit my folks to drive around and re-familiarize myself with the landscape.

(I am embarrassed to admit that all the way up until the final proofread of Candles in the Dark, I had misplaced the street where Pauline lives to the other side of the village–even looking at a map hadn’t helped me properly orient it until I actually drove down it and said, “Whoops.”)

On this most recent jaunt to the north country, I corralled Carl as my chauffeur so I could focus on the landscape and not on the road, and we set out to figure out which street looked the most promising for the setting for a murder. It didn’t take long before we found it, on the road that leads to Morley (readers of Candles might remember that Morley is the home of the mill that was the setting for that murder). It was a beautiful day, with the sun shining and all the fields shining greenly in the sun thanks to the frequent rains this month, a light breeze blowing … the kind of idyllic day in the country people dream about but rarely get to experience. Just right for a mild little adventure.

My specifications were fairly simple: it needed to be by the river, fairly lonely, not frequently traveled, and beautiful. Off Rt 27, we found the exact right side road. Don’t you love it when that happens?

All these houses are far too fancy for my fictional house that is the heart of this story, but they certainly provided plenty of inspiration as well as admiring gasps as Carl drove very slowly past while I took frantic snapshots out the windows.

Back on Rt 27, we stopped by St. Mary’s Cemetery to poke around a bit–ostensibly for research purposes, but mostly because I have a hard time resisting the lure of old gravestones. So many fascinating stories hidden behind the names and dates and epitaphs!

Both so young–obviously the twelve-year-old even more so, but the twenty-three-year-old as well.
I never think about Canton being a hot spot for immigrants, but there certainly were a lot of Italian and Irish names here in the Catholic cemetery.
What a full and adventurous life Patrick must have had! I bet he had stories to tell his grandchildren.

I got the lowdown on the different roads (and what they would or would not have been called in the ’30s) from my dad when I got back to the house, which made for the perfect cap to the day.

Sometimes research looks like hunching over a computer or old books, poring over details to make sure yours match, and that has its charm (though it’s best if one remembers to take frequent breaks to rest one’s eyes and stretch one’s back), but this sort of research has to be my favorite. A beautiful day, a drive through the countryside with my husband, followed by a chat and reminiscing with my dad. It doesn’t get much better than that!