Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Ghosts and Memories

Today was the warmest day we’ve had in six months, and I’m horribly out of shape, so I took an afternoon walk around the old farm.

I grew up here, but most of what I remember is gone. I’ve recreated it in my mind and on the pages of my books. Zoe lives in the house of my youth although the actual structure was razed after decades of being vacant. Check out the post I wrote about it a couple of years ago.

So my walk involved a lot of ghosts. Memories of my childhood, standing on ground that was once the farmhouse or a tractor shed, wandering through fields and valleys where my childhood best friend and I used to play, making up big adventures, cowboys and indians, acting out our favorite books.

I walk over this ground every spring until it gets too grown over with brambles and the ticks come out. But with all the snow and cold we’ve had, the new growth is late this year. As a result, I was able to find the red-dog gravel base of what used to be the old tractor shed where I would hang out with my grandpap. I stood on that spot and smiled, heard his voice in the wind.


I also found the remains of an old springhouse that "nature" reclaims every year. My childhood pal and I used to call it the Artesian Well. 

That came from a book we’d both read, but don’t ask me which one. I swear I heard the giggles of two little girls with vivid imaginations.


I stood on what is now a sidewalk to nowhere, but in my mind’s eye, I saw my grandma’s garden with the chickenwire around it to keep out the rabbits.


But they’re sweet memories, sweet ghosts. And they feed my fiction. This is now the Kroll farm of Circle of Influence and future Zoe Chambers mysteries. I love this place. It’s home. Ghosts and all.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Blog Tour

I've been blog touring this week to celebrate the official release of Circle of Influence, which is much less stressful than actual travel. I can meet and greet readers while sitting here in my PJs and slippers!

I have two stops today.

Mysteristas interviewed me with a lot of good questions that made me stop and think. I hope my answers entertain you.

At Pens Fatales, I'm telling tales on my mom. We love each other dearly, but she is totally bamboozled by this thing I do for a living.

I did a few blogs earlier in the week, too, and if you missed them, here are the links.

Monday, I was interviewed by Canyon Mason on Thoughts in Progress.

Tuesday, Zoe Chambers, the "star" of Circle of Influence, took over the writing duties and shared a typical day in her life at Dru's Book Musings.

I also was given the floor at my wonderful publisher, Henery Press' blog.

Next week, I'm taking a blog break so I can finish my revisions on Lost Legacy, the next Zoe Chambers mystery, due out this September!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Book Launch for Circle of Influence!

Yesterday, my dream came true.

Yes, signing a three-book contract was also a dream come true. As was holding my finished book in REAL BOOK form in my hands.

But yesterday was my launch party. I’ve been a bunch of these and other author events/book signings and such. I’ve longed for the day when it would be me. I’ve feared that no one would show up.

I’ve wanted to sign the Mystery Lovers Bookshop’s bathroom wall with a passion that bordered on lust.

Yesterday, it happened. My fear that no one would come was more than unfounded. The place was packed with family and friends from all over the state and even from Virginia!

Here is my dear friend and owner of Mystery Lovers Bookshop, Laurie Stephens, introducing me.
 I babbled on about the book and Pete and Zoe for a while. Hopefully not TOO long.
 Then I read a couple of pages. People laughed in the right places. THAT was good!
 Three of my fellow Pittsburgh authors elbowed their way to the front of the signing line: Rebecca Drake, Kathleen George, and Lila Shaara. I'm honored to be in such esteemed company!
 There was cake!

I had a lot of family in attendance, including my mom, my brother, and three grandnieces.

 Nice crowd!

And, yes, I did get to sign the wall!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

T minus 3 days and counting.

Saturday is the publication party for Circle of Influence at Mystery Lovers Bookshop. I liken the feeling to being inside a rocket on the launch pad. I can feel the engines rumbling beneath me as I wait for take-off.

All right, so that’s a tad over-dramatic. The only thing rumbling beneath me is my nerves.

Folks have been RSVPing, so I’m not so much afraid no one will show up as I once was. The books are at the store, ready to be unpacked. Check that one off the list. I’m worried about the weather—although the forecast for Saturday looks okay at the moment.

So just when it seems I should be able to relax—Hubby gets sick. Poor baby. But I dare his cold germs to think about attacking me next. Don’t EVEN. I’m sure the day will be a blur without the added benefit of me being doped up on antihistamines and decongestants.

Germs, if you ARE insistent on taking me as your next victim, at least have the decency to wait until Sunday to strike.

As a prelude to the party, I’m heading north to Ford City Library Thursday evening to take part in a Writing Discussion Panel alongside my good pal and critique partner Jeff Boarts. If you’re in the area, come on by.

Let the countdown continue. 

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Blog Tour: Writers Who Kill

I'm launching my blog tour with a fun interview at Writers Who Kill. E.B. Davis posed some wonderfully interesting question to me. Plus, anyone who comments on the WWK blog will be entered to win a signed ARC of Circle of Influence.

Speaking of giveaways, I still have one running at Goodreads, too!

And as of last night, you can pre-order a print copy at Barnes and Noble! Of course, if you want a signed copy, those can be ordered through my always favorite indy bookstore, Mystery Lovers Bookshop.

In other news, it looks like winter might finally be loosening its strangle hold on us. I decided yesterday that Tuesday morning's zero temperature was the LAST of the wicked cold. And if anyone tells me something different, they're in danger or serious harm.

Are you listening, weathermen??? NO MORE WICKED COLD.

Hubby reported seeing a groundhog killed on the road yesterday. I wasn't surprised. Some motorist went gunning for ol' Phil, I'm sure.

Come on, Spring!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Four Weeks to Launch

Four weeks from today, I'll be celebrating the official launch of Circle of Influence with a party at Mystery Lovers Bookshop. Everyone is invited! And the announcement is now up on Mystery Lovers website's calendar of events.

This may be my new wallpaper on my computer.

In the meantime, you can pre-order and request a signed copy from Mystery Lovers. Click here. Did I mention FREE SHIPPING?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

32 Days and Counting

This is the final stretch to my debut book launch. Someone asked me yesterday if I got flutters when I think about it. Oh my, YES. Mostly though, I'm keeping too busy to think much. Which is probably a good thing.

I've created a second Goodreads Giveaway, so for those of you who didn't win the first time around, here's another chance.