My Heart Breaks

I’ve spent many happy hours over the past 20 years vacationing, relaxing and playing in the Great Smoky Mountains. I’ve stayed in and spent lots of time in Gatlinburg and in the National Park.

In February of 2014, my wife was introduced to the Smokies for the first time when she and I and her sister and our now brother-in-law rented a cabin in Pigeon Forge for a weekend. We spent most of the day Saturday in downtown Gatlinburg. The three of them were so enamored of an area I’d long known that during the 7+ hour ride home, we planned a ‘family’ vacation for Labor Day week, 2014 and, when we got home, we called a family meeting to tell everyone about it.

We took that Labor Day week vacation and my wife’s sister and her fiance got married on one of the decks of our cabin with a backdrop of the Smokies while we were there. marriedIt was a vacation we’ll never forget and it was the crux of a decision by my wife and I to buy a second home down there near Douglas Lake in the Sevierville area where we could have a boat and where we could spend winters. We have a little ways to go to realize the dream, but it’s in the works.

Rainbow in the Smoky MountainsThe three of us; me, my spouse and her sister, have been following the news out of Gatlinburg and the surrounding area with heavy hearts. My emotions have run very high these last few days as I grieve the people who have lost their lives and I worry about the firefighters, other emergency personnel and the people who have lost their homes, their businesses, their jobs and their way of life.

I’m praying for, and hopeful for the people of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and the entire East Tennessee region. The rainbow picture is one I took on our way back out of the Park in September of 2014 one day as the fog had rolled in suddenly, thick and heavy and then nearly as fast it rolled away to reveal it. It symbolizes that hope for me.

Forever the Great Smoky Mountains! I’ll be back again one day…soon. Until then, I wish all of the people there all of the blessings possible as they rebuild their homes and their lives.

Peace…

smokies

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Opera House Ops Novel Released

Just a quick post to let everyone know that Opera House Ops, Book 2 of the Morelville Cozies series that was originally released in serial form with ten episodes has now been released as a novel. It’s currently exclusive at Amazon for the Kindle and free via Kindle Unlimited. After 90 days, it will be released for wide distribution.

Opera House Ops Book CoverSinister goings-on at a vacant 1800’s era opera house in Morelville have the residents of the village all tied up in knots and Faye Crane trying to solve multiple crimes to play savior to history.

Faye Crane and Chloe Rossi are back in the latest Morelville cozy mystery. This time, sinister goings-on at a vacant late 1800’s era opera house in Morelville have the residents of the village all tied up in knots and the meddling mothers trying to solve multiple crimes and play savior to history. Who’s responsible for all of the strange occurrences? What will it take to make the crimes stop, make a developer go away and to save the historical building for future generations?

Originally released as a serial mystery in ten episodes, this latest cozy crime drama from the Morelville Cozies series goes great together with Book 1 of the series, The Passed Prop. To get all of the Crane and Rossi families back story, you should check out that book available for the Kindle and via Kindle Unlimited but this book can also be read as a stand-alone mystery.

Enjoy and thanks, as always, for reading!

 

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I Have a Double Deal for You!

I Have a Double Deal for You!It’s the most wonderful time of the year; a time for family, friends and the holidays. A time to go 100 miles an hour from event to event and a time to slow down, relax and savor all life’s moments. Forget about Brexit. Forget about the U.S. elections. Put it all aside and enjoy you and yours through the holiday season. And, while you’re at it, you can take the time to have a go at me – in more ways than one!

grill-adFirst, on Sunday, November 27th, from 2:00 PM Eastern (1:00 Central, Noon Mountain and 11:00 in the morning Pacific Time) I will be tossed onto the grill by Dawn Carter of the Lesbian Book Readers Club on Facebook for three hours of flipping, poking and prodding by anyone and everyone in the group. Not a member? Go to Facebook and click to join the group now so you can get in on all the fun.

Ask me anything on Sunday. I’m an open book…it’s all fair game! I’ve been interviewed before but never like this. It should be fun…

Second, on a related note, I told Dawn I planned to give away an eBook boxed set of my lesfic mystery/romance series featuring Sheriff Melissa ‘Mel’ Crane and Special Agent Dana Rossi and a copy of my romance, Broken Women, in either paperback or in eBook form. Well, scratch that!

bb-ad-2Oh, I’ll still give away one of each but have I got a deal for the Kindle users among you: Beginning at Midnight tonight (Pacific Time), the boxed set of 8 Morelville Mysteries mystery/romance novels goes on sale in the U.S. and the U.K. for the low, low price of $.99 (cents and pounds). In all other countries, I’m dropping it as low as Amazon will let me drop it from the current U.S. equivalent price of $7.99. Get this while you can! The price goes back up in all countries Tuesday night.

For those of you who prefer not to use Amazon, most of my books are widely available. Broken Women is available on just about every platform out there including Amazon, Apple (iBooks), Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo, Smashwords and many more. Click here to get a page with all the links. The mysteries series is available on all those sites too, but as two boxed sets (The Full Circle Collection featuring books 1-4 plus a companion guide not available at Amazon and The Morelville Mysteries Books 5-8 Collection) at a low cost per book ($1.00 US or less, typically).

Never read any of my stuff before? Relic, the first book in The Morelville Mysteries series and the book that started it all is free to download on every major site and a whole slew of minor ones.

So, I’ll see you at the grilling on Sunday but, until then, enjoy and, as always, thank you for reading!

 

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Christmas is Coming! – The Lesfic Author List

Back in June of this year, I created a blog post titled The Top 153 Lesfic Writers Alive (and Still Writing) Today. My motives were pure. Yes, I write lesfic myself but I’ve been an avid reader of it for years and I was getting frustrated in my online searches for new stuff. I still read paperbacks but, because Kindle software can be loaded on just about anything electronic and I have it loaded on everything now, I read a lot of eBooks from Amazon. If you don’t know this, then let me be the first to tell you that Amazon is the queen of the personal search experience but it isn’t always a good thing.

 Amazon looks at all of your previous search history and, when you start typing into their search bar, it makes suggestions to you based on that history; YOUR HISTORY. Two different users, logged into their own accounts and using the same search terms will see completely different things.

As an author, I’m constantly looking for resources on all sorts of crazy stuff to research things for my fiction novels so I don’t come off sounding like an idiot. That leads Amazon to invite me to look at things that really aren’t relevant to my searches for some new fiction to read. Too, not every author I run across in Facebook groups or that I find on Goodreads or elsewhere via social media sells ebooks or sells on Amazon. I wanted a place that I could go where I could find lesfic authors and only lesfic authors where I could link directly to their websites or to another profile (like Goodreads) that potentially listed all of the places where their books are available. No such website or list existed then. It does now.

 I started to create a list with links to the top 50 lesfic authors I wanted to follow. That became 100, then 150 and, tired and wanting to post it online for others to see and use, I stopped at 153. I linked to my original blog post in a few lesfic Facebook groups and it went totally viral. The post got thousands of visitors. Readers made suggestions and so did the less shy authors among us who weren’t on the list. I kept updating the post with new names and new links as they were suggested to me.

 When the post ballooned to well over 200 names, and approached 300 (as of this writing, there are 288 active authors on the list and another 10 that are no longer with us), I knew I couldn’t keep just adding to it and I knew we – all of us – needed something more permanent than a post that gave readers – and potential gift givers – more information. This page was born: Lesfic Author List. Lesfic List Logo‘The list’ now has a permanent home on my site.

It’s not a stagnant list. New names are added as often as I run across them or someone forwards them to me. I’ve also started adding notations for everyone who writes books other than lesfic romance. Most everyone on the list writes romance too but so many of them write about characters that reflect us in many other genres (mystery, paranormal, sci-fi…), myself included.

 I’m publicizing the list again because I know there are authors out there that should be on it. If you don’t see your name, contact me via this site or through Facebook. We’re coming up on the time of year when people give gifts and the time beyond that when people curl up inside and spend hours reading. It’s a place to go to find links to old favorites and to discover some –  or many – new ones too.

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BTB Review of The Passed Prop by Anne Hagan

Sheryl Hagan-Booth (no relation) of ‘Booth Talks Books’ reviews my first cozy mystery, ‘The Passed Prop’.

Booth Talks Books

The Passed Prop

by Anne Hagan

Review

passed-propI might just live in this small town that Anne has written about. Morelville, Ohio is a small farming community with people who know all the people’s private business and a downtown that needs reviving. Everyone went to school together, have worked together and have been annoyed at people together. Throw in a dead body found in the haunted house during a fund raiser and we have some great gossip and a list of suspects for this little town.

After the body of a trouble-making townsman is found in a haunted house, replacing the original manikin body prop, the town starts to question their safely. Enter Faye Crane who had been seen and heard arguing with the now dead man the night before. After her daughter, Sheriff Melissa Crane, has her mother questioned by the detective, Faye is sent on a personal mission…

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Episode 1 is Free today through Monday

Whew! October was a crazy month. A guy retired at work and I was ‘involuntarily’ promoted. I’ve been picking up lots of extra hours while waiting for someone to be hired and on-boarded to fill my old slot.  Then, we were so focused on the haunted house through the first half of the month and then dealing with the aftermath of a ‘voluntary’ shut down (long story) that I found very little time to do any writing. The haunt will be up and running again next year – plans are already under way for that. In the meantime, it’s time for me to get back at it and finish some things…several things…that I started.

Opera House Ops - Episode 1 CoverFirst things first though. I have a cozy mystery out in serial form, Opera House Ops. It’s exclusively at Amazon (temporarily) and free via Kindle Unlimited. If you don’t have Kindle Unlimited, I’d like you to know that Episode 1, Breaking In, is free today through Monday at Amazon. The first link will take you to the page on this site where you can read about the serial. The Episode 1 link or clicking the photo on the right will take you right to the Amazon page where you can download it and give it a shot. Enjoy and please, let me know what you think. I’m considering doing more books in the Cozies series this way – as serials. It was fun to write in that format and many readers seemed to like it.

 Healing Embrace CoverMy lesfic romance, Healing Embrace, was due out in mid-late October, depending on the schedule of my proofreader. That obviously didn’t happen. I severely underestimated the time I’d be devoting to all things haunted house related. The first draft is done and my own edits (second draft), are about half or more finished. With any luck at all, fingers crossed, I’ll have it proofed near the end of the month and published no later than early December.

 A project I started working on in late October, after all the hubbub about the haunt died down, the 9th Morelville Mystery, The Turkey Tussle is almost completely plotted. I had that on my calendar to release by Thanksgiving. That’s not going to happen but it’s okay; it wasn’t really a Thanksgiving story, despite the title. I’ll release the blurb soon and you’ll see what I mean. Now, I need to come up with a cover for it that reflects the story rather than the bird the title references. My usual designer seems to be a little stumped by this one. Sigh….

 I had a short NA romance – a novella I suppose I should call it – that I had planned to release around Christmas. I’m still planning to write it and, because my cover designer did come up with a great ‘image’ to use as a base for the cover, I’m planning on keeping it Christmas themed. Maybe if I make it a longish short story instead and burn lots of midnight oil between now and the end of the year, I can produce all three…hmmmm. There’ll be plenty of time to sleep when I retire in 9-10 years, right?!

 I’m off today for Veteran’s Day. I have a to do list that includes working on all of the above plus several more things so I’ll be working on those. I served 22 years combined in the Army and the Army National Guard. I’d like to wish all of my current and former brothers and sisters in arms a Happy Veteran’s Day. It was a pleasure to serve with all of you that I did and I thank you and all the ones who came before and after me, in every branch, for your service.

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Opera House Ops – Saga Complete!

After 10 weeks, the final episode of the serial cozy mystery, Opera House Ops was released today at Amazon for the Kindle and via Kindle Unlimited. It’s been a crazy ride as an author getting to the end of an endeavor like this. I hope you enjoy how it all works out.

Here’s the final episode cover and blurb:

Opera House Ops - Episode 10A Morelville Cozies Serial Mystery: Episode 10 – Trespasses

A lost lamb returns to the fold with his tail between his legs. When he tells his side of his tale, Sheriff Mel is skeptical but Faye’s pretty sure he’s telling the truth. If he is though, who’s responsible for the death and destruction that came before his fall?

Let me know what you think.

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Episode 9 and Problem Solved

Kudo’s to the tech wizards at Amazon. They figured out how to get my serial listed so it shows as a series after all the problems surrounding that whole mess. Episodes 1-8 now show up together and Episode 9, Twofer, released last night as a pre-order. It will be available late Thursday night or very early Friday morning for the Kindle and via Kindle unlimited.

Hopefully, now that it’s set up correctly, Episode 9 and the final episode (10, of course), will be attached to the series listings for books 1-8 with no more intervention from either me or Amazon. That would be amazing! It was fun to write in serial form but there are lots of other considerations that only came to light through lots of trial and error. I initially thought I might do this again. Now, I think if I do, It will be in a more hybrid form like, say, a series of completely self contained short stories…

Opera House Ops Episode 9Here’s the lowdown on the latest installment: A Morelville Cozies Serial Mystery: Episode 9 – Twofer

A diva spins a tale that sends a shocked community into a tailspin. Faye and Chloe try to make heads or tails of what they’ve heard but a few things still just don’t make any sense. Can they figure it all out before something else horrible happens?

I’ve already said that this winds up at ten episodes so we’re climbing the last long hill to the end here. I appreciate you sticking with it this far and I certainly hope it’s been entertaining.

In other news, I’m quite far behind on getting my lesfic romance, Healing Embrace, released. I had hoped to have it out in late September or early this month. I’ll be lucky if it’s out by the end of the month and I do apologize for that. Life just got in the way what with health problems for my wife and the need for me to really step it up to help with the haunted house more, as a result. Look for that in early November, most likely. Meanwhile, the next Morelville Mystery is in the late planning stages. I’d hoped to have that out by Thanksgiving but now I’m shooting for Christmas or very shortly afterward. Cross your fingers! Episode 9 and Problem Solved

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I Lied and a Video

My last post was a lie. My issue with the Opera House Ops cozy mystery showing as a serial at Amazon isn’t fixed. Not even close. Though I’m working with someone at Amazon to right the issue, it’s proving difficult.

Most books in a series have a title that comes first and then a subtitle that’s actually the series title. Serials have three titles; the individual episode title such as, Breaking In – Episode 1,  the overall book title such as Opera House Ops (think of that like a season of a television series that builds from show to show) and the the series title such as The Morelville Cozies. The typical 2-part Title/Subtitle format does not work for these books, no matter how you work them…sigh.

Anyway, Episode 8 – Gone Guy is due out late this week. You can look for it late night Thursday night or early Friday morning. In the meantime, here’s they synopsis for the episode:

Opera House Ops - Episode 8 CoverA man vanishes without a trace with nothing but his wallet, his car and the clothes on his back. No one has a clue why he left or where he’s gone. A diva returns to the village though and she may have all the answers.

Things are really starting to boil over!

In other news, the ramp up to our haunted house opening and all of the anguish and stress that goes along with it is finally over. Our grand opening for 2016 was Saturday night. It was cold but otherwise the weather semi-cooperated. Multiple other forces (in the form of local and county wide events) conspired against us to keep the crowd numbers low but we beat our 2015 opening night and, weather aside, things should improve as October progresses. We’re not discouraged!

A friend, neighbor and actor in the haunt put a great video together for us using some of her own creativity, some pictures from last year and some pictures I took as we built this year. You can check it out below (it’s not gory at all). I’m hoping now that we’ve got some pics of the finished product for this year and some action shots from last night, we can convince her to do another!

By the way, the ‘Uncle Fester’ looking character in one of the shots is my wife, made up and ready to roll one night last year. Didn’t she look great?

 

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Opera House Ops Series Issue Fixed

I goofed, again. What else is new, right?

I was uploading the 7th episode of Opera House Ops all of 10 minutes before I started writing this (it releases Friday, the 30th) and feeling frustrated because Amazon isn’t showing the serial in series order or even in ‘People who bought this also bought…’. People are having to search to see if the next episode is posted.

Before I fired off a polite ‘nastygram’ to Amazon, I took a look at my listings for the books. I wasn’t setting them up quite right and I think that’s was the problem Amazon has. The algorithms can’t recognize what they don’t even see. I did a little rework to them and, hopefully, that fixes the problem. I’ll be emailing them as well, just to be sure but no nastygram since it was my fault, to start with.

Opera House Ops - Episode 7 CoverEpisode 7 is titled ‘Cole’s Conundrum‘. Here’s the quickie synopsis:

A shaken Cole turns to someone for support. What he gets isn’t quite what he expected and then the unexpected happens throwing the village into a whirl.

The saga has passed the halfway point and it’s building toward an ending  in Episode 10 that you won’t see coming, I promise you. Stay tuned!

I’m posting this early this week because, by the end of the week, we’ll be in full haunted house mode around here. Our haunt, Hagan’s House of Horrors, opens on Saturday, October 1st and runs every Friday and Saturday night during October.

Hagans House of Horrors Banner

If you’re in the central Ohio area, why don’t you take a little fall foliage road trip out to see us? You’ll pass through some beautiful countryside, we’ll give you a good scare and then you can go across the street and get a great pizza from a local shop  (Shellie’s Shack) that does them right or out to the Indian Bear Winery for a delicious meal and a glass of the good stuff they make while you take in a local band. After all of that, you can lay your head down in one of the cabins at Indian Bear Lodge (reservations required) or head on home having had a full day and frighting turned relaxing evening.

 

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