Category Archives: Authors

Where I’m at…

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Where I’m at…

After being in Texas for a while, you begin to pick up some of the jargon. Obviously, I find myself saying ‘y’all’ instead of ‘all of you,’ as if three words were too difficult to say. And instead of saying, ‘where are you?’ for some reason, ‘Where’re you at?’ pops out of my mouth. I do realize that after returning to Canada, I have to let go of my Texas talk. Not that anyone would say anything; folks are much too polite but they might secretly roll their eyes. Canadians are proud of their British roots, which means finishing each word properly and not leaving anything off – like the ‘g’ in words that end with ‘ing.’ It also means speaking slowly and pronouncing each syllable. To Texans, this is a foreign language.

However, I digress. I really do want to tell you where I’m at.

Where I’m at with my writing, that is.

A couple of months ago, I was not pleased with how my writing was going. Basically,  that is because it was going nowhere. It wasn’t that I wanted or had the desire to become a well known author or even make tons of money. I wanted to enjoy what I was doing but I was not. That’s where I was at then.

I decided to change my whole outlook about writing. Writing should be fun. I did not want it to be stressful in any way. When I’m not writing, there is something missing in my life. It’s good for my brain. It forces me to widen my vocabulary. In other words, it’s healthy. Especially as we age.

I was never satisfied with two of my books and I always thought that if someone read one of those books first, they would never want to read another. It feels terrible not liking your own books. However, they were there for anyone to buy. Overnight, I made the decision to republish all my books. It was as if a weight lifted off my shoulders. When you decide to do this without any premeditation, it is like plunging into a pool of cold water!

While family members worked on covers, I edited one book at a time. After publishing my books the first time, I never picked one up to read. I was too afraid they might be as bad as some reviewers wrote. Well, guess what? I read, I edited, I did some rewriting, and in the end, I thoroughly enjoyed every book! Creating covers was a bit of a challenge but I have a very talented daughter, and together with her dad’s finishing touches, I was very pleased with the end result. They were ‘me.’

I now have all my books on Kindle for 99 cents and they will stay that price. These I write for friends and family and for anyone else who would enjoy reading them. Every few weeks, I will pick one book and do a free promotion. I feel happy doing this.

And, that is where I’m at.

Reading it over…for the first time!

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Reading it over…for the first time!

Good morning, everyone.

First of all, let’s talk about the weather. No, seriously… we are having a heatwave in central Canada! I keep advertising my books and telling readers they should stalk up for the fall/winter weather reading. I don’t think anyone is even reading my posts, they are all outside walking around in shorts. Aww, good for them. When the cold does hit us, we will be in shock for the first few weeks and really complaining. Especially here in Canada. That is our national pastime – we may be polite but we are also big time complainers when it comes to the weather. No one is complaining at the moment though.

Were any of you wondering about my subject line? How can you read something over again … for the first time? I discovered that you can. Perhaps some of you have noticed that my Parson’s Cove mystery series is no longer available. There is a reason; I am reading them over again for the first time. In doing so, I have discovered something about myself. I am not the horrible writer that I thought I was. My first book, Slip and Go Die, is actually quite a good read.

I don’t know if other authors are like me but once a book was published, I never went back to read it. I moved on. In the back of my mind, I was afraid I would see too many mistakes and I would see what readers didn’t like about it. By that time, I felt it was too late to do anything about it anyway, so why torture myself. However, once it was unpublished, I could read it with an open mind and make all those changes I was dreading that I would find.

Guess what? There were very few changes that I had to make. I did remove about a hundred commas, semi-colons, and colons, but other than that, I was quite pleased with my writing.

The moral of this story is not to tell writers to republish all their books, it is simply to say, you are probably a better writer than you think you are. Don’t be afraid to go back and reread your old books. It will boost your confidence and give you the incentive to encourage readers to buy your books. Then when you are promoting your work, you will do it like you mean it … and you will mean it!

(On the other hand, you might read it, hate it, and stop writing altogether. That, of course, is a discussion for another day!)

 

https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Rose/e/B00BL8HTZY/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

 

Goodbye, Mabel and Sharon Rose

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Goodbye, Mabel and Sharon Rose

Most times it is quite sad saying goodbye. Especially if it is to someone or something we’re going to miss. Some of us like to say, ‘see you later.’ Of course, if we are planning to see them the next day or week, that makes sense. If it is someone we do not expect to see again, it is sad but we have to use the ‘real’ word – goodbye. For example, I was underlining a paragraph in a book on my computer and did not realize that the highlight had spread to every paragraph. While I thought I was deleting the highlights in one paragraph, I was in fact deleting all of them! It was a sad goodbye because it meant starting all over again.

Sadly, now it is time to say ‘so long’ to Mabel Wickles. Mabel is the protagonist in my Parson’s Cove cozy mystery series. I must say that I have enjoyed writing about her adventures. She and Flori Flanders make a great twosome. As the English say, they are as different as chalk and cheese. Flori is married to Jake and has a large family; Mabel is single and has a houseful of cats. Missed by a Hair was the first Parson’s Cove mystery and it was published in 2004. When my contract was up, instead of renewing, Mabel disappeared from the scene. I did not feel my writing did her justice.

After writing two more Mabel books, I decided to look for a publisher again. In 2012, I joined Cozy Cat Press. CCP was brand new to the publishing scene. At that time, there were four authors: Patricia Rockwell(our publisher and author), Diane (one of Patricia’s close friends), Al, and me. I am sure it was a learning process for all of us. This was the first time I had used the internet for publishing and had no idea what I was doing most of the time. Patricia was very patient. During the following four years, I wrote four Parson’s Cove books and came to know and appreciate other CCP authors.

So, you might wonder, why is the Parson’s Cove mystery series disappearing again? Once again, I am looking through my books and realizing I need to make some changes. This time I need to work at it at a slower pace.

Many years ago, I removed another book – it was called Who Needs Enemies?. The main character was Beryl Swallows, an ex-cop and now private investigator. Since then, she has reappeared in Virtual Enemies and now in a new book, Case Closed. not.

My hope is that while I am taking my time with Mabel, I can also work on another Historical Fiction book. As you can see, I have much work ahead of me.

Oh, did I say ‘goodbye to Sharon Rose’ too? That’s right, I will publish all my books from now on using my name Sharon Mierke. The world of books seems quite filled with Sharon Roses so in order for readers not to be confused, I will use my last name – even though most do not know how to pronounce it! For those of you who are curious, it is pronounced Merkee.

Well, I refuse to say ‘goodbye.’ Perhaps, ‘see you later,’ is more appropriate. Best wishes to everyone and happy writing.

Revisiting Our Interview with Lisa K’s Book Reviews

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We decided we should re-blog a post from a year ago highlighting reviewer,  Lisa A. Kelley from Lisa K’s Book Reviews. Find out what happens in the day of a reviewer.

A big thank you to Cozy Cat Chronicles for                                                                                                                                               inviting me. I consider it an honor to be here.4995372-32995302_20-v1.jpga

 

My name is Lisa A. Kelley and I’m a cozy mystery book reviewer and blogger. My blog is Lisa Ks Book Reviews. I’m a major animal lover and never remember life without at least one dog being in it. I love everything that has to do with cupcakes. I also love to take a day and just go out and take random photos. I’ve been slacking on that however since I started my blog. 

 

Ah yes, my blog. How it got started: About 4 years ago I went through a very long reading dry spell – over a year long. My sister, who is also a big reader, couldn’t stand seeing me not reading. So, she handed me a cozy mystery about a cupcake bakery and told me to give it a try. What did I have to lose? Oh. My. Goodness! I was in love with that book! I went back and read everything the author wrote. Cozy mysteries were now coursing through my blood. 

 

Next came the joy of discovering new authors. The more I read those wonderful books/series, the more I wanted to know about the authors. So I got online and started looking and researching. And thank you Facebook, I started interacting with the authors and learning so much about them.

 

One important thing I learned was how crucial it is to write a review. Authors count on reviews (good ones) to help them keep writing. Those numbers and the pre-order and first week sales mean everything to authors, their publishers, and us readers, if we want to see the books/series we love continue.

 

I started writing reviews for everything I read and posted them on Amazon. The only place I knew of at the time, but now I post to at least six different sites, not counting my blog. But when I wasn’t reading or writing a review, I found myself bored. I’m on disability, so I’m home all the time. I thought there must be more I could do.

 

July 3, 2013, I started my blog. My first review was posted and I actually got a comment on it from a reader! A reader who to this day, still follows my blog and I’m happy to call friend.

 

Then I interviewed my first author. Then I did my first giveaway. Then an author approached me asking to be on my blog! Wow, I was stunned. And now just over two years later, I feel like I’ve been doing this all my life. Like I was born to do it.

 

Now, it’s my mission in life (Dramatic sounding I know), to do whatever I can to help cozy mystery authors get the word out about their books, to help readers like myself to find new and wonderful titles, and to just continue having a grand time with the wonderful readers and authors I have come to know.

 

I’m looking forward to riding more of this wonderful ride, and I hope you will join me on my journey!      

Make sure you visit Lisa’s Blog.                       

Two Cozy Cat Press authors nominated

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Two Cozy Cat Press authors nominated

 

AURORA, Ill.Sept. 3, 2016 — Independent publisher of mystery books, Cozy Cat Press, today announced that two of its authors––Alice K. Boatwright and Vicki Vass––have been announced as finalists in Chanticleer’s Murder and Mayhem Novel Writing Contest for 2016. Boatwright’s mystery Under an English Heaven and Vass’s Murder by the Spoonful are the books being honored.

According to Cozy Cat Press publisher, Patricia Rockwell, “We are extremely proud of Alice and Vicki.  The Murder and Mayhem contest is one that is quite meaningful to us because it honors cozy mysteries specifically.  The fact that two of our authors have been selected as finalists for this prize, is especially gratifying.”

Alice K. Boatwright’s book, Under an English Heaven, is her first Ellie Kent mystery and her first book with Cozy Cat Press. She is also the author of Collateral Damage, three novellas about the long-term impact of the Vietnam War, which won the 2013 Bronze Award for Literary Fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards. She formerly lived in the Cotswolds for several years, and now divides her time between the U.S. and Paris.

Vicki Vass has written more than 1,400 articles for The Chicago Tribune as well as Women’s World, The Daily Herald and Home & Away. Her science fiction novel, The Lexicon, was inspired by her journeys in the jungle of Sudan, Africa, while writing about the ongoing civil war for World Relief. She has also authored Killer Finds, Pickin’ Murder, and Key to a Murder in her Antique Hunters Mystery series with Cozy Cat, as well as a new series Gem Hunter. She lives outside Chicago, with her writer, musician, husband Brian, their 20-year old son Tony, kittens Pixel and Terra, Australian shepherd Bandit, seven koi and Gary the turtle.

For more information about these and other cozy mystery authors, and about Cozy Cat Press, readers may visit the company’s website:  www.cozycatpress.com. For more information about Chanticleer’s Murder and Mayhem contest: http://www.chantireviews.com/2016/08/18/the-mms-chanticle….

 

 

Not Great!

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Not Great!

And I know I have your attention because there are so many things in life that are ‘not great.’ For example, it could be the weather. Right now, my husband is in bed with  heat exhaustion. We live in a part of the world where it’s so cold in the winter that by March, you are starting to dream about heat. At that point, you doubt you could ever get warm and you would be thrilled to just sit and sweat. Well, guess what? You get heat for three months and you are longing to get cooled down again. Of course, there are other aspects of the weather that are not great either – like tornadoes and flooding.

I’m thinking of something else though and that’s getting older. Now, I know it’s inescapable so there’s no point in moaning about all our aches and pains. Today, I’m dealing with one depressing truth about aging and that’s your memory. Where the heck does it go?? Friends tell me that I have an amazing memory. And it’s true, I can remember when I was a very small child. Many memories are so fresh, it seems like yesterday and not seventy years ago. So, you ask, what’s your problem, lady?

I’ll tell you my problem: Why can’t I remember things that I did a couple of days ago? Or even yesterday when I told my husband that I’d put his phone in a certain place? Why was it somewhere else where I was sure it wasn’t? Now, you know my problem.

What is bringing all this to my mind? As I started to check some of my past blogs, I noticed something. In May, my book Perplexity on P 1/2 was on for 99 cents. No, that can’t be! It is August’s Book of the Month. Surely, I couldn’t have put the same book on only a few months apart. I do have six Parson’s Cove mysteries so why would I keep repeating one book? I’ll tell you why – I am over seventy and have a lousy memory!

On the other hand, I might be able to get away with a few things. Who can get upset with a senior who sports a blank look on her face when she’s in trouble? I wouldn’t try it with a big tough traffic cop though – you might end up having to forfeit your driver’s license.

So, as far as I can remember, my two books on sale this month for 99 cents are Perplexity on P 1/2 (which I’m sure you remember was for that price in May) and Sarah’s Valley. If you didn’t get them then, you’d better get them now because who knows when I’ll remember to put them on special again!

https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Rose/e/B00BL8HTZY/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Made it by the skin of my teeth!

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Made it by the skin of my teeth!

Since the beginning of August, I have been thinking about posting a blog the second Thursday of the month. That used to be my day on the schedule. We now have no schedule so we can post whenever we like. That really throws a person off. I happen to be a person of habit.

So, this is what I’d like to talk about – habits!

There are good and bad habits as everyone knows. People struggle to overcome bad ones and struggle to start new ones. Habits are a bit like New Year’s resolutions – we try to break old habits too quickly or try to develop too many new ones all at once and get frustrated.

Let’s say we smoke, have poor eating habits, and don’t exercise at all. One morning, we wake up with a horrible cough, believe we might have lung cancer, so decide to stop smoking that very day. Since the other two habits tend to cause health problems too, we decide to not only stop smoking but eat properly and exercise.   Our goal is to exercise an hour a day and go vegetarian. We plan to begin immediately.

How long do you think our grand transformation will last? Maybe until noon if we’re lucky. Why? Because we’ve bitten off more than we can chew. Breaking or changing a habit has to be a slow process. You have to be able to visualize the end result and keep it always in your mind. Perhaps, you will be able to break the smoking habit after three months. If that is your goal, it will seem more achievable. If you want to start exercising, why not start with fifteen minutes a day or a half hour three times a week? And you want to become a vegetarian?  After a week, you might cave in, eat a huge double bacon cheeseburger, and give up. Maybe try eating a meatless meal once or twice a week to start out.

And what about writing habits? Do you have a certain routine you have to go through? I do. I have a certain place where I always write. It’s like my brain doesn’t function anywhere else. Do I start writing immediately? No, I have a habit of checking out certain websites before I can begin. And when my mind is going too fast for my fingers to type, I stop and play Mahjong Tiles! Those are my writing habits. They are actually kind of silly but they seem to work for me and I believe they are quite harmless.

Well, this wasn’t a profound blog but it did get published on the second Thursday of the month. I will now make it a habit to mark it on my calendar.

Happy writing everyone!

August’s books of the Month: #2 in Parson’s Cove Mystery series and Historical Fiction, Sarah’s Valley. Both 99 cents on Kindle!

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Celebrate your love of cozies this summer

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To celebrate the summer, I’ve teamed up with more than 40 fantastic cozy mystery
authors to give away a huge collection of cozies, PLUS a Kindle Fire to one lucky
winner!
You can win my novel CURRENT AFFAIRS, plus books from authors like Patricia Rockwell and Vicki Vass.
Enter the contest by clicking here- bit.ly/cozysummer
Good luck, and enjoy!
Lane
Cozy Mystery - July 2016 - Stone-Lane

If you’re a volunteer, thank you!

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You are a VIP and I appreciate you from the bottom of my heart.  Can you imagine what would happen if organizations like Red Cross and Meals on Wheels had to pay all their workers?

Last week I donated blood and a writer from the local newspaper was there.  When she asked why I donated I told her that there were so many things that happened in the world that I couldn’t do anything about, but what I could do was give blood.  (Btw, I have very good blood: O negative.) One Pint Can Save Three Lives

I’m on the Delaware River and Bay Lighthouse Foundation Board and we’ve been working hard to replace the dock on the Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse.  On July 5, we took Senator Carper (DE) out to see our lovely lady. He asked each of us why we had gotten involved.  I told him that it was because gone means gone.  Without volunteers working on preservation many of our historic landmarks will simply go away.

Lighthouse

There are so many of you doing such important work out there.  You’re my rock stars!

I hope you’ll comment below to give your favorite charity or nonprofit a shout out.  Go ahead and add in a web address for anyone who wants to know more.

Happy Weekend,

Lane

Tiara Investigations Mysteries