THE LATEST FROM MALLARD BAY

A COMMISSION ON MURDER is now available in paperback! Heartfelt thanks to everyone who has read the Kindle edition and to those who have patiently waited for me to fine tune the covers and format the paperback. As an added bonus, both SQUATTER’S RIGHTS and ACOM will also be available in large print paperbacks next week. SQUATTER’S RIGHTS has a new cover, too, one that matches ACOM. All editions are available on Amazon, and the paperbacks are also available through Barnes and Noble.

A special thank you to everyone who left those beautiful five-star reviews on Amazon. They are a huge help to everything I do with my writing and, of course, each one makes me feel wonderful. I have the nicest readers! A hug to each of you.

Happy summer reading!

A COMMISSION ON MURDER

Book Two in the Eastern Shore Mystery Series!

     A COMMISSION ON MURDER is for sale on Amazon.com in eBook and will be available in paperback over the weekend. The exciting sequel to SQUATTER’S RIGHTS takes us back to Mallard Bay, the village where history and gossip live hand in hand. Everyone can find something to their liking in the little town on the eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay. Sailing, fishing, antiquing and great food draw visitors down to the Eastern Shore where the occasional murder will also keep them entertained.

The old farmhouse on Little Wye Creek is creepy enough to be a murder scene, and there’s even a dead man on the lawn, but Grace Reagan hopes the infamous Garret Bishop is just pulling another lame publicity stunt. Wealthy, eccentric Bishop has ‘survived’ an avalanche, a hijacking, and a kidnapping plot. Did he die for real this time in a tragic accident, or was he helped along to his last headline?

     Bishop’s death shocks everyone, especially Grace, who’s so close to escaping the village of Mallard Bay she can nearly taste the lime in a Key West daiquiri.  She has a few things to do before she goes, though, and selling the old Morgan farm is on the list. Even though the purchase contract in Bishop’s coat pocket has a bullet hole in it, Grace isn’t giving up. She’s leaving Mallard Bay for good, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a murder.

A COMMISSION ON MURDER is available on Amazon.com 

If you enjoy the Eastern Shore Mystery Series, please leave a review on Amazon – it means a lot and is sincerely appreciated. Thank you for reading!

WELCOME TO MALLARD BAY!

I’m so happy to announce the February edition of Tidewater Times features an article by Helen Chappell, WELCOME TO MALLARD BAY The Mysterious World of Cheril Thomas. A prolific and celebrated author herself, Helen honored me with this lovely piece about my writing and the Eastern Shore Mystery series. If you don’t want to wait for the print edition, here’s a link to find Tidewater Times and the article online:

https://tidewatertimes.com

I hope you’ll check it out. It’s a great start to the countdown for Commission on Murder coming in March 2018!

Thank you, Helen Chappell and the wonderful Tidewater Times staff!

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New Article in ATTRACTION!

‘Local Launches Mystery Series’ – is a featured article in the August 2107 edition of Attraction Magazine! Squatter’s Rights is Book One in the Eastern Shore Mystery series. This terrific article by Jennifer Latham looks at the storyline behind the series and the houses that inspired Delaney House in Squatter’s Rights. 

Here’s the link to Jenn’s article and the rest of this month’s outstanding edition of Attraction:  http://attractionmag.com/2017/07/26/local-launches-mystery-series/

 

Publishing 101

Years ago I wrote three books in a mystery series. Book One was finished, polished and ready for print, Book Two was finished and Book Three was in detailed outline. My mistake was to stop writing and try to sell Book One. I would have a drawer full of rejection letters if I’d kept the responses I got from agents and publishers. My favorite was one sentence long: I don’t consider any fiction manuscript written in first person. That was the day I realized that not all of those agents were smarter than I was – but they all had something I wanted: a foot in the door. Still, my writing rhythm was broken, life intervened and twenty years went by.

The whole time I was writing Squatter’s Rights, I procrastinated. I had an outline and an end game but the route from writing in the rocking chair to holding my book in my hand was vague at best. Help arrived in the form of a podcast. A couple of years ago, I discovered Joanna Penn, who writes fiction as J.F. Penn, but more importantly to me, she has a podcast and a wonderful website called The Creative Penn. Joanna is a fantastic role model and teacher for struggling writers. Her crisp British accent makes me want to straighten up and forge ahead. Nothing is impossible if you are willing to learn and to work. And if you listen to two years of instructions, you eventually forget that you’re not supposed to be able to do whatever it is you’re set on doing and you just get on with it. I got on with it.

Publishing a book can be expensive. You need professional editors, proofreaders, cover designers, formatting specialists and someone to make frequent runs to the wine aisle at Acme. Some of these expenses can’t be avoided. Acme won’t give the Chardonnay away, even to the most deserving of writers. Skimping on editors and proofreaders is foolish. I should know, I misspelled my own mother’s middle name in the dedication for SR. (In my own defense, no one ever called Mama ‘Janice’ and I’m a huge Janis Joplin fan, but still.) Which leads me to another, little known trick of the trade – have your sister proofread the book in addition to using a professional to do the final review. Just sayin’.

Joanna Penn warns against designing your own book covers and trying to format your own manuscript for the publication process. I really enjoyed learning how to do both. Ron may argue that point since he’s had to listen to my wailing and worse over the last month as I finalized the cover design and jumped into the frustrating world of Kindle and Createspace formatting. But I have emerged at the other end of those traumas with a wealth of knowledge I didn’t have before. I know the difference between a PDF, a PDF-print quality, PNG and JPEG. I know your JPEG cover needs to be 300DPI and I know how to get it there from a 92DPI. I know fonts can be licensed and how to get free ones. I know your iPhone camera is good and a 35mm is still better for portraits. I know I don’t have a single author photo I want the world to see and never will, so I got over it and learned how to crop a picture of myself having a good time with the kids. It’s a little fuzzy for a headshot and that’s a good thing, folks.

As I write this, Squatter’s Rights is on Amazon for Kindle and the paperback will be out in another ten days or so. The Createspace wizards are giving it the final once-over and then it will finally be put out into the world in tangible form. I’ve started book two in the Eastern Shore Mystery series. I plan to have Commission on Murder out before the end of the year. I’ve just jinxed myself and I know it, but you have to have a goal to work toward and that’s mine.

So, Squatter’s Rights was born, raised up and published. Let me say right here that while the writing part may be solitary, the rest of the birthing process is a village affair. So many wonderful people helped me, I will be trying, with pleasure, to pay it backwards and forward for the rest of my life. Thank you all.Doodle at work

Hard at work on Commission on Murder!

Squatter’s Rights is Here!

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 Who is buried in the backyard?

Julia Reagan dreamed of saving her family home but time ran out. Her dying wish sends her daughter, a Washington attorney, to Maryland’s Eastern Shore to renovate a decaying mansion and deal with the relatives who never left the sleepy village on the Chesapeake Bay. Before she can buy the first can of paint, Grace finds a grave, a murder and tantalizing clues to her own hidden past. A decades-old murder resurfaces, setting off a chain of events that could destroy what’s left of Julia’s family and her daughter’s career. If you like a good murder with family drama and historical events that won’t stay in the past, you’ll love Squatter’s Rights.

Old lies. Old loves. Old Murder. Welcome to the Eastern Shore!