Cover Reveal – Highlights to Heaven

Nancy J. Cohen has a new book in her Bad Hair Day Mysteries series. It’s an amateur sleuth series of cozies you might enjoy.

Nancy's Notes From Florida

I’m pleased to share an exciting new cover for the upcoming reissue of Highlights to Heaven. This title, #5 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, was originally published by Kensington. The Author’s Edition has been revised and updated with added bonus materials.

HIGHLIGHTS TO HEAVENeBook

Release Date: January 10, 2017
Published by Orange Grove Press
Digital ISBN 13: 978-0-9970038-5-7
Print ISBN 13: 978-0-9970038-6-4

Cover Design by Patty G. Henderson at http://boulevardphotografica.yolasite.com/
Digital Layout by www.formatting4U.com

Hairstylist and amateur sleuth Marla Shore lands a case close to home when her animal-loving neighbor—a man aptly named Goat—disappears, leaving his pets alone and a dead body in his master bedroom. Even more disturbing is the pattern of highlights Marla notes in the victim’s hair. She recognizesthe signature technique of her former mentor, master stylist Cutter Corrigan.

Wanting to impress sexy Detective Dalton Vail, she hurries to interview Cutter first so she’ll have the inside…

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Holiday AfterGlow

The Christmas tree is still up and the snow village is still out. LED icicles hang from the eaves of the house and multi-colored lights twinkle on the shrubbery. The red velvet cake is all gone and the many guests have left the spare bedrooms empty. The grandchildren are home with their parents enjoying their gifts and the house is quieter than it’s been in two weeks. A special sort of peace has descended upon us.

christmas-coffee-drinks

The sound of the coffee brewing is comforting and I am feeling reflective over the previous year and contemplating my resolutions for the upcoming one.

  1. Write more guest posts.
  2. Write more blog posts.
  3. Write more interviews.
  4. Write more outlines.
  5. Write more novels.
  6. Write more.

It all boils down to writing more.

I’ve never been one able to discipline myself to meeting a daily word count. It feels forced, to me, when I try, and unnatural…but being about six months behind where I thought I would be at this point in the series, I may have to buckle down and set myself some small goals.

I spent a lot of time in the parks playing Pokemon this past summer and fall. The weather is gorgeous here this time of year, cool breezes blow on sunshiny days and the air is dryer. Florida is wonderful from November until about April.

My North American Pokedex has been filled three or four times over. I don’t need to collect anymore until the new Gen 2 Pokemon come out (we’re thinking February), and all I have to do with the game now is battle gyms to collect my coins and star dust every day. I’ve been holding ten gyms for two weeks, and that’s all they allow you to cash out on every day, so there’s not a lot for me to do there except keep up the status quo.

The game has really helped me toward getting out of the house and meeting new and interesting people. I’ve gotten to know many of the homeless folk who hang out in our city and county parks as well as many young and old residents of the area. I have a team FB page with 200+ members and they’ve become like extended family.

I’ve never done anything half way. My grandfather used to say, “Anything worth doing at all is worth doing well.” So I gave it 100%, but there was a cost. Playing the game as hard as I have ate into my reading and writing time and I need to pull back from it and refocus on my big goals.

The Naked Eye private investigator series is swirling around in my mind up through about book eight and there are outlines to get written. I have Book Two outlined and that outline is in the process of getting fleshed out. It’s been added to Scrivener, where I can keep things organized, and it’s time to move it along. I have fishbone outlines of the next three books completed.

I was sorely disappointed that Mystery Writers of America doesn’t allow self-published authors to sit on panels and doesn’t allow anyone but panelists to place their books for sale in the Murder on the Beach bookstore. I’m still attending SleuthFest this year, but I’m not joining MWA until they get with the times. They invited me to be a moderator for a panel. I’m still mulling that over.

The audio book of Naked Alliances is coming along grand. I’m so excited to be able to bring the book to my audience in this format. Steven Barnett is absolutely the most wonderful narrator ever there could be. His voice is engaging and he’s having a blast with his reading. We’ll be done with the book by the end of the year. I don’t know how long it takes ACX to get the book uploaded for sale on Amazon, but I’m expecting some time in January the audio book will be available.

I have my coffee now, my keyboard, and plenty of time in front of me…so, today will be my first day back at work. Peace. May your Christmas cleanup be easy. Blessings for the upcoming year. May all your resolutions hold fast and may all your goals be met.

Have a happy and prosperous New Year!

For Lockie …

Thank you, Susan Toy, for sharing this sad news with us. The writing community lost a brave and brilliant member, Lockard F. Young (Lockie)~ author of “Ryan’s Legend” (A wonderful children’s book.) over the weekend and he will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace.

Reading Recommendations

It was with great sadness and a heavy heart I received the news yesterday morning from a mutual friend that author Lockard F. Young, or Lockie as he was know to all of us, had died in hospital, surrounded by his family. I like to think Lockie was also surrounded – via the internet – by the community of writers and readers that had been drawn to him. I for one counted Lockie as a very close member among my own “family” of writers, and he was valued here on Reading Recommendations for his support of me, this blog, and his fellow authors, as well as for his writing, his striving desire to perfect that craft, and his general good humour and comraderie – in spite of all he was suffering healthwise.

lockie-tshirt-promo

Lockie’s was one of the early promotions I posted here after I first set up the blog in…

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Release Day for A Cold Tomorrow #suspense #mystery #mothman #RRBC

Another book in the Point Pleasant series by Mae Clair! Congrats!

From the Pen of Mae Clair

Happy book birthday to me! 🙂

It’s release day for A COLD TOMORROW, book 2 in my Point Pleasant series.

creepy dirt road at night with the book cover for A Cold Tomorrow by author Mae Clair in the foregroundTake a trip with me to 1982 and the small riverside town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Discover a community beset by a series of inexplicable events—strange lights in the sky, the arrival of mysterious men in black clothing, sightings of a winged monster known as the Mothman. If all of that sounds like a bizarre combination, these events actually befell Point Pleasant during the period of 1966-67, most of them documented in the book The Mothman Prophecies by John Keel.

I’ve resurrected those incidents, setting them fifteen years later in the early 1980s. My central characters get caught up in otherworldly and supernatural events related to UFOs and the Mothman, just to name a few. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ve probably seen the blurb, but…

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Snippet of Naked Alliances Audio Book

I’m so excited to have the audio book of Naked Alliances well underway. Steven Barnett has a fabulous knack for voice-overs. Working with Steven on the audio book is great fun. I finally figured out a way to share a sample with you.

Each character has their own unique voice and Steven has just the right amount of animation and enthusiasm for reading to make the book hard to stop listening to. It’s interesting, entertaining, and holds the attention. I’ve bought some audio books that nearly put me to sleep with monotone reading.

Naked Alliances will not do that…I promise.

Through ACX, the audition piece was uploaded. Eight people auditioned and it was interesting to hear the different voices reading. Steven’s audition stayed on the top at all times. This took only a couple of weeks. After my husband listened to a few of the best, he was in full agreement that Steven’s narration had won, hands down.

I made him an offer. I was willing to give him to mid-February, as ACX recommends three to six weeks to complete edits. Steven was confident that he would have the book ready before the end of the year. He declined the offer, not wanting it to drag on that long. After listening to a couple more chapters with varying voices, I felt assured that he could pull this off and made him another offer, which he accepted. I’m delighted to be able to report that this project is working out exceptionally well, and can’t wait to get this audio book on the shelf.

Steven is most professional. He’s uploaded the first four chapters of the book to ACX along with the Intro and Acknowledgments, as well as placed it onto Google Drive to assure we have back-up in case the unexpected happens. I’m also keeping the downloaded files on my computer.

While fiddling around with some software I purchased today to make book trailers, I created a little YouTube video of the first chapter and posted it below. Please bear in mind that I am no expert with this new software and was only able to figure out how to post the cover and sound.

If you’ve any interest in the book, you have probably already read the first chapter. You may want to give it a listen to see how the narrator sounds. Or you may be intrigued enough with his reading to purchase the audio book when it becomes available. I’ll keep you posted.

The audiobook download should be ready for sale on Amazon by December 30th as a digital download. My daughter is also helping me make CD copies through CDBaby. I had to give up my 40% royalties via ACX in order to go non-exclusive with ACX, instead taking 25%. That seems like very little, but the whole point is to get the books out there in as many formats as possible.

For me, it’s not so much about raking in big bucks as it is about becoming a known author, and reaching all possible audiences is a huge part of that. The digital download file will be available on Amazon, but the CDs will not. I’ll have those in hand to sell at book signings and events.

Of course, if you’d like a copy when they become available, I’d be happy to mail you one. I don’t know what the price will be yet. ACX sets that for the digital download. I’ll know more about the cost of the CDs once I get that project underway.

Hope you are having a happy time preparing for the upcoming Holiday Season. My shopping is all done and I’ve got to finish up the tree and snow village. I’m doing a mini blog tour via some very kind author friends who have allowed me space on their sites to promote. I am most grateful to each and every one of you. The guest posts are all out now and I still have some interviews to email out.

Look for some book reviews to pop up here soon. I’ve finally got some time to read while prepping the audio book. I’ve decided not to begin writing again until after the New Year. The outline for Book Two in the Naked Eye Series is uploaded to Scrivener, I’m waiting until after our Vegas trip in April to get the first draft completed.

Do you like listening to audio books?

My husband listens to them on the way to and from work. They keep him from getting too frustrated in the Orlando traffic.

Have you worked with anyone to produce an audio book? What was your experience?

The Good, The Bad, and the Beautiful

Good news and bad news. First the bad news, so I can end on a happy note. Naked Alliances had an awesome launch, but sales have come to a screeching halt. I’m really puzzled by this as the publicist’s blog tour just came to an end about a week ago. I talked with her about the fact that she “outsources” all blog tours and all of my posts were posted by the same person, Mayra Calvani, on different sites. Sites she apparently owns, which leads me to believe that the posts had only as far of a reach as her social media platform allows…which isn’t good.

I seriously need to do my own blog tour. I have ten interviews and five guest post waiting in the wings. Anyone willing to post any one of these? I had a list of people who invited me to do guest posts or interviews on their sites, and for the life of me, I can’t find it.

A gentleman the publicist connected me with, Gary Roen, a reviewer with MidWest reviews posted a nice review on his shelf at their site. He’s also a local guy and we met for lunch at the Cork and Fork. He’s an amusing gentleman who wears a straw hat and tropical shirts, like me. I wish we had gotten a picture together, but I forgot. I learned that his father was one of the founding fathers of the Parliament House when it was solely an entertainment venue on Colonial and not a gay resort. His parents were both in the publishing business many years ago. We had a few laughs and I was quite impressed with his character. He’s sending reviews out to a few more sources.

Another lady at “BookLoon” the publicist connected me with wasn’t so receptive. Apparently she only reviews cozy mysteries. I have no clue why she agreed to read and review a book called Naked-something about a sex-trafficking scheme, but she did. Although there was only one chapter with a sex scene in it…purely recreational sex, which she cannot fathom, she was so appalled by it she had to issue a warning with her review. Imagine that! Otherwise, the review was not so bad, and certainly directs the book more toward its target audience. I understand the name of her review blog better now.

On a brighter note, I’m having Naked Alliances made into an audiobook, narrated by the awesome Steven Barnett,

Steven in his studio

Steven in his studio

another local Orlandonite who has a stellar reputation with ACX, an audio book making company. I had eight auditions to choose from and his was so good I didn’t want to stop listening at the end of the fifteen minute audition. Looking forward to having that up before Christmas and can’t wait to meet him. He lives about fifteen minutes from me and we’re planning a tour of Cypress Cove, the nudist resort my family owns that the fictional Leisure Lagoon was fashioned after.

I’m in the process of getting Book Two set up into Scrivener. Barring no major Holiday crisis, the way I write I should have the first draft by April. Would be sooner but we set April for our visit to Vegas. Vegas plays a part in the resolution and I want to people watch and see how things operate there. I’ve never been. I’ve been to casinos in Florida, but it’s not the same. I’d like to see the lay out of the strip, too.

If you enjoyed the book, tell somebody about it!

Tell me how you’re doing.

Have you ever made an audio book?