With an entire week of distraction-free writing lined up for this week, there was no way I wasn’t going to have a finished a first draft of The Midsummer Murders (Maid, Mother and Crone Series, Book Three) in my hand by now. Last Thursday, I was only a few long days away from finishing the book, and my vacation from the pesky paying job to push myself across the finish line started on Saturday. It was gonna be sweet!
Nope. Ended up in the hospital on Friday with a serious abdominal malfunction. Survived it, though, so there’s that. I’m calling it a win.
Sadly, I didn’t get any writing done for the five days I lay on my back in a hospital bed. I could have. The laptop was there. After the first couple of days, I felt well enough physically. It would have been a nice distraction. But my creativity was completed sapped. I lazed around catching up on all the stuff in my Acorn TV queue instead.
However, I did collect some excellent anecdotes during my stay that will be AMAZING for Natalie’s experience when she is hospitalized in the final book. Never say I don’t do my research, nosirree bob. I had some excellent could-be-paranormal-if-you-want-to-believe experiences while there that I’m already designing scenes around.
But never fear, dears, Natalie is way too tough to stay down for the count for long. As am I!
I did rough out the first book of the Grace Stone Paranormal Mystery Series in my head while I was there, so it wasn’t entirely time wasted. That series is going to be darker than my other books based on how it’s shaping up, but I’m pretty excited about it. Then again, The Familiar was supposed to be a dark book, and look what happened there.
And I do have another week of vacation and absolutely no excuse for not writing since I’m back home now. Feel free to beam good thoughts at me to keep me focused.
9/22/2017: Gettin’ witchy with cozy mystery…
So, I wrote another book in the Witches of Giles Universe to start off the brand new Maid, Mother, and Crone Mystery Series. You probably already know I write stories with a bit of quirk, a bit of action, and a laugh or two. If you’ve enjoyed any of them so far, I think you will like The Innocent Dead: A Witch Cozy Mystery, too. The stand-alone mysteries feature the three main witches of the Bad Tom Series: Natalie, Cassie, and Gillian. Even though the ladies are featured in this one, there are also tasty servings of Tom, Robert, and several new characters (including new villains!)
I developed a real affection for the character of High Priestess Natalie Taylor, the 74 year old curmudgeon with a hero’s spirit, when I was writing Nine Lives, the final book in the Bad Tom Series. In fact, I enjoyed writing about her so much, I had to significantly rewrite the story during the editing process because I had let her take over by the end! It was enormous fun to bring her to life again as she embarks on a career of crime-solving.
What the critics are saying
“Natalie isn’t your typical witch or crone. She not only sees the dead, but it is also her duty to help them move on if she can. William Stanford is one very persistent ghost, who also happens to be the love of her life, and a murder suspect. The character of Natalie in the form of a grumpy old woman who never seems to smile or laugh with any real happiness is unforgettable. She is mean, bossy and outspoken, yet she also knows when to keep her mouth shut and when to help someone, living or dead. ~ The Cozy Review
“As a fan of Charlaine Harris and a few other paranormal mystery writers, I am glad I have found a new author to add to my reading list. The main character is a curmudgeon with a secret soft heart. She also made me laugh! You’ll see. A good mystery with enough witchcraft, shapeshifting, and ghostly goings-on to also be a good fantasy read. ~ SB, Amazon.com
Where and how to get The Innocent Dead
The Innocent Dead is a Kindle Scout winner and is published on the digital only imprint Kindle Press, which is exclusive to Amazon. However, my own publishing imprint, IndieHeart Press, has picked up the slack and published the paperback and audiobook versions. It was exciting to work with a professional narrator for the book, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out.
You can grab your preferred version at the following links:
Kindle, eBook, Paperback, and Audiobook: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com.au
Audiobook only: iTunes,
As always, don’t hesitate to contact me at moc.k1529494646cajon1529494646llij@1529494646llij1529494646 with any questions, criticisms, complaints, or proposals of marriage. I’ll be here awaiting your correspondence, hovering over my keyboard, killing a few innocent bystanders, and chortling with glee.
Hot Off The Press!
The much promised, never arriving Wizard’s Wrath: Book Four in the Fae Unbound Teen Young Adult Fantasy Series is now available. The best news is that it is available for only 99 cents until Thursday, November 3rd. Grab it before it goes back up to $3.99!
Unfortunately, this book is only available on Amazon: click your country to purchase now: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, Amazon.au). But don’t worry, for my newsletter subscribers who need an epub copy, I’ve got you covered. Just reply to the newsletter and let me know that’s what you need. I know people. I can make things happen!
Fae Unbound Box Set Available (Books 1-3)
If you’ve read the Bad Tom Series but have been unsure the Fae Unbound Series is your thing, now is a great time to check it out. The Fae Unbound Series Box Set Edition: Books 1-3 includes all three of the first books in one long read for only 99 cents through Thursday, November 3rd. It will go to $6.99 when the sale is over. Get it (or send it as a gift to a young person who enjoys a magical adventure) here: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com.au.
Coming Up (What I’m Working On)
If you know what NanoWrimo is, you know that many writers will be knuckling down in November to write a 50k novel in a month. I get the first draft of most of my novels done in a NanoWrimo or Camp Wrimo month and then spend a lot of time editing it into shape. The follow-up series to Bad Tom (featuring the witches of Giles) will be getting my attention this time around. I will probably hold off publishing until I have at least two in the series finished, but I don’t think it will be a year before you see another book from me.
No, I didn’t finish Wizard’s Wrath yet. When I do, you’ll be the first to know. But I’m getting there! I made progress every day over the holiday weekend.
I’m currently transitioning to the night shift at work, which I hope will free up more time to write because it will give me more days off and help me increase my productivity. But for the time being, my brain is never quite sure when I’m supposed to be awake.
However, this past week, I was notified I’ve accomplished something I’ve wanted to accomplish since I was in high school: I am now an active member of the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America). This is a big thing for me. It says that I have arrived as a professional writer. I wish my father was still around to see it. He would have been proud of me. It was his endless supply of science fiction paperbacks that got me started on my love of speculative fiction so many years ago.
So, tonight, I’m tired, and I’m not feeling terribly inspired as I go back through my work in progress for another round of editing. But I’m doing it as a professional! And somehow, that is inspiring all on its own.
Tom and Cassie fans don’t have to wait any longer. You can grab your copy of Nine Lives: Book Three in the Bad Tom Series on Amazon.com. The book ties up sexy cat-shifter Tom’s story in a way I think fans of Tom and Cassie’s relationship will really enjoy.
If you haven’t yet purchased Witch Risen: Book Two in the Bad Tom series, you are in luck! The book is on sale for 99 cents through Sunday, April 23rd. Note: I will return to releasing new books at at a 99 cent “friends and family” price to newsletter subscribers with my next series, so stay subscribed and save some cash.
I have two series in the planning stages while I finish Wizard’s Wrath: Book Four in the Fae Unbound series. They include a spin off from Bad Tom which features my favorite witches (Natalie, Gillian, and Cassie, if you didn’t know) while they solve some very paranormal cozy mysteries. I hope you’ll check them out when the arrive.
I am also in the beginning stages of my Angels/Demons series. I’m not sure which set of books will begin appearing first. Obviously, whatever it is, my newsletter subscribers will be the first to know!
If you’d like to know whenever I release a new book, don’t forget to sign up for my New Books Notification Newsletter. I often put books on sale at a new release, and subscribers are the first to know.
Thanks for reading! I appreciate you guys.
Nine Lives (Book Three in the Bad Tom Series), continues to push itself out from my fintertips in good time. I have set the launch date for April. It may happen before that. In any case, I expect to have the preorder option up within the next few weeks.
To celebrate, here is the first chapter of the book, to give you an idea of what’s to come. I know a lot of you will be pleased to have Cassie back in action again, so I started this one in her voice instead of Tom’s. Bear in mind that this chapter hasn’t been through copyediting or proofreading yet, so there may be changes before publication and/or mistakes that haven’t been corrected yet.
“Dash?” I call out, as I unlock the front door to the gallery. But my elegant, elderly boss doesn’t appear. I’d decided to show up a little early today since Tom’s goodbye kisses have a bad habit of making me late most days. Although, obviously, I didn’t skip the kisses. That would be no fun. I just started them early.
I want to let Dash get out of here for an extra long lunch with Jon. It’s about time he gets a chance to linger with his partner like he tolerates me lingering with mine. But he’s not here. That’s weird.
The gallery is never locked at this time of day. We’ll miss the lunch crowd, although you’d really have to call it more of a lunch trickle. But still, even a trickle can produce possible buyers. We like buyers: now that Dash has the gallery back in his name free and clear, he’s really excited about it again. It’s fun to work for someone who’s so enthusiastic about what he does.
“Dash?” I call again, and there’s the tiniest sound of a shuffle in the back room. I push aside the colorful patterned silk curtain that separates the gallery from the employee room and storage areas.
Okay, there’s something I’ve never seen before. A trap door in the floor? The oriental rug that covers it must be doing its job. I never realized there was anything beneath it.
Wait…I remember. Tom told me there’s a hidden storage room below the gallery for a very special object. Dash helped Tom and the others hide Anat’s evil boxes there when they were trying to figure out how to get her spirit out of my body. Which is a something I really don’t want to think about. But hidden treasures in the basement, though—that might be interesting. Do I go down?
Sure, why not? It’s open, and he knew I’d be in for work any minute. I mean, I’m not usually that late. And Tom said he couldn’t tell me what was stored down there because he promised Dash he wouldn’t. Now’s my chance to find out what the big secret is.
The stairs are steep and the risers are narrow. Not much light, either. The only slit of it comes from around an almost closed door at the bottom of the stairs.
I hold the handrail as I cautiously make my way downward step by step. “Dash? Are you down here?”
The only answer is a long, low, quiet growl.
I stop with one foot frozen in the air, unable to finish my next step.
Just as I unfreeze and start to back up the stairs, my chest tight and adrenalin coursing through my body, spurred on by all the things I’m imagining could be down there, Dash’s head and shoulder appears, peeking out around the half-closed door.
“Cass?” he asks. “Oh my, you gave us quite a turn.”
He looks disheveled—even his dyed-black mustache isn’t perfectly pomaded up at the ends in homage to Salvador Dali like it usually is. It droops above his upper lip.
Then Jon pops his head out above Dash’s shoulder, smoothing down his normally perfectly-coiffed white hair. “Hello, Cass. You’ve come across us unawares, I’m afraid. Can we have a moment, do you think?”
Oh great—I’ve interrupted the boss’s freak time. That growl? Wow. A little role play? I try not to think about it. Despite that, I’m imagining the guys dressed up in something furry. Ew.
This coming from a woman whose boyfriend is a werecat and gets furry as a way of life. I mean, really—who am I to judge? I turn and make my way back up the stairs with a little smirk on my face. Good for them. I hope Tom and I are still as much in love when we’re that age.
I busy myself with the dusting, making sure I get the backs of the frames the way Dash likes. I’d like to go into the back room to grab the step stool and really get into it, but I don’t want to leave the gallery unattended with Dash still not appearing.
When he does appear, he looks a little out of it, still not quite himself. Not nervous like he usually is, just…I don’t know. Absent? Jon follows him and has pretty much the same expression.
“So, sorry about that guys,” I say. “I didn’t mean to interrupt anything.”
Dash says, “Never enter the downstairs again unless I tell you to. There will be consequences if you do. Grave consequences.” He’s like Mr. Serious all of a sudden. So not like Dash.
“Really, I’m sorry. I promise I won’t do it again. I just…well, I got here early so you guys could have a longer lunch than usual. A special treat, you know?”
His tight expression loosens a little, and then Jon puts a hand on his shoulder and gives it a squeeze, and they’re all back to normal. Dash gives me a smile. “That’s thoughtful of you, Cass. Of course we’d love to spend some extra time together. It may be one of the last warmish days to take a walk around town.”
He looks back at Jon, who adds, “True, and we wouldn’t want to waste it.” They exit the shop, Jon’s hand still on Dash’s shoulder.
Thank goodness that storm didn’t last long. And no way am I ever going near that hatch again. I don’t care what’s down there, I love this job. I’d rather deal with a zombie apocalypse than Dash’s mustache-quivering anger. But I bet Tom gets a good laugh out of the story!
© 2015 by Jill Nojack