#1: MARKETING MY INDIE BOOKS-THE FUN NEVER STOPS

This is the first in a six-week blog tour series for the Northwest Independent Writers’ Association.  NIWA serves Pacific Northwest writers working to achieve professional standards in independent writing, publishing and marketing.

You wrote your book; you got it edited and formatted for publication; you created a cover; you filled out all the details on KDP and clicked “Publish my Book.” Now what?

Unfortunately in most cases, your book isn’t going to automatically sell itself. It’s up to you and only you to get it out there. Social media, in-person events, and advertising are only a few methods to market your book. After trying just about everything I came across, this is how I do it:

  1. Building interest: Before the book is ever published, I build interest anywhere I can. Here are three ideas:
  • I have a designated Facebook author page and a WordPress Blogsite (both free), from where I launch book news. This includes everything from concepts to completed works. Excerpts, giveaways and contests, plus personal comments about writing (and cats) all build momentum toward that final publish day.
  • I make an especially big deal out of the cover, presenting teasers and then the final cover reveal itself.
  • I write blogposts about topics found in the book, for example, in Cat Café, there was a connection to the International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo, so I did a post on them. Some scenes took place in the fifties, and I had fun collecting pictures of vintage fashion which I put on Instagram.
  1. Presales: Setting my book up for Amazon presales is fun. Though the print version will go live when I click publish, I can set a unique publish date for the Kindle version. Once I’ve established the date, I tell everyone I know, everywhere I go, that I’ll have a new book out then. I also announce it on my newsletter— several times!
  1. Blog Tour: A few weeks before the book’s publish date, I organize a blog tour for the new book. This can be anything from a professionally run tour to a group of writer friends whom I solicit to read and review my book. Ideas for promotional blog tour posts include:
  • Interviews with me.
  • Interviews with my characters.
  • Excerpts
  • Features

I always include the book’s blurb, links, and bio to my posts.

4. Postcards: Have you ever thrown a postcard away? Not me— I keep them all, forever! People respond well to visual aids. Bookmarks are the obvious giveaway for an author, but I prefer postcards because they are cheaper to print and can contain more information. I give them to everyone, post them on bulletin boards, leave a few in the doctor’s office. I used to have a new card printed for each book, but now I have one card with all the series covers, which I continue to update. Either way, it gives people something attractive and informational too remind them they want to buy my book.

  1. Launch Day: I try to launch my books at a brick and mortar bookstore with a reading and signing event. I have to say that recently these aren’t garnering the participation I would wish for. I’m thinking of forgoing the personal launch for an online launch party on Facebook.

  1. Keeping up the momentum:

In-person events offer another dimension to promotion, that of meeting the author.

  • Readings: These are usually straightforward introduce myself, read an excerpt, answer questions, sell and sign books. Though bookstores are the most common location for author readings, they can be anywhere, such as assisted living facilities, gatherings, tea shops, and places with tie-ins to the book.
  • Book Faires: Come up with a quick comment (the elevator pitch) to get people’s attention. Mine is, “Crazy Cat Lady cozy mysteries.” (Shoves postcard in their hand.) If they respond in the slightest, I continue with, “Featuring a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble with a cat in catnip.” Keywords there are cat and cozy mystery, and to a lesser extent, sixty-something and trouble. In a few seconds, a potential buyer can tell if they might be interested in my book.
  • Presentations: Presentations offer something to learn, which makes them more interesting for the audience than a reading. Any subject I can tie in with my books in such a way that I promote sales is a possibility. I have two standard presentations: “Changing the World Through Fiction: 7 (plus 1) techniques to effectively promote altruism without using soapbox rhetoric (or putting your reader to sleep)”, and “CAT CONVERSATIONS, with Cat Writer Mollie Hunt, Because cats don’t come with a manual.”
  • Think outside the box: If your book is a certain genre or theme, think of places that reflect that theme. I write cat mysteries so I market at cat venues, cat shows, shelters. Since they are cozy mysteries, assisted living facilities are a good place to present. These often have an activities director looking for things to entertain their residents, and sometimes even a budget to pay.

Online Events:

  • Amazon/Facebook/Fussy: I occasionally run an ad on Amazon or Facebook, but really haven’t had much increased sales by it. I also run ads on Fussy Librarian periodically.
  • Facebook Parties: Same-genre authors get together and have a Facebook party every so often. Keep an eye out for those.
  • Giveaways: There are mixed feelings about giveaways. Rafflecopter offers authors a simple platform to run a giveaway that also gathers followers on various of your author social media sites.
  • Free Books: Needless to say, a free book promotion, such as Amazon’s Free Book Promotion will give out lots of your books, but does it really help you as an author? If you have a series, giving out the first can be very useful, otherwise I think not.
  1. Final advice: I will leave you with one more thought, the most important one of all:

~Write more books! The more books you publish, the more books you sell!~

Watch for my next post, #2: MY WRITING PROCESS – INSIDE A WRITER’S MIND, coming the week of April 5-11 on the Peak Amygdala, Joyce Reynolds-Ward blogsite.

Check out this week’s other participating NIWA blogsites:

 

Posted in Book Talk, Self-Publishing, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

CALLING ALL WRITERS! NIWA SPRING BLOG TOUR COMING SOON!

Calling all writers! Tired of isolation and yearning for writer information? The Spring Northwest Independent Writers’ Association blog tour starts the week of March 29th and continues for six weeks, through the week of May 3rd. Six experienced NIWA authors, including myself, will be posting blogs about writing once a week, written by themselves and guest writers on writing subjects including the following:

  • Organizing your plot
  • Advice for new writers
  • Author Community
  • Resources you recommend
  • Approach to the writing process
  • and more!

Writers participating in this blog tour include Joyce Reynolds-Ward, Mollie Hunt, Connie Johnson-Jasperson, William Cook, Thomas Gondolfi, and Suzanne Hagelin. Each writer will post on their own blog the first week, then appear as a guest on one of the other writers’ blogs. Blogs can be found here:

Watch for my first post here on April 4th.

Posted in Book Talk, Self-Publishing, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

ANOTHER “HOW TO OUTLAST THE C-19 CRISIS” BLOGPOST

I’m blessed! As a recovering alcoholic, I’ve learned patience, tolerance, resistance, and pride. Through my 12-step program, Alcoholics Anonymous, I’ve been given a design for living that has allowed me to deal with my addiction and change my life. Now, that design is helping me stay positive in the face of the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic crisis. I want to share a few things I hope might help you too.

Some people will quit reading here, since I have mentioned AA which is a spiritual program. Please don’t. Whether you are religious, agnostic, atheist, or other, these tips apply to all. There is such thing as “Contempt Prior to Investigation” of which we are all guilty at one time or another. But this quick judgement before having the facts blocks us against the bigger picture and keeps us from learning new things.

  1. The Serenity Prayer: It’s not just for alcoholics anymore.

I had this short prayer taped up by my desk at work long before I knew about AA. It made sense then, and it makes sense now. This is how it goes: (You’re welcome to recite it out loud with me.)

God, grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

The courage to change the things I can;

And the wisdom to know the difference.

  1. Step one: Powerlessness

The fist step of AA’s 12 is: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol; that our lives had become unmanageable. We can replace the word, alcohol, with just about anything—drugs, overeating, Covid-19— because the fact is we are pretty much powerless over everything beyond our own attitude and actions. That doesn’t mean we should give up— far from it. Once we accept what we can’t do, it opens a whole new wonderful insight into what we can.

  1. One moment at a time.

One of the most stressful things about the pandemic is that we don’t know how long it’s going to last. When we consider it in terms of weeks and even months, it becomes almost impossible to cope. One of AA’s best-know slogans, One day at a time, reflects the concept that we can do just about anything for twenty-four hours. It suggests we try to live in the present, setting aside the past and future. We can amend the slogan to One hour, One minute, or even One second at a time. We can ask ourselves, In this moment, am I okay? Have I done everything I can for now? The answer is usually yes.

  1. We are not alone.

In AA we learn that, where we once thought we were alone in our problems, we are in fact surrounded by others experiencing similar issues to us. This is also true of the Covid-19 pandemic. All of us are staying home. All of us have had our daily routines upset. Many of us are having financial difficulties. Some of us are sick. All of us are worried. I’ve been amazed at how people have found ways to come together while staying physically apart. Reaching out, sharing with others anything and everything that is on our minds helps us in two ways: Firstly, describing out fears and feelings out loud helps clarify these things in our minds. Secondly, we learn how others in similar situations are dealing with them.

  1. Action: Do the next right thing.

Some may recognize this catchphrase as a song from Disney’s Frozen II, but it’s a whole lot more. There is a point when we need to quit thinking about stuff and start acting. We can’t do everything, but we can do something. We can do the next right thing. But how do we know what that should be? As I look inside my heart, I usually find the answer. (See #6)

  1. Prayer and meditation.

The eleventh step of Alcoholics Anonymous goes as follows: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

This is my favorite step, because it puts into perspective something that baffled me for so long: the meaning of prayer. No more, “Please God, let this happen and don’t let that happen, but if that happens, then please do this.” This one prayer covers it all.

This step also mentions meditation. Some consider prayer as talking to God, where meditation is listening to Him.

  1. Taking care of ourselves.

It’s like when we fly on an airplane and the flight attendant instructs us to put on our own oxygen masks first, because if we run out of oxygen, we’ll be no good to anyone else. The same is true in life: we can’t help others unless we help ourselves. It’s important to listen to the inner voice that lets us know what we need, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Maybe it’s rest or food; maybe companionship or alone-time. Who knows better how to meet those needs than ourselves?

8: Action: Helping others.

Once we have helped ourselves put on our virtual oxygen mask, it’s time to help others. We learn in the program that by helping others, we help ourselves. Oftentimes when I’m anxious, the feeling resolves when I immerse myself in tasks such as making coffee for my meeting. Right now, we can’t do many of the helpful things we used to do because of #stayhome and social distancing, so it’s time to think outside the box. Whether we volunteer to courier donated PPE supplies, foster an animal for a shelter, or send a letter to a shut-in, what we do matters.

  1. We hear what we listen for.

It’s all too easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of negative information coming our way. We become tuned into the negative, but there are good things happening too. Turn off the TV news, which makes its money by scaring us, and find something positive online, on the radio, or in our own homes.

  1. The destructive “What if?”

How many times lately have I heard people asking, What if? What if I get sick? What if the Post Office closes? What if the store runs out of toilet paper? These are all good questions, but ones that cannot be answered until they come to pass. Until then, energy spent worrying is wasted, because in fact, we won’t know what we’ll do until it happens. Not to say that planning ahead isn’t a good idea, but the point is to try to keep our brains from becoming overwhelmed.

  1. Action: Ask yourself this question:

Today—

What went well?

            What part did I play in its success? 

 

Something I heard: When you fear a thing, learn all you can about it.

How many facts do any of us really know about Covid-19? About pandemics in general? About the resources available at this time and ones in the works? About ways to minimize the threat of infection? About how the virus is spread? About what we’re doing about it, locally, nationally, and internationally? If, like many, everything we know has come from the news media, it may be time to dig deeper into other sources.

Something I know: #stayhome mimics forced retirement.

I retired three years ago, and it has taken me this long to come to terms with what that means. At first, I drove myself crazy trying to do all the things I said I’d do if I ever had the time. I felt I needed to keep up the same pace as while working. I believed my worth was judged by my production. Over the years, I’ve realized the benefit of other things: beauty, quiet; love; time. Today, I don’t push myself. I enjoy the moment and don’t berate myself for what I don’t get done.

The #stayhome order imposed on us by C-19 is a sort of forced retirement for many people, one that nobody anticipated. It may be helpful to look up some information about common changes we go through when we retire.

I hope you found something you can use out of my suggestions. Do you have anything to add? How are you coping with the Covid-19 Pandemic? I welcome your comments and may even write another blogpost to include them.

Stay safe. Stay sane. Stay home. This will pass.

 

 

Posted in Alcoholism & Addiction, Health, Wellness, Lifestyle, Save the World | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Reblogged: Harry’s Kitty Korner #17: Feline Tips on What to Do In a Crisis

Here’s some smart tips on how to survive the covid-19 crisis- from the cats!

https://wp.me/p7XcB0-QX

Posted in Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries & More | 3 Comments

LOCKDOWN? WHAT A GREAT TIME TO READ A BOOK!

 

The world’s gone crazy, and not the cat lady kind. We suddenly find ourselves in various states of voluntary quarantine and lockdown. For some of us, the introverts, this may not change a lot of our daily routine, but for many, it’s a complete turnaround.

No matter what we think, it is what it is. Now that we’ve stocked up on toilet paper and black beans, let’s consider how we can turn this scary inconvenience into something worthwhile. For me, spending more time writing is right up my alley. If you’re not a writer, however, maybe this is a good time to catch up on your reading. Every author I know is running ads for their work, and I’m about to do the same. If my books bring even one person a little relaxation and relief from today’s crises, I have done my part.

Meanwhile, many animal shelters are closing their doors to the public and asking for foster parents to step up and help with the animals. Fostering is easy, and shelters are more than happy to help you through it any way they can. Please consider volunteering to foster a shelter animal during this difficult time.

Here are my two fosters, a bonded pair of seniors from the Oregon Humane Society:

Chim Char

Kiera

~Now back to the book announcement~

For cozy mystery fans, the Crazy Cat Lady series, 6 books featuring Lynley Cannon, a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble than a cat in catnip. Each has a different theme, and they need not be read in order. Pick your favorite.

Cats’ Eyes:  Look what the cat dragged in! When Lynley’s old kitty Fluffo discovers a stolen uncut diamond, Lynley finds herself accused of murdering the thieves. Read Cats’ Eyes free with Kindle Unlimited.

Copy Cats:  Lynley exposes a breed cat counterfeiting ring and becomes the target of a serial killer who murders with a grisly, cat-like claw.

Cat’s Paw:  Two suspicious deaths at an elite art retreat send Lynley running back to Portland, but murder follows in her wake.

Cat Call:  Lynley takes over as cat handler for a TV pilot only to find the show is hexed and murder is waiting in the wings.

Cat Café:  A body is discovered on the floor of the cat café, and all the black cats are missing!

Cosmic Cat:  When a superhero cosplayer falls to his death at a comic con, Lynley is left holding the bag— and a cat!

For something with a bit of Christmas spirit, Cat Noel, a Crazy Cat Lady Christmas novella. Lynley finds a new meaning of Christmas when a Wiccan’s familiar is catnapped, and Lynley becomes her only hope.

For fantasy fans, Cat Summer, a cat sci-fantasy novel where Sentient cats save the world from an evil older than history— twice! Read Cat Summer free with Kindle Unlimited.

For the not-so-cozy mystery fan, Placid River Runs Deep, a stand-alone mystery: When Ember MacKay learns she has a life-threatening illness, she flees to the old Placid River cabin, but instead of solace, she finds mayhem, murder and a revenge plot that has waited a generation to unfold.

For poetry lovers, Cat Poems: For the Love of Cats, celebrating love, loss, and life shared with the feline species.

     

For fans of shorter fiction, Cat’s Cradle, a Crazy Cat Lady short mystery, and The Dream Spinner, a short fantasy about a nursing home cat who guides the residents through their dreams and nightmares.

 

All my books come in print or eBook format.

Did you know you can gift eBooks? You can give most Kindle books available in the Kindle Store as a gift to anyone with an email address. You can send or receive Kindle books as gifts even if you don’t own an Amazon device. Recipients can read a Kindle book gift on a supported Amazon device or Kindle reading app.

~Take care, stay healthy, be kind, remember this too shall pass~

 

 

Posted in Animal Shelters, Cats, Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries & More | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

LUX: FAMILY ALBUM

As many of you know, Lux, Portland’s notorious 911 cat, went to his forever home in December of 2018. What has our boy been doing for the past year? Well, basically, he’s been acting like a normal cat.

He gets into stuff.

 

He sits in hidy-holes.

 

He looks out the window.

 

He stakes his claims.

 

He hangs out with family.

 

He goes outside (not very far outside!)

 

He eats kibble.

 

He opens doors…

 

…and drawers.

 

He poses beautifully.

 

He loves his people.

 

We are so thankful his wonderful cohabitors who have taken a chance on this difficult cat. It’s a blessing to see him finally happy and content after all these years!

 

Photos with permission of Dale Oster

 

 

Posted in Cat Behavior, Cats, Lux, lux 911 cat | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

FICTION WRITING Part 2: CAPITALIZING ON THE CAT

 

This is the second installment of a two-part informational post based of questions written by fiction authors Patricia Fry (the Klepto Cat mystery series), Debbie De Louise (the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series), and Sandra Murphy (short stories), for Communicating, Capitalizing, and Connecting in a Fictional World, presented at the CWA Conference in 2019.

I am a cat writer. That means my stories usually have a large amount of cat content. In this post, I address the subject of creating engaging cat characters. Whether cats, dogs, people, or other, a character needs to be believable and real – even the magical ones!

Artwork by Quint Buchholz.

CAT WRITING QUESTIONS:

~How many cats do you have? Do they help with your writing?

I have three at the moment. They are both an inspiration and an hindrance. Sometimes they walk on the keyboard or bite my hand; others, they telepathically send me story ideas. I’ve included several of my previous cats as characters in my Crazy Cat Lady series as a way to keep their spirits alive.

~Why do you think cats make good characters in mysteries?

Because of their rounded personalities, cats make excellent characters for any genre of fiction. Looking beyond the typical witch’s familiar, cats can be anything, do anything. In my sci-fi tetralogy, Cat Seasons, cats save the world!

~How can a writer make their cat characters real?

Know cats. Make sure your cats do things cats do. Try not to veer outside of feline character (unless it is part of the plot, such as speaking.) Cat people can tell the difference between a writer who’s had hands-on experience with cats and one who’s faking it.

~What advice would you give other authors or people interested in writing about cats?

If you know and love cats, go for it!

~Do you begin with a strong role for the cat or do you weave in scenes involving a cat as you write?

My series features a cat shelter volunteer who has several cats, including a registered Pet Partners therapy cat. She also fosters sick cats for the local cat shelter. That gives me lots of opportunity to feature many aspects of cats. They don’t solve the murder, but maybe they do.

~Do you base the cats in your book on a real cat that you have or had?

Yes and no: I feature cats I’ve had and have, cats I’ve fostered, and cats I’ve made up. I recently ran a contest to be a character in my book, Cosmic Cat. A real kitty, ERin the Cat Princess, won the contest and got to play a part in the book.

~Do you have a blog or social media site for your cat characters or books?

No, but I have a Facebook page for my therapy cat, Tinkerbelle.

~Some cozy mysteries with cats feature cats that speak and some do not. Do the cats in your stories speak? Why? Why not?

The cats in my cozy series are normal cats. That said, we all know how exceptional the most normal of cat can be. But no, they don’t speak in human words. The cats in my sci-fi series do talk/communicate with humans.

~Tell us briefly about your favorite real or fictional cat story.

My favorite cat story is real, and I hope to write more about it one day soon. A few years ago, I worked with Jackson Galaxy on a My Cat From Hell case that happened in Portland. The cat, Lux, scratched a baby, and the dad kicked him in the butt. Lux went crazy and attacked the family, driving them to call 911 while trapped in their bedroom. The event went viral and Galaxy came to the rescue.

I was picked to foster Lux, to see if a cat-savvy home would ease his stress. It worked and we were all congratulating ourselves, when out of nowhere, Lux had a violent outburst that sent me to ER.

Jackson ran every medical test available to see if something was causing this sudden change in Lux’s mood. Nothing showed up, but Lux continued his to have episodes. After a while, it became clear Lux needed a safe home (safe both for him and for others) and was sent to Best Friends Sanctuary where behaviorists and vets continued to work with him.

I got to visit him during that time, but then he had another series of outbursts. It was beginning to look like he would never get a real home.

Last December, his Caregiver and her husband adopted them into their home with other cats and dogs. Now Lux is doing well, and I couldn’t be happier!

~There are so many more questions! I ask and answer them every day. Do you have a question you would like to ask me about act writing?

 

 

Posted in Book Talk, Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries & More, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

PLACID RIVER RUNS DEEP Kindle Countdown Deal ONE DAY LEFT!!

Time flies! Only one day left to get in on the PLACID RIVER RUNS DEEP Kindle countdown deal. (Deal ends tomorrow, Saturday February 22.) Thanks to all who have taken advantage of the deal so far. Please write a review when you finish. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but reviews are an independent author’s Certificate of Authenticity.

Yes, this is a promotional blog, but if I don’t tell you what’s happening, however will you know? For the next week, (02/15/2020-02/22/2020) I’m running a Kindle Countdown Deal for PLACID RIVER RUNS DEEP, my standalone mystery that takes place in rural Washington state.

Starting today, there are deep discounts for the Kindle version of Placid River Runs Deep,  today only 99 cents!

Don’t worry if you don’t have a Kindle. The Kindle app is free and easily downloaded to your phone or tablet. There is a link here on my website.

“Like stones beneath Placid River, a dark tragedy lurks.”

When Ember Mackay learns she has a life-threatening illness, she flees to the old Placid River cabin, but instead of solace, she finds mystery, murder, and a revenge plot that has taken a generation to unfold.

Diagnosis: hepatitis C. It’s a shocker for Ember. In 2010, there is no cure and she is far too young to die. Ember needs time to process, so she makes for River Lane, the Southwest Washington summer community her grandparents established long ago. The old cabin holds happy memories, but can they ease this new grim reality that will change her life forever?

Her focus shifts when an elderly River Lane patriarch is found horribly murdered and his brother dies a mysterious death soon after. The handsome artist whom Ember hasn’t seen since childhood becomes friend, lover, and then protector, but his care may be coming too late. When a third neighbor is killed and the police are no nearer to discovering a motive—let alone the killer’s identity—it’s clear no one is safe.

I wrote Placid for two reasons. First, there was the story, which came to me like they do, demanding to be put on paper.

But equally as important was my desire to address the dilemma of hepatitis C in today’s society. Even though hep C affects an estimated 3.5 million people in the U.S. alone, and even though they have finally, after years of research, come up with a cure, there is still much stigma around this blood-borne disease. For many, the stigma is more damaging, mentally and physically, than hep C itself.

This stigmatizing is largely due to ignorance about the disease, such as thinking it can be transmitted through a hand-shake or a hug. (Though hep C is potentially infectious, the only way it is passed is with blood-to-blood contact.)

Its link to injection drug use also causes people to shun those with the disease, though many contract it by other means, such as a blood transfusion or other association with the medical profession.

“Former injection drug users may feel haunted by their past and want to avoid this label. Active injection drug users carry the burden of having two stigmatized diseases, addiction and hepatitis C.”  —Stigma and Hepatitis C, the Harvoni website

“Many people are unaware they’re infected. 55 to 85 percent will develop chronic HCV infection. For people with chronic HCV, the chance of developing cirrhosis of the liver is 15 to 30 percent within 20 years. 71 million people around the world are living with chronic HCV (as of) Jun 1, 2018.”  —Hepatitis C by the Numbers: Facts, Stats, and You

 

Little: Why aren’t there any cats in this book?

Tinkerbelle: Maybe our cohabitor Mollie didn’t want to put us in harm’s way.

Little: You mean all the murder and mayhem that goes on in the story?

Tinkerbelle: Exactly! Her readers might like mysteries, but that sort of excitement isn’t my cup of kibble.

 

Posted in Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries & More, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

PLACID RIVER RUNS DEEP Kindle Countdown Deal Now!

 

Yes, this is a promotional blog, but if I don’t tell you what’s happening, however will you know? For the next week, (02/15/2020-02/22/2020) I’m running a Kindle Countdown Deal for PLACID RIVER RUNS DEEP, my standalone mystery that takes place in rural Washington state.

Starting today, there are deep discounts for the Kindle version of Placid River Runs Deep,  today only 99 cents!

Don’t worry if you don’t have a Kindle. The Kindle app is free and easily downloaded to your phone or tablet. There is a link here on my website.

“Like stones beneath Placid River, a dark tragedy lurks.”

When Ember Mackay learns she has a life-threatening illness, she flees to the old Placid River cabin, but instead of solace, she finds mystery, murder, and a revenge plot that has taken a generation to unfold.

Diagnosis: hepatitis C. It’s a shocker for Ember. In 2010, there is no cure and she is far too young to die. Ember needs time to process, so she makes for River Lane, the Southwest Washington summer community her grandparents established long ago. The old cabin holds happy memories, but can they ease this new grim reality that will change her life forever?

Her focus shifts when an elderly River Lane patriarch is found horribly murdered and his brother dies a mysterious death soon after. The handsome artist whom Ember hasn’t seen since childhood becomes friend, lover, and then protector, but his care may be coming too late. When a third neighbor is killed and the police are no nearer to discovering a motive—let alone the killer’s identity—it’s clear no one is safe.

I wrote Placid for two reasons. First, there was the story, which came to me like they do, demanding to be put on paper.

But equally as important was my desire to address the dilemma of hepatitis C in today’s society. Even though hep C affects an estimated 3.5 million people in the U.S. alone, and even though they have finally, after years of research, come up with a cure, there is still much stigma around this blood-borne disease. For many, the stigma is more damaging, mentally and physically, than hep C itself.

This stigmatizing is largely due to ignorance about the disease, such as thinking it can be transmitted through a hand-shake or a hug. (Though hep C is potentially infectious, the only way it is passed is with blood-to-blood contact.)

Its link to injection drug use also causes people to shun those with the disease, though many contract it by other means, such as a blood transfusion or other association with the medical profession.

“Former injection drug users may feel haunted by their past and want to avoid this label. Active injection drug users carry the burden of having two stigmatized diseases, addiction and hepatitis C.”  —Stigma and Hepatitis C, the Harvoni website

“Many people are unaware they’re infected. 55 to 85 percent will develop chronic HCV infection. For people with chronic HCV, the chance of developing cirrhosis of the liver is 15 to 30 percent within 20 years. 71 million people around the world are living with chronic HCV (as of) Jun 1, 2018.”  —Hepatitis C by the Numbers: Facts, Stats, and You

 

Little: Why aren’t there any cats in this book?

Tinkerbelle: Maybe our cohabitor Mollie didn’t want to put us in harm’s way.

Little: You mean all the murder and mayhem that goes on in the story?

Tinkerbelle: Exactly! Her readers might like mysteries, but that sort of excitement isn’t my cup of kibble.

 

Posted in Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries & More | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

ON HOLIDAY

There are two things I love to do while on vacation: rest and write. This quiet resort in Cabo San Lucas is perfect for both. The only sounds are the roll of the waves and the trill of the birds. Voices drift from far away.

Where we are, we can see both sunrise and sunset from our balcony. Boats in the morning. Whales.


Last night on the way to dinner, a cat crossed our path, one of the ferals who have learned humans bring food. I smuggled her some chicken in my purse.

A lizard sunning on a rock. A sleek, black furred rodent makes mounds in the sand. At night, the tiniest of geckos. This was desert before the big investors.

Posted in Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries & More