Friday, September 23, 2016


Wow!! So many wonderful covers to choose from.

Because I want this to be about the art and only the art, I'm going to list the photos without the name of the artist this time through.

When we announce the winners, we'll match the cover to the artist's name -- and maybe we can even permit them to share links to their portfolios or website or social media, if anyone would like to do that!

Vote in the comment section for the number of the cover you like best. Just vote once, if you don't mind. :-)

There are five contests in total -- you'll find them below this post on the blog.

Ignore the watermarks and so forth on some of the covers. Just look at the overall design, whatever the particular challenge might be (is it supposed to match existing style of cover, for example?)  and consider whether that cover would make you want to open the book.

You're looking for a cover that looks good large AND small.

In the meantime thank you to the following artists: Dovie Cross, Johanna Ollila, Karan Kapszukiewicz, Mabel Chiltern, Kora J, Teekah Doyle and, last but never least, Catherine Dair. You guys are all so talented and so generous to share that talent with the rest of us! Thank you so much!


Cover Contest Finals: BITE CLUB (the XOXO Files)

The project is Bite Club, book 2 in the XOXO Files series. The challenge was matching the feel of Mummy Dearest, which was the first book.





Cover Contest Finals: FOOLS RUSH IN

The project is the sequel to Snowball in Hell. This was a really tough one because not only did the new cover have to work with the cover of Snowball, this is historical fiction. 1943, in fact, and if you've ever tried to hunt for decent historical photos, you know what a challenge that is.

I think the artists who tried for this one get an extra round of applause!





Cover Contest Finals: GREEN GLASS BEADS (AUDIO)

The project is the audio book for "Green Glass Beads," which was the story I contributed to the IRREGULARS anthology. Here there were no limits, nothing to match, and the results are uniformly gorgeous. Good luck picking just one!







Cover Art Finals: The Monet Murders

There project is The Monet Murders, which is the second book in the Art of Murder series. There was an additional invitation to supply a potential cover for The Mermaid Murders, given that it was going to be difficult to match The Mermaid Murders moving forward (since the original cover model has been removed from Shutterstock).

So where two covers were supplied, I'm putting them together as a pair.

Here we go!








The project is the Adrien English holiday story -- and the challenge was to come up with a holiday look and yet be true to the other covers in the series.

So here we go!









Friday, September 9, 2016

Ducks in a Row

I had to recheck that title a couple of times lest there be an unfortunate (but not entirely inaccurate) typo. Somehow I managed to rub some kind of lotion or oil in my eyes this morning and my vision is infuriatingly blurry. I've tried rinsing my eyes, eye drops, etc. but...the blurriness persists. I said DUCKS, right?

I was going to discuss...well, it doesn't matter. I'm going to settle for a quickish update on what you can expect to see from me over the next few months.

I'm currently working on Fair Chance, the final book in the All's Fair trilogy (and on Wednesday I'll be blogging a bit more on the pressures of wrapping up a mini-series over at Not Your Usual Suspects)  but that's not due out until next March or so.

What is coming out this year?

First up is Murder Between the Pages. It's...nutty. It's a post World War 2 bit of kooky amateur sleuthing by two rival mystery writers.

Felix Day, author of the Constantine Sphinx mysteries, and Leonard Fuller, author of the Inspector Fez mysteries, are bitter rivals and the best of enemies. Both happen to be present when a notorious author of roman à clef is shot by an invisible assailant during a signing at historic Marlborough Bookstore.

Even if they weren’t both suspects, it’s the perfect opportunity to match wits and sleuthing skills.

If only the murderer was equally amused.

Here's a snippet from Chapter Two...

The bell jingled as Harp yanked open the door and breezed out, and to my astonishment, Day let him leave without so much as a peep.

“What the hell?” I said as I reached him. “You let him go?”

Day seemed almost distracted as he replied, “He’s with the police.”

“Are you kidding me? That’s the oldest trick in the book!” I grabbed the door handle--and Day grabbed my arm with bony but surprisingly strong fingers.

He was scowling--which is his usual expression with me--and I scowled back.

“Oh, no, you don’t,” he said.

“If you don’t want a punch in the nose, let go my arm,” I warned him.

“Just try it.” Day's black eyes were narrow and hostile. Again, perfectly normal for him. “Where were you when that shot went off?”

Me?” I gaped at him. “That shot came from the back of the room. As you very well know.”

“I don’t know any such thing.”

“Where were you? That’s the question.”

His eyes blazed. “Had I been planning to shoot anyone today, it wouldn’t have been Josiah Shelton.”

“Oh, very nice!” I retorted. “Well, maybe you missed and shot Shelton by mistake.”

“I don’t miss.”

“That’s not what the critics say.”

Day’s face turned a nice healthy red.

This is my Kindle Unlimited experiment, which I consider to be something of a disaster already. By now I would typically have about 2000 preorders. Instead we're looking at a very scary and unsustainable 700ish. But I'm locked in and anyway this all started because I'm so tired of so many writers insisting the only way they can make money is through KU, so the experiment shall continue. And I'll be honest about the results, biased though I am. I mean, what's the point of an experiment if you're not going to really look at what's in the test tube?

So there's that. And then there's The Curse of the Blue Scarab, which is even kookier. But I'vealready chatted about that one (which, if you missed, you can read about  here). I haven't listed it for preorders yet on Amazon, but probably in the next day or so.

And then we've got the much anticipated (or maybe just long delayed)  Adrien English holiday novella. So This is Christmas. If you're on my mailing list, you got a teeny sneak peek at that. It's also available for preorder, though again not yet at Amazon. 

And then lastly we have the final release of 2016: Christmas Waltz, the second collection of holiday codas. Like the first collection the existing codas have been edited and expanded. And of course there will be several new codas as well as some other bits and bobs.

Not my most productive writing year, I agree. But definitely some interesting stuff (or at least, I hope you'll think so too).

Next year... well, the plan next year is to finish off a lot of these long promised titles, particularly the sequels and series. So it should be fairly busy.

But why worry today about what we can worry about even more tomorrow?

We're in the process of doing a major updating of my website, so if you're wondering about the fate of a particular title, you can always check in there. It's quite a study in optimism and my faith in the power of positive thinking. ;-)