It’s hard to believe it’s February. I’m happy January is over. It’s always been one of my least favorite months and 2017 was no exception. With the holidays over, it seems dark and gloomy. This one was extremely cold and our weather has been snowy, which is fun for the first day, but gets really old. I’m so over it and ready for tulips!
The good thing about winter days is they are perfect for writing. I’ve been working on my latest book, spending time with my favorite characters in the Hometown Harbor Series. This one features more of Kate’s story. She’s one of my favorite characters. There’s also a new dog in this one…so far she’s named Roxy. We’ll see if that sticks.
I received an Acorn TV subscription for a gift and have been enjoying watching several shows. It’s quite addictive, but makes for fun on a dreary day. I love several of their shows--Vera, Doc Martin, A Place to Call Home, Where the Heart Is, Murder in Suburbia, 800 Words…the list goes on. Do any of you watch Acorn?
My goal is to finish Book 5 (no title yet) and have it out this summer and then move on to a new mystery for Coop to solve. I think this will be my last planned Hometown book. I want to focus on the mystery series and would like to do several more of those. That’s not to say I won’t be back to visit my favorite island, perhaps with some special stories focused on a holiday or event. Ideas are still swishing around right now.
This past month I’ve heard from several new readers and was happy to see some new 5-star reviews. As an author it’s a great feeling to know someone enjoys my work. As a reminder, if you’re local Blessings in a Bucket carries all my print books and if not, Amazon is the place to find both electronic and print versions online.
Wishing you time to curl up with a good book on a cold day!
Zoe under the tree
As 2016 comes to an end, I want to thank all of my faithful readers for their support over the last few years. I so enjoy this second career of mine and appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my work. Even more, I love hearing from readers or running into them and chatting about my characters. They do seem like real people to me! I’m working on the fifth novel in my Hometown Harbor Series, but have been busy with holiday and family activities, so will be focusing on it after the first of the year.
My favorite part of Christmas is the lights…I love getting up early and sitting by the tree in the quiet of the morning. Along with baking, I’ve read several books and watched all the new Christmas movies. I also enjoy our town all dressed up for Christmas with lights down the main street and the towering tree that I drive by every chance I get.
A crackling fire on a cold night reminds me how lucky I am to have a home. It’s a time to remember others and be of service to those who need a helping hand. I find I get the most joy from doing something for others, especially those who are alone. Things I deem problems disappear when I learn about the real struggles some live with on a daily basis. It’s fun to be a Secret Santa and help spread a bit of joy to those who need it most.
As the years go by (a less harsh way of saying as I get older), I don’t really want anything for Christmas—not even a Hippopotamus! I don’t need more stuff. I value family, health, and happiness much more than any material objects. I’m grateful to live in a wonderful community and have all that I need. Gifts are always fun, but I enjoy the “feeling” of Christmas—the sights, sounds, and the smells— more than anything that could be wrapped.
Christmas brings the delights of the season, but also the memories of those no longer here to share in the festivities. I have vivid recollections of many Christmas Eve celebrations with grandparents and great-grandparents gathered at our house. It’s difficult to celebrate now without missing family and friends who are gone.
So, Christmas is a mixed bag…the festive fun of the present season, the sense of loss of the past, and the hope for the future as 2017 approaches. It’s truly a wonderful time of year and I hope you get to spend it with those you hold most dear. If you find yourself alone, I recommend getting lost in a good book or seeking out someone who needs your help.
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and only the best in 2017.
If you are on my mailing list, you were part of a raffle I held at the end of October. One lucky winner received an e-book and Michele R. chose my first book, FINDING HOME. One other lucky winner received a print book, and Diana F. chose my new book, DEADLY CONNECTION. Diana stopped by my book signing last night and picked up her copy.
To continue the celebration of my new book, I'm running a sale on the first mystery book through Amazon. KILLER MUSIC (e-book only) will be on sale for 99 cents starting on November 22nd and the sale lasts though Thanksgiving weekend. It's a great time to get a copy for yourself or gift one to a friend. All you need to gift a copy is the recipient's name and email address. It's a fun way to surprise your favorite reading friend! Please spread the word to all your reading friends who enjoy a good mystery.
If you have read my mysteries and enjoyed them, please take a few minutes and leave a review on Amazon. You can leave a review even if you didn't purchase the book at Amazon. It's important for authors to get reviews to be able to market the book across online platforms and the review can be short and sweet. Just think of something you liked and write a sentence. I appreciate all the reviews I've received and thank everyone for taking the time do leave a few words.
Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and take some time to relax and escape with a good book.
Hope to see you at the Old Post Office in Fallon on Saturday the 22nd. We have lots of local authors who will be on hand to sign and sell their books. Authors are giving away books and have their books discounted for this special early holiday shopping event. Stop by and visit and get a raffle ticket to deposit at the author's table of your choice.
Have a nibble and a cup of tea while you visit with us! The event kicks off at 1pm with author introductions, but we'll be there until 4pm. Looking forward to seeing you there.
Remember, I'm giving away a copy of my new book, DEADLY CONNECTION (e-book) to one lucky winner from my mailing list. Sign up before the end of October for a chance to win. Amazon will deliver the winner's free copy of my new e-book on November 1st. Sign up on my website using this link.
I was so excited to attend the big authors’ conference in Denver this past week. Sadly, the judges did not award DEADLY CONNECTION the big prize, but I was honored to be a finalist in the fiction category. With the anticipation over, I’m moving forward with publication. I called my cover designer from Denver and she’s planning to have my cover by the end of September. Things are moving along and if all goes according to plan, the book will be out in October.
I’ll be at the Douglas County Library in Minden on October 5th from 4:30-6:30pm. I’ll be joining about a dozen other authors to celebrate Author Day. Stop by and visit if you’re in the area. That same week, on Sunday, I’ll be at the Spanish Springs Library on October 9th from 2:00-4:00pm. They’re hosting an Indie Author Day event and I’ll be showcasing my books and speaking on a panel.
And to finish off October, I hope you’ll stop by the Old Post Office in Fallon for the Author Tea & Book Sale on Saturday, October 22nd. We have over a dozen local authors and they’re getting together to offer their books at a discount for early holiday shoppers. We’ll have hot and iced tea and a few nibbles to go with our books, not to mention free books to win in our raffle. Hope to see you there from 1pm-4pm. Author introductions will be short and will begin shortly after 1pm...so be there on time, if you want to learn a bit about each author’s books.
I’m organizing a book signing to celebrate the release of DEADLY CONNECTION and will post the details on my Facebook Fan Page at www.facebook.com/tammylgrace.books
If you’re not following me, please visit and LIKE my page to be kept up to date. Amazon also lets readers follow authors and will alert you to new releases, so feel free to click the yellow FOLLOW button on my author page at www.amazon.com/author/tammylgrace
If you are part of a group or club and would like me to visit with your group and talk about writing and my books, please ask. I’m happy to visit in person, if possible, or via Skype, if you’re far away. It’s always fun to talk about books and writing with fellow book lovers.
I’m excited to write this post for CreativIndie’s writing contest
for a free writing retreat. Derek Murphy is a talented book designer and writer and is offering a free writing retreat this September in Portrush, Ireland. Ireland is one of my favorite places and I would jump at the chance to work with Derek for two weeks and soak in the beauty of Portrush. I’ve taken one trip to Ireland, but was too busy in the south to make it to Northern Ireland. He’s offering a choice of Portrush or a castle in France. Tough choice, but I vowed to return to Ireland and my English is much better than my French!
Derek has a wonderful philosophy centered on helping authors become successful with self-published or indie-publishing projects. When I finished my first book I did a ton of research on publishing options and made the conscious and informed decision to follow the indie path. I’d love to pick Derek’s brain and have him help me reach more readers and make my books (both my women’s fiction Hometown Harbor Series and my Cooper Harrington Detective Novels) visible to buyers. I know Derek could help me with the marketing part of this business, leaving me more time to enjoy writing my books instead of worrying about where and how to sell them. It would be wonderful to have the benefit of Derek’s knowledge and experience for two whole weeks.
Not to mention, a view of the sea, the scraggly coast, or the vibrant green countryside would be the ideal inspiration for this writer to finish her fifth novel in the Hometown Harbor Series. I don’t have a title yet, but you know it will have the word “Home” in it. This book will focus on Kate, but as always readers will get to catch up with all their old friends in Friday Harbor. For a special sneak peek, here’s the first chapter. Keep in mind it’s rough and hasn’t been through much of an edit process. A light breeze ruffled Kate’s silk robe. She tucked the soft blanket under her chin. The air held the clean smell of morning and the sky promised another perfect day. The pleasant aroma of fresh coffee drifted from the kitchen while she absorbed the peaceful view from her back patio. Kate’s slippered feet rested on the soft cushion of the outdoor ottoman while she closed her eyes and drank in the quiet, interrupted only by the sounds of birds chirping.
The scrape of a mug against the glass table stirred her from the edge of sleep. “Here’s your coffee, hun,” said Spence, taking a chair next to her. She smiled at him and took a sip, cradling the warm ceramic. “Good morning. Are you packed for your trip?” He nodded. “Yeah, I’m all set. I should be back in a couple days, maybe less.” She yawned and took another swallow, “Mmm, thanks for the coffee.” “You didn’t sleep well again?” he asked. She crinkled her nose. “I woke up early and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I read until it started getting light and then came out here.” He put his hand atop hers. “If it’s any consolation, this should be my last trip, at least for a few months.”
She smiled. “Don’t worry about me. This time of year I always get a bit sad. It’s harder to keep my thoughts about Karen in the background. Mother’s Day is always hard and so close to her birthday.” She focused on the plants along the fence. “Mitch is planning a visit soon, so that’s good news.” “I know he was sorry he couldn’t be here for you for Mother’s Day.” “It’s okay. I just have to work through these feelings.” A fat tear fell from her eye and plopped onto her robe. “I’m sorry, Katie.” He squeezed her hand. “I’ve got to get a move on to get the ferry. Are you going to be okay?” She nodded. “I’ll be fine. I’m just wallowing a bit. I’ve got a busy day to distract me.” He bent and kissed her before disappearing into the house. She heard his footfalls and then he hollered out to her as he left. The front door banged shut and the engine of Spence’s car came to life. She listened to the tires roll out of her driveway and shut her eyes again. She breathed in the scent of her lilacs in bloom and felt her shoulders relax. She smiled as she rested, remembering her sweet daughter and the happy times of Karen’s life. Her mind, like a reel of old film, flicked through the memories of birthdays and celebrations with both Karen and Mitch. She purposely stopped the playback before Karen’s college years.
The gentle warmth of the sun touched her face and she opened her eyes to a new day. The sun had risen bringing the fresh morning light. Kate gathered her cup and went inside to ready herself for the day ahead at Alexander’s. * * * All signs of sadness had been wiped from her face by the time Kate walked into town to open her shop. She flicked on the lights and flipped her open sign around, propping the door to take advantage of the weather. She stowed her things upstairs in her office and caressed a photo of a young Karen and Mitch she kept on her desk. The tourist season didn’t officially begin until Memorial Day, but the past few days had been busy with island visitors. Late yesterday she had sold two paintings and busied herself wrapping and boxing them for shipment. “Good morning, Kate.” Sam poked her head in the open doorway and waved. “I brought you a coffee.” Kate turned from the wrapping counter. “Aren’t you a sweetheart? I had a cup at home, but would love another. I got up too early today.” “I got an early start today on baking and am heading home now. Just popping over to the hardware store to see Jeff.” A group of four women entered the store and Kate moved to greet them. “I’ll catch up with you later. Thanks for the coffee.” Sam gave a nod and scooted out the door. Kate was never alone the entire morning. Customers came and left with their purchases until it was past lunchtime. Kate’s stomach grumbled prompting her to call in an order for lunch. She was surprised when Blake came through the door a few minutes later. He held the takeout bag in front of him. “I was getting lunch to go and told them I’d drop yours by on the way.” “That was kind of you. You should join me.” He glanced at the time and shrugged. “I could do that. Ethan’s at the winery, so I can spare some time.” She retrieved some plates and they sat down in the backroom. “How’s Ellie?” she asked, opening the containers. “She’s still shell-shocked, I think.” He swallowed a bite of his sandwich. “She’s been so sad about her uncle and then when Ted showed up like that…I think it’s overwhelming.” “Is he planning to stay long?” Blake shrugged his shoulders. “Not sure. I think they’re both playing it by ear. I told her to take some time off and spend it with him. I’m not sure I could handle seeing my dad after twenty years of no communication.” “I’m sure her emotions are running the gamut,” said Kate, spearing a forkful of salad. “She’s had a rough few months.” “That’s the truth.” He finished off his sandwich. “Where’s your partner in crime?” She smiled. “Spence had to go to Seattle. He has to testify at a trial, but will be back in a few days.” “I guess that comes with the territory, huh?” “Afraid so. His retirement didn’t’ halt the wheels of justice. He’ll have to go back periodically, until all his cases are prosecuted.” She gathered the empty containers and wiped the table. “I’ll be glad when he’s home.” “We’ll have to get together when he gets back and when Ellie’s feeling up to it.” He made his way to the door. “If you need anything, just let me know.” As Blake stepped through the door, Nate hopped from his delivery truck, carrying boxes. “Hey, Kate, here’s your delivery for the day.” Blake greeted Nate with a firm hand on his shoulder and nod as he made his way back to his own truck. Nate stacked the boxes next to the wrapping counter and hustled back to the truck. He returned with a beautiful arrangement of white roses. “I was at Buds and Blooms and Linda said these were for you. I offered to drop them, since I was coming here.” Kate’s eyebrows rose and her smile widened. “Those are stunning.” She took the glass vase and set it near the register. Nate grabbed his electronic signature pad and jogged to the door. “Catch ya later, Kate.” She plucked the card from the bouquet. Miss you already, Katie. Love, Spence. She held the card to her chest and inhaled the sweet aroma of the tight buds. The afternoon was quieter with only a scattering of customers, but right before closing time, business increased. Two couples on vacation, who were avid collectors, explored every nook and cranny of the shop and amassed a large number of purchases. As she was ringing up the orders, the phone rang. She snatched the receiver and continued to write out the order. “Alexander’s, how may I help you?” “Kate, it’s Sherrie at the Haven. I hate to bother you, but wanted to catch you before you closed today. There’s a guest here, a woman, who knows you.” “Really?” Kate’s eyes scanned the shop and she saw the foursome deep in conversation in a corner of the store. “Who is she?” “Maggie Fields. She arrived yesterday.” Kate sucked in a breath and said nothing. “Kate, are you there? Do you know her?” Kate’s mouth went dry and she stammered, “Uh, sorry, yeah. It’s, um, been a long time.” “She asked about you and mentioned you. She seemed hesitant to contact you. It may not be my place, but I wanted to let you know she was here and I, uh…um, I think it would be a good idea if you came out to see her.” Kate’s furrowed her brow. “What —” She was interrupted by a tapping on her sleeve. The woman stood inches from her and said, “Excuse me, I’ve got a question about this piece.” “Sherrie, I’ll have to call you back. I’ve got some customers. I’m sorry.” She hung up the phone and turned to the woman asking about a piece of furniture. It took all of her strength to focus on the shoppers. They were in a buying mood and she wanted to give them her attention, but the thought of Maggie Fields in Friday Harbor was mind-blowing. She pushed the mystery to the back of her mind and ran two large credit card sales through the machine before she closed for the day. She closed out the register and sunk into the sofa in her office, contemplating what would bring Maggie to the island. She hadn’t seen Maggie in almost twenty years. At one time they had been best friends—inseparable. That had all changed after Karen’s death. She shook her head. Maggie had drudged up the sad memories she had been working so hard to forget. She let out a long breath and rested her head against the back of the couch. “What are you doing here, Maggie?” she whispered.
If you’re a writer reading my blog, I’d encourage you to check out Derek Murphy at http://www.creativindie.com/writing-contests/
for more information about his free retreat offer and his passion for authors and creativity. He provides a large amount of free material to assist authors.
In addition to this exciting contest, I’ll soon know if my second mystery novel in my Cooper Harrington Detective Series is a winner in another contest. I was thrilled to learn it is one of six finalists (judged by a panel of librarians) and will know by mid-September if it wins, which means I’ll get a huge prize package covering all the costs associated with publishing and marketing the new book.
Here’s hoping I’ll be posting from Ireland soon…Cheerio!
I’ve had an exciting week as an author. I found out this weekend my new mystery novel, DEADLY CONNECTION, is a finalist for a huge prize package of the costs associated with publishing and marketing the book. I’ll be heading to Denver in September to find out if it’s a winner. Here’s hoping the judges are big fans of Coop.
Late that same day I received the news that the first book in the Cooper Harrington series, KILLER MUSIC, had been awarded the GOLD MEDAL in the mystery category for the Global Ebook Awards. Very exciting weekend!!
If DEADLY CONNECTION doesn’t win, I’ll be working with my team to get it published as soon as possible, hopefully by November. If it is a winner, the process will probably take a bit more time, since I’ll be working with a new publishing group and will have less control. I’ll keep you posted.
While I’ve been waiting to learn more about the fate of DEADLY CONNECTION, I started the fifth Hometown Harbor novel. I’m only about 5,000 words into it, but enjoy returning to the island and visiting all of my old friends. I just received three new reviews on Amazon for the series and the new reader said how much she loved the feeling of friendship and family in the series. She wants to live there! I’ve heard that same sentiment from several readers…I agree—it would be a great place to live.
I’m looking forward to cooler weather. I’m not sure why, but I find it easier to write on cloudy days. It’s difficult to focus right now due to my excitement surrounding the anticipation of DEADLY CONNECTION being a big winner. I’m trying to keep my expectations low and concentrate on my new project.
Fall will be a busy time. Along with the contest, I’m coordinating a local author tea and book sale on October 22nd. If you’re in the Fallon area, I hope you’ll stop by and visit with ten local authors. We are all discounting our books for the day and there will be opportunities to win raffle prizes of our books. I’ll post more as the event nears.
Until next time, I hope you carve out time to relax and read a few books.
It's been way too hot where I live...over 100 this week! I'm ready for something much cooler.
My second mystery is done, but will be delayed. I was asked to enter it into a contest and I'm restricted from publishing until the contest concludes. I'll know if I'm a finalist in early August and winners will be announced in September. Winners are awarded a package of marketing and publishing for the book...so keep your fingers crossed for me.
In the meantime, I've created a FREE prequel to my Hometown Harbor Series. It's called HOMETOWN HARBOR: THE BEGINNING and includes excerpts from Sam's personal journal. You'll get to meet her before she debuts in FINDING HOME. Download the e-book from Amazon, Kobo, or B&N. If you enjoy it, please leave a review on Amazon (they really help).
I also created an exclusive FREE interview with all the canine companions from the series and will send you it as a thank-you for signing up for my mailing list. Follow this link to visit my webpage and subscribe to the list.
Wishing you a fun-filled Fourth of July...enjoy the day as we celebrate America's birthday!
A view of the three Sisters in Oregon
Just in time for Mother's Day, my first book, FINDING HOME (e-book) will be 99 cents from Thursday through Sunday. It's a great way for readers to start the #HometownHarbor Series. Please pass the word to all your reader friends and any special moms you know. It's the perfect series for women looking for a bit of an escape. Amazon
makes it very easy to send e-books as gifts, and this series is an ideal affordable gift
for a book-loving mom.
My mom and I took a road trip this past week and visited beautiful central Oregon. To pass the time, we read my work in progress. It's the second in my Cooper Harrington Detective Series. We met friends and each night I read them a few chapters to get feedback and look for mistakes. Reading a book aloud is the best way to "hear" words or sentences that sound awkward. My favorite part was hearing the gasps from my audience during exciting scenes in the book. I spent today updating my manuscript with all the changes I wanted to make after hearing it and now need to wrap up the remaining part of the story.
As usual, whenever I visit a new place I get some ideas for stories or characters. Central Oregon was no exception. Fun to people watch and search for new story lines in such a beautiful area. Wishing you a Happy Mother's Day and if you're a mom I hope you spend some time relaxing and reading.
My favorite tulips to celebrate spring
I’ve been working on the second Cooper Harrington novel and plan to have it out this summer. Our lovely spring weather vanished this week, so it has been easier to be inside writing. It’s fun to spend time with Coop and AB and I’m about 60% done. I’ve booked my designer to work on a cover for this one, which is one of my favorite parts of the writing process.
I’m excited about a special deal I’m planning for Mother’s Day weekend. I’ll have more information soon and would appreciate your help in spreading the word to new readers. It’ll be a perfect time for them to start the first e-book in my #HometownHarbor Series, FINDING HOME.
Not sure how many of you spend time on Pinterest, but I would love to get your feedback on my pages. I’ve picked some images that relate to my books and are fun to share. I’m new to using Pinterest, but have lost several writing hours wandering around and looking. I can only imagine if I become addicted!
Thanks to so many of you who have taken the time to leave a review on Amazon. Reviews are critical for authors and I so appreciate your help. If you haven’t yet left a review, please consider it and tell your friends. I enjoy connecting with readers and utilize Facebook more than any other social media. If you “like” my page, you’ll get updates. For my non-Facebook readers, visit my webpage to contact me anytime.
Hope you squeeze in some time for reading this spring!