So, now it's time for some truth. I published this book a month ago and I forgot to update the blog. I have no excuse except I started back to teaching and teaching is pretty all-consuming.
That said, I have another confession. When I planned the FBI series, I planned to never have Peyton go anywhere that I didn't go. So far I've held true to that.
Until this book.
I've never been to Hawaii, never been to Kauai. This entire book is written from research and staring at maps for hours, and reading tourist books that my parents brought back with them when they went to Kauai themselves.
The Koloa Grove Resort is fictional as is Paolo's Crab Shack, although I like to think there's a little restaurant like that on the beach with Nani and Boomer sitting in the surf, telling stories.
I fully intend to go to Kauai one day; it's definitely on the bucket list, and when I do, I want to have Peyton and Marco's goals: sun, fun and Mai Tais.
I decided to try publishing a book through the Kindle Scout Program. For 30 days, a sample of a new, never before published book is uploaded to the Kindle Scout site and readers can read it, then decide if they want to nominate your book for publication. Readers are given three nominations per month. If their book is published, they get a free ebook for their support.
For the authors, you have a chance at a publishing contract with Amazo, complete with the power of their marketing team behind it.
Once you've uploaded your manuscript and Amazon approves it, readers can nominate you and if you're lucky, you'll make the hot and trending list. The Moon Thief made the hot and trending list the first night it was posted. That's because of you readers, because you support me and stand by me, no matter what crazy new idea I have. Thank you!
As 2017 comes to a close, I wanted to stop and reflect on the last year and thank my readers for their continued support. Without the cards, emails, and Facebook posts I receive from you, I probably wouldn't keep writing. Whenever I feel down or overwhelmed or just plain defeated, one of you will send me a message that buoys my spirits again.
Caffe Macchiato is the final book for 2017, but I have much more planned for 2018. Peyton has more adventures coming her way and Zion will certainly get dragged into another case. The World of Samar will have a new installment and I will be launching a trilogy in the next few months, a new contemporary fantasy.
So, as we finish out 2017, I want to wish my readers a beautiful holiday season, a wonderful new year, and I look forward to continuing to hear from you as we launch into a whole new world of escape.
So, I decided to do a holiday book, and I decided to do it a little late. I've been on a mad dash to get Espresso out before Halloween and here it is. Join Sequoia in celebrating their first ever Fangtastic Howl-o-ween Monster Bash. Of course, Deimos would be the one to coin that title.
I really love third books in a series – both the ones I write and the ones I read. By the third book, you know the characters, you get to explore their lives in a little more detail, and you are firmly rooted in their world. By the third book, I know how my characters are going to react in a situation. Their personalities have become like old friends and I don't have to work to recapture the feelings they give me.
This installment gives the reader a lot more background on Tate's life. I hope you enjoy reading about his journey to escape his past and find refuge in Sequoia as much as I enjoyed telling it. Oh, and of course, happy Halloween!
With the eleventh installment of the World of Samar series, The Fugitive of Eldon, I have continued my fascination with epic fantasies.
I love playing with the politics and history of this world, creating more lore with each new installment. I also like returning to my roots. I began this exciting life of an author with my first epic fantasy, Emerald. It only seems fitting to return to it once in a while.
This book is particularly special to me. Alana Eldralin is a pampered young woman who learns that true strength comes not from the power she wields, but from the strength of her love. I hope you enjoy Alana's adventure.
Coming back after more than a year and writing Peyton's next adventure should be difficult, but Peyton and company have become real people to me. I can instantly pull up my mental image of them. I can hear Abe making the latest inappropriate comment, or Jake blundering through something with his usual good natured silliness. I can hear Radar scolding, giving his life lessons to a recalcitrant Peyton, or Maria criticizing her hair.
The fun thing about writing this one was Marco. He's grown so much over the years and become a three-dimensional person. With Peyton off adventuring around the world now, it's up to Marco to hold their little misfit family together and this isn't a natural fit for him. I'm not going to lie. I get great enjoyment putting him in situations that I know make him uncomfortable. Even I'm never sure of his reaction.
As always, I'm grateful to my readers for their patience and I hope Haunts in Bodie will gain a special place in your heart as it did in mine.
The character of Jaguar fascinated me in Cafe Au Lait, His story of a man facing great change unveiled itself in my mind as soon as I wrote the last words on Zion's latest adventure. I knew he had to have his own book, but as soon as I finished it, I wasn't sure what genre of book I had written.
I'm apparently not the only one. A few early reviewers have sent me emails telling me Jaguar isn't like their usual read. Talking with my father about it, we both couldn't decide what category it best fits under. That probably has a lot to do with the character himself. Jaguar just doesn't want to be labeled.
I teach my high school students about static and dynamic characters every year. A static character is a character that stays pretty much the same over the course of a novel. Think Rip Van Winkle. Old Rip has pretty much the same outlook at the start of the novel as he does when he wakes from his long slumber at the end of the novel. He winds up telling and retelling his story to keep alive his past, and this rehashing of events doesn't allow him to grow.
A dynamic character changes over the course of a novel. It can be a good change. For instance, Scrooge from A Christmas Carol is the most dramatic example of this. He undergoes a vast transformation that turns him from a miserable, old curmudgeon into a loving, charitable benefactor. However, dynamic characters can also change in the opposite direction. They can become so damaged by their experiences that they are not able to function in society any longer. I think of Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, who commits murder at the beginning of the book, then falls into psychological turmoil as a result of his actions. He constantly battles with his own conscience throughout the novel – on one hand, wanting to get away with the "perfect crime" and on the other, to receive redemption.
Jaguar fascinated me because I could feel he was a dynamic character. He had the potential to grow, but at the same time, I could still envision him snapping his fingers at his underlings, expecting absolute obedience and servitude. I'll leave it to my readers to decide if he's more Scrooge than Raskolnikov.
Ultimately, what did I decide to do about the genre designation? I picked family drama because when all is said and done, aren't we all a product of our family drama?
I hope you enjoy this latest entry into my catalogue of characters. I know I enjoyed writing about him.
A number of people have suggested that I compile the crazy drink recipes Abe makes in the Peyton Brooks Mysteries into a recipe book.
I've finally taken that advice and here it is. It was so much fun to "research" his recipes and read back through the scenes where he crafted them.
I did come to realize that Abe serves many of his drinks in martini glasses and I have not a single one. Time to go shopping. I hope you enjoy his recipes and prepare one in his name while you're relaxing in the backyard.
So often when I write a book, I find myself interested in the peripheral characters. Sometimes these subordinate characters become just as interesting as the main ones.
This happened with Cafe Au Lait. Jaguar, the rockstar who returns to Sequoia to play a concert in his hometown, became so interesting by the end of the book, I just knew he had to have his own novel.
Of course, that in no way takes anything from Zion or Tate, the main characters of this series. The two of them have such different personalities from my other main characters and their connection to each other has become so much more interesting than in the previous novel.
I look forward to many more years of writing Zion's adventures and hope that my readers will find as much enjoyment in it as I do.
Going back to the original Peyton Brooks series to write a prequel about a single case Marco and Peyton solved was both easy and difficult. It was easy because these characters are such an integral part of my psyche, but it was difficult because I had to remember what their relationship was before it evolved.
If you'd like the prequel, I'm offering it for free. Just refer someone to the newsletter or give me a review and I'm more than happy to send this novella to you as my gift for your loyalty.
I’m grateful for everyone who has undertaken this grand adventure with me and I’m delighted to show my appreciation. Happy New Year, everyone!