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RIP, Grandpa

I just got the call that my grandpa passed away. He was the inspiration behind Grandpa Lou in my cozy mystery series and truly one of the most stand-up men I’ve ever known.

Unfortunately, real life is not as sunny and shiny as the world of a cozy mystery so my grandpa didn’t live in the mountains of Colorado anymore nor was he living next door to give me a hard time about my narrow-minded misconceptions of the world.

Sadly, I hadn’t seen him in years. My pup and I were able to visit with him and his lovely wife on our way back to Colorado seven years ago and it was a good visit. But he wasn’t up for travel anymore at that point so never made it here to visit me and I tend not to travel too much because of the pup so I never made it back to him.

I probably never said as much as I should’ve to him about how much he meant to me.

He didn’t have an easy life. And he certainly didn’t start off on the right side of the law. But the man I knew always had a good heart and a gentleness about him. He loved my grandma and was by her side until the day she passed.

He was a gifted craftsman, too. For thirty years I’ve had a cedar chest he made for his mother that’s a thing of beauty. While other furniture might’ve been left behind on various moves, that’s always been one of my most treasured pieces.

And I’m grateful to him for the years he and my grandma spent with us in Colorado helping my dad to run his often struggling sign business. Those were good years when they were with us. Eventually they had to move on to more steady work–he was a hard-rock miner most of his life–but I won’t forget the times we had.

We lost touch after my grandma and then my dad died. (18-year-old kids aren’t the best at keeping those ties alive, especially in those pre-internet days when you had to send letters or make expensive long-distance phone calls.) But thanks to the efforts of his new wife we were finally able to reconnect about a decade ago and spend those few days together.

I’m glad he was able to find love and family and a good home and that he lived his last days with someone who loved him by his side. He deserved that happiness. It was a good end for a good man who made the best of a tough start.

Love you, Grandpa.

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Collections Now Available

For those of you who are still reading through the Maggie May and Miss Fancypants series (or who found your way here and haven’t yet started it but have heard such wonderful things you just want to dive right in), just a heads up that the first six books are now available in two three-book collections in both ebook and regular paperback versions.

(No large print on these ones because each one is about an inch-and-a-half thick in regular print.)

The second book does also include the short story, Halloween at the Baker Valley Barkery & Cafe.

And for those who have already read all the books, I do expect there to be more, but this has been a year and I may have a big move up ahead, so unfortunately no timeline to provide yet.

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Free Fiction February

I assume for anyone following this blog that you’ve already read A Dead Man and Doggie Delights, but just in case…It’s available for free in ebook for the month of February.

And if you have already read it, PD Workman has a list of additional free mysteries available right now up on their blog. Not sure how long the titles will be free and haven’t personally read any of them, but worth checking out. From the covers I’d say they’re mostly more mystery than cozy mystery with perhaps a shade of thriller for some of them.

In other news…I do expect there to be at least two more Maggie May and Miss Fancypants mysteries. (I’m too much of a feminist to end with the next book I have in mind.)

I had hoped to have at least a short story out for New Year’s but, well, yeah. Let’s just say writers are not immune to what is happening in the world these days and it can be a challenge sometimes to write funny mystery in the face of life and what-not.

I had a draft and could’ve pushed it through but I think it would’ve suffered if I’d done so. And now I think I might expand that to a novel with a mystery involved as well which takes more time.

Unfortunately, I do have a few things to tie up before that next title will be out. I have some non-fiction titles that needed updating and since non-fiction is what pays the bills at the moment, that has to take priority.

Hopefully someday writing about my lovable dog and quirky people will take the place of the non-fiction, but I’m not there yet.

Sorry I don’t have better news on the new book front but hope you’re all doing well in these crazy times and love to your adorable pups for those of you lucky enough to have one.

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A New Print Option

For those of you in the United States or Canada who buy print versions, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve added another option for you, Aer.io. You can find the store here.

Ignore the “from” prices it’s showing. It seems to show the latest published book price as the from price which means the hard cover large print version prices are showing. But if you click on any of those books you’ll see that you have a choice to purchase the regular paperback, large print paperback, and large print hard cover versions at a discount of somewhere from 8-17%.

This is a new-to-me site but it lets me discount the print versions a bit for you and is run by the folks who actually print the print versions of my books and I’ve always had good experiences with them. (Knock wood.) There is a shipping charge, so it may not be a cheaper option even with the discount than Amazon or Barnes & Noble or any other large retailer, but wanted to let you know about it just in case it was a better option.

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A Fouled-Up Fourth Is Out!

Or at least I’ve done my part to get it out there and now I’m waiting on the various sales platforms to do their part. Which most of them have, but as usual the paperback version is running a little bit behind the ebook version.

Here’s the universal link that should take you to your store in your country: https://books2read.com/fouledupfourth

And here’s the blurb.

Lucas Dean is dead and, honestly, Maggie May Carver couldn’t be happier. So when the cops can’t figure out who did it? Fine by her.

But when a second person turns up killed in the same unique fashion, Maggie’s interest is piqued. Sure, her cop husband will probably solve it without her help, but what’s the harm in asking a few questions here or there? After all, if the cops don’t want her help, they could always solve the case themselves.

As you can see, the blurb shows a certain mood for 2020, but hopefully it will be a good entertaining diversion as we head into the U.S. presidential voting watch. If you haven’t and can, please vote and make your voice heard. And then, escape with Maggie, Fancy, and the crew as they track down yet another killer.

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Paperback of Poisoned Past on B&N

Just wanted to drop a quick note and let you know that the paperback version of A Poisoned Past and Puppermints is now available on B&N. AND, as they do with new releases, it’s on sale, so for however long this lasts you can order it for $5.85 instead of $7.99.

As I mentioned before, Amazon is delaying shipments of books right now, so for you print folks this will probably be the faster option.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-poisoned-past-and-puppermints-aleksa-baxter/1136739509?ean=9781950902668

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Barnes and Noble…Gah

My mom likes to buy my paperbacks on Barnes & Noble. And usually that isn’t an issue because the book is up within about two days of my publishing it and since she buys her books every Tuesday (new release day for most trade publishers), it’s always there when she’s ready to buy.

But not this time. Almost two weeks after I’d published the book it still wasn’t showing on their website. So I published it direct with them. And they said it was published, but it still wasn’t showing on their website. So I emailed them.

And they sent me a link as if it had been there all along and I was just missing something obvious.

So I don’t know if you can find it via search now or not, but here you go. A direct link to the product page: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-sabotaged-celebration-and-salmon-snaps-aleksa-baxter/1135985083?ean=9781078766548

If you buy in print from Barnes & Noble the latest release is finally available. Sorry for the delay.

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Interesting Writing Challenges

I am at work on the next cozy and I do expect it’ll be out sooner rather than later. My goal is in about another month, but I don’t like to set hard deadlines because life happens.

For example, last week I took four days off for a last-minute trip to visit a very close friend I hadn’t seen in forever who happens to be dealing with some very serious health issues. We were at the point I felt I had to go even though this has been going on for a couple years now.

Hopefully I was wildly pessimistic about where things stand and I’ll be able to see them again next year, too, but that kind of thing tends to occur in life and you have to make room for it when it does.

Of course the delay ended up being more than just those four days because when I came home and sat down to write on Sunday I wasn’t in that mental space I need to be to write a cozy. For me cozies are fun and quirky and light-hearted. Yeah, sure, someone’s dead but really it’s about how much I love my dog and my friends and my family and cute cops.

So the last two days I found myself writing a story that was most definitely dark. It was an idea I’d toyed with for years but now seemed to be the moment to finish it. Interestingly it’s not related to illness in any way, but it draws from that same deep dark well.

And I had to purge those dark feelings before I could legitimately turn back to the cozy and make it the fun escape it needs to be.

The other interesting writing challenge I’ve been facing (and I faced it with the last book, too) is that it’s winter here in Colorado. Yesterday we had something they decided to call a bomb cyclone which for me involved lots of icy snow. But in the books it’s currently summertime. So I can’t just look out my window for inspiration. And all the wintry story ideas I get (because a Newfie in snow is a sight to behold) have to be set aside for later books.

It’s not a big challenge but it is an interesting one because I have to keep an eye out to make sure my summer story doesn’t start getting too wintry.

Anyway. Thought I’d share. Hope you’re liking the two existing cozies and there will be a third soon.

Misc, Uncategorized

A Holiday Wish

I just posted this on my personal account on Facebook, but wanted to share it here as well:

My holiday wish for all of you: That you find the moments of joy and hold onto them for all they’re worth, because none of us get as many of those moments as we want or should. Don’t let anyone steal your shine today or any other day.

Also, for the curious, the goal is to have book two out in early February, but I haven’t set a date yet. I’ll let you know here when I do.