May is for Moms

Welcome to the Mother’s Day edition of Blythe’s Book Group. Every month a group of hardy Martha’s Vineyard year round residents get together to discuss a book. You are invited to join them.

May’s book choice was an easy one: Aggie chose one of her favorite authors, Kelly McClymer (yes, one of the Storytellers!). She chose Shop and Let Die, the first book of the Secret Shopper Mom mystery series. Here’s why, in her own words:

I’ve had to juggle work and raising a child, too. I love reading about Molly, who can solve a mystery, help her overly anxious daughter, and find solutions for her son with dyslexia. Best of all, Molly — like me — isn’t perfect at the juggling act. She forgets to plug in her phone, is often just barely in time to pick her children up from school, and — again like me — she’s learned to deal with situations where all the balls she’s juggling end up on the floor.

Pick it up at Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Google Play or Kobo.

 

Have you read Shop and Let Die yet? If so, proceed scrolling for some very real comments by the members of the BBG.

If not, download it (for free!) before you proceed.

There may be spoilers, otherwise!

 

Blythe (proprietress of Blythe Cove Manor): I thought this was an appropriate choice for Mother’s Day. I’ve had many mothers here, and they are all juggling so many balls I wonder how they manage. Having a sneak peek inside Molly’s head gives me a better idea — most moms feel like they’re about to drop all their balls, all the time. It makes me appreciate my mother, and grandmother, even more. I’m sure they’d say that cell phones don’t really help with the juggling as much as they ought, so they’d be glad they didn’t have to add their to the juggling pile.

Helen (director of the local library): Aggie, this was a great choice. My patrons are always looking for a good blend of humor, mystery, and insight into unusual occupations. Molly’s mystery shopping day job was well explained and I must admit a little daunting. I’ll never look at my trip to the coffee shop the same way again.

Mudge (excursion boat owner/operator): I sent my mom flowers and chocolate after I read this. Sounds like riding out a squall in the middle of the ocean would be easier than being a modern mom. Although, I bet Molly would be a better hand at sea that she might think. That mystery shopping needs the same attention to detail as a ship does.

Aggie (owner, Sandpiper Restaurant): Well, I recommended it, so I’ll just say, as soon as I read it, I had to go get the next books in the series to see what happened to Molly. Book 3, The Mall is Not Enough just came out, and it didn’t disappoint. Molly’s juggling is getting higher stakes with every book.

Fred (island taxi driver): I guess I’m the only one who was surprised the mystery took a back seat to Molly’s mother duties. I knew my mom would like it, so I loaded it onto her Kindle and happened to mention my reaction to her. Needless to say, I’m doing the same as Mudge. Flowers, chocolate, and a gift card for more books for my mom this years.

 

 

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Magic is the Key to Blythe Cove Manor

Blythe Cove has a new addition!

When Lorraine Bartlett, Shirley Hailstock, and I formed Storytellers Unlimited, we wanted a place where we could hang out with our readers and have a little fun.
Not that writing novels isn’t fun — it can be. But novels are long, and readers need to be patient. Patience is hard.

We created our website, started our email list, did the social media thing, and then thought — what can we do to entertain our readers in between our novel releases?

Since we all love everything summer and beach, we naturally thought of a B&B on Martha’s Vineyard. Blythe Cove Manor was born, with our first anthology, Summer Magic. Weekend Magic followed. And now — ta da — Blythe Cove Magic is available.

Our email readers will be familiar with two of the stories in the third anthology — “The Obsidian Cat” and “Ten Little Librarians” were both serialized in the Storytellers Unlimited newsletter. These serials have been edited and polished and a new story from Lorraine has been added to create our third anthology.

Can I tell you that these stories have become a little addictive to the three of us? They have. We have to squeeze them in among the other books we are writing, but we do because Blythe Cove Manor is a great place to hang out. It has a little mystery, a little romance, and — best of all — a little magic.

Do you see the objects on our covers? Each of those objects has just a little bit of magic to them. The kind of magic that can bring people together, heal heartache, or even show someone her new home is only a few steps away.

The other thing our covers always feature is Martha. Martha is the Blythe Cove Manor cat. Rumor has it she may have a bit of magic in her, as well.

If you love mystery with a touch of romance, we invite you to give Blythe Cove Magic a try: Amazon, iBooks, Nook, Kobo.

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Please Welcome Galatea to the Bookshelf

Galateas-Revenge-PlayThe Book That Might Never Have Been Published

Every published author you meet has the story of “that” book. The one their agent loved but couldn’t sell. The one that editors enjoyed but passed on because “it’s too [insert something ridiculous here]”.

Agents and editors have it hard, because they see so many books, but they can only work on a few, so they have to choose based on their gut instincts even when they know they may be wrong. Ever wonder if the editors who passed on Harry Potter lose sleep over that? Probably not. It’s just part of the business.

We authors used to be left with books that we loved and yet had no way to get to our readers. Book limbo, where books were shoved under the bed to gather dust.

Then along came Amazon, who paved the way for authors to get their books to readers directly. And then iBooks followed suit to reach a whole new audience. And Barnes and Noble. And Kobo.

And now my book that might never have been published is on the bookshelves at iBooks Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

It wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for Kindle Scout (disclaimer, they passed on it, just like all the traditional editors in the past).

Kindle Scout made me realize that there were readers interested in the book. So I tested the theory and gave the unedited, unpolished book away to readers for an honest opinion.

Their feedback? Publish it!

Encouraged, I revised it (which meant digging back into research on Victorian London and putting on my romance writer hat again).

I got a talented editor to fix my errors (thanks Alyssa!).

And now, my characters Elspeth (known on the mean streets of London as Gal) and Damian have their happy-ever-after at last.

Here’s what readers are saying (all quotes taken from public reviews, not from the many private emails I received during the ARC period):

I was living Elspeth and Damian’s journey to love with them. It is definitely a journey worth taking. CeCe, Barnes and Noble customer.

In two words powerful and compelling! April R. (read the whole review here on My Book Addiction and More Reviews; it made me happy)

Revenge couldn’t be any sweeter. Athena…Amazon Customer

If you were wondering if there were any more books under my bed…only one. The one I was working on for my Master’s thesis. I love this book, but it does not fit into my marketing plan for a while so I’m not going to talk about it…

…yet.

Thanks to my wonderful, wonderful readers, you can now find Galatea’s Revenge at iBooks Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo. It feels great to be able to tell you that.

 

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Who’s afraid of Friday the 13th?

Paraskevidekatriaphobia

That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? It is the official name for the fear of Friday the 13th.

Are you a parapskevidekatriaphobe?

I’m not. I’m also not afraid of black cats or walking under ladders (though I keep my eyes open for falling tools!).

Because I’m looking into the history of all sorts of quirky human beliefs and superstitions for my new immersive storyworld experience EverTwixt, I decided to do a little research on why Friday the 13th is considered unlucky by many cultures, including pragmatic capitalist folks in the States and Western Europe.

I found out that the fear of 13 is the older fear (Triskaidekaphobia), dating back to (possibly) the Vikings, where Loki was the 13th god. Apparently it got combined with Friday, which some cultures also see as unlucky.

No one can really pin down the origin of the fear of Friday the 13th, though some give it a religious origin (13th apostle at the Last Supper).

The National Geographic does a nice article on the fear, pointing out that because of it, Friday the 13th is often the safest day of the year. So maybe superstitions do have their purpose, no matter how irrational they seem.

Find out more on wikipedia.

Once Upon a Witch's Moon ep1If you like superstitions and other spooky stuff, come join my immersive storyworld EverTwixt. You’ll get plenty of spooky nightmares, witches, and weirdness. You can get the first four episodes of Once Upon a Witch’s Moon for free when you join.

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What Secrets May Lay Behind Your Walls?

What are your walls hiding?

What are your walls hiding?

March and Spring Cleaning Can Lead to Unexpected DIY

March makes many people’s thoughts turn to spring (unless they’re in Australia…or Hawaii). And with spring comes thoughts of cleaning up after the winter cold and grime, to make things feel fresh and new. Sometimes that instinct turns into a DIY project, and the next thing you know, you’re tearing down a wall.

Big projects, like home renovations, can be challenging and full of surprise. And that’s where spring cleaning DIY can take a turn for the interesting, because behind every wall lies the potential for a DIY renovator to find surprises awaiting.

Storyteller Kelly McClymer remembers a kitchen renovation project that uncovered a perfectly preserved mouse skeleton, still in recognizable mouse-shape. She speculates it was probably held in shape by the cobwebs and dust that had accumulated on it.

Other renovators have found much more interesting surprises behind their walls. You can read Houzz’s compilation of some of the best ones here. The Storytellers’ favorite find is the love letters. Can you imagine what an author could make of those?

What would you do, if you found love letters behind a wall in your house?

Have you ever found anything unexpected during a DIY renovation project?

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