The Accidental Psychic: Jeff Resnick in Murder on the Mind

Welcome to your first meeting 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.

April’s book choice was an easy one: Blythe chose one of her favorite authors, L. L. Bartlett (yes, one of the Storytellers!). She chose Murder on the Mind, the first book of the Jeff Resnick mystery series. Here’s why, in her own words:

I was intrigued by the idea of a detective who is aided by a sudden psychic ability. As I hoped, Jeff’s sudden flashes of real crimes (brought on by a serious head injury) doesn’t always make the crime solving easier. In fact, it makes his detective work more challenging. Best of all, his relationships begin to change as he needs to balance his desire for justice with a very understandable wish not to be labeled crazy by his friends and family.

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

 

Have you read Murder on the Mind yet? If so, proceed scrolling for some very real comments by the members of the BBG.

If not, purchase it here (Pick it up at Amazon, B&N, iBooks, or Kobo) before you proceed.

There may be spoilers, otherwise!

 

Blythe (proprietress of Blythe Cove Manor): Well, I chose this book, so obviously I connected with the psychic element. I know that there is no proof of psychic phenomena, according to scientists, but science doesn’t know everything…yet. They may discover something that allows for people to see into the future. I like to think that something would be quantum particles, or something equally cool. Psychic elements aside, there is a wonderful, elemental struggle in Jeff. He doesn’t want to believe what’s happening to him, never mind tell other people in his life. Just think how hard that must be. Remember when Dillie Bean told us she hated the smell of low tide? Some folks didn’t speak to her for months. Acted like she’d lost her mind.

Helen (director of the local library): I admit, I ordered a copy for our library. My patrons do love a tightly written murder mystery. I am relieved that the author did not let Jeff’s psychic visions do all the heavy detective work. In some ways, the visions actually made his job harder. And I have to agree with Blythe about the elemental human struggle to be who we are without losing a part of ourselves in the process.

Mudge (excursion boat owner/operator): Last year I proclaimed I’d never get used to reading on my phone. Well, I have. Darned useful on the boat. I can take a library with me. I was suspicious of the book, I admit it. I like my murder mystery less cozy and more official, as you all know. But Jeff worked for me. I don’t know about the elemental struggle that Aggie and Blythe talk about, but I like the way he keeps going and doesn’t let anything stop him from solving the crimes that flash into his mind.

Aggie (owner, Sandpiper Restaurant): I read it when the Sandpiper had down time. Do you know, I actually had a customer ask me for a drink three times before I heard them, I got so caught up in the story. This is really fast-paced. On the good side, the customer wanted to know what I was reading, so I recommended the book to her, too. I loved the tv show Medium, so Jeff’s psychic ability was easy for me to believe and I guessed the culprit before he did!

Fred (island taxi driver): I did not guess the culprit. It was a good surprise. I went back over the clues and I’m not sure how I missed it. Guessing who done it is one of my specialities.

 

 

SHARE THIS Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Coming to Paperback: TITLE WAVE

Counting the days until TITLE WAVE, by Lorna Barrett (aka Lorraine Bartlett) comes out in paperback on June 6th. Have you ordered your copy of #11 in the Booktown Mystery series?

Tricia and Angelica leave Booktown behind for some much needed R&R. Naturally they choose a Mystery Lovers cruise, where they can ponder whodunnit in deck chairs while sipping colorful drinks and soaking up some rays. But the fun is cut short when a fellow passenger is murdered for real. Is the killer a famous mystery author, one of her fans, or a member of the ship’s crew? As Tricia tries to find the killer before they reach port, she may be cruising for a bruising…

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books A Million
Book Depository
Chapters Indigo

Check the website for more information

SHARE THIS Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

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.

SHARE THIS Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

An Unexpected Visitor – New Blythe Cove Manor Release

Just in time for the holidays, I’ve written a new Blythe Cove manor story you may want to read.

An-unexpected-visitor-medAN UNEXPECTED VISITOR

All is quiet at Blythe Cove Manor as its proprietress, Blythe Calvert, anticipates a peaceful holiday along with her cat, Martha. But then a taxi pulls up and drops off a troubled, runaway teen looking for a safe haven. Can the magic of Blythe Cove Manor heal this young girl’s aching heart?

Kindle US

Kindle Worldwide

iBooks

Nook

Kobo

Smashwords

 

Happy Holidays!

SHARE THIS Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

My Dad’s carvings

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

Prize Winner My Dad had loads of hobbies. He was good at just about anything he tried to do, be it fixing watches and clocks, building furniture, creating beautiful jewelry … or carving.  He carved many different figurines, but he mostly carved Santas.

Backstory:  My Dad did most of his carving back in the 1990s.  He even won a prize for one of his Santas which, unbeknownst to him, had been entered in a carving contest in Beria, KY by his former carving buddy.  Dad’s Santa won first prize!  (He carved one just like it for me, too–you can see it on the right.)

I don’t know why he carved so many of these little tree ornaments–bored, I guess.  But he did. The little guys below are the original 20 I’ve been hanging on my tree for the past 10-15 years.

Original Santas

The one in the top right hand corner is one I asked him to make.  You see, I bought something similar at a yard sale for a quarter, and I wasn’t sure where it was made or by whom.  Someone in China?  Some craftsman (or woman) here in the states?  It was real, hand carved and painted, but it didn’t hold any meaning for me.  So I asked Dad to make one for me and it would be special because HE carved it.  He did, and it was.  (Look at the detail on it below.)

Carved from

After my Dad passed away in the fall of 2009, I found quite a number of carvings he hadn’t finished, and bunch that he had but just never got around to giving away.  They’re mine now!

13 new santas
I love the fact that, while they may look alike, they’re all actually quite unique.  Look at the eyes and noses on these little guys, and how different their beards look.

5 santas

I always looked forward to Christmas and getting something wonderful my Dad would make, be it a carving or a lovely piece of furniture.  I’m so sad that’ll never happen again, but I have so many wonderful items that he made — and he always made them with love.

How about you–what do you have that is terribly special because someone made it for you with love in their heart?

SHARE THIS Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

I’m loving (and missing) it!

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

Okay, I admit it. I like chutney.  It’s wonderful on pork (roasted, ham sandwiches–yum yum). But I don’t like mango chutney, and that’s about all you can get around here.

One of our local grocery chains used to carry the Canadian line of President’s Choice food products. (The name always puzzled me, since Canada doesn’t have a president; they have a prime minister — and hunky newly elected one, too!) I used to shop there a LOT just to get the wonderful (can you say more “English”) types of products. My favorite:  President’s Choice Peach Chutney.

I could wax poetically about how wonderful, flavorful, and terrific this product is … but that wouldn’t do it justice. You’d have to taste it to believe it.

I can get that peach chutney if I cross the border, but as that’s a 90-minute trip and a hassle involving passports and x-rays (at the US side), etc. Unless I have another reason to go to Canada, peach chutney isn’t enough. I bought four jars in 2014 but I ate it all and here we are in 2015 and I have no more peach chutney. I could buy a jar of Branston Pickle, but it’s kind of crunchie and has a harsh tang to it.

Could I make chutney?  Of course.  I have a wonderful recipe for rhubarb chutney (which I shared in The Cozy Chicks Kitchen), and is made with rhubarb and apples and is as marvelous as peach chutney. One problem; it’s not rhubarb season.  (Although this summer I planted about 10 plants around my yard. I’ll probably be drowning in the stuff next spring and have to start searching for new recipes.)

Right now I’m (gak!) using up the two jars of mango chutney my mother had in her pantry … but I don’t like it.  I may go look for an apple chutney recipe to bridge the gap, but on an English or Canadian website. (I don’t think Americans really get chutney.)

So for now I’ll just have to gaze at my wonderful picture of President’s Choice Peach Chutney and start planning my next trip to Canada.

Is there some kind of condiment that you like and find hard to get?

SHARE THIS Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

A talk with my audio narrator …

By Lorraine Bartlett

I’m very happy to announce that my second Tales of Telenia book, JOURNEY, is now available as an audiobook. (You can listen to a sample of it here–just click the link.)

I thought it might be interesting for readers (hey, and me, too!) to find out a little bit about what it is to be a spoken-voice performer.  Let me introduce you to Steven Barnett. He has read not only the Telenia books, but also is the voice of my character Jeff Resnick.  (At least for the last 6 titles.  We’ll be re-recording the first three in the not-too-distant future.)

Steven and I recently talked and here’s a portion of our conversation.

How does one becomes a voice artist?
I’m not sure there is one generic way to become a voice artist. I started as a vocalist in college, learning to sing opera, but I’ve always been a talented mimic. I loved to imitate cartoons, famous people, anything I could for a laugh. I did voice-over work when I was in film and tv work and kind of just branched off from there.

Do you read the whole book first?
It depends on the length and type of the book. If the book is fairly short, say on the order of 80-90000 words, I will generally not read beforehand and just work things out in recording. If the book is longer, or has a large number of speaking characters and voices and things, then I’ll read the book first and try to get a sense of the characterization beforehand, especially if the book has alien or foreign characters and languages.

Is the dialog the hardest because you have to switch voices?  How do you know which voice to use?  Do you color code them on your script?
For me, dialog between males isn’t so difficult, mostly because I’m used to imitating character dialogue. What’s hardest for me is dialog between a male and a female. Doing a feminized voice requires a lot of tuning in the musculature of the mouth and vocal folds and it’s difficult sometimes to switch between them rapidly. One of my earlier projects involved two main characters, one of whom was a teenaged boy from modern-day Philadelphia and the other was a teenaged girl from 18th century Scotland. That was terribly difficult at first.

What’s the hardest part about narrating a book?
The hardest part is consistency. Making sure that when you flub a line, you go back and re-read that line precisely as you read it before. Making sure that if you’re recording a book and it’s going to take more than a day, that your mic placement and your settings are all the same as they were when you started. Making sure your editing process is smooth and that each chapter matches the others in timbre, volume, and emotion is also a big part of that.

How did you get into this kind of work?  
By accident, like many others have, I’m sure. One of my good friends is an author and he stumbled across the Audiobook Creation Exchange website, or ACX, where authors and narrators of audiobooks can come together. He sent me the link and off I went.

What kinds of stories have you narrated?
I’ve narrated quite a few kinds: cozies, sci-fi fantasy, superhero stories, erotic fiction (boy, are THOSE difficult to read…), romance… I have a preferred genre I like to read personally, but I’m pretty much a mercenary when it comes to recording. I don’t like to limit myself to one genre or another just because it’s not what I’d read at home on my own time. In fact, one of my favorite books I’ve done is a book I’d never have read on my own in a million years– a Southern romance story with some erotic scenes. It’s a sweet love story and I highly enjoyed doing all the characters.

Do you have a favorite genre to read? 
I prefer to read genres where there are lots of distinct characters, so typically fantasy and sci-fi novels. I’m a huge fan of urban fantasy, so I tend to want to get those novels more, but the more and more I work, the more into mysteries I am becoming.

Lorraine Hart AudiobooksWhat are your future plans? 
Right now, my plan is to keep doing what I’m doing, but more of it, you know? More titles under my belt, more recognition. I’m working toward being named an Audible-certified Producer, which is a certification that tells authors and producers that I am a narrator of high-quality and able to deal with more expensive, high-level projects. It opens more professional level doors, let’s say. But I’ll work with anyone, regardless of budget, if the book is quality. In the future, my goal is to broaden my voice skills and perhaps do cartoons. I love character voices and comedy, so cartoons are right in my wheelhouse. I’m a huge voice-acting nerd, so it would be a thrill to work with guys like Rob Paulsen, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Laura Bailey, Grey DeLisle, Jennifer Hale… the list goes on. That’s my future.

Where can we find you online? 
Well, I don’t have a professional website yet. Too busy to make one, I suppose, though I’m working on it. Right now you can find me on Twitter @PlasmatixUltra. I also have a Facebook page for me as a professional, and you can find that at http://www.facebook.com/letmetellyouastory .  I can also be reached via email at stevenrichardbarnett@gmail.com and a list of the books I’ve narrated is available on Audible.com .  Just click this link. And, of course, you can always find me at your favorite audiobook retailers: Audible, Amazon, and iTunes!

 

SHARE THIS Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail