Sharpe Point Now Available for Pre-Order

I was beginning to wonder if I would ever finish this book. Life happens, and it sometimes gets in the way. (That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it.)

Finally, though, Sharpe Point got moved to the front burner and is almost boiling over. The release date, February 17, is less than a month away. I am really happy with the cover by Susan at coverkicks. It perfectly reflects the season, tone, and the means of destruction. Here it is:

I’m including a sneak peek at Chapter 1. If you like what you see, you can pre-order your copy HERE.

Chapter 1

What was it about toile and rhinestones that little girls found so irresistible? Maybe it had something to do with weddings. Regardless, Disney sure knew how to take advantage of that association when it came to making princess costumes. Deena Sharpe counted at least ten miniature Cinderellas or Sophias or whoever, as she got out of her SUV at the annual First Methodist Church Halloween Carnival.

Technically, the carnival wasn’t supposed to start for another half hour or so, which meant the goblins, ghouls, and ghosts running around must have been children of volunteers who were there to set up the tables and decorations.

Deena carefully lifted the cake box off the passenger seat and made her way across the parking lot looking for Wendy Fairmont. As a member of their church, they were lucky Wendy had agreed to use her event planning magic on this one last fund-raising project before getting married and moving to Austin the next month.

The clouds overhead threatened to drench the outdoor festivities and made the early evening sky even darker than usual. Deena, always having been a little clumsy, walked extra carefully, holding the box at arm’s length as though she were a member of the royal court entrusted with the crown jewels. A speed bump took her by surprise, but she managed to keep her balance before falling face first on top of the beautiful cake she had worked so hard to perfect.

Gary’s mother had been staying with them for six long weeks, and Deena felt like she’d been through a crash course in Homemaking 101. Her mother-in-law was unstoppable, which was amazing since she was in her early eighties. This particular cake was orange peel and German chocolate. It screamed Halloween and was going into the bake sale. She had decorated the top with a bright orange and green pumpkin. Deena had wanted to put a ghost on top, but Sylvia had said that ghosts weren’t Christian-like.

A pint-sized Ninja Turtle ran up and stopped Deena in her tracks, yelling, “Let me see! Let me see!” as he bounced up and down like a yo-yo.

His frazzled mother caught him by the hand. “Sorry, Mrs. Sharpe. Apparently, my husband was a little generous with the sugar candy today.”

Deena smiled. “No problem, Jackie. Let me show him.” She knelt down and felt a pinch in her lower back. After standing in the kitchen baking all afternoon, she was feeling all of her nearly sixty years of age. She opened the top of the box to reveal her masterpiece.

“Me want! Me want!” the small fry cried as though his life depended on it.

His mother stopped him before he could take a two-finger sample. “That looks delicious, but it would be devastating to my figure,” Jackie said. “I’m still trying to lose baby weight from this one.” Her son ran over to his father who was holding the boy’s sister by the hand.

Deena looked wistfully at the happy family. She thought about her best friend, Sandra, who was due to have her first baby anytime now. She looked back as Jackie, a former student in her journalism class. “That’s the thing about cake…and life. Sometimes you take the good with the bad and just pray they cancel each other out.”

“I guess you’re right,” she said. “You know, you always were one of my favorite teachers.”

“I better get this cake to the bake sale before I end up dropping it,” Deena said, embarrassed and flattered by the compliment. “Have you seen Wendy Fairmont?”

“She was over there a few minutes ago.” Jackie motioned toward a portable building as her little Ninja Turtle drug her off onto his next adventure.

Deena maneuvered through the human obstacle course toward the old building the church often used for storage. Maybe they had moved the bake sale inside since it looked like rain. Deena hurried over and opened the door. The room was dark except for a few orange and white twinkle lights. She blinked, trying to adjust her eyes.

Voices drifted from the far side of the room.

“Wendy?” As she took a few steps toward the voices, her foot caught on something, and she reeled sideways. A smooth fabric covered her face as her body went one way and the cake box another. “Help!” she cried as she hit the floor. Her shoulder landed on something lumpy, and she heard crashing sounds all around.

The mumbled voices grew clearer until they were right above her.

“Who’s there? Are you okay? Turn on the lights,” one of the voices said.

“I can’t find the switch,” another responded.

All the while, Deena lay on the ground, like a mummy wrapped up for burial. One of her captors—or saviors—she wasn’t sure which yet, tugged at the fabric draping her body. She felt like a turtle caught in a net as she wriggled to free herself.

At last the lights came on, and Deena looked up to see two ketchup-covered zombies staring down at her. Out of her dark cocoon, she quickly realized where she was. Apparently, she had stumbled into the haunted house.

The two teenagers froze, their eyes wide and mouths gaping.

“I’m so sorry,” Deena said. “I’ll help you fix everything back up.” As she unwound the black satin draped around her feet, she could smell the stench of alcohol, something akin to Jack Daniels. Maybe she had caught the teens drinking. That must be why they looked like deer caught in the headlights. But when they both took a step back, she realized they weren’t staring at her, but instead their eyes were fixed on something behind her.

She turned her head to look back over her shoulder. There, crumpled on the floor behind her, was Ray Brewster, the church custodian, with his eyes half closed and reeking of whisky. Had he come in here to drink and then passed out? She was sitting on one of his legs, so she pushed off the ground to stand up. Her whole left side ached.

Ray, whose back was resting against a make-shift wall made of hay stacks, teetered and toppled over. His head landed on the now-opened cake box.

Deena shook his shoulder. “Ray. Ray! Wake up!”

The girl zombie let out a blood-curdling scream that would have impressed the most discerning of apocalyptic TV show producers and ran out the door.

Deena put her hand on the man’s wrist. That’s when she realized there would be no waking up Ray Brewster. He had cleaned his last pew. He was dead.

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Best Book Bundle Bargain!

The book you’ve been waiting for is finally here! Grab this book for just 99¢ for your new or well-read Ereader. It contains 25 full-length novels, including my own “Sharpe Mind.” Get it for yourself, or gift it to a friend.

Here is the link to get your copy today:  http://bit.ly/25Mysteries

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Coming Soon!

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I’m so excited to share the news that Sharpe Point is coming soon. I appreciate everyone who has written to say, “Write faster” and “I love these books.” It really is a joy to sit down to craft a story when you know there are people out there anxious to read it.

Right now, my best guess is that it will be out at the end of December or the beginning of the new year. That my not seem “soon” to you, but it does to me when I think about having to finish the first draft, revise, proofread, send to beta readers, revise again, send to my editor, revise again, proofread again, polish, format, and upload to Amazon.

If you are not following me on Facebook, please do so. I post updates occasionally. You can find the link under the Contact tab. In the meantime, keep reading and support my fellow Indie authors.

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Be Unique

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As writers, we try to find a unique voice. That is, we want to have a personality and style all our own. That’s true in life, as well.

After all, can the world really handle another Kim Karashian or Justin Bieber? Still, there are plenty of people wanting to copy their looks, personalities, and lifestyles. It was sad to read about one young man who had plastic surgery to get Justin Bieber’s face and later ended up taking his own life.

READERS KNOW

Readers can recognize the style of their favorite writers. You wouldn’t have to read but a few pages to realize you have a Stephen King novel in front of you. That’s what I hope to develop as I continue on my writing journey.

Recently, I asked readers who subscribe to my newsletter to tell me who they thought I write like. I should have asked who they would compare my books to. The answers varied, of course. The only duplicate was Janet Evanovich. Since she is a best-selling writer, I was quite flattered.

My favorite answer was Agatha Christie. Anytime a writer is compare to the Great Lady of Mystery, it is an extreme compliment. One reader actually said that I write like myself. I suppose she meant that I have a unique voice. That’s what I’m going for.

As avid cozy mystery readers, you might also have an opinion as to whose books mine are similar to. One of the great things about cozy mysteries is that they vary greatly while still offering similar entertainment value. There are also several non-cozy mystery books I plan to write in the future. One is YA, another is a romantic cozy, and another is a traditional mystery. So many books: so little time!

In the meantime, I am working on Book 5 of the Cozy Suburbs Mystery Series. The working title is “Sharpe Point.” Poor Deena is stuck with her mother-in-law and a dead body. Can’t wait to find out what happens! I’ll keep writing like myself and see how it turns out. Besides, I will never be able to write like Stephen King any way.

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NEW RELEASE: Sharpe Turn

GIVING BIRTH

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Sharpe Turn, Book 4 in the Cozy Suburbs Mystery Series, is finally here, and I must say, it was a lot like having a baby.

This book took me almost nine months to write. Why? Good question. Let’s face it, like one reviewer said about another of my books, it ain’t War and Peace.

I had some personal obstacles along the way. I started the book in January, about the time the third book in the series was coming out. Then I had some health issues. Two surgeries and two months later, I seemed to have lost my mojo.

A lot of people talk about writer’s block. I think of that as something different than what happened to me. Writer’s block is when you can’t seem to know what to write. You hit a stall. This happens occasionally, but it usually doesn’t last more than a day or so.

What happened to me was different. I lost my passion for writing. It seemed too hard, and it took too much mental energy. Instead, I turned my focus to my other business, which is online selling of vintage collectibles. After a while, I realized I missed writing and finally got back in the saddle.

WRITE FASTER

One of the comments I often get from readers is that they want me to write faster—to put books out more often. As a reader myself, I totally understand that. You find a writer you like, and you devour everything they’ve written and still want more.

I wish I were a faster writer. I know some cozy and romance writers are popping those books out once a month. If I were trying to make a full-time living at this, I would be writing eight hours a day and getting books out in a more timely fashion. But this isn’t my full-time job. I’m retired.

After spending thirty-three years teaching high journalism and English, I’m mentally exhausted. I can’t tell you the number of hours I spent sitting on the bed in the evenings and weekends reading essays, marking papers, preparing lessons, etc. Most English teachers put in more hours a day than most Wall Street CEOs. One of the first things we did after I retired was buy a new mattress because ours had a huge dent in it from me sitting on it doing my school work all the time.

FINDING BALANCE

Now, I am learning to spend my days dividing my time between the four major areas of my life: Family, Writing, Sales, and Health/Exercise. My goal is to enrich my own life while enriching the lives of others in the process.

So, how am I doing in these areas? As of this minute, I have spent an hour walking, an hour listing vintage items to sell online, and an hour planning and writing this post. It’s only noon, so there’s still a lot of day (and work) left!

SHARPE TURN

Besides the sharp turn that results in tragedy in my book, the main character, Deena, makes a turn for the better in her life. Like me, she is trying to find balance. I hope you read and enjoy the book.

For me, the release is another kind of turning point. It is a chance to get back on track doing the things I love. I plan to put books out more often and to give back to my readers as much as possible. My Wednesday blogs feature other cozy mystery writers whose books I think you will enjoy.

I love when the season’s change. It seems to mark the chance for a fresh start. Hope you are enjoying the start of fall and take time to put things in your own life into proper perspective.

Thanks for stopping by. Much health and happiness to all of you.

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