2
Apr 24

Spirit Woman Legends and Lies

 

My latest published novel, Spirit Woman Legends and Lies is now available at Amazon for just $3.99 (e-book). (https://tinyurl.com/ym2t37yy)

The Spirit Woman and her mountain lion companion are once again sighted in the hills near Lockleer Mountain.

Shortly after Joe and his brother, Cyrus, quarrel over the ownership of a winning million-dollar lottery ticket, Cyrus’s mutilated body is found in the mountains, ravaged by the local wildlife.

When stolen hospital drugs are found in the dead man’s home, murder is suspected. Sighting of the Spirit Woman and her mountain lion are once again seen in the nearby mountains. Has she returned to aid the troubled town? And, surely there is enough trouble to warrant her return.

Lou Shoemaker, owner of the local sewer truck, the Pooper Scooper, befriends Rosita Ramirez, a transient with two children, who came to Lockleer Mountain to sell tamales. Soon, gossip erupts about Rosita and the local Baptist pastor. The church deacons fear the gossip will discourage the membership and destroy the church. Deputy Nate and Sheriff Peabody must find and expose a killer and track down the perpetrator of the gossip, or the pastor will be forced to leave the church.

Will the Spirit Woman and her companions resolve the troubles that plague the rural community?

7
Aug 23

Dorian's Search and Rescue Dog, SAM

Based on a true account written by a rescue worker and his dog, the following is an 'outtake' from my cozy mystery novel, Black Cat's Legacy that never made it into the final version. Black Cat's Legacy is FREE at Amazon 08-07-23 through 08-11-23. http://tinyrul.com/lrvevgm

****

Dorian and her Search and Rescue dog, Sam, are called to Oklahoma City following the bombing of the Alfred Murrah Bldg in 1995.

Dorian’s Search and Rescue team heard of the Oklahoma bombing and immediately flew from Northern CA to Oklahoma to assist in search and rescue operations.

At the bombing site, Dorian and Sam were taken to the nursery area where day care was provided for the workers' babies and toddlers.  It was an area hardest hit by the blast and there were few survivors among the children who had been in attendance that day.

Where children once played as their parents worked, a pile of rubble stood several stories high with twisted beams, shards of glass, aluminum, wood and chunks of metal and concrete slabs protruding in all directions.  Beneath the rubble laid the remains of the babies and their caregivers.

Sam and other rescue dogs were directed to cross the rubble to search for any sign of victims, or should God be merciful, a survivor.  The rescue dogs could wiggle into places where grown men could not reach. Sam was trained to whine when he found a dead body and bark if he found a survivor. On that sad day he did not bark….

When one of the dogs gave the alert by either a bark or whine, the frantic rescue workers would concentrate on removing blocks of concrete or twisted steel in a rescue attempt. Unfortunately, when the victim was reached, inevitably an orange plastic body bag would be passed down the line of workers into the pit of twisted rubble. The little broken body of a child would be lifted out and placed into a basket and sober rescue workers would respectfully carry it to the morgue truck where parents waited and prayed for news of their child. The same sad scene was repeated throughout the day and the next, as multiple children were located. Each time a body was brought up from beneath the rubble, a mother’s heart would soar with hope and then plunge into despair when her child was identified.

Further into the building and away from the demolished section of building, a rescue dog located a survivor, buried deep in the rubble. Attempts were underway to clear the area where the young woman was trapped beneath mounts of cement and rubble. There came a call from the temporary command station, announcing that everyone must evacuate the site because another incendiary device had been discovered. The rescuers explained to the victim they had to leave her but would return as soon as they were able. She begged them not to leave her alone. Sadly, they left her trapped beneath the rubble, not knowing if they would be able to return or if another blast would ultimately take her life.  Imagine her terror as the hours passed, realizing that rescue was near but at any moment, she could die. It was several hours before the bomb scare was declared a false alarm and the rescuers returned and successfully removed her from her cement and metal prison. Thankfully, the young woman survived.

Pieces of falling debris made the area unsafe and Dorian and her fellow teammates wore helmets while they crawled among the dangerous rubble directing their dogs back and forth.  Sam went repeatedly into areas felt to be unsafe for human rescuers. Each time he ventured into such an area, he put his life at risk for the sake of those people trapped below.

By the end of the day, Sam was coughing and sneezing from the dust and pollution in the air. Though Dorian wore a mask to cover her face and protective gear for her hands and feet, Sam worked all day breathing the foul air and walking on sharp shards of concrete rubble without the benefit of any protective gear.  In the afternoon, Sam was sent to a mobile SPCA van.  Volunteer veterinarian staff washed his eyes and ears and put healing lotion on his cracked and bleeding feet.

Though Dorian and Sam would have stayed longer, the directors of the rescue mission felt the physical and emotional drain was too much for a dog and handler to volunteer longer than a single day.  Many other volunteers and dogs from across the country came and took their place in the following days, repeating their rescue efforts until the rubble was cleared and the last body was removed.

Sam was a true unsung hero as he risked his life in an attempt to save others on one of America’s darkest days.

 

3
Jul 23

Edited Scene from Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey's Diary

This is an excerpt from the cozy mystery, Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey's Diary. While Kimberlee follows clues to a treasure in lost gold coins in Austria, Black Cat and Angel are home in Fern Lake when unexpected deviltry is afoot....

****

Black Cat reached the corner of the house and skidded to a stop. Who is that?

A woman wearing dark glasses and a large black hat crept through the front gate and pulled it closed behind her. She tip-toed down the sidewalk toward the house. Did she imagine she couldn’t be seen from the house? Black Cat lowered his ears. What is she up to? She’s up to no good, that’s for sure.

On the other side of the gate, the woman’s car motor rumbled, its driver side door hanging open.

Black Cat’s heart thudded. Perhaps the woman intended to steal something from the front porch. He crept forward. He would have to stop her. He could almost see the front-page headlines in tomorrow’s newspaper. Plucky Local Cat Foils Attempted Grand Larceny. Despite overwhelming odds, the plucky feline protected his master’s valuable rhododendron plant from the clutches of a 200 lb. female assailant determined to…so forth and so on… Perhaps even his picture and…

His gaze swept toward the Wisteria vines where Angel’s gold tail swished beneath the purple flowers. Angel! The portly woman sprinted up the sidewalk, leaned down, and yanked Angel out from under the bush.

Meow!

Clutching the struggling cat, Angel writhed and twisted. “Oh no, you don’t, my pet.” She turned and hurried back toward her street.

Black Cat raced across the lawn. Angel! He leaped at the woman’s arm, teeth bared. She jerked away. Having missed his target, he tumbled to the grass with a shriek. “Help! Help.”  

The woman waddled to her car, struggled to open the front gate with one hand while grappling with the thrashing cat. Once she got the door open, she flung Angel onto the passenger seat and flopped into the driver’s seat.

Not my Angel… Black Cat sprinted through the gate, leaped over the hood of the car, and scrambled around the car door.

Before she could slam the door shut, Black Cat leaped into the kidnapper's lap. She grabbed her purse and struck at his head, knocking him sideways. His head struck the dials on the radio and he fell to the floor, momentarily stunned.

Angel huddled on the front passenger seat, her nails clinging to the vinyl seat, frozen with fright, mewing pathetically, Black Cat! Black Cat!

The cat-napper hit the gas and the car plunged down the driveway, spewing gravel. She reached the street and gunned the engine. Her tires squealed, leaving patches of rubber as she roared past the lodge and headed for the outskirts of town...

To order this e-book from Amazon... www.https://tinyurl.com/vgyp89s

 

18
Jun 23

WWII FACTS About Mrs. Odboddy's Desperate Doings FACTS

Due to the need to feed and supply the troops during WWII, the federal government established a rationing system to conserve crucial food and supplies which required Katherine and Mrs. Odboddy to reimagine how to shop using a ration book and still cook delicious meals. The system wasn’t perfect. Whenever the government announced an item would soon be rationed, citizens stood in line in front in front of the market, with intentions of buying up as much as possible. Many folks planted a Victory garden to supplement  vegetables and fruit, and canned any overflow to use the following winter.

The rationing program involved giving a number of “points”, which came in the form of stamps printed inside a ration coupon book. These were distributed throughout the war to each person including the children.  Restricted items required a certain number of points, along with money.

Tires were rationed first, starting in January 1942, just weeks after Pearl Harbor.  Consumers could no longer buy new tires; and were required to patch or have the treads replaced on existing tires. Multiple tire issues were the result of poor quality tires and poor condition of the roads. Health care professionals, fire and police could purchase new tires, also buses, and certain delivery trucks, with specific approval.

Black market trading in everything from tires to meat plagued the nation, including the black market purchase of ration books. Rationing brought about increased black market activity because  certain foods were rationed, starting with sugar in May 1942. Coffee was restricted to one pound per adult every six weeks for a period of time, followed by meats, fats, canned fish, cheese, and canned milk.  Folks with extra ration coupons befitted by selling them on the black market. In  Mrs. Odboddy Hometown Patriot, Mrs. Odboddy recognized the issue of stolen ration books and set about to expose the criminals involved.

In the latest Mrs. O novel, Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings, we expanded on the issue of ration books, cooking with limited supplies and relying on Victory gardens to supplement fruits and vegetables. Cuts of meat were rationed, often leaving only the internal organs to include liver, heart, neck bones and ox tail available for purchase. Below is the original recipe for Oxtail Stew,

OXTAIL STEW

Dredge three large oxtails in flour and brown with an onion in butter or shortening. Add two tablespoons of bacon grease. Toss the floured meat into the frying pan with a diced onion and brown on all sides. To a large kettle, add two cups of canned beef broth, two cups of water and two cups of canned tomatoes. Add a bay leaf, a teaspoon of salt and a dash of pepper. When the meat and onion are nicely browned, add to the kettle liquid, turn down the burner to simmer, and cook for three hours. During the last hour, add half a cup of carrots, half a cup of chopped celery, a tablespoon of parsley and six potatoes from the Victory garden. Just before ready to eat, thicken the gravy with flour or corn starch.

The stew is delicious, hearty with vegetables and fairly inexpensive and can be cooked during the day, while pursuing other activities. Mrs. Odboddy would set an oxtail stew 'aboil, as she plotted how to expose the town's popular thieving doctor, after seeing him steal art work from the neighbor, or in an effort to find a home for their displaced carnival tiger, Shere Khan.

All these wonderful WWII mystery adventures are available at Amazon for $3.99 ebook.

28
May 23

A Caregiver For a Tiger - Desperate Doings

Following is an excerpt from Mrs. Odboddy's Desperate Doings. Agnes has received a call that Shere Khan's caregiver, has quit. Agnes has tried unsuccessfully to date to find a permanent home for the displaced carnival tiger. What to do? What to do?

****

Agnes hung up the phone and put her hand to her throbbing forehead. She was running out of money to feed Shere Khan and still hadn’t found the tiger a permanent home. Now, her caregiver had given notice. What able-bodied man in the county would be willing to clean the tiger’s cage and feed him? The dreaded option of destroying Shere Khan returned, as the city council recommended. Only after Mr. Higgenbottom allowed the tiger’s caravan to be parked at his farm, was the city councils’ edict temporarily lifted.

Was it time to ask the Almighty for another intervention? Feeling on pretty good terms to ask for another intercession, she knelt by the side of the bed, and bowed her head.

“Lord, it’s me, Agnes Agatha Odboddy. Yes, I know you must be pretty disappointed with me most days, but I do my best, Lord, really, I do. You won’t be surprised to hear that I’m in another jam. It’s not about me this time, Lord, it’s for Shere Khan. I know you’re busy with the war in the Pacific and all, so I’ll get straight to the point. I need a caregiver for the tiger right away, and I need a permanent home for–”

Bing… Bong… The doorbell? Agnes lifted her head, and then bowed it again. “Someone’s at the door, Lord, but I’ll be right back. I’d appreciate it, Lord, if You could ponder on a solution while I’m gone. Uh…Amen!”

Agnes flung open the front door. “Oh, my stars. You! What are you doing here?” She grabbed the visitor’s arm and pulled him inside. “Was it your idea to come or did God send you?”

He shrugged. “Well, I… I guess it was mine.”

In the past, due to her inability to keep her nose out of things that didn’t concern her, Agnes often found herself in a pickle. As a result, she would get on her knees and bargain with the Lord for deliverance. Thanks to the Almighty’s benevolence, her conundrum always reached a satisfactory solution. But, never in her history of misadventures had He answered her prayer before she even finished her request and got to the ‘Amen,’

There sat Charles, the young man from Albuquerque, who risked his life last summer to help her.

“Charles, how do you feel about working with animals, like chickens and cows, … or… other animals?”

“Oh, I love animals, and I’m looking for a job. That’s why I came. What did you have in mind?” His smile brightened.

“As it happens," Agnes said, "a friend needs a ranch hand. Um…how about cats? You okay with cats? I mean, really, really big cats…?”

*****

To purchase this Amazon e-book, go to: https://tinyurl.com/5xah4cnt  ($3.99) or contact me directly at Elaine.Faber@mindcandymysteries.com for a paperback copy. Mailed within USA for $15 - free shipping.

You can read all my books for FREE on Kindle Unlimited. See if that's right for you.

 

22
May 23

Thumper Stalks a Seagull - Black Cat's Legacy

Excerpt from Black Cat's Legacy    http://tinyurl.com/lrvevgm

(With the help of his ancestors' memories, Thumper has the thoughts and emotions of a human. Thumper adds plenty of humor to the plot, as he attempts to help his mistress solve mysteries and a cold case murder.)

****

Thumper stepped onto the sand, lifted a front foot, shook it, and placed it down again, picked up his left front foot, shook it and moved forward. How he hated sand between his toes, but it was a necessary evil if he wanted to walk on the beach and make nice with the tourists. Every so often between the step and shake, he would hop, and shake off any sand clinging between the toes on his back feet. Step, shake, step, hop, step, shake, hop. He traversed the short stretch of beach toward Amanda. Maybe she had a cookie in her pocket.

Kimberlee laughed until tears ran down her cheeks.

Huh! She wouldn’t think it’s so funny if sand was stuck between her toes.

Thumper took another step and stopped, his front foot in midair. Twenty feet away, a seagull swooped down and landed by a partially eaten piece of hotdog bun, half buried in the sand. Every hair on Thumper’s back stood on end. Prey!

As if in slow motion, the mighty hunter lowered his front foot. He squinched his eyes, flattened his ears and scrunched his rear into the sand. He rocked forward and back until he balanced on all four feet. Wheels whirred inside his cat brain.

Like the great and mighty Bastet, cat god of old Egypt, I am the avenging angel of death. His tail gently waved from side to side, like a serpent rising from a snake charmer’s basket, as he crunched his rear lower in the sand. He shifted his back legs from left to right, calculating wind, versus thrust, versus distance, versus velocity; X minus 3 to the velocity of 12 divided by pi-R- squared. (Perhaps the calculations are more difficult when you have six toes on each foot.) In a split second, he calculated the exact formula necessary to traverse the distance between him and the seagull. The song of his people continued in his head, as he entered a Zen-like state.

I am swift of foot. My aim is true. Prepare to die, villainous seagull. Your seconds on earth are numbered. Your thieving ways shall be your demise. I will crunch your bones and suck your marrow. My tongue cries out for the taste of dripping blood. Surely, the memories of my ancestors have prepared me for this decisive moment. Evil seagull, prepare to meet your doom.

With these last majestic thoughts, with a virtuous heart, a mighty spring and four feet spewing sand in all directions, he launched into his calculated flight path. His heart was brave, intentions noble. His aim was true as he shot across the sand.

Having spied the cat even before landing beside the hotdog bun, the seagull had apparently pre-programmed her own algebraic calibrations and was airborne a millisecond before Thumper’s ETA─a perfect WW where two webbed feet left their mark in the wet sand.

Thumper’s gaze followed the seagull across the expanse of sparkling blue water until she circled directly over his head. A blob of gray-white, toothpaste-like consistency splatted in the sand near his front foot.

Ha. You missed me.

The seagull disappeared behind a conspiratorial cloud. Thumper flicked his tail, sprang into the air, twisted and landed in his footprints and padded toward the cabins. The thing was really too skinny to bother with, anyway.

17
Apr 23

A Summary About my Published Novels

All e-book novels are $3.99 at Amazon

Black Cat's Legacy reveals a cat with his ancestors' memories.   When Kimberlee comes to the lake resort, she must solve her father's cold case murder and Thumper realizes his legacy to help her solve the crime. Introducing the characters, part of this series is written from the cat's POV.

Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer. Thumper goes with his family to Grandmother's Texas horse ranch where they encounter wild horses, an embezzling attorney, a foreman with a secret identity, a fake children's society, and a murder plot to do in Grandmother before she can change her will. Thumper meets his soul-mate. Together, they must prevent a murder.

Black Cat and the Accidental Angel. Thumper has lost his memory after an MVA, ends up on an emu ranch in No. CA with a female companion. “Call me Angel. I’m here to take care of your,” she says. They must help this new family resolve issues that put a child at risk. Back in Fern Lake, Kimberlee and family try to find their lost cats. Written about 75% from Thumper's POV, he faces very 'human issues' of love, loss, rejection, jealousy, failure as he regains his memory and learns there are more important things than knowing your own name. A more spiritual story… there MAY be an angel!

Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary.  While Black Cat and Angel face challenges in Fern Lake, Kimberly has found a diary with clues to a missing WWII fortune in gold coins. The clues take her to Austria where she races the clock against a stalker determined to find the gold first. 50% is told by Black Cat and 50% from Kimberlee’s POV.

All Things Cat

An anthology of 21 short stories all about cats, written by cats, and stories including a cat from every walk of life, time frame and social environment. Some excerpts from the previous published cat novels. (Amazon e-book $2.99)

Another Series set during WWII in No. California. Mrs. Odboddy adventures:

Mrs. Odboddy - Hometown Patriot. Elderly eccentric Agnes Agatha Odboddy has issues of distrust and suspicion as she fights the war from the home front, believing conspiracies and spies abound in her small town. Filled with hysterical scenes, it includes much of 'life' as lived by citizens during an era of rationing and deprivation during WWII. When Mrs. Roosevelt visits, Agnes's suspicions become reality and she must prove she is, indeed, a hometown warrior. (First place Fiction Award- NCPA 2017)

Mrs. Odboddy Undercover Courier.  Asked to hand carry a ‘package’ to President Roosevelt in Washington, Mrs. O is sure NAZI spies will join her cross country train from CA to Washington, D.C. A laugh on every page guaranteed as this eccentric elderly WWI retired spy faces challenges in every state across the USA. (Third Place Cover and Design Award - NCPA 2018)

Mrs. Odboddy And Then There was a Tiger.  As the tiger of war crosses the globe, Mrs. O is challenged by the woes of a displaced carnival tiger. Carelessly, she loses the War Bond money and must redeem her good name, find the money while defeating crime. Add a bit of elderly romance and you have the recipe for humor on every page. (Second Place Gen Fiction Award - NCPA 2019)

Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings

Agnes faces agonizing challenges, as she continues to seek a permanent home for the displaced tiger. To add to her dismay, she is convinced the beloved local doctor is heading an art theft ring and is determined to expose him. The onset of mysterious headaches, hallucinations and fainting spells places a toll on all of her efforts.

The Spirit Woman of Lockleer Mountain

While the small-town reels at the announcement of an unexplained government facility to be built in their community, a mysterious woman is sighted in the woods. Is she the woman who disappeared after a recent MVA, or is she the embodiment of a Native American Spirit Woman said to appear when the town is in trouble? Strange gifts left on Judy’s doorstep further complicate the situation.

28
Mar 23

Reviewing the Rules of Writing Good Dialogue

 

Readers love to read a novel full of dialogue. Often they have no idea that, as writers, we have rules we must follow to keep the dialogue interesting. Every sentence in a novel must move the story forward. This keeps reader's interest whether it is a fiction story, a devotional, or an article about keeping aphids off rose bushes.

Let’s pull back the curtain on an author as she creates her compelling story.

Don’t repeat the question or person’s name when giving an answer. Example:

George: "Lucy? Do you want to go to the movies with me?"

Lucy "Yes, George, I’d love to go to the movies with you." (Sounds like the utterances of a robot.)

Readers may not even notice when a skilled writer gives an oblique reply.

George: "Do you want to go to the movies with me?"

Lucy: "It depends. What’s playing and when did you have in mind? I have a very busy social life, you know. (Aha! We’ve moved the goalpost on the story. Lucy may have another suitor.)

We don’t use conversation to impart information. (Example)

George: “So? You’ll go with me if you aren’t too busy?”

Lucy: I have a date with Tom next Saturday night. You know, Tom–my mother’s second cousin’s nephew by marriage? He’s a troubled guy, votes Democrat, but he has a charming personality.”

We don't use meaningless chit-chat in dialogue. Every conversation should have a purpose, give a clue to something yet to come in the story, or suggest a potential conflict. Example:

George: "You’re going out with Tom? I thought he was in jail for murder."

Lucy: "He’s out now. He was falsely accused. Now he’s receiving death threats against him or anyone associated with him.”

George: “Really, Lucy?” George raises his eyebrow. “Is it wise to date a guy like that?”

Don’t use conversation to impart lengthy bits of back story. Example:

George: "You should be dating me, not Tom. Don’t you realize that I was the one who saved your mother from a burning building that she had purposely set that night when she was despondent over her divorce, and then she learned that she was my father’s long-lost twin sister, separated at birth by their evil stepmother?"

Lucy: Gasp! “I’ve been away at college way too long. Good grief. Does that make us cousins?”

George: “Maybe kissing-cousins. So is it a date?”

Lucy: "As long as they haven’t arrested me yet for killing my college roommate, who recently died under questionable circumstances when she was smothered in her sleep.”

Review: Each sentence delivers new information.

Give oblique answers to a question.

Don’t use the person’s name in your response.

Don’t use conversation to impart lengthy back story.

Don’t repeat the question just asked. The goal is to keep the reader turning pages!

Wow! Writing a book isn’t as easy as you thought, right? I had to keep all these things straight while writing a compelling event that hooks the reader on page one, an exciting middle, and a satisfying and thrilling conclusion. But, it was easy for Mrs. Odboddy to be the prime suspect in a burglary, involved with a counterfeit ring, lose the war bond money, meet a tiger and still win at the end. Mrs. Odboddy – And Then There was a Tiger will keep the reader turning pages and looking backward to the previous Mrs. O books, or forward to Mrs. Odboddy's Desperate Doings. Join Mrs. Odboddy on this rollicking adventure as she tackles adversity in this hysterical romp at the Newbury Harvest Fair, even as she fights the war from the home front during WWII.

9
Feb 23

Excerpt - PowWow Dance from Spirit Woman Novel

This is an excerpt from my fictional novel, The Spirit Woman of Lockleer Mountain, available at. Amazon... ebook is $3.99. Enjoy an edited dance scene from Lou's visit to a Native American Pow Wow. 

Lou filled a thermos with coffee and grabbed her camera. If she’d judged her time correctly, she’d get to the Native American reservation in time to see the first Pow Wow dance.

Lou backed down the driveway, headed toward the reservation. Even with November’s chill, the warm sun melted the night’s dew 0ff shrubs and trees causing a mist to rise, almost as if it was raining upside down.

A chipmunk skittered across the road. She waved as she passed several cars. Everyone who lived on the mountain exchanged friendly waves and greetings.

Lou heard the thrum of drums and people cheering as she neared the reservation’s recreation hall. She followed the noise to where the visitors were seated in a circle and found a seat near the front.

Several dancers entered the makeshift arena wearing brightly colored circular-feathered headdresses. One of the men wore yellow face paint. His shirt was decorated with designs in brightly colored bead work. Bells on his ankles jangled as he gyrated and spun to the drumbeat, and his robes swirled behind his body. His boots were made of animal fur with tassels that twirled as he twisted.

One man left the circle and a woman entered. As she danced, she moved forward and then back from the yellow-faced dancer. Embroidered and beaded designs depicting spiritual beings covered her vivid red shawl and fringed skirt. Her hair was plaited with a headband decorated with a beadwork design. The couple moved closer together, but never touched. Each dancer spun faster as the drum beat quickened, their ankle bells keeping time to the rhythm.

As the dance quickened, Lou felt the sexual tension well up in her body. At last, the woman approached her partner, whipped off her shawl and held it at arm’s length. The man grabbed the shawl and flung it around her shoulders, pulling her close to his body, as if in an embrace. The drum beat stopped.

I now pronounce you man and wife? Was that the meaning of the dance? Lou turned at a touch on her sleeve. Emmy stood behind her, smiling. “It was beautiful. I could feel the intensity of it. Was it a marriage dance?”

“Yes. A ritual dance from long ago,” Emmy said. “When a young woman was ready to marry and selected a mate, as they danced, she offered him her shawl, signifying her interest in marriage. If he agreed, he wrapped it around her body and pulled them together. This dance is only symbolic, commemorating customs from our ancestors’ days.”

“It reminds me of a Bible story.” Lou said. “A young widow named Ruth went to the winnowing harvest and caught Boaz’s eye. Ruth’s mother-in-law sent her to a winnowing festival. That night, Ruth crept in and lay at Boaz’s feet, a sign she was willing to be his wife. Come morning, finding her there, he came to an understanding with another kinsman who had first right of refusal for Ruth’s hand. Never underestimate the power of a woman when she sets her sights on a mate.”

31
Jan 23

Launching a Self-Published Fiction Novel

I just finished the last chapter of my latest Mrs. Odboddy mystery/adventure, Mrs. Odboddy and the Conniving Candidate. In this novel, Agnes Odboddy is running for a seat on the Newbury City Council, vacated by the removal of a previous member, described in Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings.

The open city council seat attracts the attention of Horace Faggenbacher, owner of the Flying Red Horse gas station, a character the readers met in previous novels. Who knew that he was such a conniving, despicable person that would engage in under-handed tactics? In addition, Katherine’s old boyfriend, determined to win her back, returns with questionable tactics to rival those of Faggenbacher’s.

So what must be done before Mrs. Odboddy and the Conniving Candidate is published? At the moment, I’m involved in a deep editing process intended to catch typos, punctuation issues, story line snags, expanding certain scenes, and generally looking for anything that needs changes.

My mentor is currently reviewing the manuscript with suggestions or needed corrections. The manuscript will then go to 3-4 beta readers looking for plot issues, punctuation, or point out any suggestion they feel needs addressing.

Other types of editors are often hired at this point who make changes and offer suggestions.

As a self-published author, the necessary steps toward publication all become my responsibility. I’ll envision a general cover concept and as I prefer photographs, I'll search Shutterstock, Fotolia and other online photo sites for one or two photos to be added to Mrs. Odboddy’s image. Once I’ve selected and purchased the rights to the images, they are sent to my mentor/editor/cover design genius who plays around with the photos until I’m satisfied with a finished cover design.

Acknowledgments, back cover blurb, character description, and dedications are assembled. The manuscript is sent to my genius who puts it in the correct format for publication. She returns a printed copy to me for a final edit where I often have her make 40-50 corrections or changes before it is sent to my publisher who uploads everything to Lightening Source. They return a Final printed version for my approval and a chance to correct any printing errors. Upon approval, the paperback books are printed and delivered to my publisher. I pick up my books and they are now available for in-person sales or for interested bookstores or libraries to purchase.

A correctly formatted e-book version is sent to Amazon where, if the moon and stars are in the correct alignment, they upload it correctly so folks can purchase the e-book novel from Amazon. (My Amazon experiences with my last two novels were less than encouraging.)

So, there is no wonder that a paperback novel costs $12-16. After many thousands of hours writing the novel, you now know what a self-published author must do to complete the process and provide you with a wonderful reading experience. I hope you'll enjoy all my books and look forward to presenting this latest novel, perhaps next year.