Fur & Cuteness!

Think I mentioned a few weeks ago that as of Valentine’s Day, the Harmans would be the owners of a boxer puppy. And so we are!

A few pounds of utter adorability that loves to wake me up at 3:00 a.m. to go outside, love my shoes, and scarves  – particularly if they dangle from the rack where I store them! Don’t forget flowers, leaves, and anything that moves or catches her attention.

The main question I have is what do you people in cold country do with a puppy when it’s cold, snowy and icy? I can’t imagine trying to train a puppy under those circumstances. I’m challenged to take her outside a couple of times a night and living in Southern California near the ocean, we’re in a very temperate zone.

We named her Kelly, after the success of the Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery Series and the main character, Kelly. My grandson says I should be thinking about a series called “The Kelly Chronicles.” We’ll see. Right now he’s intent on teaching Kelly how to shake. I don’t have the heart to tell him that all boxers raise their paws, like a “boxer.” It’s one of the hallmarks of the breed. so with no further ado, I introduce you to Kelly:

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What Author Wouldn’t Love A Review Like This?

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I don’t share many reviews, but this is an exception. Thrilled with this one from Michele Bodenheimer. I encourage you to go to her website for other reviews as well. Thanks, Michele! Here’s the link: http://www.mikishope.com/2015/02/book-review-marriage-murder-cedar-bay.html

“I definitely think anyone who loves cozy mysteries with a bit of clean romance, dogs and really tasty sounding food should read this series! Actually I can’t see anyone not loving this series. And yes, I think it would be good for younger readers as well. But as always-parents read it yourself before handing it over! I may be attempting one or two of those recipes at the end of this book myself!

Kelly is still crossing her fingers behind her back and finding the clues her new husband needs to solve murders (he is the Sheriff which he keeps having to remind her!). Of course it is the dogs who ultimately keep everyone safe–and I laughed out loud at the last sentence in this book!”

“Rebel and Lady looked at one another, rolled over, and went back to sleep.”

You Don’t Want to Miss “IF ONLY”!

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I’ve had the pleasure of reading several books by this superb author. I was so taken with her latest book, If Only, that I asked her to write a guest blog for me. It’s rare that I think about the characters of a book after I’ve finished it, but this one has definitely stayed with me. Ms. Budden’s characters come to life. You really want to know what’s going to happen to them. I’m very much looking forward to the next one in what I assume will be a series. I think everyone who reads this excellent book will feel the same way.
And don’t you love the cover? I can’t recommend it highly enough!
E-book price: $2.99
Purchase links:
Author links: Too many to list them all but Facebook, Twitter & website addresses are below.
Twitter:    @NormaBudden     https://twitter.com/NormaBudden
Blurb/synopsis:
While still in high school, Demi gave birth to a baby girl and, feeling she had no other options, put her up for adoption. Having moved on with her life – gotten married and having had two other children – 16 years later, Demi Glenn suddenly cannot get her firstborn daughter out of her mind.After hiring two private detectives but getting no solid information to go on, Demi turns to the one man who will not come back empty-handed, who will not give up until he finds the answers – David Alexander, a married father of two daughters – the father of the baby she had given up so long ago who had no idea he had sired a child as a teen.

Together, will they be able to find their daughter without their families being torn apart or will fate intervene, upsetting their lives in a way they’d never dreamed in the pursuit of finding the daughter they can no longer live without?

EXCERPT: Prologue (if desired)
 

Renee Jacobs enjoyed spending time on either Canadian coast but there was something about British Columbia, particularly Vancouver Island, which drew her attention most of all.

It could’ve been the Rocky Mountains or the opportunity to watch orcas from the shore or even the Inner Harbor at Victoria. Whatever the case, when given the choice to pick where her family would vacation during spring, she often picked the Pacific coast of Canada.

This year was different, though. Renee would be turning 16 in June and, for reasons she couldn’t explain, she found herself longing for something more.

In the semi-darkness, she made her way to the isolated sandy beach not far from the hotel where her family was staying. She stood, staring into the darkness, letting her thoughts roam.

They never did give me the brother or sister I asked for; I didn’t ask for lots of them – just asked for one – but they settled for just having me.

Being an only kid isn’t so bad sometimes but, other times – when my parents argue or when they both go away for work at the same time – I just wish I had company. It’s a lot better than before we moved to Winnipeg because I have Kevin, but he’s not with me every day.

I wish I belonged at home. I know my parents love me but why don’t I have any common ground with them? I don’t look like either of them and our interests are different, too. Dad prefers to read documentaries and my mother doesn’t even care to read. Dad likes to hunt and fish in his spare time but Mom knits and sews. I have no interest in those things.

I enjoy reading mysteries, working with numbers, solving problems, trying to figure things out but, though they are patient with me, I can tell they don’t understand my passion. We go back home again tomorrow. I won’t have the distraction of a holiday to keep my mind entertained.

As the night grew darker, Renee lowered herself to the sand, legs outstretched. Arms spread to either side – palms pressed slightly beneath the surface – she turned her head in the direction of the ocean she, now, could not see.

Staring into the blackness the ocean had become, she listened to the sound of the surf. Digging her toes into the sand, she wiggled them freely, embracing the cool smoothness of the grains beneath her feet.

A wave crashed against the shoreline as thunder rolled, as lightning split the darkened sky. As the water receded and she felt the sand disappear from beneath her feet, she was unafraid.

Tears flowing from her eyes, she wiggled her toes in the sand again but, this time, she pulled at the sand with her left hand and hurled a handful into the air.

Two words were all she whispered: “If only…”

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Marriage and Murder is Here!

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My latest book in the popular Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery Series, Marriage and Murder, is now available in Amazon Kindle, free on Kindle Unlimited, and will be available in paperback within a couple of days. Here’s a synopsis of it:

After a long courtship, Kelly, the owner of Kelly’s Koffee Shop, and Mike, the county sheriff, finally get married. Their honeymoon is cut short when Jesse, the owner of the local wine store called ‘The Crush’ gets murdered. Why would anyone want to murder Jesse, a likeable and legendary wine expert?

There are a number of suspects including his ex-wife, an alcoholic who hates liquor stores, a Mafia hit man, a wealthy French woman, two winemaking brothers, and even his sister. But who did it? Join Kelly, Mike, and their dogs, Rebel and Lady, as they seek to find the killer. Along the way, you’ll find lots of good food and mouth-watering recipes.
Here’s the link for Amazon:  http://ow.ly/JpkAZ  Enjoy!!!

My Books & I Are Amazon KDP Select All-Stars!

Had the loveliest email yesterday from  Amazon KDP informing me that I’m one of the top 30 best selling authors in KDP. Kelly’s Koffee Shop is one of the top 30 best selling books in KDP, and the second in the Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery Series, Murder at Jade Cove, is in the top 100 best selling books on KDP! Excited – oh yeah! Doing the Happy Dance!

If you’ve read them, thank you so much for helping me get there, and if you haven’t read them, you might want to try them. Obviously, a lot of people like them! Whoopppeeee!

Kelly’s Koffee Shop link: http://ow.ly/GWnSb

Murder at Jade Cove link: http://ow.ly/GWowV

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What A Great Way To Wake Up!

Wow! I woke up this morning to find Michele Bodenheimer’s review of White Cloud Retreat. Color me happy! Had to share it!

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“I am loving this series and I sincerely hope it continues on and quickly. I get a kick out of Kelly–she is forever crossing her fingers so the promises she makes don’t have to be kept. Of course the Sheriff who is her fiancee is on to her as is half the town! But that doesn’t stop her–anymore then cooking up some delicious eats at her Coffee Shop. Some of those recipes are at the back of the book once again! I love the interaction between the two dogs (who are probably smarter then their humans and three times more protective thank heavens). And it takes a lot of sleuthing to figure out who killed the Zen Master! White Cloud Retreat (Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery

The Amazing & Oh So Talented Uvi Poznansky!

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I was recently introduced to the writing of Uvi Poznansky, the author of Apart From Love, The David Chronicles, Home, and other books. I asked if she would be a guest on my blog and she graciously agreed. Her writing is fabulous! I invite you to get to know her:

Uvi Poznansky is a California-based author, poet and artist. “I paint with my pen,” she says, “and write with my paintbrush.” She received a Fellowship grant and a Teaching Assistantship from the Architecture department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she earned her M.A. in Architecture.

Then, taking a sharp turn in her education, she earned her M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan. Uvi writes across a variety of genres: literary fiction, historical fiction, poetry, and children’s books.

Tell us about Anita, the girl in the midst of a firestorm of passion in your book, Apart From Love. (Have to love these covers, and she designs them herself!)

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At first I decided to model her as the-opposite-of-me. her use of language would be atrocious. She talks in sentences laden with ‘like’ and the dreaded double-negatives. Anita would become a bold and spontaneous spirit, anything but repressed. She would be promiscuous. Her voice would be shockingly direct.

“In my defense I have this to say: When men notice me, when the lusty glint appears in their eyes, which betrays how, in their heads, they’re stripping me naked—it’s me they accuse of being indecent.Problem is, men notice me all the time. How can a girl like me ever claim to be innocent? Even if I haven’t done nothing wrong, I’m already soiled, simply because of their dirty thoughts.”I do not even know how it happened, but once Anita started talking in my mind—which she did for nearly a year—I started to like her more and more. I asked myself, how would she play against Ben, who is a complex character, hesitant, highly sophisticated? How would she play against Lenny, a would-be author who is so proud of his refined expressions, when her background is so different from his? How would she measure up against his ex-wife, Natasha, the renowned pianist suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s?

This last question is particularly interesting, because Natasha’s character is not an easy one to develop. The primary problem is that she has no voice. She is utterly silent, which makes her son hope—at first—that she can be reached, that he can ‘save’ her.

Please give us an excerpt:

“The minute our eyes met, I knew what to do: so I stopped in the middle of what I was doing, which was dusting off the glass shield over the ice cream buckets, and stacking up waffle cones here and sugar cones there. From the counter I grabbed a bunch of paper tissues, and bent all the way down, like, to pick something from the floor. Then with a swift, discrete shove, I stuffed the tissues into one side of my bra, then the other, ‘cause I truly believe in having them two scoops—if you know what I mean—roundly and firmly in place.

Having a small chest is no good: men seem to like girls with boobs that bulge out. It seems to make an awful lot of difference, especially at first sight, which you can always tell by them customers, drooling.I straightened up real fast, and it didn’t take no time for him to come in. I was still serving another customer, some obnoxious woman with, like, three chins. She couldn’t make up her mind if she wanted hot fudge on top or just candy sprinkles, and what kind, what flavor would you say goes well with pistachio nut, and how about them slivered almonds, because they do seem to be such a healthy choice, now really, don’t they.

He came in and stood in line, real patient, right behind her. So now I noted his eye which was brown, and his high forehead and the crease, the faint crease right there, in the middle of it, which reminded me all of a sudden of my pa, who left us for good when I was only five, and I never saw him again—but still, from time to time, I think about him and I miss him so.

I could feel Lenny—whose name I didn’t know yet—like, staring at me. It made me hot all over. For a minute there, I could swear he was gonna to ask me how old I was—but he didn’t.”

What is your next writing project?

I have just taken part in a new and exciting project, a boxed set of ten novels by ten gifted authors. It is called At odds with Destiny. Looking forward, two ideas that inspire me: family secrets that must be explored before the path to healing can be found, and the mystery of the mind at the point you are beginning to lose control over it.

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My next project will interpose these ideas. I will focus on the mother, Natasha, from Apart From Love (which will become vol I of a new series, Forget-Me-Not.) Her silence will be replaced with her memories even mind deteriorates. It takes years until she is finally diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer. She will carry the story in my next novel, A Woman, Forgotten, which will offer a new angle to the life of this unique family.

Here’s the cover of her poetry book, Home, which is perma-free. You don’t want to miss this one! And again, another beautiful cover.

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Author Links:
Buy links for Apart From Love:
EbookKindle  Nook  Apple  Kobo  Smashwords
PaperbackAmazon  Barnes&Noble
AudiobookiTunes  Amazon  Audible
Buy links for Home:
FREE Ebook: Kindle ★ Nook ★ Apple ★ Kobo ★ Smashwords 
Audiobook: Amazon ★ Audible
Paperback: Amazon ★ Barnes&Noble

It’s Coming on February 20th! – Marriage & Murder

I am so excited to share the cover for my forthcoming book, Marriage & Murder, which will be available February 20th!  Drum roll please! Here it is:

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I think my cover designer did an incredible job on the fourth book in the Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery series. It definitely depicts a small town atmosphere. In Marriage & Murder Kelly and Mike get married, only to have their one day honeymoon cut short by the murder of their friend, the owner of The Crush, the local wine shop in Cedar Bay. Why would anyone want to murder Jesse? His knowledge of wine was legendary in the region!

There are a number of suspects, but who did it? Well, you’ll have to read it to find out! As always, Kelly and Mike are willingly helped by Rebel and Lady, the boxer and the yellow lab, who have figured prominently in the other books of the series. As always, lots of good food and mouth-watering recipes. Enjoy!

 

Brilliant New Release – Ed’s Journal

I asked my friend, Dab10, if he would write a guest post for his wonderful new book, Ed’s Journal, which I had the honor of reading several times. He is a superb author and I highly recommend it! Here’s what he wrote. Enjoy the book!

Hello and welcome to my release day of

ED’S JOURNAL

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GUEST BLOG

First, I need to thank Dianne Harman for the use of her blog today.

 

Next, I think a snip of the book

 

Here I sit, debating whether to come clean or hold my tongue. You see I was a kid then, and I didn’t know any better. But it has been ten years and the truth, well, someone should know. The best I can do is write it out in this journal and see how I feel.

It started when I was fifteen; I was a geek, bad complexion, and good grades. I was raised by my grandparents after mom and dad divorced. Dad disappeared and mom, I guess you could say, died of a broken heart. She just stopped taking care of herself and got pneumonia and died when I was twelve.

So three years later I was living at the grandparent’s house when Cousin Mary moved in. Now to be specific she was not my cousin she was from my aunt’s husband’s first marriage but raised from an infant by my aunt. She was going to the nearby college and would stay with us while she went there. I was tall, about 5’11” and skinny with just a bit of muscle, enough that I wasn’t picked on by the bullies anymore, but far from being any sort of Adonis. Now my cousin was 4’11” – she said 5’ – with a cute pixie face and cute pixie body with curves. Brown hair shoulder length with lighter streaks and brown eyes that were so soft and understanding they made me share more of myself when talking to her.

I was, am, and always will be, a computer geek. She was going to study computer science. We got along great. The one problem we had was she would go partying on the weekends and come home drunk, leaving me to cover for her. The grandparents went to bed by 8:00 pm., so it wasn’t a problem when she left, but when she got home…

now you know the how’s you can get your own copy here.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SC0CM8S

Next rather then get in to how I wrote it I though I would go in to making the physical book. I was going to see about making my cover looking like a journal but someone suggested I look at       pre-made covers online. I swear I looked through a thousand but I found this one and after you read it there is a scene in the book that it could have been made for.

The artist work can be found at SelfPubBookcovers.com/fantasyart

now I made the back cover myself  (I still run on a shoe string budget)

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this is the base picture I used

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I almost went with this one

The print book is done through creatspace and after going back and forth I had gotten the e-book formatted the way I wanted.

After you send in the word file (to know how big the spine will be) they will send you a template and you just need to fit your pictures in.

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I had lots of people help with editing because I am still the same author that works to over come a learning disability.

http://dianneharman.com/blog/a-brilliant-writer-overcomes-a-disability/

I thank you all for reading and your support

Dab10

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One Star Reviews & The Dreaded Trolls

KKSfront   

 I was recently asked to submit my thoughts on one star reviews for a book a fellow author was writing. Here they are. Obviously I have conflicting thoughts on the subject!

      According to the dictionary app I use, one of the definitions of a troll is a person who lives or sleeps in a park or under a viaduct or bridge, such as a bag lady or a derelict.

          Those of you who are writers are probably more familiar with the term in conjunction to people who write scurrilous reviews of the book that you consider akin to your firstborn. How dare they? Sounds like they didn’t even read the book! Or they’ve spoiled the book for other readers – they just told how the book ends in their review! And so it goes. If you’re a writer, you’re probably you’re comparing the reviewer to someone who lives under a bridge!

          I would venture to bet that every author’s stomach clenches when they see that another one star review has been posted on a site like Amazon. Mine still does. When I received my first one star review I was utterly devastated. How dare this person write that? And whatever happened to what my mother taught me? If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. So much for that adage! Obviously some people are unfamiliar with the term “play nice.” I think a number of them are thrilled that they get to bask in seeing their name in print. To paraphrase Truman Capote, “Everyone should have his or her fifteen minutes of fame.” And it might be more than fifteen minutes if the post isn’t removed for one reason or another. These are the one star reviews I I’m sure are written by trolls, and when I see one now, that’s pretty much my first thought.

          That’s in complete opposition to the people who didn’t like something about the book and these are the reviews I can learn from. It’s incumbent upon an author to be able to distinguish between a mean-spirited one star review and a review that helps to make us better writers. Those are the ones I pay attention to. I know in a minute if the review falls into the former or latter category, and if it is in the latter category, I better pay attention. That reviewer took the time to alert me to something, so I can certainly take the time to see if the remarks are valid. Those are the reviews that have helped me become a better writer. Reviewers have pointed things out to me that were missed by my editor, my copyeditor, and me in numerous readings. Yes, I did have a tendency to use the other person’s name too many times in dialogue. Yes, I shouldn’t have brought in a new character in a mystery at the end of the book. Yes, mistakes were made with independent clauses and commas – all of which ultimately helped me in my writing.

          What doesn’t help me is when a reviewer gives me a bad review because he or she doesn’t like the genre. I want to scream, “Well, why in the devil did you buy it? It’s not my fault you don’t like the genre.”  Then there’s the person who signs up for a giveaway. They win it, I send them an autographed copy of the book and then they write a one star review. Huh? Wouldn’t it be a kinder thing to just write nothing? But I digress!!!

          As you can see from the above, I have mixed feelings about one star reviews. Some are valid, some are not. I’ve never written a one star review. I figure the author knows if the book is good or not by whether it sells. They don’t need me to tell them that it’s not that great, and anyway, it’s just my opinion (I’m making the assumption that the book is not full of spelling and other mistakes – those one stars are merited). If I do read one with a lot of errors in it, I will personally contact the author and suggest they might make use of a copyeditor. If they’re using one, time to find a new one!

          I’ll wrap this up with the one thing I can’t understand. I presently have a book, Kelly’s Koffee Shop, http://ow.ly/IiuPV , that has been number one in three categories in Amazon and is selling hundreds of copies a day, yet that book has the lowest ranking of all of my books and the most one star reviews. I’m led to wonder if people want to read something that in a number of people’s opinion, is not perfect, or if the book is a good read, and a lot of these bad reviews were, in fact, written by trolls. I would think it was an isolated case except that one of my other books that has a number of one star reviews does much better than the other ones in that series who have far higher rankings and fewer, if any, one star reviews. I’ll conclude this by simply saying the whole subject is incomprehensible to me!

         

Award Winning Author in the Mystery & Suspense genre