January = resolutions

It’s January and the start of a brand spanking new year. I’ve searched Roku for free fitness channels and loaded them up. I’ve packed my refrigerator with tons of leafy greens with the focused goal of not letting any of them go to waste. I have a couple of large garbage bags full of clothes and shoes I didn’t wear in the last 365 days, and I’ve tossed out all the old shampoos, conditioners, lotions, makeup and beautifying products I acquired over the last year thinking they would somehow improve my life.

I spent money on all that crap and now I’m getting rid of it. As regretful as I may be for having purchased things I shouldn’t have, it feels good to start a new year with a lighter load.

Just as we all make resolutions at the beginning of a new year, writer’s set goals for the words they will produce and this year, mine are a bit ambitious.

For the last couple of years, I’ve been working on the second book in my Desert Goddess Series. The Bonding Spell, released in 2015, was one of the most enjoyable books I’d ever written. Staff Sergeant Hester Trueblood picks up a shiny, gold coin while on duty in Iraq and her life is forever changed. As the new embodiment of the Mesopotamian goddess Inanna, Hester returns to her home in Minneapolis, and tries to come to terms with her changed circumstances and the bitchy goddess voice in her head.

It’s a wild, Jim Butcher-style, urban fantasy romp that is funny, sexy and filled with mystery. I couldn’t wait to dig into the sequel, but had no idea when I started it, just how much more story there was to tell. “The Bonding Blade” has opened my eyes to more of Hester and Inanna’s world, the warriors dedicated to fighting and sacrificing for them, and the demi-god, Gilgamesh who is devoted, by destiny, to love them, no matter what they do.


It’s a wild, Jim Butcher-style, urban fantasy romp that is funny, sexy and filled with mystery.

As the New Year begins, my greatest goal is to publish “The Bonding Blade” with as much perfection as I can bring to it. I’m aiming for a late June or early July publication date.

While “The Bonding Blade” is going through final edits, reviews and promotions, I’ll be rewriting a couple of stories that were originally published in Amazon Kindle Worlds. Kindle Worlds have gone away, so the rights to these novellas have returned to me and I’m going to make full use of them.

In the first novella, Archimedes Ford is an FBI agent who has slogged through life carrying a heavy secret. His latest case brings him face to face with someone who will make it impossible for him to keep hiding any longer. Major Corey Turner spent his entire career with secrets too, until the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy finally ended. Archie Ford has difficulty concentrating on solving his complicated case, but he soon learns he’s not just saving the life of a young girl, but also saving his own.

“Archimedes and The Soldier,” is the first of two Archimedes Ford novellas which will both become spinoffs of The Master Sergeant Harper three-book mystery series already in existence.

And if that’s not enough, I plan to at least outline a forth book in the Master Sergeant Harper series. All I know is that Harper will be going to the Sergeant Major’s academy in El Paso, Texas. It’s a huge leap in her career and one she’s been aiming for, ever since she put on an Army uniform. But the academy is a tough school. Not everyone passes and British Sergeant Major Harry Fogg isn’t making it any easier for her.

They say, if you make New Year’s resolutions you should write them down or tell others so you have some tangible proof of your goals and a need to hold yourself accountable. Well, I’ve done it now. I’ll check back this time next year to see how close I am to meeting them.

Win a copy of The Bonding Spell, either by commenting here or on social media. One winner will be selected by random draw.

I keep saying yes

I once heard someone say, “My dance card is full.” I understood what they really meant was that they were overbooked, had too much to do, maybe had said yes one too many times.

There was a time when I lived by the creed that you could never have too many invitations to dance. If too many people asked, just bring ‘em ALL out on the dance floor! In my younger years, when I wore shiny silver platform shoes and dance shorts under my dresses for those times when I was flung over someone’s head, a good disco evening was when most of it was spent under the glitter ball, leaving your sweat on the multicolored floor of flashing lights. Continue reading

Two big things

First, a whole bunch of the Lei Crime Kindle World authors got together for a Valentine’s Day Facebook hop. Some lucky person is going to win a $170.00 Amazon gift card. You don’t want to miss this contest.

The sweet part, aside from thlei-crime-valentinese fat gift card, is that each Facebook post features a unique Hawaiian recipe –Get it? The sweet part? Since most of the Lei Crime stories take place in Hawaii, the recipes get you closer to the world. I want to try them all. Hawaiian king bread, Kalua pork and cabbage, Hawaiian pineapple Cake… So many yummy and fairly easy ideas to bring to the table.

All you have to do is visit some Facebook pages, leave comments and move onto the next one. Lots of us are playing. You can start on my page (www.facebook.com/mldoyleauthor) and go get familiar with other authors who write in the Lei Crime world. It’s a talented bunch who write mystery, romance, fantasy and much more.

The second big thing is the Association of Writer’s and Writing Programs (AWP) is this weekend. I’m so excited to be going back again this  year. I will be on a panel alongside some amazing veteran writers. I went to AWP for the first time last year and the experience had a lasting impact. I wrote about it when I got home and now I can’t wait to see some of the friends I made. Here’s a description of the panel I will be on. It would be great fun to see you there!

Friday, February 10, 2017

9:00 am to 10:15 am

Marquis Salon 6, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two

F110. The Middle Americans: How Flyover Country Responds to War. (, , , , ) By various measures, rural Americans are more likely to enlist in the US armed forces. Despite isolation from traditional centers of publishing and military power, voices with Midwestern roots have sprung forth like dragon’s teeth to deliver clear-eyed, plainspoken views of war, service, and sacrifice. The civilians and veterans of this stereotype-busting panel of published writers offer their insights regarding themes, trends, and markets in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

 

Author in the library with a pen

Author in the library (1)In the fiction I write there are usually a few bodies left in the wake of my imagination. I sometimes kill people off to immediately launch into the story. Sometimes a death is used as a brief diversion or a means to neatly wrap up a climax. In using death this way, I’m not alone.

Like a game of Clue, authors design wildly different places and methods for our carnage. Beaten and strangled in a desperate fight on an Army base in Bosnia. Buried in cement in the jungles of Honduras. Drowning at sea off the coast of an Hawaiian island. Riddled with bullets in a wild gun battle. Slashed and beaten and covered in purple ogre blood beneath the streets of a city.

We’re a murderous bunch, we writers. We kill off whole societies with a deadly contagion. We track down a victim who perfectly matches a serial killer’s pattern. We choose just the right moment, during laughter and commotion, to end the most likable guy in the happy band of soldiers we’ve conjured up, making him the unlucky one to step on the trigger to the antipersonnel mine skillfully hidden in their path.

Should I be worried that we’re littering the ground with bodies purely for entertainment? Continue reading

Hidden Designs – Cover reveal!

Hidden Designs cvr finalCreating characters is like making new friends. You get to know them by spending days, weeks and months together. Eventually, you have to say farewell for a time, but you never forget them. When you get back together, it’s like you were never apart and you quickly become reacquainted.  You learn what things have been happening in their lives since you last spoke. You’re happy for their successes and sad for their losses.

When I wrote Hidden Poppies in the Lei Crime Kindle World series, the character I chose to use from Toby Neal’s stable was Ken Yamada, an FBI Special Agent.  I put Ken on a case where he ran into Major Charles Mathews, an Army officer Ken met ten years before. They’d been lovers briefly, but because of their careers and their hidden sexuality, they knew a relationship was impossible for them at the time. Continue reading

Bloody pages

Blood_SpatterYou know that hopeful feeling you get when your pages come back from an editor, but then you open it up and all you see is red? It feels like a jab to the guts when you realize it looks as if someone killed a chicken and sprayed their sacrificial blood all over your pages. And then you understand it’s not blood. Those are edits. Hundreds and hundreds of the bloody things and you feel as if it’s not a chicken’s blood, but your own ripped out insides someone has danced on and smeared all over your work. Continue reading

Gifts all year long

Valentines dayWhen I look back on 2015, I have to say, the best books I’ve read in the last twelve months have been the ones I read for free, before anyone else got to see them. Whether for a review or to beta read, I can’t help but see the opportunity to read these manuscripts and to help the authors in some way, as gifts, and feel lucky as hell to have been entrusted with the work of such talented people.

Grateful for authors like, DJ Molles, who gave me his latest book, Wolves to provide an early review. It’s an amazing story that will be delayed for publication because a smart publisher decided to pick it up.  Trust me. It will be well worth the wait. Continue reading

The Bonding Spell is almost ready

CoverFinal-TheBondingSpellLike children, every book gets the loving care and attention they require, but try as you might, sometimes you can’t help but have favorites. Maybe it’s because some are easier to deliver than others, or maybe, with each birth, your latest becomes the favorite.

Whatever. I’ve never had children so I have no idea what I’m talking about!

What I can say is, I love The Bonding Spell.

I love all of my other books, but this one … well, there’s something about it that makes me feel some extra pride. I love the world, I love the characters and I love the potential for this series. There are so many places this storyline could go I’m having a hard time deciding where to take it next. I’m sure wherever it goes will be just as interesting as this first one. Continue reading

Every book, every emotion

NH Cabin rewritesEvery book I’ve written has had its own set of ups and downs. The initial idea, the first attempt at getting it on paper, the hair-pulling brain obstructions that seem to stretch to infinity, the first reaction from readers, the close editing and rewrites and the horrifying look of cover designs that eventually turn into something that will reflect the pages inside. At some point you smack an ISBN and other book matter on it and after checking off a bazillion more items off the task list (like a marketing plan, mustn’t forget a marketing plan) you hold your breath, cross your fingers and hit publish. At each stage, you can’t help but feel a jumble of emotions that tumble like balls in a bingo drum. Continue reading

Lucas Kana – Princess Eyes

PrincessLucas Kana hoped to be part of the first group of Lei Crime KW authors who launched their books last April. Unfortunately, Lucas couldn’t make the deadline so his book had to be put on hold for release. Seems he thought getting married was more important than finishing his novella on time. You gotta love a guy who has his priorities straight!

The good news about the missed deadline is, now that he’s released his story, he’s done it in two parts, Princess Eyes I and Princess Eyes II, giving us lots of material to sink into. Somehow he found some time between getting the book done, getting married and going on a whirlwind honeymoon to far flung reaches of the world, to answer a few questions about the Lei Crime experience.

Here is the blub for his Lei Crime novella Princess Eyes I:

Geeky Honolulu Lieutenant, Michael Stevens, teams up to investigate a series of homicides with Jenna Brooke, a streetwise psychologist for the FBI, which leads to the mysterious disappearance of a local beauty queen known as ‘Princess Eyes.’ 

Timeline: 10 years before Blood Orchids in a semi-alternate universe where Stevens starts out as a nerd.  Continue reading

Christine Nolfi does it again

Seeker w KW logoSince the Lei Crime Kindle World launch in April, Christine Nolfi’s, The Shell Keeper has spent much of that time in the number one spot of the Kindle World Contemporary category. The only book that has moved The Shell Keeper from that top spot, (which is on sale right now for less than a dollar!) is her second Lei Crime Kindle World novella, The Shell Seeker.

There’s a good reason Christine’s work has been hugging the top of the charts. Great settings, rich and lovely characters and an intriguingly magical story that takes Toby Neal’s vibrant character, Lei Texeira, to places Lei has never been. Here’s a description of The Shell Seeker.

In South Carolina, there’s more than magic in the air. Now policewoman Lei Texeira must solve the case of the Pirate Necklace.

 The famed emeralds, spirited in the 1700s from the pirate Blackbeard’s ship, have been snatched once again. This time, the bling was taken from Marie-Therese Belvedere, a woman whose cruelty is only topped by her arrogance.

 Lei doesn’t care for the icy socialite, but she feels an instant connection with the woman’s stepdaughter. An unlucky star has followed Sydney Belvedere her entire life. If the necklace isn’t found, she’ll lose a treasure more dear than the finest gem.

 Only the magic of Lei’s intuition stands between Sydney and unspeakable loss.

Sounds great doesn’t it? I had to quiz Christine about her experience and get some insight into what drove her to keep writing in Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Kindle World. Continue reading

Books to take to the beach!

Beach kindleIt’s been a very long time since I’ve granted myself the luxury of a beach vacation. So long in fact, I need new bathing suits (not my favorite thing to shop for), new beach bags, new flip flops and sunscreen. Lots of sunscreen.

By far the most important thing I need to stock up on – even more important than the bathing suit – is beach reading material. For me, the sun, sand and surf are nice but without a good book I might as well be at work.

To ensure this precious reading time is not squandered, I reached out to friends to get recommendations. And since I have so many author friends, I included the caveat they couldn’t recommend their own books. While many suggested books I’d already read, there were a few gems in there I had to share. I know I’m not the only one looking for good summertime reading so here is a rundown of the suggestions I received.

My brother, Larry and I exchange book ideas all the time. He usually never steers me wrong. I just finished reading all six books in the Purge of Babylon series by Sam Sisavath based on Larry’s strong support. I absolutely loved them. Can’t wait for book seven. But I finished the series and need more to fill my time.

Continue reading

Lei Crime Kindle World – A team effort

Hidden-Poppies2It’s hard to believe it was less than two months ago that one of my indie publishing idols, bestselling author Toby Neal, asked me to be a part of an incredible project. Amazon intended to launch a Kindle World, featuring Toby’s Lei Crime Series. Part of Toby’s Amazon launch involved convincing nine authors to write the first stories that would populate the new World. What an honor for Toby and what an exciting opportunity for me and eight other authors.

While the amount of time available to actually write the piece made my heart seize up in fear, I knew there was no way I could let the opportunity slide. Besides, there were eight other authors in the same short timeline boat and if there’s one thing I learned from my time in uniform, a challenge is best faced with a team at your back. Continue reading

Kindle Worlds – Lei Crime Series

leiCrimeSeries-kindleWorldThere are days when I sit at the keyboard with so many projects and ideas rolling around in my head that
I don’t know where to begin. Should I blog? Write another chapter in the new paranormal mystery I’m working on? Finish the novella for the Harper series? Tackle some marketing and promotion work? Sometimes, it’s nearly impossible to choose.

Today, the draw to writing comes from a completely new place. When I set out on this indie-publishing journey, one of the first authors I ever approached for help and advice was Toby Neal. I’d read most of her Lei Crime series books and loved her work. Much to my surprise, she was gracious enough to read my book, write an awesome blurb for the cover and ever since, has been an online friend and an invaluable source for advice and support.  Continue reading

An interview with author Gale Deitch

Fine DiningI’ll remember 2014 as the year several writer friends I know and respect published or republished great books. Mark Willen’s smart and poignant mystery, Hawke’s Point, Cindy Young-Turner’s republication of her engrossing fantasy, A Thief of Hope and the second book in Gale Deitch’s popular culinary cozy mystery series, Fine Dining.

Gale Deitch developed an impressive fan base after her first book, A Fine Fix, was published last year. Her readers have been asking for more in the series, and now they finally have it.

The star in Deitch’s kitchen-centric stories is Trudie Fine, a caterer who loves brightly colored clothes, is growing accustomed to a new boyfriend in her life in the form of a handsome detective, and whose loyalty for a close friend lands her in the middle of a murder investigation.

Continue reading