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Thursday, August 30, 2018

France & Germany in 2019

I've bought my plane tickets for my visit to Paris and Leipzig next year, which makes the trip official! I will be arriving in London on March 12, 2019 before hopping over to Paris for the Salon du Livre from March 15 - 18, and then again to Leipzig for Buchmesse from March 21 - 24.

It's too early to make plans, but for sure I would love the opportunity to meet up with friends and readers if you're around any of these three cities! And if you're attending either book event, let me know!

I will for sure have copies of Color of You in French and Southernmost Murder in German made available with Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications. I don't yet have information on my other titles, as theses are contracted out to Reines-Beaux and Juno Publishing, but cross your fingers for the Snow & Winter series and Southernmost Murder to also be available in French!

Snow & Winter anniversary!

I have two anniversaries with my publishing career. The first is June 1st. This was the release day of Love Has No Expiration, a short story with Dreamspinner Press and my very first official, wow I signed a contract and everything, piece of fiction. This short story also paired me with my current editor, an extremely talented senior editor on the staff who polishes my work bright enough to light up a dark room. I love her dearly, and when it came to my first novel, asked the higher ups if she could continue editing me.

My second date, and the one that changed the game, is August 30th. This is the release day of Book One in the Snow & Winter series, The Mystery of Nevermore. I had dreams and aspirations for my crotchety sleuth, but I was so new to publishing I still didn't quite know what to expect.

I've met authors I never imagined I'd one day call friend. I've been introduced to some of the loveliest and most dedicated readers in the genre. Snow & Winter was a finalist in the Lambda Literary and EPIC awards, produced in audio by a stellar voice and all around great human in the community, and the adventures of Sebastian and Calvin are coming out in French too.

It's surreal, I gotta tell you. I wrote Sebastian at a wild point in my life. I didn't like where I was, in terms of creativity, relationship, job, home-- everything. One day, I literally packed up my clothes, books, cat, and left. That freedom and courage and internal growth is something I've been peppering into Sebastian book by book. It's important that readers have the opportunity to see themselves in fiction, because I know I'm not the only person who has fallen into that hole. And after half a dozen failed attempts to write Nevermore, Sebastian began to flourish as a character.

So thank you. To DSP Publications for signing a whodunnit mystery with a sleuth who met his detective soulmate at a crime scene. Thank you to my production team, fellow authors, and readers like you. Follow your heart, wherever it leads, and be good to yourself.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Countdown 2: The Mystery of the Moving Image

Hello, friends! We are back with another Tuesday Countdown post for The Mystery of the Moving Image! We're two weeks away from the next adventure with Sebastian and Calvin, and I can't wait! One aspect of the new book I am most excited for is the return of Neil, so today's blog is another character interview.

I sat in the accidentally eclectic coffee shop again. I kind of liked it. Neil took a seat across from me at the table by the window. He set a coffee mug down and stared expectantly.
"Thank you for coming out to this interview," I started, flipping the notepad open. "I know you're a busy man."
"It's no problem," he answered in that polite tone that hinted it probably was a problem, but Neil would never actually say so.
"So!" I smiled. "Neil Millett. You're a detective with the NYPD."
"That's right."
"And, uh, are Sebastian's ex," I added after a half a second pause.
Surprisingly, Neil smiled. Or rather, it was the hint of a smile. "I swear that'll be written on my headstone."
"Why do you say that?"
Neil leaned back in his chair to cross his legs. "I think humans all have at least one relationship, romantic or otherwise, that leaves a brand on the soul. For better or worse."
"Sebastian was that human for you?"
He only shrugged.
Okay then.
"Let's start with the basics," I hastily said. "How old are you?"
"Recently turned thirty-eight."
"What's your degree in?"
"I have a bachelor's in forensic science," Neil answered.
I flipped the pages in my notepad. "And that segues to our first question, posed by Kat. Why did you decide to become a cop, and why CSU specifically?"
Neil's mouth quirked into that sort-of smile again. He reached for his mug and took a sip of coffee. "The same romantic reason most people join-- I wanted to help, and my kind of skills are always in demand with a metropolitan police force." Neil set the cup down. He rubbed his chin for a moment, looking very serious as he considered his next statement, before letting out an unexpected laugh. "As for CSU... what can I say, I like solving mysteries."
I grinned. "Yeah?"
"But mysteries should be left to professionals," he reiterated. "Not busybody amateur sleuths."
I made a few notes on the page. "How'd you join the Crime Scene Unit?"
"I started on the Evidence Collection Team," Neil replied. "When I made detective, they promoted me to CSU."
"Do you enjoy it?" I asked next.
"I don't know if I'd say enjoy," Neil said a bit thoughtfully. "We're overworked and understaffed, see the ugliest side of humanity, and if I don't encounter blood, vomit, or piss it's a solid day. But... I'm not burned out. I still feel like I'm making a difference. Is that a good answer?"
"Perfect answer," I replied while I jotted 'blood, vomit, and piss = bad day.' "So what about--"
"When are you going to ask me a question about Sebastian?" Neil interrupted.
I glanced at him and slowly set the pen down. "Do you want me to?"
"Want is neither here nor there."
"People are curious."
"Yeah, I know. I dated a nutcase for four years. Who wouldn't be curious?"
I bit the inside of my cheek. "He's not a nutcase."
"Sort of, yes," Neil said with finality.
"Well, let's see..." I checked my notepad again. "Inez wanted to ask you, what's one thing about Sebastian you miss?"
"Right for the jugular," he murmured as he turned, stared out the bay window, and watched the New York foot traffic. "This isn't going to get back to him, is it?"
Neil nodded absently. He still wouldn't look at me and was silent for a long time. "His smile. His real smile. When no one's watching and he's just being... Sebastian."
I smiled. "And what don't you miss?"
"Everything else," he said with a bit of a sarcastic laugh. Neil turned his attention back to me. "Look. We've reached a place of understanding, I think. But the reality under the heartbreak, and mess that followed our breakup, was we were not a good match. Period. What he's got now with Winter is something we never could have attained together."
"Why not?"
"We weren't soulmates."
I raised an eyebrow. "Neil Millett believes in soulmates?"
"Don't write that down."
I held my hands up.
Neil eyed me with an expression usually reserved for a particularly complex blood spatter pattern. "Anything else? I have to get back soon."
"Oh. One last question. This is from Samantha, and they'd like--" The question made me snort and I covered my mouth. "Sorry."
Neil narrowed his eyes.
"What were you thinking when you bought that expensive BMW?"
Neil tapped the tabletop with his index finger. "I was thinking, I look damn good in this car." He took one more sip of coffee, stood, and buttoned his suit coat. "Thanks for this."
I turned and watched him leave the cafe. Sebastian always said he looked a bit like a 50s hard-boiled detective and I had to agree. Neil was cynical like one too.
At least for now.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Countdown 3: The Mystery of the Moving Image

And I'm back with the next countdown post for The Mystery of the Moving Image! Be sure to check in here every Tuesday for more fun Snow & Winter tidbits.

This week we're talking antiques! Sebastian Snow, for new readers out there, owns Snow's Antique Emporium in the East Village of New York City. He specializes in Victorian American gizmos and gadgets, the weirder the better. Naturally, this leads to a lot of research on my part. Sometimes hours of work turns out to be nothing more than a single sentence description or a passing mention in dialogue.

Here are a few of mine and Sebastian's favorite pieces....

The Mystery of Nevermore: His Master's Voice brand gramophone with a hand crank in a solid wood, Oak veneer case. Sebastian loves older music, some of his favorite artists are Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, and Cab Calloway. He especially enjoyed playing those 78 records on his 'real McCoy' gramophone. Although his antique piece is newer, from the 1920s, it was fully functioning and easily worth a grand before coming into recent disrepair.
Neil had just told me to buy a replica turntable for two hundred bucks if I liked the aesthetic look so much, but that wasn't the point.
I didn't want a Bluetooth, USB-enabled gramophone. I wanted mine. The real McCoy that had the wear and tear from use and love. The one that needed to have needles constantly replaced to keep the records in mint condition.

The Mystery of the Curiosities: Brass picture buttons. Sebastian has quite an extensive collection of picture buttons available for sale at the Emporium, a scene that ended up on the cutting room floor, so to speak. Buttons made popular through the second half of the 19th century, these featured images from fairy tales, mythology, famous figures, literature, and more. Made of several different metals pressed together, the highly sought after Kittens in a Basket button can fetch up to $75 alone, while its replica at wholesale is worth little more than five bucks.
We all have our strengths and should stick to what best suits us. Calvin was made to fight bad guys. It was in his DNA to be a hero, to save people, to solve crimes. Me? I'm a hoarder of information. I know the history of picture buttons and of Victorian mourning clothes. I know how to spot fake tin types. And I liked what I did.

The Mystery of the Moving Image: The Arsenic Waltz. It's not quite a Snow & Winter book without some sort of morbid history for Sebastian to hyper-focus on. Clothing in the 19th century, specifically those dyed green, were made with a pigment that was of mixed arsenic and copper. Emerald Green was a color mocked in British magazine, Punch by showing two skeletons dancing while wearing the latest fashion.
The kid looked around briefly. "Why do you have so much weird crap in here?"
"What constitutes as weird for you? Because some may think it mundane."
He pointed at a framed photo hanging on a nearby wall. "Are those dancing skeletons?"
"The Arsenic Waltz," I corrected. "It mocked the usage of arsenic in dyes for clothing during the nineteenth century."
"What?" He looked confused. Or disgusted. I wasn't sure.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Countdown 4: The Mystery of the Moving Image

I'm back with the next post in the Moving Image countdown to release! Check in here every Tuesday for fun Snow & Winter series tidbits as we get one step closer to the next adventure in the lives of Sebastian Snow and Calvin Winter.

To kick off this week's shindig, I've got a fun character interview featuring William "Pop" Snow, Sebastian's loving and forever patient father, and Max Ridley, his loyal but less patient assistant at the Emporium.

I sat down across from William and Max in the sort of dim-lit, cozy, accidentally eclectic coffee shop that Sebastian would probably haunt, had it been a location within walking distance. I set my notepad on the tabletop and smiled. "Thank you both for joining me."
"Of course," William said. "Our pleasure."
"For sure," Max chimed in. "I don't mind the spotlight."
I chuckled. "A lot of people are interested in the two of you."
"A lie I can live with," William replied. "My son carries a story far better."
"That's because he does exactly the opposite of what you, me, the barista, and this lady would do," Max said as he motioned around the room before pointing at me in conclusion.
I nodded. "That's... true. But folks are still wanting to hear from you both. So, first things first. William Snow, you're Sebastian's dad."
"That's correct."
"And you raised him by yourself?" I asked.
William nodded. "My wife and I parted ways when he was six. I received full custody."
"This may be a... sensitive question, and I apologize if you'd rather not answer--" I started.
"Oh please, ask away," William said.
"Is Sebastian in contact with his mother at all?"
William picked up his coffee and took a sip. "Not to my knowledge."
I left it at that and looked at Max. "And Max Ridley."
He gave me a wide smile. "The one and only."
"You met Sebastian when?"
"About a year and a half ago."
I scribbled the answer down on my pad. "That leads me to a question posed by Elizabeth...." I flipped the page. "Here we are... How did you find the job at the Emporium, and what was the interview process like?"
Max snorted and started laughing.
I glanced up. "Uh-oh."
He held his hands up. "Okay. Let me paint you a picture. I'm walking past the Emporium for an interview I had at some funky modern art store, which is so not my thing, but I've got student loans, you know?"
"Oh I know," I agreed.
"So, being early for that interview, and seeing a sign on his door that advertised an assistant position, I thought why not fill out an application? I go inside this bizarre, borderline creepy shop that's about as brightly lit as a bear cave. There's lots of customers, the phone is ringing, and in the middle of it all is Sebastian actually arguing with a lady about the history of the Brady stand."
William covered his mouth to hide a smile.
Max laughed. "I figure he's the owner, what with his frazzled appearance, so I kinda get closer, waiting my turn to talk to him. Instead, he looks at me and says, 'What?'"
"My son's manners are lacking when he's hangry," William interrupted.
"I'll say," Max agreed. "I look between him and this sassy woman and tell him I was hoping to fill out an application for the job. At first he gives me this blank stare, and I point over my shoulder at the sign on his door, before he seems to put two and two together. Instead of saying something like, 'oh sure' or 'come back later' or... anything normal, Seb points at the woman, then me, and says, 'What was the real use of the Brady stand?'"
"Jesus Christ," I muttered.
"Yeah," Max said with another laugh. "But hey, I have a degree in art. I know some things about early photography. I mean, not to the level Seb does, but Brady's name is well known. So I said it was used as an arm rest or even a neck brace during the early years of photography when there were long exposure times. I guess the lady had been insistent that it was used to make dead bodies stand up for postmortem photos, which was a thing for sure, but not in the way she thought. Sebastian isn't exactly... charming, when he's told he's wrong and has to defend himself." Max grinned. "He told me I was hired. Then and there. I cancelled the interview I had at the modern art place."
I stared at Max for a moment. "Wow."
He nodded.
"Okay then...." I cleared my throat and made a few notes. "You enjoy working for him, Max?"
"Never a dull moment," Max answered. "All joking aside, Seb is a good boss, a better friend, and the Emporium pays my bills and teaches me new things. A lot of people can't say that about their jobs."
"That's sweet," I answered.
"I'm a sweet guy."
"And very humble," William added, nudging Max in the ribs.
I remembered my coffee at this point and took a sip of the now lukewarm beverage. "William, I have a question here for you, from Laurene."
"She's curious to know when you realized that Sebastian had Achromatopsia."
"Ah. Very early, actually. I think by the time he was three months old we knew there was something to be concerned about. He'd cry and scream nonstop whenever we went outside-- come to find later it was bright light hurting his eyes. His Nystagmus started to show around then as well. That's when his eyes shake or wobble involuntarily. It's much better, now that he's an adult," William explained.
"That makes sense," I answered. "A three-month-old isn't really able to take a color test."
He nodded. "Although he had him take that and several visual acuity tests when he was a few years older, that's how we confirmed he had complete Achromatopsia."
"Was it difficult adjusting to his normal?"
William shook his head. "No. When it's your child, you do what is necessary without even really considering anything else. Sebastian is very independent--"
"Bullheaded," Max corrected.
William smiled a little. "We made it work pretty well."
A sudden crash behind the counter startled the three of us. We turned to see a barista wincing and bending down to pick up a shattered mug, while another employee laughed and clapped.
"I have a question for you both," I said, looking back at the two. "How do you like Calvin?"
"Calvin's awesome," Max said without a second thought.
"Highly approve of him," William said.
"Anyone that can wrangle Seb for extended periods is a keeper," Max continued.
William nodded. "It's true," he said, a bit quieter.
I smiled. "I like him too. But then again, I've always had a thing for redheads."
"Same," Max said.
I side-eyed him. "That rolls me into my next question. What kind of person floats your boat?"
"Excuse me?" I asked.
He nodded. "I like persons."
William patted Max's shoulder. "Not picky, this one."
I took another sip of coffee and then tapped my notebook with the pen. "One last question for you, William. Alaska wants to know, what was a typical parent-teacher conference when Sebastian was a kid?" I bit the inside of my cheek when I asked that one.
Max just started laughing and slapped his thighs.
William's face colored a little and he set his hands on the tabletop. "Can I plead the fifth?"
"Hell no, tell the story," Max retorted.
"Well... Sebastian's self-confidence as a child was a bit lacking. He's never liked standing out in a crowd, and sitting in the front row, with large print books put a target on his back for bullies. Anyway...." William cleared his throat. "Third grade, Mrs. Morrison calls me in for a meeting. Sebastian had had an... altercation during recess. One of the bigger boys was giving him grief, and I guess Sebastian had taken it upon himself to point out how this other kid had gotten answers on a class activity wrong, why he'd been wrong, how he'd continue to be wrong, called the boy a pillock and then supplied the historical context behind the word. He'd made the other student cry."
"What kid in America knows and uses the word pillock?" Max asked.
"Mine," William said solemnly.
"Uh, what happened next?" I asked.
"I asked Sebastian where he'd learned the word, because frankly I had to look it up, and he said the dictionary. I told him we don't call other students stupid, especially when the word originates as a meaning for penis--"
Max choked on a sip of coffee.
William patted his back as he continued speaking. "Well, next time I get called into a meeting, it was because he'd called a boy ninnyhammer." He sighed. "Third grade was rough."
I set my pen down and leaned back. "Fascinating interview."

Be sure to join the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a mysterious prize! Winners chosen on Friday, August 17th!

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Countdown 5: The Mystery of the Moving Image!

I am so excited for Book Three of the Snow & Winter series that I decided to do a post every Tuesday to count down the days. We are officially five weeks out from the release of The Mystery of the Moving Image, published with DSP Publications.

Click for full view!

To kick off the anticipation, I'm sharing a nifty and helpful map of locations from the East Village to Hell's Kitchen, courtesy of Google Maps. Some of these haunts will be familiar from both Book One and Two, and there's also the surprise STAR location that appears in Book Three.

If you've not yet picked up a copy of Snow & Winter, now is a great time because both books are on sale! The Mystery of Nevermore can be nabbed for 99 cents at third parties such as Barnes & Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes, and Kobo. And The Mystery of the Curiosities can be picked up at Amazon for $1.99!

Do you have a favorite location from the Snow & Winter series? Share in the comments for a chance to win a mysterious prize!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Sale: The Mystery of the Curiosities

Amazon has selected The Mystery of the Curiosities as an August Kindle Deal and it can now be picked up for $1.99! Believe it or not, out of the 264 chosen mysteries, Sebastian Snow is tagged as the only gay protagonist in the bunch.

So if you, or a reader friend, is intrigued by a colorblind antique dealer turned amateur sleuth and his NYPD homicide detective boyfriend, consider picking up the Snow & Winter series! Let's show the mainstream world that everyone deserves to see themselves as the hero.

The Mystery of Nevermore (Book 1)
The Mystery of the Curiosities (Book 2)
The Mystery of the Moving Image (Book 3)