Posted by Kate Carlisle Aug 25 2014, 12:05 am in coming attractions, Fixer-Upper Mysteries, Just For Fun, Kate Carlisle
With my new series set to start in November, I’ve been thinking a lot about the term “fixer-upper.” (My new series is the Fixer-Upper Mysteries. Book 1, A HIGH-END FINISH, will be out on November 4.) We’re all fixer-uppers, aren’t we? I certainly am. A work in progress. Never “done.”
How boring would that be, to think of yourself as done? Nothing left to learn, no improvements left to make.
Yep, I’m a fixer-upper all right, and I take great joy in the process of fine-tuning myself. Overall, I’m quite content. I’m a loyal friend, a caring daughter, a loving wife. But there are improvements I’d like to make, things I’d like to do better.
1. I’d like to reach out to my friends more often. Sometimes life gets so hectic that I lose touch with my friends. Temporarily, of course, and they understand. Their lives are hectic, too. We all have family obligations and work obligations that steal our time away. Before we realize what has happened, it’s been a couple of months since we’ve spoken to each other. The friendship remains strong, but a richness is lost—or muted, at the very least—when we don’t chat about the minutia of our daily lives. When we go two or three months between conversations, we hit the highlights and the lowlights, but we miss out on all those delicious little absurdities that make us laugh. And it was a shared sense of humor that brought us together in the first place.
2. I’d like to finish writing a book before the deadline, not on the deadline. I try to trick myself by setting a deadline two weeks ahead of the actual deadline, but it never works. My brain is too smart for that, I guess. It doesn’t allow shenanigans. It knows the Deadline-with-a-capital-D day, and it withholds the burst of writing energy and ideas until a week or less before D Day. Which means with every book, I’m scrambling right up to the last possible moment before clicking Send to get the manuscript off to my editor.
3. I want to come up with more seven-letter words in Scrabble. There is no natural high that is quite the same as getting a Bingo in Scrabble. And ooooooh, if you can get your word to land on two triple-word scores… I’m shivering here! Ba-BAM! Nine times the score, plus 50 points.
What about you? Are you a fixer-upper, too? In what way? Name three things that you would like to do better.
CONTEST: Four fellow mystery writers and I have put together two fabulous prize packages filled with lots of books and fun mystery swag. Click here to enter: BACK TO SCHOOL GIVEAWAY
Posted by Kate Carlisle Jul 25 2014, 10:50 pm in Bandit Booty, Bandita Booty, Kate Carlisle, prize winner, prizes
Thank you to everyone who helped me celebrate the launch of my new website design at www.katecarlisle.com. The winner of an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE was Deb! Which Deb? The one who said this:
Deb, please send your mailing address to me at kate (at) katecarlisle (dot) com no later than July 30 to claim your prize.
Posted by Kate Carlisle Jul 25 2014, 12:05 am in Bandit Booty, Bandita Booty, Kate Carlisle, Launch Party, websites, writer's life, writing life
Here in the Lair, launch parties are usually for book releases, but today we’re celebrating the launch of my fabulous new website design! And to add to the party atmosphere, I’m giving away an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE.
An author’s website is a Very Big Deal. www.KateCarlisle.com is my home on the web. It must accurately represent me and my books. Every word, every image, every color sends a message to readers, whether they realize it or not. And so my goal is to make sure that the message is true, that the expectation my website sets is the expectation that will be fulfilled when a reader tries one of my books for the first time.
It was complicated before because I write both mystery and romance, but now it’s even mooore complicated because with November’s release of A HIGH-END FINISH, I’ll have two ongoing mystery series… plus, we can’t forget about my romances! I will always have a deep and abiding love for romance!
Before, on my mystery site, I could tell my webmaster to give it a bookish look, to represent the Bibliophile Mysteries and Brooklyn Wainwright’s profession as a bookbinder. But now I need the website to also represent the Fixer-Upper Mysteries. Shannon Hammer restores Victorian houses in her hometown, Lighthouse Cove. Two different heroines. Two different settings—one a city, one a small town. Two different occupations.
One overwhelmed writer!
I have a wonderful web designer, Xuni Designs, who specializes in author websites. Maddee and Jen have become masters at helping authors define what they want. With a detailed questionnaire and thorough instructions about gathering images, they helped me identify the tone and the substance that I wanted my website to convey. Smart, funny mysteries about a bookbinder. Smart, funny mysteries about a home renovation expert.
Without further ado, I invite (implore) you to visit www.KateCarlisle.com right now.
To enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE, respond to this in a comment below:
Name one thing on my website, www.katecarlisle.com, that gives you the impression of either “Smart” or “Funny.” Let’s make a game of this—try to avoid repeating what someone else has already said. While you’re there, be sure to enter my super fabulous Road Trip Giveaway in the Secret Room!
Posted by Kate Carlisle Jun 25 2014, 12:05 am in bibliophile mysteries, book tour, Just For Fun, Kate Carlisle, writer's life, writing life
Note: At 7:00 pm Eastern/4 pm Pacific today (Wednesday, June 25), I’m being interviewed for Shelf Pleasure, a radio show by book lovers, for book lovers. To listen live, go to LATalkRadio.com and click “Listen Live!” in the left-hand column. Archived shows are available to play anytime on the LA Talk Radio show page or for download on iTunes under the podcast section or through Stitcher.
I’m writing this from the road. It’s Saturday, June 21. I did a signing yesterday at Clues Unlimited in Tucson, today at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Phoenix, and now we’re getting ready to catch a plane home. The perfect time to catch up with my Banditas, I thought.
I’m just wrapping up my book tour for THE BOOK STOPS HERE, my latest Bibliophile Mystery. Yesterday’s signing was with fellow mystery writers Jenn McKinlay and Hannah Dennison. Hannah and I have done so many signings together over the past few weeks that we can (and do) finish each other’s sentences. The addition of Jenn yesterday was great because Jenn always brings cupcakes. Plus, a fabulous reader named Jennifer brought us all slushies. Soooooo welcome in that Arizona heat! (From left to right: me, Hannah Dennison, Jenn McKinlay.)
Book tours are both fun and exhausting. The fun part comes during the signing itself, when we get to meet readers who love our books. What a natural high! Communication is a two-way street, but to novelists, writing can feel very solitary until we have the opportunity to talk to people our books have entertained. I got a real kick out of the necklace made by reader Jane, featuring the covers of THE BOOK STOPS HERE and of THE SECRET GARDEN. (The Secret Garden is the rare book at the center of the mystery in THE BOOK STOPS HERE.)
Prior to coming to Arizona, we were at Murder by the Book in Houston. (I heart mystery bookstores!) We got some video that I thought you might enjoy. You’ll find a few more short videos of both me and Hannah at www.youtube.com/katecarlislebooks.
Have you ever gone to a book signing? Who was the author, and what memory stands out for you about the event? (For the authors in the group, share a funny or touching story from one of your book signings!)
Posted by Kate Carlisle Jun 3 2014, 11:05 pm in Bandit Booty, Bandita Booty, contest winner, Kate Carlisle, Launch Party, prize winner
Thank you to everyone who celebrated the release of THE BOOK STOPS HERE with me! I was thrilled with the turnout today and hope you had as much fun as I did.
The giveaway winner who was chosen at random is… Cyn209!!!!! You’ve won an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE.
Cyn, please send your mailing address to me at kate (at) katecarlisle (dot) com.
Posted by Kate Carlisle Jun 3 2014, 12:05 am in Bandita Booty, bibliophile mysteries, contest, Giveaway, Kate Carlisle, Launch Party
Break out the bubbly! Release the balloons! Today is THE BOOK STOPS HERE release day, and we are going to par-TAY! No party would be complete without gifts, so read on to find out how you could win an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE.
In THE BOOK STOPS HERE, Brooklyn Wainwright is hired as the book expert on This Old Attic, an antiques appraisal TV show, so we’ve got a TV crew here in the Lair today to film this celebrity event. The cabana boys are showing off a little, hoping to get noticed in Hollywood. Whoops! There goes Sven’s shirt! Yeah, he’s noticeable, all right, especially with the Golden Rooster sitting on his shoulder like a demented pirate’s pretend parrot.
The boys have been kind enough to set up a microphone for me between two palm trees strung with fairy lights. I’ll ignore everyone’s cries for karaoke (and you’ll thank me for it!) and instead, I’ll say, “Welcome to my book release party! Thank you for celebrating this very special day with me.”
The chants of “Excerpt! Excerpt!” are impossible to ignore, so I’ll do a quick reading with the beach band as back-up. (You’ll understand why the paragraphs are numbered in a minute.)
1. My mother always warned me to be careful what I wished for, but did I listen to her? Of course not. I love my mom, really, but this was the same woman who liked to recommend espresso enemas to perk me up. The same woman who performed magic spells and exorcisms on a regular basis and astral traveled around the universe with her trusted spirit guide, Ramlar X. Believe me, I’m very careful about taking advice from my mother.
2. Besides, the thing I was wishing for was more work. Why would that be a problem?
3. I’d been in between bookbinding jobs last month and was telling my friend Ian McCullough, chief curator of the Covington Library, that I wished I could find some new and interesting bookbinding work. That’s when Ian revealed that he had submitted my name to the television show, This Old Attic, to be their expert book appraiser. I was beside myself with excitement and immediately contacted the show’s producer for an interview. And I got it! I got what I wished for. A job. With books. That was a good thing, right?
4. Of course, I didn’t dare tell my mother that I considered her advice a bunch of malarkey. After all, some of those magic spells she’d spun had turned out to be alarmingly effective. I would hate to incur her wrath and wake up wearing a donkey’s head—or worse.
5. “Yo, Brooklyn,” Angie, the show’s stage manager said. “You look right into this camera and start talking, got it?”
6. “Got it,” I lied, pressing my hands against my knees to keep them from shaking uncontrollably. “Absolutely.”
7. “Good,” the stage manager said. “No dead air, got it?”
8. “Dead air. Right. Got it.”
9. She nodded once, then shouted to the studio in general, “Five minutes, everyone!”
10. I felt my stomach drop, but it didn’t matter. I was in show business!
11. This Old Attic traveled around the country and featured regular people who wanted their precious family treasures and heirlooms appraised by various local experts. The production was taping in San Francisco for three whole weeks and I was giggly with pleasure to be a part of it.
12. And terrified, too. But the nerves were sure to pass as soon as I started talking about my favorite topic, books. I hoped so, anyway.
Want to win an autographed copy of THE BOOK STOPS HERE? We’re going to play a little game. Go to the paragraph that corresponds with your month of birth and choose one word. Tell me what word you chose and then use it in a sentence that tells me something interesting about yourself! I’ll choose the winner at random from everyone who plays.
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Jun 1 2014, 12:01 am in Anna Steffl, Anna Sugden, coming attractions, Dee Davis, Gerri Russell, Jane Graves, June, Kate Carlisle, Paige Tyler, Sandy Blair, Susanne Bellamy, Suzanne Ferrell
The weather is turning cooler for our Southern Hemisphere friends, but up here in the Northern Hemisphere things are starting to warm up. The trees have gone green again, the flowers have started to blossom in brilliant colors and the vegetable gardens are starting to fill in.
June is also the traditional time for weddings. This time last year I had three of them in the family. So weddings should always be about romance, don’t you think? And of course romance is what the Bandits are all about! This month in the Lair is no different. (Nice segueway, huh! :D)
We start out the month 6/3 with a book launch party for another bibliophile mystery by Bandita Kate Carlisle, THE BOOK STOPS HERE!! So get your dancing shoes on! You know how much we love parties here in the Lair.
Contemporary Romance Author, Jane Graves returns to visit us on June 4th, with her second book in the Rainbow Valley Novels, BABY, IT’S YOU. (www.janegraves.com)
USA Today Bestselling author, Paige Tyler joins Tawny on June 5th to talk X-Ops and inspiration! With a cover like that for HER PERFECT MATCH, inspiration is a given! (www.paigetylertheauthor.com)
On Friday, 6th June, Anna Campbell hosts bubbly contemporary romance author Susanne Bellamy (http://www.susannebellamy.com/) in the lair. Susanne will tell us all about her books WHITE GINGER and ONE NIGHT IN SORRENTO.
Whew! That’s jut the first week, y’all!!
June 12th we have fantasy romance author, Anna Steffl visiting with Bandita, Trish Milburn. (I’m thinking our resident dragon Ermengarde will be a bit curious about that sword handle!)
On June 16, Nancy welcomes Gerri Russell back to the Lair! Gerri will celebrate her latest release, THIS LAIR OF MINE, and dish on her upcoming foray into contemporary romance. (www.gerrirussell.net)
Dee Davis returns to the Lair on June 20th with her book HELL FIRE! Dee and Nancy will chat about the series Dee and Julie Kenner are doing, Devil May Care, and whatever else comes to mind. (www.deedavis.com)
And for a bit of a treat, Lair favorite, Sandy Blair is going to stop in on June 27th to celebrate her birthday with us! She’ll also be talking about her newest release, THE THIEF, book #3 in her Castle Blacstone Novels. (www.sandyblair.net)
Keep your eyes open for contests and give-aways, as Anna Sugden will be turning up the heat in June prior to the July launch of the second book in her New Jersey Ice Cats series, A Perfect Trade.
Details will be posted to Anna’s FB Author page www.facebook.com/annasugden.romanceauthor and her website www.annasugden.com. Extra chances to win for readers who have liked Anna’s Author Page!
Posted by Kate Carlisle May 25 2014, 12:05 am in bibliophile mystery, contest, Kate Carlisle, mystery novels, Romance, writers on writing
If you read the Bibliophile Mysteries, you know that Brooklyn has a boyfriend. She didn’t always. In book 1, HOMICIDE IN HARDCOVER, the man in question suspected her of murder, which put something of a damper on any sparkage they might have been feeling. But once Derek Stone got to know Brooklyn, he knew she could never commit murder. For one thing, she faints at the sight of blood. For another, he quickly discovers that she’s a seeker of justice as ferocious as he is, though he does it in a professional capacity while she’s an amateur sleuth. The moment he realizes that she’s not a murderer, the sparks re-ignite, and they’ve been together ever since. Which is an interesting challenge for me as a writer.
THE BOOK STOPS HERE is book 8 in the Bibliophile Mystery series. (It will be out in hardcover and ebook on June 3, and is available for pre-order now. You know, in case you’re so inspired. ) In my romances, the hero and heroine meet, clash, and fall in love all in one book, and then their story is over. I love that! I’ve always loved reading and writing romances, and that’ll never change. But with my mystery series, I have the pleasure of staying with the characters after their declarations of love, to see how their relationship grows and develops over time, just like in real life. The same couple continues to flirt and fall in love, and the love deepens the longer they know each other. It’s joyous!
But also just like in real life, there’s the danger that a relationship could go stale if one stops nurturing it. That’s where the “challenge” part comes in for me as a writer. I adore Brooklyn and Derek, and I want them to be happy, but they need to be happy in a way that remains interesting to the reader. I can’t let them get into a rut. With each book, their relationship must progress, to keep it fresh for them, for me and for my readers.
A murder from time to time helps keep it fresh, too. Nothing underscores the importance of your loved one like a little mortal danger.
Brooklyn and Derek are in love, but at this point, it’s still a new love. They still learn things about each other every day. In THE BOOK STOPS HERE, they’re in negotiations over what to name their new kitten. Brooklyn is charmed by the way Derek dotes on the adorable animal, and she discovers facets she never knew with each name he suggests.
Derek is charmed by Brooklyn’s nervousness about being on TV. She’s a consummate expert in her field, and she never has any difficulty talking about books. But this is different. She’s been hired as the book expert by an antiques appraisal TV show. When she allows Derek to see her uncertainty and her vulnerability, they grow closer yet.
I hope watching their love deepen over time is as fun for my readers as it is for me.
How do you and your honey keep the romance alive in your relationship? If you’re single, what great examples have you seen of real-life romance in your life?
Don’t miss my current website contest! This month, I’m giving away a gorgeous A COOKBOOK CONSPIRACY brick bookend. Enter here:www.katecarlisle.com/
Posted by Kate Carlisle May 12 2014, 12:05 am in guest blogger, Kate Carlisle, mystery novel
Please join me in welcoming Hannah Dennison back to the Lair! Hannah is one of my dearest friends in the mystery writing community and I’m so thrilled about her fabulous new Honeychurch Hall mystery series. I guarantee you will absolutely love it. Welcome, Hannah!
When Kate invited me to blog on Romance Bandits I was thrilled because although my new book Murder at Honeychurch Hall is a murder-mystery, one of my main characters secretly writes steamy bodice-rippers under the pseudonym of Krystalle Storm. In other words … I finally get a chance to take a wild stab at writing romance myself—albeit, vicariously.
Of course, just like love and life, nothing ever quite works out how we expect. The same holds true for my protagonist, Kat Stanford. Kat stars in a hit road show called Fakes & Treasures. Weary of being permanently in the public eye and the target of her boyfriend’s estranged wife who hosts “Walk of Shame: Celebrity Family Secrets Revealed,” Kat switches careers initially to set up an antique business with her newly widowed mother, Iris. Kat’s mother, however, has other ideas and Kat is horrified to learn that not only has Iris secretly purchased a dilapidated carriage house on a crumbling country estate several hundred miles away from London, she’s actually an internationally best-selling author of erotica, writing under the pseudonym of Krystalle Storm.
So what prompted me to make Iris Stanford live out my own romantic writing aspirations? I always like to give each one of my characters a secret—this could range from some shameful act in the past or an unhealthy obsession for collecting paperweights (a good murder weapon if anyone is interested). In this case, Iris is a conventional, prim and uptight housewife who had been married to—and controlled by—a tax inspector for almost fifty years. I thought that by having Iris write about “tiffin”—her pet name for sex— it couldn’t have shocked Kat more than if Iris had announced she was taking up break-dancing.
Any hesitation I had soon vanished when I began researching into one of the two private houses in Devon that I have based the series on. As a teenager, I grew up living in the gatehouses at the bottom of the main drive of Hillersdon House in Cullompton, Devon. When Hillersdon came up for sale in June of 2009, I discovered that it had had a reputation for holding wild society parties during the 1890s or “naughty nineties” as they were then known. Elinor Glyn, who was rumored to be one of the first writers of erotic fiction, was a frequent visitor.
Men were to say:
“Would you like to sin with Elinor Glyn on a tiger skin?
Or would you prefer to err with her on some other fur?”
Elinor Glyn was said to popularize the concept of “It” as in, “You either have it, or you don’t.” She claimed that “With ‘It,’ you win all men if you are a woman and all women if you are a man.” By modern standards, her books are pretty tame but well-worth reading. She said, “Romance is the glamour that turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze.”
Yet, murder and romance aside, at the core of my new series is the relationship between a mother and daughter facing new and uncertain beginnings. I’m fascinated by the notion that it’s those who are nearest and dearest to us who are often the most duplicitous of all.
Who do you think has “It” in our modern age? Here are my top three—Catherine Deneuve, Angelina Jolie … and my mum who is still vibrant at 85 with a mischievous sparkle in her eye and a beautiful smile.
About the Author
Born in England, Hannah relocated to Los Angeles with her daughter and two cats to pursue a career in screenwriting. Along the road to publication she has been an obituary reporter, antique dealer, private jet flight attendant and Hollywood story analyst. Hannah is the author of the Vicky Hill Mysteries (Constable UK) and the first, in her new series, “Murder at Honeychurch Hall” (Minotaur). Now living in Portland, Oregon Hannah continues to teach mystery writing at UCLA, has served on numerous judging committees for the Mystery Writers of America and still works part-time for a west coast advertising agency. She is married to an advertising executive and enjoys hiking, horseback riding, skiing and seriously good chocolate. www.hannahdennison.com
Posted by Caren Crane May 1 2014, 12:08 am in A Rake's Midnight Kiss, Alison Stuart, Anna Campbell, Anna Sugden, Annie West, Baby Steps, Bandita Blogiversary, Bandita Facebook Party, Brenda Novak Auction, Caren Crane, coming attractions, Cross Springs, Donna MacMeans, ebook prize bundle, Facebook Party, Hannah Dennison, JDRF, Karilyn Bentley, Kate Carlisle, Kindle Paperwhite, Nancy Northcott, Sons of Sin, Suzanne Church, Suzanne Ferrell, Terri Osburn, Ursula LeCouer, What a Duke Dares
Every month is a big old party here in the Lair, but MAY is especially special? Why, yes, it IS my birthday month! So kind of you to remember that my birthday is MAY 13 and I’m accepting gifts and brunches/lunches/dinners ALL MONTH LONG. :) Still, we have another Big Event we celebrate each May. Our Romance Bandits Blogiversary! On May 8, we will be having a HUGE blowout of a Facebook party. We’ll spend almost the entire day partying like, well, Banditas and giving stuff away! You guys just have to come by and comment to win swag. We’ll have a huge prize at the end for one lucky winner: a Kindle Paperwhite and e-book prize bundle!! Super fun and easy! Go Like our Facebook page to be sure you don’t miss out!
And in other exciting news:
Anna Campbell had a great month for contest excitement! Not only did her Sons of Sin books win Favorite Series Of 2013 at the Australian Romance Reader Awards, she received news that A Rake’s Midnight Kiss has finaled in the historical section of the Romance Writers of America RITA® Awards. Woo hoo! We are all terribly proud of Anna!
Anna Sugden‘s French language version of A Perfect Distraction was an Amazon bestseller in France and Canada! Wonder why? I don’t think it was just the hockey player theme!
May 3 – Nancy and guest Suzanne Church offer us a change of pace. Suzanne will discuss her new short story collection, Elements, with maybe a bit of Game of Thrones chat stirred in. (Dragon and knights and speculative fiction, oh my! I can’t wait!)
May 5 – Anna Campbell hosts the brilliant Annie West in the Lair! Annie’s going to tell us all about her wonderful new novella Back In the Italian’s Bed, the first in her Hot Italian Nights series! (Nothing about Hot Italians can be anything but awesome!)
May 6 - Debut author Ursula LaCoeur will guest with Donna. Learn how the romance of New Orleans inspired her debut, The Willing Widow. (New Orleans-inspired Victorian suspense should be extra-spicy!)
May 9 – Nancy welcomes Terri Osburn to chat about secrets, secret identities, and her new Anchor Island release, Home to Stay. Join the party and get the inside info! (Sekrits? We love sekrits!)
May 12 - Join Kate as she hosts the delightful Hannah Dennison whose wonderful new English countryside mystery series will debut this month, with Murder at Honeychurch Hall. (I’ve met Hannah. You’ll love her!)
May 16 - Karilyn Bentley returns with her dragon shifters to chat with Suz about her newest book, Dragon Lover. When opposing dreams collide, will love be the victor? (Ooh, dragons!)
May 24 – Caren Crane‘s book launch party for Baby Steps, the second book in the Cross Springs series. Don’t miss the extra-fun return to Cross Springs for the heart-tugging story of how Connie Burns, the career-oriented, happily-childless best friend from Kick Start ends up a mommy! (Cutest cover ever!)
May 27 – Anna Campbell hosts Aussie historical romance author Alison Stuart. Alison will be talking about her latest release Lord Somerton’s Heir, a Regency romantic suspense set just after Waterloo. (Waterloo! Couldn’t escape if I wanted to!)
Anna Campbell is giving away three personalized print ARCs of What A Duke Dares, the third Sons of Sin novel out in late August, in her current website contest. Just email her on anna @ annacampbell.info (no spaces) and tell her the name of the hero and heroine of What A Duke Dares. You might find the answer here: http://annacampbell.info/dukedares.html For more information, please check the contest page on her website: http://annacampbell.info/contest.html.
Hello, awesome May 8 Facebook Bandita Blogiversary party! Don’t miss it or you will feel like the out-of-the-loop kid sitting alone at home who missed the totally rad party when Kat and Bianca’s dad went out of town…or was that from Ten Things I Hate About You? Anyway, Like our page and join the party and win stuff!
Also, the Banditas are offering a crapload of great goody packages (11 of them!) in the Brenda Novak auction to benefit Type 1 diabetes research! Think you don’t know anyone with Type 1 diabetes? You know me and I’ve had it for 32 years! So check out the auction, bid on stuff and help cure my disease. There, I totally made it personal! You can check out our different packages by clicking the Romance Bandits link on the sidebar of the main auction page!
Wowza! May is shaping up to be kind of amazing and – potentially – exhausting! So what do you anticipate will be your favorite thing about May in the Lair? I think it’s going to be hard to choose (but I’m totally casting a vote for MY BIRTHDAY)!