Monday, April 03, 2017

Something Red

Below is the message I sent to my amazing cover artist Melanie Dunn of Cuttlefish Graphics.

"I'd like to replace the pitchfork in Trinity's hand with a wedding bouquet with some red and white in it. I'd  like to stick a wedding veil  on her.  And replace the house with the classic shape of a country church."

Gotta love it when your vision comes to life. Yes, we have a wedding planned in this book. But we also have an execution, a kidnapping, and problems with the centerpieces.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Best Served Cold Preview

The sequel to What The Chat Dragged In is finally here! So what's up with Seth and Martie? Check out the preview of the first few chapters to find out.

Feel free to share with your friends.

The Next Best Thing To Himmel

Himmel, the town where my Goode-Grace mysteries takes place, is a figment of my imagination. Well, mostly.

While there is no town with that name in Northwest Ohio, there is a town named Bryan that has a whole lot in common with my fictional community. Most noticeable the Courthouse Square. Here's the Bryan Courthouse.

Yes, there's a lovely park in front of the courthouse.

Though, the over-friendly squirrels are based on my time going to school in Bowling Green, Ohio. But, I'll bet Bryan has its share of the little beggars as well.

And, there's a lovely little downtown movie theater, too.

These pictures are courtesy of my cousin, Carol. She happens to own an educational supply store right on the square. A lot of the businesses in my mysteries have real-life counterparts on the square.

I hope to bring you more pictures of them later.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

How That "Free" Movie Or eBook Can Cost You Plenty

* This post  originally appeared on where I work as the content editor and head writer.

I’ve warned you guys about the dangers of pirated copies of books and movies. Many times, these sites are just an excuse to load your PC up with malware that can steal your information. I happened to come across an example today.  And this example involves a book that I wrote. In addition to writing tech tips, I also write mystery novels. And I have to admit that I sometimes Google myself just to see if anyone is talking about my books.  (writers are a needy bunch, sometimes.)  I was not happy to see this result.

The only place you’d ever find a giveaway for my book (and probably anyone else’s) is through a legitimate eBook seller like Barnes & Noble, Google Play, iTunes, or Amazon.  One sure red flag is that the side is called paid$#*!for free.  Go there and you’ll be greeted by this page. Which looks like you’re about to get a free download in the ePub format.

But before you get a chance to steal my book, you’ll see this little pop-up warning you that you need to click Disable. Those of you who’ve read our articles about fake tech support scams and fake update pop-ups probably think this all looks pretty familiar. If you click that disable button, you’re actually enabling adware, malware, or who knows what on your PC. Maybe it’s a keylogger that follows your every move and steals your bank info.

Maybe it’s ransomware that takes your PC hostage. Maybe you don’t even get to steal my book. There’s no guarantee that download is actually even there.  Now the same holds true for pirated movies and music. If you see a movie that’s currently out at the box office available to watch online, think twice before clicking. You may think you’re saving a few bucks by stealing a viewing when in reality you’re costing yourself hundreds or thousands by giving up information or trashing your device. If someone is willing to steal from a studio or from me, what makes you think they wouldn’t steal from you?
So, don’t steal from anyone, especially me. If you don’t want to pay for stuff, your local library has all kinds of things for free. In the past when I’ve warned you about free book scams, some of you have asked about newsletters like Book Bub and Book Gorilla that offer free and discounted eBook specials. These newsletters are legitimate and offer author and publisher approved specials and they always direct you to the sites for major eBook retailers.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Best Served Cold Cover Reveal

Even though  the sequel to What The Chat Dragged In has been finished for some time, nothing quite makes a book feel real like seeing the cover for the first time.  And here's the cover for Best Served Cold.

The title is based on the old saying that "Revenge is dish best served cold."  In this mystery, Seth is eager to dish out a  heaping serving to Wilma Crandall. But at what cost?

Best Served Cold will be out next month.

A Maze & Grace: 5 Reasons Why You Need To Read It Now

The long-awaited (well, six months seems like a long time) sequel to American Goth is finally here. Check out the beautiful cover Melanie Dunn of Cuttlefish Graphics made for me.

I know a lot of you were worried about Bobby making it back from Iraq. He's home safe and sound, but his homecoming is not going as planned. Here are  5 reasons why you need to check this great mystery out now!

1. Murder in a maze!  Hey, we all know corn fields are kind of scary. We've watched movies and read Stephen King. And it's even scarier when the corn is cut into a maze. And you know what really ruins Halloween festivities? Yep... a body in the corn maze.

2. Awkward social situations.  How awkward? Trinity's ex-boyfriend Marco shows up at the farm with his wife.  What does he want? How does  Bobby react? You'll see.

3. More Goths in the country! Stan and Shelly aka Vlad and Lady Ravenhawke stop by for a visit. They even head out to the bowling alley with Bobby and Trinity.

4. Lots of  good food. Find out what Trinity is cooking up.

5. Bobby's bad side. You saw a small glimpse of why you don't want to get on Deputy Grace's bad side in American Goth. In this book, you'll get a closer look at the mild-mannered deputy's dark side.

Convinced? Click here to get your copy today.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

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Wednesday, January 04, 2017

What The Chat Dragged In: My playlist & other inspirations

This is a story about What The Chat Dragged In.  It's my second published mystery novel. It's also my best-reviewed work and the most difficult thing I have ever written.  A few years ago when I started the book, I did a brief post about the music that was inspiring me as I wrote.

A lovely 5-star review for this novel said that it was a difficult book to classify:

"I cannot pin down exactly what genre to put this book in. It's a quirky romance, it's a witty mystery, it's a foodie book, it's a crime novel, it's a little bit of a police procedural, there's elements of Christian fiction, it deals with non-combat PTSD... This is not entirely an easy novel to read because even though it's fiction we know that the evil that is a main character actually exists in our world."

This is how I feel about this story as well.  I started out with the inspiration to write a book about a food blogger who lived in the Texas Hill Country.  I was inspired by images like the one below:

But that idea was transformed by a real-life incident similar to what the character of Martie experiences in the book. So my cozy little foodie mystery also became about two broken people traumatized in very different ways by child sexual predators. I know that sounds like a downer, but it's actually a romance with lots of tasty recipes...and some very bad people to hate.  My inspiration music for writing these characters jumps genres just like the story. There's pop, country, Christian, and rock. I've included a YouTube playlist below. If you've read the book, you'll probably see how songs like "Demons," "Hurt," "Collide," and "Life Ain't Always Beautiful" relate.  "Collide" was the first song I associated with these characters. Give it all a listen if you're so inclined. Even if you haven't read the book yet, give the playlist a listen.
I have a goal of making all of Seth's food into neatly organized blog posts. There are already quite a few good food posts on this blog. The most popular is the recipe for liver and onions. My favorites are the honey fried chicken and the piggy pops.
Speaking of inspirations, this is the person who most reminds me of how I picture Seth. Though I think Seth is leaner. (and also covered in tattoos.) This is actor Eric Christian Olsen from NCIS: Los Angeles.  (I swiped this photo from NCISLA Magazine.) If this is not how you picture Seth, you are absolutely right.
As for Seth's house, I'm pretty sure it looks almost exactly like the home my cousin Carol and her husband Tony built from the ground up. (which is not in Texas, but actually not far from the city that I based the town of Himmel on for my Goode/Grace Mystery series.)
If you enjoyed "What The Chat Dragged In" and have any questions or comments, let me know.  You can pick it up as a Kindle book or paperback over at by clicking here. Check out the reviews; apparently it's awesome.
Right not I'm editing the sequel "Best Served Cold."
~ Cyn

Saturday, December 03, 2016

5 Books To Curl Up With This December

In my part of the world, it's cold outside. For me that means it's time for a hot cup of cocoa, tea, or coffee and a good book. I've got 5 suggestions for your reading list. Some old, some new, and all worth your time.

Let's start with one of my favorite books, Tea With The Black Dragon by R.A. MacAvoy. I first read this in college. I'd never read anything quite like it before, and I've never read anything quite like it since.

It's about Martha Macnamara, a 50ish musician in search of her missing daughter in 1980s San Francisco. She meets Mayland Long, a mysterious wealthy Chinese businessman and scholar who also claims he's actually a dragon. This is part fantasy, part mystery, part romance and completely marvelous. I definitely suggest reading this with a good cup of Oolong tea.

Up next on my list is The Thin Man. It's a slim volume, so an avid reader might be able to get through it in a day. But, wow! Even if you've see the movies, this 1934 classic will be a revelation. If you tend to think of the 1930s as a more innocent time, you might be a little bit shocked.

This dialogue in this book is some of the best ever written. The witty, liquor-fueled, non-sentimental romance is among my favorite love stories. Hard-boiled retired private dick Nick Charles and his young, socialite wife are a force to be reckoned with. And the mystery is a good one, too. You'll probably want to spike your hot drink with a stiff shot. That's what Nick and Nora would do.

A recent discovery is Marriage Can Be Murder, a sweet and cozy English countryside mystery set at the beginning of WWII.  The attention to historical detail makes this book not only interesting, but educational.   The budding relationship between a young doctor who has been severely injured both physically and emotionally and an awkward, eccentric noblewoman is funny and touching.

It's an easy, fun read that will make you feel as if you're watching one of those really great British series on Mystery. And there's a sequel!  This definitely calls for a hot cuppa.

And now for something completely different!  If Marriage Can Be Murder feels like an show from PBS, Midnight Riot feels like a show that might come on after Doctor Who on BBC America. It's like a cross between Luther and Harry Potter.  It feels like you're getting a real look at contemporary London and its police force... only there's magic... and ghosts...and scary stuff.

This book and its sequels create a compelling, yet believable world where the paranormal becomes a part of everyday police work.

You'll want a spot of tea with this one.

And now I'm going to toot my own horn and suggest that you check out American Goth, my first mystery novel. Why?  It's an easy, warmhearted read that introduces you to two of my favorite characters, Goth-chick artist Trinity Goode and straight-laced deputy sheriff Bobby Grace.

When Trinity's grandfather dies mysteriously, she heads back to her small hometown to save the family farm and figure out just at happened to the man who always accepted her just as she was.

Trinity’s ready to lace up her Doc Marten boots to be a church lady and bake pies for the county fair, but is her hometown ready to welcome her back?

With some help from her old friend Deputy Bobby Grace, she tries to solve the mystery of her Grandfather’s death and track down just who has been hell-bent on ruining her reputation. What she finds out could get her killed.

You'll want to have this one with a good hot cup of coffee, just like the coffee that keeps the main characters going in the book.