We are please to announce Murder by Magic, a new book in Meriam Wilhelm’s Witches of New Moon Beach series.
Murder by Magic is the sixth book Meriam has set in the fictional California town of New Moon Beach. However, there is a twist in this tale, Murder by Magic is a cozy mystery featuring Ola Mae Masters and, of course, magic. We hope you enjoy the book.
The word outsider describes Ola Mae Masters to a T.
Orphaned at seven, raised by nuns, and tortured by an ability to read minds and see the dead, Ola Mae wanted nothing more than to find a place she could call home. Hoping for the best, she landed in New Moon Beach, opened a bookstore and settled into her new life.
But all was not as it seemed. Fate had delivered Ola Mae, into a cauldron filled with far too many shocks and surprises. Not the least of which was that she wasn’t really an orphan, but part of the powerful family of witches who had settled in her town.
Opening their arms to their sister, they help her hone her witchy powers just in time because a dark evil has come to New Moon Beach that will engulf Ola Mae in a maze of murder, magic, and mayhem that only she can control. With the support of her new family, her emerging supernatural skills, and the guidance of a handsome, magically gifted man Ola Mae must navigate a maze of death and destruction to save New Moon Beach and the man she loves.
I mention in May, that I won an ARC of The Painted Queen. (If you missed that post you can read about it here.) I received my copy a few weeks ago, and I’m happy to report that Joan Hess did a fine job completing the manuscript. It has all the humor, all the mystery, and of course Egypt that were featured in all Amelia Peabody Novels.
If you’re a fan, you will absolutely enjoy the novel. If you’ve never read Amelia before, you will still appreciate the book, but you might miss some of the jokes. (In addition to another shirt ruined there are titles of other books sprinkled about in conversation.)
My favorite quote: “A secret society??” Emerson exclaimed. (I assure the Reader that two interrogation point scarcely convey the vehemence of his question.)
Wonder Book in Frederick, Maryland is holding a release party on July 25th. They will have book plates signed by Joan Hess and a talk by Egyptologist, Dr. Ray Johnson. For more information .
On July 26th, Joan Hess will be talking and signing books at Mystery to Me in Madison, WI. For more information.
The Painted Queen will be released on July 25. I hope you will let me know if you enjoyed it.
Marianne H. Donley makes her home in Tennessee with her husband and son. She is a member of Bethlehem Writers Group, Romance Writers of America, OCC/RWA, and Music City Romance Writers. When Marianne isn’t working on A Slice of Orange, she might be writing short stories, funny romances or quirky murder mysteries, but this could be a rumor.
You can find her short mystery, Tomato Blight, in ONCE AROUND THE SUN.
The one thing I know, after all my years as an elementary school principal, is that there is magic everywhere and in everyone. While I miss those enchanting moments with kids, I have always wanted to let my imagination run wild as I seek out my own magic and write about it. When I retired, I started to write my first books, a series called The Witches of New Moon Beach and inspiration wasn’t hard to find. I have lived in Redondo Beach all my life and New Moon might have more than a passing resemblance to my hometown. Every day I walk on the path that runs along the beach, sometimes with my sisters, but most often with my thoughts as I plot my next book. I am long married and mom to three great grown kids. When I’m not writing or walking on the beach, you’ll find me sewing, reading or traveling and taking pictures.
I spent a couple of post retirement years writing full time and I had a blast. 5 books on parenting and 4 of my first fiction series – The Witches Of The New Moon Beach later, I felt fulfilled. However, I never anticipated how quickly I would gain weight and at the same time stiffen up from lack of movement. Oh sure, my fingers were regularly flying across the keyboard but my butt remained stationary for hours on end.
All three years I focused my energies on my writing. During that time I religiously avoided visiting my bathroom scale until one day when my doctor asked me to “step on up” and I froze. Yikes, I had gained ten, twenty… uh oh more pounds! What had happened? After all, I wasn’t a total slug. I had actually taken an occasional yoga class or two.
I knew that I had to make a change so I altered my eating habits, upped my yoga classes and increased my walking time. I poured myself into my black stretch pants and promised to stay faithful to my yoga master and my new found routine.
But wait! My weight gain was not my moment of enlightenment; at least not the one I want to talk about today.
Almost anyone can do yoga and I am surely an example of that. Moving from Mountain Poses to Yoga Backbends has taken some time, but I have actually started to enjoy it. I find myself centered and calmer as I leave the studio and that certainly has helped me with my writing focus. It was during one of my recent yoga sessions that I had this revelation of which I now speak.
Here it is – Practicing yoga and writing a book have a lot in common. I truly believe that as a byproduct of my self imposed, yoga packed, body limbering routine, I simultaneously improved both my body and my writing abilities!
According to the latest YOGA Journal the three segments that every yoga class should have include a slow warm up, a recognized theme and a slow cool down. Hmm, sounds similar to the elements of writing an article, story or book.
Slow Warm Up– Just as a yoga master warms up their students through challenging stretches so do writers warm up their readers by introducing characters and locations to engage and stretch the imagination. While yoga teachers struggle to keep their students fully involved in their yoga practices – so do writers toil to keep readers connected to their story line. It’s important to mix up yoga poses and some sessions need to be more impactful than others. This is also true when writing a book. A good writer builds from scratch, keeping the action moving and creating momentum while making some passages more action packed than others. A solid warm up is critical to the success of yoga students and writers as they learn to stretch both body and mind.
Recognized Theme – While a yoga class may focus on leg stretches or balance enhancement a book must have an equally identifiable focus or theme. The writer must be able to clearly articulate a storyline. Whether completing a challenging yoga experience or typing the last words of a book, the benefits can be similar. Both can bring satisfaction -physical and mental.
Slow Cool Down – One can find a parallel between a yoga cool down session and the completion of a well written conclusion. A passionate yoga practitioner might expect to feel more limber, relaxed and properly aligned – both mentally and physically – upon completion of their workout. Upon creating a final passage, a writer could anticipate feeling mentally stretched, emotionally fulfilled and totally in tune with their thoughts. Of course, throughout the process, both activities can be potentially filled with frustration and challenge.
I found a couple of other similarities between yoga and writing. I have to work hard at both to achieve any success and neither come naturally to me. Upon completing a satisfying chapter or a fulfilling yoga class I experience a sense of calmness, mental clarity and satisfaction. Usually exhausted at the end of either, I quickly recharge. I am now fully committed to both as they bring me joy. And some of my best storyline twists and turns have actually come to me in the calm of my yoga studio.
Surely you too can add a bit of magic to your day. I would encourage anyone to take a yoga class and if your heart so desires – try writing. Over time, you are sure to find satisfaction in either or both. For me a side benefit is that the scale numbers are going down; something we can always talk about later.
The one thing I know, after all my years as an elementary school principal, is that there is magic everywhere and in everyone. While I miss those enchanting moments with kids, I have always wanted to let my imagination run wild as I seek out my own magic and write about it. When I retired, I started to write my first books, a series called The Witches of New Moon Beach and inspiration wasn’t hard to find.
I have lived in Redondo Beach all my life, and New Moon might have more than a passing resemblance to my hometown. Every day I walk on the path that runs along the beach, sometimes with my sisters, but most often with my thoughts as I plot my next book.
I am long married and mom to three great grown kids. When I’m not writing or walking on the beach, you’ll find me sewing, reading or traveling and taking pictures.
This past year I authored my first fiction series, The Witches Of New Moon Beach. Like all new authors, I was totally excited to share what I had written and couldn’t wait to see my books posted up on Amazon. I had such a blast writing the series and had fallen in love with both my characters and my newly created beach city. I felt confident that my book covers were strong and that I had a solid plan for marketing each of the three (now four) books in the series.
Unfortunately for me, I let my excitement to share override my common sense. Sure, I had checked and rechecked for spelling errors and I even had three different people read my first book. I knew that there were individuals out there that you could pay to edit your books, check for typos, misused words or grammatical errors. But since I hadn’t yet made a dime I was resistant to spend money on the above mentioned even though in the back of my mind, I had a pressing fear that I might just have missed something. Grammar is just not my thing!
And so I proudly posted my first book for all to see and was immediately bitten in the butt by reviewers. Yes, there were a few kind comments, but then the bite came as I read “the grammatical errors were sometimes humorous” and “the book is filled with typos that simple editing could rectify.” One reader said I wrote like a teenager. Ouch!
How had this happened? I had done more than simple editing. What had I missed? I immediately took the book down and got some help. I repeatedly read the book back to front searching for errors. I tried out several editing software packages before purchasing Ginger and I ran book one past a high school English grammar teacher who I respected. I agonized before putting it back up. But the cleaning apparently worked since 73% of my reviews from then on were 4’s and 5’s and I’ve not been hit with negative remarks on spelling or typos again.
Let me say this clearly, I deserved to be bitten in the butt for posting a book with internal errors. I own this and boy did that hurt! I’m sure that I lost more than a few readers who were disappointed by my poor editing skills and either didn’t finish reading book one or never ventured toward purchasing books 2, 3 or 4. I’m saddened that they never got a chance to get to know my characters or to experience the magic within the pages.
Skip forward to my 5th book which will be out in early February 2017. I have spell checked it repeatedly, used my Ginger software for grammatical screening and had two different people read it for possible errors. However, this time, I’m also going to spend a few bucks to have a professional edit my book. Why? Because I can still remember how badly I felt when reading those negative reviews; reviews that I had earned. There is nothing worse than being disappointed in yourself.
I also learned something very important. It’s hard to see your own errors after you have lived with a story from birth to finish. I guess that I read right past mistakes more than once. My brain read the word site when I had actually spelled it sight. And semicolons took the place of far too many commas. I even failed to capitalize a word or two clearly by reading too quickly through the story.
In the end, I survived. Painful though it was, I learned a great deal from this experience. My counsel to you? Protect your butt – take your time, do your homework and then consider getting some professional help.
My best wishes to you as you successfully share your future stories with the world!
The one thing I know, after all my years as an elementary school principal, is that there is magic everywhere and in everyone. When I retired after 35 years in education, I longed to share all that I had learned and created several parenting books on topics from bullying to homework strategies. While I miss those enchanting moments with children and their parents, I always wanted to let my imagination run wild as I sought out my own magic and wrote about it. In short, I was lured into the world of fiction writing where I soon created my first series, The Witches of New Moon Beach. The first book, Morning Magic is currently FREE.