Mysterious Musings Blog

Posted in Book Reviews, Reading and Reviewing

Clearing the Course by Diane Weiner

It is no secret that I like Diane Weiner’s Sugarbury Falls series. It is my favorite of her two series. I have been remiss in posting this review. I finished the book as soon as it B1DEGTNeYKS._UY200_came out because of course, I wanted to be one of the first to review and then life got in the way. I want to apologize for this being so late.

I have grown to love the main characters in this series, Emily, Henry, and Maddy. They are likable and I think the adoption story resonates with many. Not only is this mystery set in the idyllic cozy town but it weaves a tale of a family secret buried which endangers the lives of the entire Fox family.

If I can’t connect with the characters in a mystery and I don’t begin to care about them as any series progresses then I lose interest. A reader will not lose interest in this series. If you haven’t read the first two books, A Deadly Course and Murder of Course then I urge you to buy the set. You won’t be disappointed. I have Clearing The Course five stars.

CLEARING THE COURSE

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The Fox family returns from Scotland to find Sugarbury Falls mourning the mysterious death of a young college student. When teenager Maddy’s friend Robby is accused of the murder, Emily and Henry try to clear his name. After all, they’d do anything to help their newly adopted daughter. The more they investigate, however, the less certain they are of Robby’s innocence. With a detour leading to a long-buried family secret, the path of the investigation is convoluted and dangerous. Can they clear the course and arrive at the truth, or is it too late?

 

ABOUT Diane Weiner

Diane Weiner is a veteran public school teacher and mother of four children. She has enjoyed reading for as long as she can remember. She has fond memories of reading Nancy Drew and Mary Higgins Clark on snowy weekend afternoons in upstate New York and yearned to write books that would bring that kind of enjoyment to her readers. Being an animal lover, she is a vegetarian and shares her home with two adorable cats. In her free time, she enjoys running, attending community theater productions, and spending time with her family (especially going to the mall with her teenage daughter and getting Dairy Queen afterward). Murder is Homework is the latest (book 9) in the Susan Wiles School House Mystery series and Clearing the Course (book 3) is the latest in her Sugarbury Falls series. A Deadly Course won an Eric Hoffer finalist award last year. Murder is Collegiate is currently on the shortlist for the Chanticleer Murder and Mayhem Mystery Award. Follow her at dianeweinerauthor.com or visit her Facebook page at dianeweinerauthor.com

Reviews are important so if you like this book leave a review on Amazon or wherever you bought the book.

Posted in Reading and Reviewing

Feeling stressed? Try not to multitask

My latest column

Sprinkled Notes

my mindMy column in the Albert Lea Tribune and the Courier Sentinel the week of November 8, 2018

I am a multitasker. It is a habit I need to break, but it comes so naturally. I do not know I am doing it. Multitasking got me in trouble the other night.

I told my friend Jane I would pick her up for a church event. Later in the afternoon, she and I, and another friend, Julie, were texting about the evening. At the same time, I was texting in another thread with an author friend, and I was also texting with my son. No, I didn’t mix up the texts between threads; I mixed up the texts between people on the same thread.

I thought Jane told me she would meet me at the event. But it was Julie who was driving herself. I saw the J and went with that…

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Posted in Reading and Reviewing

Check Out Ten Minnesota Authors

Sprinkled Notes by Julie Seedorf

Published in the Albert Lea Tribune and Courier Sentinel the week of October 18, 2018

One of the blessings of writing this column and being an author is meeting my readers. This past weekend I was at the Deep Valley Book Festival in Mankato. I met some fabulous authors and interesting people. This coming weekend the big book event is in Albert Lea.

Sweet Reads Book Store in Austin is sponsoring a book event with 10 southern Minnesota authors at the Interchange Coffee House in Albert Lea on Saturday, and I am one of them.

Small, independent bookstores are making their comeback in our society today, and Sweet Reads is very supportive of local authors. Besides myself, Sherrie Hansen, Sean Williams, Benet Stoen, Judi Bergen, Chris Norbury, Margaret Smolik, Jeffo Oilman, Lydia Emma Niebuhr, and Karl Shaper will be in attendance.

Not only will we be displaying and selling our books, but we will also be on the authoring stage for 20 minutes apiece explaining our various genres and talking about our writing. I get to start off the morning at 10 a.m. and it will be cozy, meaning cozy mysteries. Do you know what they are? I didn’t until I wrote one and was accepted by a cozy publisher, Cozy Cat Press. I was amazed to find out it is a popular category in the fiction world.

Maybe you have heard of us, or maybe these names are new to you. My problem with attending a book event is that I want to buy all of the books. Did I mention I tingle when I am in a bookstore or library? We all know about the New York Times best-selling authors and those from large publishing companies whose names and books are advertised in every magazine and online by their publishing companies. We always tend to gravitate toward these books because we feel they must be the best because we see them front and center constantly in the media.

I encourage you to read authors you have never heard of. I find by taking a chance on an unknown author, I read some of the best literature and novels. The difference between these authors not being recognized is because small publishing companies do not have the capital to advertise, and independent authors also do not have the means of promoting their books because of lack of ways for exposure. It’s work to get your name and book out there. Big stores like Barnes & Noble do not always carry small publishers or independent authors’ books because of return policies. Small publishing houses cannot meet their requirements or they would be out of business. Always ask if you can’t find the book, because they can be ordered from the store on an individual basis.

There are many books by unknown authors that are not on the New York Times best-selling list or have not won any awards but are award-winning reads in readers’ minds. What many do not know is the costs involved for a book to be considered for an award — again, small publishing houses and authors do not have the money to enter their book for the prestigious awards. The same can be said for reviews by esteemed reviewers such as Kirkus reviews. It can cost an author $425 for them to review your book. It may pay off in the end, but many independent authors and small publishing houses, again, can’t afford the cost.

What I am saying is to not write off an author or a book because you don’t see that award sticker or prestigious review on the book. Instead, read online reviews of the book by readers or talk to the author or take a chance on one book —  you may want to buy the next.

Anyone can publish a book these days, and there are those clinkers out there which are badly edited and loosely put together, but I always feel they do not have the support in a good editor — because editors, too, are expensive. But these authors had a dream and their dream has been realized — to see their book in print.

I will never be in the category of William Kent Krueger or Allan Eskens. There is a difference between a great author and a good author. I will put myself realistically in the good author category because some people do like my books. I will never win any awards, as I don’t try for any, but I have been in the top 100 Amazon Cozies with my books and I have been No. 1 occasionally when my new books come out. That is enough for me.

The best reward for my writing is to meet my readers, get to know them and see what they enjoy reading. Their lives count and so do their stories. Every person has a story in their lives. It may yet be written.

Come down on Saturday to Sweet Reads and meet the authors, share your stories and let us get to know who and how we influence your lives. The event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Interchange. Visit for a short time or stay for the day.

“Authors by the hundreds can tell you stories by the thousands of those rejection slips before they found a publisher who was willing to gamble on an unknown.” — Zig Ziglar

Take a gamble on an unknown

Posted in Reading and Reviewing

Digital is the Name, More Markets is My Game!

granny_hooks_a_crook_4Just in case you are interested Granny Hooks A Crook is now available in e-book in more digital stores. Here’s the link. https://books2read.com/u/4Eya0e It is also available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Granny-Hooks-Crook-Fuchsia-Minnesota-ebook/dp/B00DVL2CVU 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Mystery Lovers Mega Sale

Imagine that an author (mystery author) put out a call for her fellow authors to join her in a multi-author promo. Imagine that same author’s surprise when dozens of her author friends responded. Now imagine what that large group of mystery authors could do if they worked together.

Well, you don’t have to imagine anymore because those dozens of authors have put together the Mystery Lovers’ Mega Sale with over 100 FREE & 99 cent mysteries for mystery fans.

Check it out here: http://writeravamallory.wixsite.com/avamallory/mystery-lovers-mega-sale

If you like cozy mysteries, we have something for you.

If you’re a fan of paranormal mysteries, we have something for you.

If you love romance mysteries, we have something for you.

If you love women sleuths, meddling octogenarians, nosy neighbors, curious snoops, or anyone who can’t help but want to dig for clues, we have something for you.

Go forth and shop or download your heart out. This weekend only! Sept. 7th – Sept. 9th.

Posted in giveaway, Reading and Reviewing

It’s Hard To Be An Author

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I always dreamed of becoming an author. It was one of those romantic dreams of a career that you think is never going to come true. I didn’t, and when it did I thought I still was in a dream but let me tell you though I love what I do there, is nothing romantic about it.

Being an author is hard work for little pay unless of course you are one of the big names such as Catherine Coulter, John Patterson — who put in years of sweat equity to get them where they are today.

I was lucky and was offered a contract with Cozy Cat Press in 2012 for my first book, Granny Hooks a Crook. Since then I have published four more books File Mar 03, 7 57 13 AMwith this publishing company and I have also branched out into the independent publishing world with my two other series, The Brilliant Minnesota Series and The Granny Is In Trouble Series. The Fuchsia Series and the Brilliant Series are for adults and the Granny Is In Trouble Series is for kids and those adults young at heart.

Since I was blessed and kind of fell into this I had no idea about editing, promoting and how to keep my readers happy. It was learn-as-you-go with a lot of help from other authors and mentors. I have enjoyed the ride.

No, I am not telling you I am wrapping up my writing, just the opposite. I am finishing the sixth book in the Fuchsia, MN Cozy Mysteries for Cozy Cat Press and then I will work on the Brilliant Series. I have started another series totally different from these two ones, though it will have some humor it will be more down to earth. I haven’t named it but right now I am calling it Angel just so I can recognize where I stored it. And I am working on a devotion book incorporating my watercolor into it.

However I am changing some of the ways I do things. At some point I have to relieve my stress of trying to do it all, which means writing, editing, promoting and having a life. Though I love Social Media it overwhelms at times. I love connecting with my readers so I hope they will hold on through the changes.

The publishing world has changed since I started in 2012. There are more self-published books out there. Authors, trying to get noticed are doing giveaway after giveaway, even gift cards, to attract readers to their books. Our e-books are either free during these times or prices at $.99. Though my books sell well I have to look at the use of my time and whether I value what I write and what I do, and I value my worth. I spin my wheels along with author friends on how to get our name out there and promote, and again it is overwhelming and I am not sure it works. I am tired. I want to write, create and paint and feel valued for my accomplishments rather than feeling the only way someone will buy my work is if it is free or on sale.

I am opting for trust in my readers, trust God will get me moving forward to be successful and opting for more peace in my life and my writing.

It takes me at least three to six months to write a book if I want to be picky, and make it have heart and humor. I can’t just churn out book after book without feeling I compromise what I write for the sake of expediency and sales. For some very talented authors this works. It isn’t me. It isn’t who I want to be.

When I started I looked at the way my author friends were writing and structuring their books and I was in awe. I tried to conform to the way they were doing it and I failed miserably and I wasn’t happy. It wasn’t me. We each have our own style and our own gifts and we need to be true to ourselves to write and reach others.

Where am I going with this long…long post? Today August 30 and August 31 all my Kindle e-books are $.99. The books, including the first one in the series will go up to regular price after that with occasional sales. I am going to eventually take all off of Kindle Select and go with wide with Kobo and other venues. I am branching out. It is a reality I have to make somewhat of a living from writing but I also live to write and so I am feeling a sensation of calm by making this decision. Can I live with you if I am homeless? LOL just kidding.

I value all of you who are reading my books. I value all of you who have told others and by word of mouth have sold my books. I hope you follow my blogs and my author pages as I will be connecting still through Social Media and occasional newsletters but I will be writing more and on Social Media less. It is time to take back my writing life and hope others value my work above $.99 and free giveaways and gift cards, although occasionally I will surprise you on my blog with some fun and a sale or giveaway.

Happy reading and don’t forget what is happening on my blog and Facebook page the next two days — Audiobook Giveaway and a Sale of my  e-books. Like Granny would say, “I can’t do it unless I do it and I make up my mind that silly and old makes me want to go bold. It’s bold and old so the story can be told.”

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Amazon Sale

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Go to the blog post before this one to enter.

 

 

 

Posted in giveaway, Releases

An Audiobook Giveaway and A Sale!

gpapFinally, I experienced the fun part of summer and I am getting back to work again. In the past few weeks the Audio book of Granny Pins A Pilferer has been released. Earlier I posted a little bit about my narrator and producer Beth Kesler. She is awesome and she interpreted my characters with finesse and humor. I even laughed when I listened.

This is what reviewer Vicki Mejia-Gewe  had to say about it: As with every book by Seedorf, Granny Pins a Pilferer is full of hilarity and silliness, making me laugh throughout the whole course of the book. The plot has plenty of creativity and excitement, with new twists throughout the whole thing. Beth Kesler as narrator helps to add to the delight of getting to listen to this book. I give the book five bright gold stars!

Now it is time for all of you to have some fun. I am giving away on this blog two copies of the audio book. I am also giving away two copies on my Facebook author page. Four copies and you might be the lucky winner. All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog or on my Facebook page stating the best thing about growing older. No NEGATIVE growing older comments. I challenge you to find something positive about getting older.

I will choose a random winner on Sept. 4. Feel free to share with your friends.

Here is a little example of the audio book. Enjoy and make sure you comment.

And… watch for the sale of all my Kindle books on August 30 – 31.

 

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Marvelous Guests, Reading and Reviewing, Releases

Meet My Narrator Beth Kesler

It’s almost here. Granny_Pins_A_Pilferer_jpeg (3)Granny Pins A Pilferer will be out in audiobook within the next week. I have a new narrator for my series. Priscilla Finch who did an outstanding job narrating my other books decided to take another way with her career and so that left me looking for someone new that could interpret my vision of my books. Enter narrator Beth Kesler. She brings a new flair to the series. You might note some of the characters take on a different flavor or tone as far as dialect and those will be written into the future series books. Up until now, we haven’t delved too far into some of the other characters in the books such as Lulu or Ditty Belle but in the future, you will learn more about them.

Now I would like you to meet Beth Kesler.

Beth-1Interview with Beth Kesler

Please tell me a little bit about Beth Kesler.

Although I’ve spent most of my life in Ohio, I’ve had many chances to broaden my worldview through travel: to China and South Korea as a student, to Australia on a job exchange, to Canada for culture, and most recently to Nigeria to visit friends.

How did you get into producing with ACX?

As a novice voice actor, it was a way to break into the audiobook narration scene without having to have the “credentials” one needs with big publishing companies.  As a matter of fact, I was officially on ACX only 24 hours before an author contacted me and asked me to narrate her series of three novels!  I didn’t even audition – she heard my demo and liked it enough to hire me.

What makes you decide to audition for someone’s book?

Would you think less of me if I say that I judge a book by its cover?  Anyhow, that’s where it starts.  I do read as much of the book as I can get my hands on to see if it sounds interesting, is well-written, and is something I could hear myself contributing to.

Is this your career or are you a master of many talents?

This is currently my career.  I do voice-overs of many kinds.  In addition to audiobooks, I do radio and TV ads, online videos, eLearning, public service announcements, award show announcements, telephony, and cartoon voicing.  Before I worked as a voice actor, I taught English as a second language for many years at two different Ohio universities.

You are producing and narrating Granny Pins A Pilferer for Julie Seedorf. What is the most difficult part of narrating this book? What was the most challenging?

The most difficult part for this book was trying to create not only the distinct voices for 29 characters but keeping them reasonably consistent throughout the novel.  In the final chapter, which lasts only three and a half minutes, there were 13 characters speaking!

How long have you been doing this?

I’ve been a full-time voice actor for four years.

What tweaks your creativity?

Well-written books make my job so much easier.  When I can get lost in a novel, I hear the characters’ voices in my head.  Then I just have to make them come out of my mouth!

Do you have something that tries to distract you when you are working such as a shyster or a furry creature? Or do you lock yourself away?

Yes, my furry distraction is named Bitsy!   IMG_0018She’s a 6-pound Yorkie and would be perfectly happy having me cuddle her and play ball with her all day long.  But she’s learned to be good when I’m recording, and naps on the small sofa in my studio.

Are we writers difficult to please?

No, not usually.  I had one author who was also a screen director, and he found it difficult not to direct my entire performance.  I must admit, that the direction he did give me was great!  Only once was I unable to work with an author.  She didn’t know what she wanted until she heard what I’d recorded, and then decided it was “all wrong”, and “couldn’t you just do that one more time?”  After 6 chapters like that, I suggested she find another narrator.  I hope she did – it was a clever book!

What advice would you give to those wanting to get into the field or to an author who is scared to try and look for a narrator for their book?

For narrators, listen to other audiobooks and learn from those who do it well and those who do it badly.  Then practice, practice, practice:  read aloud to your microphone, read to your family, volunteer to read to kids at the library.  Then get as much training as you can afford.  A professional coach is invaluable.

What are you working on now?

A young adult science fiction novel called 51l7jMKyhGLBaily Chatham and the Time Crystals by G.R. Zee.

 

 

 

I like to end my interviews with an author’s favorite quote. What is yours?

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  Philippians 4:13

 

Listen to my work at bethkesler.com

And you can find the Fuchsia Series Audiobooks and the first book of the Brilliant Cozy Mystery Series of mine at Audible and Amazon.

Comment on the post for a chance to win a free copy of the audiobook Granny Pins A Pilferer when it comes out on Audible, Amazon and Itunes.