Maid for Murder by Susette Williams

Genre:  Mystery, Suspense

Format: ebook, paperback

Buy:  Maid for Murder: Deadly Business (Trilogy Book 1) (Maid for Murder (Trilogy))

Bailey inherits her grandfather’s business, Maid For You, but cleaning up dead body parts wasn’t part of the job description. Bailey hopes to wipe out crime with the help of Nate, her computer hacker assistant, despite protests of their involvement in the case from Detective Max Wellington.

When Bailey catches the culprits arranging to dispose of another body, she’s out to help the two of them dig their own grave and if she’s lucky, Detective Max Wellington will keep them from arranging her funeral.

Maid for Murder is a trilogy that begins with Deadly Business. The story continues throughout the trilogy as Bailey uncovers deception, corruption and a few secrets that may forever change her life. As the threads of deceit unravel, the murders begin to break out like a case of Bubonic Plague.

Bailey is a Christian, struggling to keep on the path she knows is right, fighting the temptation of the hunky Detective Max Wellington who would like nothing more than to take her into protective custody, for more than just interfering in police business.

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1. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I have written numerous books. However, currently I have published only seven of them. I love to write in various genres. I would say my favorite would be Maid for Murder: Deadly Business.

I love to make people laugh, whether it is at me, or with me. I once read a book that was so hard to read because I was embarrassed for the heroine. If it had not been for the removal of an article of the heroines clothing, I would have told EVERYBODY about that book. Instead, I threw it away and decided that one day I wanted to write a story that had a similar affect on readers, one they would feel safe in referring to family and friends. That intention produced Maid for Murder: Deadly Business. And to be honest, I didn’t totally achieve as zany of a character as I was shooting for, so I’ll have to keep on trying with another book in the future!

2. What project are you working on now?

I am plotting the last two novellas in my Seasons of the Heart novella series. While traditional publishers told me this series was very creative, they don’t publish novella collections by ‘unknown’ authors. I never gave up hope for this series and finally decided to publish it myself.

3. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

When I started writing Maid for Murder: Deadly Business, I hadn’t realized it related to a situation we were going through with one of our children. While the Bible speaks of not being unequally yoked, it is a concept ‘the world’ does not understand. Therefore, I have gotten some negative reviews. Non-Christians usually do not understand Christian principals. I did have a couple Christians comment on Bailey’s behavior, but the reality is, Christians are not perfect people. Bailey has gotten out of church, but her upbringing is the thread that holds her accountable and keeps her from totally slipping and giving into the temptations she faces.

She’s very attracted to Detective Max Wellington. Non-Christians don’t understand that a Christian can usually talk to a person and tell that they are not a Christian, and so they are critical of Bailey judging Max without asking his stance. There is one scene where she gives into temptation and returns his kiss, and he tries to undo her bra. She pushes him away and says, “You don’t get it, do you.” That is exactly one of the reasons she can’t be in a relationship with him. She would compromise her beliefs. I want women, any age, to be able to see that it is okay to say no. You don’t have to give into temptation. Bailey learned from her brother’s failed marriage that if someone starts going to church just to go out with you, they haven’t become a Christian for the right reason and chances are, your relationship or marriage will fail!

I have seen this happen numerous times to people I have known. Then when our own daughter dated a very nice young man, that wasn’t a Christian, she knew she would never have our blessing to marry him. A reader who reviewed this book on Amazon suggested that I needed to meet more non-Christians. I had to laugh about that comment. The reality is, non-Christians do not understand Christian principals because they don’t read the Bible or apply God’s Word to their lives. ‘Good’ will never be good enough without God!

My husband always tells people, “Don’t marry the person you can live with. Marry the person you can’t live without.” And I tell our children, “Consider things with your head before your heart follows and you have a better chance of avoiding heartache in the future.” As a parent, you want to spare your children pain, be it physical or emotional. We want them to succeed in life, in relationships and in marriage.

4. What is the most challenging part of being an indie author? The most rewarding?

Learning everything there is to learn in order to be successful! Not only do you have to keep writing books, you have to learn how to market and promote your book. With all the social media out there, it can be overwhelming at times trying to learn all the ends and outs of these sites, learn the benefits of each site, and figure out how to network utilizing all of these sites. What sites? GoodReads, FaceBook, TweetDeck, HootSuite, Gremln, Pinterest, Triberr and the list goes on! It can be challenging finding a balance between finding writing time, research for books, research for marketing and doing the actual marketing which takes more time than a lot of people realize if you want to be successful.

For me, the most rewarding is having one of your stories touch a person or speak to them. A woman read one of my stories that has not been published yet, and she thought it was profound when she read the part about the heroine’s mother making her attend church when she was pregnant out of wedlock. The heroine’s mother told her if she repented, then she should go. That God forgives and so should everyone else. The woman who read my story had a teenage daughter who became pregnant out of wedlock a year or so later, she still attended church through her pregnancy.

Some sins may be more evident than others, and people sometimes forget that we all need God, no matter where we are in our walk with Him. God forgives all sin, no matter if they are sins others may not see or know about, or the sins people know about because of the repercussions of that sin.

5. Who designed the covers?

My sixteen-year-old son is extremely talented and artistic. If he does not know how to do something, he will watch You Tube tutorials until he figures it out. He has done several of my book covers or helped me to do some of them since I am far from being as talented as he is.

6. As an indie author, what would you say to a potential reader who has never read anything from an indie author?

Don’t be afraid to read a book by an Indie Author. You can often read a sample of the book on Amazon’s Look Inside feature. Several Indie Authors, like me, have been published with traditional publishers as well. One of the reasons I decided to publish my own work was seeing my first royalty statement and realizing I only made $.07 per book that sold! Publishers do not give authors a marketing budget. It didn’t take long to realize I was severely limited with what I could do to market my book. If I mailed out one piece of advertisement, it would take selling SEVEN books to pay for ONE stamp! That didn’t include the cost of the literature you were going to mail either! It is highly unlikely that one mailing advertisement will even bring in one sale, much less seven or more so that you even make a profit. That meant finding other marketing alternatives and when you have no control over the price of your book, or whether or not it lowered to promote a sale, you are extremely limited and literally working for pennies on the dollar! I figured if I was going to do the majority of the marketing myself, I might as well make a higher commission!

 

Susette Williams

Susette Williams is a Best Selling Author. She loves writing various genres, both for children and adults. She usually can’t resist the urge to let her ornery sense of humor shine through in one of her characters and has always believed that laughter helps you deal with the obstacles life puts in your way.

Susette and her husband have six wonderful children, all with intriguing and different personalities, like the characters she creates in her novels.

Visit Susette at her website:  www.susettewilliams.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Neurotically Yours by Bonnie Trachtenberg

Genre:  Romantic Comedy

Format: ebook, Paperback

Buy:  Neurotically Yours: A Novel

Smart, attractive, and ambitious, thirty-seven-year-old Dara Harrison is, nonetheless, still single–and on sabbatical from dating. Ironically Los Angeles’ most renowned relationship advice columnist, Dara has become a Southland sensation with her “tell-it-like-it-is” approach to the mating game.

Parlaying her success into a new business, Dara launches a revolutionary dating service geared for the perennially single and romantically challenged. Its no-holds-barred theme soon makes the company a roaring success, even catapulting Dara onto the national talk show scene–until, of course, it all backfires.

With her company under threat and a publicity stunt gone haywire, Dara is forced to join the ranks of her lonely heart clientele, and suddenly realizes that saving the business she cherishes, means facing her lifelong fears–and maybe even falling in love again.

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Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to an author friend of mine, Bonnie Trachtenberg.  I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Bonnie better over the past seven months in an online group.  Welcome Bonnie!

1.  What inspired you to write a story about a 37 year old (on a dating hiatus) who opens a dating service?  It sounds very intriguing and ripe with conflict!

Well, I spent two decades out on the dating scene until I finally met my husband, Mitchell, so if anyone knows what dating hell is, it’s me! I’ve taken a few dating hiatuses in my life and so I know what can cause a person to need one. In fact, I had such a wealth of crazy dating stories bottled up inside my head (from myself and from friends) that I knew I’d have to detail them in a book someday. Neurotically Yours is the perfect venue, a romantic comedy about perennially single people still looking for love. The dating service idea was born out of my own frustration in wanting to weed out all the Mr. Wrongs in my life without having to waste precious time. My protagonist, Dara, takes this idea to a bit of an extreme, though, which of course takes the story into very intriguing territory!

2.  Was there a reason why you chose to write about someone in their late 30’s?

Yes. I believe that it’s around that time that a woman who is still single (and doesn’t really want to be) has to come face to face with who she is and why her life is where it is. When you are approaching forty, it’s easy to go into panic mode. Until that time, I think it’s easy to get caught up in the whole dating whirlwind and not feel the need to examine your life too seriously yet.

3.  Do you find it easy or difficult to write humor?

For some reason I find it very easy. I think it’s because my mind works that way on a normal, daily basis. I’m always reaching back in my mind for the funny line in hopes of making my family and friends laugh. Life can be too tough to take otherwise. I think levity is a survival technique. Many of the people I’ve admired most in life are the ones who can make me laugh, so I think I aspire to do the same for others.

4.  Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I think the underlying message in Neurotically Yours is to not let past wrongs done to you destroy your happiness. It’s more important to appreciate the love that surrounds you every day, and always keep your heart open to it.

5.  Is anything in this book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

As I mentioned above, many of the things in the book are anecdotes from my life. I did no outside research (other than conversations with friends). The story is fully from my own experiences (and some of theirs) as well as my own, obviously vivid imagination. However, I took things to a “what if” level, delving into the conflict and hilarity that might ensue.

6.  What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I don’t know if I have a favorite chapter, but my favorite part to write were the dialogues between the book’s three main characters. I think dialogue and character development are my strong suits, and I love sitting down and hearing their witty banter flow while I transfer it onto the page.

7.  What is the most challenging part of being an indie author?  What’s the most rewarding?

The most challenging part is the sheer number of hours that an indie author needs to spend marketing their book. (Although traditionally published authors are finding they need to put in the hours too, as traditional publishers will usually not help on that front). I could work at my computer every week, 24/7, and still find plenty of marketing left to do. There’s only so much time a person has in their life to actually live it, and it’s easy to let social marketing eat up much of that time. I also don’t feel I have a head for business, so I’m grateful for the advice from other indie authors and from my husband who is a very smart entrepreneur.

The most rewarding part of being an indie author is keeping complete artistic and monetary control over your book! There’s a lot to be said for not being at the mercy of publishers. You don’t know how many books you’ve sold with them until many months later, and you cannot control your price or what is done with your book to help market it. When you are a true indie (not dealing with a POD publisher either) you can make those decisions yourself. And quite frankly, if I’m doing all the marketing myself, why should I give a large percentage of my hard earned dollars to a publisher? I love being indie and intend on staying that way.

8.  Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I’d like to say thank you for buying my books! I hope you really enjoy them and I’d love to hear from you. I can be contacted on my website, where you’ll also find lots more information on me and my work. I also hope you’ll check out my relationship advice column In Search of a Happy Ending: http://loveahappyending.com/editor-bonnie-trachtenberg/

 

Bonnie TrachtenbergBonnie Trachtenberg is the award-winning, bestselling author of Wedlocked: A Novel and Neurotically Yours: A Novel. She writes a monthly relationship and advice column for LoveaHappyEnding.com. Bonnie was senior writer and copy chief at Book-of-the-Month Club and has written seven children’s book adaptations. She has also written for three newspapers and penned countless magazine articles. She lives on Long Island with her husband, four cats and a dog.

Visit Bonnie at her website: http://www.BonnieTrachtenberg.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

The Red House: Almost A Memoir by Charmaine T. Davis

Genre:  Comedy

Format:  eBook

Buy:  The Red House: Almost A Memoir

Despite claims to the contrary, country living is not the carefree, uneventful existence it is often made out to be:

Country housing: “The Red House had roaches. Long, flat brown ones – with wings. We didn’t know they could fly until we were having supper one day.”

Country fashion: “If I stepped wide enough maybe the panty hose would stay up until I could get to the bathroom.”

Country entertainment: “Grab that skinny one in the corner. He oughta fly real good.”

Country relatives: “Watch yourself, boy! We still paying off your rabies shot.”

Country vacations: “You brought your own housing…and food and shampoo and towels and sheets.”

Country revivals: “We goan start promptly at seven o’clock, so be sure to take care of all your bodily needs and functions.”

Country shopping: “Don’t steal nothin and don’t sit on the toilet.”

Country dining at its best: “The day he mentioned stewed possum, Mama told him, “Don’t even think about puttin somethin that nasty in one of my pots. We may be broke but we ain’t that broke.”

Such is the revelation in The Red House: Almost A Memoir. Think rural life is nothing but hay fields and hayrides? Think again. As the main character’s daddy would say, “Ain’t no such stuff.”

Check it out for yourself!

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 Today, I’m excited to introduce you to Charmaine T. Davis and her book, The Red House: Almost A Memoir.  Thanks for joining us Charmaine!

1.  Tell us a little about The Red House: Almost A Memoir.

The Red House: Almost A Memoir is a family comedy taking place in the 1980s in the foothills of Virginia. The Douglases give up their modern house to live on the home place—a decrepit log cabin dressed in red tar paper. The house has no indoor plumbing, and trips to the spring for water and to the Johnny-house for relief, are a far cry from the central air and MTV other people in town enjoy. Gail, the ten-year old narrator, takes you back to her first year on the farm as a ten-year old girl. Flying chickens, run-ins with roaches, breakdowns in hooptys, crazy relatives and runaway mules are just some of the hilarious happenings in what is supposed to be a quiet life in the country.

2.  What inspired you to write this book?

I wrote the book when my husband out of sheer frustration, suggested it. After nineteen years, he was tired of hearing about the red house. That’s when I realized I needed a wider audience.

3.  Are there parts of the book at that are taken from your life or the life of someone you know?

The Red House is a mix of reality, fantasies, what-ifs and straight out lies stirred together to create a hilarious story celebrating countrified weirdness in America.

4.  What was your favorite part / chapter to write? Why?

The “Buddies” was the first chapter I wrote and I could barely get through a sentence without busting out in great guffaws and falling out of my chair. My husband, who shares an office with me, threatened to throw me out. “When My Daddy Goes to Church” is also a favorite of mine. But I have to say my all time favorite is “Big Top Madness” when Apostle Soothsayer and Brother Snooki head up a revival in Altavista, Virginia underneath a huge carnival tent. My favorite quote by Snooki is: “We goan start promptly at seven o’clock, so be sure to take care of all your bodily needs and functions.”

5.  What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I like to read when I am not writing. Gardening is another favorite activity of mine. I don’t have the proverbial green thumb, but I’m an optimistic girl and just keep buying new plants to kill. I also like teaching my children life’s truths. I do it in easy, digestible snippets so they are more likely to remember—“put that on a tissue,” “don’t put your lips on that,” and “@#$%^8” ß an unknown tongue when English escapes me because they have made me so mad.

6.  What is the most challenging part of being an indie author?  The most rewarding?

The most challenging part of being an indie author for me is the marketing and branding; trying to define myself and transfer that identity to the reading public. An indie author is not unlike a small business person—you are everything—marketer, publicist, accountant, secretary, web builder…on top of doing the job of writing.

The most rewarding aspect of being an indie author is the freedom to be myself, be as open in my faith as I want to be and have the freedom to work as little or as much as I desire. I also like the idea that as a writer, I only have to answer to my readers.

7.  When did you first start writing?  Why?

I started writing as soon as I became hooked on the Nancy Drew series. I didn’t stop reading the books until I was pregnant with my fourth son (I know it’s sad—I told you I was hooked). Nancy Drew was the girl I wanted to be. Even as young as I was I had the good sense to know that nobody could be that perfect. Reading the books made me realize I could dream and create someone larger and better than life and I could do so through writing.

8.  Do you have anything else you would like to share with readers?

I have several new projects in the works this year and I can’t wait to make them available for your reading pleasure. They are two women’s fiction, a love story and a middle grade speculative. Although these books are not comedies; they do have some humorous elements.

Thank you, Karen, for being a most gracious hostess and may you sell many books this year. Blessings.

Charmaine T. Davis

Charmaine T. Davis often frustrated her siblings and other playmates by scripting out how they would play, be it with Little People, Barbie dolls and even chores, earning her a reputation of being bossy. Only later in life did she learn to curb her tendency to “organize” people by focusing on writing where she could control setting, tone, plot, and characters. Little did she know that story people don’t like to be bossed around either. The Red House characters refused to be a pawn in her hand, making this unique story delightfully unpredictable.

Charmaine makes her home in central Virginia with her husband, Mark, and their seven children — including one little girl who thinks she is the family dog.

Visit Charmaine at her website:  http://www.charmainetdavis.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.