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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Mardi Gras Season in Mobile

cj Sez: It’s Mardi Gras season in Mobile, AL, and the Mobile Writers Guild has launched a new anthology . . . 

"Everyone from Mobile, Alabama, has a Mardi Gras story. In this second installment of the Mobile Writers Guild Pieces anthology series, the guild members share their stories—some true and some fictional, some funny, some touching, and some downright chilling. So don your beads and deck yourself out in purple, gold, and green, grab a Moon Pie and relax while you experience a little bit of the Mobile Mardi Gras tradition."

   Kindle version is now available. Paperback coming soon.

Now here’s my Mardi Gras story:  “A Transplanted Yankee’s Unfortunate Mardi Gras Faux Pas.”

   I booked the writing room at The Haunted Bookshop Saturday morning (Feb. 23) and was thrilled when I found a free parking space just around the corner from the store. I happily spent almost two hours working on story outlines. 

   Just before noon I thought, “I can leave now,” but instead I hung around looking at all the reference books on the shelves. I left the Bookshop at 12:30, very proud of myself for being so successful in my attempts at outlining—I am historically a pathfinder when I write. But, gasp, when I turned the street corner, my minivan was nowhere in sight.

   Seems a Mardi Gras parade was scheduled to roll down that street at 2 p.m., and the parking spaces had to be cleared two hours before it began.

   I explained to a friendly, motorcycle police officer (looking handsome in his uniform astride that Harley) that I had apparently overstayed my welcome at the parking space and wondered if he knew where my van was. He said it had been towed to a temporary impound lot, but then he couldn’t pinpoint exactly where on the documents he was carrying. Finally another motorcycle cop rumbled up (I do love the sound of a Harley) and pointed. My vehicle was, “That way. Just go straight. You can’t miss it.” I spent the next twenty or so minutes weaving through increasing crowds and around barriers as I walked 80,467 centimeters “That way.”

   I paid $125 to be reunited with my vehicle. So much for free parking. I guess I should have taken the time to squint at and read the yellow paper sign that was fluttering under the big sign listing the parking hours.

   In the seventeen years I’ve lived in Mobile, I’ve never been to a Mardi Gras parade. I’m quite sure I won’t be catching any Moon Pies or beads in the future either. Sigh.

   By the by, in case you didn’t know, Mardi Gras, the actual day, also known as Shrove Tuesday, is March 5 in 2019. The parades in Mobile, however—each of which has a story—start in January.
Upcoming book launches by authors I know, and available for preorder now:

BONE-A-FIED TROUBLE  March 4, 2019…Familiar Legacy Book 9

   CATS, COTTON, AND…MURDER—The worlds of Sarah Booth Delaney’s Zinnia, Mississippi and Trouble, the black cat detective, collide in this fast-paced tale of high stakes cotton research, abduction, and murder.

   Trouble, the Sherlockian feline, falls in with Pluto, another cat with a yin for detective work.

FORTITUDE  March 5, 2019…A re-launch of a lovely story with a spectacular new cover.

   Fortitude will see you through the darkest times— It was in April 1898 when I, Claire O'Farrell, made a decision that ultimately changed my life forever.

I had never been one to follow society’s “rules”. 

FORTITUDE’s publisher, Bienvenue Press, is hosting a Facebook pre-launch party Feb 24 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Stop by Bienvenue Press Readers and Writers and join the party! I’ll be chatting online from 2 to 3 p.m.
In last week’s post, I mentioned literary estates/executors. I found helpful information here:

   That’s it for today’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

   See you next week?

P.S. Eighty thousand centimeters seems so much more impressive than half a mile.

5-Star Review:  "Tight writing with a plot that flows like a river channeled through high cliffs." Carolyn Haines, Alabama's 2010 Distinguished Writer of the Year.

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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Tidbits of info

cj Sez: I had been diligently gathering and organizing my tax information to hand off to my CPA then . . .

I got an email that she wasn’t going to do personal returns this year. Aaargh.  Now to find a new tax preparer.

   Speaking of taxes, as an author with several published pieces, I’m thinking I need to establish a literary trust—probably should have acted on that thought a long time ago. Those intellectual property rights will outlive me, and I can’t expect my heirs to know how to handle them. Unfortunately finding an attorney who understands that document is not a slam dunk. As a former civil court clerk, I thought, "If I can find an example, maybe I can do this myself."

   A search on Amazon for author estate planning books turns up only a couple specifically aimed at authors. Fortunately neither one is very expensive. I may not be able to produce the legal document myself, but a book is a start, and I'll have an idea of what to expect if I can find an attorney.

Registration for the 2019 Writers' Police Academy's MurderCon opens Sunday, Feb. 24, at noon EST.

   According to the sponsors, “The 2019 WPA is a special event, one unlike anything we’ve presented in the past.”  

   This one will be a four-day, hands-on exploration of forensic tools and techniques used to solve crimes and is being held Aug. 1-4 in Raleigh, NC. 
   This piece of crime detecting information from veteran police investigator and Writers’ Police Academy founder Lee Lofland: Unless you’re writing historical fiction, the heroes of your stories cannot detect the odor of cordite upon entering the scene of a shooting. This is so because cordite manufacturing ceased at the end of WWII! It’s not used in modern ammunition.”

   NYT best- selling author Heather Graham will be the final judge for the WPA’s 2019 Golden Donut 200-hundred-word Short Story Contest. 

   If attending this conference piques your interest, you probably shouldn’t procrastinate about registering on the 24 th  because space/slots are limited. Read more here:  
In my Feb 3 post, I made a pitiable error when announcing the deadline for the Kerouac Project— it should have read ONLY ONE MORE MONTH. Here’s the correct information:  Applications for the 2019-2020 writer-in-residence positions may be submitted from Tuesday, January 1, 2019, to Sunday, March 10, 2019. Results will be announced in late May 2019.
   That’s it for this week’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

5-Star Review:  “From front to back this action-packed mystery kept me guessing about what could possibly happen next to make Mirabel's predicament any more complex. Her practical scientific mind stayed in constant contradiction with her impractical attraction to her ex-husband which added a genuine human aspect. CJ Petterson's broad knowledge of astronomy, airplanes, law enforcement, espionage and peoples' psychological foibles brings this book to life. I could see, smell, and almost touch each character as they interacted with emotions ranging from greed to love. As one who is usually successful in guessing the ending in mysteries, I failed with this one.”

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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Did you know?

cj Sez:  From the department of “did you know” comes these tidbits...

   January 1, 2019 was “Public Domain Day” in the United States. And what does that mean for writers? Well, here’s what a guest on Jane Friedman’s blog said: “It is kind of a big deal that on January 1, 2019, the copyrights of many works originally ‘copyrighted’ in 1923 entered the public domain—meaning that the copyright owners’ ability to enforce their Section 106 exclusive rights has expired.”

   Some of the works now in the public domain include Agatha Christie’s “The Murder on the Links” and Alexandre Dumas’s “The Three Musketeers.” You can quote from them pretty much without fear of being sued for copyright infringement, and the change doesn’t apply just to novels. Read more about how this came to be on Jane Friedman’s blog here:
   The Agatha Award nominees for 2018 publications have been announced.

Best Contemporary Novel
Mardi Gras Murder by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
Beyond the Truth by Bruce Robert Coffin (Witness Impulse)
Cry Wolf by Annette Dashofy (Henery Press)
Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge)

Best Historical Novel  
Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
The Gold Pawn by LA Chandlar (Kensington)
The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)
Turning the Tide by Edith Maxwell (Midnight Ink)
Murder on Union Square by Victoria Thompson (Berkley)

Best First Novel
A Ladies Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman (Kensington)
Little Comfort by Edwin Hill (Kensington)
What Doesn't Kill You by Aimee Hix (Midnight Ink)
Deadly Solution by Keenan Powell (Level Best Books)
Curses Boiled Again by Shari Randall (St. Martin's)

Best Short Story
"All God's Sparrows" by Leslie Budewitz (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
"A Postcard for the Dead" by Susanna Calkins in Florida Happens (Three Rooms Press)
"Bug Appetit" by Barb Goffman (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
"The Case of the Vanishing Professor" by Tara Laskowski (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
"English 398: Fiction Workshop" by Art Taylor (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)

Best Young Adult Mystery
Potion Problems (Just Add Magic) by Cindy Callaghan (Aladdin)
Winterhouse by Ben Guterson (Henry Holt)
A Side of Sabotage by C.M. Surrisi (Carolrhoda Books)

Best Nonfiction
Mastering Plot Twists by Jane Cleland (Writer's Digest Books)
Writing the Cozy Mystery by Nancy J Cohen (Orange Grove Press)
Conan Doyle for the Defense by Margalit Fox (Random House)
Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life by Laura Thompson (Pegasus Books)
Wicked Women of Ohio by Jane Ann Turzillo (History Press)

The Agatha Awards will be presented on May 4, 2019 during Malice Domestic 31.   
Congratulations to all of the nominees!
The Familiar Legacy Series launched book 8 in the series of 9. . .

  When heartbroken Annabel Wilder seeks an unlikely diversion in treasure hunting and becomes the owner of abandoned storage unit, she discovers she’s made a down payment on danger.       Protecting her becomes a job for Sheriff Ethan Ferris and the Sherlockian skills of a mysterious black cat.

   The ingenuous cat sleuth with the British accent is also the subject of an anthology THE TROUBLE WITH CUPID.
  Currently free on Kindle Unlimited, it’s purrfect for Valentine’s Day…and a year-round fun read. 
   All proceeds from the sale of THE TROUBLE WITH CUPID are donated to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.  

That’s it for this week’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.


PS:  Happy birthday to my first-born, Mark.

5-Star Review:  “Fast-paced suspense with a full order of twists and complexities to keep the readers on their toes. cj petterson’s prose is tight, never wasting a word in her descriptions, yet painting a lush landscape. Don’t be fooled by the cover. Yes, there’s romance and you’ll agonize with the protagonist, Bryn, as she makes decisions impacting her personal life. But you’ll always have one eye out for the eco-terrorists on the horizon. And when you start that raft trip into the canyon, stay alert. cj petterson’s characters are three-dimensional, her plot intricate, her location vividly detailed. And you never doubt her expertise on rafting, explosives, law enforcement, or psychology.”

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Sunday, February 3, 2019

A good day to pay it forward

cj Sez: Yep, today is a good day to pay it forward… 
   Mobile area readers and writers, mark your calendars for this one-day FREE conference:

   Browse the shelves of Mobile's beautiful Ben May Library, sit in on workshops, and meet local authors who'll also be available to sign their books. I'll be moderating a panel and hope to see you there. 

   Authors everywhere: 
ONLY ONE MORE WEEK . . . Sunday March 10 is the deadline to apply for one of the upcoming Kerouac Project writers-in-residence slots. Each residency is an approximately three-month-long stay at a cottage in Orlando, Florida, to write your novel.

   Applications are being accepted for:
Fall residency:  September 1 to November 21, 2019
Winter residency:  December 1, 2019 to February 20, 2020
Spring residency:  March 1 to May 22, 2020
Summer residency:  June 1 to August 21, 2020

   For more info, check out this site
To apply, visit the Kerouac Project website  (If the link is broken try this:  )

   And this from The Mad Catters announcing the launch of Book 8 in their Familiar Legacy Series:

   “Did I mention that Trouble's latest adventure, TROUBLE'S WEDDING CAPER, by Jen Talty, is available Feb. 4th? Perfect timing for Valentine's Day."

  Find the rest of the series here: 


  That’s it for this week’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

I loved the way each chapter ended with a big “omigosh” moment that made it hard to put it down, just because I needed to find out what happens next. I suppose that’s the essence of suspense. Her style reminded me of Dan Brown, since he similarly keeps those chapter-to-chapter hooks going.
She obviously did a lot of research in several diverse fields to keep the details so wonderfully specific and accurate relative to weaponry, aeronautics, biology, astronomy, Japanese, and various secret government agencies and programs. Very impressive.
Great job!  I can’t wait to see her next one.

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