Monday, January 16, 2017

Goodreads Giveaway for THE INHERITANCE

The publisher of my new romantic mystery
THE INHERITANCE is offering two print copies of the novel on a Goodreads giveaway. The offer is good from now
through January 31st. Here is the website info:


Here’s info about the novel so you can decide if it interests you:

This novel is a stand alone mystery that combines elements of the cozy with romance and suspense thriller. It’s available  as an e-book for all formats as well as in a print edition:
Also available from:
and:

Brief Synopsis:
Jennifer Stoddard, a thirty-five-year-old widow with an eight-year-old son, receives a surprising letter which will change her life. Jennifer’s grandmother has passed away and named Jen as sole heir to her estate. To claim her inheritance she must return to Bloomingvale, the town in the Midwest where she grew up. Jen is informed by her grandmother’s attorney that to inherit she must meet the condition of living in her grandmother’s house for two years. Since the estate is substantial, she agrees. However, there are those who will stop at nothing to make certain that Jennifer does not inherit. Jennifer is forced to call on old flame Police Chief Grant Coleman for help and protection.

Excerpt:

Late that afternoon as Jen left the house and started to drive away, a strange sound whizzed across the open front car windows from the driver’s side through the passenger side. She was startled by the sound. Her heart began to pound. Jen glanced over at the thicket of overgrown shrubs and trees to the side of the grounds that led back into woodlands. Had the sound been a bullet? If so, it had nearly hit her. Her hands shook on the driver’s wheel as she took off at high speed.
One block away she heard the police siren and saw the flashing lights. She groaned. Not again! He signaled with his hand, pointing his index finger for her to pull over. It was all she could do not to burst into tears.
Grant Coleman approached the car like a gunfighter in a spaghetti western. “I thought you learned something the first time,” he said. “Guess I was wrong. License and registration.” He held out his hand with a bored, impatient gesture.
“I have a very good reason for speeding.”
The smile was more of a smirk. The man was infuriating! “I’ve heard them all, but you can try.”
“As I left my grandmother’s house, a bullet passed through my car. I had the windows rolled down. So they weren’t broken, but it just missed hitting me.”
He stared at her. “Maybe it was a kid with a Beebe gun. Are you certain it was a bullet breezing by you? How familiar are you with weapons?”
“Not familiar at all, but I know what I heard.” Jen swallowed hard. “I think someone might have intended to shoot me.”
He let out a loud laugh. “In Bloomingvale? I doubt that very much.”
“So you’re not taking this seriously?” She folded her arms over her chest.
“Admit it. You’re just looking for an excuse to keep me from writing you another ticket.” His intense gray eyes bore into her like the steel blade of a dagger.
Jen raised her chin and stiffened her spine. “You are so wrong. Why don’t you check the area near the house, just to see if you can find anything.”
“Waste of time.” He leaned toward her and she felt his breath on her cheek which caused her to shiver. “Tell you what I will do though. I won’t write you a ticket this time because that’s the most creative excuse I’ve ever heard.”
“So glad I managed to amuse you,” she said.
Jen watched him drive off. He was probably still laughing, the sexy jerk. Several people had come out of their houses and were staring at her. Jen managed to restart her car and drove off before others gathered. She certainly didn’t want to make a spectacle of herself. Letting out a shaky breath, Jen wasn’t certain now if she’d really heard what she thought she had. A professional law enforcement officer didn’t think anything of it. She supposed it might have been nothing at all. Maybe it was a child with a Beebe gun as he suggested. But try as hard as she might, Jen couldn’t convince herself.

Comments welcome!





Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Beginnings: Starting the New Year Right

January 1st marks a new beginning and a fresh start. Yesterday, New Year’s Eve, I was feeling somewhat nostalgic. It was my mother’s birthday which we always celebrated with ice cream cake. In our family no birthday was complete without an ice cream cake. Although my parents are long deceased, I have good memories of those times. I finished reading a novel by Robyn Carr entitled THE LIFE SHE WANTS. Nothing like a good book to cheer flagging spirits!

Today I begin planning what I intend to do during the new year. A fresh start? 

First, as always, comes family needs and concerns.

Second, seeing to health matters.

After that I resolve to continue my writing. This I do faithfully beginning early each morning.

I will also continue to send my work out to various publishers and publications regardless of acceptances. Most writers meet with a lot more rejection than acceptance. In that respect, I am typical. But if writing is something you feel compelled to do—like me—than you work at it regardless.

One of my continuing resolutions is striving to improve the quality of my work. With that in mind, I pay attention to editorial and reader comments. The year 2016 was a relatively good one for work. Two of my novels were published: THE KILLING LAND by Five Star/Cengage, a hardcover Western romantic thriller, and
THE INHERITANCE by Intrigue Publishing, a romantic mystery. There were also quite a few short stories published  in a variety of genres.

I also intend to continue reading diverse books and writing reviews of those I truly enjoy.

I resolve to do more landscape painting.

I confess housework comes dead last—but it does and will get done, as does shopping and cooking. All life’s necessities.

I would like to do some traveling as well in this new year, go places I have never been before.


What are some of your plans or resolutions for the year ahead?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Reflections on Holiday Shopping 2016

Christmas and Chanukah will soon be here which brings a flurry of holiday shopping.


The where and how of holiday shopping plagues many of us. Nothing can quite compare with the yearly ritual of holiday shopping, which theoretically begins on the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday. However, in actuality it begins much earlier, of late right after Halloween. In fact, the way things are going, pretty soon the stores will start putting up tinsel on the 4th of July.

The frenetic pace of mall madness increases unabated throughout December. The shopping itself takes on such dimensions that with many people the material supercedes the spiritual aspect of the holidays.

But before the shopping can even begin, there is the business of finding parking at The Mall. Holiday shoppers know when they are nearing this location because traffic becomes as thick as an ant colony, and jockeying for position starts in earnest. Inevitably, a type "A" personality loses patience and aggressively pulls out on the shoulder of the road, speeds ahead, then forces his/her way into the regular stream of traffic. This individual manages to gain perhaps four or five car lengths to ultimately beat the traffic light, forcing other drivers to slam on their brakes and come to an abrupt halt. A cacophony of horns proceeds to announce the general agitation.

Arriving at the mall, one is treated to a breathtaking sight—an unending sea of automobiles. There is quite literally not a parking spot to spare. And so begins the art of cruising for a space. This can be compared to the choreography of a ballet. Automobiles pirouette and arabesque around the lot.

Inevitably, there is a car waiting in each aisle for someone to pull out. Often there are two vehicles set to swoop down like vultures. The poor driver who must pull out of the spot has a serious dilemma: which way to go? One or the other of the waiting drivers must be disappointed, only to drive off angrily, perhaps offering the middle finger salute. Definitely not showing proper holiday spirit! (More like the gunfight at Okay Corral)
Drivers keep cruising, ready to dive like kamikaze pilots when they find a likely target--barely avoiding fender benders--a holiday miracle in itself. No matter how many spaces exist, there are never enough.

Another technique involves following those who are leaving. Sometimes these shoppers are merely putting away their packages and return to the Mall for further exploration. Then there is the individual, fully aware someone is waiting for his/her parking spot, who decides this is a good time to sit and light up a cigarette, fiddle with the car radio, or begin a philosophical discussion on the meaning of life with someone they've conjured on a cell phone.

Most amazing of all are those who decide to grab the closest parking spot. I'm talking here about nabbing the spaces set aside for the handicapped. These artists fall into several categories. First are those who have no physical impediment whatsoever but park illegally because they don't want to continue cruising. We have no trouble spotting them as they run out when the police start ticketing. The second category: those who somehow obtained handicapped stickers yet can move like gazelles, either had some impediment but are over it and kept their stickers, or obtained them illegally in the first place. There seem to be a growing number of these talented artists who we may refer to as prima donnas.

With so many people claiming the right to place handicapped stickers in their automobiles, I am waiting for the time when non-handicapped signs will be issued instead.

After managing to obtain a parking spot and reaching the Promised Land of the Mall, we are greeted by a chorus of Hallelujah from the sound system. Unfortunately, by this time, we are almost too weary to shop.

When Christmas and Chanukah come and all the gifts are finally handed out, matters are not in the least resolved, as a good portion of those gifts will end up being returned soon after. (The heaviest shopping day of the entire year is December 26th) So just when we think our holiday shopping is finally done, it's only just begun!

Then there's the matter of re-gifting. That's the most bizarre ritual of all. This refers to presents that don't come with any clue as to where they were purchased. Even Sherlock Holmes would scratch his head in perplexity.

These are gifts that no one in their right mind would want to keep: purple plaid socks, perfume that would make a skunk turn up its tail in disgust. Well, you get the picture! So what does one do with such odious presents? Naturally, we save them and give them to those who have given us their re-gifts. You know you've gone full cycle when one of your re-gifts is gifted back to you.

So how do we avoid mall madness? More people than ever are turning to online shopping. I would like to suggest that books are excellent gifts to give. You don’t have to run around. You can make your selections in comfort. And you don’t have to spend your life savings. There’s a perfect book for everyone, whether a bestseller or something from an unknown author. There are a multitude of useful nonfiction titles: perhaps a cookbook, a book on home repairs, or history. Fiction provides many choices such as romance, mystery, or thriller.

Naturally I’m going to recommend several books that are current:

Smoking Pen Press has just published an anthology of mystery stories entitled: A BIT OF A TWIST as an e-book. It’s an inexpensive treat. I do happen to be included in this one with a story entitled “The Marriage Counselor.” You can check it out here:

                                     www.amazon.com/dp/B01N2UB8O7


Incidentally, this publisher has open calls for future anthologies. So fellow writers, check them out:


I will also mention that my new novel THE INHERITANCE from Intrigue Publishing  which is a stand alone romantic mystery is available in ALL e-book formats and print. Check it out:

Also available from:


What are your feelings regarding holiday shopping? Do you shop online or prefer to shop in person?  Do you give books as gifts? Do you consider books good gifts? What books would you like to recommend, either your own or those of others? Thoughts and comments most welcome!



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Perfect Presents for the Holidays: Sharing Reading Suggestions


The holidays are a great time to gift friends, family or you yourself with books to read. With people going on vacation, many individuals enjoy relaxing with a good book. And there certainly are a lot of them being published! You can find books to suit every age and taste whether fiction or nonfiction. Let’s share recommendations, whether it be your own work or that of others.

I have just finished reading a wonderful new collection of short stories entitled TO THE CITY, WITH LOVE by Steve Slavin. Usually short story collections are limited in size and scope. However, this compendium is well worth its price. It’s a very large collection divided into six parts and literary in nature. Many of the stories are character studies of the people who live and work in New York City. There is also much humor here as well as sensibility. The book is available both in print and as an ebook from all book sellers.

In addition, I’m going to recommend my own most recent book THE INHERITANCE, a romantic mystery with cozy elements from Intrigue Publishing.





There are also several recent publications that provide great holiday reads.

SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY MAGAZINE #21 published another of my stories, “Spirit of the Law,” which follows a young attorney and his graduate student assistant in solving a murder case:



These characters originally appear in my novella “Letter of the Law” for issue #19.

I have a short story in the new anthology BREWED AWAKENINGS 2 from Caffeinated Press.  My literary crime story is entitled “Our Neighbors Ourselves” and is one of twelve stories.



The holiday issue of NEW ZENITH MAGAZINE, available in both print and digital editions, is chock full of interesting articles for writers as well as holiday fiction which includes one of my new short stories.

Here’s how they describe themselves: “New Zenith Magazine is a quarterly short fiction, poetry, and visual art magazine. Within its pages you will find short stories of all genres, flash fiction, memorizing poetry, hilarious cartoons/comics, photography, illustrations, inspiring author interviews, articles on the topic of writing, provocative writing prompts and more.” 



Finally, my holiday reading gift to you is my latest mystery short story in OVER MY DEAD BODY! Entitled “Genesis,” the story is a free read online at:


Here is another gift for readers:

The editor of Mystery Weekly has provided a free version of one of my short stories:


Okay, now here’s your opportunity to share the books and publications you think will make for good holiday reading. Feel free to mention work you’ve recently had published if you’re an author. Readers, please mention books you have on your wish list and/or recently read and enjoyed.

Comments/suggestions are welcome here to share.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

New Release! THE INHERITANCE by Jacqueline Seewald

My latest novel, THE INHERITANCE, is published today by 
Intrigue Publishing, December 1. 2016! It’s been a long time coming and I’m delighted. Getting a book published is a lot like giving birth to a child. 

This novel is a stand alone mystery that combines elements of the cozy with romance and suspense. It’s available inexpensively as an e-book for all formats as well as in a print edition:
Also available from:
and:
 as well as many other booksellers.
Here is a little about the novel:
Jennifer Stoddard, a thirty-five-year-old widow with an eight-year-old son, receives a surprising letter which will change her life. Jennifer’s grandmother has passed away and named Jen as sole heir to her estate. To claim her inheritance she must return to Bloomingvale, the town in the Midwest where she grew up. Jen is informed by her grandmother’s attorney that to inherit she must meet the condition of living in her grandmother’s house for two years. Since the estate is substantial, she agrees. However, there are those who will stop at nothing to make certain that Jennifer does not inherit.
Excerpt:

Late that afternoon as Jen left the house and started to drive away, a strange sound whizzed across the open front car windows from the driver’s side through the passenger side. She was startled by the sound. Her heart began to pound. Jen glanced over at the thicket of overgrown shrubs and trees to the side of the grounds that led back into woodlands. Had the sound been a bullet? If so, it had nearly hit her. Her hands shook on the driver’s wheel as she took off at high speed.
One block away she heard the police siren and saw the flashing lights. She groaned. Not again! He signaled with his hand, pointing his index finger for her to pull over. It was all she could do not to burst into tears.
Grant Coleman approached the car like a gunfighter in a spaghetti western. “I thought you learned something the first time,” he said. “Guess I was wrong. License and registration.” He held out his hand with a bored, impatient gesture.
“I have a very good reason for speeding.”
The smile was more of a smirk. The man was infuriating! “I’ve heard them all, but you can try.”
“As I left my grandmother’s house, a bullet passed through my car. I had the windows rolled down. So they weren’t broken, but it just missed hitting me.”
He stared at her. “Maybe it was a kid with a Beebe gun. Are you certain it was a bullet breezing by you? How familiar are you with weapons?”
“Not familiar at all, but I know what I heard.” Jen swallowed hard. “I think someone might have intended to shoot me.”
He let out a loud laugh. “In Bloomingvale? I doubt that very much.”
“So you’re not taking this seriously?” She folded her arms over her chest.
“Admit it. You’re just looking for an excuse to keep me from writing you another ticket.” His intense gray eyes bore into her like the steel blade of a dagger.
Jen raised her chin and stiffened her spine. “You are so wrong. Why don’t you check the area near the house, just to see if you can find anything.”
“Waste of time.” He leaned toward her and she felt his breath on her cheek which caused her to shiver. “Tell you what I will do though. I won’t write you a ticket this time because that’s the most creative excuse I’ve ever heard.”
“So glad I managed to amuse you,” she said.
Jen watched him drive off. He was probably still laughing, the sexy jerk. Several people had come out of their houses and were staring at her. Jen managed to restart her car and drove off before others gathered. She certainly didn’t want to make a spectacle of herself. Letting out a shaky breath, Jen wasn’t certain now if she’d really heard what she thought she had. A professional law enforcement officer didn’t think anything of it. She supposed it might have been nothing at all. Maybe it was a child with a Beebe gun as he suggested. But try as hard as she might, Jen couldn’t convince herself.
This novel is a “clean read” suitable for young and old readers alike. An exciting cozy mystery with romantic elements, this book is perfect for personal reading enjoyment and/or holiday gift giving.

Your comments most welcome!




Saturday, November 26, 2016

Giveaway Winners for THE INHERITANCE by Jacqueline Seewald

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and/or friends!
As we kick-off this holiday season, I want to announce the names of the readers who are the winners of print copies of my soon-to-be-released novel THE INHERITANCE. They are as follows:
Betty G.
Chris V.
Susan C.
They have each been contacted via e-mail and I mailed out their copies this morning at the post office.
THE INHERITANCE, will be published by Intrigue Publishing on December 1st. The novel is a mystery that combines elements of the cozy with romance and suspense. As of now, the novel is available as a Kindle book on Amazon for pre-order as well as in a print edition:
Also available from:
as well as many other booksellers.




Monday, November 21, 2016

Interview with Author Mark Wright by Jacqueline Seewald

Today I have a very special guest to interview. His nonfiction anthology is just right for holiday reading. 

Mark Wright, a graduate of the UCLA School of Theater Arts and a 40 year veteran of the television and video industry, is owner and principal of Sangamon House, providing digital production services like electronic publishing, video production and live streaming to a variety of clients.  From 1984 to 1989, he was the principle producer/director for Zenger/Miller, Inc., an international management training firm specializing in communication skills videos, overseeing production in numerous North American locales, Germany, England, and Italy.  He was producer and creative director for Nate Thurmond's Gold Medal Roasts, a Special Olympics fundraiser that paid tribute to such Bay Area celebrities as Rick Barry, Willie Brown and Ronnie Lott, and broadcast on KTVU and KPIX.  In 1992, he wrote, produced and directed Esperanza Del Valle, a six part television soap opera aimed at high school youths with drug and alcohol abuse prevention messages that aired on PBS.  From 1985 to 1998, Mark was the designer and coordinator of the UC Santa Cruz Extension Video Arts certificate program.   

He produced, directed and edited The Spirit of Scrooge, a half hour documentary about Notre Dame de Namur Universitys production of A Christmas Carol, The Musical which played on Channel 9 PBS in December of 2012.  Mark is now trying to raise money to shoot a documentary about Americas first Olympic team handball team called The Boys of 72.  Among numerous awards, Mark won 3 1998 International Gold Cindy awards and the Communicator Awards Crystal Award of Excellence for The Best Place, a program that documented the value of a diverse workforce for Hewlett-Packard Company.

Question: What is the title and genre of your book?  Why did you select them?

Answer:   Miracles of Kindness.  We had a hard time classifying this book but we generally list it as “Inspirational” because we hope that the stories inside provide inspiration to lead a kinder life.

Question:   What inspired this book? How did it come about?

Answer:   Miracles of Kindness started out as a joint reclamation project for my mother and me in early 2009.  Ann Wright, my mother, was age 84.  She left an organization that had been the center of her life and had lots of time on her hands.  At 58, I was about 8 months sober and trying to come to grips with life without alcohol.  Neither of us were in a good place so we decided one night after dinner together to pursue an idea that had been in the back of my mind for years, a collection of real stories for a book about people doing kind things for others.  We envisioned a book of stories that we would collect using the Internet and CraigsList as a source, later to be re-written in our own style and presented as a series of chapters.  The idea was to highlight the little acts of kindness that occur every day, around the world, “small” miracles as we call them, that may not have meant much at the time to the giver of the act but that meant everything to the recipient.

And so we set out to write and hopefully publish the work.  We tried the traditional means at first, finding an agent and letting them search for a likely publisher.  We sent out query letters and got a few encouraging responses but it seemed to most of them that the market had already addressed that need with the legendary series of books, “Chicken Soup for the Soul”.  Plus, no one knew Mom and me, a fact that seems now the most relevant.  We have come to learn that getting one’s book in print is not about the publisher bringing the work to the audience, it’s about the authors bringing the audience to the work.  Ultimately, we struck out with traditional publishers.

We then decided to publish the book on our own.  After many fits and starts, collecting stories and getting to know our story contributors very well, we were able to use Apple iBooks Author as our creative platform to get things started.  With my knowledge of the Apple and Adobe authoring and editing platforms (from my work as a video producer/director/editor), we presented stories in a professional, graphic style, with video interviews added for certain story subjects.  We made a big push in 2014 to collect the best stories we could find until we had enough subject matter to publish Miracles of Kindness for the iBooks platform in December of 2014.  Later, after much work to learn the ins and outs of other electronic platforms, we published the book for the Kindle and Nook markets in July, 2015.


Question:   Can you tell us about some of your other work?

Answer:    This is our first work.  Mom (Ann), is a long retired kindergarten teacher.  I am a writer by trade, almost all for video or film productions, although I have ghost written two books.

Question:   What are you working on now?

Answer:  Since Mom moved to Provincetown, MA, to be closer to my sister, Robin, and her wife, Jan, we are no longer collaborating on any projects.  I am currently working on a film project, a documentary called The Boys of ’72, the story of America’s first Olympic team handball team, a squad made up almost entirely of guys from the Army.  I was a member of the 1980 team that didn’t go to the Olympics because of the boycott and played with several of the guys on the ’72 team.  I am now considering telling the story both as a film and as a book, since all the research I’m doing will support both approaches.
Question:   What made you start writing?

Answer: I started writing in earnest in the early 70s in Los Angeles, trying to break into sitcom writing.  I had some success and had an agent but eventually left LA in 1979 to move to Colorado Springs to pursue team handball at the Olympic Training Center.  My career in video production, primarily corporate TV in the Silicon Valley, was centered on my skills as a writer, a claim that not many other producer/directors could make.  I have always written, in many forms, and find the opportunities for expression now afforded all writers with new technologies to be extremely exciting and personal rewarding.

Question:   What advice would you offer to those who are currently thinking of writing?

Answer: Just write.  Whatever it takes, do the work.  Don’t just think about it.  And don’t be afraid of feedback.

Question:  Where and when will readers be able to obtain your book?

Answer:
Miracles of Kindness is available for iBooks at the Apple Store and for Kindle and Nook readers at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com respectively.


Comments and questions from readers and fellow authors welcome here!