Release Day! Altered to Death

It’s here, it’s here! Release day for Altered to Death, the sixth book in the Scrap This Mystery Series. I still have a hard time believing that the sixth book in this series is out. It seems not too long ago I was angsting over the first book finding a publisher and now the series has six titles (Cropped, Designed, Embellished, Framed, Masked, and now Altered is added to the family).

AlteredToDeath front sm (2)Even knee-deep in planning her wedding, Faith Hunter finds herself distracted by the town scrapbook she was commissioned to create. Eden’s oldest mystery, the founding family’s exodus nearly a hundred years ago, remains unsolved. When a search through the family’s abandoned mansion leads to the uncovering of bones on the property and ex-boyfriend Steve Davis announces a surprise heir has staked a claim, Faith is determined to dig up the truth left behind.

Meanwhile, family friend Wyatt Buford asks Faith to look into his deadbeat father’s disappearing act and his connection to the murder. Her quest for answers unearths secrets past and present that some would prefer stay buried at any cost. Faith’s resolve to present the facts and nothing but about Eden’s history could lead to her own future being cut short.

Here are the stops on my blog tour, please stop by and visit:

November 27 – Celticlady’s Reviews

November 27 – A Chick Who Reads

November 28 – Books,Dreams,Life

November 28 – Deal Sharing Aunt

November 29 – Varietats

November 29 – A Holland Reads

November 30 – T’s Stuff

December 1 – Teresa Trent Author Blog

December 2 – Laura’s Interests

December 3 – Babs Book Bistro

December 4 – View from the Birdhouse

December 5 – Melina’s Book Blog

December 5 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!

December 6 – Girl with Book Lungs

December 7 – A Blue Million Books

To celebrate Altered’s release, the ebook edition of Designed to Death (Book 2 in the series) is on sale for 99 cents! The sale price is for a limited time.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00F1IFYJ8
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/designed-to-de…/1115700257…
iBooks:https://itunes.apple.com/…/b…/designed-to-death/id703561501…
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/designed-to-death

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Overwhelmed by Changes

I feel like I’ve been missing-in-action for months on my blog and Facebook. I can’t believe it’s been since mid-June that I’ve actively engaged in this part of my life. And I do enjoy it. I love being able to keep with family and friends, share what’s been going on in my life, finding new crafts to create and books to read. But since this summer things…okay time, to be exact, got away from me and I allowed myself to wallow just a little too much in the overwhelming sea of changes going on in my life.

I’m a planner and having unexpected changes pop up throws my whole being into a sense of chaos. I find it hard to get my bearings and put together a new plan to merge all the must-dos and need-to-dos  into order. In the scheme of issues and problems one has to face, mine weren’t that horrible or unmanageable. Just a few too many unexpected ones at the same time.

IMG_2109There was the foot injured that was likely a stress fractured and kept me out of my garden, and pretty much house bound, except for work during the whole summer. It wasn’t easy walking around in the boot, or going up and downstairs, which the doctor told me was the whole point in it, keeping me off my foot. The treachery of navigating stairs had me writing on a laptop upstairs rather than in my office. On the bright side, at least I wasn’t in the boot while we were in California. It would’ve made getting around Disneyland, the Safari Park, and all the wineries difficult.

I hated not being able to tend to my garden as it was a hobby I enjoyed. Sadly, the lack of attention, combined with the heat and humidity, left our plants in dire condition. We didn’t get much produce, and a lot of the plants succumbed to the heat and squash bugs that attacked the garden.

Then came the unexpected home renovation bathroom project which my friend named Armageddon. We had a recurring mold issue in our bathroom, and got tired of cleaning it, so we called a mold specialist to remove it, figuring it would be gone once and for all. And it is–actually the whole bathroom is gone. Eliminated.

 

For someone who does better with plans, this chaos, along with our decision to start rearranging the house, threw me for a huge loop. And I’m not big on twisty, turning roller coasters which is what I felt I’ve been on for the last few months. Every plan I had made kept getting thrown out.

As for the rearranging of the house–that was the result of another change I knew was coming but just not now. I knew our college junior would be leaving home soon. Just not mid-August soon. I had figured he’d stay until he graduated in two years, instead he moved to where he could go to college and was also being considered for a job with the police force. Since our last child was leaving the nest, we decided to move some of the rooms around to better suit our needs (moving my husband’s office from the room at the far end of the garage into my old office, and my office and crafting studio upstairs as it has more natural light (better for crafting). I’ll admit, I wasn’t ready for the change of having no children at home. I still struggle with it as being mom has been the major part of my identity for such a long time–since I was twenty-one. But time moves on. And I know my children need to move on, and forward, to accomplish their goals and dreams.

Which bring me to my writing, my dream, and the new-to-me dilemma of having my main character snub me. I finished Altered to Death, the sixth Scrap This mystery (release date Nov 28! pre-order is available), and was excited to begin a new book in the series. I sat down to write…and nothing. I had two main plot ideas and played around with them, but it was going nowhere. Then I tried writing a short-story featuring Faith and again it went nowhere. It was like Faith didn’t want to be in it. She didn’t want to talk to me. I tried getting her engaged in the plot but everything sounded to me like the author (me) was moving the character around the scenes. She wasn’t coming across as being an active participant. The story was going nowhere.

What was I to do? There were other ideas for books I had wanted to write, a romantic suspense I wrote a few years that I could polish or rewrite to send off. Or…I wasn’t sure. It had been a long time since I wasn’t sure what to write, where I didn’t have an idea chasing me around demanding to be written.

So, I decided fine, I just won’t write for a month. I’ll use the time to put my house back together. And of course that’s when the next book came to me…a new character. A new series. A new mystery featuring a crafting heroine who will be trying to move forward with her dreams as her children are seeking hers. She’s talking to me. A lot. I’m enjoying getting to know her.

And I know I’ll hear from Faith again. I guess we just needed a little break from each other. At least her new adventure will be out soon. Here’s what she’ll be up to:

AlteredToDeath front sm (2)

Even knee-deep in planning her wedding, Faith Hunter finds herself distracted by the town scrapbook she was commissioned to create. Eden’s oldest mystery, the founding family’s exodus nearly a hundred years ago, remains unsolved. When a search through the family’s abandoned mansion leads to the uncovering of bones on the property and ex-boyfriend Steve Davis announces a surprise heir has staked a claim, Faith is determined to dig up the truth left behind.

Meanwhile, family friend Wyatt Buford asks Faith to look into his deadbeat father’s disappearing act and his connection to the murder. Her quest for answers unearths secrets past and present that some would prefer stay buried at any cost. Faith’s resolve to present the facts and nothing but about Eden’s history could lead to her own future being cut short.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Altered-Death-Faith-Hunter-Mystery-ebook/dp/B0758DG23P

Barnes and Noble:https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/altered-to-death-christina-freeburn/1127044022?ean=2940158764622

Masked to Death has left port

masked-to-death-cover-frontMasked to Death, the fifth book in the Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery Series, is now out. I went on my first cruise at the end of 2010 and feel in love with this type of vacation. When part of the plot came to me, I started thinking about where to set the book and recalled that in book one, Cropped to Death, Ted mentioned that his mom worked on a cruise ship. My muse said, “Perfect.”, and the story developed from there.

Here’s a short description about Masked to Death:

A Caribbean cruise is the perfect setting for a Roget wedding, and Faith meeting Ted’s family. She also hopes the vacation gets their stalled romance moving, but it doesn’t take long for that dream to capsize. Ted’s daughter hates her. The ex-wife is adored. Odessa Roget is surly. And the banned father of a groom, John Roget, requests Faith’s assistance in bringing down a jewel theft ring masterminded by his ex-wife.

Having had a man she loved accuse her of a crime, Faith won’t let Odessa travel down the same path and agrees to help. Faith sets her course on uncovering the true criminals—which might be a groom’s best friend. The romantic week turns disastrous as a wedding is interrupted, suspicious deaths point to murders, and Ted’s daughter schemes to reunite her parents. Instead of diamonds being a girl’s best friend, Faith finds they’re cruising her toward Davy Jones’ Locker.

Over the next few weeks, you can find me (or Masked) visiting a few places in cyber world where I’ll be answering some questions, talking about creating a travel journal and a fictional cruise, and where some readers will let you  know a little bit more about Masked to Death. I hope you can stop by.

January 25 – Dru’s Book Musings – Guest Post, Vacation Time With Faith Hunter

January 27 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, INTERVIEW

January 28 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST, Creating a Cruise 

January 29 – Brooke Blogs – INTERVIEW

January 30 – Valerie’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

January 31 – Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW

February 1 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

February 2 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW, GUEST POST, Travel Journal

February 3 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

February 4 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST, Scrapbooking and Murder

February 5 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy Too! – Excerpt (shopping on a cruise) from Masked to Death

February 6 – Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

February 7 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

Life and Times of 1950s Las Vegas, NV by Janet Elizabeth Lynn

While researching our latest book, Desert Ice, we spent a significant amount of time at the UNLV Library’s Oral History Center. Histories were recorded and transcribed from people who lived and worked there during several eras and cataloged for easy access.

Participants that were interviewed talked about their memories of growing up in Vegas. My husband and I were particularly interested in the normal life of people living there:  school, social events, work, travel, etc.

Several women talked about their homes, backyard parties, school and fashion. Many mentioned their clothes in the 50’s. Some were teenagers in the 1950s talked about their poodle skirts, white blouses with Peter Pan collars and Bunny Shoes. Growing up in the 50’s but in New York, I hadn’t heard of Bunny Shoes, so I investigated and sure enough, it was a popular style of shoe in Vegas and in some parts of the west. They insisted the shoes were comfortable and were sad to see them go out of fashion.

pajama-bagaMany also talked about their bedrooms, how they shared their room with sisters, cousins, even aunts visiting and staying for a while. Pajama pillows were a big thing then, they came in many shapes: clowns, bears, dogs, just about any design. Entertaining their girlfriends in their bedroom was the social thing to do.

Television was late getting to the area, so much time was spent listening to the radio or phonograph records. Local talent and visiting performers were consistently on the radio as well as school groups and community organizations. Once TV began, many mentioned the Howdy Dowdy Show, Lassie, The Mickey Mouse Club, and Gunsmoke.

I was surprised how similar my life was to these ladies who also grew up in the 50s separated by thousands of miles. I grew up in a urban Long Island, New York.

The hours we spent at the Oral History Center was rewarding in getting the feel for the life and time of 1955 Vegas.

What’s Next aka the Battling Plots

Midnight drearyWhen I finished writing Framed to Death, the first thing I did…okay the second after celebrating typing The End…was start working on the outline for book five in the Scrap This series. I always enjoy the first week after completing a book as I’m contemplating the different twists that could occur in Faith’s life. What will happen in her personal life? How about her professional life? How about her role/standing in the community with her role as the go-to-girl when someone has been wrongly accused? How does Faith, or someone in Eden, have ties to victim in the book? Will Faith’s sleuthing cause friction and heartaches in her relationships? These are usually the first questions I ask before I start working on the motivation for the crime, and the suspects in the story. I have to know what’s going on with Faith’s life, and in her community, first and from that point brainstorm a few ideas on what the catalyst for the crime.

I have tried plotting a book by deciding on how the murder would happen and where (plus, I always have two strong suspects but I don’t know which one it will be until the end of book), but the story didn’t really come together It felt too clinical, as I was relating everything to the murder and it took away the personal feel that I love about traditional/cozy mysteries. For me, I needed an underlying theme to focus on for the book to have the necessary ‘heart’ to connect Faith, and the reader, to the story.

It’s always a fabulous day when I have all the answers to my questions and can start outlining the book. I had found just the perfect idea for the book and started working on the outline, happy with how the plot and subplot were interconnecting. There was a bump or two I still needed to smooth out, but I knew I’d work it out once I started writing the actual book. My wonderful editor returned Framed to Death so I put the new book aside and began work on Framed (I must say I love…capital LOVE…editing time).

As I drove to the grocery store on Friday, a scene popped into my head for the new book. Usually that is wonderful, but this time the scene had nothing to do with the book I planned to write. This was a new idea. A different setting. Different key secondary characters. Different theme. Different motive. Different future, and hope, for Faith. And today on my way home from the auto repair place, I ‘saw’ the murder with two different scenarios on the when and how it could happen in the story. What is an author to do? And, also had to admit to myself that the new idea worked so much better with the working title.

Dare I start on this new path rather than stick with the old? I have a plan. It’s a good plan. But, this new one excites me with the future it holds for Faith, the simple…yet complexity…of the motivation of the killer, and most importantly the opportunity to show a truth I believe in strongly. Can I be brave enough to write this new idea? I put a little bit of me into every book, I believe every writer does, but I’ve always made sure what I included wasn’t too personal and didn’t give away too much of me.

Maybe it’s time I did?

Maybe, it’s time I did.

Writing for a Good Cause – Guest Post by Teresa Watson

Today, I’ve opened up the Self-Rescue Princess to my friend and fellow author Teresa Watson who has an important message and cause she’d like to share. I don’t want to take too much time, so I’ll ‘step’ aside for Teresa to talk about her mission.

For Dave & River

I’m a writer.

People ask me why I enjoy writing so much. Well, I’ll explain it this way: I’m a natural born klutz. I can trip over a rock and hurt myself. And usually the way I hurt myself is, in fact, pretty stupid and funny. For example, if I say ‘trunk of my Malibu’, most of the people that know me are going to start laughing. Why? Because I tore the ligaments in my right ankle trying to reach something in the back of the car trunk. No, really, I did! Trust me, the list of injuries is a long one. I’m known as Queen Klutz.

When I tell people how I got hurt, I always do it in a funny way, and people laugh. My son and I are known as “The Traveling Comedy Show” because we make everyone laugh with our stories. So it was only natural that I became a writer.

As a writer, I don’t make a lot of money. Don’t believe the myth that all writers are rich; it’s not true. Most of us don’t make enough to take a vacation to Disneyland. WalMart, maybe, but no Disneyland.

But every once in a while, something happens and you want to use your writing for a good cause. And that’s what I’m doing this month. I have a friend, Dave Harris, who I met on Twitter, and started following him on Facebook. He’s a very funny fellow, which is a big plus in my book, and he’s a musician, also a major plus because I was in the band in junior high and high school. We comment on each other’s posts once in a while, and have a few laughs at each other’s expense.

A few months ago, something happened to Dave and his family that made me care a wee bit more. His 2 ½ year old son, River, was very sick and in the hospital. You all know me, I have a soft spot for kids. So I started paying more attention to what was going on. I remember the night he broke the news that his son had Kawasaki Disease. I could read the heartache and frustration in his words, and I could see the pain on River’s face through the pictures Dave shared. There wasn’t much I could do, being so far away, so I sent little messages of encouragement, and said prayers for the whole family.

Like Dave, I had never heard of Kawasaki Disease, but what I have read totally freaks me out, so just imagine what Dave and his family are going through. Let me share Dave’s words with you. This is from his Go Fund Me page, where he is raising money to produce an album to raise money for the Kawasaki Foundation:

 Hey everybody. I’m Dave Harris. Songwriter, producer, Radio host, and father. My son River was a victim of Kawasaki’s disease. There is no cure. It’s is an immune disease in which the medium-sized blood vessels throughout the body become inflamed. It is largely seen in children under 5 years of age. It affects many organ systems, mainly those including the blood vessels, skin, mucous membranes, and lymph nodes. Its rarest but most serious effect is on the heart, where it can cause fatal coronary artery aneurysms in untreated children. Without treatment, mortality may approach 1%, usually within six weeks of onset. With treatment, the mortality rate is 0.17% in the U.S. That being said, we were one of the lucky ones. Many doctors don’t recognize the symptoms that fast. Chances are it’s a disease you’ve never heard of. I hadn’t either until River got it. There is a foundation set up and they are trying to raise money to fund research and to make others aware.

Here’s a link to the Go Fund Me page so that you can read more about Dave’s project.

Dave said that when children are suffering from the disease, there is nothing you can do to comfort them. All the little ones can do is cry, because they are in so much pain and feel miserable. You can’t hold them, because they don’t want to be touched. And that’s murder for a parent, because when their children are crying and hurting, you want to hold and comfort them. You want to do anything to take that pain and suffering from your child.

So, here I am, a small-time writer, trying to figure out what I could do to help Dave and River. And of course, there’s only one way I can help: through my writing. That’s why I’m donating this month’s proceeds from the sale of the Lizzie Crenshaw box set to the Kawasaki Foundation in River’s honor. I’m also donating last month’s sales, which came to $116.20. It’s not a lot, but every little bit helps.

So how can you help? Share this story with your friends and family. Let’s double last month’s total, and make a big donation for River. The box set is only $.99, folks. You might have to give up a cup of coffee or a couple of glazed donuts for one day. But there is way more at stake. Children like River shouldn’t have to worry about being sick at that age; they should be outside, laughing and having fun.

lizzie crenshaw box set

Please click on the link provided for the Lizzie Crenshaw mysteries and purchase a copy of the box set. Send it as a gift to a friend or a family member. Spread the word! Let’s help find a cure for this disease.

People ask me why I’m doing this. Everyone has special, God-given gifts that they use to help others. Dave is a musician, so he’s using his talent to produce an album to raise money for a cause that is near and dear to his heart. I don’t play my flute or tenor sax anymore, haven’t in over thirty years, so I can’t help him with that (I do sing though, Dave, if you need a backup singer!). My God given gift is writing, and I’m using my one gift to do something good.

Release Day – Embellished to Death

EMBELLISHED front under 2mbI’m so excited, today is Embellished to Death’s book birthday. I’ll admit that Embellished stretched me some as I took Faith out of her (and my) comfort zone by putting her in a new environment, and also introducing some new characters. I loved meeting the new additions to Faith’s life, though I a little trouble with one wanting to take over the story (yes, Bob, I’m talking about you). Sometimes when an author falls in love with a secondary character, that character has the potential to overshadow the main one. It took a few battles of the will between me and Bob (I did win), to find the perfect balance of Bob being Faith’s counterpart in this mystery without his role of being a professional private investigator stifling Faith.

Here’s the blurb for Embellished:

When Faith Hunter agrees to help PI Bob Roget find an identity thief at a local scrapbook retreat, her friendly croppers’ weekend quickly morphs into a dangerous one. As croppers share their own memories, a killer collects them for her new identity, and doesn’t appreciate Faith in the picture.

Faith struggles to balance her professional, detecting and personal lives as threats and secrets keep her off-balance. Things turn deadly when a woman is killed and Faith is blackmailed. Truth and lies collide when Faith discovers croppers aren’t the only ones embellishing, and the results might end her life.

I’m going on a virtual book tour from today until October 3. You can find me and Embellished at the following places:

Tour Participants

September 23 – Mommasez… – Review, Guest Post

September 24 – Books Are Life  – Vita Libri – Review

September 25 – Mystery Playground – Guest Post

September 26 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review

September 27 – Community Bookstop – Review

September 28 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review, Guest Post

September 29 – Brooke Blogs – Review

September 30 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post

October 1 – Back Porchervations – Review, Interview

October 2 – a chick who reads – Review

October 3 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Interview

Sale: To celebrate the release of Embellished, the ebook editions of Cropped to Death and Designed to Death are on sale for 99 cents each at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and iBooks. I’m not sure how long the price drop will last, so if you’ve been thinking about trying the series, now’s a great time.