Monday, January 9, 2017

New Releases - January 2017

Start out your New Year with Midnight Ink's January releases!


Now available from Midnight InkBarnes & NobleAmazonIndiebound and your local bookseller!


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Guest Post: Gigi Pandian - The Elusive Elixir

It's time for some fun facts from Gigi Pandian!



  1. I once played the role of Wonder Woman in a play
  2. I got married wearing Converse sneakers.
  3. As a kid, I didn't have cats or dogs, but rabbits.
  4. I have an organic vegetable garden in my backyard, but my husband is the one with the green thumb. I only manage to write fiction about successful gardeners; If I look at a plant, it dies.
  5. I think The Goonies might be the greatest movie ever made. Or at the very least it's what inspired me to write my first screenplay.
  6. When I was in high school I wrote, starred in (along with my best friend), and directed the epic home movie The Goonies Go to Europe.
  7. I love the locked-room mystery genre that was most popular during the Golden Age of detective fiction, and all of my short stories are impossible crime stories. 
  8. Like Zoe Faust (the heroine of the Accidental Alchemist mysteries) I adore my Vitamix and use it at least twice a day.
  9. Like Dorian (the comic relief in the books) I'm an accidental vegan cook, and cook most of my meals from scratch.
  10. Unlike Zoe and Dorian, I'm not a 300-year-old alchemist, nor am I a living gargoyle who was once stone. Sorry to disappoint.
  11. I prefer rainy days to sunny ones.
  12. I was gobsmacked when the fabulous Terri Bischoff at Midnight Ink wanted to publish the Accidental Alchemist mysteries. I love writing about a mischievous gargoyle chef, but I had no idea others would want to read about him as well. I'm still pinching myself that so many people do.
  13. In addition to the Accidental Alchemist mysteries, I write the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries. I think this means as a life choice I've chosen fun and coffee over sleep.
  14. My dad is from India. I've traveled there many times and I set one of my books there. The opening scene of Pirate Vishnu is based on a true story that happened to my father.
  15. I used to run a blog called Gargoyle Girl, posting gargoyle photographs I've taken on my travels. I gave it up in favor of writing novels, but the archives are still there: www.gargoylegirl.com


***

About the new book, The Elusive Elixir
Dorian Robert-Houdin, the three-and-a-half-foot gargoyle chef who fancies himself a modern-day Poirot, is slowly turning into stone, and it’s up to Zoe Faust to unravel the alchemical secrets that can save him. When they discover that a long-lost stone gargoyle with a connection to Dorian has reappeared in Europe, the stakes are even higher.
From Portland to Paris, Zoe searches for the hidden knowledge she needs, but a cold case that harkens back to 1942 throws her off course. With an ailing friend desperately trying to discover his own elixir of life and a new romantic interest offering the first chance at love she’s had in nearly a century, Zoe is torn between a dangerous form of alchemy and her desire for a safer life.
 Gigi Pandian is the USA Today bestselling author of the Accidental Alchemist mysteries, the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries, and locked-room mystery short stories. A cancer diagnosis in her 30s taught her two important life lessons: healing foods can taste amazing, and life’s too short to waste a single moment. Gigi spent her childhood being dragged around the world by her cultural anthropologist parents, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and a gargoyle who watches over the backyard garden. Gigi’s fiction has been awarded the Malice Domestic Grant and Lefty Awards, been nominated for Macavity and Agatha Awards, and her most recent novel Michelangelo’s Ghost was recently named a “Best of 2016” cozy mystery by Suspense Magazine.

Visit her at gigipandian.com, connect with her on Facebook (facebook.com/GigiPandian) and Twitter (@GigiPandian) and sign up for her email newsletter (http://gigipandian.com/newsletter/). 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Guest Post: Eve Seymour - Don't Tell Anyone

I would like to introduce Midnight Ink author Eve Seymour, who will be sharing thoughts on her latest title (written under the pseudonym Eleanor Gray) Don't Tell Anyone and her upcoming March title An Imperfect Past.


A Note from Eve Seymour

As I write, we are fast approaching Christmas, an occasion when, traditionally, families spend time with each other.  Without putting a downer on it, by January, divorce lawyers across the globe will be filling their appointment diaries with glee! 

It’s not exactly rocket science to fathom the reason why.  Couples who ‘rub along’ during the rest of the year, separated by work and, in many cases, child commitments often don’t fare so well when cooped up for the Christmas holidays.  Throw in the odd visiting relative, second time around spouses, stepchildren and half-siblings, occasionally too much booze, and, even in the most loving family unit, cracks appear, tensions exacerbate and old enmities surface.  In short, a toxic mix is there for the taking and with, sometimes, combustible results.  So where am I going with this?

My latest novels, ‘Don’t Tell Anyone’ under pseudonym Eleanor Gray, and ‘An Imperfect Past’, the sequel to ‘Beautiful Losers,’ revolve around family ties that sustain, but can also be dysfunctional.  Conflict is the name of the game in stories, and family units provide a rich seam for writers to mine.  Where else do passions run high and hatreds deep?   And I haven’t even started on secrets.

There is a saying:  ‘Write what you know’.  I’ve never been particularly sold on the idea because what most people ‘know’ is fairly commonplace.  When writing spy fiction, I did a lot of research and reading about what I patently didn’t know and then used my findings as a backdrop for unfolding drama.  However with my Kim Slade novels and ‘Don’t Tell...’ I confess I drew on my own family background.  Grace Neville in ‘Don’t Tell...’ loses her only daughter.  I have never lost a child, thank goodness, but, as a mother of five children, I could go some way to imagining what it must be like.  I was also able to use my own childhood experience of loss to feed into Grace’s grief.  In a similar vein, Kim Slade the clinical psychologist in ‘Beautiful Losers’ and ‘An Imperfect Past’ is consumed by the absence of a mom in her life and the secrets that unfold prior to her mother’s disappearance and, later, reappearance.   Despite my assertion ‘don’t write what you know’, I appear to have shot myself in the proverbial foot!

However you look at it, Kim and Grace’s stories are everyday tales with which many can empathize, the dramatic element only necessary for the purposes of fiction.  Whatever your story, I hope you and your family have a fabulous, healthy and peaceful 2017. 

 ***
Nearly lost in a fog of grief over the fatal stabbing of her daughter, art historian Grace Neville feels only sorrow as Jordan Dukes is found guilty of murder. Days after the sentencing, Grace receives a visit from Jordan’s father, who claims that his son is innocent and a grave miscarriage of justice has taken place. Jordan’s history of gang-related violence and the fact that he doesn’t have an alibi make his father’s plea hard to believe. But then why does somebody break into Grace’s home and go through her daughter’s belongings?

In Don’t Tell Anyone, Eleanor Gray explores the relationship between a mother and a daughter, and the secrets that drive Grace to seek the truth no matter what the cost.

Eleanor Gray/Eve Seymour (England) has written nine novels under several pseudonyms. She began writing after a successful career in public relations and raising five children. She has published articles in Devon Today magazine and had a number of her short stories broadcast on BBC Radio. Visit her at www.evseymour.co.uk

***
An Imperfect Past is available March 8, 2017

The past can be a foreign country and, for Kim Slade, a clinical psychologist specializing in young women with eating disorders, it's deadly, too.

No sooner than Kim returns to work after a mental breakdown, she's summoned to the deathbed of a former client, Mimi Vellender. Mimi's dying wish is that Kim finds her brother, Nicholas, who mysteriously disappeared five years ago.

Just as mysteriously, Kim's long-estranged mother, Monica, comes back into her life following the suspicious death of the judge she worked for as a live-in housekeeper. Is the sudden desire for a family reunion all it seems, or does Monica have something to hide?

Also, have a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Guest Post: Sue Ann Jaffarian - Rhythm & Clues

Ideas? 
I've Got a Million of Them!
by Sue Ann Jaffarian


As I write this blog post, I am hard at work on my 12th Odelia Grey novel. Yes, you read that right - #12. Blows my mind.

I currently have 24 published books, spread across four different series. It’s been an amazing journey and there is no end in sight, thankfully.

One of the most common questions I get at book events is: How do you come up with so many new ideas?

Hmmmm, frankly, I don’t know, but I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth.

I am always puzzled when other authors say they have no idea what to write next. Not because I think that’s silly, but because I’ve never experienced an empty faucet. I have new book ideas stacked up like planes over Chicago, just waiting for their turn to land. Some are for current series, some are for new series, and some are for stand-alone novels. I hope to be writing until someone slips a toe-tag on me.

So how can a writer avoid the empty well problem? Here are my tips:

Be Observant. About everything. I look for plots ideas everywhere. And sometimes they strike me when I’m not looking. Once a billboard caught my eye and bingo I saw the beginning of a book plot. Another time I was in a restaurant, overhead a conversation, and an idea hit. I immediately jotted it down on a napkin, mid-meal.

Read and Watch. The news, TV shows, books, movies, commercials, magazine articles, social media, etc., are all great breeding grounds for new ideas. I’m not saying to copy those ideas, but sometimes the smallest detail or character trait in someone else’s writing can trigger an entirely new book idea for you. That’s happened to me many times. You’re watching a show and suddenly the old what if? hits you, and you’re off and running.

Dismiss Nothing. If you get an idea that you think is too silly or weird, don’t toss it aside. It might just be the best foundation for a book plot you ever had. Go down the path a bit and see what turns up. You might be surprised.

Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone. You don’t write romance? So, give it a try. You don’t write about the paranormal? I didn’t either until I got the idea for my very popular Ghost of Granny Apples series. If you write police procedurals, try your hand at an amateur sleuth novel. Don’t be afraid to write about things you don’t know about. You can learn.

Throw Nothing Away. If you find an article or idea that interests you, but you’re not ready to use it, don’t dismiss it. Write it down and save it. Print it out and save it. Save it in a hard folder or on your computer, but save it. Several of my books involved plots that came to me years before I actually used them. Ideas do not need to be immediate. They do not have a shelf life like milk. Even a lot of topical ideas can be written long after they occur in the news.

Add New Recurring Characters to Existing Series. This is a great way to bring in new plot ideas. Or beef up a minor character from earlier books and slowly weave them into the main fabric of the series.

Keeping it fresh. One of the biggest problems with writing a long-running series is coming up with new plots. Avoid regurgitating old ideas for lack of new ones, and look out for becoming too formulaic in your plots. Stretch your legs and your mind and be open to ideas that are different. If you don’t, both you and your readers will become bored with your writing, and it’s difficult to recover from that situation.

Now get out there and write and flourish. I’ve got a book to finish!

***

Amateur sleuth Odelia Grey tries to get a band back together—and get her mother off the hook—in book eleven of the award-winning series

It’s a rockin’ flashback for Odelia Grey when her mother asks her to look into the disappearance of her neighbor Bo Shank, the former lead singer for a band Odelia idolized in her youth. But when a body is found in Bo Shank’s house, everything quickly gets thrown out of tune.


Sue Ann Jaffarian is a full-time paralegal who lives and works in Los Angeles. A member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters In Crime, Sue Ann is the author of three mystery series—Odelia Grey, Ghost of Granny Apples, and Madison Rose—and also writes general fiction and short stories. She is widely sought after as a motivational and humorous speaker.

For the most up-to-date list of all Sue Ann's activities, visit the calendar page at www.sueannjaffarian.com.




Monday, November 21, 2016

Guest Post: Patricia Smiley—Pacific Homicide

A Police Procedural? What Was I Thinking?
by Patricia Smiley



After writing four novels about an amateur sleuth with a sense of humor, I decided to mix things up a bit. PACIFIC HOMICIDE is the first in a new series and a change of pace for me. It’s a police procedural featuring Homicide Detective Davina “Davie” Richards, a petite, red-haired woman, a second-generation LAPD detective, an expert marksman who carries a Smith & Wesson .45, and a composite of every strong woman I’ve ever known.

Most people don’t realize that patrol officers in high crime areas might draw their weapons every workday but most cops spend their entire careers without firing a gun in the line of duty. Davie is an outlier, a cop who killed a suspect to save her partner’s life.

Here’s what Library Journal said about PACIFIC HOMICIDE: "...Smiley kicks off a hard-boiled series with a bang in this fast-paced novel that sweeps readers along quickly. Davie is an engaging sleuth; her tough exterior hides a fragile heart. VERDICT This classic police procedural, with the obligatory cop humor included, recalls titles by Robin Burcell or Alafair Burke."

The Los Angeles Police Department: A whole slew of authors have written about the LAPD, many of them with connections to the department. Michael Connelly’s early books were set in Hollywood Division, as are those of multiple other authors. Paul Bishop’s detective Fey Croaker is assigned to West L.A. Joseph Wambaugh has varied the locations of his novels.

My book is set in the LAPD’s Pacific Area Police Station, which covers the Westside of Los Angeles from Venice Beach and Playa del Rey to LAX, with Culver City to the east, extending northeast to the intersection of Westwood and National Boulevards. Pac-14 is a diverse area that includes public housing, upscale homes, movie stars, and thirty-five known street gangs. It’s also near where I live.

The LAPD and me: Back when I was writing the first book in my amateur sleuth series, False Profits, I wanted to place a scene in a police station, but I’d never been in one before. That’s a good thing, right? One night I went to a Neighborhood Watch meeting and a Senior Lead Officer from Pacific Division asked for a volunteer to create a flyer for a neighborhood cleanup. I raised my hand. She was impressed with the result and encouraged me to volunteer at the station. One of the first things they asked me to do was lead a guided tour for an open house. Divine providence?

I worked with the LAPD for fifteen years as a volunteer and Specialist Reserve Officer (non sworn), mostly assigned to Pacific Division but for a time with detectives at the LAX substation and on a short-term project at Hollywood Homicide. The last five years was spent in the detective squad room. My supervisor saw potential and sent me to law enforcement computer database training, detective school, and homicide investigation school. He taught me how to investigate burglaries and thefts, interview witnesses, victims, and suspects, write search warrants, and present cases to the DA’s office. During my time interacting with patrol officers and detectives, I also learned how easy it was for the best of cops to run afoul of the disciplinary system. Those and other stories inspired PACIFIC HOMICIDE.

Set in Los Angeles: “Why write about L.A.?” you ask. “It’s so been done before.” True, but there are over three million people in the city, over ten million in the county, and over 150 languages spoken in the city’s schools. At the end of every freeway exit is a new neighborhood and another writer’s story. There’s plenty of room for everybody.

Mostly I write about L.A. because I live here, which gives me access to the sensory and cultural details of the city. But Davie’s travels won’t be limited to the city. Homicide detectives travel far and wide to track down leads. In the second book in the series, I take her outside the city and the state in search of justice.

Research: I learned volumes from my past volunteer experience, but to supplement that knowledge I read the Los Angeles Times, which provides extensive coverage of police issues. While I was writing PACIFIC HOMICIDE, the LAPD switched their department-issued duty weapons from Glock to Smith & Wesson. It’s a small but important detail I wouldn’t have known about except for an article I read in the newspaper.  Another valuable research tool is the official department website www.lapdonline.org. But the most important sources of information come from my contacts in the department. They tell me what’s possible, what’s reasonable and more importantly, what I got wrong. They also forgive me when I don’t take their advice.

Happy reading!


For more information please visit my website www.patriciasmiley.com or follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/patriciasmileyauthor/?fref=ts

***

Most cops spend their entire careers without firing a weapon in the line of duty. LAPD Homicide Detective Davie Richards is an outlier, a cop who killed a suspect to save another officer’s life. While she waits for the police commission to rule on the shooting, she’s called out to probe the gruesome homicide of Anya Nosova, a nineteen-year-old Russian beauty whose body is found in the Los Angeles sewer system. With her own case in limbo, Davie knows that any mistakes in the investigation could end her career. As she hunts for the murderer, somebody begins to hunt her . . . and it’s no longer just her job that’s on the line.


Patricia Smiley (Los Angeles, CA) is a bestselling mystery author whose short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Two of the Deadliest, an anthology edited by Elizabeth George. Patricia has taught writing classes at various conferences throughout the US and Canada, and she served on the board of directors of the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and as president of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles. Visit her online at www.PatriciaSmiley.com.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

News From Midnight Ink

A New Cover for Don't Tell Anyone

Happy Tuesday!

We don't do this a lot, but Midnight Ink decided to recover Don't Tell Anyone by Eleanor Gray (aka Eve Seymour).  Eve took a few moments to give me her thoughts on the new cover. She says,"I'm just getting used to the cover but, from what others tell me, they prefer it to the original. Sure as hell, it's lovely to see the quote on the front.  Seriously, I think the cover captures the mood and drama of the story.   I'm not normally a fan of faces on cover images but this works because it perfectly conveys the wary and bewildered expression in the girl's eyes."


Don't Tell Anyone will be available December 8! 
 At Midnight InkBarnes & NobleAmazonIndiebound and your local bookseller.

"Eleanor Gray's Don't Tell Anyone is a book you'll be telling your friends about. The voice—and anguish—of Grace Neville compels us toward answering the question we may have all wondered: What if we don't really know the people closest to us?"—Lori Rader-Day, Mary Higgins Clark and Anthony Award winning author of The Black Hour and Little Pretty Things

Nearly lost in a fog of grief over the fatal stabbing of her daughter, art historian Grace Neville feels only sorrow as Jordan Dukes is found guilty of murder. Days after the sentencing, Grace receives a visit from Jordan’s father, who claims that his son is innocent and a grave miscarriage of justice has taken place. Jordan’s history of gang-related violence and the fact that he doesn’t have an alibi make his father’s plea hard to believe. But then why does somebody break into Grace’s home and go through her daughter’s belongings?

In Don’t Tell Anyone, Eleanor Gray explores the relationship between a mother and a daughter, and the secrets that drive Grace to seek the truth no matter what the cost.

Eleanor Gray (England) has written nine novels under several pseudonyms. She began writing after a successful career in public relations and raising five children. She has published articles in Devon Today magazine and had a number of her short stories broadcast on BBC Radio. You can visit her at www.EveSeymour.co.uk.