Oct 3, 2022

New Reader Site Hits the Target

 Though I'm not sure how, I recently heard about Shepherd.com The people there are trying to change the way we find new books to read online, and I'm all for that.

When you type in "mystery" or "crime fiction" in most book-finding sites (like Amazon), you get a list of the 8 or 10 biggest-selling writers, like James Patterson, Michael Connelly, and Janet Evanovitch. The problem with that is that telling me Michael Connelly has a new book is useless. I've already bought it, read it, and passed it on to a friend. Also, some of those big names don't interest me, for a variety of reasons. I'd like new suggestions, new authors to try, but it's hard to choose, and the list goes on forever, with no hints as to which ones I'll really like.

Enter Shepherd.com. Right now, things are in the beginning stages, but the site categorizes books with a clever teaser: "The Best Books about..." You can search by title or author and along with the book/author you like, you'll get a list of related books. Or you can search by theme. (They have 975 WWII entries!) Authors and other book people recommend books they like on each theme, and there's a blurb about each recommendation and links to where you can buy it.

There's no cost for this. I don't see a downside to Shepherd.com for readers, though I'm afraid the founders will go crazy trying to keep up with so much good stuff.

 As a writer, I was allowed to submit ONE of my books and connect it to others I've read on the same theme. I chose my newest one, SISTER SAINT, SISTER SINNER. To go with the feature on that book, I was asked to list 5 other sister-themed books I've read and enjoyed. They could be old or new, so I chose WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE for one. For a newer option on the theme of sisters, I suggested WHEN WE BELIEVED IN MERMAIDS. My entry goes live October 3rd, and here's a link to it https://shepherd.com/best-books/why-sisters-inspire-love-and-aggravation. I think readers will enjoy exploring the site, and it sounds like they plan to do much more to help us find books through themes we like to read about, like "gentlemen detectives" or "medieval adventure novels."

The only warning I have for you, the reader, is that you might get lost for hours, wandering through Shepherd.com and the great ideas for what to read next.


Oct 1, 2022

A Messy Writing Career

 I'm usually pretty neat. I like my house in order. I keep a regular schedule. I pick up items dropped on the floor at Kohl's and rehang them so they won't get stepped on.

Neat is good.

But if you look at my writing career, you might think, "This woman has no sense of order at all!"

I started writing historical novels, using my own name.(I used Peg instead of Peggy because there's another author with that name.)

I got an agent, she found a publisher, and I was on my way...sort of. I had an idea for a paranormal mystery, and I met a publisher at a conference who liked it, so suddenly Peg Herring writes about Elizabeth I but ALSO about a detective who solves crimes from the afterlife.

In the meantime, I wrote a mystery about a homeless woman. My second publishers loved that one,

so now I had THREE series going. I also wrote a stand-alone mystery that I called "vintage," meaning it took place in the past but not that far back (the Vietnam era, which is considered historical now, but it wasn't then😕). Found a third publisher for that one.

Around that time, I started going to a lot of mystery cons, where I met authors who wrote cozy mysteries. They were having fun and getting recognition as well. I thought I'd like to try a cozy, but I was afraid my publishers wouldn't like me branching off into yet another sub-genre. I decided to try it on my own, though back then the idea of self-publishing made many in the writing community turn up their noses. I invented Maggie Pill, hired an editor and a cover artist, and released a cozy. I found I liked many things about publishing independently, which was good, because one of my publishers went bankrupt while the other two struggled to get recognition (and $$) for their authors.

I hadn't intended to continue my work as Maggie until her book was suddenly in demand. I wrote a second Sleuth Sisters mystery and then another and another. It became clear that Maggie wasn't going anywhere. Someone asked when it would be out in print. Then someone else asked about audio. Suddenly I was learning all sorts of things about publishing (and it never stops!)

Eventually my Peg Herring books joined Maggie Pill's in the independent publishing world, but Peg has an odd conglomeration of mystery sub-genres. The books are sometimes funny,

sometimes serious. 

Lately, they've crossed genres into suspense and "women's fiction," stories about women and their struggles, written mostly for women. Though the WF genre ranges from comedy to drama, Peg's WF books land on the serious end: friendships in the midst of crisis.

Sisters with gravely different views on life.

These days, I've sorted out my two writing personalities and reached a neater division. Readers of Maggie Pill's books know they'll get books that are funny and light, though I strongly believe that even a cozy mystery has to make sense and engage the reader in the puzzle. Peg's books have a wider range, so readers need to read the blurbs to see if the theme appeals to them.

See? I'm getting my writing life in order. I just hope I'm not hit with an idea for a horror romance!

Sep 4, 2022

What a Month!

I was thrilled with the response to my giveaway in August, so thanks to all who requested a print book. I'm sorry if you didn't get one, but they went fast! I've been receiving emails from readers, some letting me know the book had arrived in the mail, and others letting me know the reader had finished and would be posting a review. One clever girl even put a pic of the book on Facebook, so I got some free advertising. To one and all, thank you!

The process was hectic for a while, since I wanted to get the books in the mail ASAP. The people at my little post office were patient and helpful. I combed local dollar stores to get enough bubble mailers of the correct size. There was time spent, and money. Why would I do that?

Writers often spend hundreds of dollars on advertising that goes out into a world of people who don't care much about their books. I chose to spend that money to send books to people who'd already noticed me, either here on the blog or by signing up for my newsletters. In requesting a free book, maybe they tried a series they hadn't read before. Maybe they filled in a book they'd missed in the progression. Or maybe they tried a stand-alone to see what it was like.

I don't see any of that as a bad thing for me. I probably won't get the chance to do it again, but I'm always giving away e-books on one promo site or another, so ... stay tuned!

Aug 2, 2022

How About a FREE Print Book?

Readers love book deals, right?

Here’s the situation: I have books I didn’t sell, largely due to COVID. I’m not interested in doing live book events anymore. (Too much travel, too many lonely hours in a bookstore.)

Therefore, I’m offering a deal, ONLY to loyal readers of my newsletters and blog.

Below is a list of what I have in my home inventory. Some are later books in a series, but they don't depend on an earlier book to understand either the characters or the mystery.

For the month of August, you can simply ask for a signed paperback copy of any book listed, and I’ll mail it to you FREE, for as long as the supply holds out.

To take advantage of the deal:

1. Look over the list and choose a book. (Numbers are very limited, so don’t wait).
2. Send the title you’d like (Sorry, only one to a customer) and your mailing address to news@pegherring.com.

Each series is featured on its own page here on the blog, so you can check to see whether you’ve read a book/series yet and whether it’s something that would interest you. I’ll keep the list below updated, so you can check to see what’s still available.

While I don’t have print copies of all my books, they are always available on Amazon, B&N, and most other distributors. Any bookstore can order them, but this is probably the only chance you’ll ever get to receive a book by mail for free. It’s a great deal for you, or a nice Christmas gift for the person on your list who prefers “real” books.

As always, I appreciate reviews in any spot you like to post them, and I don’t mind if you pass the book along when you’ve finished it. Reviews and word of mouth are an author’s best friends.

Series                                     Titles left  ( ) indicates series sequence

The Dead Detective Mysteries        Dead for the Money (#2)

                                                        Dead for the Show (#3)

                                                        Dead to Get Ready-and Go (#4)

Simon & Elizabeth (Tudor) Mysteries The Lady Flirts with Death (#3)



Kidnap Capers (Humorous Suspense)  Pharma Con (#2

                                                             Trouble with Dad (#3)


’60s Paranormal Mystery                    Not Dead Yet…


Jun 6, 2022

How Doth She Bigotry? Let Me Count the Ways


UK election 2019: what the 'wisdom of crowds' forecasts 

I left a conversation yesterday wondering how many ways one person can offend another in three minutes. I was outside sweeping my sidewalk when a woman I know slightly grabbed me by the arm. (Offense #1: Assuming she had to hold onto me to get me to listen.)

“I met that new woman,” she said. “She came over and offered me a bottle of wine.” (Offense #2: Referring to our neighbor as “that new woman.” She has a name. And she brought you wine.)

I said I’d met her too, and she seemed nice.

“You have to watch them, you know.” (Offense #3: Lumping people into a shapeless “them” category.)

I’m slow with bigots sometimes, because I can never believe they’re for real, but I was starting to get it. “Who is them?” I asked.

“Them! You know, the Asians or the Mexicans or whatever she is.” (Offense #4: I’m not explaining this one. If you don’t get it, you’re part of the problem.)

At that point, the best I could do was, “What?”

“Bob says they’re always looking for something. (Offense #5: Letting her husband tell her what to think. Obviously, we feather-headed females can’t figure things out for ourselves.)

“The women find some man who’ll marry them so they can come here," she went on, "and then after a few years they dump him.” (Offense #6: Deploring someone else's "crime" even though they gleefully report how they manipulate the tax system to their advantage. I quote the husband: “Hey, it’s probably legal.”)

Irritated, I give her a chance to soften her bigotry. “Are you sure they all do that?”

“Well, yeah. We knew a woman once who married an American and came here and then she divorced him once she got citizenship. (Offenses #7 & 8: Assuming you know why a married couple splits and generalizing it to every instance.)

That's when I took my arm back and walked away. Some people might have tried to reason with her, but seven decades on this earth has taught me that I’ll never win with someone that dumb, that mean, and that pleased with her own hypocrisy.


New Reader Site Hits the Target

 Though I'm not sure how, I recently heard about Shepherd.com The people there are trying to change the way we find new books to read o...