Showing posts with label Simon & Elizabeth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Simon & Elizabeth. Show all posts

Sep 18, 2019

Such A Deal for You!


Often I have stories that are funny to me but might set other people thinking, "The woman doesn't have a clue."
I know that, and mostly, I don't mind.

At the beginning of the month I signed up for a promotion that required I reduce the price on a boxed set. I did that, making The Simon & Elizabeth Mysteries (all 4 books in that series) just $.99 for the month of September.
When I went back to list it on the promo, I realized it didn't fit the criteria.
Result: The e-book boxed set is really cheap this month, for no good reason.



I did manage to get one promo right, so KIDNAP.org will be free for download on BookFunnel starting Friday., Sept. 20 and going until Oct. 19 (link:https://books.bookfunnel.com/feel-goodcrime/xb92i6xlq7
For that promo an author lists how many books she's willing to give away, and they stay available until that # is reached. If you haven't yet started that series, it's fun, and the second book, PharmaCon, is available in print and e-book formats. Audio should be coming along soon and I'll keep you informed.


Sep 17, 2018

Simon & Elizabeth Redux

My first successful series was the Simon & Elizabeth Mysteries with Five Star Publishing. Going on the "write what you know" advice new writers get, I focused on Elizabeth I of England, one of my favorite historical characters. She had so much going against her as she grew up--I mean, how many girls can say their father had their mother beheaded?

In the last decade or so, some authors have (very successfully) attacked Anne Boleyn's character, making her seem like Satan's First Date. I'm afraid that's more drama than historical accuracy, but we all interpret history to suit our own thinking...and some knowingly twist it to make a salacious story. I won't argue the right and wrong of that, since Shakespeare did a lot of the same things to make his stories work. It's just sad to me that those who read only fiction might believe it.

Anyway, my series focuses on Anne's daughter Elizabeth, and she's a very sympathetic character. In Her Majesty's Mischief, the last of the series, Her Highness is queen, and she's fallen into the age-old tendency for those with power to use it without considering others' wishes. Elizabeth sends Simon, practically kicking and screaming, to Scotland, where he gets in a heap of trouble. Worse, he leaves behind a mystery that needs solving at home. His son Henry steps in to take up the challenge.

My original plan was to have a fifth S&E mystery in which Henry became the investigator because both Simon and Elizabeth were old. Two things got in the way of that: Five Star stopped publishing mysteries, and several of my other series ideas took off. One can only write so many books/year, and I'm amazed at how much time it takes.

In the meantime I've got the rights to this series back, so I'm re-releasing them under my own banner, which calls for new covers (Five Star owns the originals). The advantage for readers is the books are much more reasonably priced. In fact I will probably make the first one, Her Highness' First Murder, free in e-book format. (It's a clever ploy to get you to buy the other three!) Once I get this one ready to go for e-book (I'm shooting for next week sometime), I hope to make a boxed set of all four. A print version of this one will follow, early in October, if all goes well.
NOTE: When you click on the links below, the covers that show up might still be the original ones. Amazon has a policy of showing the cover that's sold the most copies, so it's going to take a while for my versions to surpass their sales. Price should be $2.99 if they're mine. Same books.
If you're not an Amazon user, here are the links for everyone else, B&N, Kobo, Apple, etc.:
Her Highness...https://www.books2read.com/u/38gN8a
Poison...: https://www.books2read.com/u/mYg5zP
The Lady...: https://www.books2read.com/u/3yD2dv

Book#1Amazon 

Book #2Amazon

Book #3Amazon



Dec 21, 2015

30 Days of Christmas Day 27: Simon's Reply to the Queen



Your Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth (and, by your grace, 'Highness' between us two),


I was honored to receive your missive at this Christmastide, and humbled by your care for a mere subject of your great and prosperous realm. That you take interest in my life here on the outskirts of London is a source of pride to me, and I recall each single time we have met over these many year with great joy.

You speak of growing old, but if I may respectfully disagree, Gloriana cannot age. You are our nation's shining light, and when light fades, the world grows dark.
You spoke of holiday preparations at Greenwich, and though I have not been there, I think I can picture the stonework hung with greenery and the many candles lit for evening festivities.
Things are simpler here, but since you asked, I will tell you of our preparations.

My son Henry cut some holly to put over the doors, and my wife tied it with red ribbon. Its bright green leaves and red berries add a festive air to our simple home. For our Christmas dinner, Hannah is planning brawn with mustard from some pork I received in barter from a local farmer. She will roast it all day in the fireplace, and my old nose can almost smell it cooking now.
It is our custom to invite as many guests as we can manage on Christmas. There will be family, of course, my sister and your old soldier Calkin among them, but we ask the poor into our home as well, to follow as best we can the example of our Lord in feeding His sheep.

Susan is married now, but she and her family will help with the meal. Along with the roast I know we shall see souse, cheese, apples and nuts, and of course plum pudding.

After dinner we will have music. If it is too cold outside, Henry will push the tables in my shop into the corners so there can be dancing as well. Though I am too old and brittle to dance, I love to see the young ones whirling and twirling and hear the pipe and tabor.

It is my sincerest wish that your Christmastide will bring joy to you, for I know it is a burden on you to care for your subjects as much as you do. Know that we love you, and that your old subject (dare I say friend) Simon Maldon prays for your good health and great contentment, always.

Dec 19, 2015

30 Days of Christmas Day 25: Her Royal Highness' Christmastide

An Elizabethan Christmas
My old friend Simon,
I have thought of you often in recent days. It has been some years since we last met and I sent you off to Scotland. I am certain you have grown ancient, for I myself am old. It came to my mind to write to you of my days in Christmastide. Perhaps you will in turn tell me of yours.

We are keeping Christmas now, since it is December 24th. The next twelve days will be busy ones, with parties each day until the last and largest one on Twelfth Night. Much of it is silliness, with men dressing as women and women as men. There is also gambling, which some abhor, but I believe life must offer good times to balance the bad ones we cannot avoid.

I have ordered the cooks to spare no expense in feeding the household, so we shall dine on meats of all kinds, marchpanes, pies, custards, frumenty, plum porridge, and much else. I look forward to the Christmas pie of neat's tongue, eggs, sugar, lemon, orange peel, and spices. As I told you when last we met, sugar is a wonderful food, and very healthful, too, I'm told.

Several pageants are planned for the holidays, and I believe tonight's is the tale of St. George and the Dragon. I am at Greenwich Palace, which, though small, is my favorite place for the celebration. It is decorated with holly, ivy, box, yew, bay, laurel, holm, and oak branches, any that can be found that are still green. The Yule log has been chosen, and tonight the men will go forth, cut it, and drag it to the hall fireplace. A bit of last year's log has been preserved to light this year's version, and if it burns all night long, that will signal prosperity for our land in the coming year.

HollyIt was suggested to me that this year we might set an image of the Christ child on the chapel altar. I see nothing wrong with that, for we must be reminded that despite all the banquets and dancing, this is a time for reflecting on God's gifts to us all.

Write me if you can, Old Friend, and tell me news of your family and your activities at Christmastide.

Signature of Queen Elizabeth I
Her Royal Highness Elizabeth
 (though you, of course, may call me "Highness")


So now is come our joyful'st feast,
Let every man be jolly.
Each room with ivy leaves is drest,
And every post with holly.
       Though some churls at our mirth repine,
        Round your foreheads garlands twine,
        Drown sorrow in a cup of wine,
And let us all be merry.
            George Wither (1588-1667)

Oct 12, 2015

Plain Talk for Writers: Series

3 Current Series: Upper left, Loser Mysteries. Upper right, Simon & Elizabeth Historical Mysteries. Lower left: Dead Detective Mysteries. Somebody Doesn't Like Sarah Leigh is a stand-along mystery.
Publishers love series. They invest in an author's work, and series mean they can reap the rewards of that investment more than once.

Readers love series. It's nice to know that characters we love are going to come back and visit us again, telling us about their latest scrapes.

Writers love series--to a point. It's comfortable to slip into the minds of characters we've already created. We know how they think, what they'll do. (Even if we don't, we can look back at the books that came before and refresh our memories.)

The problem with series-writing is keeping it fresh. Writers don't want their characters to "jump the shark," but it's obvious to me from reading some series that authors find it difficult to tell when they've reached that point. If you've ever stopped reading a series because things got too weird, too over-the-top emotional, or too unbelievable, you've seen it happen.

On the other hand, a series shouldn't be the same story over and over. We like familiar characters in new situations, and that makes it tough for a writer. Readers want the same thing, only different.

Publishers push their writers to keep a series going, often despite the writer's feelings. We know that Conan Doyle wanted to kill off Sherlock Holmes, as did Martha Grimes with her Inspector Jury. Steve Hamilton admits that though he likes Alex McKnight, he wants to write other things. I admire these writers for wanting to stretch themselves and not depend on a single successful character to make their whole career. Still, you'll notice that in each case, someone in the publishing industry has decreed differently: the public wants more of the same, and Sue Grafton will be required/encouraged to finish the alphabet, no matter how tired she might be or Kinsey Milhone. (Hey, it's all downhill from X, right?)

I've ended one series (Loser Mysteries) and am at working ending two more (Dead Detectives right now and Simon & Elizabeth next year), because I don't want to get tired of my characters. I did cheat a little and leave possibilities for continuing them at a later date, but right now, they're telling me they've traveled the arc that kept me and my readers interested. After three books, Loser's in a good place in her life. Seamus is about to come to terms with his demons in Book #4. Simon & Elizabeth are getting old as the fifth book circles in my head. I can't see forcing them to have more adventures--not when there are new characters talking from the back of my brain, whispering that they're waiting for their turn.

Jun 1, 2015

Simon & Elizabeth Are Back

At my signing on Saturday, a reader asked about the next Simon & Elizabeth book. Sometimes I feel like I neglect them, but it's mostly because my publisher accepts the manuscripts and then sets a date for release 20 years in the future.

Okay, maybe not 20.

Five Star is an excellent publisher, and they have a large number of authors who keep writing more books, so each submitted manuscript is put into a queue. I sent them the fourth in the series in late 2013 and got June 18, 2015, for my release date. Once I've done the work they require, editing, writing cover copy, etc., that leaves me with well over a year to forget the book exists. So if I haven't mentioned my historical series lately, that's why.

Book #4 is called HER MAJESTY'S MISCHIEF. Elizabeth is now queen, (hence "Her Majesty") and she wants Simon to go to Scotland and form an honest appraisal of Mary, Queen of Scots. The "mischief" in the title might refer to Mary and her plotting, but Elizabeth was no slouch at plotting mischief herself. She's thinking of offering Mary a husband (and not just any husband!), but reports of the Scottish queen's character vary widely. Some say she's sweet and innocent; others say she's a conniving, evil woman. Scholars actually still argue about which impression is most fitting, and the events in the book concerning Mary are true, except that Simon didn't go along because Simon didn't really exist. For our purposes, however, he does, and Elizabeth trusts his judgment. Unlike the rest of the men surrounding her throne, he has no political agenda.

Simon does have an agenda, though. He's recently learned that his brother-in-law was murdered, and being Simon, he wants to investigate. Elizabeth, being his monarch and possessing her father's Tudor stubborn streak, insists on having it her way. While Simon is gone to Scotland (where he gets into all sorts of trouble), his son Henry decides he'll investigate. That, of course, leads to its own set of perils.

The book is up for pre-order on Amazon & Barnes & Noble (maybe others, I just checked those two). So far it's hardcover only, and I have no idea when e-books will be available. They claimed there would be paperbacks this year, but nobody tells the authors the scheduling of any of that. We wait and see just like everyone else.

Apr 13, 2015

Freebie Day 3: April 13, 2015




Her Majesty’s Mischief

Want 2 free copies of this book? I'm giving away two books each day until the release of the 3rd Dead Detective Mystery, DEAD FOR THE SHOW, on April 20. The books are mixed up, so if you want a specific title, watch this spot daily until the one you want shows up. Then respond here or on Peg’s News on Facebook to be entered in the daily drawing.

Yesterday's winner is  Lori C.N. Congratulations!
 
NOTE: This one isn’t out yet, so you’ll have to wait until I get copies, May-ish.


Book #4 of the Simon & Elizabeth series
Setting: Tudor London & Scotland
Elizabeth I sends her loyal friend Simon to Scotland to bring back an honest assessment of Mary, Queen of Scots. While Simon’s away, his wife and son get into hot water trying to solve a murder. Nobody has a good time for a while, but things work out in the end.


Check out DEAD FOR THE SHOW on Amazon, where it's up for pre-order for Kindle and will be available in print one week from today! 


Nov 3, 2014

The Winter Slowdown

I tend to book fewer author events once October is gone. In the first place, the tourists have returned home, at least the ones who shop for books. Visitors who come north in the fall and winter tend to have goals like skiing or snowmobiling, so they don't visit bookstores much.
In the second place, people who live up north start heading south. Michigan bookstores don't host many authors outside the summer months because there just isn't the return on the time invested.
In the third place, the weather is full of surprises, so booking a trip to Traverse City or Grand Rapids is a bit of a crap-shoot. Will I be able to get there, will it be a nail-biting ride, and will anyone else show up if I do make it?
In the fourth place, I need time to focus on writing. I plan one more Dead Detective book (though #3 has yet to appear). I got the cover art for the 4th Simon & Elizabeth (left), which comes out early in 2015, and I'd like to do one more of those. And my Maggie Pill books are taking off nicely, so a third one is forming in my head, sort of a cloudy mist right now with a title (MURDER IN THE BOONDOCKS) and a story line involving rescue horses.
I can't write more than one book at a time, so I need to get them prioritized and sketched out, possibly getting two rough drafts done over the winter. My rough drafts are always REALLY rough, but I write them (to get them out of my head), leave them alone for a month or two, and finally
go back and revise (usually I scream in dismay at how awful they are and THEN revise.)  :)
So winter is a good time to stay home and get back to what I'm completely nutty about: writing. That is not to say that if there's a sunny winter's day when someone wants to meet for lunch, I would ever, ever refuse.

Sep 19, 2014

What Am I Working On?

Someone asks me this about once a week, so I thought I'd attempt an answer.

I just finished the final edit for the 4th Simon & Elizabeth mystery, Her Majesty's Mischief. If you've been paying attention, I had some trouble choosing a title for this one, and readers gave me some great suggestions. I chose this one because it has a double meaning. Simon is sent to Scotland to try to determine if Mary, Queen of Scots is hatching mischief in the form of revolt against Elizabeth, now Queen of England. In his absence, Elizabeth hatches some mischief of her own, secretly sending Simon's old friend Calkin to investigate a murder in Simon's family. Both endeavors lead to trouble, of course.
I have no release date yet for that one, but they said I'll get Advance Review Copies in December, which means it should come out about two months later. I will let readers know through my newsletter, so if you aren't signed up, you can text 22828. It will ask for a password, which is PEGHERRING. Then it will take your email addy, and you'll be on my list (I sound like I know what I'm doing, but I don't. If you aren't a smart phone person, you can join my newsletter list on Facebook.)

The next Dead Detective mystery, Dead for the Show, is also slated for an unknown "soon". The last notification I got from the publisher was "late in 2014 or early in 2015." I'd bet on the latter since I haven't seen the final copy-edits, but in this book, Seamus is sent to a theater company in Toronto to investigate the death of the wardrobe mistress. Anyone who knows me can guess where that idea came from!

The Loser mysteries ended with Killing Despair, at least for a while. I had an arc in mind for her character, and I think she's completed it. There's room for further development, but it seems to me the books would be less about Loser and more just mysteries--not a bad thing but not what I planned.

I've been working on the cozy series, written as Maggie Pill, (http://maggiepill.com) which has done waaaay better than I expected. I have Book #2 almost done, so that should come out in early November at the latest.

The long-range plan is for one more Simon & Elizabeth (they're getting old!) and one more Dead Detective (to solve Seamus' own reluctance to take the final step). After that, who knows?

Jun 9, 2014

"Where's That Book?" You Might Ask

Coming Spring of 2014 (I was told!)
I've been asked many, many times in the last few months about upcoming books, with good reason. My last book released some time ago, and some fans have even asked if I'd stopped writing.
No. (Couldn't do it if I wanted to, because my brain keeps sending out ideas.)
What's happened is the slow publishing industry, which is frustrating for me as well as my readers.
Months ago I submitted the next Dead Detective, the next Loser, and the next Simon & Elizabeth to my publishers. They're in various stages of production, with Loser #3 likely to be the next release. No date's been given for the 3rd dead detectives (and no reason why it isn't moving along). The date for Simon's fourth adventure is 2015, due to some issues at the publisher that have nothing to do with me.
I know. It's frustrating.
Most people know very little about how a book goes from manuscript to book, and most don't care, except when it takes too long. Authors, too, wonder why the delay, but we remind ourselves our publishers are dealing with more books than just ours and an assortment of cover artists, editors, formatters, and marketing staff who all have schedules and holdups.
I know. It's frustrating.
As soon as I know something, I'll post it here. If you're signed up for my newsletter, you'll be notified by email. (If you're not signed up, go to Facebook and "JOIN MY LIST" by clicking on the pretty blue and yellow squares-- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pegs-News/108697482481217?ref=hl --I only send out a newsletter when I have a new book coming out, so you won't get spammed with promotion.)
Summer in Michigan is a great time for book signings. If I had my way, I'd be spending my Saturdays at Horizon or McLean & Eakin or Saturn or Blue Phoenix or the Purple Tree, chatting with people about what we read and what I write. I can't schedule any signings until I have release dates.
I know. It's frustrating!

It's Getting Close!

  You might think "Christmas!" when you read that headline, but for me it's the release of SISTER SAINT, SISTER SINNER on Dece...