99¢ Sale on A Fool and His Monet

If you haven’t started reading my Serena Jones Mysteries yet, here is your chance to for less than a buck! 

Serena Jones has a passion for recovering lost and stolen art–one that’s surpassed only by her zeal to uncover the truth about the art thief who murdered her grandfather. She’s joined the FBI Art Crime Team with the secret hope that one of her cases will lead to his killer. Now, despite her mother’s pleas to do something safer–like get married–Serena’s learning how to go undercover to catch thieves and black market traders.

When a local museum discovers an irreplaceable Monet missing, Jones leaps into action. The clues point in different directions, and her boss orders her to cease investigating her most promising suspect. But determined to solve the case and perhaps discover another clue in her grandfather’s murder, she pushes ahead, regardless of the danger.

Here’s what others are saying about A Fool and His Monet: 

an enthralling whodunit, replete with action, suspense, danger and a lot of humor. And there’s a hint of a real romance developing. Serena is a terrific lead series character.” ~Mysterious Reviews

“This intriguing look into the world of art theft from the perspective of an FBI agent, will keep readers guessing the twists and turns as to the identify and motive of the thief.” ~ RT Book Reviews

“Orchard debuts a lighthearted mystery series. Her quirky characters are laugh-out-loud funny and reminiscent of the protagonists in ­Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum stories. Readers looking for a humorous mystery with a dash of romance may find it here.” ~ Library Journal Review

But don’t wait. The 99¢ sale ends Feb 28th 

Find it at your favourite Ebook retailer for all popular Ereaders: 

Kindle          Kobo           Nook                iBook

 

Laugh out loud and…develop your vocabulary!

And if you love the book, you can revisit the characters in: 

 

 

Begin Reading Another Day Another Dali…

It’s official…Another Day Another Dali, the second book in my Serena Jones Mysteries is now available. 

Here is an excerpt from the opening chapter to whet your appetite: 

 

I tore my gaze from the porch that wrapped around the drug dealer’s house and cringed at the number on my phone’s call display.

Mom said there’d be days like this.

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Tanner, still decked out in his SWAT gear, peered over my shoulder as the phone vibrated insistently in my hand. “Good thing you’re a field-hardened FBI agent, so you don’t let little old ladies scare the pants off you.”

I sent him a silencing glare. Ignoring his grin, I turned away from the rest of the team traipsing in and out of the building, and clicked Connect. “Hi, Nana,” I said, injecting fake cheerfulness into my voice. “What’s up?”

“I need you to come see me.”

“You nee—are you okay?” My heart stuttered. If anything happened to Nana . . .

“Of course I’m okay. Stop stammering, girl.”

Tanner, still hovering close enough to hear her strident tones, snickered.

I placed a muffling hand over the phone.

“Excuse me, sir,” I said sweetly. “Don’t you have a forgery to bubble-wrap?” 292908_anotherdayanotherdaliorchard_romtimes_160x600wb

“Forgery?” His stunned look was so comical I forgave myself for rushing to a verdict before my usual careful perusal. Not that I was in any serious doubt about this particular painting.

“Really?” he said, broad shoulders slumping. When I arrived on scene, he boasted they’d turned up art so hot it was still smoking.

“Yup. Fake.” I, too, felt a pang of genuine regret that the “Renoir” hanging in the drug dealer’s den wasn’t the one on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.

But I’d left Nana hanging.

Straightening my shoulders, I put the phone back to my ear. “Sorry, Nana. Um, I have to be at the youth drop-in center by seven to teach the art class, so . . .” I glanced at my watch and cast about for a workable solution, but there just wasn’t enough time. “I’m afraid—”

“Never mind,” she interrupted. “Obviously, you’re at work.” Where you shouldn’t be taking personal calls, her tone implied. “Call me when you get home.”

“Okay,” I said to dead air.

Annoyed at myself for the guilty feeling I couldn’t stop from churning my stomach, I turned to study the front of the house once more. Something was niggling at my brain.

“Um . . . Tanner,” I said, hesitating.

“Yeah?”

“There’s something . . .” I squinted against the dropping September sun, mentally reviewing the interior.

He grinned. “Stop stammering, girl. Spit it out.”

“Ha, ha.” Wait . . . “Oh, that’s got to be it!” I stuffed my phone in my pocket and headed back inside.

Tanner followed me. “What’s it?”

I stopped at the door to the den and glanced at the window three feet from the side wall.

“Serena? What’s going on?” Tanner pressed, trailing me to the next doorway, this one into a bedroom.

“The window is three feet from the wall, just like in the other room.”

“So?”

“Where’s the attic hatch?”

“Mason checked the attic.”

“Humor me.”

“Don’t I always?” Tanner said. “I’m a funny guy.”

“Uh-huh.” He actually had the quickest wit of any guy I knew, even if he did run to cheesy puns sometimes.

Not that I’d admit that to him.

“Over here.” He steered me toward a stepladder set up near the back door. “But there’s nothing up there but insulation and mice.”

“Mice, huh? Are you trying to scare me out of looking?” I started climbing, and Tanner moved in to hold the ladder steady.

I pushed open the hatch and stuck my head into the attic.

“See?” Tanner said.

“Yes, I do.” I stepped down a couple of ladder rungs and flashed him a grin. “A false wall six to eight feet in from the back of the house.”

Tanner squeezed past me and beamed his flashlight around the vacant space. “Unbelievable. Mason should’ve caught that.”

“The wall’s covered in cobwebs and dust. It wouldn’t have registered unless you were looking for it.”

Tanner muttered something I couldn’t make out, but having been on the receiving end of his displeasure during my FBI training—granted, always earned—I didn’t envy poor Mason.

Tanner hoisted himself into the attic, then balance-beamed his way across a joist to the wall and examined every inch of it. “I don’t see any way to access what’s behind it.” He shone the light over the attic’s insulation-covered floor and then the shoe impressions he’d left in the dust on the joist. “It doesn’t look like anyone else has been up here recently. There must be another ceiling access panel.” He climbed back down, eyeing me with interest. “How’d you know to look for a secret room?”

I shrugged evasively.

Tanner followed me back to the room where the fake Renoir had been found and swept his flashlight beam over every inch of the ceiling. “There’s no other way up there that I can see.”

I maneuvered around the agent photographing evidence. The wall between this room and the next was decorated in wood panels and elaborate moldings that looked uncomfortably familiar. I ran my fingers along the moldings.

Tanner studied me. “What are you doing?”

“Looking for a secret panel.”

“Uh-huh. And you seem to know exactly what you’re doing here, Nancy Drew, because . . . ?”

I expelled a breath. “There was one at my grandfather’s house, okay?”

“Your grandfather? The one who was murdered?”

“Yes.” I blew away a strand of long, blond hair that had escaped my ponytail. “Maybe you could be helpful instead of giving me the third degree?”

“Sorry.” Tanner beamed his flashlight over the section of paneling I was running my hands over.

My fingertips made contact with the pressure sensor I’d been seeking and my breath caught. “Tanner, I’ve found—”

“Wait!”

Primed to open it, I tossed a frown over my shoulder. “Are you really going to pull the SWAT-clears-every-room-first rule on this one?”

“No, I thought I’d rock-paper-scissors you for the privilege.” He motioned me to get out of his way.

My finger still on the sensor, I sidestepped two feet so he’d have a clear view as I pulled back the panel. “You ready? I’ll slide it open and you can call the all-clear.” I slid it three-quarters of an inch and froze. “Uh-oh.”

Tanner cursed. “Please tell me you’re messing with me.”

I gulped. “You don’t hear that ticking?”

He crouched down and shone his flashlight through the gap I’d opened. “Blast, Serena, don’t move a muscle.”

Yeah, got that.

“Blast!”

“Tanner, could you stop using that word?”

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Hooked?  🙂

Ask for it at your local bookstore or click here for more buying options: http://sandraorchard.com/books/another-day-another-dali/afoolandhismonet

If you missed the first book, A Fool and His Monet, I recommend reading it first, but each novel is truly a standalone, so not reading it won’t inhibit you from following book 2 in any way.

Tomorrow, October 19th, I am being interviewed at Emilie Hendryx’s blog and will be offering a paperback copy of Another Day Another Dali to one lucky commenter. Hope you’ll stop by and tell a friend.

 

In other News:

All my Love Inspired Suspense titles are on sale for only $1.99 for kindle at Amazon until October 25th

Find them here: http://amzn.to/2dj8gpA

loveinspiredsuspensebooks

Goodreads Giveaway for Another Day Another Dali

Yes, I’m back! And ecstatic to have all my grandsons safely at home in time to celebrate my youngest daughter’s wedding next weekend.  🙂

So…if you’re reading between the lines, yup, life is still crazy busy around here.  😉

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This little guy was born almost 12 weeks early at 1 lb 14 oz!

But ooohhh so good!

Another Day Another Dali, the second instalment in my Serena Jones Mysteries series, releases October 18th

another-day-another-dali_pre-order_-oct-18

And to celebrate, my publisher is sponsoring a Goodreads Giveaway of 5 copies open to members in the US and Canada, so…

If you’re part of the Goodreads book club, hop on over and enter by clicking here.

I’d love it if you’d help me spread the word too. This giveaway has already been going on for a couple of weeks and I only just clued into it!

Here is a twitter blurb that I think will work for those on twitter (ducking head, because I’m not on it): Love #mysteries? Check out Sandra Orchard’s #Goodreads #Giveaway #AnotherDayAnotherDali @RevellBooks bit.ly/GR-ADAD

With everything going on in our family these past few months, marketing hasn’t exactly been on my radar. But thank you once again to all of you who have been praying for my grandsons these past few months. We couldn’t be happier with how they are both thriving.

Have a great week!

 

Team Nate Supporters Have Their Say

Last week, I shared the impassioned reasons of one avid reader on why Serena should choose Tanner. This week, I’m giving the floor to the self-declared president of Nate’s fan club.  😀

Take it away, Lisa!

I’m loving all these comments about Nate and Tanner. And I’m convinced more than ever that Nate is the man for Serena.

Why Nate?

First – Nate takes care of Serena’s cat. As a cat lover and owner, any man who volunteers to look after my beloved cat is a great guy!

Serena's Cat

Second – They have common interests that do not involve Serena’s job. As a couple, one can expect initial chemistry, but there has to be shared interests and great conversation skills to keep a relationship growing and fun. Serena and Nate talk, laugh, watch movies, share meals, love pets, and enjoy art (impressionist art nonetheless). Nate also makes popcorn. Any man who makes me popcorn is a keeper.

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Third – Nate is smart, sexy, funny, handsome, and not married to his job.

screen shot from Bradley Cooper’s FB fan page

Fourth – Nate doesn’t kill the mice that appear in Serena’s apartment. He takes the time to drive them to a new location. This one hit home with me because my dad does the same thing. Whenever he or my mom find a mouse in their humane trap, my dad drives the little guy about ten miles away to a large field on the other side of town. My dad is one of the best guys on the planet, and if Nate shares some of my dad’s qualities, then Nate is perfect for Serena.

Fifth – I wasn’t overly fond of Tanner insulting Serena and Nate when he said that dating Nate is “an idiotic choice.” Petty comments reflect a person’s true character.

Sixth – Tanner’s also 10 years older. We’ve got to ask ourselves if he doesn’t have more of a bossy interest in Serena. He did manipulate his invitation to dinner through Serena’s parents, and he’s altogether too chummy with Serena’s father, essentially sucking up to his former professor.

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Lastly, while I do believe that Tanner is a nice guy, let’s not forget that he was her supervisor and that they still work together. I’m not thrilled with co-worker relationships, and FBI agents dating could become distracting on a case. Not a smart move on Tanner’s part. In fact, probably a selfish move on Tanner’s part.

coworkers fighting

Nate has a life of his own, a great deal of mystery to that life which is rather exciting. I love a good mystery, hence the reason we read Sandra’s books.  😉

reader on treadmill

Nate is the one, the only one, for Serena!!

Your Turn: Wow, Lisa gives strong arguments and twice as many as Team Tanner. What do you think?

If you missed the arguments for Team Tanner, you’ll find them in the previous post.

And if you haven’t voted yet, you can vote here but please read A Fool and His Monet first.

Photo Credits: Popcorn Image courtesy of Carlos Porto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net ; Two men chatting Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net; Business woman scolding her colleague Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

The Battle is Heating Up!

Do you think colleagues should date? Do you think opposites attract? Are you lining up on Team Tanner’s side? Or Team Nate’s?

Have no clue what I’m talking about?  😀

Well…at the back of A Fool and His Monet, I invited readers to visit my Vote For Your Favorite page to tell me who they want Serena Jones to be with by the end of the series–Serena Jones Mysteries.

Vote-for-Tanner

I REALLY do plan to let YOU decide!

And wow, readers are passionate about their choices!

Check out these reasoned arguments from “JL” championing Tanner’s cause:

Reason 1) Tanner is her best and most loyal friend. Friends with the whole family, not just Aunt Martha (and do we really trust Martha’s friend choices?)

Nate is an infatuation.

Reason 2) Tanner’s protective but respects Serena as a capable, strong woman. He’s confident but realizes he can’t have “any woman he wants.” He knows he has to fight for Serena, and she’s worth it to him. He also recognizes Nate is a worthy opponent, as much as he tries to hide it.

Nate is like the mice he’s catching – moves himself into her life without invite, appearing in unexpected places – like her window. Nuff said.

Reason 3) Tanner’s getting up there, he’ll likely want to slow down/settle down in the upcoming books, right after he plays a vital role in Serena solving the mystery of her grandfather’s death, and Serena decides crime investigation no longer means to her what it had.

Nate still has to hit his midlife crisis, where he’ll grow his hair, get an “I love mom” tat and Harley Davidson across America to the anthem of “Life is a Highway.”

Plus, Serena could develop a rare tea allergy or be transferred to a remote island without TV, or mice – and then what would she and Nate have in common?!

Tanner 100%. I rest my case.

Sandra here: I’m rolling on the floor, laughing, picturing Nate on a Harley with that tat.  😆

Your Turn: Agree? Disagree? If you’ve read the book, be sure to vote!

In a few days…I’ll share reasons from the president of Nate’s fan club.  😀

Skip the Meeting at Your Peril

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of facilitating my So You Want to Be a Writer? workshop at a meeting of the Niagara Branch of the Canadian Authors Association. We plotted a murder mystery set at the meeting and can you guess who we opted to make the victim?

A local thriller author who failed to appear.

Ideas for potential suspects and their motives abounded. We’re talking as diverse as an Argentinian in search of the grandson of W.E.B. Griffin, world-renowned author of spy novels, to an anger-management-challenged attendee whose parking place the victim scooped.

Nothing like a good brainstorming session to get the creative juices going.

We opted to make a librarian, who sat in on the meeting, our sleuth. Her stereotypical quiet, studious nature brought a lot of strengths to the investigation. And her introvert nature and resulting low self-esteem allowed us to show her personal growth through solving the crime.

I’m so glad they didn’t pick me as the sleuth. I REALLY didn’t want them to speculate on the areas of my life that could use improvement!

Hopefully, many of the attendees will take up the challenge to write a short story based on our brainstorming session. If you’d like to read one I wrote after a similar session last spring at a volunteers retreat, subscribe to my newsletter and I’ll email you the link and password.  😉 (Membership has its privileges)

Join Me Today at:

International Christian Fiction Writers, where I’m talking about family food favourites, inspired by my character Serena’s British heritage (which also happens to be mine.)

And for an interview at Suzanne Woods Fisher’s Amish Wisdom Blog No, there are no Amish characters in my novels, but if you’re burning to know the answers to such questions as can you make a living from writing and what do you like least about writing, I will tell all (more or less). 😉  And…there’s a giveaway!

Have a blessed Easter Week!

 

Feeling Stressed?

Tell me about it! My characters are out of control.

FBI agent Serena Jones has taken on a life of her own and is appearing around the blogosphere.

Today she’s blabbing about me and about painting to relax and about I’m afraid to look what else. But if you want to, you can check it out here:

http://anastasiapollack.blogspot.ca/2016/03/crafts-with-anastasia-guest-art-sleuth.html

If colouring to relax is more your speed, here’s a blog I found where you can download adult colouring pages:

http://nerdymamma.com/11-free-printable-adult-coloring-pages/6/

I’ve decided to colour the peacock. 🙂

I have to try something. My characters are stressing me out!

Later this week, Serena’s Aunt Martha gets into the act with an interview at Jaunty Quills. And when she talks, there’s no telling what she’ll say. I’ll share the link once it’s live on March 11th, if…I’m not too mad at her.  😉

In the meantime, have a great week. Happy colouring or painting or whatever you do to relax. If it’s reading, and you enjoy the thrill of entering giveaways, check out this book review blog:

http://bestreads-kav.blogspot.ca/2016/03/a-fool-his-monet.html 

Google alerted me this morning to the reviewer’s giveaway of A Fool and His Monet. Kav is a voracious reader and posts a new review (often with giveaways) almost every day.

 

Why Art Crime?

With only 3 weeks until A Fool and His Monet releases (2 weeks for the Ebook release), I thought it would be a great time to share with you some of the inspiration behind the Serena Jones Mysteries series, which tracks the exploits of art crime agent Serena Jones.

Art thieves aren’t as cultured and clever as shows like the Thomas Crown Affair and White Collar would have us believe. But when they succeed in making off with millions of dollars worth of fine art in a daring or brazen escapade, their thefts do make for sensational news stories.

Gardner Museum Courtyard 1
Central courtyard of the Gardner Museum during my visit last year

The arguably most famous is the 25+ year old, unsolved case of the Gardner Museum theft. In the wee hours of Mar 18th 1990 (while Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations were beginning to wind down), two thieves disguised as police officers entered the museum, tied up the guards and proceeded to steal 13 very different works of art. Considering the specific pieces stolen, some have speculated that it was a theft to order. Others, such as Robert K. Wittman, founder of the FBI’s art crime team, believe the men were merely incompetent. Art that hot is impossible to sell. The buyer could never display it.

Yet, the museum remains optimistic that the stolen art will yet be recovered. Until then the empty frames from which priceless paintings such as Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee remain hanging on the walls as haunting reminders of the collective heritage stolen from all of us that night.

Screenshot 2016-02-08 09.18.50

To aid in their recovery, the museum is offering a $5 million reward for their recovery. Click the image above to link to their virtual tour of the theft and pieces stolen. Maybe you have a clue to where one of these pieces could be now and don’t even realize it!

As I began communicating with the FBI during my research for this series, one person suggested I write a mystery to solve this case. Maybe it would help the FBI solve it, she said.

Wouldn’t it make an intriguing story for a fiction writer to elicit the help of her readers in recovering priceless paintings and solving a 25+ year old crime?  😀

Your Turn: What do you think? Have any theories?

Promotional Freebies – the fun side of marketing

A Fool and His MonetWith a new mystery series set to debut in March, I’ve been perusing the gamut of products out there that can be personalized with book and author info. Bookmarks, of course, are a given, but I love to be able to share something unique with my readers, too.

Which is why I’m super-excited about what we’ve created for the Serena Jones Mysteries.

The first is a very unique USB key embossed with the series’ logo and my web addy.

Promotional USB key

These are from USB Memory Direct and the salesman I worked with there was awesome at answering my questions and providing quick delivery of a well-constructed product. I’d highly recommend them. They have a phenomenal range of USB style choices and accessories, as well as, options to include preloaded content on the keys, or what I did, configure it to appear in the Windows viewer as an art frame logo.

I plan to share these with my editors and critique partners; bookstore owners who have me in for signings; as a thank-you to the authors who endorsed A Fool and His Monet; and in gift baskets at events.

But…

I also wanted to have something I could economically mail to lots of readers or give away at events that would:

  1. be useful for years to come and
  2. be related to the series.

This is what we came up with:

Purse-sized first aid kit

It’s a mini-first-aid kit for your purse or briefcase, complete with bandaids, antiseptic wipes and a quick reference guide. The plastic pouch is credit card sized and can easily be restocked as needed. I figured my heroine is an FBI agent. Law enforcement are supposed to help people…so now my readers can, too.  😉

If you’d like me to send you one, email me your address and I’d be happy to do that. I can even include a couple of extra for you to share with friends.

If you’re looking for similar items for your own promotional needs, I found them at Hit Logic. Darryl, the owner, was another awesome guy to deal with. I met him at Write Canada and we talked about a lot of different things–no high-pressure sales tactics, at all, and a great selection at economical prices.

For Deadly Devotion, the first book in my Port Aster Secrets mystery series, I shared marigold seed packets, since the victim was believed to have died from drinking the wrong kind of marigold tea. One of my Facebook fans actually proposed the idea and even sent me links to a site that sells them!

Deadly Devotion Seed Packets

These proved very popular with readers. Many of my newsletter subscribers contacted me to receive packets for themselves and to share. Bookstores were also happy to include them in bags. And browsers at book signings enjoyed having something to take home to plant. Several emailed me pictures of their flowers at the end of summer.

For Blind Trust, we created whistle key chains with a light–something every amateur sleuth, putting her life in jeopardy, could use, right?  😀  These were a lot of fun to share. The kids especially loved the whistle. But they proved to be pricey to mail, due to their thickness, so I wasn’t able to share them as widely.

Blind Trust Key Chain

So…I’m learning to balance the fun, the usefulness and the affordability.

Your Turn: What is the most useful or appreciated promotional freebie you’ve received from a company or author?