In the Mood for more Art Crime? Book Sale

Hey, everyone. Sorry I’ve been quiet here for so long. The past six weeks have been a blur. I had a fabulous time at my first Bouchercon Mystery Conference. It was especially fun to meet Maureen Jennings, the author of the original Murdoch Mysteries, and to hear how they evolved into a popular TV series. 

Then my grandson had another surgery on his whole leg to straighten it, so I’ve been spending a lot more time with him and his siblings, helping out, since they also have a new little baby in the family, and it will be a few more weeks yet, before he’s mobile again. He is progressing fabulously, though, and we so appreciate the prayers of the many who have been remembering him. 

Now . . . to the book sale news. 

If you’ve only recently discovered my novels, you may not realize that before Serena Jones and the Port Aster Secrets series, I wrote several romantic suspense novels. 

One of them, Perilous Waters, is about another member of the FBI Art Crime Team, Sam Steele, and he’s chasing down the bad guys aboard an Alaskan cruise.  

Cover for Perilous Waters

May I just inject here how much fun I had researching this novel!  😉 

The great news is that right now, Perilous Waters is on sale for 99¢ on all the Ebook platforms. 

Sooo, if you’ve enjoyed following Serena Jones’s cases, now is a great time to pick up Perilous Water, because I’m not sure how long the sale will last. 

Click on the book’s cover above to go to the book’s page on my site, where you’ll find links to iBooks, Kobo, kindle etc. through the “buying options” button. And after you read the book, check out it’s bonus features here

Celebration Sale!

We’re celebrating the healthy birth of our newest grandchild with a month-long book sale! 

My publisher has slashed the E-book prices

in all formats on my

Serena Jones Mysteries

For those wishing to download Kobo or iBook versions, be aware that their prices haven’t yet changed, but they should soon! Click the image above to go to kindle versions. Click the book images in the side bar, for full descriptions. 

If you’ve finished the series…

Please join our chat (without spoiler worries) in our private Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1680399125601702/

A Weekend Writing Adventure

This past Saturday, I had a blast leading a workshop at a retreat for Hospice Niagara Volunteers.

Hospice Niagara is a fabulous organization that provides compassionate care, hope, and encouragement to residents of Niagara with life-limiting progressive illnesses, as well as support to their caregivers, families and those who grieve their deaths.

Of the more than 350 volunteers with Hospice Niagara, 80 attended the retreat. And as the comedian who opened the event for us noted, with the majority of those volunteers being women, it’s a great place for retired single men to meet women…ur, volunteer. 😀

The theme for the retreat was about Inner Growth – stretching oneself to try and learn about new things. So…with the help of my daughter…

writers workshop b

I took my group of about twenty participants on a whirlwind tour of my journey from know-nothing newbie to published author, (which as it turned out, inspired some of the memoir writers in the group to do some revising to incorporate more fiction techniques into their writing). Then I coaxed everyone (well…almost everyone) into unleashing their imaginations as we brainstormed the plot and characters for a collaborative mystery story.

We had a riot, exploring motives and methods for…ur…killing off someone at the retreat–fictionally, of course.

We tallied an impressive list of suspects among the attendees. My secret suspicions that one person in our midst was CIA turned out to be not far off, as he later admitted to me that he was a former federal investigator.

Guess whose number I now have on speed dial? 😉

As part of my demonstration of how writers use seemingly incidental events as red herrings or secret reveals, my daughter wowed the participants with her acting talents

We also talked about how eccentric characters add so much to the texture of a story and searched the room for a few.

Finger Knitting

Enter Barb, our finger knitting lady–a topic for a whole other blog!

We also decided Barb would make a wonderful sleuth, since she loves to read mysteries, especially yours truly’s. How can I not admire her taste? 😆

As a bonus, I’m writing the story we brainstormed and sending it to the participants and my newsletter subscribers (click here to not miss it).

The faint of heart will be happy to learn that to keep the story short, our sleuth needed to solve the mystery at the event, so I opted to not allow our would-be murderer to actually succeed. That way the paramedics can truck off the victim to the hospital, as of yet unaware of the cause for his near-death condition, so we can dispense with the police getting in our sleuth’s way with all their rules and regulations.  😎

You can learn more about my talks and workshops on my Invite Sandra Orchard to Speak at your Event page.

Here’s a clip from this past weekend’s event (right click to open in a new window to allow time to load

Your Turn: What kind of topics would you like to hear an author talk about?

What’s Scribd and Why Should you Care?

If you enjoy reading books on an Ereader, tablet, or other electronic device, and you read more than a couple of books a month, then you need to check out Scribd.

Scribd has been called Netflix for books. For one low monthly fee, you can download and read as many books as you want.

Screenshot 2014-10-17 22.48.58

The number of Christian fiction and non-fiction titles in Scribd’s library is growing daily.

Harlequin has begun adding their family of Love Inspired titles to the subscription service. So far, all the books in my Undercover Cops series are there, as are my Port Aster Secrets books from Revell Publishing.

And the best part is, thanks to Harlequin’s special promotion…

You can try Scribd for free for three months by clicking here

You can download up to 20 books at a time to read offline, as well as, organize all your chosen titles onto personal library shelves while online.

Scribd describes itself as “your personal digital library, where you have unlimited access to the world’s largest collection of e-books and written works.” With their premium subscription service you’ll have access to over half a million books from nearly a thousand publishers, from New York Times bestsellers to literary classics.

They also store an eclectic collection of user-uploaded written works, from landmark court filings to academic papers from scholars around the world.

You have nothing to lose by trying it. If you decide it’s not for you, just be sure to cancel before your free trial period ends and you won’t be charged a penny. But be sure to read all my books first.  😉

Find all Sandra Orchard’s titles on Scribd here.

I’m guessing that if you choose to “follow” me on at my profile on Scribd, you’ll receive notices when new books are added.

If you still have questions, check out Scribd’s frequently asked questions page here. I’m still learning my way around the place myself, working on “claiming” my author profile so I can add a photo etc.  😀

BTW, you won’t find any erotic fiction (at least not at this time) available in the subscription service–reassuring if the kids start browsing.

Stack of BooksYour Turn: What do you think of this concept? Do you plan to try it?

 

The service has been around since 2007, but I imagine with Harlequin now on board the number of users is bound to boom, at least for the next three months. However, I would very much hate to see it further undermine the viability of our local bookstores.

 

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Introducing Kara Grant or… is she?

Identity_WithheldIdentity Withheld is my newest Love Inspired Suspense, and although the novel doesn’t hit bookstores until November, it’s already available directly from Harlequin. So, I thought I’d whet your appetite by interviewing the heroine today. [Just in: Tuesday & Wednesday only, buy 2 books and get 1 free at Harlequin, using coupon code: HNB2OC14]

Identity Withheld is Jake Steele’s story, brother to Sam Steele, the hero of Perilous Waters. But the identity of Jake’s romantic interest is a tad more complicated. Thankfully, I’ve managed to coax her into revealing a little more about herself here today.

Sandra:  Tell us about yourself, Kara, and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense. 

Kara:  My real name is actually Nicole Redman, but after witnessing what looked like a man buying a baby while out for a jog in the park in my hometown of Boston, bad guys tried to kill me with a parcel bomb and the police sent me into witness protection. I was quietly biding my time as the rechristened Kara Grant, nighttime janitor, living across the continent in a small town outside of Seattle, until the bad guys found me and set fire to my new home. That’s how I met firefighter Jake Steele.

Sandra:  Tell us about Jake.  What was your first impression? 

Kara:  My very first impression, was not good, I’m afraid. When he spotted me running from the scene, he thought I’d set the fire and grabbed me none too gently. But once he realized his mistake, he was very gentle and protective and had the sweetest, lopsided smile, even if he was annoyingly insistent that I go to the hospital when it was the last place I wanted to go.

Sandra:  It sounds like the two of you clashed more than once. What would you consider your strengths and weaknesses?          

Kara:  I guess my determination to do the right thing no matter the personal cost would be my best strength. My boyfriend in Boston warned me to not go to the police after I witnessed what I was sure had to be the sale of a kidnapped child, saying it would only lead to trouble, but I couldn’t not speak up. Thankfully, I’ve always been fairly self-reliant as well, which helped me a lot once I was placed in witness protection, although Jake would probably say that is my weakness, since I’m so resistant to letting him help me.

Sandra:  You have a scripture at the beginning of the story.  Tell us why this scripture is significant.       

Kara:  When I learned I would have to move across the country and cut off all contact with my friends and family, I clung to this scripture with all my might: “If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”

Sandra:  Why can you never see yourself ending up with the hero?

Kara: My life isn’t my own. Kara Grant is not who I really am. And I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone who I was. Being with me, puts Jake and his son in danger and I couldn’t live with myself if I brought them to harm or had to uproot them from their family here in Washington State, because the bad guys have found me and I have to be moved again.

Sandra:  What do you hope people will learn from your experience?

Kara:   To do what’s right even when it hurts and trust God to work it all out according to his plan and purpose.

A worthwhile lesson! Thank you for visiting with us today, Kara.

Blog readers, if you’d like to read more of…

Kara’s interview and other bonus features, such as deleted scenes, as well as an excerpt of chapter one, click here.

If you like to bake, you’ll want to check out the recipe for Gran’s Pumpkin Muffins, also in the bonus features. October 13th is Thanksgiving here in Canada, so in preparation we’ve been experimenting with a few new recipes. As these pumpkin muffins baked, they made the house smell wonderful. They tasted great too!

Your Turn: If you had to go into witness protection, what would be the hardest thing for you to walk away from?

 

Big Thank You & Giveaways This Week

Thank you so much to all who voted for

 

Blind Trust

at Clash of the Titles.

Conqueror ButtonIt won!

 

To continue the celebration…

Visit me this week at

International Christian Fiction Writers

 and leave a comment for a chance to win an E copy of Blind Trust (or other Orchard title of your choice) ;-)

and

for a second opportunity…

on Friday, August 1st hop over to

Suspense Sisters

Giveaway this Week

Visit me this week at

MBT Ponderers

 and leave a comment for a chance to win a paperback copy of Blind Trust 😉

Blind_Trust

Behind the Scenes – An Unusual Weapon

With less than three weeks until the release of Deadly Devotion, I thought it would be fun to give you a behind-the-scenes look. 

Ever wonder what weapon you’d grab to defend yourself if you were cornered?

Kate Adams, the main character of Deadly Devotion, is a researcher specializing in herbal medicine. She works with plants every day. She’s surrounded by plants. She knows things about plants you’d never have imagined.

She’s also driven to find out the truth about how her fellow researcher and dear friend really died. And more than one person wants to stop her. 

So what weapon would Kate grab if cornered in her lab?

cactus
A cactus?

 

stinging_nettle
Or maybe stinging nettle?

 

myrtle spurge
Or THIS?

If you guessed this last plant, you’re right. Do you know what it is?

Here’s the scenario:

She’s alone in her lab when no one should be in the building. She hears approaching footsteps, the scrape of a key in the lock to the only door in or out. She has no idea if the person about to come through the door is friend or foe. She  snaps off a runner of the pictured plant, and praying the juice doesn’t spurt on her fingers, brandishes it against her intruder, who responds:

“What did you plan to do? Whack me with that weed?”

She jabbed the air with it, trying to act playful. “You bet. This baby works way better than pepper spray. Not only will the sap make your eyes and skin sting horribly, it’ll make your face swell fatter than road kill on a hot summer day.” 

“Ni-i-ice.” He shuddered playfully. “Lucky for me I’m your friend.”

But is he???

And what is this strange-looking plant Kate brandishes as a weapon?

At the time I was writing this story, one of my daughter’s fellow horticultural students was thinning out this popular ornamental and got the sap on his hands, and face, and yes, it swelled and stung and was not pretty.

Unfortunately, my daughter didn’t learn from his mistake. The following weekend, while thinning out the same plant from our garden, she got sap squirted in her eyes. Oh yes, it stings!

After flushing them and calling poison control, she ended up going to the doctor’s for a salve to relieve the effects. And…

the scene above was born. 😉

Oh…and in case you were wondering, the plant is called myrtle spurge.

Your Turn: 
What’s the most unusual weapon you’ve read about or could imagine using if someone snuck up on your at work or home?

By the way…  Deadly Devotion is already available for preorder at many online stores at awesome sale prices–prices that often jump once the book releases. Click here for direct links to order Deadly Devotion.

Image of cactus courtesy of thaikrit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net   Image of stinging nettle courtesy of BrianHolm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net