Write Canada 2021 is going Virtual

Has your schedule or budget prevented you from attending a writing conference? Good News!

Write Canada will be online in 2021 and easier than ever to fit into your schedule and budget. 

When? And how much?

The conference will span two separate two-week sessions (Aug 7-21 and Sept 11-25) with registrants able to join the classes live via Zoom or watch the recorded sessions anytime before the end of October. 

The cost is $200. 

Is Sandra Orchard teaching? 

I am! I’m super excited to be teaching a writing intensive this year entitled: Essential Techniques to Master the Craft of Writing Compelling Fiction

My Goal:

To help you take your writing to the next level. By incorporating memorable visuals and examples, the lessons will equip participants to analyze their writing and transform it into tight, compelling prose. They will learn the difference between story goals, character goals and scene goals, and the importance of establishing them. They will learn how to ensure their scenes propel their story forward and learn tricks and tips to evoke emotions in their readers.

We will also explore how to pace and storyboard a story. And participants will learn which must-have elements to include in their opening scene to hook acquiring editors, agents and readers alike.

Are intensives included in the conference fee?

The first session of each intensive is open to all registrants, however, to join the follow-up sessions, you must apply to participate in the intensive. (an additional fee applies) Before the second session, you will submit a selection from your work-in-progress for written feedback from myself and other participants. In the followup sessions, I will review these submissions and use them to illustrate additional teaching points. 

My opening session (viewable by all attendees) will be the first night of the conference at 7 pm on August 7th.

I look forward to seeing many of you there! 

For additional information about the conference and to register, visit: https://writecanada.org

 

Settling Auld Scores by Sandra Orchard

I’m pleased to announce that my next instalment in the Scottish Bakehouse Mysteries has shipped to subscribers from Annie’s Fiction. 

Aye, I’ve had a right braw (wonderful) time contributing to this series. Admittedly, at first I dinnae ken (didn’t know) if I’d feel at home in auld Loch Mallaig. But once I had a right old blether with the bonnie lads and lassies in town, I could hear the Scottish accent in every line. But don’t worry, only the odd Scottish word made it into the book. After all, I wouldn’t want my readers to think my heid’s full o’ mince. (every word that comes out of my mouth is non-sensical) 😀 

About Settling Auld Scores by Sandra Orchard

As Bread on Arrival’s head baker, Laura Donovan is used to scoring touchdowns in the kitchen, especially when she teams up with her best friends and business partners, Molly Ferris and Carol MacCallan. However, when it comes to parenting, unmarried Laura is a true rookie. While her brother and his wife are out of the country, Laura has agreed to host her teenage nephew, Henry, an up-and-coming football star now playing for the Loch Mallaig High Loons. Laura suddenly finds herself on defense as the safety of Henry and his teammates is tested by a persistent prankster, and Laura worries that her nephew is the main target.

From vindictive rival coaches and jilted former players to lovelorn teens intent on revenge, Laura’s roster of suspects seems endless. And as the pranks become more dangerous at every turn, Laura fears that a truly deadly incident could be next. She must take the offensive prankster out of the game before the clock runs out—or else someone could face sudden death.

Click to learn more about the Scottish Bakehouse Mysteries Bookclub from Annie’s Fiction

More Scottish Bakehouse Mysteries by Sandra Orchard

 

Check out this New Romantic Suspense Book Club

2021 marks the beginning of a new series from Annie’s Fiction

The series is called Sweet Intrigue and features standalone romantic suspense. I’m super-excited to be amongst the many authors writing for this 12-book club.  

When you subscribe to the club, you’ll receive one hardcover book every four weeks (or an Ebook if you prefer), starting with Betrayal of Trust by DeAnna Julie Dodson.

About Betrayal of Trust:

Grieving widow Julianne Montgomery is starting over in the Midwest town where she grew up. Still reeling from the recent death of her husband, nothing could’ve prepared her for the shock of seeing him show up at her door late one night, very much alive, injured, and insistent that she’s in danger.

Are you intrigued? 

My first contribution to the series is Dangerous at Heart . I don’t have the cover art or official book blurb to share with you yet, but those details will be coming soon. The book releases April 16th, 2021

About Dangerous at Heart by Sandra Orchard: 

After the police pin the fatal hit-and-run of their town’s beloved doctor on a dead man, witness Laura Brennan teams up with the doc’s nephew, Garrett Simons, to find the real killer. But when Laura asks her cousin, an aide to the state senator, to use her political pull to help them, her cousin disappears. What they discover in their search for her cousin, and for the truth, is a web of lies, corruption and coverups, surrounding the state’s largest manufacturer and perhaps the senator herself. But can they ferret out the facts and figure out who can be trusted to bring the perpetrators to justice, before they’re silenced too.

If stay-at-home orders have you down,

this might be just the series you need to get your blood pumping. Best of all, it will be delivered right to your mailbox, or inbox. 🙂 You can also cancel at anytime. 

Go to Annie’s Fiction for all the details about how to join the club.

Scottish Bakehouse Mysteries

This month I have a new book out in Annie’s Ficton’s Scottish Bakehouse Mysteries. 

I’m having so much fun writing these stories, infusing a flavour of Scotland in dialogue, food and activities, set in the rugged beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. 

My latest book is Yule Be Sorry, #9 (of 24) in the series. 

#9 in Scottish Bakehouse Mysteries by Sandra Orchard

On the first day of Christmas, Molly Ferris’s true love gave to her . . . one of many anonymous pranks leading up to Loch Mallaig’s upcoming Yule Festival, an annual tradition celebrating the Michigan town’s Scottish heritage. Initially, Molly and her best friends, Laura Donovan and Carol MacCallan, are charmed by the silly “Twelve Days of Christmas” gifts showing up at their Scottish bakehouse, Bread on Arrival. However, the fifth day presents ghastly tidings—the murder of local real estate agent Eric Wright, who’s found dead with five golden rings on his fingers.

Discovered by the bakehouse’s new delivery boy, whose girlfriend’s family was facing the loss of their home for the holidays, Wright’s homicide soon engulfs the entire village in suspicion and conjecture. With a history of shady deals, the murdered Scrooge had a seemingly endless naughty list of people who could have killed him—and perhaps it was someone Molly and her friends know and trust.

With their business’s wellbeing threatened by their ties to the murder, the Bakehouse Three resolve to solve the mystery of who silenced Wright’s night. Soon, the three Scottish hens realize that not only is their livelihood at stake but their lives as well. They must uncover the murderer before the killer gets to them—otherwise, they might be three bakers-a-dying.

I had great fun dreaming up little pranks for each of the 12 days of Christmas.  

Altogether, I’m writing 4 books in this multi-author series available through mail subscription from Annie’s Fiction. 

My first book was #4 in the series – Lass & Found 

Lass and Found Book Cover
#4 in Scottish Bakehouse Mysteries by Sandra Orchard

The series follows the adventures of former college roommates Molly Ferris, Laura Donovan, and Carol MacCallan as they reunite to open a bakery in bonny Loch Mallaig, Michigan, a place where the iconic sounds of Great Highland bagpipes fill the air, kilts never go out of fashion, and mysteries surface with curious regularity. Undaunted when they discover that the only retail space available in the charming Gaelic town is a former funeral parlor, party planner Molly, NYC chef Laura, and retired math teacher Carol bravely fire up the Scottish bakehouse of their dreams, Bread on Arrival, in the old Victorian mansion.

Powered by friendship, moxie, and plenty of tasty Scottish treats, the Bakehouse Three tackle every challenge that arises—including unsolved murder. From rekindling auld alliances and sparking new ones to chasing cryptic clues wherever they lead, the fiftysomething women prove that it’s never too late to embark on a fresh adventure. Pour a cup of tea, nibble on some shortbread, and get caught up in the mysteries of Loch Mallaig!

Click to learn more about the Scottish Bakehouse Mysteries Bookclub from Annie’s Fiction

For those who prefer to “listen” to their books, Annie’s Fiction now has a couple of their series available as audio books. You can learn more at Annie’s Fiction Audiobooks

It’s National Get Up Day

Today is National #GetUpDay, founded in 2017 as a reminder to Get Up when we stumble. After all we never know when our efforts to seek a goal or overcome an obstacle will encourage another to do the same. 

Of course, my grandson is my GetUpDay hero . . . 

July 2016 < 2 months after his accident

But since you know me best as a writer, I thought I’d share a few “GetUpDay” stories from my writing journey.

I began writing my first novel, after a back injury seriously restricted my ability to continue many of the activities that had been occupying my time. I loved that story writing expanded my horizons and gave me new challenges to meet.

Of course I encountered numerous disappointments and setbacks along the way to my first publishing contract, but with each one, I learned a little more. For example, an early version of what later became Deep Cover once finished dead last in a contest I entered. 

However, after following the judge’s suggestions and those of a few trusted friends, I transformed it into my first contracted novel. Fast forward ten years, now I’m working on my 22nd contracted novel, with two more waiting to be written after it. 

Sandra Orchard's Book Shelf

So . . . if writing is your passion and dream, I encourage you to Get Up and Keep Going. And remember that your perceived destination isn’t the only place where you and your writing can touch lives. 

Not far into my writing journey, I realized that even if I was never published, persevering was not for naught. God opened doors for me to minister to others through my writing long before I ever signed a contract. Some were people I likely would never have met if I wasn’t part of a writer’s group. The most important people were my own children. 

My children saw me reveling in learning new things. They saw me risk being criticized and crushed by putting my work “out there”. They saw my frustration with negative feedback and my determination to learn from my mistakes. They shared in the excitement of editor requests and the disappointment of rejections. 

They saw me rewrite the same story again and again until it was as good as I could possibly make it. And then rewrite it again when I’d learned more. 

They learned that pursuing your dreams is hard work. They learned there is joy and purpose in the journey, and that God uses your obedience each step of the way to not only grow you, but to encourage and teach and inspire those around you. They learned that it’s okay to fail. 

And they learned to dare to dream. 

I hope today is the beginning of an exciting and challenging new journey for you, whatever that journey might be. My spare time and energy these days is spent learning as much as I can about the human body and applying the knowledge to regaining lost mobility and range of motion.

It’s been mind blowing to me to realize how different muscles have taken over the job of others to compensate for weaknesses. Retraining the proper muscles to do the jobs their meant to do is hard work. There are days I feel as unstable as my littlest grandchildren learning to take their first steps!

But I persevere, hopeful that eventually I’ll be able to do more than ever pain free. 

Your Turn: What are you Getting Up to do? Please share your GetUpDay stories of past or present experiences in the comments as an inspiration to others.  

Life’s Like That

Ever notice how challenges have a way of piling up on you? 

Being a writer who exploits such scenarios on a continual basis, I’ve grown to take a philosophical approach to the twisters that want to wreak havoc on my plans.  

This month the twisters came mostly in the form of helping care for sick grandchildren and trying not to succumb myself. So when my edits landed in my inbox and the children all seemed to be on the mend, I envisioned an entire uninterrupted day of work. 

😆 😆 😆 

A stray dog, with no collar, had another idea. The adorable, lovable and unbelievably needy chocolate brown lab showed up on my doorstep at 7 am. I fed her and tied her up . . . three times. She looked to be about 8 months old, but clearly had already learned the fine art of being an escape artist.

Of course, she didn’t run away each time she escaped. No . . . She came and threw herself at my door and begged to be let in. I think my dog thought Christmas had come early in the form of a playmate, but I wasn’t about to let the kamikaze canine inside.

Visions of Christmas tree ornaments spewing in every direction at the wag of the dog’s tail filled my head!

So . . . I did what any responsible person would do. I woke my nearest neighbours to ask if they knew who she belonged to. 😳 

They didn’t. And of course, the local animal shelter didn’t open until 10. 

Yup, my FULL day of working on edits was quickly spiralling out of control. 

The title of said novel, YULE BE SORRY, was clearly an omen. 

But alas, eventually the friendly lass was carted off to await her owner’s call and I was able to sit down to my edits. 

 

The whole episode reminded me of Rusty, the heroic goldendoodle in Identity Withheld. 

 

Have you read that story? Do you remember Rusty? 

For fun, I thought I’d share his interview once more. Identity Withheld takes place at Christmas time, so if you haven’t read it yet, it’d be a fun one to pick up for an edge-of-your-seat read on a blustery day. 

Sandra: Rusty, could you start by telling us about yourself?

Rusty: I’m a really, really, really good dog. Don’t pay no attention to what Tommy’s dad, Jake, says. He’s a firefighter and gets hot under the collar just because I chew a shoe or corner of the couch or something. His parents adopted me for their grandson Tommy who is the nicest boy on the face of the earth. I live with them, next door to Tommy and Jake. Tommy’s mom died not long after he was born so Tommy’s at his grandparents a lot when his dad’s working, and we play and play and play.

Sandra: I hear you took a shine to Kara Grant, too, when Jake brought her to his parents after her house burned down and she had nowhere to go.

Rusty: Oh, yes, I loooooove Kara. She understands dogs. I could tell she was sad so I sat right down beside her and let her cry into my fur and she let me sleep on her bed with her. And she taught my person, Tommy, how to train me so his dad wouldn’t get so mad at me. Of course, I didn’t listen when she told me to stay before she went out for a jog, because I sensed she wasn’t coming back and I knew that would make Tommy real sad.
 
Sandra: So what did you do?
 
Rusty: I chased after her. And it worked! She came back to the house to stay a while longer. But…she was more scared than ever, because bad guys are after her.

Sandra: Did Jake have a new respect for you after that, too?

Rusty: More like he was jealous that Kara was always hugging me instead of him.<big, tongue-lolling grin> But after that, at least, he figured “I was smarter than I looked.” Although…I think I look adorable. Don’t you?

Sandra: Absolutely. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Rusty: I don’t want to give away the story, but everyone keeps calling Jake the hero, when I should get top billing. Kara fell in love with me the first time she laid eyes on me and… <glances from side to side and lowers his voice> if you read Identity Withheld, I’m sure you’ll agree that it wouldn’t be much of a story without me.

 

Me Again: I hope you enjoyed catching up with me. It has been awhile!

For those of you who aren’t on Facebook or who may have missed the post I made there. I’m proud to share that my grandson, who lost his leg in the lawn tractor accident a month before his third birthday, is this year’s War Amps Safety Ambassador.  

If you’d like to see the commercial he did with a couple of Hamilton’s TiCats, you can find it here:

 
A 2 ½ min behind the scenes feature is here:  https://youtu.be/9uJKzPvSpMI 
 

Crying Baby Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Download A Fool and His Monet for Free in August

If you haven’t met my plucky FBI art crime agent, Serena Jones, this month is your chance to read about her first adventure for free! 

 

 

Almost every online retailer is on board, offering a legal free download of A Fool and His Monet by Sandra Orchard.

Here are links to some of the most popular retailers: 

Amazon US.    Nook.     Kobo.    CBD

Google Play      iBooks.  

Amazon Canada

Amazon AU

Amazon UK 

If you know others who might enjoy A Fool and His Monet or all the Serena Jones Mysteries, please let them know about this great deal.

Click here to learn more about A Fool and His Monet.

Click here to checkout its bonus features.

Canada Day Sale on Deadly Devotion

Are you looking for a lazy summer day read? 

Looking for a mystery with a pinch of humour and dash of romance? 

The Ebook version of Deadly Devotion is on sale for 99 cents!

Already read the book? Please tell a friend about the sale. And check out Deadly Devotion’s bonus features.

 

Here are some of the online retailers it’s discounted at: 

 
Deadly Devotion is book one in the Port Aster Secrets series, set in Niagara, Ontario, about an herbal medicine researcher that turns amateur sleuth when her mentor’s sudden death is ruled, at best, the accidental ingestion of a poisonous herbal tea or, at worst, a suicide. 
 
Kate Adams is determined to do whatever it takes to unearth the truth about what happened to the woman who changed her life. But as she digs into the mystery, she unearths more secrets buried in her sleepy town and soon finds herself tangled in a web intrigue she might not escape. 
 
To read more, and to learn about print options, visit the Deadly Devotion book page and Deadly Devotion Bonus Features
 
This is what critics have said about Deadly Devotion:

“Romantic suspense maven Orchard (Shades of Truth) plunges readers into the fray immediately … Stakeouts, possible bombs, … keep up the breakneck pace of this tale as Adams and Parker try to uncover a killer and, perhaps, a little romance as well. … Fans looking for a quick read and a unique mystery will surely enjoy it.”

Publisher’s Weekly

“Orchard’s first Port Aster Secrets book is suspenseful with plenty of action and a fascinating mystery that readers as well as tea lovers will enjoy.”

RT Book Reviews

“I loved how the author used this understated, odd-couple comedy to not only raise the stakes for the characters, but to flesh out their personalities as the story progresses.”

-USA Today HEA blog

New Release ~ Weeds of Doubt

Weeds of Doubt, my fourth cozy mystery with Annie’s Fiction ships in January to subscribers of the Victorian Mansion Flower Shop Mysteries. (Click the links for more information on how to get these books). 

As you might guess from the title, I researched a lot of “weeds” in preparing to write this book. And I discovered that I should eat a lot of the ones I’d been pulling from in and around my vegetable gardens every summer, because in some cases, they’re even more nutritious than the plants I’m nurturing.

Best of all, weeds thrive on being ignored!

So this summer I added purslane, young dandelion leaves, lambs’ quarters and chickweed to my salads and I dug up the roots of the dandelion and burdock and infused their goodness into vinegar, which I’ve been using to make my salad dressings. I also dried and roasted some of the dandelion roots for quite a tasty tea that does a humdinger job of cleaning me out.  😉 

Of course, I knew better than to go anywhere near hogweed–a highly noxious plant that may or may not be a clue to this mystery’s killer.  😆 

 

The Victorian Mansion Flower Shop series is about mysteries encountered by a former forensics botanist professor who takes over her her grandmother’s flower shop on Orcas Island in Washington State. 

In Weeds of Doubt (#14 in the series), Summer is winding down and florist Kaylee Blue and the other residents of Orcas Island are planting fall flowers and preparing for another bustling autumn tourist season. But Kaylee has a full course load. Turtle Cove High School’s most beloved teacher has retired and is about to move off island, and mild-mannered school librarian Wilma has begged Kaylee and the other members of the Petal Pushers garden club to help her assemble a last-minute class reunion so that everyone can say goodbye before he leaves town.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing gym-dandy about the social when someone is killed on the beach. It’s not a former-student body that Kaylee nearly stumbles over while walking Bear. It’s the photography buff brought along as a date by one of the alumni, and other than Arnold, the poor sap, no one knows her. So who else would have a motive to kill her? Unless Wilma, who’s harboured a secret crush on the dentist for more than a decade, got jealous enough to pick a peck of poison and ring the final bell on her rival . . . 

Kaylee will have to do some old-school detective work is she’s to mow down a murderer–before someone else becomes dead of the class. 

For those who don’t subscribe to the series, these hardcover books can sometimes be found in libraries (thanks to patron donations), flea markets, and at used book stores (including online retailers, such as those distributed by Amazon marketplace). 

Here are some options for my previous Annie’s titles:

The Hound and the Fury ~ Through Amazon.com  

On Pens and Needles ~ Through Amazon.com

Digging Up Secrets ~ Through Amazon.com

Click on the “more buying choices” option for each book on Amazon to see the vendors selling used copies and the associated shipping cost if any. 

Justice Betrayed – A review

I’m afraid I’ve been quiet online for much of the summer. I have been enjoying cultivating my vegetable garden, well, four gardens plus a pumpkin patch to be exact. And I’ve been having tons of fun experimenting with new recipes, including making sourdough for the first time and fermenting some of this year’s bounty from the garden! 

But in between reading “how to” articles and watching videos to hone these new skills, I have managed to do some reading. One of the books I most anticipated delving into was the next instalment in my friend Patricia Bradley’s Memphis Cold Case series. Although if you haven’t read the first books in this series, it does read well as a standalone. And . . . if you’re a longtime Elvis fan, you’re especially in for a treat! 

 

Here’s the book blurb:

It’s Elvis Week in Memphis, and homicide Detective Rachel Sloan isn’t sure her day could get any stranger when aging Elvis impersonator Vic Vegas asks to see her. But when he produces a photo of her murdered mother with four Elvis impersonators–one of whom had also been murdered soon after the photo was taken–she’s forced to reevaluate. Is there some connection between the two unsolved cases? And could the recent break-in at Vic’s home be tied to his obsession with finding his friend’s killer?

When yet another person in the photo is murdered, Rachel suddenly has her hands full investigating three cases. Lieutenant Boone Callahan offers his help, but their checkered romantic past threatens to get in the way. Can they solve the cases before the murderer makes Rachel victim number four?

My Review: 

Justice Betrayed is a keep-you-guessing romantic suspense that is light on the romance. Now, I have to say that I prefer it when authors keep the “bad guy” a mystery, even in a suspense, so I was a little disappointed to “meet” the bad guy in the prologue. Until . . .

I discovered I didn’t have a clue who the person actually was in the present!

I love being kept guessing and Pat provided enough possibilities to keep me on my toes. She also had some great secondary characters, including the heroine’s polar opposite grandmothers, as well as, a sweet, mentally challenged young woman whose adoration of Elvis inadvertently entangles her in the mystery, which takes place during Elvis week in Memphis and begins with the death of a tribute artist. 

I really enjoyed this book. Ask for it at your favourite bookstore or find it all the major online retailers.

And . . . if you’re looking for Ebooks to stock your kindle, iPad, tablet or phone these last few weeks of summer…

 

A Fool and His Monet and Another Day Another Dali are both only $1.99 each through to the end of the month. You can find them on google play for your android devices, iTunes for your Apple devices, Nook, Kobo, and Amazon for kindle.