Comfortable Discomfort

I once had a cousin/uncle/grandparent-ish person (he was my second cousin once-removed if you want to get technical here, but the point is that he was in his eighties and I was around ten, you get the idea) who once posed the question that I probably wasn’t supposed to hear – what’s the difference between naked and nekkid?  Naked is simply having no clothes on.  Nekkid is naked, but with intent.  In other words, the difference is subtle and mostly to do with what you intend to do about it.  Which is how I feel about old and vintage.

My general preference, when given a choice, is for old things.  Which is to say I like old books, old furniture, old clothes and my grumpy old dog.  Although, usually I say vintage, which is the same as old, but with character.  I don’t want new things (unless they’re electronics and sometimes not even then).  I want the things I’ve become accustomed to and work for me.  Which is why sometimes, even when something gets actually too old to use, I still hang on to it.  Recently, my favorite skull-n-crossbones mug developed an unfortunate hairline crack that resulted in it weeping tea over everything.  It was unusable but I hung on to it for two weeks.  What was I planning on doing with this mug?  It wasn’t fixable.  It wasn’t art.  Did I think it would magically heal itself?  It wasn’t until I had resigned myself to it’s passing that I was able to let it depart into the recycling bin.

I don’t think my preference for the old and familiar is particularly unusual.  I think most of us are little grumpy about being forced into new things.  We’re uncomfortable with being uncomfortable.  On the other hand, studies seem to indicate that actively being in a place of uncertainty and learning keeps Alzheimer’s at bay.  Being used to a little discomfort makes us appreciate what we have and have grace for those who also in discomfort. And I think that if a few more people were used to being told no and being a little more uncomfortable then they wouldn’t lose their cool and have public temper-tantrums in the middle of Target (why is it always Target?).  Perhaps we need new things periodically just to remind us that sometimes we don’t always get to keep our favorite mug.  And sometimes we need a new mug to tell us that everything will be OK.  As long as it looks vintage.

And Now…. Book News!

The Cinderella Secret is coming 10.19.20 and there are gifts, prizes, and sneak peeks for you to delve into! The Cinderella Secret is a romantic thriller that continues the Deveraux family saga, this time with Aiden Deveraux, the handsome lawyer going up against Ella Zhao who blames the Deveraux family for her father’s death. With family secrets and thrills at every turn, The Cinderella Secret delivers a one-two punch of passion and action that will keep readers turning the pages.

Pre-Order The Cinderella Secret on all ebook platforms: https://books2read.com/Cinderella-Secret

Bonus Gift  (but just for my friends)

The Lost Heir, a Deveraux Legacy prequel novella, will be released in December, but members of the Blue Zephyr Press / Bethany Maines newsletter will receive it on October 19 with the release of The Cinderella Secret!
Join here: https://bethanymaines.com/the-deveraux-legacy/

Giveaway

Want a chance to win a free copy of The Cinderella Secret? One lucky winner will also get a copy of Book 1 – The Second Shot.  Giveaway ends 10.17, so snag your entry now!
Enter at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54817893-the-cinderella-secret

Try Before You Buy

Read Chapter 1 of The Cinderella Secret!
Read here: bethanymaines.com/cinderella-secret-chapter-1/

 

The Waffle House

So, I forgot that I was supposed to blog today and instead used my few minutes of writing time to write a scene where two of my characters go to a Waffle House.  But as a west coast resident, I’ve never actually been to a Waffle House.  As a result, I spent way too much time looking at the Waffle House menu on line and now I want hashbrowns and waffles.  Sometimes we hear authors say that their characters speak to them.  My characters wouldn’t deign to do that.  They’re too busy talking to each other. And honestly, if I left them to their own devices they would talk until my fingers cramped up from trying to transcribe.  I frequently have to cut off the conversations so that the story goes somewhere.  That’s part of the editing process, but these conversations are excellent at helping me understand the characters.  When I discover what they find funny, what they hate, what annoys them, and what their hard line stance is on Christmas decorations after New Years, I can plunk them down in any situation and know how they’ll react.  Which is how I know that Jackson Deveraux would be quite happy at the Waffle House, but that he would be shocked that his hoity toity grandmother Eleanor Deveraux knows to order Waffle House hashbrowns scattered, smothered, and covered, but not chunked.  The Deveraux family is full of secrets and surprises, but when I started writing about them I never would have thought that hashbrowns would be one of the surprises.  The Deveraux family, from my Deveraux Legacy, has become one of my favorite group of characters.  They’re a very fractured family that is struggling toward reconciliation while attempting to overcome the periodic interruption of mercenaries, bank robbers, and greedy CEOs.

If you want to find out what the Deveraux family thinks about Christmas décor you can check out book 1, The Second Shot, and pre-order book 2, The Cinderella Secret (both currently ¢.99). Or you can…

Enter to win a paperback copy of The Cinderella Secret on Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Cinderella Secret by Bethany Maines

The Cinderella Secret

by Bethany Maines

Giveaway ends October 17, 2020.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


Or you can join the Bethany Maines / Blue Zephyr Press Newsletter mailing list and get a free copy of the prequel novella, The Lost Heir in October!

Fall! Bombs Away!

Does anyone else feel like Fall just hit with a sledgehammer?  The weather shifted, everything started getting colder and book release dates started cropping up faster than weeds in my lawn.  My friends in the Stiletto Gang have several new releases. Debra Sennefelder put out the fashion / Halloween themed mystery What Not to Wear to a Graveyard (see her post here) and we’re still celebrating the late summer releases of Debra Goldstein’s latest Three Treats Too Many and the newest Stiletto Gang member Gay Yellen with Body Business.

My next book releases in October, but that just means that all the marketing is happening now, now, now (use your used car salesman voice for the last part). Marketing for most authors, including me, is a somewhat painful process in which we attempt to interest the greatest number of people in our precious book baby. The Cinderella Secret is book 2 (of 4) in my Deveraux Legacy series. With a series, book 1 sets the tone and while marketing can be increased for subsequent books – if an author did a terrible job on book 1 then book 2 doesn’t have much of a chance. This kind of high-stakes “hope you got it right” marketing pressure is what drives many authors to hate marketing.  We’re already responsible for inventing these characters, putting them through hell, hopefully letting some of them make it out with a happy ending, and now we’re responsible for making them a success in the world?  It’s too much! My poor babies deserve more!  But, of course, we saddle up and go out there and do our best for our imaginary book friends because we really do love them. Fortunately, it is a bit easier with assistance from friends, marketing professionals, and having some pretty sweet giveaways and incentives in my back pocket.


The Cinderella Secret:
 Hot-shot lawyer Aiden Deveraux holds the key to unlocking the dark secrets of Ella Zhao’s past and Ella holds the key to Aiden’s heart. But a murderer wants to stop those secrets from ever seeing the light of day and Aiden and Ella may have to trust each other with their secrets if they want to make it out of this fight alive.

Release Date: 10.19.20

Pre-Order now from iBooks for ¢.99!  (Price goes up after release week!) Buy here → https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-cinderella-secret/id1528407978?mt=11&app=itunes

Have a netgalley account and want to get an advance copy? Blogger/Reader Sign-Up → https://bit.ly/ReleasePromotionTheCinderellaSecret 

Want to win an e-copy and a $40 Amazon giftcard? Enter to win → http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2a9f3a7480/

Want to get the Deveraux Legacy prequel novella, The Lost Heir, for FREE? Learn how → https://bethanymaines.com/the-deveraux-legacy/

Thorny Problems

This week has been a bit of roller coaster ride for my writing.  I received some very excellent news which them prompted me to move up several items on my to-do list, which further caused me to do the thing that I had been dreading… Call Apple Support to fix a problem with my Apple ID.  I have had three different people on my “case” and have now been bumped up to a “Senior Advisor.”  In short, my problem has been deemed an actual problem (hmm… like I said at the beginning?) and I have been moved away from the people that tell me to do things like “spell out North, instead of putting N.” and “try clicking ‘add’ 4 times really fast.”  Which is probably good because I was starting to make notes for killing off a customer support specialist in my next novel.

But all of this has left me feeling more than a little bit blocked.  I want to do one simple thing, but suddenly the simple thing spawned multiple problems and multiple frustrations.  Usually when I’m feeling frustrated I can dive into one of my writing projects to escape, but unfortunately I’m feeling blocked on many of those as well!  Book #4 of the San Juan Island series is holding until I can figure out who finds the body.  I’ve got it narrowed down, but I’m not sure who would be the best person.  My sci-fi version of Beauty & the Beast for the Galactic Dreams Anthology series is with my co-writers and I don’t want to write the next section without their input. And The Lost Heir, my Deveraux Legacy novella is with my beta readers.  So what’s the solution to this thorny issue?  Here’s what I came up with…

Step 1: Go blackberry picking

Step 2: Make pie.

Step 3: Eat pie.

It may be the long way around for pie, but it is a solution to a very thorny problem.

Money, Treasure, and… Love

One of my 2020 goals was to read more books. You would think that with pandemic shut downs that I might have made headway with that goal, but instead I had to pivot to homeschooling, fire-drill mode for several of my firm’s clients, and just generally trying not to freak out.  Fortunately, along came Cathy Perkins my fellow Stiletto Gang member with a brand new book – Calling for the Money.

Calling for the Money is the third book in the Holly Price mystery series, but doesn’t require reading the first two (there’s plenty of quickie recaps to bring a reader up to speed) and the mystery is self-contained. Holly is a top flight accountant who is quick-thinking, analytical and on the run from a devastating break-up.  But as Holly digs into her new job, her personal life and caring heart cause her to get involved in a missing persons case.  As Holly struggles to figure out if the perfect job she’s always wanted is what she wants now that she has it, kidnappers, extortion schemes and a father who needs a quick punch in the face keep her from being able to have a moment to herself.

This mystery was exactly what I needed to keep me turning pages and avoiding the dishes. Holly Price with her financial wizard mind was a smart heroine with tons of moxie that makes you root for her all the way through the book.  Calling for the Money was a fun, smart read, and I recommend the entire series.

UPDATE:  Love & Treasure is now available!

Buy Links:

🏴💖 All retailers:  https://books2read.com/LoveTreasure

🏴💖 Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UGfWuG

Chase Regard is captain of the nearly-historically-accurate pirate ship Cupid’s Revenge, a pirate-themed restaurant and dinner show, and the mountain of debt that came with both. But Chase has an ace up his sleeve: his ancestor left a heap of treasure somewhere on the coast near Ashville, Oregon. All Chase needs to find it is the help of the red-headed, fiery, and occasionally forgetful, academic Dr. Jenna Mackenzie, the director of the Ashville Museum. But when Chase and Jenna team up they must face the town’s history-buff bully, accusations of theft, and an oncoming storm before they find out that X marks the spot for love and treasure.

The Good Old Days Weren’t Always That Good

“It’s no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”

–Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

The pandemic has brought many things surface, but as I work with my roster of usual clients (I’m a graphic designer) I’m caught by surprise at the growing gulf between those who wish to return to “normal” (don’t we all) and those who have pushed forward to embrace technology in an effort to create “normal-ish”.  Some of the solutions that have come up during the pandemic are poor substitutes (distance learning, I’m looking at you), but at least function.  Some of the solutions work better than the original (Zoom with out of state friends!).  But what I see is that the clients who are embracing technology to remain connected are going to have an on-going and continued advantage over organizations that take the “we’ll just wait for normal to come back” approach even after the pandemic subsides.

Honestly, I don’t believe that normal is going to come back. That is not a negative prediction.  It’s an estimate based on what I know about history and technology. Humans are always looking for “faster” and once we’ve found a new faster way to do things, we don’t go back to slower.  So all the shortcuts we’ve developed are going to stick with us. The organizations who think that everything will go back to the way it was are going to be severely disappointed. And I think this rule can be brought down to an individual level as well.

Which has made me ponder what “normal” am I clinging to for the sake of familiarity?  Am I afraid of being a different person tomorrow because it would require change today?  What challenges have I been avoiding because they would require me to dig in, learn, and potentially fail? Learning something new is hard, but results are clear — trying new things keeps us connected, flexible and more likely to survive.  And as I stated slash possibly sang and danced to in my last Zoom dance party, I Will Survive.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Peregrine’s Flight – the next book in my Shark Santoyo series is almost here (print edition is already available!) and will be available 6/16.

Blurb: Peregrine Hays has always been able to see the angles and fix any situation—but even she can’t fix the death of Shark Santoyo. All Peri wants to do is finally move on, but when mysterious new player Hernan Arroyo comes to town looking for Shark and digging up the past, he unwittingly puts Peri in the path of the Reyes brothers, their hunt for a smuggler of stolen Mayan artifacts, and a shadowy figure known only as the Mannequin. Peri is struggling, but maybe with the help of her friends, she can learn to fly.

Learn more about the series: https://amzn.to/3aUhDuA 

Pre-Order Peregrine’s Flight: https://amzn.to/3eGyan6

Love & Treasure – Surprise it’s a novella! If you like sword fights, treasure-filled caves, and laughs, then you need Love & Treasure.

Blurb: Chase Regard is captain of the nearly-historically-accurate pirate ship Cupid’s Revenge, a pirate-themed restaurant and dinner show, and the mountain of debt that came with both. But Chase has an ace up his sleeve: his ancestor left a heap of treasure somewhere on the coast near Ashville, Oregon. All Chase needs to find it is the help of the red-headed, fiery, and occasionally forgetful, academic Dr. Jenna Mackenzie, the director of the Ashville Museum. But when Chase and Jenna team up they must face the town’s history-buff bully, accusations of theft, and an oncoming storm before they find out that X marks the spot for love and treasure.

Releasing: July 

Thriller Giveaway: Fellow Stiletto author A.B. Plum and I are part of a massive Thriller Giveaway!  60 series starting books AND an e-reader are up for grabs. Last day to enter is 6/10 so click that link quick! Enter for a chance to win here: : https://www.booksweeps.com/giveaway/june-2020/fast-paced-thrillers-series-starters/