Houston, we have a problem…

The Dead Dog Trilogy is out but…

Apparently, there is a problem with the universal links from the previous post and/or email, if you’re on the newsletter mailing list, so we are just going with the standard links for the books, below.

The Dead Dog Trilogy is the story of Lottie Stark, Chief of Police of a small town, pursuing a serial killer, whom she believed was dead. But apparently isn’t. Since this trilogy is considered ‘serial fiction,’ the books in this series are interconnected and the final resolution occurs in the final book.

However, each book in the series does resolve some issues, and you, the reader, are not left ‘hanging.’ The first book of the series is intentionally priced very low so that you can get a taste of the trilogy and decide if you want to continue reading the next two books, without having to make a large investment.

You also have the option of obtaining the boxed set “The Dead Dog Trilogy – Boxed Set” which contains the full series in one volume.

Let Dead Dogs Lie, Book 1 

In Book 1 of this gripping crime thriller trilogy, a dead serial killer comes calling

Lottie Stark, Chief of Police of small town Regal Reef, California, has a problem. A serial killer she caught when an FBI agent, is murdering young women again—but in her town. Donald Brown Stoker’s victims were blonde and blue, young and attractive. Just like her current victims. And the MO is eerily similar to Stoker’s—the strangled girls are left naked on the highway, wearing only a dog collar.

But Stoker has been dead for three years, so it can’t be him. Can it?

Unhappy with Lottie’s progress, the town mayor and city council go over her head and bring in the big guns. Profiler, Jack Brady—Lottie’s former partner and lover. Brady’s presence complicates her life and the murder investigation but also dredges up past failures and secrets that Lottie wants to keep buried.

Meanwhile, this calculated killer is leaving clues that feel personal. So when a close friend of Lottie’s is threatened, she fears the killer is going after people she loves to punish her. Who will be next?

LINKS:   U.S.   UK  Canada AU

Every Dog Has His Day, Book 2

In Book 2 of this exciting crime thriller trilogy the killer targets his next victim

Politics and backstabbing has thrown an unexpected twist into her path and Lottie finds herself on the sidelines of the murder investigation. Disgruntled and ready to chuck it all, Lottie decides to lick her wounds.

Until disaster strikes and another girl goes missing…

This time, a local and a much younger girl than the other victims. Time works against her, as she and Brady search for the girl, hoping to find her before the killer claims his 4th victim.

Meanwhile, the killer lurks ever nearer in a twisted game of cat and mouse. And his fixation on Lottie ramps up at a maddening pace. She has no idea the plans he has in store for her.

In a twist you won’t see coming, Lottie gets snarled up in her own trap. Will she be able to free herself before it’s too late?

LINKS:   U.S. UK  Canada  AU 

Dog in the Hunt, Book 3

In the conclusion of this fast-paced crime thriller trilogy, the man-hunt is on and somebody’s going down. Is it the cop or the killer?

With the killer identified and law enforcement agencies across the country searching for him, the illusive sociopath manages to avoid capture.

As opposing agencies stake out territory and angle for their piece of the glory, Lottie can only trust Brady to have her back. They’re anxiously on the hunt, chasing leads across the country and back again. But who is the hunter and who is the hunted? As they begin to put the pieces together, they have to face the mistakes they made and the signs they missed in Stoker’s case.

With the killer taunting them at every turn, will Lottie and Jack win the day – or does the day belong to the killer? Can they right their mistakes and catch the killer that seems to be a ghost?

In the final faceoff, Lottie finds herself risking everything to confront this sadistic killer who won’t go down without a deadly fight. But is she willing to pay the ultimate price to rid the world of this monster?

LINKS:   U.S.  UK  Canada  AU

Dead Dog Trilogy, Boxed Set

With every dead girl, they found a dead dog…

Donald Brown Stoker, a.k.a., the Keeper, brutally killed seven women before he was cornered in an abandoned barn by FBI agents. Rather than surrender, Stoker, set himself and the barn on fire—preferring death to spending the rest of his life in a federal prison.

And with him, went his sick secrets.

Former FBI agent, Lottie Stark, didn’t mourn the loss of Stoker, nor the death of her FBI career. She moved on to a quieter life as a small town police chief, where, though life could be tedious and a pain, she had no trouble sleeping. Because she no longer dreamed of monsters.

Until Stoker came back from the dead…

Three unidentified dead girls, all with Stoker’s MO, dumped in her town is giving Lottie a case of déjà vu all over again. With little evidence and no viable suspects, Lottie is ready to for a meltdown.

Frenemies and allies alike urge her to bring in the FBI but she’d rather die than churn up her past failures. But thanks to the town mayor and her underhanded lead detective, the past is headed straight for Lottie’s door. Not the least of which is, profiler Jack Brady, her former lover and partner.

As Lottie struggles to maintain control of her case and her town, the lunatic is still out there, free to kill again. And daring her to catch him.

LINKS:   U.S.  UK  Canada   AU

 

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My Name is Lottie Stark

My name is Lottie Stark – Carlotta May Stark to be exact. The Carlotta was after my granny, my mama’s mama and the May was after my daddy’s mama. Kids made a lot of jokes about my name and I got in a lot of tussles because of it. But eventually we all settled on Lottie and that’s who I am.

My daddy, Ben Stark, is a lawman. Well, a former lawman. Thirty-five years in the Texas Rangers and he is one fearsome son-of-a-bitch when it comes to taking down bad guys. I wanted to be him when I was a kid and when I grew up, I did my best to emulate him—I think I’ve done him proud.

My mama, Mary Stark, was a redheaded spitfire with lots of spunk. But she also had the biggest heart of anybody I ever knew. She could make you feel better no matter how down you were and she made the best biscuits in the State of Texas. She was killed when I was twelve and has left its mark on my soul. Ben did the best he could at raising me and my brother Adam, but it was never the same without her.

After Mama died, we moved to Dallas where nothing reminded us of her. Daddy was still a Ranger and I became his junior ranger. We clung to each other in our grief and loss. And I became a pint-sized version of him. Leaving my brother, Adam, kind of out in the cold. It wasn’t intentional but Adam wanted nothing to do with law enforcement and even refused to go to Daddy’s retirement party.

Though now, Ben lives with Adam in Florida with his wife and kids. They get on better. But they never talk about Mama or law enforcement and probably not about me too much either.

After what happened to mama, I took to calling Daddy, Ben. Don’t know why or why he was okay with it but it somehow made things easier. Made me feel stronger and more able to cope with being a motherless child. Ben and I were partners. Equals. He taught me to shoot, hunt, and to read people. All the tools I’d need when I became a cop and eventually an FBI agent.

Adam became a straight A student and won a scholarship to Columbia and ironically, became a lawyer. But one of those corporate kind that doesn’t deal with criminals. I followed Ben into law enforcement, first the Dallas PD and then the FBI and now Chief of Police in a bodunk town in Central California, called Regal Reef.

Being a woman in law enforcement ain’t all that easy – even in this day and age. The men you work with either think you’re a ball buster or a door mat. And the perps figure you for an easy mark. Suffice to say you put up with a lot just to wear a uniform so you can catch some bad guys. Still, it’s worth it and I’m proud, for the most part, of what I’ve done and accomplished.

But as the past is wont to do, it decided to rear up its ugly head and knock me for a loop. Everything I thought I knew about my past is about to shift under my feet. And to be honest with you, I really didn’t see any of it coming…

 

  Get your copy now of this gripping crime thriller now at Amazon

Dead Dog Trilogy Boxed Set

Let Dead Dogs Lie, Book 1

Every Dog Has His Day, Book 2

Dog in the Hunt, Book 3

UPDATE: I’M GETTING FEEDBACK THAT THERE MAY BE A PROBLEM WITH THE UNIVERSAL LINKS. THOUGH THE BUTTON SAYS, KINDLE IF YOU CLICK ON IT, IT TAKES YOU TO THE BOOK PAGE, WHERE YOU CAN ALSO GET A PRINT VERSION IF THAT IS YOUR PREFERENCE.

IF YOU PREFER NOT TO USE THE  UNIVERSAL LINKS, YOU CAN USE THESE:

DEAD DOG TRILOGY boxed set  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTTSG5S

LET DEAD DOGS LIE, book 1  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTXLV3F

EVERY DOG HAS HIS DAY, book 2 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTSKBPY

DOG IN THE HUNT,  book 3  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GTR1TKQ

 

Things You Don’t Know About the Dead Dog Trilogy

 

  1. The main character, Lottie Stark, is named for my paternal Grandmother – Carlotta. But everybody called her Lottie.
  2. The male lead, Jack Brady, is a recycled character from an unpublished novel I wrote called, Deadlock. Though this new Jack Brady is younger, more brash, and less world weary, the ‘bones’ of the character are still there.
  3. The villian is based on a monologue I wrote for an actor to perform in his acting class, to which I was the teaching assistant.
  4. The main location, Regal Reef, California is a fictional town that exists in the ether of my imagination somewhere between Fresno and Visalia.
  5. The only good cooks in this series are men.
  6. I “finished” the trilogy twice before this final finish. The first time it was finished I ended up tearing it apart after beta reader feedback. The second time it was finished, I just happened to stumble upon the ‘Storygrid’ method as I was doing final edits, and again, I ended up tearing it apart for structure. This time is the third finishing – but I believe the third time is the charm.
  7. Two of the best characters in the series are dogs.
  8. Though the story takes place in a small fictional town in Central California, the main character, Lottie Stark, is a Texan.
  9. The dog theme of the books comes from Lottie Stark’s love of dogs and that she has a dog rescue in addition to being the Chief of Police of the town. The killer also uses her love of dogs against her.

Just for fun, I’ve also put together a playlist for the series.

Back in the Saddle Again (Gene Autry)

Lay me Down (Sam Smith)

Somebody to Love (Queen)

My Best Friend (Heidi Winzinger)

I Shot the Sheriff (Eric Clapton)

Someone to Watch Over Me (Amy Winehouse)

The Monster in Me (Twisted Country)

Here We Go Again (Aretha Franklin)

Let it Be Me (Ray LaMontagne)

LaGrange (ZZ Top)

Body Talks (The Struts)

Every Move You Make (The Police)

The Dead Dog Trilogy will release as single volumes and boxed set in the last week of August 2018.

Almost Ready for Liftoff

Okay, so yeah, we’re almost ready to release the new trilogy…

eBook files formatted for both single volumes and a boxed set

Print files formatted

Covers done

Can’t wait…

Oh yeah and here’s the blurb

Donald Brown Stoker, a.k.a., the Keeper, brutally killed seven women before he was cornered in an abandoned barn by FBI agents. Rather than surrender, Stoker, set himself and the barn on fire—preferring to die than to spend the rest of his life in a federal prison.

And with him, went his secrets.

Lottie Stark, one of the aforementioned agents, didn’t mourn the loss of Stoker, nor the death of her FBI career. She moved on to a quieter life as a small town police chief, where, though life could be tedious and a pain in her behind, she had no trouble sleeping because she no longer dreamed of monsters.

Until Stoker came back from the dead….

Three dead girls, all with Stoker’s MO, dumped in her town, is giving Lottie Stark a case of déjà vu all over again. With little evidence to go on and no viable suspects, Lottie is ready to blow. Frenemies and allies alike urge her to bring in the FBI but she’d rather die than revisit her past failures. But if the town mayor, and her conniving lead detective have anything to say about it, the past is headed straight for Lottie’s door. Not the least of which is, profiler Jack Brady, her former lover and partner.

As she struggles to maintain control of her case and her town, the killer is still out there, free to kill again. And daring Lottie to catch him.

UPDATE: If you’re interested in listening to me narrate the first chapter of book 1 (in a really bad Texas accent), you can download the mp3 here.

Wednesday is a Good Day for a Freebie

Happy Wednesday to you and I hope your day is going great. We’ve got lots of blue sky and sunshine out here in California and my tomato plants are loving it.

Just wanted to write a quick post to announce that the Scotti Fitzgerald books are all now available in print. I know, it took a while but I finally made it happen. You’ve no idea how complex setting up a print book can be. At least, I had no idea. Lots of trial and error because you know…math…

Anyway…to celebrate Scotti’s premiere in print I am giving the eBook versions of all THREE books in the series away for FREE today and today and Thursday (May 9th & May 10th).

On Friday all the books will go to 99 cents each and remain at that price through the weekend.

Then Monday, we’re back to business as usual.

If you haven’t read the books, now is your chance to grab the whole series for free. Or if you’ve only read Coffee & Crime, you can pick up the next two books for free.

If you do and you like them – I’d be Thrilled if you’d write a review on Amazon or Good Reads. But no pressure. I know you’re busy.

To pick up your free copy of Coffee & Crime click here

To pick up your free copy of Murder Ready 2 Eat click here

To pick up your free copy of Death of the Family Recipe click here

If you live outside the U.S. you can go to my BOOK PAGE and find the appropriate link for your area.

Otay announcement over, you may now return to your day – hope it’s a great one!

Cheers,

Annie

PS: If you don’t own a Kindle but would still like eBook copies of the books, just CONTACT ME and I will send you the ePub versions personally.

 

 

Indie Spotlight on Mystery Writer C. Hope Clark

Beneath an idyllic veneer of Southern country charm, the town of Newberry hides secrets that may have led to murder.

When a local landowner’s body, with pants down, is found near Tarleton’s Tea Table Rock—a notorious rendezvous spot, federal investigator Carolina Slade senses a chance to get back into the field again. Just as she discovers what might be a nasty pattern of fraud and blackmail, her petty boss reassigns her fledgling case to her close friend and least qualified person in their office.

Forced to coach an investigation from the sidelines, Slade struggles with the twin demons of professional jealousy and unplanned pregnancy. Something is rotten in Newberry. Her personal life is spiraling out of control. She can’t protect her co-worker. And Wayne Largo complicates everything when the feds step in after it becomes clear that Slade is right.

One wrong move, and Slade may lose everything. Yet it’s practically out of her hands . . . unless she finds a way to take this case back without getting killed. Available at Amazon and other book outlets.

Finding the Balance as a Writer

I once sat on a panel with two ridiculously well-known authors – one indie and the other traditional – and the subject of commitment came around from the audience.

“What does it take?” someone asked, in other words, meaning, “How can we be like y’all?”

The literary author never really answered it other than saying read a lot, write a lot, it happens if you work hard. He taught creative writing at a university.

The six-figure indie author said she breathed her work 24/7, and from what I know of her, she does. She was incessantly hungry for achievement.

However, I never heard from either of them what made them tick outside of writing.

I have family, raise chickens and garden, adore my dachshunds, and thoroughly love a husband whom I cherish spending time with. And I told that to the room. Yeah, there was applause.

I added that any writer has to find that balance and choose how they’d love to see themselves a few years from now, on their own terms. Reality is we juggle lots of balls.

Add to that these days we’re deluged by success stories, making us feel negligent that we aren’t achieving more. What is supposed to be motivational instead plants negativity until we sense we aren’t meant to be as successful as others.

The key is to clearly define what matters most and hold up a stop-sign palm to the rest.

Live life on your terms rather than on what celebrities and experts tell us worked for them. Yet we still feel compelled to ask others how they do it. I’m often asked how I do what I do as editor of FundsforWriters, freelancer, daily social media player, blogger, speaker, and novelist. My newest release is Newberry Sin, my eighth mystery, and yes, I’m busy, but I still know how to say no….and when to say yes. The key is to focus on priorities.

Respect deadlines.

I have weekly deadlines with FundsforWriters, a newsletter that reaches 35,000 readers each and every Friday. It’s a hard commitment. In 19 years, I’ve missed two Fridays. That’s over 900 newsletter deadlines. Since FFW is a major cog in my writing machine, that deadline is key, and I make sure family and friends appreciate that. My husband knows to ask if the newsletters are out on Fridays before he makes other plans for us. Of course, if he were in an accident, he’d take priority. Otherwise, the newsletters must go out.

I usually have one or two books under contract with my publisher. Those stepping-stone dates are clearly defined on my calendar. If those deadlines are looming, I refuse all else that isn’t an emergency.

Marry your priorities.

Warren Buffett states that you must marry your priorities, and he limits those to five. He actually suggests you list your top 20 goals, then narrow them down to five . . . and avoid the other fifteen at all costs. Those five top items comprise your devoted focus. It isn’t easy and it isn’t an either/or all the time.

For instance, my five items are: my husband, my health, my family, my writing, and my nature/outdoors. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t fulfill my obligations to all five. Anything else is in my way, or I tend to them once my other obligations are met.

For instance, my house is scrubbed only when someone comes over. I go on vacation if all else is in order. And my friends and family know that my love of writing and the other four items are what make me who I am.

How to keep up with those priorities.

For me, planning takes a weekly desk calendar, a plain notebook, and, a smart phone calendar (to keep the family informed). I’ve turned down speaking engagements, conferences, parties, and weddings if they conflicted with deadlines. After all, you are married to these goals.

At the beginning of each year, and revisited often, I note benchmarks for what I hope to accomplish or items that are non-negotiable. With family, it’s birthdays. With the nature, it’s planting and harvesting time. With hubby, it’s daily dinner, our anniversary, and the hour at the gym. With my writing, it’s the deadlines. I live for deadlines, and create one if someone doesn’t create it for me, because without a date attached to a goal, it’s a vague thought that may never come to fruition.

The writing notebook is a catch-all for thoughts, brainstorming, and daily goals in greater detail than on a calendar. My calendar is a week-at-a-glance, and at the end of the year, it becomes a part of my income taxes to include travel, purchases, and yes, the deadlines.

If you miss a deadline, note it on the calendar. It’s a motivator to not miss it.

You don’t have to become a hermit.

Know what direction you are going instead of waking each day without defined purpose. Of course you have days off. Of course you build in a day of rest. But having missions and goals give more substance to your dreams. And the more organized you are, the more you accomplish, and the more efficient you become at reaching more dreams. The planning makes you seem oh so shrewd and wise.

C. Hope Clark’s latest release is Newberry Sin, the fourth in the Carolina Slade Mysteries. Hope is author of eight mysteries and founder of Funds for Writers, a website chosen by Writer’s Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for 17 years. To learn more about Hope you can visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Book Review – The Grave by Diane M Dickson

The GraveThe Grave by Diane M. Dickson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my second book from Diane Dixon and I have to say I’m becoming a fan. It’s so nice to find a new writer whose style and work you really like.

This is a story of two very broken people who somehow find solace in one another. In a very odd yet poetic way they save each other. It’s hard to say much about the story without giving spoilers so I’ll say I read it in under two evenings. A real page turner. And the writing itself is such a joy to read that it makes you want to keep going.

My only problem with the book was it got a little head hoppy starting at about the halfway mark. Which caused some confusion for me – also there were a few places when it seems like there should’ve been a scene break and there wasn’t.

Although of the two books I’ve read from this author, I would recommend her to anyone.

View all my reviews

Indie Spotlight on Crime Writer Christina Kaye

THE SINS OF THE FATHER

In my award-winning suspense novel, LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER, Libby wakes up to find her husband murdered in the bed next to her. When police arrive at the scene, they quickly realize that she’s the daughter of the infamous I-75 Strangler, who is now service several life sentences in prison. So I wondered…what would it be like to have a serial killer in the family?

When we hear about serial killers in the media, we become fixated on the monster and the horrific crimes they committed. We often forget about their victims. Beyond that, we forget that there are other victims that are rarely mentioned, if ever – their children.

Take for example, Kerri Rawson, daughter of the BTK Killer, Dennis Raider. She and her mother had no idea Dennis was a cold-blooded torturer and murderer until the FBI showed up at her house and told her and her husband everything. She claims she has coped with her father’s notoriety and the pain that comes with being the daughter of a serial killer with the help of her church and a psychologist (much like Libby in LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER).

Melissa Moore is the daughter of Keith Jessperson (aka The Happy Face Killer) who murdered at least eight women in the early nineties while working as a long-haul truck driver (again, like Libby’s father in LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER). He was known for mailing letters to the police and media detailing his crimes and signing them with a happy face. Chilling, but true. The truth came out when Jessperson turned himself in when Melissa was only 15. While she knew nothing about his crimes, she did tell BBC reporters that she knew something was “dark” about him. Moore wrote a book called “Shattered Silence: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer’s Daughter.” She later went on to host a television series called The Monster in My Family (available on Netflix).

The Green River Killer (Gary Ridgeway) may be one of the most well-known American serial killers. He is infamous for killing at least 49 women in Washington State before being captured in 2001. His son, Matthew Ridgeway, has said that his father (though absent mostly due to divorce from Matthew’s mother) was a “normal” dad and that he showed up often to sports matches and even taught his son how to ride a bike. Eerily, it has been said that Gary Ridgeway showed victims a picture of his son just prior to killing them, in an effort to calm their fears and make them feel at ease. Matthew went on to serve in the US Marine Corp. He later married and settled in California.

Some children of serial killers, however, do not fare so well. Take, for example, Yury Odnacheva, son of Andrei Chikatilo, arguably the most prolific serial killer ever identified. Chikatilo was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering over 50 people, though he claimed to have killed many more than that. His son, Yury (who took on his mother’s surname after Chikatilo’s arrest), wound up having several run-ins with the law, including convictions for theft and extortion.  In 2009, he was arrested and convicted of attempted murder for stabbing a man nine times.

Though each of these individuals has reacted differently to learning that their father was a notorious serial killer, they have one thing in common. They all have to live with the knowledge that their father killed countless innocent victims and that the man they knew as “daddy” no longer exists.  They’ve each felt the sting of losing a father and having to accept the fact that the man who raised them is responsible for taking away other people’s mothers and fathers from them.

When I wrote Like Father, Like Daughter, I had seen an episode of The Monster in My Family and it got me wondering…what would it be like to have a serial killer for a father? Would you turn out to be just like them? Or was there a chance you could go on to live a normal life, despite living in the shadow of someone notorious for committing horrific acts of violence? I chose to take it a step further and have my main character, Libby Carter, charged with the murder of her own husband. In my mind, if an individual was charged with murder and then police learned that their father was a convicted serial killer, odds are they would be scrutinized even more thoroughly. I would think police would be disinclined to believe them and that they would automatically assume that they were just like their father. Hence the title, LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER.

BIO: Christina Kaye is the award-winning author of dark, twisty novels. She was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. Some of her favorite things include: sweet tea, dragonflies, books, puppies, and thunderstorms. Christina lives in Nicholasville, Kentucky with her two teenage daughters, an extremely intelligent Aussie, and a very fat cat.

To learn more about Christina you can visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter