Mae Martin Mysteries Books 1-3 Boxed Set

The Calling

A missing father. A mother with a secret. A professor who might be a shaman—or a fraud. As Mae discovers her gift of “the sight,” she overturns her own life and the lives of those around her.

Shaman’s Blues

A gifted musician disappears. A questionable seer vanishes, to Santa Fe or another dimension. Finding two missing people proves easier for Mae than learning the truth about either—or getting one of them, once found, to go away again.

Snake Face

Musician Jamie Ellerbee needs Mae’s psychic aid. His tour is being trailed by bad luck, an anonymous fan, and a strange new friend—who may not be a friend after all.

 No murder, just mystery. Every life hides a secret, and love is the deepest mystery of all.

Three full-length e-books for $5.99.

Amazon   Barnes and Noble   Kobo   iTunes Bookstore

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Book Review: Snake Face

before the second sleep

Snake Face (Book III in the Mae Martin Mystery series)

Mae Martin is moving into the next phase of her life, what she’d been planning when last we saw her in Amber Foxx’s second psychic mystery, Shaman’s Blues. College in New Mexico has started and she cautiously enters a new relationship with Stamos, a fellow student with whom she later plans a road trip, given their destinations not far from each other.

snakeebooknew.jpgSnake Face, B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree

Very soon after the novel’s opening, Foxx utilizes a blend of dialogue and omniscient narration to bring readers up to speed on where Mae has been until now, and it works like a charm. The passages also introduce the above-mentioned Stamos Tsitouris as he and Mae get to know each other and work out an agreement for cross-country travel. Stamos provides background regarding his former wife and Mae recalls Jamie Ellerbe—known professionally…

View original post 1,238 more words

IndieBRAG Christmas Blog Hop: A Free Holiday Short Story

ALL-ABOARD-with-medallionB.R.A.G. Medallion authors are taking you on a holiday tour through their blogs. On this stop, enjoy my new short fiction for the season.

Santa Claus Checks in at the Fat Buddha Spa

Mae Martin raced her twin stepdaughters to the pasture fence and almost let them win, making it a three-way tie. The llamas looked up from grazing on the dry winter grass, blinking their long lashes. Taking walks to visit the neighbors’ animals had been a favorite pastime for Mae and girls when she’d lived with them. Now, on her first holiday visit after separating from their father, she was trying to keep everything as normal as possible. As the six-year-old girls clambered onto the fence, Brook shouted. “That’s what I want for Christmas. A llama.”

“Are you sure?” Mae picked up a small purple glove from the weeds and put it in her pocket. The late December day was growing warm and both girls had taken off their gloves and hats. “I thought y’all wanted a tarantula.”

“We do, but Miss Jen is scared of spiders.”

Their father’s new girlfriend didn’t share Mae’s appreciation for crawly critters. “She might think a llama was cuter, but I don’t think anybody can afford one right now. You do know your presents come from family, right? Your daddy said y’all don’t believe in Santa anymore.”

“Yeah. We figured it out.” Stream perched on the top rail, swinging her legs. “We watched this TV show with Grampa Jim and Granma Sally about these people who have reindeer in some place near the North Pole.”

“Lapland?”

“Yeah. And those things are big. There’s no way they can fly.”

“What about magic?”

Brook sat beside her sister. They studied Mae as if they felt sorry for her. Poor mama. She’s not caught up with us yet. “Magic is for little kids who can’t figure things out. We’re gonna be bug scientists when we grow up—”

“Nun-uh.” Stream wriggled and sat straighter. “That’s your job. I’m gonna be a race car driver.”

Mae walked up and placed her hands on their knees. She loved their independence and eccentricity, but they could be tactless about how smart they were—like her ex-mother-law—and she needed to take that attitude down a notch. Gently. “Now what in the world is Santa Claus gonna do if all these kids don’t believe in him?”

Brook frowned, saying he couldn’t do anything if he wasn’t real, but Stream started to laugh. “He’ll pop like a bubble.”

Mae did her best to act serious. “Did you tell your friends there’s no Santa?”

The girls exchanged glances. Brook said, “We got in trouble for it at school. It made some kids cry.”

“It might be hard on ol’ Santa, too. Popping like a bubble. Before you tell any more kids he’s not real, I think I’d better give him a call and see how he’s feeling.” Mae took her cell phone from her jacket pocket and pretended to make a call. She rolled her eyes and sighed as if waiting a long time for an answer.

The girls poked each other and giggled. Stream whispered to her sister, “She can’t call him. She’s making believe.”

Mae raised her eyebrows, giving them the oh yeah? look, and then a triumphant smile as if she’d finally heard a voice. “Well hey, Santa buddy. What’s up? You know Summer Stream and Autumn Brook Ridley don’t believe in you anymore? … Oh. Of course. I can’t surprise you. You know who’s naughty and nice. “

Brook protested, “We weren’t naughty. We told the truth.”

“But did you tell it nice?” Mae turned away, lowering her voice to resume her conversation with Santa. “I hope they didn’t hurt your feelings. They told half the kids in Hertford County, North Carolina—You’re kidding! … So what are you doing now? … Really? Shut up! I live there. I just left for my vacation.” She put her hand over the phone. “You won’t believe it. He’s checked into a spa back in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. So many kids stopped believing in him, he’s taking this Christmas off.”

“What’s a spa?”

“It’s sort of like a motel with extra stuff. The ones where I live have hot springs and massages. People go there to relax and get healthy.” She got back to Santa Claus. “Which one? You at the Charles? La Paloma? … I never heard of that one. The Fat Buddha? … Oh. Reckon I wouldn’t see it.”

She explained to the girls, “He’s at a spa for supernatural beings. Regular folks can’t see it.”

Both girls frowned, and Brook asked, “A spa for what?”

“Supernatural beings. Kinda like ghosts or angels, but not exactly. It’s run by a big fat Buddha. You know who he is?”

The_Laughing_&_Lucky_Buddha!_A_stroke_of_Luck!_(413428647)

Stream nodded. “Granma Sally has his statue on her desk. She says he helps her stay calm when she does taxes.”

“He’s helping Santa, too. And they’re hanging out with another fat supernatural, Ganesh. He’s this Hindu god with an elephant head.”

“An elephant head?” Stream whooped.

Brook asked, “How come they’re all fat?”

Mae repeated the question to Santa and listened while she worked on an answer.

“He says it’s because they’re supernatural. They don’t have to be in shape to be healthy. Ganesh …” She had to stop and think again. Her neighbors in T or C were into yoga and they had a Ganesh poster in their living room. Finding it strange but beautiful, she’d asked Kenny to explain it. “Ganesh is fat but he’s big and strong, too. People call him the remover of obstacles. Like an elephant can pull a fallen tree off a road but a human can’t.”

Ganesh_2Stream looked skeptical. “Do people believe in the elephant-head guy? Like they believe in Santa?”

“Some do, but a lot of people just believe in what they all stand for. Like being generous and happy and enjoying life. Santa says they’re hanging out in the hot spring together and these other guys helped him with something he was worried about. So, you did him a favor, giving him a vacation, but he wants to go back to work next year, and he’ll need kids to believe in him again.”

“We can’t make them.”

“No—but you can keep it to yourselves if some new believers come along. You know why he wants to go back to work?”

Brook asked, “Does he get paid a lot?”

“No—he does it to be kind. And this is what those other fat dudes at the spa told him. He’s been too generous. See, they don’t get as carried away with their roles as he does. They help people by changing their lives, not giving stuff. He’s been giving people way too much expensive stuff, and they’re starting to think Christmas is about getting big, fancy gifts. So next year, he’s gonna cut back. Give stuff that means more and costs less.”

Mae took a deep breath and let it out. She hadn’t known she was going to say that. But as a college student with a part-time job and not much cash, she’d had to buy small gifts this year—child-sized team T-shirts for the College of the Rio Grande Tarantulas and a pair of stuffed toy versions of the mascot. She’d wanted to do more, but the trip east had cost all she could spare, and yet she didn’t want the girls to think she loved them less because she didn’t live with them anymore.

“Like when we make you presents,” Brook said.

“Exactly.” Mae smiled in relief.

“Good,” said Stream, “because we—”

Brook dug a fist into her sister’s arm. “Sh. You can’t tell her.”

“That’s right.” Mae put her phone in her jacket pocket. “Being surprised is part of the fun.”

The girls stared at her pocket. “Mama,” Brook said, “That was rude. You hung up on Santa without saying goodbye.”

“Oops. Look like I’ve been naughty, too. Good thing he’s taking the year off.”Santa_Claus

            *****

This interlude occurs offstage during the third Mae Martin Psychic Mystery, Snake Face.

Snake Face and Shaman’s Blues (book two) received B.R.A.G. Medallions.

Dive into the series at a discount. E-books are on sale for $2.99 on all major online bookstores, paperbacks have been reduced from $17.99 to $13.99, and the series prequel, The Outlaw Women, is free. Sale ends January 10.

https://amberfoxxmysteries.wordpress.com/buy-books-retail-links

https://amberfoxxmysteries.wordpress.com/free-downloads-retail-links

*****

For links to all stops on the blog hop, go to: http://www.bragmedallion.com

 The next stop on the indieBRAG Christmas Blog Hop is today, December 18 with Malcolm Noble

Snake Face earns B.R.A.G. Medallion

snakeebooknewregistered- 800Snake Face, book three in the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery series, has been awarded a B.R.A.G. medallion. When I receive an award, I like to thank the people who helped me produce a book that earned one: my editor, Nancy Adams, my critique partners Jordaina Robinson and Janet Simpson, and this book’s third beta reader, Bette Kaminski, who helped me to make sure I had done justice to the touring musician’s life on the road.

http://www.bragmedallion.com/tag/mystery/Page-3

http://www.bragmedallion.com/about

 

 

Reading over a Character’s Shoulder

Readers who picked up Snake Face when it came out in November may have had time to finish it by now. I thought it would be interesting to share this while the book is fresh in those readers’ minds.  In the scene where Joe Wayne Brazos is reading Yeats, the poem he’s reflecting on is The Mask, a dialog between a man and a woman.

Put off that mask of burning gold

            With emerald eyes.”

            “O no my dear, you make so bold

            To find if hearts be wild and wise

            And yet not cold.”

 

            “I would but find what’s there to find,

            Love or deceit.”

            “It was the mask engaged you mind

            And after set your heart to beat,

            Not what’s behind.”

 

            “But lest you are my enemy,

            I must inquire.”

            “O no my dear, let all that be;

            What matter so is there is but fire

            In you, in me?”

It would break up the scene to have him say what he read, and I don’t use his point of view. If you’ve read the book I think you’ll understand how the poem fits. And if you haven’t, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this lesser-known Yeats work on its own.

Behind the Scenes

For quite a few years I worked in theater, as an actor and choreographer. I loved the early rehearsals, while the creative process was first getting underway— seeing how a dance looked when done by the cast rather than as plotted in my head, or exploring characters with other actors. The hardest part, for me, was tech rehearsal. Did the revolving stage work? Did the dancers’ costumes look right under the lights? Performers spent hours holding their positions on the stage while the techies fine-tuned lights, sound, and scene shifts. Tedious, but without it, the play would be a disaster. If that revolving stage messed up, my choreography would quite literally topple. If the lighting cues were off, my dancers wouldn’t look their best. These long tech nights were hard, but social. The whole cast and crew went through it together.

Dress rehearsals were a relief, and they felt exciting. They were followed by the director’s final and sometimes strong critiques as well as encouragement and praise. If I was the choreographer, it was my last chance to get every detail polished.

And then the play opened, was seen, enjoyed (or not) and reviewed, and sooner or later, it closed.   Getting a book ready is the same only different. The early process—the improv, finding a character, getting plot inspiration—is exciting. The sharing of that process with critique partners makes it more so—getting feedback, going back and changing things, seeing how others react. I revise through a series of critique partners and beta-readers. It’s a lot like the rehearsal process, refining the way the play will be performed. I like to print the book out at some point in the process and mark it up—like a director giving an actor notes— making sure I’m clear with for the characters’ goals and conflicts in every scene, and the inner work in their “soliloquies.”

Then, there’s tech. I read the edited copy to make sure my editor and I agree on all the changes. I get professional proofreading and fix the errors. And then, there’s that final, perfectionistic proof, proof and re-proof. Day after day of it. Tech rehearsal, all by myself. Fixing that last imperfect sentence that didn’t bother anyone else—beta readers, editor, proofreader—and that last little typo no one could see. I like to think no one saw it because the scene was so compelling, but I think it’s also related to the way an e-pub page looks compared to a Word document. It’s like the way the costumes look under the lights. The colors and textures change. It’s unfamiliar. I look at the e-pub document the way I look at a book I’m reading, rather than a book I wrote.

Of course, after the fourth upload and double-check, I may have gotten used to the e-pub page’s appearance. My fear: I may have induced an error while being a perfectionist. Then I finally stop fussing over it and hit publish. This is not the dress rehearsal, this is it. Unlike a play, though, there is no striking the set, no closing night party. No closing night. As long as my performance is well received, it can run as long as I live. Phew! Snake Face is available for pre-order, and will be released Nov. 1.

The best part of being finished? I have time to read other people’s books again!