Is There a Signed Book in Your Future?

Happy Thursday, everyone! No better way to spend a Thursday than telling my readers that Dru’s Book Musing interviewed Laurel Beacham today over on the blog. Fun stuff! And Laurel kept back nothing!

To top that, one lucky commenter on the blog will win a Signed Copy of BRONZED BETRAYALS too.

So if you want a chance at a signed copy of the book, be sure to CLICK HERE to get to the Dru’s Book Musing blog. Leave a comment, and you could be the winner of the latest in the Bodies of Art Mysteries. Good Luck!

Friday Sneak Peeks — Bronzed Betrayals Chapter 3

Happy Friday, Everyone! Ready for some weekend reading? I’ve put the third chapter of Bronzed Betrayals up on Wattpad, and it’s ready a sneak peek, just Click Here

If you missed either Chapter One or Chapter Two, you’ll find links to those on a Previous Blog Post–click here  Hope everyone enjoys the sneak peek! Happy Weekend Reading, Everyone!

 

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What’s New and Free Wednesday Edition–

If you want to read the early chapters of BRONZED BETRAYALS while it’s still in preorder, just stop by Wattpad ahead of the title’s release date. This week, I’ve added an excerpt of Chapter One on Wattpad, and in the coming weeks I’ll be adding Chapter Two and Chapter Three. Stop by and see what kind of trouble Laurel and the gang get into this time. BRONZED BETRAYALS on Wattpad

 

 

 

 

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Freebie & Bargain Fridays–Holiday Edition

Is everyone getting busy? No matter how busy we are, it’s important we find ways to relax in the middle of the rush. Personally, my favorite way is to kick back, put my feet up on my ottoman (or snuggled under a warm comforter) and read. Especially seasonal reads that writers have put out especially for the holidays and at a savings, to thank me for being a reader or to gift new readers so they can try new series at a discount–or free.

I’ll start by tooting my own horn since I added a free Bodies of Art Christmas story featuring Laurel Beacham & Jack Hawkes. Laurel does a little crime thwarting on Oxford Street in London in her own inimitable way. Short and seasonal. You can Read it Here.

Next, here’s a reader extravaganza, with some of your favorite cozy mystery authors either giving away or discounting about 70 books in their various series. Click the cover and you’ll be sent to the place to download for Free or 99¢. Check it Out Here.

This next holiday bargain also has a short fuse before the 99¢ bargain disappears. The 12 Slays of Christmas is a new novella anthology–about 3000 pages long–that brings 12 cozy authors together to not only offer seasonal stories that tie to their mystery series, but also help animal shelters overwhelmed due to the recent hurricane disasters in the U.S. All proceeds from the anthology go toward the ASPCA and shelters in Texas and Florida. But the 99¢ new release price only lasts through the first week, so get it before 12/12 to get this great price. After release week is over the price of the anthology goes up to $4.99–so if you get it then you’ll still be helping the animals, but at a higher cost to you. At either price, the book is a bargain! Click Here for the Amazon Link

Finally, in case you missed them earlier, there are holiday freebies on my November post that are still available. Check out this link if you didn’t grab them earlier.

Happy Reading, Everyone! And Happy Holidays!

 

Excuse Me While I Change My Hat

amazon-aaThis has been one exciting week. Nothing like a new book release to have all my friends come out, send congratulations, and tell their friends about my new book. I am so very grateful for that. For authors, release week leaves us to the point of almost walking in our sleep–it’s exciting, but completely exhaustng. There are so many things for authors to do All At The Same Time, and trying to keep up makes us long for the kind of promo teams James Patterson and Stephen King employ. But most of us do not make the kind of revenues those bigname authors get, so we happily jump in and change hats to whatever other job(s) we have to do besides writing.

Even more exciting, to celebrate the release of ABSTRACT ALIASES, my publisher has discounted COUNTERFEIT CONSPIRACIES to just 99¢ until Sunday night. This is the first time Henery Press has discounted one of my Bodies of Art Mysteries, so if you haven’t started the series yet, but want to, please grab a copy before the price goes back up. And please tell your friends. I love when my readers can get a bargain!

Quite honestly, I’ve had so much fun with this new book. Gigi Pandian and I  co-hosted an event this weekend where we didn’t talk about our books, but instead showed pictures and gave info about the places and art and history associated with our respective new titles. How fun is that, right?

But I’ve fallen behind in my reporting tasks and fun duties. If you look on the banner above, I’ve not only added a webpage where you can download a coloring page copy of ABSTRACT ALIASES and Gigi’s new release MICHELANGELO’S GHOST, but I’ve also added a second page of downloadable coloring pages for places in my Bodies of Art Mysteries. I’ve also added an ABSTRACT ALIASES link on my Chapter Excerpts page if you’d like to read the early chapters of the new book. You can find that Chapter One Excerpt by either clicking on the tab in the black navigation bar under my top banner, or just click the link below.

https://ritterames.com/take-a-sample-chapter-one-excerpts-of-my-books/

In  ABSTRACT ALIASES my readers and london-skylinecharacters globetrot from London to Rome to Cologne to Baden-Baden, then back to London. All in just a couple of days. Exciting, huh? But not nearly as exciting as again coming face-to-face with the bad guys they’ve been looking for the past few months. And that surprise comes in the most unlikely place–when they’re surrounded by a 100,000 or more Londoners waiting for a holiday extravaganza. I won’t spoil things by adding too much detail here for anyone who hasn’t yet read ABSTRACT ALIASES, but I promise surprises at every turn.

You can find all the bookseller buy links for ABSTRACT ALIASES on my Where To Buy My Books page, found on the black navigation bar at the top, or click the link below. All my books are on this page, with ABSTRACT ALIASES listed at the top and COUNTERFEIT CONSPIRACIES (on sale for 99¢, remember) directly below it:

https://ritterames.com/heres-where-to-buy-my-books/

Laurel’s & Jack’s mission doesn’t keep them from doing a little art sightseeing however, and these are some of the images they saw.

colognwindow2 cologne-germanyTo the left is just a small sample of the stained glass windows in the ginormous and art filled Cologne Cathedral in Cologne (or Koln), Germany.  You can see a picture of the entrance to Cologne, with the cathedral in the distance, in the next picture. Below is a night shot of the Trevi Fountain in Rome the way Laurel & Jack saw it. And below is a larger shot of the fresco Sibyls magnificently designed and painted by Renaissance artist Raphael in the Santa Maria della Pace. The last picture is a sunrise in Rome. I’m ready to go on another European vacation now!trevi-fountain-night-crowd-2

sibyls-by-raphael

 

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Friday Peek Behind the Scenes

I turned in a blog post recently on what I do with stories and scenes that don’t necessarily make it into whatever book I’m currently working on. That got me thinking about ways books and stories have changed. In particular, I thought about the original opener for Counterfeit Conspiracies. While most of the original opener still makes up over half of the first chapter, the whole “reclamation” scene that starts the book now wasn’t even an idea for a long time. The book originally started with this:

CC Giorgio quote

This line is still in the first chapter, but the book was originally written to start with this line when she was in the castillo and trying to work through the party to find the contact who was supposed to give her the snuffbox. She was feeling ill at ease about the way things were going, and wishing she had some backup.

But even after adding the whole scene ahead of this opener, so the line was now buried about a third of the way into the first chapter, the line didn’t even get to stay where it was. Instead, it was moved to the the balcony scene where Laurel and Jack had their interchange–and yes, by that time her wanting the gun was more because of irritation and concern about Jack, than over all the other irritations and concerns she had by that point.

It really is fun to think back on all the ways books evolve between original idea and publication. The blog post I mentioned in the first paragraph is focused almost entirely on all the different openers I test-drove before I decided on the final one for Abstract Aliases, and what I’ve changed those earlier openers into in the meantime. When my guest post goes live on the 26th, I’ll add a link here in case anyone would like to read it, too.

And just noticed a little while ago that Abstract Aliases is already up for preorder. I didn’t think it was supposed to happen until Monday, but an early start is always good news. I’ve built the page to start revealing the extras I’m offering to people who preorder Abstract Aliases ahead of the 10/11 release day. Look on the banner line above for Preorder for Even More! There will be additional details about the freebies coming next week. There will also be a cover reveal on the Girl with Book Lungs blog, and her review of the book–so look for that link here on Monday 7/18.

Have a great weekend. What are you reading?

 

FP&OF meme

Giveaway Chance and Excerpt

          Want to win a Kindle copy of Counterfeit Conspiracies? New contest going with 10 copies up for grabs in an Amazon giveaway. Click this Counterfeit Conspiracies giveaway link and see if you’re one of the random winners. Good luck! Contest ends St. Patrick’s Day–March 17th. 
FP&OF meme
          In the meantime, here’s a short excerpt if you want to check the book out first.
          On this return visit—my acquisition finale—I slid into the darkened gallery. The circular space, lit only by the minimal luminosity filtering through a half-dozen narrow arched windows, allowed my shadow to mix with those already in residence. Night vision goggles allowed the glorious set of Rembrandts and French Impressionists to glow alongside the beauty I came to liberate.
          It was a vibrant seascape, circa 1821, and a breathtaking scene of energy and clear passion. A little known work by a well-respected artist, which had been cherished by the family of its previous owner before eventually falling into the hands of the billionaire’s father. Gazing upon the work, I could almost hear the buoy bell ringing in the distance, but the room’s current illumination left the scene too dark to see beyond the receding foamy water. I shivered as if the wind picked up; the painting was that powerful.
         I heard a noise. A human-moving noise.
         I had to hurry. I slipped a blade from my belt and ran it along the frame’s edge.
The moment the canvas was free, I heard the master of the house bark, “What are you doing?”
         I spun to find him standing behind me. Holding his gaze, I sheathed my knife and dug into another pouch, then threw a capped vial into the darkness between myself and potential capture. The glass broke, and when the chemicals inside hit the air, a dense smoke obscured all vision. But I had already calculated the distance to the nearest window, moved to it, and affixed a suction cup with a braided nylon line to the wall. The painting protected in one hand, my remaining gloved fist, now fitted with brass knuckles, shattered the narrow pane. I slid through the turret’s slit window, taking a few shards of glass along for the ride. Then I rappelled down the rough stone wall to the manicured lawn.
         “Zeus! Apollo! Robbery! Attack!” my impotent enemy screamed.
                                                                                   *  *  *
         Next morning, the painting and I slipped into the back of Greg’s shop for the new frame constructed per my specifications. A close facsimile to photos, and infinitely better than the garish gold number that restrained the seascape during its turret imprisonment, the burnished brass frame even evoked a nautical theme that conjured the look of a spyglass.
         I changed into blue coveralls and left his shop with the newly framed painting wrapped in brown paper. Magnetic signs attached to my van implied a courier service, as did the faked breast pocket insignia on my uniform. The drive to Mrs. Lebowitz’s tiny home was quick.
        “Yes?” she said, answering the door. A Holocaust survivor, the only one in her family to make it out of Europe alive, she was a child when the Allies freed her from Auschwitz.
My brown-wrapped package once graced her grandmother’s dining room. Before it was stolen by Nazis and purchased with fictionalized provenance by my adversary’s father. One of my pro bono projects to not only return the art to its true owner, but to insure masterpieces such as this one did not get locked away from public sight.
        “Mrs. Lebowitz, I have a very special delivery.”

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About the Book

Title: Counterfeit Conspiracies
Author: Ritter Ames
Genre: Mystery / Suspense
Laurel Beacham may have been born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but she has long since lost it digging herself out of trouble. Her father gambled and womanized his way through the family fortune before skiing off an Alp, leaving her with more tarnish than trust fund. Quick wits and connections have gained her a reputation as one of the world’s premier art recovery experts. The police may catch the thief, but she reclaims the missing masterpieces.
The latest assignment, however, may be her undoing. Using every ounce of luck and larceny she possesses, Laurel must locate a priceless art icon and rescue a co-worker (and ex-lover) from a master criminal, all the while matching wits with a charming new nemesis. Unfortunately, he seems to know where the bodies are buried—and she prefers hers isn’t next.


Tales of an Almost Art Class Dropout

In high school art class, I understood the principles, knew trivia on every artist, loved composition and atmosphere—but rarely turned in a project that wasn’t a disaster. I had the same art teacher from ninth until twelfth grade. Senior year, she looked at my latest what-the-heck-is-that? project and asked, “Why in the world did you choose to take this class for four years?” Yes, I chose to take the elective that humbled me on a daily basis.

It didn’t matter if my work wasn’t displayed. Nothing beat watching my classmates—who were good at every medium—create beautiful original works. I was everyone’s audience. The kid who nearly didn’t get assignments completed because she was so busy marveling over the genius spilling out around her.Stolen masterpieces from Castelvecchni Civic Museum-group paintings

I discovered art history classes in college. We discussed theory and design elements, but I never had to pick up a paintbrush or charcoal. In my element, finally, I wrote about art. I also learned about missing art, forged masterpieces, and priceless works hidden for years, decades—maybe even centuries—before surfacing again by accident or dumb-crook mistakes.

A mystery reader’s dream come true.

All became fodder when I brainstormed my Bodies of Art Mysteries. I knew I wanted point-of-view character Laurel Beacham to work as an art recovery expert—finding lost art others tried to spirit away. She needed to know art world players and fit in, but I didn’t want her simply mingling with the upper-crust attending glittery fundraising parties, auctions and openings. I also didn’t envision her following behind law enforcement types and pushing paperwork each day.

I wanted her in the mix. Living on the edge. Doing whatever it took to reunite missing masterpieces with the public.

She also needed a foil to keep her sharp, tax her patience, and leave her a little off-balance. I brainstormed Jack Hawkes, someone who can anticipate Laurel’s impetuous moves because he usually stays one step ahead of her. Jack maintains enough mystery to keep her infuriated—but interested—and he knows or can find out things when she doesn’t have the connections. Both have quick wits, sharp tongues, and the kind of skills and tenacity needed to accept every challenge coming their way.Tower Bridge at Night w-BOA cropped

An author is often asked if characters in a novel are actually the author in disguise. I can honestly say parts of Laurel are the idealistic almost-art-class-dropout I was until I found my true calling in college. A calling she follows naturally because that’s the joy of fiction—my characters learn from my mistakes. She needs less sleep than I, wears better clothes, travels constantly to places I adore, and eats what she loves and doesn’t gain a pound. But I can balance a checkbook—something beyond Laurel’s capabilities. I’m also much less likely to risk life and limb rappelling off the side of a building—but she and Jack accept that challenge as just another work day.

Is there anything you did that developed into something more important later in your life?

 

The first two books in the Bodies of Art Mysteries series, Counterfeit Conspiracies and Marked Masters are on sale now, and Abstract Aliases will be out this fall. For more information on Ritter Ames or her books and series characters, check out her page on the Henery Press website at http://henerypress.com/ritter-ames/ or her website at www.ritterames.com

Tuesday Travel Tips–February Edition

TTT memeI’m already planning a trip to Left Coast Crime at the end of this month, and I can’t wait. I’m channeling my inner Laurel Beacham to remember all the tips to make going from point A to point B more memorable.

First up, I booked my late-February flight in August, and not only got a great price, but the flight is nonstop, too. I would have paid more for nonstop alone, but instead I got exactly what I needed at a discount. Beyond that, here are a few more ways you can save money–and maybe time, too–for your next trip.

  1. Subscribe to airline newsletters, so when they’re running a lightning sale you get immediate notice via email or on your phone. I try to fly Southwest every chance I can to build up miles (though I always check other carriers for better deals), and getting the Southwest e-newsletters helps me grab extra savings, too. Other airlines that offer cost saving newsletters are Virgin, JetBlue, Hawaiian and Alaska Air. There are likely more, but that’s my short list.
  2. Tuesdays are the best day to catch a great fair on a domestic flight because that’s still the day the airlines price match one another.
  3. Always clear your cookies from your browser after checking out an airline. That innocent looking trail of cookies tells airlines you’ve been by their site before–and how many times. So if you search multiple times you risk getting your price bumped up because they know you are really interested.
  4. Are you traveling as a big group or family? Consider renting a house or condo for your stay instead of booking a hotel. This is often cheaper than hotel rooms for everyone, and you’ll have a kitchen and places for everyone to gather and relax together.
  5. Take a collapsible water bottle with you to fill after you leave airport security. I recently traveled without one and got pretty tired of paying $5 for a regular-sized bottle of water every time I was stuck in an airport for a layover.
  6. I was going to stop at five tips, but here’s one I’ve used a lot, and it’s really paid off. If you are a student–or you’ve recently been a student and still have your student ID–don’t forget to take it with you. I’ve received event and museum discounts all over with a student ID I was required to have for a three hour class I took several years ago. My student ID doesn’t have a date on it, and I’ve never been questioned because my picture is right under the university logo. Same goes for AAA memberships and AARP memberships. Flash those cards people and save some green.

Okay, those are my short tips of the day. Do you have any travel tips you’d like to share?

Stuff Builds Characters

What Stuff SaysI revamped out my office this weekend, exchanging one desk for another. My dog loves it because she can take over every inch of the middle of my office floor (and is doing so right now. And snoring). But this changeover got me thinking about a kind of quiz I do each time I start brainstorming characters for my series. Since I’m a week away from the Henery Press release of Counterfeit Conspiracies and Marked Masters, I thought I’d spend a few minutes today talking about how “stuff” builds Laurel Beacham’s character.

  1. Laurel Beacham is likely to keep…things that fit in her huge purse and help her get into and out of trouble on a daily basis as she attempts to keep art masterpieces from disappearing into the “ether.” In her public persona, she’s more likely to use her cell phone to connect with someone who can provide the “open sesame” she needs to get into exclusive events. In her private persona as a reclamation angel, she uses the slick little gizmos and lock picks she’s bought and received from Nico and others to give her the edge needed to “reclaim” stolen art. She’s also prone to stashing costume jewelry, travel guidebooks, business cards, and alarms that warn when someone might be trying to sneak up behind her (yes, this happens a lot).
  2. Travel luggageSpring may be right around the corner but before Laurel can switch out her wardrobe she needs to…Well, usually she needs to find it. Her luggage may be tagged with her contact information, but more and more often she finds her bags disappearing and she’s left washing outfits in the bathroom sink each night or sending them down for hotel laundering. While that may not sound organized, losing her luggage is never her fault. And since she’s “out of the office” and somewhere in Europe about 200 days each year, she’s learned to be pretty self-sufficient when her belongings go AWOL and her credit cards are maxed out.
  3. Going to the grocery store is…pretty much an unknown for Laurel. Even if her mother hadn’t died when she was four, whenever she found her way into the kitchen of her grandparent’s mansion the cook usually just patted her on the head and handed her a cookie or piece of cake. By the time Laurel’s father inherited everything, then gambled it all away, her means of managing a meal was firmly established in deciphering a French menu rather than actually cooking a meal using a French cookbook. So grocery stores are still a mystery and a marvel to her, and she usually leaves with half her needs because she has no idea what ingredients are necessary for favorite meals. However, she does know where to find all the ingredients for a killer martini.
  4. poker tableIf Laurel ever forgets keys or a combination to a safe…it doesn’t fluster her. Thanks to training by some not-so-conventional friends, she can pick a lock or crack most safes. Because of this “training to stay calm under pressure” she is also an excellent poker player–a skill that comes in handy far beyond the gaming table.
  5.  art masterpiecesBecause Laurel’s life was pretty much an exercise in perpetual “loss” from her teens to early twenties, and she’s still saddled with debt incurred due to her father’s squandering practices before his demise, she’s a pro at pulling herself up and charging on–despite all new challenges or losses. The only time she won’t tolerate something going missing is when public art is involved. In those cases, she will do everything in her power to locate and gain back the missing masterpieces, and put the perpetrator behind bars if possible.

So what does your stuff say about you? 🙂

Counterfeit Conspiracies and Marked Masters can be pre-ordered now and will be released Feb. 2nd. You can find all the bookseller links for both books at Where to Buy My Books