Welcome to my Front Parlor, where I hope to engage you in some stimulating conversations about my journey as an indie author, the lessons learned about marketing, and the joys of writing fiction. The past eight years have been enormously rewarding, with the publication of five novels in my Victorian San Francisco Mystery series Maids of Misfortune, Uneasy Spirits, Bloody Lessons, Deadly Proof, and Pilfered Promises, as well as two novellas, Violet Vanquishes a Villain, Kathleen Catches a Killer, and a short story collection, Victorian San Francisco Stories, and the publication of a science fiction trilogy, Between Mountain and Sea, Under Two Moons, and Through Ddaera’s Touch. Do come in, look around, comment, and before you go, please leave a visiting card (url, twitter, fb address, etc) so I can return the courtesy and visit you next time.
Here is an excerpt of a piece I wrote for the Historical Fiction Authors Cooperative this week. To read the whole piece CLICK HERE.
The five novels in my Victorian San Francisco mystery series primarily feature Annie Fuller, a young woman who runs a boarding house, and Nate Dawson, a San Francisco lawyer who helps her solve crimes. However, I frequently publish short stories and novellas to let the minor characters in my novels become major actors for awhile. (Yes, characters do seem to have an opinion about this, and no, authors aren’t crazy to see their characters as having minds of their own.)
For example, my short story, Dandy Detects, didn’t just let the young Boston Terrier pup from my first book, Maids of Misfortune, strut his stuff, but this story began to flesh out the past histories of two other characters, the school teacher Barbara Hewitt and her son, histories that in time would become crucial parts of the plot in my third novel, Bloody Lessons.
Perhaps even more importantly, these shorter works also let me go into more detail about historical tidbits about San Francisco, something that can get in the way of good pacing in the longer, more conventional mystery novels. Much as my two dressmakers, Miss Minnie and Miss Millie, lend notes of humor to all my books, it was only when I gave them their own short story, The Misses Moffet Mend a Marriage, that I had the time to go into specifics about how skilled dressmakers could make their living in nineteenth century San Francisco. And, in Mr. Wong Rights a Wrong, I was able to reintroduce a character people loved from Maids of Misfortuneand write a story that provided historical detail on Chinese immigration, anti-Chinese sentiment, and the charities that tried to help Chinese women in San Francisco.
In my most recent novella, Kathleen Catches a Killer, Annie’s boarding house maid, Kathleen Hennessey, has the opportunity to solve her own mystery, but I was also able to use this story to describe some of the methods used by the San Francisco police force because Kathleen’s beau, Patrick McGee, is a patrolman who is working hard to become one of the city’s plain-clothes detectives.
The rest of this blog piece can be found HERE.
I recently did an interview on the blog, mapyourmystery.com. This blog is a great place to find new mysteries, with a particular emphasis on mystery settings.
M. Louisa Locke, March 21, 2018
Since Bloody Lessons, the third book in my Victorian San Francisco series, features Valentine’s day (as Uneasy Spirits is set during Halloween, Deadly Proof during a July 4th celebration, and Pilfered Promises during the Thanksgiving to Christmas holidays) I have decided to offer it free, as a perfect Valentine for you to give to yourself or someone you love.
It is Free on US Kindle, International Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, and GooglePlay until 2/15, and if you get the Kindle ebook version, the audiobook edition is discounted to $7.49. Plus, don’t forget there is also a lovely paperback edition for those of you who still enjoy print.
In addition, for those of you who missed the blog post I did on Victorian Valentine celebrations and the writing of Bloody Lessons, check out this blog post I did four years ago for the Historical Fiction Authors Cooperative (a site with lots of great historical fiction novels.)
Update on the next novel:
After my excursion into the future with my Paradisi Chronicles science fiction stories, I am happily back in the Victorian era and making great headway on the next full-length novel in the series, which will feature Nate’s sister, Laura, as she and her friends unravel a mystery at the University of California in Berkeley. I am right at the end of the research phase, discovering all sort of interesting facts that I am going to be able to weave into my mystery–from college high-jinks, a fraternity hazing scandal that resulted in a shooting, and a divided faculty that got the university president fired in the spring of 1881, which is when this next book is set. I am hoping that this novel, title tentatively Scholarly Pursuits, will be ready for publication by mid-to-late summer of 2018.
In case you missed it, right before Christmas I published Kathleen Catches a Killer, a Victorian San Francisco novella that features the O’Farrell Boarding house maid. It is available on Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo and GooglePlay. It’s only in an ebook version now, but it will be coming out as an audio book in March. (Rest assured I will let you know when that happens.)
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day,
M. Louisa Locke, February 12, 2018
I grew up in western Pennsylvania, where we usually had one snowfall by December. However, I have lived the last fifty years in the southwest, mostly in San Diego, where snow never falls. Consequently, I confess I wait every year for December 1 when WordPress starts its falling snowflakes on its websites. Makes me smile every time. And today, as those virtual flakes begin to fall, I am particularly happy to announce that I have two fun gifts for the fans of my Victorian San Francisco mystery series. I have just published a brand new novella, Kathleen Catches a Killer, that features the O’Farrell Street maid, Kathleen, and I have given Pilfered Promises, the fifth book in the series, a new holiday cover and made the book Free until December 15. The events in the novella come immediately after those in Pilfered Promises, so these two make a perfect holiday duo.
It is November of 1880, and the future looks promising for Annie and Nate Dawson. Nate’s law practice is taking off. Annie has made the transition from pretend clairvoyant to a successful financial consultant. And they are looking forward to spending their first Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays together.
For Robert Livingston, the owner San Francisco’s newest grand emporium, the holidays don’t look so promising if he can’t figure out how to stop whoever is stealing from his department store, the Silver Strike Bazaar.
However, when he hires the Dawsons to investigate, they discover that behind the doors of his “Palace of Plenty,” nothing is quite what it seems.
Pilfered Promises, a sweet cozy historical mystery, is the fifth novel in the Victorian San Francisco Mystery series featuring Annie and Nate Dawson and their friends and family in the O’Farrell Street boarding house.
It’s the very end of December, 1880, and the servant Kathleen Hennessey expects to spend a quiet week taking care of the O’Farrell Street boarding house while her employers, Annie and Nate Dawson, are off spending the Christmas holidays with Nate’s family.
However, when she agrees to help out one of her friends, Kathleen discovers that a simple case of a servant being dismissed without notice has turned into a complicated puzzle that she is determined to solve.
While featuring minor characters from Locke’s Victorian San Francisco mystery series, Kathleen Catches a Killer contains all the light romance, humor, and suspense of the longer works. Chronologically, this novella comes right after the events in Pilfered Promises, but it can be read as a stand-alone and an excellent introduction to this mystery series about the gas-lit world of the late 19th century.
Wishing you all a happy holiday season,
M. Louisa Locke
A year ago, I had just published Pilfered Promises, the fifth book in my Victorian San Francisco Mystery Series, and I had just begun work on the sequel to my first full-length science fiction novel, Between Mountain and Sea. I hoped that I would get this book done and out within six months, so I could go back to doing the work on my next book in the continuing story of Annie and Nate and the O’Farrell Street Boarding house. I told myself, surely I could write a nice short book…maybe in the 60,000 to 70,000 word range…in that time, and still be able to live a balanced life (theoretically I am retired.)
But of course, life and the writing muse had different plans.
A series of trips (to conventions and visits with my daughter and grandsons), the constant work it seems to take to keep my body moving at my age, a demanding schedule of lunches and tea dates with friends, a number of other authors’ manuscripts I had the honor to beta read, and the unexpected discovery that my short sequel had turned into two full-length books, meant that here I am, not six months, but a year later, finally, starting to work on my next historical mystery.
But I do have the satisfaction of having produced two books more books in the Paradisi Chronicles series that I am quite fond of, and the following promotion is my way of celebrating this achievement.
For the rest of September, Between Mountain and Sea will be free, and the second book, Under Two Moons, only 99 cents. The third book, Through Ddaera’s Touch, was just published this week, and I am hoping that everyone who reads the first two books will be more than happy to buy the third, which completes the set, for the low price of $4.99.
And the novella set in the Paradisi Chronicles World with my daughter, The Stars are Red Tonight, is now free if you get Kindle Unlimited.
M. Louisa, September 17, 2017
Been very quiet for months because I was working…still am…on my science fiction books set in the open source world of the Paradisi Chronicles that I helped create. This week Under Two Moons, the second book in my Caelestis series has come out as a ebook, to be followed in mid September by the third book, Through Ddaera’s Touch. Both books will be available in print by the end of September.
Introduction to the Caelestis Series
In the early decades of the twenty-first century, the problems of climate change, epidemics, civil war, cyber terrorism, and nuclear proliferation have set Earth on a path of escalating disasters.
In the year 2025 AD, ten men and women come together to address these problems. These individuals each have enormous personal wealth that they made in a variety of commercial enterprises around the globe. What they have in common besides their great wealth is a deep pessimism about the future of Earth and an enormous optimism about space exploration as the only viable solution for the continuation of human kind. To that end, these men and women, who call themselves the Founders, begin the Paradisi Project.
The purpose of the Paradisi Project is the colonization of New Eden, a recently discovered planet in the Andromeda Galaxy that scientists deem capable of sustaining human life. The Paradisi Project harnesses the best minds on Earth to develop the scientific breakthroughs in intersteller travel and wormhole technology needed to transport the ten Founding Families to New Eden to establish a viable colony. Once there, their mission will be to ensure that this new colony doesn’t make the same mistakes that are destroying Earth.
By 2092 AD, the Paradisi Project has achieved its goals. With Earth continuing on its path to destruction, a fleet of ten ships are launched, each carrying 10,000 passengers––Founding Family members, their loyal employees, and the staff necessary to build a new civilization once their journey ends. What the Founders didn’t count on was that, even though they easily conquer the technologically backward natives they encounter when they first arrive, these Ddaerans have mystifying powers that will make them dangerous enemies
Meanwhile, the Founders had left behind on Earth the SS Challenge, the 11th ship and the prototype for the rest of the Nautilus Fleet. The Reachers, employees of the Reach Corp, were promised passage on this ship if they retrofitted for the long journey to New Eden, and as a reward for their role building the space elevators, stations, and ships that made the Paradisi Project possible, but when the time comes for their journey to New Eden, they face nothing but betrayal.
By the fifth generation of settlement, New Eden isn’t quite the paradise the Founders hoped for and there are the beginnings of a movement to resist the ten Founding Families and the Council of Ten that governs the world.
Between Mountain and Sea (Caelestis Series Book 1) features Mabel Yu, one of the Founders who made the journey to New Eden, and her descendent, Mei Lin Yu, who, in 165 AA (After Arrival), comes to live at Mynyddamore, the ancestral home that Mabel Yu built in the first years of settlement as a place where Founders and Ddaerans, the natives that were already living on New Eden, could live in harmony. Here, Mei Lin discovers secrets about herself and her family’s past that will forever change her destiny.
Under Two Moons (Caelestis Series Book 2) is set in 167 AA, two years after the events of Between Mountain and Sea, and features Mei Lin Yu and her family and Ddaeran friends as they discover visitors from a distant past and a threat to Mynyddamore’s future.
Through Ddaera’s Touch (Caelestis Series Book 3) (Coming soon!) begins right after the conclusion of Under Two Moons, as Mei Lin works to forge an alliance between Ddaerans, New Eden citizens, and Reachers to resist their common enemies.
After you finish Between Mountain and Sea, Under Two Moons, and Through Ddaera’s Touch, I would suggest you read the short stories in Chronicle Worlds: Paradisi and the two series of novellas by Andy McKell and Cheri Lasota that detail the experiences of the Reachers on the SS Challenge. For the beginning of the story of a different Founding Family–the Kuttners, do check out The Stars are Red Tonight, a novella I have co-written with my daughter, Ashley.
For more information about the Paradisi Chronicles series, including maps of Caelestis, New Eden, where most of the action in my books occurs, go to https://paradisichronicles.wordpress.com
Mei Lin Yu, a shy studious young woman from a Founding Family, and Silence, a fierce snowcat running with outlaws, shouldn’t have anything in common. But on New Eden, a world where the native Ddaerans have psychic abilities, a world ruled by the Founders who fled a dying Earth…anything is possible.
When Mei Lin is forced out of the comfortable refuge of Mynyddamore and confronted with a secret from the past that is very much alive, will she be able to save herself and Silence to gain the trust of a man who has no reason to trust anyone from a Founding Family?
Under Two Moons, a science fiction action adventure novel, is the sequel to Between Mountain and Sea and is the second book in Louisa Locke’s Caelestis series in the Paradisi Chronicles (an open source science fiction series created by multiple authors).
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