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.
For over eight years I have been an active member of the Historical Fiction Authors Cooperative, a group that now has over 52 members and over 280 books in our catalog. One of the popular sub-genres that a number of us write is historical mysteries and five of us decided to put together an anthology of shorter works as a way of introducing our different historical mystery series.
This collaborative project was great fun, with everyone helping in choosing the content, coming up with the title, creating the cover, editing, formatting the interior, proofing the text, and writing the product description. And unlike the old joke that getting writers to cooperate is like herding cats, this was a very smooth and organized operation.
I am proud to announce that here is the result, a 495 page books filled with 3 novellas and five short stories (including my Mr. Wong Rights a Wrong and Kathleen Catches a Killer) for only $4.99.
Medieval to Modern: An Anthology of Historical Mystery Stories
Join amateur sleuths, private detectives, and feisty female protagonists in a journey through time with this anthology of historical mysteries spanning nearly a thousand years, from Medieval Wales to 1940s Ohio. This collection of eight novellas and short stories is the perfect introduction to five award-winning series in settings ranging from the back streets of Elizabethan and Regency London to the steep slopes of Victorian San Francisco.
— Libi Astaire, the Jewish Regency mystery series.
— Anna Castle, the Francis Bacon mystery series and the Professor & Mrs. Moriarty mystery series.
— M. Louisa Locke, the Victorian San Francisco mystery series.
— M. Ruth Myers, the Maggie Sullivan mystery series set in Depression-era Ohio.
— Sarah Woodbury, the Gareth & Gwen Medieval Mysteries.
Dandy, the Boston Terrier in my Victorian San Francisco Mysteries series, modeled on the Bostons in my own life, has always been one of my favorite characters. He was the first to get his own short story, Dandy Detects, and he always makes sure to show up in my longer books, if only for a cameo appearance. For some time, however, he has wanted to have another starring role, and I found that before I could get serious about writing the next novel in the series (title Scholarly Pursuits, estimated publication date some time this fall), I had to write this story, which became Dandy Delivers.
As with Kathleen Catches a Killer (my most recent story in this series), this started out to be a short story and turned into a short novella, which means that I will price it at $2.99. However, I want all the fans of the series to get a chance to get it first at a discount. So for a limited time it will be only 99 cents.
It’s January, 1881, and while the adults in Annie and Nate Dawson’s San Francisco O’Farrell Street boardinghouse are busy with their own affairs, two boys and a dog find their own adventure. Ian Hennessey, a poor boy from South of Market, who is trying to shoulder a man’s responsibilities, gets in trouble, and his best friend, Jamie Hewitt, does what he can to help. But it is Jamie’s young Boston Terrier, Dandy, who saves the day.
This short novella comes right after the events in Pilfered Promises and Kathleen Catches a Killer but can act as an introduction to the late gas-lit world of Locke’s historical mystery series.
In addition, Deadly Proof, the fourth book in the series, just won the 2017 Chanticleer Mystery and Mayhem award for first in the historical mystery category. To celebrate, I have made it Free until May 10th (making it a great gift for Mother’s Day.)
It’s the summer of 1880, and once again the lovely and inquisitive businesswoman, Annie Fuller, is helping San Francisco lawyer and beau, Nate Dawson, with a troublesome case. Nate’s client, a female typesetter accused of murdering her boss, refuses to help in her own defense. Complicating matters, Nate’s sister Laura insists on getting involved in the potentially dangerous investigation, while Laura’s friend Seth Timmons, troubled Civil War veteran, finds himself a witness for the prosecution. Will Nate be able to win his first big case? Will Laura and Seth find some way of becoming friends? And finally, will Annie and Nate’s upcoming nuptials be derailed by their attempts to track down a killer?
M. Louisa Locke, May 4, 2018
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