Fall Promotions

I have been very focused on finishing the first draft of Scholarly Pursuit, the next full-length book in my Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, but needed to pause to let you know about the a great list of historical mysteries that are free or discounted today, 11/4

Medieval-to-Modern-GenericJoin 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.

99 cents in all ebookstores  

Pilf_Xmas edition_800x1200It 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 as a couple, 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 are shaping up to be a dismal failure if he can’t figure out how to stop whoever is stealing from his department store, the Silver Strike Bazaar.When he hires the Dawsons to investigate, Annie and Nate discover that behind the doors of Livingston’s “Palace of Plenty,” nothing is quite what it seems.

Pilfered Promises, by USA Todaybestselling author, M. Louisa Locke, is the fifth full-length historical mystery in the cozy Victorian San Francisco mystery series featuring Annie and Nate Dawson and their friends and family in the O’Farrell Street boarding house. Locke’s shorter works, found in Victorian San Francisco Storiesand Victorian San Francisco Novellas, feature minor characters from the series.

Free in all ebookstores

Other Great Historical Mysteries Discounts good, today, November 4, 2018

Libi Astaire:
Tempest in the Tearoom: A Jewish Regency Mystery (Book 1) Free
The Doppelganger’s Dance: A Jewish Regency Mystery (Book 2) 99 cents  

Anna Castle:
Murder by Misrule: A Francis Bacon Mystery (Book 1) Free
Death by Disputation: A Francis Bacon Mystery (Book 2) 99 cents  

Ruth Myers:
No Game for a Dame: Maggie Sullivan Mystery  (Book 1) Free  
Maximum Moxie: Maggie Sullivan Mystery (Book 5) 99 cents

Sarah Woodbury:
The Good Knight: The Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mysteries (Book 1) Free 
The Uninvited Guest: The Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mysteries (Book2) 99 cents  
The Fourth Horseman: The Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mysteries (Book3) 99 cents 

Happy reading,

M. Louisa Locke

Flash sale on Historical Mystery Anthology

Medieval to Modern: An Anthology of Historical Mystery Stories

99 cents for two days only, August 11-12

On all major online stores

Five authors, six series, three novellas and five short stories, this anthology (which includes my novella Katherine Catches a Killer and short story Mr. Wong Rights a Wrong) is the perfect introduction to these five authors historical mystery series.

 

Victorian San Francisco and 19th Century Police Techniques

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.

Kathleen_killer_1600x2400In 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.

Kathleen Catches a Killer is now available as an audiobook at Amazon, Audible, iTunes.

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

What I learned from my Recreational Reading: Part Two

I wasn’t surprised to learn that almost all of the books I bought and read in 2016 were ebooks—bought online from Amazon. In fact, a number of the books I decided to reread I already owned in print, but I decided to buy ebook editions after I started to reread them. This was because those books that were paperbacks (some that I bought over 30 years ago) were generally in terrible shape—covers falling off, pages falling out­­––and the small print made some of them unreadable. The hardbacks were in better shape, with larger print, but they tended to aggravate the arthritis in my wrists when I read them for any length of time at one sitting.

In contrast, my Kindle Paperwhite is small, lightweight, with adjustable fonts, and it is easy to dust so I don’t sneeze when I pull it out to use.

Of course, all of these reasons for my shift to ebooks are to a degree related to my age, but there was another reason I was willing to pay for a book I already owned, as well as buy so many other books by new authors; the relatively low prices on many ebooks.

Throughout this past year, there has been a constant stream of articles stating that ebook sales are in decline (and print sales are up.) See this post as one of the most recent examples.

While the data coming out from traditional publishers—and the Association of American Publishers—seems on the surface to support this claim, what anyone who has followed this discussion should know by now is that this data only describes what is happening with books published by traditional publishers. In contrast, the Author Earnings Reports, which are the most comprehensive data we have on ebooks, conclude that Amazon ebook sales rose 4% in 2016.

The main plausible explanation for this negative trend in ebook sales for traditional publishers is their pricing. Once the big five got back the right to set their own prices for ebooks without discounting (something they had lost temporarily when they were found guilty of anti-trust violations), they went back to pricing their ebooks higher—often at the same or higher price than their mass market paperbacks.

At the same time, Amazon, once they lost the right to discount traditionally published ebooks, started discounting traditionally published print books. This made the print editions of traditionally published books more attractive than ebook editions to many customers.

What publishers didn’t anticipate was that this simply drove more people to buy their print books online (when their stated goal for pricing ebooks high had been to help brick and mortar books stores stay competitive.) Ah, the problems of unintended consequences.

And what traditional publishers seem willfully to misunderstand is that many of their customers didn’t just shift to the print edition of a book, many of them decided not to buy that traditionally published book at all, but to take a chance on an indie authored book.

I found my buying patterns quite representative of these trends in consumer buying.

Let’s first look at my buying patterns before ebooks, which followed a very predictable pattern.

First, for authors who I had read and liked, I routinely bought their books as hardbacks as soon as the book came out. I justified this because I knew there was a very good chance I would reread those books often multiple times, so the higher price (and longevity) of the hardback seemed worth it. Continue reading

What I learned from my Recreational Reading: Part One

dp275102This past week I got sidetracked from writing (after 3 weeks in a row where I achieved my stated goal of 5000 words a week) because I was putting together all the figures l needed for my 2016 taxes. However, in the process I made a list all the books I bought in 2016, whether or not they were ebooks or print, and what I paid for each, and this has prompted me to do a little more analysis on my reading patterns.

First of all, I was pleased to discover that I had bought 65 books this year and had read almost all of them. This meant I read, on average, more than a book a week, nicely confirming of my impression that I had read more books in 2016 than I had the previous year.

Second, while the list also confirmed that a large proportion of those books were short story anthologies, something I have already discussed in my last post, I was also interested in the patterns I saw in the full length novels I read.

When I looked at the list, I was struck by the fact that most of the novels I bought were either books I had read before, new books by favorite authors, or all the books in a series by a newly discovered author. This makes sense and actually dovetails with my reasons for reading so many short stories. Because of the limited time I have in my life as a busy writer, when I commit to reading a full-length book, I want to know there is a strong chance I will enjoy the experience.

It is one thing to try a short story by an unknown author—if it turns out it isn’t my cup of tea, I have only lost 10-15 minutes. But since I have difficulty just dropping a novel in the first sitting, when I eventually decide to drop a book I have usually spent at least an hour so, hence I have been sticking to full length books I know I will stick with.

I haven’t always been so risk averse in my reading choices, but I have noticed that when someone mentions that I should read some book they have just read by an author I know nothing about, I say: “Oh that sounds good, maybe when I really retire and I go back to reading all the time I will give a try.”

However, I was also struck by a third realization. I was choosing books that I thought would give me tips on how to improve my own writing. Also, not surprising when I thought about it. I am a firm believer that a writers should above all be a reader. And, if you want to write books that other people enjoy reading, you need to be aware of what improves your own enjoyment of a book. Continue reading