A New Series Is Coming Your Way

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It is my plan at this point in time to introduce a new series in December after the Halloween and Christmas Books for the existing series have been published. I have several new series that I have been toying with and even working on to some extent, but I have finally decided to write the series I have been talking about for quite a while, a spinoff of Alaskan Alliance, one of the Zoe Donovan stories that took place in the town of Moosehead Alaska. I’ve changed the name of the town to Rescue Alaska since I plan the tag line to be A Rescue Alaska Mystery. I’ve also changed some of the facts about the characters just a bit. In Alaskan Alliance Harmony lived with her friend Jake and in the new series she lives alone with a bunch of rescue animals including: five dogs, four cats, six kittens, eight rabbits, and a blind mule named Homer.

I’m going to state right up front that this series is very Zoe-like. I’m sure there are those who will notice immediately that the series has the ‘feel’ of the early Zoe’s.  The protagonist I have chosen to feature is Harmony, a twenty-eight year old sweetheart that works in Jake’s bar and volunteers with the search and rescue squad along with six other locals. Harmony is a kind soul who loves animals, and in the opening story, she is focused on finding the money to build an animal shelter in their small town.

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Here is an unedited excerpt from my working draft:

“Ms. Carson do you understand what I am saying?”

Harmony looked at the storklike man across the desk and frowned. “You are saying that you cannot consider my grant application unless I have secured a facility.”

The man let out a long breath, sounding like a wheeze, which Harmony was sure was more of a sigh of relief. “Exactly. I do love your proposal to build an animal shelter in your town but our grant is designed to be used for ongoing operations. I’m afraid without a physical presence we really must move on.”

Harmony leaned over to pick up her eight year old backpack. “Yes. I understand. Thank you so much for your time.”

“Perhaps next year?” the man encouraged with a lopsided grin.

Harmony smiled in return. Granted it was a weak little smile that did nothing to conceal her feelings of defeat. “Thank you. I’m certain that we will be able to meet your criteria by the next application cycle.”

“We begin a new cycle on June 1. If you can secure a facility by that time please feel free to reapply.”

Harmony thanked the man and exited his office. She tried to ignore the feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach and instead focus on the clickity-clack created as the tile floor came into contact with the two inch heels she’d bought for just this occasion. She knew that the shelter committee desperately needed the capital the grant would have provided, and without it, they’d need to rely on plan B, which even she had to admit, was really nothing more than a blindfolded shot in the dark.

Had she really been working on this for more than a year? Maybe it was time to throw in the towel and accept defeat. The idea of building an animal shelter in Rescue Alaska was a noble one, but the mountain of fundraising and paperwork that needed to be scaled in order to make this particular dream come true, seemed insurmountable at best.

Harmony dug into her backpack for the cell phone which rang just as she stepped out of the warm building into the bracing cold of the frigid Alaskan winter. She pulled the hood of her heavy parka over her dark hair before wrapping the bulk of her down jacket tightly around her small frame. When her best friend Chloe asked about the outcome of the meeting she was tempted to admit defeat and suggest they drop the project until she thought about the strays that littered the town without a safe haven during the long months of winter. Most winters, more died than lived. Harmony saved those she could but without a shelter to house the rescues there was only so much she could do.

From this point on Harmony and Chloe talk about a plan to get Harley (Pretty much Harmony’s Zak) involved. Harmony doesn’t want anything to do with the man but she has the animals to think about and he has the resources to make the shelter a reality so she agrees to work with him. During the course of the story they stumble onto a dead body and work together to find the killer.

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Okay, like I said, this series is almost a clone of the early Zoe Donovan’s.  I almost didn’t write this series for this reason. There are a few differences. Harmony will be a volunteer at the animal shelter but she will have a different job and there will be a search and rescue aspect to it that the Zoe’s don’t have.  And it is set in Alaska, which is awesome as far as I’m concerned.  I have toyed with the idea of making Harmony older and a bit more jaded rather than the sweetheart that she is, but I’m not sure a jaded Harmony would work for me.

So what do you think? As you are reading this are you thinking “Been there done that” or are you thinking “Yay, a new and slightly different Zoe Donovan?”  Comment below with your thoughts and be entered to win a $15 Amazon Gift card.

 

 

 

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Costume Catastrophe

Costume Catastrophe Facebook

 

 

It’s RELEASE DAY for Costume Catastrophe. I’m super excited about this book. For one thing Zak and Zoe really are my favorites and for another Halloween is my very favorite holiday. And the cover, isn’t it adorable? Jessica Fisher found the graphic and came up with the concept so she gets ALL the credit for this one.  So what have Zak and Zoe got going on this Halloween.

Well first of all there is a murder. Isn’t there always?

Ellie is struggling with telling her huge secret to Levi who is still quite clueless.

Alex goes on her first date and papa Zak has a coronary.

And much, much, more.

 

Here is an excerpt from the opening:

“We could still go with the chubby pumpkin costume,” I suggested to my best friend, Ellie Davis, as I tried to help her squeeze into a sexy vampire costume that was never going to fit.

“I’m not chubby,” Ellie insisted as she stood in front of the full-length mirror in the dressing room of the local costume shop, sucking in her stomach.

“I know, but you are three months pregnant. This costume isn’t going to fit no matter how much you suck in your stomach.”

“If I go as the chubby pumpkin people will know. It’s the classic costume for pregnant women.”

“No one will know.”

“They will.”

“Okay, how about a ghost? We’ll just grab a sheet, cut out some eye holes, and you’ll be good to go.”

Ellie started crying.

Again.

I knew it was the pregnancy hormones, but seriously? If I was going to cry at every little thing when I got pregnant I was going to go back on the Pill before it was too late. Of course Ellie wasn’t just pregnant; she had a secret—a very big, life-altering secret she’d already kept much too long.

“Don’t cry; we’ll figure this out.” I tried for an encouraging tone. “We’ll keep looking until we find the perfect thing.”

“It’s no use,” Ellie sobbed. “I look like a whale. I’ll just skip the party and stay home. It’s really the only logical choice.”

“You’re not staying home and you don’t look like a whale. In fact, other than the tiny baby bump you don’t look any different at all. Still, it’s not going to be too long before even the baggiest sweaters fail to hide your secret.” I took Ellie’s hand and led her over to the little bench that ran along one wall. I sat down, pulling her down beside me. “You know I love you and you know I’ll do anything for you, but it seems to me that your current dilemma might serve as a hint that it really is time.”

“I can’t.”

“You can and you should. Levi has a right to know.” I referred to the baby’s father, my other best friend, Levi Denton.

Ellie took a deep breath. Then she let it out slowly. “I know. I’ll tell him. I promise. I just need to find the right time.”

“Now seems like as good a time as any.”

“No. Not now. He has the big game against Bryton Lake this week. I don’t want to distract him. I’ll tell him after.” Levi was the head coach for the Ashton Falls High School varsity football team.

I gave Ellie’s hand a squeeze. “Okay. I guess it can wait another week. But we really do need to find you a costume for the party. You mentioned a whale. You know, a whale actually might be the perfect costume.”

Ellie started crying again.

Good going, Zoe.

“How about we take a break? We’ll go get something to eat and maybe we can try costume shopping again another day.”

“Okay.” Ellie dried her eyes with the back of her hand. “I guess I am hungry.”

 

Now for the giveaway. Comment below to be entered to win one of three copies of Costume Catastrophe. Kindle or Paperback – winners choice – NON US Kindle only.

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Everyday Moments

 

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I have been so very buried in my to do list since returning home from my unplanned trip to Nogales Arizona for the Little League Regionals, that I have barely had time to come up for air. My body is feeling the long hours at the computer as aches and pains set in, and my mind is so overwhelmed that if you speak to me all you are likely to get in return is a grunt. The reality is that deadlines are deadlines and they don’t really care if an unexpected trip has thrown your schedule into chaos, so the best you can hope for is to plow through and hope for that light at the end of the tunnel.

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I’d just completed one manuscript and sent it off to my editor and needed to begin working on another for a different editor when I realized I still needed to write my blog. I decided to write it real quick before I began my next project but of course my mind was totally blank. When I couldn’t come up with a subject after several minutes I decided to take a short break and go out into the yard and water my flowers.

IMG_1478Of course Echo was thrilled to be outdoors since I’ve been too busy to spend much time with him so once he got outside he began running around the yard, barking at butterfly’s, and rolling in the grass. He kept bringing me a stick which I’d take and absently toss all the while thinking about what I still needed to do that afternoon and how I could fit several smaller tasks into my already full schedule.

IMG_1479I caught Echo out of the corner of my eye as he was rolling down the hill on the far side of our property. When he reached the bottom he’d jump up and run to the top of the hill to roll down again. I suddenly realized that the sun was high in the sky, the temperature perfect, the flowers colorful, and it had turned out to be one of the most awesome days we’d had all summer. I realized that it had been weeks since I’d been fully in the moment, neither thinking of what lay ahead or what had just occurred.

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Now I wish I could say that being jolted from the fog I’d been living in caused me to chuck my writing for the day and head to the beach, but deadlines are real and wait for no one. Still I can say that in that brief period of time, I allowed my mind to be fully present as I watered my flowers and watched my silly dog enjoy the everyday moment he’d captured and made the most of.

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I love to hear from you all so comment below and be entered to win a $15 Amazon Gift Card. Winner will be announced on 8/6.

 

 

 

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Events, Events, and More Events

Kathi Fall Trees [7081640]

I will be on my way to Arizona for the regional Little League Tornament when this posts so I am going to keep it short and simple.

First off I want everyone to visit my webpage. I actually work hard to keep it current and want to share it with you all so today’s contest will include questions about the page.  I even have a new Halloween page that you will want to check out.

http://www.kathidaley.com  Halloween Ad

I have a bunch of fun events coming up that you will ALL want to participate in. My Countdown to Paradise Release party is September 1 – 6 and you can be sure I will be giving away a ton of stuff.

Here is the link to join https://www.facebook.com/events/848072505336998/

FB Cover Paradise Green2  If you want to preorder any of the books you can enter to win a $100 gift card. Here is the link for that:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/df645d05222/?   100 Gift Card Ad1

I will be doing my Halloween Spooktacular again this year and we have SOOO many authors participating. I don’t want to announce names just yet but I can guarantee that it is going to be legendary.

Halloween Spooktacular

 

I’ll post a link to sign up for the event in a month or so.

 

So now for the contest. You can win your choice of a Coffee Cat Books Mug or a $25 Amazon Gift Card if you already have a mug or you live outside the US.

Here are the questions and the link to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/df645d05233/?

  1. One of the posters on this page is on the first page on the left side. Which one?
  2. One and only one of the upcoming Christmas Titles is listed on the “Books” page. Which one?
  3. Which book is top row center on the Halloween Page?

 

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Magical Cats and Island Living

Kathi Fall Trees [7081640]

 

Today is launch day for The Great Catsby – book 8 in my Whales and Tails Island Mystery Series. After its debut in January of 2015 it quickly became one of my best selling series. In this eighth installment of the series, set on a fictional island among the San Juan Island off the Washington Coast, we are revisited by Ebenezer the cat and Alex the heir, from book 6 in the series: The Cat of Christmas Past.

In The Great Catsby Alex returns to Madrona Island after college lets out for the summer with two friends: Nick and Daisy. Cait and the others immediately notice that the sweet and fun loving guy who played Santa for the kids over Christmas, has turned into a bit of a snob since they’d last seen him. Instead of hanging out with old friends Alex seems intent on hanging out with new friends, which in pretty much everyone’s opinion, are bound to get him into trouble. When Daisy shows up dead and Alex is arrested for her murder, Cait and the gang realize they need to put their differences aside and help Alex prove that he is innocent in a case where he is the only suspect.

The Great Catsby Facebook

Meanwhile Cait has other problems to deal with namely Reginald Pendergrass, the man her mother brought home as her fiancé after meeting him on a cruise. Cait and her siblings have divided up the chores associated with helping their mother to prepare for her wedding to this man, and the book opens with Cait helping her mom shop for her trousseau.

 

This could just not get any worse. If the gates of hell opened and swallowed me whole it wouldn’t be worse.

“So what do you think?” My mother beamed at me.

What did I think? My fifty eight year old mother was standing in front of me in a tiny negligee that even I wouldn’t wear. Don’t get me wrong, my mother is in excellent shape for her age, but not only has she had five children, she’s had five Catholic Children. It just doesn’t seem right that my very conservative mother is parading around in the “naughty” store wearing the skimpy outfit she plans to wear on her wedding night to a man who may very well turn out to be Satan himself.

“Caitlin Hart. Are you listening to me?”

“I’m listening.” I looked at the tiny piece of fabric my mother was holding. “Aren’t you afraid you will be cold?”

“It’s June.”

“But still chilly at night. Maybe something in a nice floor length gown. Flannel is always nice at this time of year.”

My mom looked directly at me and put her hands on her hips. “Would you wear floor length flannel on your wedding night?”

“I might.” I defended even though I knew that was a lie. “It’s just that you are …”

“Old?”

“Maternal. You’ve been married before do you really need to go all out this time around?”

My mom twirled around showing off way too much of her derriere. “I most certainly do need to go all out.” She looked at me with a softer expression. “Your dad has been gone for a long time.”

I knew she was right, and I wasn’t even against the notion of her moving on, but the man she was engaged to, was definitely not the man I wanted my mother tied to for the rest of her life. For one thing he was arrogant and opinionated. He made it clear that he thought the Hart’s to be country hicks who wouldn’t know a 1996 Borel and Kroff Brute, from a 2016 Korbel Brute. Okay maybe he had a point with that one, but life was about more than expensive champagne and even more expensive cars. It was about friends and family and planting roots that endured from one generation to the next.

“Cait?”

“It’s nice mom.” I hated the look of uncertainty on her face but even more I hated the fact that she was leaving Madrona Island, and more importantly leaving us, after living here her entire life. “I’ll just wait for you out front.”

“Okay. When we are done here we can go and look at flowers.”

“Siobhan has flowers. I have cake.”

“Does it matter?”

“No,” I sighed. “I guess not.”

 

If you want to find out how the story turns out it is available on Amazon.

http://amzn.to/1NAjPKk

 

To be entered to win one of five copies (Kindle or Paperback – non US Kindle only) comment below. The winner will be chosen on July 2.

 

 

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Launch Day Giveaway

Kathi Fall Trees [7081640]

 

Today is launch day for book 2 in my new Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mystery Series so I am going to give away 5 copies of the book (paperback or Kindle – Non US Kindle only). I’m really loving this new series and this particular book in the series was a super fun one to write.

Murder at Sunrise Facebook

The story begins at a sunrise ceremony for the summer solstice. Lani is attending with her neighbor Elva, a senior citizen who can no longer drive. When one of the seniors in attendance turns up dead, Elva and some of her friends decide to investigate. Lani doesn’t want any of her senior friends to put themselves in dangers way, so against her better judgement, she decides to help them out. Here is a clip of one of the scenes with the seniors:

The minute we walked into the diner the women who were already there descended on Luke. Four seniors had arrived early. Janice was sitting at the head of the table and seemed to have been leading a discussion that had ended the moment we walked in. Sitting to Janice’s right were regulars Diane and Beth, and to her left was a woman I had only met a few times, Emmy Jean Thornton.

“There’s my cowboy,” Wilma Goodwin exclaimed as she waddled over to Luke and demanded he give her some sugar.

Luke hugged Wilma and politely greeted each woman in turn, making sure a hug was returned with a hug and a kiss to the cheek returned with the same. There weren’t many men who would be so gracious to a group of women twice his age. By the time our drinks were served Luke had a long list of honey do’s from the senior honeys in his life.

Once all the women had gotten their fill of attention from their cowboy, the topic of conversation moved from rain gutters to murder. It seemed this small contingent of senior women had gathered early specifically for the purpose of discussing the situation. If the head nods were any indication, it seemed Janice spoke for all of them when she announced that they were tired of waiting for answers and had decided to help.

“You’re all going to investigate?” I confirmed.

“We are,” Janice answered. “And because we don’t have all the resources you and Luke have, we hoped both of you would be willing to help us.”

“Help you do what exactly?”

“Find the killer.”

I looked at Luke, who simply shrugged. Fat lot of help he was.

“I get why you’re growing impatient, but Janice, you have that new granddaughter I’m sure you want to spend time with, and Beth, you have a husband and kids to think about. Investigating could be dangerous.”

“We’ve got our minds and our wits and most of us still have our original body parts,” Janice answered.

“What about Diane’s new hip?” I asked.

“Doesn’t slow her down any more than Emmy Jean’s new boobs,” Janice pointed out.

I glanced at Emmy Jean, who only attended senior events sporadically, and it did appear she’d had a boob job. She worked on herself more often than any woman I’d ever met. She was one of the younger group members at sixty-two, but already she’d had a face-lift, a tummy tuck, and now new boobs to round out the package.

“Maybe we can discuss your ideas and then Luke and I can check some things out and get back to you,” I suggested.

“The girls and I want in on the action,” Emmy Jean insisted.

While I preferred they didn’t get involved at all, I certainly wasn’t going to let them investigate on their own. I looked at Luke with an expression that I hoped communicated that I needed his help with this.

Based on his next comment, he either didn’t understand or didn’t agree. “I think if the ladies want to help we should let them, although I’m not sure this is the best venue for discussing the matter. What do you say we all meet at my house later this afternoon for a BBQ and strategy session?”

Luke’s announcement was met with applause from everyone present. I wished I could say I was equally thrilled, but I couldn’t help but wonder if this whole thing would end badly.

 

If you want to find out how it end up here is the link to buy Murder at Sunrise in Either Kindle or Paperback.

http://amzn.to/1ThjfjG

http://amzn.to/1UDKBRE

 

To be entered to win one of 5 copies of the book comment below. Winners will be chosen and posted on June 18.

 

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It’s All About the Dots

Kathi Fall Trees [7081640]

 

June has arrived and in my book that means summer is officially here. As we do every year, Ken and I made a new dot chart and hung it on the refrigerator. For those of you who might not have been around last summer, or simply missed the post about the dots, every summer my husband Ken and I sit down and discuss what it is that we absolutely need to to in order to feel that we’ve had a fun and productive summer and then we make a chart and hang it on the refrigerator. Every time we participate in an activity on the chart we give ourselves a dot.

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I know it may seem ridiculous to have to schedule fun but we are both very busy and the truth of the matter is if we don’t schedule it we get to the end of the summer and realize we haven’t actually done any of the things we love to do. There are weeks when we get to Friday and realize we have no new dots for that week and then we stop what we are doing and head to the beach. I know that to some of you we make having fun seem like a chore, but I promise you once we get out onto the lake or into nature we have a wonderful time.

So what are the items on our chart for this year?

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Boating and wakeboarding is a big one. We rent a slip on the lake each year so that the boat is just sitting there waiting to be taken out for a spin so there is really no reason not to do it.

Going to the beach for dinner and a sunset is another biggie. We try to do this once a week. Sometimes we bring dogs, kids, kayaks, and paddle boards, while other times we simply bring a blanket to sit on and a bottle of wine.

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And living in beautiful Lake Tahoe, hiking, biking, and generally just getting out into nature are top priorities as well. We also love to BBQ and enjoy our patio and our yard.

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There are other items on the list for a total of around ten. Each year we strive to do just a bit better than we had the previous year. I guess we’ll see how this year turns out.

So what are your summer “Must Do’s?” Comment below and be entered to win a $15 Amazon Gift Card.

 

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