Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ta Da...I'm Giving Away Two Advance Review Copies of Dead Wrong

Dead Wrong is now available for pre-order at online booksellers. They say the release date is December 10, 2014 so that's probably when they'll be able to ship the book. My publisher's release date is November 19, 2014 and that's what I have on all my promotional materials.

I'm giving an ARC to two different readers who leave a comment on this blog between today, (September 20th) and midnight Mountain Time Monday, September 22nd. I'll select the winner using and announce the winners on Tuesday. This contest will be open to anyone anywhere.

Title: Dead Wrong
Genre: Suspense
Author: Patricia Stoltey
Publisher: Five Star Publishing
Publication Date: 11/19/14
ISBN: 978-1-4328-2986-5

Barnes and Noble:

Blurb for Dead Wrong: Lynnette is a woman on the run from her abusive cop husband, but she’s dead wrong about who’s chasing her. A thug known as Fat Ass Sammy Grick carelessly switches laptop cases at the airport and puts Lynnette in greater danger from Sammy’s boss and the killer sent to retrieve the laptop contents. Then Lynnette finds out her husband was murdered and she’s a person of interest....

Advance Praise for Dead Wrong

“Intrigue, vengeance, battles of wits and will . . . all the ingredients for a fast-paced suspense from a fresh new voice.”
          —Sophie Littlefield, author of the Stella Hardesty mystery series, dystopian Aftertime series, and suspense novels for adults and YA

“Stoltey’s Dead Wrong has breakneck pacing and one of my favorite themes: a woman on the run. It’s a fantastic combination of suspense and action from a new writer on the suspense scene.”
          —Jamie Freveletti, #1 Amazon bestselling author of Dead Asleep and author of Robert Ludlum’s The Janus Reprisal 

“Lean and lightning-paced, Patricia Stoltey’s Dead Wrong is both a finely plotted and heartthumping thriller as well as a cautionary tale: never marry an abusive cop, never unintentionally switch carry-on bags with a psychotic killer when flying coach, and never, ever under any circumstances pick up this book if you hope to get anything else done the rest of the day.”
           —David Freed, author of the Cordell Logan mystery series (Flat Spin, Fangs Out, and Voodoo Ridge).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

So You Want to Publish An Anthology? Read On...

By Nikki Baird, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Anthology Chair

Anthologies have experienced something of a renaissance, thanks to the indie publishing market. Lots of writers have short stories that they've written over the years, and in a lot of cases, the publishing rights to those stories revert back to authors fairly quickly, so there aren't a lot of legal reasons that get in the way of republishing.

Plus anthologies can be great marketing tools. They can help promote a collection of authors by making the workload something you can share, and they can provide a way for readers to try a lot of new authors for a low entry price. For single-author anthologies, they can also serve as a "try before you buy". Anthologies are also great books to give away for free when promoting a new novel, especially when they are stories you've already written.

So what goes into making an anthology? Well, a lot, trust me. But I'll give you three big ones, with a primary focus on multi-author anthologies, since that's where my experience lies.

A Theme. An anthology needs something to hold it together. For single-author anthologies, the theme is simple – it's the author! However, even then, you might want to think about selecting a collection of short stories that relate to each other.

When you come up with a theme, probably the biggest challenge is to make sure that it is rich in possibility. The core conflict or tension needs to be easy to grasp and yet also deep and/or broad. Also, the theme should relate to your group. Sometimes this means genre – for example, you wouldn't really want to throw a blood-and-guts zombie story in with a bunch of regency romance. But if you're looking at a collection that crosses genres, then a core subject or theme becomes particularly important in helping readers understand what to expect from the book.

For the RMFW anthology, particularly because we chose open submissions, we put theme front and center: Colfax Avenue. We could've chosen Sunset Boulevard, or Madison Avenue, or some other historic/infamous street in America, but as we are the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, keeping the location close to home seemed important. Plus I was dealing with a precedent set by previous RMFW anthologies. Dry Spell and Tales of Mistwillow were both based on themes important to the Rocky Mountain region – water, and life in a (made-up) mountain town. RMFW's third anthology deviated from this theme (Broken Links, Mended Lives), and we may stray from a Rocky Mountain angle again in the future, but this year the Colfax idea quickly took hold and became a slam-dunk.

 A Submission Process. If you're soliciting submissions, you need a well-defined submission process. We had to navigate several choices. Do you want to invite specific authors to contribute? Famous authors, when you can get them, can help sell the book. But their time is very precious, especially writing time. If you're looking to hook a famous author, it helps to either have an existing relationship or to have a cause that they support as a beneficiary for anthology proceeds.

For Crossing Colfax, we opted to not pursue specific authors. One, people like Carol Berg, Mario Acevedo, and Jeanne Stein have already been very generous in the past. Two, we specifically opted to open submissions only to RMFW members in order to feature and promote the writing talent within RMFW. So it didn't seem quite right to hold spaces in the anthology for select authors when what we really wanted were good stories no matter who they came from within our community. In the end, we had about the right mix: 3 stories from established authors (Linda Berry, Warren Hammond, and Thea Hutcheson) and 12 from newbies.

We held open submissions with only the membership requirement. We also had a blind reader panel, rather than a committee. There were a couple of reasons for that. One, not everyone was co-located, so trying to have meetings was going to be difficult. Two, and this one's all on me, I liked the idea of getting basically as much reader input as I could. A small selection committee can fall into group-think mode, where everyone ends up reinforcing each others' opinions, and radical new ideas get lost. With blind readers, this was in some ways like stopping people on the street who like to read and asking their opinions. Stories that I didn't particularly like at first came back with thumbs up from readers, and stories that I loved didn't do nearly as well as I thought they would. In the end, we ended up with a collection that I think is the better for it – with a wider appeal, and a more varied set of stories than we otherwise might have.

A Contract. This one's always the fun part. The last RMFW anthology was published in 2009. That contract included no provisions for e-pub. In fact, that is why you don't see any past RMFW anthologies in e-pub format in the market today, because we only have print rights to those books. Someday I'd love to go back and get the e-rights to bring the past anthologies online, but that is work for another day. Since we are writers helping writers, it seemed silly to have the kind of contract that makes agents wince, so we tried to be very open and fair. We asked for exclusive rights for one year, and perpetual rights to the story as long as it was published in the anthology. Outside of the anthology itself, RMFW has no rights. So after the year is up, the authors are welcome to publish their stories in other anthologies or stand-alone or however they choose. I will say, though, that we had our contract reviewed by Susan Spann, who volunteered her considerable legal services. And I would not recommend skipping that step!

Is it all worth it? From an editor perspective, you bet. It's hard work, and multiplied because you're working with multiple authors, but I get a smile on my face every time I see the Crossing Colfax cover. I'm so proud of the variety, the freshness, and the imagination that sits within those pages. Over the next year, I hope I'll also be able to say that it was a valuable experience for our authors too – because, while a lot of the work is over, a lot more work has only begun!


You can find out more about Nikki by reading the RMFW Spotlight post from the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Blog.

Crossing Colfax is available at and

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Critters Are Out to Get Me

On September 4th, I wrote about my war with the squirrel over the bird feeder.

I now wish to report that the match stands at Squirrel 2, Me 0.

Today, however, I bought a really, really long S Hook at Wild Birds Unlimited and hung the feeder from a high limb on the aspen tree just outside my front window. It's far from the trunk, a scary climb down the hook, and nothing to hold onto. I'll report back later!!

(But just to show you I'm not heartless, I did put some seed and a seed bell in the tray feeder for Ms. or Mr. Squirrel. Maybe I'll buy some peanuts too.)

The other critter story is about my Katie Cat who has developed a fun activity for when she's bored and no one wants to play.

She pulls books out of my bookshelves onto the floor, then gets on the shelf and pushes out a few more, then walks away from the mess.

It goes like this:

Hard at work

Need to dump a few more. See the one falling (near the floor)?

See her peering from the top shelf, waiting for my reaction, happy with her work?

Katie's books from the living room bookshelf.

She also spent a little time with the books in the den.

As you can tell, I have a lot of books. Three bookcases plus piles of books on the coffee table. Most of them are books I haven't read yet, but a few are keepers. By the way, Katie highly recommends that one in the top photo, Mariano's Crossing by David Jessup. It's an excellent historical novel set in Northern Colorado.

Now I need to go pick up all those books and put them back on their shelves.

Friday, September 12, 2014


By Dori Hillestad Butler

Hi, Pat! Thanks for hosting me on your blog.

I’d like to introduce you to some of the characters from my Haunted Library series for beginning chapter book readers. This is Kaz and his family. Yes, they’re ghosts. Sadly, Kaz was separated from his family at the beginning of book one. He spends the rest of the series solving ghostly mysteries with his “solid” friend Claire in hopes of finding his family.

Notice Kaz’s mom is wearing cute little button earrings. I’m not sure I noticed those earrings. Not until I was revising book three (The Ghost Backstage, which comes out October 2014) and my editor wanted me to: 1) show Kaz making a little more progress finding his family and 2) make it clear that Kaz’s mom had been at Claire’s school. In order to do that, I needed to come up with a clue that Kaz could link to his mom. But what?

Well…maybe Kaz’s mom wears some distinctive earrings that are shaped like…say, keys??? The more I thought about it, the more I liked that idea. Maybe I could even do something with those keys in a future book. Did I mention this was book THREE? Kaz’s mom appears in book one, and the art for book one was already done. As you can see in the above illustration, she’s not wearing key-shaped earrings.

But book one hadn’t actually gone to press yet. And my editor liked my new ideas for book three, so she decided we could ask the illustrator to change Mom’s earrings back in book one. (Sorry, Aurore.) Here’s the new version of Kaz’s mom:

After the book went to press, I began to wonder if the key earrings were such a great idea after all. Yes, they were distinct. But did earrings like that even exist? Funny, it didn’t occur to me to worry about whether or not GHOSTS existed…just whether or not those earrings existed.

Then I took a day trip to the San Juan Islands. While I was there, I wandered into a gift shop. You’ll never guess what I found there:

Kaz’s mom’s earrings! Not only did they exist, they were for sale!

Should I buy them? They weren’t really my style, but maybe I should buy them anyway?

Nah. I decided it was silly to buy earrings that I was unlikely to ever wear simply because they happened to look like the earrings one of my characters wears.

Then I saw these earrings:

These were earrings I would wear, so I put the plain key earrings back and bought these instead. Believe it or not, the girl who rang me up was the person who had made BOTH sets of earrings! I told her I was a children’s book author and we had a nice conversation and then I left.

Halfway back to the dock, I changed my mind about the plain key earrings. I decided I could wear them when I did school visits. All it would take was one kid to point them out and say, “Hey, Kaz’s mom wears earrings like that!” and I’d be wearing them to every school visit.

But our ferry was due to board soon. Like in ten minutes. People were already lined up. If I was going to go back, I would have to go fast.

So I went fast!

The girl was so happy to see me again that she even gave me a discount! Then I ran back to where my husband and brother were lined up on the dock. I showed them my purchase. I looked at the clock. And then I said, “I should’ve gotten my picture taken with that girl! Do you think I should go back?”

The ferry was due to board.

But it wasn’t boarding. Not yet. So I ran back and got this picture taken really quick:

That’s why my face is red and why it’s a little blurry. But I got the picture… I made the ferry…and I’ve even worn the earrings!

I think I made the right call in all three cases (changing the book, buying the earrings, and running back to get the picture). Would you have done the same?


About Dori Hillestad Butler – Dori Hillestad Butler is the author of more than 40 books for children. Her books have appeared on children's choice award lists in 18 different states. Trading Places with Tank Talbott won the Maryland Children's Choice Award in 2007. And The Buddy Files: Case of the Lost Boy won the 2011 Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. In 2013 she chaired the Juvenile Edgar Award committee. Dori has also been a ghostwriter for the Sweet Valley Twins, Unicorn Club, and Boxcar Children series, and a children's book reviewer for several publications. She's published numerous short stories, plays, and educational materials, and has served as the Iowa Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' Regional Advisor. She grew up in southern Minnesota, spent the last 19 years in Iowa, and has just recently moved to the Seattle area. She is on a quest to do an author visit in all 50 states (14 down, 36 to go!).

About The Haunted Library Book 1

A brand-new young chapter book series from Edgar Award winner Dori Hillestad Butler! When ghost boy Kaz’s haunt is torn down and he is separated from his ghost family, he meets a “solid” girl named Claire, who lives above the town library with her parents and her grandmother. Claire has a special ability to see ghosts when other humans cannot and she and Kaz quickly form a friendship. The two join forces to solve the mystery of the ghost that’s haunting the library. Could it be one of Kaz’s lost family members?

Thanks again to Dori Hillestad Butler for appearing. For other stops on the Haunted Library Blog Tour please check

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Being a Book Pusher is a Good Thing

I plan to do a lot of book pushing over the next few months, and that includes books for kidlets, middle grade, and young adult.

If you write books for the younger set and want to do a guest post between now and Christmas, email me at the address linked in my blogger profile (right sidebar) or leave a comment with your contact information.

Or....message me on Twitter or Facebook.

Dori Hillestad Butler (the Haunted Library series for 8-12 years old) is scheduled for this Friday, September 12th.

I also have mystery writers on the schedule this fall, and a bunch of the talented writers  from Northern Colorado representing a variety of genres. There will be a post about the most excellent anthology published by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers called Crossing Colfax.

And as I get caught up in my reading, you'll hear more about Susan Spann's shinobi mystery Blade of the Samurai, Mark Stevens upcoming Allison Coil mystery release Trapline, Pamela Nowak's Colorado Book Award winning Changes, and more. I plan to give up sleeping so I can read all these most delicious books and then persuade you to buy them too.

Is there any better gift to give for a birthday or holiday than a book? Not in my book.

Now I'm off to investigate the September Sisters in Crime SinC-Up for bloggers. If you're a blogger and interested in knowing more about the SinC-Up, you can visit the bloghop page at the SinC National website. You do not have to be a SinC member to participate. It looks like another fun way to connect with other bloggers, and that's always a good thing.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Remembering Tina Downey

Tina was important to the blogging community through the A to Z April Challenge and a good friend to many. She will be sadly missed.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My War With the Squirrel and Other Adventures

My War With the Squirrel

There's a squirrel, at least one, that considered one of my bird feeders his personal supply of goodies to stash for the upcoming bitter cold and snowy winter.

I went to my favorite bird supply store to look at squirrel guards and discovered they cost more than my bird feeder did. I decided to try to make my own. I took a foil pan, cut a slit in the middle with my handy-dandy box cutter, and slipped it over the hanger on the feeder. It looked like this:

As you can see, the squirrel was put off for a bit and foraged from the leftovers on the ground under the feeder. He even fought with the mourning doves for the rights.

That lasted four days. First I saw the squirrel hanging upside down on the feeder, it's nose in one of the seed openings and its paws wrapped all the way around the feeder. Soon after, I discovered the bird feeder on the ground with the foil pan pulled sideways, lengthening the handle opening beyond useful.

I took my packing tape outside and patched the tear, then worked the foil pan into more of a dome shape, like this:

It has now been six days and the squirrel hasn't figured it out yet. I haven't seen him try, so I'm not sure if he gave up or tries and slides off. For the moment, at least, the birds are happy.

Other Adventures

Colorado Gold

I'm off to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference near Denver. I'm working the registration table Friday, co-hosting a dinner table with one of our visiting literary agents tomorrow evening, and then just enjoying as many workshops, panels, and visits with writerly friends as time allows.

I'm hoping I come back super-motivated to get busy and finish my wip, organize whatever promo I decide to do for the November release of Dead Wrong, and maybe even get the revisions done on one of my shelf novels. I have too many first or second drafts sitting around doing nothing. More about that below.

My Blog

Starting in mid-September, I have a fun lineup of guest bloggers, many of them from Northern Colorado. We have so much writing talent up here that I thought it was time to show them off, so I invited members of Northern Colorado Writers to join us and share their stories.

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Blog

I'm continuing as editor of the RMFW Blog, a project that I helped launch and now serve as co-editor along with author Julie Kazimer. The regular contributors to that blog and most of the guest authors are member of RMFW, an organization that is growing and gaining worldwide attention.

Fiction writers, if you don't already belong to RMFW, check it out for the great newsletter, monthly Denver area and Western Slope programs, online classes, an annual writing competition, a member anthology, the Colorado Gold Conference, a writers' retreat (March 11-15, 2015 in Estes Park, CO), and more.

Yes, I Have Another Book (or two or three) in the Works

This is the neverending story about writing and not writing and taking time off and procrastinating and doing a little of this and a little of that and never getting done...

I have Wishing Caswell Dead which I've now been toying with for about six years -- it's my favorite project and now I'm thinking of rewriting the whole thing to be in the main character's point of view.....maybe all first person. Or maybe not... When you have a novel that's too dear and too precious, you sometimes can't let it go.

I have the untitled first draft of a mystery from NaNoWriMo 2011 (conveniently called NaNoWriMo2011) that needs a lot of work. I may decide to change the setting and sequence of events for that one and ramp up the tension in a couple of places. Or not.....  This one is not dear and precious, it's just too, well, too NaNoWriMo, if you know what I mean.

And then I have Out of Control which I began as a NaNoWriMo novel in 2013 but quickly realized it could be a decent psychological suspense if I stopped NaNo and worked on a better structure and timeline. I might finish that one by the end of the year.

That's not all.

The 1986 first draft of Against Her Better Judgement sits on my shelf. It's supposed to be romantic suspense. Sigh.

The 1985 action-adventure novel I wrote with my brother, The Troubleshooter, only made it to audiotape in 2000. It would need a lot of work to make it a good mystery, and even then the subject and time frame (trucker/union/management circa 1970s) might not be marketable.

And while all that's wobbling drunkenly around my brain, I need to promote Dead Wrong, now available for pre-order in hardcover from the usual places.

So I'm just going to let all that sit there and percolate while I go pack for Colorado Gold. I'm taking my camera this year. I might see if I can get some photos of writers acting badly. Just for fun.