First Off:  a new cover for A Game of Spies,

the second book in the Hearts in Hazard series

by M.A. Lee. 

Originally published in November 2015, the cover needed updating after M.A. Lee’s HnH books 4, 5, and 6 came out in Spring 2017.  Here’s a first look at the new cover.

Giles Hargreaves is hunting a French spy who somehow manages to steal government documents.  Josette amuses herself playing whist at salons hosted by her sister-in-law.  When Giles and Josette met, they are attracted immediately. 

But he believes she is connected to the French spy.

And she thinks he will break her heart.

Giles and Josette have their first serious conversation on a settee under a stairway in the Sourantine house.  The cover models perfectly capture that scene from the book.

The cover designer at Deranged Doctor Design combined the old cover with the new in a clever way.  The playing cards and the sealed letters from the old cover along with the dominant color image transfer from the old to the new while the focus is on the couple.

Here’s the former cover image.  I still love it, but I love the new one more.

A Game of Spies by M. A. Lee
After Publishing, What’s Next?

For a writer, it’s freaky hard to go to a site that has THE BOOK for sale, type in the name of the author, and nothing comes up for three or four pages.

A writer with part of my name shows up first in the Amazon Kindle store.  And then, oh the ignominy, the other writer with exactly my name shows up before my books do . . . and this after I did research before my first published book to ensure that no other Amazon writer was using my name.

Oh well.

Okay, all is not lost.  We can do a search for the title.

Digging into Death . . . Bam!  Got it in one.

A Game of Secrets . . . not on the first three pages.

A Game of Spies . . . 2nd page!  Yippee!

A Game of Hearts . . . Wow! 1st page.

The Danger of Secrets . . . 1st page.  Yippee!  Yippee!

The Danger for Spies . . . Success!  1st page, second one listed.  Wait, the first book doesn’t even have The Danger for Spies as a title.  🙁

The Danger to Hearts . . . 1st page, first one listed.  2nd Coming of Happiness!  Bliss Again!

But my author page doesn’t come up quickly unless you find one of my books and then click on my name.

And you can find the Hearts in Hazard series just by typing “Hearts in Hazard”.

Indie Challenges

Indie Writers face many challenges long after they have a story they believe is ready for print.

We want to present the best manuscript, one that is polished and as error free as possible.  100% perfection is not possible . . . so we strive for the highest level that is.

Then we can make a cover for ourselves or find someone who can do it at a cost we can afford.

I knew I couldn’t make a good cover.  I am artistically creative as well as verbally so, but a professional designer knows to look for things and add things in and use balance and proportion in ways that I never thought.

Plus, a professional designer knows the photoshop program they are using.  I would have a huge learning curve.  Shouldn’t I spend my time writing?

It took me 18 months to find a cover designer that fit my aesthetic.  I found Deranged Doctor Design by sheer luck . . . for a “God wink”.  They are life savers, believe me.  During my 18-month search, I worked on other books, which enabled me to put out three books back to back, October and November and December in 2015: my first three books, the first three in the Hearts in Hazard trilogy, a one-two-three punch.

DDD is the BEST!  I love working with them.  Their covers are lovely, no matter in which genre they are working.  They provide options and previews, and they are willing to switch things around.  They are clear in what they can and cannot do.  DDD works within a time frame that I understand.  They have a great template that pulls from the author the information they need to work with.  DDD is brave for working with Indie Writers.

Discoverability

After the writing and the editing and the cover designer, the job of an Indie Writer is not over.  Marketing comes next.  I am still working on this one.

Discoverability is now on my ToBeRead list.  By Kristine Kathryn Rusch, it discusses what a writer needs to know about getting their works to the audience in the current state of the reading marketplace.

Getting the book out there, getting the name out there, attracting attention with the right cover and the right blurb and the right audience, these are the five essentials for all Indie Writers.

But I’ll keep writing, and hopefully the “God wink” will happen soon. 😉

I did drink the water in Greenville, MS!

~ M.A. Lee

 

cover design  Deranged Doctor Design

Fantasy Set In A Renaissance World

Weave A Wizardry Web by Remi Black

Least becomes great.  Greatest becomes least.

Two wizards travel sharp-bladed roads in Weave a Wizardry Web.

Wizard against sorcerer. 

Fae against dragon. 

Wyre against Rhoghieri.  

As children in the Wizard Enclave, Camisse and her niece Alstera recited that catechism daily.  Yet the war against sorcery seems far from the Enclave, and the current leaders have forgotten that childhood chant.

Click here for information about Web and the Enclave: http://writersinkbooks.com/remi-black/

To view on Amazon, click here.

The Dangers to Hearts

Do broken hearts destroy all dreams?

Years ago, Agatha Helmes’ lover abandoned her.  When her baby died at birth, she thought all her hopes for the future had ended.

She poured herself into her family’s farm, but in the last year, mismanagement by three different stewards has the farm losing more money than she can pour into it.

Jess Carter occasionally crewed for a known smuggler to bring a little extra into his home.  He fell for a maid working at the Hawthorn Inn.  Then the smuggling ring was arrested.  The woman he thought he loved married another man.  With a bruised heart for company, he packed up all his possessions and left his home.

Not knowing where to go, Jess consulted the smugglers’ fence Richard Helmes who directed him to Helmes Farm to assist the current steward.  His cousin Agatha Helmes, he says, will hire anyone he sends to her.

When Jess arrives, the current steward is assaulting Agatha.  He routs the old steward and finds himself in a job he doesn’t understand, taking advice and orders from a woman.

Agatha knows only one thing about her new steward:  he doesn’t lie.  Jess admits what he knows and doesn’t know about farming.  He admits that he is avoiding arrest for smuggling.  That is more than she can say about her former stewards and her former fiancĂ©.

Trust between Agatha and Jess grows from a seed to a mighty oak.  Attraction entwines them with compatibility and grows the first tendrils of love.

Then the steward’s cottage is set on fire, and Jess barely escapes.

The burned house reveals an old murder as the bones of Agatha’s former lover are discovered—with a bullet hole in the skull.

And the deed to Helmes Farm and other documents go missing.

With Agatha’s cousin trying to steal her farm, can Jess reveal her cousin hired him to watch out for his interests?

Will the constable investigating the new arson and the old murder think Agatha guilty of murdering her lover when he wouldn’t marry her?

And will their new love survive the questions and confusion?

The Dangers to Hearts is a sweet romantic suspense of approximately 50,000 words.  While the novel is the sixth in the Hazards to Hearts series, it is complete and contains no cliffhangers.  The character of Jess Carter was introduced in the first Hearts in Hazard book, A Game of Secrets.  Reading that novel will enrich your experience, but it is not necessary.

Now released is the fifth Hearts in Hazard book.  The Dangers for Spies, on Amazon Kindle, has the special introductory price of a penny less than a dollar.

The sixth book in the Hearts in Hazard series ~ The Dangers to Hearts ~ will publish in April.

D4Spies brings back the character of Toby Kennitt from A Game of Spies while D2Hearts brings back Jess Carter from A Game of Secrets.

 

The Dangers for Spies

Released March 10, 2017

Past actions cause present dangers.

The French spy, a double Agent

Eugenie DesChamps thinks she is safe, hidden in the English village of Little Houghton.  She paints landscapes to supplement her income.  She embarks on a flirtation with Charles Audley.  To her the world seems radiant, so very different from eight years ago.

No one knows that she once was a toast of Paris, a pretense she used to acquire information to pass on to English spies.  Eugenie hated the corrupt French government that had caused the deaths of her family.  Then a French agent discovered her double game.  She barely escaped with her life.

The English Spy, Undercover

Eight years ago, Tobias Kennit worked with Eugenie, stealing information about Napoleon’s troop movements.  Then their operation crashed.  He fled, believing that Eugenie was executed as a traitor to her home country.  Toby abandoned his undercover spying and became a gamester and a rake.

Yet now the English spycatcher Roger Nazenby has approached Toby once more.  He wants him to protect a cryptographer living in the village of Little Houghton.  French spies have infiltrated England to capture Charles Audley and return with him to France.  Toby agrees to the assignment only because the woman he wants to marry (Melly Ratcliffe) lives in that village.

The Master Cryptographer

Charles Audley returned to his home village for peace and quiet after stressful years in London developing a series of ciphers for English agents.  His latest ciphers led to English victories in the Peninsular War. 

In Little Houghton, he is charmed by Eugenie DesChamps, a mysterious French artist.  Their flirtation distracts him from his cryptography, but he feels no guilt whenever he is in her company.

Lives Collide

When Toby sees Eugenie, he is shocked.  Eugenie is not dead, and he wants answers from a woman he thought was a double agent.  Is she in Little Houghton to help kidnap the cryptographer?  She convinces him that she is not—but who is the threat to Charles Audley?  And can they protect Audley when they do not know when or where the attack will strike?

And Danger Returns

French agent Didier Poulaine has spent eight years weaving together the snippets of threads to help him locate the only two spies who ever escaped him:  Eugenie de la Croix and an Englishman masquerading as a French military officer.  He tracks them to Little Houghton, the location of the cryptographer he came to England to kidnap—or kill.

Poulaine’s threads have woven together.  Three lives intersect again and involve a fourth.  Blood will be shed before the past is purged.  Whose blood?

Investigate more: Click here.

The Dangers for Spies is a romantic historical suspense set in Regency England, part of the Hearts in Hazard series.  While this novel and The Game of Spies have interconnected characters, D4Spies is a complete work on its own.  However, readers will have a richer experience if they have also read The Game of Spies

Approximately 49,000 words.

 

M. A. Lee has released the next book in the Hearts in Hazard series.  The Dangers of Secrets just published on Amazon Kindle.  On sale for the introductory price of a penny less than a dollar.

The fifth and sixth books in the Hearts in Hazard series ~ The Dangers for Spies and The Dangers to Hearts ~ will published in March and April.

D4Spies brings back the character of Toby Kennitt from A Game of Spies while D2Hearts brings back Jess Carter from A Game of Secrets.

Secrets of family.  Secrets of hearts.  Secrets of blood and pain.

Secrets can kill.

Maddy Whittaker, on the shelf for years, never expects the man of her dreams will be the one she once called a stick in the mud.

Banished from a country party so she won’t ruin her sisters’ chances in snaring husbands, Maddy is sent to visit a cousin named Simon Jespers, who is hosting his own Valentine’s party.  She expects three weeks of boredom.

Gordon, Lord Musgrove, expects he will propose to a biddable lady and live unhappily ever after.

He escapes his mother’s country party (where the dowager Musgrove expects her only son to snare a wife) for one last bid at freedom.  He decides to retreat to his friend Simon Jespers.  Gordon never expects that his friend will be hosting a Valentine’s party.  He does expect days and days of boredom.

Secrets of Hearts

On arrival at Jespers’ country manor, Maddy and Gordon meet for the first time.  A quick flirtation finds them well matched in mind and soul, and the flirtation changes into romance.

Yet a secret from Maddy’s past threatens their future.

And a serial murderer threatens Maddy’s life.

Can Gordon overcome past secrets and present dangers to marry his perfect match?

The Dangers of Secrets is a romantic Regency suspense of approximately 56,000 words.

A Game of Spies, published in the fall of 2015, introduced the character of Gordon, Lord Musgrove.

Warning: While the romance is sweet, the murders have been described as sordid.  Unwanted memories of abuse may be triggered.  Please be cautious.