This August is a rare one at Writers Ink Books. All three of my pen names are celebrating a book birthday.

On the 2nd ~ It’s Dark Fantasy with Weave a Wizardry Web.

 
In book 1 of the epic Fae Mark’d Wizard series, a wizard travels sharp-bladed roads.
 
Alstera is the greatest of the young Enclave wizards, granddaughter to the leader of the Enclave. Yet the wizard leaders thwart her wish to fight sorcery.
 
Desperate to do something, she explores ways to increase magical power. Her search leads to the Nexus, a forbidden spell once used to enslave wizards.
 
Shape-shifting wyre are in the Enclave and targeting wizards. A sorcerer controls them from inside Enclave walls.
 
And rumors of vile blood spells increase the danger.
 
*Weave a Wizardry Web* begins the dark fantasy saga of twisted magic against foul sorcery and the dark corruption that people can sink to.
— — — — —
When I published this book in 2017, I achieved my first one million words published and over one million fiction words published, with my three pen names Remi Black #dark fantasy, Edie Roones #fantasy, and M.A. Lee, historical #mysteries with a dash of romance.

On the 8th, a book bundle from M.A. Lee

A Trio of Keys brings together the third tritypch in the Hearts in Hazard series.

Book 7 in the series ~ The Key to Secrets ~ Debutantes should snare fiancés, not murder them. Constable Hector Evans must solve three murders. Is his former love guilty, of is she a convenient scapegoat?

Constable Hector Evans was introduced in The Danger to Hearts.

Book 8 ~ The Key for Spies ~ Spies and traitors. Lies and treachery. Unexpected love where bullets fly. One traitor destroys loyalty. What will two traitors destroy?

Book 9 ~ The Key with Hearts ~ A convenient marriage inconveniently causes murder. More like a vintage gothic by Victoria Holt or Dorothy Eden

Available here.

On the 24th

The final book in the Hearts in Hazard series of Regency mysteries and suspense with a dash of romance. I love this story.

A very vintage Gothic romantic suspense :: Two wives haunt the castle. Will she be the third to die?

Fetch it here.

On the 31st

The first book published under the Edie Roones name: Summer Sieges

All of her life, Beren has taken orders to the defend the castlekeep, first from her father and then from Lady Treasach. Then the Watrani Horde with their Gitane Witches came and broke the siege.

To save a magical crystal, Lady Treasach orders Beren to gather a small party and they flee through the under-veil to the mountains.

But the Gitane Witches continue to track them.

With the help of a disenchanted Prica, the warrior Storr, can Beren protect the lady and her magical crystal? Or will she fall to the Gitane and the Watrani?

Fetch it here.

Summer Sieges by Edie Roones

— — — — —

I dared myself to enter self-publishing, and I did it with this book.

In 2013, I realized that I had lost touch with so much that I loved. I was crocheting at the time, and as much as I loved crochet, I loved something else more.

Writing. The spinning of stories.

In the autumn of 2012 I had purchased my first Kindle. At some point I realized that some of the writers in the Kindle Store were self-published. A few were unprofessional, but the majority of indies had published great manuscripts with few errors and excellent stories.

Then, late summer of 2013—yes, I know I’m slow—I realized that I wanted to return to writing. I would ignore traditional and pursue the indie route. I counted up manuscripts, picked one, and settled into a re-read to discover that I would need to do to bring it up to speed.

I also researched self-publishing. It couldn’t be as easy as it looked. It was AND it wasn’t. I would need a cover designer—that search took 18 months. I would need to learn formatting—easy peasy since I understood the ins and outs of MS Word, having grown with the program since the early 1990s.

Summer Sieges wasn’t the novel I picked to publish first; it became my first published novel because of the cover design search and needing to write the third book in a series, to have all three published at once.

Summer Sieges became my self-publishing test case. Could I do it? Would it work? I did, and it did—on this day in 2015.

This #fantasy is still one of my favorites. Hard to believe this is the 6th anniversary of my writing business.

Mystery. Murder. 1920

It’s the Into Death series with Isabella Newcombe.

Portrait with Death continues with Isabella while introducing two new characters to the series.

Flick Sherborne, intrepid photographer. Flick is brand-new to this series, and she quite surprised me when she appeared.

DI Michael Wainwright of Scotland Yard. DI Wainwright first appeared in Christmas with Death. He has a stronger role now.

Murder paints with death.

 

What is Portrait with Death?

https://maleebooks.blogspot.com/2021/07/portrait-with-death-3rd-in-into-death.html

 

Read the first chapter here.

https://maleebooks.blogspot.com/2021/07/portrait-with-death-read-1st-chapter.html

 

Another bit with Isabella

https://maleebooks.blogspot.com/2021/07/portrait-with-death-heres-more-with.html

 

A bit more with Flick

https://maleebooks.blogspot.com/2021/07/portrait-with-death-heres-more-to.html

 

Meet Detective Inspector Michael Wainwright, sent by Scotland Yard to solve the murder … although someone else is on his mind.

https://maleebooks.blogspot.com/2021/07/meet-detective-inspector-portrait-with.html

 

Intrigued? More is here! https://youtu.be/6cfEOGy-fXQ

 

Portrait with Death, available now!

Murder. Mystery. 1920. Enjoy your last-of-summer reading.

Portrait with Death (Into Death Series Book 3) – Kindle edition by Lee, M.A.. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0973GVKSQ

Today is Read Across America.

In March, Writers Ink celebrates because all four of our areas published books.

 

March 11 ~ The Danger for Spies by M.A. Lee

A former double agent’s past causes present dangers.

Ebook https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XJGB6T1

paperback  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1734694661

trailer https://youtu.be/g2K_Grw8l_4

 

March 19 ~ Winter Sorcery by Edie Roones

When a Gitane WitchMaster pursues two Frenc spies who stole a sphere of power, can a half-trained mage and a simple temple cleric help them escape?

Ebook only https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BK88CDV

 

March 19, also ~ Sing a Graveyard Song by Remi Black

Suspicious villagers, justice-seeking pursuers, and foul sorcery are nothing compared to a blood-drinking monster.

Ebook only https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BK9DYDK

March 22 ~ the nonfiction writer’s guide Discovering Your Novel by M.A. Lee

When your goal is publication, Discovering Your Novel is the guidebook to help you overcome the Sisyphean task of first word to publication. With the goal of completing a novel in 52 weeks, this guidebook can be self-paced or tracked week by week for persistent success.

Ebook or Paperback  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PYYM2LG/

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PYYM2LG

 

What kind of story drives you to read?

Read it … or Write it!

Here’s Chapter 1 of the recently published The Key with Hearts, available now on Amazon.

Chapter 1

Friday, 3 September 1813 ~ Myers Buckland manor and estate in Wiltshire, England

 

The little dog nosed along the edge of the bricked planters.  His white tail wagged, excitement quivering through his whole body.  He sniffed at every speck, whether dirt or leaf or twig.  Brightly colored ribbons, tied tightly together to create a long leash, trailed over his back and the terrace’s paving stones.

His sniffing increased.  He growled.  His short nose swept across the slate-colored pavers.  He retreated several steps as he tracked the scent, then followed it back to the grass.  The clipped grass tickled his nose.  He strained against the ribbon leash as he dug at the stones, as if the pavers were the edge of a cairn hiding a vicious rodent.  Then his head popped up.  Ears pricked forward.  Dark eyes stared at the high hedge with its thick branches of boxwoods.

He glanced behind him at the woman holding one end of his tether.  They had ended their walk by traversing the maze.  Throughout their tour of the garden, she seemed distracted, barely attending to his tugs on the leash.  Now her gaze focused on the drive that swept from the parkland.  The gravel turned into a gentle curve as it approached the manor’s forecourt.  The little terrier sniffed the air.  Then he lunged forward.

The leash held him back.  He strained against it then lunged again, but his paws didn’t find grass beneath him.  His claws scrabbled on the pavers.  He barked.

“No,” the woman said and hauled back on the leash.  “No, Sparky.  We don’t want another Incident with the Gardener.”

Sparky whined.  Incidents with the Gardener meant running and digging, shouts and a game of chase that left him lying on cool grass, panting to cool off, and being carried back to the house by his mistress.

Beth chuckled.  “Come, Sparky.”

He pranced back, his white patches gleaming against the brown and tan.  She drew in the ribbon leash.  When he pawed at her day gown, she picked him up and snuggled him close.

Sparky wiggled.  He wanted down.  He tolerated her snuggles, but he wanted to explore and dig and sniff out new adventures.

Beth felt the same way.  Yet like Sparky, she often found herself restricted to the great manor, her activity confined to a Sparky-less stroll through the garden and maze, her curiosity limited to learning the people of Myers Buckland and the village beyond.  She had assumed none of the duties expected of the wife of the lord of the manor, not even pouring tea when the local families came to visit.  The Myers hosted dinners for people she barely knew, people who watched her with avid eyes.  Her adventures were staid rounds of visits to the sick and needy of the estate, monitored by her husband’s sisters who reported to their mother, a great lady who refused to call herself the dowager.

Beth sighed into Sparky’s coat.  “I am bored,” she whispered to the little terrier.  He wiggled about, trying to give kisses then settled for licking her hand.

And Beth stared again at the long drive with its neat edging.

When she’d come out with Sparky, a gardener had raked the gravel disturbed when her husband rode to the village of Wellesborne Buckland.  The gardener had ignored her and continued until he removed the last trace of her husband Greville Myers’ passage.

The whole estate was like that.  Beth understood the need for everything in its place.  Her own home, equal in size to the Myers Buckland manor, had followed a strict routine and returned anything displaced immediately to its proper position.  On her rounds carrying food and medicines to anyone sick or enfeebled, she saw well-tended fences, neat pastures and fields, which pleased her.  The garden itself, allowed to decay at the fringes, had spent the summer months being restored.

Her husband had needed the marriage settlements she brought with her.  He plowed the money back into the manor and estate.  She had expected evidence of years of mismanagement, but only roofs and a few buildings needed obvious repairs.  On the day she reached the estate, a month after their marriage, with her arrival announced by a note she sent the day previous, he hadn’t greeted her, leaving that to his mother and sister.  He had been mucked up with repairs to an irrigation weir that had failed.  Beth understood the demands of an estate.

Without him there as the bridge, though, greeting his mother and sisters had quelled her spirit.  Their stiff welcome was no more than any visitor would have received.

Six months married, and she still barely knew her husband.  She was five months in residence at the manor and still felt like a visitor.  “How long will everyone stare at me, Sparky?”  Were they waiting for the wealthy but decidedly middle-class bride to prove they should continue to look down their noses at her?

“And when I’m removed at last, by old age or death or—some other reason, what then, Sparky?  Will they rake out my passage just like that gardener?  Will anyone ever know I lived here?”

The terrier wiggled and squirmed.

Beth set him down.  He bit the leash, but the hastily tied ribbons withstood his sharp teeth.

“You would miss me, wouldn’t you, Sparky?”

Busily biting a red ribbon, he ignored her, and Beth laughed at her silliness.  She’d woken with a maudlin displacement.  Something was wrong at Myers Buckland.  Was that something her?

To prevent another Incident with Mr. Potts, she had tied the leash and brought Sparky outside to escape her in-laws.  After spending two hours listening to Mrs. Myers describe in detail her plans for the upcoming fête to the sycophantic Lydia Pethbridge, another hour spent helping Cassandra select silks for a petit-point chair cover, and Clarissa mulling over her watercolors, Beth needed the fresh air and sunshine.

Their walk successfully avoided another Incident with the Gardener, yet she couldn’t bring herself to leave the terrace.  Sparky tugged at the ribbons .  “You need a proper leash.  Tomorrow, I promise, we’ll explore the gardens and the maze again.”

His tail wagged at the promised treat.

Beth crossed her arms.  Lifting her face to the warm sun, she closed her eyes and tried to drift like a tuft of dandelion.  Her thoughts spun, though, like a maple seed, whirling round and round.

The distant crunch of horse hooves on gravel opened her eyes.

The rider lifted a hand.  A wide-brimmed hat hid his features, but she recognized the horse, her husband’s sorrel hunter, raw-boned but with a speed she envied.

Beth waved then wished she hadn’t displayed so much enthusiasm.  She felt his gaze until he disappeared, following the drive around the house to the stables.

Did Greville question their marriage as she did?  Did he have regrets?  She couldn’t ask that.  Except for his once-a-week visits to her chamber, they never met alone, strangers to each other.

Not for the first time she remembered the last Christmas party at her home in Sheffield.  Gilbert Meaney had teased her with the suggestion that they elope.  She had laughed and shaken her head.  His apparent relief proved he wasn’t serious.  With her mother ensconced upstairs and her grandfather in London, he’d dared to kiss her, but he hadn’t proposed again.

Then her grandfather returned, stuffed with pleasure because he’d found a husband for her, a gentleman who would elevate his own status.  With a half-dozen mills churning out cloths and taxes for Britain, he wanted more to show for his efforts than coin.  “No title but a blue-blood,” he boasted.  “As noble as they come.”

She’d stared in horror as her fanciful dreams crashed around her.

Sparky whined then began barking.  He strained at the leash.  Nose to sky, he tugged at the leash then began hauling back, straining away from her.

“Sparky, what’s wrong, boy?  Whatever’s up with you?”

Beth knelt, trying to soothe him, but he bounded to the length of his leash.  He continued to strain, planting his feet and scrabbling at the pavers.  The barking stopped, replaced by a low growl she’d never heard before.

“Sparky!  No!”

He lunged.  The leash caught him.  Like a rampant lion on a shield, he pawed at the air.

Movement caught her eye.  Beth stepped toward the little dog and towed on the leash, but she glanced at the glass doors that gave access to the side rooms.

A dark shape moved behind the glass panes.  The sun’s glare kept her from seeing more than shape.

The terrier gave a mighty lunge.  The ribbon leash broke, and he plunged into the grass.

Beth sprang after him.  She had to catch him before he dug up more of Mr. Potts’ plants.

A crash shook the ground.  Stone fragments peppered her.

She whirled around.

Rubble and dirt with bright red geraniums and their green petals lay scattered over the pavers.  The mass of dirt covered the stone slab where she’d stood.

Exactly where she’d stood.

Where it would have crushed her.  She recognized the urn, one of the large decorative planters that adorned the low parapet that surrounding the manor’s roof.  Mr. Potts and his boys had planted and nurtured the red cranesbill throughout the summer.  “Six urns front and back, and six more each side,” she could hear Mrs. Myers say.  “Mr. Potts plants them to my specifications each year.  This year we have the species geranium.”

The world edged black.

Something whined and pressed against her leg.

Beth blinked.

Sparky whined and pawed at her skirt.  She scooped him up and hugged him close.  He had barked and fought the leash, trying to get her to move.  How had he known the urn would fall?  Had he seen it teetering?

“Smart dog!  Oh, smart little dog.  I love you!”

He wriggled and wanted to escape her arms.

Eyes still on the urn that would have killed her, Beth set him down but grabbed the much-shortened leash.  The fall had destroyed the bright flowers and the urn’s graceful shape.  She looked up, but the bright sun blinded her.

How had the urn fallen?

The Key with Spies ~ available Here.

 

Happy Birthday

The Key with Hearts

 The Key with Hearts has reached its 2nd birthday.

Here’s the link to the Amazon sale page.  Available in ebook and paperback!

The Key with Hearts ~

Regency England.  Suspense.  Murder.  Two hearts at odds.

Married for money, not for love.

A convenient marriage inconveniently causes murder.

Six months ago, Liza Corbett married Greville Myers.  Her money saved his estate.  His nobility raised her station.  The couple have achieved an uneasy relationship, tepid and uncomfortable.

Then Liza is nearly killed in a failed attempt at murder.

Who wants her dead?

  • *The woman who had expected to marry Greville?
  • *The mother-in-law who hates her?
  • *Someone unknown?
  • *Or her husband, so he can keep her money and marry the woman he loves?

Who can Liza trust?

When the murderer strikes again and injures someone by mistake, how can Liza discover the truth?  Or will she be the next victim?

The Key with Hearts is set in Regency England.   At 59,000 words, the novel is Book 9 in the Hearts in Hazard series of romantic mystery and suspense by M. A. Lee.

Visit the series page or M.A. Lee’s author page for a complete list of the Hearts in Hazard books.  For more on books by M.A. Lee, visit www.writersinkbooks.com .

No ghostwriters, work-for-hire writers, or other collaborators were used in the writing of this book. 😉