Friday, December 5, 2008

MURDER BY 4: Where We've Been--Where We're Headed

Wow!! This has been a busy and amazing year for us here at Murder by 4. As a quick recap, MB4 was launched on February 18, 2008. The number of visitors (well over 9,000) in these first nine months, the over 80 guest bloggers, and the posting of 243 articles has far exceeded our expectations. Thanks to all who join us every day and follow our posts at MB4!What’s happening on an individual basis? Here’s a chronological tally:

Marta Stephens:

Book two of the Sam Harper Series, “The Devil Can Wait” was released by BeWrite Book (UK) on November 3. You’ll find the excerpt and reviews by clicking on the book cover on my website: I have a contest link posted on my home page right now and am anxious to get some takers. Check it out! Two more contests will be posted – one in January and another in March, so keep checking for a chance to win, win, win.
November brought me several great book talks/signings opportunities locally as well as a few Internet radio interviews. I also spent most of the month getting ready for my December virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotions. Many thanks to Dorothy Thompson for pulling it all together! The links will be posted daily at and on my blog, . The complete list of tour stops (guest blogs, interviews, and book reviews) will also be available in the events page on my website (see above) as well as on my page on Book Tour,

Last but not least, the voting page for NOVEMBER Book Cover of the Month is now ready, and my book THE DEVIL CAN WAIT is awaiting votes!! Every voter will be entered in a drawing for the winning title. Voting is simple, and the instructions are on the voting page at: The SILENCED CRY book cover won August 2007 Cover of the Month. Won’t you please help me win another one?

Aaron Lazar:

On the literary front, MAZURKA and HEALEY'S CAVE are due out in January and April of 2009. Aaron will update his readers with a special bulletin when he gets the print copies in hand. He’s still waiting for the reviews from the big review houses, such as Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, etc. But the time is fast approaching. If you’d like to reserve an autographed copy of either book, just let Aaron know at

Meanwhile, he enjoyed corresponding with the students at Pfeiffer University who readTREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON (the third book released and the prequel to DOUBLE FORTÉ), for their Mystery Writers class. They had a ball corresponding, the students loved hearing from a “real” author, and Gus LeGarde now has a new group of folks who plan to follow him through the series.
He agreed to do several new radio shows, as well. The dates and links will be posted on his events page, on when it’s all settled. Hope you’ll stop by and join him. Some of the hosts include our own Kim Smith, Dr. Niama Williams, Renée Giroux, and Dr. Kent Gustafson.
His book signings are over for the season, and now he reports that it’s time for him to take a break from all that and luxuriate in writing during the cold winter months. But if you’d like to order some books for Christmas, Aaron is offering specials on all three books. Autographed gift set are also available and can save over ten dollars buying directly from him. What a deal, huh?
Kim Smith:

Check out Kim’s radio talk show on our sidebar here at MB4. Kim started this Blog Talk Radio show a few weeks ago and has had some great guests so far! She’s looking to fill more of her Wednesday and Sunday spots so if you’re interested, contact her at She’ll be thrilled to hear from you!

Of course we’re all very excited about the release of Kim’s debut novel, AVENGING ANGEL, a Shannon Wallace Mystery on December 18, from Red Rose Publishing in e-book format. Mark your calendar on December 18, to stop by MB4 to read my interview of Kim—at last, the tables have turned! Very cool cover, Kim!

S. W. Vaughn:
S. W. continues to stay busy with her writing and is currently working on producing a book trailer for her pal, M. Stephens. ;) She informed me today that she began a new "rambling spot” so be sure to stop by and see what’s up with S. W!Best wishes to all. We hope your holidays are splendid, full of love, and warm you to the core. And as Aaron always says, remember to take pleasure in the little things.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

MB4 Newsletter 3

Welcome to the third Murder by 4 newsletter, a place where you can get the latest scoop on all four conspirators behind the scenes at MB4! Snuggle up with a nice glass of hot mulled cider and some sourdough donuts (doesn't that sound good right about now?) and read on to learn the latest about your favorite mystery/suspense authors.

Aaron Paul Lazar
(LeGarde Mysteries and Moore Mysteries)

Our family life has been hopping over the past few months. We moved daughter Melanie to Cambridge, Mass, where she’s studying for her graduate degree in music therapy at Lesley University. Her apartment is right next to the Charles River, with access to a lovely riverside trail and a five-minute walk from Harvard Square. Eldest daughter Jennifer has started her nursing job at Rochester General Hospital in their world famous cardiac unit, and in the process has kindly given us Balto, the Cavipoo we fell in love with when she and her family lived with us. Dale and I are thrilled! Of course, Balto can’t replace our beloved Max, but he’s following in Max’s paw prints quite nicely. Allison is doing beautifully in her creative writing classes ;o), and has moved home to bless us with her witty and amusing presence. We’re delighted to welcome her home again; she is such a sweetheart. Our three grandchildren are wonderful, providing us untold joy. And I’ve been picking baskets full of plums, peaches, pears, late season tomatoes, red raspberries, and all the usual fall veggies. As always, keeping up with it all is a challenge, but it’s all about taking pleasure in the little things, right?

On the literary front, MAZURKA and HEALEY'S CAVE have been assigned release dates of January and March of 2009, respectively. My publisher, Twilight Times Books, is preparing the ARCs for reviews from the big houses, such as Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist.

Meanwhile, I threw my back out a few weeks ago. It was a bit scary for the first two days, and I kept imagining how life would be if I were forced to be abed forever. A new story is brewing there. ;o) But the silver lining to this forced bed rest was that I finished the edits on FIRESONG: AN UNHOLY GRAVE, the sequel to MAZURKA. It’s now in my publisher’s hands. What a relief. I’d like to thank Marta Stephens, Patricia Fowler, and Peggy Adamson for their recent help with the newest edits.
This also freed me up to get back to my work in progress (which ended up being more like a "work suspended for too many months!"), THE AVIARY, a paranormal mystery featuring Ruby, a mind-reading parakeet, Joe, an obsessive compulsive antique dealer, and his wife, Marcella, who tries not to get too jealous over Joe’s passion for his bird. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to be able to write and create again. I’m deliriously happy, and am churning away at it with help from SW Vaughn, Nancy Luckhurst, and Peggy Adamson. This book is a standalone (I hope it doesn’t start a series. I don’t think I can handle three!) It’s also my first attempt to write from a woman’s POV. It’s a challenge, but I’m enjoying it.

I received some nice news for TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON (the third book released and the prequel to DOUBLE FORTÉ). It’s being used to teach a literary class on mysteries at Pfeiffer University, in North Carolina. In addition, I’ve been invited to speak at my first out of state symposium for the Friends of the Library in Charlotte, NC. All expense paid trip, and I can talk about whatever I like. Hmmm. I hope they have a lot of time, as it’s hard to shut me up when I get started on my books and characters.

The Wood Library in Canandaigua invited me in to do a live interview on video. It's up here, if you'd like to take a look.

I’ve also had the pleasure of being on several radio shows over the summer. Here are the links in case you’d like to listen.

Interview with Maggie Ball, Compulsive Reader
Interview with Yolanda Renee, Renee's Book Talk
Interview with Dr. Kent Gustavson

I'll be selling and signing copies of the first three LeGarde books at the Heron Hill Winery October 18th, from 12-4, and on November 15th at the same location. I’ve restocked all books, and will be offering holiday specials – buy three for fifty bucks (save ten). Stop by if you're in a winery touring mood and looking for a good read.

Marta Stephens
(Sam Harper Crime Mysteries)

So much is going on right now, I don’t know where to begin. Okay, how about at the beginning? My second novel, THE DEVIL CAN WAIT, is three weeks away from its release—November 3!The cover is done, the blurb and excerpts are posted on my site, and the ARCs are in the hands of reviewers and I look forward to their comments.The first promotion to hit cyberspace was my publisher’s sponsored review contest 25 for 25 for my next book. The first 25 people to request a copy of the PDF ARC are asked to write a 25 word review. The best of the best will receive an autographed copy of the paperback when it’s released. You can read more about it on my website here: So if you haven’t already agreed to review the ARC and would like to get a free pre-release copy of “The Devil Can Wait” (possible errors and all—this is an ARC, not the final copy) please contact my publisher at’m thankful to have had several successful book signings in the past three months and am looking forward to several more between now and the end of the year.

Thus far three reviewers have offered to do a follow-up interview. The first will be a live radio interview scheduled on November 10, thanks to fellow Gather member, Renee Giroux, on Coffee with an Author, an interactive, live Internet talk-radio show on Coffee with and Author is live every Monday at 10 AM (CST). The show is hosted on BlogTalkRadio by Another Gather friend, Connie Cowger (Just Connie) is reading the ARC of “The Devil Wait” and will schedule a chat after she’s done. Reminders will follow!

So what’s next on my plate? I’m contemplating having a virtual launch party. Anyone out there like to party? The drinks are on me! If you have a blog and would be interested in hosting me during the month of November and/or December, please contact me at I would LOVE to accept your kind invitation.For updated information on events, please check out my website, It has a new look and lots of new links including links to my upcoming release, current interviews, reviews and a new fun link called, THE SHOP where you can pre-order an autographed copy of THE DEVIL CAN WAIT or a copy SILENCED CRY as well as a few other things I hope you’ll like. Many thanks to all who have followed my posts here in Gather and on Murder By 4, read my book, or have embraced me with your support. I truly value your friendship!

Kim Smith
(Shannon Wallace Mysteries)

Last November, my cozy, Avenging Angel, was accepted by Enspiren Press. Throughout the rest of the year, and into this one, I have spent my time promoting it, planning for its release and working on the other books in the series. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens, the book and my vision for it did not match that of the publisher’s and we parted company.

I am very happy to announce that the end of my dream for this book is not nigh. I actually turned that into a great new opportunity for Avenging Angel and in fact, for the rest of the series with a new innovative publisher, Red Rose Publishing.

The book will be out next year, as an ebook, but I understand from reading the home page at RRP that print is soon to arrive at this house. I am crossing all digits for a print option.
I would love to hear from you on what you are working on this month, if you need a blog tour, or an interview.

My newsletter, my blogs, website, and any other venue you can find me on is available for you to hijack if you need a boost in promos. Just let me know. Until then, I hope your fall is fun and fabulous. If you are doing Nano, be sure to look me up!!!
Avenging Angel, a Shannon Wallace Mystery
Red Rose Publishing

S.W. Vaughn
(Urban fiction and Suspense/Thrillers)
You might not think, with a book that doesn't come out until April 2009, that I have to do anything with it right now. However, they say (whoever "they" might be) that it's never to early to start promoting - and I've always wanted to have a great trailer for Broken Angel.
I'd actually created a trailer for this book about a year ago. At that time, I'd just discovered the joys of Windows Movie Maker with its captions and titles and transition effects, and the ability to fuse music/sounds and pictures. The trailer I made back then featured still shots with "fancy" titles, some decent atmospheric music (scoured from royalty-free websites), and a big ol' spaghetti-at-the-wall mess of narration that really didn't make much sense. I thought it was the Greatest Thing Ever.
And then, I discovered how to put video clips into Movie Maker.
The next time I went to New York City, I traveled armed with my sister's digital camcorder. I shot about an hour of footage, everywhere I thought might look interesting: out the window of the train, on the sidewalks, in the streets, through restaurants and stores, and in the subway. Down there, I went places I probably shouldn't have been allowed to go in order to get shots that I hoped would have a gritty, sort of desperate feel to them - the same mood I tried to convey in the novel. One of the girls I was working with there quipped that I wasn't supposed to literally die for my art, when I wandered out into the middle of Seventh Avenue in front of Penn Station to grab an interesting crowd shot.
When I finally sat down to make the new trailer, I faced the unenviable task of going through 60 minutes of footage to find about 60 seconds' worth that would fit what I wanted to include. The music I chose is a recent discovery, an instrumental band called Apocalyptica whom I absolutely adore.
Here are the results:
Hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

MB4 Newsletter No. 2

Greetings! Wow, it's been three months since our last post and we have lots of news to share with you in our second MURDER BY 4 newsletter. So pull up a chair, pour yourself a nice glass of wine, and let's chat.


Life can only be described as having gone from hectic to frantic. For those who don’t know, I work in human resources at a state university where I have for these past several months juggled two marketing and design projects in addition to all the daily things that come across my desk. I love working the projects but the deadlines can be nerve-wracking at times. On the home front, I move my 93-year old father from a nursing facility into and Alzheimer’s unit. I’m eternally thankful to the new facility for making the move as smooth and easy for him as possible! He’s doing well, and I have peace of mind that this was an excellent move for him.

On the writing scene, my very best news is that my debut novel, SILENCED CRY, received honorable mention at the 2008 New York Book Fair. I heard about the contest late last year and although I was excited about submitting my novel, as the deadline drew near, I began to hesitate. After all, what were the odds of getting noticed among ... how many other excellent entries, right? Anyway, my entry had to be postmarked by Sunday, May 25 - I mailed it on May 23 - nothing like waiting until the last possible minute. LOL
Click here for the complete list of winners.

The second book in my Sam Harper Crime Mystery series, THE DEVIL CAN WAIT, is in my publisher’s hands. We hope to have the ARC ready in a few weeks. I am pleased and grateful that all those who reviewed SILENCED CRY have agreed to review an ARC of this second book. In the evenings, I’ve split my time between drafting out book cover ideas, working on a new marketing/promotional plan, and contacting potential reviewers. I have my query letter typed so as soon as the ARC is ready, I’ll be set to go. If anyone is interested in giving THE DEVIL CAN WAIT an advanced review, please contact me at

I’ve started work on the third book in the HARPER series, GRAVE WITNESS (working title) and have also been busy critiquing a friend’s manuscript which I hope to complete very soon. ;)

A sundry of other writing commitments thankfully continue to find their way onto my desk. Recently, I’ve been answering several interview questions. The first was conducted by author, Anne K. Edwards for the
VOICE IN THE DARK section of the MYSTERY FICTION NET site. You’ll find it by scrolling down to the second interview on that page.

The other interview was conducted by author,
Terry Ervin. It will be featured at the end of August in Fiction Factor. Click on that link to register for the free newsletter! I’ll be sure to send out a reminder when it comes out!

A third feature was published in Twisted Tongue Magazine issue 10, by author/editor/ publisher, Neil Marr. You can download the PDF version from:

MURDER BY 4, of course, is at the top of my daily “to do” list. We’ve continued to receive well over 1,000 unique visitors per month since our launch in February 2008. We’ve had amazing guest writers and many more scheduled clear into fall so please be sure you stop by often and post your comments! We’ve been a host site for several virtual book tours and hope those of you who have been featured guests will continue to stop and visit with us. So what’s new at the MURDER BY 4 blog? It’s been nominated for consideration into the Writers Digest 101 Best Websites: 2009. More on this later. Hope we can count on your vote when the time comes! You’ll also notice we’ve add some new easy to subscribe links on the side bar.

As a final note, I’ll be signing copies of SILENCED CRY at an authors’ showcase on August 9 from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. at the Indiana State Fair. I have another speaking/signing engagement on October 12 at the Muncie (IN) Kennedy Branch Library. If you’re in the neighborhood on either date, be sure to stop by.


I can't believe how times flies between these updates. Since I last wrote, we've been blessed with a new grandchild (Isabella Marie - a sweet little apple dumpling with bright eyes, a rosebud mouth, button nose, and soft silky honey brown hair), Melanie (daughter) has moved back in for summer between undergrad and grad school, we got a puppy and sadly had to give her up because of my wife's illness (daughter Jenn took her), and a gazillion other family issues cropped up. But all have resolved, including the very scary days following Isabella's frightening birth experience, where we nearly lost her. Thank God that all's well that ends well! My gardens are flourishing, giving us a bounty of squash, cukes, herbs, cabbage, peas, beans, beets, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, gooseberries (okay, so I'm a little berry crazy!), and more. Keeping up with it all is a challenge, but I do what I can and it's great therapy.

On the literary front, the covers for
MAZURKA and HEALEY'S CAVE are complete. I'll be updating both websites over the next few months with new excerpts, cover art, audio clips of yours truly reading from the books, etc. MAZURKA's back cover art and tentative reviewer quotes have been chosen and all of the publicity blurbs as far as updated bios and synopses are done. After the book is written, there's a great deal more to the process before it actually gets in our hands!

The next steps are to submit the ARCs (Advanced Review Copies) of both books to the big review houses, such as Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, etc. That takes three months, as they require the unpublished manuscripts 12 weeks in advance. Then, after we select the best review blurbs, the final cover will be updated and we'll be able to publish shortly thereafter. The current estimate is that MAZURKA will be out in the fall and HEALEY'S CAVE, the debut novel in my new paranormal Moore Mystery series, will follow shortly thereafter.

Meanwhile, I'm tearing into
FIRESONG: AN UNHOLY GRAVE, which will be the sequel to MAZURKA. I wrote it a while back and need to rip it apart and redo much of it to get it up to snuff. Such fun! But I have wonderful critique partners who are helping me go through this painful process.

I'll be selling and signing copies of the first three LeGarde books at the Heron Hill Winery this Saturday, July 19th, from 12:30 to 4:30 and on August 9th at the same location. I'm getting low on my UPSTAGED supply, though, so if you want that one, shoot me an email to reserve your signed copy at There's a beer and wine bar outdoors with live music, so it sounds like it will be a fun event. Stop by if you're in a winery touring mood and looking for a good summer read.


S. W. has been hard at work on a brand new novel while her latest completed manuscript makes the submission rounds with her agent. Few things are more satisfying for her than falling in love with a new set of characters, exploring their lives and their emotions, finding out what makes them tick, and seeing how much trouble she can get them into.

This new project is an urban fantasy about the Fae (fairies). The main character, a police videographer named Cynara Marsh (Cyn for short), has the unwanted ability to communicate with the Fae, and the undesirable job of translating for them when official police business is concerned. It has strong romantic elements – but so far, Cyn is very much not interested in her romantic counterpart, a surly FBI agent who seems to hate her almost as much as he hates the Fae’s royal family.

S. W. hopes to change Cyn’s mind by the end of the novel. In the meantime, there will be intrigue, suspense, a little bit of magic, and a lot of tension. There may also be a few celebrity appearances, since these Fae are addicted to movies and have taken famous film names for the humans to call them by. Who wouldn’t love Princess Mae West? Agent Jackson, for one – and Cyn isn’t sure she likes the princess much, either


Don’t you love newsletters? They uplift, inform, and strengthen us in the daily grind of the writing life. I have joined many in my life as an online persona, and even have one that I produce for my photography/ videography business to keep prospective clients in the loop.

You have to stay on top of everything in the writing world. Sometimes you can get fresh ideas from newsletters promoted by other authors, which is why I am very proud of this one. I hope it does everything you want a newsletter to do. Blogging and writing with SW, Marta, and Aaron, is the best time a girl could ask for, and you just gotta know how much we enjoy doing this for you!

Since the last MB4 newsletter, I have had a few short stories published at and at My cozy, Avenging Angel, has had its launch date moved to later in the year, and I have finished the second book in the series, which I am currently touting as “Buried Angel”. Believe me this one was pretty easy to write; now it’s ready for a round of edits.

Why do characters and situations in a first draft misbehave sometimes? It irks me when I can’t get the story to go as planned. Someone once told me that was a sure-fire sign that a murder needed to happen. Ha. Good idea!

With book one and two done, I’m piecing together book three and examining edits from my critters on book two. I love my first readers. They always make my desire to be a better, stronger writer. They also catch the great stuff that I tend to miss. For example, how in the world did I use “one” for “on” not once, but, three times in the same chapter? Sheesh.

In the coming days, I hope to get a few reviews of Avenging Angel posted, put together a new issue of my own newsletter, update my website, and really dig in with some new short stories. I hope your summer is flying by, full of sweet and memorable days. Pull out that notebook and pen, get on the front porch swing, and go at it, y’all. Summer is the best time of the year to get in some great writing!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

And the Winner Is ...

Congratulations to Caitlin Hoy, winner of MB4's first Sleuth Hunt and an autographed copy of Aaron Paul Lazar's "Tremolo: Cry of the Loon!"

The name of the winner of was pulled from a virtual hat. Caitlin was one of several contestants who submitted the correct answers to the contest. Thanks to all who participated!

The correct answers are:

Q: Marta Stephens pulls the strings behind the scenes in the life of one Detective Sam Harper. We’re not sure what drives this guy, but we think it has something to do with his mother. What did she do for a living? Poke around Marta’s site here:

A: She was a music teacher.

Q: Aaron Lazar’s multi-faceted involvement in the arts is surprisingly complex, extending to both written and photographic evidence. We know he controls at least two accomplices. One goes by the name of Gus LeGarde. Who is the other one? Find out here:

A: Sam Moore OR Camille LaCote (either answer is acceptable).

Q: Kim Smith partners with a feisty woman named Shannon Wallace. Plans are in place to blow their cover sky-high this fall, but for now, we have only names. One known accomplice, Dwayne Brown, frequents a certain joint in South Lake, Mississippi. What’s the name of that place? Further investigation here:

A: Pac N' Snac (variant spellings are acceptable).

Q: S. W. Vaughn is charged with aiding and abetting the kidnapping and possible torture of one Gabriel Morgan. Multiple contacts are necessary for this operation, and Vaughn has learned another language in order to coordinate various groups. What language is it? Check for an answer here:

A: Japanese

Monday, April 7, 2008

MURDER BY 4 Newsletter #1

by Marta Stephens

The First Fifty Days!

Wow! These have certainly been busy months for all of us here at MURDER BY 4. The group blog was launched on February 18, 2008, and its success in attracting the attention of a multitude of authors and publishers alike has astounded us. In our excitement we jokingly said that when we got our first 1,000th visitor, we’d hold a contest. Well, as of today, we are well past our 2,000 visitor. And the contest? Check out “the official contest rules” listed in the post prior to this one dated March 14, and send us your answers for a chance to win an autographed copy of Aaron Lazar’s TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON. Contest runs until April 15. The winner will be contacted by e-mail.

Thus far, we’ve had thirteen excellent guest bloggers on MB4 who have graciously shared their knowledge and experiences. It’s always fun to read about the paths other authors have taken; all diverse yet all with the same goal – to get published. Of course, not all are authors, but each has brought a fresh perspective. If you haven’t read through all the posts, we hope you'll take a moment to read through a few. These authors’ articles have initiated some very interesting and lively discussions on MB4. Plenty more to come too! You'll find the names of each week's featured guests and their web site on the side bar of MB4.

So what’s happening in our writing life? Aside from holding full-time jobs and continuing to be deeply involved with our families and other interests, we write.

S. W. Vaughn has a signed contract in hand from Lachesis Publishers for her novel. BROKEN ANGEL (2009). Vaughn’s gritty street gang thriller novel recently took her to New York City for a week to shoot some footage for an upcoming book trailer.

Aaron Lazar just finished a three-month long virtual book tour of his latest, TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON. Anyone who has ever conducted a virtual book tour knows that its success relies on the amount of work the author puts into it. Tours take an enormous amount of time and effort, but they can be very fruitful in an amazingly economical way. Aaron’s TREMOLO also placed among the top 10 in the mystery category of the Preditors & Editors reader poll in February. With book thirteen in the works, Aaron is one of the most prolific authors I know.

MAZURKA: A GUS LEGARDE MYSTERY, (summer 2008) the final editing stage has been completed, and Twilight Times Books has asked to use the author's design for the cover. HEALEY'S CAVE: A GREEN MARBLE MYSTERY, (2008) featuring Sam Moore, the cover artist is reading this paranormal mystery now and will create cover art shortly. Final editing is done. His thirteenth work in progress is titled, THE AVIARY.

Kim Smith continues to work with her editor at Enspiren Press on her debut novel, AVENGING ANGEL. Her novel is due to be released in the summer of 2008. Kim also has several short stories published. Her latest releases are, GOD GIVEN GOODBYE at Long Story Short and THE MASK which will be released this month on Mouthful of Bullets. Aside from her writing, Kim is also a part-time photographer and enjoys doing wedding shoots.

As for me? Administering the MURDER BY 4 blog has been as much fun as it has been a challenge. Every day brings new ideas to improve the site. We’re constantly looking for new guest bloggers and new information for our readers. We hope it’s been as enjoyable for you to read, as it has been rewarding for us to create.

My debut book, SILENCED CRY continues to do well in sales. As some of you know, it won the August cover of the month and is now up for cover of the year on the Erin Aislinn site. Voting ends on April 15. If you’re so inclined, I’d love to have your vote! SILENCED CRY also placed among the top 10 in the mystery category in the Preditors & Editors reader poll in February. Autographed copies of SILENCED CRY are available through my web site. I've entered the book in two other contests. The first is to the Indiana State Library for their "Best Book of Indiana" contest. The winner will be announced on June 13, 2008. The second entry is to the New York Book Festival (June 2008). Finger crossed.

This morning I received an e-mail from my editor at BeWrite Books (UK) that the second book in the Sam Harper Crime Mystery series, THE BLACK PEARL, has met his approval. It's now happily on its way to my publisher for the next step in the process; proofreading, fine-tuning, and more proofreading. We don’t have a blurb for it yet, but here’s a teaser: What do a Columbian drug dealer, a Roman Catholic Priest, and a beautiful newspaper reporter have in common? Deadly secrets and Sam Harper hot on their trail. THE BLACK PEARL is tentatively scheduled for release in the fall of 2008.

In the meantime, I’ve started on the third Sam Harper book, GRAVE WITNESS. This is another novel that began life as a novella. The base of the story is there, but where it will go is anyone’s guess at this point.

So as you can see, we all have a busy year ahead with several launch parties to plan! Thanks for subscribing to the newsletter. We look forward to another great quarter on MB4 with you and our fellow authors. Don't forget to share the MB4 link with those in your networks and to quote our good friend, Aaron, "Write like the wind!"

Friday, March 14, 2008

Contest: Win an Autographed Book!

Welcome to the first contest sponsored by Murder*by*4 – we plan to give things away regularly, so stop by often for details! In honor of our 1000th visitor, we’re offering an autographed copy of Tremolo by Aaron Paul Lazar. Read more about this fantastic story here.

To enter, we’re sending you on a sleuth hunt...

The Game

Sleuth: To spy, watch, observe, or inquire secretly

You are a sleuth, and your mission is to gather information on four suspects and/or their accomplices. You have the names, you have the addresses – a little digging, and you’ll have the answers you need to close this case.

The Clues

* Marta Stephens pulls the strings behind the scenes in the life of one Detective Sam Harper. We’re not sure what drives this guy, but we think it has something to do with his mother. What did she do for a living? Poke around Marta’s site here:

* Aaron Lazar’s multi-faceted involvement in the arts is surprisingly complex, extending to both written and photographic evidence. We know he controls at least two accomplices. One goes by the name of Gus LeGarde. Who is the other one? Find out here:

* Kim Smith partners with a feisty woman named Shannon Wallace. Plans are in place to blow their cover sky-high this fall, but for now, we have only names. One known accomplice, Dwayne Brown, frequents a certain joint in South Lake, Mississippi. What’s the name of that place? Further investigation here:

* S. W. Vaughn is charged with aiding and abetting the kidnapping and possible torture of one Gabriel Morgan. Multiple contacts are necessary for this operation, and Vaughn has learned another language in order to coordinate various groups. What language is it? Check for an answer here:

The Rules

1. Hunt down the answers to the four questions regarding the Murder*by*4 crew. The answers can be found on each authors’ website (links provided).

2. Use the link in the sidebar (CURRENT CONTEST RESPONSES) to e-mail your answers with the subject "MB4 Contest Entry". Include your name and e-mail address. We’ll contact the winner to request a physical mailing address.

3. Entries must be received by April 14, 2008. Winner will be chosen in a random drawing from all correct entries.

Good luck, everyone!