The Chaotic Hype Awards: Good Clean Fun… Mostly.

If you didn’t already know, I’m spending most of my social media time on TikTok these days. There’s something about the platform that appeals to the actor in me, and I have more fun on that platform than any other.

Right now, I’ve been nominated for the Chaotic Hype Awards! This is a crazy annual awards event hosted by BookTokker @chaosandbooktalk. I’m in two categories: Best Mystery Author (as McKenna Dean) and Most Likely to have an Alphabet Agency Watching Them (as MK Dean). The competition is FIERCE and needs to be thinned out. Help a mystery writer out? You can vote in the awards here (and not just mystery: romance, voice actors, reviewers and more)! 

Here’s a little sample of the fun we’ve been having…

 

@mk_dean_author The Chaotic Hype Book Awards will be announced a week from today: February 10th at 7 pm EST with @Chaos and Booktalk ๐Ÿ“š You can only vote once so choose wisely! Lynx to the voting can be found in the clicky place in my personal biography! #mysterywriter #mysterytok #ginnyreesemysteries #chaotichypeawards2024 #chaotichypeawards #dundundun #bookbesties #hypegirlsquad โ™ฌ original sound – MK Dean Cozy Mystery Author

Barking All the Way (A Ginny Reese Holiday Novella) is now available!

It’s here! Barking All the Way (A Ginny Reese Holiday Novella) is now available!

The bummer is that, at the moment, Amazon is not showing Barking All the Way either by title search, author name, or series name. The only way you can find it is with a direct link. I would LOVE it if you could help me spread the word! Drop me a comment here below telling me where you’ve shared the link and I will pick 3 people at random to win a $10 Amazon GC!

House-call veterinarian, Ginny Reese, is determined to embrace the spirit of the season this year. Maybe it’s because she’s lost a good friend, or because fate has been kind to her, and she wants to give back to the community. Maybe it’s because spending more time with Sheriff Joe Donegan, her ex-boyfriend, has her feeling like she’s living in a Hallmark movie. Either way, she’s planning to get into the holiday spirit if it kills her.

And it just might. There’s a Grinch in town, committing petty robberies and vandalism, but the crimes seem to be escalating. Can Ginny, with the help of her trusty German Shepherd, Remington, nab a thief in time to save Christmas for everyone, including herself?

Recipes included! (I know, I’m not a great cook, but trust me, these are tested and proven recipes!) Look, I made these! Aren’t they adorable? The recipe is in the book!

Melting Snowmen Cookies

Contest ends December 12, 2023. Winners announced here!

Halloween fun: Help me name the next Ginny Reese Mystery!

This past weekend, I participated in an outdoor book signing at a dog agility trial. Makes sense, right? Dog lovers will adore the Ginny Reese Mysteries! As a matter of fact one competitor advised a buyer not to start reading An Embarrassment of Itches until after the event was over because she’d started it the night before and stayed up far too late to be at her best for the competition. What better endorsement than that? Even though I did feel a little guilty…

All weekend long, I was fanning myself in 80 degree weather and slathering on sunscreen, but now, only forty-eight hours later, it’s only 43 degrees and we’re under a freeze warning for tonight. I made bread and potato soup this morning, have a fake fireplace playing on YouTube, and some light jazz playing in the background while I work on a Ginny Reese holiday novella. I still need a title for it, so I thought we could play a little game.

This pet and holiday themed mystery features a Secret Santa mixup and is focused on a Christmas caper as opposed to murder. Drop your suggestion in the comments and if I select it, you’ll receive an acknowledgement as well as a little gift package from me. I’ll also choose three people at random from the comments to win a $10 Amazon gift card–and we can all use that for the holidays, right? Contest ends Nov 15th because I have to have a title by then! Be sure to share this with your cozy mystery loving–and dog loving–friends!

 

 

June is Audiobook Month! Celebrate with a Chance at a Gift Card!

Did you know June was audiobook month? I didn’t until recently! I love audiobooks–the right pairing between narrator and story is magical. All this month, N.N. Light’s Book Heaven is celebrating audiobook month by spotlighting a series of authors (including me) who have audiobooks out. You can enter to win a chance at a $75 Amazon gift card! You’ll find the entire schedule at the link above.

 

Check out the link here and be sure to check daily for the featured spotlight. You may just find something you have to have! An Embarrassment of Itches (Ginny Reese Mysteries Book 1) narrated by Jillian Yetter, will be spotlighted on June 26th, so keep your eye out for that. But you don’t have to wait until then to start collecting entries toward the grand prize. Go check it out now! 

A Corpse in the Condo (Ginny Reese Mysteries Book3) Coming Soon!

If you follow my newsletter (on the rare occasions I send one out), you know that I’ve made changes to my brand, streamlining it to my paranormal romance/mysteries and cozy mystery. I did this for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that when most people think “paranormal romance”, they think powerful alpha male and fated mates, that sort of thing. I get it–but that’s not exactly what I write. It’s more Bringing up Baby meets WH-13. Peggy Carter meets Q and works at The X-Files.

My first love has always been cozy mysteries (which is why all of my romances have some sort of mystery as a subplot), but up until recently, I didn’t think I was capable of writing a clever, funny cozy. The enthusiastic response An Embarrassment of Itches (Ginny Reese Mysteries Book 1) received convinced me to keep writing, and now cozy mystery is my main jam. It doesn’t mean I won’t finish the Bishop’s Origin series (I adore these characters and I want to see their arc through), but it does mean the Redclaw Security series has been shelved, and there are no current plans to expand that part of the universe for now.

In the meantime, I’m pleased to announce the upcoming release of A Corpse in the Condo on June 1st! (There’s been a slip up and the print version is already available if you absolutely cannot wait) Ginny finds out the hard way that trying to pair a business trip with patching up a relationship with a snarky sister can rapidly go south–especially when they find a corpse in the condo Ginny has inherited. With a fortune in artwork gone missing, and a hurricane bearing down, it’s up to Ginny, Joe, Liz, and of course, Remy, to solve the crimes before all the evidence is washed away.

Does the Dog Live? I need to know!

I don’t know about you, but I always get a little anxious about books and movies that have animals in them. It’s the one time I’ll skim ahead in my reading: to make sure an animal sidekick is still alive at the end of the book. There are books and series I’ve had to stop watching because of the emotional punch of losing a pet.

I make heavy use of the website doesthedogdie.com to screen my entertainment because that particular kind of loss is triggering for me. The website describes itself as “crowdsourced emotional spoilers for movies, TV, books, and more”. It even has a subcategory rating for when things look bad for the animal companion but turns out okay. I get my friends and family to screen material for me as well. I have an emotionally demanding day job; I don’t need to be crushed by my entertainment too!

Which is why I am so pleased to be part of this promotion: The Dog Lives! 24 mystery and crime fiction stories where the animal sidekick, furry or feathered, is guaranteed to survive! As soon as I heard about it, I knew it was the perfect promotion to join!

I’m offering The Dog Days of Murder (Ginny Reese Mysteries Book 2) as a runup to the release of A Corpse in the Condo on June 1, 2023! You can pre-order Corpse now!

While you’re at it, in order to take advantage of many of the author services on BookBub, I need hit 1 K followers. My M.K. Dean account could use some love! Follow me there? If you’re an author, I’ll follow back!

In the meantime, grab your free mysteries and enjoy this spring weather!

Why I’m not at Malice Domestic…

I’m sad to say that after planning over six months for this weekend: timing a new book release, ordering and making swag, purchasing table display setups for book signings, taking time off work, making travel arrangements, and in general looking forward to this weekend SO MUCH… at the last second, I had to cancel.

About 48 hours prior to leaving for Malice Domestic, I began getting sick. First time in three years. I still mask in public. I was one of the last holdouts to stop masking at work. Even though I tested negative for Covid/Flu/Strep, I had a wicked sore throat and cough. This wasn’t something I wanted to give to anyone else. The responsible thing to do was cancel the trip.

Man, did that sting. I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to attending my first Malice! To meet up with my cozy mystery peeps! Connecting with online friends, meeting fans, promoting the new book. Heck, getting out of the same old, same old routine. Going someplace different and having some new experiences. I needed to get away.

But I wouldn’t wish this illness on anyone else, so I canceled. About the time I would have been on the road driving to Malice, I developed some worrisome symptoms and had to make a second trip to the doctor. According to the doc, the symptoms are not that uncommon with Covid, and there’s a possibility of a false negative test. So yeah, doubly glad I stayed home.

I’ll confess, I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself. I had this lovely weekend planned that I was desperately looking forward to and now I’m sitting in a bathrobe with a cup of hot tea waiting until it’s time to take my next round of cough medicine. A Corpse in the Condo (Ginny Reese Mysteries Book 3) is slated to come out June 1, and I’d intended to make myself known to a whole host of new fans. I’d decided to host some lives on TikTok to make up for missing out on Malice, and then I turned out to be too sick for that too.

But there’s always next year for Malice Domestic, and in the meantime, A Corpse in the Condo is available for pre-order. Also, apparently, I can’t take advantage of certain BookBub features until I reach at least 1K followers, and my M.K. Dean account could use some love. Follow me there? If you’re a fellow author, I’ll follow back!

 

Pre-order the new Ginny Reese Mystery: A Corpse in the Condo!

When I came here to make this post, I was shocked (and embarrassed) to realize I hadn’t made a single post this year!

We’ll have to do better than that. Though, to be fair, when you’re flat out working as hard as you can at the day job, trying to finish a new book in a series, attempting to keep up with social media, learning how to do marketing campaigns and advertising, and so on and so on… yeah. Some things fall through the cracks. Particularly when it doesn’t feel as though you have anything new to say!

But it looks like I neglected to tell everyone that An Embarrassment of Itches won a Best Indie Book Award for Cozy Mystery! I can’t believe I forgot to post about that here. I certainly posted enough about it on my TikTok account! (Edit: I found mention of it in my last post just before Christmas, but it doesn’t come up on a website search for some reason, so I’m leaving this mini-brag in…)

I’m also thrilled to announce that the newest Ginny Reese Mystery, A Corpse in the Condo, is now available for pre-order on Amazon and at these retailers! Release date June 1, 2023.

Blurb: Vacations are supposed to be fun, but when veterinarian Ginny Reese combines a trip to a coastal island to check out an inherited property with patching up her relationship with her sister, things quickly get out of control.

First thereโ€™s a corpse in the condo. Then a fortune in artwork goes missing. The lead investigator is a publicity hound, and thereโ€™s a hurricane bearing down. To top it off, Ginnyโ€™s former boyfriend, Joe Donegan, believes the police are looking at her for insurance fraud and murder.

With the help of her friends and her trusty dog, Remington, itโ€™s up to Ginny to find the paintings and the killer before the storm wipes everything away.

I’m really looking forward to this release! Stay tuned, as I have more news to announce and will be planning some giveaways as the release date gets closer… 

Twitter, Mastodon, TikTok and all that other nonsense #twitterexodus #mastodon #tiktok

I confess, I’m a bit fed up with social media right now.

I don’t spend much time on Facebook unless I am participating in a specific group event or checking in with a particular community. I mostly cross-post to it, and have had some moderate success with Facebook ads.

But this past week, several of my ads have been rejected (won on appeal, but still) for no discernable reason, and in 7 days I’ve spent almost $50 without a single sale. I keep getting notices that my ads might not deliver because they haven’t been optimized, and yet the description of how to do this makes no sense whatsoever. As much as I was loathe to give FB any money, my ads there seemed to have a greater ROI than my ads elsewhere. Not any longer. I don’t know what’s changed, and I am exhausted by the notion that I either have to figure it out or pay someone else to teach me how to appease the new algorithms.

There’s a big #TwitterExodus afoot now in the advent of Elon Musk purchasing the site. Rumors of this event occurred back in April, but then he backed out, but was forced to honor his agreement. EM’s reason for purchasing the platform was to make it a private company and easier for people to speak more freely… which means that much of the ugliness and rampant misinformation found on such right-wing sites as Parler has gained ground almost immediately on the bird platform. For a list of all the massive proposed changes in just the last week, check out this list here.

Additional concerns about the chaos of misinformation flooding Twitter before the mid-term elections is here. Many big companies have paused advertising to see what direction Twitter will ultimately take, but EM himself cited a widely discredited website in a Tweet that implied the brutal attack on Paul Pelosi was not carried out by a far-right wing blogger but was related instead to an anti-LGBTQ “theory” about a skirmish at a local bar. The Tweet was eventually deleted, but there you are.

This kind of behavior, both by EM and on Twitter, has resulted in large numbers of the people I follow and interact with choosing to leave Twitter. Most are migrating to a site called Mastodon, which claims to be a decentralized platform that can’t be bought or sold at the whim of a single entity. Jack Dorsey, the original founder of Twitter, is planning a similar decentralized platform called BlueSky. Decentralized platforms mean you don’t just jump in and have content/people pushed toward you. You have to decide what toe you want to dip in where.

Most older people say this is much how the internet used to be–and they are embracing the chaos. To me, it feels like making the jump from cable to streaming: if I want to watch a particular show, I have to figure out what channel it’s on and whether I want access to it. The problem with Mastodon, is the search engine is VERY different. You have to know what server to join, and what “instances” to join (which are kind of like clubs on Discord, it’s all very confusing). The phone app sucks, and I’m not keen on given my information to a third party app such as Tusky (which is being recommended) to use Mastodon on my phone.

Then there’s the problem that while Twitter is an established platform like Facebook or Pinterest, and sharing buttons on media have evolved to include them, there is no such thing for Mastodon as it stands. Where I (or anyone else) used to be able to easily share information from this blog or other sites, it will take extra steps to share things to Mastodon. But if you want a primer on making the move, read this post here.

The important thing to remember is it is NOT Twitter. It’s been likened to entering a high school cafeteria with your tray and looking for a place to sit down with like-minded people, and I suppose that’s why my knee-jerk reaction to Mastodon hasn’t been good. I LOATHED high school and the clique-y mentality. I’m also at a point in my life where I don’t have a lot of time and I hate wasting it on learning things I may or may not use.

Many people are touting Discord instead, but instead of a high school cafeteria, Discord feels to me like a gated community, and you can only gain entrance if you know the password. Long, threaded conversations like you have on WhatsApp and in chat rooms have never appealed to me because I’m invariably late to the party and the thing I wanted to comment on was 50 entries back and everyone has moved off of it onto something else. Don’t get me started on Tumbler, which feels like a place where someone scribbles graffiti on a wall and others come by and add their own scribblings. The end result can be interesting, but it’s hard to have a conversation there.

At the moment, I’m spending most of my time on TikTok, which I never, ever said I’d do. I admit to having spent the last eleven months having a ridiculous amount of fun there but… and you knew there was going to be a “but” right?

I’ve scarcely written a word since joining TT. I’m spending most of my writing time drafting videos. I’ve learned how to do transitions, use filters, lip sync, and have bought a crazy amount of wigs and costumes. Somehow the learning curve it took to master TT has not brought me to teeth-grinding rage the way learning other social media–it was a lot more like discovering fandom and then teaching myself all the tools I needed to know in order to play in it.

At first, TT was a BLAST. I’m still having fun with it, but ever since publishing deemed TT was THE place to be (and truthfully, that was the only reason I made the leap), there has been a lot of pressure to be young, thin, attractive, and the kind of TT presence publishers deem valuable. There have been rumors that one of the big trad pubs told an author they couldn’t offer her a contract because she wasn’t young enough (she was in her forties…). There is also talk of publishers signing up hot young women and then pairing them with older women who ghostwrite their books for similar reasons–the youth and hotness are prime selling points on this platform.

Honestly, that doesn’t bother me that much. That kind of thing has been going on as long as youth and sex have been selling factors. But what does bother me is the rumors that TT is going to move to a paid subscription model. What bothers me is that I used to routinely get 300-400 views and now they’ve dropped to less than 100. TT is HUGE for making constant changes to the algorithm, and now the word is they want to be more like YouTube by offering longer formats (up to ten minutes) and you have to make your content searchable now with captions. It’s all about SEO to increase visibility and I get so darned tired of having to change something every time I think I have a handle on it. TT has been good to me in terms of sales. But it’s a time sink, I blame it for the bulk of the drop off in my writing production, and I’m not there in order to manipulate the ins and outs of algorithm changes. I’m there to have fun.

If it turns into another pay-to-play site, I’m gone.

I had a bit of a meltdown this morning, and my husband said something to me that made me do a double-take. I mentioned that I was so angry all the time, and he said that if I were an old white man, he’d say it was because I’d been watching FOX News. It took me aback because I’m about as far from that demographic as you can get… and yet I AM stoking my rage machine all the time over things I have very little control over.

Democracy is going to live or die one way or another. Same with our civil rights, climate change, the hope of a future for our children in a world running out of resources and becoming increasingly polarized and violent, and so on. My ANGER ALONE will not prevent these things from happening. I tell myself staying informed is the best I can do because I’m working so hard on every other front to keep my head above water I can’t spare any more energy for anything else. I’ve donated where I thought it would help the most, and I only get more begging letters and emails. I can’t stop what’s coming.

But I can stop adding fuel to a furnace already about to meltdown.

They say we can’t survive as authors or creators of any kind without social media. But I think I need to consider surviving as a person for a little while with less of it.

Rosanna Leo’s Darke Passion (Dark Paranormal Investigations Book 1)

I am THRILLED to be part of Rosanna Leo’s cover reveal for Darke Passion! I adore her contemporary romance Handymen series. If you’re not familiar with Rosanna, she writes both contemporary and paranormal romance. Her novel A Reluctant Attraction, Handymen 3, is one of Oprah Daily’s 50 of 2021’s Most Anticipated Romance Novels.

I love her Handymen series to pieces. Not only are her characters compelling and their attraction off the charts but she also deals with such weighty subjects as PTSD and trauma in a realistic and healing manner. So you can imagine my excitement over the Darke Investigations series!! I can’t wait to read Darke Passion!

Check out the link on Goodreads to find out more about this exciting new series! A trio of ghost-hunting sisters? Check. A grumpy non-believer who owns a haunted B&B? Check. A sinister presence that threatens everything they hold dear? Check and double check! *grabby hands* Make note of it because you’re going to want to pre-order when it’s available!

Release Date: March 21, 2023

Pre-order starting Feb 7, 2023

Follow her on Bookbub here: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/rosan…

From Toronto, Canada, Rosanna occupies a house in the suburbs with her husband and their two sons, and spends most of her time being tolerated by their cat Sweetie. When not writing, Rosanna works for her local library, where she is busy laying the groundwork to become a library ghost one day.

Connect with her at www.rosannaleoauthor.wordpress.com.

So with no further ado, feast on this gorgeous cover by Kelly Martin of KAM Design. 

I love it! How about you??