Visions of France

Reader Elizabeth from Alberta, Canada, is a painter who loves France. She asked if she could use some photos to use as “models” for her artistry. Of course, I was pleased to oblige! So many beautiful sites in France, from Paris to Provence to Bordeaux, and points in between. So here is a small collection of my photographs of France, for Elizabeth and YOU!

at a French market
Ile sur la Sorgue
Gordes
grave marking along the plague wall – Mur de la Peste
Goult
Aix-en-Provence
Museum garden, Aix-en-Provence
renovations at Notre Dame
Rousillon
Rousillon
The Seine, Paris
Rousillon
Rousillon

Carbères-d’Avignon
Carbères-d’Avignon

The Deux Chevaux
Rainy day in Bonnieux
Paris
Musée d’Orsay
in the Vaucluse (Provence)
Last day hiking in Provence
Charming garden, wild cyclamen, near Perigeux
Brantôme en Perigord
View from Château Beynac, the Dordogne River
Dordogne River
near Periguex
St-Émilion
Château de Beynac
la fenêtre
Sarlat-la-Canèda
Belcastel
Le vieux pont, Belcastel
Belcastel
Conques-en-Rouergue
Conques-en-Rouergue
Knights Templar gravestone, La Couvertoirade
La Couvertoirade
La Couvertoirade
La Couvertoirade, a national historic site on the pilgrimage trail
Church, Brantôme

Montpellier

Behind the Register

Behind the Register, Back in the Stockroom

The bell rings as you walk through the door of the small, brightly lit shop. The window display has drawn you in with its colorful items. Inside on the shelves are delightful objects: books, trinkets, toys. On the walls are quilts, antiques, works of art. Everything is spotless and enticing.

But behind the doors to the stockroom, under the register’s counter, is likely a small mess. Orders in process, supplies in a jumble, maybe even a dead body. If it’s a cozy mystery, that is.

The small town and the small retail shop are staples of cozy mystery fiction and this anthology, Little Shop of Murders, is testament to their variety and eternal appeal. I always wonder as I go through towns of all sizes and see independent entrepreneurs and their storefronts: what went into making that happen? What were their passions? What sort of person decided to open that storefront? Who the heck designed that sign? Who funded the shop? Are they successful or just hanging on?

We may skip the financial aspects of owning a small business in this anthology but all the other questions remain. Who runs that shop? Who owns it? Are they the village busybody? What would cause them to quit the business? In the mind of the writer, intrigue bubbles up.

In ‘Wild Irish Dreams,’ my short story in the anthology, main character Alix Thorssen owns an art gallery in Jackson Hole. In a previous story [Painted Truth] her partner and ex-boyfriend has been killed trying to save her life. She’s still recovering from that trauma when an old friend of both of theirs comes to town, looking for the boyfriend, Paolo. His motives are unclear at first but become very focused as the story progresses.

The four Alix Thorssen mysteries are my first published novels. I have also published a series set in pre-World War 2 Kansas City, several stand-alone thrillers, and my most popular series, the Bennett Sisters Mysteries, now 18 strong. The latest in that series is ‘Here There and Everywhere.’

I am thrilled to be in this anthology where all the proceeds go to reading charities in the UK, Ireland, and the US. There is no greater good than getting children to read and enjoying it, to my mind. I hope you enjoy ‘Little Shop of Murders’ as much as I do.

[button link=”https://amzn.to/3LBwwFl” type=”big” color=”green” newwindow=”yes”] Little Shop of Murders – Amazon[/button]

Four days to go! Get a deluxe hardcover before they’re gone

The Kickstarter is in the home stretch… just four days left! Check it out now

[button link=”https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lisemcclendon/blackbird-fly-a-deluxe-edition-hardcover” color=”purple” newwindow=”yes”] Deluxe Blackbird Fly[/button]

This post originally appeared on MysteryFanfare.org.

Many thanks to Janet Rudolph for helping to promote the Kickstarter!

Fifteen years down “la rue” – Post by Lise McClendon, author of the Bennett Sisters Mysteries

Hard to believe but it’s been almost 15 years since Blackbird Fly, the first in the Bennett Sisters Mysteries, was launched. There are now 18 books in the series (including two trilogies of novellas.) Hey, my sisters were shocked when I told them there were that many books too! Many of the books are set in France, where one is hard-pressed not to encounter croissants, wine, sunshine, cheese, and delightful countryside vistas. But also, because this is a mystery, various malcontents, villains, and heroines, of course.

New to the series? Read the first part of ‘Blackbird Fly’ HERE

To celebrate I am releasing a hardcover version of this first book in the series. It’s a book close to my heart. I sold it to a New York publisher who then took a turn and never published it. When independent publishing became viable, I decided to give it a life there. It has been my most successful book by a wide margin, with over 3000 reviews on Amazon. Like Merle Bennett, the main character who has a huge challenge in her life when her husband suddenly dies, I decided to accept mine and not to give up on Blackbird Fly.

Why Kickstarter? 

What is Kickstarter anyway? Like me, you may not have explored the crowdfunding platform. It’s a place for creatives where you can find all sorts of projects, from table-top games to comics to special editions to films. This special deluxe edition of Blackbird Fly is not just a hardcover, but one with a new cover design, dust jacket, and all sorts of interior illustrations like the color title page. Special chapter heading art is in the background here:

Kickstarter projects work like this: Before the campaign starts you can go to the campaign page and click to be notified when the project is live. You’ll get an email from Kickstarter when it does. Then you can check out the stuff on offer: lavender sachets, bookmarks, the main event— the hardcover— plus packages featuring e-books, swag, character cards, and more.

Twelve character cards available

 

This is a collectible edition that includes a bonus companion short story about wine fraud detective, Pascal, when he disappears during the story. (Not available at any retailer.) During the Kickstarter you can also get the deluxe edition e-book to read to keep the collectible hardcover pristine.

 

Digital bookmarks with every pledge

 

We’re working on a stretch goal to get to $1000 and unlock four color interior pages — beyond the two that are already included. Can you help us get to that goal? We are so close! Your name in the acknowledgements if you pledge $25 or more! 

[button link=”https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lisemcclendon/blackbird-fly-a-deluxe-edition-hardcover” color=”pink” newwindow=”yes”] Show me the Kickstarter![/button]

Giveaways and Flash Rewards

First, congratulations to Kristen Cox who won the giveaway here on the blog, for the deluxe edition of ‘Blackbird Fly.’ Whee! Thanks to everyone who entered! You can still get a copy over on the Kickstarter:

[button link=”https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lisemcclendon/blackbird-fly-a-deluxe-edition-hardcover” type=”big” color=”purple” newwindow=”yes”] The deluxe edition[/button]

Then, another round of congrats to the ladies who won the Bennett Sisters French Cookbook during the Bookworm of a Suspect launch party madness. Vanessa, Tina, Jess, Judy and Becca: happy cooking!

We didn’t make the USA Today bestseller list because they discontinued it in December, but it’s still a great project. Please help get books in the hands of children and teens and promote literacy!

 

Click me!

FLASH REWARDS: Four days only

The Kickstarter still has a week or so to go! I’ve added flash rewards for anyone who pledges or ups their pledge by $5 between April 20 and 23. You get a set of Bennett Sisters character cards, all five sisters!

 

 

For $10 or more you can get an e-book of the collectible edition! 

 

 

Once we get to $1,000 (almost there!) I will add four more color interior pages to the deluxe edition. Thanks for your support for this project. It means the world to me.

 

Kickstarter has FUNDED!

The Kickstarter launched yesterday and promptly funded on DAY ONE! Woot! Many thanks to all who pledged, shared, and supported the campaign. There’s still plenty of time to get in on the action… and yes, now you know you will get your items because we met our funding goal. Woot!

[button link=”http://bit.ly/KS-Blackbird” type=”big” newwindow=”yes”] SHOW ME THE KICKSTARTER[/button]