Happy holidays from the Muse

All our best for the holidays, readers! Have a wonderful time with friends and family.
Here’s what’s happening with the Thalians at the end of the year. 


Sparkle Hayter

Sparkle’s Robin Hudson mystery series has been re-released in digital by Open Road Media. Sexy, irreverent, outspoken, and newly single, Robin Hudson is a TV news reporter living with her cat in New York City’s East Village and occasionally moonlighting as a sleuth. Life in the big city isn’t always easy, and Robin keeps finding herself tangled up in outrageous crimes perpetrated by outlandish characters. Run-ins with mobsters, S&M enthusiasts, and licentious chimpanzees are all in a day’s work for Robin Hudson as she steadily moves up the professional ladder in television journalism and in and out of love with a wide variety of cute guys. The first novel in this smart and uproarious mystery series, What’s a Girl Gotta Do?, was awarded the Crime Writers of Canada’s Arthur Ellis Award for best first novel and the series won Britain’s Sherlock Award for Best Comic Detective.

Sparkle Hayter has been a journalist for CNN and other news organizations, a stringer in Afghanistan, a producer in Bollywood, a stand-up comic in New York, a caretaker for an elderly parent in Canada, and a novelist of seven books. She currently lives in Canada with her rescued Nepali street dog, Alice, and is working on a new book.  Amazon       Barnes & Noble      Mysterious Galaxy

Gary Phillips

Birthed full-blown in the comics mini-series, Angeltown, L.A. private eye Nate Hollis makes the jump to prose in six new short stories in Hollis, P.I. New York Times bestseller Juliet Blackwell, acclaimed young crime writer Aaron Philip Clark, new pulp luminaries Bobby Nash and Derrick Ferguson join Hollis’ creator Gary Phillips in penning these tales.  As Kevin Burton Smith in Mystery Scene said of the character, “Slick as spit, big-shouldered Hollis walks the walk and talks the talk…”  In tradepaper and e-book from Pro Se Productions — http://tinyurl.com/kycvqqz

J.D. Rhoades

J.D. Rhoades’s first three Jack Keller books are being re-issued in e-book format and are available for Pre-order at Amazon. His first new hardcover in six years (and the fourth Keller book) DEVILS AND DUST is also available for pre-order.

Lise McClendon

New this week is Lise McClendon’s Bennett Sisters series novella, fresh out for the holidays. ‘Give Him the Ooh-la-la’ is the third installment in the series, after last summer’s ‘The Girl in the Empty Dress.’  Fun, food, wine, fraud, and Frenchmen feature in this book set in New York City. Look out for the drag queen and more as Merle Bennett juggles her French policeman, family holiday drama, and more than a bit of wine intrigue.

Amazon       Barnes & Noble

Is hard copy still alive & kicking?

I’m pretty sure the book in its physical, dead-tree form is not going away, at least until we quit paper entirely. But I do like holding a book in my hands for reading. That love, instilled in childhood, will probably be the first thing to go as children grow up reading on electronic devices. Keep your children reading real books! Objects of affection that last and last. (What was your favorite book from childhood? I have a falling-apart copy of The Night Before Christmas in Texas That Is, given to us by my Texas grandparents. It’s still pretty funny to see Santa in cowboy boots.)

That said, digital seems to the wave of the future. But like me, people still like real books. I just formatted my mystery Nordic Nights to be printed on demand (one at a time, less waste)  by Amazon’s Createspace. I’ve done about four or five books so far for them so not a new experience…. or so you would think! Every time I format a book I have to re-learn certain aspects of Microsoft Word (which as much as I hate it is the only word processor that has all the bells and whistles I need.) Section breaks are the main bugaboo, and headers, and pagination, and do-you-start-every-chapter-on-the-right-or just flow? After about a week of hair-pulling I got it right. And the reason I know is there is a new gadget at Createspace that lets you actually look at your uploaded text. It’s called Interior Reviewer and after you upload your file (pdf/x please) you can turn the pages, get called out for your mistakes, and re-do it if necessary. It appears there is still some actual person doing final review but this new feature lets you fix the major things. I can see reviewing interior text formatting errors would be a major hassle for Amazon (it’s a major hassle for me and I only have to do one book at a time.)

The templates you download from Createspace make interior formatting much simpler. But beware adding new pages (to make certain text on the right or left usually.) I found out the new pages weren’t sized properly, going in at 8.5 x 11, instead of the document page setup size. That wreaked havoc with pdf/x, making it break down each size into a separate file. Such joy, to get the NO ISSUES report from the Interior Reviewer. Ring the merry bells! And I thought designing the cover would be a bitch.

Oh, it’s the little things this holiday season…. cheers!