Review: Legend by DV Berkom

My book club chose the first novella in this three-book series, Retribution, and in the month before the meeting to discuss it, we all got hooked and read all three. In this finale, the author’s solid research and talent for intense dramatic stories full of surprises come together as Claire takes on new work with her shooting, tracking, and strategy skills.  In addition Wild West excitement and suspense, this novella has humor and romance, and an unexpected ending that suits Claire’s character arc perfectly. Full circle and yet all new.


Review: Gunslinger by DV Berkom

This second novella in the Claire Whitcomb series is as compelling as the first. In this new phase of Claire’s life, she completes her transformation into a skilled professional. A tragic moment during a train robbery motivates Claire to improve her gunfighting skills and also her gun. Classic Western action and adventure propel the tightly plotted story, while strong original characters mingle with historical characters, giving emotional depth to the events. Hooked on the series, I’m plunging right on into the third book.

Review: Retribution by DV Berkom

I’d never read a Western before, though I live in the Southwest. I knew the Old West was a wild place, with irregular law enforcement and a lot of guns, but reading this book made that situation emotionally real, with a vivid portrayal of how the violence of the time and place drastically transforms a wife and mother. Claire Whitcomb’s choices are painful and one act is shocking, but her actions make sense. To her, there is no other choice. She hardens quickly through extraordinary events that change her whole life and her perspectives, from fearing the Utes and trusting a prosperous, paternalistic business leader to a reversal, from caring for a family to a life most women of the time couldn’t imagine. The author has mastered art of creating a riveting plot and strong characters. I’m already reading the second novella in the series.

Indie Books at Big Discounts: The Smashwords Sale

Here’s a bargain-priced way to discover new authors: the Smashwords 2022 End of Year Sale. You’ll find substantial discounts on thousands of titles throughout December. Go to Search by author name or explore by genre. The Smashwords store is the largest indie bookstore on the internet. Have fun shopping!

(And yes, my books are there—at 50% off, thanks to Draft2Digital teaming up with Smashwords.)

#SmashwordsEOYSale #smashwords #ebook #sale #books2read #indiebooks

#Sale Shaman’s Blues PAPERBACK $4.23 on Amazon!

Ever wished paperbacks were as cheap as e-books? Amazon has discounted brand new copies of Shaman’s Blues to $4.23. If you were thinking of buying the e-book from them, please buy the paperback instead. Take a free trial of Prime and get free shipping. Snag a few copies as gifts. Tell friends about the sale. I have no idea how long this #discount will last. Amazon must be losing money on it.

Are you confused? If you know me, you know I publish my books widely, read e-books on a Nook, and don’t promote Amazon. So why am I urging you to buy the paperback (and not the Kindle edition) from them, especially when their price is the same for both the e-book and the paperback?

Because …

Amazon’s rules allow them to lower the e-book royalty when they are price-matching another store (which is not the case) or matching their own price for the physical copy.

I normally would get $3.42 in royalties for the e-book, but they’re paying $2.90. At this unexciting 76-cent discount, the e-book is selling at the same rate it would at its normal $4.99 price, which means I’m earning less for the same number of sales, i.e. $52.00 less per hundred sales.

Perhaps they think this is a good strategy for them, because I sell a fair number of e-books on their site, but not many paperbacks. It’s not a good strategy for me. If I want to sell the e-book at a lower price, I’ll drop it to 99 cents for a week and promote it all over the place. $4.23 is not an incentivizing sort of price for an e-book.

But it’s a huge bargain for a paperback!

What would happen if hundreds of people ordered the $4.23 paperback? So far, Amazon is paying the full royalty on the paperback, $3.77 for the $4.23 book. The printing cost is $5.22. By their own choice, Amazon loses $4.76 for each paperback sale. If 100 people buy it at $4.23, Amazon will lose $476.00. Will they notice? If a thousand people buy it, they’ll lose a lot more. Will they put the price back to $14.99? If they do, their rules will require them to pay me the full royalty on the e-book.

If I get no results on their pricing, you’ll still get an inexpensive paperback copy of an award-winning mystery, and that’s a win. I hope you enjoy it.

Shaman’s Blues

The second Mae Martin psychic mystery

On the eve of her move to New Mexico, psychic and healer Mae Martin gets a double-edged going-away gift: beautiful music by a man who’s gone missing, and a request to find him. In her new home town, she quickly runs afoul of a questionable psychic who runs a health food restaurant. When Mae confronts her, the woman disappears—either to Santa Fe, or into another dimension. Now Mae has two missing persons on her hands. Finding them may prove easier than learning the truth about either or getting one of them, once found, to go away again.

The Mae Martin Series

No murder, just mystery. Every life hides a secret, and love is the deepest mystery of all.

Review: The Case of the Tangled Maypole by Anna Castle

Fairy tales have both magic and shadows. When supernatural  beings affect human actions and perceptions, justice gets complicated. In this historical cozy mystery featuring a healer or cunning woman in the small English village of Ayreford, fairies are real, and can be both helpful or malevolent. Changelings, talking animals, and other magical phenomena are part of life for Jane Moone,  whose father is a wizard. Her efforts to solve a murder at the village Maypole involve investigation into ordinary humans’ motives and also the actions of fairies. She collaborates in sleuthing with attorney John Greenslade, son of the justice of the peace, and their relationship provides a romantic subplot for the series. (I anticipate some intriguing revelations  from John in future books. Hope I’m right!) This novella is paced with a range of intensities from gentle to terrifying and everything in between, making it hard to put down. Well-crafted and utterly original.

Short and Sweet, Quick and Quirky, and #Free

The Outlaw Women is free on all e-book retailers through July 15th.

Folk healer and seer Rhoda-Sue Outlaw Jackson knows her time on earth is running out when she hears the voice of her late husband telling her she has only but so many heartbeats left. She’s had a troubled relationship with her daughter, and has little hope of passing on her extraordinary gifts, either to this difficult daughter or to her granddaughter. With the final hour around the corner, she brings her family together for one more try. Can she leave the world at peace with them, as well as with her legacy?

This prequel to the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Series introduces Mae at age ten, as seen through the eyes of her grandmother.

Review: Cargo by D.V. Berkom


Leine Basso travels to Thailand and Tanzania in her anti-trafficking work, under circumstances that require her to forge an alliance with an Afrikaner poacher, a complex and fascinating rogue. A tightly structured page-turner with vivid settings and compelling characters, Cargo deals with some of the worst in human behavior: cruelty to fellow humans and to wildlife, motivated by greed. The harm to animals takes place offstage—the reader isn’t forced to watch—but the aftermath is tragic and appalling, and the scenes detailing a trafficking victim’s ordeal haunted me. This is an intense read, but I still recommend it. The last line troubled me, though. It’s closure, full-circle justice of a sort, but it’s disturbing, too—not healing.

Review: Bewaji’s Ankara Adventures (The Aso-Ebi Chronicles, #1) by Sharon Abimbola Salu

I was delighted to discover yet another mystery novella with no murder. Not that I don’t enjoy the ones with murders, but there are so many varieties of crime, why not investigate something else for change? And this one is a humorous cozy without cuteness or quaintness, too. With an urban Nigerian setting, it’s truly different.

I loved the main character, Bewaji. She gets lucky in her inquiries, but the luck is plausible, she’s aware of it, and she uses it to do some sleuthing. Though the book is written in the third person, the narrative voice is clearly hers, as much inside her head as the usual first-person cozy narration. And Bewaji is funny. Any book that can make me laugh out loud is a winner.