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Monday, July 28, 2014

How my Photography Inspires my Stories

Dear friends and readers,

Today over on Lois Winston's Anastasia Pollack's blog, I'm doing a guest post about how my original photography spawns story ideas, and how I use the photos to illustrate my self-published stories.

http://www.amazon.com/Bobbi-A.-Chukran/e/B005UK1P7M

http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com/2014/07/crafts-with-anastasia-guest-author-and_28.html

Take a look, and leave a comment!  Thanks.

bobbi c.
DYE, DYEING, DEAD—A Texas Garden Craft Novella now available
at Amazon: http://amzn.to/1nU5y7q
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/459882
Apple bookstore http://bit.ly/1jZwZ4v

Friday, July 25, 2014

DYE, DYEING, DEAD is available

Dear friends,

My new Texas garden craft novella, DYE, DYEING, DEAD, is available to buy now on Amazon and Smashwords, and in the iBooks Apple Bookstore.




Coming soon for the Nook. Now available for Kobo readers, and other formats on Smashwords. Coming eventually in audiobook! yeehaw.

Happy trails,

bobbi c.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

FREE comedy caper short story this weekend!

Dear friends,

From today through Monday, my comedy caper short e-story, Aunt Jewel and the Purloined Pork Loin, will be free on Amazon.com.


It's an introduction to the quirky characters of "Nameless, Texas." The first novella in the series, DYE, DYEING, DEAD is coming out in August. Hope you enjoy the story!

http://www.amazon.com/Jewel-Purloined-Nameless-Texas-Short-ebook/dp/B00DFA2QAE


As always, reviews, comments, tweets, likes and shares are welcomed!

Happy trails!

bobbi c.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

FINAL cover reveal for DYE, DYEING, DEAD

Dear friends,

After getting some comments on the previous cover here last Sunday, I re-designed it and everybody seems to love this one much better. I do, too. It looks more contemporary to me although there's still the rough wood of the house behind the text.


The book will be in e-book format first, then paperback a little later. For an e-book cover, it's good. It pops out, the text is easy to read, etc. For a printed book, I think it will work well, too. It might have to be re-sized a bit. BTW, this is a very low-resolution photo for web use. Another one will be used for the actual printing.

The good thing about having a print shop, publishing, graphics design background is that I can do my own covers when I want to. I recently wrote a short article for Lois Winston, author, that will be on her blog at the end of July about how I use my photography to inspire stories. This particular photo was the side of a former garage out in the Texas Hill Country. I've used it before on my cooking with herbs booklet, too.  Except the beauty of using Photoshop is that I can "paint" the wall to change the color if I want to. :-)

More news as it happens---tentative publication date is August 15th.

Happy trails from Nameless, Texas. :-D

bobbi c.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

New book cover reveal---DYE, DYEING, DEAD

New cover of my mystery novella coming out in August! Although I have written quite a few short stories in the Nameless, Texas series, this is the first longer novel/novella in the series.


To read more about the book, look HERE.

Happy trails!

bobbi c.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sample Chapter -- PRINCESS PRIMROSE & the CURSE OF THE BIG SLEEP

Dear friends,

Thought I'd share the first chapter of my comedy fantasy detective spoof with you. It's available on Amazon in both e-book and paperback. Suitable for ages 8 through 108. :-)

http://www.amazon.com/Princess-Primrose-Curse-Big-Sleep/dp/0944577091


-->
Chapter One
In the Lair of Moribunda McEvil

Moribunda McEvil lived in an old dusty cobwebby sort of place---the sort of place that you might imagine a witch would live. Her home was so popular with visiting witches that it became the headquarters of SOWWWW, the Society of Wicked Witches Wizards and Warlocks.
An old table, covered with a messy variety of jars with scritch-scratched labels sat in a corner, and a couple of old wooden chairs sat at either end. A shelf over the table held a motley collection of ancient, dusty spell books.
Moribunda hunched over a boiling cauldron in the middle of the table. She stirred the contents with a long wooden spoon, all the while mumbling to herself. She spooned out a bit, blew on it gingerly, and then took a taste.
“Perhaps just a pinch more woundwort, Eargore? Woundwort is wonderful with elf stew,” she said.
Eargore was Moribunda’s minion and her faithful sidekick. He had huge ears and he was a wicked spell gone really, really, really bad. Bless his heart!
Eargore took a bite of the elf stew, wiggled his ears and then nodded. “Hmmm. I do believe you are right, Moribunda. A pinch more woundwort, coming up!” He took a jar off the shelf and spooned a tiny bit of grayish powder into the cauldron.
“Perfect, perfect!” Moribunda cackled, stirring the concoction once more and taking another taste.  She frowned, shrugged, then took the jar of woundwort from Eargore and dumped the entire thing into the stew.
“If a little is good, then a lot is better! Can’t have too much woundwort, can ya now, I always say.” She took another taste and smacked her lips. “Now it’s really perfect!  Time for lunch!” she said as she ladled the mixture out into two bowls.
They sat down to eat and had only taken a few bites when Eargore pricked up his enormous ears.
“I do believe someone approaches, m’lady,” he said.
A few moments later, there was a loud pounding at the door.
“Curses!” Moribunda cursed. “This happens every time we sit down to eat! Can’t they wait until after lunch? See who it is, and be hasty about it. I can’t stand that infernal noise!”
“We could ignore them. Perhaps they’ll go away,” Eargore suggested.
The knocking at the door became louder, and someone shouted. “Moribunda McEvil! Are you in there? I must see you immediately!”
Moribunda groaned.  “Go ahead, then.  See who it is.”
Eargore rushed to answer the door. “All righty! Keep your knickers on! I’m comin’!” he said.
When he opened the door, Eargore was dismayed to see that the visitor was none other than Snitch, the Tattle-Tale Fairy. Snitch was about as raggedy as a fairy could be. He wasn’t very tall, and he wore brown rugged boots that looked like he had trudged through a swamp. His wings were tattered and his tunic was threadbare. He was beside himself with excitement as he swooped his way into Moribunda’s home.
Eargore frowned. “What do YOU want? We just sat down to our lunch. Moribunda is much too busy now for visitors. Please call again when it’s more convenient for us.”
“Sorry, this can’t wait! It’s urgent,” Snitch said.
“Moribunda!” he sang out, ignoring Eargore. “I have news! I’m sure you’ll want to know my news. It’s the best yet! Am I wrong? Am I ever wrong?”
 “Oh, it’s you,” she said with a frightful scowl. “What could you have to say that would interest me, the most evil wicked witch in this kingdom? And at lunch time, to boot!”
“I’m pretty sure you’re gonna want to hear what I have to say!”
“What makes you sure of that, little tattle-tale?” Moribunda asked him.
“Because I have news!” he replied again.
“So you said, Snitch,” Moribunda answered, yawning. “But as you can see, we just sat down to lunch, and our brew is getting cold. Please write your news down on a scroll and roll it under the door and I might have time to read it next week. Maybe. If I’m not too busy being wicked and evil!”
With that, Moribunda turned away to leave. Eargore pushed Snitch towards the door.
But Snitch was persistent and pushed his way back in. “This cannot wait until next week! You’ll never guess! Come on, guess!”

Eargore wrinkled his nose. “What’s this I smell? Something rancid, I believe. Oh, look, it’s the little tattle-tale fairy, come to tell tales and stories! With yet more of his earthshaking news. Ho hum. What is it this time, Snitch? Have more toadstools gone missing from the woods? Or maybe there’s been an ogre sighting?”
Snitch looked indignant and pulled his tunic down. “Fine then!” he said. “I’ll take my tale down to the Tavern in the Woods and tell everyone else. Won’t YOU be sorry when you’re the last to know!”
Snitch turned to leave, but Moribunda grabbed him by the collar of his tunic. There wasn’t anything that annoyed her more than being the last to know the news. And Snitch knew that!
“Oh, all right!” she said. “Fine then! Out with it or I’ll curl your tongue so you’ll never tell another tale! But this news of yours had better be good!”
Snitch got a cunning look on his face. “Well, you see, this is really big news! But…I’d like to be paid for my work. After all, even a fairy has to eat!”
“Moribunda is not in the habit of paying for news, Snitch. You should know that by now,” Eargore reminded him.
“Oh, horseflies! Fine, then. I was just out minding my own business, near the castle, ya know? When I happened to be up on the wall of the tower, looking in the window, and…”
Moribunda interrupted him. “How did you just happen to be up on the tower wall?”
Snitch gulped. “Bird watching?”
“Ha! Continue with your droll little story,” Moribunda yawned. “Or should that be troll little story?”
Eargore laughed.
Snitch blushed with embarrassment. “I am not a troll! I’m a fairy!” he exclaimed. “As I was saying, I happened to overhear Queen Floribunda talking with King Rosario. It seems that she was very excited about something, and then she ordered Chester the Jester to have some invites printed!”
Eargore shrugged. “So what? It sounds like the Queen is planning a party. They frequently have balls and sad little affairs and such at the castle. Big whoopee. I do not see why this should concern us.”
“Yes, but it’s not just ANY party,” Snitch confided. “Not an everyday party, at least. She’s planning a…”
“…wedding?” Moribunda interrupted again. “I’ll bet she’s planning a wedding. I suppose one of her handmaidens is getting married. She does so dote on her servants.”
Snitch shook his head. “No! Not a wedding….it’s much more exciting than a wedding,” he said gleefully, bouncing up and down on his pointy toes.
“A jousting tournament, then? I do so love jousting tournaments! Or perhaps a duel?” Eargore lunged and pretended to shoot an imaginary pistol. “I haven’t seen a good duel in an ogre’s age!”
Snitch shook his head. “No, not those either.”
Suddenly, Moribunda reached out and grabbed Snitch’s nose and gave it a good tweak. “Out with it, you little tattle-tale! Enough of this dilly-dallying around! I don’t have time to waste listening to your tittle-tattle!”
Eargore laughed. “Tattle-tale tittle-tattle! I love it! Good one, Moribunda.”
Snitch yelled. “Ow, let go of me nose! All right! I’ll tell. The king and queen are planning a birthday party! For Princess Primrose!”
“Who?” asked Moribunda.
“Did I hear you correctly, Snitch?” asked Eargore, frowning.
“You heard me. A party for Princess Primrose,” said Snitch.
Moribunda frowned. “I don’t believe I know any Princess Primroses. I know a Princess Penelope, and a Princess Petunia, and a Princess Pertrubia and even a Princess Polyantha, but no Primroses. And how old is this new princess?” she asked, staring at Snitch.
Snitch had never seen Moribunda react like this to news before. It was a bit worrisome. He gulped. “She’s not exactly what you’d call a new princess. She’s been around for a while. I thought you….”
“HOW long, Snitch?” she shouted.
He thought a moment. “I guess she’d be, oh, about fourteen human years now? Surely you know of her. She’s your sister’s daughter, after all.”
“WHAT? Fourteen? Curses!” Moribunda shrieked. “How dare you not keep me informed! How dare my sister have a baby and not tell me! I didn’t even know she was expecting! Nobody tells me anything!”
Snitch spoke in a whisper. “I thought you knew about Princess Primrose. I was just going to mention the party. I thought you’d want to know about the party, but… Oh dear, what have I done?”
Moribunda paced the floor and wrung her hands together as she mumbled. “A new little princess, eh? Nobody ever tells me anything around here worthy of mention! This changes things!” She stopped pacing.
“Eargore!” she shouted.
“Yes, madame?” he squeaked.
“Did you know about this child?” she asked him. “The truth, now!”
“Well, um, yes, actually I did, madame,” Eargore said with a gulp. “I knew you’d be upset, so I didn’t tell you. I’m sorry! Please forgive me!”
Moribunda frowned, then suddenly grinned wickedly. “Hmmm… I wonder if she takes after her Aunty Moribunda?”
Snitch thought a moment. “Well, no, actually, she’s quite beee-you-tee-ful! And the King is beside himself with joy and has planted ten acres of red rose bushes for the Queen in honor of Primrose’s birthday!”
Moribunda screamed. “Beautiful?  I’m ruined! I can’t allow a beautiful princess to grow up in my territory. What will the members of SOWWWW think of me? I’ll be voted out as president!”
“Who?” Snitch asked.
“SOWWWW! The Society of Wicked Witches, Wizards and Warlocks!” she answered, pacing across the floor. “They’ll never let me live this one down! I’ll never be able to show my face in the kingdom again. How could I allow this to happen? I’ll be ruined by my own niece!”
“Beg your pardon, madame, but we all thought it best not to tell you,” Eargore explained. “We’ve been able to keep it quiet so far. Until this little snitch snitched!”
“How many know about her?” she asked. “Well, tell me!”
Eargore cringed. “The whole kingdom, I expect. Well, everyone but you.”
By now Moribunda was pacing back and forth so fast, she was almost a blur. The dust on the floor was raised in a cyclone. Eargore knew that look, and ducked under the table for cover. She started grabbing and throwing things. Eargore didn’t look forward to cleaning up after this.
“And roses! I hate red roses!!! I hope they have big fat thorns on them and she sticks her royal finger! Serves her right! King Rosario never planted roses for me, when we… Oh, never mind! That’s all water under the moat--- but a new princess! THAT I can’t ignore. No matter what, no matter who she is!”
Eargore crept out from under the table and tried to calm her. He knew trouble when he saw it brewing. “With all due respects, madame, you are powerful, but how could you have prevented it? That family of yours is known for poppin’ out with beautiful children. There’s no way you could have known.”
She turned on him. “Oh, stop sucking up, Eargore! The fact is that I’m ruined. Ruined, I say! I’ll never hear the end of this. My sister gets to live in the castle with my darling King Rosario, and now THIS? I can’t bear it!”
Eargore thought for a moment. “Might I suggest a little…well, a little tweaking with history?”
“What do you mean?” asked Moribunda. “Speak up! My patience is wearing thin!”
“Actually, I’m not sure,” he shrugged. “After all, you are all powerful and the most wicked of witches. Surely there’s something we can do. Something deliciously evil, perhaps? Or delightfully dastardly?” He rubbed his hands together with glee.
Snitch stepped forward reluctantly. “But…like what? What would you do? You wouldn’t actually harm the child, would you? After all, she’s your…”
Moribunda interrupted him. “What do you think, Snitch? Why did you come to me, if not to do harm to the child? Why did you even tell me about her? I was fine before I found out. Not knowing was a good thing! But oh, no---you had to snitch.  I just can’t help myself now.  It’s not in my evil nature to let perfect opportunities go to waste.” 
She paced some more, then stopped abruptly. “Eargore! I need some ideas! The spell books! Bring them to me—quickly!”
“Yes, madame! The spell books! Spectacular idea!” He pulled a chair over to the shelf and clambered up. “Let’s see what we have here.”
Snitch was horrified. “No! NOT the spell books! Please! Anything but the spell books!”
“Ah, yes, here we are. Just the ticket!” Eargore took down a stack of the old books, blew dust off the top one and handed them to Moribunda.
She took the books from Eargore. “It’s been ages since I’ve had to resort to this kind of evil spell. I’m getting a bit rusty,” she admitted, leafing through several of the books and tossing them aside. “Hmm, these are worthless! Nothing in this one---nothing suitable. This has to be GOOD! …. Ah ha! Here’s a classic! How to Do Away Permanently with a Beautiful Princess, Even if She is Your Niece. Let’s see, rose blight, thorns, pricking fingers, noses falling off---ah, here we are! This one is the perfect spell for her!”
Moribunda squinted into her cauldron. “And while I’m at it, I might put a spell on the Queen so that she can’t smell those roses! I could do something to her nose….let’s see, what can I do?” She continued reading from the spell book, rapidly flipping the pages back and forth. “Ah ha! And here’s the perfect spell for them!”
“You aren’t going to...kill her, are you?” Snitch whispered.
Moribunda cackled. “Kill my sister and niece? Oh no! Here’s the good part! Maybe I’ll put them all to sleep for millions of years, then when they do wake up, Floribunda will be an old hag, all wrinkled and gray and very unattractive, and all the rosebushes will be shriveled up! That’ll show Floribunda who’s the most beautiful! Or, I could do something else. I haven’t decided yet! And as for the Princess---well, I don’t know exactly what I’ll do, but you can be sure I will have something especially evil planned for her.”
“I didn’t want you to actually hurt her!” Snitch cried. “You wouldn’t hurt Princess Primrose, would you?”
Moribunda laughed and it made Snitch’s blood run cold. “What would you suggest I do, Snitch? Send them a flowery little greeting scroll congratulating them on the birthday of their precious pretty Princess Primrose? I’m called wicked for a reason, Snitch!”
“Well, I never really thought about it,” he admitted.
Eargore nodded. “That’s your problem, Snitch. You don’t think!”
“Now when is this party? Speak up!” Moribunda demanded.
“Well, I believe it’s this weekend. What are you going to do?” Snitch asked.
“Don’t you worry yourself what I’m going to do,” replied Moribunda. “So, the party’s this weekend, eh? Then we have no time to waste!” She clapped her hands, “Eargore, help me gather some ingredients. Quickly now!” She pointed to a page in the spell book.  “Let’s try this one, shall we?”
He grinned and nodded. “Yes, madame. Delighted to, madame!” He read the spell all the way through and quickly gathered a number of jars together on the worktable. “I will admit I’ve missed whomping up evil spells and such. It’s been ever so long!” he said as he worked. “Just like the good ol’ days, eh?”
Moribunda rubbed her hands together. “I cannot wait! And a party! What a perfect time for my evil plan to go into effect! Not only will I eliminate that beautiful princess, I’ll also severely tick off my sister the Queen and pay King Rosario back for what he did to me! Everyone will know how wonderfully EVIL I really am!” She cackled and loud thunder boomed through the sky and a fierce wind came up and whistled through the walls of the lair. Lightning crackled and Moribunda cackled. She danced around as she chanted.
“Double trouble, we’ll stir up some trouble!
As the cauldron boils and the ingredients bubble!
I’ll turn my sister’s life into rubble!”
Snitch looked crestfallen. “Oh dear, what have I done now?” he whispered.

END of Chapter One
Purchase this book on Amazon. Available in both e-books and paperback.
http://www.amazon.com/Princess-Primrose-Curse-Big-Sleep/dp/0944577091

Thursday, June 26, 2014

New "Nameless, Texas" Novella coming soon!

Dear Reader-Friends,

Way back in 1999 or 2000, I started my very first cozy mystery about a fiber artist who lives in a small Texas town. This was several years before I wrote LONE STAR DEATH, my historical Texas mystery. Now, 14 years later, I've decided to revisit my first book, polish it and publish it as a novella.

Back then, I had an idea for a sleuth who was a weaver. I'd written a lot about the fiber arts, had a degree in textiles, and was an internationally known "expert" in the field. I had wanted to do some fiction writing for a while, and figured that I'd combine my two interests. This particular story involves natural dyeing with plants---specifically, indigo---in the story line. I had written several how-to books on the craft and grew an extensive dyer's garden of my own.

One of my how-to books written under my previous name, Bobbi A. McRae
Thing is, back then, the popularity of the "occupational" cozy sleuth hadn't come about just yet, and  although publishers were intrigued and somewhat interested, they weren't sure they could sell this idea. I have to laugh at that concept now, because we all know those types of books are very popular.

Lots has happened between there and here in my writing life, and when I finally sat down to revise the story, it seemed  like visiting with some old friends I haven't seen for a while.

Thing is, they aren't old friends. Once I started revising the text, I realized they are the same folks who inhabit my current "Nameless, Texas" short story series.  You'll find Aunt Jewel, Kendra, Jeremy and more. There are a few new ones and some of the relationships have changed, but in general, it's the same place. That tickles me. :-)

I kept the original idea of the story and changed it a bit to fit my Nameless story world. A few  things surprised and amused me--especially the pay phones and film cameras used in the story. They definitely added to the time the sleuth spent chasing around town and waiting for film to be developed, but was easy to fix. 

And since I've been writing a lot of short stories and prefer the shorter length, I decided to make the novel a novella, coming in around 30,000 words. I hope it will appeal to the many readers who like my short story series and the quirky folks who inhabit Nameless, Texas.

So keep an eye peeled for DYE, DYEING, DEAD---coming by the end of July!

(And yes, it's spelled that way on purpose.) :-D

Happy trails,

bobbi c.