Grace's Mosaic Moments


Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Varied Faces of Indie Pub

Squeak sacked out on her favorite furry throw. Sheer bliss.
Cassidy diverging from kneading to create a doughy heart.

Odd Political Note:

Being totally stunned by last fall's election, I did not notice how shell-shocked everyone looked until I was in the grocery store shopping for Thanksgiving dinner and saw the first smiles on people's faces since that fateful day in early November. Nobody, but nobody, expected the results of that election. And now . . . cracks are beginning to appear everywhere as reality approaches with frightening inevitablity.

During the overly long campaign for President (and since), the Op-Ed pages of the Orlando Sentinel featured columnists of two opposing opinions. Today (1/14/17) my eyes popped when I read the headline of the pro-Trump columnist: "Trump wears out welcome, and hasn't even taken office". Huh? Needless to say, I read the entire article. Although Mr. Krauthammer gets in a final punch at Barack Obama, he spent ninety percent of the column delineating all the things Trump has done wrong since winning the election. Wow! My own opinion is that we should all pray for a conversion like the one on the road to Tarsus that changed Saul to Paul.
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 THE VARIED FACES OF INDIE PUBLISHING

I have been enjoying indie publishing since 2011, but only over the past year have I had books that were exclusive to Amazon's Kindle Scout or to Kindle Direct Publishing. After struggling to comprehend the differences, and after overhearing some misinformation being passed along one day, I felt this might be a good time to share some of what I've learned over the last six years.

IS INDIE PUBLISHING WORTH THE EFFORT?

Yes, and yes, and yes! There is no way I can adequately express what it has meant to me since Signet shut down its traditional Regency line and put their authors "out to pasture," because hot sex was becoming all the rage in romance long before the unsuspecting public ever heard of Fifty Shades of Gray. Yes, I've enjoyed the extra income, faithfully relayed to me monthly by Amazon and quarterly by Smashwords, but the most important factor has been the outlet for my creativity, the chance to still be able to share the products of my imagination with the world.

I was helped into the world of indie publishing by Delle Jacobs, and have helped many others in turn. I cannot recommend too highly this opportunity to publish your book the way you want it, without a New York publisher's marketing department hovering anxiously, saying, "Oh no, you can't do that!" For example, the title of my first book had to be changed from Love at Your Own Risk to the bland He Said, She Said, because "risk" was not an acceptable word! The same for my first Regency for Signet - The Courtesan's Letters (wouldn't play well in the Mid-west) became the vague and inaccurate, The Indifferent Earl. Both are now online under their original titles.

So absolutely yes. Enjoy the satisfaction of writing what you want to write and getting a far larger royalty than New York will pay.


SMASHWORDS:
 
First and foremost, for all I appreciate Amazon and what it's done for my books, Mark Coker's Smashwords Style Guide remains the best introduction to indie publishing, bar none. Coker is the only techie I know who can write directions for computer that ordinary mortals can understand. Do not attempt to upload an indie book without reading the pertinent parts of his instructions. (Way, way back when I first began uploading my books to Smashwords and Amazon, I recall being amazed when Mark Coker himself answered several of my "Contact Us" questions.) 

What does Smashwords do? Exactly as the name implies. It takes your Word Doc and transforms it into all the different formats used by the various e-readers out there. Why on earth struggle to do it yourself when Smashwords will do it for you for a very modest cut of the royalty? (And no, I don't get any kickbacks for my opinion.) Smashwords and I have gone round & round on a thing or two, but in general for six long years they've done well for me. (That I upload separately to Amazon is the result of ignorance on my part when I first got started, but Amazon's record-keeping is so precise and up-to-date, I have kept the practice of uploading my books twice - once to Amazon, once to Smashwords.)  

Mark Coker's Style Guide is FREE. For a link to the Smashwords Style Guide, click here.


For more details on publishing with Smashwords, click here.


AMAZON:


Amazon's KDP - Kindle Direct Publishing 

KDP is what I have used for all my books until the Blue Moon Rising series. As stated above, I upload to KDP, add the front page required for Smashwords and then upload there as well, which covers all the other e-book formats, including Barnes and Noble's Nook. KDP pays a 35% royalty for books under $2.99, a 70% royalty for books $2.99 & up. Their record-keeping is spectacular - you can view sales on close to an hourly basis. Payment is once a month (90 days in arrears) by direct deposit to the bank account of your choice. Their reach is world-wide - I receive royalties from Europe to Australia. For details on KDP, click here.

Amazon's Kindle Select

This is relatively new to me, but I'll try to get it correct. If you publish with Select, you are agreeing to have your book distributed exclusively by Amazon. There are privileges that go with this. Your book will be offered on Kindle's "Unlimited" program (a monthly reader subscription service). Evidently, in addition to your royalty this makes you eligible for a bonus from Amazon's Global fund (which is heavily weighted toward books that sell a lot of copies). You can also purchase Amazon advertising to enhance your other promotional efforts. For a more detailed explanation of Kindle Select, click here.
 
Amazon's Kindle Scout

Kindle Scout is a relatively new publishing program. You submit your book, it goes through a vetting process, and if it passes, you are asked to get readers to "nominate" your book (from a 5000-word sample). My own experience would seem to indicate that there is a certain amount of editorial selection; i.e., a book that gets the most votes might not be selected over one of better quality. If selected, the author receives that rare thing in e-publishing, an advance on royalties ($1500). You will be placed on a KS Facebook loop, where you can ask questions to your heart's content. Your book will receive a thorough but once-over editing, and a fairly decent amount of marketing after it goes live. This is a publishing option worth considering. For more details, click here.

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WARNING!  

Never submit your book to one of those fly-by-night so-called "publishers" who e-mail you about their willingness to publish your book. Stick to the tried and true, the proven, known entities, like Amazon and Smashwords. 

COST:

My only costs for publishing my books are my cover and an ISBN number (I buy them 10 at a time from MyIdentifier.com. (Yes, there are freebies available, but I don't want to feel beholden to any one company.) If you are not comfortable with self-editing and formatting, or too impatient, then you may have to shell out money for those services as well. You must edit! So if you're not up to doing it yourself, add that service to your budget.

PRINT BOOKS:

I have no experience with print books beyond my books published long ago by Signet and Kensington, plus those published by several e-publishers over the years, so I don't feel qualified to comment. I do know, however, that many use Amazon's CreateSpace. (Be careful you are not fooled by companies with a similar name.) The one with a good reputation is a branch of Amazon.] I personally have accepted the digital age and don't feel inclined to go to all the formatting work for print books that may sell only a few copies. I feel print books in a digital age are anachronistic. (Get over feeling the need!) But that's just me. Amazon's CreateSpace has a good reputation. The cost, I'm told, is minimal if you do your own formatting. But again, beware the many ill-qualified "let us print your book" scammers out there. Get recommendations from people you know before putting your baby into some unknown print publisher's hands.


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And there it is, a miniscule summary of a huge subject. I hope you find the info and links helpful.

 
Thanks for stopping by,

Grace

 

For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.



For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.  
 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

SORCERER'S BRIDE & Python Update

Python Update:

Pythons have found a new way to menace their non-native habitat in South Florida. Late in 2016 a 9-foot Burmese python was spotted wrapped around part of a platform more than a half mile offshore in Biscayne Bay. The sighting was a first and according to an article in the Orlando Sentinel (Jenny Staletovich, Jan. 2, 2017), "another worrisome sign that the state's out-of-control pythons are getting more adept at inhabiting the state's salty fringes. In September, state wildlife biologists confirmed for the first time that the snakes are now breeding in the Keys."

The article goes on to say that scientists suspect that at least some of the adult snakes that started breeding in Key Largo swam there [from the Everglades]. "It also means that snakes could make their way to islands inhabited by birds or other small mammals and occasional turtle nests." 

". . . . Since the snakes became established around 2000, biologists still have no reliable way to control them, an effort complicated by the inability consistently track them. The snakes are perfectly camouflaged for the marshes and mangroves, which are equally inhospitable to human hunters."

Grace note: Selfishly, I'm delighted the pythons are moving south, not north! I can only hope the owners who dumped those snakes know what an ecological disaster they've caused.
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Long ago—and far away in the suburban hinterlands of East Orlando—I conceived the idea for a book about as far away from the Regency era (for which I was known) as I could get. At the time I thought of it as SyFy with Romance, and only after it was nearly done did I decide it was best described as "Futuristic Paranormal." 

There was another problem. I had created so many characters and so much plot there was no way I was finishing the story in one book. I informed my then-publisher that three ought to do it - we even named them. But as I got toward the end of Book 2 (Sorcerer's Bride), it was a case of Oh-oh, not going to make it. And, besides, my voiceless teen had become such a strong character in his own right that he needed his own book (Book 3 - The Bastard Prince).  Leaving Royal Rebellion for the final confrontation and wrap-up as Book 4. Hopefully. As I finished K'kadi's book, I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but who knows . . . There's many a slip between the brain, the keyboard, and the final denouement.

For those who have read Rebel Princess, the story of the girl known as Kass Kiolani, Sorcerer's Bride is the tale of her sheltered younger sister, now Psyclid's Princess Royal, who must learn to fight a rebellion and who does not get the privilege of marrying a man who loves her. Below please find the cover and blurb for Sorcerer's Bride, which went live on Amazon Kindle on Thursday, January 6, 2017.



Rebellion, mind tricks, and tangled love on a planet far, far away.

Princess M'lani of the planet Psyclid, where almost everyone but M'lani is gifted with some kind of psychic ability, has agreed to marry Jagan Mondragon, the Sorcerer Prime. Jagan fled Psyclid when it was invaded by the Regulon Empire, but has now returned, supposedly to lead his people in rebellion against the occupation. But he's been dragging his feet about it, and when he finally shows up, he has his mistress with him. If that weren't enough of a problem, M'lani develops a not-so-welcome psychic gift, and then there's that prickly long-time rebel leader, T'kal Killiri (who did not flee Psyclid at the first sign of the Regs), and the antics of M'lani's younger brother, K'kadi, who speaks only through illusions.

On Blue Moon, one of Psyclid's three moons, M'lani's older sister and her husband, Tal Rigel, continue to plot a massive rebellion against the Regs, but freedom for the obscure, peace-loving planet of Psyclid seems a long way away.

For Kass's and Tal's story, please see Rebel Princess, Book 1 of the Blue Moon Rising series.

For a link to Sorcerer's Bride on Amazon, please click here.

~ * ~

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace
 
For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.


For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.  

Friday, December 30, 2016

Editing & Holiday Musing


 My daughter didn't re-post this video from 2012 (in Gatlinburg, Tennessee) until after my last Mosaic Moments. So please enjoy a holiday treat, which is just as pretty after Christmas as before. For Susie Reale singing "Have a Merry Little Christmas" against a backdrop of the mountains of Tennessee,  click here.

On a more somber note, somewhere over the last few decades we seem to have lost the concept of honor - particularly in this year of 2016. So when I saw the word "honor" in the Orlando Sentinel (12/29/16), I felt these few sentences were worth passing on. [Every Thursday the Sentinel publishes a Spotlight featuring "Champ" and "Chump." I read it faithfully, as it's good to know who's doing good deeds in the state and who's being an idiot. This was today's "Champ." (We won't bother with the Chump.)]

Bob Hansell:  Next week's retirement for Osceola County's three-term sheriff will cap his 40-year career with the agency. He joined at 18, rose through the ranks to captain, and commanded the agency's SWAT team. Along the way, he earned a reputation for leadership and integrity. In 2004, amid discontent in the agency's ranks, Hansell took a risk and quit so he could challenge then-Sheriff Charlie Aycock. Voters rewarded Hansell with a 12-point victory. In 2008 and again in 2012, he easily won re-election over write-in candidates. [Grace note: this indicates that no one would run against him, knowing he was unbeatable.] He'll be especially missed among his peers in law enforcement. One told the Sentinel, "He is one of the most honorable men that I have ever worked with in my career."

Grace note:  Clearly, our world needs a great many more honorable men. And women.

The "cartoon" below was also in Thursday's Orlando Sentinel. No explanation needed, except perhaps to say that it was drawn before Carrie Fisher's death was compounded by that of her mother, Debbie Reynolds.


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 MORE ON EDITING

 I've harped on this theme before, but whether you're swamped with distractions or suffering from classic writer's block, you should just keep writing. That's what I did the week before Christmas. Yes, I probably should have given up any attempt at creativity during that period, but I'd just started a new book, and it was ringing in my head, so . . .

All went well until that final ten days, which saw not only holiday preparations but a massive amount of musical events. If I wasn't singing myself, I was watching the grandchildren follow in the family musical footsteps. So no wonder when I sat down on December 26 to look at Chapter 5 (which for me is hardcopy with a legal pad, pen, and pencil at the ready) I found it appalling. As you've heard me say, my first drafts can be little more than shorthand for what I had in mind, but this

There's no way to present the deletions and keep the chapter legible, so I'll just put the editing additions in red, so you can see what I did to salvage my Christmas disaster. (At least I hope I did.) The point, as always, is to emphasize that you, too, can do this. You can read over what you wrote and make it better, even if the first time was but a gleam in the eye of what you intended. Self-editing is all important. READ WHAT YOU WROTE, THEN MAKE IT BETTER.

Excerpts from The Lady Takes a Risk, Chapter 5: 

Marcus blew out his candle but left the one on the small bedside table still alight. He wanted to see his wife, though he suspected she would soon cut short his enjoyment of the vision before him (as a properly brought up virgin should.) The bed was broad, and she had thoughtfully positioned herself on the side away from the door that connected their rooms . . .

The side as far away from him as possible . . . ? 

Inwardly, Marcus mocked himself. Did she think him a reluctant lover, doing his duty? Fulfilling the agreement they'd made? Did she have no idea how intriguing he found her? How long it had been since he'd held a woman in his arms?
 
Despite knowing he'd been married, she probably thought him a Don Juan who had left behind a string of women panting for him on the continent, when, in fact, he'd put all that behind him when Susan and little Julian died. He hadn't so much as looked longingly at a woman until nigh onto a fortnight after coming to Kirkwood Farm. In the midst of struggling to replace a broken hops pole, he'd paused to wipe sweat from his eyes, and there she was: this magnificent creature in a green velvet habit slowing her black gelding to a leisurely walk, making no effort to hide her interest in what he and his men were doing.

..............................
And, incredibly, by some miracle here he was, sitting on the edge of the lady's bed in his nightshirt, his manhood a half-mast because he had so many doubts. Doubts about himself after that fatal charge at Waterloo, doubts about plunging a duke's daughter into the maelstrom of Kirkwood Farm. Doubts about betraying his beloved Susan by taking a second wife. 

Susan, forgive me!

She would be happy for him, he knew she would, and yet . . .

Why had he survived the war when she and their child had not? When so very many had not. Why should he be gifted with a duke's daughter when he had so frequently come close to being the toy soldier she had accused him of? Marcus Trevor, commanding officer of "The Prince's Dolls"—now there was a name to make a proper soldier blush!
...............................
Colonel Marcus Granville Sherbrooke, commander of a regiment of sons of England's most noble houses, mucking about in a hops field. He was sorry his father hadn't passed by that day. Or any of the many days afterward as he and his "pretty boys" learned how to grow hops. Not grapes to be fermented for the superior palettes of noblemen, but hops for beer for the masses.

The irony was topped only by his marrying exactly the woman he would have been expected to marry in his former life. 

If he were particularly fortunate. 

Idly, an action rearing its head from his past, he wound a strand of her hair around his finger. Lifting his gaze,he studied her face—the face struggling so hard not to show anxiety. "Well, my lady, it seems you have joined me in taking a plunge down in the world. Frankly, I could use your support. Tell me, Amelie, can we be friends?" Dear Lord, even in the flicker of the one rapidly guttering candle, he could see her soften, feel her silent inner sigh. He'd done it. He'd said the right thing. And suddenly he could see her through the eyes of a lover. Radiantly beautiful. 
...........................

Grace Note: the remainder of the chapter is almost as heavily revised as the above.  So no matter how hectic, depressing, or utterly impossible the circumstances, hang in there. Keep writing. Fix it later when the bright sunshine of another day shows you the way.

~ * ~ 
 
Thanks for stopping by,

Grace
 
For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.


For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.  
   

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Peace on Earth

Last year I did not put up my Christmas tree - it remained bagged-up in my garage as my treasured box of ornaments could not be found in my son-in-law's warehouse, where we store our Christmas stuff. But, fortunately, he moved the contents of his warehouse to Longwood this year, and lo & behold, my lifetime collection of  ornaments turned up. The night before this photo was taken, the pieces of the tree had just come out of two years of being bagged—the lights not connected, the branches all askew. But while I was reading the morning paper, it acquired its first ornament. (I have grave doubts about some of fragile ornaments when the tree is finally decorated. And yes, this is Squeak's first Christmas. She is snoozing in my lap as I type this.)



Over the past two weeks, our family has been swamped by Christmas musical performances—and all the rehearsals that go with them. Last Sunday three generations of the family sang at the Christmas program presented by Church of the Redeemer. Cassidy also sang with her outstanding chorus at Woodlands Elementary, and we managed to find Seminole High School in Sanford, where Hailey and Riley were singing in two of the three choruses from Markham Middle School. (Even the change of venue to a high school auditorium wasn't enough. Latecomers had to stand. We were fortunate enough to have Cassidy make a run for seats way down front.) 

Meanwhile, during the same weeks, Susie and her Citrus Singers have been singing everywhere from the Orlando Art Museum to shopping malls, and of course last week's concert at Church of the Redeemer. Tonight (Saturday, the 17th) they will be repeating what they did last year - singing the National Anthem at the Cure Bowl here in Orlando before what will likely be a sold-out crowd as our own UCF (University of Central Florida) team will be playing. (1015 p.m. - just watched the video on Facebook - the girls were great!)

The primary point of this week's Mosaic Moments is that every performance, directed by a variety of musicians, has featured the themes of Peace of Earth, Diversity, and Tolerance. How could it not, after what Orlando has been through this year? (I should note that last Monday marked the six-month anniversary of the massacre at Pulse nightclub. There were some very moving memorial services at the site and at the historical building which now archives most of the Pulse memorials contributed by so many mourners. The Orlando Gay Chorus performed and did an outstanding job, as usual.)

Cassidy's elementary school chorus - c. 60 strong - took the stage in rainbow T-shirts (one group wearing purple, one red, etc.) They sang songs of peace and good will, including that great African-American spiritual, "Follow the Drinking Gourd," a song telling slaves to follow the Big Dipper where it points to the north star.

Markham Middle School (performing at Seminole High) did a beautiful variety of songs, ending with the director emphasizing the importance of their final number, "Let There Be Peace of Earth."

And the Citrus Singers have been doing the same at their concerts. One of the four songs they performed at Church of the Resurrection was also "Let There Be Peace of Earth." Cassidy and Riley are the featured soloists, and their father got a good recording. (Warning: if the video goes into family stuff at the end, just hit the back arrow.) 

For the video made at Church of the Resurrection in Longwood, Florida, Sunday evening, December 11, click here.

As for my literary contributions to Christmas, I featured Mistletoe Moment in my last blog, but I'd like to note that there's a lot of Christmas in my traditional Regency, A Gamble on Love (cover & blurb below).




Miss Aurelia Trevor has a problem. Until she reaches the age of twenty-five, she will have no control over her beloved Pevensey Park, and by that time her unscrupulous uncle will have run it into the ground. Marriage to someone other than her uncle's leering son is her only way out, but, one by one, she rejects the men on her list of suitors. In desperation, Aurelia does the unthinkable. She hires a solicitor to find her a husband strong enough to stand up to both her uncle and her cousin. And soon learns the truth of that old adage: Be careful what you wish for.

Thomas Lanning is a man of the City. Unlike Aurelia, who stands to inherit vast land and wealth, he has made his own place in the world. He is not at all tempted by the suggestion of marriage to an heiress, but other considerations, such as a power base for a seat in Parliament, tweak his interest. Plus an unexpected twinge of chivalry when he hears the full extent of Miss Trevor's difficulties with her uncle and his family.

Aurelia, who only wants to live in peace on her acres, finds she has acquired a ready-made family in Thomas's younger sister and brother, as well as a head-strong husband whose campaign for MP fills her household with a shockingly odd assortment of characters. It seems her marriage of convenience is fast becoming a marriage of inconvenience. Just how far will this strong-willed pair bend to accommodate each other? And will they do it before it's too late?

May your holidays, whichever ones you celebrate, be bright, and may 2017 prove to be more peaceful than the sad and awful moments that overshadowed 2016.

~ * ~

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace
 
For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.


For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.  

Saturday, December 3, 2016

SECRET REVEALED

For many years I used a Florida Gulf Coast town as the setting for many of my Romantic Suspense novels and Mysteries. And I've always said I wanted to keep the location a secret, as the population triples each winter, and we really didn't want it to become known to any more people! 

It's been nine and a half years since I moved to the Orlando area, but my daughter and I still make a pilgrimage back at least once a year, usually in October. This year, however, we couldn't go until Thanksgiving weekend, and, lo and behold, we discovered the secret is out. The hidden beach where we've always gone to swim, fly kites, and find shells looked like Coney Island! We couldn't believe it. So I've decided to come clean and admit that this very special retirement/resort/Florida native community is Venice, Florida, which is about 20 miles south of Sarasota. It has the only direct beachfront for something like a hundred miles in each direction; i.e., no barrier island in front of the downtown portion of Venice. A canal had to be dug behind downtown to accommodate the Intracoastal Waterway. The high school is right on the canal, and woe to any football kicker with a heavy foot. (The eastern goalposts back up to the canal.)

The main street of Venice extends ten miles from the Gulf of Mexico, becoming a dirt road shortly before it ends on the Myakka River in a jungle that always reminds me of photos I've seen of Vietnam. Yet not far beyond that jungle is cattle country (as you'll discover in Shadowed Paradise and Paradise Burning). 

As for our time on the beach this year, we found heavy erosion from hurricane Matthew (which entered the Gulf before turning back over Central Florida and traveling up the east coast, doing heavy damage from Daytona north). There was an upper "cliff" and a "lower" cliff of sand each beach-goer had to negotiate. The wooden walk-over ramps were left dangling 12-18" above the sand, so not very usable. Nonetheless, we had a grand time, spending most of our two days just enjoying the salt air, waves, and the greatest beach for sharks' teeth in the world.

For this week's Mosaic Moments I'm including a few Venice photos, then displaying cover & blurbs for my books using Venice as a setting. I hope you enjoy both the photos and the book info. If you're ever near Florida's Gulf Coast, don't miss Venice. It's one of those very special places. The boutiques on Main Street and those unique stores, Venice Stationers and Sea Pleasures and Treasures, make the trip worthwhile, even without Caspersen Beach, Airport Beach, Venice Beach, Nokomis Beach, the jetties (entrance/exit from Waterway to Gulf), waterfront restaurants, a fishing pier . . . 

The lower "cliff" on Caspersen Beach

Sitting on a bench in the shade, with nothing but the Gulf between me and Mexico

Lunch at a sidewalk café on Venice Avenue
 
Second day - Susie shelling right down to the last minute


Blair's Books Set in Venice

Romantic Suspense







A killer gloats as he stalks Realtors in the Gulf Coast resort community of Golden Beach, Florida, where Claire Langdon, a sophisticated but vulnerable New England widow with a young son, now works in real estate. When she acquires a self-proclaimed protector, a half-Russian, half-Florida cracker ex-fed, overcoming the cultural shock is almost as difficult as catching the killer.











Amanda Armitage has a problem. A highly skilled researcher, she has been assigned the job of assisting Peter Pennington, world-famous newsman turned author, with his latest book. (A glorious vacation, she is assured. The whole winter Season in Florida.) Peter's book topic:  international sexual slavery. Mandy's problem: Peter is the husband she hasn't seen in seven years.

Grace note:  Paradise Burning contains some crossover characters from Shadowed Paradise.









A Florida Highway Patrol officer investigates his brother's serious injury in a Medieval Fair tournament and discovers an astounding sub-culture in today's Florida - the Medieval Reenactment group, the Lords & Ladies of Chivalry. He also finds a Lady Knight, fighting her way out of years of abuse. Michael Turco and Kate Knight both have a great deal to learn before they can solve a crime and lay each other's ghosts and preconceptions.

Grace note:  Florida Knight is based on my years as a member of the Society for Creative Anachronisms in Florida. And also on my experiences as a volunteer at Medieval Fairs held at The John & Mable Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida.





Mysteries




Want to get married in a hot air balloon? Have the bride step out of a Fabergé egg? Just call Fantascapes, the Halliday family business. Trouble in paradise? Call Laine Halliday, who travels the world smoothing out bumps encountered by high-end clients. But when Fantascapes is used as a front by the Russian mob, in action ranging from Florida to Peru to France, Laine steps into a whole new world of Protect and Serve.











Death by accident, old age, and strangulation. An elderly senior about to marry a con artist. A rash of burglaries. Only an artistic imagination could conjure these disasters into connected events. But costume designer Gwyn Halliday manages it, as she flees trauma in the big city only to discover that bad things can also happen in a sleepy Florida retirement community.









 Someone is killing people at the Bellman Museum, staging the deaths as bizarre works of art. Though struggling to recover from a severe injury and the death of her lover, FBI Special Agent Rory Travis can't resist the challenge of tackling this mystery, which brings two new men into her life. But in the end she stands alone, facing evil one-on-one.

Grace Note:  The Art of Evil is set twenty miles north of Venice in Sarasota, Florida. More specifically, almost all of it at The John & Mable Ringling Museum, where I was a volunteer tram driver once a week for a number of years. (As well as volunteering each year for the Medieval Fair when it was held at the Ringling (& which accounts for my living the background for the opening of Florida Knight).

~ * ~ 
 
Thanks for stopping by,

Grace
 
For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.

For a brochure for Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, click here.