Maggie Pill

The Most Entertaining Cozy Author You Never Heard Of!


Sunday, April 22, 2018

My Review/Blog Post on Kings River Life Magazine

Perils, Plots, and Puppies By Maggie Pill: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

IN THE April 21 ISSUE
FROM THE 2018 Articles,
andCynthia Chow,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andPets
SECTIONS
by Cynthia Chow
& Maggie Pill
This week we have a review of Maggie Pill’s latest book Perils, Plots, and Puppies, along with a fun pet related guest post by Maggie. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Perils, Plots, and Puppies. There is also a link to purchase it from Amazon, and from an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL
Perils, Plots, and Puppies: A Sleuth Sisters Mystery by Maggie Pill
Review by Cynthia Chow
Few know that retired Assistant DA Barbara Ann Evans has been staging “Correction Events” in the town of Allport, Michigan. Unable to bear the sight of grammatical errors public and private building signs, Barbara dresses up like a cat burglar to “tag” storefronts with corrected spellings. When she is spotted at the scene of a murder by a not-entirely-sober witness, Barb is unable to go to the police to either clear herself or provide her own testimony. Making the situation even more awkward is when she and her two sisters of their Smart Detective Agency are hired by the victim’s fiancĂ© to find the “Grammar Nazi” whom most believe had a part in the murder. Barb is as offended by the title as the thought of being considered a killer, but investigating that angle at least keeps her out of the way of her boyfriend, Police Chief Rory Neuencamp.
Peril Plots and Puppies book coverYounger sister Retta Stilson emphatically insists that their client, former beauty queen Frances Habedank, is using them to fool the police and cover her own guilt. Retta may be a bit biased on that front though, as having passed fifty she is facing the harsh reality of no longer being able to rely on her looks. The way Barb sees it, Frances is just the amped-up, much younger version of Retta. Another client’s request to find a lost dog leads the Sleuth Sisters to a horrific puppy mill, where even soft-hearted middle sister Faye Burner has her faith in mankind tested.
The author of cozy mysteries under the name Peg Herring, Pill continues to develop these stellar characters into admirable, vulnerable, and always relatable mature women. Many will sympathize with Retta’s shock and anger at being considered OLD, underestimated, and overlooked. It’s a joy to see how much the only-flighty Retta has evolved since her first appearance nine books ago, especially in the eyes of her two sisters. Chapters narrated by each sister provide further insight into each of their personalities, which include their unique humor and love for one another.
Thankfully for the weak of heart, scenes of the puppy mill quickly shift towards to the extraordinary efforts of a no-kill shelter and generous volunteers. Depictions of the forgiving spirits of the abused canines will have readers visiting their nearest shelter as soon as possible, if only to help care, if not to adopt, a new furry baby. The challenge of aging in a youth-obsessed society and need for animal protection rights are perfectly weaved into this well-plotted mystery investigation. Readers will find themselves relating to at least one, if not all of the three detecting sisters. The siblings may argue and be frustrated by long past offenses, but in the end their love and loyalty conquers all. This continues to be such a fun, witty, and warm-hearted mystery series.
Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).
The Last Pet
by Maggie Pill aka Peg Herring
I grew up on a small farm in northern Michigan, so when I write the Sleuth Sisters Mysteries, memories seep in. I really did help pick stones from our fields in spring. In summer, I drove the tractor while my dad and grand-dad loaded hay bales onto the wagon. I gathered eggs from chickens who weren’t thrilled about giving them up. And I used a Mason jar to dip our breakfast beverage from a metal can while the milk was still warm from the cows that provided it.
Not Really Pets
We didn’t think of animals as pets back then. We always had a house cat and more in the barn. Though we enjoyed their company, their purpose was keeping the mice away. Our Collie had a job too, helping us fetch the cattle in from the fields. (I was the second “dog”; Lad went around one side of the herd, I went the other way, Grandpa brought up the rear, and together we drove the cows where we wanted them.)
author with pets as a child
Maggie as a child with her pets
The first animals we had purely as pets were two ornery ponies we loved like family. Later, we moved on to retired draft horses from Mackinac Island (where there are no cars). I learned that like dogs, cats, and even cows, each horse has a personality. Dolly was the size of a tractor, but she made it almost all the way into the kitchen one day before my mother shooed her out. My usual mount, Danny, was good on the out-bound part of a trail ride. He’d calmly follow the other horses to wherever we were going and wait patiently while we swam or picked berries. When we turned toward home, however, he knew he’d soon be set free, so he took off at a dead run every time. No amount of pulling on the reins or hollering made him stop until he reached the barnyard fence.
What’s a Home without A Critter or Six?
As an adult I’ve looked after many pets, from a snowy-white rabbit to a one-eared cat who loved to go hunting with my husband. My two favorite dogs were a black Lab named Pete, who could sneak up on birds and catch them in his mouth, and a little bit of bone and hair named Gertrude, seven pounds soaking wet, who believed she could win any fight, whatever the opponent. Luckily, she never had to prove it.
Though we’ve welcomed many pets into our home, we’ve decided there will be no more. We have only a cat left, an adopted stray named Trouble who is 23-1/2 years old. She travels with us, though I can’t say she enjoys it, and it’s become worrisome. She got sick a month ago, and I agonized over what I’d do if we had to put her down. (She’s better now and back to ruling the house.) Though we love Trouble, we’ve decided she will be the last. We’re on the road a lot due to my book events, and we dislike leaving pets in unfamiliar situations or imposing on friends and family to care for them. Life will be simpler if we don’t take on a new animal. At least that’s what we tell ourselves.
cat
Trouble helping
Not Going Cold Turkey
I will still have access to pets. My brother and sister-in-law live close, and they parent two Newfoundlands. Retta’s dog Styx is based on them. My sisters both have cats and dogs and probably always will. (Faye’s Buddy is based on a dog who learned to abide other humans but clearly considered my sister the only worthwhile one.)
It’s hard to imagine no little fur-face to greet me in the morning (sometimes earlier than I’d like), but when our old cat crosses the Rainbow Bridge, I’m going to try being a Pet Aunt, not a Pet Mom.
Can I do that after decades and decades of daily interaction with animals? We’ll see.
To enter to win a copy of Perils, Plots, and Puppies, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “perils,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 5, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways.
Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
Peril, Plots, and Puppies (Sleuth Sisters Mysteries #6)

Monday, April 16, 2018

What I Worry About v What Actually Happens

I'm pretty good at worrying, though my dad was a believer in the adage that worry solves nothing in the future and spoils everything in the present.

Here are some things I worried about in March:
Old cat would die.
No one would like the newest Sleuth Sisters book, Peril, Plots, and Puppies.

We would have trouble getting home from Florida because of traffic.

Here's what actually happened:
Old cat rallied and is now back to running the house the way she likes it.
in front of the heat vent
People have been nice to the new book, and it's selling well.
The trip home was uneventful (except for the day I dropped 174 loose pages of manuscript all over a motel lawn, but we think we got them all back).
The furnace quit.
The garage door wouldn't open.
The car dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree as we pulled in the driveway.
Our internet installation was delayed by a week. (Did you get that? NO internet for a week!)
Michigan got hit with a HUGE winter storm that isn't over yet: snow, ice, sleet, rain--you name it, we've got it.

On the good side, we're home, safe, and warm.

So Dad was right. Worrying doesn't change anything, and because Karma loves surprises, you'll never be smart enough to worry about the right things anyway.


Monday, March 26, 2018

What's an Algorithm Anyhow?

Amazon is the best friend a writer can have, and the worst enemy. Sometimes both at once. Amazon allows us to present our books to the world, but it presents them it its own terms. Amazon's Algorithms, things I have little grasp of, choose which additional books to show to visitors to a site in the form of "YOU MIGHT LIKE..." It's a great thing to be chosen this way, because people who never heard of you before are offered your book without even hunting for it. On the other hand, if the algorithms don't latch onto you, you're probably going to forever remain in obscurity.

The Sleuth Sisters are (Choose one: A) Lucky, B) Amazing, C) Specific) enough to have gained the attention of the AAs. I often get recommendations to buy Maggie Pill's books when I go on as Peg Herring. That's great, and as long as the newest installment rises high enough in some rankings (Amazon has a ton of them), people see older titles on the page as they consider what to buy next.

What's hard to understand sometimes is why they think I would like a book. This morning, for example, when I visited PERIL, PLOTS, and PUPPIES to check its ratings, I got the following recommendations: a book of short stories, a Seattle cozy (I get that), a thriller about Nazis (I'm thinking Barb being the Grammar Nazi brought that on), a thriller about Washington politics, and a mystery set during the English Regency. How do those relate to three sisters in Michigan?
I'm sure the algorithms know more about it than I do, but it seems like a crazy stew to me.

If you haven't looked at the new book yet, here's the link:
https://www.amazon.com/Peril-Plots-Puppies-Sisters-Mystery-ebook/dp/B078V8X9J6

Monday, March 5, 2018

March Is Release Month for SS#6!

I have three weeks to make sure everything is AOK for the 6th Sleuth Sisters Mystery, Peril, Plots, and Puppies.
I think I'm ready.
Preorders are available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Peril-Plots-Puppies-Sisters-Mystery-ebook/dp/B078V8X9J6
It will be available from all ebook providers, B&N, Kobo, etc.
Print version is coming along.
Reviewers are pre-reading (they like that).
I'm sure there are things I should be doing, but I can't think of what they'd be.

In this book, the sisters take on two cases: shutting down a puppy mill and finding a murderer. Neither their client nor the puppy mill owner is fun to deal with, and the added complication is that Barb was seen near the murder scene, doing a Correction Event as the Grammar Nazi. Each sister has her own concerns, but of course they come together when it's time for Sister Power.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Audible on Sale? Unheard of!

One of the criticisms I hear of Audible is how expensive audio books are, and I sympathize. Many of my fans save credits or scrimp to buy my newest book, and it's discouraging for authors, who know a new listener probably isn't going to risk $20 plus to try her book.
Lately they seem to be getting it, and I have had two hopeful signs. One is that they put my old MACBETH'S NIECE release (written as Peg Herring) into a special romance category that gives readers a price break. The other is that they're having a sale this week (Feb. 18 to 25) on "First of a Series" books, and they included THE SLEUTH SISTERS for less than $6.95 (whatever that means!)
That means if you haven't heard Judy, Laura, and Anne perform as Retta, Barb, and Faye, you get a bargain chance.
https://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/The-Sleuth-Sisters-Audiobook/B00MW75YF0 

And since Book #6 is in the works, you'll have some enjoyable listening ahead!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Pre-order Sleuth Sisters #6

It's a terrifying thing for an author to say, "I will have this book ready on..." A hundred objections come to mind: what if I hate it? what if the editor hates it? what if, what if, what if?
Still, there comes a time, and it's here. Peril, Plots, and Puppies is slated for March 23, and you can pre-order it here: https://www.amazon.com/Peril-Plots-Puppies-Sisters-Mystery-ebook/dp/B078V8X9J6
If you've missed any of the former books, you've got two months to get caught up!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Working On It, Boss

Working Cover Files
If you keep up with my adventures, you know I was conflicted about a sixth Sleuth Sisters book. I do NOT want to be the author who stretches a series beyond logic, and I feel strongly that if I'm not interested in the plot, my readers won't be either.
That was reinforced this past week as I read a book by one of my favorite authors, who has a long-running series I've always liked. The new story was beyond belief, with the detective getting naked in front of a crowd of people to force a confrontation that made very little sense and wasn't believable, at least for me. I never want the Maggie Pill name attached to a book just to have a new one out there.
With that said, I found myself interested in the sisters again somewhere in August, and the questions began. What if Barb is caught, or almost caught, doing her Grammar Nazi thing? What if it's because there's a murder nearby, so the Nazi is a suspect? That was the germ of the idea for Book 6.
Then I asked myself what the other sisters might be doing that would interest me and my readers. For Faye the answer was easy: helping animals. I began researching puppy mills by talking to people at several animal shelters in northern Michigan. There: a sub-plot! That left Retta, and her concern in the book became something many of us face in our fifties, when we start to really understand what aging is and how we're treated differently because of it. How would Retta feel if someone younger and cuter took the spotlight, leaving her in the shadows?
So we have the Sleuth Sisters' signature ingredients: a murder, some family conflict, and dogs. If that sounds like a book, well, it's becoming one. It takes repeated reads and edits, sometimes by myself, sometimes with the help of wonderful beta readers, to make sure what I think is happening in a story is clear to the reader. So that's what I'm working on, and this week I got the cover, which always inspires me to keep going. The Sleuth Sisters will power on, and of course they'll prevail, because--Sister Power!