Saturday, September 27, 2014

"Fleeing Beauty" Coming Soon!

One of the challenges for me is when I try to get the artwork right for a story. Being able to convey the image I have in my head to the artist who will actually put the cover together is never easy.  Sometimes the image I have in mind sounds great, but in reality it just won't click.  Fleeing Beauty, the third book in the Jamie Richmond series, is a perfect example.

I filled out the questionnaire for the artist with as much detail as possible. Since so much of this story centers around the discovery of art work, I thought it would be a piece of cake. Take a picture of a sculpture, stick a crate here or there, show my favorite redhead in some form of distress. It's just that easy!  Shows what I know.

It turns out that using any existing sculpture would add expenses since we'd need the author's approval.  Dawne Dominique, who created the covers for both "Devious" and "Vanishing Act"  even went so far as to try and make her own sculpture. (Obviously she has far more patience and talent than I.)  That didn't work.  So she sent me a cover that was definitely eye-catching but in a direction that I never expected.  My good buddy Joanna, who read the earlier draft of the story, checked it out. She flinched. Not a good sign.  So I rejected it, which is the first time I've ever done that. Dawne went back to it and sent me a different version. Close, but a few tweaks were needed. One last try, since the publisher only allows three attempts.  The finished product hit the mark.  Thanks Dawne for your diligence and understanding.

Hope you like it.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Visit with M S Spencer

Every once in a while, another author stops by to hang out. They might search for the tequila or some other form of adult libation, check out what's on the stereo or paw through my collection of books, seeking inspiration. Inevitably, they get comfortable and share a few insights.

Today is no exception. Author M S Spencer wandered in.  I have had the opportunity to read three of her previous mystery novels and found each one enjoyable.  

Before we get to your book, let’s learn a bit about you.  Where are you from and how long have you been writing?
Where am I from? Hmm. That's a toughie. I was born in upstate New York near the St. Lawrence Seaway, but moved six months later (well, my parents moved—I went along for the ride). We spent three years in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, then went halfway around the world to live in Turkey. Two years later we returned to Maryland and only moved twice more before heading to Paris for three years, then on to Morocco. Back to Maryland for high school until college drew me to the Hudson Valley; then Egypt; then Cambridge, MA, then Chicago, then Turkey, and finally back to DC. I'm skipping over the summers and have forgotten maybe one or two moves, but you get the gist. So, to answer your question, I'm not exactly sure where I'm from.
As I like to say, I've been writing since I could hold a crayon in my tiny, stubby fingers.

What authors have had an influence on your own writing efforts?
From adolescence on I read almost exclusively British writers—Austen, Waugh, the Brontes, Hardy—and I've been told my style has a pronounced English taste. I read little modern American fiction and still don't like it much. Either it's too melodramatic like (Hemingway) or too angst-driven (Tyler etc.). If a book is considered a classic, I'll read it. I figure it wouldn't be a classic if it weren't good (the exception being Dickens—gawd, he's dull).  I also loved the dark, intricate writings of Conrad and Anne Rice.

Do you have a specific time or routine that you try to follow when it comes to writing?
Seven days a week I get up early, take a long walk, then go back to bed. About nine, I'll get my breakfast, watch news (I'm a CSpan junkie), then hit the laptop. I'll get into my stride just before knocking off for lunch, then it's downhill from there until about five when I get another spurt of energy. I have an awful feeling I only get inspired when it's nearing a meal time…

What’s the title of your latest work and what is it about?
Whirlwind Romance came out September 2. It's a full-length romantic suspense novel (M/F, 3 flames). Here's the blurb:

 In the aftermath of a hurricane, Lacey Delahaye finds herself marooned on the Gulf coast of Florida with a mysterious man. They are immediately drawn to each other, but before Armand can confess his identity, they are kidnapped and taken far from civilization to a tiny, remarkable island in the western Caribbean. With the help of her son Crispin, a small, but proud young boy named Inigo, and a cadre of extraordinary characters, Lacey and Armand must confront pirates, power-mad ideologues, and palace intrigue if they are to restore the once idyllic tropical paradise to its former serenity and find lasting happiness.
Buy Links:

Who is the one character you’ve created that you are the proudest of?
Are you kidding? You do know they're listening? [She says loudly]: "I love them all equally."

Many authors picture their works as a movie. What character would you play?
I'd love to be Tessa Diamond, heroine of Mai Tais and Mayhem: Murder at Mote Marine. She's tall, willowy, and has long, glistening black hair. Plus she's very calm and sure of herself. Which is why they'd never cast me as her. I'd fit better as Milo Everhart from Artful Dodging: the Torpedo Factory Murders (You knew I'd say that). We first meet her in a paint-covered smock with smudges on her face and it goes downhill from there. 

Yes, there is something about the character Milo which has captured my imagination. Are you working on another book?  What’s it about?
I sure am. I'm on the second draft of a funny, sweet murder mystery set in Maine, tentatively entitled The Penhallow Train Incident.  Rachel Tinker, director of the Penhallow Historical Society, meets her match in Griffin Tate, a curmudgeonly retired professor. Together they wade through a scene awash in red herrings to solve not one, but three murders. If, in fact, they are murders. Along the way they deal with ancient rumors, ancient crime, and ancient tragedy, as they grope nearer and nearer to love in the small coastal town of Penhallow, Maine.
      Somehow Solomon and the Queen of Sheba weasel themselves into the story. Don't ask me how—it's typical of my muse to sneak stuff in when I'm distracted.

What are you reading now?
Besides your wonderful book, Devious? I'm reading Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis, about the Revolutionary Generation, and a fascinating book about American restauranteurs by Patric Kuh entitled The Last Days of Haute Cuisine.

Provide any links for the book, your blog, website, and the cover art.
I'd love to hear from readers:

Thanks for stopping by.  Now put down the tequila and get back to work.  

Sunday, September 7, 2014


It is time to celebrate.

At long last, my mystery "Why 319?" is now available.  This story has been a work in progress or WIP for so long, it's difficult to remember when I first had the idea. To say that it's undergone a number of changes over the years is an understatement. While the basis of the original story remains, there were so many subplots, character changes and twists developed that it really took on a life of its own. Still for a writer there is a definite thrill when your work is deemed worthy by a publisher and you're able to see it out there for the world.

Along the way, I asked a few people whose opinions I value to give it a read. One of those was M S Spencer, who also writes mysteries and knows a thing or two about crafting a good story. Here's one of Spencer's comments.

"If you’re looking for a riveting police procedural, pick up Mark Love’s new murder mystery, Why 319? Fast-paced, authentic, with a slew of distinctive characters and an unconventional mystery, the story’s twists and turns (not to mention a few backtracks) kept me guessing way too long."

Not bad eh?

So if you're looking for a good mystery, check it out.  

Since I'm in the mood to celebrate, I'm offering up a free e-book copy of "Devious" the first story in the Jamie Richmond series.  So here's your chance to check out the adventures of my favorite redhead. Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mason's Mark

Like most writers, I'm an avid reader.  While I tend to stick some old favorites, like Stephen King, Greg Iles, James Rollins, Michael Connelly, Lee Child and John Lescroart, I will often pick up a book that catches my eye.  Where I live, the local library has a big sale every other month, where you can wander amid hundreds of titles and grab three paperbacks for a dollar. This is a great way to discover a new author or series. I've occasionally been asked by other shoppers about a particular book and will give a suggestion or recommendation if it's something I've enjoyed.

With the long holiday weekend, I had the chance to finish a book I picked up months ago but never got around to. Maybe I was just waiting for a chance when I'd have more time without interruptions. The book is "Mason's Mark: Love and Death in the Tower" by M.S. Spencer.

Now I'm not one to write reviews very often. I figure the big dogs like those listed above are already on the bestseller's lists.  But an encouraging word about another offer could lead you to discover a new favorite.

This is the third book by Spencer I've read and each one has been better than the last. Spencer does an excellent job weaving local points of interest and some history into the stories.  With "Mason's Mark"

Spencer delivers another engaging story filled with intrigue, danger and plenty of steamy romantic action to get your attention and keep you entertained.

Claire’s struggles on the first day at her new job are dramatically compounded when she discovers a dead body as she leads a tour group. What was supposed to be a sedate job surrounded by historical artifacts quickly becomes filled with excitement. Her life turns into a carnival ride as she draws the attention of handsome men and evildoers, with some passionate interludes sprinkled along the way.  Spencer has a knack for creating realistic characters that readers can easily identify with.  The Mason’s Mark has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing.