A Halloween Close Call

A Kiki Lowenstein

By Joanna
Campbell Slan
The entire novella will be free from Oct. 29 through Oct. 31 (Tuesday through Thursday). On those days ONLY, you’ll be able to “purchase” the novella at no cost. You can get your copy FREE on those days only by going to http://tinyurl.com/HalloweenCC


Author’s Note: In the timeline of Kiki
Lowenstein’s life, this comes after Group, Photo, Grave (Book #8) and immediately
before Killer, Paper, Cut (Book #9).


Chapter 1

Two and a half weeks before Halloween…

suburb of St. Louis MO


it’s spooky or scary, count me out,” I said, shaking my head no for

Chad Detweiler grinned at me before planting a quick kiss on my lips. “Even
if I’m there to hold your hand?”

honey and I were meeting with our friends, Clancy Whitehead and Johnny
Chambers, to discuss how we would celebrate Halloween.

I thought Halloween was your favorite holiday!” Clancy shook her head at
me. She’s one of my favorite people, my co-worker at Time in a Bottle, the
scrapbook and craft store that I now own.

is my fave holiday. I love the colors. Orange. Purple. Neon green. Black. And
all the darling images.”

“And the
candy,” said Detweiler, laughingly.
“There’s that, too,” I admitted. “But the scary stuff? Not so

an interesting picture we must have made. All four of us were very different. Leaning
against the doorsill in my office was the oh-so-classic Clancy, a dead-ringer
for Jackie Kennedy, right down to the dark auburn bob. Sitting on the corner of
my big desk was Johnny, who has Bad Boy written all over him, with that sort of
Cool Hand Luke. And then there was my wonderful Knight in Shining Armor,
Detective Chad Detweiler, with his long legs and amazing green-gold eyes. And
me? Well, I look like a demented beach ball because I’m seven months pregnant
with a head full of curly, dishwater blond hair. I was sitting at my desk in
the big black leather chair, and Detweiler was standing next to me.

underscore how adamant I was, I crossed my arms. Or tried to. I couldn’t
exactly fit my arms over my baby bump. Right now, Alfred Hitchcock and I were
sharing a profile. “I love Halloween, but I draw the line at being
frightened out of my mind. I get enough crummy surprises in my daily life,
thank you.”

matter how hard I try

Ink, Red, Dead Will Be Free for Three Days!

You can download Ink, Red, Dead for FREE from Oct. 5 thru 7 (Saturday through Monday) by going to http://tinyurl.com/inkred  Here’s the deal: As long as you keep spread the word and tell your friends about my free offers, I’ll continue making my books available for FREE for a limited time!

An Excerpt from
Note: The new revision is book length with craft “how to” information and recipes!

By Joanna Campbell Slan
Copyright 2013
 Note: The new revision is book length with craft “how to” information and recipes!


In the chronology of Kiki’s life this book is now Book #3 in the series, falling between Cut, Crop and Die; and Photo, Snap, Shot. Kiki is assisting her friend Mert in cleaning out a hoarder’s house. Because the place is so gross, Kiki is wearing a Tyvek suit and headgear, despite the fact that the heat outside is beastly!



was rubbing at my skin fiercely when something landed on the top of my head.

whooped with fear, batting at my hood with both hands.

one heard me because everyone else was busy in other corners of the house.
Trudy in the back bedroom. Johnny in the garage. Mert in the kitchen.

          The thing on my head slipped to one
side. Tiny pinpricks stabbed through the Tyvek and into my scalp. A tiny yellow
paw appeared through the lenses of my goggles. I held perfectly still. Was it
possible that a cat had landed on me? Had one been overlooked?

          But this…this thing on my head was far
too light to be a cat.

 I froze, strained my ears, and was rewarded by
the tiniest “meow” ever, in a voice so hoarse I nearly missed it. Slowly I moved
my hand upwards. Finally, I plucked from my head a palm-sized yellow tabby. He
stared at me with lime-green eyes and tried to “meow” again but nothing came

          “You poor little tyke. They rounded up
everyone else, didn’t they? Let’s see what we can do for you.”

          I carried the kitten over to Mert,
who’d been working in Marla’s bedroom. We walked outside. She pulled off her
hood, glanced down at the kitten, and gave me a glum look. “He’ll probably

          “What?” I cradled the cat to my chest.
“What do you mean, die? He’ll be okay. Has to!”

          She sighed. “Most of Marla’s cats were
sick. If this one don’t have feline distemper, it’s a miracle. You can’t take
him home because he’ll only kick the kitty litter bag over on you

Nancy Cohen's Social Networking Tips.

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of savvy marketers in this
business. Right at the top of the list is Nancy Cohen. She’s also a terrific
teacher with a knack for breaking down information into useful chunks. Last
Saturday, I listened to her lecture at the Florida Mystery Writers Association
meeting, and I wanted to share a few of her ideas about social marketing with you. Most of what you’ll see below comes under the heading of, “Who knew?” and the answer of course is “Nancy did!”
  • Put up an author page on Amazon for each foreign site (i.e. UK, Australia).
  • Consider becoming an Amazon affiliate so that when people purchase your books from your website, you receive a referral fee.
  • Create an Amazon book carousel from your Author Central account.
  • Remember that people who visit your blog might not visit your website and vice versa.
  • Give blog readers a way to contact you via email.
  • Consider writing about writing! Information on writing has generated the most blog hits for Nancy.
  • Add your book titles to your Facebook page where it directs you to “Add a project.”
  • Promote a single title on Facebook with this app from BookPulse. http://bookpulse.heroku.com/website/index.html
  • Import your blog into your FB pages: http://www.networkedblogs.com/blog
  • Post on Pinterest! It’s the third most popular social network in the US after Facebook and Twitter.

J. Cohen writes humorous mysteries and paranormal romance. The tenth and latest
title in her Bad Hair Day mystery series is Shear Murder, now available
for $3.19 on Kindle: http://amzn.to/YuMlCq
#2 in her paranormal Drift Lords Series, is officially available April 26 in
multiple formats at http://bit.ly/ZnvtKJ
Nancy’s Blog Tour : http://nancyjcohen.com/appearances/
her: Rafflecopter Contest April 26-May 2:  http://nancyjcohen.com/fun-stuff/contest/
more details, visit http://nancyjcohen.com

Check Out the 5 Star Reviews Photo, Snap, Shot is Getting at Amazon!

Here’s what two reviewers have to say about Photo, Snap, Shot

Love,love, love this third book in the series of Murder Mysteries about Hard working single mom Kiki Lowenstein. Even if you don’t find yourself to be a crafter you will really enjoy this book.


This book may be classified as a cozy mystery, but it really is a cut above the standard of that genre. Slan has her characters tackle some very complex problems in this new addition to the series.

While all the 3 books are great reads, it is with Photo, Snap, Shot that we really see growth, both in terms of subject matter and writing. The characters are becoming more rounded and the “community” of the book is getting fleshed out. Both characters from the previous books as well as new character introduced here are realistic and worth investing in.

I suspect that the series will only continue to grow as further books come out, so why not jump on board now, while there are only 3 books to catch up on. These are quick reads and while scrapbookers will find useful tips in each book, non-crafters will all appreciate the story of a single Mom struggling to raise her daughter.

Bits and Pieces for Friday

Here’s a round-up of information, ideas, quotes and trends you’ll want to explore:

1. Trade Paperbacks Surge in Popularity http://tinyurl.com/dmr83k

A mass market paperback is one of those smaller paperbacks like you buy in a drugstore. A trade paperback is larger, maybe 5 x 7 inches or 6 x 8, inches and it’s almost a cross between a paperback book and a hardcover. Hardcovers are very pricey, except that many discount big box stores like Kmart and Target discount them heavily. Booksellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble and Borders and Books-a-Million also discount them. To me, the biggest problem is weight. Yeah, with the cost of additional luggage constantly rising, a hardback book–although that’s my preference for the joy of the experience and for the longevity of the product itself–is too darn heavy to cart around.

2. E. Desmond Lee, St. Louis Philanthropist, Dies

I can’t begin to list all the ways that Des Lee influenced St. Louis with his generosity. His name appears all over town on buildings and in hallways. I remember when my husband David first met him. Des Lee wanted to know all about my husband, which I think was probably a clue as to why Des was such a treasure: Despite his own illustrious career and his business success, he genuinely cared about others.


3. This from a New York Times article, a quotation about whether there’s any merit to being private (as opposited to using to Twitter to record one’s every waking moment) attributed to the poet C.K. Williams–

More and more lately, as, not even minding the slippages yet, the aches and sad softenings, I settle into my other years, I notice how many of what I once thought were evidences of repression, sexual or otherwise, now seem, in other people anyway, to be varieties of dignity, withholding, tact.

In other words…maybe conducting your person business over a cell phone in a crowded public place is NOT the height of cool, folks.

Kirkus to Close?

This just in at the PW website:

As part of the sale of its business to business publications, Nielsen Business Media has announced that it is closing its book review publication Kirkus Reviews as well as Editor & Publisher. No details on the closing have been released yet. Nielsen is selling its major publications, including The Hollywood Reporter and Adweek to e5 Global Media Holdings.

Wow. I wonder what that means?

Who will be the reviewers of tomorrow?

Or will it matter?

I was talking with a major non-fiction author the other day, who is also a journalist by trade. He said, “I decided I would never write a book review until I myself had a published book. I didn’t think it fair to comment until I had gone through the process.”

Interesting. Very interesting.

I know that my readers seem to really appreciate Amazon reviews. The reviewers are readers just like they are, so the reviews seem to be more in line with their own personal tastes.

What a watershed moment this is in the publishing industry.

Marketing Lessons from Girl Scouting

Remember Girl Scouts? Thinking back on it, I believe that Juliette Gordon Lowe was actually creating a marketing organization, designed to promote the idea of good self-esteem to young women. She was a remarkable woman, and obviously a smart (Girl Scout) cookie.

Let’s rethink some of the precepts:

1. Make new friends but keep the old. Okay, you never know what you’ll learn from a pal. I just received an email from Jess Lourey telling me that my pre-release book Paper, Scissors, Death is beating out some releases on Amazon. I didn’t know that! I don’t know how to surface that info, but Jess does. That’s just one tiny example of how friends can help us with this gnarled world of promotion. Secondly, she noted I didn’t have my book tour on my website. Gosh, I hadn’t thought of that! Now I’ll hop right on it! (The tour info is on the Midnight Ink site and on http://www.booktour.com/ But that’s not enough.)

2. Do a good turn daily. Each day when my google alerts pull up scrapbooking posts, I try to email at least one of the blogs and pass along an honest compliment. Will that help me? Who knows? I just know I feel good afterwards, and maybe I’m spreading a little goodwill. Of course, I sign the posts with “Joanna Campbell Slan, author of Paper, Scissors, Death: A Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-and-Craft Mystery.”

3. Be prepared. I try to bring bookmarks and business cards (with my book cover) with me wherever I go. In fact, I had this great idea: I’m going to ask my local branch of the public library if I can slip a bookmark inside other craft cozies. I bet they’ll say “yes,” because they want to keep books pristine and recommend them. This will do both. Slipping them inside is smarter than putting them on the counter.

4. Help other people every day, especially those at home. Well, that’s an easy one to overlook, isn’t it? My sisters Jane and Margaret would both willingly help me, if they knew how. So it came as a surprise to all of us when I started asking questions: Do you know any mystery readers? Have any friends in book clubs? Turns out that Margaret’s school has a book club. I gave her an excerpt booklet and bookmarks to give the to organizer. Jane is an online whiz, so I’ve asked her to help me when I get my Facebook site going.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I remember something I learned years ago when I was getting my minor in psychology. When you ask a person to do a favor for you, if they didn’t like you before, they will after they are asked. You see, we can’t hold two competing ideas comfortably. So, the “favor granter “will decide to like the “favor asker ” or feel unsettled. I’m telling myself to buck up. To ask people for help when I think they can. A “no” never hurt anyone. I can take it! Especially when the “yes” answers feel so good.

And I plan to wear a lot of green, highlighted by a great big Brownie smile.

PS Like these? I’ll be posting the first in a list of ideas I’ve used to promote Paper, Scissors, Death on the Midnight Ink blog http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/ on August 21.