Wednesday, 8 November 2017

A Big Thanks, A Free E-Book, An Upcoming Sale...

I recently discounted my first Agatha Christie Book Club mystery e-book and, thanks to you guys and BookBub, it soared to the #1 Best Seller spot at Amazon in the UK, Canada and Australia! And reached the Top 21 in the US. I'm feeling pretty chuffed about that!
To Celebrate...
I'm doing another discount e-book, this time the second in my GHOSTWRITER MYSTERY series starring a merlot-swilling, fast-talking, fun and fashionable amateur detective called Roxy Parker.
In A Plot to Die For  Roxy heads to a luxury boutique hotel on a secluded island where a mysterious murder leaves some guests looking a little too relieved.
My ode to Agatha Christie's Evil Under the Sun, this cozy adventure will be priced at just 99c from Nov 20 so pop it in your diaries, folks.
Get the 1st book Free!
Until then, fall in love with Roxy in her first Ghostwriter Mystery: Killer Twist which is now available FREE at all online ebook stores.
Or click on the links below:
Happy reading everyone!
xo CA Larmer

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Love Agatha Christie and Cozies? Love My Discounted Series!

Join My Book Club as They Channel Miss Marple in Their 1st Cozy Mystery — Book 1: Just 99c (one week only!)

Agatha Christie isn't just the Queen of Crime, she practically invented the Cozy Mystery genre, which is now one of the most popular crime genres in the world, and certainly my favourite (in case you hadn't worked that out).
In an effort to pay homage to the great Dame Agatha, and to provide my readers with fun cozy mysteries, I wrote my first Agatha Christie Book Club back in 2012—and it has gone on to be my best-selling book, out-selling my Ghostwriter Mystery Series two books to one!

Now Let me Make This Clear...

NO ONE can replace the Great Agatha Christie, certainly not author Sophie Hannah (who tried several times) and certainly not me.
And that was never my intention with this series.
Instead, my books take a fresh and contemporary approach; 'fanzines' if you like. In this series I've gathered a group of Agatha Christie devotees together, thrown a baffling mystery at them, then sat back and watched as the book club friends consider what Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple would do to sift through the clues, recognise the red herrings, and work out whodunnit. 
It's been a lot of fun to write and I hope you find it a fun read. I've since released a second adventure in the series: Murder on the Orient (SS) and have a third book due out for Christmas. 
If you haven't had a chance to read one, get in fast. Thanks to BookBub and Amazon, I'm discounting the first in the series—down from $3.99 to just 99c.
The offer starts on October 19 and runs until October 26. To grab your discounted copy, go straight to your fave e-store, to Amazon, or for BookBub subscribers in the UK, Australia, Canada or India, click here
Happy (cozy) reading everyone.
xo Christina (C.A.) Larmer

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Why I Started My Ghostwriter Series (& How You Can Win One + 44 More!)

I love Sue Grafton and her Alphabet crime series, really I do, but by D is for Deadbeat, I began to realise they were becoming dead boring!

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If I read about private detective Kinsey Millhone pulling on her 'turtleneck sweater' or 'wrinkle-resistant black dress' one more time, or stopping to grab a McDonald's cheeseburger, or hanging out with her elderly landlord, I was going to hit somebody with the book.

I know that they're murder mysteries and I know that this may all sound a little vacuous to you, but I kept wondering why Kinsey was so, well, stuck.

Are there no shopping malls in Kinsey's suburb? Does she not tire of the same old meal?* And does she not want to move out of Henry's converted garage and buy a new place of her own?

Just because you create a wonderful character—and Kinsey really is the cream of the crop—does not mean your character shouldn't change and develop and grow. 
She's human. That's what we do!

Let me repeat: I love Sue Grafton. I can only dream of her worldwide success. I acknowledge that she's a master storyteller and I am just a piddling wannabe, but as a lifetime reader I just longed to see Kinsey blossom or deteriorate or get a limp or something! It may seem trivial to you but it just didn't ring true. By the time I got to S is For Silence I could hold my tongue no longer.

Nobody wears the same outfit. Every. Single. Day. Zzzzzz. Nobody eats the same takeaway, or lives in the same tiny rental. At least, nobody I want to spend that much quality time with.

I desperately wanted to see my favourite PI become a little more interesting and a lot more independent.

Are smart detectives really that dull, I wondered?

I don't think so. That's why I created a crime-solving sleuth of my own. 

Roxy Parker is a smart-talking, Sydney-based ghostwriter with a love of fashion and an interest in decent food, who just happens to stumble upon mysteries of her own. 

Now, I was always going to write crime fiction, I can't credit Grafton with that. But I did use my disappointment with Kinsey to develop my own protagonist. I wanted my sleuth to be a little cool, a little classy but, most of all, to be constantly surprising. And to be interesting in EVERY facet of her life, not just inside her brain. It's not just that she changes her outfit occasionally (who knew?), she's constantly growing, developing her sense of self, making new friends, even changing homes in one book—and keeping my readers on the edge of their toes. Or at least, that's the idea.

Six books later, and I hope my Roxy has evolved as I intended her to, but you can be the judge of that. I'm giving away the first in the Ghostwriter Mystery Series, and, for the next week or so, offering readers the chance to discover a whole new series of their own.

Thanks to Amy at Authors Cross Promotion, I've teamed up with 44 other series writers to make our books available to you. Here's your chance to celebrate series creators and maybe find the perfect match for you.

Win up to 45+ Series eBooks!

(2) Grand Prize "Gift Baskets" of ALL eBooks!
(45+) Winners of Individual eBooks (randomly selected titles)

Just get in quick! The competition ends in under a week.

Happy (series) reading everyone!

xo Christina

*I know Kinsey does experiment with Rosie's mad Hungarian cooking and I thank goodness for that. It's one of the reasons I keep coming back.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

What's YOUR Favourite Agatha Christie Novel?

I recently ran a competition offering participants a chance to win one of my cozy mysteries in exchange for telling me the name of their favourite Agatha Christie novel, and why. Boy, did I strike gold!

I've never had such an extraordinary response to a competition before and, believe me, that's saying something—I've run a lot of competitions in my time.

Within seconds of posting the competition I had answers streaming in, as revealing as they were engaging, and I'd love to share a little of what I have learned.

But first…

I just want to say a quick thank you to everyone who took part. I was overwhelmed by your enthusiastic and heartfelt replies. Some of you put a lot of thought into your choices and really brought the books back to life for me. Sadly, I could only reward the first 12 respondents, and all of them have now been notified. I have also endeavoured to get back to each and every person who participated, whether you won or not, but if for some reason you haven't heard from me, huge apologies. I really did appreciate your feedback but the competition is now officially closed.

So which books struck a chord?

Having gone through all the entries, I thought you might want to know which of Dame Christie's books were the most popular and why. So, envelope, please, and drum roll…

  • MOST POPULAR BOOK: Murder on the Orient Express This was, hands down, the most highly rated mystery amongst all the participants, receiving almost every second vote. And I'm not surprised. I love this one, too, and for all the reasons you gave. Most of you indicated that you loved the train setting, the wonderful characters, and the surprising twist at the end, and I couldn't agree more. In the words of one participant, it's a classic!  
  • SECOND MOST POPULAR: And then There Were None. Now this one took me by surprise! It's been a long time since I read the story of ten 'strangers' brought together at a secluded mansion, and I had forgotten just how gripping the plot is until you reminded me. One participant echoed the thoughts of many when she wrote, "The plot was interesting and (it was) suspenseful trying to keep up with who would die next!" What more can you ask from a mystery novel?
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  • RUNNERS UP: Death on the Nile was also a regular favourite, and the Egyptian setting much beloved, while others, like Evil Under the SunThe Mysterious Affair at StylesHallowe'en Party and The Mystery of the Blue Train were each mentioned time and again, and there I'm not surprised. Each and every one of them is a delight.

So a hearty THANKS everyone for embracing this competition and making it so informative for me, and such good fun. I loved reading all of your replies and promise to do another competition as soon as possible. Until then, I'm off to hunt down an old copy of Then There Were None. I have a mysterious dinner party to attend…

Happy reading, everyone.

xo Christina

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Win one of 12 FREE Cozy Mysteries!

I've (finally) started work on the Agatha Christie Book Club's third enthralling adventure and want to celebrate the good news with you. I don't want to give away too much at this stage but I will say this: the next story is based on my all-time favourite Agatha Christie novel, and it's going to have a whopping twist at the end.

All of which has got me thinking… what's YOUR fave Christie book of all time? And why?

I'd love to find out which of the Dame's 72-plus novels you love most. And I'm willing to reward you for your effort (and for your dedication and patience). Get in touch quickly and you may just score a prize!

So, hands on buzzers, guys, here's my latest giveaway!

What's up for grabs?

• GRAND PRIZE: The first 2 entries get a FREE paperback copy of The Agatha Christie Book Club OR Murder on the Orient (SS)—The Agatha Christie Book Club 2. (Just let me know which one you'd prefer!)*  
• RUNNERS UP: The next 10 entries will get a free e-book copy of either The Agatha Christie Book Club OR Murder on the Orient (SS)—The Agatha Christie Book Club 2.

What do you have to do to win, again?

It's very simple! To be in the running, all you have to do is answer the following question:

Q: What's your FAVOURITE Agatha Christie novel and WHY? 
Just jot a quick comment below or send me an email with the book's title and two or three words explaining why you love it so much. (For example: you might say, 'Death on the Nile because it has such a beautiful setting!')

But I want to hear from you. Get thinking and don't hesitate. There's 12 books up for grabs and I'd hate for you to miss out.

Good luck everybody and happy reading!

xo Christina

*POSTSCRIPT: Apologies latecomers but this competition is now closed. Awww. I have been overwhelmed by email responses and thank you ALL for getting in touch. All 12 winners have now been notified and their books are on the way. I'd still like to hear about your favourite Christie novel, though! Just leave a comment here, and share your views! xo

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Love Women Sleuths? You'll Love This Whopping Giveaway!

There's something especially cool and dynamic about female sleuths. Not only are they generally fast-talking, ass-kicking, take-no-prisoner types (and you NEED to be when you're butting heads with beefy criminals and cocky male cops) but they're almost always unashamedly womanly, often using their feminine wiles or witty one-liners to trick, coerce and outsmart the blokes. 

And sometimes they just use good old-fashioned hard work, like Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone and my very own Roxy Parker, a ghostwriter with a flair for finding the dark and devious truth.

That's why I'm excited to be part of a fantastic giveaway this week, featuring 26+ mysteries starring women sleuths, and ONLY women sleuths!

Wanna win? 

Of course you do! And it's uber easy. Just sign up at Authors Cross Promotion, and you'll be in the running! Here's what's up for grabs:

(2) Grand Prize "Gift Baskets" of ALL eBooks! 
(26+) Winners of Individual eBooks (randomly selected titles)
This package includes my third Ghostwriter Mystery—Last Writes—in which someone is killing best-selling authors, and a ghostwriter is next on the hit-list! Valued at $3.15 for the e-book, you'll get it for FREE!

But get in NOW. Just click here! Offer ends August 26.

Good luck and happy (womanly) reading everyone.

xo Christina

Monday, 24 July 2017

The Path To Publication? It's Written in the Stars, Sadly

Frankie Fish and The Sonic Suitcase  : Frankie Fish Series: Book 1 - Peter HelliarOnce upon a time fame was something that came after you published a fabulous book. Or at least, that was the plan. 

It was certainly the dream and desire of thousands of aspiring authors who sought fame not for its fan mail or feted awards as such (although those were not unwelcome, let's face it) but for its ability to enable them to keep on doing what they loved doing best—writing.

Well, not anymore folks. At least, not always.

"Did you hear about the great lineup in the kids' tent at the Byron Writers' Festival this year?" gushed one mum on the soccer sidelines the other day.
"Oh?" I replied, my pulse quickening at the thought of my son's favourite authors, past and present, littering the stage; people like Andy Griffiths, Mem Fox, and, dare I think it?— J.K. O. My God. Rowling?!
The woman nodded her head, deliriously. "Yes! They've got Richard Roxburgh and Peter Helliar!"
Last time I looked, Richard was a famous actor better known for playing a philandering drunk and Pete a stand-up comedian with a TV news show for adults.
"In the kids' tent? Really? At the writers festival?"
"Oh yes," she squealed. "They've written books. I love those guys. Isn't it exciting!"
Like ordinary writers are so very dull. I didn't dare ask her if she'd read their books, I knew it was irrelevant. Who cares? They're famous!!!"

Now, at risk of sounding like a disgruntled and very unfamous author, let me just say, WTF?! How has it come to this?! How has infamy become the drawcard, not output? How do those bozos get a chair on the podium instead of so many kids' authors I've read whose books are probably just as worthy? Because, and here's the disclaimer, I haven't read Richard or Pete's books either and they're probably absolutely wonderful, but let's be honest here, that's not the point. Those blokes are in the much-sought-after program because of who they are not what they've written, and I defy anyone to argue otherwise.

The changing face of books

Today, it seems, fame is the precursor to scoring yourself a book deal. A prerequisite in fact. No name, no contract, no writing deal. And, I'm sorry, but it breaks my heart.

I don't write children's books, couldn't do it if I tried (and I did once, it was not pretty), but I can't help thinking of all the budding children's authors who attend my self-publishing classes with stars in their eyes not on their director's chairs. They've worked so long and so hard on their stories and, from what they've shown me, their material is often wonderful, their stories delightful, their illustrations exquisite.

But they will probably never see the light of day, let alone the inside of a book shop or the podium at a national book festival because they're missing that one vital factor—fame.

Artie and the Grime Wave - Richard Roxburgh
But maybe I'm just unkind. Maybe it's sour grapes. It's definitely not novel.
This move to celebrity started a long time ago, back when magazines stopped featuring 'ordinary' women on their covers and started plastering brushed up Hollywood stars. And it's not just kids books or my local writers festival that is enamoured of celebrity. Just ask any sports journalist whose job has been replaced by a thuggish looking ex-footy star who can barely read the words being fed to him like mashed banana from a teleprompter.

Today, fame comes first and the craft—the pure and utter devotion to words—well, that's an irrelevant second. A sidenote to a glittering resume. And that, my friends, is the real tragedy.

A forgotten calling

Call me old-fashioned, and many do, but I long for the days when writing was still considered a calling, a career that was respected and admired, albeit poorly paid, and that poor bastards devoted themselves to for decades upon decades, struggling to pay the bills, maintain relationships and retain their sanity—all in the name of art. Not something that's whipped together as a PR exercise between takes on a flood-lit sound stage.

Do I sound harsh? I have a right to be. I wrote my first 'novel' at the age of 13. It was tripe but it didn't matter. I couldn't help but write. I'd been telling stories to anyone who'd listen since I could talk. I had no choice. Writing was what woke me up in the morning and kept me awake long into the night. And it still does.

Did Richard Roxburgh conjure up adventure stories as a boy? Did Peter Helliar dream of publishing the Great Australian Novel? Maybe, maybe not. I suspect that came later. I suspect that came after a nudge from an antsy agent or after a brainstorming session in a publisher's office:
"Who can we get to write a kids' book? Who's hot at the moment? Oh, I know! Let's ask that chubby guy from that top-rating TV show! He seems like fun. Kids'll love him!"
I have no qualms with anyone wanting to tell their stories and everyone's entitled to do so—the famous, the infamous and the great unknown. But please don't expect me to drag my son to watch you chat about your book when the real reason you're sitting there, the main reason your book ever saw the light of day, is two simple words that you never even came up with yourself.

Your name.

What do you think? Am I being unfair? Please drop a comment below or get in touch via my email or twitter.

And happy reading everyone, even of the unknown!
xo Christina