Thursday 28 May 2015

Write a quick review, get a free C.A. Larmer ebook!

Rock star Jed Moody has an ego the size of Mt Everest and enough enemies to fill Sydney Harbour.

So when he gets murdered on stage in front of his adoring fans, it surprises no one, except Ghostwriter Roxy Parker, that is. She's there to write his life story and now wants to know who zapped it out so viciously, and why!

So begins the sixth adventure for gutsy 'ghostie' Roxy Parker. She's a writer with a predilection for death, but this time she may be in way over her head...

Got you hooked? I hope so! If you haven't yet read A NOTE BEFORE DYING, my sixth, stand-alone Ghostwriter Mystery (and eighth book to date), then now's your chance. You not only get to enjoy Roxy's latest adventure (and I'm sure you won't be disappointed) but you'll also get the chance to score a FREE Ghostwriter Mystery of your choice. Or, if you've read them all, you can have a copy of another best-selling C.A. Larmer ebook: The Agatha Christie Book Club or An Island Lost.

And you don't even have to love it! (That's right, I want your reviews to be legit', so don't hesitate to say what you really think. I'm a big girl, I can handle it!)

The first FIVE reviewers—yep, I'm feeling generous this week, peeps —will score their free ebook. All you have to do is post your review to Amazon, then wait to hear from me. If you're one of the first five (from the date of this post), I'll get in touch via Amazon's 'comments' and offer you your prize. Alternatively, you can get in touch with me directly and demand your prize pronto!

And don't stress about reading it fast! 

This competition remains open until all five reviews are posted, and that can sometimes take months, so relax and enjoy the ride...

Any questions or concerns, jot me a quick comment below, or email me at:

Otherwise, happy reading and reviewing, everyone! And thank you for your valuable input.

xo Christina

Sunday 24 May 2015

My next book—a Boys Own Adventure? Like, huh?!

There's something very strange going on inside me at the moment. Call it hormones, the side-effects of being a mother or just plain lunacy—but each time I see a boy, generally between the ages of 11 and 14, I can't help but stop and take notice. Sometimes I choke up, other times I spark up a conversation or just stand there, mesmerised, unable to divert my eyes. Like some sort of crazed stalker or pining, childless Aunty.

What is this sudden obsession with 'boys on the cusp' and what, pray tell, has it got to do with my writing?

As some of you know, I'm the mother of two sons (yes, aged 11 and 14, how'd you guess?) So my strange fixation may have something to do with their growing up and, perhaps, the fact that with each passing day (sleepover, soccer match...) they're growing away from me. Perhaps I am just trying to soak it all up before they are gone forever and I am left with an empty house and a yawning kind of emptiness. (No point sugar coating it, I've seen the faces of the emptynesters in my neighbourhood.)

In any case, whatever the cause, it has fostered a craving to write about boys of a certain age. I've never had the inclination before. Not even close.

Women of a certain age

When I first started writing my Ghostwriter Mystery series I was a 20-something woman living and working in Sydney. No surprises there. Sure, I didn't have Roxy Parker's cool attitude, career or hair, but the autobiographical elements were as obvious as her chunky glasses, and I was fine with that.

Around that time I also wrote about a young woman searching for her missing father in remote Papua New Guinea, and, later, started a new book series centred on two sisters who were—shock, horror—20-something women with cool attitudes, careers and hair.

My how things have changed 

While I love my ghostie and will breathe life into her for many years to come, I am finding my tastes are evolving, my need for different kinds of voices and experiences intensifying.

And so I have started a new novel, one completely different to my usual fodder. This one is a DIY murder mystery that's set in a small town and centres on the murder of a mother by her young son. Or so she thinks. She's not completely sure whodunnit but she is 100% dead so she can't search for the answers on her own. With a bright light beckoning ever closer she implores you, the reader, to help her find out before it's too late.

Did her beautiful boy kill her, as she imagines? Or is someone else responsible (oh please God!)?

Got you intrigued?

Take a look at the first few chapters of a rough draft I have been sitting on. It's posted on my Free Quick Reads blogsite. Time today is precious—did I mention my beloved, energy-sapping sons?— so I'd love to know whether the story has a wider reach.

Does it captivate you? 
Do you think I should continue and see where we end up?

While my decision will always be my own, it's nice to get feedback from the people who keep coming back to hear my stories unfold. So please, dear reader, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Happy reading, everyone!
xo Christina

Sunday 17 May 2015

Getting cozy on Facebook

Last year I was invited to join a closed Facebook support group for Cozy Mystery authors and didn't think too much about it to be honest. I simply clicked 'accept' then got on with my life, barely giving the group a second glance.

Today it's the first page I turn to on the web and the last one I check out before I go to sleep at night.

Like a bright orange life raft bobbing about in a sea of grey debris it really has been a lifesaver for my writing and a buoy for my books. I couldn't live without it, or at least, my writing career couldn't.

One hundred and fifty strong, the group is made up of an eclectic range of bestsellers and wannabes, some with dozens of novels soaring up the echarts (and numbers in the low hundreds on the Amazon Bestseller lists), others with just one book and a dream to sell to someone other than their Mum.

Yet it doesn't matter a jot. Whenever a member posts a comment, adds a link, or asks for advice, the group are ready to throw in their 'two bob's worth'. Some wax lyrical on how their digital promotions are doing (it's intriguing what works and what doesn't), others pose questions or upload their latest cover and ask what we think.

And the advice is consistently kind without being disingenuous, constructive without any malice.

One member recently reviewed one of my Ghostwriter Mysteries on her popular Italophiles blog without being asked and with such words of kindness, it brought tears to my eyes, others have suggested ways I could sell more, or reposted links to my ebook sales to help me along.

It's just a really useful and supportive bunch.

As a stay-at-home writer, this kind of group is not just invigorating, it's essential for my mental health. Whenever I feel stuck or alone or as flat as a pancake, I just tune into the group's conversation and I am reinflated. I learn something new each and every time, and am reminded I am not alone, that there are 149 other mystery writers doing exactly what I'm doing, and succeeding in their own small ways.

Whether you're an artist, a parent, a performer, a pet lover or a person with your own unique outlook on life, if you don't belong to a supportive group like this, I think you're missing out.

I was lucky this group reached out to me and embraced me with their kindness, but there's nothing to stop you from starting your own support network if you simply can't find one.

Go on, give it a go! Find your own special tribe. 

Trawl the net, look at the people around you, post a request in a likeminded chatsite. Just make sure you hook up with people who are as enthusiastic about your beloved hobby/career/pasttime as you are and will always have your back.

You will not regret the effort that it takes, and it will make your life feel a little easier afterwards.

So a big THANK YOU to my sweet Cozy Mystery group. Without you I'd still be wondering what the best promo sites are, giving books away to dodgy operators, and thinking I was all alone, standing flummoxed, while the world rushed on without me. You've grabbed my hand and you've taken me along for the ride, and I can not thank you enough.

Happy social networking everybody and may you find your own life raft.

xo Christina

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Free self-publishing workshop (gotta love that!)

You've finished The Great Novel and dream of the day it goes from your dusty hard drive to the hands of hundreds of avid readers. (And I'm not talking about people you're actually related to.) 

Well, don't sit around waiting for a traditional publisher to come knocking. Why punish yourself? Do as I do and DIY. I now have eight self-published novels selling on Amazon and via Smashwords (Apple iPad, Kobo, Nook...) and am making a tidy profit from my favourite hobby, mystery writing. It couldn't be easier, really it couldn't.

Sound overwhelming?

Come along to my FREE workshop at the Northern Rivers Writers' Centre down in the heart of Byron Bay in Northern NSW, Australia, next Thursday May 14, from 5.30pm. I'll be sharing the secrets to getting your books online and discussing the opportunity to promote them at the upcoming Byron Bay Writers Festival in August.

Nowhere near Byron Bay?

Take heart, I spill quite a few of my self-publishing secrets in an earlier blog, below. Just scroll down and take a look.

Otherwise, get yourself to Byron next week; there's worse places to visit! For more info, go to the NRWC website or read on. I look forward to meeting you there.

Happy self-publishing,


14 May: NRWC Free Seminar
When: 5.30pm-7.00pm
Where: NRWC Office, Level 1, 28 Jonson St, Byron Bay
This is a free event please RSVP by email to by 13 May
Christina Larmer has eight self published books on Amazon and Smashwords with sales in excess of 28,000 ebooks and 40,000 downloads and is now a guest blogger with Huffington Post.
Author of the popular Ghostwriter Mystery series Christina is an experienced magazine editor, journalist, fiction writer and blogger. She grew up in Papua New Guinea, forged her career in London, Los Angeles, New York and Sydney, and now freelances for national lifestyle magazines while penning novels from the hinterland behind Byron Bay.
If you are considering applying for the Self Published opportunity at the BBWF this year or would just like information on the steps to publication then come along to this FREE seminar and Christina will give you the inside story and practical skills.