"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Thursday, May 22, 2014

But... wasn't there another contest?

Why, yes, there is.

For all of you who've bought your copy of MURDER ON THE HOOF, thank you. Thank you to the nth. I appreciate you all.

As many of you may know, Amazon reviews are not just a nice thing to have for a book. They have become a necessity. So many professional reviewers, contests, etc. want a book to have at least x number of Amazon reviews before they will consider a book for their own review/contest.

So I'm having a review contest. The winner will receive a Kindle Paperwhite. Because it's a fairly large prize, at least for ME to give out, I'm going to ask a little more than just answer a trivia question.

What do you have to do to win it?

Leave a review of MURDER ON THE HOOF on Amazon, and provide the link to that review in the comments section of this post. Some rules of the contest:

1. No, it does not have to be a 5-star, this-book-is-boffo review. I really want honest reviews, not back-patting, yes-men, kiss-up reviews.

2. I'd love to give a Kindle to everyone who leaves a review, but I'm going to have to make this an opportunity drawing.

3. Everyone will have 14 days from today (that's June 5th) to read the book, write a review, and send me the link.

4. I will select one name from the entries. The winner will be announced on June 6th. Let's not beat around the bush, yes?

P.S. ARE YOU THERE ERMA? is available for free today. You can get yours here - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005YOL7JA

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Release Day is HERE!!!

MURDER ON THE HOOF is finally on sale!

You can go here to get your copy - http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Hoof-Gayle-Carline-ebook/dp/B00KGSALGY/

I'm so super proud of this book, I can barely get the words out of my mouth. Or off my fingertips. This is my first romantic suspense, and I had a lot of fun writing it. It was easy to write and hard to write and everything took careful thought.

It's only $3.99 for your Kindle (or Kindle App).

Just because I'm an excitable gal, I'm offering new discounts today.

HIT OR MISSUS is available for 99 cents. Here is the link - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00537SP5M

WHAT WOULD ERMA DO? is available for Free. The link is - http://www.amazon.com/Would-Confessions-First-Time-Humor-Columnist-ebook/dp/B004LX0D04/

Are you ready for a contest?

The first five people to leave comments on this blog post get the following: your choice of a signed paperback copy or a personalized e-book copy of MURDER ON THE HOOF, Plus-Plus-Plus a $10 Amazon gift card.

The first person to comment will get the book, the gift card and this:

It's technically a grooming bag, but it also makes a great bag for garden tools, crafts, etc.

By the way, there's another contest going on today at Babs Book Bistro - go here for all the scoop: http://www.babsbookbistro.net/guest-author-gayle-carline-giveaway/


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Twofer!

First, the good news - FREEZER BURN is a Kindle Countdown Deal, which means it is yours for the low-low price of 99 cents until May 25th. Don't put it off until the last minute! Here's the link to go buy it NOW - http://www.amazon.com/Freezer-Burn-Peri-Minneopa-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B007ZHVDN4/

Now, for the best news - CLEAN SWEEP is Free! Yes, today through May 22, you can get this fun short story for ZERO cents. Yes, that's 0. Nada. No-risk reading, right? Here's that link - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004U37614

Tomorrow's the big day... what haven't I told you? Tune in and find out!

Monday, May 19, 2014

What if I offered...

This week I'm offering some of my books free and some of them at a greatly reduced price, all because I'm so excited about the release of MURDER ON THE HOOF. I'm doing this to entice readers to sample my writing, whet their appetite for more, and be willing to spend $3.99 (less than the price of a latte) on my newest work.

Check back on my blog every day this week for one more book on sale or offered free. (Hint: FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH is still available for 99 cents! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D0HDYRQ)

And on Wednesday, be prepared to start the party! There will be a contest, with prizes, on my site as well as others. I will be giving signed copies, personalized e-copies, gift cards, and more.

There will also be a very special contest for people willing to go that extra mile. But waiting at the end will be that extra prize - a Kindle Paperwhite.

Let the games begin!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Prizes for all!

Releasing a book is an exciting event. You want to celebrate, and you want the world to celebrate with you. Bring on the champagne!

The caviar!

The giveaways and promotions!

Having other books already published means that everyone can join in the celebration. MURDER ON THE HOOF is my seventh, so in honor of a new release, I'm giving you a chance at getting my other six either for free or for a greatly reduced price.

First on the list: It's a Real Steal!

FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH: ONE LUCKY MEMOIR is on sale today through Wednesday, the 21st. For only 99 cents, you can download this ebook and be reading it within mere moments. It's regularly $3.99, so this is a significant savings.

Go here to get your copy - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D0HDYRQ

Already have it? Perhaps you have a horse (or animal) loving friend who would enjoy it. Are you aware that you can gift Kindle books to other people's Kindles? What a great (and inexpensive) way to say thank you, I love you, or any other message you want to send!

There are more on the horizon, so stay tuned, Peeps!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Another taste

What's that? You want another excerpt from MURDER ON THE HOOF? Of course! I'm nothing if not a gracious hostess, even on my blog.

Meet Tyler Ransome.

* * * * *

Tyler stepped into his tack room and grabbed a bottle of water from his cooler. When he moved to southern California three years ago, he was glad Fermino and Arizona were in his rearview mirror. Seeing Bobby in Burbank a year ago surprised him. Finding out he was working out of another trainer’s stable, as an assistant, shocked the hell out of him. Then he got his own spread, under his name. Too quickly, in Tyler’s mind, but Bobby was always working an angle.

That hadn’t changed.

Turning to step out of the tack room, his boot struck something metallic, sending it rolling out the door. He picked it up. It was a travel mug, but it wasn’t his. And none of his riders had been here today.

An image came to mind, of the small brunette with Emily—Willie? That was a weird name. She’d had a cup in her hands when she walked up to him. He turned the mug around. There was a picture of a spaceship on the side with the title “Full Tilt” in chaotic lettering. He chuckled. “Full Tilt” was the long-running science fiction show starring Kirk T. Williams, one of the generous benefactors of the center.

Figures, he thought, Willie would have a sci-fi travel mug. She looked like one of those girls he knew in college. Bright women who hid their attractiveness behind glasses and hunched shoulders. They were all sharp as tacks and scared the hell out of him at the time. Now, they only intimidated him.

Willie’s shoulders were not hunched, but Tyler could tell how much she discounted her beauty. Confident women stood taller in his presence and looked him in the eye. They smiled, flirted. Emily’s client kept her eyes to herself. Too bad she had to poke poor Belle and crow-hop down the rail to him. It couldn’t have helped her self-esteem, even if she didn’t fall off.

He was still staring at the mug and thinking about the smile on Willie’s face as she loped Belle around, when a familiar voice startled him back to the present.

“Trying to sound out the letters?”

Tyler’s head whipped up, his eyes wide. A tall blonde stood in front of him, leggy in her tight blue jeans and showing plenty of enhanced cleavage in a low-cut peasant blouse. She may have aged out of the rodeo queen circuit, but she wasn’t surrendering her youth without a fight. There were a few lines as her blue eyes sparkled and her full mouth turned upward in a taunting smile.

“What are you doing here, Missy?” He forced the words from his throat.

“Is that any way to greet your ex-wife?” Her voice had a purring Texas drawl that tightened his jaw even further.

The marriage ended five years ago. Two years of that consisted of fighting before the divorce finally took, banishing him from Scottsdale. Melissa had gotten everything, including the ranch he bought before they married, all his stock, and full custody of their son, Zac. Tyler managed to keep his stud horse, Cats Blue Boy.

“Coming to see if there’s anything else you can squeeze out of me?”

The smile never left her face, although her eyes hardened. “Of course not. Daddy’s lookin’ for a new horse for me to show. Got anything we might like?”

Missy had always been active in the Quarter Horse Association, from her days as a youth rider, to her current status as an amateur. During their marriage, Tyler realized how little she actually cared about horses. With Missy, it was all about the status of riding the most expensive horse while wearing the most expensive clothes. Every year, she went to the World Invitational Show, and every year she had a two-page ad in the Quarter Horse Journal, extolling her virtues.

“I wouldn’t sell you a stick horse.”

“Well, that’s a pity. You know how Daddy loves a bargain, and I’m sure you don’t have anything that would break our bank. Perhaps some of the larger trainers have something in our price range.” She turned, then looked back over her shoulder. “I hear Bobby’s in town. Maybe he’s got a horse for me.”

There were a number of things Tyler wanted to say. Most of them were variations on how much he hated her. All of them included profanity.

He bit his tongue until she left.

“God. Damned. Witch. From. Hell.” Each word fell with a step as he strode down the barn aisle, gripping Willie’s coffee mug. “I need a walk.”

As he marched around the corner, he thought about his son. He hadn’t dared ask about him, although he was dying to know. His heart ached, wanting to see Zac again. He’d be eleven now. He wondered if he was walking again, or talking.

Every time Tyler thought about Zac slumped in his wheelchair, he thought about that night—and wanted to dig his own grave and climb in.
* * * * *

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The countdown has started

Next Wednesday, my new book, MURDER ON THE HOOF, will be released on ebook for Kindle. It's a departure for me, with new characters in a new venue, doing things a little differently than Skip and Peri. For one thing, my main character is an amateur sleuth, forced to investigate a murder because she is the primary suspect. As you can imagine, no one wants to cooperate with her, especially the police.

And no, her BFF isn't a coroner. She's a horse trainer.

For all you Benny lovers out there, I'm sorry there is no Dino-worshipping in this book. There are a couple of actors, both of TV and movies, who appear. I'm not giving them real names, but perhaps you'll be able to connect the dots.

Here's the jacket copy, and an excerpt:

* * * * *

She was looking for a horse. What she found was romance. And danger.

Willie Adams is at the L.A. Equestrian Center shopping for her first horse. A young widow struggling with the idea of dating again, she never expected that a gorgeous trainer like Tyler Ransome would notice her. But he did.

He wasn’t the only one, either. Bobby Fermino is not as handsome, nor as pleasant. After attacking Willie he ends up dead in her tack room, leaving her the most likely suspect.

Willie has to convince Detective Lucas Macy that she’s innocent, but her physical attraction to him isn’t making the task easy.

With growing evidence pointing to her, and two famous actors drawing attention to the investigation, Willie decides to take the reins. She must find the murderer before they find her, but will she survive opening her heart to someone new?

* * * * *

It wasn’t the first time a handsome man looked through her, and she figured it wouldn’t be the last. It was, however, the first time a pair of blue eyes made Willie want to turn and run. Their glacial hue popped from the dark lashes and eyebrows, punctuating a face of such angular ruggedness and spectacular beauty, she suppressed a gasp.

Her heart balked, but she planted her feet.

“Tyler Ransome?” She extended her hand. “I’m Willie Adams. My trainer, Emily Jungers, is meeting me here to look at one of your horses.”

He remained in his seat and stretched his hand to meet hers—a slow, deliberate move, as if he was considering whether to shake her hand or not. His palm felt firm and dry, one pump of a shake, then withdrawn.

“Nice to meet you.”

Willie glanced into the stall used as a makeshift tack room. A rack holding saddles and blankets was visible in the shadows. She could still see a corner of the large red sign hung on the front of the barn aisle, proclaiming “Tyler Ransome Performance Horses” in large black letters. Two canvas-backed folding chairs sat, unopened, against the chipped, faded beige wood.

She gripped the travel mug of coffee in her hands, and found herself taking small, nervous sips to fill the silence. The warm aroma of hazelnut caffeine was chased by the smell of hay and horses and leather.

“Seems a little cooler this morning.” Her soft voice jarred against the quiet, but she felt the need to conquer her uneasiness.

He nodded, the brim of his faded blue baseball cap shading his eyes from the July sun.

So much for the weather, she thought. Perhaps I could ask him how he likes the Dodgers. Of course, it would help if I knew something about baseball.

A rattle of spurs made her look up, thankful for the distraction. Emily Jungers, a tall, lithe redhead, strode toward them and held out her hand. “Tyler, good to see you.”

“Hey, Em, how are you?” The cowboy unfolded his long limbs from the chair and stood, offering his hand in return. “You wanted to see the little mare?” He pointed down the barn aisle and strolled away with Emily.

Willie took a step to follow, then looked down at the mug in her hands. Once a comfort, it now felt awkward. She glanced around. There was no table outside to leave it on, so she went to the tack room and stuck it inside the door, then hurried after the two trainers.

Emily’s long steps were easily keeping up with Tyler. The only way to catch up to them would involve running. Willie decided to get there when she got there.

Damned long-legged people, she thought. Would it kill them to wait for me?

The stalls on both sides of the barn aisle had horses in them, all hanging their heads over the Dutch doors. She looked at her watch. It was a little past ten, so they were probably waiting on a mid-morning snack. The air was warming toward its goal in the high eighties, a typical summer day in southern California. She savored the beauty of each horse as she walked by, then observed the people walking in front of her.

The girls at her stable were right. When she had mentioned him, Elliot’s owner Barbara had said, “Ooh, Tyler Ransome, rhymes with handsome.” He was easily a head taller than Emily, broad-shouldered and lean under his tan T-shirt. Of course, she couldn’t see much of his face from her current position, but the view was still mesmerizing.

What’s wrong with me? I’m way too old to be gasping at a pretty boy. And what would I want with him anyway? We have nothing in common. A face like that, he’s got to be a player. He’s not like my Hank at all.

Hank had been gone for three years now, leaving her a widow at barely thirty. The good news was there were no children to raise without him. The bad news was she would have adored raising his children. Photographs and videos couldn’t be hugged in the middle of a bad night, and her memories of their carefree marriage did not feel like much of a legacy.

* * * * *

There's more to come...

Friday, May 9, 2014

My voice skips across water

My writing ego has had a bit of a spanking this week, so I've been thinking about who I am and what I do.

When I began, I wanted to write literary fiction. It is mostly what I read for many years. I was a bit of a book snob for a while, and would not read a book that wasn't at least 50 years old. I spent my time with Willa Cather and Somerset Maugham and Victor Hugo and Miguel Cervantes and so forth.

My first book attempted prose. Not just a story with characters, told by words. Beautiful phrasing, layers of thematic glory, a novel that would embed itself in each reader's soul and remain.

It lays on my external hard drive, where I use it for spare parts.

Slowly, painfully, I realized that I am not a literary writer. I have the words. The ones I don't have, I enjoy finding. Story is something that can find me, along with the cast. I'm not afraid of doing the work.

But I have no voice for literary tomes. The voices I have read are serious, perhaps to the point of depression. The words are not only beautiful, they are heavy with the weight of meaning. We laugh about "what the author really meant when they describe the curtains" but it's true. Even if I'm reading for enjoyment, the theme's undercurrent seems to pull me in with each word.

By contrast, my voice is light. It is a woman's soft laugh, a whispering wind too mild to blow the leaves back, pretty fireworks that light and sparkle and disappear into the darkness. To quote a friend of mine, I write "popcorn for the brain."

I put aside literary fiction to write mystery, which was my second favorite, thanks to Sherlock Holmes (fortunately, there were other old books in my library). After four novels, I can say that mystery suits me. I can tell a casual tale about some quirky folks who get into hot water. I know how to get them out of that hot water, too. My love for logic leads me to create interesting puzzles. And I still work hard to find the right word for the occasion.

When I was young and in choir, I was in the alto section. Being an alto meant I never sang the melody, only the harmony. Perhaps that is where I'm supposed to be as an author. Writing the harmonies.

At the end of the day, I'm happy to be telling stories and proud to be doing the work. Still, someday I should like to be able to weight my voice with enough importance to tell a tale that a reader cannot shake from their heart.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Free stuff from nice people

This is a short post today, to let you know of two things:

1. My pals Jenny Hilborne and Terry Ambrose have released new books at the same time and are doing a big giveaway shebang with it all. To get a copy, visit Jenny's blog for details: (http://jfhilborne.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/news-to-share-and-giveaways/)

I love Jen's books because, even when the characters are not likeable, she makes me worry about them. I may not want them as friends, but I want them to live, to figure out the mystery, to ultimately be happy. Fortunately, I do like Inspector Mac Jackson, and am looking forward to reading THE BLACKEST NIGHT, the next book in the series.

Terry has two different series, one light and one dark. Naturally, I began with the lighter approach, and thoroughly enjoyed PHOTO FINISH. Set in Hawaii, it captures the mood and the people of the islands with perfection, and I'm sure KAUAI TEMPTATIONS does the same. I'm looking forward to reading his other series, LICENSE TO LIE and the newest, CON GAME. Terry used to be a skip tracer and has a blog about scams and cons, so not only does he know his stuff, I know he's a terrific writer.

2. THE HOT MESS is available as an audio book, and I have free copies! Although this is the third book in the series, it's the second one to be put on Audible.com (also available through Amazon and iTunes). HIT OR MISSUS should be ready by the end of this month.

I have 25 free copies to give away to 25 lucky folks. Just email me, gaylecarline(at)sbcglobal(dot)net, and I'll reply with the secret code.

Have a great day getting free stuff!

Monday, May 5, 2014

POV: Messing up and getting it right

Today's Lit Central OC article on Point of View: What is Third? got me thinking. When I write my humor column, I write in First Person Point of View, because the story is about what happened to me. So far, my novels have been written in Third Person POV, using "he, she, they," etc. I may someday write that First Person novel, but not today.

One thing I am vigilant about is head hopping. This is when the writer is showing you events through one character's eyes, then suddenly leaps into a different character's head and heart. Many times, this is subtle. Here is an example:

* * * * *

“I found this in my tack room.”

The sight of her coffee mug reminded Willie of her visit to the wrong stall and her encounter with Fermino. She fought the tears back as she reached for it, embarrassed to let Tyler see her raw emotions, but her voice was breathy. “Thank you.”

“Are you okay?”

Willie lowered her head. She was not going to have any kind of heart-to-heart with this man. “Yes,” she whispered, then sighed. Get a grip, Wilhelmina. “I’m so sorry about poking your horse this morning. She’s a good girl.”

Tyler shrugged. “Don’t worry about it. You got spooked.”

“Yeah, well, thank you.” She held up the mug.

“You a big ‘Full Tilt’ fan?”

“Not really.” She caressed the mug, staring at the logo, focusing hard to keep her feelings in check. “This was my husband’s,” she blurted. “He’s been gone three years now…pancreatic cancer.”

Willie had no idea why those words tumbled out, but she felt powerless to stop them.

“Now I’m sorry.” He looked away, embarrassed.

* * * * *

Did you catch it?

We've been in Willie's head for most of the conversation. Now, Tyler looks away, embarrassed. How does she know he's embarrassed? Maybe he's sad or angry or IDK, got a gas bubble.

Naturally, I deleted that sentence.

When I wrote MURDER ON THE HOOF, I was hyper-vigilant to the temptation of hopping from one head to the other. The book does have a few POV changes, but I was determined to keep each chapter in the same noggin.

The problem was, I went a little overboard. I began describing everything happening through someone's eyes. Willie observed things. She saw stuff. People seemed to be doing x and y. I was staying in her head, but I was pushing the reader away.

As one of my beta readers said, "Dear God, this is so passive!"

Good thing I'm a fast learner. I quickly reworked my story so that things actually happened and people actually did them. The book became stronger.

The result is a book I'm proud to be releasing, in ebook on May 21, and in paperback on May 24. Stay tuned - there will be shouting and confetti and prizes!

Friday, May 2, 2014


I saw Cats this week. Believe it or don't, I had never seen it before. Long ago, in a previous life, I had tickets to see it, then something happened - I honestly can't remember but it was some kind of emergency and I had to go out of town. My ex-sister and brother-in-law used the tickets. They were good seats, too.

Here's the thing: I get it. I really do. Cats was completely original at the time. The costumes, the makeup, the operatic quality of the play, it was all so shiny and new. For a long time, musicals had consisted of dialogue, dialogue, song-and-dance, dialogue. Now it was singing, dancing, singing.

I also get that this play is based on a book of poems about cats. That darned T.S. Eliot. His wonderful and creative presentation of different kitty characters was possibly a harbinger of all those cute cat videos.

The problem as I watched it was that it almost has a storyline except that it doesn't. There's a big group of cats waiting for Old Deuteronomy to choose a cat to be reborn. That has the making of a plot. Who will he choose? Is there a danger of choosing the wrong cat? What if something prevents him from choosing? THAT'S a story.

Instead, we are introduced to all the cats in the poems. They give a little song and dance explanation of who they are, then they split, mostly. There's no indication that there's any cat other than Grizabella eligible to be reborn. And none of the cats seem to like her. What about Asparagus? He's old and got palsy (or perhaps "pawlsy"). Doesn't he deserve to climb the ladder?

It gets kind of exciting when Macavity shows up and kidnaps Old Deuteronomy, but I don't know why he kidnapped him, and he's found (or conjured up) pretty quickly by Mr. Mistoffelees, so the thrill dies before it even gets going.

By the end of the play, Grizabella has climbed the Stairway to Heaven, the cats are all doing their happy-crazy dance, and all is right in the cat world. It was okay, but I kept wondering, where were all the cats we'd been introduced to earlier? I liked the fat black cat with white spats, but he didn't even make the curtain call. What the hell, Andrew?

For those of you who love Cats, let me say that I loved the entertainment aspect of it all. The dancing was wonderful, the costumes and makeup well-done, the singing fine and good. At one point, I did voice my suspicions that Sir Webber wrote this musical while under the influence of something. I'm fairly sure I would think less about the plot and enjoy the antics more had I been under some influence. Alas, a single glass of cheap red wine did not do the trick.

The almost-but-not-quite plot did give me something to consider as a writer. When populating my stories, do not put the spotlight on characters that do not move the plot along. They might be fun or quirky or elicit some kind of response from the reader, but they are no less important than props. And props must all follow the law of Chekhov's gun.

Don't put them in the story if you're not going to use them.

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