Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Christmas Murder Scavenger Hunt

Work the Clues!
The Devil Can Wait
Another Sam Harper Crime Mystery
Marta Stephens

Nine bodies, a cursed relic linked to a Christmas Eve prophecy, and no suspects. While homicide detective Sam Harper hunts down the guilty, YOU can track the clues in “The Devil Can Wait” for a chance to win an autographed copy of “Silenced Cry,” the book that launched the Sam Harper Crime Mystery series and received honorable mention at the 2008 New York Book Fair.

If you’re up to the challenge, just follow these five easy steps and submit your entry by Christmas Eve 2008.

1) Read Sam Harper’s note titled “From the Desk of Detective Harper” that is posted on the home page of my website.

2) Throughout this article are quotes taken directly from the second book in the Sam Harper Crime Mystery series, “The Devil Can Wait” -- one quote for each week of Harper’s case. Keep in mind that the book is written in 3rd person and this article is written in first, thus some variance applies.

3) E-mail your answers to: http://us.mc631.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=samharper@bewrite.net by midnight on December 24, 2008, with the following information:

  • Write down each quote and the page number where you found it in the book. Both items must be included to be eligible.
  • Send me a picture in jpg format of yourself holding my book. Please include your first name (last name optional) and tell me where the picture was taken (city and/or state or country). The picture of your smiling face holding this great book will be posted on the photo gallery of fans on my website.

4) Hey, but this isn’t all about me! If you are a published author, feel free to include the name of your book and a link to your website or blog for a bit of cross promotion!


Everyone who accurately lists, 1) all the quotes and 2) the page numbers where the quotes are found in “The Devil Can Wait” will receive a free e-book of “Silenced Cry.” And don't forget to send me your photograph holding my book!

One name will be drawn from this group of winners to receive an autographed copy of “Silenced Cry” along with other cool stuff to enhance your next reading experience! The winners will be announced on December 31, by direct e-mail. The winners’ names will also be posted on my website.

“Silenced Cry” ~ Honorable mention at the 2008 New York Book Festival, top ten in the 2007 Preditors & Editors Reader Poll.

Purchasing Information for:

“The Devil Can Wait”
ISBN 978-1-905202-86-7
316 pages

The paperback is available from online shops like B&N, BAM, Borders, Amazon, or your favorite neighborhood shop (just give them the ISBN number). Autographed copies are also available directly from me (while my supply lasts) by writing to: samharper@bewrite.net. Please make the subject of your e-mail: A Christmas Murder Scavenger Hunt.

The e-book is available at:
BeWrite Books
Diesel e-books

Good luck and feel free to share this post with the mystery lovers in your life!

Monday, November 10, 2008

LIVE Interview on Blog Talk Radio Today!

Throughout the months of November and December, I will be participating in a number of interviews and events to help launch, “The Devil Can Wait.”

Join me today, November 10, 2008, 10 AM (CST), on COFFEE WITH AN AUTHOR, an interactive, live Internet talk-radio show on http://blogtalkradio.com/i-just-finished. The show is hosted on Blog Talk Radio by http://www.ijustfinished.com/. Please follow this link to read the press release: http://www.ijustfinished.com/blog/?p=105

The archived link to the program will be posted on my website http://www.martastephens-author.com/ later today.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I was preparing for a talk at one of our local libraries last week and as always, I tried to anticipate the types of questions those in the group might ask. One point of interest that always comes up is Internet marketing/exposure. Since one of the best tools at my fingertips is my website, I decided to take a look at the number of visitors I had received since I launched it on March 12, 2007. The count: 21,786 visitors (not hits--visitors) from 109 countries. Man, if I couldn't only turn those numbers into sales!

I'm not entirely surprised by the figures. The site has always received a high volume of traffic, but knowing this is why I update my site regularly, include a variety of articles and information, and try to make it as easy to navigate as possible.

When I designed the site, my primary goal was and still is to promote the main character in my series, homicide detective, Sam Harper. Aside from the expected "Author Bio" and my articles, it's his voice readers will find on my site. The home page allows the reader to sit a spell with Harper and "listen" to him talk about his current case. Lately, "The Devil Can Wait" has been on his mind. This case was declassified (released) this week which makes him very happy because now he can tell you all about it.

The following message is taken from my home page and titled:
"From the Desk of Detective Harper."

It's snowing again. Big wet flakes plunge from the evening sky to the streets below. From my fourth floor window the scenery looks as peaceful as the pictures on the Christmas cards Emma keeps on her desk. But the new layer of snow reminds me of the bodies piling up in the morgue. I close my eyes-each victim's face flashes before them.

I curse under my breath and try to make sense of the killings.

Superstitions and biblical prophesies-old wives' tales told to scare the shit out of weak men, and innocent children. Delusions of twisted beliefs rule the mind, poison the heart, and push unsuspecting fools to the brink of insanity.

To hell with what anyone says. There's nothing supernatural about those boys we pulled out of the bay. They were dead long before their bodies surfaced and washed ashore. It was the water and natural processes, not demons that left us with little more than the discarded remnants of a madman's fury. Yet the crimes are precise, planned like a well-choreographed dance, but even the most deliberate acts of violence are rarely perfect.

On the streets, tinsel and bright colored lights can't mask the undercurrent of fear that has spread through the city and reporters are pressing for answers. All I need to hear is a slip of the tongue-just one mindless deed and the killer is mine. But solutions are in short supply and every minute measures another segment of time without answers. One inaccurate statement from me is all it would take to feed the media frenzy. This pack of journalists can lick their lips and starve before I'll give them a crumb to feed on.

It's later than I intended to stay. I've thumbed through the case file a million times and the lack of evidence stings like a sharp blow to the jaw. Facts seem distorted, leads haven't panned out. Just when I thought I was close, the evidence pointed in a different direction. A familiar, unsettling jerk in the pit of my gut yanks harder with each ring of my cell. I know what's coming. Don't need to answer the call to know the killer has struck again. This time, that nagging little voice in the back of my head tells me I'm in for a long ugly chase down a narrow path that leads straight into hell.

Sam Harper

"The Devil Can Wait" November 3, 2008, ISBN: 978-1-905202-86-7
The second book in the Sam Harper Crime Mystery Series

For an excerpt of "The Devil Can Wait," please visit: http://www.martastephens-author.com/...it_EXCERPT.htm

Sunday, November 02, 2008

"The Devil Can Wait" Launch Date

© Marta Stephens 2008 all rights reserved
Released November 3, 2008, by BeWrite Books (UK)

Thumb through the pages of your favorite book. Now, look close between the lines. That’s where the author bled onto the pages and wove together a mystic world of fiction fed by life experiences. Every line of narrative and section of dialogue holds a thimbleful of truth. The second book in the Sam Harper Crime Mystery series is no exception. THE DEVIL CAN WAIT was forged from the memory of an unholy event as frightening as it was intriguing. It’s a tale about belief, unholy forces, and one man’s determination to stop an obsessed killer.

The story behind the story involved a quarrel and a cursed black pearl ring that nearly killed the object of a jilted young man’s affection. Filled with resentment, he begged her to take the ring as a parting gesture. Within days of accepting his gift, the young woman fell victim to a number of life-threatening accidents that came in quick succession. She survived each incident, but evil remained a constant threat to her life. It was only after she destroyed the black pearl ring that all appeared to return to normal.

Such was the spark behind THE DEVIL CAN WAIT; fiction with a taste of the unexplained. I was an impressionable eight-year-old, unable to distinguish fact from fiction, yet that event seared itself into my mind and eventually gave birth to THE DEVIL CAN WAIT. Can inanimate objects receive and transmit energies through a single touch? Is the good or evil nature of a person a predictor of luck or misfortune?

Years later, I can neither prove nor disprove that curses exist, yet I’m left to wonder what truths have slipped between the pages of this Sam Harper mystery that kept critical e-mails from reaching my editor? What power made manuscript files disappear and Internet connections break off for days at a time without rhyme or reason? Coincidence? I thought it was, until the literary contract sent to my publisher at the same street address I’ve used for several years found its way back into my mailbox three months later marked, “Insufficient address.” Subsequent mailing attempts met the same fate, yet my greeting card arrived at her office without a hitch. I can’t explain these things nor is it clear why the first three artists who were eager to work on the book cover had to stop soon after starting due to … pressing events that forced them to quit.

In THE DEVIL CAN WAIT, the city of Chandler, Massachusetts is plunged into terror when the bodies of three local teenagers wash ashore. While homicide detective Sam Harper hunts down the guilty, a sinister plot emerges overseas. From the Vatican to the jungles of South America, a cursed black pearl ring, the demonic prophecy it represents, and the men who pursue its powers find their unfortunate way into Harper’s turf.

Enthralled by the ring’s story and a front-page spread, newspaper reporter Jennifer Blake agrees to pick up the ring at a local pawnshop for her former college professor. When she does, unforeseen events shoot Blake to the top of Harper's prime suspect lists. Soon, the seemingly unrelated cases converge and the heat is on for Harper to expose the truth behind a Vatican secret and stop the self-righteous man who does the unthinkable in the name of God.

Did the sound of keystrokes tapping life into THE DEVIL CAN WAIT wake a slumbering presence from the depth of obscurity where holiness clashes against the dark and profane? I’ll let you, the reader, be the judge. The only certainty is that THE DEVIL CAN WAIT can wait no more. It’s here, so light a candle, take a sip of your favorite brew, ease into that over-stuffed chair, and immerse yourself in the pages of THE DEVIL CAN WAIT—if you dare.

* * *

Marta Stephens writes crime mystery/suspense. THE DEVIL CAN WAIT, and SILENCED CRY are available online at familiar shops such as all the Amazons, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-a-Million, and Powells. Other locations include, but are not limited to those listed on her website at http://www.martastephens-author.com/. Excerpts from the Sam Harper Crime Mysteries and reviews are also available on the author’s website.

THE DEVIL CAN WAIT (November 3, 2008)
© Marta Stephens 2008
ISBN: 978-1-905202-86-7
316 Pages

SILENCED CRY (April 2007)
© Marta Stephens 2007
ISBN: 978-1-905202-72-0
279 Pages
Honorable Mention, 2008 New York Book FestivalTop Ten, 2007 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery)
Published internationally by BeWrite Books, UK, 32 Bryn Road South, Wigan, Lancashire, WN4 8QR.