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Get 50-100% Off The Dreamslippers Series for Ebook Week

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by Lisa Brunette

Kicking off today and running through March 13 is Ebook Week at online publisher Smashwords, an awesome alternative to Amazon. We're offering deep discounts on The Dreamslippers Series ebooks - prices not seen since the series first launched in 2014! That includes all three novels in the series, as well as the boxed set collection of books plus the bonus novella.

For the uninitiated, The Dreamslippers is a 'yogi detective' series with a slight psychic bent. The Dreamslippers are a family with the ability to 'slip' into other's dreams - but that isn't easy. Grandmother/granddaughter duo Grace and Cat practice yoga and meditation to hone and focus their ability, using it to solve crimes.  

Here's the full series with discounts noted, as well as links to each book's Smashwords page. You don't need a coupon code - just purchase the book, and the discount will be applied.

Book 1 - Cat in the Flock - 100% Off - FREE!

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The first book in the series is a cozy, sexy coming-of-age story about young dreamslipper Cat McCormick, who's learning to control her ability for the first time, by apprenticing with her successful PI grandmother. But when Cat goes undercover in an evangelical church, will she avoid temptations in her quest for the truth? 

  • #1 Amazon bestseller in both the paranormal and private investigators ebook categories
  • Winner of an indieBRAG medallion
  • Praised by Kirkus Reviews, Midwest Book Reviews, and dozens of other independent blogs and reviewers
  • Amazon Rating: 4.3/5 on 78 reviews

Book 2 - Framed and Burning - 50% Off

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Set in spicy Miami, Framed and Burning is probably my personal favorite in the series. It follows Grace and Cat as they unravel the mystery of a strange and fiery death. Cat's uncle has channeled his dreamslipping ability into a career as a successful painter - but just how far is he willing to go for his art?

  • Winner of an indieBRAG
  • Nominated for a Nancy Pearl Book Award and a RONE Award
  • Praised by Mystery Sequels, On My Kindle, BestThrillers, and many others
  • Amazon Rating: 4.4/5 on 47 reviews

Book 3 - Bound to the Truth - 50% Off

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Writing this one took me on some interesting research trips.... Back in Seattle and fully ensconced in Grace's detective agency, Cat must solve the bizarre murder of a famed local architect - who was murdered in one of the hotels she designed. Is this a case of professional rivalry gone horribly wrong, or does this murder's sexual fetish overtones point to something darker?

  • Winner of an indieBRAG
  • Winner of a Curtie Curt Award
  • Praised by Book Fidelity, J Bronder Reviews, The Book Adventures of Emily, and others
  • Amazon Rating: 4.9/5 on 10 reviews

The Boxed Set - 75% Off

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The best deal of the week, the boxed set contains all three books above, plus a bonus novella set in the 1960s. "Work of Light" is a prequel that tells Grace's origin story. It was a lot of fun to imagine "Granny" Grace in her twenties, living on an ashram and dealing with the vicissitudes of a guru and his flock.

It's my pleasure to offer these discounts - and tell your friends, too! The sale ends March 13.

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'Cat in the Flock' Featured on Shoutout Miami!

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By Lisa Brunette

Though I call the Midwest my home and the Pacific Northwest my second home, my writing chops were forged during the two years I attended graduate school for an MFA in creative writing at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida. That tropical locale made its mark on me in more ways than one. When I close my eyes and travel back to the Miami of my memories twenty years ago, I'm awash in sensations: the flash of shocking royal blue as a flock of wild macaws flies overhead; the salty scent of the sea breezes, carrying hints of spicy aromas from Caribbean flora; the staccato rhythms of samba, salsa, and Cuban rhumba blasting from open cabana bars and car windows.

My second novel, Framed and Burning, is set in Miami, and if pushed to say so, I think it's my best of the series. It captures the light and dark sides of Miami's culture, the authentic and the plastic, the natural and unnatural.

So it's a terrific honor to have Shoutout Miami publish a full feature on Cat in the Flock - as well as my day job biz, Brunette Games: "Meet Lisa Brunette: Novelist, Blogger, and Game Storyteller." The feature is part of a series on "Thinking through the first steps of starting a business." Those featured in the series with me include an art dealer, a fitness coach, an interior designer, and more.

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Miami keeps wanting to claim me.

Three years ago, I was the subject of another Miami-themed feature story, this time in VoyageMIA, "Conversations with the Inspiring Lisa Brunette." It's been instructive to compare where I was then to where I am now. Brunette Games has grown from a solo act to a team of 10 (five writers, five voice actors), and Cat in the Flock has fully morphed into a lifestyle blog with seven authors writing at a rate of one article per week.

One thing that hasn't changed: I can still manage the inversion pose that tops the VoyageMIA piece (also below), only these days I give Anthony's back a break and use my FeetUp yoga prop instead.

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From back in our acroyoga days.

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The indieBRAG Christmas Blog Hop: My Miami Christmas Tree, and More!

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The fine folks at indieBRAG asked me to write about my favorite Christmas carol for this blog hop, but the first carol that came to mind is one I can't stand: "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer."

Maybe it's the crassness of it that has always bothered me, even at an early age, or the cliché image of a grandmother as a doddering, wig-wearing, egg nog-guzzling dodo who gets herself killed by Santa. I mean, Grandma receives short shrift in this tale, while Grandpa, on the other hand, "we're all so proud of" for "taking this so well." The vague misognyny, the lyrics, the music, everything about the song makes me cringe.

So I used my intense dislike for it in fiction.

In Framed and Burning, 78-year-old renegade grandmother Amazing Grace shudders when her granddaughter cues up the song to play at a party. Grace uses the opportunity to check in with her erstwhile beau, Ernesto:

Grace despised the song, deep down in her bones. She hung back as the rest of the crowd laughed and began to carry on. Grace hooked her arm through Ernesto’s and squired him to the balcony.

“Horrid excuse for music,” Grace said, shaking her head.

“Yes, well, it is Americana at its worst.”

There was a pause as they gazed at the moon casting a beam of light on the waves far in the distance. Then Ernesto turned to Grace, swept his arms around her and said, “I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you, too,” she said instinctively, though she realized she was only being polite. She’d been so wrapped up in the case that she hadn’t had time to miss him.

I'll stop there, since what happens next yields crucial, plot-spoiling information about the case Grace is working on. The point is that it was satisfying to juxtapose the schlocky grandma from the song next to my sharp, savvy Amazing Grace.

That whole Christmas scene was great fun to write for another reason as well. I lived in Miami for two years and celebrated two Christmases there. Holidays in the tropics can be strange for anyone from a Northern climate, as the typical trappings of merriment--snow, snowmen, sleighs, evergreen trees--can seem out of place amidst palm trees and sunshine. It's a quirkiness I've always enjoyed, probably because my earliest Christmas memories are of growing up in Arizona as a military brat. In the Chandler town square back in the Seventies, they used to erect a Christmas tree out of tumbleweeds spray-painted white. 

That experience informed my thinking on the matter of how to celebrate Christmas when one's locale is far from snow and evergreen trees. One of my favorite Christmas carols is Big Crosby's tribute to Christmas in Hawaii, "Mele Kalikimaka." I've also tried to be environmentally sensitive in my domestic practices, so I've rarely ever purchased a Christmas tree that would only be discarded at the end of the season. So my Miami tree for two years running was a potted hibiscus:

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Christmas in Miami, 2000 or 2001.

The bright blooms of the hibiscus lent themselves to quirky pairings such as this:

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In Framed and Burning, the Christmas tree becomes a way to memorialize the friend they've lost:

...Cat and Mick came home bearing a small, potted hibiscus tree. Its tangerine flowers resembled umbrellas that would unfurl in full bloom, a decadent pistil of pollen beckoning from its center.

“Let’s set it here, in the window,” Grace said, beaming at her two lovely family members.

Mick and Cat carried the hibiscus together and set it down delicately. They stared at the tree for a moment.

“I’ll go get the other swag out of the car,” Cat said.

“I’ve got some bling upstairs to add to this thing.” Mick winked at Grace and slipped out the door.

“It’s perfect, isn’t it?” Grace said this to Rose, who was stroking one of the soft blooms.

“It smells like tropical Christmas.” Rose stuck her nose closer to the flower and inhaled.

Cat came in, her hands full of shopping bags, which she dropped onto her chaise lounge, now clear of paperwork related to the case. She reached into a bag and withdrew a box of retro bubble lights. Together, the three of them strung the lights onto the miniature tree. Once the lights had warmed, Cat, who said she had experience with these kinds of lights, tapped or inverted them to get them to bubble. Their effervescence made the room sparkle.

In came Mick with a canvas drop cloth he placed around the bottom of the tree as a skirt. He also brought down a box, which he offered to Grace. “Will homemade ornaments work for your solstice party, Miss Pris?”

“Oh, Mick.” Grace took the box and reached inside. He’d fashioned the most delightful ornaments out of bits and pieces from his studio: a few spines of an old Chinese fan tied together with red velvet ribbon; a garland of driftwood and shells; a vintage toy car hung with glittery string. The four of them decorated the tree together, marveling over Mick’s creations.

When they were done, they stood back to admire it, and Rose said, “We need a star.” She looked at Grace and smiled. “I know you’re not hot on the Jesus story, but that star of Bethlehem, it always makes me weepy to think about it, a beacon in the night.”

“I’m not against those aspects, per se,” said Grace. She thought about the church sermons of her childhood, the fire and brimstone and talk of sinning. “There’s a reason they’re always claiming it’s the greatest story ever told. I think it resonates with us to think of God as not just a man, but a small baby in a manger. He’s nothing but potential.”

“I think I have an idea for our star,” Rose announced. “Mick, come and help me.” The two of them left....

In the book, there's more here, but I'll cut right to the next Christmas tree scene. Readers of the novel know by this point in the story that Donnie, who died in a fire in Mick's studio, has been cremated, his ashes stored in an urn:

...Rose and Mick resurfaced, Rose holding something delicately between her hands. “I got to thinking about the star of Bethlehem, and the wise men, bringing gifts of frankincense and myrrh. Well, we don’t have any of that, whatever it is, but we have something better.”

She moved her top hand to reveal a star crafted out of thick white paper stock backed by tracing paper. There were cutouts in the thick top layer of paper so that the lights from the tree would shine through the tracing paper, dotting the star with glints of light. It was a six-pointed star with beams emanating downward. She shook the star softly, and fine glistening grains of sand filled the beams of light like stardust.

“Did you use beach sand?” Grace asked. “It looks sugary, like it came from Bahia Honda.”

“No,” Rose said with a glowing smile and a wink at Mick. “That’s Donnie.”

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Miami tree at night.

Tomorrow's stop on the indieBRAG Christmas Blog Hop is Carrie Beckort, Literary Engineer. Check it out!


'Framed and Burning' Virtual Book Tour: Rave Reviews and a Guest Post!

 

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The book tour is in full swing, and I'm happy to report not one, not two, but three rave reviews so far. Here's what the reviewers had to say:

"I've become a Lisa Brunette fan"

A number of reviewers praise this series for its page-turning quality although it has elements of a "cozy," such as the emphasis on family relationships. While character development for me is key, I pride myself on keeping a brisk plot, and that seems to be a recipe that is working for my readers. I've even picked up a new fan in Sherrey Meyer at Puddletown Reviews, who raved:

Lovers of mystery and suspense will find themselves devoting a cold, wintry day to reading Framed and Burning in one sitting. Toss in a cup of fantasy with the dreamslippers at work and you won’t be able to tear yourself away.

I am committed to going back to read Cat in the Flock, the first in the Dreamslippers Series, and I can say I’ve become a Lisa Brunette fan with this read. Read the Full Review

"Deeply intriguing"

The Book-o-Craze blogger gave Framed and Burning 4.5 stars and said she had an easy time diving into the second book in the Dreamslippers Series even though she hadn't read the first, which is nice to hear since I took great pains to make sure that was the case. She also said:

I loved the way the author narrated the story, right from the prologue. The description of the facts taking place in that fateful night at the studio were so delicate, even if a little graphic. Deeply intriguing right from the start! I definitely have to get my hands on the first novel of the series! Read the Full Review

"In my top 5 granny characters"

 LuAnn Braley over at Back Porchervations copped to a strong interest in the dreamslipping aspect of the book and sees herself in our hero Granny Grace, which is a great compliment. It's gratifying when a reader identifies with a character like this:

I love a good eccentric granny character and Grace is in my top 5 granny characters I've encountered this year.  Maybe even have things in common.  Grace looks younger than she is.  (Well, that one used to be true of me.)  I'm not sure about it anymore.  And I am old enough to be a grandmother.  And I'm definitely eccentric.... So I will be returning to the Dreamslippers world as long as Granny gets up to her hijinks.  We eccentrics need to stick together! Read the Full Review

Incidentally, Braley isn't the first to come to the conclusion that Grace looks younger than her 77 (in book one) and 78 (in book two) years. I actually never once say that's the case, so I think that because Grace is a magnet for men and both physically and romantically active, that people assume she must look younger than her years. But that's just our cultural bias talking. 

As part of the book tour, I was asked to write a guest blog post for one of the tour hosts. I decided to rock the mystery world by alleging that Framed and Burning is really about art. Read the Full Post

A couple of blogs created spotlights of the book as well, such as this one on the blog Indy Book Fairy and this one over at Hogwash.

Stay tuned for more on the tour, and happy holidays!


Framed and Burning Releases This Friday!

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I’m thrilled to announce the release of book two in the Dreamslippers Series. Framed and Burning will be available this Friday in both print and ebook, with an audiobook version to follow.

In this sequel, you get to meet Mick Travers, Granny Grace’s younger brother. You might remember references to his paintings hanging in the Victorian on Queen Anne Hill, especially to one called “Mickey Angel” at the end of Cat in the Flock. Also a dreamslipper, Mick channels his gift into his artwork. But he and Grace have had a strained relationship for years. When his studio assistant turns up dead, Mick looks guilty—at least to the police and Cat.

Please know, as I get this question a lot, you don’t have to start the series with Cat in the Flock. I’m writing so readers can dive into any of the books and understand what’s happening. So if Framed and Burning sounds like an exciting starting point, go with it.

Speaking of Cat in the Flock, now’s your chance to get your friends hooked on the series, as we’ve knocked the price down on the ebook to 99 cents. This price will be good until at least Christmas, so spread the word!

Whew. Bringing this second novel into the world has been quite the feat. I’ve essentially been working two full-time jobs since launching Cat in the Flock last July. There have been far too many working weekends in this household, I can tell you. But I’m optimistic 2016 will bring greater equilibrium.

I’ve dreamed of writing books since the fourth grade, when a teacher first made me aware the worlds I’d been escaping into had been imagined and written down by people as their jobs. Ms. Pickel was the teacher’s name, and she wore a brooch shaped like a pickle. I remember we read a poem written from the point of view of someone running, and Ms. Pickel had us run in place to see how the rhythm of the poem matched our jog. And so began my first lesson in technique. Not to mention characterization. I could imagine Granny Grace and Ms. Pickel hitting it off.

It’s been more decades than I want to count since that fourth-grade class, and I’m finally sharing my own worlds with readers. But I think Ms. Pickel would be proud.

Read the first three chapters here.

Buy links are here.