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The See Jane Sing! Virtual Book Launch Party

The See Jane Sing! Virtual Book Launch Party

You're invited to the See Jane Sing! virtual launch party on November 19. Check out how to register and join in all the fun!

The See Jane Sing! virtual launch party is a go. The fun kicks off at 1:00 PM (CST) on Saturday, November 19 on Zoom. Everyone who attends will be automatically entered into a drawing for the following prizes:

  • Two people will win a batch of the featured See Jane Sing! recipe, baked and hand-delivered (or mailed) by yours truly. The picture at the top of the page is your hint as to the nature of the recipe.
  • Two people will win signed sets of the first two books in the West River Mystery series, See Jane Run! and See Jane Sing!

Winners will be announced at intervals throughout the party.

Many of the scenes in See Jane Sing! revolve around the school Christmas program, so the virtual party is doing the same. There’s going to be Christmas program show and tell:

  • I’ll share photos, memories, and the Mr. and Mrs. Santa costumes I made for Christmas programs during my country school teaching days.
  • Former students (and their parents) who attend the party can share memories and pictures, too.
  • Anyone who attends is invited to participate in Christmas program show and tell, also.

Before the party ends, I’ll do a reading from See Jane Sing! and answer your questions.

You must register ahead of time to attend the Zoom party. Click here to register.

You will be asked to provide your name and email. That information will only be used to email you the link to the party. I promise not to pass along or sell your information to anyone. You, however, are more than welcome to share the Zoom registration link to others who might like to attend the See Jane Sing! virtual Book Launch Party. The more the merrier, right?

If you have any questions, leave a comment below or use the “Contact” link at the top of the page, and I’ll get back to you.

The See Jane Sing! PreOrder Bonus Is a Doozy

The See Jane Sing! PreOrder Bonus Is a Doozy

The See Jane Sing! preorder bonus is here. Here's how to order the book on Amazon before November 1 and receive the preorder bonus for free!

The See Jane Sing! preorder bonus is now available! It is a scrapbook of pictures and reminiscences about the small town and remote South Dakota county that are the models for the fictional community of Little Missouri described in the West River Mysteries. The scrapbook is packed with old photos taken during the 7 years when my husband Hiram and I (and later our son) lived there, as well as more recent pictures taken during our many visits there. The photo on the scrapbook cover, pictured above, was taken during this summer’s visit when Hiram and I hiked to the Little Missouri River.

Here’s the deal on how to get your hands on the West River Mystery Series Scrapbook for FREE:

  1. Preorder See Jane Sing! on Amazon before November 1, 2022.
  2. After placing your order, click on the “Returns & Orders” button in the top right corner of the Amazon web page.
  3. Download an electronic copy of the invoice/receipt for your order or take a screen shot of it.
  4. Send an email to anne@midwesternbooks.com. Type “See Jane Sing Bonus” in the subject line. Attach the electronic invoice/receipt in the body of the email.
  5. Your PDF copy of the scrapbook should arrive shortly. If it doesn’t, send me an email via the contact button at the top of this page.

Also, my apologies to those who have tried to contact me using that button before now. I recently discovered that it didn’t work. My virtual assistant got right on it, fixed the issues, and sent a barrage of test emails from various devices to make sure it is working properly. All the tests were successful, so it seems to be fixed. If, however, you send an email using the contact form and don’t hear from me within a week, please leave a comment below. Thanks for helping to monitor the situation. I hope you enjoy the See Jane Sing! preorder bonus!

This Fall’s West River Mystery News

This Fall’s West River Mystery News

This fall’s West River Mystery news is here. Depending on where you live take a minute to buckle up, settle into the saddle, or fill your travel mug with coffee because we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Here goes:

  • See Jane Sing’s release date of November 1, 2022 is one short month away. The Kindle version is available for pre-order on Amazon right now. Every pre-order improves a book’s Amazon visibility on the release date for logarithm reasons to boring to go into here. (Plus I can barely spell the word logarithm much less understand how they work.) To sweeten the pot, customers who pre-orders will receive an electronic scrapbook with pictures of and stories about the real life experiences that inspired the West River Mystery series. Also, the names of the customers will be entered into a drawing. The winner will receive a batch of the goodies featured in the recipe at the end of See Jane Sing! The goodies will be baked and mailed by me to wherever the winner lives.
  • I completed the first draft of See Jane Dance! (That’s Book 3 in the series, which will be released in the fall of 2023.) If you heard a cataclysmic shout the afternoon of September 20, that was me shouting for joy.
  • With the rough draft finished, I’m madly working on marketing stuff. Book launch team members have received their advance reader copies of See Jane Sing! as they prepare to write and post honest reviews on Amazon on or soon after the book’s release date. If you’d like to join the team, leave a comment below. I’ll respond with more information.
  • Last but not least, I’m compiling a list of media outlets (newspapers, radio stations, television stations) to send a West River Mystery Series press release. I’m also gathering names of libraries and book stores open to author programs. If you know of reporters, radio talk show hosts, librarians or book store owners in your area who fit that bill, would you leave a comment below?

Well, that wraps up this fall’s West River Mystery news. Thanks for entering into the fun. It means so much!

For Mom, Another Birthday Means Reinventing Herself

For Mom, Another Birthday Means Reinventing Herself

For Mom, another birthday means reinventing herself

For Mom, another birthday means another chance to reinvent herself. For some people, that means claiming to be younger than they are. For Mom, it means the opposite. She began making such claims five years ago, about a month before her birthday.

“What do you want to do to celebrate turning 91?” I asked.

“I’ll be 95,” she replied.

“What year were you born?”

“1928,” she replied correctly without missing a beat.

“If that’s the case, you’re going to be 91.”

Faced with the math, which she could still compute at that time, she conceded the point. But not any more. For 2 years now, her insistence that she is 5 years older than her birth certificate claims has been remarkably consistent. I’ve been equally consistent about seeing if she’ll slip up.

“You’re going to be 94 on September 3,” I told her in late August. “What do you want to do to celebrate?”

“Nothing. And I’m going to be 99,” she shot back.

“Nothing at all? Not even cake and ice cream.”

“I could do that.”

“What kind of cake?”

“I don’t know.”

“Maybe homemade German Chocolate Cake?” I mentioned her favorite.

“That would be okay.”

The morning of her birthday, my brother and I served up cake and ice cream in her room at the care facility where she lives. My sister who lives out of state called and chatted with her.

After we sang Happy Birthday to her, I asked, “What’s it feel like to be 94?”

“I’m 99.” She handed my brother her half-eaten cake and ice cream. “I can’t eat any more.”

Soon after, my sister said good-bye, and Mom fell asleep. My brother and I packed up the food and went on our way.

“The only question now,” my brother said as we walked down the hall, “is whether she’ll be with us on her next birthday.”

“And if she is,” I added with her twinkle in my eye, “whether she’ll be 99 again or 100.”

See Jane Dig! Will Be a Dirty Business

See Jane Dig! Will Be a Dirty Business

See Jane Dig!, will be a dirty business, when I get down to writing it the fourth book in the West River Mystery Series. I learned this lesson on a morning spent looking for fossilized tortoise shells and crocodile teeth while scrambling around the rocky, washed out terrain pictured above. Friends and colleagues who would have voted me ‘most likely to avoid dirt, sweat, and hiking” probably don’t believe I would do such a thing statement.

But I did, and it goes to show that authors 1) will sacrifice all for their art, and that 2) they are crazy people.

With that truth established, let’s circle back to the morning Hiram and I spent digging in the dirt for fossils. Or to use terminology preferred by the good people at the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum in Bowman, North Dakota,* on our paleo site tour. Our guide was Darrah Steffen, the museum’s paleontology curator.** We followed her by car about 30 miles west and slightly north of Bowman to the site of the paleo tour in Slope County. Then we followed her on foot to what she called a “micro site,” which looked like this.

Not quite the dinosaur bones sticking out of bare earth I had pictured. Quite a disappointment, in fact, until we got the hang of spotting bits of rock just a little different from the surrounding dirt and debris. Like these, which Darrah identified as 65 million-year-old fossilized crocodile skin.

We didn’t find any crocodile teeth, but our eventual haul included fossilized tortoise shells, more crocodile skin, petrified wood and reeds. Then we headed back to the town for lunch and and afternoon in the museum’s paleontology lab. We used specialized paleontologist tools*** to clean the fossils. Once they were squeaky clean, Darrah put them under the microscope so we could see what the they looked like up close and personal. Here’s a magnification of the crocodile skin.

Amazing, huh? Finally, Darrah took us into the lab’s inner sanctum and showed us how they will label and store the fossils found during our tour. She told us about the inland sea and its coastland which included the far western North Dakota, far western and northen South Dakota, and eastern Montana.**** She also answered my questions about the tools and processes used in the late 1970s when See Jane Dig! will take place.

The plot particulars are a mystery to me at this point, since I’m still slogging away at the first draft of See Jane Dance! What I do know about West River Mystery #4 is this:

  • The dinosaur dig will be somewhere in fictional Tipperary County, which is located in real dinosaur country.
  • Jane will take her students on a spring field trip to the dinosaur dig.
  • Jane’s students will assist their teacher up and down the ravines, much like my husband helped me.
  • Dinosaur dig tools include pick axes, sledgehammers, and dental picks so there will be plenty of murder weapons available.
  • See Jane Dig! will be a dirty business. Murder mysteries are like that.
  • Book #4 will release in late fall of 2024 or early 2025.

What do you think of the of dirty business Jane is getting herself into?

*Bowman is a real town, about 68 miles north and a little west of the fictional town of Little Missouri in fictional Tipperary County. Bowman is the county seat of Bowman County, just over the border in North Dakota.
**She holds an undergrad degree in geology and a master’s in paleontology and could teach Jane a thing or two.
***Tap water and toothbrushes.
****This area is rich in dinosaur skeletons, including stegosaurus, triceratops, T-Rex, and hadrosaurus.