D. R. Martin & Richard Audry Books


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Fourth Mary MacDougall Mystery On the Way

It’s way past time for an update on my writing projects. I’ve managed to get a lot of words written—and rewritten—in 2019.

The big news is the upcoming publication of the fourth Mary MacDougall historical mystery, A Fatal Fondness. In it the intrepid young sleuth finally sets up her own detective agency. But with a caveat. Her father requires an older cousin to work there, too—not just as a secretary, but as a chaperone as well. A few trivial cases trickle in. And then one of them explodes into an affair of international intrigue and murder.

A Fatal Fondness will be out in November. In December, I’ll be doing a blog tour hosted by Escape with Dollycas—where there’ll be a giveaway of all three print books in the series. So you may be seeing my mug pop up on some of your favorite mystery blogs.

This year I’ve also been working on the final novel in my Johnny Graphic ghost adventure trilogy. I set out on Johnny’s journey in 2006 and I’m happy (and relieved) to finally bring his story to a rousing, epic conclusion. The final book—as yet untitled—will be out sometime next spring.

And not that it has anything to do with book writing, but the acquisition of a nifty Olympus camera early this summer has totally reignited my passion for photography. The plan is to get up a website featuring all of my significant work, going back a long, long time. Meanwhile, I’ll be periodically posting some shots on my Facebook author page. Be sure to check it out.


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Fifty Shades of Evil

My villain is torturing me…

As I reported last time, the first draft of the third and final Johnny Graphic novel was wrapped up a few months ago. I did a second draft and I’m now doing battle with the third draft. This one is the toughest so far, because I thought I would try making my antagonist—Percival Gorton Rathbone—a bit less evil than he was in the first two stories. I want to get him out of black-and-white and into shades of gray. Because even the most dastardly villain believes he has good reasons for doing what he does.

Well, it isn’t easy making someone like Percy sympathetic. I’m struggling to find the perfect balance—I’ve already redone his first chapter seven or eight times.

4.2.7

Fortunately, in between my battles with Percy, I’ve made progress on the fourth Mary MacDougall mystery. I’m about a quarter of the way through a first draft. After sending Mary to Upper Michigan in the last book, this time around I’m having my sleuthing heiress operate entirely in her hometown of Duluth, Minnesota. It’s late September, 1902. And as Mary tackles her first modest cases as a professional detective—stolen silver napkin rings, lost cats—she can’t resist sticking her nose in the matter of a drowning. Was it accidental? Or not?

 


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New Books for 2018

Winter’s always a productive time for me as a writer. I’m happy to stay inside in front of my computer, warm and toasty, typing away on my current project. This winter I hope to make a lot of headway on my 2018 goal of adding three new books to my backlist.

Mary MacDougall Mysteries The fourth book in this series is finally under way. Mary sets up her own detective agency, under the watchful eye of her cousin Jeanette Harrison—her new partner in crime (solving). Of course, Mary’s fascination with a certain darkly handsome painter continues.

King Harald Mysteries For their fourth adventure, I’ve decided Andy and Harald deserve a little time in the spotlight—the movie spotlight, that is. New Bergen’s the location for a movie shoot and Andy’s sister Kirsten is catering it. Naturally, handsome Harald, the crime-sniffing pooch, is cast as the movie’s canine co-star.

Johnny Graphic Adventures Under my real name, D. R. Martin, I’ve published two yarns about a 12-year-old boy who takes on ghost marauders in a 1930s alternate earth. I just finished the first draft of the final book in the trilogy, which makes me excited and sad. Excited, because I get to finish Johnny Graphic’s story. Sad, because it’s the end of the road and I’ll probably never again revisit this world.

Be sure to check out my Facebook author page for updates on Harald and Andy, and Mary MacDougall.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2018!


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Goodbye to Puppy

One of the dogs that helped to inspire King Harald was Gus, a big ol’ Chesapeake that lived on my brother-in-law’s farm. After he died, back around 2000, his master got himself a little puppy who was temporarily, then permanently, named Puppy.

We last saw Puppy about a month ago, still tottering over to greet us on our arrival. Puppy always had to say hello and loved following us around the farmstead. He was always good tempered, even amid the invasion of cats that descended on the place a few years ago. They kicked him out of his warm spot in an old chicken house, but he still tolerated them. There was one unfortunate incident with a feline, but we won’t discuss that here.

Anyway, we just heard that Puppy passed on a couple of weeks ago.

So, here’s to Puppy and all the fun we had with him! Thanks for the memories, you sweet ol’ pooch.


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Blog Tour Roundup: King Harald’s Snow Job

My November blog tour for the new King Harald mystery, King Harald’s Snow Job, concluded yesterday and it was great. Reviews, spotlights, interviews—every one of them excellent. Thanks to all you terrific bloggers and to Lori Caswell, who organized the tour. Here’s what the reviewers had to say:

“Audry is a wonderful storyteller. You will quickly find yourself immersed in this book and will have a difficult time putting it down. With winter coming fast this would be a fun book to read curled up by the fire.  Mystery, comedy, great characters, all in a setting full of snow, do add up to a perfect escape and one I highly recommend!” —Lori Caswell, Escape with Dollycas

“Richard Audry has added another cozily readable and eminently enjoyable King Harald novel to the series.  I get a LOT of books in the mail, and I enjoy 99% of them.  But nothing puts a smile on my face like when I get a royal visit.  Long live the King!” —Back Porchervations 

“I always enjoy hanging out with Andy Skyberg and I love King Harald. The two make a great duo, never wanting to get involved, but always landing in the midst of a crime… The December snow, the holiday shopping, and the laid-back demeanor of Anders and Harold make this the perfect book to cozy up with!” –Kathy Kaminski, Cozy Up with Kathy

“This is a very nice light cozy mystery that would be good to curl up with on a cold, snowy day.” —Martha’s Bookshelf

“Lots of fun, a twisted mystery, and some delicious food and beverages left me hungry and thirsty for more of this cozy series. I raise my glass of Biberschwanz [beer] to an adventure best served cold.” —Fuonlyknew

“Snow Job is a fun story that will keep you interested to the end…” —My Reading Journeys


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King Harald on Tour!

Our bags are packed and we’re ready to fly! Starting Wednesday, I’ll be on a 12-day blog tour with Andy Skyberg and his crime-sniffing pooch King Harald. We’ll be giving interviews, posting posts, and finding out what our hosts think of King Harald’s Snow Job. Be sure to check in with all these great mystery book blogs!

November 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – COZY WEDNESDAY
November 2 –  Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 3 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW
November 4 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST
November 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
November 6 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
November 6 –  Queen of All She Reads  – SPOTLIGHT
November 6 –  View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
November 7 – Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – REVIEW
November 7 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
November 8 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW
November 8 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
November 9 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
November 10 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
November 11 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
November 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST


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New King Harald Cover Reveal

I’ve been plugging away on the third King Harald mystery for a number of months now, and I’m happy to say I can see the finish line. The paperback proof copy is arriving today. I’ll do one final read before I push the “Publish” button.

This story takes place in early December, and Andy and King Harald, as usual, get themselves embroiled in a new mystery. Here’s the back cover blurb.

It’s early December and Andy Skyberg is itching to blow town for a weekend of holiday cheer with old friends—including a date with an attractive divorcée who thinks he’s hot.

But first, Aunt Bev needs a teensy bit of help. She’s managing the Girls’ Weekend Out event at the Beaver Tail Resort and could use some extra muscle. Andy figures he can spare a few hours before hitting the road.

Mother Nature, though, has other plans. A giant blizzard makes an unexpected turn. Andy and his pooch King Harald find themselves snowbound—in a hotel full of hard-partying women, stranded travelers, a hockey team, a man-eating novelist, a belligerent blogger, and one violent, devious jewel thief.

Before you know it, man and mutt are up to their noses in another case. It’s a winter wonderland of fast-paced fun and merry madness, as the sleuthing duo dig out from King Harald’s Snow Job.

I’m really excited by the new cover. The design is by Steve Thomas and the photo is by Kelly Germain. whose pooch Fiver is our cover boy. Look for the book to appear on Amazon—both Kindle and paperback—in August.

King_Haralds_SnowJob_edited-1.jpg

 


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King Harald’s Snow Job: Getting Close

Yesterday I sent off the nearly final manuscript of King Harald’s Snow Job to my proofreader. After her eagle-eye read, I’ll make any corrections and print proof copies of the book in paperback for one final read before I push the “Publish” button.

The cover is nearly completed and it’s a fun one. It’s a great image of Harald, from a shot that our friend Kelly took of her dog Fiver. I wanted a winter picture, and she had the perfect one—there’s even a dollop of snow on the dog’s snout. My designer, Steve Thomas, did another great job of putting all the pieces together. He came up with a fun snowflake background that catches the jolly mood of the story.

This novel—the third in the King Harald series—has been a long time coming, for some reason. It was a challenge writing 65k words that play out in about 33 hours in a very enclosed setting. It’s not quite a locked-room mystery, but along those lines. All my reviewers and editors so far are liking it. So, fingers crossed, I hope my readers will enjoy it, too.

And speaking of reviewers and editors, I am super grateful to the folks who give me their feedback on the drafts of the manuscript. It’s a case where, at some point as a writer, I can’t see the forest for the trees. My reviewers and editors point out the parts that need work. For example, in this book I wanted to make Andy, my protagonist, grow a bit—make him more confident in his sleuthing chops. However, in the process of doing that, according to a couple of reviewers, I made him less likeable. It was a good catch and I went back and softened some of those scenes. And another reviewer suggested beefing up Aunt Bev’s desire for corporate success as a way to add more humor. So she ends up deploying meaningless business jargon, which I had fun making up.

When the cover is finalized, I’ll post it here and on Facebook. And as soon as the e-book and paperback are available, I’ll send out the word.


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Johnny Graphic Update: Fleshing Out Ghost Characters

It was over ten years ago that I first started working on my Johnny Graphic stories. And since Day One, I’ve tried to populate them with ghosts that readers would find interesting and endearing. Though it took me a little while to figure out exactly how to do this, I knew I wanted my wraiths and specters to be out of the ordinary. I wanted them to touch real life in a way most fictional ghosts cannot. To steal an observation from one of my Amazon reviewers, I wanted to do for ghosts what Isaac Asimov did for robots: Make a set of consistent rules for how ghosts “lived” their lives. There are three key points.

• Ghosts may exercise their free will by serving living humans and—thus endowed by living effectuators—assume a degree of corporeality to perform the tasks requested of them in our material universe.

• Ghosts who are engaged in corporeal activity that may harm living humans or animals are subject to the same injuries as the living—though they cannot be killed a second time.

• Ghosts are free at any time to withdraw from their arrangement with living humans, but thereby lose the benefits of corporeality.

After a break of three or so years, I launched into the third Johnny book and am now about halfway through the first draft. And I’m having a great time working with my ghost characters—both regulars and new additions. In the first book Johnny and his sister are given a drawing of their missing parents, showing them being guarded by two giant ghost wolves. In the third book those two huge ice wolves take part in the action. It so happens they’re a bit inscrutable, but they’re definitely good guys at heart. I haven’t decided yet if they’re going from Okkatek Island to Zenith with Johnny and the others. (You become fond of so many characters, it’s tempting to continue their stories. But there’s never enough room to do so.)

Another ghost whose name cropped up in the second book needed to be made into a real character. He was an ancient shaman who had some association with the villain of my story. Indeed, he may have been some kind of co-conspirator. But to my surprise, when he finally appeared in the “flesh,” he wasn’t exactly what my hero, or I the author, expected. It’s a fine thing when characters surprise their creators: “No, sir, I am not like that. I am like this.” More often than not, your characters know more than you do.

Of course, my two favorite ghost characters in the series both have big roles in the final book.

I knew from the moment I invented him that Colonel Horace MacFarlane would be a central character—as the senior officer of the First Zenith Cavalry Brigade. And he’s the sort of stalwart, honest, reliable ghost you’d want on your side. An honorable military man.

The little girl ghost Bao surprised me, morphing into a key character. In fact, she has one of the few POV roles in the series—there are chapters in all three books written from her point of view. Being a child, albeit a child a thousand years old, means she is constantly learning, constantly providing a fresh outlook. She was without a family for a millennium, and now that she has one again she aims to make the most of it. And in both the first and last book her actions are vital to advancing the plots.

When I wrap up the Johnny Graphic Adventures, one of the things I need to do is deal with the fate of the ghosts. I intend to give them the option of real, final, irrevocable death—which many ghosts have long desired. But it’s going to be painful to say goodbye to some of these characters. I’m hoping that a few decide to stay with Johnny and Mel and Nina and Dame Honoria until the end.