Tag Archives: Deadly Thyme

Missing Cats, and Best Sellers

comfortable-catHere I am. Me. Fallible. Ready to disappoint. It’s Friday February 5, 2016 (can you believe time has flown so quickly?) and I have decided that my YA novel, which is in the second draft stage is just toooo darn boring. Well, okay, I realize it’s just me saying that, but it is now on my proverbial shelf, being thought about but not worked on. I think of that shelf as the back burner of my stove, the one with the various degrees of “simmer” which may mean that spaghetti sauce could sit there all day getting better by the minute. Thing is I need to put conflict on every page as my friend Roger Paulding always says in critique group. He is so correct. Conflict on every page moves the reader to turn the pages. If there is no conflict the reader is just going to fall asleep. My YA has no conflict in it, or at least not enough to keep every reader involved. So say goodbye to the YA novel I’ve been working on for two years, and say HELLO to a new murder mystery set in London with Jon Graham as the hero. It’s true. I think it’s going to be a winner. And I don’t mean that in a Donald way. I mean, if you liked Deadly Thyme I think you might like the one I am now writing set just before Jon Graham goes to Cornwall.

But back to being a winner. You see, Deadly Thyme is a winner. I say that because for all of three nano-seconds in January, I was a true BEST-seller. I was #1 in mystery, thriller, detective series and in several other categories. I was so thrilled I think I couldn’t see straight. Yes, I may have actually made a bit of money there. And if the world’s idea of success is making money, then I won in the world’s opinion of best-selling author. Plus, I paid a few bills, or at least I will when the royalties hit the bank sometime in the next four weeks.

Most people don’t realize, and when I say most people I include myself here, because I never thought about what kind of money authors made before trying to become an author. I just figured authors made a lot of money. Best-seller doesn’t always translate into what you and I would consider rich. Last year I went in the hole only $665.00. That’s pretty fantastic! The year before my debt was over $3,000. That’s what I spent getting my books out in front of you versus what I made selling said books. But this whole book idea/plan needs further expose. Let me break it down for you in a super simplified way because I am a super simplified-thinking person. I put Deadly Thyme on sale for .99 for the month of January 2016. Bookbub, bless their hearts, accepted me into their daily deal campaign. I sold three thousand Deadly Thyme ebooks on Kindle alone in one day. For the month of January, between all the various e-book outlets I sold over 6 thousand ebooks at .99. On Kindle I made 35% of that .99. Amazon made the rest. I am not complaining. A penny is still a penny to me, as old-fashioned as that sounds, and 29 cents is still a lot times three thousand. Compare that to what happens when a traditionally published big-name author sells their e-book for $14.99 on Amazon. Check this out! The publisher makes 15%, the author’s agent makes 15%, and because it isn’t in the price range of 2.99 to 9.99 with Amazon (that’s the 70% profit range) the profit is only registering at 35%, Amazon is making the rest. The author is taking home 35% of that $14.99, less 15% less 15%. Oh bother, as Winnie-the-Pooh would say.

Deadly Haste. There, I’ve said the title of my new effort. I even found the most gorgeous Byron quote for it. “Now hatred is by far the longest pleasure; men love in haste, but they detest at leisure.” So apropos. Don’t be mad. I love really cool classical quotes. Morris would be pleased. My setting is Harrow a northwest borough of London. And there are missing cats involved here.

Full disclosure. This is a preliminary draft and I realize that as time goes by what I love won’t always get to “stick” because, though I love it, the “thing” no matter what it is doesn’t always move the plot forward. I am all about story. I want you, my precious readers, to enjoy my story. If my little beloved “thing” — like missing cats, doesn’t move the story forward it’s going to be kicked outside into the snow.

I know, it makes me sad, too.

So this is the news from my end. I hope you all are enjoying a little quiet and comfort wherever you are. Stay warm. It is cold out there.

An Interview with John Graham prior to his journey to Cornwall and Deadly Thyme

Interviewer (Michelle Smith-Greene) – I’m having a recorded conversation while taking notes as to his expression with Jon (no ‘H’) Graham, born in Bristol, he says, and now living in London. So Jon, tell me about yourself.

Jon – This is great. But why me?

M – We want to put a face to the job of policing, add a human element. So, tell me.

Jon – What is there to tell? What you see is what you get.

M – What do I see? My radio listeners want to know.

Jon – That’s easy. A thirty-two year old man with a nose that overtakes the rest of his face. He has good enough eyes (oh! – green). He has unruly brown hair, a day’s growth of beard -not his fault – forgot his shaver- and a propensity to slouch when thinking about something. Yes, and he has a true fear of failure in anything he attempts.

M – That’s interesting. First of all, I would not have said that your nose was large. And your hair has a wave to it with some blond streaks. Did you add those?

Jon – Not blond, I’m afraid, more like gray. Job stress, that’s why I took up surfing.

M – One doesn’t normally think of England as being a surfing hot-spot.

Jon – That’s where you’d be wrong. There are good waves if there’s any breeze at all.

M- It’s cold isn’t it?

Jon – Freezing. I have a wet suit.

M – How often do you surf?

Jon – I surf on my days off, two days a week. Year-round. If I catch three good waves, I’m happy. Besides, any more than that and I couldn’t feel my feet.

M – where did you learn to surf?

Jon – On holiday in Cornwall with my girlfriend. She was good at it. Much better than I’ll ever be. I’m a bit clumsy.

M – Was?

Jon – Excuse me?

M – You said your girlfriend was good at it?

Jon – That’s all due to the fact my girlfriend is presently past tense.

M – Ur . . . About your job.

Jon – Detective Sergeant with the London Met.

M – Sounds impressive. (Psst, to my listeners. This man is a total knock-out. I’m overwhelmed.) What is it you do exactly?

Jon – I work in the internal fraud division. We investigate crimes within the police department, those which are of a serious nature.

M – What does ‘of a serious nature’ mean?

Jon – Smuggling, drugs, you name it.

M – Murder?

Jon – Not since I’ve been in the department.

M – I’ve heard that your department is not the most well-liked department among other police.

Jon – They think we’re out to get them.

M – Are you?

Jon – Not unless they are doing something they shouldn’t.

M – You mention fear of failure. What does fear of failure mean to you?

Jon (shrugs) – I don’t like to be wrong.

M – Explain with an example.

Jon – I like to see a project through both at home or at work. I like it to be right, tied up, no loose ends. You get the picture?

M – You’re a perfectionist?

Jon – I’m too much of a slob. But yeah, maybe at the office. My desk is neat. But at home, nothing neat there. And it’s more . . . it’s just I hate to lose.

M – Competitive?

Jon – I am striving for a personal best at everything.

M – Sports?

Jon – Rock climbing. Surfing is a sport.

M – Be serious. (he gives me a searching look, lovely eyes.)

Jon – I am being serious. Hey! What are you saying, Michelle? Okay, I do like cricket but I’m no good at it. I love football. I used to play in a policeman’s league.

M – Why ‘used to?’

Jon – I joined Fraud and suddenly my “mates” were out to kill me. Besides, I discovered rock climbing, and surfing. Once you’ve surfed, there’s nothing else. I’ve even been tempted to chuck the job and pursue surfing full-time.

M – And why haven’t you?

Jon – The money, of course. It’s not just me I worry about.

M – Married? Children?

Jon – No and no. I help my mother out. My sister and I share care of her. But she also has Mrs. Fleet.

M  – Your mother? Is she old? Who is Mrs. Fleet?

Jon – She’s part of the family. A carer. My mother is a young fifty-five. But she’s in a wheelchair, car accident. A bad one. My father died. She’s very energetic and she paints. Acrylics. Her paintings are beginning to sell at a gallery close to her home.

M – I’m sorry. That’s so tragic.  Do you live with your mother?

Jon – No. But we aren’t far from each other. She actually lives with my sister when she’s in town.

M – Where do you live? Nice home?

Jon – On a policeman’s salary? Joking, right? My flat. It’s okay, very small. My bedroom is my living room is my kitchen, more of a bedsit really. A horrible mess at the moment. Hey – you’re taking notes? Don’t let me mum see.

M – So you see your mother when you aren’t working or surfing.

Jon – Three times a week, when I’m in London.

M – Your job is flexible then?

Jon  – No. The hours I put in are more regular hours. I used to be in Murders. My hours were never regular then. Never knew how much I’d be working on any given day. I think of the difference as what an emergency room doctor’s job is as compared to a dermatologist’s job. I’m the dermatologist of policemen.

M – What kind of crimes are you handling at the present time?

Jon – There’s a case come up in Cornwall. I’m going down there – today actually.

M – For how long?

Jon – Just a few days.

M – Then you already know what your errant police officer has done?

Jon – this is off the record right?

M – Yes.

Jon – It isn’t completely clear, that’s why I’m going down there. To wrap up the on-going investigation. Say, you won’t be putting this out yet, right? I mean, you’ll be holding it until I come back, right?

M – I said I would. But it does sound rather juicy. I could stand the ratings boost.

Jon – Would you like to go out sometime?

M – After the interview, lunch?

Jon – Sure. When I get back from Cornwall? Casual. We could discuss when you’ll air this then.

M – I’m up for a deeper discussion, yes.

Jon – Mmmm?

M – You’re a bit of a scoundrel. (Folks, he has such a smile, it would melt rocks.)

Jon – Putting a face to policing then?

M – the photos you’ve given me so far have done nothing for you.

Jon – How’s this one then? It’s me and my sister. She’s the good-looking one.

Happy joyful couple taking pictures with digital camera isolated on white background


NEW Deadly Thyme cover for EbookLast spring Deadly Thyme won first place in Young Adult with Texas Association of Authors. Today, I just found out Deadly Thyme won first place in psychological suspense with the CLUE Awards.  I’m so thrilled!! Two First Place awards for Deadly Thyme!!

Chanticleer Book Reviews

Reviews, Writing Competitions, & Author Services


The CLUE 2014 AWARDS FIRST PLACE Category Winners for Suspense and Thriller Novels


Chanticleer Book Reviews is honored to announce the First Place Category Winners for the CLUE  AWARDS 2014 for Suspense and Thriller Novels, a division of Chanticleer Blue Ribbon Writing Competitions.

Clue Awards for Suspense Thriller NovelsThe CLUE Awards recognize emerging new talent and outstanding works in the genre of  Suspense and Thriller Fiction. The First Place Category Winners will be recognized at the Chanticleer Authors Conference and Awards Gala held in late September 2015.

Chanticleer Reviews is proud to be a literary affiliate of the Historical Novel Society.

Congratulations to The CLUE FIRST PLACE Category 2014 Award Winners:

  • Historical: Rachel B. Ledge for The Red Ribbon  
  • Romantic Suspense: Mimi Barbour for Special Agent Francesca  
  • International Intrigue/World Events: Lawrence Verigin for The Dark Seed
  • Contemporary Mystery/Suspense: Pamela Beason for The Only Clue
  • Private Eye/Noir:  Keith Dixon for The Bleak
  • Police Procedural: Jode Susan Millman for The Midnight Call
  • Spy/Espionage: Michelle Daniel for The Red Circle
  • Psychological Thriller: Rebecca Nolen for Deadly Thyme
  • Cozy/Amateur Sleuth: JoAnn Basset for I’m Kona Love You Forever
  • True Crime: Gayle Nix Jackson for Orville Nix: The Missing JFK Assassination Film 


To view the 2014 CLUE Finalists whose works made it to the short list, please click here.

Good Luck to the Chaucer First Place Category Winners as they compete for the CLUE AWARDS 2014 GRAND PRIZE position!

The 2014 CLUE FIRST PLACE category winners will be recognized at the Chanticleer Authors Conference and Awards Gala that will take place in September 2015. The CLUE  2014 Grand Prize winner will be announced at the Awards Gala.

Two Great Reviews

I wanted to include a photo of Denise Satterfield and I at the Great Big Hair Ball during the Pulpwood Queens weekend last January. Fern Brady was there, too. We made the NacogdochesPulpwood Queens copy newspaper!! Whoo Hoo!!  Here’s the photo:

I’ll be signing at a Kroger next weekend, July 11 and 12 at Ella and 43rd.


I’ve heard from a reader in India, Aditi, who read The Dry. You can see her blog post here: http://bookstopcorner.blogspot.in/2015/06/review-256-dry-by-rl-nolen.html

Here is an excerpts from her review:

The book opens at a drought-affected land somewhere in West Virginia where a young boy, named, Elliot Sweeney, embarks upon a journey to find his missing father when his father’s search rescue team called off their mission to find him. Soon Elliot meets a young girl named, Left, who too is looking for her missing brother, who worked in the col mines. On their way, they chances upon a scary rat-like looking ma, or rather say a rat man named, Mr. Nogard and a lost and forgotten world, Penumbra, separated by a Dry side and a Water side. But in the Dry side there is a dragon and ruled “The Wicked Prince of Every Place”, named, Prince LeVane, a huge monster wasp, who hires children to work in his mines. And now it’s Elliot’s decision to take a brave step to go to the Queen of the Water, Tosia, and to help him rescue those helpless children.

Firstly, the story is absolutely mind-blowing and thoroughly engrossing enough for the readers to keep them hooked till the very last page. And since the author have included so many action-packed events that provides a fast pace to the book. The narrative is kept catchy and thoughtful and layered with emotions. The graphic detailing and vivid description of each events makes the story a complete page turner.

The backdrop of the story and especially the world building of Penumbra is very striking and excellently done with enough information for the readers to understand the hows and whys of this strange insect-filled and drought-affected land. The author sets her readers mood right into the very heart of the story by unraveling the strangeness of this dark, scary world moment-by-moment.

The characters from the main protagonist to the evil ones are all strongly developed masking them with flaws that can induce fear in her readers’ minds. Elliot is an ever-growing character who grew out of his fear till the very last page and though he is a 12-year old boy, still his mind progresses like an adult and it is real easy for the readers to connect with his and his fear.

The wasps play a huge role in this book as each chapter begins with an important wasp fact that holds the key to the following events. And I believe, after reading this book and reaching that satisfying climax, the readers are bound to get some giant-wasp-filled-nightmares for a while.

The book deals a lot with trust issues, like on his way to find his father, Elliot meets a man named, Mr. Jack. In the beginning he had trouble believing in his stories, so he runs away with his donkey and the author does a great job in building that misunderstood trust in his heart for Mr. Jack. The adrenaline-rushing moments and the action-packed events make the book one hell of an edgy roller-coaster ride.

Verdict: All YA lovers, especially dystopian fans, will highly appeal to this book.

Here’s a website with a great review of Deadly Thyme by Kathryn Svendsen. Here’s her blog post address: http://kathrynsshelffullofbooks.blogspot.com/2015/06/book-review-deadly-thyme-by-rl-nolen.html

Here is what she said:

From the very first sentence, the author will have you hooked. This is a mystery novel that is difficult to put down. It will give you the chills and make you want to know where your daughters are at all times.

In this complex mystery there are very few clues to go on. The kidnapper almost seems to be like a ghost. He seems to be able to move about the village without anyone seeing him. As I tried to unravel the mystery along with the detectives, the various twists and turns had me suspecting a variety of different people. I even had the advantage of knowing some information from the perspective of the perpetrator of the crime.

The author did an excellent job of making the characters in Deadly Thyme seem just like anyone else you might meet in a small village in England. I thought the main character Detective Jon Graham was very personable. The torment that Annie experienced was palpable and realistic.

There were a few gruesome scenes and a few very surprising twists. But this killer is a depraved madman and no one can figure out who he is.

I gave Deadly Thyme 5 stars out of 5. It’s a clean read with no profanity and no sexual scenes.  If you enjoy murder mysteries, you should definitely pick this book up. I highly recommend it.

Isn’t that wonderful?

Two Great Reviews

grandma and coraA great new review of The Dry:

5.0 out of 5 stars Simply awesome read, September 10, 2014
This review is from: The Dry (Paperback)
This is a book that you really don’t want to pass by. I expected a good read and ended up being more than pleased with this purchase.

We travel back to the late 1800s and we head to West Virginia. As it is now, West Virginia is the coal mining mecca in our story.

The challenge is, in our story, our main character, Elliot, is in search of his father. His father, a human rights activist went to WV to investigate stories of children being used to work the mines.

Sounds intriguing enough but the author really goes the extra mile so fasten your seatbelt.

We meet an assortment of interest characters. Nogard is one who will definitely catch your attention.

I liked Beulah, she was a great sidekick (no pun intended) and added a nice layer to the story.

Then we have a man and the pocket watch that he gives to Elliot right before he begins his quest.

There are more, shall we say unforgettable?, characters. I don’t want to give you a single spoiler but keep a close eye on Nogard.

If you are wondering about the significance of the insect on the book cover- you’ll understand soon enough as you begin reading.

I will say this – I think you will be as captivated as I was with this unique plot. There is a unique vibe to this read – the author is a true wordsmith.

I definitely want to read more by this author and hope to see additional books with similar plots from her as she has a real talent as a writer.

Worth every single one of the five stars.

And Here’s a new review for Deadly Thyme:

5.0 out of 5 stars I highly recommend this book to everyone, September 8, 2014
This review is from: Deadly Thyme (Paperback)
This Book Was Given To Me For An Honest Review

When I began reading this book I thought it was just another book. Was I ever wrong. This book is such a page turner it’s unbelievable. Once you begin to read it you will not be able to put it done until you finish it. It is about a woman and her daughter who are being watched by a person unknown to them. He sees Ruth (the mother) and believes it is his mother. He decides he must kill her. He takes her daughter without actually planning to. His “mother” continuously speaks to him and he continues to argue with her. During the search for Annie (the daughter) several other girls’ bodies are found. Other murders are committed also. There are so many twists and turns in this story that to tell you more I would ruin your reading of this book. It is truly a HAVE TO read. I gave it 5 stars but it really needs more than 10. I highly recommend this book to everyone. I look forward to seeing more works by R.L. Nolen.

If people have already reviewed your book why do I need to write a Review?

Reviews come in all shapes and sizes. It matters not how big it is. You only need 20 words for a review. I need reviews. It seems like such a small favor…but it is a huge favor. People buy things because of reviews. And people don’t buy things because of reviews. Reviews mean everything to each and every writer, even if they have 500 reviews. And believe me when I say that I would be happy with 70. Please go to Amazon or Barnes & Noble.com and tell me what you think. I sure do appreciate it. Really.

A Great Boost With A Review

booksHere is a link to a review for Deadly Thyme that you may be interested in. http://blogcritics.org/book-review-deadly-thyme-by-r-l-nolen/#respond

I was so excited to see this! Wow! Even though it is four stars it is a good one. It sounded as if the reviewer was stretched out of her comfort zone on this – reading a psychological suspense. There is a specific market for this book. It is a British murder/mystery/suspense. That is specific. The only character she did not fall in love with is Ruth. That’s the only negative. I’ll take it.

British writers in this genre tend to focus on the psychological aspects of a murder/and murderer. The gory stuff happens “off-stage”. You, the reader, see the results, a book that is sort of like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. He used shadow to the best advantage for spooky atmosphere. A British M/M or suspense is all about atmosphere, and drama, but there must also be a bit of humor.

Enjoy this review and please purchase Deadly Thyme from Amazon, Barnes & Noble (Nook), iStore books, and anywhere else. Deadly Thyme as an ebook is $4.99. And The Dry as an ebook is $2.99. Cheaper than a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Now (TODAY) the second bit of good news is this: Both of my books are now in Ingram’s catalog so they can be ordered for any bookstore anywhere. Please do me a favor and ask your local bookstore to order them. Also, ask your library to order the books. They are available for libraries as ebooks or through the Ingram’s catalog.

And as always, if you pinky swear on your mother’s meatloaf that you will write a review on Amazon (only 20 words required, people!!!) you can apply to me for a FREE ebook. (ask) JUST SAYIN’ I’m looking for reviews and I’m not opposed to begging and sending chocolate.

Happy Hour with the Author!

Deadly Thyme EbookAnnouncing a book signing on May 15th at River Oaks Book Store at 3270 Westheimer. That’s across the street from Lamar High School and almost next door to the Baskin Robins Ice Cream store on the corner of River Oaks Blvd and Westheimer. There’s a light there, and St. Johns Episcopal Church.

I’m so thrilled to announce this. I am having a book club discussion of Deadly Thyme that morning at 11:00 at River Oaks Book Store and everyone is welcome to come and listen in, but then I’m having a book signing of Deadly Thyme at River Oaks Book Store between 5 and 7. Wine, and refreshments will be available. It’s happy hour with the author time! Yes, I’m going to be at River Oaks Book Store two times, possibly ALL DAY if you show up!!

Deadly Thyme takes place in a sleepy coastal village on the West coast of Cornwall, England. A girl disappears. The village is full of people keeping secrets. One secret is deadly!

Note the new cover of Deadly Thyme. I still have a few of the old postcards to give away so I’ll bring them and you can compare pictures.

Mea Culpa

I’ve been so excited to have two books published on Amazon. The Dry continues to get good reviews. I’m so grateful. It takes many hands and many eyes to get a book ready for publication. I feel like those who have published before me have been the most helpful in the process.

I published a second book in January called Deadly Thyme. I had had it professionally critiqued. I followed all her good suggestions. I read and reread the file. handsI was certain it was perfect. The cover was outstanding. Everything looked good. I’d been working on this book for so long, and had so many people read it that I felt positive it was ready. Sure, there were likely some mistakes because there always is. I figured that there would perhaps be three or four, and those would be easily fixed. So I went ahead and pushed “publish.”

This was my mistake.

I sent the completed paperback to someone who has a good eye for mistakes. She took me aside and showed me that there were more than three or four mistakes. There were many. There are many. I’m so ashamed. I want to apologize to any and all who have bought Deadly Thyme. I have since removed the paperback from Amazon. When it reappears it will be better! The Kindle will be down within the week and a new version will be uploaded.

There is good news for anyone who bought a Kindle version. (And I hope it is in your queue of books to read and not already been read. Wait!) If you go to your Amazon Kindle page where all your books are stored, you can make sure your “updates enabled” is on and you will get a better file on your device automatically when the new file is downloaded. This works on the Kindle app on your computer or phone too, you only have to go to “manage your device” and you will be directed to your Amazon Kindle page.

I’m truly upset by this because my books are only as good as their stories, and stories should be read without the distraction of extra words, missing words, too many dashes and not enough commas. I don’t expect you to trust an author whose book is chock-a-block full of mistakes. I don’t expect you will trust that someone who published a book with that many mistakes would be trusted with other novel offerings in the future. I hope this isn’t so, that you will forgive me and understand that I won’t let it happen again.

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