Beekeeping and Books

Another chance to get “Sweet Danger” free! 

Even though my mystery novella is only 99¢, there is something about “free” that has a nice ring to it. As a Christmas present to my readers and potential readers, I want to give out free downloads of my story on December 25. Just go to Amazon and get the Kindle version for free that day. Even if you don’t have a Kindle device, it’s easy to get the Kindle app for computer or mobile device and read it there.

“Sweet Danger” is about a 17-year old beekeeper, Jessica “Jesse” McConnell who discovers, on one fine day,  a horrible murder in her beeyard. Yes, you guessed it, stung to death by bees! It isn’t a horror tale of “killer bees,” but I just couldn’t help using what was there for the killing! A lot of interesting information on honeybees is woven into the story.

As I say in the author-info section, I grew up in a beekeeping family. We were “Roberts Honey Company,” and also “Roberts Apiaries.” You might have heard of an “aviary” as a place where birds are kept. An apiary is a location where bees are kept. Apis mellifera is the latin name for the European honeybee, so that is where the word “apiary” comes from. When we were younger, we worked in the honey-extracting house. We also helped paint, repair, and move equipment around. Soon we were also accompanying Dad and Mom out to the locations and working with the beehives. 

There were things to do out in the beeyards all year long. During the couple months of winter, we mostly left them alone except for feeding them sugar syrup. But come the first of February, they had to be strong and ready to go into the almond groves for pollination contracts. Unlike Jesse McConnell, I didn’t take ownership of the operation; I was a more passive participant. But even though I didn’t take responsibility of managing what came next, or what was needed, I was highly interested in all the parts of the work. 

One of the jobs that came up in the spring was re-queening. Perhaps you already know that baby chicks can be ordered and delivered through the US Postal Service. But maybe you didn’t know that queen bees are also delivered that way. Each queen bee comes in a little wooden box with a screen across the top and a hole in the side, plugged with candy and a cork. She may have 3 or 4 worker bees inside with her. The queen boxes are all bundled together in flat crate. When the queens arrive at the Post Office, one of us would drive down there and pick them up. They would have to be kept at a good temperature and watered periodically, with a cotton ball swiped across the screens.

Image-Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

When a resident queen gets old, her egg-laying pattern becomes haphazard, and the hive bees start the process of replacing her. But the beekeeper wants to be in charge of that, perhaps introducing a better genetic line, and definitely not waiting until the hive begins to suffer from an aging queen. When we went out to a location to re-queen, we took the crate of queens, covered them with a damp cloth to keep them cool and reduce the scent (bees are drawn to the smell of a queen), pulled the cork off the candy plug, and then shoved the queen box in between two frames of honeycomb. The workers of the hive would then sting her attendants to death (since they were strangers) and chew through the candy to release the queen. By the time she was freed, they would be used to her and help her get started in her duties. 

Image-McFarlines Apiaries

But the very important step in the process was locating the old, previous queen in the hive and killing her. If we didn’t do that, then she would smell the interloper, run over, and kill her in her little box. To find her involved pulling frames of bees out and scanning each side. My veiled face would be inches from the bee-covered frames, staring, scanning, looking, flipping the frame and seeking again. Frame after frame. And then another round, if I had missed her. When I went to bed at night and shut my eyes, all I could see was a solid layer of crawling bees. That was a very persistent image!

Black Friday Free Books!

I’m very happy to be able to offer 1 free book and 1 free novella tomorrow (Black Friday) AND “Cyber Monday!”

My Mystery Novella, “Sweet Danger,” and my very new book, “Ozark Heritage,” will be a free download both tomorrow, “Black Friday,” and Monday, “Cyber Monday” on Amazon. 

You don’t have to have a Kindle to read these, just download the Kindle App either on your computer or mobile phone or device, and then start reading!

“Sweet Danger” was a really fun novella to write, and I know you will find it enjoyable to read! A 17 year old beekeeper, Jessica, “Jessie,” has a murdered person dropped in her very own bee yard and gets caught up in finding out why her bees were used to murder an innocent man.

“Ozark Heritage” is my mother, Mildred Roberts McConnell’s memoir. She sat with me in front of a video camera several years ago and reminisced about her growing-up years. I took that material and created a memoir for her, “in her own words.” Recently, I wanted to make a really nice book for her, in memory of her, and for her nieces and nephews. There is some new material and a couple of corrections from the early stapled-together versions, and I am really pleased to be able to make it available. I know her friends, family, and others will enjoy reading this little book. 

“Ozark Heritage” is also now available in paperback! I have priced the paperback and the Kindle version as low as possible and am not intending on making any money off them. My goal is to have anyone who wishes to be able to read them and know more about who my mother was.

I hope you enjoy them, and if you want more from CR Roberts, please check out “Valeria & The Enemy of Time,” my book for middle-schoolers (adults like it too!).

If you like what you read, please rate on Amazon; that is very helpful to me!

New Release!

If you read a previous blog post, you would know that I have several projects burning a hole in my pocket. And now, finally, they are coming to completion! 

My first project, “Sweet Danger,” is one that really excites me, for several reasons.

First:

It is about bees! Honeybees, as a matter of fact. The main character is a beekeeper, and along with experiencing all the excitement of the story, you’ll perhaps learn an interesting tidbit or two about the darling little insects. Be sure to read the “about the author” blurb at the end of the story to see how I know so much about bees!

Second: 

It is a novella! That means you can sit down and probably finish it in one nice long sitting. It’s a “Novel—Lite” 

Third:

Sweet Danger is a mystery novella. I did want to try my hand at this genre, and it was a blast. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Fourth:

The main character is a girl, actually a young woman of 17 years old, so this is technically a young adult novella. But everything is clean. Except for people getting murdered mysteriously and in interesting ways. I love writing stories featuring strong, realistic females!

Fifth:

And this is the best of all…It’s FREE! Well, as free as I can make it. The cheapest I can make it on Kindle is for 99¢. But I can promote it by making it free 5 days out of every 90 days. So for either splurging 99¢, about the cost of a soft drink at McDonalds, you can enjoy a good read; or you can wait until I post on my pages that a free day is coming up. 

I’m doing this for two reasons. One, I want to reward the people who have given my first book “Valeria & The Enemy of Time” a chance and borrowed or bought it, and then read it. And two, I’d like those who haven’t read my first book to give “Sweet Danger” a chance (FREE, or at least, really cheap), and if you like it, then you might give my other book(s) a chance!

I’m going to be putting it on my website with links for downloading when it gets finalized with Amazon, but also check back on my Facebook page!

Upcoming Projects October

Along with promoting my new book, Valeria & The Enemy of Time, I have been working on several other projects. Getting back from vacation, having new flooring installed, trying to wrap up some important personal paperwork—they have slowed me down, but now I’m settling back into writing. 

One of my looming projects is NaNoWriMo, the nickname of National Novel Writers Month, which is the month of November. A post on that one to come later. I have also been working on a shorter novel that I plan on releasing as a free ebook on Kindle. I won’t let it out until I’m satisfied with the quality and the story, so just because it will be free won’t mean it is junk reading! I’m also brainstorming the next Valeria adventure, and I do have some promising story ideas I’m exploring and outlining.

The project you will see next on my site is something a little different. Some years ago my mother let me interview her to create a memoir of her growing-up years in the Ozarks. She was the last of her siblings and wanted her nieces and nephews to know more about the early days of their family. She called it her “Heritage Book,” and gave out photocopies to family members at our reunions. My mother, Mildred, recently passed away, and I wanted a way to make the history more available to friends and family who wanted to read it. I also believe that her story will be interesting to others, as an American journey, from “there to here.”

Reading her story over again makes me aware of how many others have untold interesting stories of their own journeys. 

I set out to make it an ebook and a paperback book. I do not plan on making a profit on either version, so if I can offer the kindle version free, I will. The paperback, through Amazon, will only cost what it takes to have it printed and handled.

I’m excited about how close we are to putting Mom’s “Ozark Heritage” book out there, and I will be putting it on my website as soon as it is live!