books with Athena

books with Athena

Books by Anne R. Allen


Dark, funny mysteries with a touch of romance

GHOSTWRITERS IN THE SKY:  Camilla Mystery #1 

After her celebrity ex-husband’s ironic joke about her “kinky sex habits” is misquoted in a tabloid, New York etiquette columnist Camilla Randall’s life unravels in bad late night TV jokes. Nearly broke and down to her last Hermes scarf, she accepts an invitation to a Z-list Writers’ Conference in the wine-and-cowboy town of Santa Ynez, California, where, unfortunately, a cross-dressing dominatrix named Marva plies her trade by impersonating Camilla. When a ghostwriter’s plot to blackmail celebrities with faked evidence leads to murder, Camilla must team up with Marva to stop the killer from striking again.

Ghostwriters in the Sky is available in e-book at all the Amazons, iTunes, GooglePlay  Kobo, Inktera, Scribd and at Barnes and Noble for NOOK.
It is available in paper at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

sample reviews:

"I did a lot of giggling, outright laughing, and head nodding in agreement, and eye-candy type drooling while reading Ghostwriters In The Sky. The characters were vividly portrayed, the dialogue so real I wanted to check gossip magazines for the fictional celebrities, the humor and action blended perfectly…If you're looking for pure entertainment with a nostalgic feel, and a game of follow the clues, you'll love this novel as much as I did.” –Book blogger Donna Hole

Ghost Writers is set in a writers' conference in Santa Ynez Valley, where I've lived for twenty years.... This book is hysterically funny AND accurately depicts the Valley. Anne Allen gets it right, down to the dollar bills stuck on the ceiling of the Maverick Saloon. It was so fun to read as she called out one Valley landmark after another. Allen got the local denizens right, too, the crazy characters that roam our streets...Sandy Nathan, award winning author of The Bloodsong Series

SHERWOOD, LTD: Camilla Mystery #2

Suddenly-homeless American manners expert Camilla Randall becomes a 21st century Maid Marian—living rough near the real Sherwood Forest with a band of outlaw English erotica publishers—led by a charming, self-styled Robin Hood who unfortunately may intend to kill her. When Camilla is invited to publish a book of her columns with UK publisher Peter Sherwood, she lands in a gritty criminal world—far from the Merrie Olde England she envisions. The staff are ex-cons and the erotica is kinky. Hungry and penniless, she camps in a Wendy House built from pallets of porn while battling an epic flood, a mendacious American Renfaire wench, and the mysterious killer who may be Peter himself.

Sherwood, Ltd. is available in ebook from all the AmazonsiTunes, GooglePlay ScribdInktera, Kobo, Nook, and SmashwordsAnd in paper from Amazon and Barnes and Noble

sample reviews:

"A wily tale of murder, deceit, and intrigue that can stand with the best of them. Her characters are all too real and her dialogue took me from laughter to chills" David Keith on Smashwords

"Smartly written and nearly impossible to put down, I found myself counting the hours until I could leave work and get back to reading! Well done!" T.L. Ingham on Smashwords

“Nottingham was never as much fun as it is in Anne Allen's twisted take on Robin Hood and his porny men. And who better to wield her wit and wide-eyed innocence than Camilla Randall, the Manners Doctor? Sherwood Limited is hysterical good fun. You'll chortle your way through Camilla's hardships, find yourself flummoxed by a stunningly portrayed citizen of Buttonwillow, meet Much the miller's son in his canine form, and you'll root root root for your favorite Manners Doctor in her new porn-publisher-wants-to-try-something-literary world.–C. S. Perryess aka The Wordmonger

“This is so much fun, as all of Anne Allen's books are. I love that it is set in England (well it is Sherwood after all!) and Anne does such a thorough job of you placing us there. You won't find a more intriguing cast of zany characters. Such rich and intelligent writing. And fall off your chair funny!”—Christine Ahern, author of Connie and Monique’s Power Trip

“An intriguing and fast paced novel that demands you read on to the next page and beyond. The characters are well constructed and believable and I enjoyed the difference between the USA and UK people. The plight of our heroine is complex and well -managed and in the beginning I was striving for her to find some genuine help and support. The flip over to the UK added more spice! Highly recommended.”—David L. Atkinson, author of The 51st State

THE BEST REVENGE: The prequel (Camilla Mystery #3)

When Camilla Randall, a 1980s New York debutante, is assaulted by her mother’s fiancĂ©, smeared in the newspapers by a sexy muckraking journalist, then loses all her money in the Savings and Loan Scandal, she seeks refuge with her gay best friend in California. But her friend has developed heterosexual tendencies and an inconvenient girlfriend, so Camilla has to move in with wild-partying friends. When a TV star ends up dead after one of their parties, Camilla is arrested for his murder. She must turn to a friendly sanitation worker, a dotty octogenarian neighbor and the muckraking journalist who ridiculed her--who also happens to be her boss. 

The Best Revenge is available at all the Amazons, Smashwords, Apple, and NOOK. It's also available at Page Foundry (Inktera)

sample reviews:

“…while laugh-out-loud funny, [The Best Revenge] carries a message about how we view ourselves and how others' views of us may conflict, yet make us grow.”—composer Richard Alan Corson

"Once I started THE BEST REVENGE, I found I couldn't put it down. An engaging Hollywood caper set during the 1980's pits a fashionable New York debutante against a hard nosed reporter who's had a bad day. I don't even know what to classify this book as -- thriller, romance, comedy, drama, whodunit, who's going to do it -- it has everything, including a sappy happy ending. 

Allen's thinly veiled L.A. stars light up the pages as I tried to figure out who was who. Camillia Randall starts off as a lowly health food columnist who then somehow gets involved in the murder/suicide of superstar Jon Don Parker. Laughs ensue as she tries to explain to everyone she didn't do it. Nobody believes her except a crazy old lady who has a penchant for purple. (Who truly is the "star" of this novel.)

Allen's wit and dry humor had me from the first, but this line -- She knew he was probably being honest, but how could she trust a man who said he'd always been a liar. -- is an absolute gem.

I cannot wait to read the rest of Allen's work. And definitely put this on your summer beach reading list. You won't be disappointed. "--Regency Romance author Anne Gallagher

NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Camilla Mystery #4  

Comedy with a conscience. Doria Windsor, the uber-rich editor of Home decorating magazine loses everything, including her Ponzi-schemer husband, when their luxury wine-country home mysteriously goes up in flames. Homeless, destitute, presumed dead and branded a criminal, 59-yr-old Doria has a crash course in reality…and a second chance at love.

Meanwhile, reluctant sleuth Camilla Randall is facing homelessness too, as Doria's husband's schemes unravel and take down innocent bystanders along the way. When the mysterious—and dangerously attractive—Mr. X. turns up at Camilla's bookstore looking for clues to the death of a missing homeless man, Camilla joins in the search.

With the help of brave trio of homeless people and a little dog named Toto, Doria, Camilla and Mr. X journey to unmask the real killer and reveal the dark secrets of Doria's "financial wizard" husband.

Anne. R. Allen weaves her usual blend of archetypal images (this time from The Wizard of Oz) with unique and wacky characters, hilarious situations, and laugh-out-loud one-liners that all somehow come together and make perfect sense at the end.

No Place Like Home is the fourth of the Camilla Randall Mysteries, but can be read as a stand-alone novel.

Here's an article I wrote about the "Bag Lady Fears" that prompted me to write the book.

Sample Reviews:

"Anne Allen delivers a thoughtful consideration of our nation's fiscal crisis, which may drive you to action - assuming you can stop laughing long enough to focus on doing something productive. No Place Like Home is a hysterical look at serious issues. Once you've read the first page you'll know you're in good hands." C. S. Perryess

"Arrestingly honest. 5 stars. More if I could."  Kathleen Keena--Artistic Director of the Veteran's Memorial Theater.

"Very funny and easy to read I couldn’t put it down until I had read every last word." Nana at The Parents' Little Black Book

"A book for everyone who lives a good mystery, a little romance, and a bit of the world’s truth for today." Sherry Meyer at Found Between the Covers.

"It's comedy about a dark topic – homelessness – and it succeeds without ever descending into tasteless insensitivity, or tipping over into sentimentality."...Lucinda Elliot at the Sophie deCourcie blog.

No Place Like Home  is available at all the Amazons and NOOK, Page Foundry, Kobo and iTunes It's also available in paperback from Amazon USAmazon UK, and Barnes and Noble, in regular and LARGE PRINT. LARGE PRINT  is also available at Barnes and Noble.

It's also available in an audiobook, narrated by Anne and award-winning narrator, C.S. Perryess. You can find it at Audible and iTunes UK. It's also available at iTunes US

SO MUCH FOR BUCKINGHAM: Camilla mystery #5

It's a comedy-mystery about cyberbullying, the gangs of new media, and the ghost of Richard III. Plus a cat named Buckingham.

Camilla is in catastrophe mode again when her royalty checks stop coming from Sherwood, Ltd. and her blogger boyfriend Ronzo apparently commits suicide after a horrifying video of him circulates in social media.

Then Camilla commits a cardinal sin by responding to an online review, and is dubbed a "badly behaving author." She becomes the target of a cyberbullying campaign by online vigilantes.

Her best friend Plantagenet is facing tragedy too, when his new husband leaves him for a New Age guru five days after their wedding.

When Plant takes his single "honeymoon" to England to see a production of Shakespeare's Richard III, he travels to Lincolnshire to investigate Camilla's missing royalties. Unfortunately, he ends up accused of killing a historical reenactor—who was an ardent believer in the good character of Richard III, and the medieval monarch's innocence in the murder of the princes in the Tower.

Worse, it seems the ghost of King Richard —newly risen from his Leicester car-park—is the only witness to the murder of the reenactor, who had been dressed as Richard's nemesis, the Duke of Buckingham.

Will Plantagenet find the ghost of Richard III to prove his innocence?

Will Camilla's mysterious publisher, Peter Sherwood, rise from his watery grave to save Camilla from the cyberbullies?

And what does Camilla's new cat, Buckingham, know about Ronzo's mysterious death?

This comic novel—which takes its title from the most famous Shakespearean quote that Shakespeare never wrote—explores how easy it is to perpetrate a character assassination whether by a great playwright or a gang of online trolls.

So Much for Buckingham is available at all the Amazons,
Kobo, Smashwords, iTunes, Inkterra, and Scribd.

THE CAMILLA RANDALL MYSTERIESGhostwriters in the Sky, Sherwood, Ltd. and The Best Revenge in one convenient box set.

The Camilla Randall Mysteries Box set is available at all the Amazons. Kobo, iTunes, Smashwords, Inktera, NOOK, and Scribd

Sample Reviews:

"Anne Allen had me laughing unexpectedly and sometimes out loud with her wonderful crafting of her words into sentences that became alive and three dimensional throughout these stories." John Williamson

"These stories are so carefully crafted and so cleverly presented that virtually every page offers a unique insight, experience, or perspective, that grabs my attention, tickles my imagination, and makes me laugh out loud."--Bruce West

And you can read a review of the boxed set at Breath of Life Books, by Kim Justice.

WHY GRANDMA BOUGHT THAT CAR: stories and verses. 

A collection of Anne's previously published stories and poems. 

Portraits of rebellious women at various stages of their lives. From aging Betty Jo, who feels so invisible she contemplates robbing a bank, to neglected 10-year-old Maude, who turns to a fantasy Elvis for the love she's denied by her patrician family, to a bloodthirsty teen version of Madam Defarge, these women—young and old—are all rebelling against the stereotypes and traditional roles that hold them back.

Which is, of course, why Grandma bought that car…

"Six short stories featuring women as the main characters, each at a turning point in their lives. Something happens to shake up their world and it will change them forever. Each story featured such well-drawn characters that their perceptions and epiphanies were immediately relatable."...Laura 

" I expected funny stories in this book, and certainly the humor is here. I mean, a "head 'em up, move 'em out, Rawhide bra"? Love it! What I didn't expect was the poignant depth and truth depicted in many of the characters. Good stuff."....Linda the Writer

Why Grandma Bought That Car is only 99c at all the Amazons.

FOOD OF LOVE: a comedy about friendship, chocolate, and a small nuclear bomb. (Romantic Comedy/Thriller) Two sisters: one white, one black. Two world views: one liberal, one conservative. But these two women have one goal in common—one they share with most women in modern society: the urge to diminish themselves by dieting. Food of Love is a historical comedy-mystery-romance set in the 1990s that carries a powerful message. It offers some of life’s darker truths—told with a punchline.

After Princess Regina, a former supermodel, is ridiculed in the tabloids for gaining weight, someone tries to kill her. She suspects her royal husband wants to be rid of her, now she’s no longer model-thin. As she flees the mysterious assassin, she discovers the world thinks she is dead, and seeks refuge with the only person she can trust: her long-estranged foster sister, Rev. Cady Stanton, a right-wing talk show host who has romantic and weight issues of her own. Cady delves into Regina’s past and discovers Regina’s long-lost love, as well as dark secrets that connect them all.

Food of Love is available in ebook on all the Amazons, plus Smashwords, iTunes, ScribdBarnes and Noble & Page Foundry (Inktera). 
Also available in audiobook at Audible and iTunes

sample reviews:

“Food of Love is the delectable romp, a wonderful blend of humor, romance, mystery and tragedy…I loved everything about this novel, the quirky humor and larger than life characters above all. The plot took me in unexpected directions and I could not guess what would happen next. This is a delightful surprise package skillfully bound by the author's immaculate writing. And like all stories involving a princess, it has a happy ending. HIGHLY recommended!”—The Book Keeper 

“I loved this book, it was such a genre filled mix – romance, thriller, spy-capade – the only downfall, I couldn’t read it in one sitting. Allen’s snarky humor shines on every page, and her not-so-subtle pokes at Hollywood’s rich and famous made me laugh out loud, especially when Elvis leaves the building”—Anne Gallagher, author of  A Wife for Winsbarren and the Lady’s Fate

“A bubbly as a double chocolate milkshake.... Pack this one to add punch to your holiday reading.” —South Yorkshire Times

“Once I sat down to read this book, I could not get up until I’d finished it. This hilarious page-turner packs a profound satirical bite. It’s a Hollywood romp that provides romance, mystery, and an honest confrontation with the human condition. Food of Love is a funny and powerfully healing book.” —Lucia Capacchione, PhD, bestselling self-help author, Recovery of Your Inner Child

“Gripping...a perfect beach read...full of hope and fun... designed to keep you turning the pages.” —Gainsborough Standard

“A romping good read.” —Lincolnshire Echo

THE GATSBY GAME (Romantic Comedy-Mystery) When Fitzgerald-quoting con man Alistair Milborne is found dead a movie star’s motel room—igniting a world-wide scandal—the small-town police can’t decide if it’s an accident, suicide, or foul play. As evidence of murder emerges, Nicky Conway, the smart-mouth nanny, becomes the prime suspect. She’s the only one who knows what happened. But she also knows nobody will ever believe her. The story is based on the real mystery surrounding the death of David Whiting, actress Sarah Miles’ business manager, during the filming of the 1973 Burt Reynolds movie The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing.

The Gatsby Game is available in ebook at all the Amazons, and Barnes and Noble for NOOK. It's also available at Scribd.

It's also available in paper on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble

sample reviews:

The Gatsby Game is a great, well structured cozy mystery with just a few elements of noir to attract bulkier readers…Anne R. Allen has a knack for creative unique, lively characters, but that Milbourne guy is something quite special. Feeding off the Gatsby myth in and off the page, he's the unfortunate construction of his romantic mind and he will end up at the center of everybody's lives. I never thought I would have so much fun reading a chick lit novel, but this was great, even for my hardboiled sensibility.”—Benoit LeLievre, book reviewer at Dead End Follies

"This book has enough twists and turns within the plot to keep even the most experienced mystery reader wanting to go on to the next page, and don't be surprised at anything that happens or what comes next. There's a pivotal point where the solution to the mystery comes to Nicky, and all of this adds up to a surprising conclusion that could not have been predicted."--John Williamson

“In The Gatsby Game, Anne R. Allen blends a perfect combination of witty, sharp narration, a plot that won't let the reader go, and nuanced characters that evoke our caring. A genre novel that artfully transcends its genre.”- Catherine Ryan Hyde, best-selling author of Pay It Forward and When I Found You.

“Dark, twisted chick lit with a side of laughter. Plus celebrities, murder and and a smart-mouth nanny.” Ruth Harris. NYT best-selling author of Modern Women, Decades and Hooked.

“To me, a book needs two things to make me want to read it to the end, rather than deciding after a few chapters that life’s too short to waste time reading this. The first is a main character or characters whom I can like, relate to, and get to know, just like Nicky. The second is an interesting plot. Anne R. Allen provides both in abundance. I intend to read my way now through her other books, in the confidence that I’ve added another favourite writer to my list.” –Gerry McCullough, author of The Belfast Girls.

THE LADY OF THE LAKEWOOD DINER is a comedy that pokes fun at the myth of a Golden Age, making parallels between the Grail legend and the self-mythologizing of the Baby Boomer Generation.

Someone has shot aging bad-girl rocker Morgan Le Fay and threatens to finish the job. Is it fans of her legendary dead rock-god husband, Merlin? Or is the secret buried in her childhood hometown of Avalon, Maine?

Morgan's childhood best friend Dodie, the no-nonsense owner of a dilapidated diner, may be the only one who knows the dark secret that can save Morgan's life. And both women may find that love really is better the second time around. Think Beaches meets Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

"A page turning, easily readable, arrestingly honest novel which will keep you laughing at yourself. Who doesn't remember crashing on a mattress at a friend's apartment with the stereo blasting Iron Butterfly and no idea where you'll stay the next night? A cultural masterpiece for the discerning reader."...Kathleen Keena, author of Adolescent Depression, Outside/In

The Lady of the Lakewood Diner is available at all the AmazonsiTunes, Kobo, and Nook

BOOMER WOMEN: Three Comedies about a Generation that Changed the World

The Lady of the Lakewood Diner, Food of Love and The Gatsby Game, now available in one boxed set. At all the AmazonsInktera, NookKobo, iTunesScribd


A guidebook for writers learning to navigate the tumultuous, and ever-changing waters of the 21st century publishing business. It's a collaboration with my mentor, #1 bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Pay it Forward and 24 other award-winning novels.

NOT JUST FOR INDIES! There's lots of info on how to write a query, how to avoid bad agents, how to deal with rejections, bad reviews, etc. Plus a step-by-step guide to starting your own blog.

"Whether you're a neophyte to publishing, a wannabe writer, or one familiar with the ins and outs of getting you book out there in print, there's a lot of excellent info in these pages. Kudos to both authors for bringing this one to market, and even more so for making this an upgradable edition. If you're interested in pursuing the craft of writing, then this one is highly recommended. It has brought me a couple steps closer to my own writing goals." Amazon Vine reviewer John Williams

"I so wish there had been a book like this back when I first started...there no preachy comments, and this book isn't pushing any one particular way to be a writer...or whether or not traditional publishing is better than e-publishing" Romance writer Ryan Field

You can pick it up for only $3.99 or the equivalent at all the Amazon stores around the world! 


"Anne Allen is an amazing author advocate and one of my favorite people. Her blogs are a treasure trove of the best information in an ever-changing paradigm, and all writers will benefit now that Anne has written THE book! Anne is one of the strong voices of the Digital Age. She is an encourager, a leader and a wonderful teacher and I am grateful to know her and learn from her. " KRISTEN LAMB, social media expert and author of WE ARE NOT ALONE...the Author's Guide to Social Meda.
"Catherine Ryan Hyde is a magnificent storyteller, an expert at plot and pacing and voice. –THE DENVER POST
"Hyde is a remarkable, insightful storyteller, creating full-bodied characters whose dialogue rings true, with not a word to spare. –LIBRARY JOURNAL
"I very much admire the work and the philosophy of Catherine Ryan Hyde, and I thank her for what she is doing, and for what she is writing." -- BILL CLINTON.

Here's a link to a lovely review of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE from Ryan Field 
And one from Joanna Celeste