Amazon Books #1 Bestseller, Hispanic Literature & Fiction
Amazon Books #1 Bestseller, Women's Fiction - Mystery & Suspense
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I'm happy to announce that Howl Like the Wind, Coyote Run Book 3, is now available!
Tis the season for murder, mayhem, and mystery.
Complicated canine rehabilitator Maddie "Mad Girl" Whitney's holidays start with a frantic search for a car crash victim near Deadman's Mountain. The Midnight Runners K-9 Search and Rescue team finds the victim... And things get really chaotic from there.
Every new crisis leads Maddie and her partner, Sheriff Oliver Desjardins, back to Deadman's. She begins to wonder if there's any truth to the local legend that a madman lives on the mountain. She never knows where her wily pointer, Vixen, is leading her...or what she'll find here.
Old ghosts reappear with shocking demands, and Oliver and Maddie must make painful personal decisions. Can she keep a grip on her own life, discover the identity of a murderer, and make it through to the New Year?
Readers love Maddie!

"Mad Girl is my kind of character - strong & successful with her admitted flaws & quirks- I highly recommend this ride!"

"The autistic protagonist, Maddie, is a complex, difficult and totally unique character and, through her bond with her dogs and, surprisingly, with people, lead to a multi-layered and very compelling tale. Well done!"

"Maddie is unfailingly funny, sometimes cringe-worthy and always engaging."

"Maddie is definitely relatable - imperfectly perfect ! Her love of animals, especially of the canine variety is extraordinary."

"Maddie is weird in a wonderful way. Her love and devotion to dogs and their training is so remarkable."

"I feel as if I personally know quirky Maddie and her pack... Very engaging book and characters. One of those books you read into the night."

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"Acosta's talent is staggering...She shows readers all over again just how funny, ridiculous and thoroughly gifted she is at plotting."
-Romantic Times

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DEADMAN'S DANCE, Coyote Run Book 4 Update

Blood flows like wine in the vineyards.

When Maddie "Mad Girl" Whitney discovers the body of a wine merchant in a barrel, she's drawn into the big-spending world of  wine collectors and dealers.

Then, two wine connoisseurs go missing, and she must team with her ex, Sheriff Oliver Desjardins, and their K-9s on a race to find them.

All broken-hearted Maddie wants to do is hunker down at the ranch with her pack, but what if there really is a Cabernet Killer on the loose?

I'd hoped to have the fourth novel in my Coyote Run series completed at the end of last year. Alas, I've been delayed by, you know, life. I expect to release Deadman's Dance by summer.

I was just visiting family in Napa. Spring in wine country is so breathtaking: herds grazing on brilliant green rolling hills, the tall blossoms of wild mustard and wild radish waving in the breeze, and hawks soaring above. Many fruit trees were in bloom, but the grapevines and incredible California living oaks hadn't yet leafed out.

The torrential rains the winter before last ended the historic Megadrought, but California is a drought climate. Each summer and autumn get hotter, and wind becomes something to fear because it can carry sparks miles. So springtime is a brief respite, when everything is fresh and new and bursting with life.

Springtime brings hope and joy. Let's find out if our favorite Mad Girl finds it! 

In other news: Tantor Media will be publishing the Coyote Run series as audio books! I'm thrilled that award-winning narrator Cindy Kay is signed on for this project. I'm especially happy that Cindy's a Northern California native, too, and I think she'll do a great job with Maddie's voice.

Deadman's Dance: Coyote Run Book 4 Coming 2023!



A murdered wine connoisseur.

Newcomers with flash and cash.

Hobbies with deadly consequences.

I am working on my fourth Coyote Run novel, Deadman's Dance, which will be released in 2023. Just as I snatched the title Howl Like the Wind from a Linda Ronstadt song, Deadman's Dance was inspired by Oingo Boingo's delirious Deadman's Party and also refers to an annual celebration at Coyote Run's Deadman's Meadow.

My brothers and I are dog people, and my younger brother always has Labradors; chocolate, yellow, and now a black lab named Midnight Skye. My brother told me, "He thinks he's invisible," which is how I got the idea for Henry the Dog looking as invisible as a spy in the night.The dog's name echoes the title of a book we loved as children, The Midnight Fox by Betsy Byars, about a city boy who is forced to spend a summer in the country.

I have a well-worn copy on my bookshelf. I tried to read my favorite section aloud to my family last Christmas, but I was laughing so much that I couldn't finish. If you've never read this, you should.


Coyote Run Book 3, HOWL LIKE THE WIND, now available!



I'm delighted to announce that the third book in my Coyote Run series, Howl Like the Wind, is now available! The title comes from a Linda Ronstadt song, Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind, and the lyrics are evocative of this story, set in cold, rainy Coyote Run.

Here's the story summary: 

A fierce Thanksgiving day storm sends Maddie “Mad Girl” Whitney and the Midnight Runners K-9 Search and Rescue team racing to Deadman’s Mountain. They find the victim… 

But that’s only the start of a season of high crimes and mystery. 

Each new crisis leads Maddie and her partner Sheriff Oliver Desjardins back to Deadman’s, the rumored haunt of the Coyote Run Creeper. Soon, Maddie begins wondering if there’s any truth to the legend of a madman living on the mountain. 

Will ghosts from the past keep Maddie from finding her way through a devastating winter into the New Year?

I hope you'll enjoy this new Coyote Run book! The narrative voice is, perhaps, more idiosyncratic than the other books in the series. Or not. I have no way of knowing. As I wrote, I was really missing working with Maggie Crawford, my editor with Simon & Schuster/Gallery. She guided me through my first five novels and taught me so much about plotting and pace.

Maggie was patient and encouraging even though I was a very difficult author. I never agreed with cover art, titles, marketing, etc. My former literary agent Alexandra Machinist, who is brilliant and amazing, once told me, "You are never satisfied."

I was outraged! (Truth be told, being outraged is sort of my baseline emotional state.) Since then, I've come to realize that she was absolutely right: I am never satisfied. I'll eventually write a post declaring, "Alexandra Machinist was absolutely right." I'm honored that she represented me despite me and my books being so unmarketable at that time.

I am still unmarketable because I hate self-promotion and I don't write within categories and I always say the wrong things and I have a million issues. I suggested to another agent that I suspected I might be on the autism spectrum. He said, "Of course you are."

Great news! The Dog Thief has been selected as an Amazon Monthly Deal! It will be discounted to $2.49 from September 1-30, 2022. You can buy it here, and please tell your friends.

Mad Dog Down the Road

I've settled on a title for Coyote Run Book Two. Mad Dog Down the Road will be available late November. I hope to share the cover art soon!

What does the title mean? Suffice it to say that I've read To Kill a Mockingbird several times. I remembered a family camping trip, lying in the cool shade of the ancient redwoods, and being transported to a sweltering Southern town, where "Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o'-clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting of sweat and sweet talcum."

The hottest days of the year were thought to bring out rabid dogs. We have other things to fear on these hot days.

I've also started Coyote Run Book Three and plan for a spring 2021 release.

Apocalyptic Skies & Progress Report


The sky turned blood red this summer with smoke from fires blocking the light. The wildfires have been raging, voracious and terrifying. Yet I've never seen so many butterflies and in such variety as I have these last few months. I watch out my window into the garden as I write. The tiger swallowtails have been frequent visitors for years, but we have Monarchs, Painted Ladies, Skippers, and I saw a rare glorious indigo Pipeline Swallowtail for the first time in my life.

I'm happy to announce that I've finished writing Coyote Run Book 2, the second in my series about Maddie Whitney, a neuroatypical dog rehabilitator. Maddie's survived a fire and that danger is always on her mind as she rescues dogs, helps train their owners, and hunts down the identity of a vicious dog fighting ring.

I don't have a title yet, but I'm thinking of Dog Days of Summer, because the story is set during the dog days, named for the rising of Sirius, the Dog Star, when the season is at its hottest, when mad dogs roam the streets, when dry lightning storms strike, and trouble brews.

More news on this book soon!

Stay safe.

The Solice of a Book - DARK COMPANION Free Now!

The Corona Virus has swept across the world, and we are all living in varying states of anxiety and fear. In California, we have a shelter-in-place order. My day-to-day life is not much different, since I am always at my desk, with only my family and dogs as companions, but I'm anxious for everyone.

A book can be a fine companion in difficult times. That's why I've decided to give away my Young Adult Gothic novel Dark Companion for at least the next month.

You can get it free now at:
In a few days, it should also be free at Amazon.

Please share this giveaway with your friends.

I hope that you and yours will stay well during these, the worst of times.

Maya and Lola Between Bouts of Play

All the controversy surrounding the publication of American Dirt, about a Mexican mother escaping danger by crossing the border, motivated me to post a series of tweets today. I absolutely understand why many Latinos and others are offended by the book, I think the bigger issue is the publishing business. Because the business dominates the art.

My books have been published by Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster), Tor (Macmillan), and Hyperion (Disney), and my editors are brilliant and talented women. I stepped away from traditional publishing with my last novel because I wanted to hold onto control of my book -- not so much the story as the direction and my rights. I dearly miss my editors' guidance, wisdom, and friendship. Heaven knows, I miss the copyeditors and proofreaders!

But I don't feel the constant anxiety of failing to fit in a business that always wanted me to be something else.

Well, you can read the tweets, @martaacosta.

Me at Writers with Drinks, October 12, San Francisco

Betty Von Snoggles & Flowers

A bar in the Mission, books, authors! Yes, it's a super fun event. I'll be speaking (or rather rambling or possibly ranting) this Saturday night with Michelle Ruiz Keil (All of Us With Wings); Imani Gandy (Rewire News); Dr. Jennifer Gunter (The Vagina Bible); Vivian Ho (Those Who Wander: America's Lost Street Kids); and Nazelah Jamison (Evolutionary Heart)

The Make Out Room
 Cost: $5 to $20, no-one turned away
All proceeds benefit a local nonprofit, TBA
3225 22nd St.
San Francisco CA
7:30 PM to 9:30 PM, doors open at 7 PM
If you're in the neighborhood, come by! Borderlands Bookstore will be there selling books, but if you just want to have a drink and say hi, I'd love to meet you.

I'll be talking about my life a weird kid, dogs as the perfect writer's companion, how I should be writing more, watching streaming shows less, and how books have defined my life.

Daydreaming, Dogs, The She-Hulk Diaries...and Poetry?

The She-Hulk Diaries Poster
My writing process consists of a lot of daydreaming, and I do this on daily walks with my dog, Lola. I haven't yet figured out a crucial character for my current project, the second in the Coyote Run series, but it will eventually come to me. The working title is Trickster God, or maybe Trickster Dog, because I've always been fascinated by the trickster gods in folklore.

I delight in a good con artist, a hoaxer, a charlatan,  I'm very fond of crazy-as-a-bug Don Pedro, who appears in my Casa Dracula books and convinces Milagro to ghostwrite his loony autobiographies. Or, as she calls them, his "fauxoirs."

So that's where I am on that: still daydreaming, starting and stopping and chopping out chapters.

In other news, there's word that Marvel will be producing a She-Hulk series for streaming. Yay! Shulky doesn't get enough attention, and perhaps a few fans might pick up my rom-com The She-Hulk Diaries.

I'm thrilled to have been invited to talk at one of my favorite writing events, Writers with Drinks, hosted by the fabulously talented author and essayist Charlie Jane Anders:

Writers with Drinks
The Make-Out Room
 225 22nd St., San Francisco
7:30 PM to 9:30 PM, doors open at 7 PM
October 10, 2019

Now all I have to do is think of something to say. I'm considering reciting a few of the poems that I keep sneaking into books. Here's one of my favorites from The She-Hulk Diaries.


I'll crawl from the primordial sludge
For you.
I'll give up my gills and prehensile appendage
For you.
I'll invent the wheel, I'll discover fire,
Inspired by desire,
For you.
I'll draw your pictograph on cave walls,
I'll slay T.Rex with a sharp rock,
And all
To win your heart.

I know. Don't quit my day job. Too late!

Summer Comes in Autumn

Illustration by Christian Nacorda for Dark Companion/Shadow Girl Trailer
I live in a microclimate where summers are cool and foggy, and sunshine finally comes out in autumn. I went to Catholic schools with wool uniforms, which were particularly unpleasant during heat waves. I woke at 6 a.m. and took three buses to reach my all-girls high school, set in the low East Bay hills, surrounded by gardens.

The good thing was: I always had books to read on the rides. When I was deep into a story, the miles passed too quickly. I remember the smell of my school's polished linoleum floors, the ornate entrance with marble steps leading to huge carved doors, the mysterious hallways, and architectural artifacts -- features left in place from another time. I remember the sound of hundreds of teenage girls chattering, laughing, shouting as classes let out. I remember sitting on back campus or the front gardens with my friends, dreaming of our futures. In this boy-free zone, we could compete and also support one another. We could confidently ace tests, and we were the ones our teachers called upon. We studied and explored science and math, literature and history, the arts and sports.

And yet, all I wanted was to escape high school. Well, youth is wasted on the young.

All this is to say that The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove (published by Tor as Dark Companion) is a book very close to my heart. I think of my gothic young adult novel as a strange-looking wonderful child that no one understands. Everyone wants a pretty and perfect girl doing all the right things for all the right reasons and discovering that she's really a princess. I wanted my Jane to be more real than that.

She says, “You know, I’ve always hated stories about handsome princes and beautiful princesses with some extraordinary ability, special because they’re born special...I didn’t see how those were happy stories, because life has given princes and princesses enough unearned advantages. I’d rather believe that anyone can accomplish remarkable things when she really tries. Maybe her accomplishments will never be recognized, but simply loving and caring for someone else, that’s miraculous to me.”

I'm offering The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove free on Amazon from October 3-17. I'm also having a free promo for Fancy That, a lighthearted romcom, from September 26-30. (If loving romcoms is wrong, I don't want to be right.) Both books are available on Kindle Unlimited. If you haven't had a chance to read them, please grab them now!

Read The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove at Amazon US and watch the video trailer, narrated by Patricia Fructuoso and illustrated by Christian Nacorda!

Read Fancy That at Amazon US.