Showing posts from April, 2012

Grandson's Wedding


My Report on the End of the Mystery We Write Tour

Well, it's all over, these wild few days of seven other mystery authors and myself appearing on one another's blog. It's been particularly stressful for me because I've been on another blog tour at the same time--and still am.

I can't really remember how I said I would award my prize, but it's a copy of No Bells.

So I decided to just pick a name at random--someone who posted, but wasn't a member of our tour.

That person is Caroline Clemmons. I will go back and see if I can find her email address and way to contact her.

I do hope that everyone who followed along with us and commented had a good time and enjoyed the posts.

Review of Last Will by Liza Marklund

The first page opens with a woman named Kitten who is an assassin who takes out Caroline von Behring, the chair of the Karolinska Institute’s Nobel Committee. Annika Bengtzon, an investigative journalist for the Evenng Post is an eye witness to this assassination.
Last Will is the story of the Nobel prize and Alfred Nobel, the controversy over the scientists doing stem cell research and the pharmaceutical companies hoping to profit from the research. It’s also about authorities coming to the wrong conclusions and terrorism and torture.
However, the main and most fascinating story is about Annika, who doesn’t always make the wises choices. While following multi-layered stories in her job as a reporter, she comes to some dangerous conclusions. Along the way she loses her husband and nearly her own life and the lives of her children.
Complex and completing, Last Will is one of those books that truly makes you wonder what could possibly happen next.

This book was given to me by Simon an…

And If You've Been Hanging in There

Here are the last dates for my No Bells tour:

April 28
April 29
April 30
May 1 Mike Angley :
May 2 Pat Browning
May 3
May 4 Shelly Bell
I'll go back and check all the comments so I can pick the person who left the most to send the three books off to. 
This has been fun--but mighty exhausting.

The Inspiration for Bogey's Ace in the Hole by Marja McGraw

My Question for Marja was the inspiration for her latest book.

What inspired Bogey’s Ace in the Hole?
The only people who might strike terror in Chris and Pamela Cross’s hearts are the Church Ladies, who want them to find a missing friend. When the friend turns up on her own, Chris finds a new kind of terror — a Murder for Hire plot the woman has overheard.

Ride along in Chris’s 1950 vintage Chevy with the Church Ladies, his wife Pamela, their son Mikey, and two overzealous yellow Labrador retrievers while they try to find not only a potential killer, but the intended victim.
I’ll bet after reading the above, you might think this is a religious story. You’d be wrong. It simply includes some pushy, lovable and memorable characters who happen to be Christians.
Does anyone remember the Snoop Sisters? For those who don’t, this was a very short-lived television series starring Helen Hayes and Mildred Natwick as an older spinster and her widowed sister who solved mysteries. If memory serves, the…

Mary Martinez, Interview, author of Disappear.

Thank you, Marilyn, for hosting me on your blog today. I love visiting new places and meeting new people.
Marilyn:  Mary, please tell us what inspired you to write The Beckett’s.
Mary:  I hope I can remember that far back. I actually started writing the series in August or 2009. I’d been watching a documentary and a germ of an idea blossomed. I can’t really tell you what the film was about, it would give away an important part of the book.
As I started to write my blurb and a list of characters, Tyler’s family grew and I new early I’d be writing more than one story. The Beckett’s are a close nit family, similar to the one I’d like to think I have now. The Beckett’s raised their children with courage, integrity and a sense of honor. The parent’s taught them by leading with example. I’ve very proud of my Beckett’s.
Marilyn: What is your one of your favorite writing tips?
Mary:  I have so many. But, my favorite is from Stephen King’s On Writing, I love that book. But in it he said once yo…

Inspiration for a Novel by Earl Staggs

On the first night, the instructor announced, “By the end of this class, each of you will have written a short mystery story.” Wow. When I signed up for a writing class at the community college, I thought someone was going to teach me how to write, not make me write something right away. Okay, I decided, she’s a writing professor and if she says we can do it, we can. We had to come up with a protagonist, of course. After a lot of thought, I decided to write about a private eye with a psychic gift. I’d always been interested in psychic phenomena and loved reading about real-life psychics using their gift to help law enforcement agencies solve crimes. I named him Adam Kingston. He wouldn’t see dead people. A medium does that, not a psychic. When he touched an object related to a crime or visited a crime scene, he would receive fleeting images which might lead him in the right direction or might only confuse him. That’s how it is with real-life psychics. Sometimes th…

Lou Allin and Moonscape to Paradise?

 Moonscape to Paradise?
Canada is known for its pristine, jaw-dropping scenery, but one place has been a national joke: the moonscape around Sudbury, the Nickel Capital. At the opposite end of the country lies Paradise, aka Vancouver Island. They’re more alike than you’d think. I moved from one to the other with the same goal: to bring these places to life in fiction.             I knew nothing about Sudbury in 1977 when I jumped at a job offer. Lumbering had started in the 1880s. Discovery of nickel brought open-pit roasting followed by sixty years of acid rain. With no trees or ground cover, soil melted off the bare land, and the rocks darkened into a black wasteland the size of Manhattan. Clear blue lakes became too acid to sustain life. Then in 1972,  the Superstack (1247 feet)  was built to scrub the air pollution. The entire community, business, students, government and private citizens began a monumental re-greening extending into the twenty-first century. Thanks to a cocktail of…

Jean Henry Talks About her New Book, The Mystery Writers

I was inspired to produce my recently released book, The Mystery Writers, because I didn’t want the interviews to disappear into cyberspace, never to be read again. I’ve been interviewing mystery novelists since January of 2009, and I put together a collection of 75 interviews in 2010. The collection is titled Mysterious Writers, the same name as my blog site, and the book was published in ebook form by Poisoned Pen Press.  It has sold so well that I decided to produce another, in print as well as Kindle and Nook. The second book is titled The Mystery Writers.
The authors donated some very good articles about writing to accompany their interviews and some of them came from as far away as South Africa, Brazil, England, Canada and Thailand. A number of the well-known writers include Sue Grafton, Lawrence Block, J. A. Jance, Vicki Hinze and former Writer’s Digest fiction columnist James Scott Bell, who has published bestselling books on the craft of writing. 
The articles are not just abou…

The Skeleton Box, a review

The Skeleton Box by Bryan Gruley
I loved Gruley’s previous book, The Hanging Tree, and was delighted when I received an ARC for this latest Starvation Lake Mystery.
I felt like I was visiting an old friend in a small town that I already knew a lot about. However, I had no idea what an adventure I was beginning as I started reading. Gus Carpenter, the reporter for the local newspaper, is not only curious about the series of so-called Bingo Night burglaries, but is drawn in deeply when one of these burglaries happens at his mother’s and her best friend is murdered.
One thing happens after another and as with the earlier book, a lot of what is going on is intertwined with the local youths’ ice hockey team. Layer after layer is peeled back and something that happened long ago is revealed, something that has great impact on the lives of many who are still living in or have returned to Starvation Lake.
This is one of those books that is difficult to put down once you start reading. Grule…

MM Gornell Stops By for a Visit

M. M. Gornell Drops by for a Visit
It’s great visiting with you today, Marilyn! You’ve asked me what inspired me to write my latest book. Well, if you’ll indulge me, I’d first like to mention my initial inspiration for all my work. I’ve gone on ad nausea about this before—but it’s the truth, so I guess I’m stuck with repeating myself. Locations.
For each of my novels, my inspiration and first kernel of an idea has come from a location that has reached out, grabbed me, and wouldn’t let go. Sounds a bit silly, and it’s not the whole story, but truly, so far, I’ve been inspired to start a story because a location said, “Me! Me! Write about me!” From the location, I’ve then wondered—who would have lived there, or come that way? What is their story? And in the case of my first, Uncle Si’s Secret—the compelling thought at a particular place along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail on my dog walks also kept returning—“What a perfect spot for a murder!” (Another reason why exercise is good for you)

Chomp, a Review

Recently I've been on a YA reading kick, mainly because I'm in a program with Amazon where you can select two items free but you must review them. I have a hug TBR pile and reading a YA book takes less time.

What I'm finding out is YA books are great!

Chomp is by Carl Hiaasen a well known author of adult mysteries. The hero of this story is Wahoo Cray, the son of Mickey, a professional wild animal wrangler. Their Florida backyard is filled with interesting animals, ones that have been rescued and are now being cared for by Mickey and his son.

Along comes a TV show called Expedition Survival that hires Mickey to be the animal wrangler. The star is Derek Badger, an egotistical dummy who knows nothing about survival or animals despite what his doctored TV show has displayed.

Of course things go from bad to worse as Derek displays his ineptness while insisting he can only be shown working with and escaping from animals that are really wild.

A friend from school named Tuna shows…

Inspiration for Frank, Incense and Muriel by Anne K. Albert

What inspired you to write Frank, Incense and Muriel?

It wasn’t so much inspiration, but rather a personal challenge to see if I could write a book similar to those I love to read - cozy mysteries and sweet romantic suspense stories that keep me guessing and make me smile.
I wanted to take readers for a ride. I wanted to introduce them to memorable characters that walked off the page. I also wanted to tie up all the lose ends, ensure that good triumphs over evil, and the villain gets his comeuppance. And because I avoid stories with violence, strong language, and graphic sex, I was determined to follow those same rules with my own creation. I’m proud to say I accomplished those goals!
Do you have a favorite writing tip?
Two, actually.
I’ve always had difficulty with the ‘write what you know’ concept until I read W.P. Kinsella, author of Shoeless Joe (on which the movie Field of Dreams was based) said ‘you don’t have to commit suicide to write about it’. That resonated with me. I get it …

Book Launch for No Bells

No Bells Book Launch

The physical book launch for anyone in the Porterville area will be on Saturday, April 21, 1-4, at Books Off Main, on Oak Street, Porterville CA.

For anyone not familiar with Books Off Main, it is on the side street (Oak) right around the corner from Subway. There are two entrances, one on Oak and another in the back where the parking lot is.

I'd love for you to come and see my latest book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, which I'm now calling a cozy police procedural. You'll be able to catch-up on what all the RBPD officers are doing as well as the latest in their families. This time Officer Gordon Butler is the one in the spotlight.

Refreshments will be available.

And a Reminder About What's Left on My No Bells Blog Tour

Being somewhat of an idiot, well, maybe that's too strong, or perhaps someone who just has to do everything, I'm actually on two blog tours this month.

My regular one, the one I've been talking abut all this time, and then a short 7 day tour which lands right in the middle of the other one. It begins April 16 and goes through the 27th. By the end of that one everyone will be tired of hearing me promote blogs--my own and the 7 people's blogs who are on this Mystery We Write tour.

So here are the rest of the dates for my tour if you've been following along.

April 14

April 15

April 16
April 17
April 19
April 20
 April 21
April 22
April 23

A Report on Doing My Own Blog Tour

It's been a lot harder than I thought it would be. I certainly began early enough--maybe too early. Once I'd found blogs to host me, set up the calendar and found out what they wanted in the way of a post, I got right on it. I wrote and sent out all the posts along with a .jpg of the book cover, a photo of me (I sent different photos to each blog host), a blurb about the book, my bio, information about my contest and where the book could be found.

What I thought each person would do is what I always do, set up the blog when my information was received at the day and time it was to post. Not everyone does that, obviously.

I've had to remind a few.

Another problem is the commenting. My contest is to write a comment on the most blogs in order to win the three books in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series that come before No Bells.

Some on the comments won't post until you copy the strange letters or words in a box. There are some I've had to do two or three times to get the ri…

Getting Ready to Do Something I Enjoy

This photo was taken at Epicon in San Antonio before one of the sessions.

I was about to give a talk on blogging and blog tours, and yes, I was early as usual. Sitting in the front row is a friend, who is also an early bird, and actually shares the same birthdate, Lorna Collins.

Lorna and I met at a Epicon. I believe it was the one held in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Since that time we've become close friends.

Back to the subject of this post, something I enjoy. Being an instructor at any kind of writers' conference is fun for me. I learned so much at writers' conferences over the years and I feel like I have lots to share at this stage of my writing career.

Writers conferences are invaluable to new writers, but I never attend a writing conferences that I don't learn something new. Mainly because the whole business is changing rapidly and one way to keep up is to attend a writers conference.

Epicon is focused on electronic writing and believe me, keeping up with the cha…
Darker Than Any Shadow By Tina Whittle ISBN: 9781590585467 2011 release from Poisoned Pen Press. HC, 291 pages
The second entry in the author’s intriguing series featuring a gun shop owner and a corporate security officer is a winner. Heavily populated with interesting characters, the turbulent love affair between the protagonist informs and leavens what could otherwise have been a run-of-the-mill mystery. Indeed, the identity of the killer, while important to the story, was, to this reader, not as compelling as the characters, and the milieu.
The setting is Atlanta, Georgia, during the run-up to a major poetry slam competition. Some of the characters have known each other from childhood and others seem to have uncertain, even mysterious backgrounds. It’s hot in Atlanta, and gun shop owner Tai Randolph is mentoring her long-time friend, rising poet, Rico. There are teams of competing poets as well as individual efforts and a surplus of egos swirling around as participants …

2012 Doomsday Project

What will the end of days be?  
Disease? Famine? Meteor? Zombie apocalypse? Tsunami? Earthquake? A new ice age?  
I find the ‘end of days’ obsession fascinating.  Yes, it makes great fiction, especially those zombies trudging around, but in reality, the end – at least our own personal end - could be just around the corner.  Mortality is fragile and I think that’s the pull into the destruction scenarios. It’s the struggle with our own mortality.  
Now, as a fiction writer, it’s fun to explore the end of days, but it’s also a hoot to twist things on their head.  Consider this - Could the prophecy be hinting at something more subtle than human extinction?  Could it instead be the beginning of a higher evolution?  
There’s an interesting idea, instead of the destruction of the world, an enlightenment into a new age. Let’s explore that a little deeper.  
Could it be a new age where we stop depleting the earth’s resources and look to the sun and wind for our energy? 
Is there a new invention on t…