Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Deborah Reardon --Author of Blue Suede Shoes

I know . . . the oft-missed stuff of everyday life gets magnified in the fresh mountain air and the still of the forest. My breath was taken away . . . literally, I trudged huffing and puffing up a steep incline. This is not a - stop and smell the roses - lecture that has my head spinning (part of it is the high altitudes) – because most of us relegate our reflective zones to vacations.


I’ve a bone to pick with the intrusion of (not the usefulness of) technology - because who could argue the magnificent medical advances and educational enhancements and such.  But when did paying attention mean – as long as no one notices the handheld device on ones lap at a conference? It’s the elbow by the parent next to us to look up because our kid is up to bat, that kind of stuff.
It wasn’t the vistas or the golden Fall leaves on this outdoor adventure that had me reeling, I’ve been noodling over this subject for some time, a long time in fact. Ever since a poet at a writer conference lectured about his decision to be constantly mindful so as not to miss those inspiring opportunities. It’s a disquieting subject given the ramifications, specifically when it comes to that awful word - regret. Regret for the thing we didn’t do (with people), regret for the things we didn’t see (with people) or regret for the time we weren’t in tune when a person needed us most.


As a fiction author it’s a must to hunker deep into the quiet recesses of our imagination where the technology is silent and the distractions are zero. Yes nil! Because how else can you fully unleash the creative juices to develop characters and such. But it happens because we put it on the calendar and set aside anything that keeps us from the task at hand. Has anybody noticed we don’t do this for human beings anymore? Put them on the calendar and then do nothing else when we are with them?
Beyond the must have author cave, it’s the day-to-day grind, littered with moments and visuals that I am afraid we all have a tendency to let slip, because the cyber world had demanded constant attention. Because, you see, we want to see it all and do it all with technology. Not with people, with technology. Common sense as long as we can feel it with our fingertips.
It’s not a hoorah when some one is in need of a kind gesture or a loved one passes or calamity affects our human circle in the form of a terrible decease. But it’s life. Last I knew twitter can’t hug, it doesn’t love. Just the other day I read about the jabs to a football franchise owner who still owns a flip phone. Really, somebody was on him about a flip phone. He looked pretty happy. I wonder about those who stole a moment from a human being to make that post. Form over substance isn’t it?
I better not mention the version of my I-Phone – but I will admit I do own one and many other fine technological devices. So don’t confuse this with technology bashing but rather a moment to consider that it has become our pal. Remember that commercial – I haven’t seen it in a while – where a handsome 60-something guy is sitting in his beautiful living room . . . carrying on a conversation with his phone. There was nobody around but he was smiling ear to ear. 
Really? Is that what we want for companionship? It can talk to us and run the vacuum for us and tell us how to get somewhere. It owns us instead of the other way around. Distracted, distracted, distracted. All around us drivers whiz down the road, on autopilot, enjoying their connection de jour. And let’s skip over the safety issues with these behaviors. I like all my Apple products and my texting capability but I also like it when my husband isn’t clicking away and then later say – “You never said that.”
 Just the other day I overheard my son describe a current television program in such detail. He is supposed to be completely unplugged from TV and technology what with high school and work and baseball – you know, those things we do with other people - surely he hasn’t a way to keep up with the evening programs? Ok, that’s a stretch.
In spite of my contemplative leanings, I like everybody am caught by the mad dash and quest for perfection. News flash . . . it’ll never be in our technology. Because, gosh darn it, when I thought I needed my laptop to consider this topic, I actually needed a Gatorade and every ounce of my energy to move one foot after the other up the steep winding path, to gasp for my breathe in the thin air, to push through the burning thighs . . .
Down off my soapbox, gotta backlog of emails and tweets.
To be or not to be . . . present. I am just saying – put it down.



Mystery/thriller– Blue Suede Shoes



Meanwhile, Clare Paxton is a woman living the unfinished dream of leaving behind her sleepy hometown of Danfield, Wisconsin. When the girl goes missing, leaving only her tiny blue shoes behind in the dark northern forest, Clare can’t idly stand by as local police fumble the case. Handsome police chief Jared Grady seems far more interested in keeping watch on Clare’s meddling than searching for the girl, and no one in town seems to care that there could be a kidnapper in their midst—or worse. Why would the townspeople of Danfield allow little Mary’s case to go cold?
Secrecy, gossip, suspense, and betrayal weave a tangled web for the residents of Danfield. Clare’s curiosity isn’t so welcome, and soon she discovers more than she might have hoped about her small-town neighbors.

Author Bio:



Deborah Reardon’s curiosity about life and passion for storytelling took root during her youth.  Like many novelists, Deborah’s winding path through a banking career, exciting travels and family life enriched her understanding of the world around her and provided plenty of material for her stories.

Deborah credits her collaborations with the Wisconsin writing community as having a huge impact on her confidence as a writer. It was during her time living on the outskirts of Milwaukee, in particular, that she thrust herself into an influential confluence of critiques, writing conferences and focused workshops. Persistence and a beautiful landscape sparked the beginning of Blue Suede Shoes. Today, living in Texas, Deborah is working on a number of writing projects to include the sequel to Blue Suede Shoes.

Links:

Author – Blue Suede Shoes
Website: www.deborahreardon.com           
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/deborah-reardon/38/206/483


Thanks for visiting me today, Deborah!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Writing, Reading, TV and Movies and Lots More

Because I'm a writer, I do spend a great deal of time writing--working on my latest book and thinking about the latest book. I also work on promotion for the next book coming out, Murder in the Worst Degree. I'm planning to go to Left Coast Crime in Monterey which of course falls into the promotion category, but also will be fun! A chance to hang out with readers and other mystery writers--wonderful!



Anyone who knows me or has been following me on Facebook knows that I have a big family which means spending time with them--that's important to me. When possible, I'll visit those who don't live nearby.

Hubby and I love to go to the movies--at least a couple of times a month. But we also enjoy watching series on TV--usually a year behind, either on DVD or on the Roku. What a marvelous device that is--and one that I actually was able to figure out.

And yes, I read a lot of books too--paper and on my iPad. These days it seems I spend more time reading books written by people I know--and of course, mainly mysteries.

Tell me what you like to do.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

WHY I CAN'T EDIT MYSELF by Ilene Schneider



The other day, I noticed the name of a salon: [something]’s Kutz. Why, I wondered, would anyone want to get a haircut at a place called Klutz?

A while later, I read about the formation of an organization, but I thought the article’s author had written “fornication.”
            
There are three things going on here. One, I have a very disturbed subconscious. Two, it’s time to go to the optometrist and get my prescription for the reading part of my lenses changed. And, three, we see what we expect to see.

It’s because of the last factor that I am completely unable to edit myself. (It’s also because that same pesky subconscious is convinced that every word I write is perfect and should not be changed or cut even if it is misspelled or unnecessary.)

Each of my books underwent numerous edits, readings, re-readings, re-edits, re-re … the same as all works by all authors do (or should). Inevitably, though, typos and worse still existed in the final printed copies. The nonfiction TALK DIRTY YIDDISH has at least one repeated paragraph. The first edition of CHANUKAH GUILT had several typos and an inaccurate place name. (I’m afraid to read the actual book of the second edition, which went through six edits. During the course of each I discovered more errors.) 

Within the first few minutes of his beginning to read UNLEAVENED DEAD (also printed after six edits), my husband asked if a time change was a red herring. It wasn’t. I then noticed a name error on the first page (I was sure I had done a search-and-replace when I changed the character’s name later in the book). An astute reader alerted me to another inadvertent name switch (of a location, not a character) a bit later in the book.

I am a good editor of others’ works, finding typos, inconsistencies, and other errors even (particularly) in books published by the Big Presses. And I have been known to stop reading self-published books that are poorly edited because all the mistakes interfere with the story.

So, if I can find others’ mistakes so easily, why am I blind to my own? As I said before, we see what we expect. I know what I meant to write, how I meant to spell a word, or the name of a character; so those words are what I read when I’m trying to edit my own works. If I know the word is supposed to be “striped,” I won’t notice I typed “stripped.” Or if someone led a class, I don’t realize the word should not be “lead;” after all, the mineral is pronounced the same as the past tense of the verb. (I just misspelled “pronounced” as “prounced” and couldn’t figure out why it was underlined with a broken red line!)

Shouldn’t the publisher’s editor find all those errors? Theoretically, yes. But it is also our job as writers to make sure our manuscripts are as “clean” as possible. When I submit a manuscript, I “know” it is as good as it can be. Then I receive the layout, review it, and find dozens of errors that I never saw before. And neither did the editor, who is not reviewing my manuscript only, but mine plus another dozen or so. After a while, we’re (or I am) on autopilot, skimming rather than reading.

I know some authors read their manuscripts backwards to find typos without being distracted by the plot or the syntax. I’ve tried it. I gave up after a page. It just didn’t work for me.

What techniques work for you? I’m willing to try anything. Except reading backwards.


 Bio:

Rabbi Ilene Schneider, Ed.D., one of the first women rabbis ordained in the U.S., has finally decided what she wants to be when she grows up. She recently retired from her day job to devote herself to writing. She is the author of the Rabbi Aviva Cohen mysteries, Chanukah Guilt and the award-winning Unleavened Dead; the 3rd, a work-in-progress, is titled Yom Killer. She also wrote the nonfiction Talk Dirty Yiddish: Beyond Drek.

Friday, February 21, 2014

My Hour with Third Graders


My great-grandson Garrett asked if I could visit his class so his classmates could meet a "real author." Since I write murder mysteries, I had to think a bit about what I could do or say that would be appropriate for a class of third graders.

Since his mom, my granddaughter, told me they were learning how to write essays, I decided that it would be fun to show them how to write a story.

What an enthusiastic bunch! After my preliminary self-introduction (and by the way, they seemed impressed) we began talking about what needs to be in a story. From there we decided on who are main character should be and voted--the winner Pac Man. Since every hero needs a side-kick, Ghost was the chosen favorite. The setting? A Shark Tank. Main obstacle? Easy, avoiding the sharks and getting out of the tank. And yes, they came up with a solution.


They came up with lot of other ideas too--the hero and side-kick I liked best were the baseball player and his side-kick, the female dirt biker.

When we talked about time-periods, and what might be a fun older time to write about, one of the kids suggested 1981. I was impressed though, when another child said 1940 and I asked if anyone knew what happened in 1941, and one boy immediately raised his hand and said, "World War II."

We also discussed favorite books and another 3rd grader had just read The Book Thief.

I was only supposed to be there for 45 minutes, but it stretched into an hour because we were having so much fun. What a great group--32 really smart and imaginative third graders.

That evening, Garrett and his mom came to visit because he had thank-you cards from the class to bring me.

We read them together. Because I had called on kids by using the color of their shirts and tops, many identified themselves this way, "I was the boy in the blue shirt" etc. It was obvious they had as much fun as I did--and Garrett was happy too.

Marilyn--a proud great-grandmother.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Murder in the Worst Degree--a Bit of a Teaser




This is the cover and I think it's terrific!

I love the title too, but I can't take credit for that. Friend and fellow author, Wanda Porter sent the title to me and said I ought to use it. So without an idea for a plot, I started writing.

This is the first line of Chapter 1:

Except for the dead body washed up on the sand, conditions were perfect for surfing.

I really had a good time writing this book. And the winner of the contest to be a character in my next book has a most important part. I hope she likes it.

I've been really busy working on my blog tour. Right now I'm sending the posts and all that goes with them to my blog hosts. It all takes time.

When March comes and the book is available, I hope some of you will take the time to read it.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Are You a Plotser or Pantser? Err...Or However that Goes



You’ve heard the heated arguments.
“I have to plot every detail, or I’d have a mess to edit.”
“I let the story lead me. Plotting stifles creativity.”

Plotter or Pantser--each proponent is passionate for his or her method. Are you a plotter, or do you fly by the seat of your pants when you write? I have done both--very effectively I believe. And each method has its benefits as well as pitfalls, but I have to say I’m about 90% plotter at this point. But I still let ‘er fly about 10% of the time. Just write!

But, see, I don’t think plotting interrupts creativity unless you are anal retentive. If you CANNOT let go of your outline and follow a character’s lead on occasion or realize there is a plot point you need to include, then this post isn’t for you. For the rest of us, we see the value in having a structure made of malleable material.

I’ve read a great deal about plotting methods trying to find something to work for me. My methods puts together pieces from a lot of folks. My conclusion: There ain’t no one way for everybody. You have to find your own plotting combo.

Here’s mine. Following Holly Lisle’s “discovery” approach (www.hollylisle.com), I do some serious upfront prep. In Discovery you write down your theme, subtheme, one-line story arc for your main character, create a 25-word book summary, write the back-of-the-book blurb, and descriptions of your main characters. Whew! That is a lot of fine-grained thinking before you write a word.

I print out this stuff and post it around my desk for easy reference. Just re-reading my book summary at the beginning of the writing day, for example, helps me keep focus.

The next thing I do is list 10 key events from my plot. What is the most important stuff happening or revealed? I post that, too. Here’s what that looked like for my first (still unpublished) paranormal, Quick and the Dedd, with main characters Isabella Quick, owner of I.Q. Security Systems, and Riley Dedd, her best operative who was electrocuted a few months before the book opens.

10 Key Scenes:
Riley’s ghost, a key-but dead-operative, appears to his boss, a disbelieving Isabella
Isabella checks out Riley’s ghost claim
Another firm wants to buy her security firm out
Physical and financial threats cause her to consider selling her company
Isabella sees hope to rescue her company with a project bid for airport security
Her company gets picked for the contract despite some dirty dealings
Riley figures out his murderer and the competing company are the same
Isabella confronts the operative who is sabotaging the airport project
Justice is brought to bear for most of the culprits
Isabella and Riley try to make love and he disappears--forever?

Now comes the fun. I distribute my key events in a table so that I can add scenes leading up to or from each key event. Then, what led to or from those scenes. Repeat! In a very short time (a day or so), I have about 35-40 scenes scripted out. Scenes are numbered and include: where the scene happens, who is in it, when does it happen, the point of the scene, and what happens in the scene. Here’s the beginning of Quick and the Dedd’s scene development:

Scene
Where
Who
When
Point of scene
What happens
1
Offices of I.Q. Security
Isabella
Riley
Anniversary of 6th mon. after Riley’s murder and also Riley’s 42nd birthday
Intro MCs;
Riley tries  to convince her he is real-but a ghost;
Intro plot point of finding his murderer
Drunken Isabella discovers the ghost of Riley sitting on her desk. She puts it down to alcohol but he insists he’s real.
2
Trini’s apt. for dinner
Isabella
BF Trini
Gus  Stan
Evening  after Riley’s appearance
Intro support characters; Isabella doesn’t believe Riley is a ghost; wants Stan to run a check without him knowing what it’s about; she’s afraid her bias will change results
Stan questions why he should check but agrees to go to Radio Shack for the stuff Isabella identified from an on-line article on ghost hunting; include stuff on their backgrounds and relationships; bring up big contract they’re going for--her rationale for Stan’s check; confirms

I print out these scenes and tape to file cards I stack on my desk. Time to write? Pick up the next scene card and begin. Of course things happen as I write, so I add to scenes, create additional scenes or characters, and move scenes. The normal stuff. But the big stuff is there.

This may be just me, but first-draft writing comes pretty easily--if I’m prepared. When writing is hard for me I know I’ve not researched enough, plotted enough, or know my characters well enough. My current system ensures that doesn’t happen anymore.

How about you? What is your system for completing your novel?


Bio:
After 39 years as an educator, Sharon Arthur Moore "transitioned" to the life of full-time fiction writer. She's an intrepid cook, game-player, and miniatures lover.

She writes culinary mysteries, women's fiction, historical fiction, short stories, plays, paranormals (under the pen name River Glynn), and erotic romance (under the pen name Angelica French).

Sharon has lived in every region of the country except the Pacific Northwest and loved every single one of them. Her current favorite region is the desert Southwest. She is married to the most extraordinary man and claims four children, one daughter-in-law, a grandson, and yellow lab Maudie.

Contact Sharon through her Facebook page: Sharon Arthur Moore Fan Page or on Twitter @Good2Tweat.
Follow her blog, “Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time”, at: http://sharonarthurmoore.blogspot.com


Thank you for visiting with me, Sharon. I absolutley love the cover of Mission Impastable!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sound the Retreat! Why Workshops and Retreats Can Be Inspiriting Stations on the Writer's Journey

By Sheila Webster Boneham

Writing is a solitary pursuit. Even those of us who like to write in a cozy coffee-shop booth surrounded by a human buzz are alone in the work itself. (I could argue that we’re never alone, of course, because we have all those other voices in our heads, but I’m not sure I want to mention that.) We move into the work itself alone and naked, armed only with our minds and our writing implements. Writing is a quest of the highest order.

But writers also need people. Our work needs people. We need readers, editors, caregivers, brainstormers. We need people who encourage us. We need people who say, wait, this isn’t working, but maybe you could try this. (For most of us, these people should not be spouses or blood-relatives. ) We need the members of our tribe.

Some of us are lucky enough to belong to excellent critique groups that meet frequently and regularly. Finding or assembling the right group can be a challenge, but once you do, the benefits of mutual support and critique are incalculable.

Another way to find our people is through workshops. Unlike the ongoing critique group, workshops usually meet for a limited time, from an hour or two to a week or two. Workshops tend to focus either on individual members’ works-in-progress, or on some specific element of writing (dialogue, perhaps, or point of view, or character development), or on a topic (nature or world building or food in narrative). If you’re lucky, you may have access to workshops close to home. If you’re even luckier, you may get to go to an inspiring workshop in a wonderful place! (You can find listings for writing workshops all over the world at http://tinyurl.com/lelnrzg )
If you are thinking of signing up for a workshop (an experience I highly recommend!), here are a few things to consider.

·         Focus: what is the primary focus of the workshop? Is it craft, or a broad view of a specific genre, or time and inspiration to help you generate new material, or perhaps a combination?
·         Size: some “workshops” are quite large; others are small and intimate. And size does matter. If you want to listen and learn, but work mostly on your own, a large-group event may work well, If you want more opportunity for individual feedback and interaction with the instructor and other participants, you’re probably better off with a smaller workshop.

·         Facilitator: the leader of the band of writers not only directs the content of your experience, but also sets the tone. I have been to workshops in which the facilitator inspired supportive, useful criticism, and others where the head honcho’s main purpose seemed to be to strut her own stuff and humiliate participants. I recommend paying attention to the facilitator’s bio (which she probably wrote herself) or artistic/teaching statement as much as to her or his credentials. The worst experience I even had was with a big-name writer at a big-name conference. In other words, don’t be blinded by the glitz.

·         Schedule: workshops, especially residential workshops, often have daily schedules with varying amounts of time devoted to different pursuits. In some, every minute from early morning until late evening is stuffed with classes, readings, and critique sessions. Others offer a two or three hours of work-shopping and lots of free time for writing, sightseeing, napping. Some workshops and retreats try to strike a balance. So it pays to think about how you want to spend your time at the workshop. Personally, I like blocks of time in which I can reflect and write or revise, and I build those into the workshops I lead. But I know people who feel they aren’t getting their money’s worth unless they are “being taught” for eight hours a day. So think about what will work best for you.

·         Your own agenda: Different kinds of workshops work at different points in our individual journeys as writers. If you are at an early stage in your career, or you are venturing into new territory as a writer, a workshop geared toward intense basic instruction may be just what you need. If you are more experienced and want to regroup in an environment that feeds your creativity, you may want more freedom in the schedule.

I think every writer should try a workshop or retreat at some point in her career. Simply spending time in the company of people who understand what we’re up to can elevate our writerly mood for weeks or longer, and no matter how long we’ve been at it, we can always learn something new. In fact, I don’t think we can NOT learn something from gatherings of writers.



Bio:

Sheila Webster Boneham writes across genres, and much of her work focuses on animals, environment, and sense of place. Her short work has appeared in a variety of literary and commercial magazines. Sheila has published seventeen books of nonfiction about animals, siz of which have won major awards from the professional associations for dog writers and cat writers. Her second novel, The Money Bird  http://tinyurl.com/kso9lsa, came out September 2013. Sheila has taught writing at universities in the U.S. and abroad, and often teaches classes and workshops, including her annual Retreat for Women Writers http://seaviewinn.com/specialweeks-writers.php in Pawleys Island, DC, in March.



 You can find Sheila online at the following addresses:
Website and blog: http://www.sheilaboneham.com

Blurb:
The Money Bird
Animals in Focus Mystery #2

Animal photographer Janet MacPhail knows that trouble is in the air when Labrador Retriever Drake fetches a blood-soaked bag holding an exotic feather and a torn one-hundred-dollar bill during a photo shoot at Twisted Lake. One of Janet's photography students reports seeing a strange bird at the lake, but he turns up dead before Janet can talk to him. When she learns that the mysterious retreat center near the lake is housing large numbers of tropical birds, Janet is sure there's a connection and decides to investigate between dog-training classes, photo assignments, and visits to her mom at Shadetree Retirement. With help from her Australian Shepherd Jay and her quirky friend Goldie, Janet is determined to get to the bottom of things before another victim's wings are clipped for good.

"A photographer must rely on her loyal dog and cat companions to solve the case of a murdered colleague...Equal parts mystery and dog appreciation, with a dash of romance thrown in for good measure, this second case for Janet and her pals (Drop Dead on Recall, 2012) is accessible to fans of all three." ~ Kirkus Review


 Thank you so much, Sheila, for visiting me today.
 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Changing Times by Beryl Reichenberg



For those of us who grew up with Dick and Jane, Nancy Drew and the Three Little Pigs, reading children’s books today is fascinating.  In one sense, little has changed. There still is the big bad wolf in one guise or another. Nancy isn’t solving mysteries anymore, but there is a whole lineup of new detectives, who are. Dick and Jane stories have morphed into a multitude of early readers. Many of the story themes remain the same.  Good and evil still battling it out.  Lessons are learned, sometimes the hard way, and problems are eventually solved. It is as if the human spirit needs these reoccurring themes to make sense of the world.

Yet, children books of today are much more varied and sophisticated. There are stories about multi-cultural and multi-racial families.  New super heroes like Ninja Turtles and Warrior Cats have emerged, righting the wrongs of the world. There is an invasion of rhyming books thanks to Dr. Seuss. Disney and Star Wars characters abound with Harry Potter not far behind. With all these characters and books comes a host of toys and games. And let's not forget the flood of summer movie.

Where once we had only a few cherished books to choose from, the bookstores are packed with brightly covered books and engaging images. There are puzzle books, board books, interactive books, 3D books, popup books with moving parts and, of course, electronic books for children.  While many of the story lines and themes remain the same, the characters, the settings and the way modern books are produced have changed with many more choices and voices. For a children’s book author it can be difficult to catch a ride on these latest trends, while still producing a story that is unique and worthwhile.

Still,  it’s nice to pick up and read a Nancy Drew or Peter Rabbit book again, just for old times stake. And, hopefully, these books will never go out of style.



Bio: I am an artist and story teller, living on the Central California Coast in San Luis Obispo.  During the last seven years, I have written and illustrated children books.  I have five books published by Oak Tree Press and some additional books published elsewhere.

Before I came to San Luis Obispo, I taught school and lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. I hold a Master's Degree from UCLA.

Traveling extensively throughout the world including countries in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, South America and Asia, I have taken many photographs that I use in my art work and books.  These travels have given me a broader understanding of the world and other cultures and have been an inspiration for many of my children’s stories.  Other story ideas come from my contact with children, who are a never ending source of delight.


Links:

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Reviews Have Started to Come in For Murder in the Worst Degree



I sent out 11 copies of the uncorrected Advance Reading Copies of Murder in the Worst Degree for review. Unless you're an author you have no idea how scary that is. Waiting to hear what people think about your latest book, is most nerve wracking.

But here are the first three reviews and I'm happy to say they are both wonderful!

Review:
F.M. Meredith has outdone herself with Murder in the Worst Degree. I have enjoyed this series ever since I read my first one, but this is the very best one yet. All the familiar characters return. their lives continue to change and progress. When an elderly man’s body washes up on the beach at Rocky Bluff, the police begin their investigation, only to discover he was already dead before his body went into the water. In addition, a rapist strikes. As always, all the plot lines are completed, and the ending is very satisfying. This is a great read and highly recommended.

--Lorna Collins

This is my first review ever. I received an ARC of Murder in the Worst Degree yesterday and read it in one sitting. I really enjoyed the book. It was the tenth in a series but I was able to enjoy it without reading the first 9. It was the type of book I really like, a police procedural with their home lives included. Makes me want to read the other books in the series to see how they all ended up where they are.

--Cheryl Stoeser in DorothyL

Truly and interesting, good quick read.  (It probably took me all of 6 hours tops to read it.)  This action packed police procedure mystery was well plotted, well written and most enjoyable. So wonderful to find an author that doesn't need 300 pages plus to really write an entertaining novel!
And, even though this is 10th in a series - this is the first I've read and would recommend to anyone who likes to read!

--Lynn Demsky in DorothyL



The book isn't available to the general public until next month, and I'll certainly let you know when it's live!

 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Blast Out of the Winter Doldrums with a Thriller--Ignore the Pain



I’ve never liked February much. More snow, ice, and cold. This year with record-breaking winter weather, I bet a lot of readers are eager to forget winter. How about curling up with a thriller – Ignore the Pain? Besides being exciting this book gives you a chance to do some armchair traveling to Bolivia, possibly a place you’ve never considered.

Let’s start with a fast-paced plot.
In Ignore the Pain, Sara Almquist couldn’t say no when invited to be the epidemiologist on a public health mission to assess children’s health in Bolivia. Soon someone from her past is chasing her through the Witches’ Market and churches of La Paz. Unfortunately, she can’t decide whether to trust any of her new colleagues, especially the unsavory Xave Zack, as she learns more about coca production and the god Tio of the silver mines of Potosí than she ever wanted to know.

The let’s add the excitement of an exotic location.
What do you like to do when you travel? See historical sites, shop for unusual items, learn about a different culture, hike a bit, and be surprised.

Bolivia fits the bill and Ignore the Pain gives you a realistic, but safe view of Bolivia.

In Ignore the Pain, you get a guided tour of attractions in Bolivia, like the Witches’ Market of La Paz. You’ll not only see native women in black bowler hats and layers of brightly covers skirts sell llama fetuses for offerings to the gods, but also smell the aromas of the city. (Note: Not all are pleasant.) You’ll also travel across the austere, almost Mars-like landscape of the Altiplano to see the exotic stone columns in the Valley of the Moon and the shores of Lake Poopó, long a summer nesting spot for flamingos and now polluted by mining runoff.

Sara is your guide. Of course, her view of Iglesia de San Francisco in La Paz might be a little different that that of the average tourist. Someone determined to kill her is chasing her across the church’s roof. The description of the roof is realistic – I’ve been there.

Why read Ignore the Pain before I plan a trip to Bolivia?
There’s a reason Ignore the Pain is a thriller. Bolivia is a poor country with severe problems. Sara gets into the midst of these problems because of her past history and her current assignment as a consultant on public health issues.

For example, the mountain Cerro Rico near Potosí is so riddled by five hundred years of silver mining that cave-ins are common. Mercury extraction of silver from the ore has polluted water supplies for large areas of the country. Bolivia is the third largest producer of coca, the raw material for cocaine.

It’s impossible to ignore coca in Bolivia. If you don’t believe me, look at tea bag cover I saved from my trip to Bolivia. Coca tea is available in most restaurants.



The use of coca in Bolivia is complicated and often logical. Thus in Ignore the Pain, Sara learns laborers in the silver mines of Potosí carry little food or water into the mines. In order to endure the pain caused by thirst, hunger, and heavy exertion at a high altitude (13,000 feet), they chew coca leaves. The active ingredients in coca leaves are stimulants, which help users ignore pain. Those facts are also basis for the title of the novel.

I hope you’ve decided to blast out of your winter doldrums by reading Ignore the Pain. Then you can decide if you want to visit Bolivia.

Bio: For more on JL Greger, check out her website: www.jlgreger.com and blog: JL's Bugs at http://www.jlgregerblog.blogspot.com. The Bugs in her blog aren’t insects. They are her real life Japanese Chin dog, who is a pet therapy dog in hospital in the Albuquerque area, and the fictional dog featured in her novels.



Here are thumbnail sketches of the two previous novels in this medical thriller/mystery series. Learn whether the Philippine flu or a drug kingpin caught in a quarantine is more deadly in Coming Flu. Discover whether an ambitious young “diet doctor” or old-timers with buried secrets are killers in Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight.



The novels are available in paperback and Kindle formats from Amazon.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Writers' Organizations

Which ones do you belong to and why?

I belong to several.

Mystery Writers of America. I joined long ago when my first book was published--and it wasn't even a mystery. I've maintained my membership through the years. And to be honest, I've kept it mostly because of the prestige associated with it. I've never lived close enough to either the Southern or Northern California chapters to attend any of the events.

Sisters in Crime. I joined the national group year ago, before there were many chapters. I get a lot of information from being on the listserve.

I went to the first get-together where a group of mystery writers gathered together in Fresno to talk about organizing a chapter--now the San Joaquin SinC. I've belonged ever since and do attend meetings whenever I can. I've gotten a lot out of these meetings, besides making many, many friends and hearing lots of interesting speakers, buying lot of author's books, I also got some ideas for books from speakers who were in law enforcement and a dandy idea from a coroner. 

I belong to the L.A. chapter of Sisters in Crime so I could participate in the L.A. Times Book Festival. I've only attended a few meetings because it's so far away, but I do enjoy the newsletter and being on the listserve.

And I'm a member of the Central Coast chapter of Sisters in Crime and have been for a long time. I have many good friends from that group, and hubby and I love going to the coast so join them for a couple of their events a year.

I've been a member of Epic for many, many years, way back when no one understood or really knew anything about ebooks. I've been to many Epicons and not only learned a lot but had a great time attending. Unfortunately, air travel has become difficult for me and probably will not got to many more.

PSWA (Public Safety Writers Association) is a favorite because the group is mainly made up of many types of law enforcement and other public safety people who write--and a few of us mystery writers who like to pick their brains and hang out with them. Their listserve is wonderful, a place where you can ask all sorts of questions and get many answers. I was the program chair for the conference for many years, now I'm the newsletter editor.

And probably the most helpful is the critique group that I belong too. This group is invaluable to me and what I consider to be my first editor. Of course they've all become friends too.

Now, you answer my questions and be sure to tell me why you belong to whatever groups.

Marilyn