Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Saturday, September 13, 2014

sisters in Crime anthology--Great Saturday reading

Secrets and lies… The seven stories contained in Deadly Debut are united by three factors—the sex of their authors, their general location (New York) and the presence of secrets at the heart of the crimes. There’s one other commonality as well—all the stories are very good even when the crimes are very bad. Secrets and lies lurk in the depths of these stories—secret lovers, secret lifestyles, secret sins. (At least two of the stories feature secrets hidden in closets. Be advised—nothing good is ever behind a locked closet door.) Sense of place is strong here, whether the story unfolds in the dressing room of a club frequented by belly dance aficionados (Lina Zeldovich’s “Murder in the Aladdin’s Cave”) or in a pocket park smack dab in the middle of gang territory (“Strike Zone” by Terrie Farley Moran). These aren’t stories that could take place just anywhere, and in Elizabeth Zelvin’s Agatha Award-nominated story, “Death Will Clean Your Closet,” it’s perfectly plausible that her protagonist never associated the slight stink in his bedroom with the dead body in the aforementioned closet. This collection, edited by Clare Toohey, is a showcase for the art of the short story and each one included is a gem and each one shows a writer at the top of her game. “Imagine if Maurice Villency and Victoria’s Secret had a one-night stand and spawned a line of furnishings destined for a Poconos honeymoon suite,” suggests Dierdre Verne in “None of the Above.” What else do you need to know about the d├ęcor of the room she’s describing? Stories by Triss Stein, Peggy Ehrhart, and Anita Page round out the collection and again, each of these stories has a secret or a lie at its center, a hard, cold kernel that has been transformed into a pearl. Crime fiction collections are notorious for ignoring women writers; this anthology shows what readers have been missing. Find it here.

Shameless Saturday Self-Promoton--Bride of the Midnight King is Free

In between the crime fiction I write, I dabble in fantasy and speculative fiction. A couple of months ago I got the iddea too set fairy tales in a world of vampires and I wrote a novella called Bride of the Midnight King under my nom de fantasy Kat Parrish. The book has turned out to be a lot more popular than anything else I've published and I'm now in the middle of writing the sequel, which will be published later this year. The cover was done by Joy Sillesen over at Indie Author Services, one of the last she created before going on a hiatus to concentrate on her own work. Friday was my birthday and to celebrate, I've put Bride of the Midnight King on a freebie promotion. From now through monday morning, you can snag the novella free. I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Etsy never disappoints--the Shakespeare Cookie Cutter

I used to have a massive collection of cookie cuttres--zoo animals and sharks and dinosaurs and US states. But I never had this--a Shakespeare cookie cutter. You can get it on Etsy now.

Selling Jaguars with Shakespeare

My favorite ads these days seem to be car commercials. That new one for the Lincoln MKC with Matthew McConaughey and a really big longhorn bull named Cyrus cracks me up. Am I going to buy the car? Alas, no but it's a memorable commercial. I was also a huge fan of Jaguar's "It's Good to Be Bad" commercial that debuted during this year's Super bowl. Now there's a follow-up with everyone's favorite resident of Asgard, Tom Hiddleston, lurking in a garage and waxing Shakespearean as he plans world domination. Hiddleson's performance of Coriolanus (shown earlier this year on one of those filmed plays/prestige movie events things) was ferocious and feral. I was mesmerized. I liked him in The Hollow Crown too, watching him transition from the feckless Prince Hal to Henry V. Yes, this commercial
makes me want to plan world domination while driving through London at speed. Preferably with a villain by my side.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Saying Nice Things About Books

When you were little, did your mother tell you that if you didn't have something nice to say about someone, you shouldn't say anything at all? That's kind of how I feel about book reviews. Certainly there are bad books out there, and book reviewers should warn readers about them; but I made a conscious choice some time ago to only feature positive reviews on this blog. If I can't honestly give the book four or five stars, then I skip it. Because there are a lot of books that go unnoticed in the vast flood of published work out there. I think that it's also a reviewer's job to point readers toward books they might have missed. That's the kind of reviewer I'd like to be. One of the great things about my day job is that I'm constantly being exposed to books and writers I would not have read on my own. I'm not, for example, a huge fan of political thrillers. So many of them are wildly predictable and writing that's stronger on jargon than it is on style. And then I was asked to read Daniel Silva's The English Girl. It is the latest in his series about Israeli intelligence operative Gabriel Allon whose cover is a job as an art restorer. It was terrific. So good, in fact, that I've bought the other books in the series and intend to read them all. I've also decided to do a lot more reviewing in the coming months. I've got a huge pile of books and galleys and manuscripts piling up and I know that when I start sifting through them, I'm ging to find some golden nuggets. I'll tell you about those. And in the meantme, if you like great writing, do yourself a favor and pick up one of Daniel Silva's books. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Shakespeare fans--the Etsy Shop of Your Dreams!

I have mentioned before my love for Etsy, and I've run across a shop called IMMORTAL LONGINGS
that produces Shakespeare-themed items that are ... exquisite. I have half a dozen parked in my shopping cart (Just 17 more days until my birthday!) and will definitely return to it for my annual Holiday Gift Guide. check it out!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Whipping Boy and Shakespeare

Both my parents liked words. My father was a lawyer and he early on discovered the delight little kids take in repeating words that sound like nonsense words. I knew how to pronounce posse comitatus before I could spell "cat." And I wasn't that much older when I learned what it meant, which put me way ahead in civics class. My mother favored archaic English phrases like "dogsbody" and "whipping boy" and "dog in the manger." These were phrases my siblings and I learned as kids and I freely used them in conversation until I moved to L.A. and found that people were giving me blank looks, so I stopped. But I still love those words and I chose "Whipping Boy" as the title of my mystery novella because the plot revolves around a murder of a scapegoat. Shakespeare, of course, used all those phrases (and more). Or so I thought until I started searching for the phrase and none of my usual go-to sources could find it. (Plenty of places where one person or another was whipped, and also a reference to "Whipping Boy" in Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper, but no joy on Shakesperae. Sigh At any rate, I'm offering my novella free for the next five days in case you'd like to read it. There are 10 reviews now (almost all of them by people I don't actually know) and eight of them are five stars! You can snag a copy here.