Fictionista, Foodie, Feline-lover

Monday, October 31, 2016

In Celebration of Women--Edna Lewis

This book came up in, of all things, a search for "gargoyles." The cover is wonderful, isn't it? This is an illustrated biography of the chef and natural food advocate Edna Lewis (with recipes) and it's filled with lovely illustrations and a kind of crazy quilt of folk tales and received wisdom that gives the impression of being in the middle of a family reunion. For foodies. And feminists. And people who love illustrations.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Don't listen to me, listen to Salman Rushdie

Returning to my roots

My genre is mystery.
It's what I read for pleasure.
It's what I always wanted to write.
When I first started writing fiction, it was crime fiction that I wrote. Sometime the crimes were mixed with fantasy; sometimes with science fiction; sometimes even with romance. But they were always mysteries.
I wrote a long novella as my first mystery and I could not get arrested for it. Then I wrote a shorter novella in the fantasy romance vein and I suddenly started selling books. I wrote a sequel to the fantasy romance and that sold too, as did a couple of novelettes I wrote.
It's nice selling books.
And I very much enjoyed writing them.
But I'm going back to my roots for NANOWRIMO. This November I'm going to write a psychological mystery, my version of the female centric thrillers that are suddenly hot. I have a pretty good idea I think; at least and idea that excites me enough to put my heart into writing every day for a month.
And to celebrate, I bought a cover from The Book Cover Designer, my favorite "go-to" for premade covers.
The designer was Valdas Miskinis  of Book Cover Arts and at no extra charge I was provide three font variations, which was a nice surprise.
Wish me luck with this one.
Because I've missed writing crime.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Vote Early. Vote right now.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

One ballot, Four Women

So yes, a woman is running for president, the nominee of a major party.
And also there's Jill Stein, who is running for the Green Party.
But I did not know that there are two other women running for President this year. There's also Gloria La Riva of the Socialism and Liberation Party and there's Alyson Kennedy of the Socialist Worker's Party. You can see Alyson Kennedy talking about a woman's right to choose here. You can see Gloria La Riva's stance on the issues here.
It's interesting looking at the platforms of the two lesser-known candidates. La Riva, for instance, shares my stance on the minimum wage. On her web site you can find this meme--which pretty much sums up La Riva's belief that there is no "lesser evil" among the two main party candidates.
Here's a site where you can download information on Alyson Kennedy and her running mate Osborne Hart.You can download their statements on police brutality and killings, as well as a statement of solidarity for the working people of Syria.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Just Another Day in Paradise has just gone wide!

Back in 2011, I dipped my toes in the indie author waters by releasing a collection of my short fiction called Just Another Day in Paradise. The cover was created by G. Wells Taylor (author of the brilliant Dracula of the Apes trilogy, as well as other horror classics, including Bent Steeple). The photograph was by retired firefighter Keith Cullom, who allowed me to purchase the licensing rights on time because he normally sells to magazines like National Geographic. for a lot more than I had in my budget. (See his amazing photos at Fire Image.)

I wanted that picture!  I'd seen it published in the paper during one of California's apocalyptic wildfires and it took me about three hours of Googling before I tracked down the photographer.

I had the book exclusive to Amazon's Kindle for  years but I decided it twas time to test the waters with other platforms as well. To celebrate going wide, I re-edited the collection, adding 45,000 words of new stories and weeding out some stories that weren't working for me. The result is, I think, a nicely "curated" collection of short fiction that represents my best work over the last decade. If you're interested, you can get it on Kobo, B&N, 24 Symbols, Page Foundry, Apple, Scribd, Tolino, and of course, Amazon.

Monday, October 17, 2016

I love mysteries that have history in them.
Throw in a little literary flare, I'm there.
And if you can tie everything to a legend, it's the trifecta.
The Tiger's Wife caught my eye today as I was scrolling past books on offer in the Monday mystery newsletters I get. I can't wait to read it. Check it out here.

Here's the blurb from Amazon:

In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Book and the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Good news for fans of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train

This is a debut novel and kudos to Mary Kubica for pulling off the multiple point of view/dual time-line story. (She’s since written two more psychological thrillers, and I cannot wait to read them.) 
Here the focus is on the search for missing Mia Dennett, a young woman whose father disapproves of the way she lives her life and whose mother flagellates herself for not being more of a nurturer. The story is told from several different angles, including Mia’s mother Eve and Detective Gabe Hoffman, who finds himself drawn to Eve as he searches for clues to her missing daughter. 

The more we know about Mia, the more we sympathize with her and that’s also true of Gabe, who starts out being a somewhat generic wise-cracking cop but develops into a man whose compassion extends beyond the family of the victim in the case he’s investigating. The twists and turns are nicely handled, and even fans of the genre may find themselves surprised by the end.Yes, yes, the comparisons to Gone Girl and Girl on the Train are more than justified.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Sample Karin Slaughter's new book

I'm a big fan of Karin Slaughter's books and she just published a new one last month. Her publisher is making a sample available online here. Check it out.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Size does matter

I'm short. At five foot one, I'm four inches shorter than the average American woman. I'm even short by worldwide standards, unless you factor in Bolivian women, where the average height is 4'8" or Cambodia where the average is five feet even. The average height of an American man is approximately 5'10" so I'm nearly a foot shorter than even the average man. I can live with that. My height makes it harder to find clothes that really fit--I can't afford Vera Wang who dresses petite celebrities like Holly Hunter, and it's sometimes hard finding cute shoes in my size, but in general, I've learned work-arounds for things like getting cans off high shelves in supermarkets and dusting the tops of refrigerators and posing for pictures with taller people so we don't look like a circus act.

My height was never an issue until I worked at a production company on the Warner Brothers lot. The man whose name was on the company hired an executive to run the film division so that he could expand into television and cable. The man he hired was a sociopath. He was eventually (and successfully) sued for sexual harassment by a male intern, but before that happened, he was responsible for a 100 percent turnover in the people who worked at the company. I was there for eighteen months. Within months of my leaving, there wasn't a single person left I'd worked with.

This man was tall, probably six feet four, or so, and he liked LOOMING. It was his go-to stance. He would move in really close and loom. I do not have a particularly large bubble of personal space. I can feel comfortable standing close to other people, even to strangers, but every time this man loomed over me, I had to fight an almost viseral urge to back up. I'd forgotten about that until I watched the debate last night and watched Donald Trump (who is 6'2") looming over Hillary Clinton (who is 5'7"). I can only imagine the discipline it took not to flinch away. I don't care if this is a tried and true strategy for pulling focus, the optics were creepy. If you didn't see it, here's the link. 

Ride the Pink Horse--Vintage Noir

I've always been a fan of writer Dorothy B. Hughes. She is best known for writing In a Lonely Place, but this book, Ride the Pink Horse, is probably her second-best well-known novel. She rote hard-boiled mysteries and noir-ish crime and her work has definitely held up in the 23 years since her death. The Kindle version of the book is on sale today. If you haven't had the pleasure of reading this book, now is the time to change that.

And I love that cover!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Think Spiders are Scary? Me Too

For the last several years I have written longish short horror tories just for Halloween. In the past I published them just on Amazon but I'm in the process of "going wide" with them. Right now you can find Unsanctified--the most spidery of my stories--on all platforms; by the end of the weekend, Spite will be there too.

It's going to be a really busy month, so I might not get a story out this month. If I do, it's going to be called Godforsaken and will most likely feature a cover from my favorite source of pre-made cover designs, Book Cover Designer. My "wish list" on that site is embarrassingly long.

A meme is worth a thousand words

I've worked in a sexist business since I was in my 30s. If I blushed every time a man used the C word or the P word around me, I'd  be permanently beet red. I've heard producers candidly dismiss actresses because they weren't sexy enough (or because they didn't want to sleep with them and as Rachel Maddow would say, "That's not the word they used.")

I saw one of Donald Trump's female surrogates on CNN yesterday defending what he said on the leaked Access Hollywood tape as just being the way people in Hollywood talk. And you know--she wasn't wrong. There are people in Hollywood who do talk like that. But they're not running for president.

Another Great Cover

And another book for the TBR pile. This one is a "Roaring Twenties" fairy tale retelling  that came up in the "also boughts" section when I was checking out another book. The cover caught my eye. So many books!  But this is a three-day weekend so I see some reading in my future.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Free Monday Mystery

I'm signed up for a lot of the newsletters that showcase free Kindle books. When I'm feeling a little light in the wallet, it comforts me to know that I can still have new books to read without spending any money. (I spend a lot of money on books when I have it to spare, so I'm not one of what a friend of mine calls a "greedy grabber" who won't spend money on books and just slurps up all the freebies.)
Today it's Mystery Monday, and I snagged this thriller, the first of a series set on the Oregon Coast. I'm still new to the Pacific Northwest, so I'm eager to see how it's depicted in The Gray and Guilty Sea.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A luminous novel of female empowerment

I'd heard of Caroline Herschel before, sister of the composer/astronomer William Herschel. (He is the man who discovered Uranus, which was once known as "Herschel's Planet.") When I stumbled across this book on Pinterest, on a board dedicated to beautiful covers, my curiosity was piqued. (I LOVE the cover.) The Stargazer's Sister was a wonderful historical novel and I recommend it highly.