Fictionista, Foodie, Feline-lover

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Total Victim Theory is free today

I love this cover. It's graphic. It's striking. It grabs me. It has that pixilltated photo thing that you often see in comic books. I'm immediately intrigued.

Here's what it says on the sell page:

Six months have passed since a faded, black ledger mysteriously appeared on FBI Agent Jake Radley's doorstep. Puzzling over the document's sinister entries, Jake pieces together a story of mass murder near the Texas-Mexico border two decades before. If Jake's theory is correct, the names listed on the ledger's final page are the victims of a previously unknown serial killer. Leads are scarce until a gruesome new crime scene, deep in the Mexican desert, shows a chilling connection to the border deaths of long ago. . .

I don't know about you--but I'm hooked.

And it's free today, so I can indulge my curiosity. Find it here.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Author Roger Hobbs is Dead

I just saw the obit and it was one of those "Oh hell no" moments. He was only 28 and a talent to be reckoned with. His debut novel, Ghostman, got all kinds of praise and if you're a fan of "heist-gone-wrong" books, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

I (Heart) Joe Kenda

I don't read a lot of true crime. I remember reading Tim Cahill's book, Buried Dreams: Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer, and getting incredibly depressed. I later read that writing it depressed Cahill also. (I'm a big fan of his adventure essays, particularly the collection Jaguars Ripped My Flesh.) When I was researching Whipping Boy, I watched a lot of Forensic Files and Youtube videos on various subjects. But I had never heard of Lt. Joe Kenda, Homicide Hunter, until Thanksgiving last year when the family gathered to binge-watch the program.

In a world where so much crime goes unsolved, it's comforting to know that Kenda (retired from the Colorado Springs police department) had a phenomenal "clearance rate." He solved nearly 400 homicides during his career and watching the show is kind of like a master class in investigative procedure and criminal psychology. Plus, the man's bone-dry sense of humor tickles me and has inspired dozens of memes. I got caught up on Homicide Hunter this Thanksgiving. Can't wait until next year!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Having a hard time waiting for Beauty & the Beast?

It seems like 2017 is a long way away after you've seen the wonderful trailer for the Emma Watson, live-action Beauty and the Beast feature film. I feel your pain! While you're waiting, why not grab a copy of my retelling of the classic story, The Summer Garden.  It's free right now on Amazon.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Mega YA Book Giveaway Contest

There are plenty of freebie e-book offers out there right now. This one is a chance to win a box of 70 actual books by a number of best-selling authors, some of them signed. (I  love ebooks but I also have a fondness for "book" books.) Enter here.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Resistance Reads: Stamped From the Beginning

Stamped from the Beginning, a history of racism in America, has just won the 2016 National Book Award for non-fiction. I hope that means a paperback edition is coming soon because my usual "go-to" book buying option (used) isn't really working here as on Amazon, the used version is twice what a new copy of the hardcover is. (How does that even happen?) 

Ibram X. Kenny, an assistant professor of African-American history at the University of Florida, also wrote a history of The Black Campus Movement.

Susan Sarandon is not the enemy

First of all, she didn't vote for Trump. It's disappointing that she gave her vote to a vaxxer, but California is the bluest of blue states and voting her conscience in a blue state is an act without too many consequences.

Second of all, she has been an activist for a lot longer than the people who suddenly woke up to a Trump presidency and said, "Holy shit, maybe I should spend a little less money on pizza and donate something to the ACLU." (I include myself in that category. I've donated here, signed a petition there, voted my Democratic conscience, marched against the war--several different wars--but have never been a true activist until now.)

So leave Susan Sarandon alone. She is not the enemy. Steve Brannon is the enemy. Jeff Sessions is the enemy. Pick your battles. There's true evil out there.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A book just for fun--Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding

In Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding, a freak sports accident sets in motion events that will profoundly affect five people at a small Wisconsin college. The story-telling is occasionally a little clumsy.  (The message seems to be, “You can’t always get what you want but if you try, sometimes, you just might get what you need.”) The writing though—it’s beautiful, with some of the metaphors just stunning. 

The Resistance Reads: Infamy by Richard Reeves

I have a friend who was interned in a camp during the war. She was a child but she still remembers it vividly. She has told me a little bit about that experience and I have tried to convince her to write about it, especially now when President-elect Trump's surrogates are citing the Japanese-American internment camps as proof that similar camps for Muslims will be "constitutional." The memories, she says, are too painful, so I do not press her.

I have visited the Manzanar "War Relocation Center" in California. It's a bleak place and haunted. (Some say it's actually haunted. But take a look at these photos of daily life there, originally published in the Huffington Post.

Infamy is a book you need to read.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


If you see a hate crime, report it. Report it locally and report it using this form at the Southern Poverty Law Center. The form is pretty specific--when did the incident take place? Where was it? (Place of work, place of worship, public park?). Even if you haven't seen a hate crime, check out their website. The SPLC has been fighting the good fight since forever and they're out there fighting it now. They have reported 400 incidents of "hateful harassment" since election day. That's 50 a day. That's unacceptable.

They don't just fight hate, they also fight for justice--social justice, economic justice. They're good guys and they could also use donations.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Free Science Fiction and Fantasy books

Instafreebie is at it again with a giveaway hosted by Dean F. Wilson. Check out all the goodies here.

30 Days of Etsy--Sweaty Wisdom

Sweaty Wisdom is a small Etsy shop run by Chris Emmer. You can find #girlboss and #feminist items for sale including this sassy mug for $16. (Because really, who can't use another mug? If only to leave it in the break room and blow people's minds.) Check out her shop here. You'll be suporting a woman-owned business.

Places that Need Your Money--ProPublica

If you're disgusted by biased media or frustrated that no one seems to be covering actual news, support non-partisan journalism with a donation to ProPublica. Their motto is, "Journalism in the public interest" and they take their mandate seriously. On their website you won't just see news of the day, they dig deep. Right now there's a story about the water crisis in the west that hits home to me. the last few years I lived in L.A. were lived under severe drought conditions. And the pictures are scary. They've also teamed up with the Virginian-Pilot (a newspaper from Norkfolk, VA) to report on Agent Orange's continuing effects and the ongoing fght for veterans to get their benefits.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

30 Days of Etsy--Skyline Vintage

There are a lot of reasons for buying vintage. For one thing, you can find a lot of clothes made in America--remember the old commercial, "Look for the Union label?"--and if you're trying to make a stand against some of the more unsavory practices that keep "fast-fashion" cheap, buying vintage is a great option. There are a bazillion fashion shops on Etsy. Skyline Vintage is one of the newer ones. It's only been in business since this year, but if your taste is boho or retro grunge, you should definitely check it out. Prices aren't quite as enticing as in some other shops, but as the holidays approach, almost all the sellers offer great deals. I wear a lot of black and white (who doesn't?), so I'm always looking for ways to jazz things up. I'm particularly fond of graphicly interesting cardigan sweaters like this one. The color makes it particularly interesting.

A Magical Book Series to Embrace

Victor Kloss, author if The Royal Institute of Magic series, died last week after a bout of cancer. If you're a fan of books in the Harry Potter, Percy and the Olympians vein, you should definitely check out the series. (The first book has 511 reviews, with an average of 4.6 stars.)

Day 5 of the Resistance

I've voted for candidates who've lost elections before--John Kerry, for example. I've voted for candidates who won the popular vote but lost the election. In the very first election I was eligible to cast a ballot, I voted for George McGovern. McGovern ran on an anti-war platform but was handicapped by his "outsider" status and also by the scandal surrounding his VP pick, Thomas Eagleton. Nixon carried all but one state (and the District of Columbia, my birhplace). It was a spectcaular landslide.

This year, "outsider" turned out to be the keyword for voters. The idea of someone coning from outside the political system to  champion those who have felt dismissed by the Washington insiders, was appealing. But the problem is that Trump may not be part of the Washington power structure but he very much IS a part of the power structure that has contributed to income inequality. He is a membe rof the class that can exploit loopholes in order to avoid taxes. (I guarantee you that as a self-employed writer, I pay more taxes than Donald Trump after I've paid my self-employment tax, that double-tax penalty people get for being entrepreneurial without actually having an enterprise.)

30 Days of Etsy--JNH5855

So the holidays are coming up, but so is colder weather, unless you live in California, where you are still sweating out the long, hot summer. I've been stocking up on warm clothes via Etsy and found this awesome shop run by Jamilla Harris, jnh5855. Sweaters? She's got them, in sizes ranging fromextra small to 2X, and men's clothing as well.

She also has a large array of cool accessories and more than 1600 reviews with a 5--star rating. Her prices are excellent. And check out this (so on trend) mustard yellow baby doll coat that's only $20.. I couldn't get my big toe into it, but I have about six items "in the cart" waiting for me.

The shop  also features lots and lots of really cute bathing suits, belts, and purses. She also has hats, both summery and wintry. All in all, she has nearly 3000 items for sale and there's something there you WILL want. I love this adorable cardinal-embellished jacket (just $13). There are also a lot of different shoes, mostly size 6.5. Check out the shop here.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Safety pins--not just for punk rockers!

You may have seen people wearing safety pins in the last few days. Here's what it signifies. It boils down to the golden rule. It means you're an ally. It means you will not stand by as someone else is victimized. It's a solemn pledge that people are taking in hopes of making this post-election world a safer place for those who don't feel safe. It's a symbol, but it's a start.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Coming at the end of the month--A bite-sized psychological thriller

I've been wanting to play around with the psychological thriller genre for a while and even though I'm working on A Woman Presumed, the idea for this one popped into my head and just wouldn't leave. It seems to me that Love Note is going to be short, probably not more than about 12,000 words, so it's yet another not-novel I've written during NaNoWriMo.
The cover was designed by bukovero of the Book Cover Designer, whose website is here. What I like about this cover--other than the great font--is the electric blue of the background. I found it really striking.

GOTV--It's your country, vote for your future

Friday, November 4, 2016

ONE HUNDRED BOOKS for only 99 pennies each!

I’m part of a big Science Fiction & Fantasy promotion this weekend. Offered by Patty Jansen, the queen of such events, this promotion is  a chance to pick up a handful (or more) of digital books for just 99 cents each.  LINK TO ALL RETAILERS HERE.

My collection of urban fantasy tales, The L.A. Nocturne Collection: Tales of the Misbetotten  is available  on Amazon. If you like shape-shifters, djinn, vampires, mermaids, ghosts, or any other kind of paranormal creature, you’ll find a story to like in the collection. And bonus, even if my book doesn’t tempt you, there are lots of other books(100) on offer. For just 99 cents each!!!! It’s like they’re free, only slightly more expensive.

Check out all the goodies here. Have a great weekend.
And don’t forget to vote!