Laura Lippman to be at Eureka’s Books in Bloom

I’m so excited to hear Laura Lippman speak this Sunday at Books in Bloom in Eureka Springs. I intend to be there and pick up a copy of her new book, Wilde Lake while I’m at it.

I reviewed After I’m Gone a couple of years ago on this blog, and I’m confident I’ll enjoy her new book just as much. That confidence comes from the fact that I’ve yet to be disappointed with a Lippman story. She is one hell of a storyteller. Her characters are always rich, and her plots very well woven together with surprises along the way.

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My library includes plenty of Laura Lippman books, and I’ve read a few of them more than once.

After I wrote that review and noted that I had the pleasure of meeting Laura Lippman years ago, I was thrilled when she sent me a note stating she remembered meeting me. I attended “Of Dark and Stormy Nights,” a conference held in Chicago by Mystery Writers of America where she spoke. I was absolutely delighted when we happened to share a shuttle to O’Hare Airport at the end of the conference. I talked to her about my book idea, and she told me to go for it, to write the book about a corrupt prison system, a serial killer and a reporter from the Ozark Mountains who puts it all together. That book, A Lovely County, came out last year. The second one in the series is due out in November. Pen-L Publishing is set to release A Lovely Murder in November, and I’m now writing the third one, A Lovely Grave.

I plan to take a copy of A Lovely County to Lippman this weekend and hope to be able to pass it to her! Wish me luck, because I’d love to personally thank Laura Lippman for encouraging me and teaching me by example about good plotting.

 

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For Bailey, Our Sweet Boy

I wrote this post some time ago. Since then, we’ve lost Riley to old age and Bailey is now sick with tick disease. 

The boss hollers at me, but I ignore him. He thinks that if he provides a few benefits, which I more than deserve, I should trot my ass right on over when he yells.

He calls again. I turn my head and glance over my shoulder. He’s not even looking my way but appears to be scanning the sky, checking out the clouds. I’ll stay right here where I please, enjoying the breeze and watching a squirrel run up and down the big tree just beyond the fence.

I’ve about had it with his demands. I should just walk out and see what other opportunities there are for a guy like me. I know how to contribute. I’m good at security patrol in a place like this. I’m big and can push my weight around if I want something.

The boss mistakenly thinks he’s got me under his thumb. What a joke. He doesn’t even seem to know how much I’ve helped myself to around here. If it’s something I want and it’s within reach, I take it. Screw the rules. They aren’t for me and never have been.

I do have to give my boss some credit. He comes to my defense with this new cook he’s hired. She can sure put some good grub on the table. But damn, she’s bossy, doesn’t like me in the kitchen, and won’t let me have any of the leftovers I used to get. On top of that, she bitches all the time about the messes I make.

I have my rights. I know where I rank in this organization. Granted, my standing was much more stable before she came on board, but I still have seniority.

Even the old man that works with me, knows deep down that I was here first. He doesn’t always act like it and treats me like he’s my supervisor just because he’s older. I try to remind him now and then that I was here long before him.

The boss thought I needed some help, so he brought him in. That hasn’t worked out so well though. He’s not much of an assistant, and they all go easy on him because of his age. Just recently they gave him an official uniform. Of course, he was injured on the job and the uniform keeps him from hurting himself. But still, I didn’t get one.

Yeah, things might be a little better down the road a ways. I’ll keep stewing on that, but I doubt I make a move any time soon. I kind of like the boss, even if he doesn’t always give me the credit I deserve. It’s still nice working for such a pushover. I doubt I could ever get away with as much as I do here. He sometimes talks big and hollers at me, yet rarely does much of anything when I don’t comply.

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Bailey, our 120-pound Golden Retriever is now down to a tiny 100 pounds. His buddy, Riley, is lying in the background. Taken when Riley was sick, you might be able to see he’s wearing a padded cut-off tee shirt I made him to keep him from scratching his stitches.

There’s a delicious aroma coming from the kitchen, and the boss is hollering at me again. I guess I better quit barking at the darn squirrel and go inside to see if that bitchy cook might have a pork chop I can steal.

A Tidbit From A Work in Progress

My mystery novel A Lovely County was published in January. I’m in the final stretch of writing the second in the series, tentatively titled A Lovely Murder. I’m anxious to write these last few chapters and read back through it. Over the next few months the hard part will be the editing, but I’m confident the pain will be eased with the help of my favorite editor Gil Miller, a dedicated and skilled member of the Oghma Creative Media staff.

Below is an excerpt tease from A Lovely Murder: 

“She shook her head and scanned the area around her. There was nothing but trees and brush between her and the lake. Whoever she chased had to be up the hill. Had to be trying to get out of the woods.

Running again, she tripped on something hard and fell face first to the ground. Her shirt snagged on a sapling as she went down. The cotton tee shirt yanked to the side. It ripped but held and helped to break her fall, or at least slow the momentum of the tumble.

She pulled the shirt loose from the tree, rolled over on her back, and fought to catch her breath.

Her heart pounded.

The siren grew louder, then stopped.

A turkey vulture circled in the window of sky in the canopy of leaves above her. The bird arced to one side, disappeared for a few seconds above the trees, and came back into view, its graceful flight similar to a ballerina with arms wide open gliding silently across a stage.

Silence. Only her own breathing.

“Who are you?” she screamed.

“Why?” she screamed louder.

“Oh my God, why?”

A lump caught in her throat, but she didn’t cry, wouldn’t cry. Tears would make it real, not a nightmare. It had to all be a nightmare.

Holding her breath, she listened.

Nothing for a minute.

She exhaled.

A car ignition started from somewhere up the hill. Then the sound of gravel spraying behind it as it sped away.

She lay still, watching the vulture.”

Book cover by Casey Cowan, Oghma Creative Media

Book cover by Casey Cowan, Oghma Creative Media

You can pick up A Lovely County on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lovely-County-Lori-Ericson-ebook/dp/B00S5I1ILY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435930767&sr=1-1&keywords=lori+ericson

Also, check out Gil Miller’s blog The Book of Writing at https://gilmiller.wordpress.com. He’s got a lot of good advice on the craft. I loved his recent post on Stephen King and how we can admire but not copy his work.

Thanks for stopping by!

Daughter of the Howling Moon

I’ve read paranormal, but it’s not my favorite genre. I may have to change my mind after reading Daughter of the Howling Moon by R.H. Burkett, but this tale is more of a mystery/thriller with some paranormal elements. I was so impressed with the writing style, the storyline and the characterization that I had to tell you about it here.

FullSizeRender-2This book absolutely draws you in with the first chapter and keeps you in its claws with every turn of plot.

Here’s a taste of one of the most engaging characters I’ve ever read, Bethany Ann from Chapter 1: “Mama looked like always. Well, maybe there was hint of paleness around her mouth and a funny rattle to her breathing, but certainly not anything close to the feared shadow of Death. Then again, what was Death supposed to look like, anyway?

‘Is that you, Bethany Ann?’

‘Yes, Mama,’ I said and took her outstretched hand in mine.

Her hands looked the same too. Hard and calloused from years scrubbing clothes on the old washboard out back and permanently faded from the harsh lye soap. Washing, cooking, and cleaning, that was Mama in a nutshell. Probably would be the exact words chiseled on her tombstone too.”

I was intrigued by the synopsis and the first few pages of this book. I read on and couldn’t stop. I realized the thrill of the mystery in this story was pulling me from page to page, keeping me guessing and dying to know more. Burkett does an outstanding job of presenting her characters and immersing the reader in the story through her portrayal of those characters, making you care, root for them, against them and everything in between. When I turned to the last page, I was absolutely disappointed to have to let go of Bethany Ann and her Ben! The story was complete and Burkett did a great job of telling it, but I wanted more!

Here’s a snippet from Ben’s point of view: “Maybe he imagined it. Maybe the effects of a long day in the heat and sun coupled with a hungry gut, a tried butt and a short night of drums pounding his head had scrambled his thinking. He didn’t know. But stagnant, humid air cooled and whispered to the tree tops. Night sounds of swamp creatures hushed as if the crickets and bullfrogs were holding their breath. A shimmering, much like moonbeams on still water, danced just out of reach. He blinked, not trusting what he saw. And the girl in front of him stood taller and spoke with a dangerous, powerful voice that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand at attention.”

The reader gets easily and totally immersed in the scenery because of the outstanding description. I was in the head of Bethany Ann and Ben with Burkett’s fine and inspiring writing style. This is without a doubt a fantastic book with a storyline that will keep you guessing until the end.

I highly recommend this read. Published by Pen-L Publishing, Daughter of the Howling Moon is a sure bet for any reader of mystery, paranormal or thriller.

Check it out on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Daughter-Howling-Moon-R-Burkett/dp/1940222710/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427400245&sr=8-1&keywords=Daughter+of+the+Howling+Moon

Before Downloading “Look Inside”

After this experience, I will always “Look Inside” before I download a book. I want to see if the author has a clue about ebook publishing and if I can bear to read the prospective purchase in the format provided. I also would love to have my money back for this Kindle book buy.

It was billed as a “mystery suspense thriller” and I couldn’t resist the title by an author I’d never read before. I downloaded the book, opened it in my Kindle and started reading.

The layout of paragraphs immediately alarmed me. I actually like that style for a blog, but not a novel. Each paragraph stands out in a blog but it’s too much for a lengthy read. I use it here. But in a novel I want the paragraphs indented and no space after each one.

KindleI thought maybe it would stop after the first chapter, just a forward for the novel. But no, it went on. I scanned ahead but stopped reading. If I chose to go on, I’d have to tap my Kindle to turn the page more often than I was willing to do to make it through this one.

I went back to Amazon, found the order and did the “Look Inside.” Sure enough, the Kindle edition shows it in that format. No indents and extra spacing.

I clicked the print edition and found it to be proper formatting. I won’t bother to order the book in print. This author has already wasted my money.

I love reading on my Kindle and have come across some minor errors in ebooks before, but nothing like a whole book full of bad formatting.

So, warning to all readers check out that “Look Inside” feature to see if you can handle the format before you download that next ebook. And authors, whether your self-publishing or have help getting that book out from an established publishing house, please format your precious words so that readers don’t have to struggle to digest them. They might just read past chapter one.

Anyone else have issues with ebooks?