Friday, April 12, 2019

Review: Deadly Solution by Keenan Powell

Maeve Malloy is a lawyer who has had struggles with drinking, done a stint in rehab and trying to prove herself again as a lawyer.  She is given a case that was from a colleague who has died, defending Ollie Olafson of killing his friend Joe.  Ollie and Joe were both homeless and living in the woods.  Ollie is convinced he never would have killed Joe even though he couldn't remember anything due to blackout. 

As she investigates to prove her client's innocence, she finds bad autopsies, prosecutor misconduct and a possible serial killer.

Nice complex story that really shows what alcoholism can do to people's lives as well.


Friday, April 5, 2019

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan


APRIL 2019
Yippee! PECOS VALLEY DIAMOND will be published in early April! Here’s the lovely cover art and a pre-order link. I’m really excited about the re-birth (well, re-publication, anyway) of my entire inventory of back-list novels. As I think I mentioned in another blog, I’m not accustomed to good things happening to what I laughingly call my writing career.

Here’s the pre-order link for PECOS VALLEY DIAMOND

The Pecos Valley books are dear to my heart. My mother’s family moved from Georgetown, Texas, to Roswell, New Mexico, in the early 1900s. In fact, my maternal grandmother bought the property upon which my house sits in 1903! Most of the things I describe about Rosedale, New Mexico, are stories I heard from my mom.
By the way, my maternal grandmother was born in Switzerland. Her family immigrated to the USA before Ellis Island was the incoming destination for immigrants. I think her family docked at the Battery. Her ship also hit an iceberg on its way from England (departure point for all of Europe, I guess) to New York. My grandmother was so seasick, she wanted the ship to sink, but I’m kinda glad it didn’t. Don’t know her feelings on the matter. The Titanic disaster disturbed her a lot, even though Titanic hit that iceberg about thirty years after her own ship collided with its berg.
Anywho, until she was an adult, my maternal grandmother believed her last name to be Ischy, because the man whom she regarded as her father was named Christian Ischy. It wasn’t until she grew up and wanted to get married (to a fellow named Daugherty) that her mother admitted that the father of my grandmother, Emma, and her sister, Lina, was a gent named Krieg. Only she didn’t seem to consider him a gent. Emma Krieg (or Craig, which is the name I used for several of my earlier novels) died before I was born, but she used to tell my mother (Wilma Rachel Wilson, which explains another of my pseudonyms) the only thing her mother told her (Emma) about her father was that he was a “wonderful musician.” I used to weave romantic fancies when I was a kid about my great-grandfather being some famous old-time composer, but I couldn’t find any who were Swiss. Maybe Franz Liszt visited Switzerland a time or two? Frederic Chopin? Hope to heaven it wasn’t Richard Wagner!!!! In reality, he was probably a championship yodeler or something.

Oh, and my maternal grandmother married William Jones Wilson when she became a widow. Her first husband, the Daugherty in question, died of tuberculosis after they’d been married less than a year. My maternal grandfather died two days after my mother was born, so poor Emma was left to rear five of her own children and, I think, something like six kids from Will's prior marriage to his first wife, Emma’s best friend, on her own. At least she had a vocation: seamstress. I still have the mirror upon which eager brides-to-be would scrape their rings in order to see if they were real diamonds. That mirror holds scratches from lovesick maidens of yore, by golly!

Anybody confused yet? My father’s family is so much easier to trace. Oh, well.
By the way, according to an author friend of mine who lives in Georgetown, Texas, there are still Ischys running around all 0ver the place there. I guess technically we aren’t related, but what the heck. Here's a photo of my grandmother and her children. This picture was probably taken in 1920 or thereabouts, and Emma was maybe 49 years old. Left to right are Bill Wilson, Maren Wilson (who owned the house I gave to Mrs. Bissel in my Daisy Gumm Majesty books), Jesse Lee "Red" Wilson, Wilma (Mom to me) and Adolph. Rough life:


So… as for the rest of my life, things are pretty much back to normal, as normality relates to me personally. Not only did I have to replace my refrigerator in February, but March also provoked a call to an electrician and one to my very favorite plumber of all time. This favoritism is probably because I have to call him so often, and we’ve become pals. Good thing he’s a nice guy, because I think I supported his family last year.
And now for the medical issues. I already knew I’d have to have carpal-tunnel surgery on my right wrist. Had similar surgery on the left one last year; easy-peasy. Right wrist’s surgery’s scheduled for April 8th.

In the not-so-easy category is my left shoulder. Blasted thing has been hurting like heck for months. So I figured I’d probably torn the rotator cuff or something. Ha! I should be so lucky.

On Friday, March 29, I went to see Dr. Bryant, who fixed my left wrist last year. This time I wanted him to look at my wonky left shoulder. So he had his tech take X-rays. I think he was the only person happy with the results.

Honest to dog, he was positively THRILLED when he went through those X-rays! First one: "Wow!" Second one: "Will you look at this!" Third one: "This is amazing!" Evidently most people with shoulders like mine can't move their arms at all. Medical miracle here. Oh, and it’s not a rotator-cuff injury. It’s pure-D osteoarthritis. No cartilage between the socket and the ball joint. He then aspirated about a quart of some kind of fluid that shouldn’t have been in my shoulder (telling his nurse, “Wow, look at this! You don’t see this very often! I sure wish a med student was here so I could show them this procedure!”). I live to give joy to surgeons. Anyhow, whatever parts need replacement will be replaced as soon as I recover from the carpal-tunnel thing.

Funniest thing he said, however, is that he's never seen such terrible, widespread osteoarthritis in a person as young as I! He called me young! Peter Brandvold, who should know better, asked if he was speaking in tortoise years. But I’ve got two of his book under my personal editorial control, so he’d just better be nice to me. If possible. Can’t expect too much from that source, I reckon.

What else to report? Poor little Jazzy has been having ear problems. She began shaking her ear as if one or both ears were itching. So I called my vet only to learn HIS OFFICE WAS CLOSED UNTIL APRIL FIRST!!!! How dare they be closed when Jazzy needs them? Besides, Dr. Smith is the only veterinarian in Roswell whom I trust. Another vet murdered my wonderful, sweet, darling Bella; another one ripped me off for too many hundreds of dollars; and, well… never mind.



So, since I didn’t know what else to do, I called Jazzy’s Founding Father, Jacob Torres. Jacob found her running along the highway to Ruidoso, collarless, tagless and chipless, so he picked her up. He intended to keep her, but Jazzy proved too much for him, so he gave her to me and took up the breeding and showing of long-haired Chihuahuas. Jacob told me to bring her in, so I did.

He cleaned out her ears, having found a little ear wax build-up. But Jazzy began shaking her head again today, and now her ears (or maybe only one of them) hurt. So I’ll try Dr. Smith again on Monday, the day I have to pre-register for carpal-tunnel surgery. And I have 597 books to edit and 7,000 of my own books being re-published any old day now. Life always picks the least convenient times to go wrong, you know?

Here's Jazzy, the Beautiful Blue Wiener and Queen of All She Surveys. She's gorgeous, and her head's full of cotton fluff. And she doesn't care!


But enough of that. Bam-Bam has chosen wieners of March’s book-giveaway. They are:

Sue D’Amico, who wins a copy of UNSETTLED SPIRITS,
Kristie Dilcher, who wins a copy of SPIRITS UNITED,
And Kathleen Lauri-Lewis wins a copy of SPIRITS UNEARTHED!

Congratulations, ladies! I’ll get your books to you as soon as I can.
At the end of April, I’ll be giving away a few copies of PECOS VALLEY DIAMOND! 
Providing I can use my left shoulder then. But don’t worry. I’ll get ‘em sent somehow or other.

My Daisy publisher, ePublishing Works, has also set up a pre-order page on
Amazon.com for SCARLET SPIRITS, the next Daisy book, which will be published in the fall of 2019. Yay, me! Haven’t a clue what the cover will look like, but here’s the Kindle link if you have a burning desire to pre-order it:

Iris Evans and Leon Fundenberger founded a Facebook page called DAISY DAZE just for posting stuff from the 1920s that Daisy Gumm Majesty and her family might have used or seen or gone to or shopped at. It’s fun, and if you’d like to be a member, check it out here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/905100189878318/ .

If you’d like to visit my web page, here’s the link:
http://aliceduncan.net/ . And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925

I think that’s it! Thank you


Monday, March 18, 2019

Review: Cry Wolf by Annette Dashofy

Police Chief Pete Adams is working extra shifts while one of his officers is recovering from the trauma of shooting a suspect.  There is a murder of his old Training Officer in the Nursing home where his father is a resident.

Meanwhile, Paramedic and Deputy Coroner Zoe Chambers is pulled into the same investigation after the Coroner is hospitalized.

Meanwhile a man claiming to be Zoe's long lost brother appears, stretching everything even further.  Another body is found - is it related or not?

I do have to say though that it is hard to take that Zoe has time to be a paramedic, a coroner, take care of her horses while renovating the farm and still have time for friends and family.  She is a superwoman. LOL

This is a nice, complex mystery which is very satisfying.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Review: Invisible Victims: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women by Katherine McCarthy

Though I think I was vaguely aware of the higher murder rate of indigenous women in Canada (mostly from the Robert Pickton case), the true extent is incredibly saddening.  What is worse, is the national policies and reporting strategies that hide the problem as well as the lack of the media's attention.  So many policies mirror the US's policies re. the treatment of Native Americans.

The book deals with the systemic failures as well as reporting on specific victims and serial killers who target Indigenous women and explores many of the reasons why. 

It also introduced me to the concept of epigenetics (genetically inherited memories of extreme trauma that can affect cultures such as holocaust survivors and indigenous peoples).  It is something I found fascinating and something I will explore more in the future.

The tone of the book is frustrated and angry and after reading, you can certainly see why.  Definitely recommend

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Guest Blogger: Alice Duncan


March 2019
Okay, so three excellent things happened to me January. It was an exceptionally amazing (and unusual) run of good luck for me, and I knew it couldn’t last. Of course, it didn’t. So February began by kicking my butt (actually, my head) with a sinus infection, my refrigerator died, and an outdoor faucet broke. Oh, and now I have some sort of gut problem probably brought about by the antibiotics I had to take for my sinus infection
Life seems much more normal now. The best thing, though, is that even though February hated me, the three good things that happened in January are still happening! The publisher of my Daisy Gumm Majesty books (ePublishing Works) will continue to publish same and will also re-publish Mercy Allcutt’s books and any new ones I write in the Angels series. And Wolfpack (recommended to me by Peter Brandvold, who gave me Lou Prophet) still aims to publish my entire backlist. My backlist includes the Pecos Valley Diamond historical cozy mystery series, featuring Annabelle Blue. The Pecos Valley books take place right smack here in Roswell, New Mexico, only I named it Rosedale in the books because I didn’t want anyone to take exception and sue me. Not that I write anything negative about Roswell. Honest.
So, yay! I’m not accustomed too good things happening in what I laughingly call my writing career, but it looks as if they’re going to happen anyway, so I’d just better get used to it, huh?
Let me see. Is there anything else to talk about? Um . . . I can’t seem to think of anything, probably because my head’s all fuzzy and my innards are in a turmoil; therefore, I’ll just post the winners of February’s give-away books:
Sue Farrell wins a copy of PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL,
Trish Rucker wins a copy of FALLEN ANGELS, and
Carol Goerz wins a copy of SIERRA RANSOM!
Congratulations, ladies! I’ll get your books to you as soon as I can.
In the meantime, if you’d like to get the latest Daisy Gumm Majesty book (SHAKEN SPIRITS, in which Daisy begins the new year, 1925, by being hit by a car and shoved into a pepper tree after watching the Tournament of Roses Parade) feel free to do so! Here’s the cover Amazon Kindle link:


It would also be lovely of you if you’d leave a review of the book. Doesn’t have to gush or anything. Just a brief “I loved this book” or “I hated this book” will suffice, although I do hope nobody actively hates it. Reviews help an author big-time, even if the author herself isn’t big-time, and I’m definitely not. Heck, even if I got rich and famous, I wouldn’t be big. I resent shrinking those four inches, for all the good that does me.
And, what the heck, after you read SHAKEN SPIRITS, feel free to pre-order SCARLET SPIRITS. Don’t have the cover art yet, but I am looking forward to seeing it. I must say that, since Mean Pete gave me Lou Prophet, I’ve had a lot of fun with the gnarly old guy. Poor Lou. He used to be such a daredevil and a womanizer and a truly dangerous bounty hunter. When he hits Pasadena in 1925, he’s old (probably even older than I am right now!), crabby, cantankerous, resentful and one-legged. Daisy and Sam both like him in spite of themselves, although Daisy objects to his unseemly language quite often. Anyway, here’s the link to SCARLET SPIRITS, if you’d like to pre-order it. I consider it a fun book. Yet another refugee from the Old West moves to Pasadena in this book and, of course, havoc ensues.

I’m looking forward to seeing what ePublishing Works will do when they re-publish my Mercy Allcutt books. They’ve done such a smashing job with Daisy; I’m sure they’ll work wonders for Mercy.
And Wolfpack! I’m so excited that my old, out-of-print books will be available in paperback format again. Wolfpack is doing wonders for Peter Brandvold’s formerly out-of-print books. I can hardly wait to see what they’ll do with mine. I really love some of the books I wrote years ago, and I’m so happy they’re going to get a new life. I want to see TEXAS LONESOME in print again. And PHOEBE’S VALENTINE! And . . . oh, heck, there are zillions of ‘em. Sigh. Every now and then, things go well. Not often, but every now and then.
Okey-dokey, so what books should Bam-Bam choose wieners for at the end of March? Let me think for a moment. Huh. According to Bam-Bam, I don’t think well, so he’s chosen March’s books for me. They are UNSETTLED SPIRITS, SPIRITS UNITED and SPIRITS UNEARTHED. If you’d like your name to be entered into Bam-Bam’s special contest doggie dish, just send your name and home address to alice@aliceduncan.net . By the way, if you’ve ever wondered what Bam-Bam looks like, here he is in all his glory (and sitting on the silver crunchy thing that's supposed to keep the dogs off the bed. It doesn't work). He’s an extremely handsome boy, but he came from a puppy mill in Big Spring, Texas. At the time, he was so skinny, you could count his ribs and vertebrae, and he’s never quite learned how to be a dog even after having lived a secure life for many years. He also started out in life as a black-and-tan wiener dog with just a little white dappling on his head. As he ages, the white seems to be creeping down around his muzzle. He’s maybe nine years old (puppy mills don’t keep great records) and I adore him. He adores me, too, but he’s not so sure about most other humans in the universe.


Iris Evans and Leon Fundenberger founded a Facebook page called DAISY DAZE just for posting stuff from the 1920s that Daisy Gumm Majesty and her family might have used or seen or gone to or shopped at. It’s fun, and if you’d like to be a member, check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/905100189878318/ .
If you’d like to visit my web page, here’s the link: http://aliceduncan.net/ . And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925
And I think that’s it. Thank you!


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Review: South of Hell by PJ Parrish

Retired cop and now PI, Louis Kincaid is asked to go back to Michigan by a local cop to check into the missing person's case of Jean Brandt.  He teams up with his lover, Joe who is also a cop.  When looking into the case, they discover a young girl, Amy.  Amy is the daughter of Jean and believes she saw her father kill her mother.  Only under hypnosis, the details she describes do not match the evidence and when bones are found on the family property, they are determined to be quite old. 

While trying to sort out the truth, they have to fight to avoid her abusive father from getting access or custody of Amy.  Only her father is a violent man, and he certainly does not want the truth uncovered.

A very suspenseful story with flashes to the past they made be reincarnation of epigenetics, it is a lot of tragedy and very dark happenings.

I enjoyed the story quite a bit, but truthfully, my favorite character was Amy.  I would love to see a spin off of just her story - she is fascinating!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Review: Mushing is Murder by Patti Benning

Angie heads back to her childhood home in Alaska after troubles in her life as well as to help with her mother who has Parkinson's.  Her father raises, trains and runs dogs in sled races as well as running the family diner.  Soon after her arrival, a neighbor shows up in the Diner looking for her father because a sled team has shown up on his property without a driver.  She and the neighbor head out to find out where he is only to find his body.  After thinking it was an accident, the Sheriff comes around to question her dad as a possible killer since the victim was his best friend.  She starts asking questions to find the real killer.

I enjoyed the book a lot because of the setting, characters and yes - the dogs. LOL  the thing is the mystery part was really weak, but that's okay because I did enjoy it.  Maybe book two in the series will make up for it with a better mystery.  I think part of the problem was the length - a bit longer, more clues or suspects and motives could have been provided. 

Review: Deadly Solution by Keenan Powell

Maeve Malloy is a lawyer who has had struggles with drinking, done a stint in rehab and trying to prove herself again as a lawyer.  She is...