Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Best New Show


Best New Show:

As far as I'm concerned the best new show on for t.v. this summer is MEMPHIS BEAT it's funny, realistic and it has something for everyone. The first episode has the topic of elderly abuse, the abused woman is someone who is well known and she hardly says a word of any words throughout the episode. She doesn't have to the bruises speak for themselves and our detective is a homicide cop who loves his mother and has a way with women (NOT ) well NOT according to the woman one in paticular who is his boss and don't get me started on the lamp he brings to work. When his boss let's him know that it's not acceptable to have it in the department it's very amusing how he finds an answer to the problem.
I can't remember the homicide detective's name but he's the same character that plays Earl in My Name Is Earl, his mother is someone who is lucky to have him as a son as I suspect she is going to be trouble in future episodes.
If you like a little mystery with your fun and a lot of southern charm then this is the show for you. MEMPHIS BEAT has it's own brand of edgy and it will add fun to your summer.

Pamela

Review: Murder Can Crash Your Party


TITLE: MURDER CAN CRASH YOUR PARTY
Author: SELMA EICHLER
Paperback mystery series
Obsidian publisher
Pub date:2008
ISBN:978-0-451-22384-5

Desiree Shapiro is a PI in Manhatten and nobody is more surprised than Desiree when she is asked to speak at a mystery writer's convention. Of all places it's in Connecticut and since she is not sure where her and the love of her life Nick stand she decided a few days away is just what she needs to gain perspective.  Speaking in public is a little lethel to Desiree but she pulls it off with style and wit. What she didn't expect more than being appeciated by a bunch of mystery writers is that she is approached my a very well known mystery author who is willing to pay her 24,940.00 all for reading belle Simone's unpulished manuscript and solving the mystery. Bell has written a whodunit and she wants Desiree to solve it one clue at a time. Belle will dole out the clues one at a time and as Desiree solves the mystery piece by she will then reveal who our murderer is and Desiree is just curious enough to take the job.
The thing is why is Belle so willing pay to have a homicide solved on paper and what is with the exact amount of money to be paid? Desiree is so focused on the manuscript that she forgets to call her niece Ellen and then when Desiree is struck with food poisioning Nick calls and proves why she thinks so much of him.  Of course while all of this is going on she also has to survive so she takes a case involving and an elderly friend who thinks his wife is cheating on him but the real mystery is what happens when there is a mystery within a mystery.
This story really is worth reading and both mysteries are excellent. I do not know if I could pull off writing a book of this calibur but Selma Eichler did miss a spoonful of ice cream or a dish of gossip and she definitely laid out every clue like a professional. This mystery should be used in teaching HOW TO WRITE A DAMN GOOD MYSTERY as it's one of the best efforts by a mystery author that I have read in a long time. There is never enough time to read all the books we want to read but I would make time to read MURDER CAN CRASH YOUR PARTY this is a two for one mystery you won't want to miss!
Let's see if you can solve the murder before the last chapter and can you guess why the murders happened?
**********
Pamela James

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Weekend Plans?


WEEKEND PLANS:

I plan to do nothing....nada.... this weekend this way if I miss my goals I won't feel gulity. What are your weekend plans? I have been on the run for a month and next weekend it's back to Kansas City so this weekend I am going eat enchiladas, strawberry shortcake, watch movies, cross stitch, email and laugh a lot. I am tired so I think this will be a mental health weekend. LOL
I want to finish reading LAST WRITES by Laura Levine, also read U IS FOR UNDERTOW by Sue Grafton, maybe I'll write some reviews but we'll see if I do it will probably be Sunday Night.
The PBS Masterpiece Mysteries are back so I'll watch that movie and I might be able to make a pretty good dent in my cat cross stitch project. Now if Frank wants to go someplace for an afternoon I won't argue with him as long as it's not to mom's this weekend.
There are a thousand things I could be doing like painting the bathroom, cleaning out the office closet (heaven forbif it hasn't done since we moved in six years ago) changing the living room around, cooking, cleaning out the frig (I did the pantry last night) and washing my car. Not going to happen this weekend. Most of it probably won't happen this coming week either since we'll leave town on Friday again so it may be a long goal to-do list.LOL
Okay tell us about your weekend!

Let the good times roll,
Pam

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

CONFESSIONS OF A COZY READER


CONFESSIONS OF A COZY READER:

My true confession is that I sometimes one in on one series and I HAVE to read all the books I can in that series. This has happened again with Laura Levine's mystery series. I've spent the better part of two months finding and reading all I can in this series. I love Prosac and since I lost my own two cats this past spring I cannot get enough of Prosac (Prosac is her cat), I love Jaine Austen's parent's especially their emails to her and I suspect my daughter could relate to that part if she read mysteries and if she read this series.
I have been in a better mood because of this series espcially in the last month. Authors your books do make a difference and often can be the difference between a terrible day and good day. Laura Levine's series helped me get over my grief of my cats and I couldn't thank her enough she is a wonderfully funny and uplifting writer and one who deserves to be recognized for her talent.

I hope everyone let's the good times roll today but if that isn't possible then read this series. It may not have the same impact on you that it had on me but it is still a good dose of happiness between the covers.

Hugs,
Pamela

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

VACATION


VACATION:
My daughter surprised me last Saturday night with an all expense paid vacation (basically a road trip) this was fun but I packed in a hurry so when we got to the hotel I didn't have MY shampoo or conditioner. We were heading south with the final destination being New Orleans, I have natural curly hair and my certain shampoos and conditioners etc.. are the only thing that doesn't make me look well like the way we used to wear our hair in th 70's when you had curly hair. LOLOL needless to say until I could remember (memory being the operative word here) to stop and buy my brand BAD HAIR DAY took on a new form with me. Houston was great I love the Fine Arts Museum it was really worth the trip there and the bad hair day. It had been years since I had a Whataburger so that was exciting to me. LOLOL I know all you southerners laugh it's okay.
We stayed with my daughter Amanda in Lake Charles and I got to see my new grandbaby Cade is adorable. Also my grandaughter Karley is into hats so I loved it when she wore her purple boa, her pink cowgirl boots, and her black hat with the purple feathers. She is six it was adorable. Then my grandson MJ entertained me quite a bit with his explanations of things. I think he loves to use words he hasn't used before so I learned some things. LOLOLOL
On to New Orleans okay so my favorite meal there was eating at the VooDoo Rest in the garden district I mean the menu alone was great. There was The Grave Digger Platter, The Voodoo Platter, One Foot In The Grave, The Coffin Plate, The Dead But Not Gone Dish etc....but the thrill for me is that they had WHITE CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING my lucky day for this was a TO DIE FOR DESSERT......We stayed across the street from Emrile's Rest and we were going to eat there but just never got around to it as Melissa fell in love with the houses and gardens in the district and Chase my grandson fell in love with the pool!
The French Quarter is the place for any writer/author to be loaded with people watching fun, good scents and I listened to a lot of conversations. I watched the river boats and relaxed in that area then we shopped and the wax museum was great for my grandson to learn a lot about the history etc...
It was a great trip and we had a lot of adventures some really awesome others not so much.
Now Arkansas that was an adventure of a different kind as we saw a Hillbilly Biker Gathering (that is what they called themselves) I didn't make it up and we saw signs like stop for squirrel crossing, coon bridge will freeze in cold weather etc...we were in the hills of Arkansas anyway we ate at a Sonic in Arkansas. We also saw the boothill of Missouri but one of the cities I really loved was Springfield Missouri as they had a Starbuck at their local Barnes & Noble that was still open at 10:00 for my daughter to get coffee ( this was a must) every other Starbucks was closed. So 90 minutes of searching resulted in her listening to me and finding a B&N to get her Starbucks Coffee. I KNOW these things because I hang out with readers and authors who KNOW where the coffee and teas are located. LOLOLOLOL
Anyway after much discussion and changing of minds I am back home in the flatlands of Kansas and you will probably hear more about the trip over the next few weks as things come to me. I left melissa's in kind of a hurry last night because Travis had book her a surprise rafting trip for this weekend and I didn't want anybody to make a speical trip to take me home or pick me up so far we know I have left at her house.
My body wash
A pair of shorts
My digital camera
Two Tank tops
one bra
A few grocery items
My body sponge
Towels
My new jazz Coffee Mug
Two other Coffee Cups
Some make up
I think so far that is it but I thought I came home lighter than I left. Also I DID remember my Wolfgnag Puck Coffee from New Orleans. LOLOLOL

Let the good times roll!
Pamela

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Birthday Interview with Terri


Terri, over the last decade has your taste in reading changed and if so tell us about it?

Not that seems too noticeable.  I have always read a large variety of genres.  But I am loving all the urban fantasy and yes - vamps that are out now.  I love magic and it is a lot of fun to explore these fun worlds that are being created.  But that said, like any “big” market trend, there are lot of so-so ones coming out so I have to weed my way through to find the ones I really enjoy.

Have you seen a change in book publishing and in the world of fiction what are some of the books and series that grab your attention?

Of course there are a lot more e-books now than ever.  And I have to say that though I do read them if they aren’t available in paper, they are not my favorite.  For two reasons -- the trend towards self-publishing isn’t bad in and of itself.  But many are MUCH weaker on proper editing which gets on my nerves.  I don’t mind a little mistake but blatant inaccuracies drive me crazy.  I remember reading one vamp book where it was supposed to be set in Victorian days but then goes on to describe big powdered wigs.  Ugh.  Do a little research please….  and I still don’t find reading on a computer or PDA or whatever as pleasant on the eyes.  I like that there are more opportunities for authors to get out there but I am still biased to mass market paperbacks.

When traveling how many books do you take with you?

Depends on the length of the trip.  for a weekend trip - at least two so I can have options,  nothing worse than being stuck with a book and not in the mood for it.  For a longer trip - probably 3 or four.  I LIKE switching back and forth between genres.  AND if I finish one I tend to leave it wherever I am at to pass it on to someone who finds it and can enjoy it AND so I don’t have to pack it back to carry it home.

Okay we also know you love to cross stitch and you love NASCAR so do you cross stitching while watching the races at home? How many NASCAR races have you attended in person?

Yes. that is a good time for me.  Because I can watch the race but if I am not concentrating intently (because I am stitching) I don’t keep getting lost like I do when watching a movie or tv or something.  I truly am easily distractible.  Maybe it is the Gemini/air sign thing…  I have been to two.  The last WINSTON CUP All-Star race and one in KS when I came to visit you a couple years ago (thanks for letting me borrow your husband for the day - BTW LOL).  I really want to get to Richmond and Bristol if I can.

Now for some really fun questions: Terri what is your favorite food, place/s to travel, have you ever reread certain books and what are some of your favorite desserts?

Food -- Indian.  I just love Murg Saag and Dal Mahkani.  Healthy and tasty..  Mexican and Italian are the next runners up.  And Ethiopian -- learning to cook it too.  On the other hand, a nice pot roast or mac & cheese are comfort foods for me.  Desserts - cherry pie, a great cannoli or chocolate mousse are all good.  I believe that eating is one of the most pleasurable things we can do and I like to savor different tastes.  But that said, I don’t think I would ever try bat on a stick like my friend Gregg did in the peace corps.

And as for reading - Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series is one of my favorite re-reads.  Also enjoy Stephen King and Mary Daheim and Carolyn Hart as re-reads.  And some favorites from my younger days that I love and have read multiple times and likely will again are You are the Rain by R Rozanne Knudson, The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig, The Ghost Next Door -  Wiley Folk St. John, All the Little House Books and Nancy Drew of course….

What are some of your comfort reads?

I have to say I honestly don’t know.  I mean I just pickup different books with different moods.  I guess it depends more on WHAT I am looking for - distraction, a laugh, fluff where I don’t have to think, a mental puzzle, catharsis?  Each one of those feelings would lead to a different sort of comfort.  Sorry - but it shows how varied reading is to me.

You are involved in a lot of activities and groups tell us about some of them?

Hmmmm.  I do Renaissance festivals and faerie festivals in the area.  Am a member of the true crime book club at the National Crime and Punishment museum.  A member of sisters in crime.  A member of the International Club of DC (many embassy functions with them, also an Indian cooking class and museum tours).  Do lock-ins at the local stitch shop and at least one or two stitching retreats a year (NOLA, Tulsa and Mystic are some of the places I have gone).  Used to do a lot of herbalism and essential oils, but got away from that as well.

Tell us about the conferences and conventions you like to attend?

I have gone to Malice Domestic the last 5 years or so.  I used to attend SF cons and want to get back into that.  Went to Recon this year (celebrating renaissance and faeries).  Been to pagan conferences and local PowWows over the years.  There are also so many fun things to do.

Let's talk about where you live and work the advantages and disadvantages?
I love this area. Mostly because it is such a great mixing pot and has so many things to do at all times.  Heck, The Smithsonian museums could keep me occupied for weeks non-stop if I had the time - and they are FREE.  The variety of food is exciting as well. And I do love food….  There also great parks in the area to walk and visit.  And sometimes they have special night walks or flower walks.

As for disadvantages.  The cost of living definitely.  After the subway fares and parking go up on the 1st I will be paying almost $13/DAY to go to/from work.    And traffic is pretty bad too.  Yet you go a little ways in one direction or another and you can go from busting city to quiet farms, from the mountains to the beaches.

I know you have met hundreds of readers and authors but are there a few you go to lunch with or are close friends with and tell us about some of the places you've travelled to see readers and authors?

Mostly I meet them here at Malice or signings.  DC is such a big hub many hit it.  And I have been lucky to meet some (and their families) for lunch or whatnot while they have been in town.  And other readers from online groups as well.  And when I went to NOLA, I met Barbara Colley and her sweet hubby for beignets and coffee at CafĂ© du Monde.  Gonna try and do that again when I go again later this summer.  I love meeting people in person and putting faces to names and so on.  And so many of the authors I have met are really fun and interesting.  I would say too that I was lucky to meet my favorite author (Harlan Ellison) in person years ago when he launched his Dream Corridor comic.  Was one of the ones in front of line and he came out early and we got to talk a bit. 

What book was your hardest reading challenge in the past decade?

Maybe just balancing things so I had the time to read.  During the whole flood/renovation etc… period I couldn’t concentrate - could only stare blankly at tv or what not.  And when I don’t read I get cranky.  It is noticeable.  I need it to relax and de-stress.


In closing leave us with a quote that tells us a little something about you?


 Don’t Dream It -- Be It!  - Richard O’Brien Rocky Horror Picture Show

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Guest Blogger - Kay Finch


Motives for Writing About Murder
by Kay Finch

I wrote short mystery stories when I was a kid, but I can pinpoint when my desire to become a novelist blossomed. Shortly after moving to Houston in the mid-1980's, I went to work at Richard “Racehorse” Haynes’ law office.  Haynes is a legendary Texas criminal defense attorney with a great track record and many high-profile cases under his belt. You may recall hearing of Dr. John Hill, the River Oaks surgeon accused by his father-in-law of killing his wife, Joan Robinson Hill – a story told in the book “Blood and Money” by Thomas Thompson and featuring Racehorse Haynes as Dr. Hill’s attorney.

By the time I went to work at the firm, Haynes’ reputation generated so many potential client calls every day that staff members had to take those calls on a rotating basis. Talking to the alleged criminals gave me plenty of plot ideas to work with. The first big trial I worked on was dubbed the “Texas Slave Ranch” case in which Haynes’ client was acquitted of murder in the death of a man who worked on the ranch. When I was assigned to work for a second attorney who specialized in family law, I learned there’s no lack of motives for murder in the family law arena.

I hear about plenty of mayhem in my job as a family law paralegal, but I prefer my conflict in fiction. I use the conflicts of real life to inspire my stories. My heroine, Corie McKenna, is a Houston PI who works for a divorce attorney.  Her character is based on investigators I worked with in Racehorse Haynes’ office years ago. In FINAL DECREE, Corie does surveillance of a woman who recently filed for divorce and witnesses the woman’s murder.  In FINAL CUT, she goes out to serve divorce papers on an elusive husband and to serve a hearing subpoena on a witness who she finds dead in the backyard pool. With dogged determination, Corie McKenna tracks down clues and builds a case much as Racehorse Haynes and staff prepared cases for trial and with just as much success. 

How many times have you witnessed something in real life and thought "that would make a great book"?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Review - The Detective Wore Silk Drawers by Peter Lovesey

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Constable (October 1, 2008) 
  • ISBN-10: 1569475245 
Set in Victorian England, bare fisted fighting is illegal yet fights still occur. when a body is found clearly connected to the illegal sport, Sergeant Cribb sends constable Jago undercover to investigate and find the identity of the headless dead body and the killer. The book is filled with fights and a side of England I for one was totally unfamiliar with. I felt sorry for Jago at many turns especially when he tried to avoid massages by the woman responsible for his fights.  

I really enjoyed the book, but there were not many suspects or motives to explore would be my only criticism.

Terri

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jeri Westerson Interview


Jeri how did you begin your writing career?--
When I decided to become a novelist (after a long career as a graphic artist) it didn't turn out as easy as I thought it would be to get published, even though I had researched the business. In those days, I was writing historical fiction but couldn’t publish my many novels. During that time, I wanted some sort of proof that my writing was worth paying for, so I began writing articles I wanted to write and sent them to magazines, and editors bought them! Fun stuff like about wine, medieval beer, monks. And then I pitched myself to local newspapers and worked as a stringer. Journalism helped me hone my skills and cut to the chase in the rest of my writing. During this time and in the throes of my many rejections and into my second agent, it was suggested to me to switch to medieval mysteries as mysteries were a bigger market. So, I sat myself down, had a nice long chat, and decided to try writing a mystery. Crispin Guest, ex-knight turned PI, was born.    

Tell us about what you write and how long it takes you to write a book?—
I write a medieval mystery series in a subgenre I invented that I call “Medieval Noir,” a little darker and grittier than your average medieval mystery with its monk or nun protagonist. It’s hardboiled detective fiction set in the Middle Ages, like a medieval Sam Spade.  My detective, Crispin Guest, is an ex-knight turned detective on the mean streets of fourteenth century London. After he lost his wealth and his title, he reinvents himself as the Tracker, solving crimes for a fee. It’s the only thing that satisfies his intense need for justice and his chivalric code.
When writing these, I take a month to three months to do some solid research and then another six to write the book with its various drafts.  So it’s a nine month process, just like a baby.    


How much research goes into your books?—
Plenty. I already have about ten years worth of research in my pocket about various aspects of the Middle Ages, but there is always something that needs additional research. For instance, in my second in the series, SERPENT IN THE THORNS, I needed to research archery. And there’s always a real person I need to do a little extra research on. All of it adds more plot ideas to the mix. You never know what you will find that will give you that little twist. Footnotes add quite a few little details to the stories. 


If you were going to mentor another writer what is the first thing you would tell them?—
Don’t give up. Sometimes it takes a while. But it might mean finally putting to bed one manuscript to start writing another. Don’t be afraid to move on. I think this is the mistake that many writers make when they go directly to self-publishing. I’m a believer in the gatekeeper system of big and small publishers. There’s a lot of drek out there because these writers didn’t take the time to hone their skills or pay their dues. And if there are 700,000 self-published books out there how is anyone ever going to find yours?  

What part of the book is easiest for you to write?—
The beginning and sometimes the end. It’s all that stuff in the middle that’s a problem.

What would you like to say to your readers?—
Thank you! Thank you for loving Crispin!

Tell us about your latest book?—
SERPENT IN THE THORNS is Crispin's second adventure. A simple-minded tavern girl stirs up trouble for Crispin when a body is found in her room, killed by an arrow. Making matters worse, the murdered man was one of three couriers from France, transporting a religious relic with grave diplomatic implications. Now, as time runs out, Crispin must unravel the conspiracy behind the murder to save not only his king, but himself as well.
It’s a bit of thriller. It’s what I call my “ticking sundial” story.
 
What future writing plans do you have?—
There’s a third Crispin Guest novel, THE DEMON’S PARCHMENT, coming out this October, and a fourth coming out next fall, TROUBLED BONES.  I hope to be writing many more Crispin Guest novels, but in the meantime I’m working on a new medieval mystery series.  

Do you go to conferences and which ones do you attend or take part in and how does it help to attend conferences?—
I don’t attend conferences anymore. I define a “conference” as a gathering of writers who attend seminars on how to write or market themselves. What I do attend are mystery fan conventions, like Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime. For the kind of books I write, these are the best two for me to spend my promotional dollars on. Being on a panel helps new readers get to know you and your books. These are people very much into mysteries and they want to find new authors. So it’s a good showcase. I also do a lot of library presentations and literary luncheons. Again, these are folks, a captive audience, who like books and want to find new authors. I keep my presentations informative and funny and I always bring with me my “Box of Death,” my collection of medieval weaponry.  Making a good impression with a crowd is an excellent way to build word of mouth.


Okay for a fun question or two: Jeri what is your favorite meal, dessert, movie and the places you like to travel?—
Favorite meal has to be lobster with melted butter. There is just no reason to do anything else to a lobster other than drown it in melted butter. Favorite dessert has to be chocolate cake, because cake is a good excuse to eat frosting. Favorite movie is a little tougher. There are so many I like. But I suppose if I had to whittle it down to three, it would have to be Casablanca, the all time best movie ever made, The Adventures of Robin Hood with the sexy Errol Flynn, and The Court Jester with Danny Kaye because it’s the funniest medieval movie ever.
As for traveling, my husband and I have camped either at Mammoth in the mountains (in the fall) or at the beach at Cambria (we have an old Terry Trailer with all the comforts of home and none of the distractions [no TV]). Either of those places are beautiful and relaxing. But I would love to go back to England again. Lovely old churches, castles, and charming wooded countryside.
One of the best things about having to do promotion and book tours are the new places I get to go, including those in southern California where I live. I’ve seen new places I’ve never been that are a lot of fun. I also loved Indiana, Wiscosin, and Alaska. I guess I just like traveling.

What are your summer plans?—
I am currently without day job so my plans are to write like mad and try to sell some short stories and get my outline prepared so I can start writing that new medieval mystery series. No rest for the weary. 


I won't ask you about favorite authors but I will ask you to tell us some of your favorite books?
Much easier. HOUSE ON THE STRAND by Daphne DuMaurier, the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries by Dorothy L. Sayers, the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, THE MALTESE FALCON  by Dashiell Hammett, FARWELL, MY LOVELY by Raymond Chandler, RIDE THE PINK HORSE Horse by Dorothy B. Hughes, THE SEVILLE COMMUNION by Arturo Perez-Reverte, THE CANTERBURY TALES by Geoffrey Chaucer, and the Shakespeare plays by…Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford. J 

Are there any writing books that have helped you with penning your books?--
Carolyn Wheat’s HOW TO WRITE KILLER FICTION got me started. But to focus on my first mystery, I literally dissected THE MALTESE FALCON —what sort of characters were in it, the highs and lows, the tension, the resolution. And I’ve been rewriting it ever since. J

Explain to us your writing process from plotting to completion?--
There’s a lot of staring into space and thinking. At least that’s what I tell my husband. And then I get a little spiral bound notebook and start keeping notes. Bits of research, dialog that pop up, ideas of plotting. Once a cohesive idea starts to form—and with the Crispin novels it usually starts with a relic and building a story around it while taking into account the current history and politics of Crispin's time—I start to outline. I never used to outline but I find, as the years toll on, that I really do need to firm up where the heck I’ll be going with the plot, knowing that it could all be tossed if a better idea comes along. Which invariably it does. I continue to use the spiral bound notebook as a writing diary for that particular novel. I play little games like asking myself “What’s supposed to happen next?” or “That isn’t enough motivation for that” and generally talk myself into ideas and new twists. Each novel has its own notebook.
.—Blog: www.Getting-Medieval.com and website where excerpts of all three novels can be read, including discussion guides for book clubs and my series book trailer are at www.JeriWesterson.com. And finally, Crispin has his own blog at www.CrispinGuest.com
Last but certainly not least leave us with a quote by either your character or you.
Crispin: “I believe…in belief.”

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Night in Sri Lanka

Last night I went to a reception at the Sri Lankan Ambassador's residence with friends.  We saw highlights of the country's history, beaches, wildlife and forests.  Looks like a beautiful place. The things I would most like to visit are the elephant orphanage and the tea factory (Ceylon is after all some of the best teas in the world).

We had great food - curried lentils, rice, chicken, an unusual sweet eggplant dish, some deep fried fish patties.  Lots of spice and wonderful flavors.  My personal favorite was String Hopper Biryani.(rice noodles with coconut and peppers)

And after dinner we were treated at sunset in the garden to some traditional dances.  A very lovely evening.

Terri

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Blog Topics


BLOG TOPICS:

Today I want to ask what blog topics keep you returning to the blogs you like to read? Terri and I try to shake our blogs up a bit with various authors, interviews and a variety of topics.
Some of my favorite blog topics are when I feel like I know the author's characters better and I add them to my to-buy list of books. I love the cross stitchers interviews but we have had to cut the pictures back to just two pictures as it take an awful lot of Terri's time to post the pictures.
Other blog topics I like are the blogs about classic authors and how to blogs especially those that contain recipes. Here is what I want to know more about:
Jewerly Design
FBI Agents and their different branches
Hot Air Balloon Rides
Art and artist
Gardening
Fortune Cookies (Yes I'm serious)
Different contests for authors
The Victorian Era
Flight School
There are many more topics so I ask what are some of your favorite blog topics and what topics would you like to learn about or see more of and is there something you always wanted to do but were afraid to actually accomplish the task?

Just some topics for thoughts today

Pamela

Review: Bryant and May on the Loose


BRYANT & MAY on the LOOSE
Author: CHRISTOPHER FOWLER
British mystery series (A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery)
hard cover large type
ISBN: 978-1-60285-713-1

This case goes way back to 1940 when Mrs. Barker's home was bombed and it was discovered that her house sat on an open well. The deed to the house was never found and then we are brought up to date on the Peculiar Crimes Unit. It's been disbanned because Bryant and May have crossed the line. The others in the unit have found work but Bryant took to his bed and is waiting for death. That is until May finally gets through to Bryant's fog about a murder and about a seperate case one that will lead Bryant and May to the historic challenge of their well known careers.
They will get no help from the home office, no computers or a place to work because they do not exsist. They only have a week to solve this case that has political ties all the way to the top if they fail the unit can no longer survive. As the story nravels we find that the lives of three men have ended and that each man was decapitated.
The PCU is operating out of an abandoned warehouse and their place is not pretty. It has rats, leaks, outdated power sources and is located in one of the worst areas of London but it is near the crime scenes. Bryant has come to life and he's on a mission but first he has to learn all he can about the history of the crime scenes. No killer has ever bested him but this killer knows all, sees all and he even knows all about Bryant and May, he's cunning and what's more he's ruthless.
BRYANT & MAY on the LOOSE is a clock ticker if I've ever read one and everything means something. Christopher Fowler has left no rock unturned in his research and I marvel at the way his mind works. There is not a wasted moment or a detail too small. We go from mythology to the Catholic Church to white witches the black magic and cults all the way back in history to the orginal land owners of development and even a coffee shop has historical ties. We have hallowed grounds evil ground and the dead step by step tell their own story and it's a gruesome one.
I have never been so enchanted and repelled by a story before. The ending is truly penned by a gifted author and I almost didn't read the last little page or two thinking that the case had been resolved but I did and I am so glad I did for those last pages changed everything.
************
Pamela James

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Reading Groups


READING GROUPS:

If you are a reader and have not joined your local summer reading group that is ususally sponsered by the local library please consider doing so in support of the library plus they usually have fabulous prizes and fun events for families and people of all ages.
Do you belong to any reading groups? If so tell us about them and I will say that I belong to a few online reading groups and one or two that are Facebook reading groups.
It's a very good way to plow through your to be read piles and it's a social network for authors. Nothing new as I am sure all of us know about reading groups but the thing I find interesting is the different perspectives that readers have and how unique each author's voice is how they can create characters that we can relate to one way or another.
I've noticed that when I read a book then the movie comes out and I attend movie night that this will bring a discussion of books verses movies and did the author really intend for the movie to be a little different, far different or spot on from the book?
I like readers and reading groups because they catch all the suttle differences in a plot. This is especially true for mystery readers. We train ourselves to look for the red herrings and the clues but we do not overlook the character and what might be happening in the mind of the killer.
Some of my favorite books that have killer plots are....
The Victoria Vanishes my Chistopher Fowler
Murder Can Crash Your Party by Selma Eichler
Think Twice by Lisa Scottoline
These three books are very different one from the other but with them I did walk away in awe of the author and their work. As you know from my previous blogs is that lately my big thing is that I like to find new authors or new series and to help fill in the gaps of reading while my list (a very large list) of authors I regularly buy are busy penning the next book. Reading groups can help with this along with blogs because there is always a new author waiting to be discovered by our reading groups. I like books with a lot of atmosphere and I think Mary Stewart is one of those authors I could read over and over again because her books have atmosphere. I want to be transported to the main character's world and see things through that character's eyes. I love to read Carolyn Hart's bookstore mystery series DEATH ON DEMAND because the first time I read the books in the series I am too busy devouring how fun the book is to read that I go back every summer and reread a lot of the books in the series so I can savor the series I always find something I've missed the first time. I think sometimes the markings of a great author is that you can go back and reread the same books and walk away with another layer of what the author is trying to say and with book discussion groups you always walk away thinking about a few more points of view and maybe something you missed entirely. I admit I am on the quiet side so not often express myself but when I find a good book you can't shut me up at a book discussion group. Okay so I might be borderline annoying but the thing is aren't books meant to be discussed and what better way to spend your time than to read and discussing all the wonderful books that are out there.

Pamela

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CANDY VERSES YOUR CHILDHOOD CANDY:


WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CANDY
VERSES YOUR CHILDHOOD CANDY:

When I was a child I took candy for granted. I love life savers, bit o' honey, lemon drops, sweet tarts and malted milk balls.
Then when I was a teen I went through a phase of sunflower seeds (not candy I know) and sugar daddy suckers.
Asa young adult I mostly didn't eat candy except peanut brittle at Christmas but I always took it for granted that the same candy would still be there waiting to welcome me back.
Somehow through the years I have noticed that candy has changed....well at least for me it has changed. The candy I can still find from my childhood no longer taste the same nor does it appear to be the same quanity. I am thrilled to be able to report that pixie stix still taste the same and are out there to buy. Lemon drops no longer have quite the same taste but they are still around as is malted milk balls.
What are/were some of your favorite candies and have they changed over the years? Can you still find your favorites? Do they look the same in size color and texture?
Now candy bars I can find but my favorite is still Hershey Milk Chocolate Bars however since they came out with white chocolate cookie and cream I now have two favorites. I used to love Zero Bars and I still like Milky Way Bars.
My husband likes Snickers and Reeces cups and I do have a fondness for Reeces.
When I go to the movies (which doesn't happen often) or when I watch a marathon of movies I like Hot Tamales but often we they are not as easy to come by here as they once were.
I'm not as big on candy as I used to be mainly because of my waistline. Once in a while I like a trip down memory lane and candy will bring back many memories of summer days riding my bike and eating a hershey bar or climbing a tree away from my little sister so I didn't have to share my candy bar with her. LOL
What candy sends you down memory lane? Candy Korn always reminds me of Halloween and peanut brittle reminds me of Christmas Eve....
Happy Memories
Pam

Review - Death by Pantyhose

DEATH BY PANTYHOSE
Author: Laura Levine
Mystery Series
ISBN: 10-0-7582-0786-7

Jaine Austen needs something in her bank account because business is once again slow. So when Dorcas MacKenzie calls and wants Jaine write a new round of comedy jokes for her Jaine accepts the challenge even though she has never written jokes before.
Dorcas is a stand up comedian at the Laff Palace and routine usually ends with her throwing pantyhose at the audience. Dorcas doesn't bring many laughs from the crowd and she mostly considered a joke by her fellow comics but there is one comic who is hardest on Dorcas and that is Vic who is gorgeous to look at and gets all the laughs. He has a woman he is going to marry but that doesn't stop Vic from having a girlfriend and sleeping around with any other woman.
Jaine goes to see the act that Dorcas is already doing and meet everyone who is anyone and some who are not where Dorcas works. The night wears on and Vic announces that he is going to be going with another agent, that he is marrying the new agent and that Dorcas stinks with her act (nothing new for Vic to say) but this time when Dorcas hears his intentions he get back jumps on his back and beats the crap out of him.
Late that night Vic is found murdered and Dorcas is arrested for the murder because the murder is by strangulation and of course it's a pair of Dorcas' pantyhose that did the deed.
Dorcas needs help and Jaine needs a paycheck so with her only client in jail Jaine takes the case. The little thing that trip up an investigation are things like Vic and Dorcas used to be married. The current girlfriend has an alibi so does the next soon to be wife and even the agent couldn't have done it. Dorcas' attorney is Opie and still lives at home his degree is newer than Jaine's underwear and so the hunt begins for a killer with more motive than Dorcas. Oh by the way Dorcas went to see Vic the night he died at his home.
This case is not a piece of cake but it is a laugh and a half as Jaine tries to have a love life and dress for success without a bad hair day and cat clawed pantyhose.
DEATH BY PANTYHOSE by Laura Levine is one of the best anti-depressants a woman can read. Jaine Austen may not be a trad-tional P.I. but she gets the job done and this is a really fun laugh out-loud mystery sure to please even those who don't wear pantyhose.
*********
Pamela James

Monday, June 7, 2010

Are You a Listmaker?


ARE YOU A LISTMAKER:

Okay this may be a form of OCD but I am a prolific listmaker. Heck I make a list to buy more listmakers. The thing is if I didn't make a list I would never accomplish anything as it's too easy to forget most of what I do, but I might be overdoing it a bit.
Do you make a list and if so what types of things do you put on your list?
Here is an example of what mine can consist of and I do cross through the list as I accomplish eac project.

1. Stop by the library and pick up holds.
2. Make the bed
3. Wash my hair
4. Laundry
5. Don't forget to peel the potatoes to add to the roast for supper (do't forget to put the roast in the crockpot)
6. Water the outdoor plants
7. WRITE 
8. Put netflix movie out in the mailbox for postman to pick up
9. Write two reviews
10. Find some authors to interview
11. Call my mother
12. Call my sister
13. Shave legs
14. Clean bathroom
15. Bag and take out the trash
16. Sweep the floor
17. Mop the floor
18. Plan weekly meal menu but be open for suggestions
19. Clean office
20. Return library books
This is my to-do list for this week. There are people who say being an author is glamours and I'll try to remember that as I am cleaning the bathtub this week.
Tell us about your to-do list and I hope it is more exciting than mine. I left off grocery shopping because hubby loves to do that and why deprive him when I need to write and he can spend hours at the grocery store or several of them looking for just the right bargin.

Have a wonderful day...
Pam

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

September? Really? It doesn’t seem quite fair that, the older I get, the faster time seems to fly. I remember sitting in schoolrooms wh...