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Showing posts from March, 2010

In Plain Sight

Series Television: IN PLAIN SIGHT
Season One/Netflix Series

Mary Shepherd and her partner aptly named Marshall are U.S. Marshalls and they are assigned the branch of witness protection. mary can't tell her family what she actually does so they think she mostly spends her time at the courthouse and eats donuts. Speaking of family mary's mother loves to drink and her sister while cute can be trouble with a capitol T and if that isn't enough her boyfriend Rafe is sooo good looking but at times he doesn't think before he tells mary what he thinks....
Marshall her partner is tall and lanky and has the innocence of the boy next door and wry sense of humor.
When the series starts in season one we have a young college student who is native american and she is murdered she has her heart cut out. Another epissode had mary protecting a witness who is getting married and mary gets to be her bridesmaid which has her wearing one of the worst bridesmaid dresses on …

Review - Aunt DImity Takes a Holiday

TITLE: AUNT DIMITY TAKE A HOLIDAYAUTHOR: NANCY ATHERTONPUBLISHER;PENGUINMystery seriesPage count 282ISBN" 0-7862-5119-0 It was bound to happen sooner or later but it happened with this particular book. I found Lori Sheperd very annoying in this book. I'll explain at the end of the review:
Lori Shepherd's husband Bill is summoned to the country estate of the Earl of Elstyn and sine the Earl is Lori's is Derek's father and the father-inlaw of her Emma, (lori's beloved friends) and more important since Emma asks Lori to accompany her to the estate because she has a bad feeling about Derek and his  estranged father, Lori finds herself packing her bags. Especially since her husband wants her to accompany him.The day they arrive the find the fire department on their heels as someone has caught the hedge on fire. Then Lori meets the rest of the family and soon learns there is good reason for Emma to worry, not only about Derek but also his cousin Simon. Simon is getti…

Review - Forty Whacks by David Kent

Hardcover: 231 pagesPublisher: Yankee Books; First Edition edition (September 1992)Language: EnglishISBN-10: 0899093515ISBN-13: 978-0899093512We all know the rhyme:

Lizzie Borden took an axeAnd gave her mother forty whacks.When she saw what she had doneShe gave her father forty-one.But we also know that Lizzie was acquitted by a jury of her peers.  Many books have been written on the subject and most have decided opinions on whether she did it or not.What I liked about this book, is the author really tried to sort through all the glaring yellow-journalism, the rumors and innuendos and the downright lies that we think are truth.  And I think he did a great job of it.It is also an interesting portrait into the legal system of the time.  Both the prosecution and defense agreed in advance that no men under middle age would sit on the jury.  Imagine that today in the days of the ACLU.The bottom line is, the prosecution didnt prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt IMHO and therefore the ve…

Review - Murder at Longbourn

Genre: Cozy Mystery Series (first book in series)
Hardcover-large print edition
ISBN: 978-1-80285-701-8
Elizabeth Parker is taking a New Year's stance. She is getting rid of all things unhealthy for her and she started with her boyfriend, then has dumped fatty foods, sugar and quite frankly taking bad advice. Still she's a little down since her best friend is getting proposed to as the ball will drop at New Years so when an invitation to her help her aunt at her newly opened Bed-n-breakfast arrives well Elizabeth can't pack fast enough for an escape to Cap Cod.
However all is not rosie for Aunt Winnie because one of her friends wants to buy her property and the house. Not going to happen but when he is murdered all fingers point to Aunt Winne. Elizabeth must sleuth and when she does she find many secrets, and that several people had a motive to murder the wealthy man. But the worst is yet to come because also at the bed-n-brea…

Guest Blogger - Jane Lindskold

Victims and Villains
I try not to write either victims or villains.  When talking about the characters in my books, I don’t even use the words “heroes” and “villains.”  Protagonists and antagonists, sure, but not villains and never victims.
Yes.  Some characters in my books become victims within the unfolding of events.  Perhaps the character I’ve been given the most grief over is Citrine who, in the course of the “Wolf Series” (also known as the “Firekeeper Saga”), goes though a really bad patch.
As for villains, I’m a firm believer that no one, not even historical figures – like Stalin or Hitler – who were responsible for the deaths and torture of many thousands of people, gets up in the morning, rubs his or her hands briskly together, and says: “Ah-hah!  I think I’ll do something really evil today.”
For this reason, you’re not going to find any glowing eye in the sky brooding over a devastated landscape in my novels.  If characters dress all in black with skulls for jewelry, they’re in…

Guest Blogger - Eileen Wilks


Writers spend a lot of time with people who don’t exist. We listen to the voices in our heads. We often talk about these voices--our characters--“taking over.”

Fortunately, we have a socially sanctioned excuse for this behavior. We’re supposed to believe in these imaginary friends of ours, make them come alive so we can share their pitfalls and pratfalls, their triumphs and tragedies, with others. Sanity is all in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it?

I’m often asked why I chose to write about a Chinese American protagonist. I’m never sure what to say. The question presumes that this was my choice, my decision, but it didn’t feel that way. It felt like Lily Yu just showed up, carefully keeping the heels of her new black pumps from a pool of sticky blood while she studied what was left of a young man’s face.

From that point on, my job was to figure out who this Yu person was. I’ve been doing that for six books now, and am madly trying to finish the seventh.


Review - Biggie and The Mangled Mortician

TITLE:BIGGIE AND THE MANGLED MORTICANAUTHOR: NANCY BELLGENRE; COZY MYSTERY SERIESISBN:0-7862-2562-9large print -hardcover;Texas grandma Biggie Weatherford loves to sleuth local murders. J.R. her grandson narrates this series and he tells it like only a ten year old can and JR always ends up helping solve the murders.In this book the mortican retires and the new mortican is murdered. Biggie has a list of suspects and since the florist is also the Police Chief until they can find someone else willing to take the job Biggie is definitely in great demand to solve the murder. She sends Rosebud (her handyman) to Arkansas to check out Pastor Poteet and low and behold if Rosebud doesn't find out that Monk Carter the murder victim isn't from Arkansas too and he isn't no mortican. What he was is a bad guy and trouble, Rosebud finds out that Rev.Poteet is also a gambler. The plot thickens and even JR's four pet mice help in a way only four pet mice running loose can and JR is sur…

Guest Blogger - James R Benn

My Victims; why did they have to die?
The poor victims. Mine have been blown up, shot, hung, knifed, and incinerated. It hasn’t been pretty, and leaves my wondering how I’ve wandered into cozy territory over here at Mayhem and Magic. Well, Pamela asked, and I said sure. Since my cup of tea is more likely to be a double Irish whiskey, I’ll give you some background before talking about the victims. They can wait. They’re dead.
I write a mystery series set during World War II in Europe. My main character is Billy Boyle, a Boston cop from an Irish-American family where police work is the family business, handed down father to son as a sacred sinecure. Billy made detective at a young age, just before Pearl Harbor. The fact that his father was a homicide detective and his uncle sat on the promotions board had nothing to do with it, or so he claims. Being of Irish descent, and ardent Republicans (of the IRA type, not Herbert Hoover), the Boyles were not among those cheering for another wa…

Guest Blogger - Liz Lipperman

Thanks, Pamela and Terri for inviting me to talk about my favorite ghost story. Until last year, I laughed when people spouted off about weird things they blamed on the supernatural.
Well, I don’t anymore!
Last February I entered a paranormal mystery in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest against my better judgment. I hate contests. I only mention this to let you know where my mind was when I entered the ABNA. It was free, so I thought what the heck and I sent it off. I forgot about it until the day they were supposed to announce the quarterfinalists – March 16th.
I was nuts that whole day, checking the Amazon site at least every ten minutes. Finally at midnight, I went to bed, but when I woke up at 3:30 am, I HAD to check. Sure enough, there was an email from Amazon time stamped 12:30 am which made it March 17th.
Now here’s where it gets spooky. TALK DEAD TO ME is a story about four sisters who come together for the funeral of the fifth sister, fashioned after my own …

Guest Blogger - Judith Tarr

A Victim of His Own...Something

One side effect of a long and prolific career is that while I'm nearly always focused on the next book (Q: What's your favorite of your books? A: The one I'm writing next), every so often, by chance or choice, I get to look back and see what I've been doing. This can range from embarrassing (I can't believe I wrote that!) to illuminating (I can't believe I wrote that!).

Aside from an ongoing fondness for big blond guys who look dumb but aren't, feisty heroines who aren't taking any crap from anybody, and intermittent cameo appearances by various of my cats and horses, I seem to have this thing for making characters the victims of their own advantages. Immortal, beautiful, powerful? They just want to be normal. Don't want to be normal? They end up having to deal with a whole raft of normal and much loved human beings whose problems are mostly their fault. And of course if they have magic (and many of them do), it's…

Guest Blogger - Emilie Richards

I'm proud to say I've never killed anybody I liked.  Actually, in real life, I've never killed "anybody."  But on paper?  That's a different story.  I've killed strangers.  I've killed the shrewish wife of a politician, and the woman who tried to have my husband fired.  No, wait, make that the woman who tried to have my sleuth's husband fired.  Sometimes I get confused.
As my series, Ministry is Murder, has progressed, I've killed an obnoxious foster sister, a Simon Cowell wannabe gone completely to the dark side, and a celebrity chef.  Ah, the fleeting rewards of a day's work.  But along the way I've never dispatched any character I liked, nor even one who could possibly be redeemed as a human being.  Not that all my victims are one hundred percent evil.  What fun would creating that person be?  But each of my dispatchables has stepped just over that invisible line.  You know, the one that has a sign that reads: "This person isn&#…

Review - It Happened One Knife by Jeff Cohen

Title: IT HAPPENED ONE KNIFEAuthor: JEFFREY COHENPublisher: Berkley Prime CrimeGenre: Mystery SeriesISBN: 978-0-425-22256-0Page count: 296
Elliot Freed is thrilled that his renovations are almost done and this all movie theatre 'Comedy Tonight' is ready and waiting for movie goers. Being the nice guy that he is he allows his young film projectionist to air his film debut "Killin Tim" which is anything but funny, the problem arises when the film disappears and Elliot becomes the leading suspect. He didn't do it and he'll tell anyone who listens that he didn't take the Anthony's film. If this weren't enough to keep Elliot preoccupied then there is the fact that Elliot will be hosting a special showing of CRACKED ICE a Lillis & Townes comedy duo that is sure to please your funny palette. Harry Lillis tells Elliot after the showing late that night that Les Townes murdered his actress wife and got away with it all those many decades ago. Elliot does…

Phillip K Dick Award nominees

The Philip K. Dick Award is presented annually with the support of the Philip K. Dick Trust for distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States. The award is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the Philip K. Dick Trust, and the award ceremony is sponsored by the NorthWest Science Fiction Society.

The full list of nominees:
BITTER ANGELS by C. L. Anderson (Spectra)
THE PRISONER by Carlos J. Cortes (Spectra)
THE REPOSSESSION MAMBO by Eric Garcia (Harper)
THE DEVIL'S ALPHABET by Daryl Gregory (Del Rey)
CYBERABAD DAYS by Ian McDonald (Pyr)
CENTURIES AGO AND VERY FAST by Rebecca Ore (Aqueduct Press)
PROPHETS by S. Andrew Swann (DAW Books

Review - The Circle by Peter Lovesey

Title: THE CIRCLEAuthor: Peter LoveseyPublisher:SoHo PressISBN: 0-7862-8099-9British Mystery
Bob Naylor loves to write limericks and jingles. He is a widow with a teenage daughter who convinces him to join a writer's circle. He's afraid that he won't fit into the circle, but against his better judgment attends a meeting. First he finds that the circle members come from all walks of the class system. They write fantasy, romance, gardening, even subjects like family history and serial killer books. A couple of them don't write anything at all one just draws and the other is there he likes to listen to what others in the group have to say about their work. A few weeks before Bob joins the group a publisher Edgar Blacker was a guest speaker at the meeting. Since that time Edgar Blacker died in his bed and the police think it's arson what's more interesting is the chairman of the group is arrested for murder. Nobody believe Maurice McDade murdered anyone and the grou…

PEARL award finalists 2009

2009 Finalists are:

NIGHTWALKER by Heather Graham
THE SWORD AND THE PEN by Elysa Hendricks
THORN QUEEN by Richelle Mead

OBSIDIAN PREY by Jayne Castle
HEART CHANGE by Robin D. Owens
GUARDIAN by Angela Knight
SCARLET by Jordan Summers
BLAZE OF MEMORY by Nalini Singh

ANGELS' BLOOD by Nalini Singh
WHITE STAR by Elizabeth Vaughn
BURNING ALIVE by Shannon Butcher

DIAMOND STAR by Catherine Asaro
HOPE'S FOLLY by Linnea Sinclair
BEYOND THE RAIN by Jess Granger


Guest Blogger - CS Challinor

Your Victim and Why They Had to Die

Well, someone has to die in a murder mystery. Since the blog is about “my” victim/s, I shall give a personalized overview of the topic as regards my bumped-off characters and the motivation behind their deaths, without giving too much away, otherwise the “who” and “why,” key elements in a mystery, will be revealed...and you will have less motivation to read my novels, right? I will address my comments to both writers and readers.
Everyone who writes fiction knows that before the first word is written, it behooves the storyteller to know the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the story. For the purposes of this topic, let us concern ourselves with the who (here, the victim, not the perpetrator) and the why (motivation). A word about victims: In many cases, “victim” isn’t an apt description for the deceased, who might be the villain.
My victims have run the gamut from young to old, weak to strong. Sometimes a sympathy angle serves to en…

Author Groupies

Have you ever heard of author groupies? Apparently from what I learned yesterday off of a group I belong to author groupies are out there. They go to the author booksigning, conventions and anything else that their favorite author does and while they may or may not buy books they go to meet the author. I take it they are a little more zealous than a fan really want special attention from their favorite authors. Enlighten me because I am confused on where fan ends and groupie begins? I thought booksignings were in part set up for meeting the author? Do authors really have groupies? I mean I am a follower on a lot of author blogs, I go to booksignings to meet the author, people come to my signings to meet me? I have never been stalked by a fan (maybe my books aren't popular enough), and I'm pretty sure I've missed the main point of author groupie? I know stars and actors have groupies but never thought of mystery readers as groupies? Anyway I thought this cou…

Guest Blogger - Richard Brawer

Victims die for many reasons.  Because they cheated on their wives or husbands; because they were the other woman; because they were a blackmailer; because they made someone angry; because they were about to be exposed for a crime; because they were about to expose someone else for a crime; and in Eileen Robinson’s case in Beyond Guilty because she killed.
Teenager Eileen Robinson lives in an ideal, middle class African-American family in Houston, Texas.  Her father dotes on her calling her his princess.  Her mother greets her after school with milk and cookies.  When her father is killed, an innocent victim in a drive by shooting, her mother is forced to go to work at night cleaning offices.  Eileen is relegated to babysitting her two younger sisters.  One night she runs out on them to hang with her friends.  Her sisters try to cook something and die in a fire.
Tormented, Eileen wants to kill herself, but she doesn’t have the courage. Wandering the streets, she is befriended by a dru…

Pamela's Cross Stitch Finish

Guest Blogger - Vicki Delaney

The victim in the latest Constable Molly Smith novel, Winter of Secrets, was not a nice person.

Did he have to die?
Did he deserve to die?

But he did, and as a direct result of his attitudes and behavior.
Winter of Secrets is set between Christmas Eve and New Years Day in the mountains in the British Columbia Interior. A group of wealthy, privileged University students from Ontario has come to the little town of Trafalgar on a two-week skiing vacation.
There’s Jason and Wendy Wyatt-Yarmouth, siblings. Jason is a med-student, handsome, charming, and thoroughly lazy. Wendy is a bitter, angry young woman whose resentment against the world, specifically her parents, expresses itself in shopping for luxury goods even she can’t afford. With them are Alan and Sophie. Alan is handsome enough to be an actor and Sophie, the Québécoise, is his new girlfriend. Alan and Sophie spend quite a bit of the vacation in their room. Ewan is there, Jason’s childhood friend, who never met a woman…

Everything is Fodder

As readers and authors everything we do have learn is fodder for the imagination. So today my question is.....
What jobs have you had and would any of them make a good book series. I'll list mine and then I want to hear what you have to say on the topic nad hopefully you will list yours.
Mine are:
Cocktail Waitress
Worked in a Daycare
Dietary Aide
Clerk for a Hallmark Shop
Nurses Aide at a hospital and at a nursing home
Sold vacum cleaners door to door
Worked as receptionist and telemarketer for photography studio
Worked as a secretary for an elderly highrise apartment complex
Worked at our local library (started as a page, then ran the front desk, then did research and information specialist and finally did adult programing bringing authors to the library for booksignings, guest lectures, I ordered adult books for the library, filled in on interlibrary loan and summer reading programs, also helped with friends of the library)
Worked for p…

Academy Awards

I don't like to be negative about the Academy Awards but the 82 Annual Awards left me feeling a little empty. I grew up watching the awards and loved all the glitz and glamour. This year not so much it was like the whole atmosphere of the event was a little too low key. Most were on and off the stage in record time. The jokes fell to deaf ears and really Steve Martin, Alec Balwin and Ben Stiller tried they really did (I feel Ben almost had them in his clutches) but honestly even George Clooney didn't crack a smile for most of the evening.
I was thrilled for Sandra Bullock and loved her dress, I was happy a woman director got the award for "Best Director" but on the whole I was left wondering whatever happened to really GREAT movies? To be honest I would loved to have seen Meryl Streep get the award for Julia and Julie because that would have been something to hang on to I do NOT need a social commentary on war or proverty or football for the Oscar night. It left me…

Guest Blogger - Alan Bradley

“Why did your victim have to die?”What a great question!If we’d asked Plato, I suppose he’d have answered that it is the function of the victim to die: that he or she must pay the ultimate price by being the scapegoat upon the altar of verisimilitude. But without a worthwhile crime, it’s hardly worth spending the money to buy a novel, or taking the time to read it.A victim may be innocent or guilty. While the innocent victim will most likely receive the reader’s sympathy, the death of a despicable victim might gain his applause. Jeff Lindsay has recently – and with deft ingenuity - flipped the classic pattern by having his psychopathic Dexter kill only victims who deserve so richly to die that, when they do, we break out the flags and send up skyrockets.Nowadays, with many of our fictional detectives being flawed in one imaginative way or another, it seems that there’s more tension in putting them to work catching the killer of an innocent victim.In my recent book, The Sweetness at th…

Project finish 2-14-10

Heart by San-Man Originals.
Stitched by Terri

Guest Blogger - Dorothy Howell

Secrets, Family, and Money -- A Deadly Combination

In our real lives we all know someone who did us wrong, a person who seemingly went out of their way to make our life miserable. If you could pick someone to run over with your car, it would be that person.

But would you do it?

What if you had a secret – a big secret? If you’d worked hard for years, built a solid life, always done the right thing, but one day – poof! – something went wrong and you were desperate to cover up your mistake.

How far would you go to protect your secret?

If a loved one was threatened, would you do anything to protect them?


I suppose none of us really know the answer to these questions until we’re faced with them. While we may have fantasized about getting even or getting back at someone who hurt us, few of us would take it to the extreme.

Yet ordinary people, overcome by extraordinary events, can do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do. And those are the people I like to write about…

March Winds

I'm a cross stitcher and I'm a reader. Do you ever have to decide what you are going to do on the days you have free time? Do I stitch or do I read? That is the question and for me I try to do both hobbies on those days but since I'm an author I often feel guilty when I am not spending ten hours a day at my desk.Then along the way I learned something very important to me (probably not to you) but that is I need everything to make me a balanced more effective person. I need to stitch because it not only gives me something to do when husband watches mind numbing shows every weekend but it gives me a sense of satisfaction to complete a project. (This shows me my time isn't wasted) and I CAN waste time. I NEED to read I have needed to read since I learned to read. I love mysteries because I'm convinced reading mysteries keeps my mind busy (which is a good thing so I don't reach the dottering stage too soon) if ever. I write because writing is like breathing now I d…

Review of Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages Publisher: Harper (September 25, 2007) ISBN-10: 0061350966

The story of the Wicked Witch of the West from her POV.  Been looking forward to reading this for a long time.  Was not quite what I expected but I really enjoyed it.  The thing is, it is not a fast read (and I am not sure why not).

Elphaba was destined for a hard life from the time she was born.  Being green with scary teeth sure did not make it easy for her mother to love her.

Maguire gives a backstory to her, Glinda and her sister the Witch of the East.  Not to mention, the Wizard, with a twist I was not excepting.

One big surprise for me is that she really was NOT a sorceress.  It was more a psychological battle for her.  With ANIMAL rights, questions on the nature of good and evil, politics and manipulations. I would feel sorry for her at times, but it never lasted.  She was such and angry woman.

Dorothy and the murder are still the climax of the book but it is a very long journey to tha…

Guest Blogger - Ellen Crosby

I have a habit of getting some of my best writing ideas the moment I get up from my desk to take a break or catch up on something that needs doing around the house. More often than not it’s a repetitive chore like chopping vegetables or folding laundry, but I also write while driving in my car (only at red lights!) and there is a water-spattered notebook on the dressing table next to my makeup bag since my muse has a thing about showing up in the middle of a shower. Last weekend when “Snowmageddon” dumped more than two feet of snow on the D.C. metro area, I ended up with more than a sore back and tired arms from two days of shoveling: I roughed out much of the plot of my new book, the sixth in my Virginia wine country mystery series based on vineyard owner Lucie Montgomery.             Between now and Halloween when I turn in a final manuscript to my editor at Scribner, my characters and their story will constantly live in my head. I’m a planner and an outliner—a couple of books ago I…