Monday, December 28, 2015

Review: Crimes, Detection and Death of Jack the Ripper by Martin Fido

Jack the Ripper fascinates so many of us. So many theories and we never (CAN never) know for sure. This work explores the crimes, the social factors and the credibility of the police involved. He provides evidence debunking many theories and explores sources and their reliability. Each victim (and victim eliminated from the Ripper canon) is carefully discussed in detail.  He also discusses evidence that he feels has been disproved or mis-interpreted.  He tries to trace the formation of various theories and the information they resulted from.  He discusses the role of the press and politics as well as clarifying the roles senior officers played.

Sometimes the book is a bit dry but the information it contains is very well-researched and thought out. The edition I read was updated from the original after new information had come to light.  His theory of the culprit may be the strongest I have seen, but then we really will never know and that mystery is probably why we find it so intriguing.

This is one of the must-read sources out there.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Good Morning Everyone

I hope this is a week of magic for all o you. May the mayhem lead to the magical memories. After all of the mayhem then I hope you have plenty of good books and warm drinks to enjoy.
I am visiting my daughter and her family. So if I am slow to answer or not at all this is why because I took my yearly vacation now to be with family.
So far I have attended my grandson Aiden's wrestling practice which was fun as the age group was 8-13.
I have tried very hard to have portion control with meals and desserts. You seen I have had a couple of meals that were Mexican, then chilidogs, then there are desserts that probably put back on the pounds I had lost (even with portion control0, I had Travis's cheesecake that was to die for, I had Melissa's pumpkin roll and that is one of her special recipes.
We did have Chinese food last night.
My reading has been light, my stitching has not happened but I have colored several pictures as we binge watched House Of Cards, True Detective and I caught up on The Librarians and Legends.
I hope you have a wonderful beginning to winter and your winter reading.

An Interview with Constance Barker

MM: Tell us about your favorite place to write and your
writing schedule?
I use one of the bedrooms in our house as an office and that’s where I write most of the time. It has a window where I can look out at our pond and front field. Sometimes I’ll see deer or even wild turkeys lumbering through. Most of the time I need quiet when writing, but when figuring out plots or developing characters, I like to head to a little diner in our small town. My schedule is sporadic. I have days where I can’t write a thing and other days I can’t stop.

MM: Let's talk about your latest and newest books?
I’m very excited about the newest book “A Sinister Slice of Murder” as it starts a brand new series. I co-author the book with A. J. DeBellis who is a dream to work with, an incredible story teller, and a fantastic editor as well.
The series is a departure from my other two series as it delves into more paranormal subjects. That’s not to say it’s scary or terrifying. My readers will still find the quirky characters and humorous situations that are the foundation of my other series. Only this time some of the comical antics might be from the ghosts themselves. The series is set in the mythical tourist town of Whispering Pines, Georgia. My heroine, Jessie, is greeted with ghosts from her past as she moves back to Whispering Pines after years of being away. It’s a lot of fun and Jessie, like my other heroines, is feisty, but loveable.

I also released the latest book in the Caesars Creek Mystery Series, “A Drizzle of Deception.” This is the tenth book in the series. These books and the Sweet Home Series have been a joy to write. I love my characters and enjoy bringing them to life.

MM: 2016 in your life and writing, what are you looking forward to doing, writing and what will be published?
I hope to travel more in 2016. Getting out of a normal routine, even for a week or a few days, can help with creativity. I’ve noticed that when I take a day or two and just get away from the keyboard, I come back refreshed and ready to write.
I have another series I hope to launch in 2016. This one will also surround the paranormal, but the setting is quite different from any of my other series. I don’t want to give too much away, but quirkiness and humor will remain in this series as well.

MM: Do you ever binge watch television shows? Which ones do you like to watch?
I love to binge watch television shows. My husband and I have binge watched “Lost” and “Breaking Bad.” I also binge watched the David Tennant years of “Dr. Who” as well.

MM: If you were going to sit down to a meal with five authors from the past (this means dead or alive), who would they be? What would you ask them? What meal would you have?
Wow. Well, definitely Stephen King. He has been my favorite author for over 20 years. I also like true crime authors, Ann Rule and Katherine Casey. I’d like to ask Stephen how he sleeps at night with all those strange and horrific thoughts running through his
However, his latest works aren’t as grim and violent as earlier books.
I would like to ask Ann and Katherine how different it is when writing true events instead of fiction. Many of my books are cozy murder mysteries, but they’re not real. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to write about some of the savagery of man.
As far as what would be served….I would like to offer a few appetizers or finger foods such as stuffed mushrooms or Asian lettuce wraps. For the main course I’d like to serve ribeye steaks, grilled asparagus, and a gourmet mac and cheese. Dessert would be red velvet cake.

MM: Do you ever re-read some of your favorite books?
I use to when I was younger, but now there are so many wonderful books to read I have a hard time getting to them all.

MM: What would your characters tell us about you?
Hmmm…Well I think Stormi, one of my favorite characters from the Caesars Creek Series, would say I worry too much and that I should be more like her. She’s a firecracker and lives life large with no regrets. She would definitely tell me to do the same.
Essie and Hildie from the Sweet Home series would likely say that I work too much and should take a ride in their golf cart once in a while to get out of the house.

MM: They say it takes a village to publish a book. Who is in your village?
My village consists of my husband who produces my cover art and my mother who beta reads my books, pointing out any errors. A. J. Debellis has also edited many of the books.

MM: What would you like to say to your readers?
Thank you so much for reading, providing positive reviews, and bolstering my confidence to keep writing. There were many times when I read a one or two star review that I thought about just hanging up my pen, so to speak. But then I’d read the comments on my FB page of how much people loved the characters and stories, and that has meant so much to me. My readers help me to keep trudging on.

MM: As a child growing up were you a reader? What authors and their books were your favorites?
Oh yes. My grandmother would give me the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books to read and I would devour them. I couldn’t wait to see who the culprit was. I could get lost in the stories and being an only child they were my companions.

MM: Here are some fun questions. What is your favorite place to vacation? Your favorite song, movies, meal. dessert, snack, and be our tour guide. Tell us why you like living where you live?
I love Las Vegas. It’s always changing and there’s so much to see, even outside the city. I love going to the shows, relaxing by the pool, and of course a little gambling too.
Favorite song: That’s difficult because there are so many. But “Love Shack” always makes me smile.
Favorite movie: Shawshank Redemption
Meal: Ribeye steak
Dessert: Chocolate ice cream
Snack: Nachos
The area around my home is very tranquil. I don’t have to go camping because I feel like I am right where I live. We have a woods behind our home that my husband has mowed down and removed the brush so it looks more like a park. We live almost 900 feet from the main road so in front of the house is an open field and a small pond that we fish in. I love my screened in porch as it allows me to sit outside without slapping bugs and mosquitoes. We have a line of pine trees that follows up the driveway.

MM: If your books were turned into a series or movies who can you see playing the lead characters?
I could envision a blond Melissa McCarthy playing Stormi.

MM: What comes first, the plot, setting, character or situation? How do you build your book?
For me it’s the characters and the plot flows from them. I want my characters to move the plot along and they tell me what kind of situations they’ll fall into and how to get them out of those predicaments.

MM: Let's plug some conventions, conferences, retreats and book signings for you?
I don't have any conventions, conferences or book signings. Maybe someday.; )

MM: In your life who makes you laugh the most and why?
My husband. He has a funny sense of humor and I'm often surprised at some of the things he says.

MM: Lastly leave us with some sage words of writing wisdom.
Don't let doubt keep you from your dream. I allowed doubt and low confidence rob me of many years of writing. I think you'll find it's easier when you go ahead and give yourself the green light to write. I started by envisioning my characters and from there it was easy to write about them.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Review: Inside the Mind of Casey Anthony by Keith Ablow, MD

Dr. Ablow tells a very fascinating portrayal of Casey Anthony's psychological makeup, trying to explain why she acted the way she did and told all the lies she did.  The thing is, he never once spoke to her.  He uses documents and interviews to base his analysis.  I think a lot of it is probably accurate, but I also think a lot is conjecture.  Essentially, he believes that all of Casey's behavior is the result of the pathology of her parents, particularly her mother, Cindy.  He repeatedly asserts that Casey has no self or identity of her own and that the tales she spins are a coping mechanism.  There is a lot more of course and it is very engaging to read.  

However, without actually interviewing her himself, how can his assertions be validated?  Very little of the book deals with the death of her daughter Caylee.  It is a study of a very sick woman who was acquitted of murder.  He attempts to explain what made her the person everyone watched aghast as her behavior and lies came to light after her arrest.  That said, despite the way his explanations (he ends with a diagnosis of her not based on DSM standards.  It may be true, who knows, but I think you have to take it all with a grain of salt because just because he believes it is likely true (like her allegations of sexual abuse), it doesn't mean it is.  Therefore, conclusions based on the assumptions are not necessarily valid.

So, MY conclusion:  a very interesting read, certainly full of talking points, seems to paint a portrait of a very troubled family.  We knew that from what we did see from the media.  That doesn't mean she is any less culpable or excuse any of it.  Nor does it mean his conclusions are definitive. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Sharcano by Jose Prendes

The premise is odd - sharks made of lava attacking and eating people all over the world.  Essentially, sentient lava.

Of course, this is the age of Sharknado (I loved all three movies) where you just suspend disbelief and go with it and have a blast!

That said, it is a lot of fun and excitement. Nobody understands what is happening or why.  Yet they have to accept what seems insane and deal with it in order to survive. The heroes are all over the map, reporters, Bigfoot hunters, Scientists, Priests.  Scenes are adventure packed and dramatic.  Sacrifices are made.  Land, sea, Air - it takes you all over the world.  I really enjoyed it.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Guest Blogger: Lea Wait

Maine author Lea Wait writes the Shadows Antique Print Mystery series and the Mainely Needlepoint series. She’s also the author of historical novels set in nineteenth century Maine for ages 8 and up, and LIVING AND WRITING ON THE COAST OF MAINE, about her life as a new wife and author of 15 (so far!) books. She invites readers to check out her website, for more about her and her books, and to friend her on Facebook and Goodreads.

            Thank you for inviting me to visit Mayhem and Magic!
            Beginning a new book, whether a stand-alone or the next in a series, means creating new places, new challenges for characters, and (if the book is a mystery) figuring out who to kill and why.
            When I began planning the latest book in my Mainely Needlepoint series I puzzled over those questions, and then decided to have fun: I’d include things that I liked to read about when I looked for a relaxing read.
            Which is why THREADS OF EVIDENCE, set in the working waterfront town of Haven Harbor, Maine, also includes a large deserted Victorian house where a teenaged girl died in 1970. (Did she drown in the fountain there? Or was she murdered? Maybe her mother, a serious needlepointer, left clues in the panels she stitched and left in the house.) Each chapter begins with an eighteenth or nineteenth quotation about needlework, or the words a young girl stitched on a sampler centuries ago.   
            As a fourth generation antique dealer who loves house sales and auctions and unexplored houses, I left the deserted house furnished. And when a famous Hollywood actress buys the estate, she hires Angie Curtis, who has private investigator experience, and her friend Sarah Byrne, an antique dealer, to appraise everything of value in the house, dump the rest … and organize a major lawn sale. (What an opportunity!)  
            But THREADS OF EVIDENCE is a mystery. Everything is not as it seems. Why would a Hollywood actress buy an estate that people in Haven Harbor assumed would be torn down some day? Why is she so interested in what happened back in 1970? And, then … why did a hummingbird die at that lawn sale?
            Add in her hunky son, the approaching wedding of Angie’s grandmother, and a cast of varied Maine characters, stir them together, give them secrets, and you have THREADS OF EVIDENCE.
            Yes, it’s fiction. (Isn’t it lucky most mysteries are?)
            But if you’d like to know what it’s really like to live 12 months a year on the coast of Maine, marry the guy you’ve loved for only 12,994 days, and write books (15 published since 2001, with 5 more under contract,) then I invite you to enter my world, and read LIVING AND WRITING ON THE COAST OF MAINE. Short, often humorous, essays, move from month to month in Maine, celebrating, dealing with weather, living with an artist in a house built in 1774, enjoying guests, and breathing salt air. I also include a section on the nuts and bolts of writing and publishing …. not “how to,” but “things authors consider.”
            Please join me in Haven Harbor … and then peek in my windows at my life. (Hint: I’ll probably be wearing sweatpants and a flannel shirt and writing my next mystery!)


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

An Interview with Roberta Isleib aka Lucy Burdette

Interview With Roberta Isleib aka Lucy Burdette
By: Pamela James

MM2: Roberta, how many books have you written?
The sixth Key West food critic mystery, Fatal Reservations, (launched on July 7) is book #14!
MM2: Since you write a series. Tell us about the pros and cons of series writing?
I love writing a series, because I can explore characters in depth and continue to be surprised by their layers. It's so much fun to bring back characters from earlier books and learn more about them. I had no idea, for example, that octogenarian Miss Gloria would turn out to be so interesting--and so popular!
MM2: What would you like readers to know about your latest book?
Reviews have been fabulous! Here's one example: "Complete with a clever plot, a cast of familiar and amiable characters, a buffet of food and all the wackiness of Key West, "Fatal Reservations" displays Burdette at peak form and whets the appetite for Hayley's next case."--Jay Stafford, Richmond Times-Dispatch

MM2: Is there something you want to say to our readers?
Often people don't realize the affect they can have on whether their favorite writers and series will continue. More books depend on sales. So if you love a book, write a review, tell your friends, give them as gifts.
MM2: Tell us what you like to do when you have time off?
Read, eat, cook, golf, travel...sounds heavenly!
MM2: Will you share your future writing plans?
KILLER TAKEOUT will be published in April 2016. Here's a little description:

Every year, Key West’s weeklong Mardi Gras–style festival has tourists and locals alike lining up for costumed revelry and delicious eats. Key Zest magazine has assigned Hayley to write a piece on the fest’s grab-and-go food, so she’s planning on hitting up the mobile eateries while checking out the party preparations.

Hayley’s office mate, Danielle, recently elected Queen of Fantasy Fest, is also buzzing between festivities and fundraisers. But when her former royal rival gets taken out, Hayley needs to put down her party hat and her pen and figure out who served up a side of murder—before Danielle gets crowned a killer.

MM2: For fun where is your favorite place to vacation? What is your favorite meal? Your favorite movie or television series?
Key West is really more home for me than vacation, but I love that island dearly. I also love New York City, Cape Cod, and Paris. My favorite food? Macaroni and cheese, fried okra, fresh tomatoes, homemade yellow cake with mocha icing...
I adored Friday Night Lights and was so sad when it ended. Now I follow Connie Britton in Nashville--it's a soap opera, but I love the characters and the music.

MM2: Do you like to reread favorite books? Are you currently reading a book that you would like to share with us?
I rarely reread because there so many books I want to get to. I recently finished THE STORY HOUR by Thrity Umgarter, which is about an Indian immigrant woman and a psychologist. They both have complicated histories which collide in a fascinating way.
MM2: What would your characters tell us about you?
She's stubborn! Addicted to social media! Will drop anything for a snack! Loves her animals and her family! Will not leave us alone...
MM2: Tell us about your writing space? Where do you write?
Oh gosh, I have a cute little office nook with a special keyboard for my tendinitis. But more often than not, I end up writing in bed...
MM2: It's summer, are there some events you are looking forward to attending?
Unfortunately, summer is almost over! I'm looking forward to two dinner parties over Labor Day weekend, a visit from our dear niece with her new baby, two book club meetings (I love talking to book clubs!), and then a short trip to Scotland.
MM2: In closing please tell us how writing has changed your life? How has your life changed your writing?

A few weeks ago, I had lunch and went walking with a dear friend whom I hadn't seen in a while. She remarked how much my life has changed since we first met–back when I was a practicing psychologist and an avid tennis player. And well before writing fiction was even a glimmer in my eye…

And she's right, my life has changed. It is rich with writing friends who console me on the agonies of the business and celebrate the ecstasies. And it's rich with people I’ve never met who read my books and are kind enough to write about their reactions. And rich with my new friends in Key West, both real and imaginary. My neighbor describes this series as a love letter to the island. And she's right, too!


Roberta Isleib writing as Lucy Burdette
Follow Lucy on Twitter @LucyBurdette
Or "Like" her on Facebook

What movies have your interest?

Mostly for me I admit I have watched "Stir Of Echoes one and two,"  then I watched Private Number, Miss Marple Movies, Desk Set, Poirot Movies, I also caught up on other television and Netflix series. Crossing Lines, Ripper Street, River, Home Alone One, Beetle Juice and a few Noir films. One being Kansas City Confidential.

Then as the weekend went on and while I watched football, I colored some pictures.
Wrapped prezzies and of course napped.

Tonight I finished Christmas Shopping for a friend. Now more wrapping of presents. I did have a leftover chilidog so that helped.

I also did some reading and laundry tonight. Put away clean dishes. In the morning, more wrapping, a few dishes, sweeping and vacuum the living room.
My neighbor is in the hospital so I am feeding Miss Kitty, and of course I am thrilled the weather will be nice this week so that I can go over there not all bundled up.

I hope you are enjoying your celebrating season of love, gift giving and enjoying the special excitement this time of year brings to us.

We enjoy each and everyone of you! I can't wait to hear what books have your interest, what movies you are watching, what crafts and funny stories you have to share with us.

I love all the memories this season cast upon us.
Remember we love you all and we will check in as much as we can this week and next.
I know life is hectic but take a little time for yourselves and a good book, or a movies that tickles your funny bone.

Stay Healthy, safe, witty and wise until our next blog post. Enjoy our interviews and book reviews.
For the authors who have spent the years giving us wonderful interviews, blogs and advice thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Without our authors, readers and bloggers we couldn't do this and like each snowflake is different so are our authors and readers.
We enjoy your unique perspective and your wonderful books.
Our Friday magical blogs are beautiful and we hope to bring you more of them.
Lastly we have openings for 2016 and if you want us to book you in for an interview, review or if you wish to post a blog or three let us know we will work with you.

Now I am off to take a book to bed!

Friday, December 4, 2015


This is the first book in a new series.
BLACK CAT CROSSING By Kay Finch ( A Bad Luck Cat mystery) series.
Berkley Prime Crime Paperback Mystery
ISBN: 978-0-425-27524-5

Sabrina Tate has moved back to Lavender Texas, she is writing her first novel, helping her Aunt Rowe with her vacation resort business. She is staying one of the cabins. She loves animals an when people blame their bad luck on a black cat Sabrina has to wonder why everyone blames their misery on a poor defenseless cat.
She befriends the black cat but not before the cat leads Sabrina to a dead body. Actually the body when he was alive was one Bobby Joe Flowers and her Aunt Rowe's cousin. It was no secret that everyone who ever ran across Bobby Joe was left worse off than before they met him.
It was also no secret that Bobby Joe and Aunt Rowe had a very bad confrontation. Now he's dead and Sabrina has to make sure she saves the life of a black cat she has named Hitchcock, she needs to find out who killed Bobby Joe and to top it all off an agent is in town. This means that Tyanne Sabrina's best friend had arranged for Sabrina to meet the agent. This would happen very soon which meant that she had to complete the mystery.
A lot of bad luck befalls Aunt Rowe and Thomas the groundskeeper has vowed to catch the black cat.
Sabrina isn't going to let her Aunt Rowe be charged with murder, she isn't going to allow anyone to catch her pet and she isn't going to get a lot of sleep as she tries to figure out her fictional plot, the real life whodunit and stay on top of the resort.
Could life become any more complicated why yes it can and it does not to mention a very handsome man named Luke Griffith and few girlfriends Bobby Joe never mentioned, least of all strangers have come to town.
BLACK CAT CROSSING by Kay Finch is a can't put down first mystery. My rating is for this one is ten out of ten.
It's the feline of all mysteries.
Pamela James

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

Mayhem and Magic, For Real

November was not a month of unmixed blessings. In fact, something truly horrible happened during November, so I’ll get to that first.

No secret I rescue dachshunds. About four years ago I received a bonded pair from a puppy mill in Big Spring, Texas. Bella and Bam-Bam had spent their first couple of years in concrete crates and never learned how to interact with people or, really, be dogs. To this day Bam-Bam is terrified of men, and Bella was uber-shy around strangers. I realized after I’d fostered them for a while that they weren’t suitable candidates for adoption, so I kept them, and we loved each other. They both were fine with me, even though they were still unable to relate to strangers.

Well, on Friday the 13th, Jazzy and Cookie, who grew up on the streets and have absolutely no self-esteem issues, ganged up on Bella. I rushed her to the vet, where she was stitched up. When I picked her up on Saturday, she seemed to be doing well, but on Sunday evening Bella had a stroke or a seizure, and she died early Monday morning. My heart is still broken. My neighbor and fellow writer, Ann Wilmer-Lasky, wrote a Haiku for Bella, and here’s a picture of Bella taken by her husband Barry:

Treasured Friend: A Haiku
Innocence, truly,
Has no protection against
Pack mentality.

Okay, that’s the ugly stuff. My heart will probably never get over aching for Bella. I feel kind of like a murderer, in fact. Gah.

On to nicer things. Several people won copies of the audio edition of HUNGRY SPIRITS, narrated by Denice Stradling (who is now working away on GENTEEL SPIRITS, bless her). I’ll be getting in touch with each of the winners individually.

I also got the cover art for Daisy Gumm Majesty’s next adventure, BRUISED SPIRITS. I love it:

Also, Darlene Allen has finished narrating THANKSGIVING ANGELS for audio, so it will be available in December (I think). I’ll be giving away audio copies at the end of the month in my contest. If it’s somehow or other not available in December, I’ll give away copies in January.

And December is the month UNSETTLED SPIRITS, Daisy Gumm Majesty’s latest adventure, will be released! I’ll be giving away either e-copies or paper copies of UNSETTLED SPIRITS in my December contest.

Therefore, if you’d like to enter my December contest, for which Bam-Bam (who is coping much better with the loss of Bella than I am) will choose wieners at the end of the month, please send me your name and home address (if you want a paper copy of UNSETTLED SPIRITS) to

If you’d like to visit my woefully out-of-date web site, the URL is and if you’re interested in being Facebook friends, please visit


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

An Interview with Greg Herren

MM: Greg, I went to your website. I loved that you stated the real reason you became an author was because you kept getting fired from other jobs. I had to laugh and I applaud you for your honesty.

My question: Are there any books that you have written that didn't make the cut?

GREG: I've been very lucky in that every book I've ever tried to have published have been. There's a couple of unfinished ones I started, though, that are in the files that I got stuck on and hope to get back to someday. My first three young adult novels--Sorceress, Sleeping Angel,
Sara--were originally written in the early 1990's, and revised/edited and finally published from 2010-2012. I may stop writing something, but I will always go back to it.

MM: No day is probably typical but take us thru your typical writing day?

GREG: I try to get up every day around 6 (sometimes not till 7, as I keep hitting snooze...snooze buttons are evil) and write before I go to the office, and then I try to do some more every night when I get home. I generally shoot for 3000 words a day when I am working on a book. On the weekends, I usually will get up, answer emails, write my blog, and then edit what I've written during the week while I'm drinking coffee before getting started on new pages. Some days are easier than others, but there's nothing like the absolute terror of the looming deadline to get me to write.

MM: Happy Birthday as I saw on Facebook today is your birthday. Do you have a birthday wish that hasn't been granted?

GREG: I've been very blessed in my life to have all of my dreams come true. I live in a city I love with the man I love doing the work I love. Everything else is just gravy, really.

MM: Where is your favorite place to write?

GREG: I have a work space in my kitchen. I turned the breakfast nook into my workspace. My desk faces  three enormous windows. It's wonderful, and I do most of my work there. I do a lot of my thinking and writing in my head while I'm in the car, which is kind of scary, really--my mind really gets creative while I'm on the highway.

MM: Tell us about your latest book? Also tell us about all the genres you write?

GREG: The Orion Mask is an homage to the romantic suspense writers I grew up reading--Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, etc. I've always wanted to write one of those book from a gay male point of view, and my publisher--I'm very blessed that my publisher will pretty much green light anything I want to write--said to go for it. I love those books where a young protagonist comes to the big spooky mansion full of secrets.

As for genres, I started out writing private eye novels--I've written two different series with gay private eyes in New Orleans. The Chanse MacLeod series--Murder in the Arts District was the most recent--was more hardboiled and darker. The Scotty Bradley series--Baton Rouge Bingo the most recent title--is more light and funny. I've
also written a lot of gay erotica under my pseudonym Todd Gregory, and have also written some mainstream horror/suspense under pseudonyms. I also write y/a suspense novels--some of them have supernatural elements--which I really enjoy doing. Horror is a genre I love, but I'm not very confident about writing it as I am writing crime novels. I read a lot, and in pretty much every genre. I would love to write a cozy series, a couple of noir stand-alones....I'd even like to try writing some chick lit, to be honest! Personally, I think the hardest genre, at least for me, to write is romance. I can only make it work in the context of a suspense novel.

MM: What has life taught you about writing?

GREG: Life is material. Everything is material, and everything is fair game when you're a writer. Your experiences affect who you are, and they also affect your writing. Writing can also help you deal with the worst experiences....writing about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding of New Orleans was incredibly cathartic for me, as one example. They go hand in hand, I think--my experiences have affected my writing, and my writing has helped me to deal with things that have happened in my life.

MM: If you could sit down with five authors and discuss your adventures. What would be a couple of your favorite adventures?
What author would you invite? What would you want to know from the group of authors?

I used to work for an airline, and I love telling stories about those days. I also have stories from when I was more of a party boy....hmmm, who would i like to invite? I am very lucky in that I have lots of friends who are also writers, and I frequently get to have meals with them...I guess if I had to choose writers I didn't know I would go with Stephen King, Mary Higgins Clark, Michael Connelly, Charlaine Harris, and Jennifer Weiner. I've met them all, but don't really know them. If I had to choose writers I do know, I'd pick Laura Lippman, Megan Abbott, Alison Gaylin, Alex Marwood, and Rebecca Chance. I love listening to writers I admire talk about writing or books in general. You can always learn by listening...and as I said, I am very blessed to be friends with a lot of writers whose work I admire. Donna Andrews, Elaine Viets, PJ Parrish, Ace Atkins, Alafair Burke, Wendy Corsi Staub,  Clare O'Donohue...the list goes on and on.

MM: What advice do you have for beginning authors?

GREG: Read everything you can get your hands on, especially in the genre you want to write in. Go to writers' conferences, fan conferences--anywhere you get to hear writers talk about writing and books. I find writers' conferences to be especially inspiring. I always come away from them ready to get back to work and with a million ideas for stories and books. If the Mystery Writers of America-University comes to your area, by all means, GO. It's an incredibly rich experience.

MM: Tell us your favorite quote?

Would it be incredibly narcissistic to quote one of my own characters? Scotty Bradley's motto is "Life never gives you anything you can't handle. It's how you handle it that matters." I try to live my life by that.

MM: How do you spend your spare time? Tell us some of your favorite things about New Orleans, be our tour guide?

GREG: Now that I'm getting older, I'm more of a homebody. I like to stay home and watch great television series, or read. As for New Orleans, I love everything about New Orleans, even the things that are frustrating. There's so much to do here, so much culture, so much absolute favorite thing is going to the Carnival parades. I live about a half-block from the St. Charles Parade Route, so all I have to do is walk to the corner. It's a wonderful time, it's a wonderful experience to just hang out with your neighbors and watch the marching bands and catch throws from the floats.

MM: Okay for some fun questions. What is your favorite meal? Your favorite dessert, song, movies and places to travel?

GREG: My favorite meal isn't all that interesting--I love to barbecue hamburgers and could eat that every day! I'm not a big dessert person, but I can always have a slice of cheesecake. Lately I've been addicted to cheese puffs, I don't know why, but I crave them every day. I don't have a favorite song, but I can always listen to Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac without getting tired of them. I love the old black-and-white noir movies, like Mildred Pierce, Double Indemnity, In a Lonely Place, etc. My absolute favorite place to travel is Italy. My partner and I went there last year for eight days, and fell absolutely in love with it. We went to Pisa, Tuscany, Florence and Venice. My dream now is to live there someday.

MM: What would you like to say to your readers?

GREG: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making it possible for me to do what I dreamed of my entire life, and what I really and truly love.

MM: What would some of your characters tell us about you?

GREG: Hopefully good things! Probably that I leave a lot of who they are out? It always seems like I am cutting things out to make the story move faster and more smoothly.

MM: Last question in 2016 what are you looking forward to writing, to reading and is there some new adventure you might delve into or put in one of your books?

I have an idea for a y/a noir about a teenaged gay male figure skater that I am really excited about writing, and I am thinking about starting a new series, which is always exciting.  I am currently writing a y/a, and after that I am scheduled to write another Scotty Bradley mystery, Garden District Gothic, and then I'm contracted to write another Todd Gregory novel. I also have a great idea for two gay noir novels--not for the young adult market--that I am itching to get to. I also have an idea for a suspense thriller that I think has a lot of potential.

This year I am judging a book award, so most of my reading time is spent reading for that--but I've had some time to read for pleasure. I am currently reading Donna Andrews' incredible Meg Langslow mystery series; I can't recommend it highly enough. My TBR pile is enormous, and continues to grow exponentially every day, but I am really looking forward to Stephen King's new collection of short stories, the new Alex Marwood novel, I have an advance reader's copy of the new Michael Koryta, who is one of my favorite writers, and there's going to be new books from Alison Gaylin, Laura Lippman, and Megan Abbott in the new year, which is very exciting. Rebecca Chance named a character after me in her new book, Mile High, and I absolutely love her books! Alafair Burke never disappoints, either.

I really want to go back to Italy, and spend some more time there doing some research. I have an idea for a novel set there, and I also have an idea for a short story set in Venice. It's a remarkable, wonderful place...I cannot wait to get back there.

Review: Blotto, Twinks and the Intimate Review by Simon Brett

Blotto and his friend go see  Light and Frothy;   a new popular show and his friend falls for the star of the show.  After his friend is k...