Saturday Miscellany – 12/9/17

Odds ‘n ends over the week about books and reading that caught my eye. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:

    This Week’s New Releases I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:

  • A Flame in the Dark by Faith Hunter — the third installment of the Nell Ingram series is just great. I had a lot to say about it recently.
  • The Defense by Steve Cavanagh — Cavanagh’s debut novel about a con man turned lawyer is out in paperback here in the States — a great series to jump on at a decent price.

Lastly, I’d like to say hi and welcome to Anushka for following the blog this week.


Opening Lines – Dead Beat

We all know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover (yet, publishing companies spend big bucks on cover design/art). But, the opening sentence(s)/paragraph(s) are fair game. So, when I stumble on a good opening (or remember one and pull it off the shelves), I’ll throw it up here. Dare you not to read the rest of the book.

On the whole, we’re a murderous race.

According to Genesis, it took as few as four people to make the planet too crowded to stand, and the first murder was a fratricide. Genesis says that in a fit of jealous rage, the very first child born to mortal parents, Cain, snapped and popped the first metaphorical cap in another human being. The attack was a bloody, brutal, violent, reprehensible killing. Cain’s brother Abel probably never saw it coming.

As I opened the door to my apartment, I was filled with a sense of empathic sympathy and intuitive understanding.

For freaking Cain.

from Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

GUEST POST (and a little more): My Top Five Writing Tips for New Authors by Anita Dickason

Anita DickasonRetired Dallas police officer turned detective novelist, Anita Dickason, is sharing the good news about her debut detective novel series, featuring strong female lead characters.

To kick things off we’re highlighting Sentinels of the Night, which puts FBI Tracking Agent Cat Morgan on the trail of a brutal serial killer.

Cat teams up with town police chief Kevin Hunter to accomplish one crucial goal: catching the sadistic killer before he strikes again. Although Cat and Kevin soon recognize that the romantic tension between them is undeniable, both hard-working, dedicated professionals know that catching the killer comes before anything else. Cat and Kevin must set aside their personal feelings to put a final end to the killer’s reign of terror.
Sentinels of the Night
This week, Dickason is showing up around the Book Blogosphere with some guest posts. We’re happy to have her drop by this little patch of cyberspace with these writing tips and a giveaway. Click here to enter.

My Top Five Writing Tips for New Authors

I came across a website that ran a short story contest. The theme was based on a picture posted
on the site and was limited to 500 words. The image caught my attention. A tattered and broken
doll stood in a barren, run-down old room with spider webs and torn and stained wallpaper. I
later learned the doll did exist and was used in haunted houses. While it was designed to be eerie,
there was also a sense of tragedy.

I thought what the heck, its only 500 words. I wrote my first fictional story titled Not Dead, Not
Dead. To my utter amazement, I won third place. I was hooked. I now have two published
books, Sentinels of the Night, and Going Gone!, and am working on a third.

I have learned a lot about the craft of writing along the way and would offer these suggestions.

1) Write! Now that seems like a simplistic answer to a complicated question: how do I start?
However, it is so true. I enjoy talking to writing groups about writing and publishing.
Someone will always ask this question. Most everyone who has a yen to write has ideas
rolling in their head. Start putting them down on paper, just start writing.

2) Start with the challenge of a short story. It is a fun way to learn the dynamics of writing.
When limited to 500 or 1000 words, you cannot ramble. Once the story is complete,
submit it to a short story contest or magazine.

3) Don’t worry about perfection in the first draft. Get the ideas and flow of the plot down.
Trying to get a paragraph or dialogue 100% perfect will only slow down the creativity.
Write, get it all down, then go back and edit.

4) Keep a notepad by the keyboard. It helps to keep track of character names, dates, times
and other pesky details that can get lost. I use multiple changes in POV (point of view) as
I shift between agents and locations. The technique can get complicated, and I use the
notepad to keep track of who knew what and when.

5) Edit. There are software programs that can be invaluable. I use Grammarly and
ProWriting Aid. Each has several great features to catch not only errors in punctuation
but also sentence structure, overused words, etc.

For more information on Sentinels of the Night and the second Tracker novel, Going Gone!,
please see my website or the book trailers.
Sentinels of the Night:
Going Gone!:

Saturday Miscellany – 12/2/17

Running a bit late today . . . okay very late today. Mrs. Irresponsible Reader had me far away from my keyboard and wifi signal for most of the day. Still, got a couple of things I want to encourage you to read . . . So here are the odds ‘n ends over the week about books and reading that caught my eye. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:

    This Week’s New Releases I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:

  • The Squirrel on the Train by Kevin Hearne — It’s the second of Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries! Which I liked a lot — listened to most of the audiobook today, too — which was also very entertaining — the Force is strong with Luke Daniels.
  • Briefly Maiden by Jacqueline Chadwick — the follow-up to this year’s fantastic In the Still. It’s dark, twisted, and so much fun while telling a tragic and horrifying story. I checked in on that Thursday — sooo good. I’ll expand on that in a couple of days.

Lastly, I’d like to say hi and welcome to annebonnybookreviews, thehuntandpeckblog, Richard Klu, and The Cable Denning Fan Club for following the blog this week.

November 2017 Report

I had a pretty good month, it seems. I gave out a whole lot of 4 Stars — which means I read/talked about a whole lot of good books. Good way to spend the penultimate month of 2017.

Here’s what happened here in November.

Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

Communication Failure The Squirrel on the Train Moshe Comes to Visit
4 Stars 4 Stars 2 1/2 Stars
Righteous Meddling Kids The Freedom Broker
4 Stars 3 Stars 3.5 Stars
Paradox Bound The Rat Tunnels of Isfahan Dead Souls
4 Stars 3 Stars 4 1/2 Stars
The Hidden Face Breaking Bad 101 Artemis
4 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars
Faith. Hope. Love. Shadow of Calvary Blood Rites (Audiobook)
4 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars
Deep Blue Trouble All Hands on Pet! Suspect (Audiobook)
4 Stars 3 Stars 5 Stars
Curse of the Coloring Book The Midnight Line A Serpent's Tooth (Audiobook)
3 Stars 4 Stars 3.5 Stars
Red Dog Bedlam      
4 Stars 4 Stars      

Still Reading:

A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized A Plague of Giants Between Wittenberg and Geneva
Talking to the Dead (Audiobook) Briefly Maiden      

Reviews Posted:

How was your month?

In Medias Res: Briefly Maiden by Jacqueline Chadwick

as the title implies, I’m in the middle of this book, so this is not a review, just some thoughts mid-way through.


Briefly Maiden
Briefly Maiden

by Jacqueline Chadwick

Ali Dalglish, the best criminal profiler this side of Will Graham or Tony Hill, with a Tarantino twist is back. She’s not an amateur like she was in In the Still, and has a couple of more cases under her belt.

Then she’s called in to help with what seems like a lay-up of a case. Which is the biggest signal to a reader that this will be horrible — and boy howdy, this is. I’m at 49% and this is already one of the darkest, most twisted books I’ve ever read. And somehow, don’t ask me how, Chadwick has me loving this — I’m not getting a kick out of the depravity, mind you — but Ali and her interaction with her team and everyone else, I just can’t get enough of. But man . . . this book will eradicate any lingering suspicions you might have had about the reality and force of human depravity.

Actually, that reminds me: I could use a lot more of Marlene (Ali’s friend/assistant/Watson-y figure).

At this point, I’m sort of rooting for the killer — at least who Chadwick is making us think is the killer. The victims/intended victims thus far could be the primary antagonists in a book from just about every other crime series. I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out one of the mysteries — I’m fully prepared to be proven wrong, though.

Anyway, I’ll finish this tomorrow, so you can expect to see a full post early next week. But you should really read this book — and its predecessor, if you haven’t yet. I practically guarantee that you’ll love it.

Saturday Miscellany – 11/25/17

Odds ‘n ends over the week about books and reading that caught my eye. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:

    (typically slow for a holiday week here, so . . . )This Week’s New Release That I’m Excited About:

  • The Hidden Face by S. C. Flynn is scheduled to release today, so that counts, right? I think there’s a strong chance you can grab it for pretty cheap, too. A good book at a good price. Jump on it. In case you missed what I said about it yesterday, just click here.

Lastly, I’d like to say hi and welcome to Mr and Mrs NW, abokrose and LizScanlon for following the blog this week.