Rainy November

Well, it's rainy today, anyway. And it's supposed to rain the next couple of days. Sigh.

We had a bit of excitement on Saturday night. About 10:53pm, an earthquake hit an area of Oklahoma centered near Sparks, with an intensity level of 5.6, the highest on record for Oklahoma. By the time it got to us, the intensity level was somewhere around 3, which was enough to make many people sit up and take notice. Most of the earthquakes that we get are so tiny that either we don't feel them, or the vibrations are so slight that we're not certain we really felt it. This one occurred during a pretty strong series of wind gusts, and many of us locally thought it was just the wind shaking things, until it became plain that it wasn't. There was a bottle of water on my dresser, and the water inside picked up the vibration of the ground. It was interesting and a little unnerving to watch.

Yeah, I know, this was child's play compared to the ones California gets, but this isn't California. As someone in Oklahoma stated, we get tornadoes. We don't get earthquakes. The next morning, whenever two people met, the likely first question was, "Did you feel it?" I know I heard it a lot.

The Muse Online Writers Conference went well, at least my part of it. It was the first year I ran the suspense workshop solo. There was a bit of a mix-up about participants being reminded about the conference's starting date this year, so there weren't a lot of people participating, but those who did were there to learn, and it made working with them a pleasure. Hopefully I'll be a bit better prepared next year.

Reading...erm, yes, I have done some. I'm a bit blank on things right now, and will have to refresh my memory on what all I read since last time. That will have to be in another post.


Car Wrecks, BB&BBQ, and the Muse Conference

The last couple of weeks have been busy. We had about $2000 in maintenance work done on the main family car somewhere around a month ago, and just over two weeks later, a young man in a pick-up truck pulled out in front of us at an intersection and there was a collision. Granted, he couldn't see us, because another SUV blocked us from sight until it was far too late. I'm thinking it was his first major collision. You don't have that deer in the headlights look when you've been in a wreck before--you're too busy stepping on the gas pedal trying to get out of the way of oncoming traffic.

The young man had no insurance, something that just astounded my father, who came out to pick us up because our car was undrivable after the wreck. 'How could he get his car licensed without insurance?' he wondered. Insurance companies call such people 'taggers', because they buy insurance just so they can get the tags on their car, then cancel the policy. The police officer who handled the report of the wreck had a nice stack of tickets for him when all was said and done. Just the ticket for failure to have insurance is $500, according to our insurance agency. Fortunately, we keep comprehensive coverage on the family car, and our insurance company has been wonderful through the whole process.

There's an unmistakable roar of Fall in the air. It's Bikes, Blues, and Barbecue week. For the uninitiated, it's rapidly becoming one of the bigger biker rallies in the US. I've heard the number 400,000 tossed around in the attendance area. Lots of free concerts, some barbecue competitions, a few not-so-free concerts. Motorcycles everywhere. Next week's going to seem very, very quiet after this one.

I'll be happy to have that peace and quiet, as next week is the Muse Online Writers Conference, an entirely online conference where instructors and students from around the world can gather at times convenient to them. The workshop 'rooms' are open 24/7, and assignments can be posted whenever, and graded when the teacher is up and ready to work on them. I'll be teaching our Suspense workshop again this year, though I will be doing it solo, because my workshop partner is unable to attend this year. Hopefully everyone will be patient with me.

Gigi Ann of Ann's Reading Corner has posted her thoughts on Reef Runner. Thank you, ma'am!

So far this fall, the weather's been pretty nice. I guess we're getting a break before winter hits us. Definitely not complaining.

Recent reads--

A Pale Horse
A Matter of Justice
both by Charles Todd

These books have a darkness to them that comes from the protagonist's state of mind. A shell-shocked WWI veteran, he has recovered enough to function in his job as a Scotland Yard detective, but never knows when it will catch him at a bad moment during an investigation. Because of that, each book carries a certain level of depression with them, but are worth reading if you space them out with other books in between.

Billy Boyle by James R. Benn

This one was read in a listserv I'm on, but it wasn't until recently I had the chance to read it. Billy Boyle is a newly-minted detective on the Boston police force, just at the beginning of the US's entry to the Second World War. Family connections bring him to the attention of a distant uncle, General Eisenhower, who snaps him up fresh out of Officer Candidate School and has him shipped to London to serve as his own personal investigator. I had a little trouble connecting with the character right at first, but as both author and character grew comfortable with their surroundings, Billy became someone whose adventures I'm interested in following.

On the Nook:

The Black Mountain, by Rex Stout.

The death of Nero Wolfe's friend sets in motion events that not only see him leave the Brownstone, but send him to his birthplace in Montenegro (then part of Yugoslavia) to find the killer. Right-hand man Archie Goodwin spends most of the book waiting for Wolfe to translate for him, since he doesn't speak Serbo-Croatian.

Currently reading:

On the Nook:

Plot It Yourself, by Rex Stout.

Am enjoying this, not only for the usual antics, but because of the fact that Wolfe's clients in this one are authors and publishers.

Up next:

Heat Rises, by 'Richard Castle'.

Book 3 of the series purportedly being written by the character Richard Castle from the TV series 'Castle'. These things are fun. Not outstanding literature, but a neat way of making viewers of the series feel 'connected' to the characters and as if they're participants in a way.

Enough for now. I need to do some prep work for the conference.

'til later~~~


Comment moderation

My apologies, but I've put the blog on comment moderation. I don't have the time and energy to fend off a lot of comment spam, and I certainly didn't start this blog to give folks a place to advertise products.

Legitimate comments will be approved as I get the notifications.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.


Uncertain weather

This has been one interesting year, weather-wise. I'm sure anyone who's had access to either a TV or the internet knows exactly what I mean by that.

We went from summer to fall overnight, with the passage of one cold front. Days with highs in the nineties went to days in the seventies, and nights in the lower seventies went to nights in the forties. It's great not to roast every day, but now I'm cold, lol! I got adjusted to the hot temperatures. We had that nice rain a couple of weeks back, which has combined with the cooler temperatures to encourage vegetation to make up for lost time in a desperate attempt to reproduce before winter. My husband started suffering from allergies a couple of weeks ago. It really started hitting me just during this past week. At first I couldn't figure out what was going on, but then I noticed things flowering. The grass greened up after the rain, but we haven't had much more than morning dew for the past couple of weeks, so things are still abnormally dry. As far as I know, we're not under a burn ban, but there are enough dead leaves on the ground from the trees trying to save themselves during the heat of summer that a carelessly discarded cigarette or match could cause a disaster.

Gigi Ann of Ann's Reading Corner has posted her thoughts about Blood Money and Rio Star. Thank you very much, ma'am!

The new novel is coming along. I have a bit more research to do on it.

As far as reading goes:

I've just finished A Duty to the Dead, by Charles Todd. The first of the Bess Crawford mysteries, set during WWI.

Murder in Belleville, by Cara Black. Second in the Aimee Leduc series.

Natural Environments of Arizona. This is a textbook, bought for story research. It's about as dry as the title suggests.

Insider's Arizona Guidebook. An Arizona Highways book. Also bought for research. The part of the state that I'm interested in got a small section, but the pictures are gorgeous.

Arizona: A Cavalcade of History, by Marshall Trimble. Actually, I haven't read this yet, but it's on the list, as it's research material.

The Nature of Arizona. A guidebook of plants, animals, and trees in Arizona. Research.

The Mountains Know Arizona. An Arizona Highways book. Expected a trade-paperback type thing, and got an fairly good-sized hardback, with big, beautiful pictures. Definitely useful. Research.

The Mapping of Love and Death, by Jacqueline Winspear. Maisie Dobbs series.

Waiting on my Nook are:

Still Life, by Louise Penny. First in series.

The Black Dove, by Steve Hockensmith. Third in the Holmes on the Range series.

Plot It Yourself
Three Men Out
The Black Mountain
Too Many Women
--All by Rex Stout. Five Nero Wolfe books I haven't read yet.

Waiting in paper is: A Pale Horse, by Charles Todd. Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery.

Nearly a third of the way through September already. The older I get, the more I understand what the Bible means when it says that a thousand years is as a day to God.

More to come as things warrant...



Revenge of Summer, parts One and Two

You may have notice that I haven't said much for the last couple of months. (Well, I know someone has--thanks, Wayne, for asking!)

You may also know that I don't have air conditioning (just look back through my posts from previous summers. You'll find it). If you also know that the midsection of the US has been getting baked in a pressure cooker of a weather system for the past couple of months, you can probably guess what I've been doing. Computer time has been limited in order to protect my computer from overheating on those long and intensely hot days we've had, starting back in June and getting hotter and more intense as the summer progressed. Just right now, we're getting a break because the high pressure ridge that was holding everything in place fell apart and set some rain and cooler weather in, but the weather service indicates that the ridge is rebuilding, so we'll likely be heading right back into heat and drought in fairly short order. Hopefully nothing as intense as it's been. We came one degree short of equaling our all time record high of 110 degrees, and have had 16 days of 100 degree or higher temperatures this year, which is very unusual for us.

I'm not looking forward to that 'part two' of the summer attack. I was really hoping our end of the summer heat was just coming early this year.

Got some reading done, though:

Gamble (otherwise known as Dick Francis' Gamble) by Felix Francis.
I think the family business is in good hands. Felix is already a good writer. There's a lot about this that's familiar, in a good way. I look forward to the next one from him.

An Impartial Witness, by Charles Todd
The first out of this series I've read. World War I nurse helping to solve the murder of a woman who was the wife of one of her patients. This era is getting a lot of play lately, with Jacquiline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs books set in the aftermath of the war, and Todd's other series centered around a man who suffers from the after-effects of battle and traumatic injuries in his life as a police detective.

Swan for the Money, by Donna Andrews
Came in on this series with Cockatiels at Seven. It's okay. Will probably pick up more.

Dare to Die, by Carolyn Hart. One of her Death on Demand books. These later ones are easier for me to read, mainly because the earlier ones felt too much like every police official in the Carolinas was presented at one time or another as a rabid idiot who was so set on convicting an innocent person that only our intrepid heroine could keep an unwilling law and order moving in the right direction. Yes, this was probably typical of mysteries at the time they were written, and yes, it bothers me in other books of the era. I did guess what it was that set Emma's memory of the attack off, and had a fair idea whodunit. I enjoyed her Henrie O series as well, and hope she'll continue writing those. Not at all interested in the ghost series she's writing now.

Next up is Dead in Vineyard Sand, by Philip Craig, and then probably Bury Your Dead, by Louise Penny. Sometime soon, possibly Absolute Zero Cool, by Declan Burke, which I'll have to order from overseas, I think.

Thunder and rain approach as I type this. Gotta enjoy it while it's here.

Mundania's having a Sale!

Mundania Press is celebrating its ninth year in business with a sale. All books on their website are 29% off for the month of August.

Yes, that's all books, whether in trade paperback or in ebook format.

If you're thinking about picking up copies of the Patty O'Donnell series as gifts, or if you're missing one and would like to get it at a discount, you can find them HERE. Sale prices are only available on the Mundania website.


If you like humorous crime fiction with a definite noir edge...

Just received word from Declan Burke, one of the rising young stars of Irish crime fiction, that his new book, Absolute Zero Cool, is coming very soon...

Jacket Copy:


by Declan Burke

“A genuinely original take on noir, inventive and funny. Imagine, if you can, a cross between Flann O’Brien and Raymond Chandler.” – John Banville, author of THE SEA

Who in their right mind would want to blow up a hospital?

“Close it down, blow it up – what’s the difference?”

Billy Karlsson needs to get real. Literally. A hospital porter with a sideline in euthanasia, Billy is a character trapped in the purgatory of an abandoned novel. Deranged by logic, driven beyond sanity, Billy makes his final stand: if killing old people won’t cut the mustard, the whole hospital will have to go up in flames.

Only his creator can stop him now, the author who abandoned Billy to his half-life limbo, in which Billy schemes to do whatever it takes to get himself published, or be damned . . .

“ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is unlike anything else you’ll read this year … Laugh-out-loud funny … This is writing at its dazzling, cleverest zenith. Think John Fowles, via Paul Auster and Rolling Stone … a feat of extraordinary alchemy.” – Ken Bruen, author of AMERICAN SKIN

Advance Praise for ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL:

“Stop waiting for Godot – he’s here. Declan Burke takes the existential dilemma of characters writing themselves and turns it on its ear, and then some. He gives it body and soul … an Irish soul.” - Reed Farrel Coleman, author of EMPTY EVER AFTER

“Declan Burke has broken the mould with ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL, which is actually very cool indeed. Funny, inventive and hugely entertaining crime fiction - I guarantee you’ll love it.” - Melissa Hill, author of SOMETHING FROM TIFFANY’S

“If you want to find something new and challenging, comic crime fiction is now the place to go … Declan Burke [is] at the vanguard of a new wave of young writers kicking against the clich├ęs and producing ambitious, challenging, genre-bending works.” - Colin Bateman, author of NINE INCHES

“ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL is a surreal rollercoaster of a read, full of the blackest humour, and yet poignant. An outrageously funny novel ... The joy is in the writing itself, all sparky dialogue and wry observation, so smooth that when it cuts, it’s like finding razor blades in honey.” - Deborah Lawrenson, author of THE LANTERN

“Burke has written a deep, lyrical and moving crime novel … an intoxicating and exciting novel of which the master himself, Flann O’Brien, would be proud.” - Adrian McKinty, author of FIFTY GRAND

Absolute Zero Cool gets its official launch on August 10th at the Gutter Bookshop, Temple Bar, Dublin. If you're in that area, I'm sure he'd appreciate it if you dropped in.

You should be able to find the book here once it's available, or of course, you can find it on Amazon.co.uk.

In the meantime, you can find Down These Green Streets, a collection of crime fiction short stories by Irish crime writers and edited by Declan Burke, at the link above.


Website update

First off, I've noticed an uptick in people websearching "Pepper Smith", so greetings to everyone who's just wandered in, and unless you're looking for the Pepper Smith who is a mystery writer, you've wandered in to the wrong place. A web search shows she's just been in the news again, but I don't have links to give you. There's a link in the sidebar to a previous post, where you can find the Glamour Magazine article from January about her.

Now, if you are here about the Pepper Smith who's a mystery writer, I've just done a minor update on my website, adding in some new reviews for Rio Star and Reef Runner, and a couple of links to interviews. Still need to get the character information written up and posted, but I suspect that's going to have to wait until the heat of summer breaks. We've been having a series of 99-100 degree days, which means I don't get a lot done in the way of thinking, unless it's trying to figure out how to angle the fan so it does a better job cooling. Today we have cloud cover and rain, and temps in the lower 80s. Much better, but temporary. We'll be back into the hot stuff over the next few days. Gah! It's only July 13th. We still have to get through August. Fort Smith set a record last month, 30 days at 90 degrees or above for the high. Since June only has 30 days, you can tell the summer started out hot. We're usually a bit cooler than Fort Smith, but it's been hotter than usual for longer than usual this year, and it's not going to get better until around the end of August. If then.

If you've happened to notice, Amazon for some strange reason has decided to list the Kindle version of Blood Money as gay/lesbian fiction. I don't know why, and neither does my publisher, as the book is definitely not gay/lesbian fiction. My publisher is working on getting it properly listed as mystery/suspense, but there's no telling when Amazon will make the change. In the meantime, if you bought a copy thinking it was gay/lesbian fiction, there's nothing I can do except hope that you enjoyed it anyway. The listing was not our doing.

Recent reads:

On the Nook:

On the Wrong Track, by Steve Hockensmith. Fun series, protagonists playing Holmes and Watson in the Old West. Second in series.

A Lesson in Secrets, by Jacqueline Winspear. Maisie Dobbs works with the Special Branch in 1932 Britain.

On Paper:

The Girl in the Nile, by Michael Pearce. #5(?) in the Mamur Zapt series. The Mamur Zapt is the head of the Secret Police in Egypt in the early 1900s. Welshman Captain Gareth Owen holds the post. Usually the Secret Police are the bad guys. Not in this series. Fun reads, not overly complicated writing. Interesting insights into turn of the last century Egypt.

Murder in the Marais, by Cara Black. First in the Aimee Leduc series. Had some problems believing the leader of the neo-Nazi group, but otherwise enjoyed the read.

Did not finish The Stabbing in the Stables, by Simon Brett. Second one of this series that I've tried. Just did not mesh with the protagonists, and figured out who did the killing way early in the book, although I didn't know why the killing happened until I cheated and read the ending. I think this series is not for me.

Currently reading:

On the Nook:

Street of the Five Moons, by Elizabeth Peters. #2 Vicky Bliss. Enjoyed these books when I was younger, still enjoy them now.

On paper: Don't know yet.


The "Where Has June Gone?" post

I would complain about the heat and humidity, but it's only June. I suspect July and August are going to be whoppers in the heat and humidity department. However, the Southern Sauna season is well and truly underway. You don't even need a club membership. Just pull up a chair on your front porch and don't forget the towel and the ice tea. You're gonna need them.

Recent reads:

A Question of Belief, by Donna Leon

The Wings of the Sphinx and The Track of Sand, both by Andrea Camilleri. There's a new Camilleri due out this fall, if I'm remembering correctly.

On the Nook:

Borrower of the Night, by Elizabeth Peters

Muletrain to Maggody, by Joan Hess

Apple Turnover Murder, by Joanne Fluke. I did figure out who the murderer was in this one. Unfortunately, I figured it out before there was actually a murder. Sigh.

Up next on the Nook:

A Lesson In Secrets, by Jacqueline Winspear, with her heroine Maise Dobbs.

Up next in paper:

I haven't decided yet. Depends, but it may be one of Michael Pearce's Mamur Zapt mysteries, set in Egypt in the early 1900s. Also looking forward to the new Felix Francis book, which is supposed to be out in July.

I'll be honest--nothing much of general interest has gone on this month. I went to Artfest on the main square in Bentonville on the 3rd, along with the owner of Nightbird Books and an author who writes and illustrates his own graphic novels, as representatives of the 'Literary Arts', where, between us, we sold six books during a very hot four hours under a tent. Turns out that when the organizers of the event invited us, they neglected to mention most of the booths had exhibits aimed at children. Nightbird Books is planning on going back again, but next time it will be with a display of children's books.

There's a new review of Reef Runner at Night Owl Reviews.

More when I can think of more...


New reviews for Rio Star and Reef Runner

Cathy at Kittling: Books has posted her review of Rio Star here.

And RT Book Reviews has posted their review of Reef Runner here. (I suspect it's too late to correct Patty's last name in the review, but I think I can live with that.)

Thank you very much to both of you ladies!


Recent Reads

Recent reads (because I can't remember exactly when I read them):

by Andrea Camilleri:
The Shape of Water (Inspector Montalbano series book #1)
The Terra Cotta Dog (#2)
The Snack Thief (#3)
The Voice of the Violin (#4)
The Patience of the Spider (#8)

Rounding the Mark (#7) was the first of the series that I read, having picked it up from B&N as a remaindered book. The series is set on Sicily, and is a bit different in tone from Donna Leon's Guido Brunetti series. I was surprised to find the first three books loaded with f-bombs, since language wasn't a marked feature of Rounding the Mark, but it had eased considerably by the fourth book. These are translated into English, and the translator did a good job making them enjoyable in English. Salvo Montalbano is a interesting character, a police officer with integrity in a land awash in crooked politics and Mafia dealings. If language doesn't bother you, dive right in. If it does, give some thought to skipping the first three, or put on your blinders.

Speaking of Donna Leon:

Dressed for Death (#3 in the Guido Brunetti series)
A Noble Radiance (#7)
The Girl of His Dreams (#17)

Brunetti and his team investigate crimes in and around Venice. Brunetti's family keeps him grounded in a world where justice is often perverted by politics.

by Cara Black:
Murder on the Ile Saint-Louis (Aimee Leduc #7)
Murder in the Rue de Paradis (#8)
Murder in the Latin Quarter (#9)

Interesting mysteries, interesting protagonist. Don't read them one after the other, because there are things about them that may annoy you, such as the pattern of informants being murdered just before Aimee gets there, and some things about Aimee's personality.

by Alan Bradley:

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

First in the Flavia de Luce series. Super bright 11 year old girl, set in Britain of the 1950s. Notices things the police don't. Two older sisters, and a stamp-collecting father who's still mourning his dead wife, and seems oblivious to the presence of his daughters on most occasions. Interesting start to the series. Read for the local Mystery Book Club.

by Joanne Harris:

Gentlemen & Players

Read for the local Mystery Book Club. Set in a British boy's school. Narrative works back and forth between two first person accounts, one from the murderer's pov, the other from the pov of the Latin teacher at the school, an older gentlemen with a lot of personality. Enjoyable, but the switches in pov can be jolting.

by Brian O'Connor:


Debut mystery novel set in the world of Irish steeplechasing. Cover blurb says 'Beats Dick Francis at his own game'. Good, but not quite to DF's standards. Will be watching for more by this author, though.

On the Nook:

by Diane Mott Davidson:

Crunch Time (Culinary Mystery Series #16)

Goldy somewhat redeems herself from last book's extraordinary bout of Too Stupid To Live. She still does some pretty stupid stuff, but compared to the last outing, this stuff seems minor. Whether you read it or not depends on your tolerance for TSTL, though.

by Joanne Fluke:

Cream Puff Murder (Hannah Swenson Series #11)
Plum Pudding Murder (#12)

This is one of those series that I don't know why I keep following, but I can't seem to help myself when the new book comes out. I'm really tired of the love triangle. REALLY tired. Mike the Sheriff's deputy would have been out on his backside a long time ago if it were up to me. I'm also not thrilled with the cat. Don't get me wrong, I'm a cat person, but I just have a hard time believing a cat that will put away the left-over food from one of those big multi-day self-feeders. (Carried it a mouthful at a time to put it back in the bag. Uh-huh.) And Hannah's baked treats are always somewhere to be found around the murder victim. Haven't tried any of the cookie recipes. Maybe someday.

Also got and read copies of Rio Star and Reef Runner on the Nook. Wanted to see how they looked...


Celestial Rose

A rose made of galaxies

This 'rose' is actually two interacting galaxies, in an image captured by the Hubble Telescope. You can find a larger version of it at Hubblesite.org.

Odds and ends

Our yard has become part sponge, part wading pool. I think the last time there was this much water in our yard, there was a 'possum that had taken shelter under our house, and for a few days couldn't get out. The opening it had come in through was under water. We'd finally managed to prop open the access door to give it a way out, but I think it still waited a little rather than swim to get through the opening.

I'm ready for the rain to end. First the unusual winter weather, and now this. Of course, once summer gets here and we have to deal with scorching heat and tinder-dry grass, we'll be wanting a bit of this rain, but this is a bit much all at once.

Reef Runner is now available from Mundania Press. Currently, the PDF is available for immediate download. The trade paperback is orderable, but probably won't be printed until the middle of May, or thereabouts. Such is the joy of working with POD. It takes about a month for Ingram to list the book, after which time it can be ordered and received within a few days if ordered through Amazon, or a bit longer from other venues, depending. I'll keep my list of where to order kept up to date as new places become available, but for now, it's from the Mundania site.

Purplume reviewed Rio Star, for which I once again say, 'thank you'.

Cathy at Kittling: Books has done a review of Blood Money that had me grinning from ear to ear. I'm delighted that you enjoyed it, ma'am!

I'll probably start posting a monthly list of what I've been reading. I'll likely say something about the ones I really enjoyed, but I doubt I'll do more than make a notation on the ones I didn't enjoy or didn't finish. For some reason, people forget that authors are also readers with opinions, and when we express negative opinions, we're considered to be jealous, and we get pounced on by fans of the author we 'dissed'. I don't really care to deal with rabid fandom.

Looking forward to sunshine, which the weather forecast says we should get in a couple of days.



Glamour article about Pepper Smith

Glamour magazine's website now has the article up about the Pepper Smith who was kidnapped at age four. The link is http://www.glamour.com/sex-love-life/2011/03/i-was-kidnapped-at-age-4.

Again, this isn't me, but I get a lot of traffic on my website and blog looking for her, so I'm happy to direct you on to what you're probably really looking for.


Blood Money Review

There's a very nice review of Blood Money over at purplume's blog.

Thank you very much, ma'am, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!


New cover

This is the new cover for Reef Runner. It's difficult to tell from this size, but the diver farthest from the viewer is holding a knife, which explains the weird position of the closer diver. A bit more dynamic than the first cover, I think.

If all goes to plan, the ebook version should be coming out on April 12.


Shuttle launch and cover update

As many times as we've seen the space shuttle launches on TV, generally a ground view watching the column of fire and smoke rise into the air, I don't think I've seen it from the air before. This clip was caught by a passenger on a jet, which just happened to be passing by in range to see the Discovery make its last trip into space.

Shuttle Launch clip

I got a black and white copy of the Reef Runner cover for an ad in RT Book Reviews, and there are changes. I don't have a color copy yet, but I'll post it when I do.


Just a note...

The CAPA winners were announced yesterday during a day-long party on The Romance Studio's website, and the winner for the Romantic Suspense category was J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts). Since I was a) not even aware that there was such an award until someone pointed out to me that Blood Money had been nominated, and b) realistic about my chances of winning it, I am not distressed by this, and in fact was expecting it. Congratulations to J.D. Robb for winning, and my thanks to The Romance Studio for even including me on the same list with her.


Reef Runner

This is the cover image I received for Reef Runner, the third book in the Patty O'Donnell Mysteries series. There's a possibility it may end up looking a little different from this in its final form, but probably not much.

I've just finished going through the galley looking for those niggly bits that managed to escape author, editor, and proofreader on previous run-throughs. So far it looks pretty good, but there's always the chance something glaringly wrong will show up only after it's in print and nothing can be done about it.

It looks like the publication date will be in April, which means it will be available in ebook first, and then paperback about a month or so later, either in May or June, depending on when in April it comes out.

And here's the blurb from the back of the book:

Patty O’Donnell has everything she could want in life—a loving husband, a job she enjoys, and a year-old daughter she adores. An enemy from the past needs to make a lot of money quickly and believes he can use Patty’s skills and talents. Forced to choose between life as his slave and her daughter’s safety, Patty sacrifices her own future to save her child.

Every step takes Patty deeper into a world of theft and deception. A scam on the Great Barrier Reef nets two very different results—financial gain, and the unexpected attention of a dangerous crime boss, who offers them both a choice. Serve him, or die.

You can find reviews and the first chapter here.


And the winners are...

...by default, Snuffygump and Purplume, since they were the only ones to enter. Ladies, take your victory stroll around the track, and when you come back, email me your addresses (erm, yes, even you, Snuffygump. I've managed to misplace it.)

The weather forecast looks nastier by the hour, so if you guys don't get email confirmation from me on your addresses, just be patient. I'll get to it once we're up and running again. I really hope it doesn't do what they're forecasting. Especially the -7 degrees they're talking about a few nights from now. The houses in this part of the country really aren't designed to handle that sort of cold. Not to mention that a lot of trees were damaged in the ice storm a couple of years ago, and even a light coating of ice with the winds they're talking about is going to bring a lot of limbs down. Ah, the lovely sound of chainsaws echoing across frozen fields buried under 4-10 inches or more of snow.

Naw, I think I'd rather not imagine that.


Last day to enter drawing

This is the last day to enter the drawing for the copies of Blood Money and Rio Star.

We are scheduled for some pretty nasty weather tonight and tomorrow. If the power gets knocked out, I may not be back online for a couple of days, so please be patient. I'll hold the drawing as soon as I can get back, but if no one else enters, Snuffygump and Purplume will have it in a walkover. Only entries before midnight, January 31, are eligible. (Midnight my time, of course.)

Edits have been completed on Reef Runner, the third book in the Patty O'Donnell Mysteries series. It was originally scheduled for publication in March of this year, but due to unforeseen circumstances (my editor moved house from one state to another, with all the attendant hassles), the release date has been shifted. No word on precisely when, yet, but I'm hoping maybe May. We'll see.


Enter for a chance to win Blood Money and Rio Star

I have two signed sets of my books, each with one copy of Blood Money and one of Rio Star, which I am holding a drawing for. For a chance to win one of the sets, just leave a reply to this post. (Spam and anything profanity-laden are automatically disqualified--it's my drawing, so I can set the rules.) I'll hold the drawing on January 31, and post the winner's names on February 1, at which time I'll need the winners' contact information, so if you enter, be sure to check back, otherwise I might not be able to get your books to you.

Creepy webstats

Sometimes, real life throws you something that just about makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Not long ago, my Sitemeter account did just that. It tells me generally how someone reached my site--if it was through a search engine, it gives me the search terms that were used. The search terms used were: pepper smith abducted.

Yup. Creepy. Of course, having been web-cognizant for a while, I knew already that there were a number of other Pepper Smiths out there, and since I knew I hadn't been abducted, I figured it was one of the others. I followed the link to run the search myself, but nothing popped up to explain why that search term had been used.

A while after that, I got a Google alert with a link to a post by Jose Mandojana that explained that odd Google search. Jose is a photographer whose work appears in magazines, and he was blogging about a photo he'd done of a Pepper Smith in California, who had been abducted as a 4-year-old and is now an adult in her 40s. Very good shot of an attractive woman in front of a stormy seascape. Her story, and the photo, are in this month's Glamour Magazine. His post about it is titled "Kidnapped".

On edit: There's a pdf of the Glamour magazine article here.