Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Readers Review!

By Bethany Maines

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Help a starving author – leave reviews for the books you read today!

There’s a lot of talk these days about shopping local with the goal of supporting actual people instead of massive corporations.  Well, you can’t get much more small, local, and actual than author.  Reviews really do help authors. It’s through reviews that their books percolate through the great Google and Amazon algorithms and get recommended to other readers.  And new readers means new buyers, which translates directly to an author’s pocket book.

That being said, I don’t often leave reviews for books. An author, I know that harsh reviews can be devastating to writers.  I also think that after working on the craft of writing for more than a few years, that I’m pickier than the average reader and that can make for some rather negative reviews.  But since I truly value an honest review I have adopted a “If I can’t say anything nice, then I don’t say anything at all” policy when it comes to reviews.  Which means that my reviews on Goodreads are further a part as my life becomes busier with less time for reading, and I find it harder to find a book that I love with the same passion I did when I was younger.  Hopefully, that means that if you see a review from me, you’ll know that I truly enjoyed the book. 

So keep on leaving reviews, try not to be too mean, and definitely, definitely keep on reading. 

Bethany Maines is the author of the Carrie Mae Mystery series and Tales from the City of Destiny. You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube video or catch up with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Guidebook to Murder Releases April 17th

And I'm celebrating.

What's it like to be an author? What wild and crazy things do we do when one of our books is finally out into the world?
Wild authors at the Michael Hauge workshop-St. Louis

April 17th is a Thursday. So I'll be getting up at 5am, working out for 30 minutes, playing around on the computer for another 30 minutes, then getting ready for work.

The 30-45 minute drive is made tolerable with an audio book playing in the cd player. Probably a mystery. Or a romance. Maybe I can find a Heather Graham mix up for the week.

Then I do my thing for 8 hours at a local leasing company. And, no, I won't pick you up.

Drive home - more story. Whoever invented the audio book, I'd like to buy you a beer. Or two.

Walk the dogs, make dinner, write 1000 words on my WIP, and play on social media for a few hours, including checking out my blog tour posts.

And, since I'll still be on Lent, I'll dream of chocolate peanut butter eggs and eating bunny ears.


How do you celebrate a special day?

In the gentle coastal town of South Cove, California, all Jill Gardner wants is to keep her store--Coffee, Books, and More--open and running. So why is she caught up in the business of murder?

When Jill's elderly friend, Miss Emily, calls in a fit of pique, she already knows the city council is trying to force Emily to sell her dilapidated old house. But Emily's gumption goes for naught when she dies unexpectedly and leaves the house to Jill--along with all of her problems. . .and her enemies. Convinced her friend was murdered, Jill is finding the list of suspects longer than the list of repairs needed on the house. But Jill is determined to uncover the culprit--especially if it gets her closer to South Cove's finest, Detective Greg King. Problem is, the killer knows she's on the case--and is determined to close the book on Jill permanently. . .

Lynn Cahoon’s a multi-published author. An Idaho native, her stories focus around the depth and experience of small town life and love. Lynn’s published in Chicken Soup anthologies, explored controversial stories for the confessional magazines, short stories in Women’s World, and contemporary romantic fiction. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.

Friday, April 18, 2014

We Have a Jewish Lawn, But Where Are the Diamonds?

by Linda Rodriguez


People who have been reading my posts on my own blog, here at Stiletto, and on my other group blog, Writers Who Kill, know that I have had to battle disapproving neighbors and the city about my front yard, which is planted in native, drought-hardy plants for the most part. The neighbors and the city both would prefer that my husband and I have only bluegrass in my yard, and they’d like to force us to do that. Fortunately, we’ve been able to fight it for the past seven or eight years.

Now, along comes Pat Robertson, that ancient, uber-wealthy televangelist, to give us just the excuse we needed to stand up to the neighbors and the city. On March 31, Robertson said on his television show on the Christian Broadcasting Network that you never saw Jews tinkering under their cars or mowing their lawns because they were too busy polishing their diamonds. 

My husband, who’s Jewish, sent me the link to the video.  

He included a subject line in his email that read, “We Have a Jewish Lawn,” referring, of course, to the problems with the city.

I watched the video with the poor confused old man and emailed my husband back. “You’re right. We do. But where are the diamonds?”

And I’m still waiting, darn it!
REPLY TO COMMENTS (because Blogger still won't let me reply :-(

Marilyn, yes, it is sad, but no more than we can expect from Robertson anymore. It's a shame that he puts himself forth as representing Christianity, which is something very different and much better than what he shows the world. I would say he's irrelevant, but he has millions of viewers. I can't understand why people and cities all over the country are so insistent on the bluegrass yards when they require so much water and chemicals to survive. Yards like yours and mine are much more sustainable and eco-sensible (I think I just made up that word, but we needed one like that, didn't we?).

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mad Men, Baby Meerkats & 1969

 by Kay Kendall

In my head these days, I’m living in 1969. I call up memories from that time period—yes, I was a sentient being back then—as I write my W.I.P. (work in progress), a historical mystery.

I call my books “historical” because, even if it’s a time period some of us can remember, that world is so long gone that it is the dead past. Sure, it has ripples into the present, but it is just plain gone.

The award-winning television series MAD MEN has helped bring this era back to fictional life. The seventh and final season of this show has begun, and the year is now 1969. The very one that I’m imagining daily in my head.

Media pundits already privileged to view the closing episodes note that 1969 brought a sour end to a decade that had begun with such bright hopes. President Kennedy’s Camelot is replaced by death at Chappaquiddick. Peace and love at Woodstock progresses to death at Altamont. Campus radicals morph into the Weather Underground . . . and even more death. The year 1969 is also when the My Lai massacre comes to light. (And Nixon becomes President. Enough said.)

Only one thing slowly gets better as the decade progresses—better opportunities for women. As luck has it, women’s liberation provides the background of my W.I.P.—murder comes to women’s lib groups in the rain-soaked cities of Vancouver and Seattle. Hence the title of my second mystery is RAINY DAY WOMEN.

Participating in the women’s movement was a salient point in my life. I remember conversations and episodes clearly from that time and can inject them into my fiction. This adds authenticity to the historical detail.

There’s just one problem. A few people don’t believe how sexist that era was. For example, one man in my writing critique group keeps protesting that males just weren’t that awful back then. He won’t believe me when I assure him that I know what I’m talking about. A twenty-something female gasped when a passage was read aloud that showed a husband ordering around his wife in a preemptory fashion. She said, “I wouldn’t have put up with s**t like that.” In that case, had she lived back then, she would have been a rare bird indeed.

Now I can give people like them—doubting Thomases and Thomasinas—an assignment. I’ll suggest they watch episodes of MAD MEN. Perhaps they will believe the television show when they don’t agree that my writing is historically accurate. (Often an outside source is handy to validate what one knows to be true. I learned that in my corporate career.)

So, where do baby meerkats enter into this—as you might wonder from the title of this post? Please bear with me as I explain. 

I’m a fairly serious person. My fiction writing and my social media posts reflect that. While I admire writers who can routinely toss off witty or humorous comments, I’m not inclined in that direction. Just look at the content of this blog!

I have noticed, however, that people who post darling photos of puppies and kittens develop a devoted following online. Therefore, lately I’ve been experimenting. I salt my Facebook pages with cute photos of baby animals, and these have garnered raves. My favorite shows a wildlife photographer who had become so much a part of some baby meerkats’ life in Botswana that they happily crawled all over him and his long telephoto lens. The money shot is of a baby meerkat standing atop the man’s head in that precious pose so beloved of all us meerkat fanciers.

My hope is that the baby animals on my Facebook pages will draw people in, and then they may stick around to read my more serious musings. That seems to be happening.

But in addition, there has been an unexpected payoff.

As I increasingly dabble in the small pleasures provided by baby meerkats, puppies, and the like, there’s been an uptick in the quality of my life. It’s great to smile more, even as I dwell mentally in that fraught year of 1969.

Here for your delight are the photos and video of baby meerkats, mentioned above. The video is especially recommended:


Kay Kendall is an international award-winning public relations executive who lives in Texas with her husband, five house rabbits, and spaniel Wills. A fan of historical mysteries, she wants to do for the 1960s what novelist Alan Furst does for Europe in the 1930s during Hitler's rise to power--write atmospheric mysteries that capture the spirit of the age.

Discover more about her at