Friday, November 25, 2011

Out of the Mouth of an Eight Year Old

That Edgar Allen Poe, the reputed father of the mystery story, sure knew how to size up a guy. Here's a marvelous quote from his famous short story The Purloined Letter.

The speaker is an eight year old boy who is always winning at a game of marbles where you guess whether the person is holding an odd or even number of marbles in their closed hand. He figured out how his opponents would play based on their astuteness. When asked how he identified the other's intelligence he replied :

“'When I wish to find out how wise, or how stupid, or how good, or how wicked is any one, or what are his thoughts at the moment, I fashion the expression of my face, as accurately as possible, in accordance with the expression of his, and then wait to see what thoughts or sentiments arise in my mind or heart, as if to match or correspond with the expression.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


The second Simon & Elizabeth mystery has arrived at my doorstep--at least the author copies have. No sign yet of my order for personal sales, but I've gotten wiser. There will be no Book Launch W/O Books this time, as there was when the first printing of HER HIGHNESS' FIRST MURDER sold out before I got mine.

POISON, YOUR GRACE pairs Simon Maldon and Elizabeth Tudor as investigators a second time (Book #1-HER HIGHNESS' FIRST MURDER) when a council member is poisoned. At first Elizabeth fears her brother might have been the target, but soon the fear becomes more personal: she might be blamed for the murder.

I love Simon Maldon, the crippled young man who serves as Elizabeth's secret detective. He is now an apothecary's apprentice, and I had a lot of fun reading up on medicines of the time: powdered rabbit head as tooth cleaner?

Like a lot of authors, characters from the first book became friends and therefore came back to visit. Hannah, Simon's girlfriend, becomes a featured character in this book while Welsh Guardsman Hugh Bellows steps into a minor but still helpful role.

I really enjoy writing this series, and I'm neck deep in Book #3, so I should really get back to work!

The book will be out in large print  and e-book soon. Order POISON, YOUR GRACE at
Or call your library and ask them to order it! Five Star loves that!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blonde Demolition is out!

Here's an excerpt:

She glanced at Trey.
He raised a dark eyebrow. "You used to know when I was near."
"Been a long time since I've had to watch my back."
His long slender fingers spread across his chest. "That hurt."
"Truth does."

Cal looked her way from the beer tent, his brows knit. The carnies didn't often stop to talk to the firefighters. Cal moved his big frame in front of her as if she needed protection.
She noted that he looked tired. Maybe she shouldn't bring up her idea about finding her parents today. It could wait until the fair was over.
His pace was slow but steady as he moved toward her. He tugged Mark, the new guy, along with him.
The idea always amused her when they circled the wagons around her. It was sweet how they protected her.
They had no clue she could defend herself armed or unarmed. That information didn't go along with her trust fund reputation. No need to enlighten them.
Trey's words brought her back. "Have you thought about it?"
"I didn't come up with an answer." She wouldn't be rushed. She would decide this in her own damn time. Not on someone else's schedule.
"Better soon."
"You better move on, Trey."
He glanced back at the firefighters who walked his way. A sardonic grin creased his face. "Well, well."
"Leave, Trey. I don't want to see anyone hurt."
"Me or them?"
He walked past her as if she didn't exist.


Mallory Sage lives in a small, idyllic town where nothing ever happens. Just the kind of life she has always wanted. No one, not even her fellow volunteer firefighters, knows about her past life as an agent for Homeland Security.

Former partner and lover, Trey McCrane, comes back into Mallory's life. He believes they made a great team once, and that they can do so again. Besides, they don't have much choice. Paul Stanley, a twisted killer and their old nemesis, is back.

Framed for a bombing and drawn together by necessity, Mallory and Trey go on the run and must learn to trust each other again―if they hope to survive. But Mallory has been hiding another secret, one that could destroy their relationship. And time is running out.

Buy Links:

Amazon in print:

Other books by Chris Redding
Corpse Whisperer
The Drinking Game
Confession: Volume One
A View to a Kilt


Monday, November 21, 2011

Review of Damage Control

Damage Control

by Denise Hamilton

ISBN: 978-0-7432-9674-8

a 2011 hardcover release from

Scribner. 372 pages.

More than just romance can often flower under the hot desert moon. In southern California, a lot more. In the artificially irrigated hothouse of perfectly sculpted bodies, overabundance of wealth, aggressive power and overweening ambition are a dangerous combination that leads, almost inevitably, to corruption. And it is corruption that’s at the heart of this complex, lyrically written tale, along with a strong dose of murder and mystery.

Maggie Silver grew up on the far side of the tracks. Now in adulthood with a mortgage, a failed marriage, and an ill mother, she’s scrambling for a place, if not in the sun, as near as she can get without singeing her fingers. Her values are aspiring middle class. She’d like to be one of the beautiful people, and for a while in a private school with a rich girl friend named Anabelle Paxton, the giddy, youthful exuberance of unsupervised teenaged life seems to point to a life to come of luxury and happiness.

Fast forward to today. Having lost that youthful connection to the good life, Maggie is establishing herself as a fixer. Working for the powerful public relations firm, Blair Company, she find herself once more entangled with the Paxton family, Henry, now a powerful U.S. Senator, Luke, the golden son and Anabelle, once her very best girl friend. A murder has happened and the situation must be managed. The Blair firm gets paid a great deal of money by wealthy clients to do exactly that. What happens then, to Maggie, the Paxtons, to other members of the firm is enthralling, complicated, and almost a Greek tragedy.

The author has taken a common theme, power, wealth and their corrupting influences, and infused the story with a strong dose of both good and evil. and while she carefully and fully illuminates much of the evil that resides in Los Angeles and its special culture, there is at times, a faint but fascinating aura of envy, as if the author yearns, however ruefully, for just a little taste of the life she writes about. The genius of the novel lies in part in the complex and convoluted story and the way the author infuses this story with life.

Hamilton has not penned a polemic against the culture of southern California. Rather she holds up the citizens, and the organizations to a searing light and lets readers judge the actions and the influences that result. Unlike Raymond Chandler, with whose writing she is compared, her sympathies clearly lie with all the characters, while never condoning their actions, or trumpeting the consequences. So in the end, readers, themselves having perhaps experienced a little bit of envy for the characters, can close the book and ponder the questions we all may ask ourselves, to whom do we really owe the greatest loyalty?

Carl Brookins, Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky

Friday, November 11, 2011

IMHO - a rare rant

An opinion…

I tend not to use cyberspace as a soap box for spouting my opinions mainly because I don’t find other people’s opinions all that interesting and thus, believe others are not interested in mine.  In fact, that’s why I didn’t renew my subscription to Maclean’s (Canada’s news magazine).  I found it contained altogether too many editorials and opinion pieces.  

I want the news media to just give me facts.  Then, I want to form my own opinions.  However, earlier this week on facebook, I shared this article Woman who would have ruled the blogsphere.  My daughter had forwarded me the link.  It’s about ten historic woman who wrote letters, diaries, books, memoires, essays (before the Social Networking age ) to make tremendous changes to their world.  

I figured that perhaps, I too, with my raging opinions, could make a difference. We're gonna give it a try right here.

I want to opine about Alberta’s recently enacted Distracted Driving Law.  I want to question why the heck we need such a law.  Citizens complain about there being too many laws, about too much government interference, about the cost of law-enforcement, etc., etc. yet these same citizens behave in such a manner as to require a law like this?

Laws against murder, theft, fraud, illicit drug use, etc. are more or less there so we know how to deal with people who do such things.  I mean, everyone knows it’s wrong to murder, law or not, and the vast majority of us don’t murder.

However this law, this Distracted Driving legislation is for the majority of us—to let us know we ought not to text while driving, that it’s dangerous and illegal.  ?????? 

I’m serious.  A few years ago, before the law came into being, I listened to a police officer incredulously relate how people would admit to such distracted behavior—as if it were a valid excuse, not realizing they were incriminating themselves.  “Sorry, sir.  I  didn't mean to kill anyone. I was on the phone with my wife and didn’t see the kids playing street hockey…”

Like someone telling the investigator, “Sorry, Sir, but I really needed the life-insurance policy to pay off my drug debts so I murdered him.”  (You'll forgive me, right?)

Negligent driving, driving without due care and attention, has always been illegal.  That we have to be specifically told that this includes texting, phoning, programming GPS’s, surfing the net, reading, applying mascara….

How intelligent are we as a race?  

I suggest we smarten up and, while we're at it,  teach our kids some commonsense.  If not, the government may soon feel compelled to enact laws forbidding us from wearing black at night when walking on dark streets, from over-eating, from smoking, from drinking while pregnant, from falling asleep in the sun when it's +30C…from jumping off tall buildings…

There.  That’s my rant.  I don’t know about you, but I feel better.

 Eileen Schuh Author of THE TRAZ, Schrödinger's Cat
Sample/purchase THE TRAZ:
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Come join me on the brand new Famous FivePlus website (I'm one of the original Famous Five).  This band of international indie authors of all genres has attitude and ideas.  We intend to take the entire world by storm.