Vicki Tyley: an introduction

??????????????????????????????? The women in Tyley’s books are many women we know. At times confident, strong, and capable. And at times disillusioned, doubtful and insecure. One way or another they work their way through life finding their path through discovery and need, and rising to the necessity of challenges. They exhibit bravery and fearfulness, at times in equal measure for the same event.

Mystery, murder and suspense are all part of Vicki Tyley’s books but let’s not forget romance. Something sweet, longing and juicy that builds over time. There isn’t any bed-hopping by Tyley’s protagonists, at their core they know who they are. They believe in romance no matter how they have arrived at this place and time in their lives.

Overall, these women are determined. If someone they care about is in trouble they will help them. If they are missing they will find them, with or without the help of local authorities. If they discover a thread they will tug on it until the unravelling provokes a response. Often the result is unanticipated and sometimes calamitous.

Her books (five to date) are the kind of easy reads that win awards, Thin Blood having made Amazon’s 2010 best reads list. They are just what you need to take a break after a convoluted and exhausting novel. Go ahead, let Tyley take you where you need to be.

thin blood

sleight malice

bitter nothings

CWC Arthur Ellis: Best Novel Longlist

cwc 2

Crime Writers of Canada has released its longlist for the 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel. The shortlist for all seven categories will be released on April 24th and the winners will be announced on June 5th.

For a list of the 2014 entries in all categories check out the CWC entries.
Good luck to you all.

 John Brooke, Walls of a Mind (Signature Editions)

 Gina Buonaguro & Janice Kirk, The Wolves of St. Peter’s (HarperCollins Canada)

 Sean Haldane, The Devil’s Making (Stone Flower Press)

 Lee Lamothe, Presto Variations (Dundurn Press)

 Michael McCann, The Rainy Day Killer (Plaid Raccoon Press)

 Robert Rotenberg, Stranglehold (Simon & Schuster Canada)

 Howard Shrier, Miss Montreal (Vintage Canada)

 Sean Slater, The Guilty (Simon & Schuster UK)

 Simone St. James, An Inquiry into Love and Death (Penguin)

 David Whellams, The Drowned Man (ECW Press)

Book in hand

Boulder Bookstore   Boulder Books, Colorado

The lure of old school

A friend dropped off two books for me the other day and I can’t stop looking at them. Silly I know, but having relied on my trusty Kindle for the past while the site of two actual books with their moody covers is intoxicating.

A trip into the book store is like nothing else to an avid reader like me. Upon entering I am so excited I feel giddy. Walking in that movie slo-mo, narrow focus, fashion over to the fiction section I stand back and let my eyes scan the shelves.

Where do I begin, as often I am there for the experience rather than for a specific book. So my eyes do the tour and I approach a spot. It won’t surprise you to know that upon viewing someone looking at a book I strike up a conversation asking if they are familiar with the author. I’m there to learn as well as well as discover.

If you’ve ever wondered about the importance of a cover to convey the style, tension and mood of your book here’s where I tell you it is extremely important. When I’m in the bookstore to wander and choose, the cover is the thing.

I need it to speak to me of crimes in that discarnate and prescient way that can only be felt and not explained. It has to reach out from the shelf and drag me into its world of depth, intrigue, tension and style. If none of these or other intangibles are evident the book stays on the shelf.

How do book covers speak to you? Do they touch you on the shoulder or yell to you across the room?

June Lorraine

Peggy Blair: Magic

beggar  Let me talk to you about Peggy Blair, or rather her first book The Beggar’s Opera (Midnight in Havana in the UK.) Blair has set up a premise that would seem difficult to pull off. She does. And not just pull off; she eases us into the premise with an ‘of course’ familiarity that expects us to just move along with it. We do.

 

It’s the mark of a gifted author and the reason why Blair now has a few books in her repertoire. Book two, The Poisoned Pawn was published in February 2013. Her third, Hungry Ghosts is waiting in the wings along with her fourth (unnamed) and are to be released by an undisclosed publisher.

 

Inspector Ricardo Ramirez sees the murdered dead. They come to him to solve their killing and are mute, silent, unspeaking. However, they are not without expression and they want only one thing – justice.

 

As Ramirez goes about his daily life as the head of the Major Crimes Unit for the Cuban Revolutionary Police an unsolved murder victim is always one step behind him. Is he going insane?

 

Canadian police officer Mike Ellis is on vacation in Cuba with his wife. It’s an attempt to save their dissolving marriage. A chance meeting with a street youth, later found murdered, is brought to Ellis’ hotel doorstep when evidence is found in his room leading police to believe he is the killer.

 

The book is a love story to Cuba in its way and introduces compelling characters and story lines that come together in interesting ways. It is a very fine and atmospheric read.

 

June Lorraine

Kilmoon

Kilmoon

Over the past few months I’ve been happily following and commenting on Lisa Alber’s blog and she has returned in kind. The excitement over the pending release of her first book has burst upon us and Kilmoon has been launched.

For a peek into Lisa’s delightful personality have a look at her guest post on the inestimable Janet Rudolph’s blog: Mystery Fanfare.

LISA ALBER:

Travels to Ireland, or, Bah, I Scoff at “Write What You Know”

There’s an old writing adage that states, “Write what you know.” I never took it seriously and thank goodness for that, because if I had, I wouldn’t be here to tell you about Kilmoon, my debut novel.

The story of Kilmoon’s birth began with what I call my drawer novel, a tale filled with druids and lost manuscripts. (Quite the tale, yes.) I chose to set Drawer Novel in Ireland for many reasons, chief of which was my odd and unlikely fascination with an ecological anomaly called The Burren.

I wrote Drawer Novel in a state of heady cluelessness. If I’d listened to the naysayers who insisted I write what I knew, I wouldn’t have written the novel in the first place, much less traipsed off to Ireland for after-the-fact research that led me to stumble on the inspirations for Kilmoon.

Having never been to Ireland, I chose a B&B near The Burren pretty much at random. And let me tell you, cosmic forces must have been on my side, because I chose a B&B that landed me right in the heart of a novel not yet born, not yet dreamed of, not yet fathomed.

I ended up in Lisdoonvarna village, County Clare. It’s not a quaint village, more like a pub stop on the way to the coast. However, I couldn’t help but notice a pub with an odd name, Matchmaker Pub. The pub owner told me all about the annual matchmaking festival.

Whoa, I thought, wouldn’t a happily-ever-after atmosphere be a cool backdrop for a darker story?

Just a thought, in and out and forgotten for many moons because I was preoccupied with Drawer Novel.

The B&B itself was located a few miles outside the village proper. Talk about atmospheric Ireland! The landscape was downright moody at times, the way the leaden clouds whisked by overhead, casting shadows over drystone walls that slithered over the hills in every direction.

That said, I was disappointed by my B&B choice—too isolated—until I discovered an old church down the lane from the B&B. Twilight had hit the Celtic crosses just right. I stopped to snap some photos and was amazed to discover that I was standing in a thousand-year-old early Christian churchyard with only a tiny fingerpost to mark it.

Don’t ask me why I fell in love with Kilmoon Church, but I did. It really is a tiny, falling-apart place, but it sits peacefully on its plot, crumbling in the sea winds, brooding over its gravestones.

In fact, the sense of Kilmoon as a thing that can brood never left me, and in the novel it turned into: Kilmoon Church stood in genteel isolation, open air to the night as if shrugging off its Christian ties and embracing a more benevolent lunar goddess. The church seemed to watch us, indulging us our frail humanity and our unseemly trespass. We strolled around the site, taking in the uneven stones and skinny windows, the crumbling gravestones and tall Celtic crosses.

When I eventually set Drawer Novel aside, I found a matchmaking festival (and by association, a matchmaker) and Kilmoon Church waiting for me. On one hand I had what’s on the surface—happily-ever-afters—and on the other, secrets long buried. I love a good juxtaposition!

So I wrote Kilmoon, a story about a Californian named Merrit who travels to Ireland to meet her long-lost father, a celebrated matchmaker with a dark past. And I planned another after-the-fact research trip. After all, what’s not to love about traveling to Ireland for novel research? That’s all the reason I need not to write what I know.

eNovellas: Short form

 enovella

Photo: Openroadmedia.com

The trend for eBook short-stories or eNovellas has increased to the degree that they are now a fully accepted addition to an author’s writing arsenal. Some are used as a fill-in between full-length books keeping readers interested in the characters and a series’ arc.

They are also used as prequels to current works, to introduce the next book by the author (series or stand-alone) and also for new authors or authors returning after a hiatus.

Certainly, the uses are myriad and for me, quite interesting. In the past, books have led to successful plays, chart-topping music and movies. Today’s marketplace includes video games, life-style websites and perhaps the next social media sensation.

Into this mix eNovellas bring a great means of combined story-telling and marketing that can be effective when properly handled. When badly handled, such as in the case of Michael Connelly’s Switchblade it can be a disaster.

The problem seemed to be that Connelly’s novella is billed as an original short story. Unfortunately, of the pages available 35 per cent were the short story (according to one reader) with the balance an introduction to The Gods of Guilt.

The content provoked outrage on Amazon with comment such as: “dirty trick,” and “we was had.” The consensus among reviewers was pretty damning.

This shows that even seasoned authors can make mistakes in this new world of publishing. The word transparency comes to mind and was mentioned recently in a discussion with author R.C. O’Leary. You’ll hear more about him later on.

What are your thoughts on this medium? Do you download eNovellas? Is there a place for them in your reading list?

June Lorraine

Famous Hackers: Careers After Crime for Cyber Criminals

June Lorraine:

An article on some real world Black Hats who have become White Hats that I thought you might find interesting.
June Lorraine

Originally posted on EzFIM:

hacker. Young man with laptop is looking at screen Oftentimes when discussing hackers , there is little mention of these cyber criminal ‘s actual names, or if they were able to thwart the crime life for a legal job.

Here’s a look at some famous hackers, they’re misdeeds and what they are up to today.

Barnaby Jack

In what could be considered one heck of a  party trick, Jack was able to exploit ATMs by inserting malware, enabling the machines to dispense money without a card or account.

He also demonstrated how insulin pumps, pacemakers and heart implants could be hacked remotely.  Jack died from an apparent drug overdose in July of 2013.

Kevin Poulsen

This name might ring a bell.  Poulsen is currently the editor of Wired, a science and technology magazine.  But before turning to a career in journalism, Poulsen was an underground fugitive highly sought by the FBI.  Poulsen had hijacked…

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