Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Now We Know......

the rest of the story.


Palm Trees and Sandy Beaches

We don't have sandy beaches here...let alone any real beaches of any type at all with the way the lakes are dropping. We do have palm trees. They look really cool until the killing freezes happen. After things freeze hard for days on end, what you see are giant trees with brown or black fronds waving in the breeze.

Seems to me a Palm Tree Beaded Keychain makes more sense. Fortunately, you can get one via Tapir And Friends Animal Store. I recently wrote about them and further added to the body of work there.

Hope you kick on by and take a look.

Via Mark Troy-- Black and White Friday (FREE BOOKS)

As posted elsewhere....

Let's turn Black Friday into Black and White Friday, that is, a day for reading instead of shopping. What could be better than a comfortable chair, a leftover turkey sandwich, and a good mystery? 

To get it going, I am making my novella, The Rules, available for free download to Kindle from today through Sunday:  And my collection of short stories, Game Face, will be available free on Smashwords during the same period: 
The Rules is an Ava Rome mystery. Game Face is a collection of all the Val Lyon short stories.

Mark Troy
The Splintered Paddle, an Ava Rome Mystery from Five Star Publishing

Via WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Night of Noir

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Night of Noir: One of the great features of the TCM Classic Cruise this year was the Night of Noir. Essentially it was just a big dress-up night with ...

Review: "In The Shadow Of El Paso" by Frank Zafiro

Well known for his excellent River City Series of police procedurals set in the Seattle area, author Frank Zafiro moves the action to Texas In The Shadow Of El Paso. Published in 2012 the book contains two short stories set in the fictional Texas city named “La Sombra” located just outside El Paso. As many folks in the border country know, laws and more get blurred along the border.

Something pointed out in the opening tale “In The Shadow Of El Paso.” Being a lawman in La Sombra is a bit different than elsewhere. Carl Riggins is a transplant to the area and after three years is still considered an outsider and maybe something worse. Being in love is also bit different.  Isabella is the object of our lawman’s affection. She is beautiful and she serves drinks at Tres Estrellas almost every night. It is one a few place where white and brown can get along with little trouble---most of the time. This Tuesday night violence erupts and Deputy Carl Riggins is one of the first dispatched to the scene. His arrival puts a friendship is put to the test and more in this compelling story of love, racism, fate, and more.

Following that read is a tough act, but “Jack’s Town” makes it work. Deputy Carl Riggins is dispatched to handle a possible domestic at the home of Jack and Doris Talbot. Jack is the richest man in La Sombra and probably the entire county. He owns a lot of land, a cattle ranch, and a car dealership and quite a few other things including his wife. Like a lot of very wealthy people, Jack Talbot has a bit of a reputation and not all of that is positive. Upon responding to the house Deputy Carl Riggins knows something bad has happened. It is going to be dealt with, as are consequences, one way or another.

Author notes/explanations of a couple things in the stories followed by promotional material for other books by the author bring the read to a close.

While “In The Shadow Of El Paso” was previously published in the 2007 anthology Map of Murder the following story “Jack’s Town” is a previously unpublished tale. It picks up a few months after the first story and is just as compelling as the first. Taken together the complicated stories work as book ends that consider societal issues along the border and society as a whole while working that chemistry dynamic between a man and a very beautiful woman. Along with the mysteries at work in each tale, at their core each tale is about far more than the mystery that is eventually solved. An incredible amount is at work here in this excellent read.

In The Shadow Of El Paso
Frank Zafiro
April 2012
E-Book (also available in paperback)
58 pages
$0.00 (at this time)

Material supplied by the author a very long time ago in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

V ia Terry's Place-- In the Interview Room — J. R. Lindermuth

In the Interview Room — J. R. Lindermuth

Via Mystery Fanfare: Cartoon of the Day: Thanksgiving Inquest

Mystery Fanfare: Cartoon of the Day: Thanksgiving Inquest

Via Not The Baseball Pitcher-- Storme Warning – W. L. Ripley

Storme Warning – W. L. Ripley

Via Carstairs Considers....: Book Review: Days of Wine and Roquefort by Avery A...

Carstairs Considers....: Book Review: Days of Wine and Roquefort by Avery A...: Stars : 4 out of 5 Pros : Strong characters in an engaging mystery Cons : A few niggles, but mostly minor issues. The Bottom Line :...

Senior News Newspaper Book Review Column-- November 2014

For my monthly newspaper book review column in the Senior News Newspaper, I usually make sure to choose one fiction and one nonfiction book in the hopes of interesting more readers. For November I went with Fast Track by Bill Crider and Ed Gorman. Different from Bill Crider’s Sheriff Dan Rhodes series set in East Texas and yet very good. I don’t think the man could write a bad book if he tried. For the non-fiction book I went with Crochet: The Complete Step-By-Step Guide by the DK Editors. Sandi crochets a lot so I always pick up the new crochet books when I see them at the library so she can take a look. Longer reviews of both books were run here on the blog earlier this year and can easily be found by clicking on the above book titles.

Included below are the relevant book covers for my November 2014 column… 

Fast Track
Bill Crider and Ed Gorman
Rough Edges Press
244 Pages

Agent Dev Mallory was supposed to get off the train in Corvair, California. He would have too if he hadn't been drugged and slept through the train stop. He also had with him a young female Secret Service agent named Tess O’Neill who was also supposed to get off the train with him in Corvair. Now, as the train approaches Rock Creek and the fog lifts from his mind, Mallory realizes she is missing. According to the conductor she appeared to be ill and was escorted off the train by two unknown and yet very helpful gentlemen.

Mallory from a secret federal agency that is so secret it has no name and Tess from the Secret Service were assigned to protect the most famous race horse in the world named Starcrossed at the most famous horse race in the world. Letting his guard down once got him drugged. Mallory isn't about to let his guard down again.

Fast Track by Bill Crider and Ed Gorman may be set roughly 100 years ago, but the issues in horse racing are almost as prevalent today. Recently released in e-book form by Rough Edges Press this is a complicated mystery western tale full of action, intrigue, and suspense. Rich and detailed in terms of characters and setting with plenty of twists and turns the read is a good one.

Crochet: The Complete Step-By-Step Guide
DK Editors
DK Publishing
ISBN# 978-1-4654-1591-2
320 Pages

Billed as a resource book for crocheters at all levels, Crochet: The Complete Step-By-Step Guide features the basics and over 80 patterns at all skill levels. Visually stunning thanks to the well done photographs, the book showcases quite a number of possibilities for gifts, home use, and more.

After a section on the basics of tools, various types of yarn, stitches, and more the book goes on to projects. Each of the more than eighty projects has detailed instructions, a recommended skill level, pictures of the finished project, and often a tip to make the item more useful or easier to make.

While a comprehensive and interesting book Crochet: The Complete Step-By-Step Guide suffers from organizational issues. Many of the projects seem to have little rhyme or reason as to why they are placed here or there and the table of contents is a bit scattered. The result is a good book that is made more difficult to use than it should be.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014
Shop Amazon - Black Friday Deals Week

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Via CNC Books Blog-- A Christmas Novella Giveaway

As posted elsewhere earlier today.....

The holiday stories are beginning to take hold of our reading consciousness
and I'm giving a new one away on Buried Under Books. If you'd like to have
a taste of Sharyn McCrumb's Ballad books or if you're already a fan, NORA
BONESTEEL'S CHRISTMAS PAST may be just the one for you---

Come on by for a chance to win a hardcover copy of this pleasing little
novella---it will make a dandy little gift for yourself or for a lucky
someone in your life 


Lelia Taylor
Creatures 'n Crooks / Buried Under Books

Via Anne R. Allen's Blog: 8 Bogus "Rules" New Writers Tell Each Other

Anne R. Allen's Blog: 8 Bogus "Rules" New Writers Tell Each Other: by Anne R. Allen W e get lots of questions from new writers who have spent time in forums and online writers' groups where they'v...

Via Smashwords: Ebook Publishing Gets More Difficult from Here - H...

Smashwords: Ebook Publishing Gets More Difficult from Here - H...: First the good news.  For indie (self-published) authors, there’s never been a better time to publish an ebook.  Thanks to an ever-growi...

Via Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Death, Snow, and Mistletoe by Valerie Malmont

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Death, Snow, and Mistletoe by Valerie Malmont: Reviewed by Jeanne Christmas time’s a-comin’ to the little town of Lickin Creek, an Appalachian town in Pennsylvania and preparations...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

KRL This Week Update-- Sandra Balzo, JoAnna Carl, Elaine Faber, Marilyn Meredith, Thanksgiving mystery short story & much more in KRL

As posted elsewhere earlier today....

Up this morning in Kings River Life Magazine a review & giveaway of a Thanksgiving mystery, "Hit and Run" by Sandra Balzo

Also up, reviews & giveaways of three food related mysteries, perfect for Thanksgiving when we have food on the brain- "By Cook or By Crook" by Maya Corrigan, and "Chorus Lines, Caviar and Corpses" by Mary McHugh, and "The Chocolate Book Bandit" by JoAnna Carl

We also have a never before published Thanksgiving mystery short story by Gail Farrelly

And a review and giveaway of the "Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer" by Elaine Faber

Also a review & giveaway of "The Anthology of Cozy-Noir" edited by Andrew MacRae with stories by Bobbi A. Chukran, John Haas, and several others

And in honor of Thanksgiving being a time for families, Deborah Harter Williams looks at mystery TV shows featuring families, such as "Blue Bloods"

We also have a review & giveaway of the latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, "River Spirits," by Marilyn Meredith

And for those who enjoy fantasy with their mystery, a review and giveaway of "Spells at the Crossroads" by Barbara Ashford

Lastly, over on  KRL Lite, reviews & giveaways of "Ensconced" & "Purged" by M.E. May

Via The Education of a Pulp Writer: The Last Kind Words Saloon

The Education of a Pulp Writer: The Last Kind Words Saloon: Larry McMurtry  mentions in his brief introduction to  The Last Kind Words Saloon , “I had the great director John Ford in mind when I wrot...

Via Mystery Fanfare: Thanksgiving Mysteries / Thanksgiving Crime Fictio...

Mystery Fanfare: Thanksgiving Mysteries / Thanksgiving Crime Fictio...: Thanksgiving . I have a lot to give thanks for -- my family, my friends, and the wonderful mystery community. Once again we'll b...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Via The Practicing Writer-- Friday Finds for Writers

Friday Finds for Writers

Via Books and Benches: Books and Benches Monthly Giveaway: STONE MOUNTAIN...

Books and Benches: Books and Benches Monthly Giveaway: STONE MOUNTAIN...: November 2014 Giveaway Author Caroline Clemmons is this month's Books & Benches featured author! Enter to win one of ...

FFB Review: "Kings of Colorado" by David E. Hilton

It is Friday and that means Friday’s Forgotten Books. In my post chocolate cake haze it seemed like a good idea to run my review of David E. Hilton’s Kings of Colorado. As I said in the review that appeared back in 2011 it isn’t easy to label this book. Suffice it to say, you should read it if you have not already done so. After you read the review make sure you check out the complete list over at Patti’s blog. Surely something will catch your eye…

Austin, Texas resident David E. Hilton's debut novel Kings of Colorado is in turns heart breaking and uplifting. A novel that is not easy to describe while filled with tragedy and ultimately redemption. At its core, it is the tale of one man finally finding peace with a very brutal past decades later.

It was the summer of 1963 when the abusive world William Sheppard knew changed forever. He was thirteen and one time too many his father came home in a drunken rage and started terrorizing his family. When it was over, his father was near death because his thirteen year old son William Shepard had stabbed him multiple times with a pocket knife.

By September, thanks to the order of the court, William Sheppard was on his way from Chicago to the Swope Ranch Boy's reformatory in Colorado. The legendary reform school located near Gunnison, Colorado in a high mountain valley isolated from the world is to be his home for the next twenty four months. That is if he can survive the altitude of over thirteen thousand feet, the extreme weather, the other inmates, and the guards.  Of all the threats the guards may be the worst threat as, with a couple of exceptions, they exist to abuse the boys in every way possible. The ranch sustains itself by using the boys as a cheap labor source to break and take care of the wild horses that are shipped in at regular intervals. The threats are many but the reality of life is put very simply by Warden Walter Barrow: 

“We'll break you, Mr. Sheppard. Just like we break each of the animals outside.  One step at a time.” (Page 22)

Those in charge use the natural environmental elements of the ranch being located in a valley above thirteen thousand feet, intimidation, weapons, and other factors to control the population. Days away from anywhere, knowing that to resist means being shot, etc. means that nobody is going anywhere. This prison may have beauty around it and nothing in terms of walls or guard towers but it is a lock down prison in every sense that matters.

What follows is a tale of William Sheppard during those brutal 24 months and the aftermath of his ordeals decades later. It is a harsh and unforgiving world that bears a striking resemblance to Lord of the Flies in a far different location. One wonders if it was pitched as that when the author was seeking representation and publication. If so, it was a truly perfect fit that encapsulates well what this novel is about.

An emotionally powerful book with both humor and sheer tragedy often mere lines of text apart, Kings of Colorado is a complex book that is very hard to define or explain in great detail without destroying the very story lines that serve as the fabric of the novel. It reads like a memoir with a voice far older than the author would appear, and yet there are elements of any good mystery fiction story. Crimes have been and are committed, there are several mysteries, and other elements could easily move the book into the mystery field.

Not for the squeamish or faint hearted, the graphic moments in this story of language and description fit well into the story. They are not added for shock value or to pad the word count. They are in there because they fit seamlessly into the text as a whole.

By the end of the book you will wonder if these events really did happen?

Kings of Colorado: A Novel
David E. Hilton
Simon & Schuster
January 2011
ISBN 978-1-4391-8382-3
Hardback(paperback, audio, and e-book versions available)
288 pages

Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2011, 2014