Sunday, September 30, 2012

Reminder---Sandi's Store

Just a reminder, as we head towards cooler weather and the holiday season, Sandi's Store is at  Lots of good handmade stuff there.

Her blog on crafts, gardening, and a few other things is at


Review: "Bad Little Falls: A Novel" by Paul Doiron

When you annoy the bosses once too many times and you work as a game warden for the State of Maine, you get sent to their version of Siberia. In this case, Warden Mike Bowditch has been sent to Washington County. The eastern most county in Maine is well known for poaching, drug abuse, high unemployment, and a host of other social ills. Not to mention the brutal winter working conditions. Bowditch is being punished and he knows it. Just about everything Bowditch has to deal with in his new assignment is made worse because his considerable reputation precedes him.

The biggest place in the county population wise is the county seat of Machias. The town barely has two thousand people. The small town, as well as the surrounding county, is a place where everyone knows everyone else, looks the other way, and pretends to know nothing. That includes ignoring the actions of a local drug dealer. A drug dealer that soon winds up dead with his friend severely injured by frost bite.

While others believe the friend killed the drug dealer during a snowstorm, Bowditch doesn’t think so. Any shred of credibility he had coming in was shot by his involvement in the case (never get romantically involved with a suspect is rule one no matter what agency you work for),  so he is forced to go it alone to get to the truth.  It isn’t the first time and won’t be the last.

The series that began with The Poacher’s Son and continued with Trespasser just keeps getting better and better. This is a very complicated novel that continues to build on an excellent foundation while bringing further nuance and depth to the Bowditch character. Those efforts do not get in the way of the multiple storylines at work in this complex and multi-layered novel.  Bad Little Falls by Maine author Paul Doiron and well worth your time.

Bad Little Falls: A Novel
Paul Doiron
Minotaur Books (St. Martin’s Press)
August 2012
ISBN# 978-0-312-55848-2
Hardback (also available in e-book)
310 Pages

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

Kevin R. Tipple ©2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Writers Group Meeting

Today was the meeting of my local writers group. I heard the below, and variations of same, several times today as once again I did not have any pages to submit.

Friday, September 28, 2012

FFB Review: "Still River: A Lee Henry Oswald Mystery" by Harry Hunsicker

Friday means Friday’s Forgotten Books  hosted by Patti Abbott. If you are not reading her blog on a daily basis, you are making a serious mistake……

Lee Henry “Hank” Oswald is a private investigator who walks the mean streets of Dallas, Texas. It begins as a favor for a former fellow high school classmate in the form of Vera Drinkwater. Crying in his office, she tells Hank that her brother Charles (Charlie to one and all) Wesson (two years behind both Vera and
Hank in school) is missing and has been for a little less than twenty-four hours. She knows something is wrong. Hank knows at this point, Charlie hasn’t been gone long enough to raise an eyebrow or anything else at the Dallas Police Department. The fact that he is a former addict, allegedly clean and sober now, won’t speed anyone to look for him as in all likelihood, he is off on a binge.

Charlie had been a victim all through school both by bullies at school and a stepfather at home determined to make a man out of him one way or another. Hank has memories of those times as well as some guilt as he wasn’t in a position to really help but witnessed enough to have some idea of what Charlie endured. Those memories trigger his need to help and he agrees to make some calls and look for Charlie. It should have been easy enough. But, one thing life has taught him with a name like his in Dallas, nothing is easy and this certainly isn’t. Before long, it turns into a huge mess involving crooked real estate developers, urban renewal in the form of yet another Trinity River project, the Russian mafia, drugs, guns, and wayward relatives. Through it all, Hank keeps going as he digs through the muck of Dallas whether they are rich and famous or the nobodies on the wrong side of the river. 

Author Harry Hunsicker’s portrayal of Dallas has absolutely nothing to do with the Chamber of Commerce ads for the city. This is a hard-edged noirish style Dallas that serves as a backdrop for all sorts of things that no doubt happen on a routine basis and that no one ever talks about. While Still River stumbles at first in terms of clich├ęs, the book builds a steady momentum and before long carries the reader violently along for a very enjoyable read. 


Still River: A Lee Henry Oswald Mystery
By Harry Hunsicker
Thomas Dunne Books
ISBN # 0-312-33787-6
Hardback (also now available in paperback and e-book)
277 pages

Still River is followed by The Next Time You Die and Crosshairs.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2005, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Interesting Reading Elsewhere---Benjamin Leroy

If you don't know, Ben is the boss over at Tyrus Books.  A publisher that can be counted on every single time to release good stuff.  These days he is also contributing blog posts to the blog Hey, There's A Dead Guy In the Living Room. A blog you should be reading whether you are a mystery reader, a writer, or a two headed monster like me who does both.

Today, Ben is talking about publishing and how it is NOT a zero sum game. The post is well worth your time at


NEWS --- The 2012 Golden Derringer Award

As announced yesterday by Short Mystery Fiction Society President Tom Sweeney…..

The SMFS Golden Derringer committee has voted on the three writers nominated last spring, and has selected Bill Pronzini as the recipient of the 2012 Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer Award.

- Bill Pronzini is the author of over 300 short stories.

- He is the author or co-author of at least 10 collections.

- He has been twice nominated for Edgars in the short story category.

- He has been nominated for six Shamus awards in the short story category, including "Cats-Paw," for which he won.

- One of his "Nameless Detective" stories, "Incident in a Neighborhood Tavern," was both a Shamus and an Edgar nominee.

- His career, in both novels and short stories, is notable for his ability to collaborate with so many different co-authors. In short fiction, his partners include Jeffrey Wallman, Barry Malzberg, and his wife, Marcia Muller.

Congratulations to Bill Pronzini and thank you to the SMFS members who took the time to nominate writers for the award and also to those who served on the selection committee.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Got my Plates!

Big time thanks to the Collin County Tax Assessor staff for processing and shipping my new disabled license plates to me so quickly. Parking closer to things is a huge help with my mobility and pain issues.  They came today in the mail and are now on my car.

Thank you!


WTF! --- Wednesday's Twisted Funny

Monday, September 24, 2012

Senior News--September 2012 Column

For some time now I have been writing a monthly book review column for the Senior News newspaper. The Senior News is aimed to the 50 and over crowd with news relevant to seniors regarding various issues, humor pieces, and my review column among other things. The newspaper is a giveaway at doctor offices, stores, etc. and can be received by via a paid subscription. There are multiple editions across the state of Texas and therefore there is some fluctuation in content in each edition.

My column every month focuses on books of interest to the Texas audience. Therefore books selected for the column, fiction or non-fiction, are written by Texas residents, feature Texans in some way, or would have some other connection to the Texas based readership. At least two books are covered each month in the short space I am given.

Below is/was my September  2012 column with the addition here of the relevant book covers……

Available Grace: True Short Stories of the Rewards of Intentional Living
Marianne Cassell
Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co.
ISBN# 978-1-61204-608-2
Paperback (also available in e-book)
283 Pages

The synopsis explains it best-- “Available Grace: True Short Stories of the Rewards of Intentional Living is a wonderful collection showcasing moments when the author, her family, and friends experienced the grace of God in their lives.” As the Lubbock, Texas author explains, “Because these are true stories, I have changed the names of many people who were involved.”

Inspired by a bible study teacher who talked about sharing God’s grace, the book is made up of six sectional chapters detailing stories from 1964 to present day. Most of the stories involve the time period when the author was young to middle age though some are at other points in life.  Inspirational and comforting, this 283 page book is about the power of God, faith, and the strength to deal with what comes along in life. Texas Author Marianne Cassell has created a moving testimony to her faith and the power it holds in her life and in so many others.

Murder of a Beauty Shop Queen: A Dan Rhodes Mystery
Bill Crider
Minotaur Books (A Thomas Dunne Book)
ISBN# 978-0-312-64017-0
Hardback (also available as e-book)
272 Pages

Blacklin County in East Texas is home to wild hogs, a Wal-Mart, and more than a few murderers. It has happened again as Murder of a Beauty Shop Queen” opens and Sheriff Dan Rhodes is on the case. Lynn Ashton is very much dead on the floor of a local beauty parlor known as “The Beauty Shack.” Found by the owner of the beauty parlor, Sandra Wiley, it is clear that Lynn’s days of cutting hair are over. Lynn had a bit of a reputation and more and move comes out that isn’t flattering to her or helpful to solve the case as Sheriff Rhodes investigates.

No new ground is plowed in Murder of a Beauty Shop Queen in terms of character development and none is expected in this excellent long running series. After eighteen preceding books from Texas Author Bill Crider, readers get exactly what they expect and want as Sheriff Dan Rhodes will catch those responsible in another very good book in this series.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sample Sunday--- Carpathian Shadows--Volume 2

The last several weeks I have been giving you various samples from the upcoming short story collection.  I had hoped by now I would have the book finished and ready for formatting. Unfortunately, that has not happened for a variety of reasons.

So, I thought this Sunday I would provide you a small sample from my story  “By The Light Of The Moon…” in the published anthology Carpathian Shadows--Volume 2.  My story blends elements of science fiction, mystery and horror to fill the premise set forth by the publisher.

Available in e-book direct from the publisher as well as online at your favorite retailer, the book is also available in print from me for $10.00  Not only does that include postage and handling, I will gladly autograph it at your request.

By the Light Of the Moon…

"Is he here?"

"Yes, Commander."

"How is he?"

What he was asking was whether or not the suspect had made it alive into his station. He should have but sometimes accidents happened in the field. The young officer stepped a little ways into the room. New to his job, he was working hard to impress, which is why the Commander had chosen him. Things had to be contained, and he knew he could keep the man, more like a boy at twenty, in line.

"Typical American." The young officer couldn't keep the scorn out of his voice, "Very emotional. Fits of screaming and crying when we placed the cuffs on him. He's sitting quietly in Interrogation 4 now."

"Good. That will be all."

The young man saluted, swiveled in his black spit-polished boots, and strode confidently out of the office. The Commander sat back and smiled to himself while he listened to the pleasurable sound of the boots striking the floor fade away down the long hall. To be young again and so sure of righteousness, of purpose. Not that it really mattered, as fate ordained everything.  His die was cast long ago, as was my own, he thought, and the idea depressed him as it had the last few months.

He stood and stretched feeling his spine pop before he walked down the same hall. Unlike the young man before him who had turned right so that he could pass the front desk and go back out on patrol, the Commander turned left, and with a few steps, began to feel like the walls were closing in on him. The truth was they were as he journeyed deeper into the old section of the garrison. This part had been built into the mountain long ago, and the Commander secretly suspected that there had to be a tunnel from here up to the castle far above. He suspected it but had never tried to find out because he knew that in such matters, a lack of knowledge was safer than knowing the truth….

Friday, September 21, 2012


This week for Friday’s Forgotten Books it is Barry’s turn front and center. The complete list of books is over on Patti Abbott’s blog at While you are there, check out what is going on with Pulp Ink 2 and other things of note.

by James Finn Garner

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

“Political correctness” is one of those cultural concepts that some abhor, some wholeheartedly embrace, and some treat selectively. It’s had a profound effect on our language, but not always for its betterment. It’s caused us to rethink certain attitudes and approaches to people and situations and alter our behaviors accordingly. With both positive and negative attributes, it’s ripe for satirizing, and that’s exactly what James Finn Garner has done to it in Politically Correct Bedtime Stories. As he points out in an introduction, “When they were first written, the stories on which the following tales are based certainly served their purpose—to entrench the patriarchy, to estrange people from their own natural impulses, to demonize ‘evil’ and to ‘reward’ an ‘objective’ ‘good.’...Today, we have the opportunity—and the obligation—to rethink these ‘classic’ stories so they reflect more enlightened times.” We used to call these stories “fairy tales,” but that term, Garner says, reflects a “heterosexualist bias” and must thus be done away with.

This slim, undersized volume (it runs seventy-nine pages and measures seven-and-a-quarter by five-and-an-eighth inches) contains thirteen very short renderings of familiar stories. Without giving away too much lest I spoil the surprises, I’ll try to convey a sense of what the author has done. For instance, in “Little Red Riding Hood,” we’re told of the titular character that “One day her mother asked her to take a basket of fresh fruit and mineral water to her grandmother’s house—not because this was womyn’s work, mind you, but because the deed was generous and helped engender a feeling of community.”

The tailor in “The Emperor’s New Clothes” tells the vain monarch, “...I have brought with me a special fabric that is so rare and fine that it can be seen only by certain people—the type of people you’d want to have in your realm—people who are politically correct, morally righteous, intellectually astute, culturally tolerant, and who don’t smoke, drink, laugh at sexist jokes, watch too much television, listen to country music, or barbecue.”

The “economically disadvantaged” miller in “Rumpelstiltskin” “was very ashamed of his poverty, rather than angry at the economic system that had marginalized him, and was always searching for a way to get rich quick.”

In the longest story in the book “Snow White,” fleeing from the wicked queen, runs into the woods and comes upon a cottage inhabited by “seven bearded vertically challenged men” who refer to themselves as “the Seven Towering Giants.” When the queen learns where the girl is, she disguises herself as “a chronologically gifted woman,” goes to the cottage, and begs Snow White to buy an apple. “Snow White thought for a moment. In protest against agribusiness conglomerates, she had a personal rule against buying food from middlepersons. But her heart went out to the economically marginalized woman, so she said yes.”

The other stories, which in “updating” Garner turns on their heads so their endings are not usually what readers have come to expect, are “The Three Little Pigs,” “The Three Codependent Goats Gruff,” “Rapunzel,” “Cinderella,” “Goldilocks,” “Chicken Little,” “The Frog Prince,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and “The Pied Piper of Hamelin.”

Readers whose taste runs to satire will most likely enjoy Politically Correct Bedtime Stories. They may not want to read it at bedtime, however, lest their laughter give them a second wind and consequent insomnia. The book is available in both physical and e-book (Kindle, Nook, Smashwords) editions. There is a sequel, Once Upon a More Enlightened Time, as well as Politically Correct Holiday Stories: For an Enlightened Yuletide Season. I also just discovered that the author has put out what appears to be (so far, at least) a Kindle edition only, Tea Party Fairy Tales.

I may eventually have to look at all of them. In any case, this one is recommended.  

Barry Ergang © 2012
Winner of the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s 2007 Derringer Award in the Flash Fiction category, Barry Ergang’s written work has appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic. Some of Barry’s fiction is available at Smashwords and, and Amazon also has available a couple of his poetry collections. His personal collection of books for sale are at

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Yes, I Am Okay

Several folks have written me today to say they hope I am okay as nothing new was on the blog since yesterday afternoon.

Clearly, I am way too predictable these days. I do very appreciate the concern. Yes, I am doing okay. Feeling the aftereffects of yesterday somewhat, but not at an insane pain level. Sandi does not have to be in at work until late today so we are just hanging out watching TV.

Remain calm..... :)))

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Doctor Day in the Land of Tipple

This was one of those days when both Sandi and I had doctor deals going on. Makes for a long day--especially when my old enemy insomnia is back.

Sandi was first up this morning with her foot doctor. Her right angle continues to hurt her a lot and is showing no sign of getting better. While she is still to wear the ankle air cast while at work, he has put her in some sort of heavy strap on boot for the rest of the time. This is the same leg she had knee surgery on last October so I am rather concerned that the boot weight will do something to her knee and cause a new problem. This apparently is a possibility though one hopes not. The sad truth is her ankle is not getting any better so now she has to go into the heavy boot as much as possible so that the ankle has more stability. In two weeks he will see her again.

In my case this afternoon was the calcium screening test. I had been told last week that there would be some sort of injection. That was not done as there is no injection for this deal. The test consisted of me being moved back and forth on the table while the machine spun above me and I was told to breathe and not breathe. The hard part was being on the table with my hands above my head. Fortunately, after about ten minutes, I was done. Results will take a few days and they will call me when they have them.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Interesting Reading Elsewhere---Marilyn's Musings: Digging for Death by Caroline Clemmons

 Caroline is a member of my local writers group as well as a very talented author in a variety of genres. I had the pleasure of reading early drafts of Digging for Death and it is very good. So, read the post and then get yourself a copy of the book.

Marilyn's Musings: Digging for Death by Caroline Clemmons: Marilyn, thank you for having me as your guest. Don’t you love books set in a small town? Life is kinder, gentler and slower ...

Cookbook Review: "The Book Of Burger" by Rachel Ray

If you are looking for some variety with your burgers, Rachel Ray has the book for you. After a brief introduction to burgers as well as her preferred meat blend, it is on to the recipes in this book published last June. While there are recipes for outside grilling, Rachel Ray thinks of burgers as a year around deal. The Book Of Burger isn’t just about burgers, despite the title.

The book opens with a section titled “Burgers” made of beef¸ veal, pork, chicken, veggies and other things. The section starts with “Big Beef Burgers with Crunchy Sour Cream Onion Rings (pages 4-6).  This one serves four and features onion rings on top of a hamburger topped off with lettuce and red ranch dressing. “Chili Mac ’N’ Cheese Burgers” (pages 12-13), “Bloody Mary Cheeseburgers” (page 31), as well as “The Ultimate Salami Burgers” (page 52-53) among others are in this section.

Unfortunately, there is no nutritional information on the recipes as well as very few pictures.  Tips, suggestions, and information in small text notes with or without small icons is present and plentiful. The Book Of Burger  is billed as an “Atria Smart Book” and features active links to information online as well as images that can be scanned by smart phones to release still more information. The active links were not explored and this reviewer does not have a smart phone so those images were not explored either.

The next section begins on page 128 and is “Sliders” primarily featuring, beef and pork. There is one recipe using lamb as well as several recipes for chicken and turkey sliders and two featuring seafood. Also included here is further evidence this book is not just about burgers as there are recipes for “Bourbon /Barbeque Sliced Steak Sliders” (page 139), “Green and Red Chili Nacho Sliders” (pages 144-145) and “Sliced Steak Soft Taco Sliders with Guaca-Salsa” (pages 154-155) among others.

This leads into the next section that further goes away from the title of the book.  “Sandwiches and Dogs” begins on page 174 and features subs and hoagies as well as sorts of dogs and sausages. Here are recipes for “Albondigas Subs: Spicy Spanish Meatball Subs” (page 186-187), “Bourbon BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches and Green Apple Slaw” (pages 192-193) and “Cubano Dogs” (page 199) among others.

While nearly every dish in this book is going to be some potential sloppy eating, “Sloppies” is the title of the next section.  Whether it be “Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes” (page 216-217) “Sloppy Dawgs” (page 227), or “Sloppy Veg-Head Joes with Beans” (page 236-237) among others, the mess they make is the theme here.

 Of course you need “Sides and Sauces” because anything regular will not do. Starting on page 240 along with various recipes for French fries and tater tots there are several recipes for potato salads of different types and ones for onion rings, devil eggs, and pickles. Not to mention several for ketchups, dips, and gravies.

A final chapter “Burger Bash” features recipes from famous and therefore well-known chefs such as Bobby Flay, Marc Murphy and others.

The Book Of Burger closes with a sixteen page index.

An interesting cookbook that features variety and not just with burgers. You can use this book to make things as simple or as complicated as possible. Some toppings are for more complicated and will take far longer to create than others. The Book Of Burger, despite its name, goes far beyond burgers and thus will have appeal outside the demographic related to its title.  A lack of nutritional information and pictures are a definite negative and rather surprising considering her frequent comments promoting healthy eating on her TV show.

The Book Of Burger
Rachel Ray
Photographs by Romulo Yanes
Atria Paperback (Simon & Schuster)
June 2012
ISBN# 978-1-4516-5969-6
Paperback (also available as e-book)
324 Pages

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

Kevin R. Tipple ©2012