Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April 2013 Reads and Reviews

In addition to interviews, news and other things on the blog, this is the complete list of the “April 2013 Reads and Reviews.” All reviews are mine unless otherwise noted.

Gun Shy by Ben Rehder ---FFB Review 
DOUBLE VISION by F. T. Bradley
Breaking Point: A Joe Pickett Novel by C. J. Box
The Texas Capital Murders by Bill Crider
The Jurors Who Knew Too Much by Gail Farrelly
Sweet Little Hands: A Nasty Little Story by Lawrence Block
The Book of Murdock by Loren D. Estleman--FFB Review
The Drifter Detective by Garnett Elliott ---reviewed by Barry Ergang
Killers edited by Colin Harvey
The Education of a Pulp Writer by David Cranmer
The Officer’s Code by Lyn Alexander---Reviewed by Earl Staggs
Burn by John Lutz---FFB Review by Barry Ergang

My thanks again to Barry and Earl for allowing me to post their reviews on the blog.  It is much appreciated. 


Sandi Update

I have talked to her very briefly and she feels very sick tonight. They did a five hour harvest procedure today where they attached some sort of pump machine to the new three line deal in her chest and cycled her blood through it.

This new three line deal is hurting her a lot and she has weeks more of this thing in her chest. Unfortunately, this new one was put right where the previous port she had a year ago that caused her so much pain was located. If you look closely, you can see some of the scar tissue where the old one was a year ago.

They attach this pump machine,  which she says looks a lot like some sort of dialysis machine, to these three lines and run the blood and saline fluid through it and her. Somehow this pulls out the stem cells. This also works totally different than what I had understood would be done here when the time came. This was how she spent her morning today from around six to almost noon when it was all said and done. Then they had her come back late this afternoon for another injection.

The plan is for them to do this again tomorrow and hopefully that will be enough stem cells. She would have another injection of some type tomorrow afternoon. If they don't have enough to work with at that point she would have to do this again on Thursday.Obviously she does not want that.

After that I am not sure what her schedule will be the next couple of days as she doesn't really know either. It keeps changing based on what her body is doing at a given point. Theoretically she is still on schedule to be admitted Monday morning for the three week quarantine period and receiving her modified stem cells.

Right now she does not care about all that. She just wants to avoid throwing up tonight.

Monday, April 29, 2013


Well, we still don't have Medicaid or Social Security Disability for Sandi, "Lite Up Texas" has lost our application for reduced power and phone bills for the fifth time so we have to apply yet again, and we got over 10k in medical bills delivered here today. Both GREAT LAKES STUDENT LOANS and NELNET have failed to process her forbearance paperwork and continue to harass us multiple times a day with robo calls about payments and worthless form letters. This after SALLIE MAE turned us over to a collection agency earlier this month despite the fact we were supposedly on a forbearance deal and had not heard from them in  months. Not to mention our crummy money situation with rent due this week which we do not have. 

I have talked briefly to Sandi today and I don't know much. I don't think they actually started harvesting stem cells today. The procedure seems to have changed from what I had understood it to be for harvesting. I do know she had the PICC line deal implanted into her chest so now she has another port type deal in there with three lines into it. I also know she was hurting pretty good after this one was done and had a new pain pill prescription to help her.

So, I don't know much. What I do know isn't good. Damn right depressing and I am very fedup on so many levels. It didn't help that I have fallen twice this evening. Do not panic--nothing broke. Just bruised up a bit----again.

Tomorrow we do all this again.....

Senior News-- April 2013 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 mail 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 the 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 April 2013 column with the addition here of the relevant book covers……

Caddo Cold: A Bill Travis Mystery
George Wier
Flagstone Books
Estimated print length 167 pages

The seventh in the series finds Bill Travis once again trying to help a client who has also become a friend. When Holt Gatlin went off the roof of the defunct theater in Karnack, Texas he hit the ground hard.  Everyone knows he was lucky to not break his neck. He did break his arm, wrist, leg, and several ribs. That does not explain why he is so upset about something that happened at Caddo Lake decades ago so Travis tries to find answers.

Caddo Cold  is the latest in a series that is part mystery, part thriller, and all adventure. Like in Slow Falling there is a definite pulp angle to the tale and a clear appreciation of them by author George Weir. As a result this is a book that is filled with missing bodies, secret scientific research, and secret military experiments. That along with a complicated mystery makes this another very good one in the series. While it certainly could be read as a stand alone, it is much better to read these books in series order starting with The Last Call.

From Hospital to Home Care: A Step by Step Guide to Providing Care to Patients Post Hospitalization
Kathy N. Johnson, James H. Johnson, and Lily Sarafan
Home Care Assistance, Inc. (Home Care Press)
ISBN# 978-1-4675-0180-4
Paperback (also available as e-book)
166 Pages

Published by Home Care Assistance, Inc., From Hospital to Home Care: A Step by Step Guide to Providing Care to Patients Post Hospitalization is designed to provide readers the information they need for a variety of situations when a loved one needs help to stay in his or her home. This book is designed for readers who are totally unfamiliar at any level with the discharge and home health care process so readers with this knowledge will find little in the book to assist them. The book is in sections that relate to those involved in the discharge process, dealing with various diseases, and resources available to you from the company publishing the book.

Written in very general terms From Hospital to Home Care: A Step by Step Guide to Providing Care to Patients Post Hospitalization features chapters that are short and very general in nature thus barely scratching the surface in most cases. Readers who have a need for deeper knowledge, especially in terms of the various chronic disease situations covered in the book, will need to look elsewhere.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Back Home

Home from the book signing deal. Had fun. Very, very tired and in tremendous pain. Thank you big time to Earl, Shalanna, and Jenny as well as the staff of Lucky Dog Books on Garland Road in Dallas for making this possible. And than you very much to those who came out and spent the afternoon with us.

Jenny signed a number of copies for Lucky Dog Books on Garland Road as well as the Grapevine location of Books-A-Million so be sure to stop by and pick up a signed copy of Cover of Snow. Lucky Dog Books is a really neat bookstore and I easily could have spent hours there.

A number of folks were taking pictures and as they come in I will post them to the blog.


Today is the Day

For the book signing deal at Lucky Dog Books. I won't be signing my own as this is being done on our behalf by Denise, Earl and Jenny. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Interesting Video--Ride with the Shuttle Boosters

You simply have to see this video here on the io9.com website. It shows camera footage from the boosters on two different space shuttle missions. It is really something.

Interesting Video--Betty Webb at Books & Co.

Author Betty Webb whose latest book is The LlAMA Of Death is interviewed here. Well worth watching Betty discuss her latest book released from Poison Pen Press as well as mysteries, writing, and publishing in general.

Event--Book Signing Tomorrow

I want to thank Denise, Earl and Jenny  as well as the staff of Lucky Dog Books on Garland Road in Dallas for setting this up to help our family. It means so much to all of us. Earl is coming here to pick me up and drive me so that I can be there. I hope you will be there too.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Some Test Results Are Now In

Just heard from Sandi and some test results are already in. Today's Pet Scan indicates no sign of cancer. Her thyroid seems to be a problem again so tests will be run on that. Some blood work is back and seems to indicate a low level infection of some type. Antibiotics are being prescribed for that. At this time, everything remains on track for the harvesting of her stem cells in about ten days.

FFB Review: "BURN" (1995) by John Lutz ---Reviewed by Barry Ergang

Friday means Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. Patti is currently celebrating five years of forgotten books with good reason. Check out the complete list here after you read the review below from Barry Ergang for lots of other book suggestions……

BURN (1995) by John Lutz

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

Joel Brant "looked a lot like the serial killer Ted Bundy, only older. Mid-forties, probably, Carver's age." The situation he hires Del Moray, Florida private detective Fred Carver to look into isn't the kind that becomes bizarre as the investigation proceeds; it's bizarre from the outset. The owner of Brant Development, a construction outfit that builds residential properties, Joel Brant wants Carver to find out why a woman named Marla Cloy, whom he insists he's never met, has accused him of stalking her. As he digs into their lives and encounters their friends and associates, Carver is confounded by possibilities. Is Marla Cloy trying to set up Brant to kill him, claiming self-defense? Or has Brant lied, and is he using Carver so he can kill Marla and make a similar claim? If either scenario is valid, what's the motive behind it? Who hired the seemingly mindless hulking brute of a killing machine named Achilles Jones to stop Carver from asking questions?    

The debates Carver has with his journalist girlfriend, Beth Jackson, about male versus female perspectives on a number of issues complicate his thinking and broach ambiguities he's forced to consider. Personal matters of an intimate, intense, and highly emotional nature also create conflicts between and within them that add tensions to the events they have to contend with. A man who seeks core truths, Carver is frustrated by the uncertainties the case entails, as well as those in his love life.

Burn's two plotlines are as simple and straightforward as described, and I don't want to spoil surprises by revealing anything more. Like the work of Ross Macdonald (whose plots tended to be far more convoluted), this is a strongly character-driven novel. Fred Carver, a divorced and disabled ex-cop, is flawed and fallible and thus relatably human. Beth Jackson is a strong, self-possessed, insightful woman who, despite hardships in her past, is ready to tackle almost any challenge. Del Moray Police Lieutenant William McGregor is as repugnant a specimen barely classifiable as a human being as any in fiction. Carver's friend Desoto, a detective with the Orlando PD, is a contrastingly sophisticated professional who favors a stylish wardrobe atypical of most fictional cops. These and other characters, even minor ones seen briefly, come alive on the page thanks to John Lutz's skill.

Lutz writes a clean, lucid prose from which some wonderfully terse but telling descriptive passages shine through. For instance, he describes Marla Cloy's mother as a woman no longer young whose "classic bone structure" indicates that "the beauty of her youth lay immortal beneath the surface of time."

Despite the fact that John Lutz has been writing for a long time and has an impressive body of work that includes several series (the Carver novels being among them) and many standalones, this is the first of his books I've read. Barring unforeseeable events, it won't be the only one.

Readers who dislike street language—most of which emanates, along with body odor, from the odious Lieutenant McGregor—and onstage violence will want to avoid Burn. Those who can accept them as elements of hardboiled fiction will likely find it a thoughtful, compelling, intelligent, top-shelf read.    

Barry Ergang ©2013

The current issue of the e-zine King's River Life contains a reprint of Barry’s flash fiction "Spring Idyll" (http://kingsriverlife.com/04/20/spring-idyll-a-mystery-flash-fiction-story/) as well as a great review of his novelette  "The Play of Light and Shadow" (http://kingsriverlife.com/04/20/celebrate-earth-day-with-4-e-book-mysteries-reviewsgiveaway/) 

Burn is one of the many books Barry Ergang has for sale at http://www.barryergangbooksforsale.yolasite.com/. He'll contribute 20% of the price of the books to our fund. A Derringer Award-winner, Barry's fiction, poetry and non-fiction have appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic. You can find some of it at Amazon and Smashwords.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sandi and Mayo

She seems to be doing okay. They are now accelerating her schedule and hopefully it won't be too much too fast. She has a PET SCAN tomorrow morning, followed by blood work, some shots, some sort of pulmonary study, more blood work, and an injection of some type and a couple of other things. The last thing is supposed to be done around 4:30 tomorrow afternoon.

Then Saturday she starts a daily deal of blood work and injections and some infusion of chemo and something else. Apparently the week off she was supposed to have is now out the window and they are doing all the things they need to do as rapidly as possible so they can harvest stem cells.

The picture to the left she posted on Facebook today and it is of the sign for the "Davis Building." This is where her new cancer doctor is along with the various support services for cancer patients. She will be spending the majority of her time there.

By the way, if you are looking for her on Facebook she is listed as Sandi Tipple and she is the one in Plano, Texas. There are an amazing number of people with the name Sandi Tipple on Facebook.

We also learned late this afternoon that despite the fact that Wal-Mart is supposed to be covering her room charges--at no charge to us at all--the hotel is charging us deposit fees to cover themselves if Wal-Mart does not pay or she damages the room. $200 we thought we had has now been removed from our bank account as they took it for deposit. Done without any notice and so very uncool.

The picture below shows her kitchen and eating area at "The Inn at Mayo Clinic."
I don't think those chairs would hold me. More from her as I find out.....

Guest Reviewer Earl Staggs Reviews: "The Officer's Code" by Lyn Alexander

Please welcome back author Earl Staggs as he reviews The Officer’s Code by Lyn Alexander. Earl just recently released his new novel Justified Action and is back at work crafting a sequel to Memory Of A Murder. Earl will be teaching tomorrow and Saturday at the Northeast Texas Writers’ Organization 27th annual Spring Conference at the Mount Pleasant Civic Center. Details are here. On Sunday Earl will be in the Lochwood neighborhood of Dallas at LUCKY DOG BOOKS for a book signing with Denise Weeks and Jenny Milchman. The event is scheduled at 1pm and you can read more about it here.

THE OFFICER’S CODE by Lyn Alexander

Reviewed by Earl Staggs

It is Edwardian England in 1912, and eighteen-year-old Eric Foster’s life has been planned out for him by his tyrannical father, a respected lawyer and judge. Eric is expected to graduate at the top of his class at Cambridge and join his father’s law firm. Eric is not sure what he wants to do with his life, but he is certain he does not want to be a lawyer. His grades reflect his lack of interest in his studies, so his father packs him off to a new school in Germany with dire directions to apply himself diligently and achieve the goals dictated for him.

Once in Heidelberg, Eric is an outcast among his peers until he is befriended by Gerdt Von Wittingen, a student his own age from a wealthy German family, and they quickly become best friends and roommates. When Eric visits Gerdt’s family’s mansion in the country, he meets Gerdt’s sister, Brigitte, an exquisitely beautiful girl who is flirtatious, yet seems immature and childlike in many ways. Eric considers her a reckless wildling who enjoys making fools of the many men who pursue her.

Inevitably, Eric and Brigitte fall in love, and their budding romance is written with an engaging hand by the author. When they eventually talk of marriage, major obstacles arise. Eric’s father forbids the marriage and orders his immediate return to England. Brigitte’s parents do not feel Eric has the breeding and background necessary to join a family of their high societal status. Eric’s solution to these problems is radical, drastic, and surprising, but he succeeds in making the marriage possible.

The newlyweds face another major obstacle immediately when World War One erupts in Europe. Now an officer in the German Imperial Cavalry though barely out of his teens, Eric must lead his troop into battle against the Russian Army. At home, Brigitte volunteers at the hospital to assist with the wounded and sees the suffering and atrocities of war for herself. These two young people become different adults during the period of the war, and must face that fact if and when they are able to continue their marriage.

Reading the horrendous details of the war made me wonder if the author had been there when it happened. That’s impossible, of course, so she must have researched it thoroughly. Her descriptions of the fighting and the effects of the war on the people involved will make you think you are there, too. That’s how good her writing is.

I highly recommend this book. The author deftly writes of a lovely romance and a horrific war as she chronicles the lives of two young people wearily suffering through it not by choice but for the sake of their marriage, their honor, their homeland and, for Eric, adherence to his Officer’s Code.

Trade Paperback  from Storyteller Publishing
October 23, 2012
Available at Amazon Canada, Amazon US , B&N
Get to know Lyn Alexander and read Chapter 1 at: http://www.lynalexander.com

Earl Staggs ©2013
"The Day I Almost Became a Great Writer"

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Little Warped

and I was amused........

Sandi Tonight

Sandi is doing okay all things considered. They moved her to another hotel on the Mayo grounds with better facilities for her extended stay before she goes into quarantine in the hospital in about ten days. After she had her cardiac test this morning she met with the social worker who advised her about some resources that may be available to her now and when she gets back home to Texas.

The meeting with the psychologist was moved to tomorrow morning and that is all she has planned for tomorrow.

The PET SCAN is still planned for Friday.

I think her biggest issue is boredom as apparently she has gone off tonight to join a number of her fellow stem cell transplant patients to play bingo. Glad she is getting out and socializing a little bit and hoping she is wearing her mask like she is supposed to be doing. She is also missing all the excitement here as my plans for sitting out on the porch and reading have been dashed by a the return of the construction crew. They are on our back porch with their ladders as well as the adjoining neighboring porches and measuring like crazy. I think this means we are about to have areas painted which means we lose the porch again for awhile and get gassed inside from paint fumes.

Review: "The Education of a Pulp Writer" by David Cranmer

The Education of a Pulp Writer is a gritty in your face read by David Cranmer that features ten short stories that predate his work in Westerns. The people in these stories are people living on the edge of, not just society as noted in the introduction, but on the edge of everything. Character desperation is prevalent here as is the drive to do something--even when the character knows it is the wrong choice. Sometimes it is greed, sometimes it is revenge, and sometimes they make bad choices just because they can. These stories are very much adult oriented with adult situations and occasionally graphic language.

The book opens with “Blubber.” The young college student needs money and hasn’t thought out all the implications of the ad she posted on Craigslist. Now that she is at the client’s apartment and has seen the task before her she is having serious second thoughts.

Anna Olmstead is in a nightmare and the police are involved in “Clouds In A Bunker.” Her mother has far advanced dementia and is being cared for by her father in the family home. He too is now suffering from worsening dementia. He has also taken her mother hostage and has retreated to a bunker on the family property. The situation has turned desperate and police believe he will kill her mother and then himself as soon as he talks to Amanda.

Kirby MacGregor believes in hands on experience in “The Education Of A Pulp Writer” and therefore keeps an accurate and detailed record of his actions. After all, any writer who intends to write crime fiction has to get the details right because so much is so very wrong on the television shows. It would help if the various neighbors would just leave him alone as he is a very busy man.

Readers move from an apartment building to the water in “The Great Whydini.” Frank Oliver is a magician who is practicing his act where, with his feet wrapped in chains and padlocked, he has to free himself while deep in the water. His assistant, Jay Wiedlin, as well as Frank’s wife, Angela are out on the boat supposedly to help him. Cayuga Lake of New York state is the final setting for this triangle of passion and deceit.

You can be the favorite son in a wealthy family and be thought of as “A Golden God.” Gods fall. 

Mildred Malloy had a plan in “The Missing Husband of Mildred Malloy.”  Two more days is all she needs.

Like several of these stories – to explain very much would ruin the read in “The Sins Of Maynard Shipley.” Maynard hates old people and with good reason in this story that keeps readers guessing all the way to the end.

Readers know from the start of “Vengeance On The 18th” that Truman Krup used a nine iron on the head of Jackson Lee Mercer and killed him. Not just the head, but, the rest of the body too.  Truman had a good reason and that eventually becomes clear as do a few other things as this story moves forward.

On the run from the cops things are not going well in “Minnow Escape.” Being wounded with dwindling options does not to help matters in this tale published back in 2008 that can’t help but remind readers of recent events in the news.

Luther F. Hudson went into the house to rob it. That had been his plan as “Bon Temps” begins.  A drunk woman, a dead man on the floor, and the promises of a better score changes everything.

These ten stories primarily feature people doing desperate things to survive. As such, the characters in these stories occasionally use adult language that some readers would consider graphic. Readers who prefer killings not descried in any detail, stories where no one says any of George Carlin’s famous seven words as well as a few others, prefer things to be simple and clear cut where the bad guys go quietly off to jail, should probably look elsewhere for their reading entertainment.

The Education of a Pulp Writer  is a very good short story collection featuring a number of strong stores with interesting and flawed characters. Some works are extremely short and would easily fit into one of the many definitions for flash fiction. Others are considerably longer and shift in POV though various characters. All the stories are bound together by a rich texture of details that make the characters and situations all very real to the reader. They are also all very good.

The Education of a Pulp Writer
David Cranmer
Beat to a Pulp
June 2012

This title was picked up during the author’s recent free read promotion. Unfortunately, at this time, this title is not currently available according to Amazon.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

In Case You Were Wondering......

how to get there I stumbled across this tonight. Happy to help......

Don't know what it says about me that my favorites of these are the third and sixth ones.

Sandi at Mayo----Updated

I don't know much at this point. I was able to talk to her for about a half hour this morning between deals and she was holding up okay. The big news was  they were advancing the timetable on  everything. Out the window was the two week period between today and when things would actually start happening. The latest she knew at that point was involved some stuff planned for Friday to install a PICC line into her chest on the left side and a couple of other things.

I just got a text from her and she says that they are planning to do an echo cardiogram this afternoon followed by a chest x-ray. This is supposedly routine and they will be comparing it to previous ones to make sure the chemo has not damaged her heart preventing a bone marrow transplant. Seems to me that should have been done here before she was put on a plane and flown there.

She is also waiting for the Wal-Mart HR department to confirm what everyone has been telling them for two weeks now---that she is staying there and needs a hotel room as they only booked Sandi for one night. That was last night and as of right now they don't have a room for her. These are the same people who setup her flight arrangements and have her booked for  a return home in June. Supposedly this happens to everyone they bring in and it should be fixed later today.

There are words to describe this hotel nonsense and I am restraining myself mightily.....

******UPDATE********2:45 PM*******UPDATE*******

Just spent an hour on the phone with her. The PICC line deal planned for Friday has been postponed. Instead, they will be doing another PET SCAN so they have their own baseline for comparison purposes. Tomorrow there is another routine cardiac test at 8 am her time and then she meets with the psychologist and the social worker to go over her case and the changes she will have to make when she comes home. For one example--when she is back, she can't handle raw chicken for any reason as that could make her sick and kill her.

Tonight's hotel situation is resolved as she stays in the room she already has for another night. At some point tomorrow, they will move her into another room in the neighboring hotel where she will have a kitchenette and a couple of other things.

She is very tired after everything she has done today.  The tour of "The Atrium" deal for her extended stay post implantation has been postponed till tomorrow or later as she really wasn't up to much more today. She says everyone there has been super nice and helpful and are bending over backwards to  make things as easy as possible.

Writer's Warning

You have been warned......again......


Monday, April 22, 2013

Sandi's Traveling Monday---UPDATED

After very little sleep last night we got up and got ready this morning. Thankfully Super Shuttle arrived on time before dawn and picked her up. At this point, she has passed through security at DWF and is somewhere at the US Airways area awaiting her flight. The first leg of the journey is to Charlotte, North Carolina where she has a layover and plane change before heading on to here destination of Jacksonville, Florida.

Health wise, she seems to be doing okay this morning. Sandi is tired, but we got very little sleep last night. She had a blood transfusion last Friday of two units of blood and one unit of plasma in preparation for this ordeal today. Thankfully, this time around the transfusion did not make her feel bad. It didn't seem to do anything to perk her up either and that is not a good thing. But, at least it didn't give her flu like symptoms and extreme fatigue like it did last time. Hopefully she can hold up today with everything being asked of her.

I have asked her to keep me updated as she goes across the country today so more news here as it becomes available.....

9:55 AM---Sandi texted that she is on the plane.

1 PM---Sandi texted she was on the ground in Charlotte, NC.

2:27 PM--Sandi texted she was on board the plane for Jacksonville, Florida.

3:15 PM---Airplane is in the air according to the airline.

4:25 PM---Airplane has arrived in Jacksonville, Florida according to the airline.

6:10 PM---Sandi calls home from her hotel room and says everything is fine. She is very tired, but, other than that she is doing okay. She says she had lots help every step of the way with carts and wheelchairs and that things went as well as possible.

There are still glitches that have to be resolved, but, she has been told these problems are normal with Wal-mart and Mayo should be able to easily straighten them out tomorrow. One hopes.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

News From Barry

The current issue of the e-zine King's River Life contains a reprint of my flash fiction "Spring Idyll" (http://kingsriverlife.com/04/20/spring-idyll-a-mystery-flash-fiction-story/) and, better yet as far as my ego is concerned, a great review of my novelette "The Play of Light and Shadow" (http://kingsriverlife.com/04/20/celebrate-earth-day-with-4-e-book-mysteries-reviewsgiveaway/)
--it's the second of four reviews so scroll down a bit to find it.

New Reviews Elsewhere--Kings River Life

I received the below message from Earl earlier today....

I'm proud as a preening peacock today.  Kings River Life Magazine published Sandy Murphy's review of JUSTIFIED ACTION, my new Mystery/Thriller. Sandy's review is terrific. She got out of the book exactly what I wanted to put in it, and she picked up on what I didn't put in it.

Here's where to find it:


You have to scroll down past three other reviews to get to mine, 
one of which is for a book by my pal, Barry Ergang.

KRL Editor Lorie Hamm will draw a name from those who leave a comment and someone will receive a free ebook copy of my book.

And, after you read the review, you can scroll a little further and click on a fun short story of mine called "The Unused Prom Dress" which KRL was kind enough to publish a few months ago.

Earl Staggs 
JUSTIFIED ACTION featuring Tall Chambers available in print or ebook.  “Now. . .it’s personal.”
Details at:  http://earlwstaggs.wordpress.com

Interesting Reading Elsewhere--- Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers

Guest author Lynn Calhoun was on the blog yesterday to promote her new book Temporary Roommates.  A story that came about because of the author's own battle with breast cancer. Along with the information about the book, she writes about what you can do for a friend that has cancer here.

Interesting Reading Elsewhere---PJ NUNN

I have mentioned here before that the blog of PJ Nunn is always worth your time. Today is another case in point as Marilyn Meredith stopped by to cover the topic of book promotion from her perspective. The piece is well worth your time and you can read it here.

Arthur Ellis Award Nominees for 2013

Yesterday, while I was otherwise occupied, the Crime Writers of Canada announced the 2013 nominees.  The complete list for your consideration is here. I have not read any of them though I am very pleased to see author Lou Allin listed as I have enjoyed previous works of hers.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Blood Transfusion Done

and we just got home finally minutes ago. She is doing okay so far and is taking a shower and going to bed. I'm exhausted, stressed, and hoping to sleep as I have been awake since 3:45 am.

FFB Review: "Killers" edited by Colin Harvey

Friday means Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. Patti is currently celebrating five years of forgotten books with good reason. Check out the complete list here after you read the review below as well as lots of other good things……

Mysteries come in many forms. Sometimes they are straight forward and easy to figure out as the author hits all the expected points one by one. Like dominoes, each plot or storyline point is hit in turn and they fall in a story by the numbers precision. Other times, not at all because the author weaves complexity and misdirection into the tale in such a way to keep the readers guessing all the way to the end.

Then there are those books that don’t fit easily into categories while clearly containing some crime and mystery elements. Novels and stories that might be classified more in the horror, supernatural, fantasy, etc genres and yet also contain a few elements of crime and mystery. Tales and books that don’t easily fit into the classifications created by libraries and book stores because the stories cross genres. Such is the case here with this intriguing and often disturbing anthology edited by Colin Harvey. If the stories in the Killers anthology share anything beyond the basic genre elements, they also frequently feature characters questioning their own sanity. Or not, as the book opens.

The very disturbing story titled “Doctor Nine” written by the multi Bram Stoker award winning author Jonathan Maberry begins the eleven story anthology. A very hard to describe story that features a child responding to a telepathic call to commit murder. This story powerfully sets the tone of what most will follow in the book.

“Dead Wood” by Sarah Singleton, also a winner of awards including the 2005 Children of the Night Award, comes next. Long ago someone once wrote of the woods being dark and deep. Chris has his own issues with sleep and these woods will slowly give up their secrets one by one.

Philip J. Lees heads to the virtual world for his story “Virtual Analysis.” Listed last month as an honorable mention finalist for the Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year Anthology, his tale tells of a plan to study the thought processes of a serial killer while he kills in a virtual world. Of course, things will go disastrously wrong- at least for some of the study participants. But why?

Multi award winning Bruce Holland Rogers contributes next with “Pushover.” Beware those that appear meek and na├»ve as not only can appearances be deceiving, they also have jobs to do.

“Beautiful Summer” by Eugie Foster works on the angle that the fashion world is always looking for a fresh new face. Nominated for numerous awards, her story is haunting as well as highly entertaining.

Editor Colin Harvey steps into the author shoes with his own story titled “Just Another Day.” Set in Iceland, this story has a feel of being ripped from the head lines type of read to it. More straight forward than most in the collection, it features a police officer trying to figure out who killed the woman he loved set against the backdrop of genetics and cloning research.

“Losing Paradise” by G. C. Veazey follows next in a tale set in a hospital ward. Virginia may work among the patients and staff, but she isn’t really one of them.

Mental health also plays a role in “Visibility Less Than Zero” by Paul Meloy. Mr. Meloy is a mental health nurse in Bury St. Edmunds and one gets the feeling that he is writing well of what he knows. A tale that shifts in points of view and explores the idea of whether anyone really knows if he or she is sane.

Charlie Allery uses computers and hackers in her very good story “Hunter-Killer.” While Philip J. Lees went one way with some of the same elements, Charlie Alley went a different way in her own cyber murder tale. Each is equally good in its own right and either vision or both could easily come true.

“Index Of An Enigma” by Gary Fry tells the tale of a professor making a lecture appearance a symposium. The problem is that he is haunted by what is real and what might not be real.

Bram Stoker Award winning author Lee Thomas closes out the anthology with “The Good and Gone.” A hospital is again the setting in this tale of a patient dealing with pain in a rather unique way.

Published by Swimming Kangaroo Books of Arlington, Texas, this 233 page anthology features stories that share a very wide brush stroke link of murder and crime. After that, they have little in common as they showcase different genre elements in tales that feature widely divergent writing styles and tastes, and reader accessibility. Difficult to review or categorize, the “Killers” anthology features no easy tales that are quick reads and forgettable. Instead, each very good tale manages to hint at far more than it explains and makes you think long after you close the book.

Edited by Colin Harvey
Swimming Kangaroo Books
September 2008
ISBN# 978-1-934041-66-6
233 Pages
Paperback (also now available as an e-book)

Material provided by the publisher in exchange for my objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple © 2009, 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tough Case

Seems appropriate for National Library Week. Also appeals to my twisted sense of humor....

Back Home

Sandi's blood work was okay. However, a couple of things are close to the edge and with her flying out Monday that means she has to have a blood transfusion tomorrow. It is now scheduled for noon at the hospital so that means we will be gone most of the day.

It also means that everything else has to be finalized today as time is running out and she won't be available to jump through the various hoops that folks seem intent on setting up. More reasons why they should have just let her stay here.

By the way, while at the hospital we saw lots of people in line for blood donation stations to help the folks in West, Texas. Turnout is definitely high as the parking lots are pretty packed. A couple of people have e-mailed me last night and this morning to make sure we are okay and we are. The blast happened a long way from here and we didn't even feel anything though some folks in the area have said they did.

Doctor Day

Later this morning Sandi has blood work to check on things. This will be their last chance to check Sandi before she flies out on Monday to Jacksonville to the Mayo Cancer Center Clinic as mandated.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sandi's Travel

is now set. She will fly out Monday morning, have a two hour layover, and then finally get to Jacksonville, Florida. At least, unlike tonight when we expect severe weather, Monday is supposed to be nice here.

No changes health wise to report. She does blood work in the morning and, assuming that does not red flag something, that will be it with them for more than sixty days until she comes back home.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

No word

on Sandi's mandated travel plans. The people who were supposed to be setting things up have not called for the second day in a row. When she calls them, she gets voice mail, or somebody who promises to have the right party call her back. They don't.

Health wise there has not been any changes and everything seems like it normally is at this point after chemo.

Barry's Reviews: "The Drifter Detective" (2013) by Garnett Elliott

Awhile back I read this book and really enjoyed it. After I posted my review, I asked publisher David Cranmer if I could forward my copy on to Barry  so that he could read and review it if he so desired. David graciously said yes and that led to the review below.....

"The Drifter Detective" (2013) by Garnett Elliott

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

In Texas just after World War II, investigative jobs in cities like Dallas and Houston are hard to come by for one-man operations because big firms like the Pinkertons and others tend to get them, so ex-G.I.-turned-P.I. Jack Laramie tools around rural areas in search of business, hoping to eventually amass enough money to open an office in San Antonio or Austin. Towing a horse trailer, which he sleeps in, behind his DeSoto coupe, he's on his way to Abilene where there is a "hint of a job" when the car begins to act up. He manages to get it to the small town of Clyde and to a service garage. The proprietor assures him that because it's late afternoon, the car's problem won't be diagnosed until the next day at the earliest.

The man gives Laramie directions to the local saloon, and tells him the widow Talbot runs a boarding house where he might get a room for the night. (Laramie figures it wouldn't be a good idea to sneak back to the garage to sleep in the horse trailer.) Soon after he meets Sheriff Gideon Hawes, who says he can throw some work Laramie's way. The job, he learns the next morning, entails keeping an eye on the estate of a prominent local citizen, Thomas McFaull, who might be engaged in some illicit activities. Laramie agrees to do it, and quickly finds himself entangled with McFaull's promiscuous wife, a surly sheriff's deputy, a railroad worker, and the flirtatious widow Talbot. It isn't long before matters turn dangerous, and Laramie finds himself wondering if things are really as they seem and whether he'll survive so he can get back on the road to Abilene again. 

A neatly-paced, action-packed long short story, "The Drifter Detective" is written in a colorful but not overwrought style and populated with characters the author imparts life to. For fans of hardboiled fiction with pulpy flavor and texture, this one is well worth Amazon's 99¢ asking price.

Barry Ergang ©2013
Derringer Award-winning author Barry Ergang's fiction, poetry and non-fiction have appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic--see http://www.writetrack.yolasite.com/. He has been selling some of the many books he's accumulated over many years, and will contribute 20% of the price of the books to our fund--see http://www.barryergangbooksforsale.yolasite.com/. You can find some of his work in e-book editions at Amazon and Smashwords.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Thoughts and Prayers

When Your Life Seems To Always Be A Quest...

one gets very tired of inciting incidents and crises......

Back Home

and I an hurting very bad.

Sandi is doing okay according to her blood work. Next deal for her is on Thursday. This will be the final one if she leaves next week for Florida. Sandi is currently back on the phone with those in charge trying to figure out if they have decided how they will  make this all work for her.

National Library Week

Libraries are wonderful places. They deserve your support year round.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sandi Sunday Night

Sandi is doing okay. She spent much of today doing disability paperwork and planning for the trip to Jacksonville. Quite honestly she is handling the cancer, the trip,  and all of it much better than I am. I'm still very mad as hell that she is sick again and having to go through all of this.

Both of the people she asked to make the trip with her have now backed out. Their biggest concern is her health and the fact they don't want to responsible because they know this trip is not at all in her best medical interests. I can't say I blame them, but, it means she is back to going by herself.  It is ridiculous that Wal-Mart won't just let her stay here where she has support. 

Tomorrow she has a doctor appointment and accompanying blood work. She also will be donating some more hats to the infusion room. This is one of them.....

and just one of about a dozen that will be donated tomorrow. I expect it to be another very long day and will update when I can.

Sample Sunday-- A Mystery in "MIND SLICES"--Package of Pain

Sunday today means a mystery sample from my MIND SLICES short story collection. Previously published in the Spring 2007 edition of Mouth Full Of Bullets the story will hopefully keep readers guessing to the end. I don’t remember now what gave me this twisted little idea……

Package of Pain
Mike Thornstein sat in his truck in front of his own house as a light drizzle coated the windshield.  The package was there again, even though it wasn’t supposed to be.  He had been promised by everyone that it was all over.  The investigation was supposed to have ended months ago.  He had been cleared, publicly exonerated, but nothing changed.

It sat there wrapped in plain brown paper on his stoop.  When they first started showing up every Friday like clockwork, his colleagues had searched for the sender.  Each one had been mailed from a mailbox in Fort Worth.  Television had “Walker,” but all Mike had were bureaucratic bosses who decided the packages weren’t a threat.  When the sender wasn’t identified after a few weeks, manpower and resources were delegated elsewhere.  Mike was still on suspension while awaiting assignment, albeit very unofficially, and the packages were still coming.  Something had to be done to end it.

The windshield wipers slapped across clearing the glass.  Visible again, the package sat there waiting for him.  He turned the engine off and listened to it tick as it cooled.  The glass slowly misted over as the drizzle continued.  The package dissolved from view into globs of water on the glass. Sitting there, watching the mist fall, wasn’t going to solve the problem.

Mike heaved himself out of his old truck and crossed the leaf-strewn yard.  Rain and wind had stripped most of the leaves off the trees .....

If you liked the above sample, there are 15 more short stories in Mind Slices: A Collection of New and Previously Published Stories.  Some tales lean towards the science fiction side, some lean towards mystery, and almost all of them are suspenseful in some way. Most stories also contain more than one genre. The e-book is currently .99 cents and is available online at:

If you have not yet read the book, I hope you take a chance on it. 


Friday, April 12, 2013

Sandi Update

She had her shot early this morning and seems to be doing okay. So far so good. She did not get an afternoon nap today like she should have because our phone was constantly ringing. Over a dozen phone calls this afternoon and things seem to be coming together. Nothing is totally finalized, but, this seems to be the current plan.

In about ten days she will be in Jacksonville, Florida at the Mayo Cancer Center Clinic for her stem cell transplant. Because of everything here  I am not going to be able to make the trip. Somebody has to stay herewith the boys (both special needs and they can't drive)  and hold down the fort. Fortunately, a friend of hers has agreed to go and will be flying back and forth at various stages over the next two months to help Sandi as she goes through the process. The process is very complicated and I will explain later when I am in better shape to do so. The bottom line is Sandi will be gone for two months and I can't be there or do anything about it at all.

I'm very frustrated that things are being handled this way as it would have been easier on the patient and us if she had stayed here with the doctors she has been working with the last several months. We are not being given the choice to make the medical decisions on this as her employer, Wal-Mart, is mandating everything regardless of what the doctors involved, the insurance company, etc., think. We have no choice at all! The only saving grace in this is the fact that her cancer doctor here spent a lot of time in the past working with the man who will be working Sandi's case while she is in Florida and has tremendous respect for him.

I have to trust this stem cell transplant thing is not only going to work, but this trip and everything with it is the best thing for her. And somehow come to terms with the fact that there is not a damn thing I can do about any of it.

FFB Review: "The Book of Murdock" by Loren D. Estleman

Friday means Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott who is currently celebrating five years of FFB. Quite the accomplishment! I am proud this little blog has been a small part of it. As I noted a few days ago, Loren Estleman was the winner of the Edward D Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer Winner as bestowed this year by the Short Mystery Fictions Society (SMFS). While I am a member of SMFS and even have a very nice collection of his work give to me by a very good friend, I have not yet read any of his mystery stories. I have, however, read the below western of his and enjoyed it immensely....

Page Murdock is a deputy U.S. Marshall in Montana in 1884. He has done a lot of things over the years but not once has he gone undercover as a preacher. That is about to change as Judge Harlan A. Blackthorne wants him to do just that and to do it in Texas Panhandle town of Owen. By going undercover as a man of the cloth it should be easier for Murdock to track down a gang of bandits operating in the Texas panhandle who might eventually make their way Montana if left unchecked. The reason is flimsy at best and Murdock knows there has to be more at stake than just the vague possibility that the bandits might expand their operations all the way up to Montana. Still, one does not say no to Judge Blackthorne.

After a two week crash course in religion, Murdock is sent to Texas as Brother Bernard Sebastian of the Church of Evangelical Truth. A crash course in religion and wearing a clerical collar does not necessarily make him a good fit for an undercover job as a preacher. It does not change his natural inclinations or his responses when confronted. What it does do to Murdock is to make him reconsider the world and his role in it. That may not last too long thanks to be increasingly bold actions of the bandits, a shady woman from his past, and the plain fact that his notoriety that has followed him all the way to Texas. A place and a people he hates on every level.

Murdock is a caustic character and one that frequently makes comments about others in highly entertaining fashion. He does not pull his verbal punches and so readers are frequently entertained with laugh out loud moments as Murdock tells folks in public and in private exactly what he thinks. Not to mention the occasional zings in internal character dialogue. Humor is just as much a part of things here, as is the mystery of the bandits, a failed romance, and the meaning of god and faith, among other story elements. Murdock is just one of many real and interesting characters in this 271 page western novel. The Book of Murdock is a very good read from multi award winning writer Loren P. Estleman.

The Book of Murdock
Loren D. Estleman
A Tom Doherty Book (Forge)
April 2010
ISBN# 978-0-7653-1600-4
271 Pages

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

Kevin R. Tipple © 2010, 2013