Saturday, August 31, 2013

Rough Edges: Writing Update

Rough Edges: Writing Update: Historically August has been one of my best months, but in recent years, not so much. My theory is that because we usually go to the coast...

August 2013 Reads and Reviews

In addition to interviews, news, market calls, free book alerts, and lots of other things on the blog, this is the complete list of the “August 2013 Reads and Reviews.” All reviews are mine unless otherwise noted.

These Mortal Remains by Milton Burton

Absent The Soul by B. J. Bourg (FFB Review)

Liane the Wayfarer by Jack Vance (FFB Review)

Light of the World: A Dave Robicheaux Novel by James Lee Burke

Massacre Pond by Paul Doiron

THE GREAT MERLINI: The Complete Stories of the Magician Detective by Clayton Rawson--Double Take FFB Review by Barry Ergang and Patrick Ohl

High Heat: A Jack Reacher Novella by Lee Child

The Play of Light and Shadow by Barry Ergang--Reviewed by Patrick Ohl

Thuglit: Issue Six edited by  Todd Robinson

Suspect by Robert Crais

Black Wings Has My Angel by Elliot Chavez--Jack Hardway Edition (FFB Review)

Robert B. Parker's Damned If You Do: A Jesse Stone Novel by Michael Brandman

The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History by Robert W. Cohen

Safe From Harm: A Sugar Land Mystery by Stephanie Jaye Evans

Small Game by John Blades (FFB Review by Barry Ergang)

That was the month that was August and my thanks to Barry and Patrick for their ongoing efforts. On to September, football, and hopefully cooler weather…..

Scott and I

The below was recently taken on our back porch in late afternoon. Scott is our 19 year old son who has just started the new school year at the University of Texas at Dallas.

KRL This Week--- PJ Nunn, Andy Straka, Zoe Burke, JK Rowling, short story & more in KRL

As posted by Lorie Ham earlier today on various lists......
Up this morning in Kings River Life Magazine we have a review of "Private Spies" by PJ Nunn, an interview with PJ & a chance to win a copy of the book

For those who enjoy fantasy with their mystery this morning we have a review & giveaway of "Walking In the Midst of Fire" Thomas E. Sneifoski by

Also up this morning a review of "Jump the Gun" by Zoe Burke & a chance to win a copy of the book

You will also find a review of "The Cuckoo's Calling", a mystery by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling

If you enjoy mystery short stories, check out this mystery short story by Rhett Shepard

And lastly over on KRL Lite we have a review of Andy Straka's new mystery "Dragonflies: Shadow of Drones" & a chance to win an e-book copy

Happy reading,
Lorie Ham

The Rap Sheet-- Expanding the Elmore Leonard Tribute

J. Kingston Pierce has updated his extensive Elmore Leonard tribute. You can read why here and then follow the links to the two part series.

Cracked Rearview Mirror Blog: Ed Lynskey's Books Newsletter Announcement

Cracked Rearview Mirror Blog: Ed Lynskey's Books Newsletter Announcement: I put out my first newsletter this April on my 14 books with more fiction titles in the pipeline. It's getting a little whacky for me tr...

Sandi's Stuff for SALE

Sandi's Store is at  Lots of good handmade stuff there and she has added some brand new things.

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

Market WARNING--- Spectacular Productions

Author Brian Keene has a long post about Spectacular Productions with numerous links here. The market warning also has a list of things to always think about when submitting your work.

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Forgotten Books: Mr. Majestyk -- Elmore Leonard

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Forgotten Books: Mr. Majestyk -- Elmore Leonard: I was till thinking about Elmore Leonard this week, so here are a few comments on one of his lesser-known books.  Mr. Majestyk  starte...

Market News--- All Due Respect

From the editor Chris Rhatigan as posted to several places this morning....

 Hey folks,

ADR has changed things up: We're now a quarterly ebook and print magazine published by Full Dark City Press. And we pay.

Pays $25 for a story now. Details at the link above.

Friday, August 30, 2013

We Are Finally Home

Everything on Sandi is the same. Put her back on the Bactruim as the antibiotic. They will see her Friday. Because she remains oxygen dependent and therefore can not travel to Mayo in Florida or be onboard an airplane, they are going to fight with the insurance company and see if they can't get the 100 day PET Scan done here.

The Business of Writing--- The Business Rusch

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has another excellent column on the business side of things today on her blog here. Short term or lifetime is what she asks you to consider. Good stuff and well worth your time.

The Latest From Novelist Earl Staggs

As posted to several lists earlier today......

I don’t often see reviews of my short stories so I’m pleased all over with this one:
And there’s more!  Call now and we’ll double your. . . Sorry.  Wrong commercial.
Actually, tho, Untreed Reads published this story and it’s now part of UR’s Labor Day Weekend Sale going on at: 
That means 40% off.  Let’s see.  The price is 99 cents, and 40% off means you can buy it for. . .well, you’re better at math than I am.
And there’s even more! 
You also get 40% off another something of mine there.
This big holiday sale at Untreed Reads, by the way, includes all their authors so you’ll find bargains on works by many familiar authors. 
Earl Staggs
JUSTIFIED ACTION featuring Tall Chambers available in print or ebook.  “Now. . .it’s personal.”
Read Chapter 1 at:  

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Hobo with a Shotgun

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Hobo with a Shotgun: Hobo with a Shotgun ~ Yeah, so I finally saw this. The number of times this film has been recommended to me by friends whose opinions I...

FFB Review-- SMALL GAME (1992) by John Blades-- Reviewed by Barry Ergang

Friday means Friday’s Forgotten Books. Patti is taking the week off to rest and recharge so Evan Lewis will be collecting the links and posting them on his blog here. If you are not already reading his blog you should be. So, after you read Barry’s review below of Small Game by John Blades surf on over and take a look. 

SMALL GAME (1992) by John Blades-- Reviewed by Barry Ergang

Scott Ryan is a man besieged. His opponents include coworkers, fellow commuters, neighbors, and—above all—his house. Oh yes, and squirrels. Living in an area the police sometimes treat as if it’s under martial law, having to duck below window level when his commuter train passes through a Red Zone to avoid being shot, his urban dream has become an urban nightmare.

He and his wife Kathy have purchased a fixer-upper in a becoming-gentrified section of their unnamed city. With three small children and the burdens their new home has imposed, and despite Scott’s ascendancy in the market research company he works for, they’re in over their heads. Working on the house consumes the bulk of Scott’s time when he isn’t working. He still manages to fit in some tennis now and then, but reluctantly because the house has become his Circe, luring him inexorably back to it and demanding that he cater to its every need and want.

When he isn’t cheating on Kathy with several different partners, that is.

Scott’s first-person recounting of events seems at first reasonable, if sometimes edged with desperation. But the reader soon realizes that something is wrong, that he’s an utterly unreliable narrator, that he may or may not be seeing things that aren’t there, claiming to do things he really doesn’t.

Some of the neighborhood squirrels have invaded the house and taken up residence in the walls and attic crawl space. They become Scott’s obsession, and his attempts to eradicate them become steadily more frantic—and sometimes dangerous.

John Blades’ short serio-comic novel might well be described as Kafkaesque in its depiction of a man driven to fulfill but overwhelmed by the popular notion of the “American dream.” Crisply written, and peppered with evocative turns of phrase, its episodic structure builds to a memorable finish.

Barry Ergang © 2009, 2013

Derringer Award-winner Barry Ergang's impossible crime novelette, The Play of Light and Shadow, is available at Amazon and Smashwords. Barry is selling books from his extensive personal collection at

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Long Day

And I am beat. Very upset about a lot of stuff and hurting really bad too, but no point in complaining. So, I will say good night. For those few who care, Sandi is doing okay. We have the cancer doctor deal tomorrow so tomorrow is going to be another long one.

I leave you with this final thought tonight....

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Final CWA Dagger Shortlists Announced!

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Final CWA Dagger Shortlists Announced!: Mystery Fanfare: Final CWA Dagger Shortlists Announced!

Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West: Forgotten Books: CONAN AND THE EMERALD LOTUS by Jo...

Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West: Forgotten Books: CONAN AND THE EMERALD LOTUS by Jo...: When I posted some Conan pastiche covers earlier this week ( HERE ), James Reasoner called my attention to this one by Mr. John C. Hockin...

Barry's Book Sale Message


As anyone who reads Kevin's blog regularly is aware, for the past couple of years or so I've been selling some of the books I've accumulated over many years because I'm running out of space in my home, and will in the near future be looking to move to even smaller quarters.

Today I spent a few hours at reducing prices on a majority of the offerings.

More books have just now been added in the non fiction, humor, and pulp categories. 

Thank you.

--Barry Ergang

Review: "Safe From Harm: A Sugar Land Mystery" by Stephanie Jaye Evans

Pastor Walker “Bear” Wells and his wife Annie Laurie get plenty of dinner invitations. But, being invited to Gina and John Redman’s house is always a special treat. This one was as well and the coolness of October evening had allowed the four to sit outside on the Redman’s back porch and enjoy the Texas evening. That is until the text from their 15 year old daughter, Jo, hit Bear’s cell phone.

“Come Home.”

That was the message. She doesn’t answer each time they call and the ten minute drive home by Bear and Annie is the longest in their lives. They arrive to find Jo in her bedroom, alone and unhurt, with the family dog, Bat Bear. But, Jo is not alone.

Dead in her arms is the child of a family they know. Phoebe Pickersley, a troubled child who was once Phoebe’s friend, is most definitely dead.  What she was doing in their house and why will be almost as important as determining how she died. The fact she dead in their house to be found by Jo automatically makes Jo a suspect. The fact that they had clashed more than once in recent weeks, among other facts, makes Jo a suspect. A suspect who, like most teenagers, isn’t going to willingly tell all and has her own mind as to how to clear her name.

This is the kind of situation that makes your hair turn grey as a parent. Following up on Faithful Unto Death this strong sequel brings back characters familiar to readers while adding a number of new ones. Character development is further established with the returning characters as we learn more and more about them. The new characters are multi-faceted complex human beings as well bringing a fuller richness to the book.

A religious faith remains a strong part of this series. As in the first book, there are no simple and easy answers regarding life’s troubles and events. While faith is referenced and always present through the book, there is not sermonizing and there is acceptance of other belief systems. That acceptance is not automatic as Pastor Wells learns both as a parent and as pastor.

At its core Safe from Harm: A Sugar Land Mystery is about familial relationships---- the good, the bad, and the flat out evil ugly. Flat out evil ugly is why there is a murder mystery at the heart of the book. But the book is more than just that. How we interact with each other during good times and times of great stress is a part of this complex mystery. In this series, families and personal connections matter and take precedence over many other things.

 Those who choose to read this series in order will appreciate the character growth, complexity of situations, rich storytelling, and the fact that Texas author Stephanie Jaye Evans writes smart, complicated mysteries that provide very good reading.

Safe From Harm: A Sugar Land Mystery
Stephanie Jaye Evans
Berkley Prime Crime (Peguin Group USA)
ISBN# 978-0-425-25346-5
Paperback (also available as an e-book)
360 Pages

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

If you have not read the first book of the series, Faithful Unto Death, my review can be found here.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

At the Scene of the Crime: No Man's Land

At the Scene of the Crime: No Man's Land: Inspector Celcius Daly was introduced to readers a year ago in Anthony Quinn’s debut novel Disappeared . I enjoyed the book tremendously,...

The Latest at Killer Covers

The latest at the Killer Covers blog can be found here and is rather cool. Some things do just naturally go together.

That Writing Thing

Bob Mayer offers a few thoughts here about what he has learned after 53 books. I looked at the list and I am not doing number one remotely well enough. I do think it comes first before everything else and I have not been doing any of it in months.

I don't have number 11 at all. We can't take care of ourselves as it is so this is not an option though from a lot of author head shots it is required in the mystery world.

I never thought number two and have routinely violated number three.

Check the list out--it is interesting.

Randy Johnson's Blog

Randy Johnson's Blog "Not The Baseball Pitcher--Just Another WordPress.Com blog" always has interesting stuff. Today he reviews Celebrations In The Ossuary & Other Poems by Kyle J. Napp. Edited by David Cranmer, Kyle's Uncle, the book has been published after Kyle's death. The book of poems is getting a lot of good press and you can read Randy's review here.




Monday, 16 September 2013
7-8:30 p.m.
Topic: Writing Past Procrastination, Perfectionism and Perfectly Good Excuses - 5 Fun Ways to Jump Start Your Creativity
Speaker: Jill Allison Bryan

Richardson Public Library
900 Civic Center Dr.
Richardson TX 75080
Basement Room

Jill will jumpstart your creativity with interactive exercises to stimulate your writing. Jill is a certified Master Kaizen-Muse® Creativity Coach; read more at her website,
She is also a writer, a blogger, a songwriter, and a musician.
The Writers' Guild of Texas WGT Critique Sessions: Third Wednesday of each month.
Registration: 6:45-7:00 p.m.
Reading/critiquing: 7:00-8:45 p.m.

Basement Room of the Richardson Public Library, 900 Civic Center Dr., Richardson TX 75080.
18 August: Coordinator Liz Klein leads these sessions. Participants present their original work and receive feedback.
For more information about The Writers’ Guild of Texas, contact Membership Coordinator John Vance at or WGT Critique Group Coordinator Liz Klein at
Annual 2013 WGT dues of $25.00 may be paid at meetings or by mail to Writers' Guild of Texas, 6009 W. Parker Road, Suite 149-175, Plano TX 75093.

All WGT events located at the Richardson Public Library are free and open to the public.

Monday, 21 October 2013: Cindy L. Herb. The Book is Almost Done – Now What? "The Joyful Survivor" and author of Awakening the Spirit: The Open Wide Like a Floozy Chronicles helps others become successful. Using her own experience, Cindy discusses the importance of marketing BEFORE the book is launched, including having a marketing plan, getting endorsements, creating both an online AND offline presence and understanding the basics of building a strong web presence using great keywords as the foundation for building a website.

Saturday, 2 November 2013: Workshop. Rachel Simeone. Book marketing expert Rachel Simeone uses her 20+ years of experience in Internet and consumer marketing to help authors accelerate their sales and achieve their dreams. Implementing proven marketing strategies, Rachel develops customized marketing programs that attract readers and deliver sales. She is known for her innovative ideas that exploit hidden opportunities to give authors a marketing advantage. In addition to her work with authors, Rachel also developed a book marketing training program for the online publisher Blurb. Location: TBA. $25.00/WGT members/$35.00 non-members.

Monday, 18 November 2013: Bob Morris. “EDNA” Bob Morris is an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and organizational transformation. Thus far, he has also reviewed more than 2,500 business books for Amazon’s US, UK, and Canadian websites, interviewed more than 200 thought leaders, and has more than 8,000 dedicated followers of the three websites at which he blogs. He will explain why “EDNA” should be every writer’s muse and mentor. Learn more about Bob at his website,

Monday, 16 December 2013: WGT Annual Christmas Party, more details to come…

All Writers' Guild of Texas events held at the Richardson Public Library are free and open to the public.

For more information about The Writers’ Guild of Texas, contact Membership Coordinator John Vance at or WGT Critique Group Coordinator Liz Klein at

Writers' Events Calendar (contact to have your conferences, meetings, or other writing-related event listed here—no individual book signings, please):

Saturday, 21 September 2013: SCBWI North Texas 2013 Regional Conference presents Creating Kids Books That Soar. 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. 3 Keynote sessions, 4 breakouts. Portfolio and manuscript critiques for a fee. Watch event website for full agenda as it develops. Sheraton Arlington Hotel, Arlington TX. $45 for National SCBWI members; $60 for nonmembers.

Friday, Saturday 4-5 October 2013: 2013 Writer’s Workshop: Wordsmithing: Pursuing the Writing Life. Collin College Continuing Education. 18 breakout sessions, 2 keynote sessions. Networking with fellow writers. Courtyard Center, Preston Park Boulevard, Plano TX 75093. 972.985.3750. $75.00/Friday; $100/Saturday; or $150.00/both days.

Thursday-Sunday 24-32 October 2013: Austin Film Festival 2013 Conference. Film competition now open. Screenplay competition now open. Austin TX
First Saturday each month (except January): Dallas MWASW (Mystery Writers of America, Southwest). Texas Land & Cattle, 812 South Central Expressway, Richardson, TX 75080, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. $5.00 door fee, cash only. All who attend are invited to remain for lunch. Contact info: LaRee Bryant, Permission to forward.
First Saturday each month: Pens and Pancakes Writers Workshop. 10:30 a.m.-noon. The Dock Bookshop. 6637 Meadowbrook Dr. in Fort Worth, TX 76112. Guest facilitator Shewanda Riley. Dock Bookshop ( 817.457.5700. FREE.
The Dallas Area Writers Group (DAWG) put together a summer reading list—including a reading list for writers. Check it out! The more readers in the world—the more opportunities for writers!
Second Saturday each month: North Texas Speculative Fiction Workshop. Meets every 2nd Saturday at the Hurst Barnes & Noble Bookstore, 6pm.
Frisco Writers Meet-Up Groups: Day group meets every 3rd Thursday and night group every 2nd Tuesday. See website for more details.
Visit for up-to-date information on Writer's League of Texas workshops held in Austin TX.
Visit for guidelines to participate in the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

The Writers' Guild of Texas is a nonprofit professional organization whose primary purpose is to provide a forum for information, support, and sharing among writers; to help members improve and market their writing skills; and to promote the interests of writers and the writing community.

If you don't wish to receive these announcements, please let me know.
Permission to forward this email is not only granted, but encouraged. Let's get the word out to as many in the writing community as possible.

Carol Woods, Communications
Writers' Guild of Texas