Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Update Tonight

No real news to report other than Sandi remains about the same breathing wise. We had a good scare this morning as the machine suddenly suddenly stopped working and the siren on it blared. Shut it down, waited a few seconds, and then turned it back on. It came back up and seemed to be working just fine. The folks at the company have no idea why it happens, but they say this happens from time to time. 

The picture to the right is from this morning as Sandi felt strong enough to be able to sit outside and have
her morning tea. The tubing on the machine is long enough where she can sit outside as long as we don't shut the door and crimp the line. It was nice early this morning until the wind died and it got too hot out there on the porch.

After all the pictures of her looking so sick in recent days, I thought she looked better today and made sure to take a couple pictures. Mornings are the best for her as she kind of fades over the day.

July 2013 Reads and Reviews



July 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 “July 2013 Reads and Reviews.” All reviews are mine unless otherwise noted.


Justified Action by Earl Staggs (Reviewed by Barry Ergang)
Flash, Flash Bang, Bang: 7 Flash Crime Stories by R.J. Spears
Headaches and Bad Dreams (A Story From The Dark Side) by Lawrence Block
Joyland by Stephen King
Ghost Town Gold by William Colt MacDonald (FFB Review by Barry Ergang)
Surprise Larceny by S. Furlong-Bolliger
A Serpent’s Tooth: A Walt Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson
Thuglit: Issue 4 edited by David Robinson        
Heir Presumptive by Henry Wade (FFB Review by Patrick Ohl)
Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo
Private Spies: A Jesse Morgan Mystery by PJ Nunn
Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo
The Blacklin County Files by Bill Crider (double review by Barry Ergang and Kevin)
The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (FFB Review by Barry Ergang)
Compound Murder: A Dan Rhodes Mystery by Bill Crider
Michael Chiarello's Live Fire by Michael Chiarello
The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler (FFB Review by Barry Ergang)
Murder by the Marfa Lights by Denise Weeks


Lots of good reading so stay cool and keep reading….

Review: "Murder by the Marfa Lights" by Denise Weeks

Ariadne French, who goes by the nickname “Ari” never expected the call that she got while helping to paint her sister's house. Aaron Beecroft, Ari's boyfriend who took her money and her heart and left for Montana to set up their future only to not be heard from in months, is now dead according to the caller. Not only is
he dead, he isn't anywhere near Montana either.

Instead, a neighbor found him dead in his small cabin in the area of Marfa, Texas. Now the caller, Gil Rosseau, wants Ari to come out from Dallas to help handle things. Mr. Rousseau claims to be Aaron's neighbor and pastor and says that Aaron named Gil as executor of a will and Ari is the sole beneficiary. It has been months since Aaron refused to wait for her while Ari dealt with a family crisis and now she is supposed to drop everything and go out to Marta to help with funeral arrangements and other matters.

Her sister Zoe does not want Ari leaving town for any reason and certainly not to go from Dallas to somewhere out in the desert just because some guy called and claims various things. But, Aaron Beecroft had been the one true love of Ari’s life and she has to have answers. Against her sister's emphatic advice, Ari accepts Gil's offer to make her travel arrangements and goes to Marfa to deal with matters and to find out what happened to Aaron. As Labor Day weekend approaches presenting another complication for her plans to wrap things up as quickly as possible Ari finds out that by all appearances Aaron was doing well. But, appearances can be deceiving and as she struggles with rectifying the Aaron she thought she knew with the far different Aaron that lived in Marfa, she also must deal with others and their own agendas. Eccentric neighbors, vendettas, and at least two different men vie for her romantic interests. The fact that she becomes a murder suspect within days, if not hours, of her arrival in Marfa seems to dissuade no one from involving her in their own lives for various purposes. Not to mention those magical and unexplainable Marfa Lights that play a major role in the book.

Murder by the Marfa Lights is a slow moving cozy style mystery that gradually reveals the truth behind everything as Ari is seduced by the land and its people. Readers are given plenty of information on fish, spiders, as well as local situations such as the famous chili cook off and the legnedary Marfa Lights among a few other things. Ari has a sarcastic streak that comes through on a fairly frequent basis providing bits of the humor scattered throughout the 259 page read.

The mystery of what happened to Aaron often takes a back seat to various events and the romantic interest shown to Ari by others. Much of the book is spent detailing the local area and its residents during which there is little forward movement on the mystery itself. Readers who expect a quickly moving mystery may be disappointed, but those who wish to learn more about this special place in the “Big Bend” area of Texas will strongly appreciate the detail here.


Murder by the Marfa Lights
Denise Weeks
Pandora Press
ASIN: B002WN2XGC
E-Book (also available in print)
259 Pages
$1.99


Word file was supplied by the author in exchange for my objective review.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: New Poem at The 5-2

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: New Poem at The 5-2: The 5-2 | Crime Poetry Weekly - Gerald So, Editor : Steve Hood LONG DISTANCE

Update

Sandi is doing about the same in all aspects. Late this afternoon new oxygen tanks arrived that should last
longer---- we hope. We know the cylinder on the right, which is the biggest she has had to this point, lasts about an hour and a half on her rate of 5 liters of air per minute. Hopefully the new bigger cylinder on the left lasts longer as just getting to the hospital and the doctor's office takes about 45 minutes one way.

By the way--the caution tape you see tied to Sandi's rocker behind the table is because they are in the process of fixing a hole at the base of the wall between our porch and next door. After leaking for over a year the porch was collapsing in that area due to wood rot so they have been working on it this week.

Sandi has been on steroids about two weeks now. Whether that is why she suddenly has started growing hair or not we have no idea, but earlier today we discovered she has hair growing on the sides of her head. She still has nothing on the top of her head, but it is definitely coming in on the sides and especially on the back of her head. It is coming in jet black and is very short at this point. Sandi was thrilled to see the hair start coming back as there was strong possibility that it wouldn't come back again.

Early this morning we got a call from the doctor's office and they want her down there Friday morning for a little blood work. They need to check her cumindin levels going into the weekend to make sure the dosage is right as everything has been jiggled this way and that with the recent hospital stay and everything else. We are still on schedule for Monday regarding major blood work and a doctor's visit.

I spent a large part of today working on letters to collection agencies thanks to Medical City Hospital Dallas and Texas Radiology ignoring the installment agreements we have with them and filing claims. In the case of Texas Radiology they told the collection agency Sandi owes over a grand in unpaid claims. Interestingly enough, they have only billed us for slightly more than $20 bucks and that was back the first week of June. How the alleged balance got to be over a grand with no other bills coming our way I have no idea.

I also don't know why, when they know about our situation and have the full details on it, anyone anywhere who has two brain cells to rub together thinks that reporting us to a collection agency is going to do anything at all to create money for them. Our credit is shot and we don't care. It does not matter. It is not like we are going to buy a house, apply for credit, etc. We don't have money to pay what matters--the rent, utilities, Sandi's insurance, her drugs that are not covered, etc. Reporting us to a collection agency is a waste of time and does nothing to magically create money for us to pay bills with or do anything. In the case of both the hospital and Texas Radiology as well as a couple of other medical providers that have done this, all the billing stuff is handled far away in Delaware, Ohio, and elsewhere. So, the local folks who start things can't or won't do anything to assist or fix the problems their external billing staff create.

I did manage to work on a couple of reviews today as this blog is becoming way to much medical news all the time. One of those reviews appears tomorrow......

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Interview with Me

 Interview with the man, the living legend, and all around good guy Bill Crider....

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Interview with Me: Check out this interview , and I guarantee you'll learn something about me that you didn't know.

Before You Ask---Review Queries

Before you ask me to read and review your book, it helps if you read a few entries on this blog to have some idea what I review. I have made no secret as to what my review preferences are or the fact that I am saying yes to very little due to my health issues, my wife's ongoing cancer fight, and other problems. Quite frankly, it is hard to say yes to anything when I worry constantly as to whether or not we will be homeless at the end of the month, can keep the utilities on, or buy food when the little bit we get from the SNAP program each month runs out.

Authors who I have enjoyed and reviewed their work before have the best chance with me right now because of my incredible TBR pile. Also authors who fit the guidelines for my column in the Senior News Newspaper have a major leg up on the competition. Again, read past blog entries as I put each month's newspaper column on here towards the end of that month.

If you don't fit either category, your chances of me accepting your work for eventual review are very low. That lack of acceptance has nothing to do with the quality of your work and everything to do with my personal situation here.

At this time I don't envision any changes in this situation for the foreseeable future.

I'm A Voracious Reader : Blood and Magick

 The latest from a reviewer you should be following....

I'm A Voracious Reader : Blood and Magick: Title ~ Blood and Magick Series ~ Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty Hunter, #3 Author ~ James R. Tuck Publisher ~ Kensington Published ~ 5 M...

Senior News--JULY 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 July 2013 column with the addition here of the relevant book covers…

Arrowmoon: A Bill Travis Mystery
George Wier
Flagstone Books
E-Book
(Estimated print length 170 pages)


If it wasn’t for the road being built through the land, the isolated and decaying barn and its secrets would have been left undisturbed. Bill Travis, who manages money from his office on the western edge of downtown Austin would not have had to come out to the isolated spot in near College Station, Texas to keep his client Lief Prescott happy.  But, he has to come out because Leif Prescott and his construction company have been hit with a restraining order stopping all construction for at least fourteen days.

As readers know who have followed this series from the beginning with The Last Call, this will be another wild tale featuring many players along with plenty of mystery and adventure from Texas author George Weir.  They won’t be disappointed. Like every book in the series, Arrowmoon: A Bill Travis Mystery is a fun, fast paced, and very complicated mystery read that keeps readers well entertained.



The Gardener & The Grill: The Bounty Of The Garden Meets The Sizzle Of the Grill
Karen Adler and Judith Fertig
Running Press (Perseus Books Group)
ISBN# 978-0762441112
Paperback (also available in e-book form)
224 Pages

The Gardener & The Grill the Bounty of the Garden Meets the Sizzle of the Grill is a book designed to help the novice or experienced cook. After an acknowledgement page and a brief introduction it is on the some basic knowledge sections. From “Specialty Grilling Techniques” (pages 8-9) to the first chapter on what you should have in your pantry, the information is basic and helpful. The first chapter covers various seasonings, rubs, vinaigrettes and other things designed to get the most out of the produce you put on the grill. Even experienced cooks can pick up some tips in this section.

Recipes begin in the second chapter and cover appetizers, sandwiches, salads and soups, sides of all types, and, of course, meats, chicken and fish. Deserts followed by a ten page index bring this well done 224 page cookbook to a close. While the lack of nutritional information on the recipes is a definite negative, the variety regarding the recipes is a definite plus. Novice cooks as well as grill masters will find recipes in The Gardener & The Grill the Bounty of the Garden Meets the Sizzle of the Grill to meet their skill levels.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

Ever Feel Nauseated?

Ever Feel Nauseated? Low back pain? Constipated? Do you have that not so fresh bloated feeling? This could be why......


Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: The Big Deal and Top Suspense

 Get a book....or two..or three....

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: The Big Deal and Top Suspense: Top Suspense Group: The Big Deal and Top Suspense

Back Home

We are back home and the news today was better. All of Sandi's numbers blood work wise are up and they see signs of improvement breathing wise. We continue everything we are doing and go back next Monday morning for blood work and a doctor visit.

Doctor Day Monday

After a hard weekend we go to her cancer doctor later this afternoon to see how she is doing at this point. While Sandi feels a little better than she did last week, she remains on the oxygen at all times. When she comes off of it to go to the bathroom her numbers fall off the cliff.

Our youngest, Scott, is going with us to the hospital to help move the oxygen tanks around as needed. In the old days I could have moved several full ones at the same time with no problem. But, as I discovered Friday, moving one is now a very painful and nearly impossible situation for me to move. So, Scott is coming with us to help switch out tanks and all that.


Sandi has to have blood work and the doctor visit so it will be late this afternoon before we are back--assuming nothing turns up and they don't have to do something to her.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday Evening Update

Things are pretty much the same here. Sandi is making continuous heavy use of the oxygen concentrator and we see her numbers drop rapidly when she is off of it to go to the bathroom. The little $35 oxygen sensor I bought at the store was proven to be very accurate in the doctor's office so we have been checking her  a lot to see where she is at. She has a little more energy today, thanks to the powerful steroids she is now on, so she has been sitting with her computer in her lap and doing e-mail.


Sad to say she discovered she has had zero sales again this month despite her "Christmas In July" sale announced on her blog before she went into the hospital. Since she is virtually giving away stuff she thought she would get a couple of sales and instead got nada. Even the daily drive by looks she gets at her store at iOffer have dropped considerably. Maybe it is because everybody is doing some sale somewhere, I don't know. But, it is pretty discouraging.

We still don't know what her status is regarding social security disability and the rest of it. Supposedly, having a stem cell transplant is an automatic qualifier as well as the cancer she had and her hideous prognosis. No word yet.


I mentioned last week how we just got the paperwork to renew our food stamps. We filled that out this morning and mailed it today and again asked for Medicaid assistance along with the food stamps. Hopefully, something is in the system we don't know about and her approval is in the pipeline. Considering the food stamp renewal letter was dated July 3, 2013 and we just got it last week, it seems to me like there could have been a decision one way or the other and we just don't know it yet.

In the meantime, things continue to be very grim from a money standpoint. So, if you can, please make a donation via the handy dandy widget over to the left. Any amount helps. The monies raised go to the rent, utilities, food, gas for the car, parking at the hospital, medical bill payments (despite an installment plan both TEXAS RADIOLOGY and MEDICAL CITY DALLAS HOSPITAL --among others-- have turned some of the mountain of debt over to collection agencies--as if that changes our situation at all), Sandi's biweekly insurance premium of $95, her drugs, etc. The monies are not wasted and are very much appreciated.

I hate asking and I wouldn't if things were not desperate.  Feel free to share the news of our situation through social media or other venues if you would care to do so as we truly do need the help.

Kevin

Dorothy Howell, Juliet Blackwell, Fashion mysteries & more in KRL this week

From Lorie Ham earlier today....
 
This morning in Kings River Life Magazine we have a review & giveaway of Dorothy Howell's latest mystery "Evening Bags and Executions" http://kingsriverlife.com/07/27/evening-bags-and-executions-by-dorothy-howell-reviewgiveaway/

Also up this morning a mystery short story by Christopher J. Lynch http://kingsriverlife.com/07/27/the-loot-mystery-short-story/

For a little magic with your mystery, check out our review & giveaway of the latest mystery from Juliet Blackwell "Tarnished and Torn" http://kingsriverlife.com/07/27/tarnished-and-torn-by-juliet-blackwell/

Jill Amadio shares an article with KRL this morning about the final wish of the great mystery author Raymond Chandler http://kingsriverlife.com/07/27/raymond-chandlers-final-wish/

Looking for a new mystery TV show to try out? Check out our review of the new TNT show "King and Maxwell" http://kingsriverlife.com/07/27/king-and-maxwell-tv-review/

Lastly this morning, we have a review of 3 more mysteries from Penguin--these all related to clothes and fashion. "A Custom-Fit Crime": A Magical Dressmaking Mystery By Melissa Bourbon, "Tulle Death Do Us Part" By Annette Blair, and "Laced with Poison": Sweet Nothings Lingerie Mystery By Meg London. http://kingsriverlife.com/07/27/more-fashion-mysteries-from-penguin/

And over on KRL Lite for those who love fantasy with their mystery, a review of "Fiery Edge of Steel" by Jill Archer kingsriverlife.blogspot.com/2013/07/fiery-edge-of-steel-by-jill-archer.html


Happy reading,
Lorie Ham

Message From Earl Staggs

Earl sent the below around yesterday and it is well worth your time....
 

Today on Murderous Musings, my post is titled TALL GOES SHORT.  I love quirky titles.  It'll make sense once you read it.  Trust me.
 
Here's where you'll find it:  http://murderousmusings.blogspot.com/
 
 
Earl Staggs
JUSTIFIED ACTION featuring Tall Chambers available in print or ebook.  “Now. . .it’s personal.”
Read Chapter One at:  http://earlwstaggs.wordpress.com

Author Solutions--The Latest

Playing catchup on e-mails and such that I have missed with what has been going on the last two weeks. Just stumbled across this: "Author Solutions' Rep: People Complaining About Our Scammy 'Services' Are Engaged In 'Racketeering'" over at TechDirt. The amazing piece is here.

Sometimes all you can do is laugh.

Want To Make The Most Out Of Twitter?

If you do, you should read a recent post by Jeffrey Marks on PJ Nunn's "Bookbrowsing" blog. You can read the post here. I think you will find it well worth your time.

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

 I signed up awhile back and you should too....

Cracked Rearview Mirror Blog: Ed Lynskey's Books Newsletter Announcement: I put out my newsletter this April on my 14 books with more fiction titles in the pipeline. It's getting a little insane for me trying t...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Back Home

We are back home and the news is very much a mixed deal. On the good news front---they have ruled out TB, fungal infections, pneumonia and several other lung issues. While they don't have the lung pathology results back yet so cancer is not ruled out, what they do have on Sandi is good as it does not show anything.

As to the bad news---they now believe it is pneumonitis which is basically a serious irritation of the lungs. The bronchial sacs in the lungs get massively inflamed, loose elasticity, and you can't breathe. You can read about here at Mayo http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pneumonitis/DS00962  and there are other sites to look at if you are interested. It is caused by chemotherapy, radiation, and in other ways. While Sandi did not have radiation, she has had chemotherapy and lots of it. The theory is that the heavy chemo she got at Mayo to set things up for her stem cell transplant is what caused this now.

Going forward, she is on some new drugs as of today and is in isolation lock down to protect her. Not that she has the strength to go anywhere anyway she is now forbidden in no uncertain terms from going anywhere except for the hospital to see the doctors. The blood count numbers look a little better than they did on Wednesday when they sent her home from the hospital, but they are nowhere near to where she needs to be. She is to stay on 5 liters of air per minute and stay away from everyone. On Monday around noon we go back for more blood work and a doctor's visit. They are hoping the new meds, which they started by injection and she will continue in pill form, along with everything else she is doing medicine wise will help her. Considering she is now up to 23 drugs per day, not counting the vitamin supplements she has to take, one hopes the pills are doing something right.

Long term is the big unknown right now. The current belief is that it will be months before her lungs will recover enough that they can begin to wean her off the oxygen. This assumes this even happens and this assumes that her ongoing diabetes does not prevent the lungs from healing. The damage could be permanent and if so she would be oxygen dependent the rest of her life. We just won't know for a very long time.

It is one very scary deal....

FFB Review: "The Long Goodbye" by Raymond Chandler


Friday means Friday’s Forgotten Books. Please welcome back Barry Ergang and make sure you check out the other reading possibilities here after you read the review below……


THE LONG GOODBYE by Raymond Chandler

Reviewed by Barry Ergang


Mark Twain defined a classic as “a book which people praise and don't read.” The point is well-made, although Twain was fortunately wrong. People still read Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and The Prince and the Pauper.



They still read Raymond Chandler, too. Chandler, along with Dashiell Hammett and Ross Macdonald, is the chronological second in the Supreme Triumvirate of the “hardboiled” school of mystery writing. All three worked in what was long considered a second-rate genre and elevated it to the status of “serious literature.” Chandler garnered accolades from, among others, cantankerous critic Edmund Wilson and poet W.H. Auden. In his first five novels, Chandler worked within the traditions of the genre but added his own distinctive touches. These included character development well beyond that found in the work of most of his peers and a writing style that was among the most influential of the Twentieth Century. Critics have called Chandler's style “the poetry of violence,” and Chandler “the hardboiled Shakespeare.”

Wisecracks and wry social commentary came from Philip Marlowe, the cynical but never quite despairing shamus with the unstated but steadfast code of honor and incorruptible character in a morally ambiguous world where chivalrous behavior no longer matters, whose brisk, simile-laden first-person narratives set the tone for generations of Chandler's/Marlowe's followers. (The best include Earl Emerson's Thomas Black and Stephen Greenleaf's John Marshall Tanner. The worst is the pretentious Robert B. Parker's Spenser, the Philip Marlowe wannabe with the New England pallor.) Marlowe was not the first private eye in literature, but he became the quintessential one. In his sixth book, The Long Goodbye, Chandler pushed beyond the boundaries of genre conventions. More than either his predecessor Hammett or his successor Macdonald, Chandler succeeded in blending elements of the hardboiled detective story with elements of the mainstream novel. The reader who approaches The Long Goodbye expecting lots of slugfests and gunplay will be disappointed.


There is action, certainly, but not in the quantities found in earlier Chandlers--The Big Sleep; Farewell, My Lovely; The High Window; The Lady in the Lake; The Little Sister--or in Mickey Spillane and Ian Fleming. The Long Goodbye should be approached as a novel that happens to deal with Philip Marlowe, who happens to be a private detective, and who happens to get involved in a murder case. Thematically it is much more. It is the story of a man who tries to do the right thing from deeply felt loyalty and conviction, who is punished and betrayed for his efforts. The story begins when Marlowe lends well-intentioned assistance to a drunken Terry Lennox, abandoned by his much-married wealthy ex-wife Sylvia in the parking lot of a Hollywood nightclub. Over a period of months, their acquaintance develops into friendship. Lennox and Sylvia eventually remarry, but their relationship is neither happy nor healthy.

When, very early one morning, Lennox shows up at Marlowe's home, demanding the detective drive him to a Tijuana airport, Marlowe agrees to play chauffeur. He knows intuitively that Sylvia is dead, but his instincts tell him Lennox is not her killer. Returning to L.A., Marlowe is arrested on suspicion of murder, assaulted by the police, and jailed for several days. When word comes from Mexico that Lennox committed suicide and left a confession, Marlowe is released, disbelieving the confession based on his knowledge of Lennox. As he remarks, “A dead man is the best fall guy in the world. He never talks back.” The next day, Marlowe gets a visit--and a warning--from a powerful local hood named Menendez, who tells him to forget the Lennox case. Menendez, Lennox, and Las Vegas-based hood Randy Starr were in the Commandos together during WWII and Lennox saved their lives. Menendez resents that Lennox, when in trouble, sought Marlowe's help rather than his and Starr's. It also becomes increasingly clear that details of the case have been quashed by Lennox's influential multimillionaire father-in-law, who values his and his family`s privacy above all else.



Soon afterward, Marlowe is consulted by a New York publisher who wants him to babysit a bestselling historical novelist named Roger Wade. Wade, an alcoholic, has been unable to finish his latest novel, and the publisher wants Marlowe to keep him off the booze and at the typewriter. Marlowe refuses the job as an impossibility, but when Wade suddenly disappears, he's hired by the writer's beautiful wife Eileen. When Marlowe finds him and brings him home, he becomes almost inextricably involved with the Wades' tormented lives. The seemingly disparate plotlines eventually converge, other deaths occur, and Marlowe solves two murders--with some undesirable surprises. All of this sounds like standard mystery-novel fare. What sets it apart from the run-of-the-mill are Marlowe's and other's comments about society, crime and criminals, wealth, and power; the interplay among the well-defined characters; strongly visualized scenes; and the motifs: pride; honor; the abuse of official or private power; and the traps we set for ourselves.



Why review a well-known novel originally published in 1954? I recently reread it for the sixth time, rediscovering again Chandler's virile prose-poetry, irresistible storytelling abilities, and timeless observations. I thought it appropriate to recommend The Long Goodbye to readers who have not yet come to it, and to remind those who have that it is eminently worth reading again. To those who have only ever seen Robert Altman's feebly inaccurate film adaptation: read the book! With all due respect to Mark Twain, not all classics are ignored.

(A shorter version of this review originally appeared in
Maelstrom, Volume IV, Issue 3, 2003)



 

Barry Ergang © 2003, 2007, 2013
A Derringer Award winner, some of Barry's written work is available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Kaye Barley's Book Giveaway

Message from Kaye Barley at barleykw@APPSTATE.EDU .... 
 
I'm having a give-away - just 'cause. 


If you'd like a copy of my WHIMSEY: A NOVEL, AND a tote with the cover image of Whimsey on it, just drop me an email with "Whimsey Give-Away" in the subject line with your mailing address. I'll toss all the names into my magic pink Willie Nelson baseball cap and draw one name on Sunday evening and will let the winner know by email that their name was drawn.  



Already have one? Doesn't matter! Get a second and give one to a friend.
 

And all I ask in return (of COURSE, there's payback!), is that you help me spread The Word of Whimsey. Tell your friends, your family, your co-workers, your neighbors, your mail carrier, dentist, vet, baby/dog/cat sitter, etc. etc. etc. to give Whimsey a try. 



Best,

Kaye in Boone, NC

WHIMSEY: A NOVEL - http://www.kayewilkinsonbarley.com/

Doctor Day Tomorrow

Doctor day tomorrow for Sandi and proably not a moment too soon. After the scare we had last night, I also picked up an oxygen sensor at Wal-Mart while I was getting her prescription refills today. If the thing is accurate the news is bad. Her numbers have been really low off air inlcuding a 58 mid afternoon when she took the oxygen off to use the bathroom. Even with the air on her she was sitting in the low 80s so we turned her back up to 5 liters per minute flow rate. She had been down to 3 liters per minute in the hospital, but they said to bump it back if she had issues so we went to 4 and then with little change back up to 5. Getting back to 5 has helped a bit and that is the limit of the machine. We can't go any higher and hopefully won't have a need too.


This evening she is better than she was breathing wise and has her feet propped up to hopefully reduce her swelling in her feet and lower legs. They are pretty bad tonight after she sat up all day with her feet on the floor. The swollen feet thing has happened before so hopefully it is just the same thing once again and not a sign of a new issue.


So, that is where we are at. The appointment is early which means we have rush hour traffic to deal with too. In the morning the boys are going to have to load the car with the oxygen cylinders as I can't lift or carry them. They also have to put her cylinder carrier in there too. Then there is my walker. So, tomorrow as we make our way into the hospital, we shall be quite the striking sight.....

Pulp Pusher: GUEST BLOG: Thomas Pluck

 More on an author you should be reading....

Pulp Pusher: GUEST BLOG: Thomas Pluck: I'm headed to Scotland for holiday, and I want to thank Tony Black for giving me fair warning. Seems you part of the world can be a mi...

Thursday Morning

Sandi remains asleep as I write this with the machine chugging away. I checked on her several times during the night and everything seemed okay. She has an appointment with the cancer doctors tomorrow morning so she will be on one of the new portable tanks for that.

Since I have no idea what tomorrow will bring or how long it will take, I am going to have to drag myself out later this morning and run a couple of errands. There are her medications to pick up among other things that simply have to be done. Blah!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Scary Evening

They sent Sandi home with just one small bottle of oxygen today. Somebody at the hospital was supposed to do something, somebody else was supposed to do something,  and yada, yada, yada nothing got done. The bottom line was that nobody ever delivered the home setup stuff for Sandi today like was supposed to happen. After the procedure she had this morning she is having a very hard time breathing tonight. It has gotten a little worse each hour as they said it might and by 8:30 she started having major coughing fits. So, we had to make an emergency call around nine tonight to get some oxygen delivered.

The folks responsible for the oxygen supplies responded very quickly and she now has the equipment.
This thing above is the oxygen concentrator machine. Plugs into the wall sockets and processes the normal air in some way to give her continuous high level oxygen.

These are some of the portable tanks she will use in a carrier for doctor visits, power failures,etc.


And this is the patient herself breathing and feeling a little bit better about a half an hour after the tech left.


A little while after this picture was taken by Karl (he took the others as well by cellphone) we got her moved upstairs and into the bed. I have no idea how heavy the machine is, but I can't move it up and down the stairs. Fortunately, the boys can so that won't be the problem it would be if the two of us lived alone.

She is now in bed and things seem to be a bit better. At this point, I don't think we are going to have to get her back to the hospital tonight like I really thought we were just a little while ago. This was very scary tonight, but I think the worst is past.

Sandi NOW Home

Sandi is now home. Doctor stuff Friday.

Sandi Update

The procedure is done and she has cleared recovery and is alert and awaiting lunch in her room. The lung doc did NOT see the black spots that appeared on the images. He did take a couple of samples of different areas for pathology. She should be coming home later today after she eats and the paperwork is done.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sandi Tuesday Evening--Eight Days In The Hospital

Tonight marks Sandi's eighth night in the hospital and she is a very unhappy and frustrated patient. She desperately wants to come home and might get her wish tomorrow. The news is most definitely mixed at this point.

On the good news front--they stopped the additional antibiotics this morning and have removed her IV line. She is off the oxygen totally for short stretches of time and at others she is on a reduced flow. When off, as long as she does not get up and move around and stays seated in the chair, she maintains around 93 on their sensors for as long as an hour at a time. This is a huge improvement. It also appears that the fluid has thinned out and dissipated from her lungs.

On the bad news front---there are at least six and quite possibly more dark spots in the back of both lungs. A doctor specializing in "advanced lung cancer and infectious diseases" has been brought in to take samples from her lungs of these black spots. Tomorrow morning, around 10 am, they intend to have her fully sedated and then he will run some sort of gizmo down her throat and into each lung. Once in the lung he will take samples of  several of these dark spots. In addition to testing them for cancer, they will be tested for various infectious diseases and other things. He does not believe they are cancerous from looking at her previous scans and x-rays, but feels these things are a significant concern and have to be checked out. Once the samples are obtained it will be several days, at the earliest, before we have any idea what the results are.

And, yes, stem cell transplant patients are at risk of lung cancer and with her history she is at far higher risk than other stem cell transplant patients from what we have been told in the past. However, this is not something we should have had to worry about now as this was more of an issue, in theory, one year and more out from the transplant date. She should not be developing lung cancer now and the idea that this could have happened is too hideous to contemplate.

Sandi is taking the news very well. She is convinced these spots will turn out to be nothing and she will be just fine. She is taking it far, far better than I am tonight.  I am stunned beyond belief and very upset. All I can do is hope that she didn't go through everything she has gone through these past months only to have cancer come roaring back in a new form already.

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: The Son -- Phillip Meyer

 Been toying with the idea of looking into this one as it easily fits my Senior News column....
Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: The Son -- Phillip Meyer: This is a big, sprawling historical novel about Texas.  I used to love novels like this and read many of them, but that was long ago.  Now...

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: The Cuckoo's Calling -- Robert Galbraith (J. K. Ro...

 I am on the hold list at the local library. A list that has expanded dramatically since the news broke revealing the identity of the author. Before the news broke, I had no plan to read the book with my backlog here....

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: The Cuckoo's Calling -- Robert Galbraith (J. K. Ro...: Rumor has it that this pseudonymous novel was submitted to unsuspecting publishers under the Galbraith pen name and that it was turned dow...

Review: "Michael Chiarello's Live Fire" by Michael Chiarello


There is a huge difference between cooking something on a grill and cooking something over a roaring fire in a fire pit, fire box, etc. Michael Chiarello takes you through those differences and how to do it safely and well in this book with the subtitle of  “125 recipes for cooking outdoors.” While there are some recipes suitable for the grill, this book is aimed at those who want to cook over open flames.

Along with technique tips regarding different types of wood, equipment, and other topics, the recipes drive this book. Main and side dishes are covered, as are recipes for appetizers, pizzas, breakfast, drinks, and many more tasty suggestions. While no nutritional information is included in this excellent 225 page book, there are pages for resources and an extensive index.  Michael Chiarello's Live Fire is an excellent cookbook full of pictures and text designed to assist cooks who want to step up their culinary skills.



Michael Chiarello's Live Fire
Michael Chiarello
Chronicle Books
April 2013
ISBN# 978-1-4521-0181-3
Hardback (also available as an e-book)
224 Pages
$35.00


Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System. A big time thank you especially to the staff of the Haggard Library for all they do.



Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

CrimeFictionWriter: Guest poster at High Octane Heroes

CrimeFictionWriter: Guest poster at High Octane Heroes: I'm a contributor to the upcoming erotic romance anthology High Octane Heroes, and I've guest posted about my transition from a wri...

Sandi Monday Evening

For the first time today since she was admitted, Sandi was able to take a shower this morning because her oxygen numbers were better. She is not back to normal, but the addition of whatever the new drug is that they put into the orange juice  and the antibiotics seems to be working. She managed to take a long shower, get dressed, and sit back in her chair with the sensor numbers still in the mid eighties range. This is a huge improvement.

They still believe it to be pneumonia. As part of all their testing they have tested her for West Nile fever and have cleared her on that. I was concerned this could possibly be at fault with her because we live on a creek here in the complex and there are certainly plenty of mosquitoes around. We take precautions, but still things can happen. The good news is that they have tested more than once for that and are sure it is not present.

Earlier today it was decided to arrange to have oxygen for her at home. Arrangements have been made and the plan is for it to be delivered to her hospital room. They will give her as well as me some sort of training course on this as there is a portable unit for when she has to have a doctor visit or something and some sort of home base unit that will stay here. The belief is that she will need this assistance for just a couple of weeks or so  and then everything can be returned to the equipment dealer. They hope to have it delivered to the hospital tomorrow morning and if so, as we understand it now, they would send her home late tomorrow.

This all assumes they can make their end of things happen and she does all right tonight. Fingers crossed and more as I know it....

News: July 20, issue of All Mystery Newsletter is up!

Sorry about the delay in passing this on from Rebecca Dahlke, but, things have been kind of rough around here the last few days...

This week we feature new releases and some new to you authors, humor, legal thrillers and an exciting collection of short stories to start your week off right.  

Astolfo, Caroline - Sweet Karoline  
Dahlke, RP - A Dead Red Heart 
Ford, Destiny - The Devil Drinks Coffee 
Forster, Rebecca  - Beyond Malice 
Grace, David  Death Never Sleeps  
Gregor, Janet  Murder: A New Way To Lose Weight 
Kling, Christine - Cross Current  
Shepard, William - The Master Detective  
Swan, Maria Grazia - Bosom Bodies 
Thompson, Jack - Swimming Upstream 

IF you write mystery/suspense/thrillers (or any of the subgenre), and your book is FREE, or discounted or permanently priced at $0.99-$3.99 and/or you have a NEW release at these prices, you can post your book news for FREE at the following places: 
https://www.facebook.com/DirtCheapMysteryReads?fref=ts
http://www.facebook.com/allmysteryenewsletter/
 

Review: "Compound Murder: A Dan Rhodes Mystery" by Bill Crider


It is the middle of October and still very hot and dry in Blacklin County, Texas. The weather has not been right for years and that isn’t all. Sheriff Dan Rhodes has already had a busy morning when the call comes in about the dead body over at the branch campus of a local community college. While he isn't sure if the one building on the outskirts of Clearview could be considered a campus Sheriff Rhodes is sure the body between the dumpsters is dead and the crime scene is ruined thanks to gawkers.


English Teacher Earl Wellington is dead. Probable cause of death is the obvious visual sign that part of his head is bashed in. Considering what looks to be blood and hair in the right place on one of the dumpsters, it appears that a sharp corner on one did it with some help by person or persons unknown. Wellington was a bachelor, but he was also an English teacher. As Dean King points out, “It's always the English teachers.”

Wellington wasn't liked by students or staff and seemed to relish heated confrontations. That means the suspect pool is large and extends beyond his current job assignment. Too bad Sherriff Rhodes doesn't have the fictional Sheriff Sarge Barton to help him. Sarge might help with Rhodes boycott of Dr. Pepper too now that they went and ruined it.

This latest in the series is number eighteen and is another good mystery with plenty of laugh out loud moments. With referenced comments to earlier books in the series Compound Murder: A Dan Rhodes Mystery frequently reminds readers of good times and not so good times in earlier books. As expected Texas author Bill Crider brings back favorite characters such as Hack, Lawton, reporter Jennifer Loam, Rhode's loving wife Ivy, Math teacher Seepy Benton and many others in an highly entertaining read that also frequently references classic movies and books. If you are not aware of these cultural references thanks to your young age, you will discover additional hours of entertainment pleasure checking them out.

Along with a complicated main mystery there are plenty of interesting secondary storylines that generate numerous laugh out loud moments. The latest in the series, Compound Murder: A Dan Rhodes Mystery keeps this fine series rolling along well and is very much worth your time.


Compound Murder: A Dan Rhodes Mystery
Bill Crider
Minotaur Books (A Thomas Dunne Book)
August 13, 2013
ISBN# 978-0312641658
Hardback (also available in e-book form)
272 Pages
$24.99

The author provided an ARC in exchange for an objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday at the Hospital

Just got home a few minutes ago as I and the boys spent the afternoon down at Medical City Dallas with
View Southeast From Her Room
Sandi. The cancer doctor came in and saw her before I got there  and told her the latest CT Scan came back looking like the one from Tuesday. No clots at all in her lungs. Fluid level appears to be about the same. He still believes it is some form of pneumonia and believes it is not getting any worse.

It also does not seem to be getting any better. He added another drug today that opens up the bronchial passages in some way. I don't know what it is or how it works, but they mix it in with orange juice. She drank it and about a half an hour later she had gained five precious points on the oxygen sensor readings. She is going to start this twice a day.

Sandi and Kevin Today

He also brought up the idea of sending her home on oxygen. Like us, he isn't sure how this would work either as they would have to send her home with something for the ride home. It takes about 40 minutes to an hour to get there from where we live and she could not make that ride home  as it stands now. So, his plan is to check into it this coming week and we go from there.

With Karl with us and available to take pictures with his cellphone, I talked her into having a picture done as  it has been quite a while since she would let anyone do one. She wasn't thrilled, but, when I pointed out lots of folks were worried and wanted to see her, she finally relented.  Of course, after getting the first one above, I wasn't about to let the momentum stop. Like a certain potato chip where you can't eat just one that led to the family picture below.

Scott, Karl (with beard) Sandi, and Kevin

My back and leg was hurting pretty bad by the time we made it to her room and the chairs there are just horrible. Since they want her sitting up as much as possible I took the opportunity to lie back in her bed for awhile and get my feet up.


Before we left today I made sure to leave our mark. I have been wanting to do this since Tuesday when they admitted her, but this was my first real opportunity. Usually there are just too many people around. But, the board is there as is the marker and I just could not help myself since the coast was clear for long stretches of time. As you can see, I had a very willing co-conspirator.




In case it is not obvious, I got Karl to take a closeup of just the board. I'm wondering how long it stays up. Make sure you ask for Jenny when you call the Tardis Exchange and remember roaming and long distance charges do apply. Cue the music.....



On behalf of all of us, thank you for your prayers, your support, your donations. We are hoping this soon shall pass and we can get her back home where she belongs. Thank you from all of us!