Tuesday, February 28, 2017

TerribleMinds Blog: A Very Good List Of Vital Writing Advice — Do Not Ignore!

As always--adult language is present and you are warned....

TerribleMinds Blog: A Very Good List Of Vital Writing Advice — Do Not Ignore!

Mystery Fanfare: Mardi Gras Crime Fiction

Mystery Fanfare: Mardi Gras Crime Fiction: Today is Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday . Mardi Gras or Carnivale , whatever you call it, is a great setting for Murder ! Busy streets, cro...

Guest Post: The Rules of Ransom by Martha Reed

Please welcome author Martha Reed to the blog today as she explains how research played a significant role in the tale…

The Rules of Ransom by Martha Reed

Buccaneer released NO REST FOR THE WICKED, Book 3 in my John and Sarah Jarad Nantucket Mystery series, last week. As they say on Nantucket, this one’s a whopper.

When state archaeologists lift the lid on a suspicious steamer trunk buried in Nantucket’s landfill, Detective John Jarad’s world explodes. The trunk’s contents reactivate intense interest in Nantucket’s most notorious cold case crime, the Baby Alice Spenser kidnapping in 1921.

Sarah Jarad has a slightly different life focus. Halfway through a twin pregnancy, Sarah is convinced that she is losing her mind. She can’t shake the feeling that she’s being watched. She’d like to blame her paranoia on raging hormones, but that doesn’t ring true. Sarah fears that her control freak ex-fiancĂ©e Mason has finally tracked her down, and that Mason is on Nantucket, plotting revenge.

As John pursues the Baby Alice investigation, myriad family scandals emerge from the Spenser’s privileged and gilded past. Events flare white-hot when a copycat criminal snatches a second child. John and Sarah must race against the clock to unmask the kidnapper and expose these modern day threats.

I needed to research two key elements in NO REST FOR THE WICKED: 1) the evolving world of forensic DNA analysis, and 2) because of the copycat kidnapping plot point, I needed to learn the rules of ransom.

Kidnapping wasn’t a national offense until 1932, when President Hoover signed it into law. Until then, authority was held at the state level. As part of my research, I discovered these rules to follow in a modern day kidnapping event:

1) The event is just getting started. Don’t expect it to be over quickly. Negotiations can take weeks, months, even years. There can even be a significant length of time after the ransom is paid before the person is returned.

2) The family and the ransom team need to stay strong and focused. Don’t give into emotion.

3) The family needs to decide on an initial lowball offer to establish a ransom base. This lowball offer lets the kidnappers know that the family is not going to cave in to their demands. Chances are that the kidnapper will reject the offer anyway, to show that they’re not afraid to play.

4) Kidnapping is about exercising control. The only power you have is that you’re the sole buyer in this particular market. Develop a game plan, and anticipate some back and forth negotiation.

5) Demand “proof of life.” Insist on speaking with the victim and hearing their voice. If the kidnapper refuses, be prepared to insist on it, or else the negotiations will not continue.

Researching this level of detail is what makes the story line authentic. It underlines the emotional pressure that my characters are experiencing, which helps me draft the narrative. Plus, it’s a great excuse to ask a lot of crazy questions, which makes the whole effort interesting and fun.

My publisher, Buccaneer/KMA Pittsburgh, decided to run a Fan Reader Appreciation sale on all of my Nantucket Mysteries to celebrate the launch of NO REST FOR THE WICKED, Book 3. The trade paperback price has dropped to $9.99; the ebook versions are only $3.99. The sale ends on March 15, 2017.

Martha Reed ©2017

MARTHA REED (web link: www.reedmenow.com) is the author of the award-winning John and Sarah Jarad Nantucket Mystery series.

Book 1, THE CHOKING GAME, was a 2015 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion nominee for Best Traditional Mystery. THE NATURE OF THE GRAVE, Book 2, won an Independent Publisher (IPPY) Honorable Mention for Mid-Atlantic Best Regional Fiction. Book 3, NO REST FOR THE WICKED was released by Buccaneer/KMA Pittsburgh in February, 2017.

Martha recently completed a four-year term as the National Chapter Liaison for Sisters in Crime, Inc. You can follow her on Twitter@ReedMartha.

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: WALKING OUT OF WAR--A HISTORICAL ADVENTURE!

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: WALKING OUT OF WAR--A HISTORICAL ADVENTURE!: WALKING OUT OF WAR by Scott Bury Genre: Historical Adventure, War Ukraine, 1944: After the Soviets burned the Ukrainian...

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 2/27/17

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 2/27/17


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 2/27-3/5: Bookish events in Texas for the week of February 27-March 5, 2017:  Special Events: FESTIBA, Festival of International Books & Arts ,...

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Rusty Puppy -- Joe R. Lansdale

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Rusty Puppy -- Joe R. Lansdale: Hap and Leonard are back in another East Texas crime novel in which Joe Lansdale blends humor and grim events as skilfully as ever.  Hap and...

KRL This Week Update for 2/25/17

Up this morning in KRL a review & giveaway of "Winter's Tail" by Kathi Daley http://kingsriverlife.com/02/25/a-winters-tail-by-kathi-daley/

Also up a review & giveaway of "A Death in the Dales" by Frances Brody, along with an interesting guest post by Frances about the books she uses for her research http://kingsriverlife.com/02/25/a-death-in-the-dales-by-frances-brody/

And we have the latest mystery Coming Attractions from Sunny Frazier http://kingsriverlife.com/02/25/coming-attractions-luck-of-the-irish-edition/

We also have a review & giveaway of "Pushing Water" by Margaret Mendel http://kingsriverlife.com/02/25/pushing-water-by-margaret-mendel/

And a review & giveaway of "A Wee Homicide in the Hotel" by Fran Stewart http://kingsriverlife.com/02/25/a-wee-homicide-in-the-hotel-by-fran-stewart/

And on KRL Lite a review of "Death of a Dapper Snowman" by Angela Pepper. The kindle version of her book is currently free http://kingsriverlife.blogspot.com/2017/02/death-of-dapper-snowman-stormy-day.html
Happy reading, Lorie

KRL is now selling advertising & we have special discounts for
mystery authors & bookstores! Ask me about it!
Mystery section in Kings River Life http://KingsRiverLife.com
Check out my own blog at http://mysteryratscloset.blogspot.com/

Business Musings: Writer Finances Versus The Paycheck World (Kristine Kathryn Rusch)

Business Musings: Writer Finances Versus The Paycheck World (Kristine Kathryn Rusch)

Friday, February 24, 2017

I Don't Do Number Eight

13 things only real Texans love to eat and drink

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Paris Librarian by Mark Pryor

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: The Paris Librarian by Mark Pryor: Reviewed by Jeanne Hugo Marston, head of security for the American Embassy in Paris and former FBI profiler, receives a call...

FFB Review: MIRROR IMAGE (2010) by Dennis Palumbo - Reviewed by Barry Ergang

Barry is back today for FFB with a review of a book that was not published in the distant past. Make sure you check out the full list of reading suggestions over at Todd Mason's blog.

MIRROR IMAGE (2010) by Dennis Palumbo
Reviewed by Barry Ergang

A clinical psychologist who specializes in treating those who have experienced severe traumas, Dr. Daniel Rinaldi has been working with Kevin Merrick for six months, during which the troubled and previously hospitalized young man has gradually identified with Rinaldi such that he’s trying to become his therapist by stealing small items from the office and “(H)esitantly at first, and then quite blatantly, he’d begun dressing like me…His beard, without my telltale sprigs of gray, was coming in nicely….Then today, when I opened the connecting door to the waiting room for our regularly scheduled appointment, I found Kevin hanging up a dripping jacket next to mine on the standing coat rack.” The jacket is very similar to one of Rinaldi’s own. 

His session with Kevin at the novel’s opening includes a significant revelation about the latter’s past, a revelation that amounts to something of a breakthrough that has been a long time coming. When the session ends, Rinaldi says, “I meant what I said in there. It took guts to reveal such an old, painful secret…” Kevin replies, “Hell, man, I got lots of secrets…”

Rinaldi never learns directly from his patient what they are because, upon departing from the office, Kevin is murdered in the parking garage beneath the building. As a sometime consultant to the Pittsburgh police department, and as a man with the kind of conscience that demands being in on the capture of the murderer, Rinaldi is not about to let up even when it’s suggested that Kevin’s resemblance to him might have made him the actual but mistaken target.  

I’m loath to reveal any other details because the impeccably paced and plotted Mirror Image is fraught with multiple twists and surprises I don’t want to spoil. (I advise readers to be wary of comments at sites like Amazon, Goodreads and others of that sort because they’ll learn of some major plot points before they discover them in the novel itself, and thus ruin the surprises.) 

Consequently, I’ll only point out that several other murders occur, including one for which Rinaldi is a prime suspect; that an influential, amoral billionaire who might have political ambitions plays a significant role; that Rinaldi develops an intimate but complex relationship with the very attractive Casey Walters, an assistant district attorney; that he has conflicting issues with a district attorney who aspires to a state governorship; and that some questionable business dealings might factor in to some of the aforementioned events.

Author Dennis Palumbo started out as a screenwriter, and is responsible for the wonderful film My Favorite Year, episodes of Welcome Back, Kotter and other television series. He went on to become a psychotherapist himself, so his fictional protagonist, a man who has known severe trauma himself, speaks plausibly about the patients he deals with as well as dealing with some of his own issues. 

An impeccably paced and plotted whodunit/thriller with a strong sense of place, the dialogue in Mirror Image is skillfully rendered in the manner I’ve come to associate with the likes of Evan Hunter/Ed McBain and Jeremiah Healey: dialogue that individuates characters and makes them come alive and practically walk off the page. Easily one of the best mystery novels I’ve read in quite a while, and the first in the Daniel Rinaldi series I look forward to reading more of, I strongly recommend it to all but those readers who find moderately graphic (but not protracted) violent and sexual moments, as well as some street language, offensive. 

© 2017 Barry Ergang

Some of Derringer Award-winner Barry Ergang’s work, including his mystery novelette “The Play of Light and Shadow,” can be found at Smashwords.com and Amazon.com. His website is http://www.writetrack.yolasite.com/

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Hidden Figures, Lucifer Principle, Bla...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Hidden Figures, Lucifer Principle, Bla...: Reported by Ambrea Nevermore decided to start with Hidden Figures:   The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mat...

Review: A Turtle Roars In Texas: An Al Quinn Novel (Book 2) by Russ Hall

Detective Wayon Gallard has only been a detective for a month so the deceased woman hanging like a scarecrow at the Three Sisters Organic Farm might be a bigger case than he is ready to handle. Though he has been with the department for eleven years, Gallard has been a detective barely a month. Not even long enough to be comfortable wearing a suit on the job. If the case wasn’t complicated enough, somebody opened fire on the crime scene as Deputy Pudge, Gallard, and the two surviving sisters as they contemplated Gladys and the strange note that was pinned to her.

Considering everything that has happened, Sheriff Clayton thinks Detective Gallard is going to need some help and wants Al Quinn to assist and unofficially mentor Gallard. Al Quinn is sixty-two and far too young to be retired in Sheriff Clayton’s opinion. While he tells Quinn that all he wants is for him to show Gallard how to up his detective game, Quinn figures Clayton has something more in mind. The good sheriff frequently has an agenda within an agenda, but what that would be in this case, Quinn has not idea. Things at home are not at all relaxing and since he owes Clayton as they go back many years, he agrees to help for a few days.

Neither Quinn nor Gallard are thrilled to be forced together, but they form an uneasy alliance to work the case agreement. Good thing too as the dead woman isn’t the only murder case they have on their hands in the South Texas Countryside.

Second in the series that began with To Hell And Gone In Texas  is another good read. While billed as an Al Quinn Novel, the read is also about the other people in his life whether it be his brother Maury, his brother’s nurse, Bonnie, or other folks. Those relationships with Quinn, as well as the relationships between each other, are just as much as a part of the read as is the highly entertaining mystery. As was done in the first book, author Russ Hall has set up another complex mystery in the Texas Hill County and challenged readers to figure it out first.

While you could read A Turtle Roars In Texas first, it is recommended that you start at the beginning with To Hell And Gone In Texas. There is some character evolution at work here and less familial backstory in the read, so it is best to read in order. Both books are highly entertaining and mighty good reads. 

A Turtle Roars In Texas: An Al Quinn Novel (Book 2)
Russ Hall
Red Adept Publishing
December 2015
eBook (paperback available)
262 Pages

According to Amazon, I picked this up back in October 2016. I am fairly certain I used funds in my Amazon Associate account to do so. I don’t think it was a free or reduced price read.

The third book in the series is titled Throw The Texas Dog A Bone and was published last August. I have a copy on my eBook TBR pile. 

Kevin R. Tipple ©2017

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Rap Sheet-- Bullet Points: Presidents’ Day Edition

The Rap Sheet-- Bullet Points: Presidents’ Day Edition

Guest Post: Excerpt from THE RIGHT WRONG NUMBER: An Ed Earl Burch Novel by Jim Nesbitt

Today on the blog, we have something a bit different as it has been a long time since there has been an excerpt from a new book shared here. Bill Crider recently reviewed this so go take a look at that review after you read the excerpt below.


Jim Nesbitt


It wasn't San Francisco or London, but the fog was thick and flowing -- like tufts sucked from a bale of cotton, carrying the muddy tint of a used linen filter. It made him think of trench coats, lamp posts and the low warning moan of a ship's horn sounding somewhere out on the water. Rolling across the flat fields, it made dark gray ghosts of the trees that huddled along the far fencelines and left cold beads of moisture on his skin and memories of old black-and-white movies in his mind.
            But there were no ships in the harbor, no waterside buckets of blood, no Rick or Ilsa. Just lightless farmhouses, barns, open-sided equipment sheds and squat corrugated feed bins for cattle, all cloaked by the fast-moving fog, glimpsed only if the wind parted the curtain of stained white wetness as you rolled by.
            And it wasn't the Left Coast or Britain. It was Texas and the scrubby coastal country north of Houston, beyond the Intercontinental and its roaring planes. Take a left off the farm-market road with the four-digit number. Find the third dirt road on the left, take it for three miles. Splash through the potholes and set your teeth against tires juddering across the washboard track. Hit the T of another dirt road. Look for a faint gravel trail at your 10 o'clock. Rattle over the cattle guard. Close the gate behind you.
            Easy to remember. Hard to do with visibility down to zero. Even with the window rolled down and the Beemer's fog lamps flipped on. Nice car. Leather seats the color of butterscotch taffy. Mahogany inserts flanking the instruments and fronting the glove box. Killer sound system and a cellular phone. Shame to bang this baby along back roads, splashing mud and gravel against its polished flanks of forest green.
            Not his car. Not his problem. Fog and time were. He was already a half hour behind schedule when his contact finally drove up with the car, the briefcase of bills and directions to the meet. Fog was adding more minutes to his travel time. He had to double back when he missed one turnoff and that made him slow and leery of missing another.
            Not good. Not good. Patient people weren't on the other end. They never were. But they would wait because he had the money, they had the product and both sides wanted this deal closed tonight. And if they were pissed and wanted to wrangle, he could deal with that; a matte-chrome Smith & Wesson Model 6906 with thirteen rounds of 9 mm hollow point nestled in a shoulder rig underneath his black leather jacket.
            Always the chance of a wrangle on a run like this. Rip-offs were a run-of-the-mill business risk, even between long-time associates. But on this deal the probability of gunplay was low. He was just nervous about running late. It wasn't professional. He thought about using the cellular phone but shook the idea out of his head. Not something a pro would do.
            And not something his people would appreciate. They were security-conscious and worked the high-dollar end of the street. No cowboys. Pros only. Running a well-oiled machine. Not that he knew them well. He was strictly a cutout man, a well-paid delivery boy who made it his business to stay ignorant about those who hired him and their business partners.
            He wasn't totally in the dark about his paymasters; no prudent pro ever was. But he kept his curiosity in check and his focus on the amount of money he was paid and the demands of the night's job.
            It was a relaxing way to make a living. A phone rings. A voice on the line gives him the name of a bar or cafe. A man meets him with an envelope and instructions. And he goes where he is told -- to deliver money, to pick up a truck or car loaded with product, to put a bullet through the skull of someone he doesn't know.
Command and control. Just like the Army and those over-the-border ops in Cambodia. Project Vesuvius. Studies and Observations Group. Words both grandiose and bland to cover what he and his comrades did. Slip over the fence, gather the intel, slit a few throats along the way. Set up the Big Death -- from the air and on the ground. Operation Menu. Operation Patio. Operation Freedom Deal. Cambodian Incursion. More bland words for killing the enemy in his safest sanctuaries. Parrot’s Beak. The Fishhook. The Dog’s Face.
            A sputtering string of electronic beeps startled him. The car phone. He glanced down and saw a red pin light flash to the time of the beeps. He pulled the receiver out of its cradle.
            "Talk to me."
            "Where the hell are you?"
            "You don't want me to say."
            "You're late and that's making some people nervous."
            "Your man was late and this phone call is making me nervous. It's not very smart."
            "We decide what's smart. We pay you to get things done and be on time. How long till you get there?"
            "Get there."
            He snapped the receiver back in place and shook his head. Not good. Not good. Lots of snoopers scanning these cellular circuits. A pro would know this and wouldn't risk a call unless the other side was making a ruckus. Made him wonder if the players in this game were as big league as he thought they were.
            Those thoughts rode with him as he wheeled the Beemer down the dirt road, looking for the T intersection. There it was. He looked for the gravel trail, slowly turning the car to the left and letting the fog lamps cut a slow sweep across the far side of the road. There. At his ten o'clock. Just like he was told. He stayed alert, but his nagging nervousness and doubts started to fade.
            The trail led from the gate and crossed the field at a sharp angle. He crept along, easing the car through ruts and washouts. He saw the shrouded form of a tin shed and weaved the car so the lights would pan across its open door. The yellow beams caught the wet metal of an old tractor and two men in dark slacks and windbreakers -- one tall, bald and lean, the other short, squat and slick-haired.
            He stopped the car, fog lamps still on. He pulled his pistol, letting his gun hand drop to his side and rear as he stepped out, keeping his body behind the car door.
            "Wanna cut the lights, guy?"
            A purring voice from the short guy, coming from a full, sleek face that made him think of a seal.
            "Not really. Let's keep everything illuminated. Makes me feel safe."
            "You're among friends, guy. Nobody wants monkeyshines here. We just do the handoff and the call and we can all get the hell out of this fog. You're late and we're cold."
            "No arguments from me, my man. But let's do this by the numbers."
            "Numbers it is, guy."
            He stepped away from the car.
            "Money's in the front seat. Have your buddy do the honors."
            A nod from the talker. His companion walked to the passenger side of the Beemer and leaned in. He heard the latches of the briefcase pop open.
            "Looks good to me."
            "Make the call. That okay with you, guy?"
            "By all means. Make that call. Tell Mabel to put a pot of coffee on."
            A laugh from the talker. He could see the other guy reach for the cellular phone. Somewhere across town, a phone would ring. Assurances the money was in hand. Somewhere else another phone would ring. Product would change hands. Then the Beemer's cellular would ring again and the night's business would be done.
            He was alert but relaxed, ready to wait, the screw-ups behind him and the deal running smooth and professional now. He had a clear view of the talker and his companion. He had his gun in hand. He was thinking about a cup of coffee when the baseball bat cracked across the back of his skull.
            "Cut those damn lights. Secure the money."
            A nod from the companion. The talker moved toward the third man, the man with the baseball bat, a hulk with the arms and shoulders of a lineman and the on-the-balls-of-the-feet stance of a third baseman. They stood over the slumped body.
            "Give me a hand with this sumbitch. He's heavy. Get that gun, Jack."
            "Got it. Who'd this guy piss off?"
            "Nobody you need to know about, guy. Or me. He's just a poor soul somebody wants whacked."
            "Awful lot of trouble just to whack a guy. What the fuck are we stagin' this thing for, Louis? Why not just pop him and get it over with?"
            "Not your worry, guy. Just muscle him into the driver's seat and let me dress him up pretty. Bill, did you wipe your prints?"
            "Does it matter?"
            A glare from Louis. The companion shrugged, pulled a bandana from his back pocket and leaned into the Beemer. When done, he hoisted the briefcase and walked back toward the shed.
            Louis kept his eyes locked on the bald man as he walked away, his head swiveling like a table-top fan, his eyes popped with anger. He broke the stare and fussed with the body, pulling the head back, reaching into the mouth, then his pocket, then back into the mouth. Jack watched and shook his head.
            "Get me that bundle, guy. The jacket and the trench coat. And bring that bag with the stuff in it."
            Bill hustled to the car. Louis patted him on the shoulder, thanking him in that purring voice, his face soft and placid again. He turned back to the body, peeling off the leather jacket and unfastening the shoulder rig. He fished through the pockets, pulling wallet, keys and a checkbook, leaving loose change. He replaced these items with wallet, keys and a checkbook he pulled from a crumpled brown paper bag. He pulled a ring from the right hand and a fake Rolex from the left wrist, digging a wedding band, a class ring and a real Rolex -- an Oyster Perpetual Datejust -- from the bag.
            The jacket and trench coat came next -- a nicely tailored Burberry, pity the waste. Louis started to sweat as he pulled and smoothed the clothes onto the body. He unbuttoned the shirt down to the navel, then reached into the bag and pulled out a squeeze bottle, the kind with the thin nozzle that could poke through the bars of a footballer's facemask. He squeezed water onto the body's chest then reached under the dash to pop the hood of the Beemer.
            "Jack -- hook up those cables, guy."
            "I know it's unpleasant, but just do it for me, guy."
            Louis fired up the Beemer's engine then waited for Jack to hand him the twin clamps. Clamps to the body's chest. The smell of burning flesh and electrified ozone.
Again. Again the smell.
And again. Clamps to Jack. Engine off.
            "Bill. The acid, guy."
            A glass bottle of sulfuric acid. A small glass tray. Fingers and thumb from one hand in. Then the other hand. He handed the tray to Bill.
            "Careful with that, guy. Dump it."
            Louis turned back to the body. He pursed his lips as he lined up the shoulders, the head and the arms to stage the proper angles of a kill shot.
            The head was the difficult part. Without a helping hand to hold it in place, it rolled about and wouldn't stay upright. Louis pulled the hips forward then shoved the shoulders deep into the folds of the leather seat, pressing them into place. The head was now resting lightly against the butterscotch leather padding of the headrest.
            That's how it would line up. He stood up and pulled a snub-nosed Colt Agent in .38 Special from the paper bag with a gloved hand. He eyed the angle for another second then nodded Jack away.
            Louis eased the pistol barrel into a sagging mouth, eyeing the angle one more time. He pulled the trigger, blinking at the pistol's flash and sharp report. He dropped the gun to the floor.
The bullet had blown off the back of the man's skull, obliterating the pulpy mark of the baseball bat and spraying a dark stain of brains, blood and bone shards across the light-colored leather seats. The impact canted the body across the console and gearshift, head and shoulder jammed between the seats.
            "Jesus, Louis."
            "Christamighty, it's one thing to whack a guy up close like that, another to do all that shit with the battery cables and the acid. But to have to fish out his dentures first? They'd have to pay me double to do that."
            "They are, guy. They are."
            "Whadja have to do it for?"
            "They were making his gums sore. He needed a new pair."
            "Like he'll need 'em where he's going."
            "You never know. Blow the car, Jack. We gotta get us back on home, guy. Get us on the outside of some gumbo down to Tujague’s."
            "I'm for that. A shame though. This is a nice car."
            "That it is, guy. Blow her just the same. Make it burn pretty."
            "Lotta noise. Lotta flash. Cops'll be here like flies on a dead fish."
            "Do it quick then, guy. So we can be long gone."

Jim Nesbitt ©2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Bonus FFB on Monday: The Butcher's Wife --Owen Cam...

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Bonus FFB on Monday: The Butcher's Wife --Owen Cam...: Owen Cameron seems to be a genuinely forgotten writer, although he had considerable success.   The Butcher's Wife  was recommended to me...

Market Call: Flashes in the Dark--Deadline May 1, 2017

Flashes in the Dark
Any Genre
Up to 500 words
Flash fiction with a dark theme or a twist
Format .rtf or google docs following standard manuscript format
Deadline: May 1, 2017

Submissions should be under 500 words and can be any genre as long as they are dark or contain an unusual or unexpected twist. Authors of the selected stories will receive a contributors copy and reduced price on additional copies.. Questions and submissions should be sent to tricia3718@gmail.com in .rtf  or google docs following standard manuscript format by May 1, 2017.

Victoria Weisfeld Reviews WHAT YOU BREAK by Reed Farrel Coleman

Victoria Weisfeld Reviews WHAT YOU BREAK by Reed Farrel Coleman

Market Call: Short and Twisted Christmas Tales--Deadline March 15, 2017

Short and Twisted Christmas Tales
Any Genre
Up to 5,000 words
Christmas theme with a twist.
Format .rtf following standard manuscript format

Deadline: March 15, 2017

Following in the Short and Twisted and Short and Twisted Fairy Tales anthology traditions, submissions are open, while we're all in holiday spirit and stressed for time, for Short and Twisted Christmas Tales. An anthology of Short and Twisted Christmas tales to be published in the Fall of 2017.
Submissions should be under 5000 words and can be any genre as long as they are focused on Christmas and contain an unusual or unexpected twist. Authors of the selected stories will receive a contributors copy. Questions and submissions should be sent to SnTC2017@gmail.com in .rtf following standard manuscript format by March 15, 2017.

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 2/20/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 2/20/17

Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 2/20/17

 Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 2/20/17


A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: 40 SOMETHING BY SHANNON PEEL FOLLOWS FIVE WOMEN: 40 SOMETHING by Shannon Peel Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction Five women navigate life while juggling careers...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by...: Reviewed by Ambrea Elsa is seven years old; her grandmother is seventy-seven.   Elsa is different from most kids—intelligent...


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 2/20-26: Bookish events in Texas for the week of February 20-26, 2017:  Special Events: Texas Medal of Arts Awards , Austin, February 21-22 John...

Review: We’ve Been Trumped edited by Andrew MacRae

Published in September 2016 by Darkhouse Books, We’ve Been Trumped is an anthology of short stories speculating about life after Trump became President. Some stories are set during the president’s first term while others are set far into the future. In either case, most of stories make heavy use of the candidate’s rhetoric during the recent campaign cycle. That means these stories tend to dystopian situations and futures and are not lighthearted reading or humorous despite what it says on the cover.

In addition to not having author bios there is not an introduction to the anthology. The read begins right away with the stories and does so with “Exceptional” by Michael Guillebeau. Set a few years In the future, Trump National Corporation runs everything. Panama was nuked because South America refused to drop the America part of its name. Chihuahuas went crazy in 2021 and the only way to stop them was explosive bullets fired from M-15s wielded by average citizens. There are other glitches. Of course, some folks have to be eliminated to do their part for making America great again.

Kaye George’s tale “Ivanya Figures It Out” comes next and is even further in the future. Things have change a lot since The Imperial Regime was established in 2017. For one thing, everyone born these days has to be named after a member of the Imperial Family. Twelve-year-old Ivanya has been busing tables at Doyle’s diner for three years now. Very glad to have the job the walk to and from work is the scary part of life. One has to worry about crumbling sideways, roving gangs of men since the cops are not around anymore, and other issues. It is the 2040’s and the life is hard, though it could easily be worse. Some folks are lucky and escape to Canada. That might be an option for Ivanya and her mom, but it is incredibly risky.

Readers are taken back to the early spring of 2017 in the murder mystery, “A Feast for Fools” by Joanne Lucas. When the lights came back on in the restaurant in Fresno, California, it was very clear that Trevor Sorenson was very much dead thanks to the knife stuck in his chest. If the Eccentric Gourmet is on the premises to do one of his reviews, the murder could destroy their business. For Dorothy and Jeff, the sister and brother owners, the night of March 31st is proving far too memorable.

Paul F. has some questions that only President Trump can answer. As the authorized biographer, it should be relatively simple to use the video chat link and speak directly to the President. However, it hasn’t worked that way at all in “The Chat” by Paul Alan Fahey.

Alex works at the White House as a gardener in “Alex in Wonderland’ by KB Inglee. It has been twelve years and he has steadily moved up thanks to those above him being fired. The summer heat is on, but he loves his job. He also believes the man in the White house just might be insane. That thought is reinforced by his latest assignment.  

“The First White House Costume Ball and Other Trumpery” by Diane A. Hadac explains how the event is setup and will commence. Among other items covered is the fact that Vladimir Putin, the unofficial Vice President, will be in attendance, there will be only certain specified allowed costumes, as well as the plans for seating and the food that will be served. It is a weapons friendly event so you are encouraged to bring your guns and use them at will should non-supporters storm the ball. This event as well as the five-step jobs plan, is explained by Billy-Bob Larrabee, gardener and White House beat reporter.

The CIA could be very different under President Trump and Craig Faustus Buck considers some the possibilities in “Trump Towering.” As the story begins, CIA director Brennan is trying to explain to the President why selling B-21s to the President of the The Gambia is a really bad idea. Not only is the President of the African Nation insane, ISIS is advancing and could take the The Gambia. If that happens ISIS would take control over state of the art American bombers. While he does not grasp this problem, maybe the President can grasp the next issue.

With his family out of the way and hopefully safely at the grocery store in town, Lucas “Luke” Pennymore awaits his company. It isn’t long before the Sheriff and the Editor of the local paper show up to hear what he has to say. He has known both of them most of his life. He has quite the tale to tell them in “According To Luke” by John M. Floyd.

Five years after the Zombie outbreak, Zombies these days are not that much a problem now. At this point, with so many of them killed and many others just falling apart, those that remain are usually found in isolated small groups or individually. For professional Zombie Hunter Matt Hix his way of life is going away. After the twin shocks of a Trump Presidency and the Zombie Apocalypse, everything is in flux. Matt has no real future earnings wise unless he does something radically different in “Career Change” by Ross Baxter.

Ever since Trump became President, when Barry makes the donuts, he slaps a dollop of orange frosting on it no matter the kind of donut. Every single donut, no matter the type, gets the dollop of orange frosting. Barry does it because he believes he is an artist and is creating thumbnuts. BK Donut is the only game in town for a real donut so Rudy Calles gave up coming around because Barry had become a crazed Trump supporter. This day he really wanted a real donut and came back in “Donalds to Donuts” by Brian Asman. Coming back may have been a mistake.

Peter Cosgrove does not know where he is or what is going on as “Great Again” by Zed Lawson Edwards begins. After Roger pounds on the door of an office and yells at him a few times, Peter Cosgrove opens the door to find his name and job title stenciled on it. That is the first shock of a number of them in this tale of a world seemly gone mad.

For the veteran in “That Hope-y, Change-y Thing” by Caroline Taylor he made the call requesting the President’s help two months ago. The President had promised to help every veteran personally while he campaigned across the country. Yet, he has not called. Hopefully, the tumor is one of those slow growing ones. Immigrating to Canada is not an option since the Canadians closed the border. All the veteran and his wife can do is wait and continue to show support for the President by posting daily to social media.

A tweet caused the end of the world. President Trump had not been in office two months when he got so enraged by a tweet that he unleashed twelve nuclear warheads on Istanbul, Turkey. That strike resulted in the retaliatory destruction of America in the tale “In the Service of the People” by RJ Meldrum. One does what one needs to do to survive. Bill and Linda do their best, but they are going to need help including a new source of food.

Arizona in July is hot, but that has not stopped the men and machines that are building the wall. Rancher Hank Campbell sees them coming slowly closer as they erect huge prefabricated sections and lock them in place. Some of the locals have been employed by the Border Construction Corps as that is the only work around these days. One such local is Jefferson Scott. Good thing they know each other so there is no need for the military firepower in “Down Mexico Way” by Ring Bunsen.
It is supposed to be an ordinary Saturday for Arlene Clay. Things start a little wrong with the arrival of the delivery person in “Arlene’s Visitors” by Andrew Garvey and never recover. In fact, they get worse when everyone is present and do not believe her true story.

Hearing the President’s voice boom through the barracks isn’t helpful when one is seriously hung over. That is Marissa’s problem as the day starts in “Looking Good, America” by Katherine Tomlinson. At least the new military uniforms are in and nobody will have to wear those awful camouflage pattern outfits anymore. The new uniforms made in China are just part of what is at work in this tale.

Candidate Trump promised to pay the legal fees of anyone who was arrested at one his rallies for punching a protestor. Getting the promised help from President Trump is difficult in “A Phone Call to the White House” by Pat Anne Sirs (Kathleen Rockwood). Unfortunately, the protestor died. The guy who did it has been arrested and is calling from the county lock up looking for the promised help.

The nuclear weapons have also fallen in “Lunch Special at The Trump National Golf Club” by Rachel Cassidy. Food is also an issue here, but at least one survivor has a plan.

Written in a play format, “Pulling Strings in DC” by TL Snow explains how the candidate became President. Manipulating the American People was just a small part of the strategy.

Ernie and his wife, Gloria, have more business than they know what to do with in “Success Story” by Robert S. Levinson. It helps that the name of the business is “WALLS.” The media attention also helps. So does the fact that Ernie has the contract for building the greatest wall the world has ever seen.

Glenn Beck is just one of a number of reporters at the press conference of the Secretary of Defense and Personal Fitness, Josey Callahan. There isn’t just one wall in “The Wall” by Warren Bull. Beck isn’t going to be out of jail for very long after asking a question that he should not have asked in this political climate.

Making sure you have all your papers for the Census Master is vitally important. The night of the census is vitally important. Make a mistake and lose it all in “The Census Master’ By Manuel Alex Moya.

As the chief editor of superlatives and censorship at the Bannon Times, Sarah has a very important job. It takes a lot of her time and that is why her day starts long before dawn in “The Emperor’s New Wall” by Tamar Auber. It is going to be a very important day as the first block of the wall will be unveiled in Times Square. Trump’s America is grand and she has a mountain of misinformation to process.

Educating students in the public schools is far different in “Trumped” by Ronald P. Wolff. It should be the greatest year ever for the students as the new principal has fixed everything. Mrs. Roberts is doing her best to keep the class on track, but her newest student, Mario Hernandez, is not helping.

Life is very hard in “As American as…” by Khomans Ens. It is 2021 and the drought and trade wars have taken a huge toll. This is especially for Sophia and Olivia in their Minnesota cabin though they do have it better than many folks. With Sophie off to her job in Minneapolis moping hospital floors, it up to Olivia to figure out something for dinner out of their meager supplies.

Considering how much money is present during an election cycle to get people to vote for a candidate, would it not make more sense to pay people directly for their vote? A little cash, a signed contract, and a new way of doing business are at work in “Buying Votes” by Don Noel.

The party has to be fantastic according to his assistant, Christina, so Marcos agreed to let her and his wife, Donna, handle all the details. The celebrity impersonators should be a huge hit. However, one such impersonator does not seem to understand what he is supposed to do in “The Impersonator” by Timothy O’Leary.

By order of the President, things are going to be different this year for Flag Day and that means a major hassle for the Secretary to the Mayor, Connie Edwards. Instead of the traditional ceremony for Flag Day held at the front of town hall, this year there will be a parade. June 14th is no longer to be known as Flag Day as it is also the President’s birthday. Henceforth, the birthday of the President is to be celebrated in every town and city in the United States by way of a parade under very specific and detailed guidelines. Celebrating the birthday is their patriotic duty and everyone needs to get on board and make it happen in “76 Trombones” by Anne-Marie Sutton.

“The Divine & Infernal Top-Secret Mission to Stop the False Apocalypse” by Joshua James Jordan brings the read to a close. Representatives of Heaven and Hell both thought the other side was responsible for Trump. Angels get ambient light from all directions and have to wear sunglasses all the time so they look like the new President. The angels always thought Trump’s hair covered up the horns. This means the Hell Representative, Jason, and the Heaven Representative, Veronica, need to have a private meeting in Limbo to see how to fix the Trump problem.

The stories that make up this anthology run the gamut from the realistic to the surreal. They vary from present day to decades in the future. A number of them have a science fiction angle while a few could easily be classified as fantasies. Many of the stories have tend to dystopian situations and futures and are not intended to be lighthearted reading or humorous. All of the stories to varying degrees share a less than positive outlook about our future-- short or long term. 

We’ve Been Trumped
Darkhouse Books
Editor Andrew MacRae
September 2016
eBook (also available in print)
248 Pages

I was gifted a copy by one of the included authors with no expectation of a review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2017