Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: Boo-tiful Literary Pumpkins

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: Boo-tiful Literary Pumpkins: Happy Hallowe'en! Here are my favorite literary pumpkins to celebrate the day in fine fashion! Quoth the pumpkin, nevermore! ...

Review: Merrick: A Short Story by Ben Boulden

Almost from the beginning, the planned robbery of the armored stage goes wrong one day in Texas. Nobody was supposed to die. Clarence Tilley, had a good plan, but he didn’t plan for everything in Merrick: A Short Story.

A robbery gang is only as good as its weakest link. The point is proven again and again in this fast moving western tale by Ben Boulden. Filled with plenty of action, intrigue and deceit, as well as need for justice, the story recounts how Merrick  does what needs to be done to settle things as best as can be done in the hard scrabble West. Like his novel, Blaze: Red Rock Rampage, the short story, Merrick, is highly recommended. 

Merrick: A Short Story  
Ben Boulden
.45-70 Press
September  2017
ASIN: B075JN7Y21
25 Pages

Digital ARC was provided by the author for my use in an objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2017

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Practicing Writer: Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 10/30/17

The Practicing Writer: Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers for 10/30/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 10/30/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 10/30/17

Western Musings: Bill Crider Interview

Western Musings: Bill Crider Interview: Mr. Bill Crider is no stranger to Western aficionados. Aside from penning many fine westerns, he has also written widely in other genr...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: World Enough by Clea Simon

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: World Enough by Clea Simon: Reviewed by Jeanne Tara Winton is divorced, working in communications for a large corporation, and really just marking tim...

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: SON OF THE MOON - TIME TRAVEL

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: SON OF THE MOON - TIME TRAVEL: SON OF THE MOON by Jennifer Macaire ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ GENRE: Time Travel ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SON OF THE MOON Blurb: In Nysa, Alexand...


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 10/30-11/5...: Bookish events in Texas for the week of October 30-November 5, 2017:  Special Events: 45th Annual Ann and Stephen Kaufman Jewish Book &a...

Sandi Monday 10/30/17

Sandi had her 13th of the planned 25 radiation treatments this morning and that doctor told her everything remained on track from his perspective. Fluids in their various forms, including antibiotics, continue, as do her occasional fevers indicating the unspecified infection remains very much present. Mentally today, she was very out of it and having a hard time staying awake. 

Whether that is caused by the cancer doing its thing—as it has in the past—the meds including the new pain pill which she believes she has only had one of those, or something else going on we don’t know. At least today, she did not seem to be in as much pain as she has been in recent days or weeks.

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: Murder a la Mode by Patricia Moyes

The Classic Mysteries blog reports that Felony & Mayhem will begin reprinting the mysteries of Patricia Moyes in January. This news is cause for celebration. Between 1958 and 1993 Moyes published 19 traditional British detective stories featuring Henry Tibbett, a Chief Inspector at Scotland Yard, and his wife Emmy. Moyes died in 2000 and her most excellent books have become largely unknown to an entire generation of mystery readers. The late lamented Rue Morgue Press released some of the titles a few years ago, and now it seems that Felony & Mayhem will resume the work.


The books are distinguished by meticulous plots and a lack of violence; their focus is on the process of solving the murder rather than the psychology of committing it. Some of them, most notably Murder Fantastical, contain scenes with great comedic dialogue and timing. Tibbett himself is quite ordinary and does not stand out in any particular way except for his “nose”, his intuitive sense about the cases he works. His wife Emmy, quite likable on her own account, often supports his investigations. Unlike other British detectives who tend to stay at home on their own patch, Henry and Emmy Tibbett are globe-trotters, undertaking murder cases all over the world, capitalizing on Moyes’ own travelling experiences.


One of my favorites in the series is an early title, Murder a la Mode (Collins Crime Club, 1963), in which Emmy’s niece Veronica comes to London from quiet Devonshire to try her luck as a model. She finds herself at a high-fashion magazine where one of the writers is killed during the all-night slog to ready the semi-annual issue featuring the latest designs from Paris for publication. The first chapter is a colorful description of the behind-the-scenes frantic scramble to select and compile into layouts the most important photos and accompanying information gathered in Paris at the spring style shows that day and flown into London that night for delivery to the printers early the next morning.


The ensuing investigation is undertaken amid photography shoots and copy rewrites. It’s complicated by rumors of affairs among the magazine staff and by gossip about designs from Parisian ateliers showing up in places where they shouldn’t be. When Veronica disappears, the case comes far too close to home for Inspector Tibbett, Emmy, and Veronica’s panicked parents.


Finding these books will take a bit of effort. While most public libraries have discarded their well-worn copies, interlibrary loan is always an option. Reasonably priced print versions are available in the usual online venues. They appear occasionally at thrift stores or library book sales. There seem to be no ebook or audiobook versions. Whatever labor expended to locate these books will be repaid in hours of reading enjoyment.



·         Paperback: 223 pages
·         Publisher: Henry Holt & Co (P) (November 1987)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 0805007067
·         ISBN-13: 978-2702416952

Aubrey Hamilton © 2017
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal IT projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

KRL This Week Update for 10/28/17

Up in KRL this morning reviews & giveaways of 2 more mysteries perfect for
your Halloween reading-"Death Overdue": A Haunted Library Mystery by
Allison Brook, and "Doom with a View": A Merry Ghost Inn Mystery by Kate


Also a review & giveaway of "March of Crime" by Jess Lourey along with an
interesting interview with Jess

And reviews and giveaways of a couple more books perfect for the Halloween
season, and one foodie mystery-"A Tale of Two Kitties": A Magical Cats
Mystery by Sophie Kelly, "Ghost on the Case": Bailey Ruth series by Carolyn
Hart &" Pudding Up With Murder": An Undercover Dish Mystery by Julia Buckley

We also have a review & giveaway of "Assaulted Caramel" by Amanda Flower
along with a candy recipe from Amanda-perfect for your Halloween party!

And the latest mystery Coming Attractions from Sunny Frazier, along with a
chance to win an ebook copy of "A Highland Peril" by Amy Reade


Up on KRL News & Reviews we have a review & giveaway of "The Skeleton
Paints a Picture" by Leigh Perry

And another book perfect for your Halloween reading-a review & giveaway of
"White Trash Zombie Unchained" by Diana Rowland

Happy Halloween!

Sandi Sunday

Sandi is the same today as she was yesterday. Her pain levels remain pretty high so the doctor is adding a second pain med to try and make her a little more comfortable. The antibiotics and fluids continue. Tomorrow the therapy by way of various folks will resume as will the radiation treatments.

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 37 Writing Contests in November 2017 - No entry fe...

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 37 Writing Contests in November 2017 - No entry fe...: Jimmy Lawlor November is a great month for free writing contests. There are more than three dozen this month. As always, every form of ...

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Sandi Saturday

Sandi is doing so-so today. She was sleeping when we got there and probably went to sleep right after we left. She was in a lot of pain and had numerous back spasms while we were there at the hospital. She is still receiving heavy amounts of fluids and antibiotics and will receive a lot of blood later today.

Dr. Mathews was the one on the floor today. He is a doctor we very much like and has known Sandi for the last several years. He is the doctor who, among other things, diagnosed her horrendous leg swelling problem from a couple of years ago. Normally he is very positive and chipper and full of enthusiasm no matter how dark things to be.

Today he was very somber when he came in and talked to her. He spent a considerable amount of time visiting with us and discussed a few things. While the CT was inconclusive it did rule out TIAs or any brain bleeds as well as any obvious tumors. There were some other things it revealed that may be cancerous or it might be scar tissue caused by the chemos as is happening around and inside her heart, in her lungs, and elsewhere. He agrees that the best we can do right now is to try and get some pain control and get her blood work in terms of her diabetes, the unspecified infection, and other issues stabilized. He agrees with the overall assessment of the situation by Dr. Bushan who is her main doctor. That means he didn’t see anything to do differently and this is a man who is unafraid to say so if he sees something. The fact that he was going with what Dr. Bushan had said was not encouraging at all.

So, after he left I knew I absolutely had to go with what I had planned to do and tell her everything. I did that and it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life. I explained everything in detail and what I knew. I also explained why I had not told her all of it until now.

She was not as lucid today as she has been the last couple of days, but she got what I was telling her and understood it all. Some of it she was already aware of, but most of it was new information. We discussed what she wants to do going forward and she wanted everyone to know she is not about to give up. Period.

While her cell phone remains broken and T-MOBILE will not stand behind their insurance plan, she does now have her iPad with her at the hospital. She is having some trouble working it at times. Still, I think she will be on Facebook from time to time the next few days so we may hear from her.

In the meantime, things will continue. Radiation will start up Monday with treatment 13 of the planned 25. It is unclear whether she will get any physical therapy this weekend, but she will definitely get some blood today. She probably will get some tomorrow as well.

She told me to make sure folks knew that she was not giving up no matter what and to thank
everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and support. Thank you.

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Halloween Night and Halloween Night II by RL Stine...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Halloween Night and Halloween Night II by RL Stine...: Reviewed by Christy H.             There is a podcast called Teen Creeps where two comedians read and discuss “young adult pu...

Guest Post: WHO WAS THE FIRST MAN TO FLY? by Caroline Clemmons

It has been quite a long time since Texas mystery and romance author as well as good friend, Caroline Clemmons, has been here on the blog. She is back today with a guest post on an aspect of aviation history.

WHO WAS THE FIRST MAN TO FLY? by Caroline Clemmons

I’ll bet you said the Wright brothers, but that’s not true. At least not according to many historians. Instead, a German immigrant living in Texas made the first recorded flight in 1865. Yep, Texas did it again. Of course, since I’m a Texan, I’m proud of the state and most of its citizens. But no matter where you live, Jacob Brodbeck is deserving of your admiration.
Jacob Friedrich Brodbeck

Jacob Friedrich Brodbeck was born in the duchy of Württemberg on October 13, 1821. He attended a seminary in Esslingen and taught school for six years in Württemberg before sailing for Texas with his brother George on August 25, 1846. Brodbeck had always had an interest in mechanics and inventing. While still in Germany, he had attempted to build a self-winding clock. This fact is important to his later invention.  

He reached Fredericksburg in March 1847, became the second teacher at the Vereins Kirche, and taught at Grape Creek (later renamed Luckenbach) school and other Gillespie County schools. He became a United States citizen in 1852, and in 1858 he married Maria Christine Sophie Behrens, a former student at Grape Creek and they eventually had twelve children.

Brodbeck served as Gillespie county surveyor and district school supervisor in 1862 and was a county commissioner from 1876 to 1878. He is best remembered, however, for his attempts at powered flight almost forty years before the famous success of Orville and Wilbur Wright. Brodbeck had always had an interest in mechanics and inventing. In addition to the self-winding clock he attempted to build while in Germany, in 1869 he designed an ice-making machine. His wife had a powered washing machine in the 1860s, using a power takeoff from the windmill. Jake designed the power takeoff. He also built rubber- band powered flying toys for children.

His most cherished project, however, was his flying machine, which he worked on for twenty years. In 1863 he built a small model with a rudder, wings, and a propeller powered by coiled springs. That year he also moved to San Antonio, where he became a school inspector. Encouraged by the success of his model at various local fairs, Brodbeck raised funds to build a full-sized version of his craft that would be capable of carrying a man. He persuaded a number of local men, including Dr. Ferdinand Herff of San Antonio, H. Guenther of New Braunfels and A. W. Engel of Cranes Mill, to buy shares in his project.

In the 1860s, the internal combustion engine was somewhere in the future. According to author C. F. Eckhart, Brodbeck didn’t have the materials or expertise to build a lightweight steam engine like the one that powered Langley’s ‘aerodrome’ or is rumored to have powered the California monoplane that took to the air years later. What he had was a large, powerful clockwork motor and a series of gears. This motor didn’t develop enough power for the machine to take off on its own. Jake built a ski-jump like ramp on the side of a hill near Fredericksburg/Luckenbach. The machine was taken to the top of the ramp, then, as it gained speed sliding down the ramp, Jake would engage the motor. The machine would nose up coming off the ramp—a condition that would certainly have led to a stall, considering the very slow speed of the machine.  Jake added the forward canard to prevent the stall.

Mr. Eckhart explained that, although apparently Brodbeck’s design worked perfectly on paper, in the real world his motors didn’t work at all. Brodbeck designed two interdependent clockwork motors, one to rewind the other. When Motor A became unwound, Motor B would be engaged to rewind it. As soon as Motor A was rewound by Motor B, the pilot would manually rewind Motor B to be ready to engage it when Motor A again became unwound. While that works in theory, what happens in practice is different. As soon as spring tension in Motor A is equal to spring tension in Motor B, everything stops. Motor B can never rewind Motor A past the point of equal spring tension, and Motor A can’t function until it can release the tension on its spring, which is prevented by the tension of Motor B’s spring.
There are conflicting accounts of what happened next. One says that Brodbeck made his first flight in a field about three miles east of Luckenbach on September 20, 1865. His airship, which featured an enclosed space for the pilot, a water propeller in case of accidental landings on water, a compass, and a barometer, and for which Brodbeck had predicted speeds between 30 and 100 miles per hour, was said to have risen twelve feet in the air and traveled about 100 feet before the springs unwound completely and the machine crashed to the ground.

Another account, however, says that the initial flight took place in San Pedro Park, San Antonio, where a bust of Brodbeck was later placed. Yet another account reports that the flight took place in 1868, not 1865. There were witnesses, but no one took a photo and there was no or very limited press coverage. Some accounts say he crashed into a chicken coop, another that he hit a large live oak. All the accounts agree, however, that Brodbeck's airship was destroyed by its abrupt landing, although the inventor escaped serious injury.

However, he was so disheartened by his failed flight that he burned his flying machine. There are more conflicting reports as to what happened next. Some historians say that Brodbeck burned his plane and never displayed any interest in his flying machine again. Mr. Eckhart believes Brodbeck was at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1900, carrying copies of all his drawings and specs, trying to get someone to finance building of another machine. While he was there, someone stole his papers. The crime was never solved.

Almost forty years after Jacob Brodbeck’s failed 1865 flight, the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk in 1903. Ahh, but a Texan flew first!


Caroline Clemmons ©2013, 2017

Through an illogical twist of fate, Caroline Clemmons was not born on a Texas ranch. To compensate for this inexplicable error, she writes about handsome cowboys, feisty ranch women, and scheming villains in a small office her family calls her pink cave. She and her Hero live in North Central Texas cowboy country where they ride herd on their rescued cats and dogs. The books she creates there have made her an Amazon bestselling author and won several awards. Learn more at her website as well as her blog.

Friday, October 27, 2017

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Bionic Nostalgia - The Legacy

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Bionic Nostalgia - The Legacy: Fairly quickly after the television debut of " The Six Million Dollar Man " the word 'bionic' entered the lexicon perma...

New Issue of Crime Review

We feature new 20 reviews in each issue of Crime Review (
www.crimereview.co.uk), together with a top industry interview. This time
it’s author Peter James in the Countdown hot seat:

We’re on Twitter at:
Crime Review: @CrimeReviewUK
Linda Wilson: @CrimeReviewer
Sharon Wheeler: @lartonmedia

This week’s reviews are:

THE EMPTY GRAVE by Jonathan Stroud, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Lockwood and Co are up against enemies old and new as the series reaches a
shattering climax.

THE INNOCENT MAN by John Grisham, reviewed by Kim Fleet
A true account of how an innocent man was convicted of rape and murder, and
ended up on death row.

A GRAVE CONCERN by Susanna Gregory, reviewed by John Cleal
With passions over the election of a replacement for its murdered
chancellor running high and a killer at large, physician/detective Matt
Bartholomew and Brother Michael fear for the future of Cambridge University.

MAIGRET IS AFRAID by Georges Simenon, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
Maigret is on a train returning from an international police conference
when an expensively-dressed man recognises him and begins to engage him in
conversation. He seems to know why Maigret is on the train.

THE FURTHEST STATION by Ben Aaronovitch, reviewed by Linda Wilson
When things that normally go bump in the night start disturbing commuters
on the tube, PC Peter Grant gets dispatched to sort out the problem.

WOLVES IN THE DARK by Gunnar Staalesen, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
Bergen’s most famous private investigator Varg Veum is accused of being
part of a paedophile ring and thrown into jail. Desperate to clear his
name, he must unravel his own hazy memories of failed jobs and
uncomfortable assignments.

THE SOLDIER’S CURSE by Meg and Tom Keneally, reviewed by John Cleal
Gentleman convict Hugh Monserrat must solve the murder of the young wife of
his penal colony’s commandant to save the life of his friend, falsely
accused of the killing.

NIGHT MARKET by Daniel Pembrey, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Detective Henk van der Pol is enmeshed in a conspiracy that incorporates
senior figures in the justice system, but is unsure in which direction to
point the finger.

LOW HEIGHTS by Pascal Garnier, reviewed by Arnold Taylor
Edouard Lavenant is retired and in his 70s. He lives alone in a country
town apart from Thérèse, his long-suffering housekeeper, and believes he is
being watched.

EVERY DARK CORNER by Karen Rose, reviewed by Kati Barr Taylor
There is a predator in Cincinnati, hunting teenage children for the
internet sex trade. FBI special agents Kate Coppola and Decker Davenport
are on the trail.

WATCH HER DISAPPEAR by Eva Dolan, reviewed by Linda Wilson
DI Zigic and DS Ferreira of the Peterborough Hate Crimes unit are on the
hunt for the killer of a transgender woman.

CITY OF MASKS by SD Sykes, reviewed by John Cleal
Oswald de Lacy, Lord Somershill, is in Venice on a pilgrimage to the Holy
Land. On a night of carnival, he finds a dead man and is plunged into the
secrets and intrigues of the City on the Sea.

RIGHT BEHIND YOU by Lisa Gardner, reviewed by Sylvia Wilson
At nine years old, Telly Ray Nash killed his abusive father to save his own
and his sister’s lives. Now eight years later, it seems that he has gone on
a killing spree.

WYCHWOOD by George Mann, reviewed by Linda Wilson
The sleepy Oxfordshire countryside is darkened by a series of macabre
murders re-enacting an ancient legend.

DR KNOX by Peter Spiegelman, reviewed by Chris Roberts
A young boy suffering an allergic reaction is brought to Dr Adam Knox’s
clinic. His mother, a beaten Romanian woman, takes off, leaving Knox with a
big problem.

PLAYING WITH DEATH by Simon Scarrow and Lee Francis , reviewed by Kati
The more FBI Special Agent Rose Blake investigates, the more she realises
that a twisted video game has only one outcome – murder.

A GAME OF GHOSTS by John Connolly, reviewed by John Barnbrook
Mysterious ghost-like figures appear to certain people, and then those
people are killed. They are the Brethren and they and their descendants
will do anything to protect themselves from the consequences of their
dreadful past.

THE MAYFLY by James Hazel, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Lawyer Charlie Priest is approached by tycoon Ellinder to investigate the
death of his son Miles, shortly after Charlie escapes an attack from Miles

DEPOSED by David Barbaree, reviewed by John Cleal
Blinded and imprisoned Nero, god and Emperor of Rome, is helped to escape
by a frightened little slave boy and plots his revenge.

TERROR 404 by Rosie Claverton, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Disgraced hacker Amy Lane is in a private psychiatric hospital, and has to
use all her ingenuity to stay safe and solve a crime.

Best wishes


Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 14 Writing Conferences in November 2017

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 14 Writing Conferences in November 2017: The Colrain Poetry Conference Attending a conference is one of the best things you can do for your writing career. Conferences of...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions b...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions b...: Reviewed by Jeanne Let me start off by admitting that I am somewhat intimidated by Mr. Gaiman.   I often have the feeling that ...

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 10/25/17

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 10/25/17

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: HERO'S PROSPERITY THEORY + FALL INTO CASH

A Writer's Life....Caroline Clemmons: HERO'S PROSPERITY THEORY + FALL INTO CASH: Hero and I grew up in Lubbock in West Texas. His grandparents had a country store at a crossroads south of Lubbock. Now it might be called ...

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 27 Great Websites for Writers

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity: 27 Great Websites for Writers: Jos van Riswick Between author websites, blogs, publishing sites, news, literary magazines, genre sites, resource databases, and online ...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town That Talks ...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town That Talks ...: Reviewed by Jeanne I first encountered Lily Dale in a novel by Wendy Corsi Staub. The plot has young mother Bella and h...

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange 10/25/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Mystery Melange 10/25/17

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier: Reviewed by Jeanne The year is 1820.   Mary Yellan, twenty-three year old woman, has been left an orphan by the recent death...

Still No FFB Review

I refuse to inflict another repeat FFB review on you. Make sure you check out the list at Patti Abbott's blog. Have a good Friday.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Rap Sheet: Bullet Points: Revivals and Retreads Edition

The Rap Sheet: Bullet Points: Revivals and Retreads Edition

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 10/23/17

In Reference To Murder Blog: Media Murder for Monday 10/23/17

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew ...

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew ...: Reviewed by Jeanne The Bright Ideas Bookstore draws people from all walks of life.   There are the intellectuals, parents bro...

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Arrow S06 E01: Fallout

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: Arrow S06 E01: Fallout: If I’m being honest, which I always am, it was hard to concentrate on anything happening in the first few minutes of this sixth season op...


TEXAS BOOK LOVER: Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR 10/23-29: Bookish events in Texas for the week of October 23-29, 2017:  Special Events: TCU Language & Culture Festival 2017, Fort Worth , Octob...

Sandi Update

Sandi continues to be about the same though she was a little more lucid today than she was been earlier this week. She is running a fever so they are now running antibiotics into her as well as the large amounts of other fluids.

Other than that, nothing else has changed. She continues to receive a radiation treatment each day. When she came back from that this morning, it looked to me like she was moving a little better than she has before today as she worked to get back in bed. Today was the 11th treatment. The theory going in was that somewhere between the tenth and the fourteenth treatment the radiation should start bringing down her inflammation around the tumor, which would allow her to hurt less and move better. Even the nurse, who has been working with her all week, thought Sandi moved a little better today.

The doctor was very blunt today that her only chance now is something experimental down at MD Anderson in Houston. He also believes that even if she was strong enough right now to participate in some study, she would not qualify as there are far too many secondary issues. Needless to say, Sandi is very upset and feels that the doctor has given up on her and is adamant she wants to fight.

Having read the last Pet Scan report several weeks ago and knowing things she does not yet know, I fully understand where the doctor is coming from and why he is making the decisions he has made to this point. I have lived with the knowledge of how dire her situation is cancer wise and never told her any of it as I did not want to upset her. I am now trying to figure out a way to gently tell her what I know without taking her will to fight or crushing her spirit.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

CT Inconclusive

The CT yesterday was only of Sandi’s head and it was inconclusive. That means they can’t determine if the cancer has spread to her brain or not. The doctor wants to talk to the radiation doctor and possibly CT Scan her lower spine to see if the radiation has done anything. She has had ten sessions and remains in severe pain. The radiation also continues to cause other issues and they seem to be getting worse.

The last chance chemo option we thought we had has now been ruled out. He believes it would quickly kill her or put her in a coma if she survived the treatment. It would not stop her cancers or even slow them down. At this point, her only hope is to qualify for some high risk experimental treatment deal and the doctor does not believe that is an option either.

In the meantime, they continue to push a high volume of fluid through her in the hopes of maintaining kidney function. The high volume of fluids also seems to have helped a little bit with her short periods of lucidity, as she was a bit more aware today of things than she has been. She still very much wants to fight, but the doctor was very blunt about the lack of options at this point.

Bringing her back home and making her comfortable here as long as we can does not seem to be a viable option either. It is taking multiple nurses to address issues together as the problems come up and her care is beyond my physical capabilities at this point. Hopefully, over the next couple of days the doctor and all those he consults can figure out something that will give us a little hope.

Guest Post: Jeanne and Treadmill Books: The Dream Club Mysteries by Mary Kennedy

Jeanne of the Bookblogof the Bristol Library is back today with her latest review…

Treadmill Books:  The Dream Club Mysteries by Mary Kennedy

Taylor Blake has spent years as a business consultant, but now her expertise is needed a little closer to  home:  her younger sister Allison has opened Oldies but Goodies, a shop featuring classic candies, and things are not going well.  Allison has always been the creative one, but her attention span is somewhat short.  Taylor’s job is to try to get the store on a sound footing and keep Allison from throwing in the towel.  The shop also serves as the meeting place for the Dream Club, a group which meets regularly to discuss their dreams and possible meanings. 

As part of the campaign to save Oldies but Goodies, Taylor proposes cross promotion with some of the other merchants in the area.  One of them, a smarmy dance instructor, soon ends up dead—definitely not good for business in the area—and especially not good as he had been hitting on both Allison and Taylor.

That’s the plot of Nightmares Can Be Murder, the first in the Dream Club Mystery series.  The hook is the dream interpretation aspect, and given that the author is a clinical psychologist I felt the dream aspect would be handled professionally.  The Dream Club usually provides some clues to the crimes, but also offers many different interpretations that can help or hinder the investigation. 

I particularly enjoyed the candy descriptions in the first book; it was a real walk down Memory Lane.  The mention of Mallow Cups, Smoothies, colored wax lips, Clark Bars, and Zagnuts all brought back childhood memories—even if I didn’t eat them, I remembered seeing them in the candy section. I also liked the brainstorming about how to promote and publicize the shop, which seemed well considered.  Since the library is often involved in cross promotion, I could well understand the nuances. Both these aspects were more prominent in the first book and to tell the truth, I rather missed them.  I understand that I’m probably the only person who did. They also had to carefully consider the realities of location:  soft chocolates would melt in the Savannah heat during the summer, for example, so not a good choice for an outdoor promotion. Little details such as that charmed me.

The dream interpretation was interesting, allowing for some paranormal as well as psychological interpretations.  Some valuable clues show up, but often in vague forms.  Club members do a bit of free association to try to illuminate some details.

I’ve read two of the three in the series, and for me the weakness is in the characters.  They never came alive for me.  Allison is impractical but creative.  Taylor is sensible (except when she isn’t, at one point in the first book) and businesslike.  The members of the Dream Club also fall into broad categories.  Since I’m a character oriented reader for the most part, I just never quite got involved with books.  The plots are fine, the dreams are interesting, but I didn’t feel compelled to rush out and get the next book.

As treadmill books, they worked okay.  They kept me reading but didn’t inspire any extra steps. The same author has a series set in talk radio, which I may try as well.

Titles in the series:

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Sandi Update

Things are pretty much the same with Sandi. They are pushing a lot of fluid through her trying to keep her kidneys functioning as best as they can. They did her radiation treatment this morning as well as a CT Scan so hopefully those results will be back tomorrow morning. She seemed slightly more lucid today than in past days, but that might just be me making more of it than it was.

HISTORY’S RICH WITH MYSTERIES: "H. H. Holmes: UPDATE – Was he Jack the Ripper?" by Earl Staggs

It has been quite awhile since Earl was here with one of his “History’s Rich With Mysteries”guest posts. Earl is back today with an update on H. H. Holmes who he first wrote about last October.

History's Rich With Mysteries

When I look at the past, I find stories about people which fascinate me, particularly those in which there is a curious mixture of fact, legend, and mysterious uncertainty. In this series of articles, I want to explore some of those stories. I think of them as mysteries swaddled in legend. While truth is always desired in most things, truth easily becomes staid and boring. Legend, on the other hand, forever holds a hint of romanticism and an aura of excitement borne of adventure, imagination and, of course, mystery.

H. H. Holmes: UPDATE – Was he Jack the Ripper?

Jeff Mudgett believes his great-great grandfather, one of America's first and most prolific serial killers, was also London's Jack the Ripper. He studied his ancestor for more than twenty years and presented his evidence in his book, BLOODSTAINS.

I wrote about H. H. Holmes and his “Murder Castle” in this space a year ago. He may have killed as many as two hundred people, most of them during the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. That's more than the total killed by Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Gary Ridgway, and Ted Bundy combined. 

The Murder Castle

Convicted in 1894 of murder and fraud, the man born Herman W. Mudgett in Gilmanton, New Hampshire in 1861, who later changed his name to H. H. Holmes, was hanged in Philadelphia on May 7, 1896, nine days before his thirty-fifth birthday.

His great-great grandson, Jeff Mudgett, a retired attorney and former U.S. Naval Reserve Commander, also formed a theory that Holmes substituted someone else for the execution and made his escape. That theory was disproven when the body was exhumed, and a DNA test confirmed the identity of the corpse as H. H. Holmes.

Holmes was a scandalous figure in Chicago even before his murderous exploits were revealed. He was a talented con man who sold fake medicines, engaged in shady business deals, and was married to three women at the same time. He bought life insurance on people, presented stolen cadavers as their remains, and collected on the policies. Hardly a day went by that he was not threatened or sued by people he cheated or owed money to.
H. H. Holmes

That is, until a period in late 1888. For several months, Holmes' name was not bandied about in the newspapers or the courts of Chicago. Mr. Mudgett discovered evidence which shows a passenger named H. Holmes sailed to England during that time and was there when Jack the Ripper claimed his victims. Mudgett was assisted in his research by CIA criminologist Amaryllis Fox. The two of them traveled to London to study the five murders in the Whitechapel section of the city attributed to the Ripper.

Here is some of the evidence they developed and presented:

. . .eyewitness claimed Jack was short of stature. Holmes was approximately five feet seven.

. . .witnesses also said Jack spoke with an American accent.

. . .based on how his victims were carved up, London investigators were convinced Jack had anatomical or surgical knowledge. Holmes graduated from medical school and was a surgeon.

. . .a handwriting analysis indicated the writing of Jack and Holmes was a 97.95% match.

Critics of Mudgett's conclusions say Holmes and the Ripper could not have been the same person because their methods of killing were different. They point to the fact that the Ripper slit the throats of his victims, then removed various internal organs. Holmes, they say, did not do that. I could argue that perhaps he did.

In fact, Holmes killed in a number of different ways. Some of his victims were suffocated while some were given a deadly overdose of chloroform. Others were hanged, gassed, poisoned, or starved to death. The manner of death of many of his victims remains unknown since he incinerated many of them, left some to disintegrate in acid or lime pits, and stripped some down to skeletons which he sold to medical schools. For these reasons, it is not known how many he killed by which method.

It's quite possible he slit the throats of some of his victims and disemboweled them as Jack did during his Whitechapel reign of terror. It's also possible that Whitechapel in 1888 was a “training period” for Holmes during which he experimented with killing in the manner associated with Jack the Ripper, but moved on to other methods when he was back in the US by the beginning of 1889.

While in prison awaiting his execution, Holmes wrote a memoir which included his confession to twenty-seven murders, even though most counts put that number close to ten times that amount. He said nothing about the time he spent in London. Was that because he was not Jack the Ripper and did not commit the Whitechapel murders? Before trying to answer that question, consider the overall credibility of his confession.  Some of the twenty-seven people he said he killed were later found to be very much alive. With that in mind, it seems futile to place any credence in what he admitted to or did not admit to. One has to wonder, after the life he'd led, if he was in his right mind by then or if reality has escaped him. 
Over the years, a large number of suspects have been offered as the real identity of Jack the Ripper, some supported by convincing evidence. None of them, however, has been compelling enough to exclude all the others. Jeff Mudgett's belief that his great-great grandfather was the Ripper can be considered a suspect as strong as the others.

The bottom line is that we still don't know beyond a shadow of doubt who Jack the Ripper really was.

And, most likely, we never will.  

Earl Staggs ©2017

Earl Staggs earned all Five Star reviews for his novels MEMORY OF A MURDER and JUSTIFIED ACTION and has twice received a Derringer Award for Best Short Story of the Year.  He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Magazine, as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars. 

He invites any comments via email at earlstaggs@sbcglobal.net
He also invites you to visit his blog site at http://earlwstaggs.wordpress.com to learn more about his novels and stories.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sandi Hospitalized

Sandi continued to have seriously worsening issues this past weekend and was hospitalized earlier today. Tests and scans will be run over the next couple of days as they work to stabilize her. At this point,  it is believed that the cancer has spread to major organs including her brain.

If this has happened, on top of everything we have known the past  two months and dealt with, it means the next stage is hospice. In the hopes this worst case scenario has not occurred, they will  continue radiation the next several days while the tests and scans are done.

We await the tests and hope that things are not as bad as they seem.

Aubrey Hamilton Reviews: Fatal by John Lescroart

Fatal by John Lescroart (Atria Books, 2017) is a stand-alone novel with a mystery woven into and around its study of the effects of infidelity on two apparently happy couples. Lescroart has written 19 legal thrillers featuring Dismas Hardy, a former cop turned part-time bartender and full-time attorney, and his best friend, Abe Glitsky, a Homicide cop in San Francisco, as well as four mysteries/thrillers about private investigator Wyatt Hunt in San Francisco. Hardy, Glitsky, and their associates appear briefly in the Hunt books.

In this departure from the world of Hardy and Glitsky, Kate Jameson becomes obsessed with a married man she meets at the home of her husband’s law firm partner. She confesses her irrational thoughts to her best friend Beth Tully and assures Beth she won’t act on them but soon thereafter she arranges a private meeting with him. One brief encounter resolves her fixation with the man and she is ready to move on, but he has other ideas. Six months later his body is found on a local beach, and Homicide Detective Beth Tully is assigned the task of determining who killed him. At first there are no suspects, then far too many.

Lescroart is one of my favorite authors and this is the best book he’s released in a few years. He tells complicated stories in clear, down-to-earth language. His plots unfold unhurriedly while maintaining momentum. I can’t think of another author who conveys the complexities and contradictions of long-term human relationships better than he does. He has claimed San Francisco and its legal and law enforcement community for his own; even in a stand-alone book like this many of his characters are lawyers and police detectives and the setting is still San Francisco with its fog, tourist attractions, and cultural diversity. I would have recognized this book as his even without his name on it.

This is another story that departs from a straightforward chronological narrative, something I used to take for granted. While it does not jump back and forth in time as has become common, the book is organized into three sections: one that covers a few days in May, one that covers a few days in the following November, and the final section a few days at the end of November. Uncovering what happened in the months intervening between May and November becomes critical to identifying the murderer. A couple of subplots periodically divert the reader’s attention from the homicide investigation, which serves to intensify the suspense.

Booklist starred review.

·         Hardcover: 320 pages
·         Publisher: Atria Books; 1st edition (January 24, 2017)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 1501115677
·         ISBN-13: 978-1501115677

Aubrey Hamilton © 2017
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal IT projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Lesa's Latest Contest: Halloween Giveaway

This week, I'm giving away copies of Diane Vallere's Masking for Trouble & Heather Blake's The Witch and the Dead. Details on my blog at http://www.lesasbookcritiques.blogspot.com. Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Lesa Holstine 

Artifact From Caligula’s Ship Found to Be a Coffee Table in New York Apartment

Artifact From Caligula’s Ship Found to Be a Coffee Table in New York Apartment

Shared by Barry Ergang

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KRL This Week Update for 10/21/17

Up in KRL this morning a review & giveaway of the latest Longmire book by Craig
Johnson, "The Western Star"

Also a review & giveaway of another Halloween mystery by Kathi Daley,
"Murder at Midnight"

And a review & giveaway of another perfect mystery for your Halloween
reading, "Familiar Motives" A Witch's Cat Mystery by Delia James

And a review & giveaway of "Dead in the Water" by Denise Swanson

We also have a review & giveaway of another Halloween mystery, "Cat Among
the Pumpkins" by Mandy Morton

And a review & giveaway of "The Color of Fear" by Marcia Muller

And a review & giveaway of "Shadow Girl" by Gerry Schmitt aka Laura Childs

We also added 3 more Halloween mystery short stories-by Guy Belleranti,
Katherine Fast, & Denise Johnson-that can be found in our Terrific Tales

On KRL News & Reviews this week, we have a review & giveaway of "The Last
Weekend" by Laura DiSilverio

Happy reading,

Things Continue....

Things continue and there is no change for the better. Sandi had her eighth radiation treatment yesterday followed by fluids in infusion. Almost all of the time now she is sleeping. Her pain levels remain very high, even in her sleep, so she moans a lot in her sleep and violently jerks when back spams or stomach spasms hits. Then too there are the chills and shakes during cold spells and other issues.

Monday she has her next round of radiation followed by a visit with the radiation doctor.

Tuesday she has radiation and then we see her main cancer team for blood work and an office visit.

Friday, October 20, 2017

No FFB Today

While I don't have anything for you today, please go see Patti Abbott's blog for the links.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

7 Down, 18 To Go

Today was a little more difficult than normal as, while trying to get her dressed, Sandi slid off the end of the bed and fell onto the floor. It took awhile, but Scott and I finally managed to get her up off the floor. Got her dressed and out the door to the car so she could have her seventh radiation treatment this morning. Nothing has changed for better or worse as she is still in severe pain in her back and off and on pain in her stomach. The chills and shakes continue as do the severe back spasms. We told her radiation folks about what had happened this morning, and near as we can all tell there are no new issues from this fall.

After radiation tomorrow,  we go to infusion so they can do fluids for a couple of hours.  Hopefully, we will be back home by early afternoon.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Finally Home ....and Things Are Not Good.

Sandi had her fifth radiation treatment this morning and as of right now she is still scheduled for 20 more. She remains in severe pain from the tumor itself as well as the back spasms it is causing. She is also having some severe stomach cramps that could be those tumors in and around her intestinal tract reacting to the radiation or it could be another issue including some sort of sympathy spasms caused by the large spinal tumor.

That is not the worst of it as the visit with her doctor and the blood work indicates there are severe and worsening issues. There are multiple and worsening issues including one with her white blood cell count as it is soaring. More blood was taken from her for a second round of testing that will included the dreaded bacterial blood tests. The hope is she does not have yet another bacterial blood infection.

Several medications have been stopped as her blood pressure is far too low and that is another puzzler. After putting her into an actual hospital bed in one of the bedrooms instead of out in an infusion chair, they put a massive amount of fluid into her and slowly got her blood pressure back up. I am not sure how much it was, but I do know it was easily in excess of a liter. I suspect it was two.

The current plan is for her to have radiation this week as scheduled and into next week and have her come to the main office for fluids on Friday as well as a doctor visit and more fluid next Tuesday. Before we left this afternoon, two different staff members again went over the drill with me about what to look for, when to call the doctor, and when to call  911. One hopes that I never have to make another 911 call.