Category Archives: Authors/Books You Might Like

5 Novels I Can’t Live Without

5-novels

When I realized I wrote in a similar manner to Janet Evanovich, I began to study her books to see how she does what she does. And, of course, I’m forever in her debt for introducing me to Ranger.

We read “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” in our book club. It touched every emotion I had. Well done, Rachel Joyce.

When our kids were young, we took a long road trip and listened to the audio version of Jennifer Donnelly’s “A Northern Light” in the car. It captivated all five of us, often making us sit in a parking lot at our destination to hear the end of the chapter. When we got home I read it to see how she did what she did. Still not entirely sure.

I have four copies of Zippy. I lend them all the time, but never want to be without one myself. I love Zippy and Haven Kimmel like petunias love sunshine. It’s one of the very few books I’ve lifted to “You Betcha, I’ll Read It Again” status. It does three things to me simultaneously … laugh hysterically, break my heart thus turning me into a little puddle of sobbing Becky, and curse the day the writing bug bit me because I’ll never be Haven Kimmel.

Garrison Keillor and I go way back. When I was a young’un, my dad would dial up his “Prairie Home Companion” show on the car radio and we’d load into the car for a drive while we listened. If we were lucky, we’d watch a thunderstorm roll toward us, engulf us, then release us while we caught up on the news from the Sidetrack Tap, the Chatterbox Cafe, Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery and Bertha’s Kitty Boutique.

To this day radio static always makes me smile.

What are the five novels you can’t live without?

One Question Interview — Ann Parker

I started doing my One Question Interviews because I am lucky enough to be able to meet tons of eclectic and interesting authors. It occurred to me you might want to meet them, too. So I wrote a dozen or so questions on index cards, steered the authors to a quiet corner with me and my iPhone, then had them pick a question at random. I hope you like them and their books as much as I do. Visit their websites, find them on social media, buy their books, and/or ask your library to carry them. Share this post and the video with anyone who might enjoy their books.

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SilverLiesCoverIron_TiesLeadenSkiesCoverMercurysRise coverWhat_Gold_Buys_Cover

Ann Parker wanted to live in Colorado since she was a child, but through various “twists of fate” and life decisions, has only managed to move one set of hills east from where she was born and raised in Northern California. She wrote her first novel when she was 12 years old featuring… a strong female protagonist and set in the Old West! (Started young.) She’s  been a wordsmith since then, making a living by spinning words in one venue or another since she got out of college, mostly as a science writer. What she REALLY wanted to be was an astronomer (hence the double degree in Physics, with English Literature tagging along because she lived and breathed stories and words). Ah well, maybe next time.

She works like a crazy woman in her day job(s) and writes fiction the rest of the time. She lives with a spouse and a cat who uneasily (and barely) co-exist.

Her favorite book as a child was The Tall Book of Mother Goose, copyright 1942, illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky. This book came out long before she was born, so it must have been handed down from a cousin or some such. She loved the beautiful illustrations first, before she could read. At some point a little later on, she taught herself to count and recognize numbers using the page numbers. And when she finally could read, the whole world of poetry and “literature” opened up. This book has a little of everything. Mystery (who cut off the tails on Bo-Peep’s sheep?), danger and adventure (Jack and Jill! Up the hill! Then Jack falls down!), horror (little Miss Muffet and that scary spider), love (Mary and her little lamb)… you name it! She still gets a great feeling of “resonance” looking through the book.

What_Gold_Buys_CoverAnn’s newest book WHAT GOLD BUYS, set in Leadville, CO, is the fifth in the Silver Rush mystery series, and is available RIGHT NOW for pre-order.

Read descriptions of all the books in the series on Amazon.

Connect with Ann at her website,  on Goodreads, and all the usual places.

 

One Question Interview — Kim Fay

I started doing my One Question Interviews because I am lucky enough to be able to meet tons of eclectic and interesting authors. It occurred to me you might want to meet them, too. So I wrote a dozen or so questions on index cards, steered the authors to a quiet corner with me and my iPhone, then had them pick a question at random. I hope you like them and their books as much as I do. Visit their websites, find them on social media, buy their books, and/or ask your library to carry them. Share this post and the video with anyone who might enjoy their books.

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the map of lost memories2013 Edgar Award Finalist for Best First Novel by an American Author

In 1925 the international treasure-hunting scene is a man’s world, and no one understands this better than Irene Blum, who is passed over for a coveted museum curatorship because she is a woman. Seeking to restore her reputation, she sets off from Seattle in search of a temple believed to house the lost history of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer civilization. But her quest to make the greatest archaeological discovery of the century soon becomes a quest for her family’s secrets. Embracing the colorful and corrupt world of colonial Asia in the early 1900s, The Map of Lost Memories takes readers into a forgotten era where nothing is as it seems.  As Irene travels through Shanghai’s lawless back streets and Saigon’s opium-filled lanes, she joins forces with a Communist temple robber and an intriguing nightclub owner with a complicated past. Deep within the humidity-soaked Cambodian jungle, what they bring to light does more than change history. It ultimately solves the mysteries of their own lives.

Kim Fay is the author of the historical novel, The Map of Lost Memories, a 2013 Edgar Award finalist for Best First Novel by an American Author, and the food memoir Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam, a Gourmand World Cookbook Award winner. She is also the creator/series editor of the “To Asia With Love” guidebooks and has contributed to the The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook and Sisters in Crime’s Writes of Passage.

She was born in Seattle and spent her childhood reading Nancy Drew throughout the small towns of Washington State. After working as an independent bookseller at the Elliott Bay Book Company, she moved to Vietnam in the mid-1990s. She fell in love with the country and lived in Saigon for four years, and she has been traveling regularly to Southeast Asia for more than twenty. She currently resides in Los Angeles where she is working on a novel about Vietnam in the 1950s, as well as a mystery series set in L.A. in the 1970s.

www.kimfay.net

https://twitter.com/kimkfay

https://www.pinterest.com/kimkfay/

https://www.facebook.com/kimfayauthor/?ref=hl

 

One Question Interview — Ellen Byron

I started doing my One Question Interviews because I am lucky enough to be able to meet tons of eclectic and interesting authors. It occurred to me you might want to meet them, too. So I wrote a dozen or so questions on index cards, steered the authors to a quiet corner with me and my iPhone, then had them pick a question at random. I hope you like them and their books as much as I do. Visit their websites, find them on social media, buy their books, and/or ask your library to carry them. Share this post and the video with anyone who might like their books.

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PlantationShuddersSmallerPLANTATION SHUDDERS, Ellen Byron‘s debut novel, was nominated for a Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery, and for an Agatha Best First Novel award. She’s a television writer whose credits include WINGS, JUST SHOOT ME, and STILL STANDING, as well as pilots for all the major networks. She’s written over 200 magazine articles, and is also a playwright whose work includes the award-winning one-acts, GRACELAND and ASLEEP ON THE WIND.

PLANTATION SHUDDERS comes out in paperback on August 11th. BODY ON THE BAYOU, the second book in the Cajun Country Mystery series, launches on September 13th.Body on the Bayou (smaller) (2)

 

Connect with Ellen on Twitter, too!

 

 

 

 

 

The Semester of Our Discontent

The beauty of orbiting various communities of writers is that I get to meet so many great writers and read books I might never have stumbled on otherwise.

Plus, I love sharing new writers and books with you!

The Semester of our DiscontentIf you like cozy mysteries, you will love Cynthia Kuhn‘s The Semester of Our Discontent. It’s set in the world of academia and is full of little tidbits about that world. One of the cool things I like about books — cozy mysteries especially — is getting immersed in a world I know nothing about.

I know, I know. It is surprising I’m not an academic. I exude such deep, scholarly … you know … juice ‘n stuff.

Here’s the blurb….

The Semester of Our Discontent (Henery Press, 2016)

English professor Lila Maclean is thrilled about her new job at prestigious Stonedale University until she finds one of her colleagues dead.  She soon learns that everyone, from the chancellor to the detective working the case, believes Lila—or someone she is protecting—may be responsible for the horrific event, so she assigns herself the task of identifying the killer.

More attacks on professors follow, the only connection a curious symbol found at each of the crime scenes. Putting her scholarly skills to the test, Lila gathers evidence, but her search is complicated by an unexpected nemesis, a suspicious investigator, and an ominous secret society. Rather than earning an “A” for effort, she receives a threat featuring the mysterious emblem and must act quickly to avoid failing her assignment…and becoming the next victim.

I’m so proud to know Cynthia. Not only does she write these Lila Maclean academic mysteries, but she’s one of those rare creatures who makes the world a happier place simply because she’s in it. You want to be a better person because she’s so fantastic. I met her when a few of us decided to start up the Colorado chapter of Sisters in Crime. She’s our President and Fearless Leader. (Don’t tell her, but I kinda can’t say no to her. I went to the first meeting having vowed right out loud that I wasn’t volunteering for anything. I left as one of the programming coordinators.)

This is Cynthia’s debut novel, but her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Literary Mama, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Muddy River Poetry Review, Mama PhD and other publications. She has also produced studies on contemporary gothic and dress/fashion in literature. Originally from upstate New York, Cynthia currently teaches English at MSU Denver and really IS a scholar!

Get your hands on a copy of The Semester of Our Discontent and enjoy meeting Lila Maclean and her cohorts. (When you’re done, don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads … and tell your friends!)

Book Links:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo

Author Links:

Twitter: @cynthiakuhn
Facebook: www.facebook.com/cynthiakuhnwriter
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/cynthiakuhn
Blog: mysteristas.wordpress.com

 

One Question Interview — Mark Stevens

I started doing my One Question Interviews because I am lucky enough to be able to meet tons of eclectic and interesting authors. It occurred to me you might want to meet them, too. So I wrote a dozen or so questions on index cards, steered the authors to a quiet corner with me and my iPhone, then had them pick a question at random. I hope you like them and their books as much as I do. Visit their websites, find them on social media, buy their books, and/or ask your library to carry them. Share this post and the video with anyone who might like their books.

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Mark Stevensmark stevens book award‘ newest mystery was nominated for a Colorado Book Award! I’ve read his Allison Coil series and I wish I had more than two actual thumbs-up to give. I guess I could get by with some metaphorical thumbs, but I’m not zen like that.

 

 

 

Mark has a presentation “Write What You Don’t Know” coming up at

  • Bemis Library
  • Saturday, April 16 from 2 – 4:30 p.m.
  • 6014 S. Datura Street Littleton, CO 80120

 

mark's books

 

Kimberly G. Giarratano’s New Mystery!

Kimberly Giarratano is one of my fellow Mysteristas. She writes spooky mysteries for teens and adults. I haven’t read this new one yet, but I can’t wait!

Murder and mayhem in a haunted hotel.

Dead and Breakfast, the first book in the Cayo Hueso Mystery series, is now available! Set in Key West, Florida (one of the 10 most haunted cities in America), it’s the story of two teens who try to put a vengeful spirit to rest by solving her murder. Perfect for mystery lovers of all ages.
Don’t have a Kindle? No worries. The paperback will be out in April.

Dead and Breakfast cover

Find Kimberly on Twitter, join her Reader Club and check out her other books …

Grunge Gods and Graveyards2015 Silver Falchion Award Winner

Parted by death. Tethered by love.

Lainey Bloom’s high school senior year is a complete disaster. The popular clique, led by mean girl Wynter Woods, bullies her constantly. The principal threatens not to let her graduate with the class of 1997 unless she completes a major research project. And everyone blames her for the death of Wynter’s boyfriend, Danny Obregon.

Danny, a gorgeous musician, stole Lainey’s heart when he stole a kiss at a concert. But a week later, he was run down on a dangerous stretch of road. When he dies in her arms, she fears she’ll never know if he really would have broken up with Wynter to be with her.

Then his ghost shows up, begging her to solve his murder. Horrified by the dismal fate that awaits him if he never crosses over, Lainey seeks the dark truth amidst small town secrets, family strife, and divided loyalties. But every step she takes toward discovering what really happened the night Danny died pulls her further away from the beautiful boy she can never touch again.

The Lady in BlueThe Lady in Blue stole a car and fled Ash.
Out on Devlin Road she emerged from a crash.
She wandered the woods with her head dripping blood.
Then drowned in the river in water and mud.

All her life criminology student Liz Bloom has heard this rhyme, meant to scare young campers. When she’s about to take on her first cold case, Liz learns the eerie song is about her great aunt Lana. Liz isn’t big on studying, but she does have one advantage most criminologists don’t — she can speak to the dead.

In 1955, Lana Bloom was an eighteen-year-old beauty with Hollywood dreams who fell in love with a stranger. When Lana died in a bloody car crash, all signs pointed to the mysterious man who was never seen again.

As Lana unravels the details surrounding her last week of life, the tale she weaves for Liz is one of desire, betrayal, and murder. But if Lana can’t identify her killer, not only will a murderer escape punishment, but her ghostly form will cease to exist. And Liz will have failed the most important assignment of all – family.

Brave New GirlsThis collection of sci-fi stories features brainy young heroines who use their smarts to save the day. Girls who fix robots and construct superhero suits, hack interstellar corporations and build virtual reality platforms. Who experiment with alien chemicals and tinker with time machines. Who defy expectations and tap into their know-how—in the depths of space, or the bounds of dystopia, or the not-too-distant future—to solve despicable crimes, talk to extraterrestrials, and take down powerful villains.

All revenues from sales of this anthology will be donated a scholarship fund through the Society of Women Engineers. Let’s show the world that girls, too, can be tomorrow’s inventors, programmers, scientists, and more.

STORIES BY:

Martin Berman-Gorvine, Paige Daniels, George Ebey, Mary Fan, Kimberly G. Giarratano, Valerie Hunter, Evangeline Jennings, Stephen Kozeniewski, Jason Kucharik, Kate Lansing, Tash McAdam, Kate Moretti, Ursula Osborne, Josh Pritchett, Aimie K. Runyan, Davien Thomas, Lisa Toohey, and Leandra Wallace

 

 

 

 

One Question Interview — Zoe Burke

I started doing my One Question Interviews because I am lucky enough to be able to meet tons of eclectic and interesting authors. It occurred to me you might want to meet them, too. So I wrote a dozen or so questions on index cards, steered the authors to a quiet corner with me and my iPhone, then had them pick a question at random. I hope you like them and their books as much as I do. Visit their websites, find them on social media, buy their books, and/or ask your library to carry them. Share this post and the video with anyone who might like their books.

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Jump the GunZOE BURKE lives in Portland, Oregon, where No Gun Intended, her new Annabelle Starkey mystery, takes place. In Jump the Gun, the plot began in Chicago and ended up in San Francisco, with Las Vegas in between. Burke is working on the next book in the series, which–so far!–is situated in Manhattan. But no matter where the action takes place, the Annabelle Starkey series is an entertaining read suitable for any couch or beach chair.

Find Zoe Burke at her website … on Facebook … and at Poisoned Pen Press.

NoGunIntendedSM

Zoe has a book signing coming up at
Copperfield’s Books
850 4th Street
San Rafael, California
March 26, 7:00 pm.