Saturday, April 7, 2012

News From Dead Mule Swamp, by Joan H. Young - Five Stars.

I grew up in a town so small that when my family moved, in we increased the population by 10%. In News From Dead Mule Swamp, author Joan H. Young captures the essence of small-town living and creates inhabitants so life-like, you'll swear if you only had a map, you could drive right up and have coffee with these people.

Young writes with a confident and conversational style, and leads the reader effortlessly through a maze of clues.

Newly divorced Anastasia Raven buys an old fixer-upper in Dead Mule Swamp, and while ripping out walls, discovers an old newspaper. Before she gets a chance to look it over, it's stolen by neighbor Cliff Sorenson. And before Anastasia (“Just call me Ana,” I added. “It rhymes with on-a, like ‘on a roll,’ which I think I am.") can figure out why Cliff took it, he turns up dead.

Unlike some mysteries which make the mistake of introducing the most pertinent evidence too late in the story (which is to say, only when the sleuth is disclosing whodunnit, how and why) Young carefully plants the clues along the way.

Wonderfully well done. I give it five stars.

Available for $.99 at

To see all books by Joan H. Young, go to

Friday, March 30, 2012

Why I Like GHI

Mind if I deviate from the book talk for a bit? I just want to say a little something about one of the few things on TV I really enjoy.

Ghost Hunters International, a spin-off from Ghost Hunters, is one show I do not miss. Okay, so now you know, I'm a little bit of a nerd. I'm okay with that.

I love a good old fashioned ghost story, but that's not all that draws me to this show. There are a lot of programs about people who chase evidence of paranormal activity, some with more credibility than others.

GHI, like their parent group, TAPS, uses a wide range of gadgets to capture evidence and some tried and true means of debunking claims as well. New equipment comes into play and the less effective or more controversial pieces are retired as new ways of detecting evidence comes to light. And like TAPS, GHI's leaders are respectful and considerate of their hosts - not to mention how they treat members of other paranormal societies.

And the locations? Puh-leez! It's better than any travel show.

But all of this aside, it's the team that makes this show. Barry is a natural leader, and none of the gang seems put-off that Kris is co-leader. They've come a long way since when the young women of TAPS were referred to as 'the girls'. Joe Chin and Scott Tepperman are some pretty unflappable guys; you know they're not afraid of their own shadows. Susan may be one of the newer members, but she's not just a pretty face. She gets right in there too. She does not back down. And then there's Paul, the tech manager, smart, funny, fun to watch. And a total nerd. I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Let's hope SyFy keeps the haunting coming!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Winter Comes to Wintan - Anthony R. Prescott

Not very often can a new writer come blasting out of the gate with such a smooth, rhythmic pace. Anthony Prescott is one who did and he will be one whose work I'll keep an eye out for. Well done!

Winter Comes to Wintan by Anthony R. Prescott is available through Smashwords for $.99.

Friday, December 2, 2011

About Writing

Ever heard of NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month is a challenge where, well the name says it all; you try to write 50,000 words in November. Now, I've signed up a couple times, but this is the first year I made the goal. It's a great feeling.

Previously, I would sign up and get a little start, only to have all sorts of stuff interfere with my life.This year was no different, except maybe the stuff that was interfering was more intrusive than usual. And that's saying something.

I have a habit of never making plans beyond today - often, not beyond the next couple of hours. I never know what's gonna happen.

I wish I lived in a world where I could set aside x amount of writing hours per day at a given time. I tell myself I could do that, but the reality is, anything can happen. The dog gets sick, the house needs fixing, my kid's car breaks down, the other one needs a babysitter, etc, etc. A day in the life, you know?

I know your life get hectic too, and I'm not making excuses. Life is crazy all over. It's just been one of those months when all the stars aligned like that. I never thought I'd had five minutes to write. About a week in (after being interrupted every time I turned my computer on) I was already 3k under my word count goal, and considering quitting. I knew, with Thanksgiving looming - that I would have to get in more than 1,667 words a day, more like 2,000.

It was depressing. I didn't write at all for three days. Thing is, I felt guilty. Here I was, doing everything for everyone else. All I wanted for myself was a couple measly hours to hack out a few thousand words of the world's worst novel. Is that too much to ask?

And since I don't DO depressed, I went to angry. Not like dish-throwing, door-slamming angry, but determined angry. The only one I could blame for not writing this thing was myself.

So, I wrote. Late at night when I couldn't sleep, I wrote. When I went downstairs to the basement to do laundry, I brought the net book and wrote. When I waited at the bus stop, picking up my granddaughter from school, I wrote.

What other writers say is true, I found. That we can make excuses or we can consider these things a challenge. We all have people interrupting, a million other obligations, and limits to our energy and time. The carrot in front of my nose was this: if I could hit that 50k goal with all the chaos, I'd never again feel so overwhelmed by life that I could not write.

Also, I have a renewed respect for all other writers. I was looking at all the books on my book shelf, wondering what went on in the lives of those authors as they typed away.

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's About Books

Love books? I do. Love to read them, love to talk about them, and someday I hope to write some. You'd think, after reading for a few decades, a person would grow bored, have trouble finding any stories that are new, fresh, interesting. No so, at least not for me.

There's nothing like finding a new author, another genre, reading about different people, or unfamiliar places. It never ceases to amaze me what plots and characters writers dream up. Books are a means of entertainment, but also a chance to exercise your imagination, to escape, to relax, to see the world from a different point of view.

The best stories are like taking a journey, going places you never thought you'd go, doing things you never thought you had the nerve to do.

What are your thoughts? Tell me, why do you love to read? What's the best book you ever read? Hardcover, paperback or ebook? I'd love to hear from you!