Monthly Archives: November 2009

Catching Up with Author Leanna Renee Hieber

Barbara Vey -- November 30th, 2009
Casey Clifford and Leanna Renee Hieber at Walden Books

Leanna Renee Hieber visited Milwaukee to speak with the WisWRA writers about theatrical techniques to a blockbuster novel.  Afterward was a successful booksigning at the local Walden Book store (Side note:  unfortunately this store will be closing January 1).

I was lucky enough to  catch up with Leanna at the airport for a quick breakfast before her flight back to New York to ask her a few questions.

BV: With the success of your new book, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, how has life changed for you?

LRH:  I have been feeling extremely grateful and thankful with more energy to continue the series with The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persophone Parker, which will have it’s release April 27, 2010.  I was also thrilled and honored to have made your "Best of" list for 2009.

BV:  You’ve been receiving many kudos for The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, what’s the latest?

LRH:  I recently found out that I landed #26 on the Mass Market chart and #32 overall on the Barnes and Noble list.  Not bad for a debut novel.  And now it’s available in audio form, which I’m thrilled about.

BV:  So, what’s next for you?

LRH: 
I’m currently working on an anthology with author C.L. Wilson, who I consider one of my idols.

BV:  And how did you like Milwaukee?

Speaking at the Milwaukee High School of the Arts

LRH:  It was wonderful!  Great food, good friends and family, super authors and readers.  I wish I could take them all back to New York with me.  I also volunteered to go speak to the Milwaukee High School of the Arts Creative Writing department this week.  Having always wished they had a High School of the Arts in my rural Ohio hometown, I wanted to show my appreciation and value for a public school devoted to the Arts.  Because I struggled for so many years to find a publisher for the Strangely Beautiful series I feel called to tell teens never to give up on their dreams, as I’m living proof that your greatest dream can come true if you just persist.  Between my theatre background and the publishing world, I’ve become so used to rejection that I just want to be an encouraging voice to youngsters to never give up no matter what. MHSA students were brilliant and wonderful and I was full of hope and joy- not to mention genuinely impressed by their fierce intelligence and obvious talents.  Milwaukee has talented teens and that’s a priceless asset.

Oh, and I wanted to mention the Holiday Folk Fair, which was awesome and I just loved it.

Monday Giveaways

From Cindy Proctor-King:  Kensington Aphrodisia author Susan Lyons is giving away a copy of SEX DRIVE, the first in her new Wild Ride to Love series, at Muse Interrupted Tuesday, December 1st.

Bottom Line:  If you liked the Holiday Folk Fair, you have to come back in summer for all our ethnic festivals.

YA Readers Book Blurbs on Your Turn Friday

Barbara Vey -- November 27th, 2009

I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as mine.  Spending time with family is the greatest gift (and the food was a nice plus).  So, as a special treat, here’s the Young Adult readers with their books of the week on Your Turn Friday.  In the comment sections, please feel free to let everyone know what you’ve been reading lately.  Also, I am totally out of YA books, so if you’d like your book considered, please email me at barbaravey@gmail.com

Black is for Beginnings by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Read By Bekah, 17
 
Stacey Brown isn’t your average teenager. For years she’s had to deal with being a witch. Prophetic visions have lead her to more trouble and danger than she would care to deal with. Now, she’s once again having dreams about the girl she used to baby-sit who was murdered years ago. Based on the nature of these dreams, she doesn’t think they’re to warn her of danger, but of something else entirely. Simultaneously, her ex-boyfriend is having dreams as well. Like her, he’s having difficulties letting go of the past, especially the parts that they shared. They’re next journey together may not hold terrifying murderers or creepy stalkers, but love can be just as scary.
 
 This was a really cool and fun book. Unlike the other books in the series, this one is set up as an American style manga or like a comic book. With amazing pictures, this story really caught my attention. It was both amusing and moving. I’ve read the other books in the series and this one is definitely my favorite.

The Secret of Starlight Landing by Kristen Maree Cleary

Read by Maddy, 17

Starlight Landing is Kacy Cannon family’s home town. Her father decides to move back after Kacy’s grandmother dies. Her grandmother’s last words to her was to "save Starlight Landing." How, Kacy has no clue. The town is old, falling apart, and so is the house she has to live in. The only thing to do there is to look for the gift her grandmother left her and to visit Star Cavern, which as been closed down for forty years. She has a lot to discover and learns secrets that change her whole life.

This was a wonderful story that was entertaining to read. I didn’t expect a lot of the things that happened, and I couldn’t stop reading until I figured it out. I would recommend it to anyone in middle school and up.

Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe

Read by Jess, 17   Cass McKenna knows what it’s like to have friends, to have boys’ attention, and to have fun.  But in the years after her sister died, her preferred company became those without a pulse.  With invisible friends who can walk through walls, Cass has access to everyone’s secrets.  When the class VP asks her for help, she has a chance to forget the past and make new relationships with the living.  Will she take another chance on those with a reflection?   It’s true.  Everyone has secrets and anyone is capable of deception.  It’s hard to know who you can trust.  I like the idea of having my own personal spies (AKA the ghosts).  And since they don’t have many living people to talk to, you know they will listen when you need to talk to someone too.

Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

Read By Bekah, 17
 
James has just started his first year at Thornking-Ash, a school for students gifted in music. He’s looking for a new start after experiencing a painful summer that will haunt him for the rest of his life. But when a strange girl shows up to give him a deal he finds hard to resist, James realizes that the faeries of his past aren’t going to remain there for too long. Though he wishes her gone, this oddly human-like faerie, Nuala, is unlike anyone he’s ever met. But not even love can stop what’s coming. There is something not quite right with this school and the even odder things occurring around it are all too familiar. Almost nothing can stop the events that are unfolding are them, but James will stop at nothing to save the ones he cares for.
 
After reading this story had a new respect for music. The author portrayed musical artists as these almost magical beings, though, they are completely human. This was a totally original story that used some great folklore to create a wonderfully suspenseful tale.

Blue Moon by Alyson Noel

Read by Maddy, 17
 

Ever is in love with Damen, who made her immortal just like he is. Theres a lot to learn, like how to create things out of nothing, and how to block peoples thoughts so Ever doesn’t go insane listening to what everyone is thinking. She also has to act like a normal high school girl, which is getting difficult to do because something unexpected is happening to Damen that is about to change everything.
 

This is the second book in the series The Immortals. Even though I haven’t read the first book (because I just discovered the series) It was easy for me to know what was going on, and what happened in Ever’s past that lead her and Damen to fall in love. I am excited to read the next one, because I can wait to finally figure out what happens.

Bottom Line: Yes, I know today is Black Friday, but rather than shop I’ll watch all the entertainment of it on tv with a nice cup of hot coffee.
 

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- November 25th, 2009


Love is in the air with the books that were read this week.  Join the WW Ladies as they share their journey with you.

Start Me Up by Victoria Dahl

Read by joysann
Feeling dull and trapped since inheriting the only auto repair shop in a small mountain town from her father, mechanic Lori Love has decided to spice up her life by having a hot meaningless affair during for the summer. Quinn Jennings, the older brother of her best friend Molly, volunteers for the job when faced with the opportunity, and they both leap into Lori’s sexual fantasies with the understanding that the relationship is only temporary. But the summer gets hotter and more intense when the local police chief discovers reason to believe her father’s crippling "accident" was a murder attempt, and someone starts vandalizing Lori’s shop and business into failure.
While there’s a good mystery here to pull the story along, the real action is, of course, with the relationship between Lori and Quinn. And the action Victoria Dahl provides is just fine…sizzling sexy romance and laugh-out-loud funny dialog and narration. Start Me Up follows Talk Me Down, and I’m happy to see there’ll be another story soon.

A Texas Ranger’s Family by Mae Nunn

Read by Denise
 
Erin Gray is a photojournalist that has seen the world through her camera.  She left behind years ago a husband and daughter.  When she suffers life-threatening injury in Iraq, her Texas Ranger husband and daughter take her home to heal.  She doesn’t want to open her heart to them, but Daniel has faith that things will work out and that they will be reunited as a family forever.
 
It was very refreshing to read a romance novel without all the sex in it.  I am thrilled that there are books written that can get my attention, be romantic without all the sex and language to lead up to the romance.  If my Grandmother was still alive, I would feel very comfortable having her read this romance.  Good Job to Mae for such an inspiring Christian romance.

The Sari Shop Widow by Shobhan Bantwal
 
Read by Bev
 
Anjali a young widow and her parents run the shop Silk and Sapphires.  Her father brings it to her attention that they are in financial trouble and he has approached his older brother Jeevan, her uncle to help them out.   Her uncle brings Rishi Shah with him to help reorganize the business so that they can stay open.  Rishi Shah is a Londoner who somehow is very well acquainted with Anjali’s uncle.  Anjali does not think very highly of her uncle, but that changes as part of Uncle Jeevan’s life story unfolds while he is visiting.
 
Rishi Shah sounds like one handsome devil! I thoroughly enjoyed the family interplay in this book.  To be widowed and live with your parents cannot be easy and to work with them daily there has to be some escape.

Vision in White by Nora Roberts
 
Listened to by Linda
 
The first book in a series of four, focuses on four friends who operate a wedding planning business. Mackensie Elliot, a photographer,  is  featured in this book.  Mackensie is most at home behind the camera, but loses her focus upon meeting English teacher Carter Maguire. Sparks fly and love endures.
 
What a wonderful romance. I was impressed with the amount of details involved in the business of wedding planning and am looking forward to reading about the rest of the women in this series. I had the pleasure of hearing this book in a new audio format – self contained in it’s own little MP3 device. Very convenient for those working in an office environment.

Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh
 
Read by Michelle
 
Devraj Santos is devoted to protecting the Forgotten from the Psy Council who is set to destroy anyone not connected to the Psynet.  Ekaterina Haas is left on Dev’s doorstep as a broken telepath after being held captive by Ming LeBon.  Dev and the Resistance believe Ekaterina to be a threat of unknown proportions to their Shadownet and the Forgotten.  Slowly Ekaterina regains her memory and her abilities and begins to align herself emotionally to Dev.  As Dev becomes enamored with Ekaterina he finds himself wanting to love her but knows he may need to kill her in order to protect the Forgotten.
 
I found myself drawn to the supernatural possibilities of a psychic world.  A very deep and intricate novel.  I was left wondering what defense an ordinary human could have when up against telekinetics, teleporters and the like.  It gives me shivers to think about it.

Ain’t Too Proud to Beg by Susan Donovan

Read by Sheila
 
Josie Sheehan, 35, a newspaper obit-writer, has suffered a string of too-short, too-shallow relationships. That’s why she half-heartedly goes along with her three single dog-walking coworkers when they swear off men. But it’s too late. Josie’s already met her perfect man, the gorgeous Rick Rousseau, CEO of a chain of pet stores. Rick falls hard for her too, breaking his self-imposed celibacy, punishment for his bad-boy years that ended in a motorcycle accident seven years earlier. Their love is not all perfect, of course. Rick’s life is in serious danger, due to consequences of the accident, and now, so is Josie’s.
 
This is the first book I’ve read by Susan Donovan (it’s her 7th novel, I think). In the first few pages, I was laughing out loud at what I thought were stray one-liners. I didn’t think she could keep up that level of humor, but she does. In this love story that turns to action suspense, she is hilarious.



Grave Secrets by Charlaine Harris

Read by joysann

On their way back to Dallas to visit with their sisters, Harper and Tolliver are hired by a wealthy family to stop near Texarkana to learn what their patriarch may have experienced in his last moments of life. Harper’s "gift" allows her to find and communicate with dead bodies, sometimes seeing or experiencing what they did. In this case, Harper sees that the rancher’s heart attack was deliberately induced by fear. Now someone is shooting at them, out to silence Harper for what else she might know.

I’ve been recommending the Harper Connelly series to my friends from the first book. It’s a little darker than the Southern Vampire series, more "human", so to speak, and I find it more thought provoking, especially regarding the dysfunctional family life Harper is striving to put behind her. Grave Secrets left me feeling somewhat shocked and breathless, which, I believe, was very much intended. The series remains on my personal recommended reading list.

Surgeon Boss, Surprise Dad by Janice Lynn

Read by Denise
 
Adam Cline was a dedicated surgeon and a confirmed bachelor who figured he would never settle down until beautiful nurse Liz stole his heart.  He learns he can never give her the life she has always dreamed of so he must walk away.  Liz has a secret of her own; she puts aside her broken heart and tells Adam that she is carrying his baby.  She just has to prove to him that their one chance at happiness could come true.
 
I truly was in awe at how I was actually feeling for Liz.  Adam was trying to grasp what was happening to him and should not have pushed Liz aside.  I can see that the old saying "You always hurt the ones you love" is a very suitable saying.  Liz had the determination to stick with him and I was right behind her all the way.

Bottom Line:  Did you remember to put your turkey in the refrigerator to defrost it for tomorrow?
 
 

Kindle vs Sony: The Battle Continues

Barbara Vey -- November 24th, 2009

With Christmas approaching, I’m again being asked what I want and my mind keeps drifting to an e-reader.  No…I don’t have one yet.  Never even tried reading a book on one.  And the battle rages on which is better the Kindle or Sony.

The Kindle can store 1, 500 e-books, is slim, longer battery life and has an Amazon library of ten of thousands of e-books, newspapers and magazines.  Font changeable, Mac and PC ready, and Text-to-Speech lets you have the book read to you outloud.  It also has an internet feature.  Downside, no backlight (which I really want), it doesn’t have a protective case (which makes no sense to me) and you can’t get electronic library loans on it.  Their official statement:  Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines.  Lightweight: At 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback.  Books in Under 60 Seconds: Get books delivered wirelessly in less than 60 seconds; no PC required.  3G Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle; no annual contracts, no monthly fees, and no hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots.
  Global Coverage: Enjoy 3G wireless coverage at home or abroad in over 100 countries. Paper-Like Display: Reads like real paper without glare, even in bright sunlight.  Long Battery Life: Read for days without recharging.  Read-to-Me: With the experimental Text-to-Speech feature, Kindle can read newspapers, magazines, blogs, and books out loud to you, unless the book’s rights holder made the feature unavailable.  Free Book Samples: Download and read first chapters for free before you decide to buy
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The Sony Reader Daily Edition has free library e-book check outs, which is huge for me.  I’ve always loved the library and here’s one more reason to use them.  Their official words:  Experience the freedom to wirelessly browse, purchase and download books from The eBook Store from Sony with free 3G wireless access. Measuring just 0.6" thin and weighing only 12.75 ounces, the Reader Daily Edition also features a 7" paper-like display and touch screen navigation. Carry hundreds of books at a time and enjoy your content in either portrait or landscape viewing modes. Plus, the Reader supports multiple formats including ePub and PDF while giving you access to over one million free public domain titles from Google Books.

Then there’s the cost, Kindle (Global) $259 and Kindle DX (US wireless) $489.  Sony Reader Daily Edition $399.

Readers seemed mixed, but most I talked to prefered the Sony.  Now, I can get the Kindle for my iPhone, but the screen is super small for reading, but it is backlit.  Then there’s the Apple’s strongly rumoured ‘tablet’ — a cross between an iPhone and a full computer.  This sounds like something I’d might be interested in.  Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Then there’s the whole problem with wanting to lend people books you’ve read on your e-reader.  Easy to do with a paper book, but lots of questions with an e-reader.

Maybe I’m just not ready for an e-reader or just need to wait for the perfect one to come along.

How about you? Do you own one? Do you want one?  Are they worth the money?  Can anything really replace a well worn book?

Bottom Line:  I’d rather have a Wii system for Christmas this year anyway.  (I really hope my kids are reading this.)
 

Sunday Matinee

Barbara Vey -- November 22nd, 2009


Hard to believe it’s November with 55 degree weather here in Wisconsin.  But, for me, it’s always good reading weather.  It just always seems to come down to what to read, so here’s your chance to catch a few videos of books you might have missed. 



Bottom Line: 
And speaking of videos, are you one of the millions who have seen New Moon yet? 

Twilight Time on Your Turn Friday

Barbara Vey -- November 20th, 2009


New Moon opens today.  At my local theater they are showing it no less than 15 times a day.  I have a feeling it’s going to be hormone city there.  The cast is perfect for the teen set and I can imagine lots of sighing with oohs and aahs mixed in.  I’ll eventually see it…just not today.

I get more excited about Harry Potter myself, but I’m not immune to the appeal of the Twilight saga.  I’ve always been leery about my favorite books turned into movies.  Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.  I really try to pretend they are two different things.

I read all the James Bond books and most the time the only thing they take from the books is the title.  I liked The Firm even though it didn’t follow the book and the DaVinci Code I read twice to really understand it and that kind of helped with the movie.  V I Warshawski was a disapppointment and Sue Grafton said she’d never let her Kinsey Millhone be made into a movie.

So even though it’s Your Turn Friday and you can still let us know the books you’ve been reading, also think about books to movies that delighted or disappointed.  Or doesn’t it matter either way?  Any favorites that you’d like to see made into a movie?  Will you be one of the first to see New Moon?

Bottom Line:  I may just wait until there is a new moon before I fight the crowds at the theater for this one.

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- November 18th, 2009


Our Christmas books special is over, so back to our regularly scheduled blurbed.  Hope you find lots of great reads!

The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willlig

Listened to by joysann

Remember the Scarlet Pimpernel? He wasn’t the only English spy operating in the wars against Napoleon. In fact, in her PhD dissertation, modern day Eloise Kelly is determined to produce evidence that the most effective and elusive spy was a woman. In doing so, she studies the journals of Henrietta Selwick, telling how she and Miles Dorrington unmask France’s blood-thirsty killer spy, the Black Tulip.

It was great fun spending time with Eloise, and then to step back to the 19th century to watch the growing romance between Hen and Miles. Narrator Kate Reading, as usual, gives a delightful and captivating performance. Charming, funny, intriguing and exciting, this 2nd book in Lauren Willig’s series was the first I picked up, but I’m definitely going backward and forward from here.
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Pros & Cons by Paul C. and Michael DeFazio

Read by Darren

Joe Milano is a police detective who’s up against a Dominican drug enforcer Alex Ortiz (known as AO).  Ortiz is trying to make a name for himself within his drug-trafficking organization, a gang called the Dominicans Don’t Play.  The DDP is a prominent street gang in America.  While chasing this gang, Joe and his partner Rachael Feliz arrest Ortiz during a drug sting and murder. Joe’s cousin Frank is a corrections officer in the prison where he crosses AO’s path. 
 

A must read with  realistic mind-blowing action and a racy look into the social underbelly of gangs and prostitution.  The dialogue is authentic, raw and edgy and the firsthand knowledge and experience in what they write about gives the story realism and credibility. I have never been to the DR or have seen the inside of a prison, but I felt transported there. I was intrigued, educated, and horrified reading about our judicial, immigration, and penal systems, not to mention the secretive life of “mongers,” those who indulge in erotic vacations.   This debut thriller gave me the suspense I had hoped for and an ending that took me by complete surprise and blew me away! 
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Night of the Loving Dead by Casey Daniels
Read by Joan
After having developed the ability to see and talk with ghosts, historic cemetery tour guide Pepper Martin has reluctantly become a private detective for them, investigating mysteries left unsolved in their lives, or surrounding their deaths.  While attending a convention in Chicago, a murdered medical assistant draws Pepper into a puzzle involving disappearing homeless people and a research clinic.  The suspect in this mystery is the appealing Dr Dan Callahan Pepper knows from home in Cleveland, and she and her new ghostly friend work to prove him innocent.
Pepper Martin is as feisty as her red hair.  She is currently balancing two men in her life, both of whom appeared in the previous stories.  Handsome, macho detective Quinn Harrison seems to keep saving Pepper from being killed, and Dan Callahan, a cute, but sort of a geeky scientist who wants to study Pepper’s brain, and, more importantly, is a good kisser.  Pepper’s life is full of interesting exploits that are fun to read and keep me wanting more.
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Big Sky Dynasty by B.J. Daniels

Read by Denise   Dalton Corbett’s secret past had finally caught up with him.  Georgia Michaels owns the knit shop in Whitehorse and has unsuspectingly rented the apartment above the store to a woman from Dalton’s secret past.  Dalton tries to ensure that Georgia doesn’t get hurt, because he knows how dangerous the woman from his past can be.  He realizes that the more time he spends with Georgia the more he wants her to be his. 
I was intrigued with the twists and turns, imagining if I were in Georgia’s place could I handle the extreme hatred from the woman from Dalton’s secret past.  I was able to have compassion, but also feel the dislike for someone trying to be something that she isn’t.  I wanted to go to Whitehorse and beat the s*** out of Dalton’s secret past!!
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The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe 

Read by Bev

Connie is a grad student preparing to write her Doctoral Dissertation in American History.   Connie’s mother, Grace, who is a new age kind of woman, asks Connie to clean up and sell her grandmother’s place in Marblehead, MA.  The place is a mess and Connie slowly but surely begins to go through her grandmother’s jars and bottles full of dried plants of one kind or another and the garden which is overgrown with herbs.   As she is going through things she finds a key and the name Deliverance Dane on a piece of paper. Connie begins her quest to find out who this person is and what the key belongs to.  This quest takes her back in history to the Salem witch trials.  Along the way she thinks that this Deliverance Dane has written a book – where to find it and foremost what the name of this book are part of the remainder of the story.   An evil professor-Dr Chilton and a love interest – Sam  play important roles in finding out about Deliverance Dane and Connie’s family history. 

This book has it all – a love story, magic, history etc…  I honestly could not put it down !  The other interesting thing is the author, Katherine Howe is a descendant of Elizabeth Proctor and Elizabeth Howe.  Proctor survived the Salem witch trials Howe did not.
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Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange
 
Read by Michelle
 
After Elizabeth’s and Darcy’s long awaited wedding they embark on their wedding tour which takes them to France, Venice and Rome.  This should be the time of their lives but it is
plagued with animosity and threat of death.  Darcy keeps Elizabeth in the dark about his family secret and in turn drives them further apart.  Elizabeth wanting the man she fell in love with but instead gets a man who withholds his desire and true identity.
 
I really enjoyed this sequel to the original Pride and Prejudice.  With a modern day flair and love of the supernatural, Amanda Grange brings new life to a classic.  I could imagine the pain and passion that comes from loving Darcy unconditionally.
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Persona non Grata by Ruth Downie  
Read by joysann   While recovering from an injury, Ruso, a medic with the Roman army in Britannia, takes a leave from duty to return to his home in southern Gaul. He finds domestic chaos at his estate, where his sisters dramatize his failure to provide their dowries, his widowed stepmother continues to spend the family fortune as she perceives it should be, and his brother is avoiding creditors in hopes of delaying bankruptcy charges. Ruso also learns that his brother-in-law is missing, probably drowned at sea, and that it might have been murder. But it’s when a creditor drops dead right in front of him that Ruso again becomes a reluctant detective.   Persona non Grata, a Novel of the Roman Empire, is the third in a series that can appeal to readers who love historical novels, mysteries, or both. Written with humor and wit, the historical details are interesting, but more entertaining is the idea that, whatever their circumstances, people are ordinary, and humans have not changed in nearly 2000 years. I was charmed by Ruso, and will look to see what other adventures he’s gotten himself into. 

Bottom Line:  Today is Mickey Mouse Day and the only thing that could make me happier is actually being at DisneyWorld.
     

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Murder and Mayhem in Muskego

Barbara Vey -- November 17th, 2009
Author Julie Hyzy and Michelle

While I was covering Crime Bake in Boston, one of my super-duper blurbers, Michelle, offered to go to Murder and Mayhem in Muskego for me.  Here’s Michelle’s thoughts on her first ever conference.

Murder and Mayhem was held in Muskego, Wisconsin.  The event began Friday night with a meet and greet.  During the wine tasting I was laughing with F. Paul Wilson and Joe Konrath about crazy plots in out of the way towns, I spoke with Jamie Freveletti about her experiences as an attorney in Chicago and chatted with Jeffery Deaver about dog breeding.  Julie Hyzy, a dynamic woman who loves to laugh and presents with such a positive aura makes it easy to see why her White House Chef novels are a must read.  I also got to speak with Deb Baker who resides in Wisconsin, but writes about her home state of Michigan.  Another woman who can put you at ease and make you laugh. 
 

Jeffrey Deaver and Jamie Freveletti

Saturday was jam packed starting with Crime Scenes presented by Michael Black (Chicago Forensic Investigator) and David Case (Chicago Police Veteran).  We got the low down on the real C.S.I.  Next was Character Discussions with Brian Azarello, Cara Black, Bryan Quertermous, Sam Reaves and Marcus Sakey (whose book Blade Itself is being made into a movie).  Megan Abbott led discussions with James O. Born, Brent Ghelfi, C.J. Box and Jamie Freveletti about their thrillers and the career paths that influenced them. 
 
The afternoon began with a non-stop comedic affair with Joanna Slan Campbell, Denise Swanson, Shirley Dammsgaard, Julie Hyzy and Deb Baker as they discussed who they like to kill, where and how.  Kudos to Tom Schreck for facillitating this when he was so clearly out numbered.  Blake Crouch interviewed F. Paul Wilson who has published over 40 novels and hopes to "live long enough to write all his ideas."  Jan Burke and Laura Lippman conversed about their literary journeys and talked in length about character development.  Jan’s career

F. Paul Wilson and Joe Konrath

started while out on the town in San Francisco when the first line of her first book came to her, "and he loved to watch fat women dance."
 
The event ended with Sandra Ruttan interviewing Jeffery Deaver and playing the game is Jeffery Lying?  Turns out the audience knew him very well and won a spot in his next book.  His stories were fascinating and captivating from letters on death row to running for president.  This was a wonderful event that I felt honored to attend so it is with many thanks to all those I shared it with.

Bottom Line:  Next to cloning me…my blurbers are terrific at covering events.  Thanks Michelle!!

Crime Bake with Lisa Gardner

Barbara Vey -- November 16th, 2009
Bottom row: Jean Longwell, Liz Mugavero, Albert Tucher. Top row: Sherry Harris, Laurie Barker, Rosemary Harris, Mo Headles

I can’t believe that yesterday was the last day of the Crime Bake Conference.  This weekend really flew by and because I have an early flight to catch, I won’t be able to stay for the whole morning.  But, not to worry, I set 2 intrepid reporters on the scene to keep you all updated.

As for me, I was seated at author Rosemary Harris’ table for Breakfast with an Author and yes, the pretty red bags caught my eye when I was looking for a place to sit down.  Rosemary writes mysteries with a gardening theme, so the bag included a pot, plant bulbs and beautiful stones for the little garden.  I hope I don’t kill it.

Now, here’s author Pryce Jones’ take on the rest of the day:  Sunday afternoon at Crime Bake ends with a bang.
 

After the Sunday morning break three sessions ended the Crime Bake program.  Moderator Pat Remick did a great job leading the U is for Unconventional panel discussion with Jedediah BerryLynne GriffinFrancie Lin and Paul Tremblay. All the authors agreed that to get an unconventional book sold you need to find an agent who understands the tradition the book came from and what the author is doing in the book.
 

Edgar nominee, Kate Flora, moderated the P is for Persistence panel with Dana CameronToni KelnerRuth McCarty and Dave Zeltserman which discussed various ways to develop a system to handle rejected manuscripts so writers will send those novels back out to new editors.
  

H is for Handguns concluded the program as Retired Sergeant James O’Shea, a ballistics expert with over 30 years experience with the Boston Police Department, reviewed firearms and ammunition. Sergeant O’Shea sprinkled his talk with examples of how police analyze shooting scenes (they examine the cartridges because the bullets are too smashed to provide good info.)

People left Crime Bake tired, but anxious to get home and start writing. I know I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference.

And author Daemon Crowe saw it this way.  Published writers Dana Cameron, Toni Kelner, Ruth McCarty, Dave Zeltserman and Kate Flora (Moderator) dug into dealing with rejection and keeping on trucking.  They provided inspiring stories of their own ups, downs and the eventual high of sweet success.  Although Toni’s rejections provide targets for her dartboard, in the end, they are just one person’s opinion.  Don’t take them personally.
  
Ruth (the eternal optimist) prefers to imagine rejections as returns on inventory, an opportunity to send the manuscript to someone else, who will fall in love with it.  Although Dave gave up writing for years at a time, he always came back, because he’s happiest when he’s writing.  Dana found encouragement in the advice of Sir Ernest Shackleton to his men trapped in Antarctic ice for a year and a half.  Behave every day as though this is the day you will be rescued.

Bottom line:  persistence pays off.

Now enjoy this Drive By Video of the very talented Lisa Gardner.

Monday Giveaways

From Edie Ramer:  Christie Craig is guest blogging at Magical Musings on Thursday, Nov. 19, and will give away an autographed copy of DIVORCED, DESPERATE AND DECEIVED to one lucky commenter. 

From Stephanie Barko:  The only woman in history to be executed in Louisiana’s electric chair met her demise this month 67 years ago.  To mark the occasion, award-winning author Norman German is giving away a copy of his novel based on her life to readers who correctly state the name of the murderess in a comment at The Author’s Assistant.  Entries must be received by Sunday, November 22, 2009.

Bottom Line:  After spending a delightful weekend with all the attendees of Crime Bake, I learned that in this case…crime does pay.