Thursday, December 09, 2010


My new little cast iron wood stove sitting snugly on its slate pad in front of the old cavenous fireplace. I may need its emergency heat this weekend if the monster storm forecast for my area brings down power lines. It yet lacks an appropriate mantle. The old one with its charming detail had to be removed by a mean crowbar because of the safety allowances. Fortunately, the long bookcases on either side were beyond the necessary parameters.

I've managed to walk the dogs some days (though my wee behind is dragging after two circuits of the block.) Being country bred, I always watch for spoor on these forays, amused by the bear-sized pug marks of my Shepherd, the delicate patterns of little cat feet and the erratic, rabbit-like prints of squirrels in the urban snow.

But somedays, when the wind hisses from the North, snakes of snow writhe across my path like the pale and vicious offspring of the Ice Dragon.

On such days I am glad of walls.

My computer is slow as cold molasses--a problem that probably not be rectified until after Christmas-- which is why I haven't been by. Still, I found on my alerts another wonderful review of Dark and Disorderly by Cholla on Long and Short Romance Reviews who calls it "an exciting and engaging read" and gave the story a 4 and 1/2 of 5.

I am so grateful to everyone who has taken the time and trouble to read and review D&D.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Come into my kitchen

I am not a good photographer. This shot shows part of the east wall of my kitchen-of-the-seven-doors, above the cluttered kitchen table.

To the left on the shelf, you can see a bit of an old mantle clock...well, its pendulum anyway...behind the milk glass hen. One of those odd items that have stuck around the family for five or six generations.

This is the clock that appears in D&D. The clock that the sudden boingboingboing when it struck scares the livingshit out of Lillie St. Claire when she's searching the house for other paranormal intruders after her dead husband shows up in her bathroom.

I can testify that it sounds sepulchral and definitively doom-laden in the quiet and listening dark.

We all do this, don't we? Integrate not only bits of people we know and thoughts we've had but also incidental personal property into our narratives?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Faint But Pursuing...

A friend sent me a selection of Dormats with a Difference. This one made me cackle.

I've been re-surfacing so often I feel like an old hardwood floor.

I've been trying to clean up my gmail, only a few thousand to go.

Found an article on Follow the Reader, a Net Galley blog ( where someone from Carina mentioned D&D as one of their most popular paranormal titles.

?? and ???

!! and !!!

Jessica from Novel Reaction posted a nice review and a guest post by me on the values of research.

A fantastic review (and an interview) by the Wayfaring Writer here --I hope. I often screw up links.

Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?

And why is "abbreviated" such a long word?

Our trees have been flensed by the knives of the wind, but I discovered images of leaves brown-etched by leached tannin on the new pale pavement of our sidewalks.

Like a memory.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Imagining Toronto

The cover for Imagining Toronto by Amy Lavender Harris, Mansfield Press, 333 pages.
I'm sorry I've been offline. My son-in-law kidnapped me to Toronto so I could attend my daughter's book launch--you can imagine my pride!
When I arrived back home, ready to pimp, my computer took fits. I just got it back last night. I need a new one but this one kinda/sorta works for now.
Quoting from the back cover:
"In Imagining Toronto, Amy Lavender Harris ventures deep into the imagined city--the Toronto of fiction, poetry and essays--where she dowses for meaning in the literature of the city on the lake as its inhabitants understand, remember and dream it.
By tracing Toronto's literary geneaolgies from their origins in First Nations stories to today's graphic novels, Harris delinates a great city's portrayal in its literature, where the place of dwelling is coloured by the joy and the suffering, the love and the sorrows, of the people who have played out their lives on the written page.
Through tales of the city's neighbourhoods and towers, it ravines and wild places, its role as a multicultural city, as a place of work and leisure, Harris reminds us that the realty of Toronto has been captured by its writers with a depth and complexity that goes far beyond the reductive cliches of Toronto as either a provincial 'Hogtown' or a pretentious 'world class' city.
Michael Ondaatje once noted that 'before a real city could be seen it had to be imagined.' Imagining Toronto shows just how richly and completely it has been, if only we would look."
There was standing room only at the launch.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Surfacing II

From my collection of yardsale paintings.

The first sign of autumn is sound. Leaves no longer sigh and whisper with the wind. They clatter and complain above the gutteral of seed pods and the rasp of dry grass below.

Here, the trees are about a third turned, but already some leaves are falling. They scatter and scurry along the sidewalks and streets in the wake of passing cars like demented brown mice.

Sometimes, Fall is described as a resignation, a gentle melancholy of fading embers, a quiet, golden passage into the stark of winter.

Here, in the North Country, the forest flares and flames in unreconciled bonfire fury. Equinoctial storms are full of rage and resentment at the dying of the light.

Scorched earth.


Have you noticed that versatile word up has acquired additional usage?

The cliche about "stepping up to the plate/challenge" is reborn by "ramp up" and "man up," and even "hug up."


Why do doctors call what they do...practice?

Why is the man who invests your money called a broker?

And why is an airport called a terminal?

Saturday, September 18, 2010


The Pool of London,

Peter Cornelis Dommersen,

oil on canvas, 1861.

I've been a bad blog friend for not posting and I'm sorry. My energy output has not exceeded the wattage of a glowworm. Frustrating--because I've never knuckled under to stuff before.

Written and Fairy, thank you.

Clutching my remote in my blue recliner, I've overdosed on cable television in the past weeks and have some observations:

My opinion of that Bin Laden clone nutjob cleric in Florida who planned to burn the Qur'an is not printable.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli PM, has a gorgeous voice.

Deana Troy and Seven of Nine from TNG and Voyager have the best figures on TV.

Reruns of M*A*S*H are hilarious.

Terms in the news like "landfall", "riptide" and "wildfire" have been used as book titles.

Operation Repo is an exhibition of hysterical vulgarity-- not from the tattooed reposession crew--but from the people whose cars are being reposessed.

Mantracker, from a show by that name, uses the same bad words as I do.

Commericals which rely on expanding and contracting graphics are so much visual noise.

And the single kiss between Lancelot (Richard Gere?) and Guinevere in First Knight is the most hungry, passionate movie kiss I've ever seen.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Yellow Ribbon

My son leaves for Outremer.

And so the vigil begins again.

Again, far away places are included in the geography of family mind.

God keep.


Crawling back to the computer today I found that three more lovely ladies have reviewed Dark and Disorderly.

Carla at gave D&D a 4 out of 5 review. This review is due to the good offices of my dearest Ric who recommended D&D to her.

Anna at also gave D&D 4 out of 5 stars.

And Marissa at gave D&D five stars.

I appreciate these wonderful reviews so much, not only because they justify the chance Carina Press took with D&D but also because their consistency emphasizes the strengths of the book and reassure me about what I'm doing right with Lillie's adventures.


Don't You Just Hate It? Dep't:

When a real live person has a name you'd like to use in a novel.

There's a lovely television journalist on CNN by the name of Solidad O'Brien...a perfect name for a heroine. I love it. It's mysterious and beautiful, just like Raine Weaver in her Secret Garden--but it's already taken...


Floppy Disks:

Wary of another relapse, but some improvement.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hurple-ing Along

The cover of one Ellis Peter's medieval CSI Brother Cadfael stories--which has to be one of the best series ever for both quality and consistency in every aspect of the writer's craft through twenty volumes. There is no falling off.

I have been offline due to sheer exhaustion. I ran away from the net to indulge myself in such comfort reads as the Cadfael books and did damnall else. From a critical standpoint, I think one could spend a lifetime analyzing the virtues of this series.

A couple of posts ago I enthused about the figurative language and imagery in another series. But the Cadfaerl stories reminds me that imagery must not only be clever, it must be consistent with the period, the characters and the settings. (I retain a sense of anachronistic outrage over a story set in the 12th century I read once that had someone collapse "like a sack of potatoes.")
With Ellis we may put away such suspicion. We have such passages as "time was snapping at his heels like a herdsman's dog," "Behind them the looming clouds multiplied with black and omnious speed, dangling like overfull udders of venomous milk."
And " In the hall, the servants had begun to kindle the first torches and set them in their sconces, but in every corner, and in the smoky beams of the lofty roof, darkness gathered and clung, draped cobwebs of shadow."

Moreover, so good are her descriptive passages in general--whether of river, fields or interiors, of moonlight, starshine, or sunrise, of storms or seasons and their passing--that I remember and recognize these landscapes, seen that torrent, felt that heat or cold. She has found wonderfully visual words for those sights and the inchoate thoughts and feelings they engendered in me since childhood.

But besides the beauty and skill of her language, it is reassuring to read stories that invoke the values of courage, honour and duty and the basic decency of humankind.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Holy Irreverencies, Batman

It is a truth universally acknowledged... that on the day you scrupulously scrub your kitchen floor that within hours you will spill a vast container of fast-spreading liquid all over it and you will have to do it all again. This domestic law of consequences has never failed in my household.

Yesterday morning, rather than the lick and the promise it usually gets, I sat on my wee behind and did a thorough job on my psuedo-marble flooring. I even gave it a light polish. I beamed to see its dogfoot beige return to the original white and gray.

By noon I had upended a bottle of coke all over it.

Glug, glug, splatter, splash.


A friend sent me this. And since it is Sunday...

Of course we know that Jesus was Jewish. He went about his Father's business, He lived at home until he was 33, and his mother was sure he was God; but...

There are three good arguments that Jesus was Black:

1. He called everyone brother.

2. He liked Gospel.

3. He didn't get a fair trial.

Then there are three good arguments that Jesus was an American Indian:

1. He was at peace with nature.

2. He ate a lot of fish.

3. He talked about the Great Spirit.

And three that He may have been Irish:

1. He never married.

2. He was always telling stories.

3. He loved green pastures.

And three that he may have been a Californian:

1. He never cut his hair.

2. He walked around barefoot all the time.

3. He started a new religion.

But the most compelling evidence suggests that Jesus was a woman.


1. He fed a crowd at a moment's notice when there was virtually no food.

2. He kept trying to get a message across to a bunch of men who just didn't get it.

3. And even when He was dead, He had to get up because there was still work to do.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Time Out

Why Dinosaurs Are Extinct.
A friend sent me this cartoon. You may have seen it before as it is probably one of those gigglers that sweep like solar dust through the blogverse.

That wonderful Jennifer from Reading with Tequila who wrote such a terrific review of Dark and Disorderly invited me to write a guest post for her site. It's about the ghostly types identified in paranormal research and it's up today.

One of the reasons I like to read various low-brow mysteries and thrillers ( and I'm not suggesting that mysteries and thrillers are "low-brow"--just some of them) on occasion is the smartass language--the exaggerated, visual (and sometimes fresh and clever) comparisons, similes and metaphors.
And low-brow or not, sometimes it's a relief to read straighforward, knock-em-down-blow-em-up stories...On the otherhand, maybe I have no taste...

Here's some examples I've culled from a novel while on my latest binge:

An entertainment center with "more switches than the cockpit of a 747;"

Chances '"so slim they were anorexic," something or other "dropped faster than the price of icecubes in Alaska." A bar's decor "had all the class of an aging camp follower, and needed twice the paint."

Or," he knew just how dessicating the desert could be, leaching juice out of mind and body alike. It could turn most Westerners into whispering husks fit for little else but blowing away to crumble like old corn leaves in the desert, bleached of color by the pitiless and constant sun."
Visual is good.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Days of Gab

I highly recommend blog friends visiting each other whenever possible. To have time to yack about writing in detail or anything else that comes to mind, to not be constrained by the brevity and insecurity of emails.
Had a truly wonderful visit from Writtenwyrdd last week, and am so grateful that she tolerated the dust and doghair and my semi-invalid status. The dogs thought she was wonderful too.
Since then I've been reading a low-brow genre series, the kind replete with meticulous descriptions of eighty-five types of hardware--not the kind on kitchen cabinets--detailed hardsite penetration, and gun battles so sizzling with testosterone that balls bounce off every page and I have to kick them away to get up from my chair.
Very relaxing. And sometimes useful.
Noticed a couple of interesting ways to illustrate and underline that a character's first language was not English without the usual application of native tongue exclamations and maledictions, such as "mon Dieu" or "perro" etc., or the ubiquitous " how you say in America..."
One secondary character used present tense all the time, even when obviously describing past incidents. From my own experience in languages foreign this rang true, as present tense is usually the easiest to get right.
Another, less common than a scatter of non-English words of endearment or curse, is the use of what in English we sometimes call malapropisms-- the use of a noun or verb closely related in sound but with a wildly inappropriate meaning-- the misue of "pneumatics" for "pneumonia" is a lame example.
Other "infelicities of verbal diction" such as the reversal of intitial letters or syllables are often used , mostly for comedic effect, for English speaking characters. One of my favourites , incidentally, is "The Canadian Broadcorping Castration." And I'm sure you are all familiar with Spoonerisms such as Cinderella and her two sistyuglers.
If pure comedy is your ambition, the possibilities are endless. A book suitable for the bathroom called Nothing Risque, Nothing Gained by Richard Lederer provides such springboard examples as "The Screwing of the Tern, French the Lieutenant's Woman, Even Blowgirls get the Cues, A Sale of Two Titties..."
All comedy aside, one way to individualize a character is to have them misuse the language--tips of the slung--as long as one doesn't get carried away with one's own cleverness and overdo it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Six Words

Another illuminated drawing for an SCA scroll, based on early 16th century Floretine silk brocade.

First six:

Can't wait to see my friend.

Writtenwyrdd will be arriving sometime today or tomorrow, braving the dog hair and the dust. I have been looking forward to this for months. I may not blog the rest of the week depending on her schedule and how long she can stand me.

I expect we will be occupied with gossip, giddiness and giggling.

She will be the first, but I hope not the last, of my long-time blog friends to visit me 'humble 'ome. If any of you ( you know who you are) should happen to be in this area some day, I hereby issue a formal invitation.

Next Six:

From on Dark and Disorderly:

"Best paranormal mystery read this year."

Of course, that statement might well be altered by the very next book she reads; and, of course, reviews are always subjective... but...

I think my jaw is permanently dropped.

And D&D will be released in audio from this Wednesday, July 21st.
Last six:
Check out Clarity of Night contest!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Captive Spirit

Today I'm really pleased to present Liz Fichera, the author of the historical romance Captive Spirit.
We scratched backs. Today while I interview her, she is interviewing me on her blog. Liz and I have more than just a publisher in common. Our interest in history and myth...and a certain what if? and why not?
As usual, any mistakes and typos in the following are mine.

Liz Fichera is an author from the American Southwest by way of Chicago. She likes to write stories about ordinary people who do extraordinary things, oftentimes against the backdrop of Native American legends. When she's not plotting her next novel, you can find her on Facebook or her blog, discussing writing, books, hunks du jour, LOST re-runs or the best brands of chocolate. Please visit her at her website because it can get real lonely in the desert:

CAPTIVE SPIRIT is available from Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and whereever digital books are sold.

If it hadn't been for my sister Mary, my historical romance novel CAPTIVE SPIRIT might never have been finished. Every time she read a new chapter, she kept asking me, "What happens next?"

Music to a writer's ears.

You see, I was in a kind of blue funk when I started this book. A young adult novel that I had written and loved was continuing to be rejected, beat up, and generally abused by probably every editor in New York City. An agent gave me great advice though. She sais, "keep writing."

And so I did.

I decided to write something completely different and CAPTIVE SPIRIT was born. It contained all the things I love:Native American characters, epic themes, suspense, an American southwest setting and, of course, a love story. I loved writing this novel, almost as much as I enjoyed doing the research behind it. It gave me a chance to learn about the Hohokam Indians, who happened to be the original inhabitants of Phoenix, Arizona, my adopted state. (I'm originally from Illinois.) The Hohokam have a fascinating history in that they lived in the Sonoran Desert from 300 BC to roughly 1500 AD when they vanished for reasons unknown. Cool, eh? This was the piece of little-known history that inspired me to write my novel.



CAPTIVE SPIRIT is the story of a young Hohokam Indian woman named Aiyana who isn't like the other girls of the White Ant Clan. Instead of keeping house, she longs to compete on the Ball Court with her best friend Honovi and the other boys. Instead of marriage, she daydreams of travelling beyond the mountains that surround her small village. Only Honovi knows and shares her forbidden wish, though Aiyana doesn't realize her friend has a secret wish of his own...

When Aiyana's father arranges her marriage to a man she hardly knows, she takes the advice of a tribal elder: Run! In fleeing, she falls into the hands of Spanish raiders and finds herself being taken over the mountains against her will. Now Aiyana's on a quest to return to the very place she once dreamed of escaping. And she'll do whatever it takes to survive and find her way back to the people she loves.

I keep the first chapter and book trailer on my web site.

More questions for Liz:

How long have you been a writer? Why did you become a writer?

I've been writing stories since I was about ten years old. My first one was about my favorite pet, my beloved collie dog, Lady. I still miss Lady, but I still have my frist story, though it's become quite yellowed and tattered around the edges. I didn't try to become a full-time author till about six years ago. It's been a long and winding road.

What was the inspiration behind your main character?

The history of the Hohokam Indians inspired me to write CAPTIVE SPIRIT. I was particularly intrigued with how they simply vanished from the Sonoran Desert over 500 years ago. There are all sorts of thories--famine, drought, migration with other tribes--but nobody knows for sure. Tres cool, I think. And begging for a story.

Any favorite authors/books? Name one book you were unable to put down. My favorite all-time book--the first book that I was unable to put down--was GONE WITH THE WIND. I remember stealing it from my older sister's bookshelf and then literally locking myself in my bedroom until I finished it. I must have been around 10 or 11 years old at the time. Other fav authors include Jean Auel, Diana Gabaldon, and Sherman Alexie. I'm drawn to rugged settings, Native American characters and, of course, a good love story.

What do you do for fun?

I write. I read. I run, although not necessarily in that order. Writing for me is fun, even if I only string together a few crappy sentences in a single day. When time and money permits, I love to travel anywhere there's room service and a really good museum.

Thanks, Bernita, for letting me guest-blog with you today!

Lovely to have you, Liz!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Texas Tangle

Today, I'm pleased to provide you with a guest post from Leah Braemel, a fellow Carina author, who wrote the torrid, contemporary erotic novel Texas Tangle--which has received some equally sizzling reviews!

Due to my total inability to cut'n paste a google doc. into Blogger, I've had to type her post--just so you know that any typos are mine. (But if someone could tell me how to manage it, I'd appreciate it!)

Here's Leah!

Until I was ten I lived in towns around eight or ten thousand people. Enough that you had a little space around you but small enough that everyone knew your business. Then when I was ten we moved to the country. We moved to a rural area that only the year before finally consolidated all its one room school houses into a single school of sixteen classes! I think there were about six surnames in the township when we moved in, families who had lived there for over a hundred years and everyone was related to everyone else. There were no secrets in that township. None.

Now this was back in the days before texting or email. Back then they still had the old telephone system where when you picked up the phone you didn't dial, the operator came on and you asked for the person by name, then you'd add their version of the person's "ring tone." As in "Hi, Lizzy, can you connect me with Patti Smith over at 3894--they're three long, two short." Anywhere up to ten or twelve families shared the same phone line, so each house had a specific ring to identify who the call was for. Two long rings followed by a short might mean it was for the Strong family a half a mile down. Two long with no short meant Old Len was getting his weekly call from his brother. You know, the brother who had a thorn in his foot and moved from the family farm all those years back? Yup, he was a real wanderer--yup, his brother Dale moved to a farm on the line (road) a mile and a quarter north. Then there was the scandal of when my friend Bob came home to find his wife had up and left him. Not only that but she'd completely trashed their house--she'd taken everything they owned, smashed or destroyed what she didn't want or couldn't take, stopped up the sink and left the water running, taken everything from the fridge (ketchup, mustard, jelly, you name it) and dumped it over every single carpet in the house, then smashed all the plants and ground the dirt from them in on the top. That tale blew through the grapevine faster than a wildfire.

Unless you wanted everyone to know your deepest secrets you had to keep your conversation short and bland because everyone and their brother could--and did--listen in. Before you think I was raised with Laura Ingalls in a little house on the prairie, we're talking early seventies here. Nineteen seventies that is.

Since I'd set Texas Tangle in a fictional rural community in the fictional Barnett County in Texas, I figured country life would probably be the same everywhere. Everyone knows everyone else's business in barnett county, same as my little corner of rural Ontario. Living with the gossip and the whispers about everything they did, especially if they were in a permanent relationship between three people, would have to be taken into consideration by my characters.

Eventually, like all of us, you just have to decide if you're going to live your life based on what other people think. it was a great source of conflict, both external and internal for my characters.

Somedays I'm really glad I live in a city where I don't even know my neighbor's names...


Thanks to her cheating ex-husband and her theiving brother, all horse breeder Nikki Kimball has left is a bruised heart, an over-drawn bank account and an empty home. When sex-on-legs Dillon Barnett and his brooding foster-brother Brett Anderson start showing more than just neighborly attention, Nikki is intrigued...and a little gun-shy.

Dillon and Brett have a history; back in high school, the two friends fought a bitter battle over Nikki. Now, then years later, Brett still longs to be the man in Nikki's life, but he's determined to stand back and let Dillon win Nikki's heart.

Society says Nikki must choose between the two men she loves. Is Nikki strong enough to break all the rules and find happiness?

It's very frustrating but Blogger ( or google doc.) doesn't wish to co-operate regarding the links which Leah provided for excerpts and a download of the first chapter, but you can find them at her blog here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

World Gods

Ptah, the patron deity of artists and craftsmen. His cult believed he created the world, the gods and all living things by uttering their names, according to the dictates of his heart. An instinctive ubergod, one might say, a panster.

From Tutankhamun: His Tomb and Its Treasures, published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Alfred A. Knopf, Inc, New York, edited by Katherine Stoddert Gilbert, ISBN: 0-394-41170-6.

A beautiful book with 100 full colour plates as well as 103 in black and white taken by Harry Burton at the time of the tomb's discovery. Included are photographs of a number of the exquisite but lesser items found among that golden, cluttered magnificence.

(Art books such as this are not only a valuable research tool for those seeking an accurate details for their fiction but are also instructive on many levels. I didn't realize, for example, that the boomerang is not exclusive to Australia, and was used by hunters of that era among the Nile marshes.)

All writers are Ptah initiates, are world builders. Though we usually think of world building to be a function of fantasy and science fiction, I think the Ptah effect applies whether a writer choses to delineate a small contemporary town, a medieval castle or a setting of international intrigue The mechanics and challenges are simply more apparent in fantasy.

High fantasy/SF involves the creation of a total world, from geophysical features to political structure, language, religion, etc. and etc.

Urban fantasy tends towards the development of a society within a known and existing world. The mores, the social constructs, the anthropology of a specified and alien group: the dynamics of a wolf pack of shapeshifters, the conventions governing vampire interaction. A fascinating world within a world, so to speak.

What is not so often explored, except in generalities as a useful conflict, a background canvas, is the style in which the larger, conventional world reacts to these subcultures. And that reaction is one thing I have tried to reflect in Dark and Disorderly.
Can anyone suggest other urban fantasies/paranormals which integrate the "normal" world with the paranormal? Beyond nightclubs run by vampires, that is?

Apologies: While I was offline, my gmail was hacked, so many of you have received spam. I'm very sorry.
A review here gives D&D 4/5 hearts. More !! and !!!
And another I just found at Famous last Words!
Thanks to mt dear Demon Hunter I'm also guest blogging at Obfuscation of Reality today about kick-ass heroines.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Wings of Ma'at

Egyptian goddess of truth, balance, order, justice, etc., and, appropriately, the overseer of scribes.

It's been a physically wretched week. I've left my old pc unbooted for fear that a small mushroom cloud would instantly coalesce above my hard drive. Even this morning I'm typing with one hand on top of my tower to gauge its heat level, as this house does not support air conditioning.

The bulging disk in my lower back has also been decidedly unco-operative.

In the meantime I went on an Anita Blake binge--the first half dozen and a couple from later in the series, Blood Noir being one. Blood Noir was such a disappointment--a good plot basically, if one could discern it under the yawning weight of pages and pages of excruciatingly dull sex scenes.

The first half dozen, Guilty Pleasures, The Laughing Corpse, Circus of the Damned, and so on, cetainly justify Diana Gabaldon's cover comment about Laurel K. Hamilton..."I've never read a writer with a more fertile imagination."

So do a collection of her excellent short stories, Strange Candy, and the first two of her Merry Genry novels that I also found. But after Blood Noir my binge left me with the impression of a brilliant writer gone wrong. And I do consider Hamilton a brilliant writer, not only for the originality of her characters but for her use of figurative language and acute social commentary.

One interesting technical aspect of her novels is that her final chapter is always tidy and straighforward and epilogic. Very satisfying to any reader who likes their t's crossed, and a style that surmounts certain difficulties about providing information--a problem which always surrounds first person narration. One of those instances where "tell" can be more effective than pages of "show."

I'm way behind on everything. The last review I saw was from a really cute site with a charming logo called Books and Things. The reviewer gave D&D 3 and 1/2 stars--which according to her scale rates D&D between like and love!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Writing and Believing

American Country Life,

Currier & Ives,

Museum of the City of New York.

For pleasure and relaxation I've been reading once again The Talera Cycle (Sword of Talera, Wings over Talera and Witch of Talera) a heroic fantasy series by Charles Gramlich and enjoying Charles' deft treatment of action scenes and sword fights.

I have a peculiar fondness for stories utilizing sharp pointy things and Charles does them extraordinarily well. If one wants a short course in the use of appropriate, active verbs, they could do much worse than read the Talera books. Moreover, one never receives the impression he wrote with one finger marking a place in a dictionary of synonyms.

When things settle down a bit, I want his collection Bitter Steel.

As usual, the analytical part of my brain could not be entirely suppressed and I came away with several craft observations and one general conclusion.

Assuming we all know our craft reasonably well in terms of character and plot and all that stuff, two types of detail applied (as Charles does) will lift the prose of a story from merely competent to really good and memorable.

One is the the judicious use of a striking figurative phrase or image ("we walked along inside our own silences like ghosts".) Any descriptive passages should be clean and vivid, of course, but some should be deeper, unique.

The other is the brief interpolation of minor observations, almost asides, to which a reader may relate. These might be something as simple, as small and intimate and human as the effects of a hangover, a realization one hates the taste of liver, or two characters comparing the size of their feet.

Serious heroic fantasy demands themes and examples of honour, courage and nobility. I don't think a cynic could write the genre effectively unless he believes in those virtues and disdains their opposites. So I suppose my conclusion is a variation of the standard advice to "write what you love."

Reading with Tequila, under her June 2010 Wrap-Up picked Dark and Disorderly as her favourite Book Read in June. She had given it 5 shots.
An interview with Lillie St. Claire at Southern Fried Chicas.

I screwed up. The Question-and-Answer at Wicked Jungle will be posted July 5.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

All My Fault

While the problem is with ghosts, not vampires, maybe Dark and Disorderly isn't so fantastic after all!
Dave Fragments send me this priceless link on FB.,0,4980779.story

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dazed and Delighted

Another scroll motif. This one is based on a bow brooch found in Wittislingen, from the Migration period (ostrogothic most likely) probably 6th century.

Delighted at how kind everyone is and dazed ( and not just because of the oxycodone ) at the reception of Dark and Disorderly.

(I am a bit dazed from oxycodone. After considerable progress, I'm having a relapse to agony. I only hope this post will make sense.)

Dear Fairyhedgehog described D&D as "bloody brilliant!"

It's an exaggeration, but I love it!

Darling Stacia also put up my guest post on her Live Journal site.

Today or tomorrow, an interview at Wicked Jungle.

And to celebrate the Launch, my three darling daughters sent me (1) two snappy new outfits ( because, digital or not, she thought Mom should have something to wear besides sweats and jeans.) (2) an e-reader (!! and !!!), and (3) a huge, gigantic bouquet of roses and carnations, mums and painted daisies, all the exact same colour as my Carina cover!

Monday, June 28, 2010


The party is LIVE at Bitten By Books!

Here's the link!

And their reviewer gave Dark and Disorderly 4/5 tombstones!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Launch Week Calendar

You are invited to attend a launch party at Bitten by Books this Monday, June 28th, to celebrate the release of Dark and Disorderly.

No champagne, but there are prizes of gift certificates and silver jewellery to be won.
I'm updating this post to include a promo link to Bitten by Books here. Everyone who comes and RSVPs will get an additional 25 entries in the contests! I'll provide another direct link on Monday.
And I have to say I'm really lucky to have them host this launch because they gazillions of books to review at any given time.
I couldn't connect to the internet until just now and assume it was because my internet provider decided this morning was a good time to do maintenance.
(Unless I can blame the G20!)

Tomorrow (Sunday), I'll be answering questions at fellow Carina author, Leah Braemel's (Texas Tangle, etc.) site.
Tomorrow is Today! Here's a direct link to the interview at Leah's ( )

Also, on Monday, I'll be guest bloggging with Dawn Jackson at Para-fanatics about why I write.

On Tuesday, my darling Stacia (Kane/ Personal Demons, etc.,Unholy Ghosts, etc.) has invited me to visit. I'll be discussing D&D sex.

Another darling girl, Raine, (Hotter than Hell, The Last Man on Earth, etc.) may interview Lillie St. Claire on Friday.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Neat Publicity Trick

A Venetian Bather,
Paul Peel, 1889,
oil on canvas,
National Gallery of Canada.

"Twilight Star Related to Real-Life Vampire" shouts a Yahoo headline this morning. One can hear fans screaming "oooohhh!"

The suggestion of authenticity is really clever promotional item.

Writers (or their publishers/publicists) do it all the time. The bio of a thriller writer may suggest work experience as a CIA operative--even if the author was merely an accountant with that organization. Some writers of erotica, both well-known and lesser-known, go to extraordinary lengths to encourage readers to identify the author as the heroine of their novels--as real-life Mary Sues whose lives are filled with continual sexual escapades. I can't help but include L.K. Hamilton in this category.

Because writers do fashion their stories out of bits and pieces of their own lives, it's not that difficult to find hooks on which to hang legitimate revelations of credibility/authority/authenticity for the reader's enjoyment.
The fact that Elizabeth Moon served in the US Marine Corps, for example, adds value to her combat scenes and the military structure in her novels for me as a reader.

Certainly, it would be decidely dim for someone trained in martial arts not to make reference to their abilities when discussing their action/spy novel/ assassin hero.

And we've all read, no doubt, of an author who claims an ancestor hanged in Salem as the impetus for her witchy heroines. (I just hauled several boxes of genealogical research out of my office and stuffed them in a bedroom closet and I think I have one of those arrested. She wasn't young and sexy though. As I remember she was an elderly and bewildered lady who disappeared from goal before trial. Not everyone in Salem joined the hysteria.)

Though I rather retreat from the idea of any reader identification of myself with Lillie in Dark and Disorderly, I can't help but mention that Dumbarton, the Doom Dog who becomes Lillie's watchdog in D&D is based on the fact that my husband's family has a personal Black Dog apparition.

What items from your experience have you used (or intend to use) as promotional hooks?

And Two to Go:

NightOwl Reviews: ( ) gives D&D a score of 4.25 out of 5 and calls it "a fascinating paranormal mystery...with a pulse racing scenario...filled with entertaining characters and delightful plot twists."
Amberkatze's Book Blog:
( ) says D&D is a"a breath of fresh air" "delightful" and "stimulating"--"Think Sookie Stackhouse..."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Not So Vicious Sidhe

The Four Seasons of Life: Youth, "The Season of Love"
Currier and Ives,
Bridgeman Art Library.

Before Carina made arcs available for reviewers from Net Galley, I timidly contacted a few reviewers interested in paranormal novels, including epubs.

Since a sidhe figures in Dark and Disorderly, I could not resist approaching a review site by the name of Sidhe Vicious Reviews.

She rates D&D a score of 4 Fangs Addicted--It's Awesome! and says:

"Bernita Harris writes a brilliant story with interesting and quirky characters who drive the tale. A wonderfully written dark and edgy paranormal world..."

Her entire review may be found here.

And the cover girl is exactly how she imagined Lillie!

Since I've often read complaints from readers about the lack of--perhaps co-ordination is the most politic word--between cover and story, this comment is particularly gratifying. As another Carina author put it, the cover artist at Croco Designs is "a bloody genius."

Further, Judi generously offered me a guest blog spot. My post may be found here, with the chance to win a free arc of Dark and Disorderly.
We had a 5-5.5 earthquake in the area yesterday. Unfortunately, I was napping and missed it, but none of my bad yard sale art fell off the walls. So the only item trembling with excitement here is me.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Choirs and Quires

An idle cartoon from the days when most of the family sang in the choir, with the obligatory church mouse.

We weren't bad, actually. It was something to see a congregation rocked back on their heels when we thundered out "A Mighty Fortress." We had a good bass section.

One of the odds and ends that surfaced as I continue the archaelogical dig in my office.

Another was a twelve-year old newspaper clipping about an author being charged with uttering death threats--via a self-published book that outlined a man's plan to kill a wealthy relative. The novel was appropriately titled "The Return of the Family Idiot."

Usually authors, self-published or no, acquire legal problems of a different kind. Besides plagiarism, the most common being that a novel influenced people to commit crimes similar as those described within its pages--the life imitating art scenario. Lacking the devil these days, society needs to lay blame elsewhere. I suppose the modern sense of social responsibilty combines with a lingering Victorian concept that books should be improving, elevating and instructional to produce charges of this sort.

Still, death threats are usually directed against specific politicians and attorneys-general, general groups such as feminists, or domestic and business partners and usually communicated by letter, email or telephone. This is novel method of conveyance.

I wonder how many death threats the CEO of BP has already received.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Glory of War

Taken in front of the little white cottage. He is about ten, I think. His big catch is a lake trout, I think.

You gave seen photos of him before on this blog: one with the Vimy memorial in the background when he was a member of the honour guard to bring home our Unknown Soldier. His great-grandfather served in those killing fields in WWI. One taken on the parapet of a palace in Kabul. One on his wedding day with the beautiful girl he married.

My son will serve outremer again this year.

I have always maintained that there is a glory in war.

But the glory for me lies not in the combat and clash of armies and men, but in the conscious decision of those who are willing to stand between a rapacious enemy and the innocent and the helpless.

Those who, like policemen and firemen, are willing, if need be, to lay their bodies down.

Those who are willing to do hard things so that the rest of us can live our lives with a conscience clear and untroubled.

And that is a glory of human spirit and sacrifice that too many do not comprehend. And no greater love.


D&D News:

STRiCTLY ANTiSOCiAL gave Dark and Disorderly a score of 9.5 out of 10.

She said so many nice things like, "I believe this is the first book I have really really really enjoyed in quite a while," that I'll just post a link.

The amazing thing is that while in fairness she mentions some aspects of the story another reader might not like, she asserts these points do not matter to her.

And another at I READ GOOD, with words like"hooked, gripping, amazing, fantastic!"

Of course, one hopes one's book will be well-received, but to repeat a line I stole from somewhere, my gast is totally flabbered.
Two more I didn't disappoint. My sense of gratitude is like a pail of water so full it slops over! ( I've been trying to house clean my office, so you know where that commonplace image comes from!)

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Thickets of Memory

A riff on Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel.

Once upon a time we lived in a tiny white cottage on a property called The Millrace. It was named so because of the crumbling remains of the water gates and because the remnant hollow of the race ran the length of the property. A conservation area along a creek protected many acres on one side of us and a vast corn field occupied the other.

Ours was the last house at the end of a street. Situated as it was on the boundary between village and country, between urban and rural, our property was a wonderful place to raise children to a knowledge and appreciation of the natural world. And to teach them not to fear dark woods at night.

We taught them to identify birds and nests and trees and animal tracks. We examined old overgrown stone foundations and gathered raspberries. We collected fossils from the creek bed. We dug yellow clay from its banks, moulded it in imitation of Indian pots and platform pipes and sundry other items and fired them in a bonfire in the back yard so they could understand a primitive but effective process. We showed them how to survive and escape if they fell through ice.

One child said later that geology 101 was a breeze--she had already learned all about ox-bows and Ordovician shale from our forays along the creek.

Our place, with its hawthornes and lilacs and willows and apple trees, where foxes ran in moonlight, contained a certain magic. One wintery day we saw a partridge in a pear tree.

And one day the children discovered this fawn hidden in the tangled brush at the very back of our property. One of them carefully snapped this photograph.

It reminded me how bits and pieces of our lives work their way into our stories ("O ghost...come back again.") The old cemetery beside Lillie's white house where Dumbarton chases wraiths in Dark and Disorderly stretched its narrow length along our street.

Our little cottage is gone now, swallowed by development ("gone and by the wind grieved")

A BTW: Most of you already know the tale, but this morning, Dark and Disorderly appears in Dear Author's weekly First Sale feature.

Friday, June 11, 2010

My First Review!

Lilly (daughter of John Noble)

Sir John Everett Millais, Bt.,

oil on canvas, 1864.

I have been desperately afraid.

Readers are the final judge. Readers are the ones who plunk their hard-earned money down, hoping to be transported and entertained.

What if readers disliked Dark and Disorderly? What if I totally disappointed them?

This morning my google alert brought up the review site Reading with Tequila.

She gave it five shots which means she "absolutely loved it." You can read the entire review here.

Some of her comments:

I never had a clue what was coming next...It was fantastic. Every twist and turn was a complete surprise and you just don't get those kind of experiences often enough...

I loved Lillie. She's strong, determined, has been through hell and she's not going to take it anymore. Still she cries for others pain and vomits in the face of grisly death. She is a balanced, realistic character that's easy to fall in love with.

I could go on at length about how wonderful this book is but the point is that (D&D) is a twisted and completely unexpected paranormal thriller that shocked me time and again. Bernita Harris is a fantastic new voice in the paranormal genre.

She liked the book. She loved Lillie.

I think you all know how much this first review means to me.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Speculative Fiction

The cover art--called, I think The Curse-- of the latest issue of Electric Spec.

The following post by editor Betsy Dornbusch (aka Sex Scenes at Starbucks) is part of a blog tour to promote the quarterly. Something I'm very glad to do--especially since the issue also includes an interview with me about Dark and Disorderly!

Again, cut and paste proved impossible, so any typos are mine.

Editors spend a lot of time spouting off about what writers do wrong. For one, it's really easy to pick out what's wrong. It's tougher to see what's working and why. I think it's important to know how to do both. And, if I can be blunt: bitching about writer's wrongs are a fuckin' bummer. So without wasting a ton of words (I'd rather you spend your time reading Electric Spec!) I thought I'd point out why the stories in our latest issue made the cut.

First up is "Streetwise" by Phil Emory. This is a story we bought early in the year when we committed to going quarterly. I edited it, and I liked it even better upon second and third reading. Why did we choose it? The story takes the trope of cloning and mines the emotions around it. Emory bares his protag and lets him look ugly and pathetic, but he gains a sort of everyman nobility. He also uses setting and voice to enhance and strengthen his premise.

"A Cold Day in Crisis" by Matthew Sandborn Smith. What can I say? I love me some conspiracy-laden anti-hero-driven urban fantasy. What made it stand out is character, character, character though. The conspiracy is a subplot compared to the characters and their personalities and problems. As a bonus, they get problems they didn't even know they had. Very cleverly wrought, this one.

"Lee Harvey's Assistants" is by Mark D. West. To me, the first line sets it apart. It stages the premise and makes me want to read on: As it did every time, the crowd on the grassy knoll was milling about in the brilliant sunlight, two or three deep in spots, waiting for the motorcade to appear. See what West did there? With the first phrase he puts a twist on an iconic American event, with enough detail to remind those of us who've seen the footage where we are. More importantly to a speculative fiction reader or editor, the mere mention of time spurs hope that we might get to hitchhike the 4th dimension.

"Wings More than Wishes" by Steele Tyler Filipec is a steampunk tale, and, honestly, we don't see a great deal of steampunk. It uses the reliable old bane Religion to battle progress in a steampunk setting and puts the tale squarely on the shoulders of the guy with the most to ponder. The writing has elegance, the voice fits the scene, and Filipec uses details (again! I sense a trend...) to draw us into the world.

"Identity Theft" by Greg M. Hall is another story I edited. It's more a straight fantasy, though it has some modern edges like a curious con man and gender issues that never occurred to medieval kings and queens. By the third paragraph, we know our protag is up to his armpits in fusty magicians and an emperor who likes to swing an axe when in a foul mood. We guess early that the protag will have to solve a nasty problem or lose his head. Good stakes, ornery characters, and a sense of humor with this one drove it through the voting process.

These stories do one other thing: they grabbed us on the first page. In these days of 140 character fiction, I'm guessing you have about as much time as it takes for a YouTube video to load to grab and hold readers' attention.

Betsy's Bio:

Betsy Dornbusch splits her time between Boulder and Grand lake, Colorado. Her short fiction has appeared in print and online venues asuch as Sinister Tales, Big Pulp and Spinetingler. She has a novella out with Whiskey Creek Press, another forthcoming, and serves as an editor for Electric Spec. In her free time, she snowboards and pretends to be a soccer mom( nobody's buying the soccer mom bit though.)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Tavernier Stones

The cover of The Tavernier Stones by Stephen Parrish.

Subjective, of course, but as a cover, I would rate it as only "fair."Good colour, though.

However. There is much more to a book launch than just the cover. I've broken it down this way:

The Blurb.
When the well-preserved body of a seventeenth century mapmaker floats to the surface of a bog in northern Germany, a 57 carat ruby clutched in his fist, the grisly discovery ignites a global race to find the fabled Taveriner Stones.

Look at the the two main elements:

the bog body-- all those images of bog burials and sacrifices flash in our minds-- all the aura of secret rituals and ancient crimes.

the ruby--instantly reminds us of those stories of buried hoards discovered by accident by a farmer plowing, by children investigating a cave, the workman and the hidden cache found behind the walls of an old house during renovation-- and the secret hope we all have to discover lost treasure.

Treasure, mystery, danger, intrigue!

This I rate as excellent.

The Promotion.
Steve will give away a one carat diamond to the first person who can find an image of the one he's hidden somewhere on the web. Details of this contest here.

Whoa and damn! For my taste, this challenge beats out a Sony reader anytime.
Excellent, again. Now if someone named "Hope" wins the prize...

Title and Image.
A book title, of course, is important to grab a reader's attention. The Tavernier Stones title hints at all the things mentioned above; and Steve's author photo (see yesterday's post) fulfills a reader's expectation that an author look like someone who could write such a story. His bio will confirm it. Even better, the field jacket suggests Steve is a man who could find such treasure.

I rate both as good stuff.
In my private, secrit, book launch test, The Tavernier Stones scores 21 out of 25. Win!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


My very first Guest Blogger is Stephen Parrish, author of just-released thriller/mystery, The Tavernier Stones.

Steve and I had a mild argument. He thinks no one cares what an author looks like. He's correct in that the author should be secondary to the story and that the point of blog flogging is to promote the novel, not the ego. However, today I've attached his photo to his post--simply because it is always nice to see who is talking to you.
Besides, I think his photo provides an excellent example of what constitutes a good author shot.

Besides, I like his face.

Note: After numerous tries to cut and paste Steve's post to this blog, I said bad words, gave up and typed it. Therefore, any typos are mine.

The Art of Language

Works of visual art frequently illustrate Bernita's blog, though it's devoted to the art of language. I can't help appreciate what surely is not a coincidence.

I grew up among artists who encouraged me to draw and paint; my room always smelled of turpentine and linseed oil and my pants were often streaked with charcoal dust. And since I write visually--I first see the scenes in my head and attempt to record them faithfully--it was only natural that I come up with an approach to writing that paid tribute to all the canvases I sacrificed.

First, I "scribble" the scene by brainstorming, by slappingwords and expressions down and trying to empty the vision from my head:

start with where she lived
then the train station at the end of her street
It was where you last saw her alive
somethnig about the dirtiness of the place, for contrast
cigarette butts, old newspapers
the train emerging from the fog
after a pregnant pause, you're in each other's arms

(this can go on for pages)

An advantage of scribbling is that I can ensure my purposes are comprehensively addressed; I vent everything that comes to mind. Another is that I get to fill up blank paper with little creative cost. After scribbling, I "sketch" the scene, placing elements in the right order, filling gaps:

you start with the street she lived on, how it wound around obstacles long since removed, how the remaining buildings seemed tired, seem to lean over the sidewalk. at the end of the street is the train station where you last saw her alive. the floor of the platform was covered with cigarette butts, old newspapers, and grime.

as the train approached you saw only its distant headlamp through the fog. when she stepped onto the platform the two of you as though waiting for enough joy to fill your eyes. finally the joy overflowed and you were in each other's arms. one last time, you felt her skin beneath your hands.

only time is inaccessible, never place. you can always go back to the place. you write to preserve moments in time.

I write only in lower case, and I use no indentation or quotation marks. Consequently the piece feels like a draft and I don't have to worry about how it sounds. If you're a perfectionist like me, this will spare you obsessive tooling. Finally, I "draw" the scene, I go final.

I keep a journal. I think everyone should: a journal is to language what a sketchbook is to art. The scribble-sketch-draw analogy has helped me fill quite a lot of empty paper.

But that's not what this post is really about.

When Bernita shares a painting on her blog she shares a window into a world the artist has created. Likewise when we write a scene we attempt to describe a world in a way the reader can grasp. The writer needs to provide just enough detail for the reader to draw the lines and paint the colors in her imagination. Some details the writer will insist on: the scar was on the left side of the bad guy's face. It was rain rather than crickets the lovers heard, or rather didn't hear.

Most of the details, however, the reader must decide for herself. I have little patience with writers who want to show me exactly what a character looks like, by inventing traits and dimensions, by scanning figures from head to toe. If you tell me the bad guy has a scar, I'll fill in the rest. Likewise, if you tell me the lovers don't even lnow it's raining, don't even notice they're getting wet, I can pretty well guess what's on their minds. A visual artist who skimps on detail risks failing to achieve his goal. A writer who is heavy on detail stands little chance of achieving it; the reader doesn't even make an attempt to engage.

When I paint, I fill my canvas with color. I leave no spot untouched. When I write, I provide as little information as I can get away with: less is more.

Still, that's not what this post is really about, either.

Anyone who has been moved by a great poem knows the art of language has as much to do with sound and rhythm as visual detail. With rhyme and alliteration. With contrast, the foundation of all beauty. When it comes time to draw, after you've scribbled and sketched, there should be one thought in mind; to push your work beyond what you've visualized; to take chances; to grapple with the fear that no one will understand you, no one will be moved by your words or will share your vision of light and shadow.

You start with the street she lived on, how it wound narrowly around obstacles long since leveled by bankruptcy and wood saw; how it shouldered stayed and acquitted buildings that retained most of their dignity; except now they seemed to cant forward slightly, like opposing rows of aging chess players.

You describe the train station where you last saw her alive. The paint was yellow with age and smoke and the sour smell of unclean men. It peeled in the damp air and fell to join the cigarette butts, the empty bottles, and the foot-trodden newspapers; litter that clothed the cement floor no better than the rags on the men who drank and dreamed there.

The first you saw of the train was its headlamp; floating ghost-like over the fog, then the engine broke from the mist and rumbled into the station where, here, the sun had burned the valley clean and the trunks of the Bruchweide were amber columns of light. When she stepped onto the platform the two of you stood apart at first and let the smile fill your eyes. Like spring-fed wells. Until the wells overflowed and you were in each other's arms.

The first time was outdoors, as all first times should be. You felt her flesh beneath your hands, soft, pliable, giving, welcoming. The pine needles against your back. Her voice, the rhythm of her chatter, a tonic, the day washed of its drabness. The smell of cut grass, of burning leaves, of moss and humus and primeval soil. A viseral sense of early and distant rain. It's only the time that's inaccessible, not the place, not even the person. You write to preserve moments in time. That's what art is for. You write to capture the love you felt before it broke something inside you. The volume set too high, yet never high enough. A timeline, a Cartesian grid, curved space, a forest of stars, darkness at night, and an abacus in the hands of a man gone mad.

That's what this post is about.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Of Scrolls and Scribes

The latest scroll.

The design is based on the Oseberg ship burial.

As many of you known, scrolls are given by the Society for Creative Anachronism for meritous service; the scrolls themselves are created by volunteer members, in this case my daughter.

The runic legend on the ship reads thus in English:

Thorolfr inn Smithr Silent and steady
Your longship of service Rides high in the waves
Lapstraked with offices Riveted with modesty
Through winters of counsel And summers of action

Quilliam intrepid Dagmar, most kindly
Make you a fine gift Heart of a maiden
Born from the sky jewel Wed to the swan's path
Heralds your conquests Safeguards your sailings
Award of the Maiden's Heart, etc.

You can now download the first chapter (or prologue) from each and every novel released this launch month by Carina Press, including Dark and Disorderly.

And as a relief from the my book-me-me-my book blog flogs I've inflicted on you recently, tomorrow fiendishly clever Steven Parrish will be my guest blogger, discussing "The Art of Language."

Steve is the author of the just-released thriller/mystery The Tavernier Stones from Midnight Ink ( a Llewellyn Publications imprint).
P.S. You know you have been on the internet too long when, on your phone, you try to punch in the dash for the number you are calling.