Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Crossing Places

I came across British author Elly Griffiths's The Crossing Places through the Amazon Vine program where I also write reviews for new books.

Seldom do I read a book from cover to cover at one sitting, but this cozy/suspense is a page turner from the first word.

Ruth Galloway is an archaeologists with a deep love for the lonely salt-marsh country where she did her early internship working on the resurrection of a henge. The mudflats, when the tide recedes reveal evidence of human activity back to the Iron Age.
A chance discovery of the bones of a child prompts Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson to ask for Ruth's help as to their identity. He is hoping they are the remains of a child who has been missing for ten years, but Ruth identifies the bones as those of a Bronze Age child who was allowed to die in a ritual sacrifice.
Since the kidnapping Detective Nelson has been taunted by letters as to the location of Lucy Downey's remain, but when another child goes missing the hunto is on by all parties to locate a killer before he can strike again.
With a masterful pen Ms. Griffiths creates word pictures to draw the reader into the bleakness of the English coast and the lives of her characters who populate the windswept Norfolk marshes. Each has a spark of life that shines through to enthrall the reader.
The Crossing Places is not Ms. Griffiths first novel, but it is the first in a new mystery series that will have this reader coming back for more. The book will be available on some time in the new year. Visit Elly Griffiths and Ruth at
Nash Black, author of Indie finalists Writing as a Small Business and Haints.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Red's Hot Honky-Tonk Bar

Pamela Morsi's Red's Hot Honky-Tonk Bar is a May/December love story along the line's of Kirk Douglas's The Gift, but there the similarity ends.

Red Cullens has always done what she had to do to provide for herself and her illegitimate daughter, but this request could be more than she can handle.
Staff Sergeant Bridge Lujan is calling from Kabul. Her mother-in-law has had a major stroke, her ex-husband is in Korea, and there is no one else to care for her two children.
The last thing Red wants is to become an overnight grandmother to a ten and six-year-old. Red's home is not suitable for children. She lives in a small apartment above her bar where the jamming vibrates long into the night. She is a night person who sleeps during the day with her current "boy toy" lover who plays in the band. Besides, Cam isn't aware that the "hot mama" with flaming red hair down her back and skin tight jeans has family responsibilities.
Red admits Bridge raised herself while she was doing what she could to provide a roof over their heads and put food in their mouths. Bridge has been careful with her children and the advent of Red in their lives upsets their ordered existence. Daniel refuses to speak English, his sister tries to assume the burden of their care until their mother comes home, but Red will not shirk her duty.
Where does the role of room-mother, cookies & cupcakes fit into the life of a tavern owner who is watching the urban renewal progress of San Antonio consume her livelihood? The upper crust will never be the same when Red steps up to the plate.
Maybe getting what you never wanted is the best thing that ever happens to you, but it will take major adjustments on all sides before the matter reaches its conclusion.
Red's Hot Honky-Tonk Bar is the perfect romance to renew an interest in a genre filled to overflowing capacity with boy-meets-girl-happy-ever-after-tales. Its a great read with finely drawn flawed characters who will steal your heart.
Visit with Pamela Morsi at and visit bookstores everywhere for Red's Hot Honky-Tonk Bar.
Nash Black, author of Sins of the Fathers and Qualifying Laps.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Merry, Merry Ghost

Carolyn Hart brings back the most delightful ghost in mystery land, Bailey Ruth Raeburn in Merry, Merry Ghost to decorate the season with fun and fantasy.
Bailey Ruth has a new assignment from the Department of Good Intentions: "to protect a little boy" from his greedy faux relatives.
A return trip from Heaven to Adelaide, OK during the holiday season is just the ticket Bailey Ruth has been anticipating. A short side trip to check on her children and she's off to do her duty to little Keith Flynn who has lost both his mother and father.
Keith is left on the doorstep of his grandmother's home; she was not aware of his existence, yet his papers prove he is the son of her estranged son, Michael.
His arrival is not greeted with joy from all the members of his grandmother's extended family and someone is willing to kill to prevent her from signing a new will in Keith's favor. It is up to Bailey Ruth to enlighten the authorities there has been a murder, bring the culprit to justice, and protect Keith's inheritance.
Merry, Merry Ghost is just the book to enjoy for yourself after all your holiday chores are finished and give to friends that deserve a bit of cheer on cold winter days.
Merry, Merry Ghost is available on line and at bookstores everywhere. Visit with numerous award winning author Carolyn Hart at
Nash Black, author Indie finalists Writing as a Small Business and Haints.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Serpent in the Thorns

Jeri Westerson has given her growing list of fans a new adventure for Crispin Guest in Serpent in the Thorns. Ms. Westerson's first medieval noir mystery for Crispin was Veil of Lies, where she introduced the disgraced knight who when stripped of his heritage by Richard II must eek a precarious living by finding lost items.

Crispin's "lost items" are not mundane and this time he is besieged from all sides for the return of the sacred Crown of Thorns, which he picked up while investigating a murder French courier in the room of a simple minded girl who claims she killed the man. How could she have killed the man with a special arrow known only to the English court? His duty is to protect his new client whose sister has given him a small fee.

A novel set during the period of the rule of the House of Lancaster is backed up with the extensive research and knowledge Jeri Westerson brings to the printed page. The minute details of life for both commoner and aristocracy of the era ring with authenticity and pull the reader deep into the story for a fascinating adventure where rogues and honorable men are known. But are they when the unstable rule of a vain seventeen year-old governs their lives?

Crispin wants to use the Crown to regain his status. Follow him as he risks his life and the lives of those who have befriended him during his hours of darkness to pursue his ambition.

Serpent in the Thorns, as Veil of Lies, apply demonstrats the work of a master for plot, character development, and setting. You will enjoy every tight word of this exciting medieval noir mystery. Both books are available on and bookstores. Veil of Lies in the new paperback edition has a new cover.

Join Jeri at or Crispin who keeps a journal on his own Web site at where you will learn more about him and the times in which he lived.

Nash Black, author of Indie finalists Writing as a Small Business and Haints.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Death and Honesty

Death and Honesty by Cynthia Riggs continues the sleuthing skills of Victoria Trumbull for the delight of the author's many fans. Victoria is ninety-two-years-old and her nosiness when it comes to murder has earned her the position of a deputy on the local police force, which is a responsibility Victoria strives to fulfill.

Cynthia Riggs parlays a varied background and a position as a thirteenth-generation Islander on Martha's Vineyard into an outstanding series that gains more fans as each addition is published.

Victoria discovers the body of a neighbor who happens to be one of the community's tax-assessors. No one really cares for a person who fulfills this position, but murder is taking distaste too far.
Another name for honesty is money plant and though its bright bluish/purple bloom is lovely in a late-spring garden; it is invasive and roots out frailer plants.
This soon happens as Victoria discovers the tax-assessors have been raising the assessment values on properties owned by the seasonal residents, the extra income is not evident in the towns coffers.
Delilah Sampson is one such owner who is facing financial crisis of her own. The heat begins to build for Delilah when the body of the private pilot for a disreputable minister is found in her pond. A former helpful friend of Victoria's is acting as Delilah's chauffeur under another name, which leads Victoria to wonder if he, too, is no longer to be trusted.
Join Victoria in a cozy mystery that is well plotted, filled with humor and substance that will take you to the beach. A well-written cozy is a welcome break for the deluge of heavy chiller-thrillers.
Death and Honesty is available where mysteries are sold and online. Visit with Cynthia Riggs at to discover what she has in store for Victoria's next adventure.
Nash Black
Writing as a Small Business and Haints, Indie Award Finalists

Friday, September 11, 2009

Homicide in Hardcover

Kate Carlisle has introduced a new sleuth to the cozy mystery scene with Brooklyn Wainright in Homicide in Hardcover. Brooklyn has an intriguing occupation, she repairs and restores antique books, this painstaking work gives her a deep insight into teeny details the ordinary person would never see.

As I read I kept wondering if Brooklyn my precious copy of the first American edition of Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist. It is bound in green patterned silk, but the spine has parted ways with the body. This is how well Kate Carlisle (a debut author) develops her characters. They become real to the reader.

Brooklyn was named for the place she was conceived by her "flower children" parents who have managed to make their avocation a success in a commercial world. She discovers her mother leaving a basement studio of her mentor just minutes before she discovers his body in the disaster strewn workshop. Why was her mother in the museum where a major collection of prize books is being shown? What is her mother hiding and did she have anything to do with the crime?

The plot and its numerous threads are woven together like the very fabric of a fine book covering. The suspense builds as evidence accumulates that points to several candidates for the killer in this fine who-done-it.
I've been looking for a new sleuth to follow and purchased this title through Amazon's Those Who Bought This Book Also Bought section, otherwise I may never have discovered this jewel of a cozy.
Kate Carlise has also received another review from a fan, see for a second opinion and welcome Kate to the world of cozy mystery fiction.
Nash Black, author of Indie finalists Writing as a Small Business and Haints.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Sara Paretsky's private detective V.I. Warshawski returns with a new addition to the outstanding series. Hardball will be in bookstores everywhere in September.
Paretsky's character of V.I. "Vic" Warshawski was one of the first of the strong female PIs who are as hard-boiled as the guys and the this character has never disappointed the reader.
Hardball allows fans to a slight peak inside Vic as this story involves her current family and memories of her beloved parents.
Against her better judgement V.I. assumes an investigation of the disappearance of a young Black man who has been missing for forty years. Lamont Gadsden has not been seen in Chicago since the night prior to the big snow that paralyzed the city for days. His aunt wants him found before she dies and Vic cannot refuse the request.
Johnnie Merton is in prison for crimes that will keep him there for the remainder of his life. He was an old client of Vic's when she worked for the Public Defender's Office, even then his power over the Black community was enormous and he scared Vic though she refused to give him the power over her by allowing him to see her fear. Merton is Vic's opening link to Lamont, but he refuses to aid her search.
Vic cousin Petra, a recent college graduate comes to Chicago to work on the political campaign of a rising politician. She swiftly makes her presence know both to Vic and her employers.
The hunt for the missing civil rights worker and Petra's employment create a tornado of power as Chicago politics: past, present & future collided in a thrilling page turner. The violence is stark and graphic of the world of the 1966 race riots and the political consequences of that era as Vic remembers bits of her childhood with connections to the present.
With the veteran Partetsky welding the pen there are sifts and convergences in plot lines that make for a rapid pace tied in the shrunken fabric of social history.
Nash Black, author of Writing as a Small Business and Sins of the Fathers

Monday, August 3, 2009


DEAD ON by Robert W. Walker is a chiller thriller of the first magnitude. Rob takes the reader's capacity for the imagination of horror to stomach turning depths, and then gives it more twists than a Georgia backroad that paves an Indian trail. This new addition to his broad range of titles will keep you awake long after the last page is closed.
I've reviewed several titles on this blog that were heralded as thrillers, but none of them had the spine tingling power of DEAD ON.
From the first page when former Atlanta police detective turned PI, Marcus Rydell is contemplating ending his life through his gun point first date with Dr. Kat Holley the tension and suspense builds as they bind together to catch a psychotic killer who has destroyed their lives and halted their careers.
The reader is compelled to keep turning the pages. Rob does little pseudo psychological musing as to what has turned ex-marine, professional hunter Iden Cantu into a monster killer. He illustrates by the deviants' blood curdling actions how a man slips over the line into insanity.
Cantu thrives on torture, both physical and mental for his victims. Cantu picks Rydell as his adversary when Rydell experiences a blackout as his partner and two other policemen are executed over his prone body. It is a duel manhunt of Cantu's choosing unless he can destroy Rydell from inside his own brain before Rydell finds him.
Nothing is predictable in this fast paced horror/thriller and the descriptions are sparse as each character controls their own destiny, which are fought against an unpredictable opponent.
This reviewer will be back for the sequel DEAD END, because there are many questions left unanswered.
You can find DEAD ON in your favorite library or online at Visit with the award winning author at
Nash Black, author of Indie finalists Writing as a Small Business and Haints.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Trace of Smoke

Rebecca Cantrell's A Trace of Smoke takes the reader deep into the noir world of Berlin in 1931. A world in upheaval with the rise of the Nazi party just before Hitler comes to power. The power of this debut mystery is enthralling, spurred by the in depth research of the author.

The minute details makes the novel come alive in the reader's mind because the word pictures she paints are both stark and vivid. Rebecca recreates a world that becomes a major character. A Trace of Smoke could not exist, except for the setting.
Hannah Vogel is a crime reporter for Berliner Tageblatt under the pen name of Peter Weill. On her way to the Criminal Investigations Department she discovers her gay brother's picture on the wall of the Hall of the Unnamed Dead. He had been stabbed and his body was dumped in the river, where it was discovered by a passing tourist boat. Hannah is shocked and frightened, but she vows to unearth his killer.
Hannah inherits a five year old boy who calls her Mother. Anton carries a birth certificate which names her as his mother and the brother as the father. Who is "Little Eagle?" Did her beloved bother father this child at the age of fourteen?
Follow Hannah as she searches for the truth through the dangerous streets of Berlin, the El Dorado (gay bar) where her brother was a performer, Tegel Prison, and the abandoned homes of her friends who've fled the coming Holocaust. This is one you will not put down until the last page.
Hannah's story will continue in 2010 with A Night of the Long Knives. Visit Rebecca Cantrell at
PS, this copy is from the Russell County, KY public library. Thanks you all, you have good taste.
Nash Black, author of Indie finalists Writing as a Small Business and Haints.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Last Bridge

The Last Bridge by Teri Coyne is a symphony of pain.

Alexandra "Cat" Rucker has buried her memories in an alcoholic haze for all of her adult life, but the suicide of her brutalized mother brings her home to avoid or face the future.
The complex threads of her life are woven around the cryptic note left by her mother.
"Cat, He isn't who you think he is." Who is the "he?"
Is it her father? Her teenage lover? Her bother? The son she gave birth to and abandoned?
Abuse both sexual and physical leaves many scars and grows twines like a deadly snake around the lives of everyone it touches. What saves this title from being a travesty of malignancy is the powerful writing style of debut author Teri Coyne.
The story itself reminds me of Michaela Jefferies's, Grasping for Love, which is a non-fiction title by a victim of sexual abuse. I have met Michaela and watched her struggle against a past she can never forget.
Cat doesn't forget her past either, and it takes many months to find her way to a tentative understanding of who "he" is or was. With fiction there is a grain of hope buried in the final pages for Cat's recovery. A graphic read that is not comfortable, but it is enlightening. Teri Coyne has a profound voice and a superb story for a debut novel.
You can learn more about Teri at The Last Bridge will be on sale July 28, 2009.
Nash Black, author of Indie finalists Writing as a Small Business and Haints.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Missing Mark

Missing Mark by Julie Kramer has all the zip and fascination of her award winning Stalking Susan.

Riley Spartz, investigative reporter for Channel 3 in Minneapolis has found a rental in the exclusive White Bear Lake community, which has a history of peaceful living until Riley arrives. Her forte is mystery, finding the truth, while murder clouds her view.
The frenzied pace of her day doesn't keep Riley awake as her next door neighbor operates his perennial yard sale through the night. K-9 officer Flying-Cloud is shot and Riley covers the story. She ends up dog sitting when Shep recognizes her and destroys the scene report. Shep's nose for meth is legendary and he discovers a wealth of fragrance in the neighbor's inventory.
May is ratings month at the station and Riley is pushed to follow the breaking news of a missing trophy bass, while her interest is sparked by an ad that parodies Hemingway's bet winning short story.
Why did the impoverished groom miss his wedding to a wealthy heiress and leave the bride to be humiliated before their families and friends? No word has been heard from him in the months before Riley enters the case to dig in the dirt and stir the waters of White Bear Lake.
I watched the video trailer (, which is as slick as the story. You will want to reserve your copy of Missing Mark. Julie Kramer has proven her Riley Spartz mysteries are events to anticipate.
You can visit with Julie at, but visit your favorite brick&mortar bookstore or order this excellent summer mystery online.
Nash Black, Writing as a Small Business and Sins of the Fathers.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

the four corners of the sky

The four corners of the sky by Michael Malone is difficult to categorize. Is it a mystery, a romance, a family saga, or an adventure story? It doesn't matter because the four corners of the sky is one of the best books you will read this year.
The story of Navy pilot Annie Peregrine-Goode and her extended family will stay with you long after you have closed the volume.
Abandoned by her father, Jack Peregrine, at Pilgrims Rest his family home she is a lost little girl who gets The King of the Sky for her seventh birthday. As she hugs the Piper Cub she chants to herself, "I'm a flyer."
Reared and formally adopted by her aunt, Samantha "Sam" Peregine and Dr. Clark Goode, Annie spends her childhood flying, which becomes her life when Sam arranges for her to have a balloon ride with D.K. Destin for her eight birthday. Annie flies as a runner and a pilot to out-pace the loneliness of being left behind, but never wins either race.
Annie is a fighter. The story opens when Annie realizes she married for all the wrong reasons and her father steps back into her life with a pull that may destroy her career and her life.
Nothing is ever as it seems with Jack Peregine at the controls. The pace is fast, surprises at every corner, the intricate plot and threads are woven with expert prose into an exceptionally well told story that will keep your eyes glued to the page.
Michael Malone has ten award winning novels to his credit and is a professor at Duke University. the four corners of the sky is available on line at or bookstores everywhere.
Nash Black, author of Indie finalists Writing as a Small Business and Haints.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Drowning Pool

I won a copy of Jacqueline Seewald's The Drowning Pool; it was the first contest prize I've ever won.

Kim Reynolds and Mike Gardner are a couple in the early stages of their relationship who have a unique bond. Kim is a research librarian and Mike is a police detective, both have an insight into people and crime scenes. The psychic element is very subtle and adds to detailed police-work, which takes the reader into the story.
Mike has a new partner in Bert St. Croix. Bert has so many issues it is difficult for her to trust anyone. Her past has followed her from New York, but is she really ready to leave her old life and move on into a new phase?
The victim, Rick Bradshaw is a man about bedrooms who uses, discards, manipulates, taunts, and humiliates people to feed his feed his devouring ego. The story follows the classic style of a cozy where the character of the victim provides the clues to his demise with all the twists and turns of a New Jersey back-road.
But Ms. Seewald has some surprises in-store for the reader who thinks they have it all figured out. You will keep turning the pages late into the night with this strong sequel to The Inferno Collection.
The Drowning Pool is the perfect pool for a cool summer dip. Another review of this excellent addition to the cozy mystery field is by Marlene Pyle at The Genre Review, Jacqueline Seewald"s books are available in bookstores and on Amazon, B&N and other online outlets.
You can contact Jacqueline at
Nash Black, author of Indie finalists Writing as a Small Business and Haints.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Kidnapping Gone Wrong

Fran Stewart's Biscuit McKee makes her fifth appearance in Indigo as an Iris, which was my introduction to the series. Indigo is a complete cozy, with nice people caught in extra ordinary events.

A one page introduction of a kidnapping victim regaining consciousness leads the reader to turn the page to discover who was bound in the backseat of her own car while a mother drove and feed her child the cinnamon buns the victim had purchased? The kidnapping is planned by the most mathematically inept abductors on the planet. It has no hopes of success, but leads to lives twisting and ending. The murder does not occur until the climax of the story and there is never any doubt as to the killer.

Biscuit McKee, who is Martinsville's librarian and Marmalade, her cat find their way into homes and shops they pass on their walks through the close knit community. Family members create problems with their fractured relationships and friends refuse to behave as expected in this complex cozy.

Biscuit's reactions to her daughter, her sister, and her husband give the reader a clear picture of her insecurities. It is the charm of those insecurities and the distinctly southern voice that gives the story its flow as one event intertwines and leads to another.

The cast of characters fascinated me so much I ordered Orange as Marmalade (the first of the series) to expand my appreciation of Biscuit, her family, her friends, and Marmalade who behaves as a cat whose humans never understand her language.
You can visit with Fran Stewart at Mystery Matters: where murder is an open book and listen to her outstanding radio interviews of mystery celebrities. Fran's books are available at and other retail outlets.
Nash Black, author of Indie finalists Writing as a Small Business and Haints.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

How did Molly Die?

The Late, Lamented Molly Marx by Sally Koslow is a delight in mystery/suspense fiction from the first page. Have you ever imagined or dreamed of attending your own funeral as Tom Sawyer did?

Molly Marx is in the here-after attempting to understand how at the young age of 35 she arrived in this place. Her Jewish heritage does not give a broad scope for her to know her strange new powers or how to control them. She can view what is happening as an observer, but it warned never to make herself known except on the single occasion when it is vitally important for her peace and acceptance of her new status.

Molly's husband Barry, her daughter Annabel, her parents and twin sister Lucy, her best friend Brie and her true love Luke all must travel their own roads through life, which no longer includes her in their midst.

The narrative moves among three perspectives: what Molly sees happening after her death, her memories of her relationships with the people she loves, and the dark cloud that blocks the horizon as to the reason for her death. Was is an accident, suicide, or murder?

Molly cannot remember why she wrecked her bike and drowned in the Hudson River, nor how she ended up on the bank where her body was discovered.

The Late, Lamented Molly Marx has all the warmth of a family reunion, the joy and pain of daily relationships, and the discovery of who you really were as a person. Join Molly on her journey it is well-worth the price of the ticket.
The one fault I find with the book is the cover color, white is a poor choice for our electric world as it tends to bleed into the background. Against the sand of this blog white shows the strong elements.
You can learn more about Sally Koslow by visiting her website at htt:// Her titles are available from & other online booksellers, and in bookstores across the country.
Nash Black, Writing as a Small Business and Sins of the Fathers.

Return of the Texas Ranger is a Winner

Dac Crossley's Return of the Texas Ranger, has won the Indie Award for the best western for 2009. Congratulations Dac, we knew you'd written a winner.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Return of the Texas Ranger

Kingsville, TX in 1927 where the King Ranch has brought progress to a sleepy little town with the advent of the railroad. The glory days of the Texas Border Wars are long gone, but former Texas ranger Sheriff Richard "Red" Regan gets a jolt as his old colleague Whitey Wilson steps off the circus train.

Whitey lives in the past and has refused to move forward, now he has a mission to find the killer of their mentor, Nacho Ybarra. Then maybe, Whitey has returned to claim Red's wife and son as his own.

Red is fighting the physical pain from an old bullet lodged against his spine and must force himself to do his job with the aid of a few little pills a pharmacist friend has given him. It is a daily battle to hide his agony and he knows Whitey is walking trouble for Whitey is a man who consistently will not abide by the rules.

This vivid western mystery by a native son of Kingsville is a winner for reading enjoyment. It has all the twists, subplots, humor, loyalty, and suspense of a mystery, but is truly a western. Many mysteries are set in the west, but could occur anywhere. This is a story where both time and place become a major character.

Return of the Texas Ranger is Dac Crossley's sequel to the award winning Guns Across the Rio with all the ethnic ties spiced with conflicting loyalties that will keep you turning the pages. You can trust Dac to provide accurate details as to time, place, traditions, customs, and culture, which make his stories come so alive. You'll be glancing down to check if you have mud on your shoes as you follow the story on a rainswept night.

This reader would enjoy more stories about Red, Whitey, and Nacho before their careers have met the future because of the knowledgeable insight that flows from the words of this unique author.

Join Dac's legion of followers at where he adds new insight into the legends of Texas history and discusses everything that inhabits the South Texas country or the joy of going barefoot in the summer time. You can learn more about this new author in the mystery field by visiting his website at Dac Crossley's books are available from or at the Alamo if you're traveling to San Antonio this summer.

by Nash Black, author of Writing as a Small Business & Haints.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Conception is Murder

Award winner, Dr. Darden North has served up a medical murder novel that is difficult to stash as an ordinary thriller. It is written from the omniscient point of view, which for this mystery enthusiast did require a period of adjustment. This literary style of writing is not one you often see in a mystery/suspense novel. There is no murder until late in the story, instead it is a steady building of tension between the characters and the reader who is unsuspectingly drawn into the twisted plot.

To say a murder mystery is literary is trite, but I can think of no better description. The writing is so smooth and the threads of the story interlock in a fascinating fashion, but not before you are thoroughly puzzled and intrigued as to where the tale is leading.

The characters are exposed through their thoughts and actions with graphic insight into the human behavior of self-deception. The frightening and chilling aspect of reading about them is the realization: "I know people like that." People who always blame someone else for their own actions, yet never consider the consequences of their desires.

The medical and computer technological detail are explicit and written so a novice can understand them when conceptualizing the process of receiving an implant of an embryo for impregnation.

Is the physician performing a service or preying on human frailty? Fresh Frozen provides a new understanding of the dilemma. How far will someone go to have a child, how far to protect their privacy, their reputation, their obsessions, their crimes, and their humanness?

From the pen of Darden North no one escapes and the unexpected conclusion will leave you pondering long after you've finished Fresh Frozen.

Darden North's books are available from a book store near you or online from Amazon, B&N, and others.

Nash Black, author of Writing as a Small Business and Sins of the Fathers.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Creative Thinking

We had the privilege of sharing both a signing table and a dinner table with Robert Alan Black and discussing the cognitive thought process that guides an author's style.

Broken Crayons is a guide book designed to be used in group sessions for executives and employees to solve problems, but many of the concepts he details in a simple, easy to remember pattern apply to writers who work alone.
One of my favorites is a list of activities that can easily generate a new way of thinking. Alan's text is on p. 17-18, but I'm semi-quoting as I've changed items to suit my purpose.
Broaden Your Interests searching many areas for information.
Reverse Perspectives to see things a different way.
Open Yourself to an infinite number of ideas.
Kickback and let your imagination run around.
Eliminate Steps in Procedures to discover new ways to solve problems.
Never say Never. Keep yourself open to positives in all things.
Combine Ideas, new & old, tried & experimental, ones you agree with, ones you know will not work.
Rearrange steps, facts, data, ideas, characters to create unique approaches.
Adapt or alter existing ideas to produce new ones.
Orient differently, switch, change, alter combine past, present, and future, here, there, somewhere, nowhere.
Noodle around, play with ideas, look at it from the perspective of a child or an animal.
Sleep On It For a While, let your intuitive or subconscious mind work on the situation in your story.
Coloring inside the lines of our dime store book was a skill we learned as children. Now Alan gives us dozens of guidelines for breaking our crayons and working outside the lines.
His Cemetery of Creativity is one we've visited many times. Add your personal monuments to his forty-tombstones, and give them a proper burial.
Broken Crayons: Break Your Crayons and Draw Outside the Lines by Robert Alan Black is available from him with a unique signature at or from
Nash Black, reviewers and author

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Selling a Book

How do you tell the world about you and your book? The manuscript is looking for a home, is in the process of being published, or is on the market. If you don't "toot your own horn," no one else will do it for you.

The book marketplace is changing almost weekly and it is difficult to stay current with all the innovations, new techniques, and economic downfall. Marketing is like building a house, when actual construction begins you must establish a firm foundation. Building for yourself a rock solid base is the essence of market research.

Jeffrey Marks provides the basics with INTENT TO SELL: Marketing the Genre Novel. My copy is the 2nd edition, which was published in 2005. Since that time there have been rapid changes in the market place. 2008, alone, turned the publishing world upside down, but the basics of promotion have not changed. Several writers have covered the topics with much the same answers in various formats, but for me a book is still easier to pull off the shelf and browse.
Recently an established author was seeking advice on how to compose a query letter to accompany his press release to print media. How do you approach someone with whom you are not personally acquainted and illustrate to them your title is newswrothy? Jeff devotes a full chapter to "getting your name out there." Step-by-step he takes you through the elements of a press kit, its necessity, its components, and its uses.
One important item Jeff discusses, which I haven't seen any where else is on p. 114. "You should save at least one box of your title for special matters and for your own purposes. Don't sell these copies at your signings or give them away to readers." In today's market this is vital, as books go out of print, are picked up by a new publisher, publishers go out of business or are absorbed by another publisher, copyrights get hung-up in bankrutcy court, or your title may end up being published in another format without the permission of you or of your publisher. So keep a few copies in storage, you never known when they may be important in another scope.
Jeff keeps the mystery world current on marketing techniques from his website, which is easy to navigate and open to the public.