Recently “Close to the Bone,” a publisher of pulp, noir, crime, dirty realism & horror contacted me to see if I was interested in reading and reviewing Weston-Super-Nightmare by John Bowie. Bowie’s articles, poetry, short stories, and novels have appeared in Red Dog Press, Close to the Bone, and Bristol Noir, to name a few. I had never read this author and very little in the pulp-noir genre. The prospect of reading this story intrigued me. Below is my review.
John Bowie is an excellent storyteller. As a spider’s web draws your eyes to the center, Bowie pulls you into the dirty underworld filled with violence, gangster wars, and a seedy bar called Hell’s Belles. He introduces a cast of characters you can’t escape. You immediately find a soft spot for his protagonist, Jimi, and a dislike for the hard-edged Max Ballard and the men who do his bidding. Told in a deep and dirty way, some of the story makes you squirm, but Bowie’s writing is poetic and lyrical. Set in the seaside town of Weston, England, his vivid descriptions of the coast make me want to travel there. I loved the references to rock music and artists woven throughout the story. If you are a reader of pulp-noir, I am sure you will enjoy Bowie’s latest. Weston-Super Nightmare is a crash toward destiny thriller.
When I heard that Liz Milliron was writing a second book involving her character Betty Ahern in the Homefront Mystery Series, I couldn’t wait to read it. Below is my review.
History and Mystery
It’s 1942, and Betty Ahern is back and leaving her mark not only on the engines she builds at Bell Aircraft but as a darn-good private detective in the First Ward, a neighborhood in the City of Buffalo, NY.
In “The Stories We Tell,” Liz Milliron’s second book in the Homefront Mystery series, courageous and bold Betty takes on a case of a co‑worker at Bell who is grief-stricken over the sudden death of her grandmother. Before long, Betty is caught up in a secret dating back fifty years. Determined to solve the case, she enlists the help of her loyal friends, Dot, Lee, and Detective MacKinnon of the Buffalo PD. Betty uses her moxie to uncover the truth as one clue leads to another and more and more suspects die. Betty better watch out, or she may be next!
Liz Milliron does an exceptional job of dropping you into the time period and holding you there. Her characters are real, likeable, and her descriptions of the ethnic neighborhoods, the people, and culture during that era are well-researched and impressive.
A great page-turner. I can’t wait to see what Betty is up to next!
I was super excited when I was lucky and received an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of Annette Dashofy‘s new stand-alone book “Death By Equine,” coming out on May 11. If you haven’t read this author, I highly recommend her books! She has ten Zoe Chamber’s Mysteries and once you’ve read one, you will be hooked and this latest, although not part of the Zoe Chambers series, is no exception. You can preorder Annette’s book “Death By Equine,” at Mystery Lovers Bookshop or for your Kindle through Amazon.
Below is my review:
Annette Dashofy’s latest book, “Death by Equine,” immerses you in the world of horse racing through a racetrack and its vet. She has created a protagonist in Dr. Jessie Cameron that jumps off the page and straight into your heart. As with her other books, her characters are well-developed, her story suspenseful, and you gain knowledge (in this case knowledge of horses, horseracing, and racetracks). Filled with a vivid cast of characters and in Dashofy’s style, with so many great plot twists, I did not see the ending coming. This book is a stand-alone, but I am hoping to read more stories with Dr. Cameron. An engaging mystery and a real page-turner.
Click on the Program Guide for more info on Sisters in Crime.
The festival runs from March 1 through March 13 and has a ton of great programming.
Here is a link to the event trailers on their YouTube channel.
If you want to hear me read “Codeword: Redfish Rodeo!” tune in on Monday, March 8 at 9:00 p.m.
When you create a character for your story, how much time do spend on your character sheets figuring out what your character’s favorite food is? Would they douse their eggs in ketchup or not eat eggs at all? Do they drink only expresso or are they fueled on energy drinks? Are they the type to shop only at a gourmet specialty store or do they frequent the neighborhood food trucks? Is your heroine allergic to peanuts? Is their refrigerator stocked with beer or fresh fruits and vegetables? Do they love plain pizza or tons of toppings? In honor of National Pizza Day which was two days ago, I’ve included a picture of one of my favorite foods, pizza.
As I grow as a writer, I have learned that the food your character eats makes them come alive on the page. It makes them human. It advances the plot and bolsters backstory.
Food in your stories can make for some great funny scenes. My latest binge on Netflix is Schitt’s Creek. There are some great food and drink scenes in this story.
What are your character’s favorite foods? How did you decide this? Did you base the food your character eats and drinks, likes or dislikes on the plot of your story?
Like most people, 2020 started off for me with a bang. My short-story edits were going good. Then…the pandemic.
I just realized that I hadn’t posted in seven months.
What have I been doing for the last year?
Well, instead of talking about all the negatives, I will say this…
I grew as a writer last year and will continue to push forward hopeful to get my short story collection into readers hands this year. I am still editing my work with my editor, Polly Alice McCann at Flying Ketchup Press.
To improve my writing, I recently purchased a subscription to Prowriting Aid.
It was between this and Grammarly, which is an awesome writer’s tool also.
Do you use one of these aids? If so, which one and why?
May 2021 bring blessings of good health and prosperity!
May we all choose love and respect for one another this new year!
In Northwestern, PA, we had snow flurries today. We had a trace amount in 2017, but the last recorded accumulating snowfall in my city occurred in May of 1925 and in 1966, we had 3.1 inches. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for sunny, warm weather.
What can we do indoors on this chilly day?
Simon says “Stop”
Mom gives the “Green light”
And together we build
Boxes piled high
Towers of love
Gathered printed pictures
Create a puzzle scene
Cards of “Old Maid” and “Go Fish”
Hide and then seek
No sports on tv
A bucket and balled up socks
Masking tape on the basement floor
The hopscotch games begin
“The sun is shining let’s go outside and play.”
“But mom I enjoyed staying in with you all day”
– Carole Lynn Jones
A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take – Cardinal Mermillod
Happy Mother’s Day
Love to all the moms out there!
2019 was a busy year! I am excited to announce that a collection of my short cozy mysteries will be coming out in the Fall of 2020 published by Flying Ketchup Press.
As we progress toward publication, I will post editing updates, sneak peeks and announcements regarding where and when my book will be available. You can also find me on Twitter @CaroleJonesy.
Check out Flying Ketchup Press for opportunities for your writing.
Happy Writing and Reading always!
It’s Halloween and time for one of my favorite contests.
Thank you Susanna Leonard Hill for once again offering your annual Halloweensie contest. This year’s Halloween stories must be appropriate for children and no more than 100 words. You must use the words potion, cobweb and trick. Please check out the below link for the full rules to Susanna’s contest and the other fabulous entries.
Here is my entry –
I watched all my sisters
Above me in the sky
Moonlight casting shadows
Off their brooms as they fly.
My broom in the corner
Cobwebs cover it thick
To get me to join them
They attempt every trick.
Mixing up dark potions
Casting a flight time spell
Cackling voices chanting
“It’s go time” they all yell.
“Come on now sister witch
There is haunting to do
You need to be airborne
We can’t fly without you.”
Instead of joining them
And causing ghastly fright
I am the only witch
Who is afraid of height.
For a second time, I was lucky to win a free book from katiescottagebooks.com
A huge “Thank you” goes out for this giveaway. If you haven’t checked out her blog, click on the link above.
This is my first read of this author and also my first Amish mystery. The book centers around a small quaint town in Pennsylvania which has a predominantly Amish population. It is Christmas and the main character/amateur sleuth who is “English” (non-Amish) is planning a holiday celebration for the entire community. When a double murder takes place, some of her closest friends are suspects and she must solve the murder before it jeopardizes the way of life she knows and the people she loves in her town.
I enjoyed this book very much. It kept me interested and I learned several interesting things I didn’t know about the Amish culture.
There are a lot of suspects/characters in the story. I must admit at first I was confused as to who was who when it came to some of the characters in the book but as the story progressed, I began to sort them out. This character-driven story is very well-written and well-plotted. Toward the end, I will say I had an inkling of who the killer was, but the way the story played out made this a page-turning cozy for me. I am anxious to pick up another book by this author.
Thank you Berkley Prime Crime/Penguin and katiescottagebooks.com for offering me a chance to read a book I might not have otherwise picked up. I will be sure to keep an eye out for other reads by Laura Bradford.