Monday, October 31, 2011

Day of the Dead Crime Fiction

Mystery Readers Journal  had an issue a few years ago on Crime for the Holidays. What holiday could be more fitting to Mystery Fiction than El Dia de los Muertos: Day of the Dead?

Day of the Dead Mysteries

The Day of the Dead by John Creed
Days of the Dead by Barbara Hambly
Sugar Skull by Denise Hamilton
Dios De Los Muertos by Kent Harrington
Day of the Dead by J.A. Jance
Weave Her Thread with Bones by Claudia Long
The Day of the Dead by Bart Spicer

Any titles I missed?

The Cravin' by Penny Warner: Halloween Guest Post

Halloween Guest post by Penny Warner

Penny Warner has published over 50 books, both fiction and non-fiction, for adults and children. Her books have won national awards, garnered excellent reviews, and have been printed in 14 countries. See Penny's Guest Post on How to Throw A Killer Vampire Party.


Once upon a Hallow’d evening,
As I thought about retrieving
Something tasty I could munch
While watching “Scream” on Channel 4,
There came a sound, a sudden tapping,
As if someone gently rapping.
Could it be a friend or stranger,
Tapping at my dark front door?
--‘Tis some neighbor, nothing more.

Suddenly a thought sprang to me,
Like a spirit passing through me,
T’wasn’t friends or neighbors there
But ghosts and ghouls—It’s Halloween!
In a panic I went searchin’
For some treats to fee the urchins,
But alas, the shelves were bare,
No candy! “Arrg!” I gave a scream.
--Nothing there…forever more?

Dousing lights, I pulled the curtain,
Then peeked out just to be certain,
There they stood in scary costumes,
Hands outstretched and wanting snacks.
Werewolves, witches, monsters screaming,
Freddy Kruger! (Was I dreaming?)
Where, dear tricksters, would I find
Enough to fill those empty sacks?
--Bottomless, and wanting more.

Back I went to search the drawers,
Check the cupboards—nothing! Horrors!
Not a Snickers, Milky Way,
Not even Gummi Worms for treats.
“Ding-a-ling!” the doorbell sounded.
“Trick or treat!” The monsters pounded,
Rustling bags and pillowcases
For more sugar-laden sweets.
--Pounding, pounding evermore.

“Stop!” I screamed, “I’m out of candy!
“Go next door. They’ve got some handy.
“As for me, I bought six bags
“But had a cravin’ watching ‘Saw’.”
“Trick or treat!” the goblins chanted.
“Give us chocolate!” On they ranted.
Filled with dread, I searched again
Through every cupboard, I did claw.
--Barren there, for evermore.

All I found were empty wrappers
Nestled in between some crackers,
And some crumbs that looked like chocolate
(Either that or we had mice….)
Feeling sick, still empty-handed,
“Where’s the candy?” I demanded.
There was nothing in that space
But stale Saltines, rancid rice.
--‘Twas too late to buy some more.

Then, at last, the tapping faded,
Darkness reigned, haunting abated.
Once again I found it safe
To open up my somber door.
Gone were bats and black cats, hissing.
Frankenstein and Igor—missing!
Nothing—save a word in soap,
Waxed on my window:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

All Star Skull Hi-Tops

Chuck Taylor All Star Skull Hi-Top!

Classic rubber outsole, cotton lining and cushioned footbed and as its main highlight, the canvas upper with skull print. Other than its cool print for the upper, the sneaker showcases what the traditional Converse sneakers have. This will go perfectly with that little black dress or tuxedo!

Hat Tip:

Negative Space Art

I don't know about you, but I usually see positive space. As an occasional artist, I try to see the negative space, but it's sometimes difficult. When the negative space forms positive illustration, it's a bit easier.

Following are two fabulous illustrations created by talented graphic designer Noma Bar.

The artist manipulates empty space around shapes and inserts multiple subjects into every illustration.

See more on

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Dracula" Author's Journal Found

Bram Stoker's private journal sat unnoticed on his great-grandson's bookshelf in England for at least a year.

Full of notes that would inform his legendary novel "Dracula" and other stories, the thin, unmarked book had probably been lugged down from the attic at some point, along with other things the Stoker family had passed down for more than a century and placed inconspicuously in Noel Dobbs' Isle of Wight home.

Then, one day not long ago, a researcher working on a project about Stoker got in touch with Dobbs to ask if he might know anything about a journal his famous relative kept. Dobbs looked around and finally popped open this tiny book. It was signed "Abraham Stoker."

Read more here.

Halloween Cocktail Garnish: Eye Balls & Fingers

With Halloween fast approaching, I thought I'd post some 'fun' Garnishes for the Bloody Halloween Cocktails I posted the other day.

Halloween Lychee Eyeballs I
Peeled Lychees (fresh or canned)
Green Maraschino Cherries
Strawberry Glaze (blood)

Place raisins inside green maraschino cherries. Place cherries inside lychees to form eyeballs.
Note: Use the biggest lychees that you can find and be very careful when inserting the cherries into the lychees. You don't want to rip the lychees apart.

Halloween Lychee Eyeballs II
1 canned grade AA lychee in syrup, drained
1/4 tsp cherry, strawberry or raspberry preserves
1 blueberry

Dry lychee and fill with preserves
Place blueberry, blossom end facing out, into cavity.
Skewer with cocktail pick (search for picks that look like a miniature ice pick for full affect).

Want to mix up a big mess of eyeballs
1 can Grade AA lychees in syrup, drained* and patted dried
4 teaspoons cherry, strawberry or raspberry preserves
20 large blueberries, canned

Fill each lychee with 1/4 teaspoon preserves.
Place a blueberry, blossom-end facing out into the cavity of each lychee.
Secure with a toothpick.

Witch Finger Cookies from Pattie Tierney
These not only look good, but they taste great! For the recipe, go to Olla-Podrida, Patty Tierney's food blog.

Want a more Savory Finger to accompany your Bloody Drinks? Check out this video for easy Breadstick Fingers.  You can always use some "Bloody" Marinara Sauce for Dipping.

Breadstick Fingers from CookingwithSugarTV

No time to make anything? Buy some cool Skull and Crossbones ice cube trays and pop them in the drinks or punch!

Photo: Witch Finger Cookies by Pattie Tierney

Friday, October 28, 2011

Frightful Fridays: Jason Starr

Frightful Fridays continues. Today I welcome  international bestselling crime and thriller author Jason Starr. His latest novel is The Pack, the start of a new series, published by Penguin/Ace last May. The next book in the Pack series, The Craving, will be published by Penguin/Ace in June, 2012. Find out more at

JASON STARR: My Near Death Experience

I should have died that day. There really is no logical reason for how I survived the accident and in the years since I’ve relived those horrific moments again and again and, unlike other memories from my childhood, this one doesn’t fade. Every time I think about it, the images get clearer, the details become more precise. Sometimes I feel like it’s happening all over again.

I was almost twelve years old. It was a bright, sunny, fall afternoon in Brooklyn and I’d just come home after a long day at school. My parents, as usual, were away working. I wanted to play Whiffle ball with a friend who lived around the corner, so I got on my bike and headed excitedly toward the corner of the quiet one-way street. My parents had only recently let me ride my bike in the street and having so much freedom made me feel cool and grown up. I imagined in a couple of years being able to bike all over Brooklyn by myself. Maybe I’d even go across the Brooklyn Bridge one day, all the way to Manhattan.

As I approached the corner I noticed that the traffic on the busier two-way street adjacent to my block was backed up all the way up to the next intersection. I should have stopped and waited for the traffic to clear, or turned onto the sidewalk. But I was so excited about biking in the street and playing with my friend that I wasn’t thinking clearly, and I turned the corner at full speed, circumventing the backed-up traffic, and went directly into the oncoming lane. It never occurred to me that there could be traffic coming from that direction.

As soon as I turned, I saw the car. It was a big, wide, four-door car, about twenty yards away, and it was headed right toward me, going at least thirty miles per hour. I remember looking right at the driver—an older, gray haired guy. His eyes widened but he never had a chance to brake. I hit the car practically head on, the front wheel, maybe instinctively, turned slightly to the right. The next moment, when my body was propelled over the front end of the car, seemed to happen in slow motion. I’d recently seen the remake of Heaven Can Wait with Warren Beatty, where Beatty is snatched from his life too soon, and during that moment after the car had hit me, I thought very clearly, Please, God, don’t take me away too soon, don’t take me away too soon.

I wound up on my knees in the middle of the street. I knew something had just hit my head but I wasn’t sure what it was or exactly what had happened. Terrified, I got up and ran home as fast as I could.

The car that had hit me followed. Then the very concerned driver rang my doorbell, wanting to make sure I was okay. His wife—who’d been in the car with him—was next to him and also very concerned. I had bruises on my knees and a bad bump on my head—later I realized a wheel of the bike must have landed on me—but otherwise I was okay. As I was talking to the old couple, someone who’d witnessed the accident brought the remains of my bicycle to my house. I was shocked to see that my bike had been practically totaled.

It began to set in how lucky I was. If I’d turned the corner a couple of seconds later, the car would have slammed into me from the side and I would’ve been wiped out instantly. Hitting the car head-on on with the wheel slightly turned had apparently saved my life as it had caused me to soar over the front end of the car, rather than directly into the windshield. Landing on my knees, rather than my head, had been pure luck.

I guess I’m fortunate that the memory of that afternoon has remained so vivid in my consciousness over the years. Sometimes when things aren’t going so well in my life, I think of how an extra second or two could have changed everything, and my problems never seem quite so bad in comparison.

How about you? What was your scariest near death experience and what effect did/does it have on you?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to Throw a Killer Vampire Party

Halloween is right around the corner. Have you planned your Halloween Party yet? Penny Warner, author and party planner, shares tips for a Killer Vampire Party!

Penny Warner has more than 25 years of experience as an author and party planner and writes for party websites, such as She has published more than 50 books, including 16 specific to parties. Her latest books include LADIES’ NIGHT, HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY, and HOW TO CRASH A KILLER BASH. HOW TO SURVIVE A KILLER SÉANCE  and HOW TO PARTY WITH A KILLER VAMPIRE.


Vampire Parties are all the rage, thanks to books, TV shows, and movies like Twilight, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries. While plotting my latest Presley Parker, event planner mystery, I decided to wrap the plot around a Vampire Party…held in the local cemetery. So I had big-time movie producer Lucas Cruz celebrate his latest film release—a vampire parody—by throwing a lavish party in a graveyard. It’s a pretty gloomy venue for Presley, but she’s hoping to make it so much fun that partygoers won’t even notice there are more dead than living guests in How To Party With A Killer Vampire

Since Presley is a party planner, I thought I’d share her Vampire Party tips with you, so you can host your own “Got Blood” event—in a cemetery, a haunted house, or even your own home.


There are lots of vampire-related party supplies available, but you can easily make your own invitations and personalize them to your theme. For a Coffin Invitation, fold a sheet of black construction paper in half. Draw the shape of a coffin on the paper, making sure one side of the coffin is on the fold. Cut out the coffin and write “Do not open until midnight” or “Open at your own risk” on the front using a sparkly pen. Or you can type it up on the computer using a spooky font, print it, cut it out, and glue it to the front. Next find a picture of your favorite vampire on the Internet or in a fan magazine and copy it for each invitation. Open the coffin and glue the picture on the right-hand side. On the opposite side, write the party details. For added fun, cut out drops of “blood” from red paper and place them in the envelope. Or add a set of vampire teeth.


Ask your guests to come as their favorite vampire—or werewolf—past or present. When they arrive, offer them face paints, vampire teeth, and vials of fake blood to add to their costumes. Make simple capes out of black fabric and hand them out to guests.


Create a gothic atmosphere with helium-inflated black and red balloons. Tie the balloons onto furniture, to backs of chairs, and float them to the ceiling. Turn the lights down and light candles, or string holiday lights around the room. Replace regular light bulbs with black lights and red bulbs. Make a giant coffin using a large appliance box. Paint it black, add a string of garlic or a wooden cross to the top, and place it in the center of the room to use for setting out snacks.

Place vampire fangs, garlic, and plastic bats around the room or hang them from the ceiling. Cover your mirrors and black out your windows. Set the table with a black cloth and bright red paper products. Use vampire teeth as napkin rings. Make a centerpiece using a glass bowl, fill it with red tinted water, and float black candles. Make some personalized tombstones from cardboard or foam, and write epitaphs on them for each guest. Set them around the room. Play Clair de Lune, Muse, and Coldplay music in the background.

Games and Activities

Team Trivia. Divide guests into two teams and have them answer trivia questions about vampires and such from Twilight, True Blood, or Vampire Diaries.
Quote the Vampire. Write down quotes from the vampire books or shows and have guests try to identify the speaker.
Vamping Vampires. Write down scenes from your favorite vampire film, book, or show, and have guests act them out for one another to guess.
Vampire Shirt. Let guests make their own t-shirts with their favorite vampires or sayings on them. Print pictures of vampires and sayings on iron-on paper using the computer, and then let guests iron them on and decorate with glitter glue, sequins, and other embellishments.
Vampire Videos. Watch videos of your favorite vampire films or TV shows. Don’t forget the originals, such as Dracula, or the popular Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


Serve lots of red-colored food to satisfy that thirst for blood—red licorice, sliced red peppers, strawberries, red apples, red salsa with red tortilla chips, French fries with ketchup dip. Ask the bakery to tint a loaf of bread red, then make sandwiches with red jam. Cut out bat-shaped cookies, bake them, and spread with chocolate icing.

Offer a variety of red-colored drinks for the vampire guests, such as tomato juice, cranberry juice cocktail, red punch, red sports drink, etc. Freeze gummy worms in red water to make ice cubes for the drinks.
Make a coffin-shaped or tombstone-shaped red velvet cake, covered with chocolate icing.

Frightening Favors

Give the vampires plastic teeth, black capes, fake blood, posters of hot vampires, face painting makeup, videos of the shows, or other vampire related gifts—there are lots available!

If you have any creepy ideas for a Vampire Party, I’d love to hear them!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wicked Witch Bookmark

O.K. This is just priceless.  Available on Etsy.
Wicked Witch in the Book.

Bullets Across the Bay: Video of Panel

Here's the link to the Bullets Across the Bay, a panel at UC Berkeley Library, with Eddie Muller, Kelli Stanley and Corpa Luchi. I moderated the panel. Very fun panel about San Francisco, the Bay Area and Crime Fiction.  

Be warned, though, this is an hour panel. No time to watch? If you're in the Bay Area, be sure and stop by the UC Main Library for the great book and memorabilia exhibit: Bullets Across the Bay. Thanks to Randal Brandt for coordinating this panel.

New Book of Short Stories by Daphne Du Maurier

Cemetery Dance Publications announced that they will be publishing a special limited hardcover printing of THE DOLL: THE LOST SHORT STORIES by Daphne du Maurier.

Daphne du Maurier's most famous works include the novel Rebecca and the
short story "The Birds," and THE DOLL features 13 impressive stories written before she was 23 years old.

These long lost stories explore the evolution of the images, themes, and concerns that informed her later work. Each story in the collection
highlights her deep understanding of human nature.

This Cemetery Dance Publications special "trade" edition will be limited to a one-time printing this December and there will be no second printings!

TITLE: The Doll: The Lost Short Stories
AUTHOR: Daphne du Maurier
FORMAT: Trade Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-158767-273-6
PUB DATE: December 13, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bloody Halloween Cocktails

Halloween is fast approaching, and if you're throwing a party, you'll want to have some Bloody Drinks available. The following are a few awesome cocktails. Throw in some rubber spiders or eyeballs as garnish. Want to make your own eyeballs and fingers?  I'll post some recipes later this week.


1 Part Tequila Silver
1 Part Strawberry Liqueur

Shake with ice, and strain into a shot glass.


1 Part Tequila Reposado
1 Part Grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into shot glass


1 part Iceberg Vodka
1 part peach schnapps
1 part Jagermeister
1 part cranberry juice

Chill all ingredients. Combine in a shaker with ice. Strain into a shot glass. shoot!


2 oz VeeV Acai Spirit
1 oz acai juice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
Top with fresh champagne
lime wedge for garnish

Combine VeeV, Acai juice and fresh lime with fresh ice in a cocktail shaker and shake.
Strain into a chilled martini glass and top with champagne.
Serve with a fresh lime wedge.


3/4 ounce Scotch
3/4 ounce cherry liqueur
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce orange juice
1 thin strip orange zest

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the liquids. Strain into a martini glass, then garnish with the strip of zest.
(recipe from Bank Cafe & Bar in Napa)


1 ounce gin
1 ounce Lillet (blanc)
1 ounce triple sec
Juice of half a lemon
5 drops of absinthe
1 thin slice orange

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the liquids. Strain into a martini glass, then garnish with the orange slice.

(Recipe from Epic Roasthouse in San Francisco)

VAMPIRE BLOOD PUNCH (Makes 6-8 servings)

4 cups cranberry raspberry juice (or cranberry juice cocktail)
2 cups natural pineapple juice (100% juice)
2 cups raspberry-flavored seltzer water
wormy ice cubes (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients together, and pour into a large, decorative punch bowl.
Serve the punch with wormy ice cubes if desired.


1 1/2 parts Corzo Silver Tequila
1/2 parts Campari
1 part fresh blood orange juice
1/4 parts blood (aka home-made grenadine) **
2 parts Jarritos Tamarindo Soda

Build all ingredients into a highball glass filled with ice. Add the “blood” at the end.
Garnish: Blood orange wheel and strawberry syrup

** Home-made grenadine: Add equal parts white sugar and POM pomegranate juice together and dissolve sugar over high on stove-top. When dissolved, add several drops of orange flower water, simmer on low heat for 10 mins., chill, and serve.

MIDORI MELON EYE-TINI (Rob Husted of Florida)

1 1⁄4 parts Midori Melon liqueur
3⁄4 parts SKYY Infusions Citrus
1⁄2 part Finest Call Agave Syrup
2 parts of Canada Dry Green Tea Ginger Ale
2 parts Finest Call Sweet & Sour Mix
3 Orange Wedges
2 Fresh Ripped Basil Leaves
Strawberry Sundae Syrup

 In a shaker glass combine Midori Melon liqueur, SKYY infusions Citrus, Finest Call Agave Syrup, 3 Orange Wedges and 2 Fresh Ripped Basil Leaves. Muddle ingredients together. Add ice and Finest Call Sweet & Sour Mix. Shake for 10 seconds. Add Canada Dry Green Tea Ginger Ale and roll drink back and forth between your mixing tin and shaker glass. Strain into a chilled martini glass drizzled with Strawberry Sundae Syrup to give an effect of a bloodshot eye.

Garnish: Chilled red seedless grape at bottom of glass (to look like an eyeball) and bruised basil leaf floated on top of cocktail for aroma.

For a Fabulous List of Halloween Cocktails, go to

Halloween Heels

Blood Spatter Shoes: Perfect for Halloween or the Crime Scene

These are truly a unique pair of heels. Sadly size 5 1/2, but if you're looking for the perfect heels for Halloween, these are the winners! Hand Painted Blood Spatter High Heels from Sweet Sin Coutour on Etsy. Also available with black Spatter for an inked look.

And, in case you lean more toward Edgar Allan Poe, these heels are a must have. NEVERMORE. Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s famous piece, Nevermore features a hand painted raven, accompanied by the words “Nevermore” on the upper side of the shoe, in an original design.  The raven stands against the pristine white faux leather finish. The heel of the shoe is 5 inches, accompanied by a 1 ½ inch platform. Across the toe of the shoe, there is a black satin finish ribbon. Available in sizes 5.5, 8, and 9.

Monday, October 24, 2011

R is for Ritter: Todd Ritter

Today the Crime Fiction Author Alphabet Meme continues with R is for Ritter: Todd Ritter. As you've figured out by now, each author gets to write a guest post about whatever they'd like. Love this post on Music to Murder By. 

Todd Ritter has been a journalist for fifteen years and is currently at The Star-Ledger. During that time, he has interviewed celebrities, covered police standoffs and written obituaries. His latest novel, BAD MOON, just launched from St. Martin's Minotaur.www.


A few months ago, a friend told me about an album Alfred Hitchcock recorded. No, good old Hitch wasn’t singing. Instead, he was playing deadpan DJ of sorts to a bunch of fifties standards and instrumentals. The album’s title: Music to Be Murdered By.

Ask any writer and I'm sure they'll tell you that certain music affects the way they think, the way they feel, the way they write. Music has the power to inspire, and sometimes writers need all the inspiration they can get. I certainly do. In fact, I have a go-to set of five songs that I listen to when I need to get into the right frame of mind to write about murder and mayhem. It's not an album. It's not even a playlist on my iPod. But if it was, I'd likely do Hitchcock one better and title it Music to Murder By.

Track No. 1 — “(Don't Fear) the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult

Rock history is littered with teenage corpses. The fifties and early sixties gave us "Leader of the Pack," "Last Kiss" and sundry other songs in which bad boys and good girls met their makers in a blaze of speed and twisted metal. The seventies and eighties brought us heavy metal, faux-Satan worship and "Thriller." Yet none of them comes close to the creepy beauty of Blue Oyster Cult's classic.

First, that guitar riff. Right off the bat, it's catchy enough to lodge itself into your brain, but unusual enough to signal that all is not right with this song. Then the lyrics kick in. "Seasons don't fear the reaper. Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain. (We can be like they are.)" That’s when you understand: The song is about a lovers' suicide pact. How sick. How twisted. How utterly brilliant. Band members claim it's about eternal love, but I'm not buying it. Yes, "Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity," but it’s helpful to remember how they got there.

Regardless of what it truly means, there's no denying that the song is an eerie masterpiece. It's been effective background music in many horror films, from the original Halloween to The Stand, from Scream to the woefully underrated The Frighteners. And, yes, it makes an appearance in my first mystery, DEATH NOTICE. In a cemetery, naturally.

Track No. 2 — "Time of the Season" by the Zombies

My second book, BAD MOON, is about the modern-day search for a boy who vanished on July 20, 1969. It might have been a simple accident. It might be abduction. Or it might be something more nefarious. When writing it, I listened to a lot of oldies. This was one of the songs that inspired me the most, thanks to its undeniable sixties vibe.

On the surface, there’s nothing remotely creepy about the song. It’s about getting it on in the Summer of Love (I think) with a few recreational drugs thrown in for good measure. Yet listen closer, especially to the song's oft-repeated lines "What's your name? Who's your daddy? Is he rich like me?"

What does that sound like you? To me, it brings to mind a skilled predator seducing his prey. Let the chills commence.

Track No. 3 — “Ode to Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry

Go ahead. Chuckle. You know you want to. This 1967 smash was so popular that there was bound to be a backlash. Now it’s a musical punch line, an example of folksy story-songs, so popular in the sixties and seventies, taken to extremes.

It deserves more respect. What Gentry has given us is an enduring musical mystery. What happened up on Choctaw Ridge that was so awful it drove poor Billie Joe to jump off the Tallahatchie Bridge? What role did the unnamed narrator play in his decision? And what in tarnation did the two of them toss into the water before Billie Joe took that fateful plunge?

Gentry doesn’t provide any answers. And what begins as a dirt-poor ditty ends as a bleak portrait of a family’s indifference as time — and sadness — marches on. It’s the country-pop equivalent of WINTER’S BONE.

Track No. 4 — “Paint It, Black” by the Rolling Stones

While I'm a Beatles guy through and through, no band got me through the writing of BAD MOON more than the Stones. One of the songs that helped was "Paint It, Black." Or "Paint It Black," depending on where you see the title. Comma or no comma, it's still a kick-ass song.

First, it's pretty relentless. From start to finish, it never stops riding on a wave of catchy sadness. You’ve got that sitar, bending in and around itself. That beat, galloping along. That half-whine, half-hum that closes the song.

Then there are the lyrics, which always hit their mark. Instead of merely saying "I'm sad," Mick Jagger’s words get right to the essence of what sadness can feel like. If there's a better musical description of despair than "I see a red door and I want it painted black," I have yet to hear it.

Track No. 5 — “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones

Yes, the Stones again. No, I don’t care that they’re on this list twice, especially since “Gimme Shelter” is a perfect song. The opening has become shorthand for turbulence in the late 1960s, thanks to its appearance in a hundred different movie trailers. (The previews for The Departed and Zodiac are two recent examples.) By this point, it's pretty much a cliché. Still, it works every time.

That guitar intro by Keith Richards is haunting. Paired with ethereal cooing, it's an otherworldly sound that's both pleasant and confounding. You like it, but you can't quite grasp it. Then Jagger enters the picture and, well, the rest is history.

Jagger once described "Gimme Shelter" as "a kind of end-of-the-world song." Yup. The lyrics warn of threatening storms, rape, murder and war. Adding to the turmoil is guest vocalist Merry Clayton, whose powerhouse voice sometimes sounds like a siren, at other times sounds like a scream. It's perfect.

Lest we get too depressed by the song, it ends with a bit of hope. Because although war, children, is just a shot away, there's a way to counter it. That would be with love, sister. It's just a kiss away.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Photo album: Wyatt Earp discovered in Antique Store

From the L.A. Times:

Two brothers find evidence of the personal life of legendary lawman, Wyatt Earp. He wasn't always a tough guy. Keith Collins and his brother Brian display photographs of Wyatt Earp as a boy and as a man. They were among many others in a photo album the brothers discovered in an antique store in Hesperia.

The photos, formal portraits taken by professional photographers, show subjects in their best clothes. The brothers say two of Earp's wives — Urilla Sutherland and Mattie Blaylock — are pictured. Missing is his third wife, Josephine "Sadie" Marcus, who was at his side when he died.

Also included are photos of Thomas Fitch, the lawyer who represented Earp in the judicial hearing after the 1881 gun battle at the O.K. Corral, and Calamity Jane, according to the brothers.

They speculate that Earp may have met frontierswoman Martha Jane Cannary in the Dakota Territory boomtown of Deadwood. Or Earp could have simply purchased the tintype: Calamity Jane sold them.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Crime Fiction Academy: Jonathan Santlofer

As soon as I heard about the new Crime Fiction Academy which is to open this Spring in New York, I asked crime fiction author and artist Jonathan Santlofer to write a guest post. Interested in attending? Click Here.

Jonathan Santlofer is the author of five novels, The Death Artist, Color Blind, The Killing Art, The Murder Notebook, and Anatomy of Fear, which won the Nero Wolfe Award for best crime novel of 2009. His first novel, The Death Artist, was an international bestseller and translated into 22 languages. He is co-editor, contributor and illustrator of the short story anthology, The Dark End of the Street, and the recent editor of and contributor to LA NOIRE: The Collected Stories. His short stories appear in numerous collections, including The Rich & the Dead, edited by Nelson De Mille, and the forthcoming New Jersey Noir, edited by Joyce Carol Oates. 

Jonathan Santlofer:

It was time, wasn’t it, for someone, someplace to take crime fiction seriously enough to create an in-depth, ongoing program devoted exclusively to the genre? And what better place then New York’s own Center for Fiction, founded in 1820 as the Mercantile Library, an institution that has been dedicated to writers and readers for almost 200 years.

The Center, a recipient of a Raven Award for its comprehensive collection of mystery and thriller titles going back to its inception, has continued its commitment to the genre with regular crime fiction events, such as the recent celebration of “No Rest for the Dead,” a serial mystery that brought together a dozen of its contributing writers, among them, Jeffrey Deaver, R.L. Stine and Diana Gabaldon, or the launch of my own anthology with S.J. Rozan, “Dark End of the Street,” where Lee Child, Amy Hempel, Lawrence Block, Madison Smartt Bell, Michael Connelly, Laura Lippman, Francine Prose and Abraham Rodriguez Jr, not to mention S.J Rozan and I took turns at the podium and entertained a standing room only crowd.

And now, the center is taking a giant step forward. Brainchild of the Center for Fiction’s dynamic and innovative director, Noreen Tomassi, the Crime Fiction Academy will be the first ongoing, rigorous program dedicated solely to crime writing in all its forms.

Beginning in February, 2012, students accepted into the program will be taught by successful practitioners of the genre, including workshop leaders and master teachers like Megan Abbott, Lawrence Block, Lee Child, Thomas H. Cook, Linda Fairstein, Susan Isaacs, Dennis Lehane, Laura Lippman, Val McDermid, Joyce Carol Oates, SJ Rozan, Jonathan Santlofer, and Karin Slaughter, with more to come.

The Crime Fiction Academy not only offers the opportunity for potential writers to work with some of the greatest crime writers of the day but to participate in intensive writing workshops, hear master class lectures, and be part of reading seminars and special lectures and discussions with editors, agents and distinguished persons from the world of crime fiction and publishing.

And that’s not all. Students will also have 24-hour access to The Center’s Writers' Studio, use of its extensive circulating collection, and free admission to all Center for Fiction events. Wow! A chance to hone one’s writing skills with successfully published crime fiction authors, to shape that novel or story you’ve been thinking about, working on, but just couldn’t finish, in one of New York City’s most intimate and nurturing environments — what more could any writer ask for?

One interesting side note: Edgar Allen Poe wrote at one of the desks reserved for writers in the 19th century at The Mercantile Library. I get the feeling that his ghost is hovering somewhere, glass raised, bestowing his blessing on this new and exciting venture.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Frightful Fridays: Rebecca Cantrell/Bekka Black

FRIGHTFUL FRIDAYS: Guest blogging today for Frighful Fridays is Rebecca Cantrell, author of the award-winning Hannah Vogel mystery series set in 1930s Berlin. She is also known as Bekka Black, iDrakula.


In honor of Halloween, I’d like to share the true story of the scariest moment of my traveling life.

In the summer of 1989 the man who would become my husband and I took a student trip to Egypt. We were on a shoestring budget, flying from East Berlin to Budapest (both still Communist, although barely) to Cairo.

After sightseeing in and around Cairo, we haggled our way onto a felucca to drift down the Nile to Luxor. It was beautiful and romantic, but not hygienic. On the last night of the boat trip, we each drank a cup of tea that we had watched boiling away on the boat. Surely, we thought, if the water had been boiled, it would be safe. I have a picture of my husband drinking the tea entitled “In the background, the temple of Kom Ombo, in his hand a lethal cup of digestive tract death, and on his face the blissful smile of complete ignorance.”

The next day, we hopped a second class train back to Cairo. And, well, you can imagine what happened. Within the next 48 hours I would lose ten pounds. I imagine if I was any older than twenty, I wouldn’t have pulled through.

As it was, every moment took on a sense of unreality as I wandered light-headed through the Egyptian summer heat near the train station. My husband realized that I would never last on a bus, so we splurged and took a cab.

We asked the cab driver to take us to a reasonably priced hotel with air conditioning (the only air conditioning of the entire trip). When we arrived, we didn’t even look at the hotel name, just stumbled to our rooms under eerie fluorescent lighting that flickered like a George Romero horror film.

It was far from luxurious, but the air conditioning did work as promised and we had our own toilet. My husband left me alone in the air conditioned splendor of the room and went to pick up film we’d left to be developed (this was pre-digital-film era). I collapsed on the bed and slept, my first good sleep since we’d left Berlin two weeks before.

And I must have slept very deeply. Too deeply.

I woke up when he came back, unlocked the door and brought our pictures and yoghurt and limes.

Sick and light-headed, we gathered our luggage and headed to the white-painted door. It shone brightly against the pale yellow wallpaper. Next to the door, on the inside, on the pale wallpaper, was a perfect human handprint. The handprint was reddish brown, each finger clearly defined. It smelled like blood. It looked like blood.

If it was blood, someone had opened the door while I slept, put a bloody palm against the wall, and vanished.

The hair rose on the back of my neck and my arms, and a chill ran down my spine that had nothing to do with the air conditioning.

We followed the blood smears on the wall and the drops on the floor to a darkened staircase, which I refused to go down, and I wouldn’t let my husband go down either. I didn’t know who or what waited down there, but we were too sick and weak to face it. Instead, we told the hotel staff where to find injured person and left.

As the cab pulled away to the airport, I read the name of our lodging in the rear view mirror. It was called…The Everest Hotel.

What’s the spookiest thing that ever happened to you while traveling?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

eBook vs Book Parnell Hall Video

Love this Video by Parnell Hall.
How many mystery writers/friends can you identify?

reposted with permission

Monday, October 17, 2011

Q is for Quinn: Spencer Quinn

Continuing the Crime Fiction Author Meme, today I welcome Spencer Quinn. Q is for Quinn. This article appears in the latest issue of Mystery Readers Journal (Volume 27:3): Animal Mysteries.

Spencer Quinn is the pen name Edgar Award winning crime fiction writer Peter Abrahams uses when he’s writing the New York Times bestselling Chet and Bernie series. Book four, The Dog Who Knew Too Much, just came out Sept. 6, 2011.


From a writer’s point of view, the most important thing to understand about Chet, narrator of the Chet and Bernie mystery series, is that he’s not a talking dog. Chet’s a narrating dog. Anyone at all familiar with dogs knows they have a life narrative unspooling in their heads. That’s what I try to get on the page in these books. Chet is not a human in a dog suit. But he is an intelligent mammal, and so is Bernie Little, private eye and Chet’s partner in the Little Detective Agency, and that gives them some points of commonality.

So – how to get into a dog’s head? You could read a lot of scientific studies and try to bring a tower of data to life. You could make a list of canine attributes, such as being lower to the ground than humans when standing, and have that list on-screen at all times. Or, you could do what I do, and just jump in, relying on the writer’s most powerful tool – the imagination. And, jumping right in, I began to discover something I loved about Chet: his joie de vivre. Readers have responded to it over and over. Chet forgets the bad. He forgets the good, too, but much more slowly. Good mysteries give more than just plot, more too even than plot, character, mood, sparkling writing (as we climb the ladder): they’re also about something. The Chet and Bernie series is about love, specifically the love between the two main characters.

Jumping right in is my M.O. At the beginning of my career (The Dog Who Knew Too Much is my 27th novel) I went in for long A-Z outlines. Then, when I’d finally worked up the nerve to begin, I’d find at around C, for example, that a character would blurt something unexpected, or I’d see the whole affair from a different angle, knocking D to Z right off the rails. Now I don’t use outlines. I make sure I know: the beginning; the engine that drives the story (not the same thing as the plot); a few big scenes along the way (Chet and the stolen elephant Peanut alone in the desert in To Fetch A Thief, say); and that the story is resolvable in a believable way; and then I begin.

Another thing that draws me to Chet is his short, sometimes non-existent, attention span. The solving of crimes in detective fiction depends on following links in a chain. Chet can’t do that, of course, so setting him loose in a traditional P.I. story guarantees it will be challenging for the writer, but if done right different from everything else out there. It’s like playing classic themes on an unusual instrument. Chet’s an unreliable narrator, of course, and that’s something I’ve been drawn to in the past. There’s Nick Petrov, the P.I. in Oblivion, after his brain hemorrhage, to take one example. But Oblivion, like all of my novels prior to Chet and Bernie, was written in third-person close. I’d written just one single short story in the first person but I knew Chet would work best that way.

I’m the kind of writer who stares out the window a lot while I’m working. We live beside a salt marsh and we’ve always had dogs, and they’ve always played outside. So I’ve been observing dogs for years. Not in any organized way, more an osmosis kind of thing, but some part of my mind, while other parts wrestled with whatever was on the screen, must have been processing canine life. Maybe for that reason, Chet’s narrative voice just seems to flow out of me. Or has there been some DNA mix-up in my ancestral past?

Now for the crazy part. I’ve learned from Chet to be more upbeat in life, the way he is. How can a fictional character that comes out of your own mind give you something that wasn’t there before? Thanks to Chet, I’m not going to spend a second worrying about that.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

CWA Elllis Peters Historical Award Nominees

The nominees for the 2011 CWA Ellis Peters Historical Award were announced by the Crime Writers Association. This annual award is given to the best crime novel set at least 35 years prior to the current year, and is sponsored in part by the Estate of Ellis Peters, who wrote many historical crime novels including the popular Cadfael series.

The winner will be announced on November 30th, 2011 at the Athenaeum in London.

Prince by Rory Clements (John Murray)
The Red Coffin by Sam Eastland (Faber & Faber)
The Hanging Shed by Gordon Ferris (Corvus)
The Somme Stations by Andrew Martin (Faber & Faber)
The Cleansing Flames by R. N. Morris (Faber & Faber)
Island of Bones by Imogen Robertson (Headline)

Hat Tip: Ominimystery News

Tequila Shooter

Hijos De Villa Tequila Shooter

The Hijos de Villa Tequila gun redefines the term “shooter.” It's shaped like a 45, but instead of containing bullets, its loaded with 200 ml of genuine Mexican tequila.

Hat Tip: &

Friday, October 14, 2011

Frightful Fridays: Sue Ann Jaffarian

In honor of Halloween, I've asked several authors to offer up some ghastly 'true' tales for Frightful Fridays. Today's guest post is by Sue Ann Jaffarian. Win a copy of Sue Ann Jaffarian's latest book, Baited Blood? Just comment below about an 'otherworld' or Halloween experience. Be sure and add your email address.

Sue Ann Jaffarian is the author of three critically acclaimed mystery series: The Odelia Grey series, the Ghost of Granny Apples series, and the Madison Rose Vampire Mysteries. In addition to mysteries, Sue Ann recently launched a short story series for e-readers called Holidays From Hell. She is also a motivational speaker and full-time paralegal living and working in Los Angeles. Baited Blood, the 3rd book in her Madison Rose Vampire Mysteries was recently released.


I’m not particularly fond of my apartment. I don’t care for the building or that it overlooks a very busy Los Angeles street and intersection, complete with traffic noise, sirens and even the occasional car crash. When I moved here, it was with the attitude that it was temporary. Just a year or two and I’d find myself nicer digs. That was over seven years ago.

Not that my apartment doesn’t have things going in its favor:

• It’s 10 minutes from my office;
• It’s spacious;
• It has tons of storage;
• It’s reasonable and under rent control;
• It allows pets.

Any of the above are major pluses, but there’s something else. Not something that would keep me from moving, but something I’ve discovered over the course of seven years that cannot be lightly dismissed.

I believe my bathroom is a portal.

Um, you read that right – a portal. More specifically, a doorway to unexplained things bordering on the bizarre, paranormal and even creative.

Several years ago I had a dream, or maybe it wasn’t a dream but a vision. And this was before I started writing about ghosts and vampires. Anyway, two women approached my bed. One was tall with short gray hair dressed in jeans and an oversized men’s shirt. The other was slim, wearing an old-fashion floral house dress with an apron, the type you’d see on a farm wife from the 50’s. For a moment, they stood together at the foot of my bed with friendly looks before turning and heading down the hall. In my dream, I followed them into my bathroom where they disappeared behind my shower curtain. When I pulled back the curtain, they were going through the tile wall. Just as she was halfway through, the taller one turned to me. I told her. “I’m not afraid.” She smiled and replied, “We know. But it’s not your time.”

Okay, fast forward a year or so. Different dream. Same bathroom. I’m in bed and hear music and see lights coming from the bathroom in the middle of the night. I push the door open and instead of my rather dull bath, I find a party in full swing, complete with a crowd seated at scattered, small round tables, like in a nightclub. There are people of all ages and types, including a group of young boys wearing school uniforms. No one is eating or drinking, but they are chatting with each other and having a good time. An elderly woman offers me a seat at her table and I take it. After a few minutes, I lean over to her, “You’re a ghost, aren’t you?” She smiles, “Everyone here is but you.”

Okay, before you all starting wondering about my alcohol and drug consumption, let me tell you, I’m nearly a teetotaler. Not quite, but close.

Now these two instances are bizarre enough on their own, but I gotta tell ya, I get most of my best writing inspiration and ideas when I’m in that particular shower. Coincidence? I’m not so sure.

When I started writing my Madison Rose Vampire Mysteries, I thought I had the idea down pat. I had listed my main characters and created their backstories. I’d even finished several chapters. One morning, after I’d written for a couple of hours, I took my morning shower. While I was shampooing, I heard the deep voice of a man say to me, “I am Samuel La Croix. I was a slave in Egypt two thousand years ago. I am blind and the head vampire.”

Really, I heard that. Finishing quickly with my shower, I went straight to the computer and pounded out Samuel’s character notes and backstory. His presence in the series changed everything for the better. He is also my personal favorite. After all, the man saw me naked.

I have no plans on moving soon. I’m worried my writing would suffer if I did.

And I’m still not afraid.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Animals in Mysteries: Mystery Readers Journal (Volume 27:3)

The latest issue of Mystery Readers Journal: Animal Mysteries (Volume 27:3) is now available to PDF subscribers. Hardcopy is still at the printer, but should be out late next week. You're going to love this issue. Lots of dogs and cats, but some birds, pigs, horses and insects. O.K. they're not animals, but they fit the theme! Here's the Table of Contents with links to a few articles:

  • Bringing Up Asta by Nicolas Pillai
  • Animal Magnetism by Esri Allbritten
  • The Animal Connection by Donna Ball
  • The Rewards of Dogged Determination by Cynthia Baxter
  • The Aristocats by Jennie Bentley
  • Not Another Cat Mystery! by Ali Brandon
  • Watching Eagles Soar by Margaret Coel
  • When Wild Pigs Fly by Bill Crider
  • Animals In and Out of Books by Deborah Crombie
  • The Mysterious Dog by Evelyn David
  • Midnight Louie, Feline P.I. Extraordinaire by Carole Nelson Douglas
  • But How Did the Dog Get Out? by Eileen Dreyer
  • Sniffing Out a Clue by Carola Dunn
  • Don't Mention The Dog—Why I Am Not An Animal Mystery Writer by J.F. Englert
  • Swine, Rain or Shine by Barbara Gregorich
  • How I Became a Crazy Cat Lady by Rebecca M. Hale
  • Pets and Mysteries: An Amazing Alliance by Linda O. Johnston
  • Something Whiskered This Way Comes by Sofie Kelly
  • No Dogs Will Die by Vicki Lane
  • Zoo-dunnits: Where Cats Don't Solve Murders, They Commit Them by Ann Littlewood
  • Humans and Other Animals by Linda Lombardi
  • Murder Tooth and Claw by Michael Allan Mallory
  • Gift of the Horse by John McEvoy
  • Lions and Tigers and Tarantulas, Oh, My! by John Miller
  • The Tell-Tale Cat by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
  • The Feline Art of Murder by Lynne Murray
  • Crossword: Mew Is for Murder by Verna Suit
  • An Abundance of Bears by Marilyn Meredith
  • Can a Dog Really Solve a Murder? by Neil Plakcy
  • Inside of a Dog... by Spencer Quinn
  • A Dog From Europe, A Cat From Beyond by Elena Santangelo
  • A Dog's Eye View by Clea Simon
  • A World Full of Animals by Joanna Campbell Slan
  • Winged Obsession by Jessica Speart
  • Animals are Characters... Literally by Kari Lee Townsend
  • Koalas, Anteaters, and Llamas by Betty Webb
  • Channeling a Sleuthing Dog by Peggy Webb
  • Gone to the Dogs by Sue Owens Wright
  • Mystery in Retrospect: Reviews by Sandie Herron, Lesa Holstine, L.J. Roberts
  • In Short: Animal Misbehavior by Marvin Lachman
  • Crim-animals: Real Animals and Their Crimes by Cathy Pickens
  • Crime Seen: Close-Up on Animals by Kate Derie
  • Children's Hour: Animal Mysteries by Gay Toltl Kinman
  • Animals and Crime Fiction: Some (Mainly) British Examples by Philip Scowcroft
  • From the Editor's Desk by Janet A. Rudolph

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halloween Crime Fiction 2011

Today marks my 2011 Halloween Kick-Off. I'll be hosting several Guest Crime Writers on Frightful Fridays this month--authors who set a mystery or two during Halloween or have a particularly fun Halloween or scary story to impart! Boo!

Mystery Readers Journal has done several theme issues, including one in 2008 on Crime for the Holidays. Here's a updated list of mysteries set during Halloween.  Please let me know if I've missed any titles. Glad to add them. And, if you'd like to contribute a Guest Post, let me know.

Green Water Ghost by Glynn Marsh Alam
Witches Bane by Susan Wittig Albert 
Antiques Maul by Barbara Allan 
Far to Go by May Louise Aswell
Ghouls Just Want to Have Fun by Kathleen Bacus 
Trick or Treachery: A Murder She Wrote Mystery by Donald Bain and Jessica Fletcher
The Spirit of Murder by Laura Belgrave 
The Long Good Boy by Carol Lea Benjamin
Spackled and Spooked by Jennie Bentley 
Watchdog by Laurien Berenson 
Death of a Trickster by Kate Borden
Post-Mortem Effects by Thomas Boyle

A Graveyard for Lunatics by Ray Bradbury
The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts by Lilian Jackson Braun
The Hunt Ball by Rita Mae Brown
Death on All Hallowe'en by Leo Bruce
Halloween by Leslie Burgess
Wycliffe and the Scapegoat by W.J. Burley
Death Goes Shopping by Jessica Burton
Wolf in Sheep's Clothing by Ann Campbell
The Charm Stone by Lillian Stewart Carl
The Wizard of La-La Land by R. Wright Campbell
The Halloween Murders by John Newton Chance 
Death with an Ocean View by Nora Charles 
Frill Kill, Tragic Magic, Photo Finished by Laura Childs
Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie 
Lost Souls by Michael Collins
Not in My Backyard by Susan Rogers Cooper
Night of the Living Deed by E.J. Copperman
A Catered Halloween by Isis Crawford
Silver Scream by Mary Daheim
The Diva Haunts the House by Krista Davis
Fatal Undertaking by Mark de Castrique
Throw Darts at a Cheesecake by Denise Dietz
Trick or Treat, The Halloween Murder by Doris Miles Disney
A Map of the Dark by John Dixon
Ghostly Murders by P. C. Doherty
Died to Match by Deborah Donnelly
Cat with an Emerald Eye by Carole Nelson Douglas
Not Exactly a Brahmin by Susan Dunlap 
The Bowl of Night by Rosemary Edghill 
Door of Death by John Esteven 
The Witchfinder by Loren D. Estleman 
Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich 
Dead Ends by Anne C. Fallon 
Sympathy For The Devil by Jerrilyn Farmer
Dead in the Pumpkin Patch by Connie Feddersen 
Blackwork by Monica Ferris
Scary Stuff by Sharon Fiffer
The Lawyer Who Died Trying by Honora Finkelstein 
The Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke
Halloween Murder by Shelley Freydont
Trick or Treat by Leslie Glaister
Mommy and the Murder by Nancy Gladstone 
A Few Dying Words by Paula Gosling
The Black Heart Crypt by Chris Grabenstein (YA)
Monster in Miniature by Margaret Grace  
Hell for the Holidays by Chris Gravenstein 
Nail Biter by Sarah Graves 
Deadly Harvest by Heather Graham 
Trick or Treat by Kerry Greenwood 
Halloween by Ben Greer
Quoth the Raven, Skeleton Key by Jane Haddam
Southern Ghost by Carolyn Hart 
Hide in the Dark by Frances Noyes Hart 
Revenge of the Cootie Girls by Sparkle Hayter
The Fallen Man by Tony Hillerman 
The Color of Blood by Declan Hughes  
Murder on the Ghost Walk by Ellen Elizabeth Hunter 
Long Time No See by Susan Isaacs
Murder Among Us by Jonnie Jacobs
A Murder Made in Stitches by Pamela James 
The Violet Hour by Daniel Judson
Wed and Buried by Toni L.P. Kelner 
The Animal Hour by Andrew Klavan 
Ghastly Glass by Joyce and Jim Lavene 
Death Knocks Twice by James H. Lilley 
Halloween Flight 77 by Debbie Madison 
Satan's Silence by Alex Matthews 
Tricks: an 87th Precinct Mystery by Ed McBain 
Poisoned Tarts by G.A. McEvett
Death on All Hallows by Allen Campbell McLean 
Trick or Treat Murder, Wicked Witch Murder by Leslie Meier 
Dancing Floor by Barbara Michaels
Monster in Miniature by Camille Minichino 
The Violet Hour by Richard Montanari
Dead End by Helen R. Myers
Nightmare in Shining Armor by Tamar Myers 
Hatchet Job by J.E. Neighbors
Retribution by Patrick J. O'Brien 
Halloween House by Ed Okonowicz
The Body in the Moonlight by Katherine Hall Page 
Twilight by Nancy Pickard 
Murder at Witches Bluff by Silver Ravenwolf
Poltergeist by Kat Richardson 
Death Notice by Todd Ritter 
Spook Night by David Robbins 
A Hole in Juan by Gillian Roberts
Magnolias, Moonlight, and Murder by Sara Rosett
Scared Stiff by Annelise Ryan
Death of Halloween by Kim Sauke
Mighty Old Bones by Mary Saums 
Murder Ole! by Corinne Holt Sawyer
Dance of the Scarecrows by Ray Sipherd
The Sterling Inheritance by Michael Siverling
Recipe for Murder by Janet Elaine Smith
Carbs and Cadavers by J.B. Stanley
In the Blink of an Eye, Halloween Party by Wendy Corsi Staub 
Murder of a Royal Pain by Denise Swanson
Mourning Shift by Kathleen Taylor
Halloween Homicide by Lee Thayer
Inked Up by Terri Thayer
Charlie's Web by L.L. Thrasher
Strange Brew by Kathy Hogan Trochek
Murder by the Slice by Livia J. Washburn 
Five-Minute Halloween Mysteries by Ken Weber
The Scarecrow Murders by Mary Welk
Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner 
Killer Mousse by Melinda Wells
Ghoul of My Dreams by Richard F. West
All Hallow's Eve by Charles Williams
Killer See, Killer Do by Jonathan Wolfe
All Hallow's Evil by Valerie Wolzien

Short story mavens don't worry: Here's a list of Halloween Mystery Short Stories:
Trick and Treats edited by Joe Gores & Bill Pronzini
Asking for the Moon (includes "Pascoe's Ghost" and "Dalziel's Ghost") by Reginald Hill
Murder for Halloween by Cynthia Manson
The Haunted Hour, edited by Cynthia Manson & Constance Scarborough
Murder for Halloween: Tales of Suspense, edited by Michele Slung & Roland Hartman.
Mystery for Halloween (an anthology), edited by Donald Westlake

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cool and Unusual Police Cars: Fast & Expensive

From, one of my favorite websites for odd and unusual things, comes these photos of Cool and Unusual Police Cars from around the world. Today's Installment: Think Fast & Expensive

Lamborghini Gallardo: Two were donated to the Italian police in honor of the force's 152nd anniversary.

Ferrari 612 Scaglietti with police car color scheme driven by police officers at front of the Ferrari UK tour from Belfast to London

  Modified Porsche 911 Careera S capable of over 186 miles and hour.

Corvette Police Car, Bloomfield Hills, MI

Monday, October 10, 2011

P is for Pickard: Nancy Pickard

Today I continue the Mystery Author Alphabet Meme with a guest post from long time favorite writer and friend Nancy Pickard. P is for Pickard.

Nancy Pickard has won multiple Macavity Awards as well as Anthony and Agatha awards, and she is as a 4-time Edgar Award finalist. Having written three mystery series, she is now writing standalone novels set in her home state of Kansas. THE SCENT OF RAIN AND LIGHTNING was a Macavity finalist for best novel of 2010.

Nancy Pickard:

P is for Facebook. P is not for Twitter. P is for blogging. P is not for Skyping. That's P as in "me," of course. I'm on the technology train--or maybe I should call it the Technology Transport--but I find that I have to leave some of it on the track. I just can't do it all, and some parts of it call to me the way some books do; there's chemistry, you know? I have chemistry with Facebook, I don't have it with Twitter. I like blogging, though not too often, but I can't imagine wanting to let somebody see me on Skype, considering how awful the pictures are. And they are, right? Unless you're an adorable grandchild, Skype is not flattering to most humans, and while I don't need flattery, neither do I need to look worse than I do in real life. I have spent a lifetime hating the telephone, so iPhones may never lure me, and I don't like putting speakers in my ears, so the iPod leaves me cold, but you will probably have to bury me with my iPad, because once rigor mortis sets in, you'll never get it out of my hands. I mean it. Especially if I die in the middle of a game of "Words With Friends."

I love books. I love ebooks. I love any kind of books, but don't make me listen to recordings of my own books. Even when they're beautifully done, I can't bear to hear them. Please don't tell the talented actresses who do them!

I love tv. I love movies. So what if a lot of them are drek? A lot of books are, too, and no doubt there are people who think that includes mine. Mass media is just that--mass, and it's impossible for it to be Masterpiece Theatre all the time, or even most of the time, and we're lucky if it is good some of the time. I'm fine with that. In fact, I feel lucky there aren't more shows as superb as "The Good Wife," because if there were, I'd never get anything else done.

Technology and I are at peace.

We are happy together.

I don't have to like all of it. Not all of it likes me.

I don't even have to disapprove of its footprint; I'd be hypocritical to do so, since my own footprint is probably Sasquatch-sized, if I only knew all the ramifications of everything I use and do and watch and play and type and read and wear and drive. If I were given a real choice of keeping all my toys or letting the third-world live longer and happier lives, I'd hand over my laptop.

But the honest truth is, I love all this playful stuff.

Which means that I do not like being reminded of Steve Jobs' mortality. If I could appoint gods, he'd be on Mt. Olympus along with Leonardo DiVinci and whoever invented 7-ounce bottles of Corona Lite Beer. I might also include the inventors of Post-It Notes, email, the internet, and Kleenex. But I'm worried about S.J. I'm worried progress will stop when he's gone. We'll go backward. Both fresh inventions AND style will disappear. The fun will go out of life. We'll be forever stuck with that bad casting of Miss Marple on Masterpiece Theater, and never see a better portrayal. Okay, that's probably going too far. I confess to exaggerating, but really, who more perfectly captures the spirit of creativity and the joy of newness than Mr. Jobs? Granted, he hardly ever looks as if he's having any fun, but he has sure given me some. <<< That was not meant to sound as personal as it does.

I'm not old-fashioned. I'm not sentimental. I'm not nostalgic. For anything. I much prefer the new "Words With Friends" game to the old Scrabble, for instance. The past? It's gone. Today? It's here. Tomorrow? Well, that all depends on what Steve Jobs has in the stockroom for us.

To sum it up:

P is for progress. I'm for it.

Now if I can only make some of it on this manuscript for my next book. . .