Showing posts from November, 2017

Hummus and Homicide by Tina Kashian--Cover Reveal!

HUMMUS AND HOMICIDE NOVEMBER 29 When Lucy Berberian quits her Philadelphia law firm and heads home to Ocean Crest, she knows what she’s getting—the scent of funnel cake, the sight of the wooden roller coaster, and the tastes of her family’s Mediterranean restaurant. But murder wasn’t on the menu . . .     Things are slow in the off-season in this Jersey Shore town, but Lucy doesn’t mind. She doesn’t even mind waitressing at the Kebab Kitchen. Her parents have put in a new hummus bar, with every flavor from lemon to roasted red pepper. It’s fun to see their calico cat again, and to catch up with her old BFF, who’s married to a cop now. She could do without Heather Banks, though. The Gucci-toting ex-cheerleader is still as nasty as she was back in high school . . . and unfortunately, she’s just taken over as the local health inspector. Just minutes after eating at the Kebab Kitchen—where she’s tallied up a whole list of bogus violations—she falls down dead in the street. Word on the gra

Middle Grade Monday: Towers Falling, by Jewell Parker Rhodes

  Title: Towers Falling Author: Jewel Parker Rhodes Publisher: Little, Brown & Co., 2016. 228 pages. Source: Library Publisher's Summary:   When her fifth-grade teacher hints that a series of lessons about home and community will culminate with one big answer about two tall towers once visible outside their classroom window, Deja can't help but feel confused. She sets off on a journey of discovery, with new friends Ben and Sabeen by her side. But just as she gets closer to answering big questions about who she is, what America means, and how communities can grow (and heal), she uncovers new questions, too. Like, why does Pop get so angry when she brings up anything about the towers? My Review:  This deceptively simple book has some elements that are too predictable--any adult will know from the beginning what the trouble is with Deja's Pop, for example--but it does do what the author sets out to do: presents the story of 9-11 in a way that will be accessible to

#Fi50: Fiction in 50 Blog Hop

Fiction in 50 is a regular feature in the last week of every month and I invite any interested composers of mini-narrative to join in! What is #Fi50? In the words of founder Bruce Gargoyle, "Fiction in 50: think of it as the anti-NaNoWriMo experience!" Pack a beginning, middle and end of story into 50 words or less (bonus points for hitting exactly 50 words). Then add a link to your post in the comments below. Check out some of the other offerings, and join the fun! You can post any time during the week, or the whole month--prompts are available on the Fi50 page through the end of the year. I will be adding more for 2018 soon, so please make some suggestions to help me out!  The November prompt is The Worst that Could Happen I took the controls with a giant grin. Finally allowed to solo!  I did all the rituals the old flyers insisted on with my tongue in my cheek: kissed the ground, all that. I had this. What could go wrong?  I hit the power button and went to find ou

Flashback Friday: What's for Dinner

It's the last Friday of the month, and that means time for FlashBack Friday! It's every blogger's chance to take a little break and re-run a post that you really like, or wish had gotten more attention. Join in! Just add the logo, and jump over to Jemima Pett's post where she's managing the hop and add your link in the comments. Then visit the other participants to see what else you might have missed! I found this food-related flash fiction to share in honor of Thanksgiving. I might have used it before, but I still like it. The narrator does find in the end he has a lot to be grateful for. What’s for Dinner? Mom’s acting weird.  Well, that’s kind of normal, if you follow me, because she’s always weird, but usually she’s weird like wearing strange clothes and working all night on one of those bizarre sculptures she makes.  I won’t ever tell her this, but I don’t like them.  They have too many jagged edges.  They’ll tear holes in you if you get too close.  I sometimes

Happy Thanksgiving

For those of us in the US, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. In spite of everything that's happening in our country, there's a lot to be thankful for. Maybe it's mostly worries on the national scale, but there is plenty of room for gratitude on the personal front. I like Thanksgiving. What's not to like about a holiday that focuses on food and people you love, with no religious issues to get between you and the pie? We should all be able to get behind the idea of showing a little gratitude for the good things we have. Here are a few things I'm grateful for. A few years out of date. We are overdue for a family portrait. I'm especially grateful for my husband, who is my co-conspirator in travel to beautiful places. Plus: he supports my crazy writing habit. Speaking of that writing thing, I'm really rather grateful to have been able to indulge my desire to write, and to have my books out there, available to readers. And how about feasts of good things, and the health

Middle Grade Monday: One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia

  Title: One Crazy Summer Author: Rita Williams-Garcia Publisher: Amistad, 2010. 217 pages. Source: Library Publisher's Summary: In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp. In a humorous and breakout book by Williams-Garcia, the Penderwicks meet the Black Panthers.   My Review:   Before I start my review, I'm going to share the list of awards this book has received:  Newbery Honor (2011), Scott O'Dell Award (2011) , Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award Nominee (2012) , Coretta Scott King Award for Author (2011) , Publishers Weekly's Best Children's Books of the Year for Fiction (2010)

Friday Flash: Time Was

This week's Wendig Challenge was to use your smartphone's predictive text feature and, starting from "Once upon a time," pick words until you had a story, or at least an opening line. My own efforts were pretty boring, but follow the link and see what some people came up with. Since I didn't like what I got, I picked one to use to start my story. I stole the line, "Once upon a time, I could change time," and got something from someone else mixed in, which gave me a story to write. I even hit 1000 words spot on. And maybe I have another flash-fiction anthology to put together sometime: the end of the world. I think I've destroyed it quite a few times on this blog. Time Was Once upon a time, when there was time, I could change time. I could speed it up or slow it down, even stop it altogether for…a time. 

The only thing I could not do was the one thing I wanted to do. I could not turn time back. But I had to.

It’s not that time is a river, the way th

Audio-book review: The Last of the Doughboys

  Title: The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and their Forgotten World War Author: Richard Rubin; read by Grover Gardner Publisher: Blackstone Audio, 2013. Hardcover by Houghton Mifflen, 2013. 528 pages. Source: Library digital resources Publisher's Summary: In 2003, 85 years after the armistice, it took Richard Rubin months to find just one living American veteran of World War I. But then, he found another. And another. Eventually he managed to find dozens, aged 101 to 113, and interview them. All are gone now. A decade-long odyssey to recover the story of a forgotten generation and their Great War led Rubin across the United States and France, through archives, private collections, and battlefields, literature, propaganda, and even music. But at the center of it all were the last of the last, the men and women he met: a new immigrant, drafted and sent to France, whose life was saved by a horse; a Connecticut Yankee who volunteered and fought in every maj

Middle Grade Monday: Stepping on the Cracks. An Audio-book Review.

Title: Stepping on the Cracks Author: Mary Downing Hahn; read by Rachel Dulude Publisher: Audio-Go, 2013. Original publication 1991 by Clarion Books. Source: Library digital resources Publisher's Summary: Margaret and her best friend Elizabeth both have brothers fighting the war against Hitler; like everyone else they know, they are filled with feelings of patriotism. Margaret and Elizabeth support everything about the war: the troops, the reasons for going to war, even the food rations. After all, this is the good war and the Americans are the good guys. But the girls are also involved in their own personal war at home. Gordy Smith, the worst bully in the sixth grade, teases and torments them, and Margaret is scared to death of him. But when Gordy and his pals Toad and Doug grow bolder than ever, Margaret and Elizabeth come up with a daring plan to get even. That’s when the girls discover a shocking secret about Gordy that turns their lives upside-down and draws them i

Friday Flash: The Center Does Not Hold

Two weeks ago Chuck Wendig was having a blue fit or something, and issued a flash fiction challenge based on William Butler Yeats' poem, The Second Coming. In particular, around that key line, "Things fall apart; the center does not hold." Work on Death By Adverb is keeping me from putting as much into my flash fiction this month as I might, but I played around with the theme (a week late), and ended up with more of a dystopian vignette than a story, and only about 625 words. But here it is, for what it's worth. It might appear to contain some political commentary. The Center Does Not Hold Things fall apart; the center does not hold. Was it better when everything stayed in its place, and the magnetic pull of the god kept everyone in tight orbit around their station? My grandfather says it was, but I think Grandmother is less certain. Maybe that’s because she says that her place used to be a bit cramped and uncomfortable. I used to think she meant she had to live in

Sexism and the Writer of the Purple Prose

 I had a yen the other day for a western to read, and grabbed up a copy of Zane Grey's The Call of the Canyon. This isn't a proper review of the book, but more a rant about it.   The Call of the Canyon, by Zane Grey, originally published 1924. I like Zane Grey. Some of his books have very strong female characters, even if they are all destined for matrimony (he was, after all, writing romances, in both senses of the word). I also expect his novels to focus on the male protagonist, and may at times feel impatient with this. So it was kind of exciting to realize that this book stuck pretty well to the viewpoint of the female protagonist. So far so good. But after he paints Carley as a rather modern young woman, independent (in part because she's lucky enough to be independently wealthy), he starts repositioning her as selfish and self-indulgent. Fine. But what's not fine is the reason why: she doesn't want to "fulfill her destiny" as a wife and mother, subsu

YA Audio: The Children of Willesden Lane

Title: The Children of Willesden Lane. Beyond the Kinderstransport: A Memoir of Music, Love, and Survival. Author: Mona Golabek; read by Lee Cohen Publisher: Hachette Audio, 2016. Originally by Times Warner, Int., 2007. 288 pages. Source: Library digital resources Publisher's Summary:   With the raw emotion of The Diary of Anne Frank, Mona Golabek's powerful memoir is a poignant story of tragedy and triumph in a time of war. Famed concert pianist Mona Golabek shares the inspirational true story of her mother's escape from pre-World War II Vienna to an orphanage in London--243 Willesden Lane. 'The music will give you will be your best friend in life.' With these words--the last she would ever hear from her mother--ringing in her ears, young piano prodigy Lisa Jura boarded the Kindertransport and headed for safety. Amidst the dozens of Jewish refugees trying to make their way in war-torn London, Lisa forms indelible friendships, finds romance,

Photo Friday: Hanging with the Elephant Seals

Last weekend we did a little excursion to A ñ o Nuevo State Park to see what the Elephant Seals were up to. Turns out it's "juvenile haul-out" season, and there were a lot of youngsters on the beaches. It was also just a kind of cool day for a hike. The fog was sitting right on the coastline, so that we walked in and out of the sun and fog. Not much of a story here, but some photos. Looking back through the fringes of mist. We passed a really pretty pond on our way to the beach. Pelicans were almost as numerous as elephant seals. The birds and the marine mammals ignored each other, occupying neighboring spaces but not competing. After a walk of about 1 1/2 miles, we reached North Point, where the seals congregated on the beach. From a distance you could think it was driftwood, if not for the sound effects. Seals on the beach, pelicans on a low rock just offshore. For the safety of all concerned--even a yearling elephant seal outweighs an adult human by a fair

IWSG: It's NaNo Time, and I'm Not

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means IWSG time! Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to drop in on our awesome co-hosts for October: Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and, well, me!  This month's question: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be pub