Great Escapes Tour: Dumpster Dying. Review and Interview!

We have a special treat today--not only my review of a really fun read, but an interview with a major character! Title: Dumpster Dying (Big Lake Mysteries #1) Author: Lesley A. Diehl Publisher: Creekside Publishing, 2016. 248 pages. Source: Electronic review copy as part of the Great Escapes free blog tour. Publisher's Blurb:  Emily Rhodes came to rural Florida for the cowboys, the cattle, and to do a little country two-step, not to fall head first onto a dead body in a dumpster. Ah, the golden years of retirement in the sunshine state. They're more like pot metal to Emily Rhodes, who discovers the body of the county's wealthiest rancher in the Big Lake Country Club dumpster. With her close friend accused of the murder, Emily sets aside her grief at her life partner's death to find the real killer. She underestimates the obstacles rural Florida can set up for a winter visitor and runs afoul of a local judge with his own version of justice, hires a lawyer who w

Flash Fiction Friday: The Silent Dragon

I used a random title generator this week to give me the title, and I knew it needed to go along with a couple of other stories I've written about the Dragon Emissary. If you wish, you can check out One Dragon at a Time and The Second Dragon before you read today's installment. It's just under 1000 words. The Silent Dragon (A Dragon Emissary story) Calla gazed at the parchment in her hand, her mind working overtime. She had fished the packet from a secret compartment in the back wall of her semi-secret workroom. Someone had wanted it to be found only by the right people. And no wonder. It contained a secret that changed a great deal, if not everything, about her job. Calla was the 23rd Dragon Emissary of the Kingdom of Battorn, and she had taken over the job rather abruptly when her father’s skills had proven unequal to the task. That was how most of the Emissaries got the job. None retired to warmer climes, and very few had lived to fully train their successors. Calla re

The Last Season, by Eric Blehm: Non-fiction review

Title: The Last Season Author: Eric Blehm Publisher: Harper Perennial, 2006. 335 pages. Source: Borrowed from a friend. Publisher's Summary:  
 My Review:   A third of the way through the book, I was wondering why I was reading it. This was partly the inevitable result of picking away at it in tiny bits when I wasn't very engaged, but it was also a result of the way the book is written. Let me hasten to add that, not long after that, I settled down to read for real and soon found myself caught up in the story. The main issue with the book is really the question of whether, aside from the mystery of his disappearance, Randy Morgenson was really a person in need of a biography. And the point of the book is really the disappearance and the search operation, with the rest of Randy's life feeling a bit as though it's there to make this into something more than an in-depth magazine article. But at some point, too, we realize that the construction of Randy's nature, thr


  A to Z Reflections Post: Late, as usual So I guess this was supposed to happen yesterday. To be honest, the listless A to Z was, in fact, listless, and I was busy, so I pretty much just put it all behind me and carried on. But it seems only fair to offer my reflections and opinions, if anyone is listening. Does that sound cynical? There may be a reason for that. You see, because of my time zone and my personal schedule (I could, of course, have posted at 3 the afternoon before and put my links up when the Brits did. But I don't want to), I ended up posting my link in the comments pretty much dead last every day. And that attracted I'm not sure if anyone visited here who wasn't responding to my visits, and frankly, I found people to visit by following comments on my friends' blogs. As a means of publicizing and promoting my blog, it was not, in fact, worth the touted "five minutes a day" (and yes, I resented the implication in the surv

Middle Grade Review: The Only Road, by Alexandra Diaz

  Title: The Only Road Author: Alexandra Diaz Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. 308 pages Source: Library Publisher's Summary: Jaime is sitting on his bed drawing when he hears a scream. Instantly, he knows: Miguel, his cousin and best friend, is dead. Everyone in Jaime’s small town in Guatemala knows someone who has been killed by the Alphas, a powerful gang that’s known for violence and drug trafficking. Anyone who refuses to work for them is hurt or killed—like Miguel. With Miguel gone, Jaime fears that he is next. There’s only one choice: accompanied by his cousin Ángela, Jaime must flee his home to live with his older brother in New Mexico. Inspired by true events, The Only Road is an individual story of a boy who feels that leaving his home and risking everything is his only chance for a better life.   
 My Review:  The events that inspired this book, as suggested in the blurb, aren't necessarily the travels of one specific child, but of

Photo Friday: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

It's been a long time since I did a photo special, but I have some good shots to share from a late-March visit to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, in southern California. The area got some hype this year about a super-bloom, and while it was maybe a bit exaggerated, we certainly found good flowers, and far more than we've seen in recent years. The drive down from San Francisco is a long one, but it was nice to see the hills covered in green (and a fair number of California poppies). We began our trip with something new (for us): a 60-mile bike ride that took us up into the hills to the west, to have lunch in the town of Julian before a glorious descent back to the park (and the heat). Pre-sunrise breakfast before starting to ride. We needed an early start to beat the heat and the traffic. Started right off with the looooong climb out of the valley. This was just the beginning. After the first  dozen miles, we got a respite in Ranchita. Where they seem to revere Bigfoot (more on


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 (click on the badge above for the list) and connect with your fellow writers - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! This month's question:  What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story? Great question, so I think I'll talk about that! Actually, I've long had a joke about some of the things we writers of murder mysteries research, a