Sunday, March 22, 2015

A review: The Apple of My Eye

Somebody far wiser than me once said, "If you want to be a good writer, you have to read."  I've always taken those words to heart, to the point that I have been known to become so engrossed in a good book that my family will give up trying to engage me in conversations.

While I occasionally read from other genres, mysteries are what draw me in.  As a kid I read all the Sherlock Holmes books, then graduated to the Travis McGee series by the late John D. MacDonald.  As time went on, I started throwing a wider net, drawing in other authors who friends would recommend or I'd stumble upon at library sales and used book stories.  I'm a mystery junkie. Nuff said.

Recently a couple of the authors with Black Rose Writing offered to trade books. One of those, "I'll read yours if you read mine" kind of things.  This was done with no expectations, just a chance to dig into another book.  Yeah, that's like telling me I can only have one M & M.  Get real!

So I was able to obtain a copy of Mary Ellen Bramwell's romance/mystery "The Apple of My Eye".  Since that's the same category as my Jamie Richmond series,  the familiar territory sounded good.
Here's my take on the story:

Mary Ellen Bramwell delivers with this engaging story, combining true love and mystery with a delicate touch.  All of her characters are well drawn, particularly the young couple Paul and Brea who discover each other and the possibility of long term happiness.

But how well can you know someone? That’s one of the central questions to this story. Bramwell does an excellent job, raising all the questions and doubts that one might have when their peaceful idyllic life is disrupted. Her portrayal of Brea, the young wife and mother, is right on target. This is no one-dimensional cardboard character. She’s brought to life with all the aches and pains of the situation and a stubborn determination to learn the truth, no matter what the cost. Her plight draws you in and keeps the pages turning.

There is plenty of mystery involved here. And just when you think you’ve got everything figured out, Bramwell deftly slips in another curve. 

This is a very enjoyable read that shares, romance, mystery, murder and more than a few surprises.

So if you're interested in a great read, here's a link to the book.  5 Stars

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fiction Readers Make Better People!

I have always been a voracious reader.  At times, I'll get so engrossed in a good book that the kitchen could catch fire and I wouldn't notice. As such, I've always believed that readers make better people. Particularly those who read fiction. It takes a certain imagination to get swept up in a good story. It definitely takes talent to write one that can draw your reader along for the ride. 

What I've always found intriguing is to get caught up in a story and learn new things along the way.  Guys like James Rollins, who writes those amazing Sigma novels, can weave espionage, history, religion and science together in such an engaging way that you don't realize you're learning something new. Rollins always amazes me.  It's no accident that it happens. You just never know when you'll pick something up.  If you haven't tried one of his books yet, I highly recommend "Map of Bones".  Stop by his website if you'd like to sample some of his efforts.

Anyway I was reading a business article the other day and was delighted to see a scientific study that supported what I always believed to be true: Those who read fiction make better people. Hey, don't take my word for it. Check out the piece in the link below.

And just in case you hadn't heard it, today is PI day.  That's the mathematical PI. 3.1415 and so on.  Seems like it is causing a run on the bakeries.  Got a favorite?  Here's a shot of mine.

Image result for key lime pie

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Music sets the tempo

Last week I met with the writer's workshop group. It was a smaller gathering than normal, but interesting nonetheless.  One of the guys mentioned he must have absolute silence when he's writing and he assumed that's the way everyone does. He was befuddled when looking to me for confirmation.  I merely pointed out that what works for him doesn't necessarily work for everyone else. I'm an example of that.

Years ago I discovered that I cannot write without music. Different types of music seem to match my mood or the mood I'm trying to create.  If it's a fast paced scene, with plenty of action, I'll put on some serious rock and roll or some rhythm and blues.  ZZ Top, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger and Stevie Ray Vaughan may be in the lineup.  Slower music like Diana Krall, James Taylor or Earl Klugh fit well with episodes of reflection or seduction.

     Image result for Diana Krall photos

I explained that for me, music sets the tempo. Faster tracks lead to short, fast sentences, where the scene is moving quickly. The trick is to draw your reader along, matching your pace. Slower tracks offer a peak behind the curtain, where you can get inside the character's head and see what they're thinking or feeling.

But that's what works for me.  As I told him, everyone is different. You have to find out what works for you.  Music works for me.  And I'd be lost without Pandora, where I can change tracks at will.


I learned yesterday that the beginning of "Vanishing Act"  the second book in the Jamie Richmond series,is featured in the March issue of "Cravings" magazine.  You can check it out here.

Don't forget there's still time to win a free copy of "Why 319?" by entering at Goodreads. Two copies will be given away at the end of the month.