Monthly Archives: April 2012

Indie Find: Dani Amore

I spent many of the intervening years between 1987 and 2007 working part-time in bookstores belonging to various chains. Besides the hefty discounts, we also had borrowing privileges, which I made liberal use of. I developed a bad habit of buying books the day they hit the market (called a “street date”). As intended, the more reading I did, the better I was at selling books. “Oh, you like this? Then you’ll love. . .XYZ.”

If you like sarcasm, you are going to love Mary Cooper in Death by Sarcasm. Her mind works quickly and she’ll keep you on your toes. She is decidedly hard-boiled, which I admire. Some of my favorite detectives are hard-boiled. Philip Marlowe, the Continental Op, Sam Spade. The private detective in a hard-boiled novel is tough. He or she has seen it all and almost nothing comes as a surprise. Well, except maybe creative use of a Richard Nixon mask, but I will not spoil any further. There’s a world-weariness, a cynicism because life can royally, truly suck. Yet, there’s sensitivity too, and hope. You’ll like Mary. I’ll definitely be checking out more of Amore’s books. You can visit her website here. Tell her you like her book. Tell her the author of Bloody Murder sent you.

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A brief moment of self-indulgence

If you’ve been around the web for the last ten years, you’ve come across some of the memes that tell you what color you are, which superhero you are and just where you might fit inside some of the hopefully iconic pieces of popular culture.  You have to, of course, take these with a grain of salt,  some lime juice and if you’re a drinking sort, a shot of very good tequila.

Last week, I found Who Do You Write Like? I could not just ignore this one. I plugged in a few paragraphs from the beginning of Bloody Murder and got the below results.

<!– Begin I Write Like Badge –>
<div style=”overflow:auto;border:2px solid #ddd;font:20px/1.2 Arial,sans-serif;width:380px;padding:5px; background:#F7F7F7; color:#555″><img src=”http://s.iwl.me/w.png&#8221; style=”float:right” width=”120″><div style=”padding:20px; border-bottom:1px solid #eee; text-shadow:#fff 0 1px”> I write like<br><a href=”http://iwl.me/w/8ccf5154&#8243; style=”font-size:30px;color:#698B22;text-decoration:none”>Kurt Vonnegut</a></div><p style=”font-size:11px; text-align:center; color:#888″><em>I Write Like</em> by Mémoires, <a href=”http://www.codingrobots.com/memoires/&#8221; style=”color:#888″>journal software</a>. <a href=”http://iwl.me&#8221; style=”color:#333; background:#FFFFE0″><b>Analyze your writing!</b></a></p></div>
<!– End I Write Like Badge –>

I am not worthy of such an honor, but it’s fun to think about. My characters do not come unstuck in time, there are no visits from friendly Tralfamadorians, Kilgore Trout is not an author sold in Zofia’s bookstore.

I’ve loved most Vonnegut I’ve read. My favorite is probably The Sirens of Titan, tied with the short story of Harrison Bergeron.  Both are dystopic and highly thought-provoking and are told in not a heavily threatening style like 1984 or Brave New World. Instead, there is a lightness, a flippancy almost, the narrator seems delighted in the world that is being presented.

I can only hope to be so thought-provoking. Flippant, on the other, I think Zofia and I have down pat.

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Where I’ve been, Where I’m going, What I’m reading

In the immortal words of Zonker Harris, Heeeeeeeeeewack! She’s back!

A lot has been going on, much of it very exciting. I found an experienced and inexpensive editor through a colleague at my day job. We’re hitting a bit of a snag, however. She prefers to work from paper copy. I have no issues with this, it will actually be easier for me to make corrections. So, I figured I’d just send the large print job to Kinko’s FedExOffice and ship it from there.  Um, not for $160 I won’t. That’s a couple weeks worth of groceries if I buy the expensive cuts of meat (My food blog, Knives, Fire and Fun is also suffering from benign neglect, but I digress). So, the printer needs setting up.

My sweetie, who I’ll call Nexx to protect his privacy somewhat, is the one who sets up the network hardware. We moved last weekend, and while our Macbooks are on the internet, as is the Windows box I use for my day job, the server and the networking and the printer aren’t set up yet. I haven’t done any networking in over a decade, I’m embarrassed to say. I’m sure I could figure it out, but the cursing might disturb the new neighbors.

In reading lately, I’m currently adding to my Phryne Fisher collection. I was turned on to this series a long time ago by an Australian friend before they were available in the US, and wasn’t able to get very many of them (shipping from Down Under is quite expensive). The Hon. Phryne Fisher is a fascinating woman. Born dirt poor in Australia, her father inherited a title when multiple heirs perished in World War 1. Phryne ran off to Paris, spent some time as an ambulance driver and later as an artist’s model before returning to Victoria where she wreaks havoc not just by solving mysteries, but by doing such unladylike things as wearing pants and flying an aeroplane. The series is by Kerry Greenwood, and they are a delightful read with a fascinating supporting cast ranging from a Chinese lover to a couple of communist taxi drivers.

I’ve also fallen hard for Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century books, having just finished the second one. Her America is quite unlike our own. The Civil War (or if you prefer, “that unpleasantness with the North”) has been raging for years. In the Washington territory, part of Seattle is sealed off because of a toxic gas, though if you refine the gas, you can contribute to the drug trade. Technology is steampunk–dirigibles, clockwork machinery. Where I really admire Priest’s style is she’s not afraid to have a female protagonist over the age of thirty (Zofia is 32 is Bloody Murder). Both books feature a pair of perspectives that join together by the end of the story. Wonderful stuff that stretches the imagination and touches the heart as well.

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