Monday, November 24, 2014

The Anthology of Cozy-Noir
Editor: Andrew MacRae
Published by Darkhouse Books, Nov. 7, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-9908428-0-4

Editor Andrew MacRae compiled an eclectic array of short stories for his debut publication, The Anthology of Cozy-Noir. He considers it a new sub-genre yet the reader will find the traditional PI down on his luck, a sweet lady with knitting needles in hand and a mix of herbs from the garden that are sure to kill. However, there are no cats to be stroked, thus, more die hard killers or misfits who can’t get their finger off the trigger. For that, readers who love grit can be thankful. This first publication comes out of the cannon full force. Each story is full of explosive delights. Character development at its best. Twist and turns to make you dizzy. Blunt force when it’s needed and endings that amuse, satisfy and console. Do I have my best liked and my least—yes. But why spoil the fun. This collection proves the writers know how to put a match to a fuse and write a damn good story. Watch out mystery magazine publishers, Darkhouse Books has stories that rival the best sellers of shorts. This go-anywhere book should fly off the shelves.

Submitted by Wil A. Emerson
Nov. 23, 2014

The Anthology of Cozy-Noir contributed by the Editor

Quips about each author's contribution:
The Roseville Way by Robert Lopresti
Honor among thieves even in a small pizza joint. Knitting needles outwit the thugs. Order a large on with pepperoni...can't go wrong with this clever story.
The Pact by Judy Brownsword
Know thyself. A harsh way to keep principles intact but resolve pays off. Crazy ideas lead to murder but can you pull the trigger? Blunt ending...go for it.
Sweet Murder by Magdalena Jones
Delightful dessert of adverbs galore. Mystery editors be damned. Jones does 'ly' with humor and grace. This is a honey of a story!
The Photograph by Herschel Cozine
Drop out PI and an unpleasant murder. Add a preacher's wife who lies and a wily girlfriend who wants you to succeed. It's all in the photo and it ain't been shopped. Click, you're caught.
Everybody Knows This is Nowhere by L.E.Schwaller
The Moreau River can be a ghastly place with sticky gnats and fat mosquitos. It can also swallow a lot of secrets. Schwaller takes you there and back. His humor as biting as the gnats.
The Ferry Tail Murder by Percy Spurlark Parker
Mistress of Detection W.W. Willowby needs to find who killed hot headed Abby. Fairy tales and ballgowns. Deception, Parker has a knack for originality and a spot on ending. It's deadly clever.
Male Leary Comes Home by Michael Guillebeau
The sea has toughened young Mr. Leary but at home he has to conquer ill weather, too. Can Male survive the rising tide between Queen and the Bronx, Guillebeau makes sure he handles it well. 
Noir is Dead by Kate McCork
Hard boild tale, cancer sticks and tongue in cheek. But metaphors will kill you. A story of who's who.
Winner or be the judge. No disguise here...clever writing.
Bravisimo by David Himmel
The Dennings have money and give a lot away. Bradley, serves them with a flair which leads to an assumption he is gay. Susie's mistake--the next one kills her. Bradley knows it's all about work ethics.
Dead Dames Don't Wear Diamonds
In a lonely place, there's time to figure out what went wrong. Tee Bone's wife offered to help Dan Taylor and takes him on the bull ride of his life only to discover he's left alone in the saddle. As time goes by, he'll figure out what haunts him.  Thumbs up for the humor and guile.
Complete Deceit by Lynn Kinnaman
A stately matron in a button down, ankle length dress wants to hire Peter Ellroy. Peter would rather pour another shot of bourbon than chase down a murderer. But there's bills to pay. An unseen hand orchestras this mystery, But past and present come alive on a flash drive. Good ending for a wake. 
Little J's Sweet Potato Pie by Wenda Morrone
Oh, Lordy, Sweet potato pie. Little J, the street kid, wants Gideon to have it one more time. Vidalia, the trannie, knows someone who will bake it. But it'll cost a lot of money. J can get it if he outwits another thief. Easy as pie or will Little J stumble in the back alley? Oh my, this is clever.
The Last Dinner by John Haas
The reading of a will isn't necessarily for the living. Sam Carter, the Chili King has a bodyguard, Richard Lassiter, to protect him from animal activists and foodie fans. But he should fear his family. When he dies from a bad form of Mad Cow's disease the will gathering awakes the family to the fact that a bowl of chili has more in it than cumin. It's the dish that keeps on giving.

And thus, this final tale is the perfect ending for the short story gourmand.  The dessert that makes you smile for a long time.
Cheers to Andrew and his delicious serving of sweet, marinated and writers!    

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hiatus over

It's been a long, sticky, unnerving.  It unfolded too fast, after a very unsettling spring.
A series of events clouded my thinking, took my breath away and forced me to look at one day at a time; let go of the mundane issues of the day. 

When someone you love dies, there's no quick fix for the pain.  The days, though, have to be played out whether it's fair weather or not.

Details are too excruciating to explain the loss and how the hot summer affected the core of the sorrow.  The trail of death goes beyond one heart.  It causes a fracture amongst many.  In ninety-five degrees, we stumbled around the edges, the reality of it and attempted to disguise the what ifs.  If you had, if she had, if we had, if......

And now it's August.  As the eight month draws to an end, the leaves of the birch trees lose their emerald green glow and forest fronds begin to curl and turn brown.  I don't have to look at the calendar to know summer is almost over. Although plans are being made on how to deal with the winter, the truth is spring will hold the answer as to how well we've adjusted to the absence of one heart.  I've warmed a little to the notion that spring can come and it can be good. 

But before I leap that far, I have to finish summer, embrace the decline of it, turn on a light as the days grow shorter, shore up a few logs in preparation for the reality of a deep frost, the snow and ice.  And I will, short stories and send Moon Shadow, my latest novel, off to market.

Moon Shadow is about a young woman who marries the man of her dreams.  Her spring heart is full of love and grandiose plans for the future.  But the weather changes quickly and his winter comes before her wedding flowers wilt.  Will she adjust to the disappointment, the uncertainty?  Can she hide behind work, the community?  She's the preacher's wife and must carry out her duties.  Intimacy, fulfillment, happiness at her fingertips; is it too much to ask?  Soon she learns it takes more than the passing of time to find inner peace.  Moon Shadow isn't over until the season of hope returns.

So I grasp the future once more, the change of season, ready to get lost in my work.  Fall is like a warm scarf for the soul.  It wraps around you in a variety of color, aromas, sounds.  It makes you think about winter, reminds you to prepare for the unexpected.  With autumn's cool wind at your back, you have to move on.  You're stronger, ready to embrace what unfolds.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Winter Day...Disappointing or Not?.

When it's sunny, a mood can change for the better.
I feel so good with a sunny, blue sky. It even makes me optimistic
about the economy.
Even a disappointing book seems better than when I finished it last night.

The King of the Badgers.

What started out as a mystery about a little girl's disappearance turned into one big sexual party. A homosexual party, at that. No, don't call me a homophobe, prejuidice or too stupid to understand about sexual liberty.
If the book had been about heterosexuals and their love fests, I would have been as equally disinterested. Remember it started with the young girl's disappearance.

I wasn't prepared for the ongoing (inter)course of the story. From start to finish, the multiple love fests had no relevance. In my limited and humble opinion, I think homos or heteros would not want to be characterized by this kind of story telling.

But in the light of day---something clicked: I got it. I got the essence of the book. The protagonist was actually the quaint town where all these prolific lovers, non-lovers and bad people lived. Sort of a hum-drum town with a lot of superficial inhabitants with little else to do...but carry on with one fiesty, furious, fest after another.

In that sense, it was a marvelous book.

But I'd never want to live where The King of the Badgers reign.
I don't particularly like people talking about their sex life. Homo or Hetero. Seems like it takes all the mystery, romance, wonder, fun out of the experience. And shouldn't the act itself be something magnificant? Something more than a cluster f...well, you know where that goes....

The King of the Badger...don't check it out. Or do...if you want to read something that is well written, something that is unique, something that proves a book can be published and bought by many whether the subject matter is worthy or not. Don't buy it...borrow from a friend or from someone who mistakenly purchased it and now wants to prove a point. Some bad books get published. People shouldn't make a lot of money off of them.
If I'm wrong, post me a note....

Friday, January 20, 2012

Snowy Day....Winter Blues?

People complain about the weather. Rain, snow, hot, cold, too dry, too wet...too tooo. I really don't care about the weather. In that, as soon as someone starts talking about it, I tune out. In my mind, weather is exactly what it's suppose to be. That is, it's always changing, sometimes perfect, not always for the good, not a death sentence either, it just is what it is.

When I was young, I watched how older people reacted to the weather. Couldn't figure out what all the concern and drama was about. Visitors to my parent's house, either neighbors or relatives, would sit around the table and talk 'weather'. We seldom had visitors so I was struck by the change in our household. My parents became talkative, outgoing people, involved in the conversation as much as the worried aunt or the grumpy neighbor. My parents seemed so polite and polished compared to the somewhat sterner behavior they exhibited while dealing with eight kids and not a lot of variety in their life. Except the weather and the occasional visitor. I'd watch, listen and soon start fidgeting. As the 'oh my gods' about the pending winter storm, the summer heat, the threat of a tornado increased in intensity, I'd fidget, squirm and twiddle as though a mouse had found a piece of cheese in my jeans.

One time a tornado had every one in a near fit. Oklahoma experienced a big blow-out over a small remote town and Cousin Tom was sure it could come our way. (We lived in the north--hundreds of miles from that fierce, dry windy area. I wondered if it would reach us and what it would look like. Now that would be something to talk about.) I'd got so fidgety during those duanting times that my mother would give me the 'eye'. Yet even her stern look couldn't make me settle down.

I wanted to run outside, escape the duldrums, get into the weather, feel it, smell it, taste the rain drops on my tongue, run my fingers through the snow. Make a snowman or build a pile of leaves so high, I couldn't be found when I dived into them. My attitude hasn't changed too much and the weather certainly hasn't gone dormant, either.

So it's snowing today. The sky is a deep blue/gray. The sun peaking out now and then and the temperature at a level that makes the roof of your mouth cold if you leave it open too long. Winter is like biting into an ice cream cone and getting brain burn. Once you get past the brain and savor the flavor of the smooth cream, you're in heaven. Yes, winter bites at the core of you...but it is so lovely.

I seldom see a cardinal in the summer because there are so many colorful sights to take in. Daffodils, dandelions, corn stalks, falling leaves. But in the winter, a cardinal stands out like...well, a bright red cardinal. It chirps and flits around like it's on a warm, balmy vacation. Lovely.

I've planned a drive into the city tomorrow. A weekend get-away. Several inches of the white stuff has fallen, more expected; winter storm warmings and cautions on the news. I'm fidgeting. Have my boots at the door, an extra pair of gloves in my furry jacket pocket. I turned off the TV when the weather came on again. It reminded me of those days not so long ago when my mother would give me that 'eye'. The relatives all in a buzz like someone had disturbed their beehive.

Stop fidgeting? No, I'm going outside. Gotta taste that snowflake on my tongue, gotta build a snowman, kick the snow and ice off the underside of the car, will watch the other drivers on the road, clutching their steering wheels, oh my god. It's winter...and I'm fidgeting. Gotta get out there.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What's in the news?...

Another day of agony...
Alex Baldwin makes an ass of himself and the air waves are trembling with the 'news'. I wish there had been just one small announcement in the back of a very bad newspaper stating Baldwin had been thrown off a plane for being a major pain in the ass. Of course, the real reason would eventually leak out (rude, obnoxious, condescending, ignorant about rules that we all must abide by) and we'd all have a good laugh. But then he wouldn't get any major publicity to confirm in his mind he's a 'celebrity' which translates to the level of importance in his feeble mind. Did his publiscist leak the story?

Then another 'big' story--perhaps of a more lofty concern---Blago is going to do jail time. A political jokester who thought he could use tax payer's money to put 'his' people in office so they/he could juggle the system (at our expense) to suit their/his selfish, immoral needs. He did get a little break, though, from the jail time until February. Will that give him enough time to explain to his 'babies' (his words) the adversity he and his wife are facing? How do you tell your kids you are a blatant crook? And why would a woman with a clear mind, a strong constitution, stand by and weap? Oh, I get it, he's a 'celebrity', too. She loves dishonest, immoral men. Blago was a tough guy through the whole court process, on TV with bragging rights, claiming his innocence, nothing done that hadn't been done before...until he got caught, begged for mercy in front of the sentencing judge and showed that he really doesn't wear big boy pants when push comes to shove. Bye bye Blago...another dirty politician bites the dust. Oh yes, we pay for his dirty deeds while he's behind bars but perhaps it will dissuade other celebrity seeking, power hungry rouges.

And then the finale....I can't reminder this guy's name. The former football coach from Penn State who likes young boys. Maybe I'm the only person who doesn't remember his name---I'm glad I only have so much room for worthy info in this brain file. Okay, he hasn't been proven quilty. I'll be kind. But, in my book...where there's smoke, there's fire. How many young men have to come forward before the proof is in the pudding? What really bugs me is the fact many people knew his proclivities with young males for a long, long time. Why did they cover up his pedophile fetish? Because the game, the football game, was more important than the sexual cravings of a contributor to the game. Little boys grow up. Maybe they, too, would worship the game, foster the myth, engage in the religion of "Football Reigns".

A psychologist wrote on the subject...Why do respectable men cover up these dirty deeds? Bottom line, males generally stick together when the cause is greater than the mortals begins lost in the shuffle.

Whether it's male star status, the glory of the win, or politics, the group is the bigger picture. The limelight, the win, the instant gratification, these kind of guys dig it.

Thank god...or whomever, for all the other good guys in this world.

So where does this leave me? Overall, I'm more pissed with Baldwin...he's a total A.H. Has proved it over and over again and somehow, he's elevated to 'newsworthy'. And he thinks he's important!
The other two.....they are pathological and will eat dirt for quite a while. Jail time. Hopefully we'll all forget about the lot of them.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Camping...New York Style

I'd like to go to New York in the spring...when there's no fear of snow. But rooms costs several hundred dollars a night. The rooms I like cost even more. So my plan is to camp out in Central Park. A little inconvenience won't bother me.

If I take a tent, a Coleman heater, and a good sleeping bag, I can save a lot of money. If I'm frugal this winter, I can buy one of those blow-up mattresses to sleep on.

I'll fly there, of course. Air fares aren't too expensive in the spring. I figure I can get all my camping supplies in one large suitcase, avoid extra baggage costs and put the few clothes I need in a back pack. A pair of jeans, drip dry tops, a nice pair of black slacks and black knit jacket in case I want to see a show. Walking shoes, of course.

I think Central Park is a good place to camp. Beautiful views, drinking water, rest rooms, nice people, police protection just in case a few dissidents rumble and for exercise, several walking trails. I won't cook out--there's a 'no grilling or campfires' rule in the city. Law biding camper, that's me. For just a few dollars, the street vendors will feed me well. The money I save on a hotel room will easily allow me one or two meals in a good restaurant if I need a change of pace from street food.

Oh, did I hear you say 'there's no camping in Central Park..not any park in New York City.' Oh really!

So those campers, I've seen on TV night after night over the last two months or more ...those are just figments of my imagination? Didn't they show row after row of tents, sleeping know, camping stuff?

Oh, you say they are protestors, not campers.

Okay, I think I get it. Some people can camp in the city. Some can't. If you have something to complain about, you can camp...pitch a tent, settle in and make yourself at home whether others want you or not. You beg for food, demand curb side service and don't even worry about waiting in line for a rest room. Just use a bush or squat by a tree. No problem.

It certainly is okay to camp/protest on public property, you say...we all own it, don't we? From what I've seen, you can be totally irresponsible on public property. I hear that if you scream loud enough, cry foul, soon city workers come and clean up after you...Was that your mess...or was it communal crap? No matter for me, I'll be a rather tidy camper.

The world is unfair, the big banks are out to get us, there's no fair share...well, okay, 'camp' in the city. You don't even have to claim you are homeless or indigent or unemployed. Good. So to be a city camper...well all I have to do is whine and complain. Got it!.

Then stake my tent on whatever piece of property I want. I can obstruct traffic, hinder business, spit on the police and cry foul play all night long. I don't have to close up shop, put out the lights or be kind to my fellow citizens. I just have to be obnoxious, disrespectful, disorderly, irresponsible or foolish. And, of course, I can defecate on the street...that seems to be the rite of passage...if you are a real camper.

So I'm going to camp in Central Park. Because----

I'm unhappy that unfair minded citizens can camp out, cause our city governments to spend huge amounts of money on their waste products, cause police officers to work extra hours and not be able to provide other services to law biding citizens. That's a start, isn't it? I'm also unhappy that streets are closed, traffic is stalled and law biding citizens are prevented access to public areas because of unsavory campers. I'm unhappy because if I watch TV I have to hear about a lot of sorry lots who have nothing better to do than act like fools. That makes me rather sad, disappointed and frustrated, too. I have a lot to complain about.

You say I don't have a legitimate complaint? Of course, I do. I say I do, therefore I do. And that's why I'm going camping in Central Park this spring.

Maybe I'll head out to Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, too. Oh, L.A. might be fun. I'll take any donations that come my way. I need help to get me where I want to go. Come on, hand out some money, give me, give me lots of money. You don't want to give me money? You're suppose to give me money. Aren't you?

If not, then I have another reason to camp in Central Park...I don't have enough of your money. That definitely is worth complaining about.

New York, here I come!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Author....

I always say writing a book is easy. The hard work is getting it published. I'm happy to report that Lane Stone's book, Current Affairs, is published and has been released. I'm happy she offered me a copy for review. Scroll down below, past the blogs, to read the review (please).

Today is a good day to Write for Reason. This one is not a rant, not a warning, just a good-feeling chat. It's about Lane Stone.

I met Lane (alias Abbey)at Killer Nashville. We were trying to figure out who stole the beef. A mystery. Sort of...dinner arrangements were changed by the event organizer and a few stragglers didn't have a clue as to where we'd get our meal fix. Other than the hunger pains and a great need for a glass of red wine, we didn't care about the beef. We intended to listen to mystery writer, Jeffery Deaver, and we'd dished out $75 for the dinner event. Plus, the high heels we were wearing to prove we could still walk with straight ankles were annoying.

So we joined forces, put our collective wisdom together to locate the beef. Luckily our instincts were intact even with the above noted distractions. We found the dining room. The salads were still being passed and a waiter still taking drink orders. Big Red wasn't quite appropriate for the asking, the dining room fit the occasion, so we settled on a robust Zin and didn't gulp it too quickly.

Thing is, we were virtual strangers. But it didn't seem like it that night. We had a great dinner together...well, we actually were seated with 6 or 8 unsuspecting writers/fans who listened to our chatter and joined in occasionally. We had a lot to talk about---we didn't know each other.

At any rate, Lane Stone's book is available. Current Affairs...a Tiara Investigations Mystery. There's no mystery is a funny book. You'll get the essence of Lane when you read the story. But between the lines, you'll uncover this witty, intelligent, good looking lady who's not afraid to laugh out loud or make a new friend. She's a worldly chick with a lot of chique. If by chance you meet her at a writer's conference, invite her to dinner. Tell her I said hello....
Cheers, Wil