Sunday, March 25, 2012

BW 13: Imprint - Mulholland Books

I just started reading Marcia Clark's (yes, the one of OJ fame) debut crime fiction novel "Guilty by Association."  

Synopsis: Brilliant and tenacious, DA Rachel Knight lives and breathes her work and disdains office politics—a combustible combination that often gets her into trouble. She is a stalwart member of the elite Special Trials Unit, a small group of handpicked prosecutors that handles the toughest, most sensitive, and most celebrated cases in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.

At the end of a typical ten-hour day, Rachel has her sights set on an ice-cold martini at the Biltmore Hotel, where she lives. But on her way she’s sidetracked by the wail of sirens and the commotion of a crime scene. Cops swarm around a seedy motel, where Rachel is surprised to discover that Jake, a dear friend and fellow prosecutor, has been murdered.

The suspicious and potentially explosive circumstances of Jake’s death are never far from Rachel’s thoughts as she takes on her fallen colleague’s most politically charged case: the mysterious assault on a young woman from an influential L.A. family. Rachel enlists the help of her best friends and partners in crime-fighting—Toni, a fellow Special Trials prosecutor, and Bailey, a tough-as-nails LAPD detective—to covertly undertake her own investigation into Jake’s murder. Rachel’s drive to clear Jake’s name exposes a world of power and violence that will have her risking her reputation—and her life—to find the truth.

A couple years back I went to Bouchercon world mystery convention and one of the panels I attended was the introduction of MULHOLLAND BOOKS, a  new imprint of Little, Brown and Company which is a division of Hachette Book Group. The imprint focuses on suspense novels: crime novels, thrillers, police procedurals, spy stories, even supernatural suspense. The authors included Marcia Clark (what a surprise)  as well as Mark Billingham, Duane Swierczynski, and Sebastian Rotella to name a few. New to me authors that definitely piqued my interest.  Since the imprint began, they've grown a great deal. Their authors now include
    The links lead to each author's website.  Mullholland's website is great and also includes original fiction to read including Mark Billingham's original short story, THE WALLS which is available to read or listen to in audio book form. Interested in reading some popcorn fiction - check out the short pulpy fiction stories by various authors.  It'll keep you occupied a while. 

    Clark has a new novel, a follow up to her first book, Guilt by Degrees which  will be coming out May 8, 2012.  Be sure to check out the site. 

    This week I'll be attending another mystery convention in my hometown  Left Coast Crime. No doubt I'll discover many new to me authors and will be introducing you to them in the near future.

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    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    BW12: Jody Hedlund

    Jody Hedlund
    I've been following Jody Hedlund almost since she started her blog and before she published her first novel.   She is a home school mom of 5 kids (including twins) ranging from 5 to 14 and married 20 years to her college sweetheart who is also very supportive of her writing career.  Jody is very wise when it comes to writing and her posts are thought provoking, educational and encouraging.  So when her debut novel "The Preacher's Bride" came out I couldn't wait to read it.

    The Preacher's Bride
    The Preacher's Bride is a historical fiction novel based on the life of John Bunyan (writer of Pilgrim's Progress) and his wife, Elizabeth.  Hedlund took creative license and wrote an story that is so touching and emotional, it catches and pulls you in and won't let you go until the very end.  I wasn't the only one captured by her writing. She won first prize in  Romance Writer's of America Faith Hope and Love's division Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest.  Check out an excerpt  from the first chapter.  

    Since then she's written "The Doctor's Lady" which is sitting at the top of my TBR pile calling my name. 

    The Doctor's Lady

     "Priscilla White knows she'll never be a wife or mother and feels God's call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field.

    Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God's leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts."  
     Check out this excerpt from Jody's website.

    She has a new novel coming out in September 2012 "Unending Devotion" which is available for Pre-order on Amazon. 
    Unending Devotion
    "In 1883 Michigan, Lily Young is on a mission to save her lost sister, or die trying. Heedless of the danger, her searches of logging camps lead her to Harrison and into the sights of Connell McCormick, a man doing his best to add to the hard-earned fortunes of his lumber-baron father.

    Posing during the day as a photographer’s assistant, Lily can’t understand why any God-fearing citizen would allow evil to persist and why men like Connell McCormick turn a blind eye to the crime rampant in the town. But Connell is boss-man of three of his father’s lumber camps in the area, and like most of the other men, he’s interested in clearing the pine and earning a profit. He figures as long as he’s living an upright life, that’s what matters.

    Lily challenges everything he thought he knew, and together they work not only to save her sister but to put an end to the corruption that’s dominated Harrison for so long."

    Whether you are an aspiring writer (like me) or not, be sure to check out Jody's blog where she posts every Tuesday and Thursday with writing tips, inspiration and encouragement.  


    Get ready: April is read a Russian author month. Since I've already read Tolstoy will be diving into The Brother's Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

    Amazon Listmania - incredible Russian Authors
    Zeroland's Famous Russian Writer's and Poets
    Talk Literature book Club chronological list of Russian writers

    Link to your most current read. Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you have multiple reviews, then type in (multi) after your name and link to your general blog url.

    If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.

    Saturday, March 10, 2012

    BW 11: G.K. Chesterton's "The Man Who Was Thursday"

    G.K. Chesterton
    1874 - 1936

    G.K. Chesterton, English author and critic,  wrote over 80 books, many essays, poems, short stories and a few plays during his lifetime.  He is probably best known for his Father Brown Mysteries and his novel The Man Who Was Thursday. 

    Since I've over inundated you with book selections the past couple weeks, I'll leave you with an excerpt from the first chapter of The Man Who Was Thursday:

    Dedication To Edmund Clerihew Bentley

    A cloud was on the mind of men, and wailing went the weather,
    Yea, a sick cloud upon the soul when we were boys together.
    Science announced nonentity and art admired decay;
    The world was old and ended: but you and I were gay;

    Round us in antic order their crippled vices came --
    Lust that had lost its laughter, fear that had lost its shame.
    Like the white lock of Whistler, that lit our aimless gloom,
    Men showed their own white feather as proudly as a plume.

    Life was a fly that faded, and death a drone that stung;
    The world was very old indeed when you and I were young.
    They twisted even decent sin to shapes not to be named:
    Men were ashamed of honour; but we were not ashamed.

    Weak if we were and foolish, not thus we failed, not thus;
    When that black Baal blocked the heavens he had no hymns from us
    Children we were -- our forts of sand were even as weak as eve,
    High as they went we piled them up to break that bitter sea.

    Fools as we were in motley, all jangling and absurd,
    When all church bells were silent our cap and beds were heard.
    Not all unhelped we held the fort, our tiny flags unfurled;
    Some giants laboured in that cloud to lift it from the world.

    I find again the book we found, I feel the hour that flings
    Far out of fish-shaped Paumanok some cry of cleaner things;
    And the Green Carnation withered, as in forest fires that pass,
    Roared in the wind of all the world ten million leaves of grass;

    Or sane and sweet and sudden as a bird sings in the rain --
    Truth out of Tusitala spoke and pleasure out of pain.
    Yea, cool and clear and sudden as a bird sings in the grey,
    Dunedin to Samoa spoke, and darkness unto day.

    But we were young; we lived to see God break their bitter charms.
    God and the good Republic come riding back in arms:
    We have seen the City of Mansoul, even as it rocked, relieved --
    Blessed are they who did not see, but being blind, believed.

    This is a tale of those old fears, even of those emptied hells,
    And none but you shall understand the true thing that it tells --
    Of what colossal gods of shame could cow men and yet crash,
    Of what huge devils hid the stars, yet fell at a pistol flash.

    The doubts that were so plain to chase, so dreadful to withstand --
    Oh, who shall understand but you; yea, who shall understand?
    The doubts that drove us through the night as we two talked amain,
    And day had broken on the streets e'er it broke upon the brain.

    Between us, by the peace of God, such truth can now be told;
    Yea, there is strength in striking root and good in growing old.
    We have found common things at last and marriage and a creed,
    And I may safely write it now, and you may safely read.
    G. K. C.


    THE suburb of Saffron Park lay on the sunset side of London, as red and ragged as a cloud of sunset. It was built of a bright brick throughout; its sky-line was fantastic, and even its ground plan was wild. It had been the outburst of a speculative builder, faintly tinged with art, who called its architecture sometimes Elizabethan and sometimes Queen Anne, apparently under the impression that the two sovereigns were identical. It was described with some justice as an artistic colony, though it never in any definable way produced any art. But although its pretensions to be an intellectual centre were a little vague, its pretensions to be a pleasant place were quite indisputable. 

    The stranger who looked for the first time at the quaint red houses could only think how very oddly shaped the people must be who could fit in to them. Nor when he met the people was he disappointed in this respect. The place was not only pleasant, but perfect, if once he could regard it not as a deception but rather as a dream. Even if the people were not "artists," the whole was nevertheless artistic. That young man with the long, auburn hair and the impudent face -- that young man was not really a poet; but surely he was a poem. That old gentleman with the wild, white beard and the wild, white hat -- that venerable humbug was not really a philosopher; but at least he was the cause of philosophy in others. That scientific gentleman with the bald, egg-like head and the bare, bird-like neck had no real right to the airs of science that he assumed.

    He had not discovered anything new in biology; but what biological creature could he have discovered more singular than himself? Thus, and thus only, the whole place had properly to be regarded; it had to be considered not so much as a workshop for artists, but as a frail but finished work of art. A man who stepped into its social atmosphere felt as if he had stepped into a written comedy. 

    More especially this attractive unreality fell upon it about nightfall, when the extravagant roofs were dark against the afterglow and the whole insane village seemed as separate as a drifting cloud. This again was more strongly true of the many nights of local festivity, when the little gardens were often illuminated, and the big Chinese lanterns glowed in the dwarfish trees like some fierce and monstrous fruit. And this was strongest of all on one particular evening, still vaguely remembered in the locality, of which the auburn-haired poet was the hero. It was not by any means the only evening of which he was the hero. 

    On many nights those passing by his little back garden might hear his high, didactic voice laying down the law to men and particularly to women. The attitude of women in such cases was indeed one of the paradoxes of the place. Most of the women were of the kind vaguely called emancipated, and professed some protest against male supremacy. Yet these new women would always pay to a man the extravagant compliment which no ordinary woman ever pays to him, that of listening while he is talking. And Mr. Lucian Gregory, the red-haired poet, was really (in some sense) a man worth listening to, even if one only laughed at the end of it. He put the old cant of the lawlessness of art and the art of lawlessness with a certain impudent freshness which gave at least a momentary pleasure. 

    He was helped in some degree by the arresting oddity of his appearance, which he worked, as the phrase goes, for all it was worth. His dark red hair parted in the middle was literally like a woman's, and curved into the slow curls of a virgin in a pre-Raphaelite picture. From within this almost saintly oval, however, his face projected suddenly broad and brutal, the chin carried forward with a look of cockney contempt. This combination at once tickled and terrified the nerves of a neurotic population. He seemed like a walking blasphemy, a blend of the angel and the ape. 

    This particular evening, if it is remembered for nothing else, will be remembered in that place for its strange sunset. It looked like the end of the world. All the heaven seemed covered with a quite vivid and palpable plumage; you could only say that the sky was full of feathers, and of feathers that almost brushed the face. Across the great part of the dome they were grey, with the strangest tints of violet and mauve and an unnatural pink or pale green; but towards the west the whole grew past description, transparent and passionate, and the last red-hot plumes of it covered up the sun like something too good to be seen. The whole was so close about the earth, as to express nothing but a violent secrecy. The very empyrean seemed to be a secret. It expressed that splendid smallness which is the soul of local patriotism. The very sky seemed small. 

    I say that there are some inhabitants who may remember the evening if only by that oppressive sky. There are others who may remember it because it marked the first appearance in the place of the second poet of Saffron Park. For a long time the red-haired revolutionary had reigned without a rival; it was upon the night of the sunset that his solitude suddenly ended. The new poet, who introduced himself by the name of Gabriel Syme was a very mild-looking mortal, with a fair, pointed beard and faint, yellow hair. But an impression grew that he was less meek than he looked. He signalised his entrance by differing with the established poet, Gregory, upon the whole nature of poetry. He said that he (Syme) was poet of law, a poet of order; nay, he said he was a poet of respectability. So all the Saffron Parkers looked at him as if he had that moment fallen out of that impossible sky. 

    In fact, Mr. Lucian Gregory, the anarchic poet, connected the two events. 

    "It may well be," he said, in his sudden lyrical manner, "it may well be on such a night of clouds and cruel colours that there is brought forth upon the earth such a portent as a respectable poet. You say you are a poet of law; I say you are a contradiction in terms. I only wonder there were not comets and earthquakes on the night you appeared in this garden." 

    The man with the meek blue eyes and the pale, pointed beard endured these thunders with a certain submissive solemnity. The third party of the group, Gregory's sister Rosamond, who had her brother's braids of red hair, but a kindlier face underneath them, laughed with such mixture of admiration and disapproval as she gave commonly to the family oracle. 

    Gregory resumed in high oratorical good-humour....."

    The rest of the chapter may be found here

    Link to your most current read. Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you have multiple reviews, then type in (multi) after your name and link to your general blog url.

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    Sunday, March 4, 2012

    BW10: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    March 6, 1927
    Happy birthday to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the author best known for his novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and popularizing the literary style of  magical realism.  I was first introduced to Marquez's books during a couple literature classes last year. I never did get around to reading any of his books at the time, but have One Hundred Years of Solitude in my TBR pile.  In honor of his birthday, moving it up to the top of the stacks to read as my G author for the A to Z by author challenge.   I've noticed in various novels read lately, they keep referring to Solitude time and time again. Plus Susan Wise Bauer lists it in Well Educated Mind as one of the fiction great reads.   The universe must be trying to tell me something - read his book.  Okay. I'm listening.

    Marquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982: "for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent's life and conflicts".

    He wrote a number of novels and shorts stories including 

    Leaf Storm
    "This story was written in 1952 as La hojarasca, after visiting his old home in Aracataca and while under the influence of Faulkner and Sophocles. After one publisher’s rejection, a self-critical García Márquez tossed it into a drawer. In 1955, when he was in Central Europe, his friends in Bogotá rescued it and had it published." ~Modern Word

    No one Writes to the Colonel
     " El coronel no tiene quien le escriba was written in 1956-1957, when García Márquez was broke and unemployed in Paris. Having gone through eleven copies and wearing out a typewriter, he tied it up with a red ribbon and tossed it in his suitcase. Years later in 1961, his friends in Mexico City found it and had it published." ~Modern Word

    Evil Hour

    "Published in 1962 as La mala hora, In Evil Hour is a short novel about a town in the grip of a malicious oppression, a tale told against the background of la violencia and greatly influenced by Hemingway" ~Modern Word

    One Hundred Years of Solitude

     "Published in 1967 as Cien años de solidad, this novel is considered García Márquez’s masterpiece, the breakthrough work that put him on the literary map. It was written in eighteen months of solitude, where García Márquez locked himself into his room with paper and cigarettes, writing day and night while his wife took care of family affairs" ~Modern Word

    The Autumn of the Patriarch
     "Published in 1975 as El otoño del patriarca, this novel is a character study in corruption and tyranny – García Márquez called it “a poem on the solitude of power.” Its focal character is an archetypical South American dictator, a nameless creature whose genius at politics and survival is set off against his profound loneliness and paranoia."~Modern Word

    Love in the Time of Cholera
    " Published in 1985 as El amor en los tiempos del cólera, much of the inspiration for this novel comes from the strange courtship of the author’s parents." ~Modern Word

    The General in His Labyrinth
    " Published in 1989 as El general en su labertino, the subject of this novel is Simón Bolívar, whom García Márquez removes from the mythic prison of history and places into the magical alembic of his transforming prose" ~Modern Word

    Love and Other Demons
     "Published in 1994 as Del amor y otros demonios, this haunting novel reads like a lost chapter of One Hundred Years of Solitude. Set in a colonial seaport in mythic South America, the novel tells the tale of a strange girl named Sierva María, a girl who may or may not have contracted rabies." ~ Modern Word

    What great books has the universe been putting in your path lately?


    Speaking of great books, I'm halfway through Moby Dick. How are you doing? 


    Link to your most current read. Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you have multiple reviews, then type in (multi) after your name and link to your general blog url.

    If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.