Wednesday, November 26, 2014


The Anthony Awards - named for Anthony Boucher, who was a mystery writer, editor and reviewer - were held in mid-November at the annual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention in Long Beach, CA. Organized differently from other programs, its members make nominations and final voting is held at the actual event. Details are too long to repeat, but the nominations and winners are:

SUSPECT - Robert Crais - Putnam
A COLD AND LONELY PLACE - Sara J. Henry - Crown
THE WRONG GIRL - Hank Phillipi Ryan - Forge
THROUGH THE EVIL DAYS - Julia Spencer-Fleming - Minotaur

Winner: ORDINARY GRACE - William Kent Kruger - Atria

GHOSTMAN - Roger Hobbs - Alfred A. Knopf
RAGE AGAINST THE DYING - Becky Masterman - Minotaur
RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA - Kimberly McCreight - HarperCollins
THE HARD BOUNCE - Todd Robinson - Tyrus

Winner: YESTERDAY’S ECHO - Matt Coyle - Oceanview

THE BIG REAP - Chris F. Holm - Angry Robot
PURGATORY KEY - Darrell James - Midnight Ink
JOYLAND - Stephen King - Hard case Crime
THE WICKED GIRLS - Alex Marwood - Penguin

Winner: AS SHE LEFT IT - Catriona Mcpherson - Midnight Ink

DEAD END - Craig Fautus Buck - Untreed Reads
ANNIE AND THE GRATEFUL DEAD - Denise Dietz - Amazon Digital
INCIDENT ON THE 405 - Travis Richardson - Macmillan
THE CARE AND FEEDING OF HOUSEPLANTS - Art Taylor - Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

Winner: THE CAXTON PRIVATE LENDING LIBRARY & BOOK DEPOSITORY John Connolly - Bibliomysteries - Mysterious Bookshop

MASTERMIND: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes - Maria Konnikova - Viking Adult
THE SECRET RESCUE - Cate Lineberry - Little, Brown
ALL THE WILD CHILDREN - Josh Stallings - Snubnose Press
TROUBLED DAUGHTERS, TWISTED WIVES - Sarah Weinman, Editor - Penguin

Winner: THE HOUR OF PERIL - Daniel Stashower - Minotaur

ESCAPE THEORY - Margaux Froley - Soho Teen
Random House Children’s Books
DANCER, DAUGHTER, TRAITOR, SPY - Elizabeth Kiern - Soho Teen
THE CODE BUSTER’S CLUB - Penny Warner - Egmont, USA

Winner: THE TESTING - Joelie Charbonneau - Houghton Mifflin

BREAKING BAD - “Felina” by Vince Gilligan
THE FALL - “Dark Descent” by Allan Cubit
THE FOLLOWING - Pilot by Kevin Williamson
JUSTIFIED - “Hole in the Wall” by Graham Yost

Winner: THE BLACKLIST - Pilot by Jon Bokenkamp

HOUR OF THE RAT - Lisa Brackmann - Audible
MAN IN THE EMPTY SUIT - Sean Ferrell - AudioGO
CRESCENDO - Deborah J. Ledford - IOF Productions
DEATH AND THE LIT CHICK - G. M. Matliet - Dreamscape Media

Winner: THE CUCKOO’S CALLING - Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) - Hachette Audio
(Note: Except for the above, publishers of the books which were nominated for Best Audio weren’t shown)

As for gender, there’s 17 women, 19 men, and 3 used “Chris” or initials.

* * *
Thanks for sticking around. My book, THE ITALIAN JOB, will be free on Amazon for five days, November 27 through December 1st. Grab an early Christmas present and have a great Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


I want to talk about two books this week. One is a new e-book on Amazon, but was published last year by a different small publisher and already has two book reviews. The other has been out two months but has no reviews yet. So I’m putting my request right up front. I’ll send you a free e-book of either one (or both) for honest reviews. They’re both romance novels. Descriptions can be seen on Amazon’s book pages.


Published in 2013 by a small press, it’s about 65,000 words and costs $2.99. It’s written in first person, which is something I seldom do, but seemed right for this story. Just as the title seemed right because the heroine’s job is to write a magazine article about a specific tour of three Italian cities. I loved writing the book because I could relive our trip to Italy. However, except for the background, the scenes of Rome, Florence, and Venice, my experience was nothing like the experience of my book’s heroine. I’m long married and didn’t meet my husband in Italy or on a flight to Rome. I also didn’t meet a divorcee who tried to steal him from the heroine.


This novella is about 28,000 words and costs $1.99. I wrote it for the Kindle World series, FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FIASCO, begun by best-selling author Lucy Kevin (who writes as Bella Andre for her other books). The premise of this World intrigued me since it was to be a “sweet” romance, relatively short, and was to be set in San Francisco, a city I lived in for 25 years. And where I really met my husband. San Francisco is considered very cosmopolitan, and visitors often compare it to European cities. Although I invented the eccentric, identical-twin aunts of the book’s hero, some readers have told me the ladies really exist.

Again, if I send you a free copy of one of these books, will you write and post an honest review? Thanks so much.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Last Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I was there. Well, not exactly. The wall began to come down in November, 1989, and my husband and I were in Berlin five months later, in May of 1990. The city was jammed, due to a VIP meeting to discuss the reuniting of East and West Germany, and there were no hotel rooms available.

People put their names on a list for rooms in private homes, and, while we waited to learn if a room might be available for us, we decided to take a tour of the city. We asked for a taxi driver who spoke English and were rewarded with the services of a young man who drove us everywhere we wanted to go on both sides.

He told his own story of the night the wall began to crumble. His girlfriend was an opera singer, and, every night after his night’s work and her performance, they’d join friends at a café. On that night, a friend rushed in, shouting, “The wall is open. East Germans are rushing through and the guards aren’t stopping them.” Our driver and his friends hurried to the wall to see for themselves, leading to the pictures we’ve all seen of hundreds climbing on the wall, and others taking hammers to knock it down. The taxi driver’s girlfriend and her opera friends celebrated by singing a song about freedom from an opera they’d performed.

The driver took us through East Berlin where we saw the great difference between the cities, such as bullet holes in building walls and rubble in the streets, left over from World War II, now more than forty years in the past. We ended our tour near the Brandenburg Gate where dozens of people lined the street, sitting at tables where they sold pieces of the wall. We bought one.

Of course, we had no idea we’d see all that when we made our travel plans for a trip to Germany a year or more before. We wanted to see the Passion Play in Oberammergau, and, since it’s only given once every ten years and people come from all over the world to see it, early reservations are necessary. That, too, was a memorable experience.

As you may know, when the plague, called the Black Death, struck Europe, thousands of people died. Oberammergau, like other small villages, walled themselves in and refused to let strangers enter. However, one young man managed it and brought the plague with him. After several people died, the village elders held a prayer meeting, vowing that, if they were spared, they would hold a Passion Play every ten years throughout eternity. That was in 1633 and they were and they have. All the villagers take part and many open their homes to travelers. It’s held every day from May through October, and a roof over the audience keeps out rain.

That’s not the only passion play anymore. Almost every country holds one, and many cities in the U.S. do too. Eureka Springs, Arkansas, holds a famous one every year. We came close to seeing that one in 1965 while returning from Texas to Chicago after our niece’s wedding.

Thanks for your interest in my little history story. Next week I hope to have more writing and publishing news. Meanwhile, if you’ve seen a Passion Play or the Berlin Wall, add a comment.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Regular readers of my Blog know that I usually provide posts about books that have won awards. Such as the Edgar, Rita, Agatha and others. This one is about the Daphne du Maurier Awards given out at the annual RWA Conference by the Mystery/Suspense chapter, affectionately known as KOD or Kiss of Death.

It gives me great pleasure to announce this year’s winners, in six categories, plus an Overall Winner.

1. Series Romantic Mystery/Suspense finalists were:
Loreth Ann White for GUARDING THE PRINCESS, Harlequin Intrigue
Paula Graves for MURDER IN THE SMOKIES, Harlequin Intrigue
Paula Graves for SMOKY RIDGE CURSE, Harlequin Intrigue
Rebecca Zanetti for UNDER THE COVERS, Entangled Publishing

And the winner was Gail Barrett for A KISS TO DIE FOR, by Harlequin Romantic suspense

2. Historical Romantic Mystery/Suspense finalists were:
Jeannie Lin for THE LOTUS PALACE, Harlequin HQN
Katy Madison for LORD COLERAINE’S SCANDALOUS OFFER, Katy Madison Pub.
Erica Monroe for A DANGEROUS INVITATION, Quillfire Press
Christine Trent for LADY OF ASHES, Kensington Pub.

And the winner is Linda Lappin for SIGNATURES IN STONE, Caravel Books

3. Inspirational Romantic Mystery/Suspense finalists were:
Robin Caroll for STRAND OF DECEPTION, B & H Publishing
Debbie Guisti for THE GENERAL’S SECRETARY, Harlequin Love Inspired
Irene Hannon for TRAPPED, Revell Books
Susan Sleerman for NO WAY OUT, Harlequin Love Inspired

And the winner is Dani Pettrey for STRANDED, Bethany House

4. Paranormal (Futuristic) Romantic Mystery/Suspense finalists:
  Tamara Hogan for TEMPT ME, via Amazon
Mina Khan for WILDFIRE, Rashda Khan via Amazon
Daniellle Monsch for STONE GUARDIAN, Romantic Geek Pub.    
Jana Oliver for TANGLED SOULS, Nevermore, Atheneum, Simon & Schuster
Rebecca Zanetti for SHADOWED, eKensington

And the winner is Angie Fox for MY BIG FAT DEMON SLAYER WEDDING, Angie Fox Pub

5. Single Title Romantic Suspense finalists were:
Toni Anderson for HER LAST CHANCE, via Amazon
Kaylea Cross for IGNITED, Kaylea Cross Pub. via Amazon
B. J. Daniels for FORSAKEN, Harlequin HQN
Melinda Leigh for MIDNIGHT SACRIFICE, Montlake Romance

And the winner is Kendra Elliott for BURIED, Montlake Romance

6.  Mainstream Mystery/Suspense finalists were:
Gretchen Archer for DOUBLE WHAMMY, Henery Press
Allison Brennan for COLD SNAP, Minotaur, Macmillan
Rosie Genova for MURDER AND MARINARA, NAL, Penguin
Diane Hester for RUN TO ME, Random House, Australia

And the winner is Hank Phillippi Ryan for THE WRONG GIRL, Forge, Macmillan

And the Overall Daphne winner is Linda Lappin for SIGNATURES IN STONE, the winner of the Historical category.

What a difference two years make. Although some books published in 2011 received nominations and four of the 31 finalists were self-published books, this year’s 2013 finalists included many small press or self-published books, plus the Overall Winner.

Previously, Harlequin dominated the categories of Inspirational and Series, but this year they had to share awards with B&H, Bethany House, Revell and Entangled. Harlequin had six finalists (one winner), Kensington also had two finalists (no winners), and of the Big Five publishers, Macmillan had two finalists (one winner) and Random House Australia had one finalist (no winners). Half of the six winners were either self-published or Montlake (Amazon’s imprint) published. Which were most represented among finalists and winners? Small presses and self-published books had 18. The BPH, including Harlequin, had only 13.  The tide has indeed turned. Congratulations to all.