Sunday, April 22, 2018

Nell Hampton's "Lord of the Pies," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Lord of the Pies: A Kensington Palace Chef Mystery by Nell Hampton.

The entry begins:
I think my book is better as a television series. I think you could enjoy seeing each episode play out allowing the characters room to grow.

I would like Carrie Ann to be played by Kelly Cuoco and I can imagine her new friend Penny played by Karen Gillan who played Amy Pond – my favorite Dr. Who character.

Martin Freeman is a favorite actor. I think he could play...[read on]
Visit Nell Hampton / Nancy J. Parra's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Coffee with a Canine: Nancy J. Parra and Little Dog.

The Page 69 Test: Lord of the Pies.

Writers Read: Nell Hampton.

My Book, The Movie: Lord of the Pies.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 21, 2018

What is Jack McDevitt reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jack McDevitt, author of The Long Sunset (Part of The Academy).

His entry begins:
I’m still trying to catch up on reading assignments from my college years, which takes us back to the 1950’s. The writing abilities of people like Hemingway, Willa Cather, Henry James, and Jane Austen continue to blow me away. Two weeks ago, I finished my first plunge into Theodore Dreiser, and, as I’ve done with others, I wondered how it had taken me so long to catch up with him. The novel was Sister Carrie, in which a young woman moves to Chicago to live with her married sister while she tries to find a job. This is somewhere around 1910, a time when employment wasn’t readily available. She’s pretty quickly out on her own, trailed by two older men who, despite occasionally questionable behavior, nevertheless gained my empathy as they wrecked their lives, and came close to ruining Carrie’s. The novel provides a strong sense of...[read on]
About The Long Sunset, from the publisher:
From Nebula Award winner Jack McDevitt comes the eighth installment in the popular The Academy series—Priscilla “Hutch” Hutchins discovers an interstellar message from a highly advanced race that could be her last chance for a mission before the program is shut down for good.

Hutch has been the Academy’s best pilot for decades. She’s had numerous first contact encounters and even became a minor celebrity. But world politics have shifted from exploration to a growing fear that the program will run into an extraterrestrial race more advanced than humanity and war.

Despite taking part in the recent scientific breakthrough that rejuvenates the human body and expands one’s lifespan, Hutch finds herself as a famous interstellar pilot with little to do, until a message from an alien race arrives.

The message is a piece of music from an unexplored area. Despite the fact that this alien race could pose a great danger and that this message could have taken several thousand years to travel, the program prepares the last interstellar ship for the journey. As the paranoia grows, Hutch and her crew make an early escape—but what they find at the other end of the galaxy is completely unexpected.
Learn more about the book and author at Jack McDevitt's website.

The Page 69 Test: Firebird.

The Page 69 Test: Thunderbird.

My Book, The Movie: Thunderbird.

Writers Read: Jack McDevitt.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight books or series that make great party themes

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and the Ustari Cycle from Pocket/Gallery, including We Are Not Good People. At the B&N Reads blog he tagged eight books that make great party themes, including:
Casino Royale, by Ian Fleming

Finally, it’s easy to forget that Fleming wasn’t just a skilled writer of spy thrillers, he was an inveterate snob who loved good wine, good food, and high living—all of which made it into his books in the details. Naturally, you’ll be serving Martinis at this party, but you can also craft a spectacular menu simply by taking notes while you read: crabs on buttered toast, smoked salmon and Brizzola—and of course, scrambled eggs, which Bond refers to so often in the books, they are quite clearly his favorite food.
Read about another entry on the list.

Casino Royale also made Alan Judd's list of five favorite spy novels, Maddie Crum's top ten fictional characters who just might be psychopaths, Lee Child's list of six favorite debut novels, Danny Wallace's six best books list, Mary Horlock's list of the five best psychos in fiction, John Mullan's list of ten of the best floggings in fiction, Meg Rosoff's top 10 adult books for teenagers list, and Peter Millar's critic's chart of top spy books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Teresa Dovalpage's "Death Comes in through the Kitchen"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Death Comes in through the Kitchen by Teresa Dovalpage.

About the book, from the publisher:
Set in Havana during the Black Spring of 2003, a charming but poison-laced culinary mystery reveals the darker side of the modern Revolution, complete with authentic Cuban recipes

Matt, a San Diego journalist, arrives in Havana to marry his girlfriend, Yarmila, a 24-year-old Cuban woman whom he first met through her food blog. But Yarmi isn’t there to meet him at the airport, and when he hitches a ride to her apartment, he finds her lying dead in the bathtub.

With Yarmi’s murder, lovelorn Matt is immediately embroiled in a Cuban adventure he didn’t bargain for. The police and secret service have him down as their main suspect, and in an effort to clear his name, he must embark on his own investigation into what really happened. The more Matt learns about his erstwhile fiancée, though, the more he realizes he had no idea who she was at all—but did anyone?
Visit Teresa Dovalpage's website.

Writers Read: Teresa Dovalpage.

The Page 69 Test: Death Comes in through the Kitchen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 20, 2018

Pg. 99: David Vogel's "California Greenin'"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: California Greenin': How the Golden State Became an Environmental Leader by David Vogel.

About the book, from the publisher:
A political history of environmental policy and regulation in California, from the Gold Rush to the present

Over the course of its 150-year history, California has successfully protected its scenic wilderness areas, restricted coastal oil drilling, regulated automobile emissions, preserved coastal access, improved energy efficiency, and, most recently, addressed global climate change. How has this state, more than any other, enacted so many innovative and stringent environmental regulations over such a long period of time? The first comprehensive look at California's history of environmental leadership, California Greenin' shows why the Golden State has been at the forefront in setting new environmental standards, often leading the rest of the nation.

From the establishment of Yosemite, America's first protected wilderness, and the prohibition of dumping gold-mining debris in the nineteenth century to sweeping climate- change legislation in the twenty-first, David Vogel traces California's remarkable environmental policy trajectory. He explains that this pathbreaking role developed because California had more to lose from environmental deterioration and more to gain from preserving its stunning natural geography. As a result, citizens and civic groups effectively mobilized to protect and restore their state's natural beauty and, importantly, were often backed both by business interests and bystrong regulatory authorities. Business support for environmental regulation in California reveals that strict standards are not only compatible with economic growth but can also contribute to it. Vogel also examines areas where California has fallen short, particularly in water management and the state's dependence on automobile transportation.

As environmental policy debates continue to grow more heated, California Greenin' demonstrates that the Golden State's impressive record of environmental accomplishments holds lessons not just for the country but for the world.
Learn more about California Greenin' at the Princeton University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Politics of Precaution.

The Page 99 Test: California Greenin'.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is D.J. Butler reading?

Featured at Writers Read: D.J. Butler, author of Witchy Winter.

The entry begins:
I just finished reading Moby Dick for the second time. I think it deserves its claim to be a contender for the great American novel; it's sui generis, it doesn't belong to our time but it didn't really belong to its own time, either. I felt I owed MD a reread after a twenty-year hiatus because I don't think I grappled with it deeply enough the first time. Contemplating the thesis that the white whale might represent suicide gave me an additional hook in the material, and I really enjoyed this reading. I expect I'll...[read on]
About Witchy Winter, from the publisher:
TOIL AND TROUBLE

Sarah Calhoun paid a hard price for her entry onto the stage of the Empire’s politics, but she survived. Now she rides north into the Ohio and her father’s kingdom, Cahokia. To win the Serpent Throne, she’ll have to defeat seven other candidates, win over the kingdom’s regent, and learn the will of a hidden goddess—while mastering her people’s inscrutable ways and watching her own back.

In New Orleans, a new and unorthodox priest arises to plague the chevalier and embody the curse of the murdered Bishop Ukwu. He battles the chevalier’s ordinary forces as well as a troop of Old World mamelukes for control of the city and the mouth of the great Mississippi River. Dodging between these rival titans, a crew of Catalan pirates—whose captain was once a close associate of Mad Hannah Penn—grapples with the chevalier over the fate of one of their mates.

Meanwhile, a failed ceremony and a sick infant send the Anishinaabe hunter Ma’iingan on a journey across the Empire to Cavalier Johnsland, to a troubled foster child named Nathaniel. Ma’iingan is promised that Nathaniel is a mighty healer and can save his imperiled baby, but first Nathaniel—a pale young man with a twisted ear who hears the voices of unseen beings—must himself be rescued, from oppression, imprisonment, and madness.
Visit D.J. Butler's website.

The Page 69 Test: Witchy Winter.

Writers Read: D.J. Butler.

--Marshal Zeringue

Spencer Kope's "Whispers of the Dead," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Whispers of the Dead by Spencer Kope.

The entry begins:
I’m guessing there are a lot of writers out there who, like me, flesh out their characters well before ever putting them to paper. I’ve gone as far as to cut out pictures of people that look like the mental image I have of a character. These go on my storyboard, where they constantly reinforce that image.

When I started writing Collecting the Dead, the first book in the Special Tracking Unit series, I pictured man-tracker Magnus “Steps” Craig as a shorter, mid-twenties version of Jared Padalecki, who plays Sam Winchester in the series Supernatural. He just seemed to fit. Sam’s brother Dean (played by Jensen Ackles) isn’t exactly what I pictured for Special Agent Jimmy Donovan, but he’s close enough. Maybe I just liked the way Sam and Dean work together and pictured Steps and Jimmy doing the same.

Or maybe I was watching too many episodes of Supernatural....

The third member of the Special Tracking Unit is the sometimes snarky Diane Parker. Though Diane is only in her mid-fifties, I’d love to see her played by...[read on]
Visit Spencer Kope's website.

Writers Read: Spencer Kope.

The Page 69 Test: Whispers of the Dead.

My Book, The Movie: Whispers of the Dead.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top novels about painters

Amy Sackville is an author and a teacher of creative writing at the University of Kent. Her most recent novel is Painter to the King. One of her ten favorite literary works on artists, as shared at the Guardian:
The Vegetarian by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith

The central story of this elusive, disturbing novel concerns the eponymous vegetarian’s brother-in-law, a video artist so possessed by dreams of bodies painted with plants that he is driven to make them a reality. This hallucinatory, erotic and frightening novel is haunted by the unknowable and the obscure.
Learn about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Pg. 69: Sam Wiebe's "Cut You Down"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Cut You Down by Sam Wiebe.

About Cut You Down, from the publisher:
No one knows what happened to Tabitha Sorenson, a brilliant but troubled college student who vanished in the aftermath of a scandal involving millions of dollars in school funds Hired to find the missing girl by her professor (and admirer) Dana Essex, private investigator Dave Wakeland is tossed into a world of suburban gangsters, corrupt authorities, and a contract killer with an unhealthy fondness for blades—all of them ready to guard their secrets at any cost.

Aided by Sonia Drego, a police officer and former lover with dangerous secrets of her own, Wakeland's world is upended when the investigation takes a deadly turn. Suspecting he may have been played for a rube by the woman who hired him, the young PI crosses borders—and lines—in his hunt for a sadistic killer, a journey of discovery that takes him from the back alleys of a rapidly modernizing Vancouver to the wilds of Washington State to a disorienting suburban sprawl, where nothing is as it seems.
Visit Sam Wiebe's website.

My Book, The Movie: Invisible Dead.

The Page 69 Test: Invisible Dead.

Writers Read: Sam Wiebe.

The Page 69 Test: Cut You Down.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Teresa Dovalpage reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Teresa Dovalpage, author of Death Comes in through the Kitchen.

Her entry begins:
I just finished reading Halsey Street by Naima Coster, released early this year. It deals with family issues, particularly-mother daughter relationships, and I am fascinated by the way they are portrayed. You won’t find the idealized, always self-sacrificing, long-suffering, tamale-making Latina mother there. Mirella, the main character’s mother, is everything but. Ay, que relief! The novel also tackles big issues like poverty, gentrification, and race, but (another big sigh of relief here) without preaching. The story is nuanced with flawed, vulnerable and true-to-life characters. Will there be...[read on]
About Death Comes in through the Kitchen, from the publisher:
Set in Havana during the Black Spring of 2003, a charming but poison-laced culinary mystery reveals the darker side of the modern Revolution, complete with authentic Cuban recipes

Matt, a San Diego journalist, arrives in Havana to marry his girlfriend, Yarmila, a 24-year-old Cuban woman whom he first met through her food blog. But Yarmi isn’t there to meet him at the airport, and when he hitches a ride to her apartment, he finds her lying dead in the bathtub.

With Yarmi’s murder, lovelorn Matt is immediately embroiled in a Cuban adventure he didn’t bargain for. The police and secret service have him down as their main suspect, and in an effort to clear his name, he must embark on his own investigation into what really happened. The more Matt learns about his erstwhile fiancée, though, the more he realizes he had no idea who she was at all—but did anyone?
Visit Teresa Dovalpage's website.

Writers Read: Teresa Dovalpage.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Kate White's "The Gutsy Girl Handbook"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Gutsy Girl Handbook: Your Manifesto for Success by Kate White.

About the book, from the publisher:
Bestselling author, professional speaker, and former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, Kate White shares the nine core principles gutsy women need to go bigger, bolder, and achieve the full level of success they desire.

Twenty-two years ago Kate White wrote the bestselling career bible Why Good Girls Don't Get Ahead but Gutsy Girls Do, and helped thousands of women push their success to the next level. Now a new generation of women, still eyeing the pay gap and glass ceiling, needs its own set of rules for today's modern workplace.

In THE GUTSY GIRL HANDBOOK White presents the nine core principles that have guided her career, offering dozens of straightforward, doable strategies for women in any field and at any stage in their professional lives. Drawing on original research, and sharing new success stories and never-before told examples from her time as the editor-in-chief of Cosmo, White inspires women to own their excellence, break the rules (or make their own), ask for the money and opportunities they deserve, and refuse to apologize for who they are and what they want.

THE GUTSY GIRL HANDBOOK is a resource for women who want to build confidence, negotiate a great salary and perks, manage meetings, mansplaining, and interruptions, and create game-changing "notice me" ideas. This all-new, accessible handbook is a great gift for graduates, and a must-read for professional women of all levels.
Visit Kate White's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Even If It Kills Her.

The Page 69 Test: Eyes on You.

The Page 99 Test: The Gutsy Girl Handbook.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven top YA books about reproductive rights

Sarah Skilton is the author of Bruised, a martial arts drama for young adults; and High and Dry, a hardboiled teen mystery. At the BN Teen blog she tagged seven YA books about reproductive rights, including:
A Girl Called Fearless and A Girl Undone, by Catherine Linka

This thrilling, award-winning duology is set in an eerily realistic contemporary Los Angeles in which the Paternalist Movement (how creepy is that name?) ascended to power after a plaguelike food illness killed fifty million American women. The men left in charge of society have determined the best way to “protect” the females who remain is to control their every move. That’s how teenage Avie has been “contracted,” with her dad’s blessing, to a thirty-seven-year-old man, a religious leader with mommy issues. (The other option was a fifty-three-year-old, shudder.) Though she doesn’t view herself as fearless, Avie’s decision to join the underground resistance, pitting her against friends, family, and the U.S. government, is the definition of brave.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 99 Test: A Girl Undone.

My Book, The Movie: A Girl Undone.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Pg. 69: D.J. Butler's "Witchy Winter"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Witchy Winter by D.J. Butler.

About the book, from the publisher:
TOIL AND TROUBLE

Sarah Calhoun paid a hard price for her entry onto the stage of the Empire’s politics, but she survived. Now she rides north into the Ohio and her father’s kingdom, Cahokia. To win the Serpent Throne, she’ll have to defeat seven other candidates, win over the kingdom’s regent, and learn the will of a hidden goddess—while mastering her people’s inscrutable ways and watching her own back.

In New Orleans, a new and unorthodox priest arises to plague the chevalier and embody the curse of the murdered Bishop Ukwu. He battles the chevalier’s ordinary forces as well as a troop of Old World mamelukes for control of the city and the mouth of the great Mississippi River. Dodging between these rival titans, a crew of Catalan pirates—whose captain was once a close associate of Mad Hannah Penn—grapples with the chevalier over the fate of one of their mates.

Meanwhile, a failed ceremony and a sick infant send the Anishinaabe hunter Ma’iingan on a journey across the Empire to Cavalier Johnsland, to a troubled foster child named Nathaniel. Ma’iingan is promised that Nathaniel is a mighty healer and can save his imperiled baby, but first Nathaniel—a pale young man with a twisted ear who hears the voices of unseen beings—must himself be rescued, from oppression, imprisonment, and madness.
Visit D.J. Butler's website.

The Page 69 Test: Witchy Winter.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Mariah Fredericks reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Mariah Fredericks, author of A Death of No Importance.

Her entry begins:
Confession: I am a book slut. I flit from read to read, and it’s rare I read just one book all the way through. I read a lot for research, so I always have a fiction and non-fiction going. And usually one re-read.

My mystery series is set in 1910s New York, so when Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919, Mike Wallace’s follow up to his magisterial Gotham, came out, I went straight to the bookstore and told them to bring it up from the stockroom. I could say I’m reading this book, but it’s more like I’m married to it. This is what...[read on]
About A Death of No Importance, from the publisher:
Through her exquisite prose, sharp observation and deft plotting, Mariah Fredericks invites us into the heart of a changing New York in her remarkable debut adult novel.

New York City, 1910. Invisible until she’s needed, Jane Prescott has perfected the art of serving as a ladies’ maid to the city’s upper echelons. When she takes up a position with the Benchley family, dismissed by the city’s elite as “new money”, Jane realizes that while she may not have financial privilege, she has a power they do not—she understands the rules of high society. The Benchleys cause further outrage when their daughter Charlotte becomes engaged to notorious playboy Norrie, the son of the eminent Newsome family.

But when Norrie is found murdered at a party, Jane discovers she is uniquely positioned—she’s a woman no one sees, but who witnesses everything; who possesses no social power, but that of fierce intellect—and therefore has the tools to solve his murder. There are many with grudges to bear: from the family Norrie was supposed to marry into, to the survivors of a tragic accident in a mine owned by the Newsomes, to the rising anarchists who are sick of those born into wealth getting away with anything they want. Jane also knows that in both high society and the city’s underbelly, morals can become cheap in the wrong hands: scandal and violence simmer just beneath the surface—and can break out at any time.
Visit Mariah Fredericks's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Girl in the Park.

The Page 69 Test: A Death of No Importance.

Writers Read: Mariah Fredericks.

--Marshal Zeringue

Cherie Burns's "Searching for Beauty," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Searching for Beauty—The Life of Millicent Rogers, the American Heiress Who Taught the World About Style by Cherie Burns.

The entry begins:
When I wrote Searching for Beauty—The Life of Millicent Rogers, I believed a wonderful movie lay within Rogers’s story. Any actress would want to play the beautiful, willful, stylish Standard Oil heiress who struggled to lead her stylish life out from under the oppression of, yes, wealth and the power it bestows on families to dominate their children. Millicent lived her life emblematic of each decade of the twentieth century until the movie star Clark Gable dumped her in Hollywood in 1946. She was a debutante, a flapper, a fashion muse, an expat, and poster girl for the US war effort in WWII. Her son would have even told you she’d been a spy. Then she came to New Mexico and found a different kind of peace and beauty with the landscape and Native American men than she had been able to achieve elsewhere. She was never still, always searching and changing. In my imagination I have seen Cate Blanchett, Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron, and...[read on]
Visit Cherie Burns's website.

My Book, The Movie: Diving for Starfish.

My Book, The Movie: Searching for Beauty.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five nonfiction books about fairies in the real world

Alex Bledsoe grew up in west Tennessee an hour north of Graceland (home of Elvis) and twenty minutes from Nutbush (birthplace of Tina Turner). He has been a reporter, editor, photographer and door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. He now lives in a Wisconsin town famous for trolls.

Bledsoe's new novel is The Fairies of Sadieville, the sixth book in his Tufa series.

One of the author's five favorite non-fiction books about fairies in the real world, as shared at Tor.com:
[W]e have 2014’s Seeing Fairies: from the Files of the Fairy Investigation Society by Marjorie T. Johnson. This is another compilation of encounters, many of them of the purely mental variety, but from the twentieth century. Ms. Johnson, a member of the FIS, compiled them, but they weren’t published in English until after her death, in 2014. If you believe fairies aren’t compatible with the modern world, these stories will make you rethink that. Many of the stories take place in America, and there’s no substantial difference between these Old and New World fairies. There’s a certain sameness to them, as with any compilation, so it’s a better to read in bursts than all at one sitting. But as far as bringing us up to the end of the twentieth century, it shows us that fairies are alive and well in our beliefs, if not in our world.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: The Fairies of Sadieville.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Pg. 69: Spencer Kope's "Whispers of the Dead"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Whispers of the Dead by Spencer Kope.

About the book, from the publisher:
A series of bizarre murders—the victims nearly unidentifiable—forces FBI tracker “Steps” Craig to match wits with the most cold-blooded killer he’s ever encountered.

There has been a murder, but not only is the identity of the victim unknown, most of the body itself is missing. All that’s been found is a pair of feet, stored in a portable cooler, and left in the house of a Federal judge in El Paso, Texas. The killer apparently broke into the judge’s house, left his grizzly message, and disappeared without a trace. With no clues as to the killer, the person killed, or the intent behind the cooler, all the authorities really know is that this likely isn’t the killer’s first—or his last—victim.

Magnus “Steps” Craig is an FBI agent and an elite tracker, easily the best in the world. Steps is renowned for his incredible ability to find and follow trails over any surface. As part of the three-man special team, FBI’s Special Tracking Unit (STU), he is called in on cases where his skills are indispensable. But there’s a secret to his skill. Steps has a kind of synesthesia, an ability that allows him to see whatever each particular person has touched in a unique color—what Steps calls ‘shine.’ His ability is known to only a few people—his father, the director of the FBI, and his partner, Special Agent Jimmy Donovan.

While the Special Tracking Unit tries to grapple with the gruesome scene in El Paso, they soon discover another, earlier victim. Once again, only the feet—in a disposable icebox—were left behind. With almost no clues besides the body parts, Steps and his team find themselves enmeshed in the most difficult case of their careers. And The Icebox Killer has only just begun.
Visit Spencer Kope's website.

Writers Read: Spencer Kope.

The Page 69 Test: Whispers of the Dead.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Sam Wiebe reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Sam Wiebe, author of Cut You Down.

His entry begins:
Sheena Kamal’s follow-up to her best-selling debut The Lost Ones is titled It All Falls Down. It takes flawed heroine Nora Watts from Vancouver to Detroit in search of clues to her father’s mysterious death, and to her own fractured family life. It builds on the strengths of the first book, while adding new dimensions to the character and delving into topics like North America’s treatment of refugees and soldiers. I really like Nora’s (and Kamal’s) sense of...[read on]
About Cut You Down, from the publisher:
No one knows what happened to Tabitha Sorenson, a brilliant but troubled college student who vanished in the aftermath of a scandal involving millions of dollars in school funds Hired to find the missing girl by her professor (and admirer) Dana Essex, private investigator Dave Wakeland is tossed into a world of suburban gangsters, corrupt authorities, and a contract killer with an unhealthy fondness for blades—all of them ready to guard their secrets at any cost.

Aided by Sonia Drego, a police officer and former lover with dangerous secrets of her own, Wakeland's world is upended when the investigation takes a deadly turn. Suspecting he may have been played for a rube by the woman who hired him, the young PI crosses borders—and lines—in his hunt for a sadistic killer, a journey of discovery that takes him from the back alleys of a rapidly modernizing Vancouver to the wilds of Washington State to a disorienting suburban sprawl, where nothing is as it seems.
Visit Sam Wiebe's website.

My Book, The Movie: Invisible Dead.

The Page 69 Test: Invisible Dead.

Writers Read: Sam Wiebe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thirteen unlucky ill-fated voyages in science fiction

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and the Ustari Cycle from Pocket/Gallery, including We Are Not Good People. At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy blog he tagged thirteen unlucky ill-fated voyages in science fiction, including:
Barbary Station, by R.E. Stearns

When brainy engineering students/lovers Adda and Iridian graduate from school with few job prospects, they come to the conclusion that life as inner-solar system pirates will prove far more fruitful than scraping for a paycheck—plus, they already have an in with the pirate crew that has taken over the remote Barbary Station, turning it into an outpost from which they can plunder anyone who dares to come near. Except the legends of riches onboard the station turn out to be just that, and when Adda and Iridian cruise in in a hijacked colony ship, expecting a warm welcome, they are instead quickly conscripted into a war between Barbary’s human population and the malevolent AI that controls it. It seems the computer system responsible for keeping everyone alive has decided that people are a virus that need to be wiped out, and thus far, it has been doing a damn good job of things. Maybe selling out and working for the man doesn’t sound too bad after all.
Read about another entry on the list.

My Book, The Movie: Barbary Station.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: J. E. Smyth's "Nobody's Girl Friday"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Nobody's Girl Friday: The Women Who Ran Hollywood by J. E. Smyth.

About the book, from the publisher:
Looking back on her career in 1977, Bette Davis remembered with pride, "Women owned Hollywood for twenty years." She had a point. Between 1930 and 1950, over 40% of film industry employees were women, 25% of all screenwriters were female, one woman ran MGM behind the scenes, over a dozen women worked as producers, a woman headed the Screen Writers Guild three times, and press claimed Hollywood was a generation or two ahead of the rest of the country in terms of gender equality and employment.

The first comprehensive history of Hollywood's high-flying career women during the studio era, Nobody's Girl Friday covers the impact of the executives, producers, editors, writers, agents, designers, directors, and actresses who shaped Hollywood film production and style, led their unions, climbed to the top during the war, and fought the blacklist.

Based on a decade of archival research, author J.E. Smyth uncovers a formidable generation working within the American film industry and brings their voices back into the history of Hollywood. Their achievements, struggles, and perspectives fundamentally challenge popular ideas about director-based auteurism, male dominance, and female disempowerment in the years between First and Second Wave Feminism.

Nobody's Girl Friday is a revisionist history, but it's also a deeply personal, collective account of hundreds of working women, the studios they worked for, and the films they helped to make. For many years, historians and critics have insisted that both American feminism and the power of women in Hollywood declined and virtually disappeared from the 1920s through the 1960s. But Smyth vindicates Bette Davis's claim. The story of the women who called the shots in studio-era Hollywood has never fully been told-until now.
Learn more about Nobody's Girl Friday at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Nobody's Girl Friday.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 16, 2018

Fifteen of the most powerful memoirs about addiction & recovery

At Entertainment Weekly Mary Kate Carr and David Canfield tagged the fifteen most powerful memoirs about addiction and recovery. One title on the list:
More, Now, Again by Elizabeth Wurtzel

The acclaimed author of Prozac Nation goes from depression to addiction with this equally devastating personal account. Wurtzel reveals how drugs fueled her post-breakout period, describing with unbearable specificity how her doctor’s prescription of Ritalin, intended to help her function, only brought her down.
Read about another title on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Mariah Fredericks's "A Death of No Importance"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: A Death of No Importance by Mariah Fredericks.

About the book, from the publisher:
Through her exquisite prose, sharp observation and deft plotting, Mariah Fredericks invites us into the heart of a changing New York in her remarkable debut adult novel.

New York City, 1910. Invisible until she’s needed, Jane Prescott has perfected the art of serving as a ladies’ maid to the city’s upper echelons. When she takes up a position with the Benchley family, dismissed by the city’s elite as “new money”, Jane realizes that while she may not have financial privilege, she has a power they do not—she understands the rules of high society. The Benchleys cause further outrage when their daughter Charlotte becomes engaged to notorious playboy Norrie, the son of the eminent Newsome family.

But when Norrie is found murdered at a party, Jane discovers she is uniquely positioned—she’s a woman no one sees, but who witnesses everything; who possesses no social power, but that of fierce intellect—and therefore has the tools to solve his murder. There are many with grudges to bear: from the family Norrie was supposed to marry into, to the survivors of a tragic accident in a mine owned by the Newsomes, to the rising anarchists who are sick of those born into wealth getting away with anything they want. Jane also knows that in both high society and the city’s underbelly, morals can become cheap in the wrong hands: scandal and violence simmer just beneath the surface—and can break out at any time.
Visit Mariah Fredericks's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Girl in the Park.

The Page 69 Test: A Death of No Importance.

--Marshal Zeringue

Susan Henderson's "The Flicker of Old Dreams," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Flicker of Old Dreams by Susan Henderson.

The entry begins:
There is some Hollywood interest in this book, so let's hope all this casting is for real.

The book is about the death of small town America as told by a mortician. Mary, the narrator of the book, is the town's embalmer and more comfortable with the dead than the living. She's socially awkward but has a strong sense of self. Is there a female Edward Norton? An introverted Amanda Palmer? Whoever plays her has to be quirky and layered and have things to say but lack the courage to say them.

Matthew Gray Gubler (from Criminal Minds) or Ezra Miller (Perks of Being a Wallflower) could play Robert, the damaged outcast who returns to this small town to be with his terminally ill mother. His homecoming peels a scab off an old wound in town and sets...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Susan Henderson's website.

The Page 69 Test: Up From the Blue.

The Page 69 Test: The Flicker of Old Dreams.

Writers Read: Susan Henderson.

My Book, The Movie: The Flicker of Old Dreams.

--Marshal Zeringue

Coffee with a canine: Jennifer Caloyeras & Reba and Dingo

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Jennifer Caloyeras & Reba and Dingo.

The author, on one of her dogs' favorite outdoor destinations:
We recently took them to Three Rivers, California at the base of the Sequoia National Park. They loved it! There was a small creek for them to play in and so many new smells to smell. Coyotes definitely came out at night, so we were...[read on]
About Caloyeras's short fiction collection, Unruly Creatures:
In this collection rife with humor and pathos, alienated characters struggle to subvert, contain, control, and even escape their bodies. A teenage girl grapples with pubic hair grown wild, a biologist finds herself in love with a gorilla, a prisoner yearns to escape her biological destiny.

In some stories, the bodies have surrogates: a high-school girl babysits an elderly woman's plastic doll while negotiating her own sexual awakening, and a young man finds that he can only receive affection from his father when he is in costume. Dark humor and magical realism put into sharp relief the everyday trials of Americans in a story collection that asks, in what way are we more than the sum of our parts.
Visit Jennifer Caloyeras's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Coffee with a Canine: Jennifer Caloyeras & Reba and Dingo (May 2015).

Coffee with a Canine: Jennifer Caloyeras & Reba and Dingo.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 15, 2018

What is Spencer Kope reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Spencer Kope, author of Whispers of the Dead.

His entry begins:
I recently finished Ready Player One, and what a cool ride. I loved the story, not just because it paints an accurate picture of what I believe our dystopic future might look like, but because it also looks back to the best decade of my life: the 1980s. It’s one of the best stories I’ve read in a while, so I also picked up a first printing to add to my collection of first editions. Now that the Spielberg movie is out, I’ll be...[read on]
About Whispers of the Dead, from the publisher:
A series of bizarre murders—the victims nearly unidentifiable—forces FBI tracker “Steps” Craig to match wits with the most cold-blooded killer he’s ever encountered.

There has been a murder, but not only is the identity of the victim unknown, most of the body itself is missing. All that’s been found is a pair of feet, stored in a portable cooler, and left in the house of a Federal judge in El Paso, Texas. The killer apparently broke into the judge’s house, left his grizzly message, and disappeared without a trace. With no clues as to the killer, the person killed, or the intent behind the cooler, all the authorities really know is that this likely isn’t the killer’s first—or his last—victim.

Magnus “Steps” Craig is an FBI agent and an elite tracker, easily the best in the world. Steps is renowned for his incredible ability to find and follow trails over any surface. As part of the three-man special team, FBI’s Special Tracking Unit (STU), he is called in on cases where his skills are indispensable. But there’s a secret to his skill. Steps has a kind of synesthesia, an ability that allows him to see whatever each particular person has touched in a unique color—what Steps calls ‘shine.’ His ability is known to only a few people—his father, the director of the FBI, and his partner, Special Agent Jimmy Donovan.

While the Special Tracking Unit tries to grapple with the gruesome scene in El Paso, they soon discover another, earlier victim. Once again, only the feet—in a disposable icebox—were left behind. With almost no clues besides the body parts, Steps and his team find themselves enmeshed in the most difficult case of their careers. And The Icebox Killer has only just begun.
Visit Spencer Kope's website.

Writers Read: Spencer Kope.

--Marshal Zeringue

Twenty-five retellings for fans of Shakespeare

At B&N Reads Tara Sonin tagged twenty-five books, many of them romances, you’ll love if you’re a fan of Shakespeare, including:
I, Iago, by Nicole Galland

Why did Iago insert himself into Othello’s life, causing devastation to everyone he loved? To learn the truth, you have to go back. In this clever retelling, Iago’s past is explored—as is his role in the society he exists within, as a co-conspirator in the act of convincing a man to murder the woman he loves.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Stuart Kirsch's "Engaged Anthropology"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Engaged Anthropology: Politics beyond the Text by Stuart Kirsch.

About the book, from the publisher:
Does anthropology have more to offer than just its texts? In this timely and remarkable book, Stuart Kirsch shows how anthropology can—and why it should—become more engaged with the problems of the world. Engaged Anthropology draws on the author’s experiences working with indigenous peoples fighting for their environment, land rights, and political sovereignty. Including both short interventions and collaborations spanning decades, it recounts interactions with lawyers and courts, nongovernmental organizations, scientific experts, and transnational corporations. This unflinchingly honest account addresses the unexamined “backstage” of engaged anthropology. Coming at a time when some question the viability of the discipline, the message of this powerful and original work is especially welcome, as it not only promotes a new way of doing anthropology, but also compellingly articulates a new rationale for why anthropology matters.
Visit Stuart Kirsch's webpage.

The Page 99 Test: Mining Capitalism.

The Page 99 Test: Engaged Anthropology.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 14, 2018

What is Nell Hampton reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Nell Hampton, author of Lord of the Pies: A Kensington Palace Chef Mystery.

Her entry begins:
Oh, gosh so many wonderful things. I’m really into research right now for my next book and I’ve been reading British cook books. I have this great one called The Royal Touch by Caroline Robb. She was Princess Diana’s personal chef when the boys were young and the stories that she intersperses with her recipes are wonderful. I like the insight into how...[read on]
About Lord of the Pies, from the publisher:
When Carrie Ann Cole bakes a lemon meringue pie to die for that actually kills someone, she must find out who the real killer is before her time at the Kensington Palace expires.

The elegant Orangery at Kensington Palace is the perfect setting for the bridal shower of Carrie Ann Cole’s best friend’s sister. Personal chef to the royal family, Carrie Ann’s pie theme is naturally winning. But a waiter later keels over dead into the lemon meringue pie she leaves as a thank-you to the staff and Carrie Ann realizes that somebody slipped a mickey into that meringue.

Her floury fingerprints are all over that pie and the authorities suspect her distress is a cover-up for murder. Carrie Ann must set out to clear her name if she wants to stay at her dream job any longer. But all too soon, another body drops in the Orangery. This time, it’s the Orangery chef.

Murder won’t crimp her style, and as bodies pile up, Carrie Ann uncovers palace intrigue, London nightlife, and British pies scouring for the killer in Lord of the Pies, the witty follow-up to Nell Hampton’s Kale to the Queen.
Visit Nell Hampton / Nancy J. Parra's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Coffee with a Canine: Nancy J. Parra and Little Dog.

The Page 69 Test: Lord of the Pies.

Writers Read: Nell Hampton.

--Marshal Zeringue

Amanda Ottaway's "The Rebounders," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Rebounders: A Division I Basketball Journey by Amanda Ottaway.

The entry begins:
For me, one of the most intriguing characters in The Rebounders: A Division I Basketball Journey is head women’s basketball coach Deborah Katz.

She’s so complex I spend a good chunk of the book trying to figure her out. I still haven’t. But the first time I saw Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada (incidentally, a movie adapted from a book), I knew I wanted that version of Streep to play Coach Katz if The Rebounders ever became a movie.

It’s because of the power.

Miranda Priestly, Streep’s character, oozes....[read on]
Visit Amanda Ottaway's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Rebounders.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Man Martin's "The Lemon Jell-O Syndrome"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Lemon Jell-O Syndrome by Man Martin.

About the book, from the publisher:
Sometimes Bone King cannot go through doors. He has no physical impairment, but at times his brain and muscles simply can’t recall how to walk him through them. Perhaps it has something to do with his being distracted thinking about grammar and etymology all the time, or maybe it’s anxiety that his wife is having an affair with the yardman.

But then renowned neurologist Arthur Limongello offers a diagnosis as peculiar as the ailment: Bone’s self is starting to dislodge from his brain. The treatment is a series of therapeutic tasks; Bone must compliment a stranger each day, do good deeds without being asked, and remind himself each morning, that “Today is a good day!”

But first, as a temporary measure, he also suggests Bone simply try to dance through the doorways. And for a time, Bone’s square dancing, the only kind of dance he knows how to do, seems to more or less work.

Bone’s condition begins to improve, but then his wife leaves him, and after a harrowing ordeal during which he nearly loses his life, Bone makes an astounding discovery about the man who has been calling himself Dr. Limongello.

Is Limongello’s remedy the product of a deranged imagination or the cure for a modern epidemic threatening the very self?
Visit Man Martin's website and blog.

Coffee with a Canine: Man Martin and Zoe.

The Page 69 Test: The Lemon Jell-O Syndrome.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books about nonsense

Maria Tatar is the John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures. She chairs the Program in Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University, where she teaches courses in German Studies, Folklore, and Children’s Literature. One of her five top books about nonsense, as shared at Tor.com:
Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

“I make things up and write them down,” Gaiman tells us. In this long short story, we travel with the narrator into mythical terrain. It dawns on us only ever so gradually that a path with briars and brambles can be a time machine drawing us back to a childhood. In a place charged with what Bronislaw Malinowski called a high coefficient of weirdness, we meet mysterious cats, along with a magna mater in triplicate, and also discover the healing power of recovered memories.
Read about another book on the list.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is among Stephen H Segal and Valya Dudycz Lupescu's five books with families they’d like to live alongside as neighbors and Peter Straub's six favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 13, 2018

What is Emma Berquist reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Emma Berquist, author of Devils Unto Dust.

Her entry begins:
I’ve recently been treating myself to some middle grade books and I just finished Merrill Wyatt’s Ernestine, Catastrophe Queen. Even if I didn’t know the author, I’d have to pick this one up because it’s about a precocious girl trying to start the zombie apocalypse, and I’m all about zombies. This book is so enjoyable, a fast-paced mystery with an irrepressible main character and a cast of farcical elderly patrons. Since I’ve been all kinds of anxious about...[read on]
About Devils Unto Dust, from the publisher:
Keep together. Keep your eyes open. Keep your wits about you.

The desert is unkind in the best of times. And the decade since the Civil War has been anything but the best of times for Daisy Wilcox—call her Willie—and her family. This tense, heart-pounding alternate history about a young woman fighting to survive the unthinkable will keep fans of Westworld and The Walking Dead reading late into the night.

A horrifying sickness has spread across the West Texas desert. Infected people—shakes—attack the living, and the surviving towns are only as safe as their perimeter walls are strong. The state is all but quarantined from the rest of the country. Glory, Texas, is a near ghost town. Still, seventeen-year-old Willie has managed to keep her siblings safe, even after the sickness took their mother. But then her good-for-nothing father steals a fortune from one of the most merciless shake hunters in town, and Willie is left on the hook for his debt. With two young hunters as guides, Willie sets out across the desert to find her father. And the desert holds more dangers than just shakes.

This riveting debut novel blends True Grit with 28 Days Later for an unforgettable journey.
Visit Emma Berquist's website.

The Page 69 Test: Devils Unto Dust.

Writers Read: Emma Berquist.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Amanda Porterfield's "Corporate Spirit"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Corporate Spirit: Religion and the Rise of the Modern Corporation by Amanda Porterfield.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this groundbreaking work, Amanda Porterfield explores the long intertwining of religion and commerce in the history of incorporation in the United States. Beginning with the antecedents of that history in western Europe, she focuses on organizations to show how corporate strategies in religion and commerce developed symbiotically, and how religion has influenced the corporate structuring and commercial orientation of American society.

Porterfield begins her story in ancient Rome. She traces the development of corporate organization through medieval Europe and Elizabethan England and then to colonial North America, where organizational practices derived from religion infiltrated commerce, and commerce led to political independence. Left more to their own devices than under British law, religious groups in the United States experienced unprecedented autonomy that facilitated new forms of communal governance and new means of broadcasting their messages. As commercial enterprise expanded, religious organizations grew apace, helping many Americans absorb the shocks of economic turbulence, and promoting new conceptions of faith, spirit, and will power that contributed to business.

Porterfield highlights the role that American religious institutions played a society increasingly dominated by commercial incorporation and free market ideologies. She also shows how charitable impulses long nurtured by religion continued to stimulate reform and demand for accountability.
Learn more about Corporate Spirit at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Corporate Spirit.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five novels that get Leonardo right

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and the Ustari Cycle from Pocket/Gallery, including We Are Not Good People. At the B&N Reads blog he tagged five novels that get Leonardo da Vinci right, including:
Leonardo’s Swans, by Karen Essex

What makes Essex’s portrayal of da Vinci interesting is that she views him through the lens of other characters in this complex and subtle fictional biography of the competitive Estes sisters in 15th century Italy. Placed into politically motivated marriages, the sisters see their happiness and fortunes wax and wane, but are ultimately drawn to the brilliant artist and thinker for different reasons: one wants him to pursue the projects that will improve the lives of the people, while the other wishes only to be made immortal as the subject of one of the master’s portraits. In Essex’s skilled hands da Vinci is much more than a figure from history, and seeing him at a remove clarifies the personality hinted at in historical accounts and, ironically, makes for a stronger sense of the person than in some more intimate portrayals.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 12, 2018

What is David Drake reading?

Featured at Writers Read: David Drake, author of Though Hell Should Bar the Way.

His entry begins:
At the moment, I'm actively reading two books:

Log-letters from "The Challenger" by Lord George Granville Campbell. I'm honestly not sure what Campbell's position during the Challenger Expedition of 1872 was--he may have been aboard simply because he was the (third) son of the Duke of Argyle. He certainly wasn't a scientist but he may not have had naval rank either.

Regardless, he has left a lively and informative account of this famous Royal Society scientific expedition--a 19th century predecessor of...[read on]
About Though Hell Should Bar the Way, from the publisher:
FROM WEALTH AND POWER, TO POVERTY AND INSULTS!

Roy Olfetrie planned to be an officer in the Republic of Cinnabar Navy, but when his father was unmasked as a white-collar criminal he had to take whatever he was offered.

What is offered turns out to be a chance to accompany Captain Daniel Leary and Lady Adele Mundy as they go off to start a war that will put Roy at the sharp end.

Duty snatches Roy from the harem of a pirate chief to a world of monsters, from interstellar reaches in a half-wrecked starship to assassination attempts at posh houses. Roy has the choice of making friends or dying friendless; of meeting betrayal and responding to it; of breaking his faith or keeping it at the risk of his life.

Pirates, politics, and spies--and waiting for Roy if he survives all the rest, a powerful warship.

The action doesn't slow--nor can Roy, for if he does the only question is which of the many threats will be the one to catch and kill him. But Captain Leary himself has given Roy a chance, and Roy is determined make the most of it—THOUGH HELL SHOULD BAR THE WAY.
Visit David Drake's website.

Writers Read: David Drake.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Nell Hampton's "Lord of the Pies"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Lord of the Pies: A Kensington Palace Chef Mystery by Nell Hampton.

About the book, from the publisher:
When Carrie Ann Cole bakes a lemon meringue pie to die for that actually kills someone, she must find out who the real killer is before her time at the Kensington Palace expires.

The elegant Orangery at Kensington Palace is the perfect setting for the bridal shower of Carrie Ann Cole’s best friend’s sister. Personal chef to the royal family, Carrie Ann’s pie theme is naturally winning. But a waiter later keels over dead into the lemon meringue pie she leaves as a thank-you to the staff and Carrie Ann realizes that somebody slipped a mickey into that meringue.

Her floury fingerprints are all over that pie and the authorities suspect her distress is a cover-up for murder. Carrie Ann must set out to clear her name if she wants to stay at her dream job any longer. But all too soon, another body drops in the Orangery. This time, it’s the Orangery chef.

Murder won’t crimp her style, and as bodies pile up, Carrie Ann uncovers palace intrigue, London nightlife, and British pies scouring for the killer in Lord of the Pies, the witty follow-up to Nell Hampton’s Kale to the Queen.
Visit Nell Hampton / Nancy J. Parra's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Coffee with a Canine: Nancy J. Parra and Little Dog.

The Page 69 Test: Lord of the Pies.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about miscarriages of justice

Julia Dahl's latest book in the Rebekah Roberts series is Conviction. One of the author's top ten books about miscarriages of justice, as shared at the Guardian:
Atonement by Ian McEwan

One of the most common causes of wrongful convictions is faulty eyewitness testimony. But that knowledge doesn’t tell us why or how someone could make such a major mistake. In Atonement, however, we get to go inside the mind of a 13-year-old girl whose misidentification destroys lives. McEwan’s portrait of Briony strikes an impressive balance between being compassionate and critical. Like most of us, Briony is hard to love but also hard to hate.
Read about another entry on the list.

Atonement also appears on Tim Lott's top ten list of summers in fiction, Ellen McCarthy's list of six favorite books about weddings and marriage, David Treuer's six favorite books list, Kirkus Reviews's list of eleven books whose final pages will shock you, Nicole Hill's list of eleven books in which the main character dies, Isla Blair's six best books list, Jessica Soffer's top ten list of book endings, Jane Ciabattari's list of five masterpieces of fiction that also worked as films, and on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best birthday parties in literature, ten of the best misdirected messages in literature, ten of the best scenes on London Underground, ten of the best breakages in literature, ten of the best weddings in literature, and ten of the best identical twins in fiction. It is one of Stephanie Beacham's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue