Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What is John Gimlette reading?

The latest featured contributor to Writers Read: John Gimlette, author of the newly released Panther Soup: Travels Through Europe in War and Peace.

His entry opens:
Most of my reading relates to research for the book I am working on. My next book is about Guyana, and so I am reading Seductive Poison, an account of the events that led to the Jonestown Massacre. It's not particularly well-written and it sometimes feels like watching a train crash in slow motion. Nonetheless it's quite an important book, demonstrating how easily a large and vulnerable section of society were brain-washed by the crank, Jim Jones. [read on]
John Gimlette has won the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize and the Wanderlust Travel Writing Award, and he writes regularly for The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, and Condé Nast Traveller.

His books include
At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig and Theatre of Fish, both nominated by the New York Times as being among the "100 Notable Books of the Year."

When not traveling, he practices law in London, where he lives with his family.

Read an excerpt from Panther Soup, and visit John Gimlette's website.

Writers Read: John Gimlette.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Daniel Kalla's "Cold Plague"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Daniel Kalla's Cold Plague.

About the novel, from the publisher:
Pristine water — hidden for millions of years, untouched by pollution, and possessing natural healing powers — is found miles under Antarctic ice. The scientists who make this astonishing discovery stand to win worldwide acclaim and earn billions. While people around the world line up for a taste of the therapeutic water, a cluster of new cases of mad cow disease explodes in a rural French province. Dr. Noah Haldane and his World Health Organization team are urgently summoned.

Fresh from a brush with a pandemic flu, Noah recognizes the deadliness of a prion — the enigmatic microscopic protein responsible for mad cow disease — that kills with the speed and ferocity of a virus. Despite intense international pressure to declare the outbreak a random occurrence, Noah suspects that factors other than nature have ignited the prion’s spread among animals and people in France. Facing a spate of disappearances and unexplained deaths, Noah uncovers a conspiracy that stretches from St. Petersburg, Russia, to Beverly Hills, and from the North to the South Pole. He soon realizes that the scientific find of the century — a lake the size of Lake Superior buried three miles under Antarctica — might hold the key to a microscopic Jurassic Park.

With a billion-dollar industry hanging on his silence, Noah has to stay alive long enough to sound the alarm.
Among the praise for Dan Kalla's novels:
“Fast-paced and smartly written . . . Kalla has quickly matured into a force to be reckoned with.... Blood Lies springs several fresh surprises on the reader (including one whopping great shocker).”

“Daniel Kalla expertly weaves real science and medicine into a fast-paced, nightmarish thriller—a thriller all the more frightening because it could really happen.”
—Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author, on Pandemic

An absorbing, compulsive thriller, the sort of book you could stay up too late reading.”
The Vancouver Sun on Pandemic

“Fans of Presumed Innocent will find welcome echoes of that modern classic in Blood Lies. The twists are well done, and Kalla has a gift rare in the thriller field for creating sympathetic characters.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A taut psychological thriller that will pull you into a world of sexual deviancy, murder, and mind games. A very good read.”
—Nelson DeMille, New York Times bestselling author, on Rage Therapy

“Kalla strikes again with another perfect page-turner.”
—Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author, on Blood Lies

“A damn fine read.”
—John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author, on Blood Lies
Read an excerpt from Cold Plague, and learn more about the novel and author at Dan Kalla's website.

Daniel Kalla is the international bestselling author of Pandemic, Resistance, Rage Therapy, and Blood Lies. He works as an emergency-room physician in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Read January Magazine's "Author Snapshot: Daniel Kalla."

The Page 99 Test: Blood Lies.

The Page 69 Test: Cold Plague.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Page 123 meme: follow-up

Linda L. Richards, author of Death Was the Other Woman, tagged me with the Page 123 meme and I tagged a few writers. Here's a sample what they did with it:

The nearest book at hand for Steve Hockensmith was a classic left near his desk by his 4-year-old, Pooh and the Dragon, which does not have 123 pages, so he turned to the next nearest book: The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson. Here are lines 6-8 from Pooh -- "No, we weren't scared," Roo giggled. "Why would we be?" He yawned. -- and the meme-relevant lines from Thompson's novel:
"You hurt me."

"I did?" I said. "Gosh, I'm sorry, honey."
Actually, I can imagine those lines in a Pooh book, too.

For Katherine Howell, the nearest book was James Lee Burke's Bitterroot.
Sentences 6, 7 and 8:

"Can you explain to me what your son is doing with Sue Lynn Big Medicine?" he said.
"Dancing, the last time I saw her."
"You were an officer of the federal court."
Pete Anderson wrote:
I'm reading Nelson Algren's novel Never Come Morning. (An interesting coincidence, given the fact that I once wrote a Page 69 essay for Marshal on Algren's The Man With the Golden Arm.)
The meme-rable lines:
"Bullet through the groin - zip," he added, his words coming flat and unempathetic, reading from the charge sheet without understanding. "Five children. Stella. Mary. Grosha. Wanda. Vincent. All underage."
Good stuff.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Allen Wyler's "Deadly Errors"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Allen Wyler's Deadly Errors.

About the novel, from the publisher:
Brain surgeon Allen Wyler has written a thriller on the bleeding edge of new-millennium hospital technology.

When a brain surgeon discovers that a revolutionary computerized medical-records system is responsible for a series of patient deaths---and threatens many more---he must navigate a treacherous maze of conspiracy. And risk his life to expose it.

* A comatose man is given a fatal dose of insulin in the Emergency Room---even though he isn't diabetic.

* An ulcer patient dies of hemolytic shock after receiving a transfusion---of the wrong blood type.

* A recovering heart patient receives a double dose of the same medication---triggering a fatal cardiac arrest.

When the doctors and nurses at Seattle's prestigious Maynard Medical Center start making preventable drug and treatment errors that kill their patients, neurosurgeon Dr. Tyler Mathews suspects that something is murderously wrong with the hospital's highly touted new "Med-InDx" electronic medical record. But when he airs his concerns to the hospital's upper management, he's met with stonewalling, skepticism---and threats.

Millions of dollars, and the future of Med-InDx, are at stake. And powerful corporate forces aren't about to let their potential profits evaporate. Tyler soon finds that his career, his marriage, and his very life are in jeopardy---along with the lives of countless innocent patients.
Among the praise for Deadly Errors:
"A thriller that only a doctor could have written. Wyler's sense of the worlds of the hospital and operating room are unsurpassed. You'll feel as if you are right there."
--Michael Palmer, New York Times bestselling author of Miracle Cure and The Sisterhood

"Deadly Errors has a fascinating and frightening premise that gives it the potential to be a bestseller in the Robin Cook mold."
--William Dietrich, author of Hadrian's Wall

"Deadly Errors is a wild and satisfying ride! An up-all-night pass into troubled places that only hardworking doctors know about, a turbulent world of trusting patients and imperfect humans struggling with the required image of perfection. Only a gifted surgeon could craft such a wild and wonderful medical thriller!"
--John J. Nance, New York Times bestselling author of Pandora's Clock

"Just when you thought it was safe to go back and have your tonsils removed, Dr. Allen Wyler writes a fast-paced thriller that reawakens your scariest misgivings about the Medical-Industrial Complex and the profit motive corrupting the art of healing. This is a story told with authority by an insider, an unsettling backstage tour through the labyrinth of that place we have come to both fear and revere---the American hospital."
--Darryl Ponicsan, author of The Last Detail

"Deadly Errors will curl your toes and make you afraid to enter the hospital for even a minor procedure. No one can write operating room scenes like Allen Wyler. You couldn't get any closer to the action if you scrubbed in and held a retractor."
--Don Donaldson, author of Do No Harm and In the Blood
Read an excerpt from Deadly Errors, and learn more about the author and his work at Allen Wyler's website.

The Page 69 Test: Dead Head.

My Book, The Movie: Deadly Errors.

The Page 99 Test: Deadly Errors.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pg. 69: Tom Rob Smith's "Child 44"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Tom Rob Smith's Child 44.

About the book, from the publisher:
An amazingly assured and exciting debut set in Soviet Russia in 1953, with a wonderfully realised sense of all-pervading fear and the desperateness of a chilling race against time. How do you solve an impossible crime?

MGB officer Leo is a man who never questions the Party Line. He arrests whomever he is told to arrest. He dismisses the horrific death of a young boy because he is told to, because he believes the Party stance that there can be no murder in Communist Russia. Leo is the perfect soldier of the regime.

But suddenly his confidence that everything he does serves a great good is shaken. He is forced to watch a man he knows to be innocent be brutally tortured. And then he is told to arrest his own wife.

Leo understands how the State works: Trust and check, but check particularly on those we trust. He faces a stark choice: his wife or his life.

And still the killings of children continue...
Among the early praise for the novel:
"An amazing debut - rich, different, and thrilling."
--Lee Child

"[A] brilliant debut novel that had me clutching it with both hands as if my life depended on reading it in a single night."
--Ali Karim, The Rap Sheet

"Child 44 telegraphs the talent and class of its writer from its opening pages, transporting you back to the darkest days of post-war Soviet Russia and ruthlessly drawing you into its richly atmospheric and engrossing tale."
--Raymond Khoury, bestselling author of The Last Templar

"This is truly a remarkable debut novel. A rare blend of great insight, excellent writing and a refreshingly original story... Favourable comparisons to Gorky Park are inevitable, but Child 44 is in a class of its own."
-- Nelson de Mille

"Child 44 contrasts the bleakness of Stalinist Russia with a love story that unexpectedly and ironically blooms only because the lovers are nearly crushed by a relentless totalitarian regime hell bent on their destruction. As a husband and wife seemingly trapped in a chilly state-endorsed marriage attempt to solve a series of brutal shild murders the government is determined not to acknowledge, they must avoid being killed themselves in a simultaneous flight and pursuit across the wintry Russian landscape. Achingly suspenseful, it's full of feeling and of the twists and turns that one expects from Le Carre at his best. It's a tale that grabes you by the throat and simply never lets you go."
--Robert Towne, Oscar-winning screenwriter, director, and actor

"The phrase 'master storyteller' is horribly over-used. In the case of young, first-time novelist Tom Rob Smith, it simply cannot do him justice. Child 44 is not only a thriller of the highest quality - addictive, pacey, frighteningly unpredictable -- but also a magnificently written novel with far more to offer than carefully managed tension and twists."
--Fiona Atherton, Scotsman

"A thrilling, intense piece of fiction."
--Peter Guttridge, Observer

"Child 44 is a thrilling read from the first page"
--The Sun

"Smith is good at keeping us in suspense. He also succeeds in saying something new on a well-worn subject."
Read an excerpt from Child 44, and learn more about the book at the publisher's website.

Child 44 is Tom Rob Smith's first novel.

Read Ali Karim's interview with Smith at The Rap Sheet.

The Page 69 Test: Child 44.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five best books for Holocaust Remembrance Day

At the Wall Street Journal, Robert Rozett named five "essential books to keep in mind for Holocaust Remembrance Day on May 2."

One title on his list:
Ordinary Men
by Christopher R. Browning
HarperCollins, 1992

In "Ordinary Men," Christopher R. Browning tells the story of the German Reserve Police Battalion 101 and in the process addresses fundamental questions about the motivations of the Holocaust's perpetrators. How did "middle-aged family men of working- and lower-middle-class background from the city of Hamburg" become calloused murderers who killed 38,000 Jews and deported 45,000 more to Nazi death camps? Anti-Semitism certainly was a central cause, Browning says: others included the urge for conformity, the desire for advancement and the fear of appearing weak. One may argue with some of Browning's conclusions, in part because he relies on postwar statements by the criminals themselves, but this book will make any reader stop to ponder the ordinary man's capacity for evil.
Read about the book that topped Rozett's list.

Robert Rozett is the director of the Yad Vashem Library in Jerusalem and author of Approaching the Holocaust: Texts and Contexts.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Sean Williams reading?

The latest contributor to Writers Read: Sean Williams, a New York Times-bestselling author of speculative fiction.

One book he tagged:
While working on a novel, I always try to read something that will influence my writing just the right way. That doesn't necessarily mean a book in the same genre; more often it's the style and tone I'm looking for, like finding the right up-beat tempo to keep the weights pumping at the gym (not that I spend much time doing that). Because I've just started something intimate and fantastical for younger readers, the book I'm reading at the moment is Sylvia Engdahl's Enchantress from the Stars, a 1970 novel I somehow managed to miss during my childhood that an editor friend handed as inspiration. I can see why Firebird re-released it. Its devices are all completely visible, but it remains engaging. [read on]
Sean Williams is the author of over sixty published short stories and twenty-two novels, including the Books of the Cataclysm and The Resurrected Man.

He has been nominated at least thirty times for the major Australian awards (Ditmar, Aurealis, and McNamara) and has won ten times. He was recently nominated for the Ditmar, the Aurealis and the prestigious Philip K Dick Award for Saturn Returns.

As well as his original work, Williams has written several novels in the Star Wars universe.

Visit Sean Williams' website and his LiveJournal.

Writers Read: Sean Williams.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pg. 99: Bill Emmott's "Rivals"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Rivals: How the Power Struggle Between China, India and Japan Will Shape Our Next Decade by Bill Emmott.

About the book, from the publisher:
The former editor in chief of the Economist returns to the territory of his bestselling book The Sun Also Sets to lay out an entirely fresh analysis of the growing rivalry between China, India, and Japan and what it will mean for America, the global economy, and the twenty-first-century world.

Though books such as The World Is Flat and China Shakes the World consider them only as individual actors, Emmott argues that these three political and economic giants are closely intertwined by their fierce competition for influence, markets, resources, and strategic advantage. Rivals explains and explores the ways in which this sometimes bitter rivalry will play out over the next decade—in business, global politics, military competition, and the environment—and reveals the efforts of the United States to manipulate and benefit from this rivalry. Identifying the biggest risks born of these struggles, Rivals also outlines the ways these risks can and should be managed by all of us.
Among the early acclaim for Rivals:
"Rivals is remarkable for the clarity of its economic and historical analysis and the cogency of its arguments."
--Victor Mallet, Financial Times

"[A] striking new book.... Rivals is clever and concise."
--Michael Sheridan, The Sunday Times

"[Emmott] combines solid economic and political analysis with entertaining personal accounts to discuss three countries in the center of the phenomenon. Emmott paints richly detailed portraits of China, India and Japan, examining the global implications of their growing rivalry while remaining attentive to issues that extend beyond the region, such as the environment and nuclear weapons proliferation.... The true strength of the book lies in Emmott’s ability to guide the reader through the intricate—often fraught—relationships between these countries without losing focus. Particularly welcome is his ability to discuss potential trouble spots in the region without degenerating into alarmism. This serious and stimulating book will be indispensable to anyone interested in where these countries are headed—and where they might take us."
--Publishers Weekly
Read an excerpt from Rivals, and learn more about the author and his work at Bill Emmott's website.

The Page 99 Test: Rivals.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Judy Collins reading?

The folk and standards singer-songwriter Judy Collins talked to the Christian Science Monitor about what she's been watching and listening to. And reading:
I'm reading my second book by Robert Richardson, his book on Emerson called 'The Mind on Fire,' and Steve Martin's 'Born Standing Up,' which I am loving. I just read the Jeffrey Archer book, which is fantastic, the new one, 'A Prisoner of Birth' – quite an extraordinary book – is sort of like reading Alexandre Dumas, which they say in the notes, but which is really true.
Read more about what Collins has been listening to and watching.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Dan Elish's "The Misadventures of Justin Hearnfeld"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Dan Elish's The Misadventures of Justin Hearnfeld.

About the book, from Publishers Weekly:
From the author of Nine Wives comes this amusing tale of an insecure college grad who wants nothing more than to drop a few pounds, write the great American novel and lose his virginity. Raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Justin Hearnfeld is plagued by his lackluster track record with the opposite sex. After landing a job teaching English at the Clarke School for Boys, his abhorrent former high school, Justin becomes obsessed with striking yet unattainable co-worker Beverly Kinney. But his friend and fellow teacher David Grinstein, persuades him to instead try for Sadie Black, a teacher at Clarke's sister school. To add to the complication, Justin's pious ex-girlfriend, Abigail Wilson, comes back into his life with a newfound enthusiasm for sex. Enmeshed in an awkward and slightly unbelievable love triangle, Justin has to contend with the many uproarious obstacles standing between his virginal self and sex....
Read an excerpt from The Misadventures of Justin Hearnfeld, and learn more about the author and his work at Dan Elish's website.

Dan Elish is also the author of the novel Nine Wives as well as several books for young adults and children including the award-winning Born Too Short, Confessions of an 8th Grade Basket Case, The Worldwide Dessert Contest, Jason and the Baseball Bear, and The Great Squirrel Uprising.

Read Elish's mini-essay on "four differences between writing for adults and kids."

The Page 69 Test: The Misadventures of Justin Hearnfeld.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Craig Johnson's "The Cold Dish," the movie

Now showing at My Book, The Movie: Craig Johnson's The Cold Dish.

There is some real interest among moviemakers for adapting Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire mysteries, so the author cast "no longer active" actors in his entry.

Before clicking over for Johnson's idea about which late, great movie star ought to play Sheriff Walt Longmire, try to cast his lead using these guiding characteristics:
Some of the physical qualities I had in mind when I was constructing Walt were as far flung as Athos from The Three Musketeers, to Jean Val Jean from Les Miserables, specifically the scene where the ex-convict reveals himself by lifting a wagon off of an injured man. Marine investigator and USC offensive tackle, Walt Longmire is a big man simply for the reason that I wanted him to be capable, but not studied. Personally, I’ve had enough of the seventh-degree black-belt types, and just wanted a sheriff who could put a bad guy up against the wall if need be..... The other major ability would be a sense of humor and timing.... [read on]
The Walt Longmire mysteries are The Cold Dish, Death Without Company, Kindness Goes Unpunished and Another Man’s Moccasins.

Read more about the novels and the author at Craig Johnson's website.

The Page 69 Test: Kindness Goes Unpunished.

My Book, The Movie: The Cold Dish.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Steven Heyman's "Free Speech and Human Dignity"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Steven J. Heyman's Free Speech and Human Dignity.

About the book, from the publisher:
Debates over hate speech, pornography, and other sorts of controversial speech raise issues that go to the core of the First Amendment. Supporters of regulation argue that these forms of expression cause serious injury to individuals and groups, assaulting their dignity as human beings and citizens. Civil libertarians respond that our commitment to free speech is measured by our willingness to protect it, even when it causes harm or offends our deepest values.

In this important book, Steven J. Heyman presents a theory of the First Amendment that seeks to overcome the conflict between free speech and human dignity. This liberal humanist theory recognizes a strong right to freedom of expression while also providing protection against the most serious forms of assaultive speech. Heyman then uses the theory to illuminate a wide range of contemporary disputes, from flag burning and antiabortion demonstrations to pornography and hate speech.
Among the early acclaim for Free Speech and Human Dignity:
“Steven J. Heyman’s liberal humanism exhibits a profound understanding of the tragic conflicts often presented in free speech cases. This is an exciting contribution to the first amendment literature.”
—Steven Shiffrin, Charles Frank Reavis Sr. Professor of Law, Cornell University

“In Free Speech and Human Dignity, Steve Heyman shows us the original understanding of the First Amendment guarantees of free speech, thought, and worship as a part of a broad array of natural rights including dignity, personal security, personality, and community. This important book gives us a fresh interpretation of the First Amendment that is both liberal and humanist and leaves the reader with a far deeper appreciation of the natural rights tradition at its heart.”
—Robin West, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

"Free Speech and Human Dignity offers an elegant, clear-headed, and fair-minded argument for the regulation of speech that is inconsistent with human dignity. Heyman presents the most convincing possible case for the legal prohibition of such speech. His book should be studied by all who are concerned to understand this difficult and significant issue."
—Robert Post, David Boies Professor of Law, Yale Law School

“A fascinating work demonstrating how insights from the eighteenth century may properly inform answers to pressing constitutional problems of the present.”
—Mark Graber, Professor of Law and Government, University of Maryland School of Law and author of Dred Scott and the Problem of Constitutional Evil
Learn more about Free Speech and Human Dignity at the Yale University Press website.

Steven J. Heyman is Professor of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law. He is a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was a Supreme Court editor of the Harvard Law Review. In addition to many law review articles, he is the editor of Hate Speech and the Constitution.

The Page 99 Test: Free Speech and Human Dignity.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 25, 2008

What is Chris Forhan reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Reads: Chris Forhan, author of The Actual Moon, The Actual Stars and Forgive Us Our Happiness.

Part of his entry:
Books by more recent poets include No Starling by Nance Van Winckel (whose work has gotten noticeably and gorgeously strange in the last few years); Laura Kasischke’s Lilies Without; Dean Young’s embryoyo; Tomaž Šalamun’s The Book for My Brother; and Alessandra Lynch’s it was a terrible cloud at twilight. Lynch’s poems are deeply musical and emotionally rich—they persuade, finally, by their distinctive voice: by its often incantatory, even obsessive, quality and by its shifts and veerings that are both surprising and right. [read on]
Forhan's poems have been published in magazines such as Poetry, Paris Review, New England Review, Plougshares, Parnassus, Antioch Review, Georgia Review, and Slate, and anthologies including The Best American Poetry 2008, The Book of Irish American Poetry from the Eighteenth Century to the Present, Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, The Pushcart Prize XXVII, Hammer and Blaze: A Gathering of Contemporary American Poets, and The New American Poets: A Bread Loaf Anthology.

He received a 2007 NEA fellowship in poetry, and teaches at Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind.

Writers Reads: Chris Forhan.

--Marshal Zeringue

Critic's chart: Arthur C. Clarke Award winners

The Arthur C. Clarke Award is the UK’s premier prize for science fiction literature. The 2008 award ceremony will take place on April 30th as part of the Sci-Fi-London Film Festival. On the shortlist: Matthew de Abaitua, Stephen Baxter, Sarah Hall, Steven Hall, Ken MacLeod and Richard Morgan.

Lisa Tuttle, a sci-fi reviewer for the Times (London), selected a critic's chart of the top Arthur C. Clarke Award winners.

One title on her list:
Air Geoff Ryman (2006)

Brilliantly imagined novel of ordinary lives in a remote village transformed by a technological great leap forward.
Read about Number One on Tuttle's list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Michael Allen Dymmoch's "M.I.A."

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Michael Allen Dymmoch's M.I.A..

About the book, from the author's website:
The accidental death of Mickey Fahey leaves his wife Rhiann paralyzed by grief, his stepson Jimmy cutting school and drinking. The widow's problems are compounded by the unwanted advances of her dead husband's friend.

Rhiann does her best to cope, going back to work, dealing patiently with her son's misbehavior, telling Rory Sinter she's not interested.

A mysterious stranger moves in next door. John Devlin offers Rhiann beer and sympathy, and gives Jimmy a job.

When Sinter tries to discredit John, then beat him to death, Rhiann comes to John's rescue. But she discovers her perfect neighbor isn't what he'd seemed.

Which leads Rhiann to investigate. And to see John in a different light altogether.

This is a story of violent men and violent passions, of missing friends, of loss and discovery. A love story.
Read an excerpt from M.I.A., and learn more about the author and her work at Michael Allen Dymmoch's website.

Check out Dymmoch's "Graphic Sex" post at The Outfit, in which she writes: "I recall graphic sex scenes from several mystery novels—don’t remember the plots or how the stories came out—but I remember that the sex stood out. (Having said that, I’ll admit to putting fairly graphic foreplay in my upcoming novel, M.I.A. — which I hope doesn’t stop the action.)"

Michael Allen Dymmoch has served as President and Secretary of the Midwest Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and as newsletter editor for the Chicagoland Chapter of Sisters in Crime. Her books include Death In West Wheeling and White Tiger.

The Page 69 Test: White Tiger.

My Book, The Movie: Death in West Wheeling.

The Page 69 Test: M.I.A..

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Swierczynski's "The Blonde" -- on the big screen?

When Duane Swierczynski shared the news that his terrific novel The Blonde had been optioned by Hollywood, I unaccountably failed to report it here. But little in the world of crime fiction escapes The Rap Sheet's J. Kingston Pierce, and he has the latest details on the story.

For those not following the story from the start, here's a timeline.

*December 2006: An as-yet-unproduced screenwriter reviews The Blonde. The opening paragraph:
If Duane Swierczynski's new book The Blonde hasn't been optioned by a movie producer yet, Hollywood's paid novel readers aren't doing their jobs. And once they do "discover" this book, I hope they'll hire me to write the adapted screenplay. Why? Because the story will make a cracking good movie and the screenplay almost writes itself.
*July 2007: Duane Swierczynski contributes an entry for The Blonde to My Book, The Movie. The money paragraph:
"The Blonde": You'd need someone who's beautiful with the potential for being badass. Michelle Monaghan (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) comes to mind, as does Melissa George, who played Lauren Reed in season three of Alias.
*March 2008: Swierczynski shares the news that the book has been optioned. Here's the official announcement:
Film rights to Duane Swierczynski's THE BLONDE, about a soon-to-be-divorced young father who is poisoned by a beautiful woman at an airport bar, and told if he wants to live, he must stay by her side for the next 12 hours, optioned by "Mission Impossible: III" and "Gone Baby Gone" co-star Michelle Monaghan, with screenwriter Paul Leyden attached, by Angela Cheng Caplan on behalf of DHS Literary Inc.
April 2008: The Rap Sheet links to a Los Angeles Times story with more details on the deal, including the news that "
Monaghan and Leyden had been looking to collaborate (he's married to her best friend)..."--which doesn't leave me the least bit bitter. Not one bit. Really. Not. One. Bit.

The Blonde was one of my favorite books of 2006. I hope it makes it to the big screen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten books about wilderness

At the age of 10, Sarah Anderson's arm was amputated as a result of cancer. She has gone on to write several travel books, including the newly released (in the U.K.) Halfway to Venus, which is "about life with one arm, about phantom and prosthetic limbs, about what hands and arms mean in different cultures and how they are portrayed in art and literature."

Anderson also founded the Travel Bookshop, the setting for the movie Notting Hill.

For the Guardian, she named her top ten books about wilderness. One book on her list:
The Land of Little Rain by Mary Austin

I love the range of subjects that Mary Austin wrote about; her books and articles include fiction, autobiography, mysticism, Native American culture and mathematics - but it is of course her landscape and wilderness writing that particularly appeal to me. Austin is barely known in the UK but her writings about the desert in the south west of the United States, an area she calls the "Country of Lost Borders", are vivid and evocative and again prove that what at first can seem unwelcoming and unforgiving can actually be sustaining and life-giving. The desert is where she went to restore her sense of mystery.
Read more about Anderson's top ten list.

Read more about Halfway to Venus.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: James M. O'Toole's "The Faithful"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: James M. O'Toole's The Faithful: A History of Catholics in America.

About the book, from the publisher:
Shaken by the ongoing clergy sexual abuse scandal, and challenged from within by social and theological division, Catholics in America are at a crossroads. But is today’s situation unique? And where will Catholicism go from here? With the belief that we understand our present by studying our past, James O’Toole offers a bold and panoramic history of the American Catholic laity.

O’Toole tells the story of this ancient church from the perspective of ordinary Americans, the lay believers who have kept their faith despite persecution from without and clergy abuse from within. It is an epic tale, from the first settlements of Catholics in the colonies to the turmoil of the scandal-ridden present, and through the church’s many American incarnations in between. We see Catholics’ complex relationship to Rome and to their own American nation. O’Toole brings to life both the grand sweep of institutional change and the daily practice that sustained believers. The Faithful pays particular attention to the intricacies of prayer and ritual—the ways men and women have found to express their faith as Catholics over the centuries.

With an intimate knowledge of the dilemmas and hopes of today’s church, O’Toole presents a new vision and offers a glimpse into the possible future of the church and its parishioners. Moving past the pulpit and into the pews, The Faithful is an unmatched look at the American Catholic laity. Today’s Catholics will find much to educate and inspire them in these pages, and non-Catholics will gain a newfound understanding of their religious brethren.
Among the early praise for The Faithful:
"O'Toole's history, focusing especially on personal narratives, makes for captivating reading... A history worth reading."
--Kirkus Reviews

"For readers who are familiar with the church, the primary joy of this book will be found in checking their own experiences against those described by O'Toole. Still, the genial style of writing together with a plentiful amount of fascinating tidbits will keep all but the most jaded expert going."
--Publishers Weekly

"O'Toole deftly tells the history of lay Catholics in America. Beginning with the priestless church of the Colonial period, he goes on to explore the church in the democratic republic, the immigrant church, the church of Catholic Action, the church of Vatican II, and the church in the 21st century."
--Augustine J. Curley, Library Journal

"The Faithful is a truly original and mature work that gives us a rich history of American Catholics. There is simply no comparable book."
--David O'Brien, Holy Cross

"An ambitious narrative history of American Catholicism, written with great historical range and attention to lived experience. It has profound contemporary resonance. This courageous book, unafraid to explore the story's darker moments, is destined to become the new standard text on American Catholicism."
--Robert Orsi, Northwestern University

"Solidly researched, engagingly told and insightfully interpreted, The Faithful is the first comprehensive history of lay Catholic prayer, politics and creative fidelity to church teaching, even in times of crisis such as the present. It could not come at a better time, as American Catholics struggle to reclaim a legacy of moral leadership and stalwart service to the nation."
--R. Scott Appleby, University of Notre Dame

"O'Toole surveys the lay Catholic experience in America with remarkable breadth and mastery. Lively and accessible, this book provides a valuable introduction to American Catholic history."
--Leslie Tentler, Catholic University of America
Read an excerpt from The Faithful, and learn more about the book at the Harvard University Press website.

Visit James O'Toole's faculty webpage.

The Page 99 Test: The Faithful.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pg. 69: Sally Gunning's "Bound"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Sally Gunning's Bound.

About the book, from the publisher:
Alice Cole spent her first seven years living in two smoky, crowded rooms in London with her family. But a new home and a better life waited in the colonies, or so her father promised—a bright dream that turned to ashes when her brothers and mother took ill and died during the arduous voyage. Arriving in New England unable to meet the added expenses incurred by their misfortunes at sea, her father bound Alice into servitude to pay his debts.

By the age of fifteen, Alice can barely remember the time when she was not a servant to John Morton and his daughter, Nabby. Though work fills her days, life with the Mortons is pleasant; Mr. Morton calls Alice his "sweet, good girl," and Nabby, only three years older, is her friend, companion, and now newly married, her mistress.

But Nabby's marriage is not happy, and soon Alice is caught up in its storm; seeing nothing ahead but her own destruction, she defies her new master and the law and runs away to Boston. There she meets a sympathetic widow named Lyddie Berry and her lawyer companion, Eben Freeman. Frightened and alone, Alice impulsively stows away on their ship to Satucket on Cape Cod, where the Widow Berry offers Alice a bed and a job making cloth in support of the new boycott of British wool and linen.

At Widow Berry's, Alice believes her old secret is safe, until it becomes threatened by a new one. As the days pass, the political and the personal stakes rise and intertwine, ultimately setting off a chain of events that will force Alice to question all she thought she knew. Bound by law, society, and her own heart, Alice soon discovers that freedom—as well as gratitude, friendship, trust, and love—has a price far higher than any she ever imagined.

Library Journal hailed Sally Gunning's previous novel, The Widow's War, as "historical fiction at its best." With Bound, this wonderfully talented writer returns to pre-Revolutionary New England and evokes a long-ago time filled with uncertainty, hardship, and promise.
Among the early acclaim for Bound:
"Heartrending.... Gunning’s vibrant portrayal shows that the pursuit of happiness is not for the faint of heart."
Boston Globe

"Historical fiction at its best."
Library Journal, starred review

"[A] colonial page-turner...horrifying, spellbinding."
Publishers Weekly

"If The Widow's War identified Sally Gunning as a masterful new voice in historical fiction, Bound confirms her place as one of the very best in the field. Beautifully researched and ardently imagined, Gunning's writing is so vivid you can taste the salt in the Cape Cod air. She has a special gift for rendering the spare, constrained dialogue of the colonial Puritans and at the same time giving her characters emotional lives that are rich, moving and utterly convincing. Her Satucket novels are destined to become classics."
—Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Year of Wonders and March

"Two hundred years ago, Cape Cod was not a haven for visitors in sun hats with boxes of fudge. It was an unforgiving spit of sand, where women's lives were as harsh as those of the men who went down to the sea in ships and came back in shrouds. In her novel of pitiless beauty, Bound, author Sally Gunning demonstrates again what she did in The Widow's War. Unlike many historical novelists, Gunning makes the long-ago feel like this very day. Elegantly, she tells bitter truths;that dignity and grace and even abiding love can flourish where it seems nothing can grow."
—Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean and Still Summer

"Skillfully employing the language, imagination and character that literary fiction demands, [Gunning] illuminates a fascinating moment in our past."
Washington Post Book World
Read an excerpt from Bound, and learn more about the author and her work at Sally Gunning's website.

The Page 69 Test: Bound.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Alex Kingsbury reading?

The latest contributor to Writers Read: Alex Kingsbury, an associate editor at U.S. News & World Report.

One book mentioned in his entry:
Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan by A.C. Grayling. [read on]
Alex Kingsbury met Staff Sgt. Darrell Griffin 18 days before the soldier was killed by a sniper. View the web feature, "A Soldier's Life and Death," which includes Kingsbury's cover story about Griffin, photos the soldier took, his personal emails, videos, and journal entries.

Kingsbury's articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post Express, National Geographic Traveler, the Dallas Morning News, and been distributed by the New York Times.

He has also written for the Watchdog Project, an initiative of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

Visit Alex Kingsbury's website.

Writers Read: Alex Kingsbury.

--Marshal Zeringue

The Page 123 meme

I see Linda L. Richards, author of Death Was the Other Woman, has pulled me into the Page 123 meme-thread.

The skinny:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

The nearest book: Steve Hockensmith's Holmes on the Range.

Sentences 6-7-8:
["]You'd be better off shootin' the son of a gun"

Blackwell turned and gave my brother a bashful grin. The young Englishman had picked up a touch of color in his travels in the West, but he didn't show it now.
(The POV is Otto "Big Red" Amlingmeyer's.)

I'm tagging--
--all of whom have contributed entries to CftAR blogs.

Pass it on.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pg. 99: Blaize Clement's "Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues by Blaize Clement.

About the novel, from the publisher:
Critics and readers agree that Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter was a bona fide cozy hit. Its follow-up, Duplicity Dogged the Dachshund, won Blaize Clement a whole new set of fans. Now Floridian pet-sitting sleuth Dixie Hemingway is back in this third mesmerizing installment.

Dixie Hemingway discovers the dead body of the gatekeeper of a mansion. She’s had her fill of homicide investigations, so she leaves the corpse to be found by somebody else. But that somebody else sees Dixie leaving the scene of the crime, and the bullet that killed the man could have come from a gun she owns. To make matters worse, the owner of the mansion is a new client---a pain-wracked scientist who is either quite insane or a genius whose clandestine work may save millions of lives. Or both.

In either case, Dixie is stuck caring for him and his pet iguana. All that, plus a calico kitten Dixie is determined to save, put her right in the middle of a bizarre crisis fueled by dark secrets....
Among the praise for Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues:
"In the third Dixie Hemingway mystery (after 2007's Duplicity Dogged the Dachshund), Clement blends elements of cozy and thriller to produce an unusual and enjoyable hybrid. Pet-sitter Dixie, a former sheriff's deputy on leave after the death of her husband and daughter, finds a corpse in the gatehouse of a mansion, but leaves the body for someone else to find. Traumatized by having killed someone recently, Dixie wants nothing to do with homicide, but fate decrees otherwise. Her new client, a mysterious scientist wracked by pain, owns the mansion, and Dixie ends up caring for him and his pet iguana as she tries to solve the murder and juggle her conflicting feelings for heartthrob Lieutenant Guidry and seductive attorney Ethan Crane. Clement's deft hand with plot and characters is sure to delight readers."
--Publishers Weekly

"A call to care for an iguana involves pet-sitter Dixie Hemingway in yet another murder case.... A complicated tale of stolen secrets. Once more she puts her life on the line to save a pet and solve a crime.... An enjoyable tale."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Warning: If you have things you need to do, wait to start reading this Dixie Hemingway mystery. The plot is thick and continues to thicken, characters are real enough to make you care, and the setting so lovely and well-described that I’m tempted to pack my bags and join the southward emigration."
--Mary Garrett, Stories Make the World Go Around

" far the most complex of Dixie's adventures to date. This is an extremely mature piece of fiction that deals with knotty personal questions within the framework of an artfully crafted mystery. In Dixie, Clement has created a protagonist who is gutsy, sexy, caring and funny...Over the course of the three novels, Clement has pushed Dixie along from being a grieving widow to a young woman willing to open her life up to love again. That transition furnishes a subplot to 'Cat Sitters.'"
--Bob Morrison, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

"Clement puts plenty of humor in storytelling, without skipping the main ingredient, intrigue and mystery. Dixie's sleuthing in this book reveals a complicated tale of stolen secrets and she puts her life on the line to save a pet and solve a crime... the reader is held captive by the clever twists and turns Clement weaves into her story, even to the iguana eventually saving her from death at the hands of one of the bad characters... In the book Dixie declines pet sitting for clients who have pet snakes and if she'd thought it through probably would not have taken on an iguana, but then the readers would have missed a great mystery."
--Bill Duncan, The News-Review, Roseburg, Oregon
Read an excerpt from Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues, and learn more about the author and her work at Blaize Clement's website and her blog.

Earlier books in Clement's Dixie Hemingway mystery series include Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter and Duplicity Dogged the Dachshund.

The Page 99 Test: Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Sandra Ruttan's "What Burns Within"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Sandra Ruttan's What Burns Within.

About the book, from the publisher:
One year ago, a brutal case almost destroyed three cops. Since then they’ve lost touch with one another, avoiding painful memories, content to go their own ways. Now Nolan is after a serial rapist. Hart is working on a string of arsons. And Tain has been assigned a series of child abductions, a case all too similar to that one. But when the body of one of the abduction victims is found at the site of one of the arsons, it starts to look like maybe these cases are connected after all….
Among the early praise for What Burns Within:
"Three Vancouver constables—son-of-a-sergeant Craig Nolan, bombshell in the boys’ club Ashlyn Hart, and stolidly antisocial cop Tain—are drawn together as the rapes, arsons and child abductions they’re working on respectively converge. The three, who have a beef over a prior case gone bad, must get over their personal differences and chase scant leads before another raped woman, burned building or missing girl turns up. Ruttan manages to keep the multiple leads and seconds on the same page admirably: she doesn’t drop too many clues in their laps or allow the tension to flag. The child abduction and sex crime aspects of the story are handled without exploitation or kid gloves; the straight proceduralism from Ruttan (Suspicious Circumstances) serves the story well through the rewarding climax."
--Publishers Weekly

“A totally mesmerizing narrative and a plot that burns off the page.”
--Ken Bruen, Author of Ammunition

“Ruttan is talented in the way that a natural musician is talented, making all the notes seem effortless.”
--Crimespree Magazine

"A taut, crackling read with switch-blade pacing."
--Rick Mofina, internationally best-selling author of A Perfect Grave

"Sandra Ruttan writes with utter ferocity. Twists and turns that stun and dialog that absolutely crackles with wit and authenticity. With each page, Ruttan delivers the goods. What Burns Within is a nonstop chiller of a mystery that keeps you turning the pages."
--Gregg Olsen, New York Times bestselling author of A Wicked Snow

"Ruttan combines devilishly clever plots with genuinely empathic characters..."
--Russel D. McLean, Crime Scene Scotland
Sandra Ruttan is also the author of Suspicious Circumstances and an editor with Spinetingler Magazine. Her writing has appeared in Pulp Pusher, Crimespree Magazine and Out of the Gutter.

Learn more about Sandra Ruttan and What Burns Within at her website and her blog.

The Page 69 Test: What Burns Within.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 21, 2008

Junot Díaz: most important books

Junot Díaz, the Dominican-born author who won a Pulitzer this month for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, told Newsweek about his five most important books.

And answered two related questions:
A Book You Always Return To:

Samuel R. Delany's "Dhalgren," which best captures that late '60s eruption that has shaped so much of what we call the Now.

A Book You Hope Parents Will Read To Their Kids:

Richard Adams's "Watership Down," which is about the very thing kids dream of: that something small can still be a hero.
Read about Díaz's most important books.

Junot Díaz's fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The Best American Short Stories. His debut story collection, Drown was a national bestseller and won numerous awards. Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times called The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao “a book that decisively establishes him as one of contemporary fiction's most distinctive and irresistible new voices.”

The Page 99 Test: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Robert Wilder reading?

The current featured contributor to Writers Read: Robert Wilder, author of Daddy Needs a Drink: An Irreverent Look at Parenting from a Dad Who Truly Loves His Kids--Even When They're Driving Him Nuts and Tales from the Teachers' Lounge: What I Learned in School the Second Time Around--One Man's Irreverent Look at Being a Teacher.

One book he tagged:
I also just finished a terrific book of short stories: The Mother Garden by Robin Romm. I had a horrible bout of insomnia before we left for Florida and after tossing and turning, I went out to the loveseat in our living room and devoured these delightful stories. What I like about Romm’s work is that she allows so much mystery (some would say magic) into otherwise realistic premises. A daughter finds her father roaming in the desert; a woman washes up on the shore during a disconnected family reunion; all her stories invite us to wonder and wander along the twisted roads of her wonderful prose. [read on]
Robert Wilder's column, “Daddy Needs a Drink,” is published monthly in the Santa Fe Reporter.

Visit Wilder's website, his Facebook presence, and his MySpace page.

The Page 99 Test: Daddy Needs A Drink.

Writers Read: Robert Wilder.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Robert Schlesinger's "White House Ghosts"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Robert Schlesinger's White House Ghosts: Presidents and Their Speechwriters.

About the book, from the publisher:
In White House Ghosts, veteran Washington reporter Robert Schlesinger opens a fresh and revealing window on the modern presidency from FDR to George W. Bush. This is the first book to examine a crucial and often hidden role played by the men and women who help presidents find the words they hope will define their places in history.

Drawing on scores of interviews with White House scribes and on extensive archival research, Schlesinger weaves intimate, amusing, compelling stories that provide surprising insights into the personalities, quirks, egos, ambitions, and humor of these presidents as well as how well or not they understood the bully pulpit.

White House Ghosts traces the evolution of the presidential speechwriter's job from Raymond Moley under FDR through such luminaries as Ted Sorensen and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., under JFK, Jack Valenti and Richard Goodwin under LBJ, William Safire and Pat Buchanan under Nixon, Hendrik Hertzberg and James Fallows under Carter, and Peggy Noonan under Reagan, to the "Troika" of Michael Gerson, John McConnell, and Matthew Scully under George W. Bush.

White House Ghosts tells the fascinating inside stories behind some of the most iconic presidential phrases: the first inaugural of FDR ("the only thing we have to fear is fear itself ") and JFK ("ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country"), Richard Nixon's "I am not a crook" and Ronald Reagan's "tear down this wall" speeches, Bill Clinton's ending "the era of big government" State of the Union, and George W. Bush's post-9/11 declaration that "whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done" -- and dozens of other noteworthy speeches. The book also addresses crucial questions surrounding the complex relationship between speechwriter and speechgiver, such as who actually crafted the most memorable phrases, who deserves credit for them, and who has claimed it.

Schlesinger tells the story of the modern American presidency through this unique prism -- how our chief executives developed their very different rhetorical styles and how well they grasped the rewards of reaching out to the country. White House Ghosts is dramatic, funny, gripping, surprising, serious -- and always entertaining.
Among the early praise for White House Ghosts:
"White House Ghosts takes you into the minds and machinations of presidents in a way no other book has -- through the insights of succeeding generations of White House speechwriters. As a long-time student of the American presidency, I was constantly engaged, intrigued, and amused by this very smart and ambitious book."
--Tom Brokaw, author of Boom! and The Greatest Generation

"A president's words can frame an era or shape world history. That makes his speechwriters critical. Robert Schlesinger, son of one of the greatest, brings the flair of a storyteller and the insight of a scholar to the White House's obscure but glorious ghosts."
--Jonathan Alter, author of The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope

"Robert Schlesinger's White House Ghosts is a welcome addition to the literature on presidents. His book not only adds a significant dimension to our understanding of how presidential speeches were constructed but also deepens our knowledge of the way in which major policies were developed. Schlesinger has given us an altogether delightful and informative study that will become essential reading for anyone interested in the modern presidency."
-- Robert Dallek, author of Nixon and Kissinger

"Robert Schlesinger has given us an absorbing, detail-packed tour behind the scenes of some of the great defining moments of the modern presidency."
--John F. Harris, author of The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House and editor in chief of

"Here's a book about politics and presidents that says something new. Robert Schlesinger gives readers a captivating inside glimpse at the anonymous wordsmiths whose talent at crafting a president's speeches can make or break a presidency."
--John A. Farrell, author of Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century
Read an excerpt from White House Ghosts, and learn more about the book and its author at Robert Schlesinger's website.

Robert Schlesinger is deputy assistant managing editor, opinion at U.S. News & World Report. Formerly political editor of the insider publication The Hill and a Washington correspondent for The Boston Globe, he has written for The Washington Monthly,, The Weekly Standard, and People. He teaches political journalism at Boston University's Washington Journalism Center.

The Page 99 Test: White House Ghosts

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Karen Miller's "Empress," the movie

Now showing at My Book, The Movie: Karen Miller's Empress.

Miller's entry begins:
Hollywood being what it is, the chances of this, or any of my books, being made into a movie are slim to none. But I do have a lot of fun playing casting director when I’m writing – sometimes it helps to have a known ‘face’ in your head when you’re searching for a character’s physicality. Or sometimes once you’re done, you suddenly see a face that fits the face you’ve been writing about for ages. That can be quite freaky, actually. As though your inner dreams are suddenly dressed in flesh.

Empress is my latest book, the first installment of the Godspeaker trilogy. It’s epic, historical fantasy, I suppose you’d describe it. The scope of the trilogy is pretty wide, in a geographical and socio-political sense. In Empress, the reader is introduced to the harsh land of Mijak, where the god isn’t just some theoretical, possibly non-existent being, but a living, breathing, physically manifested presence. Not believing in the god is like saying you don’t believe in trees – even as a tree is falling on top of you. It’s the story of one unwanted girl-child, Hekat, who’s sold into slavery, and rises to the very heights of power … at an enormous cost not only to herself, but the people around her. And it’s about what happens when she sets her sights on giving her bloodthirsty god the whole world.

Initially, thinking of Hekat, Halle Berry came to mind because Hekat’s beautiful and so is Ms Berry. Then I saw an episode of America’s Next Top Model, and my perfect Hekat was on it! [read on]
Read an excerpt from Empress, and learn more about the author and her work at Karen Miller's website and her LiveJournal.

Karen Miller is the author of the bestselling fantasy duology Kingmaker, Kingbreaker, the currently releasing fantasy trilogy Godspeaker, and the bestselling tie-in novel Stargate SG-1: Alliances.

My Book, The Movie: Karen Miller's Empress.

--Marshal Zeringue