I'm so excited to be a part of this great new blog and I am humbled by the terrific company I get to keep here! For my first post I totally lucked out and got to hang out here on the last day of the year.
NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS
Friday, December 31, 2010
I'm so excited to be a part of this great new blog and I am humbled by the terrific company I get to keep here! For my first post I totally lucked out and got to hang out here on the last day of the year.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
I’ve only just managed to roll off the sofa after two days of three full meals, turkey sandwiches, too much Christmas pudding with cream and custard on top, and ALL the orange creams from the selection boxes, to be able to crawl to the keyboard. Catch me quickly, before I fall back to sleep in front of the TV and yet another re-run of Singing in the Rain.
Clare London here... the post-Christmas blob on the straining computer chair.
Hello to you all, and I hope you’re making the most of your Christmas/New Year break! I’m lucky that I have the whole week off from work, though at the moment all I’m managing to do is to watch TV and sleep, but I’m hoping to be more productive as the week wears on.
So… all this TV watching over Christmas has given me food for thought about some of the things I most like to watch, and that’s mystery/crime. And of course, I read and write it too! Funny that, eh?! And if we start to investigate just WHY I like it so much, I wonder if it'll be the same for any other readers?
I like the gradually building suspense - the once-removed shock of sometimes grisly murder - the slow and devious display of clues and conclusions - and the underlying reassurance that the Bad Guy (or Gal) will eventually get their come-uppance.
But most of all, I love to guess WHODUNNIT. Are you the same? How many shows and books do we follow where the crime is investigated - and often solved - by the enthuisiastic amateur? I love the idea that Joe Average can spot the clues that pass the eyes of the trained professionals, that he/she can go where the politically-restrained cannot go, that he/she may pursue truth and justice despite threat to life and limb, and especially if it's to save the one they love.
And yes, many of my books follow that path. I’ve had one release at Carina in 2010 and another scheduled for Feb 2011. Both full of crime, mystery and suspense, though in rather different ways :).
So how many mysteries will you be dipping into this holiday? Hpw many evenings spent in front of TV detectives or reading brooding heroes in blockbuster thrillers? And what do you like best about it all?
Let us know your favourite show this Christmas, and even more importantly - did YOU spot the killer first? :)
Enjoy the rest of your Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you all!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Case #: 012242010-000467
Date: December 24, 2010
Incident Time: 23:15
Officer Jack Frosty; Officer Cindy Lou Who
Officers were directed to the scene by 911 call.
Victim female, age 68. Found on front lawn outside 222 Mistletoe Avenue. DOA. Marks present on forehead; consistent with deer hoof track visible near body. (see photo exhibit 7)
Witness #1, GRANDPA, claims victim drank eggnog in quantity before she left house. (Toxicology report ordered.)
Witness #2, GRANDSON, claims victim left house seeking medications.
Witness #3 UNCLE MEL, claims heard sound of sleigh bells and voice calling, "Ho, Ho-no!"
Reporting Clerk: Officer J. Wachowski, author "In Plain View"
But what I love about Christmas is not the madness or the electronic noise, it’s keeping up the traditions or creating new ones. It’s the smell of the turkey roasting in the oven. It’s prepping the sprouts and potatoes on Christmas Eve and feeling like you have everything under control. It’s leaving out mince tarts, sherry and carrots for Santa and his Reindeer. It’s going sledding on Christmas Eve with friends and having sherry with breakfast on Christmas Morning. It’s remembering all the people you’ve loved and all the history of your life and passing on as many happy memories to your kids as you can.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
As I'm writing this post, outside is -22 degrees Celsius (-8 degrees Fahrenheit), which is kind of balmy for this time year in my neck of the woods, and everything is covered with a layer of the white stuff (the kind that melts, not the kind that goes up your nose). It's the perfect weather to start up the fireplace, cozy up on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate made with milk, real chocolate shavings, and mint leaves, and pop in a few Christmas flicks. Oh, yeah. I'm getting all warm and fuzzy inside from the anticipation.
For most people, It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story are their go-to feel good movies for this time of year. Me? Not so much. Being the twisted person (how else would you describe someone who thinks about how to kill people?) that I am, I'm more of a Die Hard kind of fan. For me, nothing embodies the spirit of the season quite like Alan Rickman saying detonators with a deliciously wicked German accent and Bruce Willis delivering John McClane's iconic "Yippee ki-yay, motherfucker."
Between now and the 25th, I'll go through a slew of DVDs from my collection. If you want a quick trip inside a
- Bad Santa. A Christmas movie produced by the Coen Brothers. 'Nuff said. Besides, how could I resist the title?
- Blackadder's Christmas Carol. The nicest man in Victorian England learns the true potential of greed and selfishness. Isn't British humor the greatest?
- Die Hard and Die Hard 2: Die Harder because...well, what I said above. But it's worth repeating: Nothing embodies the spirit of the season quite like Alan Rickman saying detonators with a deliciously wicked German accent and Bruce Willis delivering John McClane's iconic "Yippee ki-yay, motherfucker."
- Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang. A tongue-in-cheek crime/dark comedy with Val Kilmer as a gay PI and Robert Downey, Jr. as a bumbling small-time thief. They meet, they fight, they kiss and make up, and I laughed all the way through.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas. A skeleton going through a mid-life crisis wants to lead a town of ghouls, goblins, vampires, and other monsters in a takeover of Christmas. Plus, music AND singing by the über-talented Danny Elfman. No wonder this film's a cult classic. (Honestly, I watch this film several times throughout the year, not just in December.)
So, any of these titles on your list? Or is it just me?
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Six months ago, Cynthia Guerrera's lover and fellow archaeologist Rafael Santiago trekked into the Mexican jungle in search of one of the fabled Cities of Gold—and never emerged. Guilty over their parting, Cynthia won't rest until she knows what happened. When the discovery of a conquistador's journal corroborates Rafe's intended path, Cynthia is determined to finally leave the safety of the museum to rescue him, despite the conquistador's dire warnings, and her own traumatic past.
Arriving at a remote village deep in the jungle, Cynthia is both elated and angered to find Rafe alive. But he is far from well, having watched his team be decimated by a bloodthirsty demon-goddess. When Rafe reveals he has been gifted with supernatural powers—powers he plans to use to kill the beast and save his brother, still held captive in the temple—Cynthia must face her own inner demons to fight alongside the man she loves.
Hola from sunny Southern California!
Well…come to think of it, maybe not so much of the sunny. We’re experiencing torrential downpours and record rainfall here in the Southland. It’s looking like we’re in for a grey Christmas, which -- believe it or not -- is fine by me. I love the rain. And since I’m lucky enough to write fulltime, I can usually postpone getting my feet wet if I’m not in the mood to venture out.
Anyway, wet or dry, I’m Josh Lanyon and I write m/m or gay fiction, usually mystery or adventure -- but always with a strong romantic subplot. I have a couple of stories out with Carina Press. One is Fair Game, the bestselling novel about a former FBI agent turned history professor who gets into hot water when he starts looking into the disappearance of a student. The second story is part of the new anthology His for the Holidays. The novella is called Icecapade and it’s about the frosty relationship between a former uptown cat burglar and the FBI agent determined to see him behind bars.
There’s always a little bit of a mystery in everything I write, even a holiday romance like Icecapade. After all, isn’t romance -- why we fall in love with the people we do -- one of the biggest mysteries around? I think so. I think the meld of mystery and romance is a very natural one. But then I grew up reading mysteries.
I wonder if it’s true that we are what we read?
Anyway, I just popped in to introduce myself and wish you a very merry holiday season -- and health and happiness in the New Year. I’m looking forward to getting to know you all -- both my partners in crime at Carina and you our willing accomplices -- better in the months to come!
Monday, December 20, 2010
Greetings! I am a new fish in this talented pool of authors. My romantic suspense novel, ENDLESS NIGHT will be released by Carina Press this spring.
I am about to embark on the long trek home for the holidays, which brings me to my topic...what brings holiday travel and romantic suspense together?
The easy answer is that you read romantic suspense to get away from the stress of holiday travel. You read on the plane to avoid the meddlesome person in 14C asking where you are going, who you're visiting, and what you're having for your holiday feast. You read to ignore the fact that the gentleman in 14A has just inserted his elbow into parts normally reserved for your husband.
You read in the car to tune out the litany from the back seat. "I'm hungry. This car is lame. Are there any french fries left? I'm going to be sick," and yes, the resounding chorus, "are we there yet?" Once at your holiday destination, you read on the couch to avoid doing dishes because even though you are now mature, you still lack incentive to participate and are old enough to figure your way out of it.
In the evening, you read because most likely you are staying at the in-laws who believe that one pillow can be shared per couple—and that pillow has now been claimed by your other half.
But why romantic suspense?
Maybe now you’re sitting with your back against that stiff headboard, and you want to taste what life would be like if you weren't sleeping at the in-laws. You want to dabble in danger and fantasize that this handsome man under your blanket isn't actually your husband, but rather a government operative who has just scaled the side of the three story colonial house and climbed in this attic window to seek refuge from military forces. Tomorrow, as you sit on the couch and the kids play Wii, you hear their odd cries and envision them as a band of Navy Seals sent to rescue you.
As much as you may enjoy the escapism of romantic suspense, when you finish your book and look around the in-law’s diminutive attic room, you rehash the past twenty-four hours and come to the conclusion that your life is perfect, and you wouldn't have it any other way.
I would like to wish everyone happy holidays and safe travels. I hope to be offering you escapism for many books to come, and as a great fan of romantic suspense, I'd like to ask what draws you to this genre?
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Hello all, from the *south* of England, I'm Clare London, pen-named from where I live, love and write. I'm looking out of the window, awaiting our next heavy fall of snow and wondering if it'll be a white Christmas in London. It's a rare occurrence down here in the "soft" south :).
My Carina mystery murder Blinded by Our Eyes is based in London around fashionable Kensington and the lively, cosmopolitan area of Earls Court. My hero Charles Garrett is a young gay man facing the pressure and excitement of starting up his own art gallery - until one shocking night when he finds the dead body of Paolo, a young sculptor he's been mentoring, dead in the gallery in a gruesome murder scene.
Charles considers himself calm, discreet and practical, not prone to the melodrama and violent passion of the artists he sponsors. A very British man, you may say. But his search for the truth draws him into investigating Paolo's murder. He discovers his friends and lovers all have secrets to keep, and his cool view of the world is about to be rocked to the core. And when he meets Antony Walker, an aggressive, rudely handsome sculptor and a previous close friend of Paolo, Charles is in danger of a very different kind. Is he losing his heart to a new lover - or a killer?
I remember sending a food parcel to a friend in the US a couple of years ago because she wanted to make a Brtitish Christmas dinner and couldn't easily get the ingedients. All was fine until I tried to send her suet to make a Christmas pudding. It was confiscated by Homeland Security because it had a beef base!
Then we'll have Christmas pudding with custard and cream, followed by watching the Queen's message on TV at 3pm, then it's a race to see who falls asleep first :).
This year, I discovered a warming recipe for London Pie from the 1950s. I've included it below in case anyone's tempted to make one over the Christmas period? Though heaven knows, we shouldn't need any more food ... LOL.
And don't forget, as Shirley says, if you comment on this post you'll be entered in the draw for not just one free book but TWO. My gift will be a copy of Blinded by Our Eyes, and you can follow Charles on his scary but determined journey to discover the truth behind murder.
Thanks for visiting and a very Happy Holiday period to you all.
1 large onion, peeled and grated
1 coarsely chopped cooking apple
1 tablespoon sultanas
1/8 pint of stock
2b potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 dessertspoon curry powder
Fresh tomatoes, cut in half
Friday, December 17, 2010
I'm thrilled and excited to be a member of Not Your Usual Suspects blog and to be part of the 12 days of Christmas blog. The Christmas holiday is probably my favorite time of year. Starting around Thanksgiving I'm stoked for all the merriment and excitement that comes. I'll usually take off the entire week of Thanksgiving (vacation from the day job—yeah), in preparation for the holidays. All the cooking, baking, putting up and decorating the tree—all of these things start my heart racing. It's getting ready for that all important day, the day after Thanksgiving. Not for the leftovers, although that's probably my favorite part of the meal (I love eating turkey and all the trimmings the next day), but Christmas shopping.
Black Friday. Now I know for most people the thought of Christmas shopping can have them breaking out in hives. All the crowds, the noise, the pushing and shoving. Any other time of year, shopping is not my favorite past time. In fact, most times I can truthfully say going to the mall ranks up there a trip to the dentist. But for some inexplicable reason that one shopping day after Thanksgiving tells me Christmas is close.
Getting up when it's still pitch black outside. Bundling up in warm sweaters and coats because you know it's gonna be freezing outside (although sometimes here in Texas freezing is a relative term—it drops into the 50s here and it's considered frigid). Then we all pile into the car and head for the stores. Jam packed, bumper to bumper cars line the parking lots. Driving round and round waiting for somebody to pull out, so you can snatch that spot, one space away from the very back corner of the lot, but inside you're shouting, WhooHoo!! I got it.
Then we head inside the store and start milling around, looking for the perfect gifts for each person on your list. Sometimes I can find it right away—I know just what I'm looking for. Other times, something will surprise me and wind up being the perfect present for that somebody special.
Christmas shopping on the other days following Black Friday is still fun and exciting, but nothing is quite like the rush you get that first morning after Thanksgiving, knowing Christmas is just around the corner.
Writing suspense, in my case romantic suspense, like most writing in general can be a solitary endeavor, being isolated away from friends and family for long stretches of time while you pour your heart out onto the page, trying to make sure that your "whodunit" is filled with intrigue, excitement, drama, where ultimately the villain is caught and the hero and heroine have a satisfactory and happy ending. Most of the time I'm fine with the self-imposed solitude. But for this one special shopping day, being around the noise and the crowds, the hustle and bustle, just spells out the holidays for me.
As my special holiday gift, one person who leaves a comment will get a copy of my Carina Press romantic suspense with paranormal elements, Desperate Choices.
Wishing you the warmest and best holiday—may your shopping be plentiful and may you find everything you're looking for.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Well, it’s that time of the year again! Christmas is right around the corner, as is my much-needed Christmas vacation. Yay! But murder never takes a holiday. In fact, just like the sweltering summer heat can cause the murder rate to skyrocket in the summertime, the stress of the holidays can also cause some people to snap! Even I, one of the most laid back people on the planet, have on occasion had to suppress the urge to whack someone with a nutcracker. How do I relax and calm myself? By reading! To me there's nothing better to calm those frayed holiday nerves than settling down with an eggnog martini and reading a good old Christmas mystery. Here are a few of my favorites:
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Hi - this is Bobbie! I am so jazzed at being a part of this fantastic group of writers. My first novel with Carina Press, Memories Of You, should debut approximately three months from now, and I am busy working on yet another romantic suspense for them called Lethal Lasagna.
1 c. chopped onion
1 lb. ground beef
28 oz. can tomatoes
1 - 3 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. ground unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. pepper
16 oz. can kidney beans
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
In a heavy saucepan, sauté bacon; stir in oil and onion. Add meat and cook until brown. Add tomatoes, chili powder, ground chocolate, garlic salt, cumin, and pepper; heat to boiling. Add kidney beans and green pepper. Simmer covered 20 minutes.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I love Christmas. I love the food, the decorations, the music. I love spending time with friends and family, love the way strangers on the street smile and wish me a Merry Christmas, and did I mention the food?
It's a joyful time, certainly, but it doesn't leave you with a lot of free time! Like many of you, I lead a busy life. Too often, the only time I have to read is just before bedtime. And I barely manage fifteen minutes before my eyes refuse to stay open any more.
But the week between Christmas and New Year... ah, that's my time. That's when I settle into my favorite comfy chair with my eggnog and read. This year, I have a grand selection to choose from, just from among my fellow Carina authors. I recently bought an e-reader and have downloaded a number of Carina mystery and suspense titles to keep me happy over the Christmas break. Good food and good books--does it get any better?
Now I'd like to know what you do over the Christmas break. Is the time filled with frenzied activity? Do you hunker down and stay warm?
Before I go, I'd like to give you a final gift, Dear Reader. This is a traditional French-Canadian recipe that IS Christmas to me. (Did I mention that I like food?) I hope you enjoy it, too. The quantities will vary according to the size of pot you have. Use a heavy pot with a lid. This dish is easy and delicious, but definitely not for vegetarians.
You will need:
- Chicken, veal, pork, rabbit, moose (any kind of meat your prefer) cut into one-inch cubes NOTE: you will be limited by the size of your pot
- Peeled and sliced potatoes - 1/4-inch thickness
- Peeled and sliced onions - 1/4-inch thickness
- Salt, pepper, spices to taste
- Chicken or beef broth (your preference)
- Pastry -- enough to cover the top and also to use in between layers (I use the ready-made stuff from the store)
Ready? Okay. Now, place a layer of potatoes on the bottom of your pot, followed by a layer of onions, then a layer of been (or chicken, or veal...). Season with salt and pepper and any spices you favour. Then add one-inch-wide strips of pastry in a criss-cross pattern. Repeat the layers with a different kind of meat until you are near the top of your pot. Don't forget to season as you go along. When you're close to the top, pour in about a cup of broth. Then cover everything with a solid layer of pastry, with slits for venting. Cover with the lid.
Cook at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for four to five hours. Check every hour or so. If it looks too dry, add some broth.
Monday, December 13, 2010
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