Tuesday, September 27, 2011

'Regulated for Murder': Picking Sides is Tough in this Revolutionary Mystery

Review: Regulated for Murder (Kindle Edition October 14, 2011)
Author: Suzanne Adair

Colonial America was a place full of intrigue and danger, for everyone involved. This included not only the colonists, but the British or "redcoats" as they were called. This story is about one, in particular. Lieutenant Michael Stoddard of His Majesty's Eighty-Second Regiment based in Wilmington, NC. The novel opens as Stoddard and his crew conduct a raid upon the offices of crooked land agent Horatio Bowater, who seems to have beaten feet, hastily, leaving a note claiming a "family emergency." Yeah, right ...

But that's not what the story is about. Not exactly. You see, Stoddard is sent on a mission by his superior, Major James Henry Craig. (Three names! He must be mighty important, huh? :)) Stoddard must deliver a message to General Cornwallis. Hey, even I've heard of that guy! :-)

However, there's more to this assignment than meets the eye. I can't go into details, for as they say, that would be telling.

Just know this. Michael has a kind of ... agenda. He takes dangerous courier assignments of this sort with a goal in the back of his mind. It all has to do with a really evil person working within the ranks of the British military.

Anyhow, so ... Michael gets the assignment to take the message to Cornwallis. And, to do that, he must connect with a man named Griggs in ... what city? ... Hillsborough. Right! But as Michael arrives he sees a shadowy figure slipping away into the trees, and he goes into Griggs' house (eventually, because no one answers the door) and guess what? Griggs is, like, so dead! Oh, no! So not good! :-O

And then the sheriff (who's kind of a, um, grouchy guy) shows up and questions Michael, who tells him his name is Michael Compton and that he's a business man from Cross Creek who came to pay respects on behalf of a neighbor, as well as to deliver a love letter, blah, blah ... way to go, Michael! Make it up as you go, brother!

Hey! I'm cheering for the redcoat. Whose side am I on here? LOL

Like I was saying, Michael comes under scrutiny due to this murder. He gets enlisted to help solve it, against his will, so he does what he has to in order to keep the peace and maintain his cover. Because Hillsborough is full of people who don't exactly warm up to redcoats, if you get my drift.

Fortunately, he has local sympathizers in his, um, "cousin" Kate Duncan and Aunt Rachel White. (Boy, is Rachel a piece of work or what? Kind of a hard case. :)) They take him in and help him out. And, yes, a few sparks fly between Kate and Michael. Hmm ...

What this all adds up to is a great mystery and suspenseful historical thriller. Suzanne Adair’s writing is smooth and evocative. The action scenes will leave you breathless. And the notion that no one knows who's on what side pervades the story in a most intriguing way.

The thing is Michael only has so much time to relay his message to Cornwallis and how's he going to do it if he's stuck in Hillsborough solving a murder, while trying not to blow his cover? Heavens to Betsy (Ross)! LOL

And Michael really wishes he had his able assistant Nick Spry there to help him. Did I not mention him? Yeah, Nick Spry. Except he sometimes goes by Miller.

I realize this seems terribly confusing. But it will all make sense, if you read the novel. Trust me on this. Really! :-)

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Story of St. Marks and the Death of the Bookstore

 Help Save St. Marks Bookshop

The headline appeared on my MediaBistro news feed, like an SOS. I read the article and wondered if the petition to cut the indie bookstore some slack on the rent was essentially a band-aid solution to a much bigger problem.

I think that problem was summed up in the following quote from the article: "You want to save St Marks Bookstore, go over there and buys [sic] some books from time to time." Yeah, there's the rub, huh?

So ... is the death of Borders helping the indie booksellers? Nope. Not really, according to this article in The Atlantic.

However, please note the following language buried toward the bottom of the page:

As online venues continue to take hold of the book market, independent shops may have to work harder to differentiate themselves as physical spaces for browsing books. Independent bookstores, many of their owners say, create an experience that can't be mimicked online by providing author readings, knowledgeable staff that can make personalized recommendations, and a hand-picked inventory that caters specifically to the clientele. [Scott] Abel, from Kramerbooks, echoes the inimitability of the bookstore experience, a space void of distractions and conducive to the primary task of pursuing interests and discovering new ones. "There's a downside to the phrase 'browsing on the interwebs,'" Abel says. "You don't find things you don't look for. In the bookstore, you're freer to explore the space."

As I like to say, sometimes you stumble across things offline that you just don't stumble across online, you know? :)

While it's questionable that Borders' end will yield dramatic benefits for independent shops, Abel views it as a symbolic affirmation of good bookstore values. He says that the depersonalized atmosphere of superstores like Borders and Barnes & Noble helped to foster an attitude of disrespect: if customers feel no intimate connection with a store, they are more likely to, say, copy lines out of a travel guide or treat books with a flippant disregard for the person who may chance upon the items next. "We can do without those behaviors. We could get back to a bookstore where people don't answer their phones, back to a bookstore where people value the books," Abel says, noting that even Costco, the monumental warehouse chain, sells books. "We were putting books in a space that shouldn't be selling books. It's not a pair of jeans at 40 percent off. It's a cultural artifact. It's knowledge."

And, as I also like to say, I may be an ebook author, but I'm not a number.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

DIY Canvas Wall Art |Easy Diy Canvas Wall Painting

Murals - if you are a child's room decor, nursery or playroom, you can decorate the walls with murals. This may require a lot of work and artistic ability. Consider your child's tastes and favorite patterns. You can paint murals in the jungle scene, a fantasy land, African safari, or fish and marine animals in the water landscape.

Tapestry - You can come from Africa, the Middle East, Asia and other parts of the world where the exotic tapestries to decorate your living room or den. This will be more meaningful, if you buy the tapestry of your travel at home and abroad.

DIY Canvas Wall Art

DIY Canvas Wall Art

DIY Canvas Art Materials:
    * Either: blank canvas, primed canvas, unprimed canvas, stretched canvas, or a painters canvas
    * Cool wallpaper
    * Masking or painter’s tape
    * Staple gun or glue
    * Paint (various colors)
    * Paint brushes, small roller
    * Pattern (optional)
    * Ruler
    * Pencil
    * Large spoon
DIY Canvas Wall Art

DIY Canvas Wall Art

Use an image editor to enhance your photos, enhance your photos printed on canvas using professional software such as Adobe Photoshop and Corel Draw. You can also choose to provide a variety of free online image editing. No matter which program you choose, have a different effect, try color combinations and layout of the experiment. This will open your door, look at your digital images of numerous development possibilities.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Heading to St. Louie ...

FYI, I'm heading to St. Louis, MO this weekend for the annual Bouchercon mystery convention. For more details on that, feel free to read this blog.

I'll be back next week. If you're going to the convention, I hope to meet you in St. Louie. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Garden Wall Decors |Garden Wall Decoration Idea |Garden Wall Murals

Garden Wall Decoration Idea-Murals
Wall stone is sometimes a very good idea for your family to create national and modern home design impression. We give you the best gallery pictures beautiful large garden and outdoor decoration ideas new wallstone. This product is most suitable for wall decoration contemporary home design and fashion samples. neowall is the best natural decorative stone wall for your garden and outdoor decorating ideas reshape the luxurious interior design.

Garden Wall Decoration Idea-Murals

Garden Wall Decoration Idea-Murals
This delightful patio garden design and exotic furniture, a beautiful arbor, Tuscan wall, rooftoop patio, Tuscan wall, so to find one or more of the design of your backyard.

Garden Wall Decoration Idea-Murals
Fences and walls is often neglected by the owners, but they offer the possibility to create a garden of the main design features. There is a tendency to try to fence and screen planting, but they are more creative ways to treat the vertical: in the fresh air art gallery.

Garden Wall Decoration Idea-Murals

Garden Wall Decoration Idea-Murals

Garden wall art is a cheap and effective way to increase the front porch area of ​​the touch-type and interest. In this example, the outdoor wall art mirrors spend a day lilys in the garden bed, and connected to the garden of the house.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Is the Book World All Virtual Now?

The world of books has changed dramatically over the past few years. Not only are we reading more ebooks than in the past, but we're seeing the creation of more online book clubs and book group discussions.

With the increasing popularity of ebooks plus online interaction among readers or between readers and authors, what does this mean for brick-and-mortar bookstores and libraries?

In my opinion, that depends on how libraries and bookstores respond to changing times. Can they take steps to stay relevant in some way, i.e., to provide value to their customers or patrons? Take for example, the Maryland libraries referred to in this article, which are trying to provide amenities such that people will consider them to be community gathering places. Not just places full of old dry dusty books that no one reads anymore. :)

PS: If you had enough Klout, you could get this Stephen King book for free. ;)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Review of 'I Was a Seventh Grade Monster Hunter'

Author: A.G. Kent

Well, this book starts right out on a boat in a stormy sea with a kid named Hannah, who watches in horror as a beast rises up and a madman chants. And magic is involved and Hannah has a bow and arrow and it's going to be up to her to save the day, so to speak. So she places the arrow in the bow, draws a bead and releases it ... but first ...

There's this whole story about how she got there.

See, Hannah is a seventh grader (well, duh!) whose grandfather gave her a bunch of charms and a computer file (yes, a computer file, not a leatherbound tome -- this is the 21st century, people) of incantations and magic stuff in general. With these charms and incantations, Hannah rustles up some monsters. Or are they friends? They seem nice enough. You wouldn't think a vampire, a werewolf, a mummy or a Frankenstein-like man would be chummy, but there you go.

It might help that Hannah wears her charms and has developed magical powers. Maybe.

Along with all that, Hannah likes this boy at school, but he doesn't seem to notice her. You see, Hannah is different. She dyes her black hair with red streaks, pierces various body parts and isn't like the other kids. She's a bit goth, I guess.

Hannah does all her magic stuff while her parents are away on a cruise. Or so she thinks. It turns out they're not. They're in danger, but I can't say too much about that.

Thing is, it all involves this horrible company that's doing awful things to the environment. Hannah must act to save the day and keep the company from doing its worst for the good of all concerned, which is to say the entire world, basically.

Plus her monster/friends help her. Them and the magical powers.

To say I really loved this book isn't saying enough. I wrote the following about it and meant every word, believe me: "This book combines the thrills of a supernatural parable-cum-adventure tale with the charm of a coming-of-age story. The protagonist, Hannah, is clever and strong, but touchingly vulnerable. I WAS A SEVENTH GRADE MONSTER HUNTER will keep you enthralled until the very end, when you might wonder who the real monsters are."

Anyway, along with having to save the world, Hannah must also decide about the boy who ignores her, until this party she attends where he ... but you should read the book to find that out, okay?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

From Authors' Lips to Readers' Ears Via Tweet and Amazon

Amazon has recently launched a beta version of a service for readers called @author.The whole idea here is to make it easier for readers and authors to interact with each other.

If you click on the link, it explains the whole thing. I'm telling you this, mainly because I'm one of the authors involved in testing out the program. So, if you have a question for me, fire away! :)

Oh, and BTW, happy Labor Day weekend (or Labour Day, if you will). :)

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