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Fri, Jun. 22nd, 2018, 12:36 pm
The Northwest Author Night Experience

So Monday evening I drove to Coeur d'Alene to take part in Northwest Author Night at the Well-Read Moose.  The place is far enough away that I'd never gone over to sit through another writer's event in order to see just what was involved.  Probably the first thing I didn't account for was the traffic on I-90 at that time of the day.  I figured that if I left the house a hour before the scheduled time I would be there sufficiently early.  Through town (Spokane) traffic wasn't bad... heavy but moving right along.  But as I tried to accelerate up the freeway entrance ramp, I found I couldn't as the road was pretty much a sea of cars all moving at a much slower than normal pace.  At times traffic even came to a complete stop for a moment or two.  It wasn't until I was a good ways toward my desitination that speeds improved to something resembling normal.

All that meant that I showed up a few minutes after the scheduled time for the event.  Once there I met Tim Jones, the other author I'd be sharing the event with.  We had each managed to convince a  couple of people to drop in and support us for the evening.  I think he had has daughter and significant other, and a member of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers and her son attended on my behalf.  We were both asked to speak briefly about writing, being a writer, getting published, and to read a bit from, and talk about our book(s).  We did so, with me going first.  In addition we entertained questions from those attending and members of the store staff.

Quite honestly I wasn't really prepared so I just "winged" it, but from what I hear, I did all right.  But that is also why I sort of wish I'd been to someone else's Author Night prior to having one myself.  Sales wise it wasn't that great... I bought his book and he bought my first one, so it wasn't a complete bust either.  (I decided to buy his after he read a little bit from it.)

"Hotchkiss' Paradox" one of the painting I left at the book store Monday nite.

It was a fairly short evening and by 7:30 we were packing up and heading home.  (I made it home nearly a half hour faster that it took me to get there.)  The next day I had an e-mail from one of the store employees stating that I'd left some things there... to be exact, the original paintings for my books' cover art as well as a couple photo prints of the same images.  Well, I'd left the prints there for anyone who might want them, but hadn't realized I'd left the actual paintings.  I'd set them out on display while making my presentation and just plain forgot them.  They are small, 8 x 10 inches and unframed and I'd set them on the back edge of the table against the wall.  So tomorrow afternoon I'm planning to make the drive over so I can retrieve them.  I keep wondering if I can use the fact that I'm getting a bit older as an excuse for forgetting them in the first place.

"Helm, Steer Between Them" the other painting I've got to got retrieve.

So I've been reading Rivers of Stone by SASP Member Beth Camp as of late.  I'm about 3/4 the way through it now and should finish in a few more days.  Want to get on to Booth by my fellow Author Night participant, Timothy David Jones, and have a few others waiting around to read... most of them by fellow members of SASP.

Cover of Beth's book... my current read.

Until next time,

Mon, Jun. 18th, 2018, 02:48 pm
Teeny-tiny Libraries

As Coco and I extend the length of our daily walks, I've noticed a couple of those teeny tiny libraries in the neighborhood.  The little house like shelters with a couple of shelves for books and a door to protect them from the weather.  For the most part I think people borrow and exchange books they've had and don't want anymore.  But I got to thinking that a local self-published author could also "donate" books to these collections and maybe gain some publicity or at least a few fans of his or her work.  I end up giving away books now and then as it is, so it's not that big of a deal to contribute some to the reading public in this way.  While it's nice to garner a lot of book sales and rake in the royalty cash, I, and I believe most authors really want people to read and enjoy what we have written.  If I provide folks with copies of my books at no charge and they read and enjoy them, I'm happy.

So later on today when I head out for the Northwest Author's Night at the Well-Read Moose in Coeur d' Alene, I'll swing by the closest teeny-tiny library and leave a copy of each of my books in it.  I think there are a couple more in the vicinity and I'll try to add my books to them in the coming days.

Eva taking Coco for a walk.  This was the day after I had hernia surgery so she substituted for me.  Coco's "shirt" says "BYOB...Bring Your Own Bone.  Yesterday we had steak (for Fathers' Day) and for once the bones were of a quality that I thought he could have one.  Guarded it zealously and worked on it for hours... his first real bone!  Gave us a "you've been holding out on me!" look.

Thu, Jun. 14th, 2018, 02:30 pm
Northwest Author Night

I'm excited to be a participant in a Northwest Author Night at the Well-Read Moose in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho.  It's this coming Monday, the 18th from 6 to 7:30 pm.  I'll be sharing the event with Timothy David Jones, author of Booth.
The Well-Read Moose is at 2048 N. Main St., Coeur d' Alene, Idaho, in the Riverstone retail area of town.  It's an independent bookstore along with a wine bar and cafe.  Besides books they also have cards, gifts, and other  items.  If you are in the area, please stop in and say "hi!"  Check out Timothy's and my books... or check out what else is available... or check out the store itself.  It's a neat place!

Tue, Jun. 12th, 2018, 03:16 pm
CWWH Conference

So late last week (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) I attended the second Connecting Writers with Hollywood Conference, held right here in Spokane.  It was held at the Davenport Hotel in down town Spokane, and that historic site made it worth going, even if nothing else came of the event.  The list of folks who have stayed at the Davenport, or who have visited is impressive to say the least, and includes world famous entertainers, political figures, statesmen, and bonafide royalty.  Not far outside of the conference rooms a display case held items on loan from the Bing Crosby collection, including his pipe.

Anyway, I went to try and get back into the writing and publishing world and to connect with folks in it.  I also went to see if there would be any possiblilty someone might want to make film versions of the Stone Island Sea Stories.  So I learned a lot, met some new friends, and even pitched my books to a couple of folks in the film industry.  No, there isn't a movie deal in the works but both seemed interested.  The first individual I pitched too seems to be more interested in something that has a proven sales record as a book, something that will give them a basis and a reason to risk the expenses needed to make it into a film or films.  She suggested that I might want to find someone who could help me fine tune the stories and hopefully build sales.  The second individual seems to be more interested in taking my ideas developing them for film while boosting book sales.  Anyway he took my card and asked that I contact him later via e-mail.  Did that earlier today.

Whether anything happens or not, it was a fun and educational two and a half days.  I'd imagine that if they hold the event next year, I'll go again.  Sorry, but despite the historical significance of the conference site and the elegance of the establishment, I neglected to take any photos while there.  I did have one of the best cheeseburgers I've ever eaten accompanied by a massive pile of shoestring potatoes so large that I wondered if I'd be able to finish them.  (I did.)

Discovered that by the time the conference ended Saturday evening I was just plain worn out.  In fact I passed on the last event of the day and came home.  The other SASP member who had been riding with me had left earlier as well as she too was getting tired.  And since I had been parking in the hotel parking building I stopped by the front desk to pay and get a pass to open up the gate so I could leave.  Well something was askew with the system so they didn't charge me anything and gave me the ticket so I could leave.  But when I got to the exit gate the ticket didn't work.  Luckily no one was behind me so I was able to back up a bit and sneak into a parking spot reserved for valet parking.  Then it was a quick dash across the street and back to the front desk.  They quickly got me the correct exit ticket and I was on my way.
More next time,

Tue, Jun. 12th, 2018, 01:07 pm
Weekly Book Review

Another week gone by so time to post another book review.  I'm still posting from the files of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.  While this one is fairly short, I'm not going to post additional reviews at this time.  The next one up has a fairly extensive collection of reviews and I don't want to post something that's too unwieldy.
So with out further ado...
Illusions of Magic:
Love and Intrigue in 1933 Chicago

By J. B. Rivard (Illustrated by J. B. Rivard)

Reviewed by Johanna Urquhart
(Historical Novel Society)
              1933.  J. B. Rivard centers part of his novel Illusions of Magic around a true-life and little-known historical incident: an attempted assassination of Franklin D. Roosevelt in Miami in February of 1933.  The assassin, Giuseppe Zangara, had allegedly been trying to shoot Roosevelt when he accidentally shot Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak instead (Cermak later died of his wound). 
        This incident is part of the dramatic backdrop of Rivard’s fast-paced and punchy novel about struggling professional stage magician Nick Zetner.  The backdrop – and the author’s excellent illustrations throughout – furnishes a good deal of the charm of the book.  Nick Zetner’s adventures, part screwball comedy and part Dashiell Hammett, combine with the richly authentic atmosphere of the setting to create a quick and very enjoyable read that smoothly intermingles Nick’s love life with a challenging case he takes on for a corrupt banker.
        The book reads like a breath of fresh air – recommended.

Tue, Jun. 5th, 2018, 04:11 pm
Writer and Author Stuff

So last Friday a fellow member of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers called and asked if I wanted to be interviewed.  It seems she has been doing a monthly "show" at the "Living Stage" and a local Hotel RL, part of the Red Lion group of hotels.  They allow artists, authors, musicians and others to appear on stage,  record it and make it available throughout the hotel.  Plus I understand the shows are available at other hotels in the chain.  So being mindful of the need for publicity, I agreed.  Sunday evening Eva accompanied me, Jessica met us there, and I was interviewed by Kate.  For something that was unrehearsed, for which I had not really prepared, it went rather well.  Kate has been asked by hotel management to do something along those lines on a monthly basis.  I think she would like to feature a different member of Spokane Authors or other local authors each time.  I understand the Hotel RL also makes these "shows" available on You-Tube.  If I find the link I just might post it, in case anyone is interested.  Of course I might watch it and decide I made a complete idiot out of myself... and thus you would have to hunt it down yourself in order to see it.

Later this week I'll be attending a conference right here in Spokane.  It's not the traditional writers conference, but one designed to bring writers, screenwriters, film production folks and the like together.  It's called, Connecting Writers with Hollywood and takes place Thursday afternoon and all day Friday and Saturday.  (June 7, 8, & 9)  I decided to go to try and get back into the mainstream of writing and publishing, and also with the thought that someone might decide the Stone Island Sea Stories would make a good movie, movies, or perhaps a series.  Never hurts to try!

Beyond that I've been invited to take part in a Northwest Author Night at Coeur d' Alene's Well-Read Moose on Monday the18th of June.  I will be sharing the spotlight with another local author by the name of Timothy David Jones.  He's the author of a novel entitled Booth.  We've never met, but hopefully we'll each help draw folks in to the store for the other.  And the store is also a coffee and wine bar, so hopefully will be a relaxing evening.  It runs from 6 to 7:30 pm.

Here's the cover of his book!

Since I'm going to the Connecting Writers with Hollywood Conference, I won't be going to this month's Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers meeting.  (Time conflict!)  But if anyone is interested in that event they are going to have an open mic session in which members and quite possibly guests will have a chance to read a bit  (5 minutes or so) of their work.  The group decided on an open mic session as quite possibly several members might be going to the aforementioned conference.

So that should bring you up to date on what's going on in my writing/publishing/being an author world.

Tue, Jun. 5th, 2018, 03:42 pm
Still Recovering

So as most of you know, I had hernia surgery about two and a half weeks ago.  I've healed to the point that I usually don't realize it anymore.  Very little swelling and the incision is closing up nicely.  Had a follow up visit with the doctor last week and the medical folks are happy with the process.  They did remind me that internally may take a bit longer to knit back together than does the external side of things.  And that puts me into the current state where I'm itching to get stuff done but have to remind myself that I'm still under restrictions for how much I can lift and that I need to watch out and not undo all of their skilled work on the internal structures of my abdomen.  Most of the time I feel like everything is just fine and it is so tempting to just "go for it."

I did mow the lawn a few days ago, but I took it really slow and kept the proverbial eyeout for any sudden discomfort of strain.  Seemed to go okay,although I was a little sore the next day.  Soreness more of a result of using muscles I hadn't used in a couple of weeks, rather than as a result of any strain on the surgical site.  If I let the yard go for two weeks plus as I did this last time,the next time I mow shouldn't be any sort of problem.


Tue, Jun. 5th, 2018, 03:30 pm
Weekly Book Review

Once again I'm posting reviews of multiple books.  Two of the  three have only one short review, and it turns out that all three are by the same author.  I haven't had a chance to read any of these yet but I look forward to doing so in the future.  They are definitely on my TBR list!  You can find these reviews and information about the author and her books on the Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers web-site.
The Hat Pin Murders

By Joyce Caudel

Reviewed by Helen Foster
        Maggie Coppengee loves her Red Hat Chapter and the “Hatties,” as she calls her friends. Fun loving and committed to having great times, she can’t believe anyone at a Red Hat luncheon would kill her special friend, Mary Reed, and with a hat pin, of all weapons for a killer to use. Maggie becomes the prime suspect and must find the real murderer in order to clear herself.
        The Hat Pin Murders is a fun book to read. Joyce Caudel writes in an easy manner as she leads the reader on a trail of discoveries and clues in her search. Along the way Joyce lets us know why the Red Hat Society has become such a popular group.
        The Hat Pin Murders is an enjoyable book and was an award winner in the General Fiction category of the USA “Best Books 2011” Awards. It’s available at several Spokane area bookstores, as well as on Amazon.

Reviewed by Esther J. Hildahl

        Maggie Coppenger and Mary Reed live in Sommer, Washington, and have been best friends since kindergarten. Mary, a recent widow, only lives a few blocks away from Maggie, and they often do things together. Both enjoy being members of the Red Hat Society, which is all about dressing up in purple, wearing red hats, having fun, and spending time with their friends.
        However, things turn tragic at the Red Hat Society Spring meeting, at the Sommerset Hotel, when Maggie finds Mary murdered with a rhinestone hat pin. Maggie and her friends are shocked that Maggie becomes the prime suspect. Therefore, her fellow Hatties, the Mystery Mamas, set out to find the real killer.
        But who would want to kill Mary? Could it be Edith, Mary's neighbor, who pushed her and threatened to do her harm after an incident involving Edith's dog? Darlene, Mary's unfriendly, greedy stepdaughter? The mystery woman at the club? Or, could it be the driver of the black Mercedes who tried to run Maggie and her friend Jess off the road?
        When the killer strikes again, this time attacking Marie Reader, a member of the Singing Sisters, and others at the Red Hats fashion show at the mall, Maggie and her friends come closer to having their questions answered.
        I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, the first of Caudel's Red Hat Mystery books, and learning about the Red Hat Society. Caudel is a talented writer who spins a great mystery with numerous twists and turns. The reader is never bored. Her characters and settings are well-defined and interesting. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read a good story that is a page turner and has a very satisfying ending.
        Available in several Spokane area bookstores and on Amazon.

Reviewed by Kate Poitevin

        The Hat Pin Murders is a delightful cozy murder mystery. Ms. Caudel has created a group of interesting characters, ladies “of a certain age” who are members of The Red Hat Society. Excitement abounds as they prepare for an event with all the area groups. Sadly, it wouldn’t be a murder mystery without a murder. When one of their own is killed, it rattles her friends to the core. No one would really expect them to sit by and wait for the police to do their jobs, especially the prime suspect. Then the story takes a turn. We find ourselves immersed in mob activities. I’ve read many books of this genre and am pretty good at guessing where it’s going to end. This one artfully twisted and turned until I was totally clueless and I couldn’t venture a guess at all. The ending was certainly not on my radar! Well, done!

The Hat Box Mystery

by Joyce Caudel

Reviewed by Robert G. Hildahl
    Rachel Davis, a member of the Mystery Mama's Red Hat Book Club, awoke around three in the morning to find three masked men in her kitchen. When she confronted them, they were surprised that she was there, for they only broke into homes where the owners were not home. When one of the men got rough with her, she called Jake, her Great Dane dog. Jake ran into the kitchen and attacked the man, clamping his big teeth on the man's arm. The other two men ran off while Rachel called the police.
    When Jake is wounded in a drive by shooting a few days later, Rachel wonders if the same masked men that broke into her house could be trying to get even with her and her dog.
    Thus, begins another great story by Joyce Caudel. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery with many interesting characters, such as Milo Jenkins, Rachel's wealthy uncle. It has a good ending and a good lesson in humanity and caring for those who have very little to nothing.
    Available at several Spokane bookstores, Amazon, and on Kindle.
A Hat to Die For

by Joyce Caudel

Reviewed by Robert G. Hildahl

         A Hat to Die For is Caudel's third mystery novel involving the Red Hat Society and the good people of their town. Like her other two novels, this one is just as exciting and interesting to read.
         Chancy Goodnight is a bestselling author. She writes mystery novels. One day, she receives some red roses and a package with no return address on it. Since she has been receiving threatening phone calls, she tells the delivery boy to take it back. Later she finds out that inside the package was a dead rat!
         When Chancy throws a party at her home for all her friends, it is interrupted by a dead man found in one of her flower beds. And the next day, she discovers that her granddaughter, Brandy, is missing.
         This book tells a very good story about changing your life for the better and finding forgiveness from new friends because of the changes you have made. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery.
         Available in several Spokane area bookstores and on Amazon.

Mon, May. 28th, 2018, 11:39 am
Weekly Book Review

Well, another week or so gone by and time for another book review.  Once again I am posting reviews from the files of Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers.  This time I'm posting reviews for three books... all have but one review, and most of them are fairly short.  And we are back into the normal order or alphabetical sequence of things.  (I posted the last one a bit out of order as I had just finished reading the book and had just written my review of it.)

wishing everyone a Peaceful and Reverent Memorial Day!

Ghostly Reunion

by Larry Danek

Reviewed by Sue Eller

The Nomadic Ghost returns to take care of some unfinished business from his time as Robbin Simms, and finds himself in the Boise River, swimming desperately for shore.

In this second installment of the Nomadic Ghost series, Danek and his ghost deal with the challenges of a resident mind that is insecure and has some mental issues. The ghost persona must strengthen the body it occupies in order to finish the work begun in the last body as it struggles to find out just what that work had been.

Not your usual ghost story, Ghostly Reunion is more a tale of the living than the dead, as the main character jumps from consciousness to consciousness, and body to body, to right some of society’s wrongs and bring together people who need each other.

The Gluten Free Gourmand

By Sue Eller
Reviewed by Kate Poitevin

         This little cook book is full of easy to make recipes for those of us who can’t have wheat. Ms. Eller has taken old favorite comfort food and adapted the recipes for us. She even gives us a basic mix to make them easier and faster.
         My favorite so far is the waffles. They are so wonderfully crispy they hold up under the onslaught of syrup and I make extra to use as sandwich bread. The holes are great for holding in the peanut butter and jelly and they don’t get soggy by lunchtime. 
         Many of the recipes are naturally gluten free and make this a one-book resource for your whole meal to satisfy all members of the family.

Growing Up Alaska

By Niki Breeser Tschirgi

Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney

         During her first grade year, Niki and her family moved to Tok, Alaska.  Her Dad worked with the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the position in Alaska fulfilled a lifelong dream.  Niki soon adapted to the uniqueness of life in a small remote town in Alaska.  The cold long dark winters, the brilliant short summers, and the distances travelled to connect with others became normal.  She and her family resided there until she was nearly ready to graduate from high school.  Once again they followed her Dad as he moved on to another desired position, this one back in the Lower Forty-Eight.
         This slender volume is Niki’s recounting of the time spent in Alaska, starting with the trip north.  Besides describing the realities of live in such a rugged and cold place, she vividly describes the people, the animals, and the bonds that made her experience unique and memorable.  It allows the reader to sample a small portion of what life was (is) like in Alaska, and perhaps causes a desire to partake of it themselves.
         Born and raised in Alaska until beginning the first grade, this reviewer has a special interest in this book.  It points out what life may have been like during his school years, had he and his folks stayed.  Much of what Niki describes brings back ancient, half-buried memories or provides a sense of familiarity and understanding.  Reading this also reinforces the idea that once someone experiences Alaska, it will always be a part of them.

Wed, May. 23rd, 2018, 12:08 pm

It's been five days now since my hernia surgery, and I'm feeling better everyday.  The constant soreness is gone for the most part, and if anything, it itches.  I'm at the point where I need to remind myself to take it easy and not overdue stuff.  Last of the bandages will come off tonight and that might help the itch.  Still a bit of redness, swelling and regular old black and blue effects in the local area, but alot of that is fading as well... not nearly what it was.

As mentioned right after the procedure, I wasn't planning to fill the prescription for pain meds, and I didn't.  Did take a couple of Tylenol a couple of evenings, but that was it.  Sunday took Coco for a walk around the block. and then this week have been taking him for  slightly shorter versions of our regular walks, may two thirds or three quarters of what we used to do.  Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, early, Eva took him... but they don't quite have the walk routine, the repoire down for it that he does with me.

Until next time,

Coco exploring the back yard!

Coco and Eva headed out for a walk this past Saturday.

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