Friday, September 26, 2014

UBAD Writers & Readers Festival October 1-5, 2014



web program launch


We are delighted to share with you the full program for Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, October 1-5, 2014.

With over 150 writers from more than 25 countries it’s truly a celebration of global issues, big ideas and extraordinary stories. This year’s theme, Saraswati: Wisdom & Knowledge is an exploration of the wisdom to be gained by creative expression.

A number of the Festival’s writers are no strangers to prizes – such as Hassan Blasim (Independent Foreign Fiction Prize); Eimear McBride (Baileys Women’s Prize) and Cyrus Mistry (2014 DSC Prize) – to name a recent few.

Queen of Crime and creator of much-loved series Wire in the BloodVal McDermid will be jetting over from Scotland, while master novelist Amitav Ghosh joins us along with Pulitzer Prize-finalist Deborah Baker (they’ll also lead an exclusive post-Festival Komodo Islands cruise).

With wandering in their blood, the program features British travel writing great Colin Thubron; memoirist Robyn DavidsonTim Cope; and Carl Hoffman.

Rayya EliasKate Holden and poet Kosal Khiev are all survivors of different stripes, while star of Spike Lee’s Inside ManCarlos Andrés Gómez is also an acclaimed spoken-word poet and writer.
Leading the vanguard for avant-garde Asian fiction is Chinese writer Can Xue and Japanese novelist Minae Mizumura, while ex-pat Malaysian Tash Aw continues to delight us.

From Indonesia the Festival has invited publishing pioneer Goenawan Mohamad, intellectual Azyumardi Azra, art patron Agung Rai and Festival favourites Debra YatimAhmad Fuadi and Ketut Yuliarsa‘Truman Capote with a machete’ Made Wijaya joins the line-up, as does How to act Indonesian YouTube hit sensation Sacha Stevenson, plus many more.

Ardent human rights activists and social commentators are plenty, from one-time UN Representative in Sudan Mukesh Kapila, to frontline journalist Pallavi Aiyar, author of TheWisdom of Whores and Indonesia etc. Elizabeth Pisani, and Polish editor and journalist Adam Michnik. On the environmental front we have Keibo OiwaNadya Hutagalung,Willie Smits and more.

In addition to our Main Program and Special Events, we’ve added exciting extras: Yoga; Digital Dialogues; Surf; plus of course Environment Day and The Kitchen. We hope you enjoy exploring.

With literary lunches, workshops, in-depth conversations,children’s and youth events, twilight performancesfilm screenings, poetry slams, cultural masterclasses, art exhibitions, book launches and more, be sure not to miss this world class event set in Bali’s cultural heartland.
Full program HERE.

Purchase your Festival Passes HERE.

Please note: Sir VS Naipaul will unfortunately no longer be joining the 2014 line-up. More information here.

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"Exciting twists in this thriller will keep readers guessing until the surprising conclusion."


Reviewed by Tanzey Cutter


As a Pittsburgh Police Department consultant, clinical psychologist Daniel Rinaldi has been involved in solving several murder investigations, but his favorite job is helping victims deal with the aftermath of violent crimes. He's intrigued by his newest patient, Lisa Harland, ex- Hollywood starlet who's returned to Pittsburgh and married a much-older business mogul; a callous, controlling man. Lisa informs Rinaldi that she's planning to kill herself and he has 50 minutes to talk her out of it. Having accomplished that goal during their session, Rinaldi is shocked when Lisa is abducted and he's knocked unconscious as she leaves his office.

Rinaldi now finds himself part of another police investigation, to the chagrin of several of the detectives, but Lisa's husband insists Rinaldi play an active part in getting his wife back. When the ransom call comes from the kidnappers, they demand that Rinaldi make the delivery -- with no cops involved. It's too late to fulfil that final ultimatum, since the police were called in immediately after Lisa was taken. Of course, things go all wrong during the ransom drop, and thus begins an elaborate and lethal succession of events that will prove fatal for some of those involved. The further the investigation proceeds, the more questions arise about who's involved and why. The answers will be shocking.

PHANTOM LIMB, Dennis Palumbo's fourth exciting Daniel Rinaldi mystery/thriller, moves along at a rapid pace with a distinctive blend of characters strengthening a plot filled with many surprising twists and turns. At the end, Rinaldi is given some shocking, new information about the death of his wife, which should make for an interesting book in the future.

SUMMARY

Psychologist and Pittsburgh Police Department consultant Daniel Rinaldi has a new patient. Lisa Harland, a local girl, once made a splash in Playboy and the dubious side of Hollywood before bottoming out. Back home, down and out again, she married one of the city's richest and most ruthless tycoons. Lisa's challenge to Danny is that she intends to commit suicide by 7:00 PM. His therapist skills may buy some time — but, exiting, she's kidnapped right outside his office.

Summoned to the Harland estate, Danny is forced, through a bizarre sequence of events, to be the bag man on the ransom delivery. This draws him into a deadly cat-and-mouse game with a brilliant, lethal adversary. Complicating things is the unhappy Harland family, whose members have dark secrets of their own along with suspect loyalties, as well as one of Danny's other patients, a volatile vet whose life may, like Lisa's, be at risk. What is really at stake here?

PHANTOM LIMB, fourth in the acclaimed series of Daniel Rinaldi thrillers, will keep readers guessing until the very last page.


Reposted from Fresh Fiction


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mystery writer Palumbo keeps his voice set in Western Pa.

In Dennis Palumbo's new novel, “Phantom Limb” (Poisoned Pen Press), a character walks into a therapist's office and puts forth the following scenario: “I plan to kill myself at 7 o'clock tonight. Which means you have 50 minutes to talk me out of it.”

It sounds like a line from a television show or movie, especially given Palumbo's background as a screenwriter for both mediums. But the origin of the scene was not at all pleasant for Palumbo, who is a licensed psychotherapist.

“It would be (comical),” Palumbo says. “Except it happened to me. ... I had been a therapist for about a minute and a half, and a woman came in, who was about 55, and said, ‘I have the pills at home and I'm going to kill myself at 7 p.m. You have 50 minutes to talk me out of it.' ”

“If you can get them to come back, you've got a pretty good shot,” he says.

Palumbo, a native of Penn Hills, has lived in the greater Los Angeles area for 40 years. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, he was a staff writer for the sitcom “Welcome Back, Kotter” and wrote the screenplay for the film “My Favorite Year.” “Phantom Limb” is his fourth crime novel featuring Daniel Rinaldi, a psychologist based in Pittsburgh.

The title refers to the sensation that a missing arm, leg or other appendage is still attached to a body. That theme

is woven into a book about one of Rinaldi's patients, a former Playboy model and actress who is the wife of a rich businessman. When she's kidnapped after an appointment with the psychologist (she's the character who threatens to kill herself), Rinaldi becomes inextricably involved in solving the crime.

While Palumbo shares his character's Italian heritage, Pittsburgh background and occupation, he's admits Rinaldi can do things — such as solve crimes — beyond his scope of experience.

“But his point of view about therapy and the mental-health system comes from me,” Palumbo says. “One of the real treats about writing this series is I get to talk about the things I love, like the mental-health industry and Pittsburgh.”

Pittsburgh's prominent role in “Phantom Limb” and the rest of Palumbo's books might seem odd, given that he's not lived in Western Pennsylvania since the 1970s. But that timespan and the distance from California to Pennsylvania have allowed Palumbo to see the city in a new light.

“(Pittsburgh) has a noir quality at night that I think has been unexplored, or unexploited,” he says. “I think the fact I no longer live there allows me to have this feeling. I've been in L.A. for 40 years and to me, writing about Los Angeles would be kind of boring. These are the streets I drive through every day. I don't think it has the same resonance for me.”

What is so very L.A. is Palumbo's clinical specialty: many of his patients have “creative issues.” Often, that's just the tip of their Freudian icebergs.

“Most of my patients are writers and directors and producers and actors and set designers,” he says. “They often come in, presenting with writer's block or procrastination or fear of failure or fear of rejection, garden-variety stuff. But those things are so connected to their personal lives. Within three weeks, we're just doing regular psychotherapy.”

Rege Behe is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.


Reposted From triblive



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Guest Post: A little editing leads to happy ending for literary agent by Nancy Nigrosh

L.A. Affairs 
During the 10-plus years I was a single parent, I was consumed by my career as a literary agent. This was the kind of job that involved long-range strategies and 24/7 focus. I didn't have the time or energy left over to date. Instead, I devoted myself to many well-intentioned but futile attempts to rein in my troubled teen, who was moving in a perilously rebellious direction.

As a parent, my heart was breaking and yet as a woman I couldn't shake the persistent and inexplicable feeling that somewhere, at some point, I'd actually met the man I longed for, who'd somehow vanished from view. I often had the uncanny feeling he might be right under my nose, maybe even next door or down the block.
L.A. Affairs

I responded to all of this by putting my sorrow aside and going into a free fall, flinging my heart wide across the 'Net. I became "Ms. Aloft" (a lame reference to the fact I lived in a loft downtown) on a plethora of dating sites.

I checked my inbox with regularity but attracted only respondents who lied about everything from relationship status to height, weight and bank account. When I tried to explain all of this to a friend, I sobbed, and he said, "I know an Internet dating coach. Maybe she can help."

I phoned the expert, and to my surprise, she came right over. "No wonder you're attracting weak men," she said. "We have to do something about that profile picture."

"It was taken for an article I wrote for Variety!" I protested.

As she snapped a new photo with her phone, she explained, "You look like a dominatrix in that picture. Let's have a look at your closet."

I pulled out some of my nicest clothes and arranged them on the bed. She responded by tossing them aside and went right for the lingerie drawer. I could feel my heart pound.

"Put these on," she purred, handing me a pair of modest Chinese silk pajamas "then this … and this," referring to combinations I never would have thought of, snapping away with her phone.

Then she instructed me to close my eyes and imagine the man I sought. "Now, tell me how you feel about him. Be really specific." Words, just like the clothes in my closet I'd never imagine pairing, came pouring out for the first time.

Satisfied, she announced, "OK, now let's rewrite your profile." Though I wanted to reveal my true age, she advised against it: "You're a youthful-looking lady. They'll think your pictures are 10 years old and you're being dishonest. Put down that you're 10 years younger, then add you're actually 'somewhat older' … but 'identify with a younger vibe.' Then add that your pictures were taken this month, this year."

To lie and immediately acknowledge it seemed perfectly honest to me.

Next she asked, "How do you feel about him having children?" I sighed, "I assume every man has children." Flinty-eyed, she continued, "That's not what I asked." So I typed: "Though I have a wonderful 17-year-old, I'm not looking to raise any other children." Saying what I wanted suddenly wasn't so hard.

One evening I noticed a nice-looking face and clicked on his profile. I read about the woman he longed for. He described me to a T.

We made a plan to meet at a popular downtown L.A. spot. I immediately felt at ease, settling into the calm he cast over the tiny table we shared. I told him my true age, which was the same as his. We discovered we'd been classmates in the same school in New York in the same program the very same year. We retraced the steps of our separate journeys in migrating West. As I suspected, for many of the years since college, we'd been living less than two miles from each other in Santa Monica. It turned out that his sister-in-law, who lived in Los Angeles, was a longtime friend of mine. His cousin was an East Coast literary agent with whom I'd co-represented an author only a few years earlier.

He'd never married yet he always believed, as I did, that his destiny was out there, somewhere, and somehow he would find her.

He asked me to attend his nephew's engagement party, where I knew more of the guests than he did. We waltzed through our own private nostalgia ball, also becoming engaged.

Months later, at our wedding on our downtown rooftop, our violinist neighbor played sweet notes that seemed to sum up our long journey. I texted my dating coach: "Life is lived forward but understood backward. What could say 'happily ever after' better than an actual fiddler on an actual roof?"

Nigrosh is a consulting editor for authors and screenwriters in Los Angeles and teaches at UCLA Extension's Writers' Program.


Reposted from LA Times


Monday, September 15, 2014

Guest Post: Enough: How Not to Over-Write by Dennis Palumbo


How to write enough (but just enough) to engage the reader

 Hollywood on the Couch

The inside scoop on Tinseltown, USA.

There’s a great moment in the classic film Key Largo, when gangster Edward G. Robinson is asked—given the extent of his wealth and power—what he could possibly still want. “More,” he famously answers.

More. Kind of the American credo in a nutshell, which isn’t as damning as it sounds. The word "more," when appearing before such other words as individual rights, artistic freedom and access to information, stands as a proud element of the Western imperative. On the downside, more has also fueled global climate change, the growing gulf between people’s incomes, and an almost obscene preoccupation with material things. When it comes to life in general, "more" is definitely a two-edged sword.

I’d argue that the same holds true with the craft of writing. More is not always better. In a screenplay, for example, an overwritten patch of description can bring the reader to a screeching halt, draining the narrative of pace and forward momentum.
Find a Therapist


Or take monologues. Unless used sparingly, and with a definite intent, a monologue in a film or TV script can often make the character just seem wordy. (Exceptions abound, of course. Such powerhouse writers as Paddy Chayefsky, Rod Serling and Quentin Tarantino come to mind. And even they occasionally fell prey to mere self-indulgence.)

In a short story or novel, endless words of description—whether of place, a character’s physical appearance, or in the service of the author’s thematic or philosophical interests—can slow the narrative to a crawl.

Overwriting, it’s safe to say, is by general agreement a bad thing. Then why do so many writers do it?

Let’s be clear: I’m not talking about the normal, expected overwriting that characterizes your first draft. During those explosive, flowing, unfolding bursts of creativity, your inner editor is—you hope—asleep at the switch until you get the myriad ideas, incidents, breath-taking narrative leaps and beside-the-point stretches of dialogue down. The first draft is when you do get to describe a character as “grungy, foul-smelling, disheveled, knuckle-dragging and poorly-dressed.” You can even add, “We are repulsed. Taken aback. Aghast. The camera’s eye wants to turn away.” The more socially-conscious might note: “A grim reminder of the dismantling of the welfare system’s safety net in the past thirty years.”

No matter. All that hooey gets edited out in later drafts. Or should. Yet, for some writers, it feels like tearing a piece of their skin away to delete any of it. Why? Is it because they think every word is golden? Hardly. In fact, it’s the reverse.

In my experience with the writer patients in my therapy practice, those who tend to overwrite are usually struggling, whether they know it or not, with issues of self-trust. Either they don’t feel entitled to be writing in the first place and thus need a cornucopia of words to try to mask this, or else they feel unsure of their talent and craft. If the latter is the case, these writers try to convince the reader of the legitimacy of the idea or emotion or scene being depicted by packing it with adjectives, metaphors and authorial asides. Anything—and everything—to make sure the reader gets it.

On the other hand, writers who trust their skills and/or feel entitled to be writing at all have faith in the narrative and emotional power of the single appropriate phrase, the short though vivid description, the seemingly simple line of dialogue freighted with meaningful subtext.

The ancient poet Gensei wrote: “The point of life is to know what’s enough.” That’s the point of writing as well. Not only does self-trust enable writers to shape their work into its most effective, compelling form, but such writing also has enough “air” in it to allow readers to bring their own experiences to what they’re reading (or seeing onscreen), thus increasing the work’s relevancy.

In other words, good writing is what is evoked in the spaces between the written lines. Good writers have enough trust in themselves to know that there’s something there, and that they’ve written enough (but just enough) to convey the thought that sparks the echoing thought in the reader’s mind. They’ve portrayed enough of the character’s emotional life to resonate with similar aspects of the reader’s inner world. A single descriptive word, such as barren or choked or remorseless, can bring with it a wealth of associations to thoughts, feelings and images waiting to be stirred into life in the reader’s imagination.

How do writers develop self-trust? The way we do in most other aspects of life. By doing. Writing. Risking that our readers will follow us where we’re going; that what we have to say, or what we’ve always felt, or what we openly fear or yearn for, will find a recognizable home in the reader’s heart. Self-trust, like it or not, is born of risk. As are most worthwhile things.

Ultimately, if we believe we ourselves are enough, we’ll believe that what we’re writing is enough, too.


Reposted From Hollywood on the Couch


Friday, September 5, 2014

Anonymous was a woman by Fred Shapiro

Your favorite famous quotation: was it by Voltaire? Yogi Berra? Or some woman you’ve never heard of?

    "I would venture to guess that Anon,
    who wrote so many poems without signing them,
    was often a woman."
    —Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

Virginia Woolf wrote those words about the entire realm of literary creation, not about that special subset of it called "quotations"—the minting of concise snippets so eloquent or insightful as to be memorable. But those of us who dig deeply for the earliest sources of well-known lines discover, time and again, that here, too, Woolf was right: Anonymous was a woman. Many of the great quotesmiths have been women who are now forgotten or whose wit and wisdom are erroneously credited to more-famous men.

Scholars of sociology, history, psychology, women's studies, and other fields, not to mention writers and thinkers like Woolf herself, have written about why this should be so. I won't seek to tackle that question here. Instead, I present the raw material—or, rather, the fraction of it we know.

The authorship of some of these phrases had been forgotten for years or decades before being unearthed by a researcher. In other cases, the authors were never "lost"—their names have long been known to specialists and can be easily found with a little research—yet they are mostly unknown to the general public. Moreover, the real authors are often obscured by inaccurate attributions that have gained wide currency.

Finally, a few of these lines were crafted by women who are anonymous partly because they worked in professions that tend to be anonymous, such as screenwriting or speechwriting. I've included them nevertheless, because they show the range and depth of well-known quotations by women. The hallmark of almost all these cases, in fact, is that people are surprised to learn that such famous lines were written by such obscure women.

The quotations here are grouped in two categories: the misattributed and the forgotten. Within each category, they are listed chronologically. And after the lists, I offer one more surprise. As it turns out, there have often been anonymous women behind the enterprise of quotation collecting itself—even behind the most iconic male name.


The Misattributed

    "He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men, and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory is a benediction."

This passage is often said to be by Ralph Waldo Emerson or Robert Louis Stevenson. In fact, it was written by Bessie A. Stanley of Lincoln, Kansas, in 1905. She earned $250 as the first-prize winner in a contest sponsored by the magazineModern Women.

The Forgotten

    "No time like the present."

This phrase has become so common that many people assume it is a proverb. In the familiar form quoted here, it originated with Mary de la Rivière Manley (1663–1724), an English novelist and playwright, who used it in her 1696 play The Lost Lover.



Read more at Yale Alumni Magazine



 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Toronto: Judy Cairo Heads Back to Fest With ‘Boychoir’

 Toronto: Judy Cairo Heads Back Fest

During the height of the recession, producer Judy Cairo managed to break into the feature film business with a smallish indie called “Crazy Heart” through her Informant Media banner.

Since “Crazy Heart” became a major hit with Oscars for lead actor Jeff Bridges and the song “The Weary Kind,” Cairo’s been able to keep Informant in the business — so much so that she’s making her third trip the Toronto film Festival following “Hysteria” in 2011 and “Stuck in Love” in 2012.

Cairo, Carol Baum and Jane Goldenring are at TIFF this year with another music-based drama, “Boychoir,” starring Dustin Hoffman with Francois Girard (“The Red Violin”) directing. Informant is financing and producing. CAA is handling domestic sales; Embankment has international.

“It does give you confidence as a producer to get chosen for Toronto,” Cairo said. “They are great tastemakers.”

The story centers on a troubled 11-year-old who finds himself at an East Coast school, where he engages in a battle of wills with a demanding choir master, played by Hoffman. Eddie Izzard, Debra Winger, Josh Lucas, Kevin McHale and Garrett Wareing also star.

Embankment Films sold out most international markets at last year’s AFM — something Cairo credited to Hoffman’s appearance. She also praised his ability to make more of the character, above and beyond Ben Ripley’s script.

“Dustin has such a strong sense of improvisation,” she said. “During one scene, he started talking about Handel and opportunities and everyone on the set was in tears.”

Reposted from Varity


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Maryland Shines Spotlight on War of 1812



As we prepare Andrew Jackson—Battle for New Orleans the news begins to serve the project and will refresh American memory about the controversial War of 1812 that ended definitively with Jackson’s defeat of the British at New Orleans.




BALTIMORE—Maryland officials are on a campaign to elevate the profile of the War of 1812, a historically unpopular conflict that ended in a draw with Britain and has long been overshadowed by the Revolutionary and Civil wars.

The state is planning a weeklong festival next month to mark the 200th anniversary of the city's defense in 1814, which inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the poem that later became the lyrics to "The Star-Spangled Banner," the national anthem.

State officials also have awarded $5.5 million in grants for celebrations, educational programs and research, hoping to generate a lasting patriotic buzz about Maryland's starring role in a war that largely has been written off as a historical footnote.

"This is not just about having a party and shutting it down for another hundred years," said Bill Pencek, executive director of Maryland's War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission. He said the state is counting on an enduring tourism boost.

If it is recalled at all, the War of 1812, which ended in 1815, is most often remembered for the British burning of Washington and the White House. But some of the lowest and highest points in the conflict actually occurred in nearby Maryland.

The error-filled collapse of American troops in Bladensburg, Md., in August 1814 gave the British easy entrée to the nation's capital. By contrast, the successful defense of Baltimore amid the British bombardment at Fort McHenry helped fuel American patriotism when an oversized American flag stood tall following the siege.

Commemorative coins are displayed for sale at the Fort McHenry gift shop. Melissa Golden for The Wall Street Journal

The war was folly, said Don Hickey, a history professor at Wayne State College in Nebraska who has written books on the subject. Though the U.S. declared war over legitimate British interference with American trade and the seizure of its sailors, it made no sense militarily, he said.

Still, the conflict "helped forge an American identity," Mr. Hickey said, and gave rise to such lasting symbols as Uncle Sam. It also helped propel the political careers of prominent U.S. figures, including future President Andrew Jackson, who defeated a British force near New Orleans in 1815, unaware that the two countries had signed a truce weeks earlier.

The Maryland grants, funded by corporate sponsorships and commemorative coin sales, have been matched by $14 million in public and private contributions. They have financed an IMAX film, improvements to the sleepy waterfront in southern Maryland where British forces landed, the restoration of an insect-ravaged cavalry jacket, and a camera network called KeyCam that gives people the same view of Fort McHenry that Mr. Key saw.

Much of the funding is focused along The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, a 560-mile route tracing the paths of British and American forces in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

On Maryland's Eastern Shore this Sunday, a $93,000 grant is subsidizing the re-enactment of the Battle of Caulk's Field on one of the war's most pristine battlefields.

There, a local militia repelled marauding British troops without help from American soldiers. Among the 14 British killed was Sir Peter Parker, a cousin of the poet Lord Byron, who wrote an ode in his relative's honor.

Even many locals don't know that history, said Bernadette Bowman, director of the Kent County Office of Tourism Development. "This is the forgotten war. We weren't taught this," she said.


Reposted from the Wall Street Journal

Write to Scott Calvert at scott.calvert@wsj.com 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Larry D. Thompson's Dead Peasants Reviewed





Have you ever heard of a Dead Peasant Insurance Policy? I had-but then I have been a bookkeeper for many years. Just in case here is a definition that I copied from The Free Dictionary

A corporate-owned life insurance policy that a company may take out on its employees—often without their knowledge—designating the company as beneficiary. If the employee dies young, the company gets tax-free death benefits. If the employee lives long, it has a long-running tax break (as well as the death benefit)

Jack Bryant, a brilliant lawyer, just won a major case and has decided to retire early. His son will be playing college football and Jack has decided it is time to be more involved in his son's life. He packs up and leaves his lucrative practice and heads to Fort Worth Texas. He has lots of money so astonishes the realtor by taking an expensive, very large house. This is in the middle of the housing crisis, she really needed this sale. He knows he likes her but it takes almost the entire book for them to actually get together.

Eventually, after having the house decorated (by the realtor) Jack gets bored. He decides to do pro bono work for the people in the area who can not afford a good lawyer. He sets up shop on a piece of property he bought in a bad part of town in his RV. At first nobody comes--then one day an older African American woman comes knocking at the door. I seems she had received a check from the post office for 400,000 dollars but it was made out to her deceased husbands ex-employer.

Things really start heating up and more accidental deaths keep happening. I can almost guarantee that you won't be able to put this book down--but if I say anymore I'll give it all away!

About the Book (from Amazon)

“Just terrific… As real as a heart attack, and every bit as suspenseful.”

--John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author of A Plague of Secrets, on The Trial

Veteran trial lawyer Larry D. Thompson has decades of courtroom experience in his home state of Texas on controversial and important trials. Now, in Dead Peasants, Thompson has delivered a fast-moving and suspenseful legal thriller featuring a retired lawyer whose life gets turned upside down when a stranger asks for help.

Jack Bryant, exhausted after a high-profile career as a lawyer, takes an early retirement in Fort Worth, Texas, where he plans to kick back, relax, and watch his son play football at TCU. But then an elderly widow shows up with a check for life insurance benefits and that is suspiciously made payable to her dead husband’s employer, Jack can’t turn down her pleas for help and files a civil suit to collect the benefits rightfully due the widow. A chain of events that can’t be stopped thrusts Jack into a vortex of killings, and he and his new love interest find themselves targets of a murderer.

Gripping, engaging, and written with the authority that only a seasoned lawyer could possess, Dead Peasants is a legal thriller that will stun and surprise you.


Purchase the Book here



Reposted from Miki's Hope


Dennis Palumbo's Phantom Limb Reviewed Booklist



Phantom Limb.
Palumbo, Dennis (Author)

September, 2014. 336 p. Poisoned Pen


Amputees say a missing arm or leg can itch and demand to be scratched, as though it were still there. That’s a “phantom limb,” and its ghostly presence is one of the keys to this lively novel.

The premise is conventional enough: a has-been film star, married to a gazillionaire coot, is kidnapped. The stock characters are present: the old boy’s bitter, boozy son; officious police and feds; a woman cop who chafes at not being taken seriously; and even the hero, the penetratingly analytical psychologist Daniel Rinaldi. A minor figure, who lost a leg in Afghanistan, waits in the wings as the plot races to its conclusion. But after the kidnap drama ends, there are about 170 pages to go. What follows is a reexamination of the evidence, when the phantom limb makes its non presence known. Could it be that the kidnap-ransom plot was really about something else? We’re on the psychologist’s turf now, and the revelations are more interesting than the author’s attempt to turn this into an actioner. It’s about fragmented people’s attempts to be whole.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Deborah Stevens' The Serpent's Disciple" has won the PINNACLE BOOK ACHEIVEMENT AWARD for Best Thriller!




A family secret, an ancient artifact could save humankind from a diabolical leader many fear is the Antichrist. In this conspiracy thriller, an ancient evil threatens to take over the Catholic church and use it to upset the world order. Peter Romanus, the Grand Master of the secret masonic order known as Propaganda Due has set in motion the final stages of his plot to kill the pope and control major world governments through the Church.








Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Miki's Hope Reviews Insanity Plea

purchase on Amazon.com
This is definitely one of the best legal mystery THRILLERS which incorporates a medical condition I have read in a very long time. I could not put it down! This book was actually sent to me along with a book I had requested to review by the same author-Dead Peasants- which I will be reading and reviewing pretty soon.

Wikipedia defines Schizophrenia as:

Schizophrenia (/ˌskɪtsɵˈfrɛniə/ or /ˌskɪtsɵˈfriːniə/) is a mental disorder often characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to recognize what is real. Common symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, auditory hallucinations, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and inactivity. Diagnosis is based on observed behavior and the person's reported experiences.

Genetics and early environment, as well as psychological and social processes, appear to be important contributory factors. Some recreational and prescription drugs appear to cause or worsen symptoms. The many possible combinations of symptoms have triggered debate about whether the diagnosis represents a single disorder or a number of separate syndromes. Despite the origin of the term from the Greek roots skhizein ("to split") and phrēn ("mind"), schizophrenia does not imply a "split personality", or "multiple personality disorder"—a condition with which it is often confused in public perception. Rather, the term means a "splitting of mental functions", reflecting the presentation of the illness.


The mainstay of treatment is antipsychotic medication, which primarily suppresses dopamine receptor activity. Counseling, job training and social rehabilitation are also important in treatment. In more serious cases—where there is risk to self or others—involuntary hospitalization may be necessary, although hospital stays are now shorter and less frequent than they once were.


Symptoms begin typically in young adulthood, and about 0.3–0.7% of people are affected during their lifetime. The disorder is thought to mainly affect the ability to think, but it also usually contributes to chronic problems with behavior and emotion. People with schizophrenia are likely to have additional conditions, including major depression and anxiety disorders; the lifetime occurrence of substance use disorder is almost 50%.[5] Social problems, such as long-term unemployment, poverty, and homelessness are common. The average life expectancy of people with the disorder is 12 to 15 years less than those without. This is the result of increased physical health problems and a higher suicide rate (about 5%).


Paranoid Schizophrenia is a medical condition which affects the brain. Psychiatrists to this day are still trying to find a way to at least relieve the symptoms which are horrendous. Many of the "street people" who you see walking around talking to themselves may be schizophrenic. and most are relatively harmless. There are those who are "told" by voices to do horrendous acts-I believe Ted Bundy was one such person.

Wayne Little is a lawyer. His older brother, Dan has been living on the streets for many years. Suddenly, Wayne gets a phone call-his brother is being charged with capital murder-and may face the death penalty. Dan is innocent but has been off his meds-----Ultimately Wayne and his friends decide to put in for the Insanity Plea. In Texas, where this story takes place that is not easy! Meanwhile-there is a killer out there and he is murdering people---Will the real murderer get caught. Can they prove, under Texas law that Dan was legally insane when he confessed to the murder? The ending will send chills down your spine!

About the book: (from Amazon)

"...fierce courtroom drama..."
"...intoxicating...and nail-biting..."
"...the courtroom scenes often soar..."


-Kirkus Reviews

A young nurse is savagely killed during a pre-dawn run on Galveston’s seawall. The murderer slices her running shorts from her body as his trophy and tosses the body over the wall to the rocks below. As dawn breaks, a bedraggled street person, wearing four layers of old, tattered clothes, emerges from the end of the jetty, waving his arms and talking to people only he hears. He trips over the body, checks for a pulse and, instead, finds a diamond bracelet which he puts in his pocket. He hurries across the street, heading for breakfast at the Salvation Army two blocks away, leaving his footprints in blood as he goes.

Wayne Little, former Galveston prosecutor and now Houston trial lawyer, learns that his older brother has been charged with capital murder for the killing. At first he refuses to be dragged back into his brother’s life. Once a brilliant lawyer, Dan’s paranoid schizophrenia had captured his mind, estranging everyone including Wayne. Finally giving in to pleas from his mother, Wayne enlists the help of his best friend, Duke Romack, former NBA star turned criminal lawyer. When Wayne and Duke review the evidence, they conclude that Dan’s chances are slim. They either find the killer or win a plea of insanity since the prosecution’s case is air tight. The former may be a mission impossible since the killer is the most brilliant, devious and cruel fictional murderer since Hannibal Lecter. The chances of winning an insanity plea are equally grim.

It will take the combined skills of the two lawyers along with those of Duke’s girlfriend, Claudia, a brilliant appellate lawyer, and Rita Contreras, Wayne’s next door neighbor and computer hacker extraordinaire, to attempt to unravel the mystery of the serial killer before the clock clicks down to a guilty verdict for Dan.
The Insanity Plea is a spell-binding tale of four amateur sleuths who must find, track and trap a serial killer as they prepare for and defend Wayne;s brother who is trapped in a mind like that of John Nash, Russell Crowe’s character in A Beautiful Mind.

Combining legal thriller with tracking a serial killer, Thompson once again takes the reader on a helluva ride, right up to the last page and sentence.

The Insanity Plea, a new legal thriller by Larry D. Thompson, Best Selling author of Dead Peasants, The Trial and So Help Me God. 



Reposted From Miki's Hope 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Shadow Portal Book Review: Medusa by S.D. Hines


(Heroines Of Classical Greece Book One)
purchase on Amazon.com

Despite a semi-miraculous birth in the temple of Athena, Medusa is nothing more than a devoted priestess of the goddess, distinguished only by her beauty and piety. But after she is raped by the god Poseidon, her entire world is ripped asunder and she flees Poseidon's wrath through ancient Greece and beyond for the inconceivable crime of resistance.

In her wanderings, she encounters dangers and horrors, but also friends in unexpected places. Pursued by Poseidon's fury and his assassins, she is finally cornered in Egypt with only two choices: fight back or be destroyed with all she loves. But her only hope lies with the father of her children, the great love of her life and the man who is prophesized to kill her: Perseus.



 Review


As suggested by the title, Medusa is the tale of the classical Greek creature of myth. But in this exciting and heart wrenching version of the story, we meet Medusa the woman. Medusa, who was attacked by a god and then forced to flee for her life for fighting back. Medusa, brave and strong and doomed to die by the hand of the only man she ever loved.

From the island temple in which she was born, to the distant land of Ethiop, Medusa's travels bring her in contact with numerous figures of Greek mythology, as well as the mythology of Egypt.

Medusa is a story of love and vengeance, of two people who come together time and again, only to be separated by circumstances beyond their control. Medusa the character is an amazing woman who retains her grace and selflessness despite the cruel hand life has dealt her. A warrior and a healer, Medusa sacrifices all she holds dear in order to protect innocent lives from the wrath of Poseidon.

It's nice to read a story that speaks of Medusa as something other than a monster. Her story is a sad one, but not without its triumphs. There were times when the transitions between scenes were a little choppy, and some scenes could have been better fleshed out to be more immersive, but for the most part I found this to be a very entertaining story. It held my attention and in the end left me feeling more than a little distraught at the way things turned out. But not every story can end with Happily Ever After, and though the conclusion of the story is in most parts a sad one, it fit the story perfectly.