Monday, April 23, 2012

Pets and Mysteries

Pets play a role in some mystery series.  Robert B. Parker's Spenser series had Pearl the Wonderdog, and Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series has Bob, the canine garbage can.  And, of course, there are tons of mysteries and even a whole series featuring cats. 

I got my first dog (actually, my first ever pet) in October 2011.  Her name is Bella, and she is an 11 year old Maltese.  She weighs 5.5 lbs and has 3 teeth (the remaining ones will be pulled out soon).  She's very timid, at times flatulent, and is only house-trained when it suits her. 

But, she's also very sweet, never makes a sound (I've even smuggled her in to libraries!), and she is very bouncy and licky.  Getting a dog was one of the best decisions I've ever made!!!

So, I may eventually have to write in a pet for Sasha Jackson.

Honey Boo Boo Bella

Friday, April 20, 2012

Reading & Writing

For many years, I was a die-hard mystery reader, about 1 or 2 books a week.  I even ran a book club for mystery lovers.  And, I was a judge for the Arthur Ellis awards and read ~50 books in four months!  Then I turned the hobby into academic study.  Then I began writing the Sasha Jackson mysteries.

I now find it very difficult to read mysteries.  As it is, I don't read much fiction, and when I do, it's less and less common that the book I pick up will be a whodunit. 

If I'm in writing mode, or in the planning stages of a new Sasha Jackson Mystery, then reading a mystery feels like work.  And, whether I'm in writing mode or not, reading fiction is not as relaxing as it once was.  I subconsciously pick it apart, edit and revise it in my head as I read, and wonder why the author said this or wrote that.

I don't seem to be this way (or, at least not nearly as much) with non-fiction.  I imagine that's because I don't write nonfiction (YET!!!) and because the subject matter(s) I read about are so varied that I'm busy learning about the Civil War, or Beer, or Memory rather than internally critiquing it.

Other Authors: how has writing shaped your own reading choices?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Recent Reads: Crow Einstein Snuff

This book will make you angry!  READ IT!  I learned a lot from it, and I've recommended it to several people.  It tells the other side of the story, one that needs to be discussed.  It's should be required reading at school.  But it's not all rosy praise here: The tone (especially in the first 1/4 or so) is a bit over-the-top.  As well, Alexander hammers home a point 16 ways to Sunday.  So, a bit of repetition and a dab of hyperbole aside, the points the book makes are good, solid, disturbing, worth knowing, and worth sharing.  Pick up a rock and look under it.

Fascinating! I can see why it's on the bestseller list.  Well-researched, full of interesting bits of trivia, told in a casual, conversational tone.Lots of colourful characters and quirky anecdotes are interspersed with history, psychology and the classics.  Read it.
This one didn't do it for me.  I wasn't offended by the subject matter, but I just didn't find it as funny as his other works. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

1st or 3rd?

It occurred to me last night that perhaps I need to tell the next Sasha story from a different point of view...  This idea is intriguing and scary and exciting.  The first 3 Sasha books were all done in 1st person (Sasha's voice), with a wee bit of 1st person from Mary Carmen in book #2.

Th nature of the plot for the current work-in-progress leads me to think that it may be better done with multiple viewpoints/narrators.

I haven't actually done anything with this idea yet - it would mean going back and re-writing entire sections.  But, it may be the solution to a tricky plot, and it would certainly give me a mental workout trying to write in a whole new voice.

Let's see...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Fab review of THE LIES HAVE IT

This review of THE LIES HAVE IT came in over the weekend, and it sure made me smile!  I am always happy to read a review, but it especially pleases me when reviewers pick up on my favourite aspects of the book(s).

The two things I love most about writing the Sasha Jackson books are 1) the main character, and 2) the setting.  I find those two facets of writing to be the easiest and most enjoyable to do.  (I also like writing dialogue, but have to remind myself to do it).

Anyhow, Helen Ginger's review starts off by saying "I like Sasha. She's tenacious," and ends with " I'd like to meet Sasha," so naturally, I was quite pleased.

As for the setting, well, Ginger says, "Edmondson makes Toronto come alive on the page. She makes me want to go there."  Praise for the setting doesn't get much better than this!

Read the whole review on Straight from Hel (and read many other great book reviews here as well).

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

NERD! Hardboiled Fiction, Women, and Academia


Once in a while, I like to get in touch with my inner-nerd.  I did a lotta fancy book learning and wrote a bunch of essays for my BA and my MA.  Some of the MA papers had to do with crime fiction.  One of those papers is something I'm really quite proud of: It's an essay called From Spenser to Yeats: Feminism's  Version of the Hardboiled Sleuth is on the Wagon and Rides a Harley.  In it, I trace the birth and growth of the hardboiled dick from "down these mean streets..." to Kinsey Millhone, et al.  So, if you want to know a bit more about the genre, have a look at The Thrilling Detective website to read an abridged version of the paper.  I had a LOT of fun writing it! And (best of all!!!) I sent a copy of it to Lawrence Block and he wrote back: "I can see why you got an A"!!!

*** Mystery Fans:  You may want to bookmark The Thrilling Detective website.  It always has lots of interesting stuff related to crime fiction, from reviews to interviews to quotes and more...!  oxox