Mystery Blog/Site List

The following list of links to mystery blogs and the accompanying descriptions were generously provided by Rosemary Harris and Hank Phillippi Ryan during the ALA Convention yesterday.  Enjoy and happy reading!

Cozy Chicks Blog

Features JB Stanley, Heather Webber, Lorna Barrett, Kate Collins, Bed Baker, Leann Sweeney, and Maggie Sefton. “We blog about our writing and our lives and discuss book promotion.”  They send quarterly newsletters and hold seasonal contests for readers.

Femmes Fatales

“Ferociously talented women dedicated to the fine art of crime fiction.  Charlaine Harris, Dana Cameron, Kris Neri, Hank Phillipi Ryan, Toni L. P. Kelner, Elaine Viets, Mary Saums and Donna Andrews bring their wit and wisdom to this long-running cyberchat.

Inkspot

Feature two dozen authors published by Midnight Ink Books.  They blog about all aspects of the writing life–motivation, editing, publicity, marketing, book signings, and libraries.  Some bloggers are Elizabeth Spann, Craig/Riley Adams, Beth Groundwater, Sue Ann Jaffarian, Felicia Donovan, Julia Buckley, Deborah Sharp, Alan Orloff, and G. M. Malliet.

Jen’s Book Thoughts

Started about 2 years ago by a high school English teacher.  At JBT you’ll find review, interview, news about book events and author events, and special projects like “Six-Word Memoirs from Crime Fiction’s Greatest Writers.”  JBT has also incorporarted video interview on the blog.  Visiting authors have included James Lee Burker, Michael Connelly, Gregg Hurwitz, T. Jefferson Parker, Michael Koryta, Dennis Lehane, Sue Grafton, Lisa Unger, and Ken Bruen.

Jungle Red

Writing well is the best revenge.  Multiple award-winning authors Hank Phillip Ryan, Rosemary Harris, Roberta Isleib, Rhys Bowen, Jan Brogan, and Hallie Ephron write about writing, not writing, reading, and the publishing world and the real world.  Jungle Red Mondays are a special chat among all the authors, in a “View”-like atmosphere, they invite visitors to join in the discussion.  Wednesdays showcase a special guest–such as Katherine Neville, Linda Fairstein, Carolyn Hart, Mihcael Palmer, agents, editors, and some of their favorite librarians.  Fridays are “anything can happen!”

Lesa’s Book Critiques

Lesa Holstine is a library manager in Arizona who has worked in public libraries for 37 years.  her Blog features book reviews, author interview, and recaps author appearances.  Articles are frequently picked up for syndication, and can often be read in the Chicago Sun-Times.  She also reviews women’s fiction for Library Journal and crime fiction for Mystery Lovers’ Journal.

The Lipstick Chronicles

The renowned and successful lipstick Chronicles just celebrated five years online, and now include authors who appeal to a broad fiction audience.  It’s irreverent, edgy and often hilarious, it gives an up-close look at some top notch writers.  The bloggers have won every award in the industry: Brunonia Barry, Diane Chamberlain, Heather Graham, Harley Jane Kozak, Margaret Maron, Nancy Martin, Louise Penny, Nancy Pickard, Corneal Read, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Sarah Strohmeyer, Kathy Reschini Sweeney, Elaine Viets and Jacqueline Winspear.

Meanderings and Muses

Fan and avid reader Kaye Barley has amassed a surprising number of followers and guest bloggers. She’s a trendsetter in the mystery community, beloved by authors from every genre in the field.  This blog is a low key, friendly and informative must-read–especially if you are interested in the genre buzz.

Meritorious Mysteries

Mystery maven and North Caroline author escort Molly Weston’s blog features mystery author guest bloggers on Tuesdays and reviews of great mysteries not usually found on the NY Times Bestseller List.  Meritorious Mysteries offers readers crime fiction gems they might not otherwise find.

Murderati

Hard-boiled and medium-boiled mystery and thriller authors take turns writing thoughtful and provocative essays.  Their website says: “…examines critical themes, historical archetypes and trends in publishing, marketing and the life of the published author.”  Bloggers are: Alafair Burke, Alex Sokoloff, Allison Brennan, Brett Battles, Cornelia Read, JD Rhoades, JT Ellision, Louise Ure, Pari Noskin Taichert, Robert Gregory Browne, Stephen jay Schwartz, Tess Gerristen, Toni Marie Causey and Zoe Sharpe.

Poe’s Deadly Daughters

Poe’s Deadly Daughters bills itself as “a blog for mystery lovers.”  Bloggers are Elizabeth Zelvin, Sandra Parshall, Sharon Wildin, Lonnie Cruse, Julia Buckley, and Cheila Connolly (aka Sarah Atwell).  Often it’s books, reading, the writing process, creativity, or language, but also a vast range of topics from crime and alcoholism to parenting and animals.

Seven Criminal Minds

Seven Criminal Minds includes 12 crime writers including Kelly Stanley, CJ Lyons, Meredith Cole, Sophie Littlefield, Bill Cameron, Shane Gericke, and Rebecca Cantrell.  Each week, they respond to questions about writing reading, murder and mayhem–focusing on one topic.

The Stiletto Gang

“Women writers on mission to bring mystery, human and high heels to the world.”  Visitors to TSG are treated to “healthy doses of humor, opinion, mysteries, and information.”  Gang members are Evelyn David, Marilyn Meredith, Maggie Barbieri, Rachel Brady, Misa Ramirez and Susan McBride.

Stop, You’re Killing Me

Stop, You’re Killing Me is a resource for lovers of mystery, crime, thriller, spy and suspense books.  “We list over 3,300 authors, with chronological lists of their books (over 38,000 titles), both series (3,700+) and non-series.  And it’s perfectly fine with us if you print our pages for your private use, especially for a trip to your local library or bookstore.”

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ALA 2010 Report

This year was my first year attending the ALA Annual Conference down in Washington DC.  It was a mostly good experience that was a little overwhelming given the shear amount of stuff that is going on at any given moment.  As usual with a conference atmosphere I was reminded at how wonderfully terrible I am at interacting with strangers, despite having common professional interests (and in many cases common interests outside the professional).  It is annoying and frustrating.  Despite that there was a ton of interesting events and fascinating people at the convention and the couple of sessions I attended were interesting and many left me excited and energized to explore new ideas at work.  This post is long so hit the jump for the rest…..

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Xbox 360 S Hardware Dissection

PC Perspective has a nice, well photographed, dissection of the new Xbox 360 hardware for those who like those kind of things.  Turns out that the change in architecture is more significant then I thought particularly since the CPU and GPU are located beneath the same hood.  The relevant information is on page 3 of the article and it some fascinating stuff that hardware geeks will dig.  PC Perspective sums it up nicely:

Either way, the change from a technological perspective is important and noteworthy as it is the first instance of a “high performance” graphics core being paired with a “high performance” CPU core in a product that will see millions of sales.  Yes we have the Intel Core i5 processors but I wouldn’t put the Intel HD Graphics core on par with the Xenos-based design here.  And while AMD’s Fusion parts will fall into this same realm we are still months from seeing production parts.

I don’t know if this means anything to average console gamer or not but for those of us still somewhat entrenched in the PC Gaming side of things it is a fairly significant achievement.  If I’m reading this right and AMD’s Fusion does manage to take off it is entirely possible that gaming on an integrated graphic processor might actually be feasible.  Of course the upgrade path for such a system is still problematic (i.e. the same problem that consoles have) but still a fascinating development if applied to the HTPC market.

Review: The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi

The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi

The Ghost Brigades
John Scalzi
Tor, 2006

I tore through The Ghost Brigades, sequel to Old Man’s War, on a Friday evening and found it as engrossing and entertaining as its progenitor.  The Ghost Brigades focuses on the the titular soldiers, the elite special forces charged with the defense of the colonies and whose bodies are created out of the DNA of the dead who receive the experimental edge of enhancements from the military they serve.  Born as adults the average special forces soldier isn’t more then a couple of years old, born as adults but with personality to speak of their reliance on their BrainPals as a form of communication isolates them from regular troops and keeps them apart from the rest of humanity.

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Review: Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

Old Man's War by John Scalzi
Old Man's War by John Scalzi

Old Man’s war
John Scalzi
Tor, 2005

John Scalzi’s 2005 debut novel Old Man’s War is a book I’ve been putting off reading for some time now.  There is no particular reason for this I just kept getting distracted by shiny new books.  This as it turns out was a major fail on my part.  Old Man’s War is an exciting military science fiction novel full of human drama and high action that is on the one hand entirely original and on the other hand very much in the tradition of the great military sci-fi novels of the past.

Before I start talking in depth I should say that if you’re a fan of quality science fiction or military sci-fi then you should definitely stop reading right now and go read this novel if you haven’t already.  There is no way to write a decent review of the novel without at least mentioning some minor spoilers (even the PW review mentions some)!  Honestly going into the novel more or less “cold” with little foreknowledge of what to expect (beyond what the blurb on the back tells you) is the way to go and I think will aid the novel’s impact.  So, that being said, stop now and go read the book!  Seriously.

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Review: Triumff: Her Majesty’s Hero by Dan Abnett

Triumff: Her Majesty's Hero by Dan Abnett
Triumff: Her Majesty's Hero by Dan Abnett

Triumff: Her Majesty’s Hero
Dan Abnett
Angry Robot, 2009 (UK ebook version, US edition due out sometime in 2010)

Dan Abnett is best known for his tremendous body of work in Black Library’s Warhammer 40k novels and, for met at least, his stellar (pun intended) work (alongside partner-in-crime Andy Lanning) with Marvel Comics’ cosmic heroes.  When I saw that last year that Abnett was set to publish a book featuring his own world,  a character not burdened by years of backstory and unhindered by a frequently rigid continuity I was excited; very excited.  Then disappointed as I found out that Angry Robot was going to take forever and a day to publish in the US, then more disappointed when HarperCollins‘ sale of the imprint added another couple of months onto that forever.  Thankfully the awesome folks at Book Depository added ebooks to their repertoire  and I snagged Triumff at the dirt cheap price of $3.99.  So finally, book in hand (or at least my electronic reading device of choice, a nook), I settled down to read Triumff.

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A Quick Take on Steelwing

If I were browsing CDs in a store and came across Steelwing’s Lord of the Wasteland it would have been album I bought on cover art alone.

Steelwing: Lord of the Wasteland

I mean it has a robot vulture and a badass muscle car loaded with guns! It is ridiculous. It is awesome. It displays a sense of fun that the metal world doesn’t always show.  If you haven’t guessed this is something of a concept album, though not the sort of epic over-the-top ridiculous other bands will go for, but a wild ride full of foot-stomping, head-banging post-apocalyptic metal.  If it wasn’t obvious this 80s influenced band is part of the “New Wave of Traditional Metal” (NWOTHM) alongside groups like Enforcer, Holy Grail, White Wizzard, and others.  This is the kind of metal designed for summer days driving down the highway with the stereo cranked up to 11.  If you’re looking for fast, furious, epic metal with a large dose of fun Steelwing are the dudes for you!

Review: Noir by Robert Coover

Noir by Robert Coover
Noir by Robert Coover

Noir: a novel
Robert Coover
Overlook, 2010

First Line: You are at the morgue.

Have you ever finished a book and put it down thinking that you weren’t sure what exactly happened but that you kind of liked it?  Such was my experience with Robert Coover’s NoirNoir is nominally a mystery though it is surrealistic and amorphous one; much like a particularly vivid dream.  This dream perspective is perhaps aided by second person narration that puts the reader in the drivers seat but neglects to provide them with steering wheel, gas pedal, or break.

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To 4e or Not to 4e

So apparently several weeks absent from the GM seat is enough to ignite the fires of my fledgling imagination again.  My last go round in the “hot seat” was none-to-pleasant an effect that was mostly my fault; a symptom of my own laziness.  For the first time in what feels like forever I’ve actually been able to use my down time to actually brainstorm, if not outright plan, some of what I hope are fun things for my players to do whenever I start my game up again.  However, I have noted in the past a tendency towards enthusiasm regarding the idea of GMing but quickly that I grow disillusioned with the reality of GMing.

One of the people I play has started a Shadowrun campaign which is one of my first experiences gaming without a d20 in quite a while.  It’s been a learning process and quite a blast so far and the last session allowed me to blow up a barge, snipe a guy manning a machine gun, survive a grenade blast unscathed only to be nearly eviscerated by an assault rifle, and “accidentally” kill a helpless worker (to be fair I thought he was a bad guy).   Combat is mean but fun and characters are not nearly as hardy as they are in 4e (grenade blast survival aside it should be noted that my damage resistance dice pool is like 23 which waaaaay above average).  I’m not sure I’m sold on the dice pool mechanic since rolling so many d6s (while keep track of both sucesses and 1s) can be a bit unwieldy, but I’ve definitely been having fun so far. That fun brings me to other GMing problem: other systems. Continue reading “To 4e or Not to 4e”