You just don't know what you'll run across on the trails.
While I don't condone defacing public property, this was pretty clever.
You just don't know what you'll run across on the trails.
PPLD hosted their annual Mountain of Authors event this weekend. I was fishing, and missed the mostly virtual happening, but hope to catch up with the recorded talks on the library website.
By the way, the fish were not biting. Not for us, and apparently not for anyone else. It was a beautiful summer-like day in the mountains. We enjoyed the scenery, the pelicans, and the black diving ducks.
My granddaughter created a clever book trailer for the Pikes Peak Library District YouTube channel. Our trailer is the second of four you can view here.
The Garden of the Gods park in Colorado Springs hosted its annual Motorless Morning, closing the park to motorized vehicles from 5am to noon. My husband and I stopped to chat with a park ranger during our four mile walk. She told us when the cars go away, the wildlife comes out.
The previous Saturday, we walked in the GOTG in weather that shifted from chilly but mild, to freezing snow. The Motorless Morning weather could not have been better.
Below are a few photos from our walk.
May 1st, Pikes Peak Library District hosts the virtual Mountain of Authors event. My book trailer, created by my talented granddaughter, will be featured.
Pike Peak Library District's annual Mountain of Authors program, including the Local Author Showcase, has gone virtual! For our virtual event, local authors have created fun and exciting Book Buzzes (short videos) to share their new books with you. Join us to discover new authors and great books for the fall. View all the videos here and see what the buzz is all about!
Videos premiere Sat., May 1 on PPLDTV YouTube.
During a trip to the library, I saw one of my books on a shelf. Stone Cold Case is the second novel in my Rock Shop Mystery series.
My books Stone Cold Dead, Stone Cold Blooded, and the stand alone Survive Or Die are also available.
I have been sidetracked by other projects. A fourth Rock Shop book is waiting to be finished. I'm hoping to get in gear, and finish Stone Cold Pressed this year.
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is open. The COVID-19 protocols are firmly in place. The best part of social distancing rules is that the museum is limiting the number of people who can visit. Special exhibits require reservations. Employees stand in the doorway, making sure the room does not exceed designated capacity. For a person who does not enjoy crowds, this is the best time to visit the museum.
We spent a long time in the SUE: The T. rex Experience exhibit. Although the T. rex was the star, I gravitated toward my favorite dinosaur, the Triceratops. After admiring the best dinosaur, I enjoyed the film and displays imagining life in the time of Sue, and exploring what the fossils of this huge dinosaur tell us about his or her life.
Driving on one of the busiest streets in my medium-sized city, I have been witness to odd things lately. A giraffe in a convertible was the latest.
Before that was the Subaru carrying a stack of pallets - see below.
I am sorry to report I failed to snap a photo of the grown man in Walmart wearing a bald eagle costume while purchasing Doritos. Or the fellow in the health food store wearing an entire dead racoon on his head.
I don't get out often, so the chances of these random sightings are low. I can only conclude everyone has gone crazy.
I noticed a pattern in the stories I enjoyed most in this issue of AHMM. They are tales set in different eras. Maybe for me, escaping the reality of modern times requires a hard reset to Somewhere Completely Different.
I became so involved with the characters in the 1950s historical mystery There's Nothing Funny About Murder, by Michael Mallory, that I was upset by the murder. The main character, Jewish comedian Mousie Ross, could carry the story himself. The introduction of well-written secondary characters made the story even more engaging. I especially liked the African American driver, Shifty Gierman. Who wouldn't? The wanna-be actor makes his stage debut with Mousie, until the slapstick turns deadly.
Being a cozy author, I don't often deliberately delve into noir. Ticking of the Big Clock, by O'Neil De Noux, surely falls in that category. The romantic triangle is set in New Orleans during WWII. Spoiler alert - everyone in the story has an unhappy ending. Everyone. Well, maybe except for the cat. I had every indication the cat had her kittens successfully, and that the landlady will continue to providing her food and water. Other than the cat, the human characters finish this tale in utter disaster. Usually a happy ending fan, I enjoyed this story. Great writing, well-drawn characters, and a logical conclusion. Dark and sad, but logical.
The hungry orphan pick-pocket in A Helping Hand, by R. T. Lawton, has learned hard lessons working the streets of Paris during the reign of Louis XIV. When he is recruited to be a helping hand to a gang by an older thief, he keeps a cynical and suspicious eye on his new partners. The young pick-pocket must stay two steps ahead of the game to avoid being cheated, or landing in prison. In the end, he works out a way to achieve his own goals, one of which is acquiring a loaf of bread and a sausage. Lawton has a way of making the reader cheer for this likeable criminal trapped by circumstance. You can read about the story in the author's own words here.
We return to post-Civil War Montana with author Leslie Budewitz for Coming Clean. Former slave Mary Fields has hitched her wagon to the meager fortunes of the Ursuline Sisters of St. Peter's Mission. Mary uses her invisibility as a older Black woman on the frontier to listen and observe, enabling her to solve mysteries. One of the nuns has a secret, and is using blackmail of another Sister's secret to keep her quiet. Mary adds up the clues and her observations of the players, until one finally comes clean.
Barb Goffman's A Family Matter is set in 1962. Doris is a busybody, a very unpleasant woman sharing her sour comments liberally, and tormenting a new arrival to the exclusive white collar community of The Glen. The husbands work at the pharmaceutical company while the women stay home and follow the rules as Doris dictates them. The story takes an unexpected turn when Doris decides she has to do something positive for a change. She realizes young mother Ginny is the victim of abuse, and that she has to do something about it.
There are many more enjoyable short stories in the January / February 2021 issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, which do not have historical settings. And, in every issue, there is a non-fiction feature Real World Policing, by Lee Lofland. This month, Lofland explores how criminals are transported.
I finished the November / December 2020 issue while sitting in a hospital waiting room. This seems appropriate – that 2020 seeps over into the new year with no change of pace. Did we really expect the dawn of a new year to instantly shed all that was crazy about the previous year? All went well with my husband’s out-patient surgery, and he’s recovering quickly.
All is well with Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, too. I received the next issue before I finished reading this one, but that was not for lack of interest in the fifteen short stories. With amazing variety of tone and story-telling style, I was entertained from cover to cover.
Spoiler alert – since the new issue of AHMM is already on the shelves, I’m not going to be as careful not to reveal clues or endings.
A Report on the Ladies’ Playground Committee of Prescott, N.H. by Brendan DuBois – Two armed thieves grow impatient waiting for their partner to arrive with their share of a robbery. A group of nice young mothers look like an easy target. What they don’t know about the Ladies’ Playground Committee is that all are military veterans.
A Pageant to Die For by Shauna Washington – A Las Vegas beauty pageant goes off the rails when the emcee is murdered. No one is terribly surprised the offensive letch has finally met his just end. “He had his hands in every trade and whatever else he could grab, including every female in sight.” But the who-dun-it and why proves a surprise to wardrobe designer Stacey Deshay.
A Matter of Values by R. T. Lawton - In an era of nickel payphones, a slightly crooked cop tips off a brothel to a police raid. Slightly, because while he liberally bends the rules, he doesn’t take mob money. Unfortunately, a city councilman is found dead in a brothel bed. Our dark hero set about solving the mystery, out of loyalty to friends, in his own sense of values born of the harsh reality of the streets.
On Loan from the Artist by Robert Mangeot – A meek man working for a sleazy payday loan company is inspired by his boss’ illegal acquisition of a sculpture titled BOLD. Bench begins by offering customers fair rates and leniency with repaying loans. He is concerned with how his insufferable boss stole the sculpture from the artist’s widow, and seeks a way to make it right. The meek man’s foray into a life of bold actions does not end well.
Lee Lofland shares Halloween cases in his non-fiction article Case Files – On the Beat on Halloween.
I'm ready to begin the first issue of AHMM in this new year. I am certain it will prove as entertaining as last year's collections of stories.
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