Sunday, October 2, 2011

One Voice Too Many

One Voice Too Many was written by Paul Martin Miller.  It is a psychological thriller - not a typical mystery I usually read.  It was an interesting story. 

The main character was a carpenter named Jeremy Walker who starts his day with an internal conflict about something he has read.  He is on the way to work when he gets caught in a traffic jam. At this point he begins doing something very odd.  He walks away from his truck and seems to wander back in the direction he came - reason unknown.  He seems to be disconnected with the world outside of himself.  Finally, he goes to a restaurant to get something to eat and he seems to have a breakdown.  The police come and end up taking him to a hospital.  They call his ex-wife to let her know what has happened - and since she appears to be the only known family he has.  At this point the focus of the story takes a shift - to explore what has lead up to this point.

The story tells how Jeremy was a lonely man who had been married twice before.  He was divorced from his first wife and he lost his second wife - she presumably was killed in an accident.  The loss of his wife took a toll on his life and was something he found hard to come to grips with.  Eventually he improved outwardly and started functioning in what appeared to be a normal fashion.

Then he meets Macy - a woman he is impressed with.  He enjoys spending time with her and her daughter and they get married.  Things seem to go nice but the story always brings up problems in this relationship.  Jeremy - from Macy's point of view - always seems to hold things back and she kind of resents that.  This is a mechanism that Jeremy has developed from previous experiences and their mariage is a source of internal conflicts for Jeremy.  Some "Voice" occassionally breaks into Jeremy's life and further complicates his life.

Things in Jeremy's view of the relationship seems to shift back and forth.  At times the relationship is a great one and other times it is a disappointing one.  He struggles with loving feelings for Macy and her daughter and feelings of resentment.  During those periods of loneliness, he starts longing for communications from the "Voice". 

The story rotates back and forth between the lives of Jeremy and Macy.  And they end up getting divorced.  But they still have some sort of connection.

Most of the story focuses on what happens before Jeremy has his breakdown.  The story ends up continuing after the breakdown but comes to a quick (and unexplained) end.  Maybe that is just the nature of being a thriller.  For me it was a little disappointing but the story (and it's ending) did make me think.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Returning to Sherlock Holmes

You may have heard it before but I became interested in mysteries when I was an early teen and reading Sherlock Holmes was one of the reasons for this. 

I decided to go back to read some Sherlock Holmes stories and I am reminded why I was so interested in these stories.  You see - I was astonished like Dr Watson by the conclusions Sherlock Holmes could make based on his observation skills. 

He also fascinated me by some of the things he said.  In A Study in Scarlet for example, how he describes a man's brain being like an attic.  It is a practical description about how a smart person only puts useful stuff in his brain rather than filling it with a lot of worthless stuff.  It is a very good explanation.  Funny how we not only put useless stuff in our heads but we also a lots of times keep useless stuff in our attics (or garages, or closets) as well!! 

So going back and rereading Sherlock Holmes is really been a good experience for me.  Are there things you have read years ago and taken the time to go back and reread them later?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dallas MWASW Sept Workshop AND MORE

September 3rd Workshop: Critiques
For our September workshop, we'll break out into small groupsthat will include at least one experienced writer. Anyoneinterested in a critique should bring 5 copies of any 5 pagesfrom your WIP (work in progress,) which you will readout loud to your group. Some of you will choose to read, others will only critique, but everyone will learn something.
Something extra: Workshop following lunch: Writing 101

Time: 1:00pm-2:00pm Fee: $10.00

The focus of these workshops is the business end of writing; they also act as a fundraiser, since the instructor, our very own LaRee Bryant, has generously volunteered her time and experience.

LaRee is the author of 7 historical novels and 2 non-fiction books, and has recently finished the second book in a new cozy mystery series. She's been a writing teacher and professional editor for over 20 years and has served on the boards of several national and local writers' organizations, overseeing committees such as "Agents Standards of Practice" and "Published Authors Network."

The Dallas MWASW group meets the first Saturday of each month at Texas Land & Cattle, 812 South Central Expressway, Richardson , TX 75080 . Meeting time is 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. There is a $5.00 door fee, cash only (fives and ones appreciated!) All who attend are invited to remain for lunch. Contact info:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

White House Chef Mystery Series

I felt it would be interesting to try a new (and different) series for me.  This is a series by Julie Hyzy and the first book in the series is State of the Onion.  I suppose this is what would be classified as a cozy.  It is a fun read and has little to do with politics - otherwise it would not be a fun read.  Kind of what you would expect of a book with this title.  The book has a mystery and includes "recipes" at the end from meals prepared for the White House.  Web page for author July Hyzy.

The story has a major and a minor plot going for it.  The major mystery centers around an attempt of a supposed terrorist to get into the White House to warn the president of something.  In this attempt, one of the White House staff ( a chef) named Olivia Paras gets involved in trying to figure out what is going on.  At the same time she is in the middle of trying to become the major chef on the White House Staff and keeping a semi-secret relationship with a secret service agent moving forward.  But there are conflicts that result from this. 

Not only does she have to be careful not to become dangerously involved in her own investigation, but she has to deal with competition for the Executive Chef position.  A new White House Staff person seems to be doing everything he can to make her look bad and playing up the competition as the logical choice.  Olivia realizes her place in the kitchen is a very integral part of the White House.   Her position may not have anything to do with setting world politics but it does help with the image. 

The main focus of the "political" side of the story is relationships with foreign countries.  Party politics are not a major focus which is good since this is for a fun read.  Check out this book if you are looking for a light, fun read.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Life Imitating Art

Sometimes life imitates art -or- vice versa. 

I saw a video on the internet.  It was about a statue of Marilyn Monroe in Chicago based on that famous scene in the movie The Seven Year Itch.  That brought back some memories.  Now I had not seen the movie - it was made before a similar event happened to me as a boy.  Seeing this video brought back the memories.

I was in elementary school at the time - third grade I think.  As we did at the time, we were outside for recess and it was time to go to the water fountain to get a drink.  Ahead of me was one of the girls in my class who I had a little interest in.  I think she may have been a blond too!!!  She was getting a drink from the faucet when along came a breeze and blew up her dress for a moment.  Yes ... that was an experience for me.  It is not like I really saw anything since she had shorts under her dress but it was definitely something I remember. 

Come to think of it, I never knew about the movie The Seven Year Itch until much later when another movie came out that played on that same scene - The Woman In Red.

Ahhh MEMORIES.  That is one of the things I enjoy when I read.  You never know until you read something and it brings back memories.  Do you have memories come back when you read?