Sunday, January 30, 2011

Announcing February Workshop For Dallas MWASW

POSTPONED DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER. This speaker will be rescheduled later.


Join us for our February 5th workshop: "Write Like an Expert." Local, award-winning author Richard Abshire will share his methods on how to write like an expert on any subject. (It's easier than you think!)

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 or ones greatly appreciated!) All who attend are invited to remain for lunch. Contact info:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Another Nook Bonus

I recently learned of another bonus with my NOOK.

I work in Garland, TX so I am able to be a patron of Nicholson Memorial Library. (Saying I'm a patron is just another way of saying I have a library card.) They have ebooks that can be checked out on your computer as well as other devices. Guess what? The NOOK is another one of those devices that can be used to read those ebooks.

In General, these are the steps needed to "check out" the book on your NOOK (least this is my experience with an Adobe EPUB book).

1 - From the library of downloadable ebooks, check out / download a book in Adobe EPUB format. NOTE: Here are the general requirements: Must have a library card and a PIN to download the book. Must also have Adobe Digital Editions downloaded.

2 - After downloading the ebook to your pc (and remembering where you downloaded it), open Adobe Digital Editions. Click on the Library "menu" and select "Add Item to Library". (In my case, it opened Explorer and I found and selected the file I downloaded.) This added the ebook to my Adobe Digital Editions Library.

NOW comes the "fun part".

3 - If not connected, connect the NOOK to the PC. When it gets connected it shows up as a bookshelf on Adobe digital Editions "by magic". (Yes there are some things you have to do for the magic to work. It starts when you "register" Adobe Digital Editions. You want to be sure to register it with the same name you used to register your NOOK. If I remember correct, part of the process is also selecting "Authorize Computer" from the Library "menu".)

4 - The next part is simple as "dragging" and "dropping" the ebook from the "gallery" to your NOOK bookshelf - and it loads the ebook to your NOOK.

5 - Once done, I closed Adobe Digital Editions to "terminate" the connection from the software and my NOOK. Then I made sure I did a "safe removal" of the NOOK / USB device from my PC before I disconnected it from the computer.

SUCCESS!!! The book was added to "My Documents" on my NOOK!!!! Woo Hoo!!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

FOLLOWUP - Interview of Billy Boyle Author

mr - Thanks for responding to my posting about your book Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery. And I thought your suggestion of a followup Q&A was great. I enjoyed reading the book and sharing it with other members of the Firewheel Mystery Reading Discussion Group. I've read the second book in the series and will be staring the next book in the series - Blood Alone: A World War II Mystery. How many books do you currently have in this series?

JB - There are currently 5 books in the series. They include: Billy Boyle; The First Wave; Blood Alone; Evil for Evil; and Rag and Bone.

mr - When is the next book coming out in this series and what is it's title?

JB - A Mortal Terror will be released on Sept.1, 2011. It is set mainly in Italy, leading up and including the invasion at Anzio. It deals with a search for a sociopathic killer - on the battlefield. It also deals with the issue of combat fatigue, and how the army did and did not address it.

mr - One of the things I like about being in our Mystery Reading Discussion Group is each member takes turns suggesting an author and book to read. This gives us the opportunity to experience an author we may not be accustomed to. This series is definitely the first I have experienced set in the WWII era. What led you to write about this time period?

JB - As a baby boomer, I grew up with the constant question - what did your dad do in the war? It was so much a part of my childhood that it always seemed close to me. I've always had an interest in history and mysteries, so it seemed like a natural combination. When I started writing the series, there were not many historical mystery series set within WWII - that that now has changed.

mr - One of the things I like to do when reading is getting to know the character. I really like how you have presented the main character - Billy Boyle as well as some of the other characters like Kaz and Daphne. One of our group was a little disappointed that Daphne was killed off. Where do you get the ideas for your characters?

JB - I often get that reaction about Daphne. I think part of that is due to the fact that I didn't plan for her death, so I developed her perhaps more fully than I would have if I knew she was 'expendable'. I realized partway through the manuscript that someone close to Billy had to die to make thing more personal for him (remember the story of his rescue of a girl from a burning home - he didn't think it heroic because he knew her). At first it was going to be Kaz, but then I decided Billy needed a sidekick, and a woman would not always be able to go with him on battlefield assignments. So, poor Daphne was chosen. As to where they come from - 90% my imagination, 10% bits and pieces of people I know. I enjoy creating secondary characters, and I know many readers have come to treasure Billy and the friends he's surrounded himself with.

mr - I understand you were a librarian. I have a deep appreciation of librarians. Did being a librarian play a part in how you got into writing?

JB - No, not directly. But being a library user has definitely. We have a small public library in town and they do a great job of getting me all sorts of odd books on inter-library loan for historical research.

mr - Have you written any other books?

JB - Yes - there are two unpublished works. "On Desperate Ground" is a WWII thriller and "Souvenier" is a study of an American soldier adapting to civilian life after WWII.

mr - I am a reader and as you may be able to tell, I like to read mysteries. I especially like mysteries set in Texas - an area I am familiar with but I have started to appreciate mysteries set in other places (and times) as well. What kind of books do you read? And do you have a favorite author?

JB - That's a tough one, because so much of my reading is taken up with research, which leaves me little time for pleasure reading - an odd situation for a librarian/writer! But I recently discovered, as part of my research on the current manuscript, an autobiography by Sterling Hayden - "Wanderer". Hayden was a reluctant actor, and preferred sailing and adventure to Hollywood. He served in the OSS in Italy and Yugoslavia (that's the connection) during the war, and his book is quite well done. A unique character, one of a kind.

JB - As for mysteries, the first ones I read were by Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy L. Sayers. For contemporary stuff, I have great admiration for Robert B. Parker. Even though his work became a bit repetitive, he made concise dialog and narrative look simple - which is not the case at all. I think his stature will grow even more now that he's gone.

mr - Is there anything else you would like to share with me and the readers of my blog?

JB - I've attached the cover art, just received, for A Mortal Terror. One of the best yet!

JB - Now, back to work on the manuscript for Death's Door - the 2012 release.

mr - Thanks again for the time you've taken to answer my questions. As you can see, I used the cover art for your new book as part of this post. I will check out more of your books.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Reading and Old Friends

"Old friends?" you say. Yes - not literally but figuratively. Let me explain. Jack Reacher is a fictional character in a series written by Lee Child. It has been a little while since I last read one of the books with him in it - that is how I became acquainted with him. So when I picked up and started reading 61 Hours, as I was reading the book I had a feeling of seeing an old friend again.

If you know anything about Jack Reacher though you would probably consider it somewhat unlikely about being an "old friend". Why? Because Jack Reacher has been a transient since he left the military and does not settle in any one place long enough to develop lasting relationships. He is pretty much a loner.

But being a reader, you sometimes develop kind of a relationship with some of the characters you read about. That is why I consider Jack Reacher as an "old friend".

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

MRD Reads Billy Boyle a WWII Mystery

The January selection for our Mystery Reading Discussion Group at Firewheel Barnes and Noble for January was by a new author for our group. The author is James R. Benn and he is not really a new author but was new to most of us. The book we read was the first book in the series and it is called Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery.

There were 5 of us in attendance for the discussion and the vote was three liked the book, one was undecided, and one did not particularly care for it. Incidentally, another member who did not attend tonight indicated she liked the book as well - even though one of the characters she enjoyed was murdered in the book.

Billy Boyle just recently became a detective in the Boston Police Department. With the entrance of the US into the war, he manages to get sent to England to be a part of General Eisenhower's / Uncle Ike's staff. As a new and inexperienced detective, he is a little surprised when he is tasked to find a traitor in the war. On top of that he gets pulled into the investigation of the death of a foreign government official. He has to learn first hand how to conduct an investigation.

This was a very interesting story and I enjoyed the time period (and location) it was set in. Incidentally, I also read the next book in the series as well. It was called The First Wave. I know there are other books in the series by the author as well. If you want to learn more about the author, you might want to check out his website at I will be looking forward to reading other books by the author.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Richard Mabry and Robert Whitlow

I tried some new authors out - Richard Mabry and Robert Whitlow.

I discovered Richard Mabry who has a medical background first. His books are centered in one of the places I like best - Texas. I read two of his books - Code Blue and Medical Error. They are part of a series called Prescription for Trouble. At first I did not know what to expect. I learned they are typically referred to as Christian Fiction and there was some evidence in the stories. These were not hardcore Christian books - by this I mean it does not push the Bible down your throat. I would call them good presentation of moral lessons. On top of them occurring in Texas, there was also a suspense / mystery feel to the books - and this is one of the types of books I like to read. They were the kind of stories that are clean - the type I know my mother appreciates. Incidentally..., I have no problem reading them either.

The other author I read - Robert Whitlow has a background in law and the book I read is called Deeper Water. It is part of a series called the Tides of Truth. I discovered this was another book that falls under the classification of Christian Fiction. It was apparent this was written by a different author than the other two book I mentioned earlier. There was more "preaching" in this book but it did not ruin the story. As in the other two books, there was a good moral presentation and it also had a suspense / mystery feel to it. Again, I know this is the kind of book my mom would like to read and I have no qualms about reading these types of books every once in a while. It provides a nice change.