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?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Observations from "The Rock Hole"

"The Rock Hole: A Red River Mystery" is a new book written by Reavis Z. Wortham.  I have been looking forward to reading this book for several reasons.  First, I like mysteries.  Second, it takes place in and features Texas and Texas characters.  And finally, it is by a local Texas author.  Let me say I was not disappointed by the book.

One of the things I found interesting about the book is the way the author uses an observer to tell the story.  I know there are other instances where this technique is used, like Dr Watson telling about Sherlock Holmes, but I think the author did a great job using a ten year old boy to tell this story.

You see ... this story takes place around 1964 and there were some familiar things about the story.  I was a boy back then too - just a little younger than Top - the boy who has a part in telling the story.  He had asthma and used an inhaler to take medicine when he had an attack.  There were other familiar things about the story as well - like the time era including mentions of the Vietnam War, the Beatles, the theater, and racial tensions - just to name a few.  There were some things I was introduced to.  I was raised in the city and this basically occurred in the country.  But there were some familiar things about the other characters as well.

Top's grandfather reminded me a little of my mom's dad.  There was a similarity between the two - probably because I had a similar view of my grandfather like Top did of his.  My grandfather was not a part time law man like Top's was but his work ethics, family values, and tolerances of others were very similar.

I look forward to reading more by this author.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

"The Rock Hole" Author Signing

I went to the Firewheel Barnes and Noble today.  They had an author signing today - Reavis Wortham is the author of "The Rock Hole: Red River Mystery".  This is the first book and it was released on June 7th of this year according to 

I talked a little with the author and had him sign a copy of his book.  Reavis told me the manuscript for his next book is due in September.

Relatively recent I have started getting ebooks to read and occassionally get the "real" book when there is not an ebook version.  There are several reasons why I have started getting the ebook.  I guess one of the most important reasons is the convenience.  It is relatively easy to get an ebook, they do not require additional book shelves to store, and I can adjust the size of the font for my comfort level. 

I had intended to get "The Rock Hole" in an ebook version but it is not available in the format yet.  But this brings to mind a question - can you get an author signed ebook?  I do not think this is technically available yet either.  Of course you might ask what is the purpose of a book signing?  Well ... one reason is some people collect signed books.  Another reason is people want to meet and talk to the author.  And of course, the author wants to promote his book.  I am sure there are a number of other reasons as well.  Only one of the three reasons I mentioned above really requires a physical book.

I have read the book and will do a post later about it.  Just to let you know, I enjoyed the book and look forward to more by the author.