If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

July Interviews

7/1 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
7/8 Jessica Baker, Murder on the Flying Scotsman
7/15 TG Wolff, Driving Reign
7/22 Leslie Budewitz, The Solace of Bay Leaves
7/29 Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets

Saturday Guest Bloggers

7/11 Mark Dressler
7/18 James McCrone

WWK Bloggers:

7/4 Valerie Burns
7/25 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Challenge Continues

By Julie Tollefson

Back in September, I wrote about my goal to challenge myself to add variety to my reading habits, inspired by the Sisters in Crime Report for Change: The 2016 SinC Publishing Summit Report on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Mystery Community. The report’s Appendix A, known as Frankie’s List, is a terrific resource for identifying mystery writers from diverse groups: African American writers, Asian American/Asian writers, Hispanic/Latino/a writers, South Asian American/South Asian/South Asian British writers, Native American writers, and LGBT writers.

As I wrote in September, I began my Frankie’s List reading journey with The Red Queen Dies by the list’s namesake, Frankie Bailey.

Since then, I’ve read four more books by authors on the list and discovered a new-to-me author, Attica Locke, whose voice and storytelling I loved. Her first book, Black Water Rising (2009), was nominated for a bunch of prestigious awards, including the Edgar. I found it to be atmospheric and engaging and as soon as I finished it, I wanted more. So my next Frankie’s List selection was Locke’s second book, The Cutting Season (2012). This story featured different, but equally amazing, characters and won the Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Locke’s third book, Pleasantville (2015), returns to the same protagonist as Black Water Rising and is on my TBR list.

My next challenge selection was a bit of a cheat: The Wire in the Blood (1997) by Val McDermid. I already know and enjoy McDermid’s work, but I hadn’t read this one yet. Her characters are so real, they almost seem like friends.

My final selection for this Frankie’s List challenge update was Tatiana (2013) by Martin Cruz Smith. I read and enjoyed Cruz Smith’s Gorky Park years (decades? Eek!) ago, and Tatiana follows another Arkady Renko case. These novels have a unique rhythm that fascinates me as much as the story he tells.

I just finished Tatiana, and I’m taking my time to consider my next Frankie’s List choice. Who should it be? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Naomi Hirahara? Alex Segura? So many choices and such great reading ahead!

How do you challenge your reading habits? What’s the last great book you read?


Jim Jackson said...

I challenge myself more with my nonfiction reading than from fiction. My fictional tastes are slanted heavily to reading a good story. If I happen to learn something factually new along the way, that's terrific, but unnecessary.

My most recent great read happens to be our very own Tina Whittle's Reckoning and Ruin.

Julie Tollefson said...

In the past, I haven't read nearly as much nonfiction as fiction. But here recently, a couple of nonfiction works have really kept my interest. In one, Good Seeds: A Menominee Indian Food Memoir, Thomas Pecore Weso tells terrific stories about growing up in Wisconsin, the people in his life, and what they taught him. Every story centers on food, from hunting to feed a multigenerational houseful to making blackberry wine in his uncle's garage.

E. B. Davis said...

I've read a Frankie Bailey and some of Val McDermid. I loved McDermid's Ziggy novel, but I have to admit when she includes too much homosexuality it turns me off. I can't relate and don't enjoy that element. I read for enjoyment not education. While I don't want to read the same old formula books, I also have to relate in some way to the theme and characters. I turned down an interview with an author once. I read the description--it was set in China and involved espionage. Just not my cuppa. I admit I'm ethnoecentric.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I'm in full writing mode, which means I'm getting less reading done. I gobbled up Deborah Crombie's latest James and Kincaid book, Garden of Lamentations, which picks up the story line from her last one, To Dwell in Darkness.

Tina said...

The more I read about the connection between empathy and reading habits, the more I wish we could get people between the pages of works written by diverse authors and starring diverse characters. I enjoyed Holly Sullivan McClure's CONJUROR very much, and the YA Book group enjoyed WABANAKI BLUES by Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel. Both explored indigenous cultures through ripping good storylines, with both authors drawing on their own culture to do so.

PS: Thanks for the kind words, Jim. I'm so happy that our characters play well together.

Grace Topping said...

I'm the first to admit that my range of books isn't very broad.I find it very difficult to read books that contain violence or situations that cause pain--I see enough of that on the evening news. Fortunately, selections made by my book group help drag me to books that I ordinarily wouldn't read. That helps broaden my reading.

KM Rockwood said...

I find it sad that we have to have exclusionary lists like this. I'd much rather authors of all persuasions and backgrounds be considered mainstream, and that anyone seeking a specific type of book or author just be able to refer to the cataloguing, which, if done properly, flags these subjects.

Sometimes these attempts to claim stories for one group or another lead to controversy--Famous All Over Town and The Education of Little Tree come to mind immediately as wonderful stories that generated much ill feeling because of who they were written by.

But I guess that, while total inclusion might be a goal, it's an unrealistic expectation at this point.

I'm reading The English Teacher, translated from Hebrew, by Yiftach Reicher Atir. It's my "fun" read right now.

Warren Bull said...

Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me is amazingly well written and I very highly recommend it.

Shari Randall said...

I felt the same way you did about Gorky Park - I read it HOW LONG ago?
I enjoyed Naomi Hirahara's latest Ellie Rush series. Great, fresh character and I liked the urban LA setting.
How do I challenge myself? My book group does it for me. I stay in my usual wonderful rut of mysteries but they force me out of my comfort zone. When I get a chance to pick the book we read, I'll check out Frankie's List. What a great resource.

carla said...

This inspires me to branch out in my reading. I tend to get stuck and don't take advantage of new or unfamiliar writers who can teach me a lot!

Gloria Alden said...

I belong to two book clubs, and although mysteries are my choice to read, I have read wonderful books that were not mysteries that enlightened me as well as kept me reading.
In one book club, the person hosting that month chooses the book. In the other book club,
we get together in December for a luncheon in a home (mine for the last two years) and
everyone suggests several books, and when everyone makes their suggestion, we pick a book
from the choices for each month. One thing we make sure to do is to choose a non-fictional
book and a classic. Then we fill up the spots with mostly fictional.

Two books I've read that I enjoyed as did all my book club members were: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer, which I read twice for both book clubs and is March's County Wide Book to read by all the libraries. The Other one was highly liked by by Third Thursday Book club without one complaint even by the one member who is always highly critical The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati. The first one deals with World War II, the second takes place in New York City in 1983 with two women doctors as primary characters. I will be choosing this one when I have my Red Read Robin Book Club at my house later this year.

Kait said...

Great post, Julie. I may take a page from your list. What a wonderful way to expand your list! Lately, I've been using the Goodreads Ultimate Challenge, Read Around the States and of course, our own Warren Bull's wonderful reviews of classic novels to expand my reading lists.

Another technique, swooping down on the Barnes & Nobel sale tables and scooping up all the authors I've heard of (vaguely) but not read. Now, how do we get more time? Suggestions anyone?

Julie Tollefson said...

Thanks, everyone!

Many of you mentioned the way book clubs help you expand your reading, and I couldn’t agree more. A couple years ago, I joined a group at our local independent bookstore and I love it. We alternate fiction and nonfiction selections, and the discussions are always thought provoking.

One of our selections this past year was Between the World and Me, Warren. I really enjoyed it. I also listened to part of the audio book version, read by the author, which for me made it even more meaningful.

Tina, I think that connection between empathy and reading habits you’ve noted is so important. From what I see, the YA publishing world is way ahead of the mystery community in thinking about issues of diversity in stories and working toward solutions.

As Kait noted, time is always the problem isn’t it! Recently I’ve added audio books to my regular “reading.” Most days, that gives me the gift of another hour with a book. Heaven!

By the way, Margaret, I saw in the recent NYT By the Book column that Chelsea Clinton just finished Garden of Lamentations and loved it, too. Two recommendations in the past week - time to add it to my TBR list!